Monday, August 21, 2006

Just about ready!

Tomorrow is departure day for us. We will be leaving Katie’s in the morning and heading to St. Paul for the “Great Minnesota Get-Together.”

The State Fair is a BIG thing here in Minnesota. We have over a million people come to the Fair every year. I will have to keep track and let you know how many are coming each day.

Katie and I, along with her daughter Takara, will be “manning” a cabin that was built in the early 1900s. However, it was built in the north western corner of the state, and that area was still very primitive compared to the rest of the state. It was ‘discovered’ about the 1970s and moved to the Fairgrounds and restored.

The reason the cabin is so important is that our first congresswoman was born in this cabin.

Although it was built in the 1900s, it is in the style of the mid-1800s, so we ‘live’ in the 1870s. The cabin is almost empty when we move in; everything except one cupboard and the stove belong to us, so we have to haul everything from home. It takes a lot of space for all of our things … cooking, sewing, spinning, weaving, all kinds of craft and living things have to be there.

We will be gone from home for 14 days. The Fair doesn’t start until Thursday, but we are going early to clean the cabin and set up. Usually we go on Wednesday, but it’s too much to do in one day, so we will take it easy and take our time setting up.

This is the first time that Norm will be at the Fair for more than one day. Last year, and years before, he only could spare a day from Historic Murphy’s Landing. This year he will follow us on Thursday (as we don’t need him to help set up) and be there until Monday. Then he heads home and the rest of us will stay the rest of the 12 days.
When I first started working the Fair, friend Mary and I did the 12 days (12 hours a day); we had a friend who lived only about 20 minutes from the fairgrounds, so we stayed at her house. After she moved, we started staying in the campground. Then Mary got married and chose to not ‘do’ the fair, at least for a while.

This year, Katie and I purchased my brother-in-law’s camper/trailer rather than borrowing someone’s unit. There will be room for we three gals and even room for Norm (if he behaves!).

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Well, enough of this wordiness .. I was just going to pop on and say farewell for a while. I am taking my laptop to store my pictures. I hope there will be a service close by to use my wireless abilities. If so, I will be back again (sooner than you like, I suppose).

Otherwise, it will be a beautiful two weeks at the fair. You have a beautiful time, too.

Mellow Monday

This was first posted in Carla Lynne's post

Summer festivals and fairs are so much fun! All the fire departments, churches, and county fairs light the night sky with neon fun from the midway rides and fill the sky with fireworks, and food and good times are had by all.

1) Corn Dogs or BBQ Ribs? Sorry, neither dogs, grilled

2) Funnel Cakes or Cotton Candy? Funnel Cakes are great if you can share, but I head to the cotton candy every time.

3) What kind of popcorn is your favorite? Irish Kettle, Caramel, Plain ole' salt and buttah? Irish Kettle

4) Are you a thrillseeker? Do you get on the rides? We are not talking about the Thomas the Tank Engine ride. Are you kidding? I get dizzy on a Ferris Wheel!

5) For all you shore go'ers ... name your favorite flavor salt water taffy. Peppermint - we can get salt water taffy in the plains, too.

6) What is the biggest prize you have ever won on the midway games, or that someone has won for you? Nada!! Mr. Tightwad never even tried to win my affections with showing of his prowess at the games. However, he DID (in the flush of courting) buy me a cute skunk on the Midway.

7) French fries. What's your poison? Do you top them with ketchup, chili, malt vinegar, Old Bay? Ketsup, but most of the time, just alone ... Especially the 'World's Best' that we can get just around the corner from 'our' cabin ... they are freshly cut potatoes every morning. There are piles and piles of potatoes outside the back of their stand. OOOO, I'm getting hungry!

8) Caramel apple (with or without nuts) or Candy Apple? None, thank you ... don't care to eat a whole apple. However, if you cut it up for me .... without nuts.

9) Do you like fireworks? Like them from a distance. However, the State Fair has fireworks every night after the evening concert and we get them full blast. If I have been unfortunate enough to fall asleep before the fireworks, I fall out of bed with the first crack!

10) Name your favorite fair or carnival. If you are competing or demonstrating, sound off and brag. Let's hear about some state and country fairs... Well, the Minnesota State Fair, for sure. It's one of the longest running fairs .. it is advertised as "The Great Minnesota Get-together" and we have several million people come to it. Our little bit is to demonstrate 19th century living in an original cabin that built in the north western part of Minnesota. We "live" there for twelve days, twelve hours a day. We have company come to visit us and we have a lot of fun with the other exhibitors and vendors in the area. Another "fair" is the Pepin, Wisconsin, "Laura Ingalls Wilder Days" which is just a week after the State Fair

Thanks, Carla ... this one was fun. And now, back to packing!!!!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Is it Forty or Eighty?

