Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I've been tagged

I need to tell 5 untold truths about myself. Thank you, Tammy .. don't know if I want to bare my soul to the world.

1 ... I wanted to be a boy when I was growing up

2... I am lazy (sorry, that's not untold, everyone knows that)

Gosh, this is difficult!

3... I'd rather sleep than anything - even weave! (well, that's not a secret, either)

Can I make it?

4... I want a clean house (you wouldn't know it by looking, but that goes back to # 2)

5... Deep in my heart, I am 5'6" tall with curly black hair and green eyes (wouldn't it be nice if those dreams came true?

Whew!!! I made it!

Now, it's your turn. Anyone who reads this, you are tagged ... what are your 5 untold truths? Let me know when yours is up.

Have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Weather news and Peanut

Yesterday the high was 34º and there was fog of about .10th of a mile, with no wind. There was rainy drizzle that froze on the roads, the grass and the trees.

Last night about 8:00, it started to warm up and the freeze started to melt. I could hear water dripping from the trees and the roof.

Peanut, who normally sleeps all night long without having to go outside, started getting restless about 1:30, so I had to get up to let her out (yawn). At that time, the temperature had risen to 41º and the ice was gone from the cars and driveway.

At 3:30 Peanut was up, again (YAWN)! And the temperature had risen to 47º!!! At that time, Peanut did not settle down after she was outside. She popped into her bed and was whining and scratching and fussing. Then she got up and so I got up to let her outside, but she went for a drink of water and something to eat (MIDNIGHT SNACK!!) … at that time, I noticed that there was lightning far off.

Peanut is afraid of thunder and could probably hear it from afar, even though I couldn’t. I gave up and put her in bed with me (all right, I admit it!! She is spoiled!) .. she was restless but settled down and slept, allowing me to sleep.

At 4:30 (oh, my!) the heavens opened up and dumped buckets of rain and the storm was right overhead. But Peanut and I were tucked safely in bed, so what cared we about any storm? Norm was safely in bed, too, but was sleeping so soundly, he didn’t hear anything at all until it was nearly over!

At 7:30 we all got up and started our day (finally!); it was now 49º out! But wet and soggy all over. I let the hens out and they are scratching away in the mud and putting little chicken tracks all over the driveway! We have (already) 7 eggs today! Blessed hens!

Now, at noon, it’s gone down to 46º and the wind picked up dramatically, so it is a soggy, overcast November day.

I suppose this was more information that you needed to know!!

I am working on my frozen tomatoes. Heather, they are taking longer than expected … the top ones were still frozen last night. This morning they are all thawed and hot. I have taken a potato masher and mashed most of the tomatoes. I am about ready to strain for juice, then use the grinder/masher (there IS a name for it but I can never remember it) to make my sauce. I will can both and hope there is enough for at least a little bit of fresh garden this winter.

On a silly, crazy note, I just got a call from my daughter, Jill, in Seattle. They got 3 inches of snow and the people have gone crazy! Schools closed, Burger King closed!! People are leaving their cars on the interstate, one even in the middle of the road! This for 3 inches!!!! Now, here in Minnesota, 3 inches is a dusting and no one thinks any thing of it. But I guess they have never (or rarely) had snow and people don’t know what to do! I’m sorry if I’m laughing, but Jill said that they went to Target tonight, 18 hours after the snow fell and there was no-one in the store … almost like closing! And Berger King STILL was closed!

There sounds like there will be snow tomorrow night, as well. And it will be ‘bitterly cold!’ ….. 20º, which is a mild night for us! There are days in the winter that we pray for 20º!!

So, you have a warm, beautiful day tomorrow!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Ice storm!

Oh, lordy ……we got freezing rain last night, just as predicted. It was wet last night, but this morning it is crunchy underfoot. I had a difficult time getting to the barn .. I slipped and slid and wished I had a railing from the house to the barn. When I got there, the door wouldn’t open, as the lever to hold the door closed was frozen. I had to get a stick to pound the lever to open the door!

Thankfully the chickens are toasty warm in their nice dry home. The roof is repaired, Norm has made a little door for them to go out so the big one doesn’t need to be open to the cold air, and they have deep, deep litter to keep their little feetsies dry. I got fourteen eggs on Saturday and eleven yesterday. They are happy, content and willing to give us their bounty. Thank you, hens!

Not only is it icy, it’s foggy. The visibility keeps shrinking and is down to about a quarter of a mile right now. I am so grateful we don’t need to go anywhere today –the joys of retirement!!

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Speaking of ice, it is time for me to make tomato sauce. I froze all of my tomatoes, except for eating ones for Norm, waiting for this day. We need freezer space for the new pig to come this week, so the tomatoes need to be processed. I poured them into the pot and they sounded like marbles hitting each other! Made my fingers freeze, too! I will cook them down, slowly … the frost on them will be enough liquid until they start thawing and cooking. This will be an all day project. They are straight from the garden, with no peeling or anything (except washing) Then I will strain the peels and stems out and cook them some more for the sauce. Some do spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce but I will do straight tomato, as I am not sure what I will do with the sauce until the day I decide to cook with it. If they are runny, I will strain for some juice.

