Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Trip back home

We are home from our trip – short though it was, it was great. Now Joy and the girls have gone home to the cities and the house is empty and quiet. I was with the girls daily for a whole week and really enjoyed their smiling faces the whole time.

Last Monday, Joy and the girls came down from the cities to have supper with my brother Charles, niece Cookie and grandniece Binni. Cookie and Binni headed home that night for work and school the next morning.

Tuesday, we left for South Dakota while Charles stayed another day to meet Candy’s son John (we missed him this time – sigh!) and granddaughter. He spent the day with Norm, even going to work with him that day.

We got to the ranch that afternoon. The ranch is where Norm was raised; his brother Darrell owns the ranch now – it is a WORKING ranch. Sister-in-law-in-law Mavis has a lot of cats; she supplies the neighborhood with kittens when the cats are decimated by coyotes or other natural events. Bitty and Bubba helped Mavis do cat chores that night and in the morning and played with young kittens. They both picked out kittens to take home. However, I had laid down the law before we even started the trip and said “NO CATS!” Norm also laid down the law in that way. So the girls knew, in their hearts they couldn’t have a kitten but tried to soften my heart nonetheless. 

Wednesday afternoon we went into Rapid City and to my folks’ apartment. The girls love their great-grandparents and had a great time with them. Joy was very helpful around the place; both Mom and Dad are eighty-nine years old so it was very handy to have Joy (and the girls) do a lot of the cooking and cleaning up.

The apartment complex has a swimming pool, so the girls went every day, either with Dad or with Mom, Joy and I – and sometimes twice a day!

But this was not the best part! The best part was just being with family. And, for Bitty, re-meeting Aunt Eileen and finding out that she knew how to tat (REALLY knew how!!). She has been tatting for about thirty years! So Bitty got good instructions for tatting and has had that little shuttle in her hands just about all the rest of the week.



I got to see friends and family and Joy did, as well. 

It was a short week but we had a great time; on our way home, we went through the Badlands. Bitty had been asking quite often “Is THIS the Badlands?” so she was able to see the difference between prairies, “breaks” (between prairie and badlands) and the real Badlands.




We got home in time for supper – Norm had started the hamburger for sloppy joes so we didn’t have to wait too long. After supper, the girls played a game of Cribbage with Grandpa while Joy and I got ready for bed.

Yesterday – Monday – we went over to Candy’s so that the girls and Joy could meet Candy’s granddaughter. Candy taught her how to spin so Joy and I helped polish her skills; Carissa hopes to find a guild or a teacher back home and hopefully can find a wheel to rent until she can afford one of her own. Bitty showed her how to tat and Bubba showed her how to crochet. Carissa says she is learning how to knit so needs a teacher for that, as well. Wish she could stay around here for a little longer and get those instructions from her Grandma and me. She certainly is a sweet, beautiful young lady.

On another note, when we got home, Norm had replaced the old, ugly modern door with an antique I found a few years ago - it will be painted to match the house! And he finished repairing my cupboard and put the spinning wheel on top to keep her from being bumped and scratched; he can get her down any time I need to use her.


It is a beautiful day today – second day in a row of sunshine and above forty degrees, even though it IS windy! You have a beautiful day!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Good News!!

I just heard from Jody with news about her mother.  Marie does NOT have cancer!  She has something with "pyra" or "pyro" in it that means "pus in the lungs."  That is easily cured (well more easily than cancer).  Jody and Marie asked me to thank all of you for your prayers and good thoughts. 

On another note, Joy and the girls are here with me in Rapid City at my mother's.  We stayed overnight on Tuesday night with Norm's brother and wife, then came over here to mom and dad's yesterday.  We will visit with friends and the girls will cuddle with Great-Grandma a lot before we head back to brother-in-law's on Saturday night.  We will then head home on Sunday, taking with us a welder that Darrell has for Norm and all the accoutraments that go with the welder.

Don't worry, Glenda, we are NOT taking kittens home with us - Norm's last comment to the girls before we left was "NO KITTENS!"

Right now the sun is shining and it's about 37ยบ out.  No rain in the forecast at least for today!  It's a beautiful day - you have a beautiful day and thank you, again, for your good thoughts for Marie.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Yesterday was the first day that we have seen the sun for nearly three weeks.  We have had rain, drizzle, overcast and damp for a very, very long time.  

