Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wisconsin Barns, Westby Fences, Vintage Caboose

The first two photos were taken in the Westby, Wisconsin area. I always love the look of the black Amish buggies. I was going to say that it takes one back to a simpler time but really, there's nothing simple about the Amish way of living. It's got to be tough doing the field work by hand, hot and sweaty, taking forever, and watching your neighbor farmers sitting in their air-conditioned tractor cabs, harvesting a field in about 20 minutes (Okay, I'm exaggerating here, but not a lot).  On the other hand, if we ever have a huge solar flare that takes out the grid, we know who will not be affected.

 Westby Caboose
Now used just for fun.

Next weekend we're going to be hauling some slate blackboards to a few Amish families in the Westby area. I love that unglaciated part of the state. It is so gorgeous. I'm hoping to get many more photos. It's the perfect time of year to visit Westby.

Want to learn more about Westby? Check out Westby Remembered. 

One last fence:

At Pier Natural Bridge Park
Rockbridge, Wisconsin

Tomorrow's entire Cranberry Morning post is on Pier Natural Bridge Park. It is a gorgeous place to spend an afternoon. There are stairsteps so you can climb up to the top of that rock that is covered with trees and trails.




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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hopping into the Hodgepodge

The little pal at my pond the other day

Join Joyce and the crew


1. As August draws to a close, share what's been your favorite weekend of the entire summer?

The family reunion at our home in early August.

2. Labor Day is marked in the US of A on Monday, September 1st.  What paying job have you held that you've loved the most? Liked the least?

Paying job I loved the most: clipping turkey toenails at the turkey hatchery - when I was 16 - the same summer I got my first kidney stone. The kidney stone was not a favorite part of that job, but the rest of it was pretty fun.

Paying job I liked the least: - when I was 15 - babysitting for 3 kids the entire summer.  Long hours and extremely poor pay. I think I was told that it would build character. I don't think it worked.

Non-paying job I loved the most: Homeschooling my own kids for 21 years.

One of my favorite students

Non-paying job I liked the least:  Cleaning the refrigerator.  (Unfortunately, this still applies.)

3. Does the new school year start before or after Labor Day where you live? When do you think it should begin? There is much discussion now about older students having later start times to their school day...your thoughts?

I think that public schools in Wisconsin now start after Labor Day. They used to start about August 18. Since most kids stay up to all hours of the night anyway and don't seem to be able to get up in the morning, I suppose it's not a bad idea for them to have a late-to-late school day, as long as they're able to grow up and find late-to-late employment.  Are there no morning people these days?

4. What's something you've worked at recently that could be deemed a 'labor of love'?

Baby Oliver's baby blankie. I've located the flannel, the batting, and the satin edge. Now I just have to get to work and sew it. I wasn't in a rush because the weather's been so warm - until today. Suddenly, fall is in the air and I see myself sitting at the sewing machine in the next couple days. I don't want to be responsible for that little fella getting cold!

5.Which of the following work idioms can you most relate to right now...'A woman's work is never done.', 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.' 'Many hands make light work.'

All of them apply at different times, but right now none does. Maybe, 'All play and no work makes Jack a jerk.' That might apply to me this summer.

6. Crab or lobster or thanks, but no thanks? Favorite way to have your choice prepared?

No thanks. Beef tenderloin, please, made just the way America's Test Kitchen made it. Mmmmm. I would be happy to be a taste tester for them. (That one and Lydia's Italy are the only cooking shows I like and I rarely even catch those.)

7. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, 'Three rules of work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.' Which of the three do you consider to be the most important? Share one of your own 'rules of work'.

Maybe, 'From discord find harmony.' One of my own rules? Work comes first. Only after chores are done, is it time to have fun. It was a rule at home when I was growing up. I think it's a great idea. I can't even read a book if the house is a mess. I have to have order in order to think. I have to make sure the kitchen is clean before I go to bed at night.

