Category Archives: Utah

It Caught Georgia O’ Keefe’s Eye Too

desert flower“What a beautiful flower growing in the middle of the desert.”  I was on a hike with friends in the Red Cliff Desert Reserve in St. George Utah, when I caught sight of this lovely flower. I took several photos and since it was a bit windy one friend even held a blossom still so I could photograph it better. jimson weed red cliffs desert reserve st. georgeA few days later I was visiting an art gallery and saw a reproduction of a painting by famous southwest artist Georgia O’Keefe. “That’s the same flower,” I said recognizing the flower I’d photographed in the desert. georgia-okeeffe-painting

Turns out it wasn’t a flower at all but the Jimson Weed, a  plant that originated in Mexico but has now spread throughout the southwest and…… Georgia O’Keefe was just as enamored with the flowering plant as I was.  She painted several different versions of it. 

jimson weed 2 by georgia o keefe

Kind of made me feel special to know I shared an artistic eye with someone like Georgia O’ Keefe. jimson weed utah

Other posts………..

Desert Walk

Georgia O’ Keefe Inspired Me


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Zion National Park- A Place of Worship

trees zion national parkWhen pioneer Isaac Behunin saw the rock formations in what is now Utah’s Zion National Park in 1863 he is said to have exclaimed “These are the temples of God, built without human hands. You can worship God among these great cathedrals as well as in any church. ”  

He called the place Zion because it is a religious term used to describe a place of worship, refuge and sanctuary. We spent last Sunday in that place of worship.  

tree roots and shadows zion

I loved the gnarled roots of this tree and the design the leaves made on the  path

rainbow zion national park

Rainbow on the rocks on the path to the Emerald Pools

river walk zion national park

On the River Walk hike

mountains zion national park

waterfall zion national park

Water cascading down over our trail

dave zion

zion utah

Other posts……….

Sunday Worship on the Skerwink Trail in Newfoundland

Sunday Morning Worship with Quakers in Costa Rica

Sunday Worship in Quebec City

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Wife Number 50

young house st. georgeWe toured the winter home of Mormon leader Brigham Young in St. George Utah.  Although our guide informed us Brigham Young only had 16 wives ( he had children with sixteen different women)  Wikipedia records 55 wives and Harriet Amelia Folsom Young is listed as number 50.

amelia and brigham young

Photo of Brigham Young and his wife Harriet Amelia in their winter home in St. George

Harriet Amelia was  twenty-four years old when she married the sixty -one year old leader of the Latter Day Saints.  Harriet Amelia changed her name to Amelia upon her marriage since her husband already had two other wives named Harriet. 

brigham young house st. george

One of our guides shows us the rear of the Birgham Young House in St. George

Amelia was rumored to be Brigham Young’s favorite wife and so it is not surprising  she was the one he chose to have travel south from Salt Lake City with him each winter during the last years of his life when he spent several months in the warmer climate of St. George. amelia's piano brigham young houseOne of our guides at the house showed us Amelia’s piano and told us how musical she was. Our guide said the reason Amelia was chosen as the wife to travel to St. George with her husband was because she was a good nurse and Brigham suffered from multiple ailments in his last years.  Also Amelia was childless so traveling with Brigham didn’t neccesitate her leaving any children behind in Salt Lake City as might have been the case with his other wives.  

dining room brigham young house

The diningroom where Birgham and Amelia entertained guests. The china is embossed with a gold Y.

Apparently Amelia was not only musical, but charming and intelligent and at ease with entertaining guests to the Young home. I wonder how Brigham’s other fifty-four wives felt about the special privileges granted Amelia.  

children's bedroom brigham young house

Brigham Young’s grandchildren slept in this trundle bed when they came to visit

Apparently none of the other wives came to visit in St. George although Brigham’s children and grandchildren did. He is said to have fathered 56 children 46 of whom lived to adulthood.  

brigham young portrait

Portrait of Brigham Young in his office in St. George

We don’t know how many grandchildren he had but apparently The New York Times determined that 25 years after his death Brigham Young had over a thousand descendants. prayer stool brigham youngOur guide told us this was Brigham’s prayer stool beside his and Amelia’s bed.  With a family the size of Brigham’s his knees would have gotten very sore by the time he’d prayed for everyone of them if he’d have been kneeling right on the hard floor. 

During my time in Utah I learned a great deal about the history of the Mormon church and I grew ever more interested in the women of the faith who despite their lack of official power in the church and lack of official recognition at the time, still cultivated their individuality in different ways and contributed greatly to the future of their church and indeed to the future of the state of Utah. 

Other posts……….

