Friday, September 30, 2011

Back Home Again

                                                                August 2011 At Home and Heartwood 107

We’re coming home to stay.  No more packing our projects, clothing and food into the Jeep twice a week.   We can stay at home. It’s time for fall work: raking, window washing, and for tucking in flower beds.  It’s time for school routines and fall family parties.

Copper Falls 2011 and Other Rambles Through the Woods


Actually this was a purely random shot  that I got when I asked them to please face the camera.  Nobody was trying to be “cool” at all.  Although I believe Lance was being a little obnoxious which you can see as plain as day.  Most of the rest of the pictures that I took that day at the park are blurry and ineffective.

But the day at Copper Falls was beautiful and nice right down to Frances’s homemade cheesecake.  Nothing rounds out a long walk on a chilly fall day like a picnic of hotdogs, beans, and desert.

In other days of our lives:  Amy has been in Nebraska helping Jenny since the 22nd of August. That’s long enough now.  Clark and Charlotte plan to fetch her home by next Monday evening. 

Elv bought chocolates for me.  I told Brad he could have one of them if he could pronounce the name of them. (Ghirardelli) Very nice chocolate. Lance handed me a gift card for Bath and Body Works. (A friend of his had given the card to him for HIS birthday in May. Which was a joke because Lance wouldn’t go to such a place. ) A couple of  three-wick candles of marvelous fragrance are the result of that generosity. Frances brought me a dozen small, red roses after all the other gifts and special things for my birthday. (They were on sale at Wal-Mart and she couldn’t resist.) 

Wringer washer days seem to be over.  We found an old reliable Kenmore on Craigslist.  I enjoyed using the wringer washer but it is a lot easier job to let the automatic take over, I’ll admit.

  We are still working on salvaging the downed trees from The First of July Storm. We, includes many of the loggers from the surrounding areas.  All day long, starting before daylight, the log trucks roll by. The current log trucks pull as many as four bunks of 8 foot logs. There are processor, forwarders, and feller-bunchers all over the woods.  Elv and Lance seem to know who is who in the logging crew society just by the machines they’re running. It’s something guys can do, I guess, keep a running inventory in their heads of who owns which machine.

When I take lunch to Elv and Lance or drive in to get the pickup for a fuel run, I always hope that I don’t have to meet one of the log trucks on the no-passing-possible trails. I have gotten pretty good at getting off to the side over the years. Only once have I nearly been run over by a truck.  That time the road had snow banks up both sides and the truck was coming down the hill toward me. I negotiated the corner and tried to stop.  We BOTH tried to stop. We DID stop, finally.  Jimmy’s truck was sorta kinked up against the snow banks on both sides the road while my van hugged my snow bank and settled into the edge. I could drive out but Jimmy couldn’t.  My fault, I think, although I believe we both had radios at the time. So when there is a truck coming on a narrow woods road, I don’t wait around, I pull over into the woods/weeds/toolies as soon as possible. Believe me, a log truck on a woods road is an amazing critter…you notice that as they steam on by.

Besides getting a lot of pictures scrapbooked and quite a few books read, we brought a canoe and have looked the lake over now. There are about 12 or so residences on Pear Lake.  Most of them are summer homes, so the lake is very quiet. The loons have flown away for the winter, too. 

Someone tooted at us today while we were seated on the shore, sunning and visiting. At table tonight Elv and Lance helped us decide who it was.  Grey pickup, antenna, and such pieces of info gave Lance the clues. “Hello, Rod,” we all say.  So the woods is full of friends and people we know these days, I guess.

Elv and I had plans to take off for a anniversary weekend away.  But today the processor broke down, again. This is the third week in a row he had a breakdown and something new each time.  I prayed that God would protect our weekend, but now I wonder if I should have left well enough alone.  Time will tell.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Just a Note


                                   To say that we are busy over at Heartwood and offline most of the time. We’ll be back.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Home Keeping In Autumn


Now that fall is here, we get to rejuvenate our home decor.  Somewhere we have a few things stored away.  Frances is finding it today and is at home creating for us.  (While I am over here at the house near the job brainstorming about what to beautify at home.)

The big pot of mums should be put in a seeable spot on the patio near to where a new rick of firewood ought to be stacked up against the house.  Wood against stone will be the result which is rather pleasing to the eye in my book.  There are a couple of grapevine wreaths somewhere, one of which ought to be stuffed with all things autumn and hung on the nail opposite the Welcome To Our Cabin sign by the door.   There will cobwebs to sweep down.