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Last night I made six pints of beans. Mom gave me a package of white navy beans .. not my favorite ones (I like pintos best) but they canned up well. My goal, for beans, is to have enough canned so I don’t need to cook them in advance and don’t need to purchase the commercial ones.

As it is a chilly day, I will enjoy warping up my next project on the 15” loom. I just finished placemats and will take pictures of them when I have them sewn and washed. These are the ones I made with an old family Christmas tablecloth. I also purchased some cheap Christmas material and made a small placemat with that. The next project is still going to be Christmas placemats. I have another family tablecloth – both were stained too much for use – and more Christmas material.

It looks to stay frosty and foggy all day – a great day to be inside. You have a beautiful day!

Friday, November 24, 2006

The end of a wonderful week

We are home from the cities after being there for three wonderful, exhausting days. I love my granddaughters, but they wear me out!

And I have pictures of the entire week to share!

Of course there were the days that brother Charles and Joy and the girls were here.

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Charles and girls are peeling potatoes

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Katie is reading "Uncle Remus"

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Ashley on her bed, under a painting of my first dog, Seegoo, painted by Candy
Notice the walls in both pictures.. the previous owners ripped off antique wall-paper and left the walls as they are now. We are deciding what to do with the walls.

Then there was the lovely afternoon at Candy’s …

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Candy and Bentley

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Erin, Terry and Brook

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Candy with Erin's puppy, Buttons (a wire-haired Mini-Dachshund)

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Joy teaching Brook how to knit socks on five needles

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Girls having lunch

And then the time in the Cities with the girls, Joy and Ken and his family.

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Some watched the parade, some not

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Tasha and Peanut in their new sweaters
Anyone want a sweater for their dog, contact me ... Joy does a LOVELY job!

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A hot game of Rummy - Ken and his sister, Norm and Yvonne's son, Michael

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Girls and their cousins - the twins and Johnny

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Peanut found a friend

On the way home, we saw a lovely sunset … they are beautiful this time of year and today’s was one of the more beautiful ones!! I love prairie sunsets!!!

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It looks to be a beautiful day tomorrow; you have a beautiful day!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

What is Thanksgiving?

Today as we were getting ready for our Thanksgiving dinner, I got to thinking (yes, I KNOW I don’t do that much!) ….

And after I talked to Heather the other day, I realized how few people in the world actually knew what Thanksgiving really is for most Americans.

So, this is for everyone not American (US citizens … Canadians are technically Americans, too!) …….

Thanksgiving, to me, is family, first and foremost. Families travel from far and wide to get together for this one important day. Joy, Ken and girls came from Florida.

It is missing family who are not here – Jill and Eric are in Seattle and could not come home at this time.

It is turkey and dressing (stuffing), potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes and cranberries, some sweet jello salad, rolls and vegetable tray. It is scalloped corn and olives.

It is excited girls helping get the table ready for three or four or five times the amount of people who normally eat around it.

It is getting up at 6:00 in the morning to put the turkey in the oven.

It is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. It is football for some, visiting for others. It is children excitedly playing together. It is card games.

It is pumpkin pie in the evening, being too stuffed to think about ‘supper’ after a large, large meal in the late afternoon.

It is people complaining about being too full but getting more to eat.

Thanksgiving is a time to step out of the normal realm of life and stopping to give thanks for your life, your family, your gifts from the Almighty.

For those of you who don’t know the history, the Pilgrims came from Europe in the 1600s and started a colony on the east coast. They set aside a day of thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest and for the survival of their people. There had been sickness and starvation their first winter here that took the lives of nearly half of the colony.

During the Civil War, in the 1860s, Lincoln proclaimed the fourth Thursday of November as a national holiday.

One year ago, Norm and I were in the hospital waiting for a decision on surgery or not for his broken neck. So this is a time for us to stop and be thankful for Norm’s life as well as the change in life that his broken neck has given us. To be thankful for the skill of the doctors and nurses who helped him in his healing and helped me in my distress.

This year, we are with Joy and her family. Her father-in-law and one sister-in-law and some of her children are also here. Yvonne has several boys and twin girls, just five years old. Some of her family stayed home and her husband is working this holiday.

So this time has been a time of catch-up with her family and mine and a time of excitement since the girls have been in Florida and haven’t seen their cousins for a long time.

I am here on Joy’s computer and have no way of downloading pictures, so I will do that when I get home. I will have pictures of this whole week of Thanksgiving for us.

On this Thanksgiving Day, I would like to give thanks for all my internet friends who have become so dear. I hope that some day we will be able to meet face-to-face. Until then, you have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thanksgiving week

I know (and so do most of you) that Thanksgiving is a day … but this has been a week of Thanksgiving.

My brother, Charles, came from my folks on Sunday … he had had an early thanksgiving with them, then brought some things from them to Candy and I. I got an antique office chair, complete with squeaks; Norm has repaired the broken part, now needs to oil or grease it so it rolls better and doesn’t squeak as much. He’s afraid that I will wake him up when I’m on the computer early in the morning (well, not as early as some, Carla, but earlier than HE gets up, most days!).

