Update June 5, 2017

I see it has been nearly a week since I last posted. We have been recovering from the close of the track season, final awards picnic and on and on. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to pack up the uniforms and set the big containers away until next March. I know there are a few “missing” as a slight few (3) of the athletes claim to have turned them in, but they are nowhere to be found in the mix, but that is normal and actually pretty good as things go.

We also had my uncle Gene’s memorial service on Saturday. It was nice with family and people from town, and lots of his friends, teammates and classmates from this area and even some from rather far away, college and high school buddies. It sure showed what they all thought of him. It was good to hear everyone’s stories and I hope that gave those who are having a hard time dealing with it a little comfort. One of his friends choked up twice as he was talking and for lack of a better way to end his speech, he concluded with, “And then the sucker just up and died on me.”

Garden dry and bare waiting to be planted.

Today is another day of regular laundry and hopefully by the time James gets finished with his summer school for the day, it will be time to head outside to get to digging into the dirt. As hot as it has been lately, I am not really looking forward to the outside. Maybe we will clean the freezer instead and we can postpone the garden work until the sun starts to fade for the day.

Well so much for the garden issue. I finished the laundry, Paulina–the walking tomato–came home from the pool a little before James pulled in from Bowdle. After coming home from summer school in Linton and Strasburg, he stopped at the house long enough to grab a sandwich and trade the Neon for the van then head to the service station in Bowdle where we bought it because it smelled hot yesterday and there is a weird rattle in the back end. Results: there is a hose out on the heater that caused the anti-freeze to leak and there is a bearing going out in something, and they needed to order a part for one of them and so he couldn’t just wait for it and come home. When he called to tell me, I was afraid I would have to drive there to get him. Thankfully not.

In the mean time he checked out what was on their lot and found this 5-year-old, low mileage Durango. He convinced them to let him take it as a loaner to see what my reaction would be about purchasing it. I already have my counter offer in mind, but I don’t think they will budge because they already made somewhat of a deal with James. We have two ideas how to get this accomplished, but I reminded James that we need enough left in the bank to cover the trip and some updates on the house. So much for my list of priorities. A different vehicle was towards the bottom. When the owner of the dealership clued in that we had bought our van there and it is a 2009 model with almost 213,000 miles on it, he thought we should be the advertisement. Maybe we could line up all three of the cars we own for the end of the ad. Two of them are 1995 (original) Neons. They don’t even make them anymore.

Well everyone has left for work or meetings, the wind has died back a little, but it is still pretty hot outside. I don’t think that I will try to plant anything today, maybe just get a few things set up in my mind or on paper, or maybe I will get out the gloves and trim the dead stuff off the spirea bushes. They did not winter all that well. Why is it that I just don’t have the energy for any of it this year. I just would rather order take out. Perhaps I need to take a picture of that Durango. We might be eating garden spinach all summer in order to afford that thing even at the reduced used-vehicle price. Hmmmm. What was it my uncle always said, “If you need more money, no need to cut back, just make more.” Ya right easy for him to say, he owned a business. Maybe I better grow more garden and join the Farmer’s Market again.

Post on April 11

Junk outside

Hi, just stopped by to say I am still here. Things have been hectic around our place as of late, and I just have not felt the ability either by time or emotion to visit with the blog world. I have lots to say, but just can’t do it now. I will share a couple of pictures from well over a week ago. On Saturday, April 1, James and Paulina and I did some digging in the garden after we cleaned all the wet and damaged items out of my mother’s basement. We have plenty of signs of spring in the yard, and I am so very glad that we took the time that day to do it.

Later that evening after my message was finished and we were sitting in bed watching previously recorded television shows, my youngest sister called to tell me that my uncle in Phoenix passed away. He was laying on the couch watching the big basketball tourney and had a heart attach. My mind instantly went to wondering which member of the family was there to greet him as he passed from us to them. His passing leaves a horrible hole in the family dynamics both in his immediate family and in our larger extended group. He was so much the one we loved to call to share any of our great accomplishments. He was always so supportive, and even if he couldn’t be here with us so very often, we always felt that we mattered to him.

Peonies coming

Tulips

Irises

Days like this so make me wonder how God allows us to have such pain in our lives, and then I realize it is not the pain and the heart ache that matter but what we do with it and about it. How we deal with the hand we are dealt is what matters in life. That was the point of my message last Sunday, and I will share that later. I am in school with James this morning as we are waiting for the time for the bus to leave for the track meet in Hazen. Should be a great day. Enjoy the pictures!!