Today is our anniversary. We have been married either forty years or eighty years, depending on who you ask.

Norm says it’s eighty – forty for each of us! I say it’s forty – forty as a couple!!

We had picked the day arbitrarily, because we decided to get married in August, not December, as first planned. After we picked the day, my mother-in-law-to-be said “That’s our anniversary, too!” Norm didn’t know – but then men don’t know dates very well! Clarice was pleased because she felt we had picked it because of their anniversary. The duo dates were great in later years so we could remember and so that we could celebrate together.

They say “Happy the bride the sun shines on.” They also say a raining wedding day is bad luck. Well, I’m here to tell you that it ain’t necessarily so!! The best luck I ever had was to marry Norm on a rainy night in August.

It was a small wedding, since we decided to get married quickly. Part of the reason was that I was going to start teaching after Labor Day, my first teaching job. My mother said I would probably do a better job of teaching if I was married instead of engaged. My dad offered to pay Norm’s first semester of college (he had gone to the Army right after high school) if we had a small wedding.

As Norm is fond of saying “I didn’t have anything better to do that weekend!” So we got married – hitched – tied the knot – whatever funny little saying goes along with a very serious, solemn occasion.

My sister Cara was bridesmaid; my sister Candy was usher, along with my sister-in-law Eileen. Norm’s brother Darrell was best man, which caused a little bit of a problem, as they normally shared a suit and both needed it that night. Norm got his first suit for the wedding! Cara and my dad sang for the wedding and that was about it. Short and sweet and lasting a lifetime.

I am fortunate that Norm honors his vows “Till death do us part.” …. Otherwise, he probably would have given up on me years ago. But he has stuck with me through thin and thick (and, lordy, am I thick today!)

And it has been forty years (might seem longer, Norm!) … hard to believe!!! It will be a beautiful, quiet day – we might have a bonfire and supper outside tonight. We went out with Candy and Wayne for dinner on Thursday night to celebrate. And bought our “new” truck for our anniversary present.

It will be a beautiful day – you have a beautiful day. And may you married couples last as long as we have (and longer) and have peace and happiness as you do!

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Friday, August 18, 2006

The great cat hunt!

Sister Candy has decided that she needs an inside cat. She gave Lil to me before she moved from her old home to her new home because Lil needed to be outside most of the time and was frightening away Candy’s birds.

Candy is more of a cat person than a dog person and decided that once she moved, she would begin looking for an indoor cat.

Candy is a ‘rescue’ person. She would prefer to get a rescued animal than a puppy from a breeder. Her animals, as mine, are almost all rescues of one sort or another. They show up at her door or she finds them in a shelter somewhere.

My Meggie was a rescue puppy, thirteen years ago. Lucky was abandoned by her mother when she was two weeks old. Lil, as I said, was Candy’s – she showed up on Candy’s door step. Goldie is the only one of my bunch that was not a rescue – Candy got her as a puppy from a breeder, then gave her to me this last fall when her Newfoundland decided Goldie was a toy to be played with and was a little to hard on her.

So, when it was time to look for Candy’s inside cat, she naturally turned to rescue shelters; on the web is the easiest place for finding a cat in this area. After several weeks of searching, she narrowed it down to three, and last night made the choice.

Today, it was off to the races! We went to Milford, Iowa, close to Spirit Lake and looked at Cali. After a little bit of playing and cuddling and talking to Cali, Candy decided that this was the cat for her!

A good trip, a sweet cat and a fun day with my sister.

Now it’s my turn! I have decided that I want a Miniature Dachshund … I had one many years ago and still think of her fondly. There was a “doxie” cross in Milford, but she was NOT my dog! Anyone know of a little girl needing rescuing?

Tomorrow is fair day – we will go watch the llama show and see more animals. The boys are going to the Threshing Bee instead of the fair, so Candy and I will be able to spend as much time as we want seeing what WE want.

You have a beautiful day!

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

One of my favorite things

In all your life, what are your favorite things to do? One of mine is talking with my granddaughters from Florida on MSN. This program allows you to hit the F2 button and chat, voice-wise. It’s not as smooth as a phone; you have to take turns talking. But it’s cheaper. We have tried all kinds of phone connections … Skype, MSN, Yahoo, to name a few. But the connections seem to be echo-y or there is a lot of lag.

Ashley and Jessica, both, can manage to hit a button and talk. It brings them closer to me and we have a great time.

Sometimes we just type and send “winks” … Jessica loves that dancing pig. But today, Ashley has decided she needs help with cross-word puzzles.

So, today, this morning, is going to be a non-working one. I will be spending most of it tied to the computer, chatting and being silly. What a way to fill a grandma’s heart! Don’t you just love technology?

Have a beautiful, heart-warming day!
Posted in Carla Lynn's Wednesday Whim

If money were no object, what is the one thing you would buy your 'better half'?