But yesterday – yesterday! – the sun started peeking through the clouds and I counted four times that it peeked out until about four and STAYED out!   We even had blue sky and a sunset last night.

And today we had an actual sunrise and it is BRIGHT and sunny out with a south breeze. 

This should dry up the fields – the poor farmers have not been able to harvest the soy beans or the corn as they couldn’t even get INTO the fields because of muddy ground and the crops have been to wet to harvest, anyway.

On another note, my brother, Charles, is here – he arrived about the same time as the sun.  Candy and Wayne came over for supper – the boys played cribbage while Candy and I sat soaking up sunshine from the west window and knit (and talked).  Then another game of cribbage after spaghetti (Wayne’s favorite meal) while Candy and I knit and talked again.

Norm and Charles are going over to watch the Vikings game with Wayne this afternoon and I might go over to play with Candy or may stay home and do some weaving while they are gone.  I haven’t decided that, yet.

It is a beautiful beginning of a hopefully beautiful sunny week.  And it is a beautiful day today – you have a beautiful day.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sad news

Your prayers are needed, please!  My dear friend Jody has just found out that her mother might have cancer. 

Her mother, Marie, has been in and out and in the hospital for several weeks in pain and with problems breathing.  They discovered nodules in her lungs and something like a lump or growth on the bone below her ribcage (I think).  They are doing more studies to see if she has cancer.

Marie was moved from the hospital she had been into to another one that is more able to care for her in this condition.

Please have prayers sent out for this courageous lady who is the beloved mother of a beloved friend.

Thank you.


Saturday was our first snow (about an inch) and Monday was our second snow – again about two inches.  Norm is going to drive me to Westbrook to exercise, pick up pills and stop at the library for some on-line ordered books.  It’s just barely freezing so the roads should be sloppy, not icy, but I don’t like not knowing and would prefer Norm to drive.

Last week, on Tuesday, Candy and I traveled to see Gail at Little Red Oaks Farm.  She raises Shetland and Finn sheep on her twenty-some acres (I think it’s twenty) not too far away from the Cities.  We traveled in rain all the way, but her home was very warm and hospitable.  We really had a great time talking and comparing fleeces and sheep.  I came away with only one bag of Finn (the ewe’s name is “Yarrow” and she has gray / brown / silver in the fleece.  Candy really didn’t come away from there with fleece but she reserved Maple again – as she really liked that fleece this year.


I think the gray one nearest us is Yarrow.

It’s been pretty chilly since then and down right cold again today.  I wish I had a wood stove to cuddle up with or even sit on, and know I will wish it again as it gets colder this winter.

My brother will come here this week for a few days.  He has traveled from Oklahoma for the annual fishing trip with our dad at the Oahe Dam near Pierre.  Then he will come out here to visit with Candy and I for a few days before heading back down to Oklahoma, where it’s warmer!

Next week, Joy and the girls and I plan on going out to South Dakota to see relatives.  Mom has been asking me to come out so I guess it IS my turn to go – and she has not seen the girls for a very long time.  Joy hopes to come in time to see brother Charles before we leave.  We will visit with Norm’s family as well as see friends before coming home.  Joy and the girls are so busy going to different meetings and groups that finding a week free was quite difficult.

The cupboard that Norm gave me is now set up and the drawers are waxed to slide easily, the door latches are repaired and the mirror re-glued in place.  I plan on using it for fiber stuff.  I have two drawers started already, but I have dedicated one drawer for my harp music and paraphernalia.  Now if I can just get a tuning key again, I can maybe even try to PLAY the harp someday.  We plan on putting little Anna up on the top of the cupboard to store her.  That way she will not get bumped or scratched when I move things around.  And hopefully, with the help of this cupboard, I can get more things put a way so there isn’t so much junk lying around.

Yesterday was a girls’ day out for friend Jody and I.  Jody has had an operation this past month and is living in the Cities with her mother.  Yesterday was an appointment in Sioux Falls so Jody picked me up and I rode with her for the day.  We had lunch at Olive Garden, shopped at Menards and picked up Long John Silvers’ take-out for supper for Norm (and me) last night.  It was a great time and we managed to talk through a lot of things that we haven’t talked about since she moved to the Cities. I miss having her so close and talking to her on a nearly daily basis.

This morning is cold and breezy but dry (so far).  Candy stopped by for some eggs and I forced apples on her.  Norm has picked most of the apples now and there are way to many for me to process, so I need to share (Jody took a bunch last night, too).

