Saturday, August 27, 2011

Computer Woes Beset Me

It is not fun at all.  All my old familiar pages are gone.  Oh, the computer comes up just fine, but the "local profile" seems to be unable to load.  Which means that my desktop is all slick and clean and sterile. The picture of Jube and Hava are missing from the background. My pictures have totally disappeared unless I go into Picasa 3 where suddenly they all come marching out of the shadows to appear on that program... only to be gone again when I shut down the computer. 

My bookmarks have all gone into hiding, too.  And if I want to see my personal google pages I have to sign in fresh each time.  The drop-down is empty and impersonal.  In short, nothing is familiar or mine when I open up the computer.  Memoryless computers are frustrating! 

It's been ages since the batteries have taken a charge.  So if the cord gets bumped or the electricity hiccups the computer crashes.   Could that be why things aren't working so well by now?

Someone dumped coffee on the key board last week and some of the keys are still suffering the after effects of that...kind of sticky.  The coffee dump doesn't really matter...I don't expect to be able to use it much longer, anyway.  

The lid has been floppy for years...yes, really.  If I am the only one handling it the screen stays on nicely. But if some other unsuspecting user comes along and attempts to sit down with MY computer, the screen goes blank/black and that's that.  I kinda like this feature.  It serves them right, messing with my laptop! 

The only cure to all these ills is a new computer.  I don't WANT a new computer.  I want the old one to stay working.  I dislike new phones, cars, computers, watches, cameras...  I am frustrated with "planned obsolescence".  If my current stuff works I am completely content. It seems like such a waste of time and dollars to go through this many different gadgets in one life time.  Gimme one good tool and I'll use it forever.   

Okay, all you computer gurus.  I am looking for a computer with a tough body that will last, say, ten years, or so.  I need lots of memory/space for pictures.  I have the Word program that I will load onto it.  Make The Cut is saved onto a flash-drive and will be installed.  I need good WIFI, a card reader, a DVD drawer, a web-cam, and a coffee resistant keyboard.  If the skin could be pink or periwinkle blue in color, that would a nice little perk. I don't have a lot of money, but I'd prefer a brand spanking new model.  

Friday, August 26, 2011

My August Garden

DSC00012How could I know that when we planted the garden this spring that we wouldn’t be home to enjoy it?  Fortunately Brad and I mulched it with cardboard and old hay so the weeds have not taken over.  Each weekend while we are home I feast with my eyes and gather bouquets for the table.DSC00010If any of you is driving by our StoneHouse anyway; please stop in and cut a bouquet for your table or your friend.  There is a pair of scissors in the kitchen can you may use if you wish.  Please, put the scissors back in there when you are done. I guess I don’t need to know how many of you will take me up on this, but it would be fun to know.

We’re studying the book of James in Sunday School right now. Chapter 1 advises that we ask for wisdom and not dally around with indecision. We ought to walk slowly and quietly enough through life to take time to acknowledge God in all our ways, but to keep walking…not to be waiting around kneeling at doorways, undecided about His will.  Like a wave, driven in the wind, tossed exactly describes indecision. There is no peace of mind in that. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

More Glimpses of Logging and Living Near Heartwood

This wasteland was forest before the big storm.  Next spring there will be aspen regrowth as high as your head here. Many years from now there will again be the beautiful hardwoods but not before the aspen has its day.

The Wild River is brimful these days.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Week in a Posting