No object?

LAND (debt free) ... no, wait, that's what *I* want!
WOOD ... Butternut for carving spoons .. all the wood he could possibly imagine.
MUSCLES and HANDS ... we have so many projects that need to be done. Another body to help; young, ambitious, willing to do thing's NORM's way!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

An apology

I owe a big apology to historians, to the Native Americans and to the general public, all around.

When I was talking about the “Dakota Conflict” a few days ago, I mis-spoke. I was not clear in my head as to how to talk about it and should not have said anything at all until my head cleared.

Contrary to what I said, the Indians did not take advantage of the Civil War to have an uprising.

The Indians were starving; they had had all their treaty money stolen by dishonest traders. They were abused by government agents and they were actually told to “eat grass if they were hungry.” At the time that they reached their breaking point, the Civil War just happened to be going on.

My apologies to everyone and my thanks for a very gentle reprimand from a dear friend. Yes, I, too, feel history is very important and that we should get it right (the first time!!!).

It was my mistake to write without thinking and feel that what I wrote, although wrong, was not very wrong.

Mea culpa!!!

Have a beautiful (correct) day!

Tuesday Two

Posted from Carla Lynne

Name the last two TV shows you watched. Stargate SG1 and Fried Green Tomatos

Name the last two household chores you finished. Dishes and cooking supper

Last two food items you ate. Beef stick and cheese on crackers for supper, fresh peaches for desert, last night (nothing yet this morning)

Name two websites you visited before here. Granddaughter Carla Lynne and Redwork Designs

Name your two favorite chefs or cooks. Haven't watched cooking shows for years. I used to like Julia Child because she was good and funny.

Name two things you like to do when it rains. Sleep and read. Although crafty things are cool in the rain, too!

(And my addition to the Tuesday Two .. two things you saw yesterday!!)

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Have a beautiful, serene day!

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Great Western Swan Hunt

I have been told that swans live around here, but have never seen them. The day that we were looking (and found) our forever home, two years and four months ago, our real estate guide pointed out one lake that swans were seen. However, he had us so mixed up that I never did figure out which lake he was talking about.

However! Let me repeat! HOWEVER!! Today was the day of days! If I may wax poetic, here, a serendipitous day! Sister Candy and I were going to the “local” Wal-Mart, forty miles from home and saw birds sitting on the muskrat houses in Heron Lake. I thought they were geese but they looked pretty white. Thought nothing of it.
On our way home, feeling smug for snapping up great deals at the antique store that is closing (I got my studio railing) we were cruising past Heron Lake; I looked to the opposite side and saw white birds in the water!

“Those are SWANS!!!!” screamed I. Candy braked and looked – then we looked to the side of the lake with the muskrat houses and sure enough, swans there, too!

But not one camera between the two of us (never again quoth I!!) We slowed down and looked and identified absolutely. And agreed that perhaps we might see them again if we went back with a camera.

After Candy dropped me off, I anxiously awaited Norm’s return from Wally’s, where he had gone for tractor parts. I could have gone without him (we now have two cars, until the green van is sold), but I knew he’d kill me if I went alone.

When he got home, I grabbed my camera bag with my new telephoto lens, my tripod, extra batteries – just in case – and we headed out. Norm told me he thought I was foolish to drive fifteen miles for birds that probably wouldn’t be there. I agreed but said it was worth a shot.

When we got there, we saw swans to the east of us, swans to the west of us. The east ones were clear on the other side of the lake, so Norm parked so I could sit on the floor of the van and set up my tripod and camera. I got several pictures of a pair of swans (the two that had been sitting on the muskrat houses) and also snapped a picture of a family of Canadian Geese.

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After the pair of swans headed into the cattails, we decided to turn around and head home. I looked at the pair of swans in the distance and happened to glance in the water next to the road. SWANS!!!!

There were three of them right next to the road. So Norm turned around and we parked on the side of the road so I could take more pictures.

We figured that these were another pair and a young one – perhaps last year’s baby? Hard to say, but the two that looked bigger have tags on their wings and the young (?) one doesn’t.

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Looking in my trusty “Peterson’s North American Birds,” I see that we have them year round in this area. And, I was listening to the sound in the “Multimedia” disc I have and the sound is so close to a goose that we might be listening to swans, not geese some days – so I am going to go over to our little Lake Augusta and see if there might be some there, as well.

All in all, it was a great day! You have a beautiful, dream-filled day!

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What is it?

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Coming home from Pipestone on Saturday, we discovered this little flower under the bird feeder. Sister Candy doesn’t think it’s Nigerian Thistle, but that’s what I feed my Goldfinch. If not Nigerian, what? It sure is cute, though, as long as it doesn’t try to take over the world!

