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Janet Snyder

Stories by Janet

Fireflies encourage ladies to join them

This past week was a wonderful Holy Week for the Snyder family. I was fortunate enough to be invited to the pageant held in Mesa at the LDS church. I have never seen the performance before and the whole thing just blew me away! There were hundreds of people there to watch the most amazing cast, almost 600 in all — not including the live animals. I was told that there was a performance each day during Holy Week and there were just as many guests at every pageant performance.

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Beware of wildlife that shares our forest

The Snyder clan increased by one this past weekend with the addition of a new granddaughter-in-law. Sarah Richardson of Mesa, Ariz. became the bride of our grandson Brian. The wedding took place at the Fiesta Fountains in Mesa. The place is extraordinary! There were three weddings taking place basically at the same time. The facility is extremely well organized and decorated for each individual wedding. Brian and Sarah’s wedding was a tear jerker, but then aren’t all weddings? Congratulations to the newlyweds.

Firefighter training days planned

Last Saturday, my neighbor and I attended the 14th annual Women’s Wellness Forum sponsored by the Mogollon Health Alliance. The keynote speaker this year was Jason Schechterle. What a fantastic speaker! He is truly a man who was handed a lemon, and he made lemonade. He was inspiring. The breakout sessions were exceptional with information on women’s wellness. The day was definitely one of the best Wellness Forums that I have participated in; and out of the 14 held, I have probably been to at least 12.

Snow a welcome sight for Tonto Village

This past Tuesday was the first day of spring, believe it or not. Tonto Village, along with the surrounding communities, Bear Flat and Mead Ranch, all were dumped on with about 15 inches of snow. So far, the amount of precipitation amounts to 1.5 inches, but there is still a deficit of about 6 inches according to a Bear Flat resident, who has kept records for many years on rainfall and snow accumulation. When I was a kid living in upstate New York, I can remember looking out the window on the first day of spring and seeing just about as much snow when I expected to see spring flowers. What a disappointment that was.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s at the Double D

Does anyone know where San Tan Valley is? I found out this past weekend when I was invited to my future granddaughter-in-law’s bridal shower. I could not tell if I was in Apache Junction, Florence or where. I drove down on Saturday, and took the easiest route to get there, Route 87 to U.S. 60 and then to the bride’s mother’s house. The trip took me two-and-a-half hours. It is out in the middle of nowhere with big, ranch-like homes with plenty of horses. The bridal shower was a huge success, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, meeting other family members and the wedding party. But when it came time for me to leave — early, because I wanted to beat the daylight coming back up the mountain — I made a wrong turn and got lost! Before I realized it, I was 20 miles out of my way. I finally stopped to ask directions to U.S. 60 and got back on track.

Have your blood pressure checked Saturday

Tonto Village, Bear Flat and Christopher Creek were blessed with some rain and snow on Monday and early Tuesday. It didn’t amount to a whole lot, maybe about a quarter of an inch or a bit more. But at this point we will take what we can get, since we need the moisture so badly. The wind was a bit much, blowing about 30 mph, but that blew the clouds to the Rim. I have not heard how much snow the Rim got.

First robin of spring has been spotted

I spotted the first robin of the season this past week feeding with the other birds in our back yard. I guess that means that spring is not too far away. Even my rose bushes are sprouting new growth and so is the parsley and sage. The garlic I planted a few years ago has already come up and an odd thing — I have a whole garlic sitting on my window sill and I noticed that the whole clove has sprouted! Now what? Do I just leave it be and cut off the green shoots, or do I get a pot of soil and plant them? Any advice out there?

State’s birthday bash, Valentine’s Day celebrated

The big parties are over for now, Arizona has had a wonderful 100th birthday bash all over the state, and most of the celebrations were free, which is a good thing since the economy is in such bad shape. Valentine’s Day has come and gone with an abundance of all kinds of flowers, (mostly roses), candy, balloons and teddy bears. I hope that your Valentine’s Day was a good one. My hubby, always the romantic, was very original this year. He presented me with a 20 gauge shotgun, double barreled, and made in Brazil.

