Sheep Camp

Sheep Camp Hot Springs George Craig,Gran Halverson, Ed H.child,2 001
From left, George Craig, Gran (Missouri) Holverson, Ed Holverson

I love this picture of my ancestors.  The gentleman on the left is my great-grandfather, George Craig. Next to him are Missouri Holverson, and Ed Holverson.  They were his mother and father-in-laws, making them my great- great- grandparents.

The picture states that this is their sheep camp at the Hot Springs, in Bruneau, ID.

Sometimes we take it for granted how hard things were back then. I am struck by the primitive corrals, and make-shift table and chairs.  I’m not struck by the table itself which looks like a slab of wood sitting of blocks of wood, but by how nice Gran made it look.  This was not their home.  They had a very nice house in Bruneau which is still standing today.  This was the sheep camp, where they summer pastured their sheep.

Gran was obviously their camp cook, and she made it feel as homey as she could.  She had it set with a tablecloth, and there were manners at her table.  I can see hats were removed and the one man holding the frying pan for her as she served.  Can’t tell for sure what the meal is, but I believe I see homemade bread and home canned jelly.  I also see another canning jar on the table that was probably some kind of fruit.  They had a pretty large orchard.

I was talking to my dad on the phone about this picture.  I was curious about the “look out” stand in front of the corrals.  Dad said the sheep camp was used as a place where several different ranches gathered to sheer their sheep before they turned out to summer pasture.  The stand was probably used to locate where different herds were stationed as they came into the area.

Also if you can enlarge this picture a little you can see a large wheel behind the table in front of the corrals.  This was a stone sharpening tool used  to sharpen the sheep shears.

I have watched, modern-day sheep shearers with their electric shears and it is back-breaking work.  I can ony imagine how hard it was with the old shears, that look similar to hand-held grass clippers.  We have two old pair of sheep shears.  One belonged to my Grandfather Otis Wells, and the other to Herb Russell Sr., my husbands’ grandfather.

If any family members or Bruneau friends would happen to know who the two gentlemen on the right and the child is, please respond on this post.  I would appreciate it.


The Cross

Mike's Cross

I love crosses.  I have more than one.  But I think most of the time we take the symbol of the cross for granted.

Crosses have become a big fashion statement lately.  You see the cross symbol on purses, and wallets.  You see it on blue jeans, on jackets, and t-shirts. Crosses are on belts, and boots, and just about any type of clothing or accessory you can think of.  You see the cross on bodies in the form of tattoos and nail art. It hangs around our necks as a necklace and on our wrists and ankles as bracelets.  It hangs on our walls, and from the rear view mirror of our cars.

Please believe me when I say I don’t have a problem with any of that….except maybe the tattoos; I personally don’t like tattoos.  But even the tattoo can be a witness about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

That is what that cross stands for.  Jesus.  It stands for what he did for us, all mankind.  But it has become more than that to me.  All mankind is so general.  And all mankind do not accept his sacrifice for our sins.  Many even deny his existence.  There are many who believe “in God” but do not have a personal relationship with him.

I was that person for most of my life.  I always believed in the trinity of God.  I believed Jesus died for my sins so that I could have eternal life.  Then one day I read a passage in the Bible that said, “even the demons, believe in Jesus, and they tremble at the sound of his name.”  It was at that moment I realized my belief was not enough.  It was what brought me to genuinely seek Jesus to have a relationship with him….to know him.

I am still on that journey.

This last week I wrote a poem about crosses.  It lead me to Luke 14: 27.  This is from the amplified bible.

“Whoever does not carry his own cross (expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come) and follow me [ believing in me, conforming to my example in living and, if  need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in me] cannot be my disciple.”

That is a pretty harsh statement.

That symbol of the cross stands for the sacrifice Jesus made for us all.  But it is personal to me.  I see that cross, and I see an innocent Jesus, who was beaten so severely he was unrecognizable.  I see him being spit at and mocked as he had nails pounded into his hands and feet.  I see him grasping for every breath until his last.  When I hear the words, “It is finished” I know he finished it for “ME”.  Me, he did it for “me“. Why me?  What have I ever done for him that he would be willing to go through all of that for me?

Nothing…I have done nothing….and yet he loved me that much!

Until you put you in that picture with the cross you just can not appreciate what the symbol of the cross really means.

But it doesn’t stop there. In Luke 14: 27 Jesus makes it clear we are to try to love those who abuse, reject, and may even kill us.  We are to do this daily as a witness to what he went through on that cross for me….and for you.

I try, but I know I fail so many times at this.  Thank you Jesus that your mercies are made new each day!

Wear the boots and jeans, t-shirts and jackets with the cross on them.  Wear the bracelet and necklace.  Pack that wallet or purse.  Hang it on the rear view mirror.  Hang it on the wall!

But when you do, when you put it on, take a moment and remember what it stands for.

And maybe, just maybe, someone who is feeling down and lost in this world, will see that cross and they will reach for that hope as well.

Happy Easter!




Sam Jack

Aunt Nellie Wells Duffield  1935

This cute picture was taken of my Aunt Nellie when she was 4 years old.  I believe it is probably at Wintercamp, Id.  Her puppies, Salt and Pepper are sharing the stump with her.

My Mom used to tell a story from her youth about my Grandfather, Otis Wells.  He would jump up on an old tree stump and with great enthusiasm and antics, recite a poem he wrote.  It was called Sam Jack.  When I saw this picture I couldn’t help but wonder if this was the stump he used.

