Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Evening Picnic

Poppies bloom in the garden. July has almost finished and the garden knows. Tomatoes are turning and the peas and radishes are gone.
How can summer be flying by so quickly?
    Things To Do Before Summer Is Gone

~ Camp.
~ Reshingle the stone house.
~ Blackberry picking.
~ Install the chimney in the new location at the cabin.
~ Corduroy The Mudhole with ironwood poles.
~ Wash the windows on the outside
~ Get a fishing license and fish for a long afternoon.

Lake Windigo Park 



Saturday, July 26, 2014

Scattered Summer Scrapbook Notes

   Summer is flying by. The August calendar page is too full. We checked through what those plans are and the only one we could actually dock was Brad's Driver Ed schedule. He will sign up for a session later in the fall after he is back from harvest time in Nebraska.      

My sister Amy, has a lovely, new table. The day I was at her house for a few minutes there were huge stacks of folded laundry on it. You can see her candle/doily centerpiece there, too.  And the vase of flowers. So you really can't see the table, but then when can you see the table in a household of children where the table is grand central station?

It is a new table. One of those farm-type, plank, cabled tables. It is a lovely table. She can tell her own story about that.
Amy is a fearless home decorator. She splashes colors everywhere like nobody's business much the same as our Aunt Eva did. I love this about Amy's house. 

Don't look for your picture here. I just thought is was the nicest looking arrangement of them. Just some rope and clothespins and a wall word. How simple is that!

Summer of the Hollyhocks 2014      

Monday, July 21, 2014

Talking About The Daffolils...

 That is, wild flowers and hollyhocks. The hollyhocks are over our heads and blooming

Cow Parsnip
 It's growing along Hwy 53 right now just this side of Superior for miles. Tall, white flowers beautifying the miles along with the yellow birds foot trefoil.

Yellow Roses

Not mine. Someone in Grand Marais, MN knows how to grow roses.

This flower is blooming along Hwy 61. It belongs to the forget-me-not family and it is called Viper's Bugloss. Very pretty. Nasty to handle.

The lupines are on the way out, but still nice along the shore as well. I was happy to be able to stop along the shore, no protests, from my passenger who happened to be exactly on my page for the day.

We stopped several places along the shore and enjoyed the lake, the flowers, and visiting. I would recommend spending all Saturdays doing only and all of what you would like to do to "decompress". This was perfect.

These two pictures are just for my records to remind me that we do have some lawn at the cabin now and mowing gives us the feeling of tidiness there.

Even though we still don't have siding! The cabin is our favorite landing spot after a busy week. We had only 24 hours there arriving at dusk Friday evening. Settled in and then Amy built a fire in the fire pit for the four of us to enjoy. Fireflies over the swamp, woods all around us, the night, no traffic, and the stars overhead. We lounged there long and late.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Art of Homemaking


 Elv and I visited our Nebraskan daughters last weekend. These girls have the art of home decorating. I took pictures. I wish to brag on them a little here but I also want to show you how little effort and money it requires to create loveliness at home.

  Jenny's husband is a photographer and a crafter. He framed his own photography here.
               Rabbit trail,dead ahead.
   Several years ago Gabe was looking at an old decoupaged wall hanging we have here at our house and said, "I know this fact I have my own camera shot of this very scene!" This is his framed version of a real spot in the Colorado mountains. 
     Framed family pictures. Candles, flowers, and a little lace or linen and a figurine. Easy, inexpensive, simple, used, functional. And personalized. These are the rules. 
     The flowers in this case happen to be one of the corsages from Franci's wedding. She might have thrown it away, knowing it will dry out and get "ugly".  But Jenny knows that "dried out" is not ugly, in a rose. 
    Evidently, she also knows that often lit candles are a good thing not be despised and thrown in the trash. New candles are nice but obviously not complete and not as welcoming as when they've dripped and melted a little from burning.

   Gabe, I'll confess that when I first laid eyes on this window lying on its side in the wrapper, I was disappointed. It was so small for the wall you were planning to put it in, so I thought. I want to officially apologize right here. This window is lovely and plenty big for the room. Wood flooring, books, good paint, happy children, and easy chairs make this living room...a living room. 

 The artist, coffee in her hand, mirrored in the mirror Gabe made for her one Christmas. It hangs in the hall just outside the living room.  
In the children's room.

 An old coffee grinder and a stainless coffee maker, both functional, are part of her on top the fridge decor. She must dust and clean up there more often than I would. 

                  ~                                 ~                            ~                                    ~
Next is Francis' house. Hers is a very old, partly remodeled house right in Milford.  Nobody wants to think about changing out the old lathe and plaster behind those layers of wallpaper and now, paint. I noticed that the living room ceiling is wallpapered as well. But it's a beautiful, homey little place. Paint and decor are miracle makers. Plus a little contentment thrown into the mix, makes for the perfect way to start out a good marriage and home.

 Nothing is more fun in a window than a deep sill. Everything from books and pillows to framed photography and plants can live on a deep window sill.


 I used to believe that there was only one way to place books in a bookcase. Long boring rows of books from side to side, upright, arranged by size and cover form. Francis knows better than this. She has made this small shelf, built by Grandpa Sid from cedar, look interesting and pretty. Stacks, rows, a few pretties, and a candle. Hmmm, what else could go on here to add interest?   

 The happy couple.  They made us a delicious meal of grilled chicken and vegetables the day we visited there. 