Mild winter causing forest fire concerns

What a mild winter we are having! I am not complaining about the lack of snow, and my hubby surely isn’t either, he has to shovel that white stuff. The concern from the lack of snow ratchets up the chances for a very active forest fire season. Everyone will need to be extra aware of any sparks that would cause a forest fire. There are many households that use wood either in a fireplace or wood stove so having a spark screen on the top of your chimney is very important along with having your chimney cleaned out at least once a year. If you or any of your relatives like to ride their ATVs, please check to see if they have spark arrestors on the vehicles, the exhaust pipes can get very hot and can be a big problem if the exhaust is right next to dry pine needles.

Hashknife part of upcoming centennial celebrations

Can you believe it? January is gone and February is here. February is a very important month for many reasons, but most important is that it is Arizona’s birthday on Feb. 14, in becoming 100 years young! There are many celebrations going on in the state of various kinds. Just check out the newspaper for a list of activities from around the state. One event that is close to home is the Hashknife riders. They will be making stops in Christopher Creek and Payson to pick up the mail and carry the mail to Scottsdale. Again, check the newspaper for the exact dates and times they will be passing through. February is also National Heart Month, so check with your physician to see if you need a checkup.

So far it has been a dry winter in the Village

The month of January is just about gone. The prominent item on most people’s minds is getting ready to do taxes for April 15, or is it April 16 this year? There are about two-and-a-half months left to get all your paperwork in order. That seems like a long time, but how many of us procrastinate until the last possible day? I sure wish the system was an easy process to handle, the government has made the process so cumbersome that most people dread this time of year. My sympathies are with all of us as the time approaches to file our returns. Dry winter? The Village is quiet this time of year, most of the summer residents won’t show up until April or May. There are a number of part-timers who come to the Village to check on their places and stay to play in the snow. But this year, hardly any snow except the storm this past December that dumped at least a foot of the white stuff. Believe it or not, there is still some of it around, in the northern portions of the ground. The weather service has warned us that this could be a dry and cold winter. I hope that they are wrong.

Food drive continues through January

Tonto Village turned white this past weekend with a smattering of snow mixed with rain and sleet. The temperature stayed in the 30s, so most of the snow melted and turned the ground into mud! What a mess. The forest needs the moisture, so I won’t complain too loud.

Getting organized is a daunting chore

January is now well under way, and magazines are filled with getting healthy with exercise and how to organize your space. Like everyone, I need both. The only exercise that I am accomplishing is walking with my pug/beagle mix doggie every day and as far as organizing my space, I think I need help!!!!! There is now minimal walking room in my office and pantry area. The problem is that I have every-day things plus decorations, gifts, books, etc. all together.

Intentions are good, but no New Year’s resolution

Six days gone already in the New Year! I have now been writing this column for 11 years! The time has flown by but I have enjoyed every word that I have written. I hope that you as my readers feel that way too. Have you thought about new resolutions yet? I have not, because I never keep them. My intentions are good, but my will is weak. The one thing that I will try very hard at is to eat more natural foods and to stay away from processed foods and to stay away from take-out.

Christmas time was a tearful reunion with family

My hubby Bill and I took a nostalgic ride through the past when we first came to Yuma back in 1967. At that time, there was no interstate from Phoenix, and Highway 85 was a dangerous highway with two-way traffic. The road continued to Highway 80 which was filled with agriculture and citrus orchards by the mile. Since that first trip was in the latter part of June, it was extremely hot by 10 a.m. I remember stopping along huge salt cedar trees with the family to take a break from the scorching sun. We marveled at the lemons on the trees and we took a needed break from the sun. So on our way to Yuma for Christmas, we decided to take that same route again to see if there was any difference. Well, the trees were still there, some of the groves were there, and the McElhaney stock yards were still there, so not too many changes had taken place in 44 years. The worker buses were still being decorated for the holidays and lettuce is now the king crop in the Yuma area.

Christmas shopping countdown is nearly finished

Countdown is on for Christmas shopping for that special someone or for your family. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and all shopping, wrapping and dinner preparations should be completed for you to relax and enjoy your family and friends on this holy of holies Christmas season. It is a time for renewal of faith and counting your blessings that have come your way this past year. I have not forgotten our Jewish friends. Hanukkah began at sundown on Tuesday. Hanukkah is also known as the Festival of Lights. A little light can go a long way toward making the world a brighter place. To my Hanukkah friends, Happy Hanukkah!

