Friday, March 25, 2011

Three birthdays today

Yes, I know I’m running a little late but today has been busy, and then to top it all off, Norm called and said to get the heating pads and boxes ready - he was bringing home twin lambs that momma rejected.  I’ll show pictures of that, later.

But back to birthdays ....Nana was born on this day in 1883, in Norway.  At a young age ... 8 or 9 or 10 (we’re not exactly sure when), she came to America with a foster mother and adapted to this country.  Nana traveled on nearly every mode of transportation there was: potato wagon, ship, train, covered wagon, horse-back, buggy, car, plane, jet, motorcycle, boat.  Not a space ship, though, although she did watch the landing on the moon!  Nana was of the generation who went from the beginning of automobiles to space travel!  She died at the age of 101; she was moved to a nursing home just a few months before she died.  Until then she lived in a senior citizen’s home for the last 11 years of her life.

A piece of table cloth that Nana brought from Norway back in the 1890s

Nana's 80th birthday

Norm’s niece, Glenda, was born on Nana’s birthday, but I won’t say what year.  Until she reaches her 80s or 90s, she might not be willing to say how old she is!  Norm’s brother and wife live (still) on a ranch in western South Dakota about an hour from the closest hospital and Glenda was their first child.  Knowing Mavis was due in March, the (then) snowiest month of the year, many friends and relatives wanted her to move into town that month for safety sake.  Mavis wasn’t worried - she told everyone that Darrell had delivered calves all his life so if they got stuck, he could deliver their child!  (Horrified everyone who took her seriously!)  She was born back in the days when only the husband and parents could visit the mother and child.  But I snuck up and had planned on saying I was a sister (close enough) to see Glenda in the nursery and found Mavis and Darrell walking in the hall; we were able to visit briefly before I went out, undiscovered!

Glenda and brother Wade

  Brook and Nana on Nana's 95th birthday

 Brook, Joy and Jill

My niece was also born on Nana’s birthday, in between Joy and Jill; they have been a trio ever since we came back from Australia.  Sister Candy had decided that the baby WOULD be a girl and WOULD be born on Nana’s birthday.  She was named after Nana - Cotelena Brook - Cotelena is an off-shoot of Caroline which was Nana’s name, although most people called her Lena.

Nana had 9 surviving children and many, many grand children and many great-grand children.  She always said that she couldn’t afford to have favorites, but Brook was definitely her favorite!  And no-one blamed her.  After all, having someone born on your birthday makes that someone pretty special!

So, happy birthday to three special people.  I love all of you!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I tell you, children, this winter / spring in Minnesota is enough to make grown men (and women) weep!

I have talked about the excess amount of snow and cold and wind and snow and cold and wind, haven’t I?  And that’s just in the winter.

Spring was coming and things looked like it was on the up-swing.  The snow was melting, the temperatures were staying above zero (well, for the most part!).

But I tell you, again!  This first week of Spring is something else!  My favorite weather-forecaster on TV last night cried “Uncle!”  She stood in the back yard (the TV station has a “backyard” that the forecaster go to so that we can see what the weather is like there) with a warm hat, mittens and boots; she was talking while sleet was hitting her hat and body and telling us that the flooding waw getting worse in many places and starting to get bad in others.  Since Sunday (technically the first day of Spring), we have had: thunder and lightning, rain, snow, sleet, hail, wind and just all kinds of nasty weather, all over the state.

We woke up this morning with snow - up north it’s supposed to get up to a foot of new snow.  Our sump pump has been going for a month and it’s “sped up” to going every ten minutes; when it is not running, I can hear the water seeping (rushing) from the furnace room floor into the sump pump well and then the pump starts up again and pumps the water out to the back yard, where we HOPE it is flowing away from the house!

We also woke up this morning to no running water (well, in the pipes, that is).  Norm has been suffering from a bad cold and cough for over a week but had to bundle up and go out to check out the problem.  Well ....... the problem was in the well house - water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink!  The sump pump in the well house had died and because there was a drift of enormous proportions over the roof / door of the house, Norm had not gone down to check.  And with the melting, the snow melt had filled the entire area.  Norm is worried that the electrical equipment, normally well out of seeping water, is damaged.  So he put in a replacement sump pump which is pumping the well house sort of dry.  And we have a man coming this afternoon, hopefully, to repair or replace things.

Fortunately for us, we have drinking water - there was about a gallon of frozen water in the freezers that we take with us to keep coolers cold and use for drinking on trips.  We also have the water running into the well down in the basement so Norm brought some up for the toilet (a necessary evil that is not normally mentioned, but still .......).  And he will bring some good clean water from the Farm when he comes home this afternoon when the well-man comes.  And I don’t have to do dishes today!!!!  A good thing, right?  Except I have a big pot that I cooked a chicken over night and need to wash — maybe I’ll bring up some well water from the basement to at least rinse the pot with soapy water!

It’s been a heck of a winter / spring and it doesn’t sound like it’s going to get much better, soon.  So, along with my TV forecaster, I will say!  “Uncle!  Uncle!”  And hope that you have a beautiful day and don’t have to say “Uncle!”

 At least I got to see the "super moon" this weekend!

PS of 4:00, we have WATER!  Well-man came and fixed the problem.  Thanks be to the good God!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New Ulm Weekend

 I usually call this the “Great Minnesota Sleep-Over” but not this year.  The downstairs sleepers have dropped from 15 or 20 to only 6 this year (us included).  The upstairs used to have the isles as well as under the tables filled with sleeping bodies.  I didn’t go up, this year, but friend Molly says that there were no bodies in the isles and less than half the ones under the tables.