Inside the house there are things to do, as well. The mantel piece, the centerpiece for the table and the china cabinet surface should all be set with fall leaves and things.

The refrigerator  is full of tomatoes to be turned into pizza sauce later this week.  Charlotte will come to help and we will have a grand mess of creating.  We’ll use the thick sauce and add garlic, onion,  Italian seasoning, basil, oregano,  JalapeƱo peppers, and tomato paste. Then we will let it simmer… fill the house with fragrance while we wash pint jars.  In the end there will be rows of bright pints of pizza sauce to share and store in both our pantries.

Last time I made this I took Amy’s advice and cooked the onion and garlic and peppers with the last batch of tomatoes so that it all can be squeezed through the Victorio Strainer all at once.  Then you have no lumps, only wonderful flavor.  The Italian seasoning  gave it the grand finale in color and texture.

My family was impressed. “That stuff warms you all the way down!”  This is a good thing at our house.

Then there are lumps of gold (pumpkins) still out on the garden to be turned into canned pumpkin sauce for pies and custards.  We will bring them in with the wheel barrel and have a picture or two of it before performing a grand butchering of them.  I have used the pressure canner to soften the pumpkin before,  spooning it off the rind.  But is this the best way? Pressure tends to altar the taste a bit and rob us of the vitamins. I want your ideas.

This winter on cold and blustery afternoons  I will measure eggs, milk ( cream would be better), spices, butter, and brown sugar into the blender with the pumpkin sauce and blend.  Next, I will pour this into a glass cake pan and gentle slide it into a heated oven. It will  bake till it thickens like a custard pie.  We’ll eat it warm for desert with milk or vanilla ice cream.

I don’t want to forget those two rows of carrots.  I am thinking that if we top them and throw them all into the conventional washer full of  water that we can shorten up the cleaning of them by quite a bit.  Is this a bad plan?  My aunt used to wash her baby cucumbers that way to get all those prickles off for canning. Seems to me that a few minutes with the dasher in plenty of water ought to be a perfect way to clean them.  I can easily visualize a row or two of canned carrots on our pantry shelves.

Frances and I enjoy Julienned carrots a lot.  I know… the calories add up terribly with all that butter and brown sugar, but we try not to think about that too much.  It’s a yummy addition to a snowy night’s dinner.

We found hazel nuts still on the bush the other day when we were walking in the woods. Each crinkly husk hides a tiny, brown nut that you must crack with a pliers to get the meat thereof. Very sweet and mild tasting.   And the rose hips are glorious this year. I am still thinking about them.  They supposed to make good jelly that tastes a lot like red zinger tea. 

Apple time is coming soon, too.  We’ve been out of apple sauce for months.

Monday, September 19, 2011

As I Was Saying…

Okay, here is what it can be like to be a mom with adult children. I really wasn’t planning to have a case in point for you Amy, when I posted last in comment to your post, but life happens and I think this fits.

Frances is hoping to go to Thailand to help her sister, Lisl, for two or three months. The two of us have worked hard all summer to raise the money for her trip to Thailand. She has enough now. Next we have to find a way for her to go, traveling WITH someone. Elv has decided firmly that she shall not fly alone overseas. The last two statements are a recipe for red tape, seemingly too complicated to cut.

So, Dru finally found  two different couples, Merle and Edith Burkholder flying out of MSP and Bob Miller and wife flying out of JFK. Elv and I trust both of these couples. So we contacted them and got their okay and itineraries and then called Golden Rule to perform the miracle of matching one of them to a seat for Frances. Bob’s flight is for the end of the month, Merle’s for two weeks from now.

Well, it turned out that Bob’s flights were full. But Merle’s flights had a seat costing 1300 dollars, one way.This is what we expect to pay for a round trip ticket. After Frances and I recovered from the shock of that exorbitant price we decided to let Elv decide by morning. Our deadline for Visa work was narrowing down to a 12 hour window. I HATE this sort of thing. It’s stupid and harrowing and worrisome to me. What if the visa doesn’t get back in time? What if the ticket is non-refundable? What if we don’t get her to the airport in time? And besides, what if we can’t come up with a return one-way by the time we want her to come home.? So, I sat at the supper table and couldn’t eat (I ate wheat by accident and was feeling horrid),trying not to lose it by bursting into tears like a teenager  and worry poor Frances who was already tied in knots.

