Sunday, July 31, 2005


Originally uploaded by David B..
There are three things that my wife, Dawn Ann, just cant stand: Pretzels, Corn Nuts, and Black Licorice.

In fact, she threatens that anyone who partakes of these banned substances will not be receiving any kisses from mama! Out of respect for her wishes, (and because we LIKE mama's kisses) we don't ordinarily buy these things, or bring them into the house.

Bryan and I are leaving tomorrow morning for scout camp - to the Bear Lake Aquatics Camp. I will be there for Monday and Tuesday, and Bryan will be there until Saturday.

Bryan and I actually like these things, so when we go camping toghether, all bets are off!! After all, its just us Boys! We just have to take this contraband along with us. You should see the mischevious gleam in Bryan's eyes when when we get these things -- like we're really getting away with something!

When Dawn Ann saw these things, she feigned horror, which adds to the effect for the kids. Amy, in solidarity with the women folk, has decided that these are, in fact, evil and disgusting too!

Saturday, July 30, 2005


In my daily blog reading, I ran across a post in which an individual had been experiencing some personal difficulties. The situation, and the symptoms she described indicated that possibly she might be suffering from clinical depression.

I am not a mental health professional, but I shared some of my thoughts and experiences with her in her comments. I thought that I would relay them here as well:
It sounds like a tough situation that you find yourself in.

What I have found in my experience is that we can't always control the actions and attitudes of others. The only thing that we can truly control is how we react to the situation in which we find ourselves. Sometimes we can become so focused on our own difficulties and trials, that we forget to look outward, and forget to see the bright side of things.

When I get in that frame of mind, I have learned that I must look outward. Look for opportunities to forget myself, and serve others. Not only does it get my mind off of my own troubles for awhile, it can help me be more grateful for what I do have, as I serve those who may be less fortunate.

I also have come to realize that I cannot do it all on my own. I seek for help and guidance in reading the scriptures, and in prayer, and with the help of the Divine, I am able to get thorugh.

Another thing you might want to consider is whether or not you might be suffereing from clinical depression. I say this not because I am any kind of a health care professional, but because I deal with it in my own home.

My wife sufferes from Depression, and I have come to know the signs of when she is about to crash. For her, she gets a great sense of being overwhelmed by the day to day struggles and challenges of life. In addition to feeling overwhelmed, she also has a greatly reduced ability to cope with any kind of stress as well. Combined, these two symptons form a dark cloud over her.

I have come to know and dread that dark cloud. I have given it a name: "The Thief of Joy".

This thief steals away the joys and happiness that one should experience from life. An objective observer, given all the facts, would see that she has much to be joyful about. But when that dark cloud is upon her, she has a difficult time seeing the light, and feeling the warmth and joy that should be hers.

For my wife, medication has been a great help in dealing with this problem. It's not a cure-all, and it has its side-effects too. But all in all, it helps her to cope with life and face her challenges rather than wanting to run-away and hide.

This may not be the answer for you. Your situation may be quite different. I am just saying what has been helpful in my home.

I wish you the best.

I share these thoughts here, in case they may be of use to others as well.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Pioneer Day Fireworks

Pioneer Day Fireworks
Originally uploaded by David B..
We took a little day trip on Friday (July 22nd).

First we visited the cemeteries at Kamas and Woodland. Found some early Lefler relatives in the Woodland Cemetery.

Then we drove over the Mirror Lake Highway. Unfortunately it was pretty cloudy and rainy, so we didn't really stop along the way -- but it was till a scenic drive.

Then we went to Evanston and bought some fireworks at Schwietzer's. We got one package of fireworks that were rockets - to be shot off in Wyoming. And we got another package that were supposed to be ground only fireworks, which we thought would be legal for Utah.

Friday night, we found a favorite out of the way marshy spot in the Almy area, just outside of Evanston, and shot off our rockets. We had a lot of fun, but we did have to use insect repellent. Not too many skeeter bites though.

