Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lake Texoma

Who would have thought that we would be on a trip to Lake Texoma in July and turn  our furnace on for a short time.  Granted, it was rainy and we got a little chilled with that, but still, furnace, July and Texas.  I think it actually did set a record low in Dallas that night.

It was beautiful weather and good times with friends Dwight & Cheryl and Dwight’s brother Glen and Kathy in Preston Bend campground, a Federal Park,  on the lake.  Preston Bend campground is near Dwight & Cheryl’s son Dan and Kim’s lake house so we spent a lot of time there. 

The highlight of our trip, though, was our guided fishing trip out on the lake. 

Dan and I have only been on a guided fishing trip one other time.  That was in Canada and we were fishing for Walleye  by dropping our line over the side of the boat.  Fishing for Stripers on Lake Texoma was mostly the same. Other than our Texas guide had a fish locator.  He could tell us exactly how deep to drop our bait.  My trouble was knowing when the fish had the hook and set it properly.  Honestly, I might have lost as many fish as I caught—the big ones anyway.  I’d feel that tug and my reflex was to yank.  A little more finesse is necessary.  I think I got better.  So did everyone else.

Our guide was patient with us so we all caught our limit. 

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Garden surprise

Remember that tomato that showed up in a potted plant?  Well, we have a similar situation in the garden right now.

Before I write about the surprise vines, I have to brag a bit about the garden. 

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It’s looking good this year.  Of course, it helps that we have had timely rains and Dan had just rototilled.  And, I had cleaned out the okra rows and added mulch to the….

Watermelon and Cantaloupe! 

It happens where the watermelon and cantaloupe came up, I had dumped recycle stuff from the kitchen, obviously including watermelon and cantaloupe seeds.  For a long time, we didn’t know what they were.  Until this:

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I look every day to find more and to check on these.  Looking forward to some vine ripened goodness later this summer.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Day Three With Grandkids

Yes, I did say that there could be something better to eat than pizza and Hazel Hill chocolates.  That would be The Cheese Cake Factory! 

But first…

CARLY from Linda Hanney on Vimeo.

Sky Zone in Kansas City is a great place to burn off energy.   The whole place is trampolines.  You can bounce up and dunk a basketball, jump playing dodge ball and flip into a bin of sponge. 

I did not bounce, although enjoyed watching a lot.  Just watching worked up my appetite for lunch at the Cheese Cake Factory.  You can imagine how hungry those kids were.

I did not take a picture of my piece of Raspberry Fudge Cheese Cake.  It was a work of art but I guess all I could think about was eating it. 

After lunch, the kids graciously allowed Kim and I to take a quick tour around Crate & Barrel.  Then home.

On our last day, we visited Moon Marble Company.  We watched a marble being made—which is always interesting.  When we first visited in 2006, we saw Bruce Breslow, the founder and owner make a marble.  Although he didn’t demonstrate, he was there today.   He has an interesting story.  If you have time, follow this link that I wrote on our first visit.

After Moon Marble, we took Adam to his music lesson and then back to Kim’s.  Trent and Carly went to their other grandparents for the remainder of their visit.  It was so much fun to not only spend time with the grandkids, but also Kim.

Now, back to gardening and catching up.   

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Fun with all five grandkids

Doug and Drue returned to Monument on Sunday morning.  Trent and Carly stayed here.  Their home base is with Kim, Marc, Aaron, Adam and Evan until it is time for them to visit their other grandparents.  On Sunday evening, they sat down and planned their time for these few days.  They did a good job.

Monday, we headed west to Manhattan to visit the Flint Hills Discovery Center.  It is in the background of this picture. 

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I’ve heard good things about this facility and it is all true.  We were there for a couple hours and could have spent more time.  The educational film was excellent.  When there was prairie wind, we felt wind.  When there was rain, we felt the vibration of the thunder and when there was fire, we smelled smoke. 

There were interactive experiences, including these 3 dimensional puzzles of early life in the Flint Hills.

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Even the grounds were interesting and well maintained with wildflowers and a running stream. 

