Beware the Ides of March

Sunrise this morning

I think the omen suggested in the title was a day ahead for me. Yesterday at 7 p.m. I was supposed to be on a zoom meeting with the delegates from our conference going to our General Synod this June. I have literally not been sleeping because I haven’t taken a class this year, and it is time to renew my Pastor’s license. I always feel so precarious because I have not done many of the classes that were offered years ago. Some of the licensed ministers in our conference were given a certificate for work completed and thus could apply to take steps to complete the course work necessary to reach ordination. I on the other hand have a major in religion-philosophy as part of my BA degree of 1979, but in all honesty that counts for nothing today, except that I depend heavily on what I learned in those classes. At any rate, I missed the meeting last night because…well because life happens and I just forgot.

I spent all day Monday trying to sort out the papers that I had for our (my 3 sisters and me) KALM campsite business. I know one thing, I have to change the vouchers that I invented, and we have to use them better. I found out that I didn’t even pay myself back for the pick up insurance in March and I didn’t pay myself for the filing fee for running a business in the state of South Dakota. I am a bit upset about that last one because it is supposed to be filed online, but instead of allowing for a bank draft, which worked for the first few years, they insist on a credit card, that we do not own. So it means use my credit card then forget I put it on there, grrrr!!! Live and learn.

Tuesday I was in Hazelton filling in for the 5th/6th grade teacher who was with his wife and children while their baby is in the hospital of pneumonia. Wow. After we had track practice to get ready for the indoor state meet at the end of the month and we took the time to hand out the uniforms and sweats to this group. It was after 6 when we got home and after 6:30 before we started supper. I think I was still at the table cleaning up at 10 after 7. Since I knew I had to come to the office and be at the Nursing Home to lead services, I vegetated in the rocking chair watching The Voice and working on baby afghan #2. I am not real sure that afghan #1 will get to one of the twins or be donated with the church quilts. If I get the #2 one finished in time, I will make another one with newer yarn that isn’t such a mismatch of colors. I really like them to match better. On the other hand, the older yarn is so much softer. Who knows how it might turn out.

My happy moment for the day is that the service at the home went well, and I was able to have a nice visit with our member who has been there for a long time. She has been feeling a bit under the weather, but was able to get out of her room today and that was great. I was also able to get tonight’s services put together fairly easily and the best part was that I down loaded the form to request my license to be renewed and I completed my part in about 10 minutes including gathering up all the papers that need to be sent in with it. Now if the right people are here tonight, I can get the signatures on the contract and have someone fill out the church board part of the request and we are set. Except the part about waiting for the answer of if it passes or not.

Geese on the long jump runway

One other thing that I found some time for today was to drive out to the lake and take some more geese pictures. It is so funny how they have invaded the track and field complex. They didn’t even scare and fly away when I pulled up close to the long jump runway and started taking pictures. I think the man driving past in his pickup was more mixed up about what I was doing than the geese were. Well this is all for now. Hopefully I will be able to spend tomorrow going crazy trying to figure out my church mileage to complete our personal income tax information. Yikes I did such a good job of putting that all in one place my first year. This year I have it in a booklet, in my calendar and on my phone. Perhaps this next year, one spot should be enough. OK, I am finished for now, and remember to Beware the ides of March…..

Home to see the geese

Geese are coming home.

Geese are coming home.

When we were jut about home today we could see lines and lines of Canadian Geese circling in front of us. As we got closer to the open water just south of Herreid, we saw hundreds sitting on the ground and more coming in to land. We stopped to take some pictures, but with only the little Canon and no zoom the shots were not that great. I will share the best of what I have and hopefully find some time tomorrow to take some good versions of the 2017 north migration. I will also find time later this week to post a few more of the Tennessee pictures. Just like I told James for two weekends, as much as you anticipate something in a blink it is over and you are at home feeding the cats and looking out the window. Well, we are in the middle of Lent, and so I have plenty of church work to do as well as some personal and business. Just hope we find the energy to get it all finished. Then add to that the track team practice will start on Wednesday without me, oh well, I think they can handle it.

Geese by the lake

Geese by the shore.

Geese family by the shore.

