Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wistful Wednesday

This picture was taken at my folks' house during the Christmas season in 1974.  My sister-in-law-in-law (brother-in-law's wife), Mavis, with her two children.  Wade is 3, born in November, and Glenda is nearly 5.  I'm there with Mavis ... you can see the back of Joy's head - she's 3, as well, born in August - and you can also see Jill's elbow next to Wade - she turned a year in November.  We had come home from Australia for about 6 weeks to show Jill off (no-one had seen her, yet) and spend time with family.  We had been in Australia for about 2 1/2 years and were at a turning point - do we stay in Australia and become citizens or do we move back to the States?

You must know what decision we made!  We ended up\ staying a total of 5 years, then moved back home - mostly because of family.  There are times that I wonder if we made the right decision - we really loved it in Australia.  We had lots of adventures there ... remind me to tell you about Ayres Rock someday ... it's Jody's favorite story!

It was a beautiful day today - you have a beautiful day!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Happy Birthday to Three

Today is a very special day for three loved ones in my family.

First of all, it is the anniversary of my grandmother's birth.  Caroline was born in Norway in 1883 and immigrated  here as a young child.  Her parents were deceased so she came over with a foster mother and joined the rest of the foster family here.  She told stories of traveling to North Dakota and how she and her foster mother, Elen (Ellen?) raised sheep, sheared, spun yarn and knit socks to sell in order to purchase food for themselves.  I never heard her talking about spinning, myself, I just read about the story in a newspaper article about her.

Nana was my hero, my guide, my love.  I adored her and thought she was the smartest person in the world (yes, even smarter than my mom!).  She taught me how to crochet, how to make butter, how to hang clothes on the line in the proper way, how to cook, how to be conservative with food.  I remember once going to her little apartment where she lived for years and finding a small bowl of oatmeal.  She had not finished it for breakfast, so would eat it cold for lunch - she told me "sometimes that's all we had to eat!"  Her apartment was a "bed-sitter."  She had a small living room and her couch was actually her bed.  She had no closet so hung her clothes in the shower in the bathroom.  So she most often took a "spit bath" - and taught me how to do that.  I think of her when I am camping and can't take a shower, so need to wash up in Nana's way.  Nana died at the age of 101; she moved to a nursing home less than 3 months before she died - before that she lived in her little apartment until about age 90 and then in an assisted living home until after she turned 100.
Nana and Grandpa Saueressig (Robert)

Later on in life ... not sure of the year
Now that she is gone from this plane, she is my guide

The next person is Glenda.  I was thrilled when she was born on Nana's birthday, even though she is not "of my family."  Glenda is technically Norm's niece, being daughter of his brother, Darrell, and wife, Mavis.  But since I was there before she was born, just after she was born and helped carry her to the many auctions that Darrell, Norm, Mavis and I went to when she was an infant, I feel that she is "of my blood."  Glenda is the oldest of four gangsters that ran around together.  Our two girls and Glenda and brother Wade went a lot of places together, as Mavis and I did a lot of things together.  We spent weekends at the family ranch where Glenda and Wade grew up, right next door to Grandpa and Grandma Peterson.  Glenda now portrays herself as an adult but doesn't fool many people.  If you want to learn about the craziest person in the Peterson family, you can visit her blog Glenderella.
Always smiling!
With husband, Ken

Thirdly, but not least, is my one and only "blood" niece, Cookie.  She was born on Nana's 80th birthday, which thrilled not only Nana, but Candy as well.  Now, I was not there for her birth - I was in Australia at the time, but I was thrilled, non-the-less.  The story that I heard was that Candy claimed that the baby was a girl and would be born on Nana's birthday, no matter what the doctor said.  Lo! and Behold!  Candy was right.  Cookie was named after Nana - (hope I spell it right) Cotalena.  Nana's name was Caroline but she pronounced it Cotalena (again, is the spelling correct?).

Cookie and my two girls spent a lot of time together, once we got home from Australia.  She is in the middle between Joy and Jill and they were "thrown together" when we had family events, as well as times when she came out to spend time with us.  I have watched her grow up and am very proud of her.  She has the wisdom of the elders and is very loving.

 Joy, Jill and Cookie
 Cookie, Jill and Joy
 Shared birthdays!

Happy birthday to all three!  I love you all!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wistful Wednesday

This picture was taken in about 1955 or so.  We lived in Japan and spent almost every summer day at the beach.  The ocean behind us is the Japan Sea.  It's hard to believe, looking at me now, but I was a tom-boy and very, very active when growing up.  So were my sisters.  In fact, we were probably more active, in some ways, than our brother.  

