Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year 2011

The year of 1010 is almost past.  As I write this it is the last day of the year.  Tomorrow will be 1-1-11.  Now is a good time to reflect on the joys of the past year.  Not the health issues of my parents or the ever present trials of raising livestock.

Joys comes in the package that contains our four grand kids.  Watching them grow up and being part of their lives brings pleasure and contentment to my life.  Without the guidance of four wise and loving parents these four would not be such great kids.  It is so wonderful to be part of all of their lives.
Nature is so intriguing.  Part of our time spent in Australia was such an adventure in exploring the nature of that part of the world.  The animals were ones so different from those in our backyard.  Even without seeing the elusive platypus we encountered such a variety of creatures.  When one sees and has the opportunity to hold a possum, python, potoroo, lizard, goanna, tawny frogmouth, and other Aussie animals at a party you know that this is one special place.  We held a koala, petted kangaroos and wallabies, saw Tasmanian devils and other unique critters. 

Spending time with friends has to be high on our list.  Being with friends of years and catching up on what is happening with them is such a joy.  This coming year I pledge to do better.  Sometimes we get too caught up in the everyday and just do not enjoy those friendship that mean so much to us.  New friends are always a bonus.  Meeting Millie and MOTH at a restaurant in Adelaide was such a treat. 

Books, walks, gardening, shopping, napping, crafting, and decorating are joys to be shared in any year.  Sometimes cooking is even on this list.  Giving to my community and the world in small ways will continue to enrich my life.  Mostly it is money that flows to a need but my goal in the coming year is to spend some time helping others in a meaningful way. 

Happy 2011

Monday, December 13, 2010

We are Downunder

We are enjoying Adelaide's summer weather.  Today was the first really warm day.  I got out of my jeans for the first time.  We are not complaining as at home it has been cold and icy.  Samantha and Sage had their last day of school Friday - now they are on summer vacation.  We visited school twice for activities.  It was nice to see Sam's classroom and to talk with Sage's teachers.
Friday Sage and I decorated his snake cake.  This little guy had definite ideas about what he wanted in the way of a cake.
Saturday Sage had his friends over for a "Wild Animal Adventure Party".  The high light was a real python (v. plastic - his parents are much braver than his grandparents.  I think we stuck to 3 wheeler parties.) and a small crocodile.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Time for Holiday Decorating

I can pretend this is our front door.

Or that this is in our conservatory. 
Five years ago we spent some time at Biltmore during the Christmas season.
The place was grand and lovely.  I suspect the Christmas decorations alone rival the value of our home.

My favorite Santa collection.  These are all by a USA company by the name of Vaillancourt.
The are made using old ice cream and chocolate molds and then hand painted.
The fun of getting them out each year is looking at the details.
The white one in the center is the first.  
I bought it when I fell in love with the painting on the back of Santa's coat.
Sometimes the back is a lovely as the front.
 The snowmen are so cute.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Blessings

Today is Thanksgiving and also my Mom's birthday.  She was born on a Thanksgiving during the depression.  It is told that her twelve year old sister prepared the meal for family and relatives that day. 

I am off to cook and then join my parents and family to celebrate a
Birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

November 20th

Today is our lovely daughter-in-law's birthday, a nephew's birthday, and our anniversary.  

We are glad to share this date with Stacey.  

She spent her 21st birthday with us when we celebrated our 25th wedding Anniversary.
That evening we took our kids and my parents out to eat. 

Stacey at 21

 The rule is that I do not get gifts with a cord.
Warren thinks that a battery powered drill counts.
I do not!

Diamonds do count!

We spent a wonderful week in Charleston.  
It was a beautiful place to visit.
Lots of historic homes, great dining, and early US history to absorb.
We had a great time while Rhett was back home fighting
cold, snow, ice, and help that did not show up. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fall Pictures

Once in a while I get a good photo.   

What a wonderful sky!

This one was taken on a morning with a little fog.

 Our farmstead looking south into the fog.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fall is Cider Time

Spiked Hot Apple Cider

8 oz Hot Apple Cider
1 oz Sourpuss Apple
1 oz Butterscotch Ripple Schnapps
Cinnamon Stick to garnish

Trust me it is great...and it will keep you warm. 
I found this recipe on the blog veranda interiors.
She used 6 oz of cider I used 8 oz.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

More Fall

It has been a month filled with physicians appointments for my parents.  
And the sudden death of a dear longtime friend.
I have neglected much of my housework and all of my blog.
Right now things are on the upswing.  I hope!

It is time to put away the Halloween and replace it with Thanksgiving.
I won this arrangement at a hospital luncheon.  
They gave away 40 lovely purses first.  No luck, until the very end.  
It was lovely until the pumpkin started to rot.  
I knew there was a reason I used the plate under the arrangement.
By the time I discovered the pumpkin was weeping liquid the plate was my salvation.  

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fall Harvest

The first day Samantha and Sage spent with us this summer, we went out to our corn field.  We measured the corn and the kids.  Then before they left we measured everyone and the corn for a final time.  All the grand kids grew.  The corn grew even more.  Every day or so we would check to see if the corn was growing.  The corn grew over a foot in less than two weeks.

 Kelsey and Hannah standing in the same spot this fall. 

Yellow Gold

The combine is harvesting the spot where we measured and watched our corn grow.

Another one bites the dust.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Halloween Decorating

May I introduce my silly little Halloween person.