It is a beautiful day, even though it’s not sunny.  You have a beautiful day!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What a guy!

Yesterday was "Stitches in Time," Candy's brain child, where we spend a day a month at the Senior Citizen's Center and devote the whole day to fiber crafts.  Niece Cookie came to join us and a good "new" friend brought her spinning wheel (I taught her to spin this last winter and Candy polished her off after she got her wheel) and we talked sheep breeds, sheep breeding and all good things like that.

Cookie finished her stocking cap, just in time for the cold weather, and a pair of slippers, which made her very excited and she started another pair of slippers.

Candy spun with her lovely "Maple" Shetland wool and I spun my lovely "Osmo" Finn wool that we purchased from Gail. I wanted Candy to try my Finn as she had gotten some Finn from another breeder other than Gail (speaking of, I need to mention her in another post).  Candy decided that the Finn that I had was much nicer than the Finn SHE had and was also easier to spin than the Shetland that she had.

While we were at the Stitches meeting, Norm had headed off for an auction - he can't resist them!  And brought home a present for me!!!  What a guy!  Thanks, Norm!


On another note, Norm is nearly done with the east door of the barn for the sheep pen.  A snazzy looking one with the best color in the world!


And he picked all the rest of the peppers before the freeze the other night - looks like I will be cutting and freezing peppers, as well as making banana pepper pickles for Norm.


Norm also brought in a bunch of apples and I have some in the steamer that  LeAnn gave me last year (thanks, LeAnn) to make apple juice and therefore make apple brandy.  Norm says it's a waste of good apples but several of my family like my brandy, including a niece that will remain un-named!

It was a cold day - windy, damp with snow on the ground - we got about an inch with our first snow of the year - very early for Minnesota, but what can you expect in these Northern climates?

You have a beautiful day.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


It looks like the slide show didn't go through, so I'll put the pictures here, individually.

Demonstrating, in layers

Can we talk about LAYERS?


Roy has a new bed

Made of scrap wood and cedar branches

Scottish dancers


A young girl in all her regalia


"Icky Ethel" talking about her bugs and acorns

"I-ezz tellin' da trut!"

Friday, October 09, 2009

Last event – Albert Lea!

Okay, so we left the Cities and headed down to Albert Lea on a beautiful warm sunny day.  We got there about 3:00 and started setting up.  But what SHOULD have taken only about 2 ½ hours took over 4 hours!  Tent went up, tent went down, tent went up, crooked – let’s straighten it, tent went down.

Fortunately it was Tuesday, not Wednesday, so we felt no pressure to get finished and just got sleeping arrangements done, then decided to finish setting up in the morning.  We then went to Hi-Vee, a great grocery store and deli and had Chinese for supper.

While deciding what to get, who should show up but Wally and David.  David had ridden with Wally and they had gotten set up enough for sleeping and came over for supper, too, so we sat together and talked.  Then got a few necessities for the next day and ice cream for dessert and headed home.

While starting the “4-dog stove” in the tent to take the chill off, Norm accidentally let Peanut’s leash slip and she wandered outside.  Now, in the dark, a little dog that does NOT come unless she feels like it, it was impossible to find her.  David was wandering by, so he offered to go find a flashlight but Norm found Peanut with her leash caught on a bench, so we headed back home.  David joined us but wouldn’t share our ice cream, as he claimed he was stuffed from supper.  But he did share the heat of the tent with conversation.

Next morning, Norm and I started setting up the outside of the tent and unpacking and hanging clothes in the tent.  I got the kitchen set up the way I wanted and THIS time had the icebox under the fly so that I could reach it when (there was no “if” in the forecast) it rained.

We were able to relax and visit – David came over for an invited breakfast and helped Norm set up his fly for demonstrating.  Wally popped over for coffee but had already eaten.

By Wednesday night, everyone that was demonstrating was set up.  I was very disappointed that Kelly and Marie were not there this year.  What was I going to get Candy for a thank-you gift for babysitting the farm? And missed seeing and visiting them, as I had last seen them in May.  We settled down for a long Fall’s nap and woke up to rain.

RAIN – the story of the entire weekend (nearly).  It was cold, never over 50◦ and wet all the time.  The only things going for it were: we were getting paid to be wet and cold; there were no bees (2 years bee free for me!!!!), and most of the children were dressed warm for the weather.

