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35
Castle Valley years
FAMILY MEMORIES OF CASTLE VALLEY
Brent Stucki
When thinking about the early Castle Valley years,
my...
Castle Valley years
36
ly went to the mortuary with Robyn and other family to view the body and lend moral support. I
part...
37
Castle Valley years
every sound crystal clear, carrying up to me on the cliff. This marvelous experience, the calm, and...
Castle Valley years
38
knowing what to do. It seemed that some unseen force was working through me to help me pro-
vide pr...
39
Castle Valley years
finding time to make any progress. We really don’t know how they were able to do it at their age,
b...
Castle Valley years
40
exactly the length and width of a pickup truck bed; the camper shell from our truck was its roof.
A...
41
Castle Valley years
move into one section just before things turned really cold. Imagine living today in a tent through...
Castle Valley years
42
dry out. During the following years we had other flash floods that come tumbling through that
same ...
43
Castle Valley years
to stay on the horses riding bareback (we were city boys not cowboys). As the horses began to
trot,...
Castle Valley years
44
Natalie Stucki
I remember....
Riding Daisy and playing with Taffy
Picking apples, peaches, and plum...
45
Castle Valley years
Collecting eggs from the chickens
Buck, and how he’d wait so eagerly by the door for someone to com...
Castle Valley years
46
the Waltons each week on television. Mom used to love that and dreamed about elements of that
lifes...
47
Castle Valley years
Alyssa Stucki
Admittedly, I was too young during the Castle Valley
days to remember many specific s...
Castle Valley years
48
Emily Stucki
Hey granny and grampa, how are you doing? I
am writing some memories about Castle Vall...
49
Castle Valley years
cook anymore, she still cooked us delicious food
for every meal. Last but not least, they were the
...
Castle Valley years
50
Benson Robison
I remember when I was a little boy sleeping up in the
loft at the farm. Grandpa buil...
51
Castle Valley years
was funny. As the night came to an end, all us kids stayed
up late playing night games and catching...
Castle Valley years
52
sung by Meadowlarks, and the chirp of crickets after dark (pleasant unless there was one hiding in
...
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Castle Valley Years - Part 2

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More than three decades ago, a family left their home in Salt Lake City and began the adventure of a lifetime that changed their world then and still continues even now. This is part two of their journal divulging in detail the phenomenon that occurred there to realize a mother’s dream and the continuing miracle in that family today.

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Castle Valley Years - Part 2

  1. 1. 35 Castle Valley years FAMILY MEMORIES OF CASTLE VALLEY Brent Stucki When thinking about the early Castle Valley years, my first memories relate to our waiting for the Salt Lake home to sell, which took a lot longer than anyone had anticipated. During that time I lived in the home and took care of things while the family moved on to an exciting new future in Castle Valley. I remember the primitive living conditions down the hill and under the trees at the newly pur- chased Castle Valley family property. The kitch- en was set up under a camper shell removed from the pickup. With temporary walls under- neath, it made a good roof. Eventually a wooden outhouse with a side room was built. Also a little wooden bunkhouse was built. Later a dugout was made in the side of the hill, covered with logs, lumber or beams, then black plastic, and was used for storage and for Dad’s tools and work- shop. The Swiss Family Stucki’s ingenious little settlement surely would have made The Swiss Family Robinson’s proud. And like the famous Mormon Pioneer, “Winter’s Quarters,” this was the Stucki Family’s “Temporary Quarters,” a step along the way before the long journey up the hill to the planned tractor garage/shed/milk kitchen outbuilding which would later become the perma- nent family home. Our ancestors would be pleased to know that their pioneer spirit lived on, and that Mom & Dad obtained in Castle Valley what they believed to be their Promised Land. I very often drove from Salt Lake to Castle Valley to help with the Farm project. I remember tak- ing the family truck and a borrowed trailer to go to the Cortez or Durango areas to haul building wood, beams, and Best Log milled cabin logs for the Farm project. These were some big loads, almost more than that little pickup and the trailers could bear. I was helping at the Farm in the days when the original building foundations were staked out and the foundation and drain field trenches were dug. Much later I was there the day that we had the cement truck come, and we poured and finished the concrete slab for the large South addition. I remember the many kinds of livestock and the wonderful vegetable gardens with never ending supply of produce. The intense trials of some of the earlier years, as hard to endure as they were, no doubt made us all a lot stronger and better people. I was working at the farm preparing to press apple cider the day that we heard the shocking news about Guy’s death on the Colorado River road. I immediate- Mom, Dad and Brent at the farm.
