Monday, October 29, 2007

Empty, quiet house

The kids left this morning after a very hectic few days. After the party on Saturday night and a very late arrival home, everyone slept in on Sunday morning.

Norm took the girls and Joy to church while I stayed home and baked a loaf of bread and started some applesauce. After lunch (taco salads) Candy and I went over to the farm Norm works for and collected two kittens. Candy wanted another one to help Lil with mice and I wanted another one to replace Lil (who, if you remember, moved from my house to Candy’s house earlier this fall).

Candy chose a tortoiseshell female and I chose a beautiful black Halloween male. His name is “Spook” and he’s starting to learn to be around here – it will take a while for he and Scooter to get used to each other and it will take a long time for him to get used to Peanut. The dog at the farm is a wild thing and his favorite pastime is to chase cats up trees.

Norm and the girls picked the rest of the apples. We had an apple connoisseur claim that they are “Fireside” apples and they could very well be. They are sweet and crunchy but not tart at all. They make an applesauce that is almost as sweet as our sweet yellow ones – with no sugar added.

Ashley and Jessica traded hobbies for a little while – Ashley did some weaving and Jessica did some spinning, but soon switched back. We were informed that
1. Ashley WILL get a spinning wheel and wool for Christmas and that she is going to start volunteering at Historic Murphy’s Landing AND work there when she is old enough.
2. Jessica IS going to get a loom, possibly for Christmas and she loves my “Matilda” loom that she was working on.

However, this will not happen for a while. Money is part of the problem, but also space. We know they can spin and weave all they want when they come down here – Ashley already has a loom and has to finish her project on that before she can get something else done. Norm plans on making another one for Jessica (shhh, don’t tell her) and probably re-vamping Ashley’s so that it’s a four harness rather than the two harness that she has now. Both are ready for four harnesses in weaving and will have me to help with the “dressing” of them.

We then watched a movie with popcorn (Mask of Zorro), had supper and did some weaving / spinning again. Joy was fussing that she ran out of the brown she was spinning. I had to force the girls to quit to get ready for bed. A scary story for bedtime (Icabod Crane – which is more funny than scary) and I fell into bed before Joy had stopped her spinning.

This morning the girls had to go see Spook and say goodbye to both him and Scooter as they were leaving. Saying goodbye to us was easier than usual, as we knew we’d see each other again pretty soon.So, now Joy is home; I had a nap (made Peanut happy for “lap time”), and Norm is playing (cleaning) in the garage. It has been a beautiful day – little wind, nice and sunny and warm. It’s time to collect eggs and start thinking about supper. You have a beautiful day.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The mad teacher strikes again!

I have warned people before but no one seems to listen. Get within fifty feet of a spinning wheel, mention briefly “I’ve always wanted to do that” and you are stuck – “come, sit down, try it, you’ll like it!”

Well, Joy has learned how to spin on a drop spindle, but ran out of wool at home. She forgot her drop spindle so was trying my little, cute one (that I don’t like too much – too little) and she didn’t like it either. I asked if she wanted to try spinning on the wheel! First time in thirty-four years (except when she stuck her fingers in the wheel as it was going at the age of two) that she’s shown interest in the wheel!

The rest, as they say, is history!

At the same time, Ashley grabbed a wheel and spun two bobbins semi-full of white yarn.

Jessica wanted to try weaving, so I wrote down the pattern for the table runner I’m making, watched her for awhile and then let her have it by herself. She is doing maaaaahvously, dahling!

As far as the rest of the weekend, so far, it’s been great! Joy and the kids surprised Norm for supper on Friday night; we did chicken chores in the morning and the spinning / weaving fest later on. A quick lunch and we headed to Niece’s for her open house / Halloween party. Joy and the girls were a surprise – Niece and Grandniece didn’t know they were coming.

Candy, Joy and I helped decorate and get ready with food.

The girls were supposed to be getting wood for the brand new fire pit niece’s landlord gave them but weren’t succeeding, so I went out to assist. We finally got enough wood to last the evening.

The fire pit is an old tractor tire rim, rusted out and no good for the farmer

Grandniece had several school friends come over and those girls welcomed Ashley and Jessica into their circle; all of them had a great time!

Candy and Wayne and we have a joint neighbor (he lives half way between us). His mother-in-law was the one who sold C&W their home, so he has been helping them with some of the projects. He and Wayne have become fast friends and do a lot together. He and his wife came to Niece’s party as well, last night.

Wayne and LaVerne show their true colors!

An almost full moon, a spooky-decorated house, a bonfire and family and good friends – what more can you ask for on a lovely party night?