Sunday was an absolutely glorious day! It was warm (high 50s), no wind and lots of sunshine. I was out in shirt sleeves!

Yesterday, Joy and the girls came. They had flown into the cities from Florida on Thursday last and came to spend a couple of days with us. Joy brought Peanut and Cricket new sweaters that she knit. The girls brought hugs and kisses and lots of loving.

Thanks to my router that Charles bought me at Easter, both he and Joy could get online with their laptops. So there was the war of the laptops … with me in the computer room because my battery doesn’t work very long and there wasn’t enough room on the table AND on the extension cord that ran to the other side of the kitchen. Nothing is funnier than ‘chatting’ on Yahoo with someone in the next room! They also tried voice, but Joy doesn’t have a microphone and I could hear her complaining about that when her voice didn’t carry over the computer but from that other room.

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The war of the computers

The weather was cold and windy and over cast and rather nasty out. The wind was so bad that we were afraid we’d get blown away! But we had a glorious sunset to compensate!

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The girls bundled up in the cold to collect eggs

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Sunset - what a beauty

Last night Katie, Wally, Takara and David (staying with the Hunters for a while) came over for a supper that was scalloped potatoes, the last of last year’s ham, hard rolls, and trimmings. I tried a new recipe for rice pudding that was not only yummy for me, who doesn’t LIKE rice pudding, but yummy for two little girls who don’t like it, either!!

After supper, David brought my harp down from the studio and he and Takara played songs and entertained us. David plays the violin, fiddle and other stringed instruments and is teaching himself the harp when he has one available. Takara has a harp and is learning, herself. Mine sits and waits from me to play, often for a very long time. Now that my hand is stronger, I am practicing. I play ONLY for myself, as I am NOT very good at it!

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This morning we went over to Candy’s. My niece, Brook, was here with her family – husband Terry and daughter Erin. Erin and Ashley are about two months apart in age. The weather, again, was glorious, and the girls spent most of the day outside playing.

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Drawing in the road --- Erin is without a sweater but the Florida girls are used to warmer weather!

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The men are dicussing world problems (or hunting)

I would have more pictures to show you, but my battery died, so I have to depend on Joy and Charles for their pictures. I will collect them in the next few days and show you.

Erin has a new puppy, Buttons – she is a wire-haired mini-dachshund …and almost the same size as Peanut, even though she is only five months old. Now, Peanut has not played with another dog since she got here. Buttons had no one to play with as the other dogs feel it’s ‘beneath them’ to play with her. Peanut and Buttons took one look at each other and it was hell-bent-for-leather and watch-out-Suzie! They chased each other all over, Peanut would grab Buttons by the neck and drag her all over. They growled and snarled and raced and jumped and had a wonderful time! Both were totally worn out by mid-day!

Joy taught Brook how to knit socks and Candy wrote down the directions and watched closely. Both knit, but slowly, and are both still learning. It was great to watch the cousins sit head to head working on the stitches. Joy’s socks are becoming famous – we have many in the family asking her to knit their socks.

Joy has come to an arrangement with everyone. If you want socks, you buy your yarn and the same amount of yarn for her and she will do the labor. She feels it’s a good deal and so do all of us!

Then it was ‘give an hug and say goodbye’ … and off we came home for a turkey breast and some of the trimmings … Charles hasn’t had enough turkey so he got one for tonight (I plan on sending the rest home with him for sandwiches on the way).

Joy and girls went home tonight, as Daddy is flying home from Florida tomorrow. We are heading over to their place tomorrow, as well. We will be taking David home before we go to Joy’s. Charles will head home to Oklahoma tomorrow as well.

I will make sure to have extra batteries with me for the camera and take a bunch of Thanksgiving pictures. When we get home on Friday, I will have more to show everyone!!

This evening, just before the girls and Joy went home, I got a phone call from Heather in Canada! She discovered that she can call the States free, so had decided I would be one of the fortunate ones to get a call. It was great – you can chat on line, you can send emails, but nothing makes real contact like a phone call if you can’t be face-to-face. Thank you, Heather – it was great fun and I hope we can do it again! I hope your wrists and ankles feel better, soon!

These next few days are supposed to be un-seasonally warm. It is now 39º at 11:00 at night!! What a beautiful day! You have a beautiful day.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Did you watch the meteor shower last night?

Nope, I didn’t … had intentions to do so, but was busy picking rocks out of corn. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, the corn supply is dropping rapidly. What we thought would be about three months supply is looking to be only a month’s supply.

So our free corn is going fast, but that means it won’t be long before we can purchase good CLEAN corn and not have to sit and divide corn from rocks. I will admit, though, that the corn doesn’t have too many rocks … about three or four for a pie-plate of corn. My hands are so sore and so dry from this work every night – however, it gives me a great excuse to watch movies all night long!

David has gone over to Katie’s for a few days … I let him go, unwillingly, but know that the Hunters want to see him, too, for a while.