  2. 2. Castle Valley years 36 ly went to the mortuary with Robyn and other family to view the body and lend moral support. I participated in the funeral, and also the planning and preparation. These were very tough times for everyone. Guy and I had become very close, each planning our own futures on our own prop- erties in Castle Valley. Not only did Robyn lose her husband, Levi his Dad, Darlene & Fred their son, and others their brother, I lost a close friend and brother-in-law that day. Guy often spoke of loving Church missionary work and going on another mission, and I feel that he departed on the Lord’s errand to a new mission that day. The family’s entire Castle Valley experience changed on that day and forever thereafter. Hardships were plentiful in Castle Valley, yet that is part of what life is about. The early roads up the val- ley and even into the Farm sometimes involved driving through axle deep mud, and at times deep snow in the winter. Flash floods threat- ened the valley and eventu- ally temporarily destroyed the main road at the creek culvert crossing. The old Pace Hill access to the valley was a treacherous and dangerous experience when the road was icy. I remember many days spent sanding the road and helping stuck vehicles into and out of the valley. The warmer months were not without problems of their own. The bindweed (wild morninglory) and grasshoppers sometimes took over, as well as the heat and drought. I was running an errand to Moab the day Robyn’s house and many of her most prized possessions were destroyed in a raging prairie fire. Over the years there were other Castle Valley fires that affected lives and property. Just like a weight lifter requires more weight to build strong muscles, the whole family’s many burdens and hardships during those years built superior character and strength in all involved. Many family members, after leaving the nest, had times in their lives when they had to come back and depend upon the Farm, both for food and for a place to live. In one way or an- other we all benefited tremendously. I have a fond memory of getting up one morning long before sunrise and hiking up high on the cliffs to the West above the Farm and valley floor. I watched as the valley came alive. I watched as Dad went out to milk the cow, and others walked outside of their homes and talked. In this extreme morning calm I could hear every sound, every voice, every word, every animal and bird, Grandpa, Adam, Rachel, Eric, Brent and Grandma with the horses.
  3. 3. 37 Castle Valley years every sound crystal clear, carrying up to me on the cliff. This marvelous experience, the calm, and the beauty of the sunrise on the red rocks and valley floor that morning is beyond words. This is an important part of what the Castle Valley experience was really all about. I have many fond memories of bountiful gardens and crops, working the earth, of harvesting fruit from the orchard and simply enjoying the farm. I had the unique experience and opportunity to milk the cow and goats on numerous occasions while Mom and Dad were away for extended periods. I know what a special pleasure it can be to get up early and sit milking in the stillness of the morning and hearing and watching the valley come alive and the sun come up. Although most people would think regular milking was a real chore, it was not, it was a wonderful experi- ence. I know the special feelings that Dad experienced while he was milking, even his love for the animals and all of God’s creations. Regular early morning milking helped me to experience those special feelings too. One morning while Mom & Dad were away, I was milking, taking care of the Farm, and getting some of the younger ones off to school. This was the morning that Mathew wrecked his car on the White’s Ranch bridge on his way to pre-school football practice. Although this was a traumatic experience for everyone at the scene, I felt a special spirit of calmness, clarity and strength guiding me when I arrived at the wreck. Since the remains of the car were blocking the road and bridge, traffic had stopped and dozens of helpless and traumatized onlookers stood nearby in crowds not Our log home and out buildings.