8.  Insert your own random thoughts here.

Tuppence drinking from the dog water bowl
This would explain why her own water bowl is never empty.


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Monday, August 25, 2014

Late Summer and Birthday Parties

There's an odd sort of feeling that comes over some of us NW Wisconsinites as the calendar approaches September. We know that summer is nearly over, which means that fall is rapidly approaching, which means that winter will be breathing its frosty, annoying breath down our necks before long.

But late summer tends to be the hot, humid, sticky time of year. One late August it was so hot that my German Shepherd lost most of the hair on his tail - and he was an inside dog. If we had cattle, the flies would be everywhere during this kind of weather. I remember when I was a kid that my mom would constantly be hollaring  telling us to 'Shut the screen door!' so that the flies wouldn't get into the house. Even so, we had one of those fascinating fly tapes (which I loved) hanging in the kitchen during the worst of the fly invasion, which also coincided with canning time.  The good thing about late summer is that the zinneas, rudbeckia, and echinacea are committed to stick around until a hard frost. In fact, they are worth covering with old bedsheets those first few frosts just because they've given me so much cheer throughout the season. 

But the best thing about late summer is the little 4 year old grandson's birthday. He and his baby sister are such a delightful blessing and treasure. We enjoyed spending the weekend with them, and yes it is a lot better to have them only 2 hours away, instead of 9. We hauled one of our many slate boards to their house so that Daddy and Grandpa could install it on the bedroom wall for this little guy. I've never bought into the chalk paint = chalk board idea. I'm old school when it comes to chalk boards, probably because these slate boards came out of old schools. Several old schools.

The beautiful, smiling baby you see pictured above is always happy. Oddly enough, she only cries when there's a good reason, such as being hungry or teething or needing a diaper change. I never had children that were that easy, so she continually amazes me by her cheerfulness. And because I'm their grandma, I never tire of looking at those sweet faces and listening to the funny things the 4 year old says.


 Sunny, cheerful disposition, generous,
Eager to please, friendly,
Loves a party

Why do my rudbeckia spread everywhere and my echinacea don't spread at all?? I'm going to have to plant more of them, I guess, but I don't understand why they need coaxing when the rudbeckia are so prolific. I suddenly realized that I'm starting to assign personality traits to these flowers. I think the canning of the green beans might be getting to me.

 Beautiful, but stingy and snooty
Introverted, aloof,
Doesn't play well with others,
Hates crowds.
Will most likely remain single.

I hope y'all had a great weekend. I'm hoping to get to your blogs now and find out!


Linking to Rubbish By Roan

Rubbish Rewind


and linking to



and linking to



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Saturday, August 23, 2014


Oliver, about 25 minutes after birth

I remember some months ago when I was first told that our son and daughter-in-law were going to name their baby Oliver. My first thought was, 'Oliver. Oh. Liver.'  Really? It's certainly not a name that would have been top on my list. Who names their kid Oliver?

But then Kevin and I walked into the hospital room Thursday evening and I saw that sweet, darling little boy snuggled up against his mama. No kidding, he melted my heart!

Then I saw his face, now I'm a believer
Not a trace of doubt in my mind.
I'm in love, I'm a believer!
I couldn't leave him if I tried.

I said, 'He's so CUTE!'  

to which our son responded, 'Don't sound so surprised.' LOL 

Anyway, here's a photo of the little family. I'm going to schedule this to go up in the morning, get the coffee ready, and go to bed. We're going to leave tomorrow morning to go spend a couple days with another grandson (and his little sister and parents) to celebrate his 4th birthday.

P.S.  It's just the strangest thing, 
but Oliver has suddenly become one of my favorite names!

Thank you, Lord, for blessing this family with a healthy baby boy!

Have a great weekend!

P.P.S. I phoned the University of Wisconsin, Madison and talked to a bird expert about the mysterious sound (Update on my eagle post). 



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