Tonight (Monday July 25th) we opened up the "ground" fireworks package. A few of these did a little more than we expected -- like sending a charge up into the air about 50 feet, and go off, like a mini staduim type firework! Oops! Well, we'll no better next time. This one (pictured) was one of the legal ones.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Using our Time Wisely

Today we enjoy many time-saving devices and modern conveniences that were unavailable to our forebears. Another great privilege that we enjoy is that we have more time than they did. That may be hard to believe, in our busy world, but let’s think about it for a minute.

We have literally been given more time to complete our labors upon the earth. With the advancements in science and medicine (which I believe have been a blessing to mankind from God) our life expectancies are more than double what they were in 200 years ago.

Not only do we have more years in which to live, we also have more discretionary time in each day as well. We have many modern conveniences which allow us to spend our time on personal pursuits rather than the hard manual labor that was required of most people to provide for their families.

Nowadays, most of us work in far more controlled settings. Many of us work in climate controlled offices, doing work which is not nearly so physically taxing. For those who work in more physically challenging jobs, there are many workplace rules now in place that restrict the number of hours to be worked, as well as rules to help ensure health and safety in the workplace.

With our increased life-spans, and our increased discretionary time, over that which our ancestors enjoyed, comes a greater accountability for how we use the time that we have. Where much is given, much is expected.

We weren’t given these privileges and blessings so we could just idle away the hours self-indulgently. The Lord has commanded: “Thou shalt not idle away thy time” (D&C 60:13), and “Cease to be idle” (D&C 88:124),

The Hymn, “Improve the Shining Moments” speaks the fleeting nature of time:

“Time flies on wings of lightning, we cannot call it back. It comes, then passes forward along its onward track. And if we are not mindful, the chance will fade away, for life is quick in passing. ’Tis as a single day” (“Improve the Shining Moments,” Hymns, no. 226).

Why does it not seem that we have all of this free time on our hands. The fact is, we have chosen to fill that time with various activities. Have we chosen wisely in how we prioritize our time?

How are we doing on the things in our lives that are really important? The things that will last beyond our mortal lives.

When we make major decisions in our lives, are we seeking for personal revelation, and the guidance of the Spirit? Some of these major decisions in life would include: education, occupation, place of residence, marriage, and childbearing. Some decisions that may seem desirable for mortality have unacceptable risks for eternity. These decisions should be made carefully, and with personal revelation, with all due consideration to what impact of these decisions will have on our lives, and upon the lives of our family, and posterity to come. Both in the here and now, and throughout the eternities.

When we consider how we use our time and resources, we should also give consideration to what the eternal implications might be from our actions, and the way we spend our time. We may need to re-set our priorities, if we are spending too much of our time for that which will not be of benefit to us eternally.

Let’s examine some area’s in which we should be devoting our time towards:

· Family Relationships. Are we building the kind of relationships we should with our children and our spouse, or do we spend too much of our time transfixed before the television, or surfing the Internet. Is everyone off in their own little world, on their personal computer, personal TV, or Personal Music Player or video games? Are we isolated from one another, while living under the same roof? None of these things are necessarily evil (although they can be), but do they seize hold upon us, and divert our attention to that which is trivial and temporal, instead of that which is divine and eternal.

· Spiritual Nourishment. Are our diversions keeping us from doing those things which will nourish our spirits, such as: reading the scriptures, attending worship services, and having meaningful prayer. Are we taking time to examine our lives, and giving thoughtful prayer and pondering as to what the Lord would have us do to continue our progression toward him? Do we have a few quiet moments in which the Holy Spirit can speak to our hearts and minds?

· Reaching Out to Others. Do we know our neighbors by name. Have we reached out the hand of fellowship toward them, even if they are not yet ready to embrace the gospel? We have been commanded to let our light shine before men, that they may glorify, and come unto our Father In Heaven, and his Son. How can our neighbor look to that light, if they don’t know who we are?