I have been wanting to share the article that I wrote at the beginning of June, well since the beginning of June. Here is what I wrote:As I drove into Eureka on Wednesday morning, I was again awed by the sight of the families of geese in the water and on the grass by the lake. Some parents had their little ones in the grass feeding while others were swimming to shore. I was especially moved by the single file sight of two groups with adult geese both leading and following the young ones. What a blessing we are given to live in the area we do; where we are able to see the splendor of creation each day and each season.

More geese

More geese

As much as I enjoy fall and the time of harvest and gathering of the crops whether in the field or from the garden, I find spring to be an equally enjoyable time. It seems that each week there is another species of flower in bloom from the lilacs and the irises to the peonies and daisies and finally the lilies and hostas and on and on through the summer. God reminds us each day of the beauty of the creation, though some of our days have not been without storms. We need to remember that these storms are not in punishment for our actions or lack of faith. Sometimes the storms of life just are, and the important part is what we do as a result of them.

In Romans 4:13 Paul writes, “For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” It is not our works that makes God love us; God loves us because that is what God does and who God is. Our works should be a result of knowing that we are loved by God and because we are drawn to God as a result, we will want to follow the law and do what is right in all parts of our life. Enjoy the spring and the summer, and remember God’s creation was given to us to sustain and enjoy, let’s do that in the best way we can!!

More snows!!

This morning Paulina and I took some time when we went to the mail to drive south of town and check on the overflow of Spring Creek, and the status of the geese. It was a trip worth the time. Here is what we found. We were about two miles south of town, and when we got back home we could hear the sound from the train bridge. This stretch of geese was about 1/4 of a mile long.

Snows south of Herreid.

Snows south of Herreid.

Canadian Geese.

Canadian Geese.

I will drop in a few more shots. It was hard to capture the image of the wings as the geese were circling to land. I wish we had brought the video camera, it was amazing.

Circling birds

Circling birds

More birds.

More birds.

While we were there, I noticed the colors, especially the blues in the shallow water near this old tree. I think this would make a great water-color painting, so hopefully, I talk the time to do it this summer, or maybe an oil, oh what fun that would be.

Dead tree

Dead tree

After we got to town, we went to the train bridge behind our house and check on the spring flow. We noticed that there is a major piece of ice butting up against the pillars. This bridge is currently owned by a private individual, so not being kept up by any railroad or engineers or such. It is getting to the point that we no longer feel comfortable crossing it, but I guess each spring was always a bit scary when you look down and see the large chunks of ice.

Ice jam on train bridge.

Ice jam on train bridge.

Paulina on the bridge.

Paulina on the bridge.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures of our spring.

 

The snows are coming, the snows are coming!

Wow! I so wish that I could send you the sound. It is loud outside of my room right now. It is loud with the honking of the geese. To me the sound is sort of a cross between honking and barking, but at this time of year it is THE most beautiful sound that could be in our area. An avid hunter told my husband today that the Canadian geese come anytime, and often get caught in snow storms, but the snows are pretty good indicators of the weather being really time for spring. Now snow is forecast for tonight, so I am not sure how this will turn out. I guess you will see the update tomorrow. Paulina took several pictures with her 300 lens, but I haven’t tried to grab them yet. She was rather upset with me for suggesting that she take care of her homework tonight so we can do housework tomorrow. Anyway, here is what I got with the little camera.

Snows.

Snows.

Snow over the trees.

Snow over the trees.

Snows over the house.

Snows over the house.

More snows coming.

More snows coming.

I have never seen this many birds at one time in my life and that is no joke. I have often seen lots on the ground together, but never that many in the air. We have a spring hunting season for snows, but I don’t suppose evening or night-time is when you are allowed to shoot. It almost seems like they are moving through now to get to nesting before the hunters can get out their guns. Just an amazing sight to see. I love the promise of spring that they bring.

As for spring, today, I put down some lawn seed patch because their was forecast of snow. I have had very good past experience with seeding just before a snowfall. It seems to sprout better, something about nitrogen in the snow according to my brother. I set all of the large empty planters outside in their places to clean out the garage a bit. James moved the little tractor with the snow blower to the large shop to get the tiller put on when all is dry.