Dry winter predictions are not coming true

Wasn’t there a person or persons who predicted that this winter would be a dry winter? Well, Mother Nature is outdoing herself in the precipitation area. This is no complaint, on my part. The weather in the Rim Country played a major part in our decision to make this area our permanent home. Can anyone blame us after spending 35 years in Yuma, one of the driest places in the U.S.

Village is covered with 10 inches of snow

Did somebody leave the freezer door open? Tonto Village is covered in about 10 inches of snow and a lot of ice! The residents need to be extra careful since the ice is still hugging the roads, not only if you are driving, but especially if you are walking. A few years ago, my husband Bill was shoveling out the driveway and did not notice the black ice underneath the snow. He fell and hit his head pretty hard, so please be careful. The wood stoves are cranked up to full blast to keep warm, along with that ‘new’ invention called the ‘pellet stove’ going full bore just to keep the tootsies warm.

Bad use of quads dangerous for kids

This past Sunday afternoon, there were many kids driving up and down the “island” on a quad, raising a lot of noise and dust. But that was not the worst part of it. At one point, one of the neighbors saw six kids on one quad and another one hanging on the back riding a skateboard. This is so dangerous besides causing discomfort for the neighbors with the noise and the dust. These same kids were spotted on the water bladder that is situated in the island for emergencies. There are metal hoses attached to the bladder and a kid could really get hurt if they fell on those hoses. The bladder is not a play toy and should not be considered as one. Parents, please inform your children of the dangers of playing on the water bladder and of course, they need to be monitored when driving or riding on those quads. The Village does not need any unfortunate accidents that could have been avoided.

Christmas parties are starting to begin

It’s the day after. A day filled with good food, family gatherings, and of giving meals to ones less fortunate and a day filled with football games, cat naps, and going through the massive amount of ads and planning a strategy for mega shopping in the stores that have the best deals. Today is known as “Black Friday.” That day after Thanksgiving has been labeled that because there are businesses whose profits go from red to black and they mark down their merchandise to encourage buyers to their stores.

Be cautious of new scam letter making the rounds

This week has been a hectic time along with great sadness for the my maternal family. My sister-in-law passed away suddenly, without any warning, from a massive heart attack. Ellie, as she was called, was the sister I never had. She was kind, full of compassion and fortitude, and a super good wife to my brother and a fantastic mother to four boys. I will miss her dearly. Veterans Day was last Friday and since my husband is a member of the Tonto Basin V.F.W. post number 8807, we spent the morning there handing out Buddy Poppies and watching a fantastic parade.

Fly your flag and honor our veterans today

Today is Veterans Day, 2011. Please fly your flag and observe this day in some way to honor our heroes. The veterans who have lost their lives for all of us so that we could stay free in the United States, and the ones who are still fighting to keep us free. I have had uncles in WWII, a husband in Korea, brothers in the Vietnam War, and now a grandson in Afghanistan. I especially honor them on this day. Veteran’s Day started out as Armistice Day because of the ‘armistice’ signing of the Treaty of Versailles between the allies and Germany. The treaty was signed on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day on the eleventh of November.

Weekend is supposed to be downright chilly

There is a definite nip in the air. In fact, by this weekend it is supposed to be downright cold. My husband and I made a fire in our pit Halloween night to keep warm as the neighborhood kids came by for their treats. The costumes were very colorful and even the adults had costumes on. We sat around the fire with spiced cider and shivered a lot.

Halloween is a few days off, are you ready?

Have you helped your kiddies figure out what to wear for that big candy day? Over the past few years, the amount of kids “trick or treating” has diminished. There are more house parties and more organized events for the kids to celebrate that “spooky” day.

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Cold snap short lived, now it’s Indian Summer

Last week I said that the frost was on the pumpkin and this week, I have to say that the frost has melted! The weather changed dramatically from cold to Indian Summer. The cold spell lasted long enough to wipe out our garden except for one lone eggplant.

Villagers cleaning out chimneys for cold weather

The frost has definitely been on the pumpkin in Tonto Village this past week. The temperature has been at least 32 degrees with a light frost each morning. The Villagers are getting ready for the cold weather that will soon be here. They are getting their chimneys cleaned, which is very important. There have been chimney fires in the Village in the past, so now is a great time to call your favorite chimney sweep. There have been wood deliveries and chain saws buzzing for about two weeks now.