Yesterday was a non-day, as far as I am concerned. I did Redwork, chatted briefly with Candy D about transfer processing, and chatted with Sister Candy about rugs.

Candy D found a process for transferring embroidery patterns directly to material by using your InkJet printer. Take freezer paper, iron it onto muslin and print out your pattern. She is now in the process of testing to see if you can wash the muslin and not have smears or messes on the material from the ink.

Sister Candy wants to learn how to make “Wagon Wheel” rugs, as well as other types. I have a Murphy’s friend who’s mother was a rug-braider obsesser but also made toothbrush and wagon wheel rugs. Unfortunately, mother’s skills are locked in her brain and daughter cannot get them out. But Sister Candy found some books on-line (don’t you just love the Internet?) that seem to be the answer. And I promised that we’d take a bicycle wheel (the modern answer to the wagon wheel) and do some testing and trials. Between the two of us, and our friend’s memories of watching her mother, we should be able to figure it out if the books don’t help much. I did watch the wagon wheel process once or twice, but that was many years ago and I hadn’t planned on trying it myself or teaching anyone.

I believe I mentioned that Candy D had dragged me into some on-line Redwork groups. They have a lot of good ideas and places to go for patterns. And then, there are also color books! Also, I have been scanning in some “Aunt Martha” transfers that Sister Candy has, so that we can print them out, trace them with the red hot-iron pencils that I have ordered and not waste
the transfers.

It is getting close to State Fair time. One week from tomorrow (YIKES!), we leave for the Cities and the “Great Minnesota Get-Together!” Friend Katie and I ‘man’ a cabin in the Heritage Square of the State Fair grounds for twelve days, twelve hours a day. We have Katie’s daughter, Takara, along for help and also have friends come to spend time with us so there are more people and we have more activity in and around the cabin. Norm is going to come up with us to help set up, then he will stay for the first weekend and head home here to keep the home fires burning.

I am taking the computer (laptop) and I hope to find wireless connections while at the Fair, so I can communicate with you friends. But if not, I will have a lot of pictures and stories when I return to the “nether-land” of the Internet.

So now, it is time for chores; Sister Candy is picking me up for a shopping spree at an antique shop that is closing. The owner has balls and balls of wool strips that she is selling Candy for a steal; they will be used for loom rugs, wagon wheel rugs or hooked rugs, depending on the width and amount of them. Then I need to cut out a new dress for the Fair … and patch the oldest one, which has holes that show my petticoat (shock!).

It looks to be a beautiful day … you have a beautiful day!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Civil War!

Today was the first day of a Civil War event in Pipestone; Candy and Wayne joined us for the trip over (one hour) to visit our friends of the Fifth Minnesota and see what was happening there.

We arrived in Pipestone in time to catch the Fifth’s presentation. The Fifth Minnesota was based out of Albert Lea. During the War, some of the unit went down to the South to fight. Others stayed to guard the homesteaders and farmers from the Indians.

While the country was focusing thoughts towards the War, the Native Americans here on the prairies took advantage of it by beginning what is commonly called the “Dakota Conflict of 1862.”

This weekend, the Fifth Minnesota was concentrating on the Dakota Conflict while the rest of them were concentrating on the War between the States,

I got very few pictures. Unfortunately, the backdrop is lousy – the event coordinators chose to have ugly orange snow fence to enclose the area and I could not find many spots that hid the fence.

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Adam, portraying a soldier, talking about his experiences - Son David is behind him in the tent.

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Katie is portraying a newspaper reporter (yes, they DID have women reporters!)

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Neighbor Wally's blacksmith wagon set-up
On another note, what’s with the frogs? Both Candy and I have frogs, frogs, frogs. We believe them to be little leopard frogs – and they are everywhere. Anytime I step outside, I have to watch my step so I don’t squish one. They are in the garden, in the bushes, in the yard and hop away as I walk. We think they hatched out in the last big rain we had, in June, but they are still around and they are still small. Are leopard frogs small?

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It looks to be a beautiful day tomorrow. You have a beautiful day!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Well, well, well!

The Peterson’s have taken another turn on the bumpy road to fame (or not-fame). We have decided to trade in our mini-van (which, by the way, was NOT planned when we got it – I thought he wanted a station wagon, and I thought *I* wanted one, too!).

The van has had use and abuse for the past five years and it was obvious to Mr. Mechanic, if not to me, that serious work was going to be needed. Also, these mini-vans are truly NOT planned for serious hauling of heavy trailers or camper trailers.

Brother-in-law Wayne found a 1991 Ford Ranger in a neighboring town. Now, I am not a Ford fan …in fact, my obsession against and aversion to Fords has been nearly as fanatical as any fanatical religious person (of any faith). I have been faithful and true to GMCs since I was aware of the differences in makes of cars.

However, trucks and cars are two different issues when it comes to Fords, I believe. And this little truck sure is a cutie!

