<< November '06


December '06 Pictures

Here we are enjoying our retreat from the world in Mt. Shasta, CA.  We pretty much hang out here on the land and occasionally go into town.  But for the most part we just hang here at the house.  And love every minute of it.  And we started a nice Cabo tra-(habit)-dition that we are pretty affectionate about.

Best friends in soooooo many ways.

Great picture.  Especially because of 'my humps' in the background...you know who you are...sexy.

We got the house all set up for the holidays.  We are expecting a house load of people here in just a few weeks so we were all just enjoying the peace and quiet before they all arrived.  This is the tree that we cut down, cut in half, and decorated.  It was kinda bittersweet being out of our own house during this time.  There were times that it felt like we had let our Family down by deciding not to have our own house at a time like this. We let go.  And we are glad that we did.  The picture of this tree means something special to us after going through lots of emotion about not being in our place. We were at home.

So we shot it up.  Johnny Cash style.

You takin the wrong tone with me... next time you do that I'll stab ya' in the face with a  soldering iron... -Christopher Walken in Joe Dirt

Greg and Brye decided to take the boys shooting at the outdoor range in Mt. Shasta.  They shot a .45 caliber, .22 rifle, and a .12 gauge shotgun.  It don't get more American than that!

We have never really been gun people and our kids had never been around them till now.  We know, even growing up in Texas where everyone has a gun and all that crap, we just never got behind having them.  But it was really cool for Austin to be at an age where he could finally understand the power behind these things.  We all felt really glad that we were in this type of environment where we could get used to them without any manly comments on our reasoning's behind guns.  This was a peaceful place to hold, shoot, and experiment with all the different types of guns at our own comfort levels and not have dead animals laying all around you.  Nathanael helped Austin get used to the .22 rifle.

One of our dearest Family friends, the ExtremeFamily came to visit all of us for a few days before heading to San Jose to spend the holidays with their Family.  We gave them a tour of Mt. Shasta, but mostly enjoyed hanging out by the fireplace drinking Cindy's bitching hot cider.  She is famous for anything food/beverage related.

If you notice everyone in this picture has a glass full of Cindy's bitching hot apple cider.  We don't make this stuff up.  Anything food/beverage related... it's all Cindy.

The Families all headed down the tracks to MossBrae Falls.  The trail to the falls runs right along the tracks and makes for some very nervous moments.  Especially with young kids.

To Dodge some trains with a few good friends... This was freaky. Behind us was a dropoff around 100 feet, in front of us thousands of tons of train, and on the other side of the train a steep, loose hill of straight into the thick woods. No way out... the price you have to pay to see Mossbrae Falls.

So worth the romantic moment.

We arrived at the falls and wouldn't you know it...Cindy has packed some thermos's full of hot chocolate complete with cups and everything.  We are probably going to start marketing her out.  She's just that good. 

We also visited Castle Lake to see if the lake had started to freeze over yet.  It was starting to but still had a ways to go.  So we stayed on the shore trying not to fall through the slush.

Too cold to skinny dip, although she would do it in an instant.  This is the only other person in the world that has seen us naked in water this much.  We enjoy a good skinny dipping location now more than ever.  Go ahead and make the classic joke about really being barenaked... go ahead... we know you're waiting... now's your chance.

We also borrowed Brye's fishing poles and took the ExtremeFamily fishing in Lake Siskiyou.  Didn't catch one thing.  But did manage to lose one of Matt's arrows in the lake.  Guess who brought hot chocolate and refreshments for us???

Maddie and Austin enjoyed hanging out playing some new tunes they learned together.  It's such a treat to see these two play music together.  They sang to us before getting up and heading outside mutating back into the fun and imaginative kids they are.  Gotta love homeschooled kids...from one world to another.

The ExtremeFamily stayed with us for a few days before heading to be with their Family for the holidays.  It's always great seeing them and we love having our kids play together.  If you ever doubt if you could do the same thing... you know... take back your Family... spend more time together... even travel together... you should read about this Family.  'Cause they rock'. 

Quick ~ Squeeze in some time before more people arrive.

Okey dokey then... that's more respectable.

We also were grateful to celebrate Justis's birthday with Brye and Salem.  It's a very special time and meant a lot to us.  We love you Justis.