After the tour, we ate pizza and desert at Hazel Hill Chocolates in downtown Manhattan.

Can that menu get any better?  Yes it can.  Wait until I tell you about our day today.  I will do that tomorrow as I am waiting for the little movie to be completed. 

Sunday, July 06, 2014

July 4th is in the books

Great three days.  Click here or on the picture for the link.  So that it will play on Apple, I am not embedding.  Just go to the web page and click on “slideshow” in the upper right hand corner.   These are my favorite people.  Enjoy!

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Thursday, July 03, 2014

Family is all together—pictures begin

It is always fun to have all the family together.  So for a few days, there will be pictures.  Here are a few from the first evening:

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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Dan’s 70th birthday

Yesterday was the celebration of the beginning of Dan’s 70th year.  Is it around this birthday we start to believe that we are old?  Nope, not yet. 

Anyway, who cares about whether we are old, or not.  Dan had a big celebration for his 70th.  I let our friends know he had a big day coming up and suggested maybe we establish a card shower.  I thought about a surprise party, but June is just not a good month.  Our extended family is busy with crops and hay, it is hot, humid and buggy.  He really enjoyed all the cards from friends and family.  Thank you to everyone who sent one. 

Doug & Drue and family are coming home on Thursday.  I am looking forward to more celebrating and pictures. 

After the delicious steak and salmon, here is Dan with his cake—even with a little missing—and his grandkids.  Evan reminded us he celebrated a “seven” a couple weeks ago too.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Symphony in the Flint Hills 2014

The Kaw Nation call themselves people of the South Wind.  Variations of the tribe’s name by French traders and other Europeans was Kanza or Kansa, eventually Kansas.

While most of those attending the 2014 Symphony in the Flint Hills could not count themselves as members of the Kaw Nation, they did experience the relentless wind from which those original inhabitants received their name.

Despite a wind so strong that all matter of ropes, bandanas and belts were used to tie down hats, it was a magnificently beautiful site with music that can only be experienced rather than described. 

One of the requirements for a Symphony site is no visible signs of civilization.  This year, there seemed no signs of civilization even driving into the site.  For me, it was the most beautiful site for the concert in recent years. 

As I mentioned, we arrived in the area on the Friday evening before the Saturday concert.   The sun was starting to drop as we looked out on an expanse of pasture near the concert site to see not cattle, but horses!

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This is the Vestring Ranch and these are wild mustangs.  The Vestring ranch receives $1.20 a day from the Federal government to feed and care for the horses.  We learned about wild horse ranching at an educational tent after our 9:00 am until 3:00 pm shift at the seating area. 

Here is an early morning view of the concern area.

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The people are starting to fill up the seating area.

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The conductor looked very young as did some of the members of the orchestra.  We wondered if some of the youth were members of the summer program.

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The hills seem a bit flatter in this southern area. Aren’t the shadows stunning.

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As the sun went down and the music drew to a close, they drove the cattle so they and the horses were back lite.

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The sun sets on another beautiful day.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lincoln Nebraska to Cassody Kansas

The Great Plains UMC meeting at Lincoln was informative and inspirational.  It was held downtown Lincoln at the Lied Center which is only a few blocks from the Haymarket area.  After sitting all day at the convention, I just wanted to get back to our RV and sit outside in shorts, cold beer in hand so we never made it to the historic district. 

The RV park is only about five minutes from the NU football stadium and only a few minutes further to the Lied.  Can you imagine how full that park is all fall?  It is clean and well maintained.  We have to admit sometimes it is nice to pay the price for a nice place to park. 

Dale Lilyhorn from WindCrest Winery told us about a popular pizza place nearby named Raymono’s.  So, one evening we drove back out that way for pizza.  We agree with Dale, it is delicious pizza!  We ordered the special, Cheeseburger pizza.  I am sure we lost a month of our life with all the fat in that pie, but it was definitely worth it.

