Saturday, December 26, 2009

December 26, 2009

It sounds like most of the snow is over. Yup, all over but the shoveling.
And the plowing.
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Friday, December 25, 2009

White-out, Read-in

Merry Christmas, December 25, 2009. The weather radio said this would be an historic weather event. We are in a blizzard with white-out conditions. The south part of our pasture has disappeared into a haze of white, and we are not thinking of leaving the house. Well, actually, Dave did leave the house to feed Samson, our donkey. It was an adventure at 9:00 a.m. this morning, with hip-deep drifts and wind gusts of 45 mph. It will be worse if/when he goes out again before dark. I am hoping that he will so I won't have to! We have about 18 hours to go on the blizzard conditions according to the radio.
So, if you are stuck inside it is a perfect time to catch up on your reading. I stopped in at the library earlier in the week and picked up a few books. The first one I finished was Rumpole Christmas Stories by John Mortimer. We used to love to watch Rumpole of the Bailey on Masterpiece Theater (I think) anyway, on Public television. The books are even better. Unfortunately, John Mortimer died earlier this year, so there won't be any new Rumpole books. This book is a collection of 5 short stories featuring Horace Rumpole, the London barrister and his wife, Hilda (She Who Must Be Obeyed) during the Christmas season. Rumpole does his usual good job of sleuthing and upholding justice as he is dragged to a spa for a Christmas holiday where Hilda wants him to lose some weight (highly unlikely), recognizes a Santa whom he had previously defended, and 3 other great tales. It is a quick and very enjoyable read.
The next book I finished is the Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. I read a review of their new book Nanny Returns, but saw the first book on the shelf so decided to start with it. It is fiction, but is based on the authors' experiences as nannies in New York. It is disturbing to think that there are children being raised by such incompetent rich folk as Mr. and Mrs. X, and hopefully, the reality is not so bad, but I have a feeling that many of the situations depicted actually happend. Really, the problem is that Mr. and Mrs. X are not raising their child, Grayer, but paying their succession of nannies to do the job. They are more concerned with how their 4-year-old looks, how much time he spends at the Guggenheim, his French and Latin lessons, and where he will attend pre-school (so that he can get into the right college) than they are with spending time with him. I will look for the sequel.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Winter Storm

A winter storm has been in the forecast all week. School was canceled yesterday, mostly because of the ice, I think. This picture was taken yesterday on the east side of our house--the garage door is on the right. You can see how the ice is building up. Actually, I didn't think the driving was that bad. The roads were really full of slush during the day, but not ice, and the snow didn't really ever develop. We are in a winter storm warning until 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, but the accumulation of snow being forecast is only 2-4 inches. This presents a problem: we are invited to Dan's in Omaha tonight to celebrate Christmas Eve. The forecast doesn't sound too terrible, but if there is ice on the highway that will make driving difficult. If the wind is blowing visibility will be bad. Rob has volunteered to drive--I wonder if he still wants to. Maybe it will be easier to decide later in the day, but right now it feels like one of those decisions you agonize about, and wish the weather was either a whole better or a whole lot worse. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Trying to be crafty

It was my intention to knit gifts for my kids and grandkids for Christmas. I don't think I am going to have very many go give out on December 25. I made mittens for each of the grandchildren, but gave them out around Thanksgiving because the weather was turning colder, and the mittens were finished. I decided to knit something for Liz, Rob, Dan and Jill. Mark and Alan don't really need knitted items since they live in Mesa, Arizona, and besides, Mark knits. Anyway, I started a scarf out of some gorgeous yarn that I bought last summer from my friend Karen--she raises sheep, goats and alpacas (and used to own a donkey named Samson!), but I didn't like the way the scarf was turning out so it has been frogged (you know, ripped out-- rip it, rip it). Then I signed up for the Seward mitten program where you select a mitten from one of the local merchants and get all the gifts on the list and then they give the gifts to a needy child. There were four items on the list which fit nicely with the four of us who work in HR so we did that instead of buying gifts for each other. Be default I got the item "Hat and Mittens" and of course, I made those. Two hats, though, because the first didn't turn out as nice as I had hoped. I did find some beautiful yarn at The Yarn Shop in Lincoln and turned out one nice scarf, and then I got half way through another, but I know I am going to run out of yarn. So, now I have 5 days left and no hope of finishing hand made gifts for my kids. Plus, I am kind of tired of knitting! I think they will get checks!

