Friday, June 27, 2008

An update for Eric

Jill informed me, today, that Eric's information on the graduation flyer was wrong - he is not Cum Laude, he is Suma Cum Laude - which means he needs (and has) a 4.00 average - which is an "A" average.

More than congratulations are due - congrats heaped upon congrats to you, Eric!!! We are doubly proud of you!!

I would download another picture of Eric, but my photobucket says my user name is not available!!

We are in South Dakota, about ready to go to a family picnic. Joy and family are here and the girls are very excited about meeting cousins they've never met before.

Have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Graduation time!

This weekend we went to the cities to meet Jill and Eric for a whirlwind of celebrations for Eric’s graduation. Now, he is going to DeVry in Washington, but he was allowed to graduate here so that the family could be involved in the celebration. Eric actually has two classes left and will be finished with school in October.

Norm and I stayed at Joy’s with Peanut. Joy and family, being in Los Alamos, couldn’t make it, but sent greetings to Eric and Jill. On our way to the cities, we went up to Detta’s Spindle to collect my new spinning wheel that I’ve been paying for this winter. She is a Lenox “Bonnie,” a double treadle wheel made of cherry wood. While there, I collected some carders for Candy and some wool for Joy and for Jody (in thanks for babysitting the cats and chickens).



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We met with Jill and Eric on Friday after lunch and went shopping at Target for some things, then went to their motel room, where we met with Eric’s folks and Grandma. We left Peanut in her crate with Remy, in his crate, and went to Olive Garden (my FAVORITE place) for supper (dinner for sophisticated people).

Then spent some time visiting at the motel and headed “home.” On Saturday, early, we went to Eric’s brother’s house, left Peanut there and headed to the Center for the graduation. It was a small ceremony – DeVry in the Cities is a small school so there were only about 30 people graduating, either in the Bachelor of Science category or in the Masters category. Eric has (or will have?) a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems with a Cum Laude grade. If you notice in some of the pictures, he is actually wearing two tassels. You generally wear a different colored tassel for Cum Laude, then they are designated gold and the Computer section also has a gold tassel, hence the two to allow people to know he has a Cum Laude. (For those of you not in America or for those of you who don’t know, Cum Laude means a grade point average of 3.5, or a B+ average, something rather difficult to maintain.)

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After the ceremony, we went back to Eric’s brother’s house (rather close by) for a hot dog / brat lunch; we sat in the sun or under the shade umbrella and talked and played with the dogs. Brandon and Lindsey have a Chihuahua / Yorkshire Terrier mix dog that is adorable but so very, very hyperactive! She has two modes – running all the time or sleeping.

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Then back “home” for a nap and then out again to Eric’s favorite restaurant – a German one. This was a new experience for me – they don’t just serve food, they serve entertainment. An accordion player wanders around playing and singing and getting the guests to join in. Those who have gone before know the routine; the musician plays and sings a ditty and the guests join – then there is a “hoy, hoy, hoy!” and glasses or mugs clink and you drink your beer. Beer is served in liters or half-liters; the food is totally German but very good. We ordered several platters and shared around. The platters were humongous metal ones on wooden trays (like the steak ones in good steak houses) and were placed on individual heating trays.


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We also had a couple of deserts that were passed around for a forkful of taste each. By the time we left I was stuffed to the gills! I don’t like beer so I ordered some sparkling Asti Spumante for the occasion.

Now, as some of you (but not all of you) know, I do not do well with crowds, noisy places or late nights (or excessive alcohol, for that matter). That’s one of the big reasons why we live in the country. I can chose my “crowds,” noise and the hour of retiring. Also the amount of alcohol that is being served. But besides all those reasons for NOT having a good time, I HAD a good time. It was even FUN! I got to visit with some of the friends that I had met at Jill and Eric’s wedding (a whole ten years ago next month – can you believe it?) and with Eric’s parents, Marie and Jerry and Eric’s grandmother, as well.

