Thursday, March 27, 2008

Snow!

We woke up this morning to four inches of snow, as promised. However, I never believe the promises unless they actually come to fruition! And this one did! What a change, overnight!


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View from my bedroom window of the lilac bushes

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What wild animal is this? Any guesses? (Answer in the next post!)

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Spook is enjoying the snow

And we have tons and tons of “snow birds” – Juncos. I love them – they are so soft looking and sweet looking. They always gather in strength, it seems, when there is snow coming or is snow on the ground. Today was no different.

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Have I mentioned - I love Juncos!

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I believe this is a female Purple Finch
On another note, Joy has a lovely slide show on her blog that has more Easter pictures. Step over and see them, if you like! Someday I might put a slide show on my blog.

And on another, more exciting note, my son-in-law, Ken (husband to Joy, not to be confused with son-in-law Eric, married to Jill) has a new job. He has just accepted a position as a trouble-shooter of some kind for construction. This will be a traveling situation, I believe. Right now he is in Florida, working with his new boss, then will come home for a week, then head out to New Mexico for six months. The plan, as of right now, is that Joy and the girls will join him during most of that time. Congratulations, Ken!! Good luck in your new job!!

A beautiful snowy day but the snow is melting already – a great boost in the moisture department. You have a beautiful day!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A lilac story

Farm Girl mentioned that she loved lilacs and wanted to hear other people’s lilac stories. So, here’s mine.

I have always loved lilacs, since I was a little girl. One of my favorite books was (and is) “Under the Lilacs” by Louisa May Alcott. In this story, in case you don’t know it, two little girls make a playhouse under a large lilac bush.

I remember my uncle’s house, in Seattle, that had a very large lilac bush next to the house with a fence separating the bush from the back yard and another one separating it from the next door neighbor’s. It made a great hidey-hole and playhouse for a little girl. I thought I was hidden from the world but the family always knew where I was because it was my favorite place to go.

When I was a bit older, I remember a huge lilac bush in my aunt’s backyard. Auntie Pete, in North Dakota, owned a hotel and this large lilac bush was next to the garage. It was big enough to hide in and play in. The garage, if I remember right, had a window that opened into the bush so that a little (bigger, but still little) girl could crawl through the window and have two ways into a secret hidey-hole.

We always had at least a small bush of lilacs in any house that we owned as I was growing up. Our home is in South Dakota – my grandmother lived in North Dakota. Each spring my mother would package up some nearly open lilacs and send them up to Nana, as ours would bloom sooner than hers would. Nana’s favorite scent, by the way, was lilac!


Lilacs respond to severe grooming if you are careful not to cut too close to the ground. If you cut the bush to about 6 to 12 inches from the ground, it will grow back bushier and thicker. This can be done in the spring, when the blooms are gone, in the fall, when the leaves are falling or in the winter, when the sap is not running.

When Norm and I were first married, our first house was on a small lot of land that had a strip of lilacs in the front and a row of them along the driveway. They were pretty scraggly, so I spent a long spring down on the ground cutting off all the stems to about 6” high. My neighbor told me that I was ruining good lilacs, but the next spring they were growing back just fine. I drove by the house about 10 years later and they were totally awesome in their tightness and neatness! And they were very tall, too!

In 1971 my parents purchased a piece of land in the Black Hills; the land had a cabin / house that had been built in the 1880s. There was a humungous old lilac that we figured was about 90 years old, at least! We decided not to cut it down, but to let it grow wild in all its glory. The springtime out at the cabin was luxuriously fragrant with all the blooms the bush had.

We now have, at Ash Lane Farm, a large bush out our back door. It is scraggly and leggy; there are very few blooms each spring. This year is THE year! I have convinced Norm to cut down the tall scraggly limbs and start the bush over. We are going to trim them this spring before the blooms come. I will miss a year of blooms but expect the bush to look totally awesome by next spring and be rewarded by more blooms than I can possibly pick and bring into the house.

I have always picked lilac blooms and brought them into the house; some people think the scent is too strong but I can take that strong smell – it’s a scent of spring. You can be rich or you can be poor but you can always have the sight and scent of lilacs in the spring! I may be too old and stiff to crawl through a tunnel of lilacs but I will never be too old to love lilacs.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The busy-ness is over

We had a short, fast, fun weekend. Joy and family came on Saturday morning; Charles and my folks came Saturday afternoon.

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Norm put up hooks for the girls to hang their coats - and Bubba says "No one else!"

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Egg dyeing time

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Bubba loves her hat!

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Even two golden eggs!

Charles dropped the folks off at Candy’s for the night, then came over for hamburger soup and a bed. Charles, Ken and Joy stayed up until almost midnight talking but the rest of us went to bed rather early.