Here is a picture of Samson taken by my son-in-law's dad, Rich. He was here visiting last week and got a shot of me slogging through the snow to feed Samson.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


After several weeks of planning and hard work by Dave getting a run-in shelter ready, Ken and Karen brought Samson the miniature donkey to live with us. They bought him as a foal seven years ago, and I think they were sad to see him go, but also relieved to know where he would be living. Their alternative was to take him to auction, which they were reluctant to do.

"What do you know about donkeys?" you may ask. Well, as it turns out, almost nothing. We bought a book at Orscheln (the local farm store) and we refer to it constantly.

"Why in the world did you buy a donkey?" you may ask. We decided it would be a fun experience for our grandchildren. Samson came with a saddle and we tried it out for the first time today. We need some practice. We did OK with Austin riding, but then we put Sam on Samson's back and things didn't work so well. Sam is heavier, and I think we didn't get the saddle on right. When we tried to fix that Sam got his foot stepped on--which he believes was deliberate on Samson's part. It was downhill from there. Sam tried to make up with Samson by giving him an apple, but it turns out that Samson does not really care for apples. He loves pumpkins--so if you live near us let me know if you want me to pick up your old pumpkins when you are done having them sit on your porch. I can get rid of them for you.

Our grandson Sam made a little sign to welcome Samson to live with us. It is taped to the pen. He thinks it is kind of cool that his name is the same as the donkey's. I am not sure he still feels that way after his experience trying to ride him today.
To add insult to injury, Sam's friend Parker also got a ride. He rode bareback and it was pretty exciting when Samson took off at a trot and Liz and I had to pull him off Samson's back! As I said, we have a lot to learn.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

More to the story

Susie found this aerial image to go with my previous post, and she reminded me of a few details which I left out. As the four of us walked to the door of the chapel area three garter snakes were wriggling around on the warm sidewalk. I have not attached a lot of significance to this but maybe I should. Here is a link to a website with more information.
As we were leaving we stopped the car for a moment so I could take a picture. A jogger came by and told us to read John 3:15 . . . "that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life."
Here is a link for more information about the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Who knew?

We went for a drive this afternoon with Jim and Susie. We had been at the Branched Oak Farm for the Harvest tour where we sampled incredible cheese, breads, apple cider, and generally enjoyed the beautiful day. Next we decided to drive around Branched Oak Lake and when we got to the north side of the lake we continued north looking for a small lake Dave wanted to check out. As we were driving along we saw this off in the distance. It looked like some sort of compound. We got to the driveway on Agnew Road and there was a sign that said Carmel of Mary, Jesus and Joseph. Curious, we drove in to check it out.

It is a Catholic Church with mass held every day. It is a large complex with a wall around the whole thing. We were able to enter the church and the altar is pictured here. It was dismantled from the St. Joseph Hospital in Omaha in 1980. The statue in front is waiting to be installed.

This church is literally out in the middle of nowhere. There were a few cars around when we pulled in, and another car followed us into the parking area, but it seemed deserted, and rather mysterious. I have tried an internet search, but cannot find anything about it. We speculated that it may be a retreat center.