The truth is, we can tell what our priorities are by how we use our time.

That to which we devote our time, is that to which we are devoted.

Look at how you spend your time. If you were to analyze how your time used, you would learn rather quickly to what, or to whom you are devoted. Then we can discern if we have set proper priorities for ourselves, or if we might need to us more self-discipline in the way our time is spent. We can determine if our priorities are good ones, based upon their eternal impact.

Based on how we use our time, you might ask yourself if you are devoted to the Lord, or to some other god. King Benjamin Said:

“For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” (Mosiah 5:13)

Time, at least in this life, is a scarce resource. Someone has said, “Three things never come back—the spent arrow, the spoken word, and the lost opportunity.” We cannot recycle or save or borrow time allotted to us each day. With time, we have only one opportunity for choice, and then it is gone forever. Each day is rife with a myriad of decisions and choices. With each choice, we either stay on course, or we are diverted from our eternal goals. Our progress is always moving, it never stands still. Either we are truly pressing forward, with a steadfastness in Christ, or we are not. And if we are not, then we are going the wrong direction, and a course correction is in order.

Don’t get me wrong. I‘m not saying there is not time for diversion, recreation and entertainment. These things all have their place. However, they should not be the dominant pursuits of our lives.

Let us resolve to focus on that which is most important. That which has lasting worth and value. That which will bring us hope and peace and joy in this world, and a fullness of joy in the next.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Weatherbug 07-12

Weatherbug 07-12
Originally uploaded by David B..
Its a scorcher today! The peak temperature hit 106 degrees near where I live.

Makes those cool, icy summer mornings in Randolph sound a lot better -- even with the mosquitoes!

Grandpa's Ranch by Satellie

Grandpa's Ranch by Satellie
Originally uploaded by David B..
As you can see from the notes attached to this image, grandpa gradually acquired several parcels of ground to complete his ranch holdings, over a period of about 20 years, he purchased several different parcels of land, and homesteaded land as well. In the end he was able to aquire some 2500 acres of land, complete with water, oil, and mineral rights.

He was able to run about 250 head of cows and calves from this operation. The cultivated land provided enough hay and grain that he did not have to buy feed for his livestock for the winter. In the summer, he had grazing permits on BLM and Forest Service lands to run cattle, sheep, and a few head of horses on the open range.

He was also fortunate that he was able to operate on a "cash basis" - that is, he did not have to take out loans each spring to cover planting crops, and purchasing materials and supplies to grow and harvest crops. Because of this, he was able to avoid using debt to finance his operations.

The only debts he ever carried were mortgages for the purchase of the properties themselves. And then, he would do all he could to pay them off early. Once the properties were paid for, he never took out a loan for ANYTHING for the rest of his life. Even when purchasing vehicles, tractors, and farm machinery, he would always write out a check, and pay for the equipment in-full at the time of sale. These thrifty practices were a part of his mindset, having been a young adult, and struggling with raising a young family during the great depression. He and grandma had tremendous financial discipline.

Something we could learn from them today.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Grandpa's Ranch - Old Canyon

Grandpa's Ranch - Old Canyon
Originally uploaded by David B..
A View of Grandpa's ranch, looking Southwest toward Old Canyon.

I practically grew up here. I would spend every summer of my life here, until I was 19 years old. As soon as school would let out, I would be there. I wouldn't go home to the city until September, when school would start again.

I learned so much here. Common sense, how to work hard, and problem solving. I also got to work side by side with my grandpa which was a special relationship .

The ranch was sold nearly 30 years ago. We drive past it once or twice a year for old times sake. The ranch house is unnoccupied, and is starting to get rundown.

Each time I see it, I am flooded with many memories of my youth.

I only wish that my children could have a comparable experience today. They are really missing out!

Grandpa's Ranch - New Canyon

Grandpa's Ranch - New Canyon
Originally uploaded by David B..
View to the West, with New Canyon in the background.