This is Cara and I, playing during lunch "break."  Back then, boys and girls, it was firmly believed that you needed to stay out of the water for an hour after eating.  We sort-of did.  We put on shorts and shirts over our swim suits and waded until "safe" to go back swimming.

We are digging in the sand, picking up seaweed and driftwood.  It looks like we might be digging for clams but I don't think this part of the beach had clams.  I don't remember them, anyway, and if there had been, we would have surely found them!

There were times that we were the only ones on the beach.  We would stay as late as allowed.  Mom would read under a beach umbrella while we frolicked in the water and the life-guards would sit and watch us patiently.  Never once do I remember a guard coming over and telling Mom is was time for us to go so they could give up for the day and go home.  Sometimes there were strong winds and storms and we would chase the big waves back from the shore.

Those were the days!  No worries except how to talk Mom into staying just a little bit longer!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

At long, long, long, LONG last!

When I lived in Rapid City, SD, over 25 years ago, I discovered a new business, a Tea House, and soon got hooked on one of their bulk teas.  This addiction lasted only about a year, as these brave but foolish people had chosen the wrong city to introduce specialty teas and had to close shop.

The tea that I became hooked on was a spicy one with cinnamon and orange and other spices.  I would open my tea jar and sniff the raw tea and get a high (yes, I admit it, I’m a cheap drunk and druggie).  And to drink the tea was to reach the highs of heaven. 

Soooooooo, when the store closed, my supply ran out and I was devastated.  I have spent these past 25+ years looking for that tea.  Constant Comment is a good tea, but not even close.  I have an orange spice that I tried .... close, but no cigars!

Every time that I went to a shop that carried bulk teas, I would try to describe the tea and if the store had something like, they’d look for it, but usually I would get strange looks.

Just recently I joined a FaceBook group called “Homesteading and Homemade.”  I got the brilliant idea to ask them if they knew of the tea I have been searching for.  My good friend Candy D from New York  went looking and found several choices.

And, Lo! and Behold! ... she FOUND IT!!  I ordered a sample that came yesterday in the mail.  I opened the plastic bag and sniffed .. and KNEW that it was the tea, even before I tasted it.

Now, last year my Mom gave me a tea pot that is a two-cup one with a diffuser that I brought out and used.

I am in heaven .. sniffing and sipping and rolling over in the clover!

The tea is from Dori’s Tea Cottage  and is called “Hot Cinnamon Spice.”  I had ordered a sample that has lasted 2 days – I have now ordered a package of the tea and will anticipate the arrival of my taste of heaven.  Go visit .. they have other teas, as well, in bulk. 

Bulk, loose-leaf tea is much better than tea bags ... the tea bags are actually filled with the sweepings of what has been processed for loose-leaf.  Even if it’s more convenient (and I will admit I mostly use tea bags), it’s not as good.  And this Hot Cinnamon Spice has got to be the world’s best spice tea!  Try it, you’ll like it!

Monday, March 12, 2012

New Ulm Trade Show

The annual Trade Fair show is held in New Ulm at the historic Turner Hall; the first one was built in 1856 and rebuilt after it was destroyed during the Dakota Uprising in 1862.  The original part of the hall was rebuilt in 1873 and is still in use, with additions in later years.  The Trade Fair is the first event of the year and people are anxious to get together again and start doing the rendezvous-ing that they love so much.  Vendors sell Rendezvous equipment to other “vous-ers” and also to “outlanders” who come to see the fun.  We are restricted from selling anything that would not have been available in the trade era - nothing no later than 1820.  I trade outfits and go to the earlier era, even though our normal time-period is the mid 1870s.  Norm doesn’t have to change ... what he wears in 1870 is acceptable in 1820 (lucky him).

I used to call this the “Great Minnesota Sleep-Over” but it’s getting so less and less people sleep in the Turner Hall every year.  Unfortunately, the people are getting older so they are opting to go to the motel and sleep in a real bed rather than on a cot or sleeping mat on the floor.  However, Norm, Peanut and I slept over.  We have our 6" bed foam and I can finally get up from the floor with a solid chair for leverage, so we sleep in the bar next to our tables.  Our beautiful Turner Hall Manager, Ginnie, puts curtains up to enclose the bar, so we have a private bedroom. 

We arrived on Friday afternoon and set up our spot, then visited with friends.  Some of them we see only once a year, others we see a couple of times.  Friday is catch-up day before everyone gets busy with customers on Saturday and Sunday.  Friday night there is a traditional potluck with chili.  I don’t care for chili that much, so I load up with salads and breads while Norm gets chili. 

Turner Hall has two floors and we are in the lower level (basement) while the bigger group of vendors are in the upper level.  Among many of the items for sale are: leather, crystals, rabbit skins (mostly for “outlander” children), guns, cast iron pans, candles, soap, moccasins, shirts, dresses, coffee pots, dishes, silverware.  Norm, of course, has his spoons and I have yarn, woven and knitted items and (this year) soap.

