Tuesday, October 31, 2006

By Jove, I think we’ve got it!

The corn stove seems to be working! It’s been burning for over an hour now.


Norm has gotten a new motor, a new vacuum thingie, new connections, he’s taken the fire box apart and cleaned the brick and air holes.

But the most important thing was the stove pipe. He took it apart and found three (THREE) dead sparrows stuck and stuffed inside, blocking most of the smoke from going out!

AH HAAA!! The light began to shine!

So, finally, we have the corn stove going. Hopefully it will run all night and begin to do the work it is intended to do …. Keep this house warm without propane!!!

And, on another note, almost as exciting, we have the studio floor done as much as it is going to be for the time being. The Barrister’s bookcase is in place (thank you, Dad) and the wool cabinet is, also. Now to put the books and magazines away and put the wool in the cupboard. The doors need to be repaired and put on, properly, but that can wait for another day.

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So, my studio is starting to shape up and I should be able to either find room for everything or throw it.

It’s 21º right now, so I’m glad the corn stove is working – making noise, which is something I’d rather not have, but heating the house, none-the-less. Tomorrow should be a beautiful day. You have a beautiful day.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Old friend, new neighbor

Yesterday, Norm came home from Church with news that he met an old friend of mine. Jody was my Sheltie’s groomer when we lived in Shakopee. She groomed Meggie for several years, then sold her salon. We continued to have Meggie groomed there until we left to move here. Jody also was a spinning student of mine.

Jody is moving down to Storden sometime soon. She and Don have bought some land, moved on a house and are preparing to retire here. Don is a metal sculpture-ist, if that is the word.

She and Don came over today to see me and our place. We had a lovely visit and renewed our friendship. We are both excited that she will eventually move down here permanently.

On another note, Katie came and stole David from us. I tried locking the door and windows and throwing myself at her to stop, but he actually went willingly (sigh). Even in the middle of a harp song, too! But, he had promised Wally to help cut wood for the winter, so he had to go! It was great having him here for the short time he was. And he promises to come back sometime soon. Katie will take him back to the cities this weekend, but we hope to go up there and collect him again for another long (longer) visit.

And on another note (yes, Heather, *I* can change subjects often, too), it was 73º here this afternoon, then the wind changed and it dropped drastically. It is now 32º, but it dropped over 20 degrees in less than two hours. The wind is whipping wildly, about 30 miles an hour and howling most drastically!!

And the stupid corn stove STILL isn’t working!!! Anyone want a cheap corn stove? I’m about ready to throw it into the trash!!

It’s going to be a windy, cold day tomorrow .. you have a beautiful day!!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Tree planting day!

Today we went over to Sister Candy’s to get some mulberry trees. They have at least one hundred of them in the grove and yard they want to get rid of. They are going to keep the best of the bigger ones, however, so they aren’t getting rid of all of them.

Norm and Wayne dug up about twelve of the little ones to plant for the beginning of our east windbreak. Mulberries are good trees to have to encourage the birds, which is one of the biggest reasons I chose them for our windbreak.

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Wayne and Norm digging the trees

David met Candy for the first time – I have been singing praises about both of them to each other; they sat and talked about archeological thingies. David had met Wayne yesterday when he and Norm went to an auction in the next town.

We got our trees home for Norm and David to plant – I went in to make French Onion soup for supper. It’s amazing how late it feels, even now, since it was pitch dark at six o’clock.

The tree planting was quite an experience for David, he tells me. One of our little red hens helped him plant the trees, and pecked him when she thought his hand was food.

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David planting with the hen's help

Norm also had an experience with HIS little red hen that followed him. He was digging the holes and putting the trees in for David to pack in. The little red hen was pecking at the edge of the hole and fell IN! Norm said she had a surprised look on her face and jumped out quickly, fluttering away. I guess she was afraid that he would put her back in the hole!

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Norm digging holes for the trees
We have three red hens left from our original four – they like people and will follow someone around when they can, hoping for food and attention.

So now our trees are planted … not very tall, as you can see, but the beginning of a windbreak for the bitter east winds that we can so often have.

It seems to be a beautiful day tomorrow. You have a beautiful day.

Did you?

Did you remember to set your clocks back last night? Or this morning?

Or were you late to something this morning?

And if you did remember, what kind of clock setter are you?

Do you set your clocks before you go to bed?

Do you set your clocks when you wake up?

Or are you a purist and get up at 3:00 in the morning and set them at the correct time?

I set some of them last night and the rest of them this morning (although I have a few more to set … like all the ones in the car and the ones in the family room).

And felt late when I woke up, thinking it was “later” – and the chickens would be upset. Well, it WAS later, the chickens were upset because I had overslept and not gotten them outside at the proper time.

It was a beautiful day today – 65º and breezy, but sunny. It will be another beautiful day tomorrow. You have a beautiful day!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Three Cheers for Carla!