Well, here is something that you don't find everyday.  Justis' birthday is a very special time that the Unpluggeds usually like being alone.  This year we were with them and we all went out to dinner to celebrate his birthday.  We got all dressed up and headed into town where we ate at a wonderful little place.  After dinner we needed to stop at the store for a few groceries before heading back to the house.  The kids, Salem, and Greg decided to walk to the store from the restaurant letting the kids burn up some energy since it wasn't that far.  Brye, Jenn, and Austin got in the Suburban and were going to fuel up at the gas station then swing by and pick the rest of the crew up at the store giving everyone plenty of time to get both things done. 

At the gas station Brye is fueling up and notices a lady who is obviously traveling using the payphone.  She has a small little car packed full with luggage and what appears to be two small dogs.  It's really cold outside and the roads are definitely frozen on the passes leading out of Mt. Shasta.  She came over while we were fueling and asked us how far it was to one of the passes up north before returning to phone.  Brye overhears her talking about trying to find a place because of the frozen roads and leans into the car to ask Jenn if we should maybe put her up for the night.  You could tell this woman was on a budget and a room this late at night was going to be expensive.  We both looked at each other and back over at the woman now checking her out for serial killer qualities.  Didn't appear to have a chainsaw or a knife laying anywhere around her messy car.  She looked really nice, a little roadworthy, but very nice.  We went back and forth for five minutes or so if we should invite her to spend the night.  After all, we had the nice big house and we had the RV parked outside that was plugged in waiting for the Christmas bunch of people who would be staying with us soon.  We both agreed that we should offer her a place to stay that night and we would just keep an eye out for any strange behavior.  We would also make sure she knows that this is only for one night because the hordes of Family and friends were showing up the next day.  So, Brye walks over to her as she is still on the phone and extends an invitation to spend the night with us.  Austin and Jenn are staring at her from the car to see what she says.  She seems interested and asks to finish her call before agreeing.  "Sure", Brye says.  Anyway, we still have to wait for Greg, Salem, and the kids to finish shopping.  

What turns out to be another ten minutes or so on the phone, we are already done fueling and are way overdue to pick up the rest at the grocery store.  She decides to take us up on our offer as she glances over all of us and our car.  "Great!" Brye says.  "We just have to go by the store and pick up the rest of the Family, then we can head back to the house."  At first she was a little confused.  She originally met us as three, she had no idea that we had six more people with us.  And she was a little cautious now.  We arrange for her to stay there at the gas station as we cross the street and pick up everyone else at the store.  She agrees and gives us this look as if we are now the serial killers.

As we head over to the store Brye and Jenn are telling themselves that they are doing the right thing, the kind thing.  But still, was this lady going to chop us up in the middle of the night?  As Greg, Salem, and the other kids all piled in the car with the groceries all Utah style, Brye and Jenn casually throw out "by the way, we picked up this lady at the gas station and she is going to spend the night with us at the house.  We have to go get her and let her follow us to the house.  Make sure you put your seatbelts on, safety first."  WTF?!?

Greg and Salem were both... uhh... surprised!  Full of questions... yeaaahhh... more like "what the hell are you talking about?"  So we explained the story to them and like the twins they are they both agreed that it was strange yes, but also dangerous to let her travel on the roads.  The kids immediately started referring to every chainsaw massacre movie they saw and reminded us how we always say don't pick up strangers.  We were back at the gas station and introduced the rest of the Family to Tawnee and tried not to freak her out with our group.  Yes, we all live together, but not in that way...kind of thing.

She followed us back up to the house and parked her car letting what was now three fairly large dogs out of the car.  They immediately scrambled out into the dark land and we asked her if she was afraid if they would run off.   She replied, "No, we're a pack and I always let them wonder wherever we are and they always come back to the car eventually."  Ok, but there are bears and stuff out here... Still no worries.  Ok... so we all head into the house where Tawnee is still not quite sure about us. She's kind of staying in the back of us and watching our every move.  We don't blame her.  Guess we forgot to tell her to get to the house you have to go down a dark, gravel road making you feel like you are being taken somewhere scary at night.  Probably should have told her we don't live in a typical area.

We all settled in for the night and she noticed that the big picture of Justis was on the table. We explained to her who Justis is and how we were celebrating tonight.  She was very sensitive to the story and asked Brye and Salem if she could do something special to honor him.  They agreed and she went into her bag bringing out this tribal looking box.  Ok... what were we about to see?   Just the way she was and the way she talked you never knew what to expect.  Anyway, she set out a sea shell dish on the fireplace and reached into the burning hot coals scooping a handful out with her BARE hands!  Yeaaahhh... "we have some tongs if you would like?"  She replied, "ahhhh...no this is just fine."  We all just looked at each other "like grab the kids and run if this gets freaky."  But still managing to find it all amusing.

