Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Love Service Projects!

Short Version:

Hi all,
Doing great here in Wyoming. I saw my first snake last week it was a big bull snake that was on the side of the trail, it took off and then just turned and looked at us. Other missionaries have seen rattle snakes but I have not as of yet. Been busy with still trying to control the not so sweet Sweetwater River. We have a berm around part of the low spots and we continually have to build it up.  I have been driving a cool dump truck and a big backhoe/frontend loader but it is still tiring.  I did get the backhoe stuck and could not dig myself out. I had to go get Elder Hall to help me. He is a professional hoe operator.  He is also our acting FM (facilities maintenance) guru. Elder Crist had to leave the mission for a while he is the real FM man. This coming week Elder Hall will be gone to Rock Creek Hollow so I will be the FM person. Still continuing to fix equipment, we have two out of the three riding lawn mowers broke waiting parts. (Sister Waldmann let Sister Pace know it wasn’t her lol). Had to work on a sewage pump (not fun) to get the bathrooms to drain in one of the buildings.  Plus many other jobs.  I love working with so many great people and we do have a lot of fun….every day is a new adventure.

Serving in the visitors center is always fun. I love testifying of Jesus Christ and his love for us. I am sometimes disappointed when a member comes thru and they want the shortened version since they already believe. At the end of the visit we ask people if there is someone in their lives they could help rescue, with a hug, a kind word, a smile or a Book of Mormon etc. This often brings tears to their eyes because we all have people we love that need help. I hope we can all look around us and help rescue someone this week.  I love being here with my wife she is such a blessing to me. We are happy and enjoying the work.
Love Elder Sigmon

Read on for the longer version:
Friday, May 19th the snow and the Canadians came in. The Sweetwater river was still threatening. It was all hands on deck this morning to work on the dykes and fill sandbags. There is also some beauty to all of this weather. The welcome cabin which will greet and tell trekkers where to go looked so pretty with its icicles hanging from the roof. I couldn’t believe how long they were.
When we got to correlation meeting today the men were asked to be out there working on the dykes and bringing in truckloads of sand for sandbags and then dirt for the building up the dykes using plastic, etc. 

Then they also said that the Canadian trekkers were going to do a service project to help us and they would help fill the sandbags so some of the men were assigned to oversee that they had the bags, sand, etc to fulfill the project. As a result the women ended up not having to go outside in the weather and we were assigned to go to a first aid class for training.
Of course Karl was able to be one of the dump truck drivers. They had two dump trucks running that day. But the sweetest thing was watching all those kids working filling the sand bags. They filled 1300 sandbags in 1 1/2 hours! Yes you read that right! It was an amazing sight to see. They were all so happy and not one word of complaint. The boys and the girls were shoveling, holding open bags, tying knots in them and even loading them onto rovers so they could be taken to where we were wanting them to go. They even helped unload the rovers after they got to where they needed to be. They were sad when the sandbags were all gone and even mentioned how they loved doing service projects. It was decided if we had been left to do the work ourselves without their help it probably would have taken 5 days and probably 4 trips to the hospital. It was absolutely amazing! If the future is in their hands then we have nothing to worry about!

Here is a picture of the beautiful sight of them all working in their pioneer clothing.
On Sunday, May 21st we were at the visitor’s center so I decided to go and take a picture of the baptismal font to see how much the Sweetwater has risen since the last time I saw it when I was mowing earlier last week.  It has risen about 3” since then. While I was walking back I heard a whistle like sound and thought maybe it was one of the birds so I didn’t turn around. Then I heard it again and decided what if someone is trying to get my attention. So I turned around and sure enough someone was trying to get my attention. Marc Simpson and his family had Stake Conference for church and decided to come to Martin’s Cove for a picnic. It just happened to work out that we were there and were able to see them and take them through the visitor’s center and pull a handcart. As we left the baptismal font, Linc grabbed my hand and off we went! We also got to meet Toni’s parents, sisters and brother. It worked out perfectly with us being there and them just showing up. 
I also got a picture of Parker since I wasn’t holding her this time. She was quite comfy in her car seat. 

On Monday, May 22nd after Family Home Evening we noticed a bald eagle on a tree right by the Pavilion so of course we all had to come out and check him out. He was quite regal sitting on that branch checking things out.

Tuesday, May 23rd we went on a field trip to Rock Creek Hollow. This is where the Willie Handcart company camped after they climbed Rocky Ridge. It was one of their most disastrous days. The travel day for some wouldn’t end until sunrise the next morning. Rocky Ridge was a climb of 600 feet over a distance of about 3 miles. People were already worn down by hunger and fatigue and had to pull their heavy handcarts up that grade. In places the road was covered in deep snow and the temperature was below 0. They had to make frequent stops to rest. Stopping chilled them to the bone and they needed to keep moving. They buried 13 people in a community grave at Rock Creek Hollow. The next day they buried 2 of the people who helped dig the grave. 