Fortunately for me, however, we did leave reasonably early, as Grandma wanted to go home (hurray for Grandma!). We had ridden with Jerry and Marie and Grandma from the motel, as Norm was afraid he’d lose his way (very easy to do). The noise of the polka band in the basement was vibrating on our feet and in my head. We said goodbye to everyone and headed “home” again.

Peanut was at the door to meet us; Joy’s father-in-law, Bill came up from his basement apartment to visit for awhile. Then bed, a short night and up to get ready to head home on Sunday morning. We took a window that Ken had set aside and the spinning wheel, which made a rather crowded van. We then stopped at Mankato to collect some shingles for the barn; lunch at Culvers and then home.


A long weekend but lots of fun. And now to prepare for the NEXT one! We now go to South Dakota for Norm’s family reunion. We will leave tomorrow or Thursday and be gone about a week. I hope to be able to post while we are gone, at least a little bit. It is a beautiful day today – you have a beautiful day!

Monday, June 16, 2008

How time flies!

Today is the 2nd anniversary of my blog on blogspot. Before that, I was on Homesteadblogger but moved in June of 2006.

It’s been a pleasant 2 years and I’ve enjoyed it immensely. I hope that you have enjoyed my daily life, as well.

To celebrate, I have some pictures of my flowers that are finally blooming. Enjoy and have a beautiful day.



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The grove is green again!

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The girls look for the "lion head" in the grove

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Proud to be Norwegian

Well, I’m only one-quarter Norwegian, but ………………..

My grandmother (on my mother’s side), Nana, was born in Norway so I feel more Norwegian because of her and her culture and cooking.

But this Sons of Norway convention was fun in that we saw lots and lots of Norwegian cultural things. Vikings and “Oofta” things and rosemalling and lefsa and hardanger!

We set up on Thursday morning at a large civic center in Mankato and opened to the public and to the delegates for the convention at noon. I didn’t take many pictures because I was busy learning THINGS and meeting people.



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Setting up shop

Ole Oleson, my dear adversary, was there. We have known each other for over ten years; every time we are together, we bicker and fight. Don’t know why – it’s been that way since the beginning. When we both worked for Historic Murphy’s Landing, we were not allowed to sit close to each other at meetings because we couldn’t stop picking on each other.

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Ole teaches Norwegian Immigration

I met Carolyn who is a musician and has wanted to learn to weave for over forty years. She purchased a rigid heddle loom without knowing what to do with it. I showed her my weavings to show her what she could make, then sent her over to the other side of the arena to talk to a vender / weaver who had a rigid heddle loom there to show her HOW to weave.

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I met the Hardanger twins! Yes, these girls are really and truly twins. One of them (please don’t ask me which) has done hardanger for over thirty years and she taught her sister sometime recently. They gave me a kit and I struggled (yes, really, really struggled) for over two days – but I finally am NEARLY finished. I will take a picture of the piece when I’m done. Hardanger is a skill that I have wanted to learn for a long time!

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Hardanger is pretty much solidly Norwegian in background and has been around for at least four hundred years (sorry, I’m too tired / lazy to look up the details). It’s normally done white on white but can be done in color – which, by the way, became more popular when the Norwegians came over to America. I was using tan on white so I could see my mistakes (thousands of them) and pull them out to try again and again more easily than if it was white.

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There were reindeer! Really live ones! The reindeer, of course, come from northern Norway. These are raised near Mankato and are taken around for educational demonstrations, especially at Christmas time. The reindeer “farmers” have about fifty animals; they use the antlers for jewelry, key chains, chandeliers, etc. In fact they sell so many pieces that they have had to purchase antlers from other “farmers” around the country. The bulls lose their antlers before the cows, but both lose them once a year. The ones that came this year are yearling cows and were so funny – they liked to play with the water bucket and would knock it over so often that the owners finally only allowed them drinks once or twice a day because they were constantly refilling and mopping up.