My granddaughter, Carla Lynne, has gotten an award for her Shade Tree Cottage. This is a Star Award from the Sustainability Store for her work with making the environment greener.

Carla Lynne's products are made with the environment in mind and the human body's health in mind, as well.

Congratulations, Carla! I'm proud to call you mine!

Carla is having a great day! You have a beautiful day.

Gooooooooooood MORNING, everybody!

Now, as you know, I am NOT an early riser, but sometimes it just happens.

However, this time I was rewarded by an awesome sunrise. Sister Candy IS right – mornings are beautiful!!!

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Norm and David are going to an auction with Wayne. I am staying home to play with looms and such – Candy is, too. You have a beautiful day!

Friday, October 27, 2006

The end of the week

Well, it’s Friday! Where does time go?

It’s been quite a week …

Monday, of course, was taken up with the trip home from Rapid City.

Tuesday was busy with catching up on energy, mail and email. Also catching up on cuddle time with Peanut. She has gotten into the habit of running to the top of the stairs (to the basement/ family room) and hoping I will join her. Most of our cuddle time is in the recliner while I nap or watch TV.

Wednesday was laundry – it takes two of us to get that done. My lovely wringer washer has finally broken the wringer, so Norm has to help me wring the clothes out so it doesn’t take six weeks to dry them on the line! However, we do put the whites in the dryer after they have hung most of the day; because they start out so wet, they don’t get dry before dark!

Thursday was Sam’s Club day. We live one and a half hours from Mankato, which is the closest Sam’s Club, so it’s a big event. Candy, Norm and I went (Wayne was busy with electricians at their house) and spent the whole day shopping.

Norm bought us a new toilet (romantic and wonderful, isn’t he?) .. we need a new one on the main floor. He also allowed me to buy a new shower head for the basement shower – this one is a fun one that will rise up high enough so he doesn’t have to bend down to wash his hair. And I got a new kitchen faucet, with a sprayer (woo hoo!!).

We also stopped at Michaels’ ..a hobby / “toy” store to talk about framing a picture. I got a lovely 1875 print that Candy is going to help me frame and preserve. We ordered an acid free mat; Norm and Candy both have frames, so will see if there is one that works. Otherwise we will buy a frame for the picture. It is SUPPOSED to be 1875, at least. I would love to find the name of the artist, but there is no signature on the print.

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The rest was groceries – but we don’t plan on hitting Sam’s for at least another 3 months, so this is stuff to hopefully last us the winter and we will only need to get fresh things at the grocery store.

Got home in time for Katie and friend David to come for supper. David (my Rendezvous friend, remember?) is staying here for awhile and has been staying with Katie since Monday – he came home with her to hang around the area and help both families with odds and ends.

Today – a lovely 67º and no breeze until just recently. Norm and David have been working on the last little bit of the roof. I let the chickens out to graze on grass and dig in the garden. Did they like that? Is grass green?

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Chickens in the garden

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David, painting the finished part of the roof
We also paced off and dug the first bit of hole for trees. This weekend we will go over to Candy’s and get mulberry trees (they have at least 100 of them in their grove) to start a wind break on the east side of the place.

So, it’s been busy, like I said. Tonight we will start the portable grill I purchased at Big Island and grill steaks for supper, then watch a movie. I am trying a NetFlix deal to see if it really works as well as I think it will. We have “A Prairie Home Companion” tonight – I’m anxious to see it, as I love listening to it on Saturdays.

On another note, have you subscribed to Carla Lynne’s weekly newsletter? It’s full of newsy, homesteady information and a “good read.” Pop over to her place and sign up if you haven’t, already.

It was a beautiful day, today. It will be a beautiful day tomorrow. You have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

We’re back!

We stayed at the folks longer than expected. We planned on heading home on Sunday, but headed home yesterday (Monday), instead.

Mom and Dad had said to plan on taking “some” stuff home ..... Norm’s little Ford Ranger (Princess Fergie, she says her name is) was stuff to the GILLS with things!

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We got there on Thursday afternoon. Mom had set the table for TEA … with a lovely tea set from Japan. (On a side note, we lived in Japan during the 50s and Mom got lots of lovely Japanese things, not made for Americans.) Candy covets the tea set and has put her name on it for “later.”

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Thursday night was visiting with the folks.

Friday, I had lunch with Mavis, my sister-in-law. We are married to brothers, which gives us a shared sympathy – technically, I suppose you can call us sisters-in-law-in-law. We spent three hours catching up with husbands, children, grandchildren and health in general. Mavis is suffering from Arthritis and other aches and pains that she should not have. Why do the good suffer and the bad get away with good health? So we discussed medications and I hope Mavis talks to her doctor about Aleve … it is so helpful to me, with my aches and pains and Candy has prescription strength which helps her pains. The people in the Chinese restaurant were very sweet and brought us more water, offered more tea and didn’t kick us out, as we sat and talked and talked and talked!