Weather has been delightful for residents, visitors

The weather has been so perfect that many of our part-time homeowners have spent their weekends in the village, some enjoying the cool breezes and others riding on their quads and dirt bikes. The problem with that is the loud noise those bikes make, not to mention the dust they kick up. They need to realize that there are full-time residents here that are very sensitive to that kind of noise and dusty air. There’s a whole big forest out there!

Weather is great, but rainfall is lacking by two inches

The weather is perfect. We are having really chilly nights (in the low 40s) and nice, warm days. What could be better. At night the windows can be open and we can actually have a light blanket over us. Autumn officially arrived on Sept. 23 to higher than normal daytime temperatures but has since leveled out. Some of the trees in the Village have already started to turn a golden color. The only downside to the weather is the lack of significant rainfall from this year’s monsoon.

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Final brush pick-up for Thompson Draw I, II

I have gone out every morning to look at my apple trees and it seems that each day that passes brings the apples closer to being picked. Then my work will be cut out for me, I normally make apple butter in my crock pot and apple sauce to can for the winter. I intend to bake a few apple pies and try my hand at dehydrating them also. There is an over abundance of the apple crop this year. The frost has done its dirty work to kill the buds for the past five years. I will be canning as long as my jars and stamina hold up.

Full house for Domino Divas competition

The annual competition of the Domino Divas and the Christopher Creek domino players was held on Wednesday, Sept. 7 at the Hellsgate Fire Station in Tonto Village. What a great turnout it turned out to be, with 21 ladies ready to play and compete. Not only was there a full house, there was also a table filled with a fantastic variety of food from different appetizers to wonderful desserts. Some of the food will appear in the cookbook that is being put together by the Hellsgate Fireflies. Everyone had a grand time chatting with each other and playing either ‘Mexican Train’ or ‘Chickenfoot.’ As far as what team was the winner? Everyone.

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Auxiliary BBQ dinner, motorcycle event made for a busy time

Tonto Village has never been busier than this past weekend. Not only was the Hellsgate Fire Department Auxiliary serving their famous BBQ dinner and bake sale on Saturday, but the “Island” was filled with members of the Modified Motorcycle Association of Arizona holding their annual ‘Camp and Jam’ sponsored by the Double D Café and Bar. It was an outstanding success for the auxiliary and for the motorcycle club. They also participated in our event by visiting the bake sale tables and eating the delicious pit BBQ sandwiches.

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This year has been the summer of snakes in the Village

Some people may call these days the “dog days of summer,” but I would call this time the “summer of snakes.” This summer has been exceptional with the stories of close encounters with poisonous snakes such as the timber rattlers in Bear Flat, Tonto Village and most recently in Diamond Point Summer Homes.

Four visiting raccoons were hard to get out of the house

Whew! The whirlwind of this past week is over for the time being. All of our visiting family left on Monday. The week was exciting, hectic, and just plain wonderful to have them here, but where does all the energy come from?

Fireflies gearing up for Bashas’ Festival

The next week or so will be extremely busy for the Snyder family. Three of our five children will be here to visit and will be enjoying the cooler weather here since they live in Yuma. We will also be celebrating a birthday, with all the trimmings, cake, ice cream, etc. Naturally seeing the sights of Payson will be on the agenda.

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Village walloped by wind, hail, rain

Somebody must have gone overboard with a rain dance last Wednesday afternoon. Tonto Village got walloped by wind, hail and heavy rain that lasted for at least an hour and a half. Some of the hail was the size of a big marble, (an aggie?)

Fireflies fund-raiser a big success

Monday afternoon, Tonto Village was blessed with a torrent of rain complete with sound effects. The thunder was not quite as loud as last week. Still, our doggie barked every time she heard the clap of thunder. All in all, the rainfall amount, according to unofficial sources, was 1.5 inches.

Fireflies fund-raiser a big success

Monday afternoon, Tonto Village was blessed with a torrent of rain complete with sound effects. The thunder was not quite as loud as last week. Still, our doggie barked every time she heard the clap of thunder. All in all, the rainfall amount, according to unofficial sources, was 1.5 inches.

Thunder, lightning was quite scary

Were the rain gods angry the other night? The clap of thunder was a frightening noise and our doggie just about jumped out of her skin. I am not certain where it originated, possibly just east of the Village, but it sure was a scary thing! The only problem was that with all the noise and lightning strikes, there wasn’t much rain, maybe about a half-inch or less. So, how about more rain and less noise?