The total for the long weekend (Thursday through Sunday) was about 3”.  A lot when it was coming in through the canvas down onto us.  Canvas is waterproof, to a point but when canvas gets saturated, it starts to drip.  And drip.  And drip.  And DRIP!!  We had towels on the floor to pick up the excess water on the carpet and had an extra carpet that we tried to keep dry so I could walk out to the spinning wheel without getting stocking feet wet (I simply can NOT spin with shoes on!).  It worked, to a point.  I kept taking socks off to dry in the tent – the stove in there was kept burning all day long and into the night, then lit again early morning.

Saturday, late afternoon, it stopped raining and we actually had nearly dry canvas to pack up on Sunday afternoon.

The company was great, though.  Wally, David, Patience, Harley, Roy, Ole, Dave J, Shawna, Margot --- several that I enjoy seeing (or love very much) were there to help pass the time.  Patience and Harley came by at night to visit and sit by the fire (we had a fire pit by then as well as the brazier for cooking).  Ole stopped over to visit and grab coffee.  On Saturday night, we had Patience, Harley and Wally come over for Beef stoup (combination stew and soup – not thick, not thin) with egg dumplings.  We were going to have popcorn for desert but we were all pretty stuffed, so I made popcorn on Sunday afternoon and Patience came by as “Icky Ethel” and ate some.

All in all, it was a great time – barring the rain and cold – and I enjoyed it.  I tried not to complain too much because I was enjoying not worrying about bees.  We ate well (I do cook well on brazier, fire pit or stove top, if I do admit it myself) and even had food left over when we came home.  We tore down Sunday after 4:00 and were ready to leave about 7:30.  Not too bad for time!  Grabbed Arby’s for supper on the way home and go home before 11:00. 

We came home to a cold house – 55 degrees – as I had left the air-side of the furnace monitor on.  We turned the heat-side on and got it up to 68 degrees rather quickly, pulled on a bunch of extra wool blankets and fell into bed.  Unpacking was left until Monday morning.

So, demonstrating is done for the year.  Now we are re-packing things and putting them in the boxes they belong in and organizing our life back to normal.  It was a beautiful sunny, chilly day today.  We have “promises” of snow tomorrow.  You have a beautiful day!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

And, now on to Bloomington

Our next event was at Bloomington, just 20 minutes from Joy’s house. We left our trailer at Joy’s, as we knew we’d be back soon and we were pretty sure we had everything that needed to be in the trailer.

After we got home on Monday (the 21st of September), we unpacked, did laundry, re-did our list and repacked. We needed more food, more blankets, more clothing than in Pepin, as we would be camping for 7 days – Sunday was for set-up, then school tours Monday through Friday and Open to the Public day on Saturday.

So we had everything ready, headed to Joy’s and picked up the trailer. Joy and Ken and the girls came out to help us set up (thank you, kids!) and we had a simple supper that night before they headed home and we tucked into bed.

Joy and the girls came out for a day to tour and catch some of the educators / demonstrators, then had supper with us. Ken stopped over to say hi but had to head home, so missed a great supper.

Several mornings, people stopped over for coffee or breakfast and several evenings others (or the same) stopped over for supper. It makes my heart warm to see a dear friend sitting across from me, eating what I have cooked. On “good” (read “dry”) days, I cook over a brazier rather than a campfire. Bending does not suit my style, nor does it suit Norm’s peace of mind, as I complain when I bend! The brazier is a little lower than a kitchen stove and works very well in dry weather. In wet weather (another story) I cook in the tent on our “4-dog stove.”

We had thousands of children come to see us in Bloomington. This is a very VERY big event that has been going on for years. An Educational Rendezvous, if you don’t know, is an event where demonstrators and Re-enactors put up their tents (properly called “lodges” in Rendezvous talk) put on their weird (to “civilians”) clothes and show school children how things were done in the past. A “real” Rendezvous is for enthusiasts that camp for a weekend or more and the time period is pretty much limited from the 1780s to about the 1830s. An Educational Rendezvous is not limited to time periods, as you only have to have a craft / skill that has historical value. In some ERs, there will be Vikings and Scottish clans of the 1400s and 1500s; on the other end of the time line, there are the Civil War buffs who come out and show the children how to shoot cannons.

These events have become very popular, at least here in Minnesota. As I said, Bloomington’s is very big, lasting a whole 6 days.