Finally got home after that long talk and rested just a bit before friend Nancy came to pick me up for supper. Nancy is my best, oldest friend (not in years, Nancy, in TIME) … I have known her longer than any other friend; we met when I was teaching spinning through a spinning group in Rapid City. She helped me purchase my first milk cow, Ginger.

We went to Colonial House, a lovely spot just ‘under’ Dinosaur Hill, just before you start up the hill towards Mt. Rushmore. We ate and talked for over two hours! We caught up with family, friends and work (and health. It’s unfortunate that at our ages, health is such an issue!).

Then went home and I was so stuffed after two large meals that I couldn’t even have the desert offered by Mom.

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It snowed Friday night with several inches of that white stuff by morning

Saturday, I spent some time with cousins Kathy and Bess; just a short visit, but pleasant.

The rest of the time I spent visiting or packing. Candy went to visit some friends, as well, and then she visited and packed.

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Lots of stuff on the table to be packed

As I said, we were to take “some” stuff. Mom and Dad are in the planning stages of possibly moving to an apartment. Candy and Mom went to see one … a senior housing for three thousand dollars a month (!!!). I have said, for a few years, now, that possibly they could make arrangements to stay in their house and have assistance there.

Candy mentioned that and they listened (Candy is considered wiser than I am). So, as of this moment, they are moving the pantry (at least some of it) upstairs to the kitchen. They have a split level, so they drive into the garage and either store canned things in the basement or carry the fresh upstairs. If they put the canned things upstairs, they don’t have to go down to collect them.

Then we suggested they sell the motor home, which at this moment is being used as a guest room, and drive the car to where the motor home sits, which is on an inclined drive that enables them to walk to the back door / deck and not have to climb stairs as much.

So, to make a long story short, they will discuss and possibly stay in the house for awhile longer. But they are still starting to dispose of things and we are taking the best of the best home with us.

The plan was to come home on Sunday, but mid day on Saturday, Candy and I discussed staying another day. Mom kept forecasting a six foot blizzard on Sunday with clear roads on Monday (yeah, right, Mom!!) so that we would have to stay there one more day.

But we assessed our energy levels and decided to finish packing on Sunday, rest the remainder of the day and start home Monday morning, which we did.

Candy drove the whole way home … she enjoys driving and I don’t, that much. We got home around supper time and I took Candy straight home then headed to Ash Lane Farm.

Norm, Goldie and Peanut were waiting. I thought I’d lose all the skin on my face with Peanut’s excited licking! This morning we took the truck (Princess Fergie, if you remember) back to Candy’s and unpacked. We moved her big things inside, separated what was hers and mine of the little things, then headed home so that Norm could go to work.

A long trip, but a good one – got to see friends, got to visit with Mom and Dad and got a lot of talking about many different subjects that we had sometimes broached but never taken the time to discuss.

Now Mom wants to use the “underwear method” of visiting. I am sure most of you have heard about the hunters and the underwear…. There are two hunters and they are gone for several days –but each one has only one pair of underwear. They wear them one day, turn them inside out the next day, trade with the other hunter the next day and switch the inside-out-ness the last day.

So she figures that Candy and I come one month, Norm and Wayne the next, Candy and Wayne the next, Norm and I the last, then start over. The underwear factor working.

Well, something like that MIGHT work, Mom, but it’s something that has to be discussed and planned with all four of us.

Anyway, we had a great trip and it was great to be home. My hens are laying about seven eggs a day, and there are two green eggs (one larger, one smaller) nearly every day!

It will be a beautiful day tomorrow – you have a beautiful day!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fast trip coming up!

Candy and I decided, on Monday, to make a flying trip to Rapid City to see our mother. She has been lonesome and asking us to come.

This is the best (and only) time for awhile, so it has to be fast. We will spend time with her, see friends and collect some things from them and from Norm’s brother, out at the ranch.

We are taking Norm’s Ford Ranger – it’s the only thing with cruise control that is big enough to carry things.

Therefore, I will be out of contact (probably) for a few days. If my dad’s computer is back on-line (problems there), I might be able to get on and write from Rapid City.

It’s snowing today … just like last week! Candy and I are taking warm clothes, just in case it gets colder; we will also have blankets to keep us warm. We both like something on us as we drive / ride. She has something on her arthritic shoulder, I have something on my arthritic knees.

I am just about packed – need to organize my redwork basket for travel and put my pills in my purse. It will be a fun trip – I like traveling with Candy (she likes to eat, like I do, but that’s not the only reason!) We will share gas and driving. She is going to take the first shift, as we are leaving at 7:00 and I’m not awake at that time.

It’s a beautiful snowy, calm day .. you have a beautiful day!

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

We have a new family member!

