Sunday, October 31, 2010


Ron Berry celebrated his 64th birthday today, with a dinner event last evening at the Double Barrel Restaurant in Fairview! He says he plans to wait another couple of years before retiring from his post as headmaster of the Berry Farming Enterprises! The party had to be last night because tonight is reserved for "Trick or Treating" and Halloween parties by various goblins from around the area.

Ron is pleased with the 28-ton per acre sugar beet yield, lowered somewhat by hail on one 100-acre field, but he is aiming for 40 ton per acre next year! After a big storm with 4 inches of blowing snow last week, they hope to get back in the fields for fall tilling next week. The storm was so bad they had to cancel a planned trip to Bismarck with Dad, Marilyn, and Issy for medical checkups. However, there are so many new people moving into the area because of the oil exploration activity that it is getting harder to get appointments with doctors.


Linda Sitter, a school classmate of Mavis, has agreed to provide assistance several days per week with Dad. She has experience helping older people, and has a very good reputation. So, we are highly pleased at the prospect of Mavis and Luke getting some support so Dad can continue to live at home.

Dad is really doing pretty well, but continues to have problems remembering things.


Maureen started her new role last week as a Board of Directors member for a local bank in Helena. It is quite an honor to be selected for such a position, and she even gets well paid for it. Mat continues to serve on the Board of Directors for the hospital. They are community-minded folks! Good for them!

Maureen was in Glendive last week for a meeting on housing--of which there are lots of shortages, particularly of rental housing, in the region because of the influx of people working in the oil fields. She was intending to go to Cartwright for a visit but got caught with snow and blizzard conditions coming, so didn't make it.


We had our Canadian neighbors over for drinks and food on Thursday. They live near Hamilton, Ontario, where we did some research a few years ago for one of our books. Both were born in Italy, immigrated to Canada in their 20s, and now have one of the largest home construction companies in Ontario. Great fun to visit with them!


Bill and Marie

Saturday, October 23, 2010


We picnicked yesterday at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, about 60 miles east of Scottsdale, and enjoyed the gorgeous collection of plants from Arizona and around the world. Some of the big trees in the first photo were imported from Australia. A year-round creek runs through the park, supplying a constant stream of water for irrigation. And, nearly every kind of cactus that grows in the state or the world is on display in one of the gardens. Beautiful!


Dione, Saul, and Mollie learned last week that Mollie will get to use her Chinese language skills on a three-week adventure to China next summer--sponsored by her school! Sounds really exciting. About 15 of the best Chinese students will go.


It was a banner year for sugar beets, now all out of the ground and on their way to the factory in Sidney. The annual beet harvest dinner, honoring the entire crew, was held last evening. Although they had some truck problems, most of the 24-hour days came off without a hitch and in nearly record time--partly because of good weather for most of the three-week period. It has been a great fall weather-wise so far.

Dad did just fine through it all. He now has help once per week from Vicki Dunbar--who was away for awhile on a trip to Germany. Mavis is attempting to locate another person who can help out as well, especially while Ron and Mavis travel this fall and winter--including a trip down here, we hope. Ron has a sister here that they want to visit.

Mavis, Marilyn, Issy and Dad are going to Bismarck on Wednesday for medical appointments and to see Cindy and others.

Julie had a birthday last week, and enjoyed a family celebration at the Powder Keg in Fairview.

Harvey and Susan were there for the funeral of one of Harvey's brothers who lived in Sidney.

Brett shot his first deer this morning--quite a feat for an outdoorsman like him!

A new gas processing plant is under construction north of Cartwright. It will collect and refine the natural gas from all around the area via several pipelines that are also under construction. Quite a big deal that will employ some folks and increase the revenue to the area.


Bill and Marie

Sunday, October 03, 2010


Some wonderful visitors came to Scottsdale over the last few days! While they were here, Dara and Madelyn joined us for a happy hour at the Camelback Inn (a late 76th birthday celebration for Bill!), near Camelback Mountain (see colorful photos), and for dinner at our condo (see photo of Marie, Dara, and Madelyn). We are always delighted to have them here, and enjoyed catching up on their busy lives in Bremerton, WA! Dara told us all about her new job as Assistant Director of Human Resources for the school district where she works. She has particular responsibility for the 700 classified staff. Madelyn heads the Mathematics Department at Olympic High School, and teaches geometry, calculus, business math, and an assortment of other math courses. They both "love" their jobs!


Beet harvest is fully underway. Two crews work 24 hours per day--except when it is too warm and they have to stop in the afternoon, as they did the last couple of days. It has been a good crop year, so yields should be up to expectations. A new twist: they get daily text messages on Ron's cell phone indicating how many tons of beets have been delivered, the sugar content, and other information from the beet dump.

Dad, Mavis, Ron, Luke, and Abbie all had the flu--which slowed things down for a few days. Dad has lost his help at home from Rhonda Lassey (see got a full-time job in Sidney) and Vicki Dunbar, so Mavis and Luke been doing the housekeeping and providing all the other support. She is looking for someone to help out! Any suggestions?

Mavis says the early fall has been really beautiful around the ranch, with lots of flowers, colorful trees and gorgeous vines around the house. Abbie is in pre-school, but is having a bit of trouble adjusting to being away from Mavis and Luke. However, she likes the school once she gets into it.


Although there is no immediate indication an intent to drill on the ranch, most of Sioux Township around Cartwright has been staked for wells. Some estimates suggest that as many as 300 wells could be drilled in the area south of U.S. 85 to the Yellowstone River. Several of the neighbors have stakes on their property. Mavis says, it is probably just a matter of time until a company will stake one or more wells, and drill on the ranch. However, who knows when that will happen!


Maureen has been elected to the Board of Directors of the American Federal Savings Bank in Helena--a part-time "paid" position that may go on indefinitely. She is quite excited about participating in such an organization, and of course brings a lot of experience in housing to the Board.


Bill and Marie