Afternoon showers are wonderful

The rains keep falling even if the rain is minimal at times. It’s wonderful to witness the afternoon showers. The ponderosa pines appreciate the moisture along with our gardens. We do not have to water as often. Let’s hope that there is enough rain this season that we will not experience a severe drought.

Campfires now allowed in campgrounds

The clouds have finally let their moisture fall over Tonto Village in measurable amounts of rain. According to our neighbor, who has a rain gauge, the rainfall since Sunday night, was a 1-1/4 inches. Last week, there was about three-quarters of an inch of rainfall. So far, that measures about 2 inches for July.

Finally rain, but watch where you walk

Rain! Finally the clouds appeared and opened up and let the rain fall. It’s about time and so very welcome to everyone, but mostly to the very dry Tonto National Forest. I looked back through my journal from last year, 2010, and noticed that July was a very wet month for the area. It rained just about every day.

Here’s hoping it rains sooner rather than later

It’s hard to believe that today is July 1. The summer is just flying by. I hope that we will soon be in the rainy season, and the high heat tempered a bit. One of my readers suggested that the rain may be here in about three weeks, since the clouds just started forming. I hope that it is sooner. The big 4th of July holiday is right around the corner when the barbecue grill gets a workout. What is your favorite? Mine is grilled veggies and burnt hot dogs!

Have fun in the forest, but be careful

The forest fires around the state are alarming and frightening! This time of year is so dangerous to live amongst the ponderosa pine trees, but I don’t want to live anywhere else. I just wish that more people who visit and live within the forest would have more respect for the fragility of the forest. Even residents who live here year-round don’t show enough concern to obey the forest restrictions that are put in place by Tonto National Forest officials. They still build campfires, they smoke and throw their butts on the ground and show complete disregard of the fire danger. They ride their dirt bikes and quads on the restricted areas without spark arresters and in many cases, no license plate!

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Kohl’s Outdoor Chapel is enjoyable experience

For the past two weeks, I have attended the Sunday church services at the Kohl’s Outdoor Chapel. It is a most enjoyable experience to be in the out of doors in a natural, forest setting. The pews are flat stones, the pulpit is hewn from the pine trees as well as the cross that is a prominent feature and stands just behind the pulpit. The services start at 8:30 a.m. Most of the congregation is from homes in Kohl’s Ranch, the visitors to the Ranch and some of the campers as well as residents from the surrounding area. Everyone is welcome.

Forest fires in White Mountains are really pretty scary

The forest fires are pretty darn scary. Do you know what to do in case of evacuation, or how to make your property firewise this season? There is a pamphlet out called “Living With Wildfire” published by The U.S. Forest Service. The pamphlet can be picked up at the Payson Ranger Station. There are Web sites with more information on how to enhance the protection of your community from wildfires. They are:, www.Firewise .org, wise/ There are 10 firefighters from Hellsgate Fire Department on the fires: Jeffery Yunkans, Captain Wisner, Raymond Rodriguez and Dale Hayes are on the Horseshoe II Fire. Chief Hatch, Bobby Mollere, Bob Evanson, Bobbie Doss and JR Szabo are fighting the Wallow Fire. Chad Stluka and Trey Shill from the Christopher/Kohl’s Fire Department have also gone to the Wallow Fire. Engineer Bill Dupke of Diamond Point is manning station #22 in Tonto Village while Engineer Yunkans is on the Horseshoe forest fire. Thank you Bill for filling in.

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Tonto Village holiday events were very successful

Tonto Village was almost filled to the brim with part-time residents, their families and many newcomers to our village, thanks in part to the Memorial Weekend breakfast sponsored by the Hellsgate Fire Department Auxiliary, the Fireflies.

Hellsgate Firefly Auxiliary plans holiday weekend fund-raiser

The big holiday weekend is finally here. Tonto Village is gearing up for a big weekend with many of our summer residents opening up their cabins for the season.

Hellsgate awards potluck honored many

The weather is still kind of upside down. Since this column is written on Tuesday, I don’t know if the promised rain has arrived.

Visitors need to know of fire restrictions

What is going on with this crazy weather? Tuesday morning the temperature was 29 degrees in the Village!

Watch out for cattle on Control Road

Tonto Village is being taken over by free range cattle. No matter where you look in the Village there is evidence of them everywhere with huge piles of cow patties!