April Fool’s Day, outside…

 

Lily Garden

Today we worked in the garden, well the flower garden, or at least a few of the beds.  We didn’t start out there, but that is where we middled. I can’t say we ended there because the end for me is here in the blog world. I showered and came to the computer area after we were finished up outside. Well, at least I was finished. After being down and out with a sinus/head cold for a week, I was not worth much at a time today. I am thinking it will be ok to stop taking those OTC decongestants because they are making me just a little jittery. I also did a load of laundry (good skirts and shirts) and hung them on the line, oh how nice to be able to do that again. I decided today that my request for this birthday is new lines (all four spots, pulled tight and no splices) and new clothes pins, just saying.

James and Paulina and I started the day by dragging everything out of the basement at my mother’s house. I guess our April’s Fool was that no one else was available to help. And since this was our only open weekend, and with the furnace coming in at 6:30 a.m. on Monday there really wasn’t much choice on the matter. We should have done it sooner, but I don’t think it would have been such a good idea to have it sitting in the snow. It was also too icky to drag to the main floor, so it was out the cellar door with it all. Paulina picked a spider web off James when it was all finished that went from his shoulder to his ankle. She told me the spider in the back room was the size of a small tarantula. I did not go in to look. I recognized a few items as things we had left behind when we moved into our house, but the rest is well, items that my mother had packed away and put in the basement. I didn’t realize that she had so much Christmas stuff there. I still have not located the ceramic scene that I gave her of the figure skaters. I am starting to wonder if it was broken and she just never had the nerve to say anything. Oh well. Mostly it was paper boxes that need to be folded up and stuck into garbage bags. I insisted we leave it out to dry, and if anyone thinks something is theirs, I am not delivering. Mostly we will get it tossed by tomorrow night and hopefully take a drive to the dump on Monday or Tuesday at the latest. James would have tossed it all today, but I was the one who wanted to take a second look at the stuff after a day in the sun.

Solar lights are up!

After we had some lunch I figured it would be a good time to move some of the solar lights back outside. They have been in the basement and in my bedroom over the winter. Before we could put them in place, we raked all the dead leaves and pulled some of the fall grasses out of the flower beds. James got a little over zealous in my poor lily bed and a few of the new sprouts were pulled out. He heard about it more than a few times. He finally moved on and cleaned out the little pond. I did my best to clear out the rest of the lily area by hand and a bit more gently. The day lilies are quite thick so I don’t think we will be hurt in terms of blooms. This is one flower garden that probably would like a bit of compost to feel some nourishment.

We also noticed that the tulips are growing well in the old bed where they were supposedly all removed, but not coming up at all in the new bed to which they were transplanted two years ago. Imagine that! It was quite an ordeal snipping and breaking and pulling off the old stalks of holly hocks. I even managed to dig out a few of the plants, which might explain why my arms are sore. When you get those flowers started in a spot, they just keep getting bigger and thicker and almost invasive. Oh well, they are pretty and make for a very nice natural fence.

So, how did you spend your April Fool’s Day???

Advent: Dec. 16…. Not much accomplished

The view from the garage to the east.

The view from the garage to the east. It is not the same as from my office, but this shows better how it is piling up.

Wow! Since Wednesday night when we collectively decided not to hold services on Sunday morning, I have been on a mental hiatus. I have accomplished a few things physically and even considered a few things mentally, but mostly I have been proverbially, “out to lunch.” I sit in my office at my home and look out the window at the snow and more snow and wind picking up and actually would just prefer to go to bed. I think I need some light therapy, or maybe just a good kick in the butt. I have a list of things to do both for church and for home and even for “before Christmas.” I want to write that not much is getting accomplished, but I have been doing some of them just not as many as I should and for sure not as many as I would like to do.

View to the west, this was the morning glory area last summer.

View to the west, this was the morning glory area last summer.

Yesterday afternoon, James and I headed to Bismarck to do the last of our big shopping for Christmas. This morning it hit me why I wanted to stop at some of the places we skipped. I have already refigured some of those issues, so it is all good. In truth since our middle daughter, Victoria, started on her little rant of not going over the edge with her spending, I have been a bit more careful with what I am purchasing and so there will be a little downsizing on the opening this year. It is also always harder for me to figure out what I gave when some of the items were purchased earlier in the year. I did that again this year, and so I have not had to do as much shopping now, which really ends up making me feel sort of like a Scrooge.

The sad fact is I actually get more out of giving those extra gifts to those who are not close family members. You know the paper boy, the post carrier, the building super kind of gifts. I don’t have any of those actual things in my life, but you might understand better from those examples. Hmmm, I am just now remembering the garbage person. I will have to watch for them next Friday and leave something. I am thinking maybe a plate of goodies… I also believe we have three this year instead of one… Might have to call my youngest sister on that one, she always knows best how to handle that stuff.

Hats that need strings to tie them....

Hats that need strings to tie them….