We will spend a week there and greet the kids as they come in from crossing Rocky Ridge. We also let them go through and visit the community grave and contemplate the sacrifice and commitment these people had in coming to Salt Lake to be together with their families for eternity. It was very important to them at whatever the cost was. Even sacrificing their life. We will take care of the campground, help clean and wrangle the handcarts so they can be sent back to Sixth Crossing. Our turn is for a week that starts Thursday July 27-August 3. Rock Creek Hollow is about 2 hours east of where we are and so we will need to pack up clothes, food, bedding, etc to stay in a trailer they have put on site for us. We will be with a couple from Sixth Crossing while we are there so we will be two couples handling the duties.  We report at 1 p.m. to replace our Martin’s Cove couple. Then the couple from Sixth Crossing who came in Monday will train us. Then they leave the following Monday and a new couple comes in from Sixth Crossing and we train them. When the new Martin’s Cove couple comes in at the end of our week we leave at 1 p.m. Then we go home do our wash and the next day is our preparation day.

Here is a picture of one of the memorials there at Rock Creek Hollow. Not every couple will get the opportunity to serve at Rock Creek Hollow. I know it will be work because while we are there we will have a group of 800 people coming in. This is only one of the groups but I also hear it is one of the best experiences we will have while on our mission. 

I will keep you posted on how things go while we are there and yes I will try to take pictures. I am sure I will not have internet while I am there. I don’t remember if we have phone service or not. I don’t think I looked at the phone or tried it. I guess that would have been helpful to remember to do. Just one more sign of my memory slowly going. There is a grassy area with benches to sit and enjoy the moment. There is also a river nearby. 
We had car pooled with the Taylors to Rock Creek Hollow. On the way home they asked us if we saw Noah’s Ark. I’m thinking they mean the movie. But then I asked you mean here because they are talking about a road. It wasn’t the movie. It was cool their Noah’s Ark in Wyoming. And as we got close to home there was a beautiful sunset with split rock and the other mountains close by. I have added these pictures in. Can you see the elephant and the other animals as they climb up to the Ark? 
Wednesday, May 24th we had a gentleman come in who reenacted the passing of the mail as a Pony Express rider for the field trip group who were there that day. Since I was doing school groups I was able to see him come in. 
Karl and I also drove out to Rattle Snake Pass and saw some of the names carved into the rocks of some of the 500,000 people who came through on either the Oregon, Mormon, California Trail or the Pony Express. We drive on part of this road every day and it is on actual trail which is kind of cool. 
And yes since we are right there by Rattle Snake Pass there are actual rattle snakes we have to keep an eye out for. Not one of Karl’s favorite things. So far, knock on wood, we haven’t seen any ourselves personally but they have been sighted by other missionaries. We are hoping our luck will continue to hold out. We of course don’t mind seeing them at a distance. We just don’t want to have to remove or kill one of those nice little creatures. If you know what I mean.
Thursday, May 25th was a special day because we had family come from home and spend a couple days with us. Bill Carr came up and he got there just as a school group came in so I sent him with Sister Waldmann and her group of kids. This way he got the opportunity to see things you normally don’t get the opportunity to see and have explained to you.  Then we ate lunch together. After that he went off to do some things and we finished at the visitor’s center. We were done by 2 p.m. and then we were able to go up into the Cove with him. We had a great time. His timing was perfect. The calm before the storm. Next week all the treks start coming in and we will be busy with all the different tasks. 

Bill even brought me roses from my rose bush. They traveled two days in his cooler and still looked great and smelled so nice! He said he cut every one off the bush.  I told him that was just fine. Since there wasn’t any one to really enjoy them anyway. Plus it always makes the rose bush have more roses come into bloom. So it is a win, win.

Friday, May 26th Bill was still here and he went over to visit Sixth Crossing. He wanted to go for a bike ride but the weather was a little cool and sprinkling. Elder Sigmon went into Casper with Elder Hall to buy parts they needed and I stayed at the Homestead because I was on school groups. We had two coming in—one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I got home just a few minutes after Bill got back and he had been into Lander and bought some groceries to make us Chicken Alfredo for dinner. Elder Sigmon finally got home so we could eat dinner. It was quite good! We always enjoy Bill’s company and hanging out with him. We are sorry he has to leave early in the morning but I guess trying to attend a graduation is a good reason to leave. 