He/she came to our home courtesy of Kelsey many years ago.  She gave it to me in a rather off handed way, saying something on the order of  "Here Grandma, this is for you ".  While this grandma was thinking ugly: she was saying "Well, Thank You".  Many years have passed and I have become fond of this ugly plastic bendable fellow.
One year while rummaging in my box of decoration I could not find what I have fondly come to call my Halloween Man.  It was then that I realized how much I had come to regard him as a Halloween fixture.  At first I put him out to please a little girl, now I put him out to please me.  From year to year he sits on a different shelf.  Wherever he sits he is a reminder of the love of a little girl. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Summertime is Winding Down

   Yesterday was a lovely summer day.  Sunday was cold, rainy, and an all around bad fall day weather wise.  Today we have rain again.  What I like about summer time is the fresh food.  My garden is not large yet we have carrots, beans, beets, cucumbers, radishes, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, and asparagus.   We have raspberry bushes and blackberry bushes.  The rhubarb plants keep us supplied with all we can want to eat.  Almost everything gets eaten fresh from the garden.  Canning and freezing are done at a minimum.    What I do like to do is to make sweet pickle relish out of the larger cucumbers.  Late this summer Hannah made relish to take to 4-H fair next summer.  This is not a picture of her small cute jars of relish.  We took photos of her and her relish on her Mom's camera and I do not have them.  This is my batch of relish and my mismatched jars.  Hannah and I both love to hear the ping when the jars seal.  Warren will enjoy relish on his burgers this winter and it will make a fine addition to chicken and pork salad.

Pickle Relish
6 cups of ground cucumbers- do not peel but cut down the middle and remove seeds
1 cup ground onion
 1 teaspoon salt
Mix together and let stand for on hour. Next drain for one hour.
Combine in a kettle with
2 cups sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
Bring to a boil and then hot pack in jars.
On recipe makes about 3 pints

(As I copied the recipe, I thought that we do not use the term kettle any more,
so this must be a very old version.)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Iowa State Fair Memories

Our  state puts on a wonderful fair every year in the middle of August.
Dad tells of going with his parents and grandparents to camp and visit the fair.
We drive a much greater distance and elect to return home to comfort mattresses
rather than spend the night in sleeping bags.

Kelsey and her Dad were the soda jerks.

Hannah worked in the food line.

Warren, Malissa, and I worked in the dining area.

The Grundy County Pork Producers provided us with matching T shirts.
We are not sure orange is our color.
Hannah wants them pink next year.
Our work crew was a great group of guys and gals who started work a bit before
3:00 in the afternoon and worked until 9:30 at night.
We were a tired troop.

The best part of the Iowa State Fair is that is is a "forget the diet day".
Everyone had a double dip ice cream except Warren.
In the morning we were able to see the girls State Fair 4-H entries and
take in a small portion of the wonderful things to see and do.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Biking Pictures

There are some beautiful spots along the trail in the Lanesboro, MN area.
The bike paths are wide, paved, and rather flat.
Just the way I like to ride. 

I got a few good pictures of Warren riding.  
The ones he took of me were all blurry.

We got a gal to take our picture.  
I think I shall have to find a purple top for our next photo.
Our weather was perfect.  It was not hot nor humid.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lanesboro, MN

Warren and I are off on a mini vacation to Lanesboro Tuesday morning.  We will stay at a B & B we have enjoyed before.  The bikes will be packed in the back of Warren's pick up as the trails are plentiful.  We will also bring along some books to read.  It will be a three day two night get away.  We are hoping it recharges us for the fall harvest season ahead. I plan to take lots of pictures and bore you when we return.

My Dad has had some health issues lately.  He went into the hospital early on the 12.  At first they said he had food poisoning but now are not so sure.  He came home on Tuesday.  Every day he shows some small improvements in his ability to get around but as of now he is using a walker with assistance.  Therapy is helping him regain strength and a bit of mobility.  Cindi has been his around the clock nurse and without her they would not have been able to have him home.  Mom and I have taken care of the many details and phone calls that have been needed the past week or so.  Health care  is not an easy road to travel.  Hopefully with a bit of time and assistance they will be able to enjoy life again.

Friday, August 20, 2010

First Day of School

Our two sweet neighbor girls came for breakfast on their first day of 
school Wednesday.  Most mornings they join me for breakfast.  Hannah 
has to catch the bus earlier for middle school so the over lap time
is about five minutes tops.  Kelsey usually has an omelet and Hannah cinnamon
toast or granola..  Both served with Sunny Delight.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Iowa Irish Fest

In 2007 a Waterloo Irish Pub had an afternoon party in the parking lot behind their building.  Every year this event has grown.  Now they commander a local park and the block in front of the pub.  We went for the first time last year.  This year I came armed with a camera. 

There were some real and not so real Irish dancers.  
This group of dancers travels the world and wins award.

They had Highland Games.  
This one involved lifting a pole and if successful tossing it end over end.

Just to get the pole off the ground is a feat.

 A pitch fork is stuck into a gunny sack that has been stuffed with straw.  This is tossed behind and above you over a pole that is raised higher after every round.  Both gals and guys competed in this game.
They also threw rocks and a weight over a bar.  Warren and I could just imagine how the games came into being years ago in rural Ireland.  Being an Iowa farm boy Warren recalls that he could toss bales seven high.  Being German they were tossed up to the one stacking bales and no Tom Foolery was allowed.  
There was no Guinness in his household.

I became fascinated by the question of "What is a guy supposed to wear with his kilt."

Work boots? Sandals? Tennis shoes? Cleats?

Tall socks, no socks?

Kilt hose and flashes.  
My next question is what do you wear under the kilt?