Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer Sheets

Here in Minnesota, it takes a long time to go from winter flannel sheets on the bed to the summer light-cotton ones.

This year, especially, it has been a long time. Every time I planned on switching, we got a cold spell. In fact, I just recently gave up my flannel pajamas for my summer cotton nightgown because of the cold nights (is that too much information for you?).

Last week we had a heat wave with daytime temperatures in the 90s (30s C, Happy Owl), with a heat index ranging from 98º to 104º (again, Celsius, Happy Owl, would range from about 35º to 40º). And what IS a heat index?

I found this online to help you understand what the Heat Index is.

The formula for heat index is based upon the lookup table presented by Steadman (1979). This table was derived with a complicated set of measurements. The table can be mathematically analyzed to produce an approximate equation for the heat index:
Heat Index = -42.379 + 2.04901523T + 10.14333127R - 0.22475541TR - 6.83783x10-3T2 - 5.481717x10-2R2 + 1.22874x10-3T2R + 8.5282x10-4TR2 - 1.99x10-6T2R2

Well, I’ll just depend on the weatherman or a chart for heat index - how about you?

Any-who, it was mighty hot last week. We had the air conditioner on, which I don’t like, much, but I do like it better than the heat. I was tossing and turning at night because I was so hot in spite of the air, when it dawned on me ….. I still had the flannel sheets on the bed!

We changed to the summer sheets for a hot night, but sure-as-shootin’, we got a storm that night, the weather pattern changed and now we have COOL to COLD nights again! Ooofta! Last night was almost too cold for 1 wool blanket (plus the sheet) but I refused to get the other blanket pulled up from the bottom of the bed no matter how chilly I was. One has to have SOME standards in one’s life, correct?

It reminds me of my brother. When he lived in Minnesota, he told me that he never took his storm windows off until June 1st. “You never know,” he said, “what the weather is going to do until then!” Well, I can’t breath without fresh air in the spring. It never gets THAT cold that you want storms on after April 1st around here. If we have storms, they don’t last that long. With storms up, you can’t open windows for the fresh air that is so necessary for life (to me, anyway).

Speaking of not breathing without fresh outside air reminds me of the continual fight Norm and I have about our bedroom window. In the winter, when the temperatures are around 30º or higher, I figure that we could crack our window, put another blanket on the bed and sleep well. We always turn our heat down to about 60º at night anyway, so opening the top of a double-hung window is not going to make the heat turn on (the thermostat is in the living room), but Norm claims he’s freezing and closes it when he comes to bed, if I beat him there. Why can’t he just put another blanket on? Then, in the middle of the night, as I’m gasping for fresh air, I will try to sneak over and crack it DOWN even just an inch. Unfortunately, the window squeaks when it goes down (and Norm will not fix the squeak, for some unknown reason) and Norm hears it, so he gets up and closes it again.

Yes, Jody, the combination of the window fights and the fan fights at night makes for restless nights, sometimes!

Fortunately for me, when the weather turns warmer (above 60º at night), Norm does not object to the window open and even allows me to open the bottom of the double-hung window to get MORE fresh air in.

When the window is closed, it’s harder to hear my robin greet me at sunrise – about 4:30 these days – and to hear my mourning doves sing to me in the morning. Even when I turn over and go back to sleep after hearing them, I love knowing they are singing out there just for me!

Spring and Fall are the best times, for me, to let the windows stay open. Hot summers, Norm feels, require air conditioning at night as well as during the day. Winters, like I have said, are a fight onto it’s own.

This summer, I have been awarded with a lovely rose blooming. Jill and Eric gave me 2 roses for mother’s day, one year. The pink one has 1 or 2 blooms every year, and it growing larger, so hopefully it will give more in future years. The yellow one has never bloomed, but this year there is a bud on it!!! I am so excited about that one opening!

It is finally (after last week’s horribly hot weather) cool and breezy and wonderful out. Sunshine, temperatures in the 70s (20s C, Happy Owl) make for very pleasant, beautiful days. You have a beautiful day!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bragging time!

It’s not often that I brag about my grand girls, do I? (Hmmmm!)