Saturday, May 27th was our preparation day but we actually got to do some more sightseeing. So we went to National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper, Wyoming. It was interesting and we spent quite a bit of time there. Elder Sigmon stood by a Pony Express Horse model. It was quite cool! Afterwards we went and met some of the other missionaries who also had preparation day for lunch.
Monday, May 29th we had another preparation day since we will now be switching to Mondays for the next 6 weeks. I came home to a cute little surprise in my front yard. We have these small lawns we are in charge of watering, mowing and taking care of. We even might end up with a “yard of the month” sign in our yard. I say “we” meaning someone in missionary village and most likely not us! You know how I am about trinkets and things you have to dust and take care of. Hence why I don’t have any knick knacks. But in the spirit of not being the only totally plain lawn I went to the dollar store and bought a few of those whirly things in nice patriotic colors for Memorial Day. Let me just say with the wind here one of the two lasted only one day. I picked up the missing petals in hopes of my neighbor, Elder Ward, being able to repair it. Apparently I lost a couple more of the petals than I thought so it was a lost cause and we put the sad little pinwheel back out with it’s 4-5 petals it had. The other one he took home and reinforced it with fishing line. Well from the picture you can see the one he reinforced and the little surprise for the other one which apparently lost more petals.

If you can’t read it—it says: (Mine the blue one) I’m a sad lonely survivor. (Their’s the green one from one of their original pinwheels hence why he reinforces them.) Me too. Let’s get married.  
I doubt we will ever have the sign in our yard but at least I have something there. 

Tuesday, May 30th I spent the day out at Cherry Creek Campground with Elder and Sister Schow, Sister Thunell, and Elder Smart painting the benches in one of the amphitheaters. Elder Sigmon was busy working on the dyke/berm again. Hopefully it is coming to an end as far as building up the dyke.
Hope you are all doing well. We love and miss you.

Karl and Monica

Friday, May 19, 2017

Small Town Living!

I’m afraid you only have the longer version this time.

I need to start out by thanking all of you who responded to my survey on shoes. Unfortunately Karl is a little sad. He said the only reason I was making a point is because all of those who responded were all female and there was not one male response. If a male had responded it might have changed the survey. I thought it was funny! But I guess he did have a point. I did have to point out that most of the males were probably only reading the short version. Hahaha! I’m sorry I crack myself up!

As promised I will fill you in on why it took so long to get a post out. As you know we live in Ranch 66-Missionary Village.  You also know where we live is very remote and rural. This is not an understatement. This is very, very, true. When the antelope graze along your home on a daily basis because it has been placed there among their plains grazing area then what is an antelope to do but graze on around this home in their way. Our TV with an antenna you maybe get 3 channels if you are lucky but usually maybe one and that is on a good day. The internet even with hotspot is very inconsistent and even non-existent on days.

But as far as weather there is always a great variety. You have already been introduced to some of it but I want you to know that a week ago Saturday it was 90 degrees in Casper. The rest of this week has been very nice and even T-shirt weather for a period of time during the day. When we would get home it was warm inside and Elder Sigmon started working on trying to start the air conditioner. Luckily there was a part broken which we had to wait until the next preparation day to get before being able to complete that job. You see where this is headed, right? More on this later.

Well the point I am trying to make there are 18 couples who are living here on Ranch 66 right now. I would consider it small town living. When something is happening around here the people start to gather. Twice this week we had unofficial gatherings but very exciting small town living gatherings. The funny thing is for one all the men are grouped together looking up with their hands on their hips. For the other they all gathered looking down with their hands on their hips looking very thoughtful and they have important duties to perform soon.  I have had Karl take a picture of me trying to show you what they looked like.
On Sunday the 7th of May we lost power. It was about 4 p.m. when it happened. Elder Waldmann knew right away what the problem was. He worked as head of facilities over a school district. The easiest way to describe it is to compare it to your electrical control panel at home. When something gets overloaded or for some reason is shorting out it trips a breaker and you don’t have power. Elder Waldmann could see by walking over to our power pole there were two things hanging down and not connected like they should be. This is like a breaker tripping. I lightened up the picture so you could make out things in the picture because it was getting very stormy and rainy.
The other thing I would like you to note is the pole I am pointing to with the arrows is the very last pole on the run. Like we are so rural no one else is connected. It ends with us. You can’t see it in the background of this picture but there is another electrical pole behind it with the same problem. So this picture was taken as we all are impatiently waiting for the electrical company to come out and fix our problem. Remember the closest cities to us are 1 hour away and that is if they leave right away. 

As we were all there waiting we got to noticing that there were about 2-3 couples still sitting in their houses. Now what is up with that? Someone suggested we should go carol to them so they could come out and join us in our fun. We were successful in quilting them into joining us to go and sing to the others. As we were headed over to another area for one last couple the wind started up and the rain started coming down and we all took off in different directions getting out of the weather and heading back to home. I guess we are only fair weather friends.
Of course all of our problems as far as electricity is being reported to the President at the Homestead and so he is aware of our situation. I am also finding myself and others saying “It is an adventure!” How little I knew when I named our blog how often it really, really is out here!

President and Sister Pace came out bearing gifts. She called it our rescue supplies which consisted of a bucket of candy. They were the bigger bags of skittles, Heresy Bar, etc. As she was handing them out I was thinking wow she must have a big bag of these candies because these look like the ones she has in a basket for the missionaries to choose from for their anniversary or birthdays. Later on Sister Pace says “if it is someone’s birthday is next week and there isn’t any candy. Don’t tell them I gave it all away to you guys.”  We all laughed and we decided it was a good cause. 