Elv and Frances, with Clark’s help, decided to go for the expensive,one-way ticket. I went to bed with shattered wits and a complete dependency on God who knows better than I do what our children need. Too bad for me that I lose 6 months of our 17-year-old’s life! The sky had fallen in for me and I couldn’t rightly account for it. We had been planning and working for this, but now here it was and I could not figure out why I felt so badly.

I did get some sleep which was an improvement over the night before. In the morning, Dru’s called from Thailand and wanted to know what the ticket was costing anyway. We were planning to call Golden Rule and purchase in about two hours. They encouraged us to not take this ticket but to wait for a cheaper, later time to book. Elv and I took that as our answer to wait.

Praise The Lord! I felt like I was floating because the truck got off my head and heart immediately.

Even Frank’s aftermath has nothing on that truck at all. I am so relieved!! She feels better after talking it out with her dad and Dru and Lisl again. It will still be a pain to find somebody who is planning to fly but hasn’t bought tickets yet, but God knows each person and plan on His globe and we’re going to let Him find a way.

If any of you know someone planning to fly to Thailand, who doesn’t mind a tag-along, anytime from November to January, please let us know as soon as possible. Please, tell those people to call us BEFORE they book. It will be much easier to book two flights than to try to match  one to an already booked flight. How well we know!!


Afterward:  This morning which is three days later, we called the GTO office in the US and asked if they had anyone flying to Thailand.  In about five minutes, Frances was added to a list of girls planning to fly in January and returning in March!  Tickets will be purchased some time in November for all of them.

Frances and I both are asking, “So what was that all about?” “If only I had known this three months ago. Think of all the headache I could have avoided.” were Frances’s comments.  I guess it was something we were supposed to work through, because we did learn a lot along the way.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Being a Mom

In reading  Amy's thoughts about being a mommy to little ones 24/7 and all that goes with it, I got to thinking about my own stage of life.  All my babies are gone and I would be one of those that Amy is referring to as "an older woman".  
So is my life easier than Amy's?  I don't know, honest I don't.  I can't promise that having those boys out buying cars and getting married  is any easier.  Oh yes, they can take care of themselves more or less now.  Our boys can cook for themselves and wash their own clothing if they have to, and keep their rooms cleaned now.  But I don't go so far as to say that MY responsibility toward them is any easier...just different.  
My prayers for them have changed.  Instead of praying for their growing up things like physical safety and wisdom to train and discipline; I am praying for their moral safety, their search for a life work, and for their future wives if they aren't married yet.  I pray for their ministry (every man has one), and for wisdom for them because the world they live in is so much more deceptive and ungodly than the world we where started out  our life/journey... I think. 
I suppose I get more sleep than I did when the children were babies.  But again I'm not sure. Now I lay there praying for the children in Thailand, in Nebraska, and those living here at home.  I am listening for the footsteps of those children out playing V-ball till 10 PM and praying for them that when they're sitting at McDonalds afterward that they'll be wise and remember Whose they are and Who they serve.
Someday when it's time to send your little girl, who somehow got to be 17 years old under your very nose, to Thailand on an international flight you'll be hard pressed to think that this is any easier than having her at home, age 10, whining about Mac and Cheese for lunch. 
Oh yes, I am happy to see our children grow up. I don't miss the baby days. I just thought you ought to know that the race isn't over for me either, yet. Just keep praying and running, all you mommies with wakeful, naughty babies.  God created us to do what we do, I don't see what could be a higher calling after all, do you?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Summer is Giving Way to Fall... and Other Ramblings