Well, we have always had many members, but this one (and many other “new” ones) is one we have just met.

Norm’s cousin from the middle/north of Minnesota went to Sweden for a reunion. She became friends with Viktoria, who’s father is Norm’s second cousin – Norm’s grandfather’s brother was Viktoria’s great-grandfather.

The Minnesota cousin sent this picture …. Norm’s great-grandparents (who stayed in Sweden when Grandfather Lars John came over here) …

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It’s exciting to get to know members of the family that we have not known before. Perhaps someday we can afford to go to Sweden and meet some of them!

On another note, Peanut had her hernia operation yesterday and is less groggy and more mobile this morning. I gave her a pain pill this morning. That was delightful news to me when I found out that animals got pain medication for their operations! She also had a shot before she woke up after the operation.

Of course animal care is BIG business now, but it’s been 13 years since I had a dog have surgery of any kind. I found out about the pain medication when Joy’s dog, Tasha, had her spay surgery, but had forgotten until sister Candy mentioned it to me.

Peanut is able to walk, eat and drink without too many wobbles, but she cannot do stairs right now. I also have to be careful picking her up so I don’t grab her incision.

It’s a beautiful day – 55º and just misting … you have a beautiful day!

Sunday, October 15, 2006


We is famous! Well, at least my girls are! I was reading the November/December Countryside (yes, I know I'm running late on my reading) when I came to an article on "Welcome to My Homestead."

On page 82, there is a cute picture of two cute girls. WAIT!! Those are Ashley and Jessica, holding their favorite hens!

I had forgotten I sent that picture in a few months ago. So it was a surprise for me, but a total surprise for Norm ... he didn't know I had sent the picture in.

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What a beautiful addition to a beautiful day ... you have a beautiful day!

About chickens

This has been a “chicken weekend” for us.

It started late Friday night when Norm decided to move the chicken yard … the hens have ripped the yard to nothing but dirt, so he uprooted fence posts and moved the area to fresh grass – made the hens very happy!

Then we discovered our first green egg! For those of you who do not know, the Araucana breed of chicken lays green, blue or pinkish eggs. I ordered six of these unique hens when I got my layers this spring.

We have been getting many pullet eggs this month – the girls have been laying small eggs (will get bigger as they get older), but no colored eggs. I was beginning to doubt McMurray hatchery. They have been famous (I discovered this summer) for sending strange birds instead of the ordered ones.

Our cockerels were a prime example. We ordered “mixed heavies” and got a mix, all right! Some big, some small, some strangely mixed breeds. So I expected (feared) that our “Araucanas” were not really so.

Araucanas come originally from Chili and have been cross-bred so there are now “Americanas” and also “Easter Egg chickens” …. I believe we have the Easter Egg hens, as they don’t have any physical resemblance to the purebred Araucanas. The Araucana has no tail, usually has blue legs and has tuffs on it’s beak.

Perhaps, some day, I can get some purebred ones to go along with my Cuckoo Marans that I desire (these have CHOCOLATE colored eggs!). These are French birds!

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Disclaimer - this is NOT my picture, but from the web ..

These are Maran eggs with white and "brown" for contrast. Aren't they beautiful?

But anyway, back to the main subject, we now have at least one hen that lays green eggs.

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Notice the sizes ... one "normal" large egg, one small pullet egg and the green one ...

Then, the other chicken related happening was that I roasted a cockerel for lunch yesterday – Candy came over for a spinning lesson and Wayne came over for a short visit and lunch. I commented on the lack of breast meat on the bird and Candy said her last bird had little breast meat, too. We wondered if it were because of our strange mix of birds.

Next year, we will go to another hatchery and get decidedly heavy (heavy breasted, too) birds.

The weather yesterday was nearly perfect. The wind dropped and it got up to 50º. Today it is supposed to be warmer. Peanut and I have a ‘date’ with the barn. We are going to clean and get ready for revamping … the chickens will be moved and part of the barn will be torn down … the leaky part, which is too difficult to re-roof! I need to get the ‘new’ area ready for the hens so we can move them before it gets rainier or more snow.

It will be a beautiful day today – you have a beautiful day!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Foolish you!

So you think Friday the 13th is a bunch of malarkey? Mmmwwwwaahahahahahaaaaa! Take a tip from me.

Be prepared, be VERY prepared!!

Step number one …. Make SURE you pay your internet service bill before the deadline! Because I was gone, I was slack in getting the check out. Federated Wildblue kicks you off 3 days (THREE DAYS) after the deadline! I had to call and pay an extra month with my credit card to get back on line today!

Step number two …. Make sure your computer will re-boot when you shut it down. Mine was acting up (and you say the 13th isn’t jinxed?) and it took about 6 times to finally have it come up in SAFE MODE … then got it re-booted to normal. Whew!