Brother Charles will be here sometime this afternoon – I’m planning chicken noodle (or dumpling) soup for supper. He will be here until Wednesday.

Joy and the girls should be here sometime today … they might be here until Tuesday night.

Niece Brook and family will be at her mom’s (Candy) from tomorrow until after Thanksgiving. So we will be getting together on Tuesday so everyone can see each other for awhile.

Only Jill will be missing – she and Eric are settled in the Seattle area – Federal Way, for anyone who is familiar with that area – but they WILL be home for Christmas!!

We have rearranged the bedroom (suite) upstairs in the girls’ area. When we have a lot of people staying, Joy and Ken will sleep upstairs with the girls … which means that Ashley and Jessica have to share a double bed. So we took down one of the double beds and put up the twin beds for them. Now they will have their own beds even when the parents are up there.

When Norm and David went to get the beds and mattresses out of storage, they discovered that the mattresses were coated with Asian beetles and their eggs. So we will have a ‘burning of the mattress’ party. And we are using our camping mattresses for the beds. Great idea – now we don’t need to find storage space for the mattresses and the girls will not need the beds when we are gone on our events!!

Chickens are laying about ten eggs a day … keeping us, Candy and Katie in plenty of eggs. The other day, we got a humungous green egg and it was a double yoker!! What a pleasant surprise!

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

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A sad day

Yesterday afternoon, I received a phone call from a friend in Pepin, Wisconsin. A young man from our Pepin “tribe” was killed in a car accident yesterday.

This is Jamie, the oldest boy of the family I have talked about often. The family is one who lives as many of us desire to live … off the land for the most part and as simple as possible. They have a phone, but no computer, no internet. They use the city library for internet research if need be.

They farm with horses, have their own honey, raise their own food. And they demonstrate these “old” skills at several events during the year. They are home-schooled and home-churched. A fine, fine family and one that does not deserve this kind of tragedy hitting them.

Jamie was 24 – a fine woodcarver, woodworker, an apprentice blacksmith. He wanted to be a veterinarian and was already, before any formal schooling, helping neighbor farmers with their medical needs for the animals in their care.

Jamie was cheerful, helpful, charming, giving. I have never heard a bad word about him or from him since I first met him. He was curious and eager to learn anything and everything he could. Jamie will be missed by many, many people.

Rest in peace, sweet Jamie!

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

When is Thanksgiving?

I got to thinking …. Do YOU know when Thanksgiving is? Or Christmas? Or Easter?

Back in my school days, things like this were drilled into our heads. Along with the date that Columbus discovered America (1492).

What do they teach children in school these days? Do they know important dates … when Lincoln was shot? (April 14, 1865) When Kennedy was shot? (November 22, 1963) Do they even KNOW who Lincoln was? Or Kennedy?

Can the kids make change without a register that tells them the change? Can they tell time without a digital clock?

Yes, many know more about electronics than we ‘old folks’ but what else do they know?

Can they do math without a calculator? Do they know the capitols of the states? Do they know all of the states? Can they write a short story? Can they spell?

Just for fun and giggles, ask a few people around you – even some adults….. when is Thanksgiving? When is Christmas?

Don’t bother about Easter – I can never figure that one out, either – it is always the first Sunday after the last something or other –the first full moon of the last month of the next year of the seventeenth trimester. It’s when the astronomers decide, somehow.

I ask young people and children sometimes .. not the younger ones – they wouldn’t have learned that, yet.

“When is Thanksgiving?” …. “Is it in November?” “I think it’s on a Thursday this year.”

Thanksgiving is ALWAYS on a Thursday – the 4th Thursday of November – which is why it’s so early this year – the 23rd …because the 1st was on a Wednesday.

“When is Christmas? “ “I think it’s on the 25th this year.”

Christmas is ALWAYS on the 25th .. no matter what day it is.

“When is the Forth of July?” “I’m not sure … is it in July?” Duh!!!

This goes back to my complaint in May about Memorial Day. Are they going to change Independence Day and Christmas to suit the general public and have them on the first Monday of July or the last Monday of December?

Go ahead and ask someone and see what the answer is. Are we ‘dumbing down’ America? What DO they teach children these days?

Have a beautiful, educational day!

Technology done done me in!

I had written my post for the day very, VERY early in the morning … Goldie got me up and it wasn’t worth going back to bed.

So I wrote my post, went to publish it and surprise all of you who know my sleeping habits. “What is she doing up so EARLY?” you would say!

However, Blogspot is not working right now and I cannot publish anything (even this!). Hence my surprise to all of you is ruined. You won’t believe I was up that early and it will not be posted until way past my getting up time (might even be way past my bedtime!).

Ah, well, such is life! Have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Another trip completed!

Candy and I went to the Cities on Sunday for fun and to collect friend David for a week or so.

We left early Sunday morning with the girls … Candy brought Cricket’s bed to sleep in while in the car and Norm said “Peanut doesn’t have a bed!” which was the clue that I would be allowed to get Peanut a bed. Peanut has been sleeping on cushions but evidentially Norm feels that a bed is necessary!