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Norm is not sure about not having a side door (as with the van) to help load all our camping stuff when we go, but he will get used to it, I guess. The Ranger is not much bigger than the van, but it has less mileage and (we hope) more MPG averages. And is sturdier for the work we want.

And, after all, if we DON’T like it, we can trade to something different in a year or two.

Anyone want a beautiful green Dodge Caravan?

And, on another note, Candy D is NOT helping my obsessions very much. I got her obsessed on Redwork, so what does she do? She gets herself (and me) signed up on THREE redwork mailing lists!!! No, Candy, your hubby can NOT have my phone number!! It’s not MY fault that you obsess along with me!!

Sister Candy is not helping, either! Norm and I went over this morning to help Wayne with some task. Candy dragged me upstairs to see her coloring books (she has almost as many as I, for patterns for embroidery, etc), and sent a bunch home for me to scan in patterns. She also got me drooling over her lovely silk embroidery; not that I will start that (please, powers-that-be, don’t let me obsess over silk embroidery!), but I will probably use her patterns for crewel, another obsession.

If I don’t watch these obsessions, I won’t have time for weaving or spinning! YIKES!

It looks to be a grand, obsessive day – you have a beautiful day!

Thursday, August 10, 2006


I have another caterpillar! Norm brought home some dill weed yesterday and this little bugger was on a dill weed.

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Now, last week, I went to pick Norm up at Shalom Hill Farm (a retreat for church folks where he works part time). Their dill is going mad (which is why I got some) and there were bunches of these guys on the dill.

At first look, I thought they were Monarchs, but research has found that they could be Eastern Black Swallowtails. I can’t find a picture of one that looks exactly like mine (but close). However, no research says that anything else eats dill.

Disclaimer: these two following pictures are NOT mine, but taken from the Web.

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I am tempted to put this little bugger in a jar and watch. After all, Norm can bring fresh dill home every day. And so, what else? A little water in the bottom of the jar to help keep the dill fresh and give my guy some water to drink? Answers would be appreciated!

On another note, our window boxes are starting to bloom. We are taking these to the State Fair so our cabin is more “homey” .. we got them started rather late, but will be pretty under the window sills.

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It is a muggy but beautiful day – you have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Wednesday Whimsical

Posted in Carla's blog

Well I never... have you every thought about things you have never done?

Today you will...
Name five things you have never done.

Eaten frog legs (Ewwwweeeuuuuu!)
Swum with dolphins (maybe someday)
Bunjie jumped (YIKES)
Gone to a prom (oh, well)
Driven a race car (who, ME?)

Update on my nephew

A while back, I wrote about Charles Joseph, my twenty-three year old nephew and his medical problems.

I have not heard many details, except that he is improving. And, of course, did NOT need that brain surgery! “Only” a spinal tap of some kind.

However, I do have a picture of a good looking boy that I thought you might like to see! I haven’t seen a picture of him for several years, because he’s been traveling between his mother’s place in Florida and his ‘true’ home in Alaska (Anchorage, I believe). He is working for some dinner theater and happy as a clam. He is not very communicative – what young boy really IS? I hear about him when he writes or calls his dad.

Thank you, again, for all your prayers and concerns when we were so fearful of his problems. We all hope that the solution has been found and the cure is on the way.

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(Don't you just LOVE his shirt?)

On a side note, we picked our first batch of tomatoes yesterday – they are on the way to mega-bunches of red, ripe tomatoes. Now, I do not like them much, but I love the sauces they can make. So Norm is drooling over big red lunch ones and I am drooling over the little Romas for sauce! We are on the way!!

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I caught our wild black sex-link hen who thinks she a crow! She keeps flying over our four-foot snow fence, then can’t find her way back. I clipped her one wing down some. Clipping ONE wing will make a bird lopsided and make it less easy for her to fly high enough to get over the fence (hopefully). Now I need to find the brown Auarcauna that gets out once in a while and do the same for her!

It looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day – you have a beautiful day!

Historic Murphy’s Landing (again)

We all had an easy morning on Sunday … the site doesn’t open until 12:00 noon, so we don’t have to rush quite as much as normal. We had had a storm and rain during the night so had wet picnic benches to sit on .. therefore we joined Tom and the boys (who slept in relative dryness in the barn over night) for breakfast in the barn.

The Fifth Minnesota Regiment (a living history group that has branched out of Murphy’s) were meeting for drill and their monthly meeting, so we drove down to the Town Hall (I couldn’t have walked that quarter mile for love nor money!) to see everyone and get hugs of relief over my close call.

At that time, young Catie told me she wanted me to join her in “her” house for the day – less bees there! She was in the O’Connor, a historic house built in Shakopee in the 1860s and added on to in the 1870s. As it is traditionally the Irish house, Catie has taken on an Irish persona. It has also traditionally been a boarding house, but “Miss Fletcher” and her mother had been having a hard time keeping the money coming in so they petitioned the Town Fathers for a license to have a saloon.