Step number three …. Don’t go to the vet and find out that your precious little pup has a hernia and has to have an operation on Monday.

Note to self: NEXT Friday the 13th, don’t even get out of bed!

Tomorrow is the 14th and safer … you have a safe, beautiful day tomorrow!

Okay, this is something I’ve been thinking about

This summer, several of my blogging friends have been in accidents, near accidents or have been sick. And then there was the emergency room run Norm and I had to make in August.

I was talking to Grandma Rosie about this and got to thinking. What would happen if something tragic happened to one of my friends? Would they just disappear off the face of the blogging world and we would never hear from them again?

Actually, this has happened to many of my chatting friends over the years. I had some that I would chat with in the wee hours of the morning, night after night after night. One was from South America, one was from Seattle, Washington.

They stopped writing and I haven’t heard from them for five years. Well, take that back, the South American one used to write to me at Christmas, so I haven’t heard from him for two years!

So, what happened to them? Just got bored? Or some tragic accident? I still think about them and wonder just how things are going for them.

Then there was the case this summer of me suddenly quitting Homesteadblogger. If it hadn’t been for Carla Lynne knowing where I moved, I would have lost many of you friends, as you didn’t know where I had gone.

So, this is my thought, people. Shouldn’t we have some kind of back-up plan to let people know what happens? For instance, should we train a member of our family to post something? (I remember Carla had daughter Amy Rachel post when she was very sick!)

I know I would be very unhappy if one of you stopped posting for ever so long and disappeared from sight.

What are your thoughts? Let me know what you think. Or if you think I am paranoid!

It’s going to be a windy day today, but sunny, non-the-less. And, it’s Friday the thirteenth! You have a beautiful, hex-less day!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Friday Feast

Here is my Friday feast ... Thanks, Carla!

Appetizer - Approximately how many hours per week do you spend reading other blogs? Waaaaaay too many!! I spend at least two hours per day (YIKES).

Soup - The community wants everyone to give one thing to put into a time capsule. What item would you choose to include? Oh, possibly one of my spinning wheels or looms, with books and samples included (that's more than one?), to teach the future how to spin or weave!

Salad - What is the most interesting tourist attraction you've ever visited? Don't visit many tourist attractions - the only one that comes to mind is Mt. Rushmore - since I used to live there, I visited it quite often!

Main Course - If you could give an award to anyone for anything, who would it be and what would the award be titled? Hate to copy you, Carla, but Norm would get my award for "Most Patient Man in the Universe, for All Time" ... I would be embarrassed to mention how many times he's had to be Mr. Patience with me in our 40 years of marriage. If it weren't for him, we wouldn't be together, now - he's the glue that holds this marriage together!

Dessert – What does your favorite color revel about your personality?
Green, of course. Don't know what it says about ME, but green is grass, green is trees, green is Mother Nature, green is the best color in the world!

And everyone have a beautiful green day!


Sorry to all! I mis-took the word I used for the fulling of the wool at Big Island. It is technically "wauking" not "walking" !!!! Sorry to ALL!!

On another note, we have snow!! Real snow - about an inch or so! First snow of the season and I have sheets on the line attempting to dry!

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It is sunny but breezy and cold today - you have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Looking for a grain mill / corn cracker!

I believe I once mentioned that I can get organic grains for the chickens. Our neighbor, who supplies us with corn for the corn stove, raises organic small grains.

Unfortunately, my chickens don’t LIKE whole grains! They walk over the rye (looks like we will have rye growing next spring in the hen yard!) and ignore it. But I did test cracked rye and they will eat it!!! Strange birds!

So I have been cracking some corn and rye together with our lovely hand crank, antique corn grinder. But I do not have the strength to keep up with the amount that needs to be ground each day.

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Well, I am looking for an electric one that is affordable!! I have found one at The Country Baker … one called the “Family Mill.” It can be used by hand or by electric motor. The contact person I talked to said she used it for cracking corn.

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Most of the ones I have looked at are for flour and don’t do the extra coarse for cracking. And most are non-electric. Now, I am all for saving on electricity and other forms of energy, but I need to save MY energy and my hands for ‘more important’ things (like spinning and typing). So I need an electric mill.

Norm is going to see if he can hook our lovely antique to an electric motor (we actually have one!). If he can, then I’ll not order one. If he can’t, soon I will have an electric grinder to crack that rye the chickens won’t eat. And I will order more grains from our neighbor.

Anyone know of any other kind of electric grinder or mill that would work?

It is 30º out and changing from sleet to snow to rain to dry. Poor little Peanut says it’s too cold to go out! But it is a beautiful fall day, non-the-less. You have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Big Island, continued

After the school kids were gone on Friday, I had been invited to a Woman’s Tea at Page’s. This woman is known as “Tea Lady” – her camp name. She has offered teas and dinners for many years. She does the history of tea, the history of women in politics and many other like-minded talks, along with tea and scones, cookies, biscuits and even crumpets, sometimes. Page has down-sized, so no longer has teas for 30+ women; this tea was for about 7 women.