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There was a Viking encampment (sorry, no pictures – got so busy talking) and there was a gal with them that is a “Vőlva” – a stav carrier that is a traveling teacher, healer, midwife, and magic worker using stavs, runes, and herbs. She brought her stav over and sang a song in time with my spinning. She is AWESOME and I hope to get to know her better – we have read some of the same books and agree on the fiber history, as it is known. Go visit her at her

home to see some of the ideas that she teaches.

Kari brought over a cd that she had made and traded for a spoon of Norm’s.

Norm sold some spoons, a scoop and a leather bag. I sold a linen runner (to Carolyn) and sold some yarn – pretty exciting. I was going to buy a doll but decided to get Norm a new hat for Father’s Day, instead.

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Ole is eating some of my flat bread - everyone liked it~

We stayed in a dorm at the college each night – pretty cheap but pretty good sleeping. Then packed up on Saturday evening, had “Old Country Buffet” for supper (Norm’s favorite place) and headed home.

Between Wayne and Jody, Peanut had been taken care of but I found that perhaps I could have taken her – one of the Vikings had her dog along. But it would have been difficult to have her in the dorm. If she wanted an early morning run, we couldn’t have gotten out of the dorm (or back in).

Now we are home and unpacking and reorganizing. Next weekend we will go to the cities for Eric’s graduation.

It’s a beautiful day today – you have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Flot Brod

Or … Norwegian Flat Bread! The immigrants made a lot of these, wrapped them in towels and took them along with them on the ships for food. They stay fresh pretty long and after they are not fresh, you can dip them in coffee to soften them up or chew them – they are still food!

That’s what I made yesterday in preparation for the Sons of Norway District Convention this weekend. We have been invited to demonstrate there as immigrant pioneers.

It’s really rather simple and very delicious – so say I, the world’s fussiest eater!

We will use it instead of crackers (it’s more period correct) while at the convention. I am going to make some olive spread, some pineapple spread and we will have beef log and cheese and apples. I will also bake some oatmeal cookies for Norm.

The recipe (I know you are drooling and can’t wait to try it yourself) is simple.

1 ½ cup of flour
½ cup of sugar
½ cup softened butter
1 cup boiling water

Combine and let cool in a large bowl (I use my wonderful new KitchenAid mixer). Let stand until cool.

Stir in:
4 – 4 ½ cups of flour (I used 1 cup of rye, the rest white)
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Use enough flour to make the dough easy to handle and not too sticky. If doing by hand, turn onto floured surface and knead until thoroughly mixed.

Divide dough into half; shape each half into a 12”x 2 ½ “ roll. Cut each roll into 12 portions.

Roll each portion on floured surface to 1/8” thick (as thin as you can get them – too thick and they will be gummy in the middle). Flat breads will be irregular in shape.

Place on un-greased cookie sheets. Bake at 400º for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown.

OR ………… do what I do – “fry” on flat griddle to get the toasty, crisp texture. I sprayed my griddle with olive oil for the first one – the rest were just fine with a dry griddle.



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I LOVE my pastry board!

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On the griddle

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I use my trusty wooden spatula (made by my trusty wooden husband)

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Cooling on the rack

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Toby could smell the bread frying and wanted in the window - thank goodness for strong screens.

Enjoy~~

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Three Esses and a Tee

My niece, Cookie, and her daughter, Binni, brought a new member of the family to our house yesterday.

They are moving from the rented farmhouse to an apartment in town and cannot keep their cat. So I told them I would take him.

Now, I have “Scooter,” “Spook,” and the newest member, “Spunky,” who is Scooter’s remaining child (out of the four that we started with). (The three “esses”.) Plus I have the “tee” – “Toby.”

Toby and Spook are related – they could possibly even be brothers – they both came from the Farm and they are about the same age. Cookie got Toby in the late summer and I got Spook on Halloween (hence his name).