I also am not stressing myself out with all the hand made items as I have done in the past. I am still making things, I am just not so sure they will be wrapped and given out as gifts. If someone sees something they like, I may just say, hey take this, but I won’t be forcing anyone to have things they are not interesting in having. Currently I need to put a finish on a few hats. I tried on the ones in my stash today just to see if there are any that fit adults. I was surprised how many I could wear now that I have had my mop of hair cut back. The first week of November, I stopped at Lindsey’s place in Jamestown and had her give me a cut. It was the third time she has cut my hair to donate it and the 5th time I have donated. I just wish there had been such a thing when I was young. The two hats on the side still need me to put some strings on the flaps. I am so excited that I finally figured out flaps. I might even have to make one for myself now that I know they fit. The pink thing at the edge of the picture is what is currently on my needles. I am hoping that when Jessica and Tony come, I will have the time and Alysse will have the patience to learn knitting. She has always shown an interest, but I have never asked if she really wants to learn. I have a brand new pair of knitting needles and some yarn if she is interested. If not we could always crochet or even do the plastic craft stuff. I promise that it will all be available just in case.

And if not, last night while we were shopping, I picked up lots of items to do some baking. We even got some molasses so we could make gingerbread cookies and decorate them. Jessica said something about wanting to make lasagna. I will have the pans ready. We could even work on a cheesecake in my new spring-form pan which I have yet to use. Oh never mind, Jess doesn’t like cheesecake. Maybe some mini Bundt cakes with the cinnamon-zucchini cake recipe. Those would be great with whipped cream or cream cheese frosting…. The bottom line is we will be using the little pans for a change. I have decided we either start using what is in the cupboard or we clear it out. Part of the de-cluttering challenge for the end of this year and the beginning of the next. I am starting to think that is why I have felt I didn’t do anything the past two days, instead of clearing out, we have been dragging more into the house. OK, but today was garbage day, so that should count, right??

Enough of my rambling, it is time to make some supper and do some real work today. Stay warm!!

Advent: Nov. 29: Snow Day

Garden today, the sunflowers are still standing even with the snow and the wind.

Garden today, the sunflowers are still standing even with the snow and the wind.

There was no school today in the town where we live or the town where James teaches. In fact a good portion of North Dakota was either late to school or called off. When the big cities like Bismarck and Mandan and Dickinson are off, you know the weather is bad. Often the smaller schools are off, but like when I taught in Montpelier, some of those smaller schools have a very high percentage of rural students. If things get really bad those students have to be housed in town with someone willing and approved to take them. The issue in Montpelier was that there were really not enough people to house the students and some would have to be left in the school building with teachers supervising through the night. Not it!!!

The shop last night. I was trying to get a picture of the squirrel hanging on the pole, but he left as I was getting the camera.

The shop last night. I was trying to get a picture of the squirrel hanging on the pole, but he left as I was getting the camera.

Anyway, everyone was able to stay home and be safe from bad road conditions and any of that. An issue in the Linton School is they had scheduled the fall athletic banquet and awards night for tonight, so that will have to be rescheduled. Good luck now finding a night that has no winter sporting event happening. James and I took the time last night to finalize the points of last year’s track team. This is the first time ever that we have waited until the last minute to do that. I don’t even know where the final sheets are of the splits and distances for the regional track meet. I guess, I just figured it was all on the results sheet, but not true for the splits. I think that I was so into the issue of the all-school reunion that finishing up my stat duties sort of took a back seat. Yikes!!

Paulina called from Jamestown to ask how the snow is going here. She and Jess were sitting in the house looking at brown grass outside of the window. Good grief. They wouldn’t believe me when I said they will be hit tonight. We shall see who wins that belief war.

I have a few more things on my “to do” list today. I am working on getting rid of junk before Christmas, and until spring, actually until it is down to the “we only need this much” list around here. I did 3 cupboards yesterday, rearranging a little, cleaning as I went and ditching the old food processor and a few plastic containers on the top of the cupboard area. I will clean that out before this is over. What I should do is put the round Christmas tins back up for decoration. I liked it what those were up there.

The yard on Saturday after James and Paulina put up the holiday decorations.

The yard on Saturday after James and Paulina put up the holiday decorations.

Today we ditched a few things to their original homes. I want to clear out something else (not real sure what yet), but if I don’t get to it, I can at least say that much if out of here. I also need to get to a bit more of finishing some of my works in progress. I have two stocking caps with ear flaps that need the strings put on them. I think that will be a big deal to do today. I have a few things to sew too. Come to think of it, I wonder what I did with that one project I was hoping to get to???? I also have one more skirt to get done for myself. This time I better check the length better. I took the pattern off a store bought skirt and when I was finished, I saw the uneven hem. When I went back to look at what happened, sure enough that is the way the other skirt is…. Good grief…

So, what are you doing to get into the Christmas spirit????? Go ahead and leave a note, we would all love to hear about it.