In our defense for those of us who are in permanent trailers having no power means…we have no heat, lights, etc. The RV’s have heat, etc if they have backup batteries or a generator. The other down side is we are all on a well out here RV and permanent alike. With no electricity we have no water either. 

The electrical company guy did come out and of course he had an audience watch him work. I hope he didn’t feel a lot of pressure but like I said what else is there to do in our small town community. What he was going to do was (going back to our analogy) would be the equivalent of replacing a fuse. If there wasn’t a short then all would be well and the breaker will work when everything is reset. But if there is a short somewhere then the breaker will trip again. He was able to get the end of the line pole things replaced and put back together which I’ll show you a picture of. Then he headed over to the other pole to do the same things to those. Now this was going to be the test because when he connects the last one it could “trip” again. If it did then he was going to have to call in another truck (the big one) and they would have to bring in a new transformer because it would mean it was bad. We had lightening with our storm and somewhere it could have hit a pole and since it will travel to the end of the line guess what that is where we are and we end up with the bad transformer and no power. We are all sitting there with our fingers crossed. 
I was designated as the picture taker so they could be used in the monthly newsletter. I was all ready with my finger on the push button to get the picture if the transformer exploded. Well it did explode but instead of pushing the button I jumped because it scared me and a big cloud of grey smoke came out of it. I asked him if he could do a do-over but well you know how that goes. :( We were back to square one and waiting for another truck. I didn’t want to go to bed until we had electricity and it finally came back on at 10 p.m. Thank heavens for gas stoves and Karl had a lighter in his tool box and we had a solar lantern and 2 candles. So we were warm and had some light to read by while waiting.
May 8th, Monday we had safety training which included how to properly use a fire extinguisher. Elder Roundy was in charge of getting a fire going. This guy loves to start fires. He is crazy! He starts the fire in Bertha all the time. Bertha is where we put all our trash and it gets burned up. The only things that do not go into Bertha are pop cans and tin cans. The pop cans are crushed and recycled and tin cans go straight into the trash bin. The ashes after being cooled for several days prior to the trash pickup also will go into the trash bin but we don’t want to cause a fire so Bertha is locked for several days until the ashes have had sufficient time to cool. Our trash is put into the front bin of the trash bin so it can easily be thrown into Bertha when she is back in business. Elder Ward was the lucky winner to use the fire extinguisher as we all watched how it is to be done.

9th of May, Tuesday, I worked in the office again with Sister Scussel. I love working in the office with her. We have a good time even though there is a lot to do. It is fun to have two people do a job and get so much more accomplished! 
She is the one who schedules all the treks and how they are all going to work around each other if there is more than one at a time which is usually the case during the warmer months. 

Just as an example about the 2nd week in June we have about 13 to 16 treks going on during that week. I don’t remember the exact number. We try to keep no more than 200 people with one set of Trek Hosts (us missionaries). So if we have a group of 400 people they will be two groups of 200. Elder Sigmon and I have a trek on the 2nd of June and they are 250 people. She is splitting them into 2 groups of 125 each. We are doing these groups with the Wards. They will leave first and we will leave with our group a ½ hour later. They need to be done and off the trail by 5:30 p.m. It is all a coordination thing along with everything they want to do on their trek. She has all this knowledge of how long things take, where they can cut time, what they could maybe cut out to shorten if they are in a hurry, campgrounds, travel times, food information, medical information, etc. 

So I have been coming up with some questions and we have decided to try and put together a procedure manual on how to do her job with all of this information in this manual. So this way the person who is in charge of scheduling next year has something to work with all written down and not just in Sister Scussel’s head. Believe it or not the piece of paper under my hand is every single trek coming through for 2017 all on an Excel spreadsheet listed by weeks.