We stopped in Mankato to get the mat and frame for my lovely 1870s print and a frame for a picture of Norm. Then found a cat bed for Peanut. The dog beds were pretty expensive and there was no happy medium between the tiny, too small, bed and the medium, too big, bed. But Cricket sleeps in a cat bed and we found one the same size. It is just perfect for her and she loves it. I put it in the car and she hopped in and curled up. I also got her a sweater – her lovely fur collar coat I got is too big and I have to do some major work to make it fit … little legs trip up if the coat / shirt / sweater has sleeves too long.

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My 1870s spinner in her mat and frame

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This was a picture taken of Norm by a newspaper photographer;
it was in the Minneapolis Tribune a few years ago

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Peanut is eating breakfast in her new bed

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Peanut's new sweater
Many people wonder why you put sweaters or jackets on dogs. Well, with Cricket, it’s extremely necessary, as she has such thin skin and very little belly hair. She gets cold when it’s only 30º out – or even warmer if it’s wet out. If she is to go out to do her business, she needs something to keep her warm. Peanut has thicker skin and thicker, courser hair, but she gets cold, too, and she is so low to the ground she needs something to cover her tummy to keep that dry and warm.

We stopped at a plant store and Candy got some new African Violets and I got a small cyclamen.

A fun day – then we got KFC and sat watching a movie (or two) at Joy’s house. Joy and family are still in Florida, so it was a very quiet, too quiet, house.

Monday we got up at the crack of dawn, had breakfast at I-Hop, and headed through rush hour traffic to get David, who lives in the south east section of Minneapolis itself.

I have been saying that David lives in St. Paul, as he is on the east side of the Mississippi. That is the “rule” – the river divides the two cities. However, David’s area is the only area that belongs to Minneapolis on the east side of the river.

That area is the original St. Anthony – one of the earliest cities in the state.

Then we headed up to our friend Detta in Maple Plain who has a store in her house. I tried out a few spinning wheels, as did Candy. David just looked around and asked questions and drooled.

I ended up buying a new spinning wheel. David has found a friend who will buy one of my student wheels; I have wanted a “period correct” wheel for ever-so-long, and this Kromski Mazurka is perfect. Small, able to travel well, it is a Polish wheel. But a Swedish woman could very well have a Polish wheel, as there has been Polish / Swedish relations for hundreds of years. I chose a new one that has not been finished yet, as it was cheaper than the lovely stained one also available.

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Needs to be taken apart, stained and sanded - but it is period correct - no plastic pieces
We stopped, also, at St. Peter. This has a woolen mill that has been in action since the late 1800s. They don’t MAKE yarn, they card wool into quilt bats. I have two lovely wool mattress pads that they made for me (big bucks, but worth it). They also sell yarn and quilt material and tools of all kinds for fiber stuff. Candy talked to the clerks and found there is a teacher of rug hooking from up north who is giving lessons. She is hoping to find a guild in the reasonably close area to join.

Then home before dark. Norm helped unload, then he and David went back to Norm’s chosen chore for the day – repairing and roofing the chicken house. The north side is pretty well dry but the south side leaks like there is no roof!

An easy supper – tator tots and canned baked beans with hot dogs cut up in them. And leftover baked custard for dessert. Early bed for me while the boys watched “My Name is Nobody” and picked rocks out of corn.

A great trip, a fun trip and productive, as well. We both got things that are not available in this area or are too expensive.

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is getting so close!! The weather changes from cold, wintery, with snow to mild (37º right now), sunny and almost hot. Strange weather!!! Global Warming?? According to “experts,” there IS no such thing … what do you think?

Have a beautiful day!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Holy cow!

What a difference!! Two days ago it was 81º and look at this morning!!

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Luckily we got the hens moved last night.

Here is the old place … leaking and snow on the floor, already.

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Here is the new place … lots of thick hay for a bed, new feeder that won’t get dirty and water up on a block to stay clean!

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Harley, too shy to show his face, is looking at the corner

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Rupert showing the girls the new feeder
This morning I left them in the pen until about noon so that they would know where the nest boxes were and where the roost was. The hens have all (but one) laid in the boxes – one new one is laying on the floor, so far.

I also found a nest of six green eggs. Our escape artist (before we let the gate open) evidentially chose that place because she was always getting into the main barn if I had the half door open and she’s a green egg layer. I tested them, found them good and boiled them for Norm … he had two for lunch.

“Now, how do you test eggs?” I can hear some people ask. If you are unsure of the age of the egg and you are pretty sure they have not been “set” on (clucky hen trying to make babies), you can put them in water. There is an air pocket in the tip of the egg … the fresher the egg, the smaller the air pocket, and vice versa. If the egg is very stale, nearly rotten, it will float. If the egg is just a little stale, it will start to float but the bottom will stay on the “floor” of the water container.

If, by chance, the egg is starting to grow into a chicken, it will not float, so you cannot tell a fresh egg from a started chick by floating. If you feel that you have the chance of a started egg, you must “candle” it … in a dark place, put a flashlight to the egg and you should be able to see through it. No growth, it’s safe .. any kind of blood vessels or anything else, it’s a new baby coming.

