Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Oh, I love early mornings!  The pergola is bathed in the soft rays of the morning sun.  The birds are singing their good morning songs, and it's quiet and peaceful.
The wetlands are bathed in the ethereal mist of the early hour.
“Pippa's Song

The year's at the spring
The day's at the morn
Morning's at seven,
The Hill side's dew-pearled
The lark's on the wing
The snail's on the thorn
God's in his heaven-
All's right with the world”
Robert Browning

I know, it's not spring.  But I was thinking of the last two lines....God's in his heaven, All's right with the world.

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, July 23, 2012


So.  How does one get from here, where we live,
to here, where our son Chris and Amy live?
Well, you leave home, and you go to Minot, North Dakota, Great Falls, Montana, Spokane, Washington, Tacoma, Washington, Vancouver, British Columbia,  Prince George, British Columbia, Stewart, British Columbia/Hyder Alaska, Teslin, Yukon Territory, Tok, Alaska, Anchorage, Alaska, and Homer, Alaska.  Then you get on the Alaska State Ferry System and go across the Ketchemak  Bay of the Cook Inlet, and there you are!


This is a sunset photo from our 2009 trip.  I could bore you with hundreds of photos from past trips, but I'm sure you want to see something new!  So, join hubby and me as we journey to Alaska in a month or so.  We can't give a definite date because we won't leave town until the great grand daughter is born and baptized!  But we are getting excited to get on the road.  And we are happy to invite you along with us.  So mark your calendars and plan to spend September in Alaska!

Thursday, July 19, 2012


We have been eating pickles.  I made several batches of refrigerator pickles, some for us and some to give away, and they have been a hit.  The cukes continue to grow.  We've had zucchini grilled, stir fried, in my veggie spaghetti sauce, and in bread.  They are also doing well.  The broccoli was good, but quit producing once it got so horribly hot, as did the snap peas. Beets were good, but not enough of them.  The beans never did a thing, nor did the lettuce.  Ditto the peppers.   Potatoes are okay, a few of the carrots look pretty good, and the tomatoes are loaded.    Some of the tomatoes have butt rot, which is caused by irregular watering or not enough water.  They are just now ripening, so we'll see how many of them I can freeze.   The kale continues to produce, and I continue to freeze it for soup this winter.  So, the garden has not been as productive as we had hoped.  We have fat rabbits though.  And some chubby little shrews.  The lettuce and pepper buffet has served them well.  However the heat continues, and we are in a drought.  We are watering more now, but I don't think we gave it enough water early enough in the growing season. 

I am freezing rather than canning, as we have no storage space for canned goods.  We don't have a basement, and can't trust that the garage will stay above freezing in the winter, so freezing was the best option.  I think it's easier, too.  I am, however, freezing in wide mouth canning jars.  I much prefer food stored in glass as opposed to plastic containers.  You don't have to worry about BPA's. and you can reuse the jars and lids for years.  Some people worry about the jars breaking, but if you follow some simple rules, you won't have a problem.  You must use wide mouth straight side jars.  You cannot over fill them.  You must have them cooled before you put them into the freezer.  And there you go!  Easy peasy!

Yesterday I bought some wonderful Michigan blueberries at my local food co-op, and I got them frozen.  They will be so good next winter.  And remember that not too long ago I froze a bunch of turkey broth,  so we'll have plenty of soup.  I have lots of kale to add to it so we'll be healthy.  

Local corn is now ready so I think I'll freeze a few jars of that.  We don't eat a lot of corn, it certainly is not the healthiest vegetable, but it is good to have fresh corn a couple of times during the summer. So,tonight we will have fresh corn, fresh caught sunfish, crappies and blue gills that the neighbors brought over, and potato salad made with fresh farm eggs from free range chickens.  Oh ya, some pickles and zucchini bread, too.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Do you know Jesse James?  The outlaw Jesse James?  He, with his gang, including the Younger brothers, were active in this area in 1876.  They robbed the bank in Northfield, Minnesota, in 1876, and all of the gang except for Jesse and Frank were killed or taken captive.  Jesse remained on the loose until April of 1882 when he was shot and killed as he stood on a chair in his home, dusting and straightening a picture hanging on the wall.

My hubby's brother has built a park on his small farm that is a recreation of the 1876 bank robbery.  His metal figures cover his large lawn and gallop down the hillside, and even cross the ravine on a bridge.  This setting is where the annual family reunion is held.  This is where we gathered this weekend for two days filled with family, fun, and love.