Well, it’s time to do so (again? Nah! First time!). Joy brought Bitty and Bubba down last Wednesday and then headed home on Thursday. So Norm and I had these two girls for nine days, all to ourselves.

The girls had met Rachel, a daughter of an employee at the Farm, sometime last year and re-acquainted themselves with her during Margaret’s graduation party. So when they came down for the nine days, we made arrangements for Rachel to join them for a day; they spent the whole day together, all three of them, and had a fantastic time. There are hopes that this can be repeated again this summer.

On Saturday we had a demonstration at the local Historical Society; the girls were very helpful in getting ready and were a great asset in demonstrating. Bitty took over the antique spinning wheel that belongs to the Museum and did a fantastic job of spinning and talking about how the wheel worked. Bubba did some embroidery, but mostly ran errands for Norm and I, as well as visiting other people who were demonstrating that day.


This wheel was brought over from Norway and made in 1872

Saturday evening, niece Cookie brought grandniece Binni over to spend a few days. On Sunday, Bitty went to church with Norm while Bubba and Binni helped me get ready for brother-in-law Wayne and his grandson to come over for lunch. Monday night we took Binni halfway back to her home and Cookie met us to collect her.


Any time there is a table and more than one person, there is a card game - usually cribbage


The three musketeers

The rest of the week was mostly just the girls and I, but they spent a lot of time with Norm, too. I hardly had to do anything but cook meals (for which I received many “thank you” statements from both girls). They washed dishes, set the table, hung laundry out and brought it back in. They did the chores, collected eggs, checked on the sheep’s water and watered it. They helped me with my small fountain outside, cleaning it and adding water when needed. If I needed something brought to me while resting my knee, all I had to do was ask! Whew! And now that I’m alone, I’m overwhelmed with all that they did (and allowed me to NOT do!).


Rainy day chores

During this whole time, I was in total awe of these two young ladies (and they ARE young ladies, now). Bitty turned thirteen (!!!) Monday and Bubba is nearly eleven. They are beautiful, pleasant to be around and very intelligent and wise for their ages.

When they were little, I was hesitant to agree with Joy about home schooling (as if I had anything to say about it!), but now I can see that for these two girls, it was the right decision.

For awhile, I worried about social life for the girls but have found that they have plenty of friends, both in church and in their twice-monthly “Co-Op” where skilled parents teach science, art and physical education. Plus, both girls make friends very quickly with strangers, so find someone to talk to and play with where ever they go, if there are children their ages.

I also worried, especially about Bubba, since she was very slow in starting school work and extremely slow in showing interest in reading. Imagine! A child of my family that was NOT reader! How horrible would that be? But patience, in the form of a loving mother / teacher, soon won out over her statements that she “could NOT read!” Now Bubba almost always has a book in her hands!

Intelligent? Yes! Clever? Yes! Funny! Yes, yes!! My girls are caring, sympathetic, helpful, loving and kind. They are always reading – whether it’s a fiction book or a history book, they always have a book at hand. I am so proud of these girls – they are respectful of everyone they meet. They love my friends and accept them as friends of their own. Both girls make friends very easily because they are so friendly, themselves.

After having them for so long, it was time to take the girls home (sigh) so last Friday was the day, as Bitty’s birthday party was on Saturday. Bitty had several young women join her and Bubba was allowed to ask a few of her friends, as well. I watched the whole group, ranging from eight to sixteen and not one time did I see an attitude of “she’s too young to join us” – the older ones enjoyed the younger ones. At dark, the youngest ones went home and the older ones spent the night in a tent outside.


Norm and I went shopping for Joy, as she needed last minute items for the party. Bubba joined us because she wanted to get Bitty a present by herself, with her own money. After much discussion, she decided to buy Bitty some flowers. These were given to Bitty as we were starting to eat the burgers and dogs that Ken had cooked on the grill. I copied the note that Bubba wrote to go with the flowers.

“Bitty – I can not believe you are 13. We were so young a long time ago. I love you. I hope you like the gift. Love, Bubba”



My precious granddaughters! I love them both so much! If I were blessed with more, I would love them equally. If I am not blessed with more, then I will continue to pour all my Grandma love into the ones I have, which deserve all I can give them.