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Scooter

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Spunky

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Spook

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Toby

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And then there's the "Pee Miester!"

So now we have two neutered males (that seem like they will get along very quickly) and two “intact” females. Scooter will get spayed when she has finally healed from her bite infection and Spunky will get spayed when she is old enough. No more kittens on THIS farm – but we should not have mice problems!! And hopefully our bunny population will become reduced. I saw Scooter, last fall, as a teenager, with a full sized bunny; Spook has become a great hunter and I am hoping Toby will be one too. And Spunky should be good when she gets older.

On another note, we have another “S” in our family, but not at home. Earlier this spring I mentioned the possibility of getting the black lamb from the Farm in exchange for the lambs and kids I fostered. Well, our barn is not ready, so Jody took “Soot” (or “Tooty Sooty”) and is housing her with Arthur – he now has company, but he’s afraid of her and she’s too busy yelling for Momma to pay attention to him. The ear tag on her says “Charcoal” and I am considering changing her name from Soot to Charcoal – one less “S” to be confused about. What do YOU think? Charcoal or Soot?

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Jody and Norm getting Soot ready to be released


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She is MUCH bigger (and older) than Arthur

And, on ANOTHER note, we have gotten our “new” trunk ready to put in the house to replace the other, less attractive trunk we now use for blanket storage at the foot of the bed. This “new” one came from Dad – thank you! It’s been stored in the garage but Norm is finally cleaning it out so that there will be room for the new van in half of it so we don’t have to worry about hail (at least not at home).


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It is a beautiful day – we had storms again last night and another half inch of rain. It is sunny and not windy. There are no storm or flood warnings blinking on my Weather Channel icon so I think we might have a full day of just plain NICE weather! You have a beautiful day!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Storms

So, how stormy is YOUR neck of the woods? We have been fortunate in that the storms have NOT been as nasty as predicted. But yesterday afternoon, Norm called and said, “Move the van!”

We don’t have room in the garage (yet); Norm has all of his woodworking machinery and wood and projects and wood and storage stuff and wood and wood in the garage. I told him he HAS to have room so that we can keep the van in the garage on bad weather days – we don’t want hail damage if we can help it!

Anyway, I moved the van over to the side of the house (on the grass) as closely as I could park it in case of hail – the wind was coming from the east at the time. But as soon as I moved it, the wind switched and came from the north.

I sat in Peanut’s chair with her shivering on my lap each time the thunder boomed, trying to read. However, I don’t have a lamp near that chair and we have no ceiling light in the living room; the sky got darker and darker – greener and greener! So I sat watching the rain and wind and hoping the hail would miss us and the tornado expected would disappear.

Fortunately for Peanut and all others involved, we “only” had rain and wind. We ended up with an inch and a half of rain yesterday.

This is after the inch we got early this week and the bunch we got last week. Farmers are either happy or unhappy, depending on their circumstances. Everything seems to be planted but the rain could drown the little seeds before they come up; or, if they are up (like the fields around us), the rain could make them grow faster.

Our seeds are in and we are hoping they don’t drown!

There are flash flood warnings, flood warnings, tornado watches and warnings and hail warnings all over the area. I looked at the Weather Channel radar last night and the whole areas from Wyoming clear past Wisconsin, from the north part (close to Canada) clear down to Oklahoma have storms hanging around. OOFTA!!

This morning we have sunshine (first in days and days) but now we have wind warnings!!! No fun at all!

So, anyway, I’m hoping that the storms are missing you, have gone past you with no damage or are not going to affect you as they pass over your heads! Spring is NOT a safe time of the year, sometimes!

I have a picture, here, of my lilacs that I took a few days ago – the blooms will probably be blown off by the end of today, though.



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And on another note, it’s my sister’s birthday! Happy Birthday, Candy!!! You are now ********* years old!!! Enjoy the day – I hope there is sunshine (and no wind) where you are, today!

Everyone else - you have a beautiful day, too!