Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Things change quickly around here!

Well, plans were set for the State Fair; I was going to pack up, yesterday evening and leave home this noon (Tuesday) for the Cities. I was going to stay with Joy and the girls, then go to the Fairgrounds tomorrow to set up. The Fair starts on Thursday.

However ...............

I went into town yesterday afternoon for a routine eye exam. My left eye has been fuzzy and I figured that a new prescription would help that problem.

The doctor did lots of exams and said "oh, oh!" Seems I have a detached retina (or some such thing) and I had to see a specialist immediately! And the specialist is in Sioux Falls (an hour and a half away). AND, I would need surgery, so that meant not going to the Cities today, not going on Wednesday, and maybe not on Thursday.

I said, "You don't understand - I have to WORK there - it's not just for fun!"

And he said "You don't understand, this is your eye we are talking about - you can't WAIT until after the Fair!"

So Doctor called the Specialist in Sioux Falls and got an early morning appointment set up for today; we took clothing in case we had to spend the night (which Dr. Fisher said there was probably a good chance of that happening) and headed out to Sioux Falls.

Friend Katie was apprised of the situation and said she'd work it out if I didn't make it to the Fair on time, but could I please drop off our chairs at her place this morning so they'd have something to sit on if I couldn't make it (I have the only chairs).

Finally saw the doctor after more tests and more dilation (ain't fun, kids!) and he said....

He said .......

HE SAID!!!! "There is nothing wrong with your eye except that a cataract is growing. Get a new prescription and WEAR THEM! Go home and go to the Fair!"

Holy eyeglasses, Batman! What a thrill! I can't understand why Dr. Fisher thought there was such a problem, but I know he erred on the side of caution!

We had lunch, did a little bit of shopping and headed home to pack the van quickly! I called everyone who was in the know about my eye, told Katie I'd see her tomorrow (Wednesday) and headed to Joy's at five this afternoon.

All plans are "go" for tomorrow. Joy and the girls will come with me to help set up for the Fair, Katie already has the camper set up, and we will be ready, willing and ABLE to work on Thursday morning at nine am!!!

So, for those of you who knew there was a "problem," thank you for all your emotional help. For those of you who didn't, I am telling you now that there WAS no problem, and I will be up and running as normal for the "Great Minnesota Get-Together!"

I am on Joy's computer right now and am ready for bed. It will be a beautiful day tomorrow. You have a beautiful day.

Monday, August 18, 2008


The slide show still ain't working, kiddos! So I have downloaded a MINUMUM amount of pictures of tractors and such so that you are not overwhelmed at opening the blog.

Lots of cool engines for running lots of cool things
Notice the smoke
Small engines run by gas
Cool car
Even buggies
Hand cranked water pump
(These are designed with chains like a bicycle and little buckets to carry the water up to the pump head,)
A broom maker
Stitching the broom
A machine for making veneer
Pretty thin stuff!Photobucket

This is a tractor!Photobucket

This is also a tractor!
Norm learned to drive on one of these (not the crank in the front for starting
A day old colt (couldn't get him to turn around)
A Swedish (Mennonite) windmill - still working for grinding grain
Mennonite summer kitchen
Bedroom in the Mennonite house
A horse-drawn trolley for traveling to and fro
Wayne tried to steal my "pony"
I want this car!
Humongous tractor
Small sawmill
A view of some of the machines
Don't cha think Norm has ENOUGH wood?
Trim from the sawmill - cedar and black walnut!
The trusty pony, "Flash" makes herself usefull!
It was a beautiful day - you have a beautiful day!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


We went to a Threshing Bee yesterday and had a wonderful time. I took about 150 pictures (enough for you, Happy Owl?) but cannot get one single one on the blog. I was going to do a slide show so you wouldn't have to download all the pictures (don't worry - there won't be ALL the 150) but I can't get to slide.com .... I keep getting a "can't find server" error. So I thought I'd put a few on through Photobucket. "Can't find server" - what is going on?

Well, I'll try to get some up tomorrow - maybe the full moon is making the Internet loony. (I have a picture of that, too, but can't put THAT up, either!)

On a side note, Joy and family have moved home from New Mexico, but for only a short time. Ken is going down to Miami tomorrow to start working in the office. The plan for him to travel from trouble spot to trouble spot seems to have fallen through. The boss wants him in the office to work there .... so the family will move to Miami this fall (sigh).

Oh well, at least Ken has a well-paying job and the boss loves him (and Ken loves the job).

I will try to get pictures up in the morning. Until then, back to packing. I am leaving on Tuesday to spend the night with Joy and the girls and then head to the Fairgrounds on Wednesday to set up for 12 days of the "Great Minnesota Get-Together." I will take a picture of the very, VERY full van before I go.