We didn't find the lake.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Knitting Group and Game Night

It has taken over two years, but persistance has paid off and I now have a knitting group to meet with in Seward. Cheryl and I have met off and on for over two years, with an ocassional visitor joining us. We met in the campus center at Concordia, thinking we might find some students who would be interested. We met at the Memorial Library in Seward and invited friends to join us, but really, it was just the two of us. Then we met Karen from KW Fiber Farms in York who was interested, and last weekend I met Donna while we were helping with the Red Cross food booth at an auction and she has been looking for other knitters. Result: a knitting group that met this week at the Panama coffe house in Seward!! It was a lot fun and we are meeting again in a couple of weeks.
Another fun thing I did this week was go to "Gamin' Gals" at the Civic Center. It was so much fun. I have not laughed so hard in a long time. Tears were streaming down my face, and I would try to explain what was so funny, but it is a case of "You had to be there" to understand. I will go again for sure!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dancin' the night away

One of our favorite bands was in Seward on Saturday night: Tuna Fish Jones. They played at the Seward Fall Festival, which due to the snow fall on Saturday was not very well attended. It was too bad because they had really great food, and, of course the music was good. Dave and I got up and danced and sometimes we were the only couple on the floor. We had fun, although I sometimes think we might have looked a little foolish. I always think of Elaine on the old Seinfeld show and wonder if thats how I look while I am dancing!

Seward County Chapter American Red Cross

I spent most of yesterday selling sloppy joes and hot dogs at an auction. Dave and I volunteer with the Seward Chapter of the American Red Cross and the chapter held a fund raiser over the weekend. Joyce was our fearless leader and she did a great job preparing mountains of sloppy joe slop, buying and organizing every thing. I couldn't believe it was the first time she did this. Her recipe for sloppy joes was great and she ordered the buns from the bakery and the Pac 'N Save deli, so the bread was good too. Pies were donated, and I think we came out pretty good as far as making money goes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Serious Painting

The grandchildren visited last Saturday and the four older ones wanted to paint. We moved this project outside from the get go and got down to some serious painting. You won't see a smile on any of those faces. They are using brushes and water colors from their great great aunt Marge's collection of painting supplies.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


It has happened again: I am addicted to a television show. I am almost over NCIS--I just watch the new ones, not spend hours watching the USA Network NCIS re-runs. And, David is also hooked.

A few months ago, our daughter mentioned how much she enjoyed the NBC series, Heroes. We order the DVDs on Netflix and see 3 or 4 episodes at a time. We are now almost done with season 3, and then we will have to switch to watching the first episodes of the current season on our computer at or Hulu.

But tonight I will watch Grey's Anatomy and get some knitting done.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Where have I been?

Well, well, well. The blog. Here it is, just waiting for me to write something after a two month hiatus. Guess I'll hit a few highlights:

A lot has happened. The most dramatic was the death of my aunt Marge, who died at age 93, congestive heart failure listed as the cause of death. You know how these things are: you expect an elderly person to die, but then when they do, it is still a shock and a surprise. The funeral was in Minnesota and went well. I think she would have liked it very much.

We had a great camping trip and got see many cousins in August in Minnesota, as well as attend the Almelund Threshing Show, and go to Wisconsin and spend a lovely evening with the Corcorans.

This past weekend I had an amazing time relaxing with 9 other women at a Bed and Breakfast, the Waterfjord House at Johnson Lake, near Lexington, NE. We are all members of the Blue Valley Quilt Guild, so it was about quilting, but it was also about relaxing and getting to develop some friendships. I had an absolutely great time, and am looking forward to Sept. 17-20, 2010.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mahoney State Park

Dan, Jill, Maggie, Shelby and Natalie went camping at Mahoney State Park this week. They invited us to join them for an evening, and so we did on Monday night. They borrowed Jill's parent's camper and were all set up in the Lakeside Camping Area. What a great park! I would like to rent a cabin there sometime, or stay in the lodge.

Some of the activites include a water park, paddle boats, horseback riding, miniature golf, hiking and biking trails, and I am sure there are some more things that I don't know about yet. Children have to be six years old to go on a trail ride, so Maggie was not able to do that this summer. She and Shelby went on pony rides instead.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Knitting all around

It has been a good week for knitting. Last week my friend Cheryl (aka Dodie from Dodies Crafts and Gifts) and I went to visit KW Fiber Farm in York, Nebraska. We tried to do this in June, but the owner, Karen Wahlmeier, was out of town. When I called to make sure she would be there she told me that we were welcome to come and see what she had in her yarn shop, but that we would not be able to take the tour because of the heat--too hard on us and too hard on the animals. That was fine with us and we went. When we arrived she said since the day was cool, we would take the tour and off we went.