The green of the leaves and grasses is old and faded. I tend to mourn the passing away of summer even while relishing the arrival of cooler weather.  Swimming and sweating are done. There’s school instead.  It is time for canning and cleaning away the crop of cobwebs in all the ceiling corners.
Speaking of spiders and cobwebs.  It is better to vacuum them up.  Imagine sweeping down spiders and webs with a broom. The spiders go where?  I feel crawly just thinking about that.  When you merely disturb  their career for a day or two by catching the web on a broom, they’re bound to be back to rebuild.  It’s much less creepy to extend the sweeper hose and watch those spiders and their creations disappear into the end of the nozzle forever. 
I babysat Benny while his parents went fishing on Labor Day.  Benny likes me a lot, so them leaving him with me was easy.  He thought I should sit and play with him and I did some.  When I went back to my work; He followed me around hopefully but only until he saw I was useless and then he began his own explorations.  At a year old, he walks and climbs and investigates.  So you can’t really have him out of sight.  It has not been that long since I had a baby of my own, yet I realized with the grandbabies home this summer that we have forgotten how much care and time babies take.  Being Marmee is the best!  You get to have all the fun of babies and sleep at night, too.   :)
Then there are the methodical thieves in our neighborhood.  They have successfully broken into and cleaned out the local church building more than once…of computers and school equipment.  Our house is two or three blocks away, so we’re locking everything up again, too.  We are frustrated.  We have lived in this little village for most of 25 years and have never needed to lock anything.  We’ve gone for trips for over a week and left the house open before.  Those innocent days seem to be over for us.
Our house is for-sale-by-owner, as it has been for several years already.  The reasons are obvious.  Unfortunately those same reasons are why it will take a miracle to sell it.   If we didn’t like our house, we’d really be in a jam.  Or if we HAD to sell it, which we don’t. 
 September 2051
Here’s one of my latest wonderings. Our providers spend hours, days, weeks, months, and years working to bring home the bacon.  Have you ever thought of how mundane and endless that must feel for them?  Even though Elv enjoys his job; the fact is that it gets really boring sometimes.  And getting out there every single work day takes what my mom calls “stick-to-it-iveness”.   I think we women ought to consider our rich and varied days of home creating, baby care, teaming up with our teens, and chumming with our friends over the phone or tea times as wonderful privileges. I would hate to have to trade roles with my man…I think I’d fail it.
  September 2095
Get rid of the fruit flies by luring them to their deaths.  Pour a little apple cider vinegar into a quart jar. Roll up a piece of typing paper to the shape of a funnel.  Put the small end into the jar with most of the paper standing out of the top of the jar.  Very soon the vinegar in the jar will be full of floating fruit fly bodies! Eww!  But that is SO much better than all over the kitchen.  Or you can keep house like my mom and never have them in the first place, but I don’t know how to do that.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Home Is Where You Hang Your Hat Part Two

Top of the china cabinet redo.  I had time to clean at home in TheStoneHouse today.  Besides playing around with this, I tried Amy's Pizza Sauce and now there are 13 cute little pint jars of beautiful sauce. (Pint jars are so amazingly tiny and quaint, after quarts and half gallons jars for years of canning.) The pictures I took of them are garish due to the blue towel, so you'll just have to imagine you can see them.

I thought I liked those critters up there, but after looking at these pictures, I took them down.  They remind me of Thailand and those people we love living there, so I keep them...but not on the china cabinet afterall.

The famous Mallow that we plant every year from last year's seeds. 

The garden from my desk window.

     Now you have it.  Scenes from both the places we hang our hats these days.  It does a lot for the stranger and pilgrim concept.
    Next week all of our children will be gone from home for a few days.  It will be just Elv and I at home/work.  Just us for meal times, and devotions.  While Elv is at work I will be home alone.  One of my friends said, "Oh my, I'm sorry, " when I told her.  Wait! I was kind of looking forward to it.  I guess I am selfish.  But just think.  I'll have hours to write or scrapbook without interruption. This is priceless!  Let's hope I CAN write and plan layouts.  Maybe it will be so quiet that I'll be jumpy and tense.  Isn't that pathetic?  It is a sure sign that I have never really had 3 days of solitude! I have never WANTED solitude before.  Is it okay to look forward to this much quiet? 
    So I have been chasing this guilt around, desiring to keep this chance and not let it go. I keep thinking how I will fill  it with "profitable" occupation. 

Home Is Where You Hang Your Hat

Elv and Frances are enjoying renovating The Beast (one little ole Sidekick).

A pot of glorious mums from my friend Susan.  It's perfect for the front door at Heartwood.  Frances and I have decided to bring it in for winter and coax it.

The flowers in our garden are beautiful this year. We are taking lots of pictures and cutting bouquets.  Clark I wish you come take some cottage garden pictures for me to look at next midwinter when I need a lift.

These machines attract a lot of attention on this particular job.
         So yes, home is where ever we are at the moment these days.  This past week we had sewing, scrapbooking, reading, and schoolwork for our occupations while the men worked.  Johns and Jakes came out to supper with us on Wednesday evening.  What richness, to have company again.  On Thursday we found a conservation tower that stands at the top of a high hill.  Even on the ground you can see out for miles.  No we didn't climb it. 

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