For Sunday, “Mrs. Fletcher” had changed to “Mrs. Fry” and was a Quaker who protested the saloon. She was accompanied by “Mrs. Krueger” in her protests. The Fifth Minnesota boys decided to stay for the day and play along. There were many times that the soldiers stood in the doorway, blocking the protesters from coming into a legal saloon. At times, the women managed to slip in and cause ruckuses.

I, as Mrs. Caroline Peterson, sat in a rocking chair, supposedly spinning quietly in a corner. However, Miss Fletcher had convinced me that I was drinking Root Beer, while all along it was truly real beer. The gals had empty beer bottles near my chair, a bunch of bottle caps on the table in the parlor / saloon. We put root beer (and is it good!) in an old fashioned beer bottle and I sat nursing my bottle, amazed at how my headache from the night before was leaving. Of course, I complained that my chair kept moving, and had to be reminded that it was a ROCKING chair.

When the protesters came in, attempting to take my bottle away, I would clutch it to my bosom and say “But, it’s ROOT beer!” I had a flushed face and was feeling loopy from the medications and the after effects of the bee sting, so I looked drunk and actually felt a little tipsy! The act was not hard to keep up.

It was a restful day and I was able to visit with friends during breaks from the guests. Then Penny, who was spinning at the Harms (“my” old house) invited me over for porch time.

I had started “porch time” my first year out – in the summer, at about 4:00, the guests start slowing down, so we would sit on my porch, facing east – you can see the guests coming down the road, you are sitting in the shade and everyone would have a craft and we would visit.

Penny is a spinning student of mine, so it was a great trip down memory lane to sit on the porch and visit with her for awhile.

I did manage, this weekend, to get a little bit of my redwork done … and scanned this in (mostly to show and encourage Candy D) this morning. I will continue to work on this project and several others. And have promised Katie to teach her during the State Fair. (This is when we work for twelve days, twelve hours a day, “living” in a cabin in the Heritage Square of the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.)

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Also, today, I made a “Lucy Locket” pocket. You all know the poem:

Lucy Locket
lost her pocket,
Kitty Fisher found it.
Not a bit of money in it,
Only 'broidery round it.
I have promised to not step out of the house without shoes (sigh) and with my Epipen with me. So I made a pocket to tie around my waist that the pen fits into. This will also work when I am in costume .. it can go under my dress and I will have it with me at all times. A change of life for me and not a pleasant one, but at least there is a life to change.

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It looks to be a beautiful day! You have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Historic Murphy’s Landing

Despite my incident on Saturday, the weekend was wonderful. Unfortunately, I did not get as many pictures taken as I had hoped. However, I got quite a few on Saturday morning.

First of all, here is the house – we lived there for five years – it was built as a one story cabin in 1860, then slowly added on, in the 1880s and then in the 1920s. It is now being used as the Interpreter’s meeting / storage place, now.

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Then here is the view I saw every morning as I went to work (or even just went out the door). This is the road that leads to the village. It is half a mile west to the outer gate, and half a mile east to the main Interpretive Center and Main Gate. It is a quarter of a mile to “my” house where I worked most of the time.

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Saturday morning I walked down (as I had left my spinning wool in the car, parked in the west parking lot) and visited with friends before heading back to the tent and the spinning wheel.

This stove has been painted and re-chromed; it is identical to the one we had in my parents’ cabin in the Black Hills. I learned to cook on that one, so I was one of the very few who could understand and actually cook well on it.

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Deanna, friend and former boss, is “housekeeper” at the Atwater, the richest house in town. Rumor had it that Queen Victoria was coming to “Eagle Creek” (our name for our village), so she was cleaning madly just in case. Gives her something to do and explains the half-cleaned walls which are truly being cleaned in off hours.

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Kevin is a good friend and a great bowl maker – he is cutting out a bowl out of pine for a friend; the tree came from the friend’s house.

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This man is a furniture-maker– he makes chairs and lovely tables. I covet the candle stand, but cannot afford it. He is extremely skilled at what he does and is very friendly and willing to tell you how he works.

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Jamie is of the family from Wisconsin that I briefly mentioned in Decorah. This weekend he was working on a cabinet and a door for it.

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Richard makes barrels and round barrel shaped boxes.

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Sigmund is from Norway. He is here, teaching knife making in Decorah, at the Vesterheim museum.

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His knives are just breathtaking. He makes them after the pattern of the Sami people in the North.

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Jamie’s brother, Tyler, was helping Tom hew logs .. they were ripping the bark off and making the round logs into square ones.