  4. 4. Castle Valley years 38 knowing what to do. It seemed that some unseen force was working through me to help me pro- vide proper first aid and care for Mathew during the very long wait for an ambulance. I had no fear or reserve, in my mind I knew everything to do. Many prayers were answered that day and for many days, months, and years to come. Again, the Castle Valley experience was never quite the same after this incident. Yes, Castle Valley had some real hardships, yet it was also a wonderful time for us to enjoy and a time for us to learn and grow. I marveled at Dad’s faith, enduring and unfailing efforts while he was Branch President for those many years, and Mom’s patience and long suffering through the ordeals this brought. I have very fond memories of the many Branch 4th Of July picnics, playing softball with our family and friends. I have many wonderful memories of the Castle Valley fam- ilies we were very close to, and even the Seventh Day Adventists who gave us vegetables and let us fish for Largemouth Bass in their ponds. I have wonderful memories of our Stucki Family Re- unions, the special activities, meals, and backcountry excursions we would go on together. What a blessing the Farm orchard turned out to be, the endless boxes of fruit that would come from Dad & Mom. And while Dad was working on the orchard, selling milk, and driving the school bus, Mom was baking bread to sell. Mom’s efforts eventually involved trips to town to sell bread from her upstairs shop in the Grand Emporium. With my help that turned into a lunch counter and eventually a more major restaurant operation downstairs. Then there was Mom & Dad starting and running the Bed & Breakfast, and Dad as the Moab Muffin Man. Their amazing achievements and accomplishments just go on and on. For Debbi and I, visiting Grandma (Stucki) Sperry often while she stayed at the Farm was a very special time. She even grew to love the Farm. We had the unique opportunity to care for her for a couple of days while Mom & Dad were away, and we got so close to her during this time. I played the piano for her from memory, and she wept, and so did I. For me this was another highlight of the Castle Valley years, to experience Grandma’s humility, love, and sweet childlike spirit near the end of her life. The last years of the Castle Valley era involved Mom & Dad going on their mission while Debbi and I took care of the Farm. During this time we learned some things that other family members didn’t really know and may never fully realize. We learned that Mom & Dad had a lot harder work each day than anyone in the family ever knew. We learned that they had a continual fight with bugs in the house, unlike others have ever seen. Bringing in firewood and keeping things warm was a major task. We learned that keeping up the Farm, mowing, weeding, watering and irrigating, picking fruit, etc., was too much work, let alone Mom and Dad
  5. 5. 39 Castle Valley years finding time to make any progress. We really don’t know how they were able to do it at their age, because we were having trouble keeping up with it at our age. We have a lot of respect for what Mom & Dad endured and accomplished at Castle Valley. In spite of the hardships, they made Castle Valley a wonderful place and they made the Farm a wonderful place. Castle Valley would never have been the same without them. Gregg Stucki A memorable part of the Castle Valley expe- rience was in the journey just getting there. We rented a large enclosed truck and had packed many of our belongings into the truck along with a goat and pig. We picked the animals up as we were heading south, leaving the Salt Lake valley. School had just gotten out, and we were heading into a new life; very different from what any of us had previously experienced. In Price (our halfway point) we stopped to check on the animals. It was late in the afternoon and the goat needed to be milked. This was some- thing none of us had ever done before and it took a while to get the job done. Later on we would become very proficient at “milking” as we had numerous goats over the years along with a cow, but that first afternoon in the park it was a struggle. Mom, Robyn, Jeff and Kim had left for the valley a couple of days before us. Everyone was anxious and excited for the grand experience that lay before us, even if we didn’t yet fully comprehend the challenges and difficulties that were also in our future. We had our first taste of that reality when we arrived at our property. There was no home awaiting us with running water and the conve- nience of electricity. Most of the property (10 acres) was a barren field with wild grasses. In the rear of the property there were large cottonwood trees that provided some shade from the heat. It was a spectacularly beautiful valley, in a most stunning setting, with red rock cliffs towering above the valley floor. However, without some kind of shelter it was also a hot, desolate, bug infested habitation. Mom’s first comment to us as we arrived was something to the effect, “the flies and heat are driving us crazy, I’m ready to head back to Salt Lake right now.” Thus began our life in Castle Valley. We lived in a tent that first summer and cooked all our meals over an open pit fire for nearly a month before electricity was finally hooked up. The excitement and fun of “camping out” wore off after the first week. It was a hard lifestyle. Dad built a small shelter that became our kitchen. It was Terri, Gregg and Mathew
  6. 6. Castle Valley years 40 exactly the length and width of a pickup truck bed; the camper shell from our truck was its roof. At least we now had an electric stove and refrigerator and some counter space. A wooden floor and walls also provided a better, cleaner environment for our bedroom tent to set upon. But it was still a tent and when it rained hard we often got soaked. Throughout the summer we worked on installing fences around the property and began working on our house, animal shelters and septic system trenches. Toward the end of summer we final- ly had our own water well. No longer would we have to haul jugs and barrels in the back of the pickup to the Ehlers to get our daily supply of water. Now that we had electricity and water, we were really coming up in the world. The house was coming along nicely, but it was slow, hard work. We didn’t have the money to have concrete hauled to us in cement mixer trucks. We mixed it ourselves, shovel load by shovel load, and batch by batch. We even dug, screened and washed much of the sand and gravel that was used. We would drive the pickup truck up the valley to a dry riverbed where there was an abundance of “free” sand and gravel. Like a small colony of ants, we made steady progress. The walls of our home were made from pre-milled logs that were cut smooth and flat on the inside, rounded on the outside with a tongue-and-groove top and bottom. The logs stacked on top of each other with long spikes hammered down through them to hold them in place. I missed a lot of school during that first school year, staying home to work on the house. There wasn’t much that could be considered “convenient” about our life that first summer and fall. We had no shower facilities, no indoor bathroom or plumbing, and no source of heat except what an open pit fire could provide. Eventually, we completed enough of the building to The “Big Tree.”