She set the hot coals into the sea shell, with her BARE hands, and burned some sage and cedar in it.  She began a rhythm with a Native American looking handheld drum thingie and started to chant and talk in a Native American type of language.  She sang happy birthday to Justis in this amazing song as she rattled her Native looking rattles and things.  It was very nice and respectable how she did something so generous for this Family, yet still very weird, creepy, and bizarre for a couple of Families completely uninitiated to this culture outside of jewelry in the touristy Southwest.  This would be the start to a really long, beautiful, and mystical night.

There is so much more to the story of Tawnee.  So much more.  Our time with her was really a healing and deep trip.  She stayed with us till the following afternoon before packing up and having to leave.  She started the car, gave everyone hugs, and started down the driveway waving her hand out the window, letting her dogs run alongside the car for the first few hundred feet as she often does.  As she leaves, she sticks her head out the window and yells one more thing to us... "If I send you a stuffed animal, don't give it to the kids... instead rip the head off."  

With a loving wink and a blink of an eye, the dogs loaded up in the car and she was gone just as quick as she came into our lives.  And that folks... is Tawnee.  At least what ya'll get to know of her...

None of us were murdered, but we were all changed... and puzzled by this woman.  Some of the things she says and does are so far out there from mainstream America and even us.   She is a free spirit... a roaming warrior healing Families... a dog lover.  She is the legend of Tawnee.

Then the crazies came!  Brye and Salem had tons of friends and Family up for the holidays and we piled 16 more people to stay in the house with us.

It was so much fun getting to know all the people though.  We spent the week dancing, singing, and all playing together.  It was quite comfortable with all of them.  Brye and Salem organized a talent show for Christmas which everyone had to participate in.  Some sang, some created a play, and we impersonated our favorite skit from Saturday Night Live ~ Two A-holes buying a tree.  Except we were 5 A-holes.

Then we ate... and ate.

And Uncle Nate hit the bottle just in time for the holiday dinner.  There's always one...

Salem's sister brought her a Chihuahua as a gift all the way from Austin for Christmas.  Sarah was flying up to Mt. Shasta with the dog and never made travel arrangements for her.  She basically snuck it on the plane.  Then got rerouted a hundred times with bad weather.

And it was snowing like crazy here as well.  We had to dig the little car out of he snow!

Everyone had fun as the adults whipped the kids down the driveway on sleds.  This snow was so wet, when you came in you were totally soaked.

In Mt. Shasta the power goes out often during the winter.  And tonight it went out as we were all hanging out for the evening.  We hadn't made dinner yet and with an electric stove we had no way of warming anything up to feed 16 people.  We got a big fire started in the wood burning stove and heated frozen burritos on the top.  Of course it took two hours or so but they were hot!  Without any power we also ran out of water since the house is on a well.  So we went outside and filled up pans of snow melting them on the fireplace for drinking water.  As for the bathroom, boys outside and girls inside.  

Without any power we were all forced to come together in the living room of the house and just be together.  The guys all picked up guitars, harmonicas, and drums and sang a variety of music for the rest of us by candlelight.  For hours we all just sat together singing along, laughing, and having the best fun you could possibly have without any modern conveniences.

We also hosted a poker tournament lit by the glowsticks and flashlights we had in the FamiliesRock box.  

We were having so much fun with the power off, and the power can come back on pretty quick and unexpectedly.  Instead of breaking up the many hours of pure fun and Family time that we were all having, Greg and Brye decided to control when the power comes back by flipping the breaker off to the house so everyone would continue to think that we had no power.  They had a point though, as much fun as we were all having if the power had come back on we would have been distracted by TV, internet, and phone.  Instead we have a night full of memories singing old Beatles tunes.

bnf's favorite picture and memory of Nathanael ever. A deep and loving soul.

The next day we took everyone down to Snowman's Hill for some rather crazy sledding.  The kind where you wonder if you should really be doing this.

Come on...it'll be fun.

We wrapped up the holidays and had a blast spending Christmas with Unpluggeds friends and Family.  As much fun as it was to have them all here, we were glad when everyone left.  Talk about a house full of people.

And we went back to doing what we do best...Pajama's, relaxation, and New Year's Eve!


Taking one of our many trips to Oregon for things like groceries and clothes.  We made this trip about once a month at times to be able to find things you can't buy in Mt. Shasta.

But it was always nice coming back home to the mountain.

Real home.


January '07 >>