Sunday was church, and then Candy, Wayne and the folks came over for the traditional ham dinner. Of course there were cribbage games, tri-onimos and king’s corner, the three favorite games of the moment.


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Lo! The Easter Bunny cometh!

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A beautiful gang!

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Easter Tree

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Jill, notice the book??

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The only mar on the weekend was that Jill and Eric were not here. We talked about them and missed them. Hopefully the next family get-together will have all my children together!

Everyone headed home on Monday morning, leaving an empty house but good memories.

On another note, this is a very special day today. It is the anniversary of my grandmother’s birthday. She died when she was nearly 101. Also, it is my niece, Cookie’s birthday. She was named for Nana; Nana’s name was Caroline and Cookie’s name means “Little Lena” – as many knew Nana as “Lena”. Also, last, but not least, it is also Norm’s niece’s birthday. Quite a memorable day! Happy birthday, Glenda and Cookie!


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Nana and Cookie on a joint birthday

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"Caroline" - named after Nana - is also my character name
It was a beautiful day – there was some sunshine, a lot of wind, but the temperature was above freezing so that was good, in itself! You have a beautiful day!
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Friday, March 21, 2008

Is your egg standing?

Mine isn’t and I can’t figure out why! This is the time of the year that an egg will stand on edge for at least a week – something to do with the Equinox and the way the earth is bending or moving or something. But this year …………

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However, we do have robins back! And grackles (not that I am crazy about grackles but they ARE a sign of spring!). Sister Candy just saw a red-headed finch! She gets more variety than I do!

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This weekend, being Easter, I am having family here. Joy and family will arrive tomorrow morning; brother Charles, with our parents, will arrive tomorrow night. The folks are staying with Candy and the rest are staying here. Niece Cookie might be here if the weather is too bad to go to the cities – she has been invited by a cousin to join them there this year.

Jill and Eric cannot be here (sigh) because she can’t get enough time off to make it worthwhile to be here. But we will see them soon, as they are coming in June for Eric’s graduation ceremony. He is very near completion of his schooling!! Congratulations, Eric! I am sure they will be here in spirit.

However, Jill and Ashley are working on a “beam-me-up-Scottie” device so that we can all be zapped instantaneously to a common meeting spot. I hope they finish it soon!

Speaking of Jill, she has gotten a promotion at work. She is now a “lead” in her department; this makes it possible for her to tell others what to do! Congratulations, Jill!

It’s above freezing today but raining so it’s soggy and damp and chilly, but at least the wind is not blowing (whew!). It was blowing gales last night from the north. When we get a north wind, there is someplace on the house / roof that sounds like it’s going to go any minute, so we lay in bed listening to the noise and wondering how soon our house will collapse. At least *I* wonder!! Norm claims the house is secure, no matter what it sounds like!

So, spring is supposedly here! I hope so, but will believe it when I feel it! We still have nearly two months before we can safely plant in the garden. Seeds can go in by the middle of May, perhaps, but plants themselves can’t go in until the end of May unless you are really, really brave!

It will be a beautiful weekend, no matter what the weather. You have a beautiful weekend! Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ah was jus’ a thinkin’

Norm and I went to the Sons of Norway meeting yesterday morning. It is always an enjoyable time, seeing friends that I see only once a month (or sometimes, like this winter, once every THREE months!).

When we said the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the National Anthem, it reminded me of the flack that has been going around about the Pledge and the Anthem and Barack Obama.

Now, I do NOT want to go political, here – I am obsessively allergic to talking politics, but it has made me angry that people are pointing to one picture and trying to prove that an American wants to ruin the nation and turn us all into Muslims.

As I was looking around the room at the Sons of Norway meeting, I saw that everyone had their hand over their heart at the Pledge but only ONE had his hand over his heart at the Anthem. I, personally, was raised to stand when the Anthem was played, to look at the flag and sing. The hand-over-the-heart thing was not required or expected.

This whole hand-over-the-heart for the Anthem is a new thing and most people do NOT do it! Barack was probably raised, as I was, to know that it is not necessary. Just because he didn’t do it does not mean he’s not a loyal, patriotic American. I wish the people that use it as fodder for trashing him would stop, but wishing won’t work. If wishes were horses, we all would ride and my barn would be FULL of horses!!!

I have a friend - and I still consider him a friend despite his angry and vicious attacks on Barack – that sends emails out almost daily about Barack. It makes me sick to my stomach.

I would like to state, here, that if these attacks were on anyone else, it would make me just as sick. I hate any vicious attacks on anyone who is brave enough to stand up and attempt to lead our country.

I used to tell my girls that if they had any thoughts of running for public office that they should start as infants and make sure their lives were pure as the driven snow; otherwise someone would attack them about their past lives!