Can it be that everyone is getting old?  Preferring to pay for motel beds instead of saving money and sleeping in Turner Hall?  Well, we were some of the few, the brave, the TOUGH and we slept there!

We arrived early Friday afternoon and carried all of our things down the stairs to the basement area (there is remodeling going on and NEXT year there will be an elevator!).  We take along our tools of the trade: Norm has a shave horse, two plastic boxes of spoons and spatulas, knives, draw knives, mallet, etc.  I have my big rocking chair (when there’s room, I take the big one, not the little one), two plastic boxes with yarns for sale, tablecloths, eating plates and cups and utensils, spinning and weaving tools, my loom (and table), my spinning wheel and a basket of wool for spinning.  We also have to bring sleeping things.  This year we brought our new double bed mattress and put it on the floor.  And I was able to get down AND up from the floor with no help from Norm, just a chair to help me pull myself up!  Good news from the tricky knee department!  Plus our sheets and blankets and pillows.  

Then there is Peanut’s stuff .  Not much, but her food and treats, her kennel and her special blanket for sleeping on the bed.

Of course food stuffs!  The group has a potluck on Friday night, so I brought some bread for that.  Our special “family” group has a potluck on Saturday night, so I brought a crock-pot of Swedish Meatballs and some breadsticks.  We also brought the cooler with pop, fruit and lunch things.

A lot of stuff?  Yes, but when you are locked in a building for two solid days and are demonstrating and selling, you need these things.  It’s not as much as the Leather-Man brings — he has four tables and several boxes of leather and skins that have to be carried in and then out .... it takes him much longer to set up and tear down than it takes us!  And everyone else has the same - if you don’t sleep in, you don’t need the sleeping stuff, but you still need the tools of your trade and things for sale.

So, we’re set up - we went up to get our potluck food and visit with others for awhile.  Then back downstairs to finish setting up and visiting with our downstairs friends as they come in and set up.  We also visited with the General Manager, Virginia ... she enjoys visiting with Peanut, as do all of our friends.  There are many who know our faces but not our names (same goes for us) but everyone remembers Peanut’s name and everyone comes to talk to her.

Light’s out!  Those who go to the motel say goodnight and the rest of us hit the sack.  

At about 8:00 in the morning, the lights are turned on.  If you are awake before then, you are quiet for those who want to sleep late.  By 8:00, though, everyone is up and organizing for the day.  There are coffee and rolls upstairs in the bar; Norm goes to get his coffee and our rolls while I take Peanut outside and heat up water for tea (I have a small hot-pot for tea water hidden in the area that we sleep).  Guests start coming to buy and visit.

We have several friends who come to shop and visit; they often sit at our stations with us so that we can catch up with the past year.  We also have many friends who are selling / demonstrating who come to visit, too.  I have two chairs next to my spinning wheel so that guests who are tired or want to watch and ask questions can sit for a spell.  The chairs are also convenient for friends to sit and visit.

And so the day passes ... I spin and weave, Norm works on spoons or spatulas and we visit, talk and demonstrate.  Closing is at 5:00 and we start setting up for the potluck supper.  There are others, upstairs, who come down to join us; we eat and visit and have a great time.  Then clean up and reset the area for the next day and fall into bed.

Peanut, during most of this time, spends the day in her kennel.  She feels that it’s a safe place from noise and strangers.  I cover her kennel with a tablecloth so that it’s hidden from view but I can watch it to see if she starts moving around, wanting to come out.  She also spends a bit of time on the bed, where we peek at her once in a while.  She chooses where she wants to be and is content, as long as the evenings are spent with Norm and I and she can sleep with us in bed at night.

Sunday is more of the same but a shorter day.  We had daylight savings time happen over night so we were up earlier, but we close at 3:00, so we didn’t have as much of a day before tearing down.

New Ulm is only an hour from our house, so the trip is not as long as when we go to other weekend events.  And it’s an indoor event so we don’t have to set up the tent.  This is the first event of the year so everyone is glad to see friends and get started on the new season.

It was a fun time, seeing old friends, getting to know new friends better and enjoying teaching guests about our crafts.  I had one little 11-year-old girl spend almost an hour, total, sitting with me; she is going to save up money and buy a wheel and a loom and is going to hone her knitting skills.  I gave her grandmother a card for our good friend Detta who has a store close to where they live, hoping that the parents and grandparents will see that this girl continues her love of fiber that she discovered while visiting with me.

Peanut and Norm, still in bed


That's my rocking chair in the background and my work area

Upstairs area
Friends Molly and Ole'

Norm always has a spoon in his hand

I am wearing a shawl that Jody made for me

It's a beautiful day that is masquerading for Spring.  You have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Happy Birthday, Norm!

Today is Norm's 67th birthday!  MY, he's old, isn't he?  He's a lot older than he would be if he was born a few hours earlier.

You, see, he COULD have been a leap-year baby.  Legend has it that his mother held on as long as she could so that she could make it past midnight on February 29th.  But she made it, he made it and he was born just a little while past midnight on March 1st!

I remember a boy in high school that was a leap-year baby and we had a lot of fun on his birthday.  Who knows?  If Norm HAD been a leap-year baby, I might have met him in high school.  We graduated together but didn't meet until I was in college and he was out of the Army.  The class was too big to know everyone.  (We had e the biggest class and were the reason they built a new high school and split the school.)

I grabbed a couple of pictures from Norm's sister, Eileen (thanks, E!) to share with you.

 This one was taken when he was about 6

 This is when he was about 8, with his younger brother, Roger, and his Dad. 
Norm says he remembers that white horse fondly!

Norm might have been close to 15 here!

And here is the birthday boy, holding my Kindle
(His will be here tomorrow!)