You have a beautiful day!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Country Living

A while ago, I wrote an article for the Lehman’s Blog about living in the country. I thought I’d update it as to what has been happening, in my little corner of the world, this summer.

Since we got the lambs, they add another chore for the mornings – I make sure they are still in the fence, top up their water and talk to them a little bit. Arthur would rather I let him out and let him sit on my lap, but that’s not going to happen!

Norm is haying, because of the lambs. We have about four acres, give or take, of pasture that Norm has been cutting. He used Wayne’s
Jari to cut hay in tight places, and then hired a neighbor to come and cut the big places. He and Jody have been raking up the hay and he’s been taking it by lawn tractor or by large tractor over to the barn where he’s been stacking it for the winter. We have enough, I believe, but Norm is going to buy a round bale from another neighbor, just in case. And I have to pay for that out of my personal money, since the lambs are “mine.”

Driving to and from places this summer has been a delight – there are so many animals to see on the way. Norm sees pheasants nearly every day on his way to or from work. Last week we went to town with Candy and Wayne (I paid her for doing the major work in helping the folks get out of their house by buying the two of them steak dinners); on the way home, we saw two sets of pheasant families. Both sets were sitting on top of a round hay bale, sunning in the early sunset. I wanted to take pictures, but when we slowed down, Momma and Poppa jumped off and the babies followed. (Actually, they are teenagers by this time of year!). I have seen several pheasants, both roosters and hens, running around on the sides of the roads, getting gravel for their gizzards. Did you know that the saying “Scare as hens’ teeth” has some meaning? Poultry HAVE no teeth. They need gravel to go into the gizzards to grind up their food.


For those of you who are not "in" on country happenings,

the hay bales are now (mostly) made in large rounds - about a thousand pounds each.

At the same time as the families of pheasants, we saw a fawn in the corn (and I was the first to see it!). We have seen fawns and does several times, while traveling on the roads – usually just about sunset.

Another sight I have seen several times is a skunk, slipping his way into the corn. I am not sure if it’s the same skunk, but I THINK so, as it’s about the same place every time I see it.

Also, last month, Peanut woke me up, barking like crazy. I let her outside, only to hear coyote pups calling to each other. They were in our west pasture, which is just across the lane from our house – very close! I grabbed Peanut so that she wouldn’t join them and went into the house. After I calmed her down and convinced her that the pups (at least three by the sound) were not coming into the house, we went back to sleep. I woke up about four, hearing Peanut growl. The coyote pups were now just outside our bedroom window, probably only about twenty feet or so from the house! Ah, country living!

We enjoy our country life; I had a visitor stop by the other day and said, “Why are you living way out here? There is NOTHING here!” I answered, “Exactly!!”

You have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Great Weekend

Okay, we went to Durand, Wisconsin for the Pepin County sesquicentennial this weekend. It actually was only a daylong event, which meant setting up the camping tent would be a pain – up on Friday, down on Saturday. So Tom Latené invited us to stay in Pepin, twenty miles away, with him, his wife, Kitty, and their daughter, Francine.

We arrived before supper and stopped at the shop in town to visit with Tom, then headed out to the house, about two blocks away. Kitty had started some bean soup and planned on corn bread. But when she saw the French bread I had brought, we had that, instead. As we were waiting for Tom Dengler to join us, Jasper called to ask where everyone was at the court house; he was invited to come for supper and a stay-over as well.

While we were waiting for Jasper, the boys went out to the land that Tom and Kitty own, outside of town (they may, someday, build a house there) to cut down a small box elder tree for Tom D to use for demonstration. While we were waiting, Kitty showed me her rug-hooking project, which is a copy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birth home, and I did some embroidery.

Soon everyone was gathered and we had a great meal of bean soup (which I normally don’t like, but she make a great one), French bread and fresh tomatoes and cucumbers.

We visited until bedtime, and then crawled into our beds. Peanut was happy that we closed the door to our room – the TV room / guest room because the Latené’s two dogs were too interested in her for HER peace of mind.

Next morning we were up early (too early) so that we could get to Durand and be set up before nine. Kitty stayed home to mind the store, Francine stayed home to work and the rest of us went.

Tom L set up his traveling forge, Tom D set up his shave horse to make “shrink” boxes, Jasper set up his wheel to make pots. Then here came Lydia with her Swamp Willow baskets. I LOVE her baskets and get at least one a year (but not this time – I’ll wait until “Laura Days”).


Lydia's baskets


"Shrink" Box


With the bottom in it

As we were setting up, here comes Cindy Hilsgen with Aaron and Christopher. She is the mother of the family that I rave about so much. She is also the mother of Jamie, who we lost at Thanksgiving nearly two years ago.