Today was the anniversary of the Edmund Fitzgerald … many people in Minnesota remember that day in 1975 … others just know of the song by Gordon Lightfoot – “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

It was cold today but will be nicer tomorrow. You have a beautiful day.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


We got it done! Moved the chickens to their new home (“Pictures at 10:00”).

I have been wanting to move the chickens back to the original spot we had them – in the middle pen of the barn. But it’s smaller than the pen they now have and would be too small for all of them. So I organized my brain (hard, yes, I know, but I DID it!) and had Norm help with the muscle work.

He (and Wayne) got a new gate made to enlarge the pen to almost twice the size and all we needed to do was move the nest boxes and the roost.

Tonight was the night. We moved the nest boxes, moved the night light (on a timer, now, so it runs until 10:00 and then shuts off so the hens can get their beauty sleep), pushed the objecting hens off the roost and moved that. Then, as Norm was hanging the new hanging feeder and getting a block for the water pan, I started shoo-ing the hens into the new pen. (“Go to the light! Go to the light!”) Many objected and fought me but after Norm got done with his stuff, he came in and helped move them in.

We left them to get used to their new pen. I think I’ll leave them locked in for about half a day so they can get used to the nest boxes and knowing where the food is. Then we will let them out a door and they will go out the normal door in the old pen, until we tear down that part of the barn.

Now, if you think you’re confused with this, don’t feel you are alone. I had to put this on paper for Norm to understand, which didn’t work, so I had to take his little hand and walk him to the barn and point out my plan (twice, even!) before he realized what I was talking about. And he has the advantage of living here and seeing the barn every day!!

I will take pictures tomorrow so that you understand a little bit more (if you are that interested).

One note .. for those who asked me about Harley --- we have known for a while that Rupert does his duty for the hens, but have been unsure about Harley. Well, as we moved the gals and guys to the new home, Rupert got a night-time romantic feeling. Harley said “If Rupert can do it, so can I” and grabbed the nearest hen. So, yes, both guys are now showing their man-hood!!

It was 81º yesterday, 51º today and will be about 38º tomorrow. Don’t you just love weather swings?? You have a beautiful day!

Thursday Three

Thank you, Carla!! Another cool one!

Name your three favorite articles of clothing or things you wear?

1 Sweat pants (winter), loose stretchy pants (summer)
2 My feet (if at all possible) – socks or slippers when it’s too cold
3 My owl pendant

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

She growled at me!

No, not Peanut! She never growls at me (but she does at strangers). Even when we are wrestling (with her in my lap), she lets me put my fingers in her mouth with no problem.

But a Barred Rock hen growled at me! I went in to collect eggs and she was sitting on the nest. When I went to put my hand under her breast, she growled and yowled at me and pecked my sleeve (missed my hand, thank goodness).

Now, when hens do that, normally they are starting to be “clucky” – they want to set on a bunch of eggs and have babies. But in the fall? Come on, now, lady!! This is the wrong time of the year!!! Get a grip and do this in the spring!

So although I know that there are eggs under her, I will have to wait until (if) she gets off that nest to collect them. Peanut and I will have to go to the barn later on today.

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Barred Rock (on left) ... Green egg layer on right

Speaking of Peanut, she is doing so well. She doesn’t come when she is called unless she wants to. But she knows “barn” and “house” and will head to either if I tell her. I need to work on her recall abilities. However, she knows “stay” and will stop where ever she is when I shout that and I can go get her.

I wish she was afraid of cars, so we need to figure out a way to get her to stay away from them. If some one drives in, she will try to run to the car, barking, and no-one can see her because she is so small. That is the biggest problem we have to solve.

She loves to cuddle and is so excited when I sit down for her to be in my lap. She is not supposed to be there when I’m on the computer (but she is, now, by the way … I’m such a softie) and has a pillow next to my chair. She does not sleep in bed with me (well, not often) … she has her own bed next to the night stand. She is not TOO spoiled, I don’t think .. at least she is not given people food and she only barks when someone comes (or Norm makes noise outside).

So, my little Peanut, for me, is practically perfect in every way … I should call her Mary Poppins!!

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It is another beautiful day, with 60º and sun. Elections are over, so election adds are done for awhile. You have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tuesday Two

This is from Carla Lynne, again … she is SOOOOOO clever!

Out of the two choices, which one better describes you? Post the answers on your blog and leave a link to it in the comments section. That way, others can come visit your blog and see your answers!

Who or which do you resemble or identify with more – just pick one:
1) Soup or Salad? Soup … I love a good, hearty soup
2) Whistle or hum? Hum – can't whistle to save my soul
3) Plane or train? Train – I love the trains – planes are okay but not fun
4) Scuba dive or sky dive? Scuba dive – I love swimming, don’t like falling
5) Spiderman or Superman? Superman – especially Christopher Reeve
6) Quilt or down comforter? Quilt … yummy comfort
7) Ocean or mountain? Tough one, but I always feel invigorated near the ocean
8) Coffee or tea? Tea – can’t stand the taste of coffee, but I love the smell
9) Goats or sheep? Tough choice, I love them both. I would take sheep if I had to make the choice. Can I have one of each?
10) Plaid or polka dot? Plaid … like Carla, Tartan!!! Drummond Tartan, thank you very much!