It’s His Wives That Impress Me

Hot Wives and Christian Leaders

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A Perfect Last Day in Utah

lunch at coyote gulch art villageSangria loaded with fruit, a frosty beer, perfectly grilled brussels sprouts with mango chutney, super spicy hummus, fresh veggies and piping hot pita triangles. Those items created the best food experience we had during our time in Utah.  We enjoyed it on a sunny patio in the Xetava Gardens Restaurant in the Coyote Gulch Art Village just a few miles from St. George, Utah. 

view of our air b and b in veyo

Our lodging just outside the community of Veyo, Utah

I had really hoped we could go to Bryce Canyon our last day in Utah but it was a six-hour round trip from our unique rented casita high in the hills and we figured that was too much driving  just before we began a long seventeen hour plane journey back to Winnipeg. 

free spirit georgia johnson

Free Spirit by Georgia Johnson

So……….we had a more laid back day in and around St. George and it turned out to be lovely.  After a good breakfast at a restaurant called The Egg and I Dave spent the morning clothes shopping while I explored some of the unique public art in downtown St. George and popped into the local art gallery.  

giant spider by deverin farley

Giant Spider by Deverin Farley

flight time gary lee price

Flight Time by Gary Lee Price

opening 1 by christopher thomson

Opening 1 by Christopher Thomson

Then we were off to explore the Coyote Gulch Art Village in Ivins.  coyote gulch art villageWe strolled through all the shops looking at the work of local artists and enjoying some of the unique outdoor pieces as well.

aimee bonham

Artist Aimee Bonham has created a chalk drawing that makes it look like you are standing on top of a giant rock arch

wind sculptures coyote art village

Dave sits among a collection of wind sculptures by Lyman Whitaker

Then we sat in the sun savoring our delicious lunch for a long while.  It turned out to be one of our nicest days in Utah weather wise. During our ten days in Utah the weather was sometimes warmer in Winnipeg than it was there. 

sign jenny's canyonWe headed next for a leisurely drive through Snow Canyon State Park and stopped to hike the Jenny’s Canyon Trail.  hiking jenny's cayon utah

dave heads into a long narrow cave on the jenny canyon trail

The trail had this long narrow cave you could walk back into

It was so beautiful and we were all alone on the trail. It was incredibly quiet and peaceful and the scenery was spectacular.  

dave at the end of the rock tunnel jenny canyon

Dave at the very back of the rock tunnel

The day before we had hiked at Zion National Park.  Although it is an amazing natural wonder the paths and rest areas and parking lots were jam-packed with people and that made for a very different experience. 

high in jenny canyon

The climb down from Jenny’s Canyon was a little steep so I took my time. Dave of course jogged down and took this picture of me way up top.

The Jenny’s Canyon Trail was just perfect!jenny's canyon

Then we headed home again to our little casita where we drank wine, ate chocolate and watched a compelling if not slightly sad and macabre film on Netflix called The Kindergarten Teacher in which Maggie Gyllenhaal gives a stunning performance. 

We had a lovely last day in Utah. 

Other posts………

Let’s Play Ball

Desert Walk

Ladies Only

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It’s The Women That Impress Me!

Mormon history guide enacting the role of Jacob Hamblin

“He traveled some 30,000 miles in this saddle as a kind of diplomat making peace with the Indian nations in the southwest.” On a history tour of St. George, Utah we learned about a man named Jacob Hamblin who was a western pioneer and Mormon missionary aiding settlement in southern Utah and northern Arizona. In his house our guide proudly showed us Jacob’s saddle and talked about his inspirational life.  He spent so many hours in that saddle as he traveled across the southwest helping new settlers and establishing cordial relationships with First Nations groups. 

On the left is Jacob’s fifth wife Louisa and on the right his third wife Sarah Priscilla

I saw photos of two of Jacob’s five wives in his home and wondered aloud if it hadn’t been those women who were truly inspirational. According to Wikipedia Jacob fathered some 25 children with his five wives. Although his first wife stayed in Ohio when Jacob decided to move to Utah he took their four children along with him and his subsequent wives helped to raise them as well as their own children.  

Jacob Hamblin 1819-1886

Jacob’s work as a broker between Mormon settlements and First Nations groups was only possible because his wives stayed home to ‘hold down the fort’ caring for his livestock, his orchards, his cotton fields, his gardens, maintaining his home, and seeing to the education and upbringing of his children. 

The Hamblin House

Although history records his wives’ names- Lucinda, Rachel, Sarah, Eliza and Louisa of course Jacob is the one we know the most about and the one who history honors.  Indeed the house where he lived is called The Jacob Hamblin House when in fact he was seldom there but usually out on his missionary and diplomatic journeys. 

On the main floor of Jacob’s house we saw the marriage bed where Jacob will have done his part to conceive his many children. Upstairs was a circle of chairs to show how the children met together with their parents for worship and family meetings and education. The maintainence of that family circle was largely left to Jacob’s wives while he traveled his 30,000 miles. I wonder if the Jacob Hamblin House shouldn’t be named after them.

In the doorway of the Jacob Hamblin House

Other posts……….. 

A Utah Massacre Remembered

Cotton Pickin Hard

From Pale and Weak to Platoon Commander

Mothers at the Met

Mothers Have a Stronger Bond With Kids



Filed under 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


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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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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