I spent quite a bit of time outside absorbing some sunshine to get some real vitamin D. I even walked downtown twice. I also found out what the funky yardsticks are at every corner in town. Apparently the county decided we needed to apply for a grant to get street signs. This was about a year ago. The city signed off on it thinking that they would be replacing any bad stop signs or such. Ha! Now we are getting yield signs on every corner, and I will need to stop like three times on the way to the mail. I know this doesn’t sound like much, but we are a town that is 6 blocks long, do we really need to waste money on yield signs. Just goes to show there is no free lunch. Next time they want to apply for free money, I hope someone has the sense to ask what we are getting. Enough for now. Have a great Ides of March tomorrow.

Spring is in the sky!

Second set of geese that flew overhead.

Second set of geese that flew overhead.

Just over the treetop.

Just over the treetop.

A view through the trees.

A view through the trees.

The geese, the Canadian geese flew north through Herreid today. It wasn’t just one random group as I initially thought. No, I heard (you always hear them first) then saw three different flocks up in the air. It was so refreshing. I almost missed getting them on camera as proof that they were here/hear would work in this case too, Ha! Luckily for me, I was braving the crisp air of the morning to have my coffee and toast on the porch. I have so very much that needs doing today, but this just had to be shared. The pictures aren’t the greatest, but they will just have to do. Hopefully I will catch some better shots on the way to Hazelton this afternoon when James and I go to the regional girls basketball tourney.

Close as I could get to the first set.

Close as I could get to the first set.

Another angle of the first geese heard this spring. It must be real.

Another angle of the first geese heard this spring. It must be real.

So for me the sound of the geese is the proof that spring is here. There is nothing like it here on the northern plains. If you read stories of frontier times, you learn that in the fall and spring the skies were black with their numbers. What a sight that must have been. There was concern a few years ago that their numbers were getting too high, and they were ruining crop land further north when they nested. I guess with all things you need a balance. I believe that their existence is good for conservation, especially in the era of no-till farming. They are the “poor” who pick up the gleanings after harvest to prevent sprouting in the spring of the wrong seeds. In that respect it is great when they clean up a field after fall harvest. I would imagine a little grain feeding also makes for a fatter and tastier goose, though from recopies that I have seen, goose is a rather tough bird.

Not much more to report at this time. I have a long list of to-do’s and I just answered a call from Hazelton. They need someone for third and fourth grade tomorrow. The teacher is heading to a funeral. I was actually quite glad to have the whole week off, but I just can’t quite say no when they call. Here is what I would like to do with the rest of my day. Probably won’t be happening. I need to get on the road by 2 p.m. to get to the basketball game on time, and stop at the tax place with another piece of information I dug up. I also need to call Pastor Keith in Mobridge and Mary Lou in Eureka. I need some advice on where to start with the Installation planning. It will be on Sunday, April 6 at 4 p.m. at the church in Eureka. Not much time to plan and Keith says the invitations should go out this week. Yikes, who do I invite and what should the invitations look like??? And the pictures below are what I would rather be doing.

Parches and Gardens magazine has so many great ideas on how to turn my porch into a real room.

Porches and Gardens magazine has so many great ideas on how to turn my porch into a real room.

Packets of seeds to be sorted and started for this garden season.

Packets of seeds to be sorted and started for this garden season.

Love the look of that basket. It could be for the Easter Bunny. It could hold a plant, which is how it came. Or, it could carry produce during harvest, which it does on occasion. Oh my I am hearing the fourth group of geese. I only took pictures of the first two. I wonder how many more will come through today. What are your signs of spring? Or, for those of you south of THE line, what are your signs of fall?

Paulina just called, she made it to school and is heading to class. Such a relief when you know they are off the road.

It wasn’t on the list!!

Today I have/had and will have lots to do, but that doesn’t stop the others in my house from deciding what they want. It started with the fact that I was up late trying to get the 1,666.6 words on a word document to get in the allotment for my first day of the novel writing thing. I hit 1,700 something before I finally turned out the lights. I also knew that my mother’s house needed to be strip cleaned for a new group as quickly as possible. James said the guys left at 6 a.m., but I wasn’t quite awake at that time.

The people going into it are connected to one of the churches in town. Each fall this church sponsors a butchering for an orphanage in Arkansas. The farmers donate a pig or a steer to the cause, and they all gather to do the butchering, make the sausage, grind up the hamburger and such. It is like an old fashioned butchering that used to happen on many farms in our area. I remember those days at our place when I was young. The carcasses would hang from the loader on the tractor until they were ready to be taken to the basement and cut up and ground up. It used to gag me, but that is another story.