This winter I received a bunch of goats’ milk soap from Cindy in exchange for a spoon from Norm. I LOVE goats’ milk soap! I even use it to wash my hair (with a vinegar rinse), which feels wonderful, by the way!

Anyway, Cindy and part of the family set up next to us with her rug loom and Aaron’s foot-powered jigsaw.





Gheppeto (Tom D) with his little wooden boy

As we were setting up, the high school band set up next to the old courthouse which is now a museum. There was band music, then speeches from local and state dignitaries.


The rest of the day was very quiet – we had very few visitors and very few sales. Norm sold no spoons, Lydia and Jasper sold very few of their wares. The only “big” sales were sister Candy’s greeting cards – she has photographed places around this area and made them into prints and greeting cards (I think I’ll put some of them on Etsy).

While we were tearing down, I sat down next to Cindy to rest my knee and she commented on the puffiness of my feet (they have been puffy and sore all summer). She said I needed some pressure therapy and sat right down on the grass in front of me and started to rub my feet. (Was I in heaven?? YES!) As she rubbed, we talked of many things but mostly of touch – how so many people have lost the desire to touch other people and how important touch is to everyone. We also talked of diets – she is a vegetarian and firmly believes that “food” is not bad for you if you eat the “right” food. There is good food and bad food. The over-processed foods mess up your body, the natural foods do not. She eats butter, but natural, not commercial processed butter. She has a lot of salt, but not the over-processed stuff, just the more natural, like sea salt. She does not preach vegetarianism, but you know she lives it.

We made sure everyone was packed up and ready to go before we headed back to Pepin (website). Norm and I decided to go see Cindy and her family Sunday morning after we had visited with Kitty and Tom more, so got directions and phone number; that way our good byes were not for a longer period of time.

Saturday night was quiet – Tom D and Jasper had headed home, so it was just the four of us (Francine was out with her horses) for supper and visiting.

Sunday morning, we said goodbye to the Latenés and headed to the Hilsgen farm. They live at the end of a dead end and there is NO sound whatsoever! It’s quieter there than at our house because they are farther from roads. It was a wonderful visit with a good meal and lots of good talk. We visited their goat herd (well part of it – they have about 48 goats and the non-milking does and the bucks are out in a pasture – separate from each other). We visited their garden (huge), their greenhouse and watched Peanut try to catch baby chickens and ducks that the Mommas were guarding, Then it was hugs to everyone – from Cindy and Gary through Aaron, Bethany, Nathan and Christopher.

We headed home and got home about eight, after a stop at Minnesota’s only covered bridge.






Home to find that the Internet was down! The “eye” of the satellite dish was broken and I just got it fixed last night!

Now I will re-organize and re-pack for the State Fair, which is next week. Anyone in the sound of my Minnesota voice, come visit me at the Heritage Square Cabin. I will be there for twelve days from the twenty-first to September first.

It will be a beautiful day! You have a beautiful day!

Oh, on a side note – yesterday, Jody asked me what had happened to my feet! They are no longer swollen and puffy, but back to “normal” size! Thank you, Cindy!!!


Friday, August 08, 2008

A Swedish Night

Wednesday night we went to town to a Swedish concert - the Nordandstigs Spelmanslag Swedish Band. It was very enjoyable. I like Swedish music!





On the way home, we saw some awesome clouds!



We are going to Durand, Wisconsin for the weekend and will join up with some of our "family" from Pepin.

It looks to be a great weekend - you have a beautiful day and a beautiful weekend!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A day to remember!

Sixty-three years ago this week, the United States dropped nuclear bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the United States and around the world, people will commemorate the lives lost and the destruction and horror that those weapons brought on August 6 and 9, 1945, and beyond.

And what are you doing to remember this? What am I doing to remember this? What have any of us done in the past to make sure this does not happen again? What can we do in the future to make sure it WILL NOT happen again?

I hope that all of us take time to reflect on the damage that humans inflict on other humans, justifying it with “God says” or “It’s my right” or “I’m better than you” or any other such nonsensical phrases that start these dreadful wars.

Would that I could live to see the end of wars and true peace throughout the whole world. However, I don’t hold out much hope for that, knowing what the human race is capable of.

But, please, let’s all try to have a little peace in our own parts of the world and try to spread that out to others – maybe SOMEDAY it will truly happen. “Let there be Peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.”

Sunday, August 03, 2008

A new friend

I just popped over to City Mouse, County House today. He is living in the Adirondack Mountains in New York, in a tiny cabin out in the country.

What a fun blog he has! He also has an Esty shop with soaps. Stop by to see his blog, then visit his shop!

Good luck with your soaps, Mousey!!