  7. 7. 41 Castle Valley years move into one section just before things turned really cold. Imagine living today in a tent through the months of October and November. I was grateful for my P.E. class at school and the oppor- tunity it provided me to shower on a regular basis. As I remember, it was close to Thanksgiving when we were finally able to move into a small portion of the house. Now we could set up a wood burning stove and have a place that was warm! Periodically, during that first summer, someone would make trips back to Salt Lake to get other belongings we had left be- hind in storage. On one of those trips, I was the only one left at the farm. Some- one needed to stay behind to take care of things. A severe thunderstorm arose and it began raining very hard. It was dark when the lighting and rain reached their full fury. I was sleeping in the tent we had set up down below in the trees, but the rain was starting to come through the canvas fabric. I moved my bedding into the kitchen shelter, where at least I had a rain-proof roof. There was just enough room down the center for me to place my sleeping bag. I was dry, but I couldn’t sleep. Lighting was flashing all around, and I was worried one of the large branches from one of the ancient cottonwood trees would fall down and crush me. It was very unsettling to be so exposed to the raw elements. I couldn’t leave the shelter without getting soaked, and I had no where to go. It rained throughout the night and into the following day. At one point, later on in the morning, I went outside and walked to the edge of the cliff above the creek behind our prop- erty. The rain had slackened off, but everything was soaked and muddy. I could hear a rumble in the distance and wondered what it was. Suddenly, to my astonishment, I saw a wall of muddy water flooding through the wide stretch of land in the creek bottom. There were trees, branches and rocks rumbling along in the flash flood. The rolling boulders knocking together caused a great deal of noise along with the sound of the rushing water. Within a few moments the entire creek bottom was a torrent of raging red-brown water. The small creek that meandered through the lower section of land had been replaced by an angry river. It looked as though someone had diverted the Colorado River into the field below us. The entire width of the field (70-80 yards at its widest point) was covered with several feet of water. It was unbelievable to see the volume of water that was flowing and its destructive power; it swept away everything in its path. It complete- ly changed the topography of the creek bed and left the entire area strewn with rocks and boul- ders. Later in the afternoon a neighbor, Jerry Ehlers, came by and asked me if I wanted to stay at their place until my family got back. I was grateful for this and was able to enjoy a nice meal and Castle Rock
  8. 8. Castle Valley years 42 dry out. During the following years we had other flash floods that come tumbling through that same creek bed washing out the culvert and road. But none of the subsequent floods was as large or devastating as that first one. This was before the advent of camcorders, but I have often thought how incredible it would have been to have captured this event on film. It was one of those events that you had to see in order to fully appreciate. When we arrived in the valley, there were only a couple others living there. It was a thousand acres of wide-open space stretched out before me, and I was a 16 year old boy ready to explore it! There were amazing cliffs and crevices to discover, and I spent countless hours hiking, climbing and hunting. I had a 22 caliber rifle and I regularly hunted Cottontail rabbits with my gun. There isn’t much meat on a wild rabbit, but I enjoyed each one as a special feast. Later on, I hunted with a fiberglass bow and home-made arrows. I never shot a rabbit with my bow, but I did shoot a porcupine and a rattlesnake. The porcupine meat was pretty tough (it probably didn’t help that I boiled it before baking it in the oven), and although I was looking forward to trying rattlesnake meat, it spoiled while I was away for a few days. The wildlife was exciting to a boy that enjoyed the out-of-doors and provided me with many great experiences. I bought several steel traps and successfully trapped muskrats in the creek bottom. There were snakes and lizards galore, and we chased and caught hundreds of them over the years. Some semi-wild horses running loose in the valley also provided fun for us when we were feel- ing daring. We would use molasses-covered oats to lure them within roping distance. It was hard Looking down the drive at the house and farm.