On Saturday night, Norm and I have a small potluck for close friends in our area.  This year I made chicken and dumplings, which Ole claimed was a “new favorite” .. So I might have to make it again next year!  It worked out great - I made it on Friday morning, put it in a slow cooker, let it stay in the van overnight (instant freezer) and then warmed it up on Saturday.  That, with home-made bread, beet pickles, fruit salad and cheesecake, filled all of us up to a bursting point.

I have a few pictures, here, of what I see every year.  I hope you enjoy the tour as much as I did.  Come see us next year!

 Behind Norm is the curtain to our private "bedroom."

 This is a dark Tulip Poplar wood being made into a spoon

 Ole and Lynn are upstairs at their booth

 Lynn is needle felting patterns on woolen trivets

 Some of the vendors upstairs

 More vendors and customers

 Ole shopping at my "across the street neighbor"

 Some of the downstairs vendors

 Two friends
 Beth in her regency gown (I kept curtseying to her, since she looked like a queen)

 Lovely Ginnie (Manager) was put into "proper" clothing for the weekend.
Ole escorted her to the vendors for gifts as a thank you for her hard work.

A wood-looking resin spinner that was a gift from a vendor-friend

Sunday, March 04, 2012

I saw the green camel!

And what, might you ask, is a green camel?  Well, to make a long story short, there was once a sweet, innocent (cough, cough) young lady who was learning how to knit.  She knew nothing about fiber and watched someone spinning some green fiber.  When she asked what it was, she was told that it was camel that was being spun.  She said “I didn’t know there were green camels!” and then learned a new fiber word ..... “dyeing.”  That comment was never forgotten and when the gang wanted to start a fiber weekend, they decided to call it “The Green Camel.”

This was my first time attending.  Candy went last year and insisted that I come this year; I will continue to go again next year.  Green Camel is held only about an hour from home, which made it quite convenient for me to get there.  The weather was mild (30s) but very windy so it was cold unpacking.  I had several friends help take my stuff into the building which is a 1917 brick Danish folk school, called Danebrod.

Once in, I never left until time to pack up and leave the next day.  This fiber event runs from Friday afternoon until Saturday afternoon.  They are talking about making it a three day / two night event, which would be nice.  Once I got there, I really didn’t want to leave.

The folk school building has three stories - we took up the first floor with the spinners, knitters, crocheters and me, the single weaver (I took “Little Sister”).  There were about 30 of us on Friday night for supper in the lovely basement kitchen / dining area.  Several more showed up on Saturday so I think there was a total of about 40 people.  I couldn’t count them all as no one stayed still very long.

There were items for sale (I bought two weaving magazines), yarn, fiber (no camel) and accessories.  Candy bought a silk “hankie” ... this is a bunch of silk, pre-dyed and ready to spin; it’s pressed into the size of a hankie and you pull off what you want to spin; she also bought some beautiful gold fiber to spin.  I might get a hankie sometime in the future.

The organizers were Jill M and Ann V and Peg A.  Ann (Crazy or Crabby Ann) was the boss if Jill wasn’t around to hear her state that fact.  They did a wonderful job.  The meals were excellent, the rooms well planned - although next year they need to give the old ladies rooms closer to the bathroom!  Candy and I shared a room which worked - we compromised on the heat - she likes sleeping hot and I like sleeping cold.  But if there are separate rooms next time, we will sleep separately.  I will open a window and she will have her room toasty.

There were door prizes given.  One of the prizes was a small bag of green camel fiber (would have loved that).  Candy got a spinning wheel planter with cactus - which she loves - and I got a bag of yarn and a pattern for a Norwegian sweater.  I”m going to see if I can bribe Joy into knitting a jacket for me.

So, a good time was had by all!  I have pictures to share with you, so here they be!

 Notice that all three have hand spun, hand knit sweaters (or vest)

 An advantage of having the sleeping rooms in the same building - you can join in the fun in your jammies!

It was a beautiful weekend.  Today is a beautiful snowy day with no wind to speak of.  I was welcomed home this morning with a goldfinch sitting on my living room window.  You have a beautiful day.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Happy Birthday, Norm!

Today is Norm's 68th birthday!  Because his mother "held on" just a little bit longer, it is NOT his 17th birthday!

Yes, dear friends, he was nearly born on February 29th ... he was nearly a leap year baby.

This picture is of Norm and his dad with younger brother, Roger.  

And this one was taken last week, holding our foster lambs.

He's changed quite a bit from one picture to the next.  But he is still the love of my life!

Happy Birthday, Norm!  I love you!