Category Archives: Utah

Let’s Play Ball

We were in St. George Utah last week because…….my husband Dave was playing ball in the Huntsman World Senior Games an international sporting competition for people over the age of 50.   Some of my blog readers have been anxiously waiting to hear news about the Manitoba team Dave competed with in the games. Although my varied blog posts from Utah so far might give you the idea I wasn’t taking my husband’s athletic endeavors seriously nothing could be further from the truth.  I was at every single game cheering him on. I took lots of photos. The team competed at three different softball complexes each with multiple diamonds and great views of the stunning Utah scenery.  

Dave receiving his silver medal

They played eight games and ended up the silver medalists in their division which was for players 65 years and older.

Silver medal champions

 It was interesting that many of the teams in their division were from Canada.  They played against squads from Ontario, Alberta and Newfoundland as well as teams from Washington, California and Utah. The weather was certainly variable during the games.  Everything from blazing heat which had us fans scrambling to find shady trees to sit under to watch the action, to freezing cold days when we shivered in the stands despite wearing multiple layers of clothing.  One day it rained for more than an hour solid right before our game but cleared up just as we took to the field. Some of the games were very close and exciting and victories were determined only in the last inning.  I enjoyed watching the umpires in action.  Each had their own unique style and technique.  I also enjoyed visiting with fans and players from other teams. I bought cookies from a group of kids who told me the story of their cousin who has cancer.  They were raising money for his medical care with their bake sale.  I visited with a woman from Toronto who has been at the seniors games with her husband seventeen years in a row. I spent an hour-long rainstorm huddled under a canteen overhang with a ball player from Texas, who was a Vietnam vet and professional rodeo rider.  His life story was fascinating.  The ball games were also fascinating in their own way because all the players no matter their age were there to showcase their skills, challenge themselves physically, engage in healthy exercise, participate in some good competition and have fun. 

Other posts………

A Ball Player for Life

Baseball Legacy

Baseball Singalong


Filed under Sports, Utah

A Utah Massacre Remembered

In an old courthouse in St. George Utah I saw this beautiful quilt hanging on the wall. It is called A Remembrance and Reconciliation quilt.  It tells the story of a horrific incident in Utah history referred to as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. In a New York Times article Sally Denton calls it “the darkest stain” on the history of the Mormon religion. On September 11, 1857 in a meadow in southwest Utah militiamen from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints attacked a wagon train of Arkansas families on their way to set up new homes in California. They killed 140 men, women and older children, saving only seventeen children under the age of eight. The head of the Mormon militia was a man named John D. Lee  who was the adopted son of Mormon prophet Brigham Young.  The church has labeled Lee a renegade zealot. He felt he needed get rid of infidels who might want to hurt the Mormons or infiltrate their territory. To this day there continues to be a great deal of controversy about exactly what transpired. How much did Mormon church authorities know about the massacre both before and after it happened? Did they try to cover up evidence or unfairly place blame elsewhere, including on a local group of First Nations people?

The quilt I saw in St. George has forty eight squares contributed by descendants of both the militiamen who helped Lee carry out the massacre as well as descendants of the Arkansas settlers whose ancestors were killed.  A similar quilt is on display in Arkansas. It is a way to remember those who died and to express sorrow over what happened as well as provide an avenue for healing. 

Green leaves on the quilt record the names of people killed. Red flowers record the names of the seventeen children who were spared.

I visited the home of Rachel Hamblin which was close to the massacre.The seventeen children whose lives were spared were first taken to Rachel’s house. She writes of that experience saying…“in the darkness of night, two of the children cruelly mangled and most of them with their parents’ blood still wet upon their clothes, and all of them shrieking with terror and grief and anguish” 

The quilt tells a tragic and damning story but I have to give credit to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for having it on display where thousands of visitors can see it. As is the case with so many religious groups who must now confront the atrocities committed by their clergy and membership in the past, there is hopefully a growing realization that only transparency and honesty, admission of guilt and request of forgiveness, can help pave the way to a more peaceful future where no religious group believes it has a corner on the truth so all are accepted with love and are never seen as enemies. 