Fall Garden view

Blue Jay on a sunflower

Blue Jay on a sunflower

Our garden is nearly empty, and for some reason I have not been able to find the time or energy to come here and post anything. This is not to say that I haven’t had anything to say, I just wasn’t able to share or feel the need to have any part of social media for a time.

Squirrel looking for food.

Squirrel looking for food.

Today I am sharing the article that I submitted to the local paper for the clergy column. I didn’t send them any of the pictures, but I will share them with you. Hope you enjoy.

 

 

God’s Garden

Last spring as our garden was emerging; we found lots of volunteer flower plants. Because we had decided to cut back on our vegetable planting, we let them grow. Of course we should have known the plants were from seeds planted in the past and could not be something new and exotic, but we left them anyway. I just couldn’t be so cruel and pluck out any non-weed that was taking the time to grow in my garden. As it turned out, those volunteer plants were a wonderful growth of sunflowers and some cosmos interspersed in a crop of dill that was like no other. The sunflowers ended up shading my tomatoes from the extreme heat of August and in September as they opened into full bloom; I spent many days using them for subjects while honing my photography skills.

Now that everything else has been harvested, we have been enjoying a season of bird watching since those sunflowers are now feeding three blue jays that swoop into the garden every chance they get. I have also caught a squirrel or two trying to grab a snack, but there is really plenty for all. I even picked some of the heads and am holding them to pass out later when these are gone. As I watch that ecosystem from my kitchen window I am reminded that the entire earth is God’s garden, and we are here as mere care takers. In all that we do to maintain a home, to earn a living, to improve our surroundings, we need to remember that everything we have, all that we “own” is just a trust from God.

The gardens of our mortal existence fade to nothing in the realm that belongs to our Creator. Jesus reminds us of this fact when he points to the lilies of the field and says, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil no spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.” Matthew 6:28-29 NRSV. God loves each of us and wants to see us growing and thriving just as those volunteer plants in my garden which have created an entity of unexpected beauty. A good way to find out more about the love God has for us is to join with a fellowship of believers. We have a great selection of worship places in Eureka, find one that fits for you and join in the ecosystem there. God knows you already and is waiting to clothe you like the lilies. Isaiah 43:1b “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”

 

First Day of Fall, produce

Basket of apples

Basket of apples

The produce from the garden is beginning to get quite sparse, but the apples are more than plentiful. I took my favorite basket out and picked about 1/3 of the apples on the tree that the minister who was living in the parsonage next door when we moved here planted on the wrong side of the boundary line. Say that all in one breath. Some of them are really big, as in the size of what you might buy at a grocery store. They are a bit tart, but nice and crunchy so actually pretty good eating apples for this area. Now I wish we had been smart enough to plant a few more apple trees instead of putting in the willow tree and the Russian olives, yet I really enjoy both of those species.

Plums

Plums

The plums this year showed promise that the future means larger plums rather than the little tiny things you normally get with the wild plum trees, but sadly the wind knocked off all but a handful of the fruit when they were ripe. The initial crop was spoiled by a bug that hits when there is an abundance of spring fog. I had no idea that there could be a second blooming and more fruit set after that bug infestation, but it happened. In the future I will know to keep a better watch on those trees. They are in the front yard and often ignored by me after the backyard garden gets going. Not again!

Garden produce first day of fall

Garden produce first day of fall

As for the rest of today, it is cool, actually fairly cold, cloudy to the point of gloomy and the air feels wet. Maybe it should just rain and get it over with. Boy that sounds like some good grammar. I did spend a little time checking on what is still left in the garden, not much. We pulled, well James pulled out all of the cherry and roma tomato plants. I had started pulling the beans, but gave up. The zinnias are drying up and the beets need picking, but with all of the zucchini on the counter and the apples in the pails, I just can’t seem to get to doing much of anything. I am trying to figure out what is causing this –mood.

Sophia

Sophia

I hate the word mood and really I can describe how I am feeling only as out of sorts. I have been knitting alternately on a cap with ear flaps and dish cloths, but not really getting anything finished. I tried to sew the skirts from the material that I purchased earlier this summer, but my machine will not stitch that stretchy stuff. Grrrr! I am worried about Sophia and her hyper-thyroidism, but am not sure if I want to take her back to the vet because it is one bit of bad news after another, and I refuse to take the “put her down” option at this time.

And when I take to thinking of something worth doing, my mind keeps taking me back to that weekend in November two years ago when we took that trip to Minneapolis to see the Garth Brooks concert. It wasn’t even the concert that I keep remembering, it was the trip and the supper in that little restaurant on the way to the Target Center, and walking home after in the dark in the middle of that city, just our group, and it was great. With all the rotten stories on the news as of late, both right across the river from us and throughout this country, I guess I keep longing for happier times. Well enough of my gloom today, hope your day is better, and maybe I will get to work on something the question is will it be the message for Sunday or the apples or zucchini on the table.

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