This is Arnold's newest creation, a bridge. 
Some of the townfolk....
and gang members....

This is the scene from 1882 when Jesse James was standing on a chair, dusting and straightening the picture frame hanging on the wall of his home, when he was shot and killed.
Hubby (the middle man) and his brothers standing on the bridge.  They used to be blond, now they're white headed!
I think the most beautiful girl at the reunion was this young lady.  She just happens to be my 14 year old granddaughter!
This is nephew Mark and some of the guitars he has built.
And a good time was had by all!  See you next year!

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I don't really like marigolds.  I think they stink.  But we did plant some among the tomato plants as they do keep some pesky bugs away.   These are small, only about 10 inches high, compared to some of the tomato plants that are 4 feet high.
We also planted some larger marigolds, these dressed in yellow..........................
and these wearing orange.  So far it looks like they are doing their job.  We have plants full of green tomatoes........hopefully they will ripen soon.

We have a busy weekend ahead of us.  Hubby's family reunion is at his brother's place just 10-12 miles away from us.  All the brothers should be there.....two from Wisconsin, one from South Dakota, one from Alaska, and hubby and the other two that live around here.  There are usually some pretty intense bean bag and horseshoe tournaments, and of course a golf outing on Saturday morning.   Brother Arnold, who is the host along with his daughter Tammy, is a metal worker.  I should have a few hundred photos of his work to post after the weekend, including his newest creation, a bridge.  Stay tuned.......you will want to see his beautiful work.

Brother Roy and his wife Dotty are staying with us for the weekend.  The fun thing is that Dotty and I were friends in high school..........in the 60's!  Yup, we married the brothers, I guess so we could keep our friendship going!  For all these years!  So we are looking forward to a great time. 

See you Monday morning.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


We often take a picture of corn on the 4th of July because we were brought up with the saying "knee high by the 4th of July."  If the corn was knee high by the 4th of July, it meant the farmers would be able to get their crop in before the first frost.  So on the way to my sister's house for a family get together today, I had Ernie stop and pose in front of a field of corn.
The corn is fully six feet tall, and tasseled out.  I heard this afternoon that the corn is 27 inches taller than in an average year on this date.

Yes, it's still hot.  And no, we still haven't had any rain, unless you count the 47 drops we had yesterday morning.  It didn't even get the sidewalk wet, let alone clean the bird poop off it.  We continue to water the garden and flowers, morning and evening.

And a glass of wine on the patio isn't much fun unless you include a fan!


Somehow it seemed fitting this morning to turn on the TV for some news and to find the national anchors broadcasting a tribute to Andy Griffith.  Mayberry is an All American 4th of July type of town, isn't it?  The Andy Griffith Show is one of the few TV shows that parents could let the kids watch without fear of those little ears hearing bad jokes, swear words, or filthy talk.  Their sparkling innocent eyes were not shown scantily clothed people or inappropriate behavior.  Mayberry always reminded me of my childhood in the northern Iowa countryside.

Aunt Bea was my grandma, my aunts, and even my mother.  They always wore dresses.  Usually a small floral print dress, protected by an apron.  They wore a hat to church.  They fussed over a fried chicken Sunday dinner, and cooled the pies on the porch or on the kitchen window sill.  The wash was done on Monday, and the dusting and cleaning on Saturday mornings.  I can imagine a hug from Aunt Bea would feel like a hug from my grandma, a soft, cushioned,  bath powder smelling hug against their ample chests.

Opie was my brother, my cousins, and every young boy I knew.  Happy, whistling, freckle faced, suntanned, bike riding, baseball playing little boys, innocent, and far removed from the "too wise, too soon" members of the coming  generations.  In fact, Opie was all of us kids, playing outside every minute of the day when we weren't in school or church.

My dad was not an Andy looking man, as he wore a suit or dress pants and a white shirt every day, except Saturdays, in his vocation as the pastor of two small country churches.  But like Andy, he was wise, and he was respected.  When he spoke, you paid attention.  He was the head of the household, a strong, loving rock that we all could count on, like Andy Griffith was.

One could go on and on, comparing those good old days in Mayberry with today, but we all know the differences.  And, despite the wonders of today, the technology, the modern conveniences,  the instant gratification society, I miss Mayberry.

Happy Birthday America!  I wish you an Andy Griffith Mayberry type of celebration.