Monday, October 24, 2011

A "New" tractor

We have had an Alys Chalmers tractor for several years; when Norm got it, I questioned the size - I felt it was too big for what we have to do here.  But he wanted it - and, yes, I did, too.  It is the model tractor that my uncle had when I was growing up.  However, it has given us trouble from the day we brought it home ... transmission going out,  starter going bad ... on and on and on.

This last Spring, brother-in-law Wayne sold Norm his tractor - a McCormick Farmall.  He finished paying it off on Saturday and drove it home.

Now we will hopefully sell the Alys; the Farmall is much easier to run, starts like a dream (if you remember to turn the gas line on!) and drives much easier.  It has a bucket on it for snow removal, too.

Now we need to get a snow blower to run on it so that we will not have to worry as much about the snow and Norm won't have to drive the Farm's tractor here to blow snow.

After we got home with the tractor, we loaded up a kitten and took her to Westbrook to a new home.

As we drove into the lane, we saw a young deer in the front yard.  He (she?) hung around for awhile, then bounded away, so we drove in, got into the house and lo! and behold! there the deer was, drinking out of my freshly filled bird fountain / pool!  And a closer look showed it to be a young buck!

What a wonderful gift!

It has been beautiful these past few days - and sounds like it will be, again, for several more.  You have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wistful Wednesday

I was trapped into talking (tomorrow) to the Sons of Norway lodge I belong to; they want to hear about my childhood in Japan.  I kept saying it wasn't Norwegian based but they didn't listen.  So I've been spending time getting slides scanned in for this talk.  

I haven't broken a leg, yet, so guess I will have to go and talk tomorrow (sigh).  

However, I thought I'd share some of the pictures (again) that I will show.

Hope you enjoy and hope the lodge enjoys tomorrow.

 This is an actor from the Kabuki theater - it is a young male, posing as a young woman.  No women acted in Kabuki.

 This is one of the largest Buddhas in the world, as you can see by the people walking up the steps.
I have been to this one and walked inside and stood in the hands of this Buddha.

 This is a bathroom in a tourist spot - we stayed here one week.
The stool is the porcelain item in the floor - you squatted over it and then flushed it when done.
More modern than just a hole in the ground like most county people had.

When we left Japan, we flew past the famous Mount Fujiyama - Dad took this picture from the plane.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Out of commission

I went to a foot doctor last week and found that I have tendinitis on the left inner ankle.  No wonder it's been hurting for several months!  He gave me some pills to take, use ice several times a day and limit my physical activities.  To those of you who know me well, I hope you are sitting down as you read this.  I thought Candy was going to drop her phone, she was laughing so hard!

Day three of my pills, I started to get sick and had the same symptoms for flu and for pill reactions so called the doctor who said to stop taking the pills, just in case.

Doesn't matter what it was, it's taken three days out of me and I really HAVE been taking it "easy."

So, I missed Wednesday's look into the past and I thought I'd put a picture on today.  I am (slowly) going through my Dad's slides of Japan, as I need to give a talk next week at the local Sons of Norway meeting (sigh).  This one is a little girl, all dressed up for some festival.  Most of the local Japanese wore kimonos rather than western dress unless they had contact with Americans.  Notice the little girl's shoes.  Look familiar?  The Japanese were the first to have "flip-flops" or whatever popular name they are today.  We wore them as well, around the house.  The thong was of material, usually flannel, and were called  "zoris." In the winter they had wooden ones with two "feet" to hold them up from the mud - called "getas."  If you will notice, the little girl has white socks (sort of) on. As it is probably winter, she wore a split cloth sock that hooked in the back.  They were used as slippers in the house and then could be used as cold protection when outside.  It must be dry and cold for her to be wearing zoris and "tabi socks."

I don't think she was very happy about my Dad taking her picture, but she sure is a sweetie and dressed very prettily.

Well, enough Japanese lessons for today ... it's a beautiful fall day out and I am slowly recuperating.  You have a beautiful day.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Dere be hurricanes a blowin’ !

........... or practically, nearly, but not quite!

Okay, we left here Wednesday morning and got to Albert Lea at noon - grabbed lunch at Arby’s and went to check in.  We got our usual spot on the back row - nice and quiet and away from the vendors.  Then we started to set up, a lengthy process.

There were wasps and beetles and bees, oh my!  And no-see-ums (biting ones) and flies!  We were in the afternoon sun; it was hot and I was nervous about the bees and wasps.  Norm sprayed inside and out to hopefully keep them away and I kept my eyes open.  But we finally got the tent up and everything put in it’s proper place.  Norm drove out to the store to get ice for the ice box and supper for us so I didn’t have to cook that night.  I laid down for a short nap but soon got up to rearrange things so that we didn’t have to make too many changes for school tours.

Our good friends Patience and Harley showed up - they live in Albert Lea - and brought us a present - our very own popcorn popper!  We have a tradition of having popcorn every time we get together with a fire; lately I’ve been supplying the popcorn, lard and butter and they have supplied the popper.  Now I have my own!

Thursday morning bright and early we got up and got ready for school tours.  I had a later tour than Norm so I made breakfast - cold granola and store-bought rolls!  The “promised” wind change had hit during the early morning hours so we had to batten down the hatches.  Da hurricane done happened!  Norm’s fly - separate from the tent so that he was demonstrating away from me - went down early on so he just took it down.  We had gusts of wind that knocked my demo loom off the table, knocked boxes of their tables and tore a rip in one of the canvas sides. I had a crock, a jar and a bowl break.  We later heard that the winds were gusting to about fifty-five miles an hour!  We also heard that Albert Lea had trees down, lost some electricity and some people got hurt.  There were tents that went down, one with a friend of ours in it!  She didn’t get hurt, though.