Both wisdom from Buddhist and Hindu sources are included on the quilt

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Filed under History, Religion, Utah

Desert Walk

red hills desert gardenOne morning our group of Utah women adventurers decided to do a trek through The Red Hills Desert Garden.

cactus designThe garden is beautifully designed and we enjoyed discovering some new species like…indian fig cactus the Indian fig cactus blackfoot daisyand the Blackfoot Daisyjoshua tree loriMy friend Lori had learned about the Joshua Tree on her recent visit to Arizona so she shared her knowledge with the rest of us.

marge crosses the brook

My friend Marge crosses the stream in the garden. We spotted two pairs of mallards swimming in the stream although we couldn’t spot any fish.

It rained for a bit during our walk but we didn’t let that deter us. rainblow desert gardenAnd we were rewarded with a beautiful rainbowdino tracks in the desert gardenOne of the knowledgeable garden employees helped us find the dinosaur footprints the park is famous for.  learning about dino tracksThey think the kind of dinosaur that made these prints might be a Dilophosaurus. tracks of the dinoWe posed with some of the dinosaur prints.

desert reserveOur helpful guide suggested we head off on a walk through the Red Cliff Desert Reserve adjacent to the garden.  He thought we might spot a tortoise.  

rock formation

Doesn’t that rock Marge is looking at resemble a turtle’s shell?

We didn’t see a tortoise but we did spot a rabbit and some very interesting rock formations.  desert flowerWe also saw beautiful flowers blooming in the desert. 

walking in the desert reserveWe could have stayed longer but it was soon time to head out to the ball diamond to cheer for our husbands in their next game.  We’d had a great morning in the Desert Garden and Desert Reserve. 

Other posts…….

Better With Friends

Linda’s Garden

Blooming Portugal

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Filed under Nature, Utah

Picking Cotton Seeds From Cotton is Cotton Pickin’ Hard


My friends Merle and Marge outside the Jacob Hamblin house.

In Santa Clara just outside of St. George, Utah I toured the home of Jacob Hamblin.  

In the doorway of the Jacob Hamblin House

Jacob’s family were prosperous farmers.  One of the things they grew was cotton.  spinning wheel and loom hamblin houseHere are the spinning wheel and loom Jacob’s wives used to spin the cotton into yarn and then weave things for their family.

marge with cotton plants

My friend Marge with the cotton plants.

There were some cotton plants on the yard of the Hamblin home and you could pick a little bit of cotton.  

merle with cotton

My friend Merle with some of the cotton she picked.

After the cotton was harvested all the tiny seeds inside each boll of cotton had to be picked out by hand so the wool was ready to card. In every boll or handful of cotton there were 12 to 42 seeds.  Picking these seeds out was intense difficult work later made so much easier by the invention of the cotton gin.

separated seeds from cotton

Here is some cotton with the little cotton seeds that have been picked from it on the table.

picking out cotton seedsLater we got to try our hand at picking all the little seeds out of bolls of cotton.  It was cotton pickin’ hard!

Other posts………

Stitching a Story

Athena and the Creation of the Spider


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Ladies Only

My husband Dave is playing on a Manitoba team in an international softball tournament in St. George Utah.  A number of the players’ partners have accompained them to Utah and although we are always at the diamond to cheer our team on, we have been been going for hikes each morning before their games begin.  Our first hike was down the Johnson Trail just outside Snow Canyon National Park.