Two Grandpas, two granddaughters.

It is a beautiful day today (even without my girls, who are home helping Mom instead of here helping me!). You have a beautiful day.

Friday, June 12, 2009

My mom is 89!

Well, her birthday was Wednesday, but I’m just getting around to writing about her (sorry, Mom!).

Mom was born on June 10th, 1920, in McClusky, North Dakota; she lived on a farm about 10 miles from town for the first part of her life, then moved with her family, often, to several other little towns in ND. After high school graduation, she went to college and got her two-year teacher’s degree.

Mom taught for a while, then rode (by train) down to Florida and married my dad in 1942. He was in the Army/Air Force (soon was changed to “just” Air Force) and trained pilots for the War, and then went overseas to fight, himself, after I was born.

Mom went on to raise 4 children while following Dad around the country (and world). They retired in Rapid City, South Dakota, where Mom finished up her college work and became a teacher in the Rapid City school system.

She retired from teaching and became even busier with Eastern Star and other organizations that she belonged to. She is still busy at her “advanced age” – even busier than I am, and I’m 34 years YOUNGER than she is.

Mom has had good health until just very recently. She has spent more time in the hospital since she turned 80 than she ever did before, and that is counting time in the hospital while having us children. She has had two hip replacements (and did a better, quicker job of healing than I have with my 1 knee!) and some other minor surgeries.

Mom still drives – she drove from Rapid City to Milbank, clear across the state, this spring when she met Candy and I for Mother’s Day at our cousins’ farm.

If I am half as active as Mom when I’m 89, I will feel blessed!

Happy Birthday, Mom – even if it IS late!


Mom with Nana, 1944


Mom with cousins Ruth and Jerry, 2009

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Norm’s trip

Well, Norm went to South Dakota to spend a week with his family. He also found time to spend some time with my folks.

The plan had originally been that I go, too, but when the time came for serious plans, I opted to stay home. My back and my knee were giving me strife and I felt Norm would have more fun without me around whining all the time.

We reserved a room in Custer for him so that he could spend some time in the Black Hills, something neither of us has done for a very long time. I sent the camera with him with instructions to take LOTS of pictures.

Of course, while he was there, he spent most of his time at the ranch. Norm was three months old when his folks bought the ranch and moved there. So he grew up there and learned all the skills that he has now – making do, saving money, not spending money (frustrating a lot of times), woodworking, metal working, welding, plowing, raising and butchering cattle, farming and ranching.


The "Big Dam" is overflowing - first time there has been water in it for years.

The ranch (and neighboring areas) has been in a drought for over seven years!

Friend Jody calls him “Stormin’ Norman” since he knows so MUCH about so many things! And his dad and older brother (and life) taught him most of what he now knows and shares with others.

While I was in college, I spent one summer working at Sylvan Lake in the Hills – and have many fond memories of that place. Norm got some lovely shots of that lovely lake (am I repeating myself?). Sylvan Lake is the starting point for climbing Harney Peak, the highest point east of the Rockies. It used to be that you could ride horses or jeeps up to the retired fire tower but now you have to walk. It’s about three or four miles one-way, so it’s an all day affair if you go. I used to ride the jeeps up on my time off, and also walked up there many times. It’s an awesome spot to be – looking out all over the Hills.

So, here’s some pictures that Norm took while on his travels. I hope you enjoy them.


Buffalo are all over the place, but sometimes you see them, sometimes you don't.


The Needles Highway was carved right through the Hills

It was a beautifully foggy day

One of the Needles on the road


The famous "Needle's Eye" - I used to sometimes walk there at night after work


The cafe and gift shop where I used to work (it's grown some)


Sylvan Lake is a small man-made lake
The path leading to the left, around the bend was where the dormitory was that I used to live in


Pactola Dam is also a man-made lake - and full for the first time in years

It was a beautiful day today – hardly any wind and lots of “snow” from the cottonwoods. You have a beautiful day.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Today is Candy’s birthday!

A few years ago (I cannot say how many, as I value my life!), my baby sister was born in Bemidji, Minnesota.

Our father was in the Air Force and we traveled all over the US and also into Japan during his career. I was born in Florida, Charles was born in New Jersey and Cara was born in Washington (state).