  9. 9. 43 Castle Valley years to stay on the horses riding bareback (we were city boys not cowboys). As the horses began to trot, we would bounce around and slide off to the side. My favorite was a speckled pony that was smaller, more my size. The problem was that when the rest of the herd saw the pony approaching with me on its back, they would run off ahead in fear. This only made the pony run faster to try and catch up. Without stirrups and reins it was almost impossible to control them or stay put. One time, the pony I was riding on ran under the low-lying branches of an apple tree (he knew what was he was doing). I baled off at full stride before getting knocked off. My daring horse- back riding days ended when I got thrown off the back of one of the big horses and got the wind knocked out of me; I landed on the ground with my arm under my chest. I stood up but I couldn’t breath. That scared me pretty bad and I decided this activity wasn’t as harmless as I had assumed. I had not been very enthusiastic about moving from Salt Lake City; we had a very nice house, and I was leaving life-long friends. I enjoyed the big city and all that was available to do there. It was especially hard when you realized what we were going to: a hot, desolate landscape with no creature comforts and lots of hard work. Living in the valley so far from town also meant we were separated from school, friends and activities. I wasn’t thrilled at exchanging our “palace” of com- fort and ease in the city, for a dusty patch of dirt in far away “Hicksville.” But moving to Castle Valley was the best thing that could have happened to me. It changed and reshaped my life. The hard work, difficult conditions, and remote location brought us together as a family and helped me to focus on the more important aspects of my life. Castle Valley provided fertile ground for more than fruit trees and vegetable gardens to grow. It is where my faith and testimony took root and began to grow. It is from the CV branch that I decided to serve a mis- sion, and where I met the girl who would later become my wife and the mother of our 9 children. These two key events have shaped the balance of my life. The successes in my life, and who I have become is largely due to the growth and experiences I have obtained living in Castle Valley. At this stage of my life (48 years of age), I am at a similar age as that of Mom and Dad when they decided to move from Salt Lake to Castle Valley. How bold and daring they were to launch into something so different and chal- lenging as what they did! Would I be brave enough to do, with my family, what they did with theirs? My appreciation for their pioneering spirit and willingness to take on a task of such magnitude, and for the many sacrifices they made for their family is over- whelming. I’ll forever be grateful for the experiences and memories of Castle Valley. They are one of the few things I can cherish and take with me when I pass on. Thanks Mom and Dad! The playhouse and sauna.
  10. 10. Castle Valley years 44 Natalie Stucki I remember.... Riding Daisy and playing with Taffy Picking apples, peaches, and plums from the orchard and making apple juice on the old apple press Feeding Willow and Sundance grass, oats, and apples, and our attempts at grooming All the times we sat in the farmhouse talking, eating Granny’s amazing meals, and playing games Hanging out in the Lofts—our favorite place when we were younger Mowing the orchard and fields on the riding lawn mower Making clubs and forts with the cousins Playing in the creek and attempting to build a dam big enough that we’d be able to swim in the water Climbing Red Ant Hill and being so dirty afterwards we weren’t allowed indoors Building bonfires and having family gatherings Down Below Sledding down the hill behind the playhouse in the wintertime and crashing into the big fallen tree every time Dressing up in the playhouse then showing off our extraordinary outfits Helping Granny in her garden Cousins playing “dress up”: Ryan, Nachelle, Roger, Levi, Natalie, and Nick.
  11. 11. 45 Castle Valley years Collecting eggs from the chickens Buck, and how he’d wait so eagerly by the door for someone to come out and play Our intense Tetherball matches Exploring the mysterious reaches of the farm Granny and Grandpa always coming outside to say goodbye and wave as we drove down their lane Mathew Stucki There are many fun-filled and cherished memories from my growing up years in Castle Valley. I remember living in the little bunkhouse down below in the shade of the trees. Oh how I loved the mighty Cottonwood trees, which provided an escape from the heat of the day and seemed to sing a lullaby when the breeze would rustle the leaves softly above our heads. Mother read from the book, House of Many Rooms, while we were living in that little bunkhouse. We would lie on our blankets in our bunks while mother read. This diversion provided both rest from a long day’s work and entertainment when alternative options were limited. It was a great book and a won- derful story. But what made it even more enjoyable was the fact that we lived it every day: acres of watermelons, daily chores night and morning, delicious fruits and vegetables grown in our gardens and eventually in the orchards, waterfalls plunging off the cliffs after a cloudburst. The rock fortress of the valley served as the walls of our home during that first summer. Within these walls, we were taught thrift and careful budgeting, love of God, and appreciation for His handiwork. I enjoyed then the exciting, almost magical life, we lived on the farm, or the home- stead as we called it back then. I learned, we all learned, lessons about laying up in store treasures in heaven. As a young man, I didn’t fully appre- ciate the treasures given me on the farm: being involved in hard, physical work every day. These principles are eternal in nature and help me and my family even today, as we struggle through challenges that surely come. We move forward in faith, because we have experienced a lifetime of witnessing God’s handiwork as He shapes and di- rects our lives. As I was writing this, I thought back to the times in Salt Lake when we were fascinated by watching Linda, Steven, Mathew and Camie