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

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A busy week

On Sunday, Candy and I were to go to the cities, return Tasha to the kids, do a little bit of shopping and then, on Monday, go get her new spinning wheel.

Sunday morning, she emailed me (we email more than call) to say that she was just too darn tired to make the trip, so I woke Norm up and said “you’re going with me!”

We packed up the dogs, asked Candy to care for the chickens and headed out. The girls expected me and Candy, so were very surprised to see their grandpa.

We had a fun day watching the Vikings get beaten (again). Now, I am not an avid fan of the Vikings (or any team), but at least I am not a fair-weather fan. However there are many fans in Minnesota who are. Let the Vikings lose just one game and they are disgusted with the team. Let the team lose two games in a row and the fans drop them like hot-cakes and complain about the coach, the players and the whole team.

The girls DID get a little bit of embroidery time

On Monday morning, the girls and I went to the pet shop for dog food, then back home to help Joy and Norm unload stuff from the BIG trailer that the kids pulled home from Florida. We all went to Culver’s – the girls’ favorite place to eat (Florida doesn’t have Culvers and doesn’t even have cheese curds, which Ashley thinks is a crime); we had lunch there, then we headed home and they headed to their home.

Trying a paper hat on the dogs - neither of them liked it!

Joy and Norm on the computer

The end of a beautiful two days

Tuesday was lesson day; Norm taught two nights of spoon carving and I taught two nights of spinning. This night was our last night, but all of our students asked to have the classes extended, so we will make arrangement for two more nights of lessons for everyone.

Two of the girls brought wheels with them. One is a ninety-three year old wheel that was her mother’s wedding present. The other one is a double wheel – two people can spin on one wheel. From what I understand, they were most commonly used in prison – the women had to do SOMETHING to help pay for their stay; why have two wheels when one will work? One woman treadled and both of them spun on two separate flyers. Others called them gossip wheels – your neighbor could sit and talk and help you spin, as well. I have also read that they possibly were made for one woman to spin with both hands – can you imagine that? I can’t!

Ninety three year old Norwegian wheel

The double wheel - unknown age
Wednesday was Sam’s Club for Candy and I. The closest Sam’s is in Mankato, an hour away, so it usually is an almost all day event – but this time it was ONLY Sam’s and lunch. Candy loves bagels, so we went to the place that sells bagels and also serves lunch. Plus a wonderful iced green tea that has mango in it.

So, tonight is Sons of Norway – a potluck tonight, so I’m making Swedish Meatballs and noodles for my donation.

Tomorrow night (or Saturday morning), Joy and girls are coming for a few days; Saturday is my niece’s open house, which is one of the reasons that Joy is coming down. I can safely say this, here, as niece does not have on-line service, yet and doesn’t get to the library often. Joy wants to surprise her!

So, busy days – and I need to get going on apples before they start going bad. Our “Macintosh” style apples are over flowing – I keep giving them away but I keep getting more.

The weather has been wonderful since the sun came out last Friday – a little breezy but very warm and very, very sunny. The blue jays are starting to gather at my feeders again – we rarely see them in the summer – which makes interesting watching!

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

Sunday, October 21, 2007

In fall, a young man’s fancy turns to ….

House repairs! This is the time of the year that Norm looks around to see what needs to be done INSIDE.

We had guests coming on Friday – Lara and Penny from Murphy’s Landing time. I told Norm that they had chosen to sleep upstairs in the girls’ ‘suite’ rather than downstairs in the ‘normal’ guest room. I had been upstairs getting the suite cleaned and asked Norm to bring the shop vac up to vacuum up the Asian beetles that were up there.

Now, we have owned Ash Lane Farm for three years, three months and fourteen days; we have lived here for two years and twenty-one days. In all this time, the steep stairway to the upstairs has had no handrail. Every time I go up and every time I go down I mutter to myself (unless I’m actually commenting to Norm) “I need a hand rail!”

Steep stairs - no handrail (needs paint, too!)

Norm had the rail and the hardware ready for nearly a year, but never took the time to put it up. Knowing that our friends were coming, he grabbed the equipment and put the hand rail up! Wonderful!

FINALLY a handrail (this wall needs paint, too!)

Also, he has been working in the furnace room – this is the original basement that was built soon after the house was built. There is (was) a sump pump and a small, ugly square hole in the ground. The hole was boxed with wooden sides, but the box sides were higher than the floor, so it took at least an inch of water on the floor to actually get anything into the hole to be pumped out. And then the sump pump died! So Norm got a new sump pump, a plastic tub from his brother (it held mineral supplements for cattle) and dug the hole bigger. The tub has holes in the sides so that the water can seep in and the sump pump turns on when the water gets too deep. Really nice, now! And Norm turned the water softener on again. He had turned it off because the old sump pump was dead and the recharge water siphons into the sump pump hole. I don’t care too much for soft water, but there is soooo much iron in our water that all our clothes were turning yellow!