She and her husband own four acres on the outskirts of York, and they have five alpacas, several baby doll sheep, a miniature donkey, ducks, rabbits and chickens. It is attractively arranged and not crowded, as well as being very clean. We were introduced to all of the animals and then she served us banana cake and iced tea under a big shade tree in her back yard! Her yarn shop is on the front porch of her home and her spinning wheel is in the front hall. All of her yarn is from the animals on the fiber farm and she does all of the work except for cleaning the raw fiber. About half the yarn was space dyed and half left its natural color. She had quite a few knit up items like mittens, socks, scarves, hats and purses. It was so much fun!

Cheryl and I have been trying to get a knitting group started for quite a while, and Karen loves to knit, so she is coming to Seward next week to knit with us at the library.

Later the same day I presented a knitting program to the women's club at Ridgewood West. Five ladies showed up and we talked about knitting and had supper together. Two of them would like to learn to knit, so that may be my knitting group. Cheryl and I have been meeting for two years, sometimes inviting another knitter to join us, but usually we are the only ones who come. The activities director said there is a box of knitting supplies at Ridgewood East, so I think our next meeting will be investigating what is in that box and getting started.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Flowers this week

Top left: Missouri primrose
Top middle: yellow clover grows all over, but where are the honey bees?
Bottom left: Lavender
Middle: A wild flower, I think it is woodrough or something similar
Bottom center: Daylily
Right top to bottom: snap peas, astible, prairie cone flower, and ???
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Saturday, June 6, 2009

I finished a sewing project!

I finished a sewing project: a portable chalkboard placement from a kit I bought at the York Sewing Studio during Shop Hop. It was fun to make, and since I can easily buy more of the chalk board cloth here in Seward at Fabric Fair, I will probably make some more. Next time I will use a flatter batting since this one is too pouffy. I would also attach the tie in the middle rather than off center as the directions said. Here is a picture of the placement rolled up:

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Dave snapped this photo of me on June 3, picking some of the first strawberries from our patch. I am probably lucky he didn't decide to turn on the sprinkler behind me!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Grandpa's birthday

Grandpa's birthday included a magic show as well as Oreo Cookie Dessert.


Blooming this week in my yard

Zoo trip

We had a good time at the zoo on Friday, May 29. We went with all five grandchildren, Liz and Jill. Grandpa considered it the beginning of his birthday weekend.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Book shelf

Just got a notice from the Seward Memorial Library that I have a book due this week. The name of the book is Four Blondes by Candace Bushnell. I checked it out because she is the author of Sex and the City. Now, I have not read Sex and the City, but I enjoyed the television series that ran for six seasons several years ago, so I thought I would enjoy this book, which was a bestseller, but I should have left it on the libray bookshelf instead of bringing it home. The locale is New York City, and the characters are a minor celebrity, aB-list movie star,a high powered magazine columinist and writer. All are at a crisis or cross roads in their lives and/or relationships. If they weren't so slutty I might have cared about them. But they were, and I didn't.

The other book I am returning is Dog On It a detective novel narrated by Chet (the Jet) a large dog whose owner is Bernie Little, of the Little Dectective Agency. Chet considers himself a detective and Bernie's partner in solving cases. The author is Spencer Quinn and he is writing a sequel, so the Bernie and Chet can solve another mystery. Bertie is the typical down and out detective, former police officer, divorced dad that I think populates a few other series. Having the dog narrate is funny and cute and did keep me reading. The story takes place in the southwest and involves a missing teenage girl, who may or may not have been kidnapped. There is no ransom note, but things just don't add up for Bernie as he investigates. He knows the girl is in trouble even though she seems to have contacted her mom to tell she will be home soon. Both Chet and Bernie are in danger at various points in the book, but there is nothing really gruesome in the novel, and it is pretty light reading. Also a bestseller. I may look for the sequel when it comes out.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Flowers blooming this week

Iris and Columbine are blooming this week in my flower garden.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

Our traditional way to spend Memorial Day weekend is to work on projects around the house. Dave is staining the east side of our house. We hope to also get the south side and the deck finished sometime this summer. It is a good day to get some work done--some cloud cover, no wind (!) reasonable temperature.