Anyway, my mother used to be a donor for this endeavor. She would order extra hamburger from her supplier and donate it to the cause. It was a very wise business investment besides being a cause she felt strongly about. Many of the church members repaid her by spending Sunday noon eating in her café and going to her when they had a wedding or an anniversary or other celebration that needed a caterer. Besides the group doing the butchering often ate in the café most of the week that they were working.

Now in our mother’s memory, my sisters and I allow the people who come from the orphanage to stay in my mother’s home during this week. Of course we are using it as a business donation, but it is also a way for us to honor our mother and carry on some of the work that she thought was important. I will be upfront about the business part of it because I so dislike people who carry on about the good works. I can’t stand a hypocrite, and so I will be open that it is two fold, but this is the choice we make because it is what our mother would do. Now, on to something more interesting, the title.

So the list contained: cleaning my mother’s house, cleaning MY house, doing laundry, baking bread, getting rid of the apples, and doing all the writing that I had signed up for. In hindsight, this was likely not the smartest thing I have done in some time. I have those sermons to do, and of all things, I still need to think about how I am going to get something made for this year’s Christmas gifts. Yes, sad to say children, you are probably getting something for Christmas that your mother made rather than the newest high tech device.

I wanted to buy each of my daughters an e-reader of some type, but after thinking about how things are going financially this year, perhaps it won’t be happening right now. Unless of course I win three of them in some magic drawing that I haven’t signed up for yet. I have threatened Jessica that I will be giving her a kitchen gadget. She really needs some kitchen toys to make her baking and cooking more fun. I for one am so excited that she has begun to participate in culinary practices. Not that I think women have to be in the kitchen, it is just that cooking and baking really is therapeutic for me, and I think everyone should have that sort of an outlet. Of course gardening and crafting do the same thing for me, but like I have said before, I am just weird that way.

So back to the list thing, James decided that today was the day to finish the yard work. So, he did have a point. It is absolutely beautiful outside today. In fact when we first opened the door, the birds were making such a racket in the trees behind the dike that the cats were scared to go outside. Later the geese started to appear in the sky, and I wish that I were more tech savvy because I should have put a video in this blog so you could hear them as well as view these pictures.

The geese are flying.

The geese are flying.

A view of the different hues of green in the grass based on sunshine or shade. Beautiful sunshine today.

A view of the different hues of green in the grass based on sunshine or shade. Beautiful sunshine today.

More geese, our area was said to be black with birds in the fall of the year when it was first homesteaded.

More geese, our area was said to be black with birds in the fall of the year when it was first homesteaded.

Well in the meantime, Paulina found a recipe for candied pumpkin seeds and decided that was the order of business for the day. She started by telling me she was going to carve one of the pumpkins. Ok, so I looked at her like really it is two days after Halloween. She finally confessed that she only wanted the seeds. Fine, we ended up peeling the rest of the pumpkin so we could cook it down. Tonight we will eat pumpkin mashed potatoes and hopefully find sometime to make a couple of pies with the rest of it. My niece is being confirmed tomorrow and like it or not, there might be pumpkin pie at the reception. Maybe I could find an old blachinda recipe and make some of them. (A German-Russian pumpkin tart that my Grandmother Freda used to make).

From perfectly happy decoration pumpkin...

From perfectly happy decoration pumpkin…

TO

Candied pumpkin seeds, not bad.

Candied pumpkin seeds, not bad.

And

Chunks of pumpkin waiting to be cooked...

Chunks of pumpkin waiting to be cooked…

TO

Pumpkin simmering on the stove waiting for the spices to make it pie filling.

Pumpkin simmering on the stove waiting for the spices to make it pie filling.

 

Sorry I was too lazy to flip that last picture. I didn’t take it that way, but sometimes the computer turns it when I post to the media file, not sure why. I really need a class in some of this technology stuff. Finally I will leave you today with what I did to half of my bread dough.

Clover buns

Clover buns

I was getting nostalgic remembering when my mom made bread when I was little and we still lived on the farm. She used to make her buns in three little balls and put them in cup cake tins. Those buns were better than her other ones. She had a way of making that crust so hard you could knock out sheet rock with it. Somehow after she bought the cafe and started making bread nearly daily, she figured out the trick to a softer crust. People used to love her bread, so today, Mom, I made them thinking of you. Hope you all had/have and will have a lovely fall day….

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