   Francis needs to post and tell her own story about the chandelier. I just want to comment here on it. This is a used light fixture that Elv and Josh installed for her in about twenty minutes time after lunch that day. Isn't it beautiful? 

We live in an old house, too, as you all know. During the first few years of our married life I was seriously bored and discontent with our house. I could not see the possibilities. It was before the days of old and used being considered valuable and important. Carpet, vinyl, Tupperware, vinyl siding and vinyl windows were all the rage in those days, if you know what I mean. My old house simply was not making me happy. One day in the middle of my muddle, feeling confined and bored with my particular but misunderstood palette and paints, I woke up. By God's grace I could add contentment and imagination to my life. He helped me to see more possibilities than I would exhaust in a lifetime right here in the old stone house. It has been an absorbing, time consuming adventure: old windows, stone walls, crooked everything, and no closets, notwithstanding. 

    Visiting our daughters' homes and seeing their creativity is a reward from God to me, personally. What if I had never learned contentment and creativity in this old house? Hopefully, our girls would have been smarter than me anyway, but somehow I think my lesson reached them and has offered them joy in their homemaking art, as well. 
   Go ahead girls, keep creating, and learning. The rewards keep coming, I promise.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Windmills & Pfaltzgraff Dishes

   Elv and I went out to Nebraska this past weekend. We like the drive down through Minnesota and Iowa into Nebraska.  Methinks Iowa ought to change its slogan from "silos and smokestacks" to "windmills and cornfields". The windmills are beautifully graceful and grand. Elv decided to find out how much electricity these windmills generate. He found that one is enough to keep 500 average homes in power. He concluded from his research that it is going to take 50 years for the windmills to pay for themselves. "By that time they'll be worn out."   But you just never know, what other epiphany we might unleash by implementing wind farms. 

     Jenny's garden is always amazing. She has her row of zinnia each year and we enjoyed picking them. My bouquet by the camera will last much longer than the vase bouquets the others picked. 

I grabbed this picture on our meander back to the house after looking all around Jenny's lawn. I'm liking the colors and basics of this picture. 
   And who ever heard of onions being ready to harvest already in July. That's amazing.
   We had a lovely lunch of grilled chicken and fresh garden veges at the home of our bride daughter and her husband. May the loveliness of new dishes and new love always be part of their home. 
   They are contentedly settled into an old house in a small town where if you forget to put water out for your new puppy in her kennel the neighbor will kindly set a water dish out for the puppy for you. Francis wasn't sure how to feel about that. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday Morning

   Our morning started in the wee hours with a fire call. Elv went out quickly, running and doors slamming behind him. I tried to sleep between praying that he and the others would be safe. It was a house fire, nobody there, and quite consumed before they even got called out. But it got us on a good start to what will be a busy week: work, the usual, and a trip to Nebraska by Friday afternoon, we hope.
   We're working through the emotional upheaval of changes in our congregation at church. I think the weariness of spirit is the hardest thing to bear. You can call it grieving or whatever fits how you feel at the moment. I swing from being seriously cynical about it to feeling numb and flat inside (who cares!). As is always the case, there is plenty of blame to go around. And I can conveniently divvy that out as I see it, feel better for the moment, but end up realizing that blame doesn't fix any of it.
   And there is trash to haul, a roof to re-shingle, and the basement to insulate before winter. It's one of those Mondays where all the projects that have been waiting to be done, seem to line up and march by leering and sneering at us, "When will you have time?"  It's just Monday today in a lot of ways.
   In my devotions this morning I ran across Psalm 62:8, Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. There's the answer. Praise God! He never changes and His mercy is new every morning. Monday morning, too. Selah!

Friday, July 4, 2014

End of the Week Posting

 The grand-kiddos have discovered our wide window sills. This is a recipe for pinched fingers but who can resist taking a picture of the party? There is never a dull moment around here. 

 The beautiful Havilah.  She doesn't seem to mind that she is the only girl among the troop of boys in our family. She is a soft hearted, dainty person most of the time, but she can hold her own if she wishes. 

See, we all fit, Marmee.

We are enjoying our new sidewalk, window boxes of weathered wood, and the hollyhocks.


 The wrinkled leaves of new lettuce in our garden. Jube and Lisl's garden, really. Elv and the children built this new grape arbor with iron wood this spring. The birdhouse fits right in.

 The old stone house through the hollyhocks. Sometimes I think maybe we should keep it. Our family would use it for years to come, if not for a main home; then for a stopping over place. Wouldn't it be wonderful to keep it up for whoever of us needs a spot for the weekend, or the winter...or a summer in Hayward.                      Dreams!

Evening in July. It is most amazing that we are only four now. Smaller table and a lot less food than a few years ago.  To beat the mosquitoes we put up the screened tent and set it up for eating and lounging. What is lovelier than an evening at home with "just us"?

                                   The fire table doubles as a grill and a warming fire later in the evening.

                  Elv grills. I sit and watch. For real! I would recommend this arrangement to anyone.

 A lot of changes have happened in the last few weeks.  Some of them are normal changes: Francis' wedding, new job for me, and the garden and lawn growing and green, sans snow and cold. Other changes are not so happily met.  Our tiny church group  might end up being even tinier. Grownups with gripes. We are not so easily spanked as are our little ones.  
Aiming at having nothing to hide and no agenda but His to defend. This requires vigilance along the lines of kindness as I was saying here before on another post. 

Have a happy summer. Remember, happiness is a decision. Take time for pretty and picnics. 

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