Mine is an ongoing project: Make this flower border bigger. I can't remember why I wanted to do this now. It is a lot of work, and it probably will look bad all summer since I have gotten such a late start on it. I guess I could look at it and say that I am early for next season, and I will have a spot to move some of the plants I want to divide and transplant.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dance Recital

Here is Maggie after her dance recital last Saturday. She was a flower in the octopuss's garden under the sea along with about 11 other little girls. Maggie attends Mary Lorraine's Dance Center and the recital was at Millard South High School. Maggie had a good crowd there supporting her: both sets of grandparents, her aunt Julie, her mom and dad and her two sisters. It was fun to watch Shelby, age 3, and Natalie, 6 months as they watched the dancers. They were enthralled with the whole production. Shelby would clap and clap after each group finished, but when Grampy Dave asked her if she wanted to take dance lessons, she declined. Maggie's future in dance is not certain, since she put up a fight every week when it was time to go to her dance lesson, but on Saturday night she was every inch a dancer!
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Flowers in my yard

Most of my flower gardens don't look so great because I have not spent more than 15 minutes clearning out last year's debris, but there are a few bright spots. The flower at the top is called Fremont's Clematis. It is kind of a rare plant and I got it at a plant sale in Lincoln at the University of Nebraska East Campus.
Here is another variety of clematis, purchase a few years ago at Merle's Garden Center here in Seward. Wish I could remember the name, but I cannot. The first year I planted it I think it had one sad flower, and the next year it may have had three. But once it got established it has done really well. It is an early bloomer, and if the weather conditions are right, it will bloom again later in the summer.

I remember that there was a beautful dark purple clematis in the yard where I grew up. Florence (my step-grandma) enjoyed her flower garden and had a lot of old fashioned favorites.
And last of all, this is the first year our lilac bushes have done really well. They have almost finished blooming and I feel guilty about not taking any blooms to my aunt Marge. I think I will wait for the Lilly of the Valley to bloom and take a bouquet of those and maybe some iris.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Book notes

I just returned a couple of books to the library, both pretty enjoyable. The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin was recommended by our friend, Tom Raabe. It is a grown-up account (there are a few childrens books on the topic) of the Blizzard of 1888 which affected most of the Dakota Territory, Nebraska, and parts of Iowa and Minnesota. Many children died in the blizzard as they became lost trying to find their way home from school. There is an explanation of the science behind the blizzard, as well as the back story on many of the people who were affected by the blizzard. Seward County is mentioned, which made it more intereting for me, and my neighbor, Jane Graff, is listed as a resource at the end of the book.

The other book I just finished was The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfiled. I would rate this book a "6" on a scale of 1-10. It was a bit too dark and moody for my taste, but I was pulled into the story about a famous English author who is dying and asks a little-published essayist to write her biography. Many people over the years have attempted to write her biography, but since she never tells the truth, the biographies are all different. At the end of her life she is ready to reveal her secrets, but it takes Margaret Lea some digging to really get to the bottom of the story. There are ghosts, hauntings, twins, and a surprise twist at the end.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Mother's Day is just about over. It was a good one. Dave, the awesome grill man, made pork adobo (a recipe from the grilling cookbook). It was very good. I received some wonderful gifts: a gazing ball for my flower garden and a gift certificate to the Green Gateau.

Right now I am going to make a Happy Mother's Day card for my aunt Marge. I am hoping the Hallmark Card Studio will not let me down on this one because I will have to have something that features god mothers. I will take her some lilacs from my yard and hope that will do. Maybe she would like a new lipstick--I can "shop" in my Mary Kay inventory.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A day with Sam and Austin

We spent Friday with grandsons Sam and Austin and I managed to get a few pictures taken at the Children's Zoo and later at home.