The Willow trees were originally planted from a single start, (a branch from Great-Grandmother Hatch's house a few miles away -- just stuck in the mud -- and it grew) back in 1932 when grandma and grandpa were first married. There are now several willow tress growing there, which have since seeded themselves. The largest willow tree was never pruned, so it had lots of low branches, which made for great climbing when we were kids.

I remember when cousins would come to visit, we would sometimes have watermelon for dessert. We would climb the tree with a piece of watermelon, and spit the seeds from high above down into the marsh below. It was a great place to just climb up its huge curved branches and find a place to recline back and just watch the birds in the top of the tree, and listen to the leaves rustle with the breeze.

There was a natural spring not far from the house. Water from the spring feeds a marsh which in-turn waters the trees.

The marsh was home to countless frogs. The boy cousins really loved catching frogs in the marsh! We would collect them in a large coffee can, filled half-full with water. We just had to bring them back to the house and show grandma our captives - later we would turn them loose back into the marsh. As the sun would go down, the frogs would begin in their chorus of sounds (creeeeeeek - creeeeeeeek ) in a nighttime serenade.

The marsh was also home to various birds: Blackbirds, Meadowlarks, and Yellow Headed Tanagers. There were also other birds nearby such as: morning doves, robins, magpies, and the occasional owl.

We had barn swallows in the barn, and even a few bats at night to help (a little) with the mosquitoes. There were mosquitoes by the billions, especially out in the fields.

In the summer, I would wake up in the morning and hear the black birds singing, the meadowlarks calling, the robins chirping, and the morning doves cooing. That was a sweet symphony.

On the other hand, we had the occasional cacophany of the magpie call, which was a very irritating squawk compared with the sweet sounds of the other birds.

And then there was the Rooster. Him I could live with. The magpie, I could have done without!

We used to get up before sunup, and do the chores: milking the cow, feed the chickens and pigs, gather the eggs, and bottle feed any bum lambs or calves. Run the milk through the seperator, and keep some for our own consumption.
(Yes, we drank raw milk in those days, and never had a problem. We also had real cream, which went great on grandma's oatmeal -- every morning! I still have a hard time eating oatmea, due to overexposure.)

The sun rising over the mountain, and illuminating the red soil in the morning light was a sight to behold. The air was always crisp and cool (sometimes below freezing -- even in summer!).

The quiet of the morning gave you a chance to organize your thoughts and prepare yourself to ramp-up for the days activities (work, that is) -- which would last until sundown, when we would do the chores again in the evening.

Little Creek Reservoir

Little Creek Reservoir
Originally uploaded by David B..
View of Little Creek Reservoir, looking to the East. Town of Randolph in the distance about 5 miles away. Crawford Mountains (in Wyoming) in the background.

The reservoir was on the East end of what was Grandpa's Ranch.

The water is used to irrigate farmland below the dam. Grandpa owned shares of water in the reservoir, and was alowed to take water from the creek which feeds the reservoir, and whic also ran through his property.

This is where I learned to fish. My biggest catch here was a 5 pound rainbow trout (about 21 inches long). However, I enjoyed catching the little brook trout in the stream (Little Creek) most of all. I didn't really get to fish too much. There was a lot of work to do around the ranch, so my fishing skills were rudimentary, at best.

I even fished in the creek with a real "willow" fishing pole, from a green twig I cut off from the willow tree (Boys were allowed to have pocket knives back then!), with some fishing line attached to one end. I attached a hook, a sinker, and a worm. It worked! I caught several fish that way!

They tasted mighty good for breakfast the next morning too!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Together We Stand

Together We Stand
Originally uploaded by David B..
To our British friends and cousins - we offer you our prayers and support during this time of sorrow and atrocity.

You have stood with us in our time of need, and we shall stand with you in yours as well.

We also offer our continuing resolve to overcome this great evil, and to preserve freedom throughout the world. Tyranny and atrocity cannot be left to rule the day. We must stand up for freedom and liberty, and never give control to those who would take it away.