When we came home it was nice no jacket weather. The Schows were preparing to have their RV return after having some repairs. Elder Schow was actually sitting in a comfy camp chair while his wife was doing something as we walked into our house. I turn to Elder Sigmon and say “Look at Elder Schow enjoying the nice weather.” NOT even 5 minutes later I look out the window and see the wind is going like 100 mph (I’m sure it wasn’t that bad but it was strong) then I say “Poor Elder Schow so much for that--now he’s going to be blown away.” Then I see something and I’m trying to figure out what is making the rocks blow across our lawn. Then I realize it is hail the size of a grape. I yell to Karl “it is hailing!” He gets all excited and says “My truck! I wish I had a blanket!” as he runs outside. So being the good wife I am I grabbed the comforter off the guest bed throwing everything on it to the floor and run out the door. So there we are holding the blanket over the truck and I yell to him “I can’t get it up high enough to cover the windshield.” His response is “Don’t worry about the windshield—that’s the cheapest thing to replace!” I am under the blanket getting pelted by this hail!  It hurt! It is hitting me in the head so I held the blanket up a little higher to diminish the blows but it is pelting me on the side of my hip and that was no fun. I also figured out to keep my hand under the blanket too because it hurts when it hits your hand. Karl tells me “Run into the house!” I’m like “No I am not! I am staying under this blanket!” I could imagine the hail hitting me in the face and I was not about to tell you what that felt like. You can call me chicken, I don’t care! Karl comes over to my side as the hail subsides some and he says “I wish I had another blanket for the top of the truck.” So…..I run in and get the Sherpa which we manage to get caught in the doors before another wave comes on again. But this time we made it inside to safer conditions. When it was all said and done Karl was afraid to take off the blankets and look at the truck. But I am pleased to report that we were successful in saving the truck as far as we can tell. Of course Bill Carr hasn’t given it the once over yet but I think we are ok. He will be checking it out in another week or so and we are so excited!!! I have made a list of things for him to bring us. Yes that is hail on the blanket!
We were sopping wet. I tried to take a picture of the two of us but you couldn’t see how wet we were. The one by myself shows it better so you get that picture.
May 10th, Wednesday Elder Sigmon and I worked in the Visitor’s Center. It was a beautiful sunshiny day! We enjoy the Visitor’s Center and we were with the Waldmann’s. Sister Roundy comes over and tells me “Sister do you see my glasses. I have been wearing them all day and Sister Harris just told me ‘Sister Roundy do you know you are missing a lens?’ I thought something was a little different but I didn’t know what it was so I have gone like this until now.” I had noticed a lens sitting on the table in the Visitor’s Center. So I told her about it and she had said that’s what Sister Harris had told her. So that’s why she was there. I asked if I could take a picture for my post. She is a good sport and let me. We had a good laugh as she told Sister Waldmann the story again. I know she isn’t looking at me because she just saw Sister Waldman and wants to tell her. But she is smiling and I like her smile. The other picture she looks all serious.
I want you to notice the sunshine and beautiful weather. Yes yesterday it hailed!

May 11th, Thursday was another small community gathering. We had a hydrant by one of our wash houses (where the RV people can do their laundry). This is where you can wash your truck or car if you want. We have noticed that the ground has a constant little pond there and something must be broken and needs to be fixed. So it was decided a small work crew (2 guys) would come and dig it up to assess the situation and then try to make the necessary repairs. 

Well to make a longer story short we hear some chatter on the radio basically saying the dirt is wetter than they had thought and they had a collapse and Elder Hall was going to change his clothes and his wife can take him into Casper. Of course the facilities manager (Elder Crist) asked him if he had a cell phone and what the number was and then he talked to him not on the radio. All of us are of course are concerned Elder Hall must be hurt. Then we hear some more radio chatter trying to get Elder Thunell to go to the emergency channel. But that channel doesn’t work with the distance between Ranch 66 and the Homestead. So they are back on the channel we can all hear and Elder Thunell is going to take Elder Hall into Casper. 

We figured out things aren’t good. Including President because you hear him call Elder Crist and ask if someone is hurt? So he was left out of the loop of communication. Oops. Then you hear President calling Elder Scussel to his office (the Safety guy). We found out later that Elder Hall was in the hole they had dug with a backhoe and it collapsed on him. They had dug it wide enough and even had a board plank to walk in and out of it but they had no idea it was as saturated as it was and it collapsed. Luckily nothing was broken. He is sore and some muscles were bruised so he was on a cane for a few days and is limping along now without one. Slowly he is getting better but he needs to take it easy. You know how well men listen to that. 

In the process some pipes were broken and Ranch 66 was without water. We heard requests for all hoses, piping parts, people, etc to work on fixing and restoring water to our homes. The funny thing when we drove home is we see all these hoses strung to every house going across the street from another well so we have some water while they repair the pipes to well #1.  But of course everyone has to go over and look at it but this time they are looking down. “Hello Elder Roundy.”
I am happy to report they were able to get it repaired by the end of the day. It took quite a few men and a backhoe to get it all done but the hoses were all collected and returned to their proper owners. I think.

May 12th, Friday I did School Group (field trip) and we had a real live blacksmith on site. He comes every year for a week. He takes vacation and comes and mans the blacksmith shop. Isn’t that so cool. There was actually fire burning in the forge! I think Karl’s brother, Morris, should come and do that! It really brought it to life instead of one of the Elders talking about what they do. The kids could see him in action!

After school tours I was put on the painting the picnic tables and benches duty out at Ranch 66. Thank you to Joy Zuniga and her wonderful scrubs. They are so comfortable and had great pockets to hold things like phones, etc. I could get used to wearing those. Elder Thunell had to go back to the Homestead to get more paint because we ran out. We were standing out in the SUN getting hot so I suggested we go somewhere cooler and maybe even eat some ice cream in the shade. Everyone thought it was a great idea (Sister Taylor, Gillespie, Thunell and of course myself). So we walked to my house and had some English Toffee ice cream bars, ice water, listening to Enya while we waited and visited. I think it was a great break!