I can remember when Candy was born. I don’t remember Mom being pregnant (they didn’t talk about that in the “old days”), but I remember going to the hospital. Also, in those days, we children were not allowed in to see Mom or the baby, but she had a window room, so we would stand outside and wave to her (she couldn’t open the window, I don’t think, because we never talked to her!). Mom says she was in the hospital about a week with Candy – her shortest stay of all of us.

When I was born, she was not allowed out of bed for almost a week!

As my baby sister, Candy has always had a special place in my heart. Siblings fight and fight often as they are growing up. I had many fights with brother Charles, because he was the closest in age to me (and because he was Charles – nuff said!). Cara and I fought, some – especially if we shared a bedroom. But I don’t recall fighting much with Candy – she was young enough to not “crowd my territory” while growing up and was young enough for her to remain the baby in my mind.

So, now she’s grown and I’m mighty proud of her and all of the accomplishments that have followed her down her path. I admire her wisdom and her strength. She has ideas that amaze me (and they seem to work out, too!), like our “Stitches” Saturdays that we have once a month. She has another idea that we are working – if it works out, I will let you know about it.

This picture was taken at Lake Itasca when we were on an excursion with our Grandpa Childs (you can see him, headless, walking across the Mississippi). Itasca is the birthplace of the Mississippi and you can walk across stones at that spot as the trickle of a stream comes out of the lake and heads down its mighty journey to New Orleans and the ocean.


Happy Birthday, Candy!

It’s a beautifully rainy day today – going to be cool and wet all day, it looks like. And we need the rain here! Norm is home from South Dakota and is anxious to go out and work in the yard. I’m trying to convince him to begin the project of our second door, which will open to the east – we have only one door in our house to get out! You have a beautiful day today.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Ladies, do you know what day it is?

It was 90 years ago today that Congress passed the 19th amendment. That was on June 4, 1909. And what is THAT, you ask?

I am now quoting from “This Day in History” so that you can learn about our ancestresses (is that the right word? I mean the ladies that came before us!)

In July 1848, 240 woman suffragists, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton
and Lucretia Mott, met in Seneca Falls, New York, to assert the right of women to vote. During the Reconstruction Era, the 15th Amendment was adopted, granting African American men the right to vote, but the Republican-dominated Congress failed to expand its progressive radicalism into the sphere of gender.

In 1869, the National Woman Suffrage Association, led by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was formed to push for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Another organization, the American Woman Suffrage Association, led by Lucy Stone, was organized in the same year to work through the state legislatures. In 1890, these two societies were united as the National American Woman Suffrage Association. That year, Wyoming became the first state to grant women the right to vote.

By the beginning of the 20th century, the role of women in American society was changing drastically; women were working more, receiving a better education, bearing fewer children, and several states had authorized female suffrage. In 1913, the National Woman's party organized the voting power of these enfranchised women to elect congressional representatives who supported woman suffrage, and by 1916 both the Democratic and Republican parties openly endorsed female enfranchisement. In 1919, the 19th Amendment, which stated that "the rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex," passed both houses of Congress and was sent to the states for ratification. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, giving it the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it the law of the land. Eight days later, the 19th Amendment took effect.

This little blurb does not mention the strife and stress and physical danger that many women went through to allow us the privilege of voting. Some were thrown in jail, where they were beaten, starved and mistreated like animals. If you are interested in details on these heroines, head to the library and look up biographies of the women mentioned.

Today, 90 years later, I am proud to look back and say, “You dun good, girls!”


Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Lucretia Mott


Lucy Stone

It’s a beautiful day today and I’m proud to be a woman – you have a beautiful day!

Monday, June 01, 2009


I have been lax in my blog reading lately. And I just popped over to see Kari Tauring's web page, only to notice that she now has a blog. So I have changed my link to her page.

Kari went to Norway (as you will read when you go to her blog) on invitation and spent about three weeks there. I am excited to read about her trip. I hope you will be, also.

It's a beautiful day - I have managed, three times now, to ride my Trike out to the mailbox (about an eighth of a mile one way) and back. I'm so excited. Next time I will try to go further. You have a beautiful day!