Despite the wind, the school children came and we had a very good day.  A lot of interested, well behaved children make my demonstrations much easier.

Thursday night, despite the wind, we had Blacksmith Wally over for supper.  I like to have company over to eat - it gives me incentive to make more than just cold sandwiches for Norm and I.  That night we had hamburgers with home-made buns, canned baked beans and fried potatoes and onions.  We also had an apple cobbler. Using my brazier makes it easier to cook and sometimes even fun.  Norm helps lift hot, heavy cast iron pans on and off the fire, hauls water for heating to wash and even pours water from the big coffee pot that we use for water into the wash basins. 

The wind died down towards sunset, so we lit our outside lanterns, lit the chandelier inside and got ready for bed.  I usually wash dishes in the morning, so we poured hot soapy water over them and let them sit overnight.

Friday was a duplicate for school tours but nicer, as it got up in the eighties and there was very little wind.  (Whew!)  Friday after tours, Patience came over to rest and visit.  Norm headed to town to get ice and biscuits .. I had baked biscuits at home but left them there.  By the time Harley got there, supper was nearly done.  When we had visited on Wednesday, I gave him the option for supper (every meal was pre-planned and nearly pre-fixed at home, so all we had was a choice of what night to fix them); Harley had requested chicken dumpling soup (egg dumplings), so that’s what we had.  I had planned on a desert but then we had popcorn in mind, so did not.

And we did have POPCORN!!!  A most important part of the week at Big Island!  Our new popper worked great!                   

Saturday and Sunday were open to the public.  It was also the time for a relaxed breakfast; I made biscuits and sausage gravy, inviting dear friend Ole Oleson (actually Roger) to join us.  Norm had gotten a tube of refrigerator biscuits and I fry-baked them on the brazier.    Not as good as homemade ones, but they worked to carry the gravy and sausage.

We had visitors from other parts of the site come - with my knee, my back and now my ankle, I don’t walk to far from the campsite, so am very pleased when friends come to see me.

The most important part of the weekend was the visitors that came on Saturday.  Daughter Jill and Grandpuppy Hank showed up to surprise Norm, wander with Norm and I (limited on my part), have supper and meet some friends.  Made my day, my week!  Thank you, Jill, for taking the time to come!

Being at Big Island during early mornings and evenings are magical.  Everyone dresses in proper clothing and not a modern thing can be seen.  It’s like being back in time!  I love it!


Sunday afternoon is tear-down and the magic goes away.  Big Island is on a peninsula (think I’ve mentioned that before) so there is only one road in and one road out.  People go out to get their cars mid afternoon and sit in line waiting for all the guest to leave; then they are allowed on, a few at a time; there is a pattern to the way they drive on.  After sites are torn down, people can start leaving, again in line, again in pattern.  It takes hours just to get in and out, let alone tearing down.
 The magic is gone

So Norm and I have finally gotten smart!  We wait until Monday morning!  While everyone else is packing up, waiting for a partner to bring in the vehicle, I sit and watch, visit with those who are like us, waiting until Monday, pack up some of the plastic tubs (yarns, table cloths, etc), fold up tables and chairs, get extra clothes ready to put in the van, change to modern clothes.  Norm helps others tear down; about 7:00, he goes out to get the van and trailer.  We put the tent stove in, pack up his shave horse and tools and start loading.  Then have a glass (mug) of wine and hit the hay.  Monday morning we get up and start tearing down for earnest.  We got done about noon, said goodbye to friends who were still on site and grabbed some lunch (Arby’s again - we don’t have one near us) and headed home.

This is the fourth year that I have been “bee free” - the last bee sting was at Big Island five years ago so I was very pleased.  And, please all the good gods, I will remain bee free for the remainder of the fall!

Now the season is over, we are washing and packing up items we won’t use until next year.  The next period event is in March, in New Ulm, an indoor Trade Show.  We have been invited to a February one in Albert Lea, but we haven’t decided, yet, about that one.

It’s a beautiful but windy day today - we have had high wind warnings for several days, but it’s supposed to be over by midnight tonight - I certainly hope so.  You have a beautiful day.


First of all, the lady with Mom is Mrs. Gomer, not Mrs. Robinson.  And her husband was a pilot.  Mrs. Robinson's husband was a pilot, as well, not a chaplain.

I remember a lot of the time in Japan - I have many memories of my childhood.  It was a great time for a child to be there.  I look at pictures, now, and see how dirty the place was - dirt roads and dirt streets - but never saw that back then.

Our maids were Japanese girls who were hired (and cleared) by the military before being allowed to work for the families.  The greatest fear at that time was that someone was communist.  The girls were trusted with the care of the children while the mothers did other things, like play bridge or travel.

Because they were young women, they were not technically "Momma-sans" --- and the correct spelling, Fran, IS Momma-san.  Any American word that was made to sound Japanese had "san" added to it.  Poppa-san, baby-san, Connie-san, etc.

It was a great time, as I said.  And now I am trapped into talking about that time at the Sons of Norway meeting this month.  One of the gals that does the scheduling of entertainment started talking to me about Japan and talked me into giving this talk (jeeesh!) ... so that's why I have the Japanese pictures. 

And here is one for you to enjoy - Me, under an umbrella (it rained a lot) with Candy hiding behind me.

It's a very windy day, but beautiful, non-the-less.  You have a beautiful day.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Wistful Wednesday

I am going through some of Dad's slides of Japan (we lived there while I was in 4th, 5th and 6th grade).  I ran across this pretty slide.

It is of my Mom and a friend, Mrs. Robinson.  Her husband was one of the chaplains, I believe.  The folks traveled around the Asian area with friends, leaving us with Japanese maids.  This was one of the spots that they went to.