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A “camp name” is something that is given to you by others in the Rendezvous circuit. We have “Snake” – don’t know why that name! One lady is “Fancy” – she always dresses so. And so on. I don’t have a camp name, as I am not officially a Rendezvous-er … Neither does Norm. Wally doesn’t, as he is WALLY. Katie is usually “Mrs. Wally.” They name everyone – and even pets. A dog is named “Two Piles.” (Wonder why?)

We had invited Patience and Harley over for supper on Friday night and I made buffalo stew with dumplings over the fire pit. It turned out pretty good! I don’t like cooking over the pit, as it means bending into the smoke as well as bending, itself. Patience brought some commercial garlic toast that went very well with the stew.

And again, it was full moon and lovely out. Peanut didn’t like supper, as she had to go in her crate while we ate. I want to make or buy a basket that she can be in outside while I can’t have her on my lap. That’s in the plans for this winter. Until then, she’s in the crate, in the lodge, or tied onto a pole and on her blanket if she’s not on my lap.

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Another full moon night
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If Peanut can't be on my lap, she will 'make do' with Norm

After supper, we sat and visited (I brought Peanut back out) until they had to go “home.” Then Norm and I sat and enjoyed the evening until it was time to go to bed.

Saturday, the festival was open to the public, so we were able to wander more, but still demonstrated. This time, Peanut could either be on the ground beside me or on my lap.

I met a lovely lady called “Fingerweaver” … she does the traditional finger weaving with Canadian yarn that is the traditional colors of the old yarns. She sells pouches and sashes and garters and all kinds of things. I asked her to make Peanut a collar/leash combination so that Peanut could be more “period correct.”

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Working this craft - fingerwoven items were found in bogs in Ireland from ancient times

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Peanut's new leash

We also visited with neighbors and vendors. My favorite place to go was to the Clan Tartan village. These people interpret Scottish history of 1630 … and do it very well. They are living historians, which, unlike interpreters, ‘LIVE’ the period.

I have a good friend (you’ve already met him from the State Fair), David (Baethan). This weekend he portrayed, as well as a Scotsman, a Slovak. He and his mother made this wondrous costume for a special banquet that the Clan Tartan had Saturday night.

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"NOT Cossack, NOT Czech, NOT Russian, NOT Polish! Slovak, Slovak, Slovak!!"
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And is he TALL!!

Of course, Wally and Katie were there; Takara did some blacksmithing demonstrations, as well.

Patience and Harley were there, with friends, representing the 5th Minnesota. Harley and “Private Dill” were allowed to assist in shooting off the New Ulm cannon. This cannon was put in place in New Ulm just after the Dakota Wars of 1862. It has never been fired in a battle, so is one of the few cannons of that era that still work. It is fired only a relatively few times a year; Big Island’s Rendezvous is one of the times it is brought out and fired! It has a mighty roar and shakes the ground for a long ways away. It shook poor Peanut’s soul when she heard it and our lodge was almost half a mile away!

Friends from Groten, South Dakota, were there. Mother and daughter, they run a fiber store that sells ‘home grown’ wool processed into yarns or rovings of rainbows of colors, home dyed. I met them in New Ulm a few years ago and have become good friends with both of them. Mother offered me all the wool I wanted (raw, of course) when I needed it, as Norm told her that we would not have any sheep of our own (sigh). She was sad, too, as she had two bottle lambs she wanted me to drive over and collect and raise for my own (another sigh).

Now one of the best parts, for me, of the weekend was the Clan Tartan women doing “Walking” or “Fulling” of a wool piece that was woven by one of the ladies. My young friend, Maeve, came over to tell me that this would take place at 11:00 on Sunday, so I made sure I was there. This process is the ancient way to ‘pre-shrink’ wool before you sew it.

The wool material is put into a tub of hot water with soap and ammonia and soaked for a while to get it really wet. Then several women sit around a long table. The material is sewn into a “circle” to keep it in the round. A leader sits at the tub, pulls the material out and sends it around the circle of women. Each one grabs her handful and pounds it on the table and passes that section to the next one. It goes around and around. The last woman puts her handful into the tub and the leader again grabs it and pushes it around. This is a very difficult task to describe but fascinating to watch. The hope was to shrink the material 4 inches in width, which they did in about an hour or so.

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The tub of water with the wool being prepared for the fulling
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Moving the material around in the circle

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The material being put into the tub and pulled out again
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It's a very wet process

There is a singer who leads the singing and beats the time with a drum. The women sing a monotonous but beautiful song to hypnotize themselves and help the time go by. This is like chain gangs or railroad crews or slaves in a cotton field sing to pass their time and help an arduous task get done.