  12. 12. Castle Valley years 46 the Waltons each week on television. Mom used to love that and dreamed about elements of that lifestyle. Later, in Castle Valley, we lived many of those dreams. Our first Christmas in Castle Val- ley was slim in worldly possessions, but great in love and warmth and companionship. I still have the plaque that Dad gave us the Christmas he didn’t have money for worldly gifts. In place of trin- kets that would be long gone now and of little value any longer, I became the recipient of valuable characteristics, qualities, and experiences that have and will serve me well throughout my entire life. Castle Valley is where we learned appreciation for our blessings, self-confidence, respect, gratitude, and humility for the abundance of which we have been blessed. Steven Stucki The memories I have of the Castle Valley Farm will be cherished always in my mind. Memories of waiting for cousins to arrive and running down the long, gravel driveway to greet the cars. Memories of cousins running around every corner of the farm with rubber band guns. Memories of cousins filling the creek with rocks trying to dam up the water so we could have a swimming hole. Memories of cousins forming the “Stucki Boys Club,” and then being urged to change the name cuz not everyone was a “Stucki” (ha-ha!). Memories of all the cous- ins sleeping under the stars with a giant tarp and blankets. Memories of cousins filling jars with fireflies. Memories of cousins climbing Red-Ant Hill. Memories of cousins setting pheasant traps. Memories of cousins chasing deer out of granny’s garden. Memories of cousins following just a few steps behind Grandpa who had a long list of chores to do. Memories of cousins running to the kitchen at the first sound of Granny ringing the lunch bell. Memories of cousins flying down the hill to the creek, out of control, in wagons. Memories of sleeping cousins filling the floors and bunks in the house in sleeping bags, and a few sneaking into the kitchen to steal bottles of the Martenelli’s Sparkling Cider that Jeff brought one Thanksgiving (ha!). Memories of cousins stay- ing up playing board games and night games. So many memories that I will always cherish, and I think I can sum up my love for the farm with one memory... I remember the tears shed as cousins said goodbye at the end of the blissful family reunions that always passed too quickly. I remember crying the whole way down the river road after waving goodbye to Granny and Grandpa and all the cousins. Truly, there couldn’t have been a better place on earth to bring cousins and family to- gether than at the Castle Valley Farm. Steven and Camie
  13. 13. 47 Castle Valley years Alyssa Stucki Admittedly, I was too young during the Castle Valley days to remember many specific stories from time spent on the farm. I recall the coziness of the main house and tetherball competitions. The playhouse is home to some of my fondest memories with the cousins: the Stucki Girls Club meetings, sleep overs, and endless games of pretend; heaven forbid I ever forget Sheena acting as my groom at our wedding. I remember racing to red- ant hill, making sandcastles by the river, falling off the horse and how Grandpa sat with me until I felt better, slumber parties in the loft, movies in the living room, the smell of Grandma Sperry’s perfume, and the tire swing out back. I remember watching Granny shine in the kitchen, teaching us how to make bread and warning us against ever attempting fondant even though hers always turned out perfectly. Grandpa was always fixing something, or teaching some- one. I pray I’ll never forget his smiling eyes and soft voice, only ever raised when telling stories, which he did so well. I will always treasure the love and attention we were showered with when we would visit the farm. Granny and Grandpa have lived remarkably inspirational lives. Their experiences and accomplishments have truly influenced my life in the best way possible. I think I will always crave the adventure and discovery that blossomed during the visits we took to Castle Valley, and for that I am forever grateful. Melanie Stucki I remember the kitchen in the mornings, when I would sit at the table and pick what I wanted for breakfast like yogurt and granola! I also remember the loft, the horses, and the big field that we would play games in and hide in the tall grass. I remem- ber helping Steven mow the grass and riding the big mowing machine. I also remember the tetherball game, swings, and the playhouse. Those were always so much fun! And also the garden house by the kitch- en. I remember the tic-tack-toe game that we would play, and the creek and the forest area by the house down the hill. Those are some of the great memories that I have about Castle Valley!Melanie, Emily and Linda. Sheena and Alyssa
  14. 14. Castle Valley years 48 Emily Stucki Hey granny and grampa, how are you doing? I am writing some memories about Castle Valley. I remember the playhouse and the swing and the upstairs. (Emily drew pictures of the home, lofts, and swing. Also another of a horse, pig, and turkey with a fence, field, and barn in the background —Mathew). I love you so much! Aaron Robison I will never forget how beautiful the Valley was. The amazing colorful rim and the tower- ing rocks that reached towards the sky were truly inspiring. It’s like trying to describe a work of art with our creator as the artist. I loved watching the shadows race down the cliffs in the early hours of the morning and climb up the walls at night. One of my many memories of Castle Valley is the first winter after Kim and I were married. We lived out there for a few months. Then Mom and Dad would join us when the B&B in town was slow. I still can’t believe how much wood I had to chop to keep that house warm! It would take me much of the day, every day, to heat both ends of the house. It was a good work out, but after a few weeks the thrill was gone. I remember Granny and Grandpa’s wonderful muffins. They were so amazing! I think if the world would make these muffins, it would be a happier place. It’s hard to be grumpy when your tummy is so happy. McKay Robison I have lots of wonderful memories of Castle Valley. I remember being with family, cousins, aunts and uncles. But the most important of all the people that made Castle Valley special was Granny & Grandpa. They were always there for all of us when we visited the farm; they hosted many of the Stucki family reunions that so many of us enjoyed. They let me go down and stay with them for a week or so during the summer numerous times. Even after Granny decided she couldn’t Camie and Emily with the horses. Aaron with McKay.