My Grandparents, Otis & Lillie Wells

My Grandma Lillie was an artist.  She didn’t have any true formal training but I believe Mom told me she took a class from one of those ” Can you draw?” ads in magazines.  She was always sketching something.  I have a few of her drawings…wish I had more.  She would sketch on her art notebook, post cards, or like this one she did of “Sam Jack”, on an old envelope.

Sam Jack
        “Sam Jack”            by Lillie Wells










Sam Jack

I’m Sam Jack of the West.  I was reared in the Rockies,

Sired by an aligator, mothered by a grizzly bear.

I can run faster, jump higher, dive deeper,

and come up dryer than anyone here.

I was tossed up with a basket of butcher knives

and come down without a scratch.

The further up the creek you get, the wilder they are,

and I’m right from the head!

Otis Wells

I started going through boxes of old pictures a couple of years ago.  I hope to continue digging through them and sharing the memories they evoke.  Hopefully new generations of our family will have a small glimpse into some of their ancestors.

This memory is for Sam Jack and his creators….Otis and Lillie Wells.  Love and miss you both!


Grandma’s Apron

My last blog post on Granddad’s Purses got me missing my Grandma (Grandmas) as well. Had to repost this in their memory..and Mom. Hope you enjoy.


IMG_0466 Ed and Odessa Craig   June 1957

She was born Odessa Pearl Drobny on December 17, 1905 in Ft.Bidwell, California.  Her younger years were spent in Ft. Bidwell.  The family later moved to Grandview, Idaho. In 1925, she married Ed Craig from Bruneau, Idaho.

Ed and Odessa lived on the family ranch in Bruneau for several years and later settled in Healdsburg, California on the Double J-N Ranch.

Grandma, as she was known to me, had the most beautiful yard I’ve ever seen. Fragrant colorful, flowers of every kind lined the entire perimeter. Butterflies, bees, and birds, filled the air, making her yard seem like a magic fairy land to a small girl!

Grandma died in 1966 from a brain aneurysm.

I was going through old photos the other day, and there was Grandma, cloaked in that familiar old apron.  It flooded my mind with so many memories, that I felt…

View original post 449 more words

Granddad’s Purses

Granddad Ed Craig & Grandma Odessa

We went to an auction last weekend where an enormous collection of leathercraft tools were sold.  It got me in a very nostalgic mood.  I couldn’t help thinking of my Granddad Ed and his love and talent for that craft.  Grandma is pictured with him above with the purse he made her.  It has her initials on it; OPC for Odessa Pearl Craig.

IMG_1054 (2)
Mom; Harriett Belle Craig

Mom is pictured above with the purse Granddad made her.  Mom passed away several years ago, and we have been unable to find her purse.  I still have hopes someday that it will turn up.  It is a family heirloom to me.

Sister Pat and me 

This picture is of my sister and I sporting the purses Granddad made for us.  Pat’s has her name, and mine has my initials.  We used these purses all through our childhood, and we both still have them.

Granddad didn’t just make purses.  He made belts, photo albums, chaps, and he even made a saddle.   But it is his purses made especially for us, that pulls at my heart-strings.  They have never been full of money, but they are worth a fortune.  That is because they are filled with priceless treasures.  They are filled with a lifetime of sweet memories of Granddad’s laughter, hugs, pranks, and his unconditional love.

My Valentine

Mike U3
Mike U3 Ranch Wells, NV

This picture was taken many years ago.  He is in his sixties now.  He doesn’t live in the wide open country that he loves…we live in town.  But this is where his heart still is; where his soul still finds peace and contentment.

This ranch is where our three children were born and spent the biggest part of their childhood.  It is where the foundation of our marriage had its start.

Mike has been a wonderful friend, husband, and father to our children.  He has been my soft shoulder to lean on in hard times, and the smile that makes my day great every day.  We still hold hands, we still like being together.  He still completes me.

Mike is still a kid at heart and I think always will be.  Below is a picture of him taking a turn on our grandsons’ bucking barrel a couple of years ago.  I love the man in these pictures.  He’s the love of my life….my buddy…my Valentine!

Mike Bucking Barrell

Good Times

sled hill
Sister Pat, me, and Duke at Fairfield, Id

Good times… their memories are what give you joy at the present, soften the hard times, and lighten the load of ageing with a smile.

We called it the sled hill.  It gave us hours and hours of good times.  Duke, our dog, is not yet at the top of the hill in this picture.  Our sled run was from the top of the hill down to the road.  The down hill flight was filled with laughs.  It was one of our greatest childhood thrills!  Duke would run after us on the way down, and lead the way back to the top with a wagging tail.  He loved it too.

My sister and I shared a lot of good times throughout the years.  She was my first true friend, and she is still close to my heart.  Pat is not just my sister, she is part of me.   We share most of the same childhood memories.  Most of my good times were also her good times.  We played games, rode horses, listened to records, and danced in the living room.  We had a few disagreements like most siblings, but very few.

After we got married, distance separated us physically.  We haven’t been able to spend as much time together over the years as we would like.  We may not be able to share our day over a cup of coffee.  But we do share our day occasionally over the phone, and special moments with the help of Facebook.

And we always will share our childhood memories.

Good times!  May your heart and life be full of them!  Happy birthday Sis!