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Dave Winter was (and still is) a fiddler and musician, but Norm created a monster when he taught Dave how to work with wood. He is having fun making all kinds of characters, but he has even make a fiddle by himself. He sat with me while Norm went to get the car and he took care of the tent while we were gone, and even promised not to try to spin on the wheel!

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I believe I gave you a test/hint of what’s behind the curtain at Decorah. This time, I am going to show you. I have put up a privacy curtain to have as a wash room, bathroom and dressing room. The curtain reaches the floor so that we can have the “door“ of the tent open for people to peek into – we have the tent set up like it would have been had we truly been back in the 1800s so people can see what it was like. I can go in, change clothes, if necessary, use the “necessary” if necessary, or just wash my face when I am sweaty, and no one knows what goes on behind curtain number one!

Here is the curtain, open

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Here is a closer look of the wash stand. It holds the basin, soap, all the needs of a traveling couple.

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Here is the commode .. a reproduction of an actual antique that a dear friend, Patience, has and uses. Mine is also very useable, especially in the middle of the night.

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Tomorrow, I will tell the tale of drunk Mrs. Peterson. I think this is a long enough post, as it is. I have my pocket made for my Epipen to wear when I go outside, which makes everyone but me happy; I am downsizing the amount of Prednisone, so am getting less loopy. I am getting more breath back so I am not so breathless when walking too far, so I am slowly recovering from the scare of Saturday. I thank all of you who have written – I appreciate the concern and love that I have felt. I promise (hopefully) to never have to go through this again.

It is a beautiful day – you have a beautiful day!

Monday, August 07, 2006

I’m back and grateful for it!

This weekend at Historic Murphy’s Landing was quite an experience this time. We got to the Landing before the office closed and talked to the boss for awhile. Then went to the Red Barn area, across from our old house, and set up the tent.

There was a wedding on site, down at the West End, and the security gal stopped by to say hi. She unlocked the Ryan (our old house) so we could go in to get hot water for washing up before bedtime. We toured the house to see what they had done to it after we moved out. They have painted the walls and are using it for the interpreters’ house. They have my studio and studio closet set up for the costumes. They have our bedroom also set up for costume storage. The sewing / guest / granddaughter room is now the sewing room with all the material on shelves and the sewing machines set up.

It’s good to see the house being used. I was afraid it would sit empty. And I was not even sad about seeing my old home – just had a strange feeling. But glad enough to have a lovely home so I was not sad about the old one.

We “slept” that night – we had forgotten how noisy the Landing is! It is right next to a major highway that has cars all night and noisy trucks. And it has trains going by all day and all night – noisy trains with noisy horns! At least our new beds are comfy!

The next morning we got the outside set up for business – our friend / former boss, Deanna, stopped by to talk before getting houses open for the morning. The other woodworkers came to set up and then there was the morning meeting before starting at 10:00. It was great to see all our friends and get caught up.

I sat under the tent, spinning while Norm worked on spoons. About noon, I was stung by a sweat bee (some people call them sweet bees) … the little buggers that have a more painful sting than a bumble bee. All of a sudden, the soles of my feet started itching .. my palms started itching .. I felt funny in my tummy. Norm got some stuff from the office for bee stings but that wasn’t my problem anymore. I told Norm I had to go the hospital, so he ran to get the van, shouted at the store-keeper, Barry, to open the locked gate, drove up to the tent to get me and raced out of the Landing, beeping at people to get out of the street (we do NOT normally have vehicles on site, so no one watches the streets for cars). I told him to go through red lights, as my tongue was swelling and my throat was beginning to close. He drove on the side of the street, going through right turn lanes, honking his horn at every intersection, and got me to the emergency room in time. I was having a hard time breathing. My eyes were swelling, I had hives on my arms. We got to the emergency room, Norm shouted to the receptionist and a nurse came running. They got me into a chair and rolled me to a room and got me undressed (a funny, teaching moment, as a nurse had to help me take my dress, petticoat and chemise off, but I kept my drawers on) and on the bed.

I got oxygen, a shot in the arm and an IV in my hand. The doctor said I would be okay, in a little while, and to try to relax. I knew then, I hoped then, that I WOULD be all right, that I would live to see my daughters and granddaughters again. I am not embarrassed to say I was really, really frightened for the first time in my life. (I was not afraid for Norm, as I was driving HIM to the hospital when he broke his neck, because I thought it was whiplash or a sprain until the doctor said otherwise.)

After a couple of hours laying all tied up to monitors and things, holding Norm’s hand, the doctor said my rash was gone, my eyes were less puffy and I was going to be fine (this time). I was given prescriptions for an Epipen that I need to carry with me at all times while outside. Sister Candy said it would go with me to the barn, even. And she also said (sigh) that I could no longer go barefoot outside! A change of life styles for me!

The rest of the weekend, I will write tomorrow, with pictures of friends and the story of Mrs. Peterson getting drunk on “root” beer at the boardinghouse / saloon.