    This post is for my mom mostly, but the rest of you can read it, too if you like.  I'm just catching her up on our life, again.
     First of all, we have to show you how Mondays work right now.  Elv gets up and leaves the house at five or so and heads out to work.  I end up getting up after coming fully awake against my will when I would rather snooze two more hours.  But what has to been done all in one day so that we can join him over at the job in our other house for the week brings me fully awake and running when my feet hit the floor. 
    As you know, we are doing laundry the old fashioned way this summer in the wringer washer outdoors.  That means that one of us girls has to spend the morning getting it all through.  There is no such things as  just "starting" the laundry and going on to other work when you use a wringer washer. If you "start" you must also stick to it and finish.  I had it going by seven on Monday and all out on the lines by ten o clock or so.  Well done!  Pat my own back.   I actually enjoy this method.  You have time to pray, think, plan, and you handle each piece and can minister to stains more effectively. 
   Frances woke that morning with a pain on her abdomen. Very strange.  She looked it up and eventually we concluded we ought to have it checked.  So we ended up hurrying our whole day to meet her 4 PM appointment in Minong on our way over to Heartwood House.  
    We packed food, clothes, the serger and schoolbooks and left here before 3 PM. 
   The owners of the house had been in all weekend and left us a nice note about how the house looked for them from our clean last week, and offered the use of their row boat and paddle boat. (We couldn't find that paddle boat, anywhere!) But they hadn't vacuumed and their pets had left hair all over.  So before anything could happen we had to tackle that.  We brought our new sweeper with us and found most of it, we think.  My poor family has been conditioned to non pet cleanliness. What a pain.  
    On Tuesday we did our first fuel run for Elv.  That means that we take the Jeep to the woods and trade for Elv's pickup and take it in to Minong where we fill it with fuel for the machine.  That pickup is huge and cumbersome.  But it drives okay and Brad does the climbing up to hold the fuel nozzle into the tank opening.  Why do they make fuel nozzles so huge?  The tank holds 90 plus gallons.  Do you know how long it takes to fill it? You watch the ticker roll on and on till its well past 300 dollars. Very horrifying.  But I just walk in to the station then and tell the cashier to charge it to the boss and sign my name.  Easiest thing in the world. 
    In the meantime, the children had spied a library and wanted to go see it.  We did. It was closed. But the free wireless Internet worked just fine sitting out in front.  I posted and checked my email.  
   Then I put that ole tanker into reverse to back out and go.  I backed and just as I braked to go forward, we came to an abrupt halt. Bump! Oh No!  I jumped out and ran back to see two very startled old people coming from their Lincoln van scolding and aghast with me.  I apologized profusely and insisted we call the police, which I did. I don't think they even had a phone.  Well, I got off pretty easy for how dumb I was.  We shared the same insurance agent and the chief of police of Minong deemed our fender bender a non-reportable accident. ( Have you ever heard of that?) No fine, no scoldings, just kind words and smiles from the man whose fender I ruined.  
   The rest of the week was boring and normal after that, for which I am grateful to God.  I sewed a dress for a friend, and the children read and studied and helped with what little housework there was.  
   I also read Homestead and enjoyed that immensely.  I couldn't lay it down. All the feelings and ideas that Elv and I enjoy about the adventures of having land and a cabin off the grid are in that book.   You wouldn't understand. But the one statement says it all, We had to let go of what people thought.  I believe that is probably true for all adventurers. 
   We found wild raspberries in the woods but Brad and I picked them all in a very short time. I couldn't find more and finally gave it up when I stepped in water up to my ankles in the brush.  There's enough for a small desert, so far. 
   Oh, about Frances's appointment.  The pain seems to be only a muscle.  The doctor, however, whom we had never met before, had been to Thailand, and other places on the globe and wanted to visit about it.  He had a list of shots she ought to have, and other such pieces of advice. When we walked out he was still talking and only said goodbye as we got to the door of the waiting room.
  Oh, and the library in Minong.  We had to do another fuel run on Wednesday and the library was open that day.  Such a tiny, quaint library.  But there were books that we love on the eight or so shelves and the librarians were two ladies with Hispanic? accents who scanned our books and said we could have them for a month.  "We trust you," they said.  Frances found the book Miracle at Carville.  She enjoyed it so much.  I will read it next week. 
   Gladys Martin says we ought to try that grocery store in Minong, as well.  "It used to be a pretty good store," she told Frances.   Maybe we'll have to go see what we think next week.
    So, it was a good week.  Elv got billable hours in of the proper amount and the machine did not break down even once. Praise the Lord.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Logging At Heartwood

We are on our fifth week of logging over by Minong where the the wind took down acres of trees last month. Loggers from all around are working here to harvest and salvage the downed timber.
Two of us families from church are living over here during the week right near the job. Our family is living in a rented cabin across the highway from Pear Lake. The other family parks their motor home in a state park near to the logging truck route he runs.
It is a lot of work to maintain two dwellings/lives.  Neither of us has a way to do laundry during the week on the job so we’re hauling our laundry home on the weekends for washing.  We haul food, clothing, and everybody’s projects back and forth from home to work and back again. It takes commitment and the willing help of the children to keep it happening week after week. And even then we all get tired of  the weekly rounds.
But we are not complaining. We’re having an adventure as well.  How else would we get to live by the lake? The landlords here have offered us the use of the paddle boats and the rowboat if we wish. Besides, Frances has staked out wild berries to pick. (Maybe berry picking doesn’t seem like much to you, but it means that we live in the woods proper as opposed to living in a village with trees but no privacy.) Wild berries make the best Mennonite cheesecake delight there is.
The biggest advantage of living next to the job is that Elv isn’t wasting precious family time driving an hour to work and home everyday. And fuel. But I get tired of talking about pinching and counting pennies so we’ll leave that subject alone.
Big news here is that the children have decided that this is as good a time as any to start school this year.  The two of them have spent the morning studying. 
Will it be worth it? Isn’t that always the question in life whether or not we pursue a living in conventional settings? Perhaps we measure success differently than the more mercenary.  We believe that if when it is over we have had quality family time, a collection of worthwhile memories and have made a living to boot, it will have been a success. (I sure hope to have a new computer, too, by that time.)
Berry Delightful Mennonite Cheesecake
  • Wild Berries 4 cups
  • Water 2 cup
  • Sugar 1 cup
  • Cook clear jel (I don’t know, enough to make it thick)
  • oatmeal 4  cups or so
  • brown sugar 1 cup
  • butter 1 stick butter
  • cream cheese (neufchatel makes a drier more stable product) 1 or 2 packs, depending on how much you like.
  • powdered sugar couple TBLS
  • whipped topping at least one  8 oz tub, more if you use 2 packs of cream cheese.
Mix brown sugar with the oatmeal ( blended or not as you wish) and pour melted butter over it and mix to make a crust. Press into a 9 by 13 pan and set aside.
Beat cream cheese with a little bit of powered sugar to make it smooth and beat in the whipped topping until it is a thick, almost not spreadable consistency.  Spread over the crust in a 3/4 inch layer with a table knife.  I dollop it on with a big spoon first and then spread.
But before making the crust or the cream cheese layer, boil the berries with water and sugar and thicken with clear jel and cool.  (You can add a packet of a complimentary flavor of Jell-O if you want more sweetness, flavor and a Danish consistency.
Please don’t ask me for more specific measures.  I usually just put it together and these amounts are a guess anyway.

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