Did you vote?

Did you vote for the “right” party? Will your party win?

Today was the first day for us to vote here in our new area. It was a delight to go – no crowding (although there were many people there!); we saw people we knew – how many can say that in a large community? We never saw anyone we knew when we voted in Shakopee, unless we took our friend Deanna with us! Well, take that back – one of our friends is a voting officer (or whatever his title) so he was there to assist and we always saw him. But no-one else that we knew, because the area is so large and there are so many people there.

But in Storden, we knew the gal behind the table and had seen faces of many of the others there.

Now, I was told (or I understood) that we had to have electronic voting machines but we were handed paper ballots. The three voting cupboards (or whatever they are called) were filled, so we were allowed to go sit at a table if we wanted. We didn’t have to hide behind a curtain to vote. Norm and I sat side by side and marked our ballots.

While we were voting, I watched as several were trying to insert their ballots into a machine that COUNTS the ballots as they go in. It was not working! There were about ten people waiting to put their ballots into this machine.

Then the gal who is in charge came out of the office and said that we could put our ballots into this slot under the machine and they would be inserted into the counter later, when it was fixed. She had been on the phone with a technician who was coming out to fix it.

As I got my pretty little “I voted” sticker, I commented that I thought there were supposed to be machines and she pointed to one in the corner that looked kind of like a cross between a lap top computer and a printer. “You could have used that if you wanted to” she said. NOW she tells me!

But I would rather trust my own little pen on paper, even if the counter isn’t working. I know my vote (for the “right people”) will be counted and I will be instrumental in selecting the government for the next two years.

Now, I read the other day that the voting record for the United States is very sad, but that for some reason we “toughies” in the Northern states have higher records than the “softies” in the South. I don’t know about that. I do know there have been many years that I have had to struggle to drive to the polling place. Not this year!! It’s 64º and breezy. Overcast, so it feels cooler, but there’s no snow to plow through THIS year!!

I hope you all have (or will) voted and done your duty to God and your country! Have a beautiful day!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Tired of eggs, yet?

I have another picture of some of my eggs. Today we got 10 eggs (yippee!!). I was able to send two dozen eggs home with Katie today and sent two dozen home with Candy on Saturday. And we have two dozen, plus, here for us to use.

Here is a picture of some of the eggs we got today. The green eggs are three different colors, running from Khaki to blue-green. The pink egg is pretty obviously pink today. And I have a big egg with freckles. Cool, huh?

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Today it was in the 60s again, and Norm worked on the garage roof. He got the worst leaks fixed, hopefully.

Katie and Takara came over today – she found a rigid heddle loom at a garage sale and we have finally gotten time to work on it. Takara chose navy blue, Christmas green and black for the warp, out of Peaches and Cream cotton yarn. She is going to make a lap rug – comfy blanket – for herself. She started to warp the yarn with what I have here, but we may need to get some more yarn to finish the warp, not alone have enough for the weft. It will be checked, and similar in color to a “Black Watch” tartan.

Tomorrow is election day. Go out and do your duty and may the best party win! It will be a beautiful election day for us. You have a beautiful day.

More eggs!

Candy and I were looking at the eggs we collected on Saturday and she pointed out that one of the eggs was NOT a light tan, but technically PINK! And said that she had collected one of those (while we were gone one time this early fall) before we started getting the green eggs.

Now, “pink” is a relative term. As you can see in the picture, it’s really hard to tell from the light brown egg. But it IS a pinkish hue, so we can call it pink. The hen that laid this one was probably one of the white/black/grey ones.

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Green, brown and "pink" eggs

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Possible pink egg layer

And still three green eggs every other day … I love them!

Last night, Norm called me out to see the full moon and get a picture. The November full moon is called the “Hunter’s Moon” or “Frost Moon,” depending on who you ask.

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Hunter's Moon

Full Moon names date back to Native Americans in what is now the northern and eastern United States. The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full Moon. Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred. There was some variation in the Moon names, but in general, the same ones were current throughout the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior. European settlers followed that custom and created some of their own names.

Hunter’s moon makes sense – this is the hunting season … deer season started Saturday, here. Pheasant and duck seasons have been going the whole month of October.

It is a foggy morning, promising to be a delightful day! You have a beautiful day!

Mellow Monday

Carla Lynne has put up the Mellow Monday ..

What are five things that made you smile this weekend?

1 Sister Candy dressing a small loom for another project (and me weaving while I’m watching)
2 Norm and brother-in-law Wayne working in the barn
3 Peanut scurrying around looking for me instead of sleeping in the chair without me
4 The weather!! It was 63º yesterday and no wind!! It will be the same for two more days!
5 Watching “The Fugitive” from Netflix (I’m trying it for awhile) and filling our corn bins with clean corn.