It was a chilly morning but the sun lit up our surroundings in a beautiful light. We saw lots of intriguing rock formations like this turtle head and…….. this unique face  A woman we met just before we started the hike told us not to miss the impressive arch halfway down the trail

I thought this three rock formation was just as interesting as the big arch. It created a little arch of its own.We stopped to watch this bug stick its head upside down in the sand The  trail ended in a pool surrounded by towering red rocks. It was so quiet there I thought I was in a cathedral. Our hike provided a beautiful start to the day.  We spent the rest of it watching our partners play ball. Our hike the second morning was down the Quarry Trail. It got its name from the fact that the local Mormon community quarried rock there to build their temple in St. George. The weather was much warmer on this hike. We had beautiful views, got some invigorating exercise and enjoyed chatting with each other. I am looking forward to more hikes with this congenial group and am so glad they are here in Utah with me.

Other posts…….

Virgin Hike

Hiking Quail Trail


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A Sign of Hope and Help for a Sad Situation

sex trafficking help lineOn our way to Utah we spent some time in the Las Vegas airport.  I was surprised to see this sign on the inside of the door of the stall I used in an airport washroom.  I had never seen a sign like it before and I wanted to know why it was there so I did a little research.  

    • The United States Justice Department has named Las Vegas as one of the top twenty destinations in the world for human trafficking.
    • Las Vegas is a major hub for child sex trafficking because of the hyper-sexualized entertainment industry there, easy access to alcohol and drugs and twenty-four hour gambling.
    • The National Human Trafficking Resource Centre reported receiving 277 calls and emails in 2015 about human trafficking in Nevada.
    • Each year, Metro Police in Las Vegas rescue around 400 children victimized by human/ sex traffickers. 

There are some signs of hope however………

  •  Catherine Marie Cortez Masto is currently a Democratic Senator from Nevada. In 2013 when she was Nevada’s Attorney General she introduced a bill that established the human trafficking of children and adults as a crime, making its victims eligible for state assistance and allowing them to sue their traffickers.  Those convicted could have their assets seized and liquidated to provide relief to their victims.
  • Hospital personnel in Las Vegas are being taught to look for signs that patients may be human trafficking victims.
  • Billboards and signs like the ones I saw in the Las Vegas airport washroom offer a hotline number for victims to call to get help. Some do. 

Human trafficking is epidemic world-wide.  There are more than 40 million victims a year who are part of a 150 billion dollar industry. The sign I saw in the Las Vegas airport indicates steps are being taken to try to deal with the problem.  Look here for  suggestions about things you can do .

Other posts…………

Giving Slaves a Modern Humanity

Acts of Kindness and Love

Ai Wei Wei

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Hiking the Virgin

fran and dave hike utahWe are visiting the state of Utah. On Sunday we did our first hike with our friends Fran and Marge.  We picked an easy walkway called The Virgin Trail that led us along a riverbed and through some beautiful rock formations.  We took to naming the rock formations we saw.  hedgehogs mating utahFran called this one Two Hedgehogs Mating.  sleeping drunk formation utahI called this one  Face of a Drunk Man Lying on His Side.  half man half apeDave called this one Half Man- Half Ape. iguana tree formationThere were some dead trees carved by wind and rain along the trail too.  This one reminded me of an iguana.  Beautiful flowers grew along our way.  brown eyed susanI recognized these brown eyed susansflower utah but although on the hike I had no idea what these lovely blossoms were called I found out later they were Yellow Birds of Paradise. bird watching utah

When you are on a hike with Fran you are always looking for birds.  Here Fran is pointing out a road runner to Dave who is trying to capture it on camera.  Unfortunately none of Dave’s bird pictures really turned out but in addition to the road runner we saw trumpeter swans, turkey buzzards, white crown sparrows and a beautiful blue heron. wind swept rock utahI loved the way the wind and water had shaped this rock to look like icing on a cake. The multi-colored rocks made a motley photo back drop. The scenery along the trail was spectacular. 

Walking the Virgin Trail was a lovely way to start our Utah sojourn. 

Other posts……….

You Call That A Stroll? 

Sunset Walk in America The Beautiful

A Perfect Afternoon in Gambo


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Filed under Nature, Utah