  15. 15. 49 Castle Valley years cook anymore, she still cooked us delicious food for every meal. Last but not least, they were the best grandma and grandpa we could ever have. Grandpa was always working, while grandma was out in the garden or cooking, and that is what I’ll remember about Castle Valley forever. When I would go down there by myself (with Robby working at the B&B), I remember spending half the day with Grandpa feeding the horses, work- ing in the shop, or even doing little clean up jobs. The other half of the day would be spent in the garden or in the kitchen with Grandma. Some- times Gregg and Terri’s kids would come over and we would hang out. But all the good times I had with Granny & Grandpa are the best memories of the farm that I have. Maxwell Robison I loved Castle Valley and the farm! Going there was my favorite vacation, and I always looked for- ward to going there. One of my fondest times at the farm was when we took our dog, Rocky, up to the farm with us. All he wanted to do was make friends with Buck, but grumpy old Buck didn’t want any friends. He was just fine with Grandpa, sweet and kind, and Grandma who was always so kind, but would also set Buck straight when he strayed off the right path. Rocky would be so happy and run around and play, but when he tried to make friends with Buck, Buck would back into a corner snarling with teeth bared. When Rocky got too close (which wasn’t close at all), Buck would lash out with gnashing teeth. Rocky would back away leaving Buck alone for a minute, then go right back trying to make friends. It was funny to see happy, cheerful Rocky trying to make friends with grumpy old Buck. It was cool to see Rocky run with the horses, and to see Buck chase the deer. All of us little kids would have so much fun with Rocky at the farm, running and laughing down into the hollow, in the stream, and playing in the leaves. We would all have the best times in Castle Valley. It was the best vacation of the year, and the dogs made it ten times better. But no- body can beat Grandma and Grandpa, they are the best! Max (Front) feeding the horses with McKay and Ben. McKay Robison
  16. 16. Castle Valley years 50 Benson Robison I remember when I was a little boy sleeping up in the loft at the farm. Grandpa built a gate so the little kids wouldn’t fall off. I couldn’t get down until someone opened the gate. It would get really hot up there, and sometimes I would try to entertain myself by picking Daddy Longlegs off the wall and dropping them onto the ground below. When we would stay at the farm, I remember having my favorite hot cereal...oatmeal. There was a big pan of oatmeal and smaller bowls of dried cranberries, nuts, brown sugar and things like that to put on the cereal. It was my favorite hot cereal from then on. One time when my family went to stay at the farm, we brought our dog, Rocky, with us. I went outside to tell everybody working on the fences (because the horses broke out) to come and eat. I remember seeing the look on Rocky’s face, so determined as he came bounding toward me. The next thing I remember was the taste of Rocky’s foot in my mouth, and I was lying on the ground. Max was the first one to get to me, and he asked if I was okay. I was crying and Max went inside the house and got my mom. She came out and saw that my tooth was gone! We looked around for the tooth, but we couldn’t find it any- where. We gave up and decided that I must have swallowed it when Rocky’s paw met my face. Samuel Robison I remember that I liked to feed the horses more than any- thing else. I would go out to the field with somebody, and we would pick up handfuls of alfalfa to feed the horses over the fence. Sometimes we would get carrots from Grandma or find apples that had fallen on the ground. The horses really liked those! I remember playing on the car mat and driving all of the little cars all over it. I also liked to play the tic-tack-toe game that was made of little apples. John Stucki (Stucki Family reunion at the farm, August 14, 2009) I remember all us boys playing frisbee/football in the horse pastures and having a blast when there was downtime. As the night wore on, we (the family) took turns making our tye dye shirts. I loved it! This was such a new and fun thing to do. We had a watermelon seed spitting contest, that Benson (getting Christmas trees in the LaSals) Sammy