It is a beautiful day today, a beautiful day to be alive! You have a beautiful day!

Friday, August 04, 2006

We’re off, again!

This afternoon, we are heading back to Historic Murphy’s Landing, our home for six years, my work home for nine years, Norm’s for six. This time we will be volunteers.

This weekend is “Woodworking Weekend” at Murphy’s – Blacksmith Tom (you met him in Decorah) will be there in his woodworking mode; he is the one who started this and hopes to build it to be a huge meeting of woodworkers all over the area.

Tom is an artist and can put his hand to any medium and do well. The furniture that he has built for his home is breathtaking. And I have seen carvings that are out of this world!

I am taking my spinning wheel because I was asked to demonstrate, as well. I am also taking my newly-found “Redwork” embroidery. This is an old art, as is “Blackwork” and “Whitework.” (Please note: pictures are from the web, not my own. I promise a picture of my first finished Redwork when it is done!)

Blackwork is as old as the 16th century and there are patterns copied from originals in museums. It was called “Spanish Worke” because it was introduced at the same time that Catherine of Aragon came to England to marry Henry VIII’s older brother, Arthur. Traditionally, it was silk on linen. This style was used extensively on articles of clothing.

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I saw some beautiful Whitework in the Versterheim museum in Decorah last week. There were some beautiful samples done by Norwegian immigrants in the 19th century. Whitework was first noticed in the German States in the 13th and 14th centuries. Traditionally, it was linen on linen. This style was used, in the beginning, in alter cloths and other church related articles. It was not until much later that secular subjects were used.

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Redwork was popular in the later 19th century. Victorian ladies were willing to pay extra for a rich Turkey Red, which was colorfast, unlike the other dyes in use. Another reason for the choice was that Turkey Red was the only floss available in cotton. Other colored threads were in silk. Magazines sold subscriptions on the weight of free patterns that were included. There were little saw-toothed edged wheels to roll the pattern on with the use of carbon paper. (These edged wheels are still being sold for the same use today!) In the 1870s iron-on patterns were developed, making it much easier to copy patterns. This style is done on muslin with cotton threads. Children, toys, flowers and animals were popular. Most patterns were the simple back-stitch, or outline, stitch.

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I had begun doing Redwork several years ago, but my hands were giving me trouble (due, mostly, to 30+ years of spinning) and I had degenerative arthritis in my thumb. I had two surgeries on my right thumb (first one was a failure), so it has taken this long for my hand to be strong enough to actually be able to do fine embroidery again (I will never crochet or tat again, but that’s another story).

So, to make a long story short, I will be spinning and embroidering this weekend at Murphy’s Landing while Norm does his spoons – which he seems to be addicted to. I will take pictures of the crafters and the residents of the village.

It looks to be a beautiful weekend; you have a beautiful day and weekend.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Rain, rain, rain!!!!

It started raining Monday night … the temperature dropped ten degrees in less than an hour and we got an inch of rain over the night. What a wonderful, wonderful day, yesterday! The heat was fairly high – still 86º for a high and 98º heat index, but moisture, blessed moisture! And it rained again last night.

We got another inch of soaking rain overnight, so the plants and the crops are very happy.

Now, I need to finish my story of the trip. We were going to spend the night at Decorah and tear down our set-up on Sunday, but Norm, as he sat melting in the 105º heat (index), said “let’s tear down tonight and find a motel with AIR and SHOWER!!” I said it was the best thing he’d thought of since he decided to marry me!

So, despite the heat, we tore down – took “only” two hours and we persevered, knowing it would be hotter on Sunday. We said good bye to friends (they all finished about the same time as us) and grabbed a Subway sandwich before heading out. I felt so tired and hot that I couldn’t finish my six-inch sub (now, THAT’s pretty bad!!). We drove a couple of hours to New Hampton, found a Super Eight that had a nice room and collapsed. Showers, air and peace and quiet made for a restful, wonderful night.

The next day, we headed home. We had planned on going through Northern Iowa and seeing new sights. We started by driving into Mason City (home of Meredith Willson … “Music Man”). Just by serendipitous happenstance, we drove by the street that Wilson had lived on – saw a sign saying “Music Man Square.”

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The top of the museum had the lyrics all around it.

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After we spent a while looking around (place didn’t open until 1:00 and it was only 10:00), we headed out. We WERE going to go through Northern Iowa, like I said, but missed our road and ended up in Minnesota, so took a different route home. It was along country roads and ended up to be shorter than the Interstate.

We got home to blessed air conditioning, put ice in the chicken’s water and melted into naps for the afternoon.

Now, today, it is 81º and sunny, breezy and wonderful! The heat is going to stay down for a few days, at least. It is a beautiful day; you have a beautiful day!