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

Friday, November 03, 2006

My sweet hens!

I got three green eggs yesterday! It is so exciting to get those green babies! I love my brown eggs, too, but the green ones are so fun!

If you will notice in the picture – I have three of each – brown and green. The green ones are different in color as well as size. The newest green one was humungous, like the big brown one.

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I normally get a few big eggs and then the rest are the small pullet eggs. However, the big green one was the FIRST one for the Araucana hen, so it’s surprising that it is so BIG!

The green ones are different, not only in size, but in color. There is one that is kind of khaki-green, one that is blue-green and one that is green-green. The brown ones, too, are different colors, ranging from a pinkish-brown to almost a tan.

Someday, I hope to get those Marans from France that have chocolate colored eggs.

In case you haven’t guessed, I love colored eggs. I love eggs. I love my chickens!

On another note, Kaitlin from California asked another question, but left no email to directly answer her … so here is the answer:

No, corn stoves do not pop popcorn! The kernels come directly from the field after being shelled off the cob. Pop corn is a different ‘breed’ of corn – this is field corn that is used mostly for cattle feed. The auger puts it into the fire and it burns but doesn’t pop. The best way to see this is to buy some sweet corn on the cob, dry it, shell it and put it in a pot (outside) and set it on fire. Corn is difficult to start, so you need some paper and probably some kind of fire-starter. It will burn, and will burn HOT but will not pop. Then take some popcorn and try the same thing … it will pop – but a lot of it will burn, as well. The popping needs to be done at a lower heat the actual fire.

Does that answer your question?

Norm is off to collect some more corn from the road, but will be more careful this time to try to collect with less rocks. I spent a lot of yesterday afternoon culling rocks from corn. Norm did so last night (my hands hurt too much to continue) and also some this morning. But we might have to buy some corn from Barry to assist until we have caught up – it takes too long to cull rocks to keep up with the fire if we are totally out of clean corn.

It’s going to be a beautiful day! We will be going to the concert tonight for a Norwegian group called the Habbestad Ensemble. It sounds like it will be a fun time! You have a beautiful day!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

What is a Corn Stove?

I was asked by someone who did not leave a name or email to write back to. I hope he / she is reading this.

A corn stove is a stove that is a heat stove, on the same lines as a wood burning stove. I suppose the best name would be "corn burning stove" ...

This is a stove with a hopper to hold kernels of corn - off the cob. The hopper feeds the corn with an auger that puts it into a firebox a few kernels at a time. The fire box has a stirrer that stirs up the corn and fly ash and clinkers. There is a fan that kicks heat out.

Corn makes clinkers, not actual ash, but there is "fly ash" which is lighter. That is stored in an ash box below the stove to be deposited outside. The stirrer keeps the corn from caking.

If you use oyster shell, the clinkers actually break up into tiny particles rather than caking on the stirrer.

We have duct work going from the stove to the propane furnace and allows us to use the heat vents to warm the whole house.

I hope that answers your questions. If you have more, please email me!

Have a beautiful day!

Free corn for the taking!

Yesterday we got a phone call from our neighbor, Barry. He is the one who supplies us with our corn. He had spilled a lot on the road while heading to the Co-Op the other day. We could have all we could scoop up for free.

We headed to the road where the corn was – it was in a long row along the side of the road – Barry had already swept it off the road and had collected some for his cattle.

The free corn is great – we have a large amount; it’s hard to tell how long it will last, but I’m guessing at least a month if not two!

The only downside is the labor to get it! It was frigid yesterday with a horrible north wind blowing in our faces. Norm and I took scoop shovels (mine is a small plastic child-sized one) and filled buckets and wash tubs and garbage cans full. The poor truck was groaning and laying on it’s axles when done.

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It doesn't look like much corn, but it's pretty thick in spots
and if you don't grab gravel ....
and this strip goes for nearly a mile!

The other labor is to get the corn separated from the dirt and gravel we picked up, no matter how careful. *I* was careful, but Norm wasn’t, to his sorrow. He was picking up every grain he could get, no matter how much gravel and dirt he got. Now we (he, mostly) have to screen it for the dirt and small gravel and hand pick it for the larger stones that are the same size as the corn.

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Scooping it into the sieve - the chickens get the gravel and extra corn that slides through

But, it’s free! And just in time – we were nearly out of corn and Barry doesn’t really have time to load us up with corn, because of the harvest – he’s frantically trying to get everything in before the next snow, which will come soon, I am sure!

And, on the very same note, only different!! The corn stove is W*O*R*K*I*N*G!!! We have had it running for 36 hours, with only one burp that stopped it yesterday. The temperature in the house is a balmy 67º and I am in short sleeves and bare feet! We can turn the heat up – the stove is set at the lowest temperature right now – when we have guests .. the only downside to that is to prepare in advance. It takes quite a while (a couple of hours, at least) to raise the temperature to any degree.

I forgot to wish you all a happy November. It is overcast, 27º and windy, yet it still is a beautiful day. You have a beautiful day!