Oh, well … that’s my rant of the day. It will be sunny, supposedly, and wamish, without much wind. It will be a beautiful day for working outside.

Friend Jody and her fiancé Don came over yesterday. Don called and said – we can only get one station and my old school’s girls’ basketball team is playing in the State finals, may I come over and watch? I am so pleased that they are so comfortable in asking and coming over. Don and Norm watched the game; Jody and I drank mint tea (she had a tummy ache) and solved more problems of the world.

When the game was over (they lost), Don came upstairs and picked on me. He’s Norwegian, I am a quarter Norwegian and I don’t like lutefisk! He promises to make me some this next Christmas and promises that I will love it. In reality, I have never HAD it – the smell is always so bad I can’t get past that! Don cooks his in the plastic bag in the microwave and there is no smell. Wonder if I could convince him to boil the bag in hot water on the stove – a little less plastic pollutants there, I would think!

Our snow is nearly gone and there is actually SOME green grass. The hens love being outside in the fresh air; they pick on the old grass and look for new green stuff.


You have a beautiful, non-political day!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Norm's Nook

I have finally put some pictures on Norm's blog. These are spoons and other items of wood for sale. I apologize to Renee and her nephew for taking so long!

I hope to take some pictures of him working so you can see the way he works on the spoons.

Enjoy the spoons and things. I love looking at them and wish they could ALL be mine! However, his selling them at our events pays for our gas and food and sometimes even more!

Have a beautiful day!


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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Great Minnesota Sleepover

Or, my weekend in New Ulm.

New Ulm, Minnesota, hosts the Black Powder Trade Fair every year on the second weekend of March. This is a time for all the Rendezvousers to meet and talk about the winter and get ready for the new season. Traders are out in force, hoping to tempt the Rendezvousers and visitors with their wares: leather, clothing, yarn, wool, candy, honey, cooking pots, glassware – all kinds of really neat things that you cannot live without.

The “fun-est” thing, I think, about this weekend is the camping out, sleeping over, spending the night in the hall. If you purchase a medallion, you have permission to throw your sleeping bag, your blankets or your mattress under (or beside) your table and spend the night. There is no fee, no motel room, no motor home in the parking lot. Although some do have a motor home or camper or go to a motel, a lot of people “rough” it in Turner Hall.

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In bed, already

Norm and I have two tables – one for me and my stuff for spinning and weaving, one for Norm and his spoons. We both demonstrate and Norm sells spoons and spatulas. These tables are downstairs, in the less crowded area. The downstairs was originally planned for demonstrators only, but it is so crowded upstairs that some of the vendors have moved down.

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I will put more spoon pictures on Norm's blog

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This event is so popular that tables are valued highly. If you get a table, you treasure it and don’t let it out of your grasp. There is a waiting list for people who want a trade table; the story is that someone has to die for a table to become available. We are fortunate that we are deemed demonstrators rather than traders and were allowed downstairs. We have had one table since 2001 and just last year were given a second table.

This is a time to see all of our friends. We haven’t seen most of them since “Big Island” in October of last year. Also, many non-traders, non-Rendezvousers come to visit and purchase. I had several of Murphy’s Landing friends come in – they sit and talk for awhile before heading out to dig through treasures on tables. My sister and her daughter, Cookie, came, also. Last year was Candy’s first trip; this year Cookie came. She had a great time – I enjoyed walking through the isles with her and seeing her delight in many of the articles for sale. At this time, she helped me pick out a ring; I am not much for jewelry, but this ring just popped out at me. Candy didn’t help – she was busy digging through beads and finding treasures there – authentic trade beads from the past.

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My new ring

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Kelly from Natural Colored Wool Studio

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The tempting table across the way (I got Candy a tea kettle from her)

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The leatherman
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Ole Olesen and Marie from the Natural Colored Wool Studio
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Metal engraving

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The engraving on a gun stock

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I drooled over this lap rug but Norm said "make one yourself!"

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Yummy wools to take home and play with

Too soon it was time to pack up and head home, knowing we would see these friends somewhere down the road; I was anxious to get home to my own bed and Peanut (who can’t join us at this event) and peace and quiet.

On another note, Jody invited us to her place to see the yaks. Don has decided to get into the “yakkity-yak” business and purchased two bred cows, a calf and a bull. They are not tame – in fact the bull is very protective of his girls and is pretty dangerous, but Don is determined to tame them down. He has one cow licking his hand; once she has attempted to gore him through the fence, she settles down and smells his hand.

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The bull
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The "baby"
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Can't get close to the cows

It was 60º yesterday and very little wind. A beautiful day; today is supposed to be just as beautiful. You have a beautiful day.