Here is the evidence I worked and wasn’t loafing. The nice thing was we were able to break a little sooner because we had dinner and a speaker at a Fireside at Sixth Crossing we needed to go to this evening. The speakers were President Lorimar and his wife. This is exciting because it is like going out to dinner. I didn’t have to cook and Brother Lorimar is the person who had a lot of the dealings in purchasing the land for Sixth Crossing, Rock Creek Hollow and Martin’s Cove.

It was very interesting. He has had many interactions with President Gordon B. Hinckley, James E. Faust, President Monson and many other people in trying to get things taken care of and done. 

The other crazy thing is the Sweetwater is rising and Sixth Crossing is feeling the effects of it. We were told to take trucks and not to take cars because you have cross the river where it has come over the road going into Sixth Crossing.
President wasn’t kidding!

May 13th, Saturday was our preparation day and Karl’s sister Marla was here from Nebraska to see her new granddaughter, Parker Radeen Simpson. We also got to see her along with Marc, Tony, BJ and his wife. It was really nice to visit with them. We had a great lunch and good company. I’m sorry to say I did not get a picture of the baby. I was busy holding her. I did take a picture of the cat who seriously made itself very comfortable on Karl’s stomach. At first she jumped up so he could pet her and then proceeded to walk on his stomach, rub her head on his stomach and then laid down. What is even funnier is Karl has gotten much better over the years but he is more of a dog fan than cats. But they literally all throw themselves at him. This one beats them all and I couldn’t help myself. I had to get a picture.

May 14th, Sunday was Mother’s Day. We got roses in church and some handcart earrings. It was a nice day!

May 15th, Monday we had RRA RRA duty (restroom assistant). The Sweetwater continues to rise and before we even left you can see how it is trying to come into the parking and refueling equipment area. 
And behind the mechanics shop where we keep all the riding and push mowers.
While cleaning one of the bathrooms I spotted a pelican. Yes you read that right! I am a California girl and am familiar with pelicans. I just had no idea there were any in Wyoming but apparently there are. I was quite surprised.
I also want you to notice the sunshine! We had to go out on the trails and clean those bathrooms. The Sweetwater has managed to start crossing the trails in 4 different spots. One of the worst ones was 8-10” high. It was crazy! 
The picture doesn’t do it justice the river just flows right over like that’s where it is supposed to go and has always gone. The “S” curves to river are disappearing and it seems like one big river as it crosses over the banks and makes itself into one big river. Here is a view from the other side. The river is too high for Trekkers to re-enact a river crossing but just to stay on trail they will do a river crossing lol.
May 16th, Tuesday we got to do mowing again. I seem to really enjoy that! There is a lot of grass here but I think I have it down now. The Sweetwater continues to rise. This is the baptismal font we have here. The water is up to the seating section. Those darn pesky birds and their droppings. You can see it all over the benches. It is something we constantly are having to clean up after.
A lot of the men were busy trying to build up with dirt and the backhoe to keep the Sweetwater where it belongs. Hauling in at least 12 dump trucks of dirt. I am not sure of the actual total but it was an exhausting day for them.

May 17th, Wednesday I worked in the office again and several people have been busy filling sand bags.

May 18, Thursday we woke up to 5-6” of snow. Yes you read that right. It has been snowing since about 2:30 a.m. Don’t ask how I know that. Very first thing we go to at 8:30 is Correlation meeting every day where we have a song, prayer, thought, reading from our book to help learn the history and stories, information we need to know from President and others and then or work assignments for the day. Well the song today which was chosen was “Today while the Sun Shines.” Yes we all laughed. And then when it was time for the work assignments Elder Hall said “I usually say take it with a grain of salt but today it might be with a flake o snow.” Everyone is a comedian. Karl and I were both assigned to School Groups. It has been snowing all day. It finally quit about 7 p.m. We ended up not having school groups because they cancelled. They neglected to let us know until we called to see where they were. 
We have a group from Canada coming in to trek this weekend. They are aware of the rising Sweetwater and the snow which was forecasted. I do have to give the weather men credit over here. They are the most accurate weather men I have ever seen anywhere I have lived. Although it is hard to believe with how much it swings from one end to the other but what they predict is what happens. Granted I am getting it from my phone not the TV but it is the same way I get it at home. Just at home they are not very good at their predictions in my opinion. 

The Canadians are planning on camping outside but as the day raged on it was determined to have a backup plan for them. At least a place where they could get warm. If they got wet out on the trail and then their tents are wet and their sleeping bags get wet and they get cold and can’t warm up it probably wouldn’t be good. So for now I think they are separating boys and girls. Some are in the Barn and others are in the Gathering Room. As far as I know they are still planning on trekking tomorrow. Can I say I am glad I am not the trek host on this one? They will be wading through water and 40 degree weather. They are going to have to have water shoes and then change back into warm socks and shoes. I believe the snow is supposed to clear up. But I am not totally sure. It is crazy! I know I have used that word a lot but I don’t know how else to describe it.