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The drum beat keeps the rhythm even for moving the material

The beat went right through me; I wanted to join in! This ancient action had fascinated me when I read about it. To be able to actually see it in the ancient way, with women dressed in the ancient manner made it all the better! Perhaps next year, I can join in!

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Maeve (on the right) and friend pushing the wool around

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend. Now to recover and have a beautiful day tomorrow. You have a beautiful day!

Monday, October 09, 2006

We’re back!

We had a wonderful 5 days in Albert Lea .. the weather was wonderful and cooperated with us marvelously.

Because we experienced so much, I’m going to post several posts and have lots of pictures. I only wish I could send the videos I took … short but interesting.

And, no, Carla, no snow. It was almost HOT on Saturday … but mild and only chilly. Rain for the last hour that we were tearing down, so we have wet canvas that we needed to hang today.

We got to Albert Lea on Wednesday afternoon for the Big Island Rendezvous / Festival. The Rendezvous has been going on for 20 years – but just recently it has changed to a History Festival and goes from the 1500s to 1900.

As we got there, we went to the registration trailer and signed in, got our medallion for the tent and location, then headed over to set up.

It normally takes us about 2 hours to set up, but having the stove for the first time really slowed us down for some reason … it took us nearly 4 hours!

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Setting up the stove pipe
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The stove kept us warm in the evenings and mornings
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The candelabra gave us light

We got the tent set up and then Norm went to park the truck and pick up some chicken dinners from the Hi-Vee deli for supper. As I was waiting, Peanut and I sat in my rocking chair, relaxing. I was surprised by voices coming out of the dark – it was Patience and Harley, coming to visit. Norm got back and we ate supper while visiting with them (they had already eaten). It was a nearly full moon that night and just cool, not cold. A great way to start the week!

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The view outside my door

Big Island had about 200 tents from Indians (well, whites portraying Indians … I never saw a true Native American dressed up) to Clan Tartan to Civil War as the newest demonstration. Some of the tents (lodges) were housed by people who just came to camp, others were demonstrators, others were vendors. Lots of people, lot of color and excitement.

Thursday morning started bright and early with school kids coming in at 8:30. Norm was sent off to another corner of the site to do his demonstrations, so he took a fly and set up down there. I got the tent so I was able to check on Peanut, in her crate (and, to be honest, visit the commode once in a while).

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Norm heading out for his station

There were a total of about 6,000 school kids that came for the two days of demonstration. They came from area schools and spent a whole day with us. I did my history of fiber bit – clothing from the beginning of the world to now. Norm does his spoon carving and showed the kids how to start from a blank piece of wood and finish up with a spoon.

The school kids were very good and pretty interested for the most part. After the school tours were over, we were free to wander and visit with friends and meet new ones.

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Kids at one station

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Potter Bill giving his demonstration
The weather, as I said, was really great. Chilly at night – we had frost one night, but we had the stove to keep the tent (excuse me, we were at a Rendezvous, so it is correct to call it a “Lodge”) warm. I also had my furry foot warmer to keep ME warm. Peanut loves being under the covers and hardly stirs the whole night.

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Peanut loves the bed so much, she even has breakfast in bed!

It sounds like it is going to rain tomorrow, but still will be a beautiful day. You have a beautiful day.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

We're outa here!!

We're leaving, very soon, for Albert Lea ... "Big Island" rendezvous. We are nearly all packed and most of my dishes are almost done (shock!)...

We will be gone until Sunday night, Monday morning. I am taking my camera with me (in my purse as I type) and will try to take lots of good pictures.

This is the first time we will have our stove along - we purchased it 5 years ago and have never needed it. But we will be using it for cooking as well as heating.

Sad Goldie will stay at home - it's too crowded in the tent with her and she will have no where to go during the day. Candy and Wayne will babysit her (again) while we are gone, as well as take care of the chickens and collect the eggs (we have gotten 6 eggs a day sometime, so the pullets are starting to lay).

Peanut will come with - she takes up such a small space and she sleeps in her crate during the day if necessary. Her crate DOES take up space, but is tall enough to be used as a table /working space, which is nice. And, she will be my foot warmer at night.

You all have a beautiful week and I will check in with pictures on Monday.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Heat and Hummingbirds

OH! Lordy, it’s hot!! It’s been 84º for two days running and is supposed to be almost as hot, today! Strange weather for October!!! In the 70s is normal, but not this hot!!

It’s hard for me to function when it’s hot. I just want to hibernate in the basement where it’s cool. But I should be packing and planning for our next grand trip.

Wednesday we leave for Albert Lea, MN, for a rendezvous / school group event. This is a humungous bunch of people ranging from Clan Tartan (early Scottish history) to post Civil War groups. We are honored to be asked to demonstrate this year with this group. We will be living in our tent until Sunday night, when we tear down and head home again.