So, our friends arrived and with them arrived the first sun for almost a week! We had supper and invited Katie, who had worked at Murphy’s for awhile (that’s where I met her). After supper, Lara played her harp and Penny played the penny whistle (yes, that IS the name but she gets a lot of flak for the instrument she has chosen). I don’t have a picture of Penny – every time I aimed the camera at her, she stuck out her tongue. I didn’t think it was fair to have such a weird picture of her!

On another note, our three baby chicks that hatched while the grand-girls were here are about two months old now. Two of the three are roosters (sigh); I had let the girls chose their chicks, as they hatched when they were here but now have to take back the young roosters. I believe that next year when I purchase pullets for replacement that I will let the girls each chose one or two for their own to watch grow up.

And now, this afternoon, Norm and I are going to the cities to take Tasha home and see the kids for a short overnight. I must get packing!

It was a beautiful sunny day yesterday – it’s now a little overcast and cooler but still a beautiful day. You have a beautiful day!

Molly Update

The sweet goat, Molly Malone, was put down yesterday. Also the dog that did the damage. My friend and her fiance did lots of talking and heart searching before deciding on the dog's fate. But Molly was too injured to survive and was in great pain.

I thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers on this. My friend is recovering from the shock and pain and will survive. It will take a long time to ease the sorrow, but she will gone on from here.

I am considering, in a few months, looking for another goat for her - that I could help take care of sometime in the future.

Friday, October 19, 2007

New Link

Lehman's Country Life has moved from an on-line magazine to a blog. This is the place that I write for, occasionally. Go visit! Lots of good ideas and lots of good things to purchase from the "mother" store.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sad morning!

It is raining, again. It’s been raining since Saturday night, on and off. And been overcast and foggy. At least we don’t have strong winds. I have no clue as to how much rain we have – Norm put the rain gauge away at the first frost. But my brother-in-law said he had 2 ½ inches of rain by Tuesday afternoon!

I love rainy weather as long as it doesn’t go on for too long! But it is the perfect weather for a sad heart this morning.

I got an email from a very dear friend (my soon-to-be neighbor) about the severe injuries that her goat has gotten.

The goat, Molly Malone, is a Saanen – one of the best milkers and one of the mildest, friendliest breeds there are.

This fall, I was going to baby sit Molly and was so excited. I had started getting my barn ready, had everything (in my brain) ready for her. Then it didn’t work out, as my friend didn’t go on vacation. But she was going to come down to her farm for a week and I was going to get to play with Molly. Didn’t work this time, but I was looking forward to maybe next week!

Then the email!! My friend’s fiancĂ© has a German Shepherd male that they are going to use for breeding (have the female as well). He has developed blood lust! He already killed Molly’s kid, gotten some of her guineas and now this!

Yesterday afternoon he got lose, again, and attacked Molly! The wounds are so severe that she is afraid that Molly will not recover!

I have a sore heart for my friend, for Molly and for me. This was to be a delightful time, playing with and milking a goat – I have not milked for 18 years and miss it. I was also hoping, in the back of my mind (well, in the front, but not telling anyone but my friend) that I could get a goat once she moved here so that she could baby-sit MY goat when I was gone on trips!

Poor Molly! Poor J! And poor Hans – he will have to be euthanized. Once a dog, especially a Shepherd, gets the blood lust, there is nothing to do to change that!

Your thoughts, prayers and good energy, please, for the healing of this sweet goat! She did nothing to deserve this pain and agony that she is going through!

On another note, my sister is coming home from the Black Hills today – she was there for a doctor’s appointment and stayed with our folks. She managed to get them to go look at an apartment and they signed a lease! So, at age 87 (too young for assisted living says my dad), they will be moving from their house in about 6 weeks! They have lived in this house for over 40 years, so there is a lot to be gone through!

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

Sunday, October 14, 2007


We have rain today – it started in the night with thunder and lightning – which I discovered when Peanut said “Noise, Mommy – I want in bed NOW!”

It looks like it’s going to rain all day and even for several days in a row. My tomato crop (most of the end) is in, the potatoes are dug, the peppers are in brown sacks ripening (hopefully) and I am cooking tomato sauce on the stove. All of the yellow apples that I am GOING to process are in sauce – the rest can sit on the tree to fall for the deer this winter. I have gazillions of red apples (Macintosh style) to make into pie apples and can. With my children home, I will have a source to give these jars of goodies to and so can can with delight and know the stuff is going to be used for more than Norm and I.