We were told to wear warm work clothes for tomorrow. All hands on deck for sandbagging and dyke building. Sounds so fun!

You are all caught up! Can you believe it! Wow! There was a lot to report. We hope you are all doing well. We love and miss you. Thank you for your little snippets of comments, texts, etc to let us know you are thinking of us. It means a lot to us.
Karl & Monica

PS Elder Sigmon has decided to wait on hooking up the air conditioner. Thank heavens! I tried to tell him lol

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Fun Continues!

It has been another busy week here. Worked on mowing lawns, replacing a tire on the big grader (someone cut the tire with the blade this winter when they angled it too much) looks like we need a better grader operator. Checked all the Rovers oil and changed some etc. We had another district meeting where Elder Scussel cooked and he redeemed himself. He cooked a brisket and it was so delicious we also had baked potatoes, asparagus, and salad. It was a wonderful meal and training.
On Friday we had trek leader training for people coming this summer on treks. As missionaries we demonstrated square dancing and sang a song. Yes you read that right Elder Sigmon can sing and dance…..sort of.  We had another great day in the Visitor’s Center. It is so faith promoting to share the pioneer’s story with people and feel the spirit it brings. And even more glorious when they feel the spirit and cry with you.  I know our Heavenly Father loves us and I feel his love every day.
Love you all,
Elder Sigmon

Read on for the longer version:
Well it has been a very busy week and then with things that happened over the weekend we were unable to get our post on the computer so it is late. That is what happens when you live in such a rural place as we do.
Monday I got introduced to the riding lawn mower. As Elder Sigmon said there were 5 of us in charge of mowing the lawns. The Waldmanns, us and Elder Hough. Let me tell you there is a lot of lawn here! There were other places where only the push mowers could be used. So Elder Hough and Elder Waldmann did those areas along with trimming the edges and blowing the grass off any sidewalks left behind. Poor guys. It was one of those better days weather wise and eventually I wasn’t even wearing a coat. I was in my element. As we were driving to the last 2 lawns needing to be mowed and finishing (about 3:30) the novelty was wearing off and I was thinking about how much fun this would be on a HOT summer day. NOT!

Elder Sigmon started Sister Waldmann and me out by driving down the middle of a big section making a dividing line. Then he showed us how to run the riding lawn mower. After I drove off Sister Waldmann left saying she was going to go and use the push mower. I think it intimidated her. Not me I’m riding! But after a bit she was back and I saw Karl helping her get started and going. I think her husband told her to come back and use the riding lawn mower.

There was one area where we had to mow the lawn right along the Sweet Water river. Just prior Sister Waldmann’s husband told her to make sure she didn’t land in the Sweet Water. Elder Sigmon was pretty nervous about her landing in the river and was figuring out what he would take off if he had to jump in and save her. He told me he was going to take off his coat and shoes before diving in. The river was moving pretty swiftly so he was sure they would go down stream some before they would get out. Then he just decided to have her get off and let him do along that edge on her half.  I told him it was probably good he did it if both him and Elder Waldmann were nervous about her landing in the river.
Later on when we were close to finishing Elder Crist, the Facility Manager, came by and found Karl saying Sister Waldmann wanted to talk to him and if he knew what that was about which Karl didn’t know. We came to find out she wanted to confess that she was getting too close to a building and decided to try and back up but when she put it in reverse she only tapped on the gas a little but it went really fast and hit a fence post and knocked it off with the lawn mower. She then went on to say she hit the nail back in as best as she could but someone might need to use a hammer to fix it the rest of the way and here are the two pieces she wanted to give him that broke off the lawn mower.
This is what the lawn mower looked like after its little accident.  Elder Sigmon bent some of the front frame back into place before I got the picture taken.

A few days later in correlation Elder Crist was assigning the Waldmanns to take a rover and go do something. He did ask that Elder Waldmann drive. Something about a rover trying to tip. Then Sister Waldmann pipes up and says the women had no problem with her driving it was the men they wanted her to straighten out the wheels but she wanted to know how you do that on a right hand turn.  We all laughed and then Elder Crist presented her the two piece of the lawn mower she gave him saying she was welcome to make earrings out of them. I love Sister Waldmann! Sister Waldmann was a good sport to let me take a picture of her with her pieces of lawn mower.

There were times while mowing that Elder Sigmon and I were working on a section of lawn and there were a bunch of picnic tables in this section. I would go around them while he was going around the bigger section. It almost felt like we were dancing on these riding lawn mowers and not communicating just turning and swerving around each other. We had full confidence the other knew where to go and we could just maneuver around each other. Kind of like we were dancing. It was really kind of cool. Later when I was telling Karl he said he had the same thought. So I guess we don’t only like to dance in the garage, front room, etc but while mowing the lawn too.