I have to plan meals and I am not used to this: our longest events, so far, has been two days, and there is a chance I can convince Norm to go out for one meal. We have the stove ready to go and I can cook on that, if it isn’t too hot out. But if it is hot, then I need to cook on the open fire.

So I am taking ………… canned buffalo, for stew (canned by Katie and I); canned moose (canned by Katie and I), for stew (hope it’s not too much stew); canned steak soup that I canned last winter; canned spagehetti – I will break up the noodles, cook them, drain the water and add the sauce to the cooked noodles; frozen chili. Do I want to take a chicken? Nah! Let’s keep it simple here!

Breakfast? Oh, lordy! How about my favorite – hot dogs – and Norm can have cold cereal? Do I really want to do bacon and eggs and toast or waffles? (I have that lovely “new” waffle iron to try out!) We have to be ready for school kids at the ungodly hour of 9:00!!!

Don’t forget snacks --- they promised box lunches for the demonstrators, but I don’t want to bank on that, so something to eat just in case. Olive dip, gotta make that --- beef log and crackers and cheese.

Then there’s the dishes, and the pans, and the staples – butter, bacon, salt, pepper, bisquick mix for waffles, dumplings, biscuits if we want. Flour for thickening stews, eggs …. Why am I typing instead of packing?

Food for Peanut – her crate, her blanket, her leash, a water dish.

Oh, yes, water buckets! And fire wood (now we’re into Norm’s list) ..

You would think we were going to be gone for 6 months!

And I haven’t even started on the clothes – will it rain or will it be hot? Gotta take two sets of clothes … and enough for 4 days!

Will I have enough wool to spin for that long? Do I have enough embroidery or knitting to keep my hands busy during slack times?

You’d think we’d never done this before …….. well, no, not to this extent!!! I certainly hope the event meets our expectations. Friend Katie (who has been at Albert Lea for too many years to count) warned me that this one is a toughie of an event .. and she has done bigger, longer ones.

BUT (and a BIG but!) amongst all this hectic-ness and planning, there was a moment of quiet and peace and awe.

I was talking to Katie on the phone, enjoying some shade in the outside heat when I saw a hummingbird … yes, a really, truly live female ruby-throat! She was sucking nectar from my honeysuckle that is climbing on the dead tree that Norm and the girls staked back up for me. I took several pictures, but she is hidden in the leaves. Trust me, she is THERE!! A little late, I would think, for this area, so I think she came as a sign that all would be well, we would make it with few problems and enjoy the event as it is meant to be enjoyed.

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It will be a beautiful, cooler day today – you have a beautiful day!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Consider me eight!

Jessica turned eight yesterday – the 30th of September. She and Ashley were here for three days to enjoy the farm, the chickens, the trees and apples and us. (We enjoyed them, too!)

Jessica told friend Katie that she was almost eight. She said “Consider me eight because my birthday is so close!”

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Even almost eight year olds need to take naps,
especially with little dogs

We took the girls home on Friday for the family birthday party. Then came back home on Saturday morning because of a demonstration we had Saturday afternoon.

On the way to Burnsville, Jessica was singing “It’s my birthdaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!! ----------- Tomorrow!” Yesterday morning she sang “It’s my birthdaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!! TODAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!”

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We had the traditional pizza for supper, a lovely cake and candles and presents. Jessica is such a delightful child and makes even the most simple of gifts the most exciting in the whole world.

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Ashley was singing Happy Birthday through a piece of wax paper

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Now Jessica has a fleece throw like Ashley's

It is hard to believe that our blue-eyed baby is eight years old! And hard to believe that eight years ago her Grandmother Lang left us – Charlene’s funeral was just a few days before Jessica Charlene Lang was born. One life has to leave this world to allow one life to come into this world. I am told that Jessica is very much like her grandmother in many ways.

Yesterday morning we hugged the girls with extra goodbyes as they will be leaving this weekend to go back to Florida until Thanksgiving. Then headed out to Bingham Lake, a small town east of Windom. Our llama friends had asked me to demonstrate spinning llama fiber.

It blossomed into Candy weaving a wall hanging, Norm carving and selling spoons and me spinning. It was a delightful day except for the Asian beetles that were coming in out of the soybean fields with a vengeance and the little “no-see-ums” that bite both Candy and I, also with a vengeance. It doesn’t matter how much we cover up, they manage to get inside our clothing, as well. For me, Claritin and Sarna are the only things that sooth the itches and swelling.

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" Autumn under the Maple Tree"
Peanut and Goldie had gone with us to Burnsville, so they joined us at the llama farm; Goldie slept in the back of the pickup (with topper) and Peanut alternated sleeping in her crate or sitting on my lap. She added interest to our demonstration as many would fondly remember amini-dachshund of their own or a family member.

It was a long but fun day with plans for next year already in place!! It looks to be a beautiful day today – you have a beautiful day!