The children are home! They arrived in the Cities last night, were going to take showers and fall into bed. They had a very long trip pulling a very big trailer the whole way. I was able to keep in touch with where they were as Joy called often and Ashley loves to talk on the phone. She told me they were having spaghetti for supper last night – “How?” I asked … they had put spaghetti in the cooler, then put it in the crock pot, connected to the converter that is connected to the cigarette lighter! How cool is that? They had enchiladas the night before for supper. Ken and Joy normally travel straight through from Florida to Minnesota. Ken likes to drive at night and likes to drive, period. They take turns driving and sometimes stop at a rest stop to sleep. The girls read and sleep and play games. They also have a car DVD player and are allowed to watch one movie a night, after dark. When they travel in the SUV, as this time, each girl gets a seat to herself, so there is no crowding. So, home they are and glad I am they are! I will be going up next week to see them and they will be coming here to spend some time, as well.

Yesterday was one of those most glorious October days – no wind, slightly chilly but not and breathtakingly beautiful. We went to a History Fair in Mankato to just visit and enjoy the day. I avoided bees (they were out in swarms around food booths and garbage bins) and enjoyed myself. Neither of us had to demonstrate so we could wander and talk to people we normally wouldn’t have time to talk to.

This is a “history fair” not a rendezvous or any other completely serious event. There were the truly period correct people, but there were also the fun things – fairies in the woods, games for the children, all kinds of activities. The man who owns the land wants the fair to be fun for children, and fun it is … there was even a “house” that could be put on fire and then hosed out with a pump hose like the old style firemen used.
Like I said, the weather was glorious, so I took lots of pictures for you to enjoy. It will be a beautiful (rainy) day today – you have a beautiful day!

In the 1600s camp - Clan Tartan - friend David (Bathen)

Young friend Maeve (on the left) in Clan Tartan

View of one of the camps

Medieval Camp

A clay oven - what fun to build and use

We got lots of tips on how to build and use this clay oven

A "fairy" playing the harp in the fairy grove

Two more fairies - hard to catch in daylight

Norm got two points from the flint knapper

Friend and blacksmith Wally lives in a covered wagon

I love watching Wally work

Hot metal is so awesome to watch being bent

Yes, Martha, they really DID have screwdrivers "back then!"

This log cabin is on wheels - they sleep in it instead of a tent

Some children trying their hands at sawing a log

Norm and Katie talking by Wally's set-up. It WAS a beautiful day!

Friday, October 12, 2007

News flash!

Exciting news here on the home front! My babies are coming home! Joy and Ken have packed up all their worldly goods from Florida and are moving back to Minnesota!! They will be arriving sometime early this next week!!

I’m not excited or anything! It’s not like I want them around so that I can see them whenever I need to!

Once they are moved back to their house in the Cities, they will be only 3 hours away. Joy has promised that I can have them visit for several days to a week at a time. And I can go there to stay, as well.

Joy hopes to make arrangements to come out at least once a month to play with Candy and I with out fiber stuff.

And on a fiber note, Candy has made arrangements to purchase her greatly-desired castle spinning wheel. We are going up next Sunday to stay with Joy and family then collect the wheel and bring it back home. Can I mention that she is excited too?
It’s still going to be a beautiful day … you have a beautiful day!

I foundzd it!

I had comments from those wishing that they could see the hissing cockroaches! Well, I researched my old pictures and found some pictures of the beasts!

One of the characters at Historic Murphy’s Landing was (and still is, sometimes) Almira Jensen. She is a wandering soul that is constantly looking for things to steal (excuse me, borrow). If you catch her carrying something of yours, she will claim “I FOUNDZD it!”

One day Icky Ethel came out and the two of them played with the cockroaches. These bugs are from Madagascar, I believe, and will not survive up here if they happen to escape captivity. They hiss when angry; they feel like butterflies crawling on your arm. I have held them – they are not my favorite pet but I can tolerate them when proving to manly men (who are afraid of them – names not to be divulged) that there is nothing to be afraid of.

Last summer the girls were around when we were out visiting Patience at Murphy’s and she brought her cockroaches. Jessica was fascinated with them and wanted to take some home, but wise Grandma said that Mom would not let her have them.

So, gang, here are some pictures of the hissing cockroaches. Want some? Patience has about 12 of them now, I believe!! They are easy keepers and a great conversation piece.

It’s going to be a beautiful day again today. You have a beautiful day!