The weather was fantastic, even touching on the hot side until Friday morning, when it started to rain. And rain. And pour. And DUMP water! Now, as these demonstrations are put on outside, it is of the utmost importance for the children to dress appropriately for the weather. It always amazes me to see so many children in the rain in tee shirts and shorts, even though it IS the end of September and technically Fall. I asked a group if they even KNEW it was going to rain that day and they all looked at me as if I was talking a foreign language! Now, come ON … don’t the parents look at the weather and help plan the children’s clothing? We knew, from weather reporters in the group as well as the night sky that it was going to rain. WE were prepared!!! We were warm (or at least dry)!

Fortunately on Saturday, it was dry. Nothing is more important than dry canvas when it’s teardown time! Joy and the girls came over to spend time with our friends. It was Bubba’s 11th birthday the next week, so Joy brought cupcakes to share with the closest of our friends – the people that know the girls from all their visiting with us.

The plan, after teardown, was to go have supper with Joy and family, then head home (3 hours away). The girls convinced Norm that we had to spend the night, at least. Joy worked out the plan for us to stay at her house in order to go to Albert Lea in just a few days. Logistically it worked out – it was 3 hours to go home, then laundry, repacking, restocking food, then 2 hours to Albert Lea 3 days later.

I made sure that Candy would / could take care of the animals for a few more days than planned, then canceled my last therapy (yes, still for the knee, Candy D; it is still giving me problems and pain!). I counted pills and actually had enough to make it through the rest of the week. So we decided that what we didn’t have, we would do without and we stayed at Joy’s, making the girls very happy.

Sunday was laundry and inventory for food supplies. Monday was food shopping and then we went to Martial Arts with Ken and Bitty. As I mentioned earlier in a post, they tested out and are now White Belts. Bubba has decided that now she is 11, she will try to do Martial Arts as well.

Tuesday was a quick stop at a 2nd Hand store to get jammas (I didn’t have WARM ones with me) and a few other necessities (Norm needed warm jammies, too). Then we headed down to Albert Lea to set up early. We didn’t need to be ready until Thursday morning, but this way we could set up leisurely and have time to visit with friends.

So, that’s our week at Bloomington – more next post on Albert Lea, the LAST event of the year for us. It was another beautiful day today – sunshine and no rain. We have had a total of about 7” of rain since we left for Bloomington so having sunshine is really a treat. You have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Good afternoon, children!

I am now on-line, again, and am also now home, again. It’s been a busy 3+ weeks as well as the fact that when I WAS home, I had no computer, as I had taken it in to be repaired so that I can now do what I need to do (including posting properly on the blog!).

It’s been a long time since I was on the computer – and a long time since I was able to work on it without struggles.

Let’s start at the beginning…. Norm and I went to Pepin, Wisconsin, for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Days on September 11th for the weekend. Pepin is about 4 hours from here, so we had to leave before noon to get there in time to set up our tent. This is our “family reunion” time – everyone that comes is our extended family! During this time we visited with friends, ate well because 3 or 4 ladies were in charge of the kitchen and cooked great meals. Everyone would bring things from home (or purchased) to add to the kitchen stock and Molly, head cook, would plan what to eat depending on what was offered.

The Hilsgen family brought goats this year – they milk 68 of them on a daily basis and sell the milk and cheese. So they brought some of them so that people could experience the thrill of milking. For me, it was a fantastic thrill. I have not milked cow or goat since 1989, when I left my cow at home with Norm and moved to Minnesota. (But that’s another story.) I was allowed to milk two goats and was so thrilled that I wanted to take them home with me. Of course Norm said “No!! No!! NO!!”

On Sunday, Joy brought the girls down and they spent the day with us. They got to visit with friends, milk the goats and spin on “my” spinning wheel. (Ruth, are you listening? She runs great and I love her!) They then helped us tear down, joined the gang in a last meal – pizza from the local pizza palace – and we went up to the Cities with the girls and Joy to spend the night there.

Monday night was Ken’s birthday party and we headed home right afterwards. We had to get home for my therapy and to prepare for our next event in Bloomington.

So that was our first event, Pepin; I will continue on in another post about Bloomington and Albert Lea.

It is a beautiful day, today. The sun is finally over 50 degrees (actually is already 61 out!) and we have sunshine for the first time in 7 days! You have a beautiful day!