Tuesday I shadowed Sister Waldmann on a school group tour to learn how to do the field trips to Martin’s Cove. We have 8 stations we go to and spend 10 minutes at each one. It is not very much time at these sections. They are #1 - The Sun Room which tells about the Sun family and their ranch. #2 – Prairie Park which is where you can take a handcart around. This is good because it gets their energy out after being on the bus. #3 – Fort Seminoe/The Dig Museum which was a trading post used for refuge by some of the Martin Handcart Company. #4 – Monuments which is right on trail where the 4 trails came through; Oregon, California, Mormon and Pony Express. #5 – Blacksmith Shop where you hear the Prairie Diamond story and get a prairie diamond ring. #6 – Sewing Center where you learn about the usefulness of the clothes and what they wore and sewed and get a wood Medallion to take home as a souvenir. #7 – The Museum where the people of Sweet Water and Sun Family have left the things they have collected from this area over the years for us to take care of and preserve. #8 – Wash House and Bunk House where the cowboys might have lived and how they lived and how the pioneers, etc might have washed their clothes and how precious water was. It was fun. We wear Pioneer Dress for these school tours.  Here I am in my outfit. It was a chilly morning so I wore my thermal top underneath and a scarf to stay warm. I do have a bonnet but it is tied around my neck and not on my head.
I have also been busy making what is called “possible bags.” It started with me wanting Sister Gillespie to help me make one. It turned out I got the dimensions from her and I ended up making a bunch and even her one. She had made one and I thought it would be easier to carry while trekking than a backpack for my water, radio and other items I would need to keep with me. This way I wouldn’t have to go find the handcart with my things to get a drink, etc. Especially as a Trek Host because I would be at the back of the pack (the sweeper) making sure we didn’t leave anyone behind and the group doesn’t get too far spread out. It has been awhile since I have sewed and so it helped to see hers to get the dimensions I wanted but I wanted some pockets in front and a bigger part in back to hold things like a rain poncho, snacks, bandaids, etc. Then there were some other Sisters looking at what I was doing and they asked if they could have one too. Before I knew it I was making 4 of them. It has mushroomed since then and I am up to 16. One of the husbands asked for one and has bragged to every other man or person he saw and said he couldn’t believe they wouldn’t want one it was the best thing ever. I ran out of material and so I had to find another fabric for the women. Luckily there has been enough of the tan for the men who have wanted them. I am not sure I am totally done but I think I am. The one in the center is mine with a white ribbon tied on it so it doesn’t get confused with any one elses. The sewing room has a bunch of fabric in it to make some humanitarian burp rags, and baby quilts, etc. We are able to use any of the fabric there for things on our mission. This is where I found our possibles bag fabric to use. 

The tan ones were for the men and the other two I made for the women. I started out with the dark blue but when I ran out of that fabric I made the rest out the striped fabric.

On Friday as Karl said we had Leadership Training for those who would be going on treks with their groups later on. This was a day we were scheduled to do Visitor’s Center from 1-7 p.m. But we had to come in to do our square dance demonstration and sing a song for them called “Hallowed Ground.” It is a beautiful song but words will make you cry. I can’t think about what I am singing or I won’t get through the song. Normally on these days when we have afternoon Visitor’s Center we can stay home and just come in for our shift. But it worked out well since on May 1st the Utah area was able to register for treks and 40 new registrations came in for 2018. I went by the office and picked up all of 2018 file folders to take home. It was nice to sit on the couch with my feet up listening to music and make sure all these files were in the computer and organized. It took the whole morning to do but it was a big chunk of work done.

The funny thing that happened while we were home I hear on the radio “There’s a bus pulling in. Did we have a field trip scheduled for today?” Then you hear “Elder Ward can you go over to the Fort?” Elder Ward answers with “yes, do I have 5 minutes or do I need to run over now?” The response “Can you run over now?’ All I can do is laugh and say “every day is an adventure!” I guess this school group called and talked to Sister Turpin about 2-3 months ago and asked if they could come out and have a field trip here. She told them they could and what they would do but to let her know if that is what they decided to do. Well they never got back to her. They just showed up. So everyone was scrambling to get the 8 different stations covered. Let’s just say the women were not in pioneer dress they were in trail dress. It always seem to work out. It reminds me of working at the temple. No one realizes the scrambling that sometimes goes on behind the scene to make everything come together and be a great experience. Because everyone looks so calm and collected.

Okay now for the survey!  I had my shoes in various places from changing from one thing to another and Elder Sigmon says to me. “You have more shoes than any woman I know.” In my defense, mind you, I have to have shoes for church,  trail dress, working, painting, winter boots, cold day slippers, etc. This is basically every shoe I own. Now tell me, do I really have more shoes than other woman? I did leave a 2 pairs of shoes with more of a heel on them at home but this is it! Be sure to comment to my survey!  This is the most shoes I have ever owned but surely others have more than this.

Sorry for the delay in getting this email out I will tell you about the power outage we had the end of this week preventing us to post. 
We love you! 
Karl and Monica