  17. 17. 51 Castle Valley years was funny. As the night came to an end, all us kids stayed up late playing night games and catching fireflies in jars. It’s always a new and fun experience with family at the re- unions. Robyn (Stucki) Officer It’s difficult to express the impact that moving to Castle Valley had on our lives. I’m reminded of the flash flood that raged through the creek bed one summer’s day in the valley; the path of the creek was irrevocably altered from that day forward. In like manner, Castle Valley changed the course of our lives and each one was transformed by the experience. Working on this part of the history for Dad and Mom has brought a flood of memories into my mind: many happy memories, humorous recollections, and trials that tested us to our very core. Castle Valley has certainly changed from those days, but no matter. All of the experiences that comprised our lives there—the people and events, the sites and sounds, the tastes and smells, are all indelibly etched in my memory. Seeing the valley for the first time, I recall I was struck with the stunning beauty and its pictur- esqueness. Every time I would rise over the crest of Pace Hill and see the valley spread out below, I always felt the same sense of awe. I remember our first excursion to the valley as a family. At dusk, we drove up the river road and approached the turn-off to the valley. Suddenly the large mesa right in front of us was bathed in a fiery glow. It seemed like a good omen, our own ‘burning bush.’ I always wondered about that. Ever present in my memory is the intense blue of the valley sky—deeply blue—and the myriad shades of red and violet (depending on the time of day) of the red rock rim set against the green and gold of the valley floor. Equally breathtaking were the sunsets...they rivaled the most beautiful sun- sets anywhere. Castle Rock, Round Mountain, the LaSals, Priest and Nuns mesa, and Porcupine Rim encircled the valley creating the most perfect set for a Western movie (and it was!). Who can forget the fireflies blinking in the fields in the cool of the evening, or gazing at billions of stars and the Milky Way blazing across the black- est of night skies. I can still hear the cheerful tune Kim, Aaron and baby, McKay. John Robyn
  18. 18. Castle Valley years 52 sung by Meadowlarks, and the chirp of crickets after dark (pleasant unless there was one hiding in the cracks between the logs and chirping right next to your head in bed). On scorching summer days, we’d often lie in the creek to cool off. I recall it always smelled faintly of mint. I can hear our cow, Janie, lowing when it was time for her milking, and I can taste the cold, creamy milk. A fixture of the house was Granny’s antique blue cook stove (we actually built the house around it), and I recall the tempting aromas that wafted from the kitchen. I can hear the dinner bell clanging, call- ing us to gather from far and wide for a meal together. I can taste the sweetness of watermelons, an abandoned field of them, and fresh corn on the cob, just picked, steamed seven minutes, and eaten immediately. At times we were almost paupers, but we feasted like kings with the abundance of garden produce, an orchard laden with fruit, and plentiful eggs, milk, and cream. On summer evenings, I remember outdoor movies at the Ehlers’ homestead, Primary and Relief Society in the little, two-story building, 4th of July picnics, cider pressing get-togethers, and square dancing socials (including at Guy’s and my wedding open house). I remember my first date with Guy. We left the farm before daylight and hiked all the way to the top of Round Mountain as the sun rose. I remem- ber the little hipped-roof barn (with 2nd story loft) that was Guy’s and my temporary dwelling, until we could build a house on our own 5-acre lot. It was the first home for our little family. Of course, not all of the memories of life in Castle Valley are happy ones. There were plenty of tears shed and hearts wrenched. Even the painful memories are important to remember though. We learned profound life lessons through the hard times, and we were refined in the furnace of those flames. They make the remembrance of the good times all the more sweet. My heart remembers the trials, but time and God’s grace has tempered the sting. Woven through all my memories of Castle Valley is the constant of Dad and Mom. I can hear Mom’s voice reading to us during the long evenings, and Dad’s voice praying or blessing one of us. I re- member, and appreciate, Mom’s talent in making a garage/work building into a comfortable and attractive home (even without drawers in the kitchen). I think of the never ending supply of bread she made, the many meals prepared. I think of Dad cheerfully milking the cow, twice a day, in the heat or the cold. I can picture him rattling down the drive in the yellow school bus at the day’s end. I recall how he loved to work in the orchard and contemplate sharing the harvest. I remember them working, back-breakingly hard, seemingly tirelessly. I think of them persevering in adversity and always going forward in faith. I recall their delight in sharing their home and farm with their chil- dren and grandchildren. It was the favorite family gathering place. The significance of Castle Valley wasn’t the location, as beautiful as that was, it was in the shared experiences and love of parents and family. That is what makes the memories so cherished. Guy holding one-day-old Levi.

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