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We left at noon Friday driving straight south on Hwy 77 toward the site of the Symphony in the Flint Hills where we were scheduled to volunteer in the seating area again this year.  It was a nice drive through fertile farm land. At Manhattan, we continued south on Hwy 177 to Council Grove, Cottonwood Falls and then Cassody.  We located the Symphony site and then spent Friday night at El Dorado Lake. 

It’s good that we left Lincoln at noon.  It was a longer drive than we anticipated.  By the time we pulled into our spot at El Dorado Lake, the sun was dropping.  More about the Symphony tomorrow. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

What’s going on? Last thing first-Evan’s Birthday

Yesterday was Evan’s birthday.  It is a big day for him.  Leading up to the big event, it is obviously on his mind because he talks about it a lot.  Since he is now a 2nd grader, he wrote his own list.  We gave him a Skylander figure.  For the uninformed, Skylander figures are placed on a small “Portal of Power” and transported into a video game.  I checked it out and it seems appropriate for his age.  However, he seemed most happy with his Toy Story Woody.  

We watched the kids swim then ended with ice cream and cake.  Remember, it is Evan that always has trouble with his brothers blowing out his candles before he gets a chance.  This year was no exception.

Click on here or on Evan’s picture for a slide show of his party.

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I will plan on catching up on my posts this weekend.  Thanks for checking in.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Roadtrip!

Well,  maybe not quite a roadtrip—at least not the usual kind.  I am representing Stull UMC at the church annual conference in Lincoln Nebraska the remainder of this week.  Then off to southern Kansas to volunteer for the Symphony in the Flint Hills. 

We are members of Harvest Hosts.  This is a group of farmers, mostly fruit and grapes, who offer their place to stay overnight for free.  It costs to join—no more than one night at a campground.  Then there is access to maps of all the locations in the United States and Canada to stay. 

Which is why we are parked at the WindCrest winery right now.  Owner Dale Lilyhorn took time from working in his vineyard to visit with us about his operation.  He planted his grapes, cherries and pears in  1998 and opened his business in 2008.  His grapes are hybrids which are the types that grow in northern states.  He also makes cherry and pear wine.  He does not buy any fruit outside his farm and only sales on site. 

He expects to have about 30 percent less crop this year due to severe weather this spring—a tornado that came within yards of his crops but still causes substantial damage.  It was an unusual winter with not enough snow cover as well.

We enjoyed his wine and visit.  We would like to think we will be back. 

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Thursday, June 05, 2014

Spring around the yard

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Momma and her twins were about 250 yards away.  Times like this I wish I had one of those fabulous lenses that I see on the sidelines of sports events.  Since that isn’t going to happen, this will do.  We think the babies must be two weeks old at least.  They were sure having fun bouncing around in the water.

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I don’t know, if it is a hot day and I am a tree frog, this might seem like  a cool place to nap. 

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I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a frog smile.  Maybe this IS a frog smile.  Looks pretty grim to me.  I think he’s even giving us the evil eye.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

The Ministry of Visitation

The subject of age seems to be cropping up in conversations more often lately. Many of our friends have crossed the age 65 landmark. Dan will be 70 this month and I am 1 1/2 years behind. My Dad, who had wise observations, said  he  tries to have friends in the younger generation. That way they will outlive him.

I think what my Dad was really saying is that he wanted someone to talk to as he grew old. Dad died at age 96 and he did have younger friends and he enjoyed being around them.

Wednesday of last week, Carolyn, Rita and I attended a Brownbag Lunch Series at the Theo and Alfred M. Landon Center on Aging at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City. Dennis Jones, Pastor, Hospice Chaplin and former dairy farmer led the program entitled, "Ministry of Visitation." It was well done, uplifting and informative.

I’ve  felt a need for some time to be more active in visitation. Memories of Dad, and all of our parents and other family members for that matter, delighted in our visits. We would see that sparkle in their eyes, a smile, always wanting us to sit a while and talk. This is something that I need to do now, be supportive to those who are not that much older. But, knocking on a door and sitting a spell can be daunting especially a person who is nearly a stranger.

Pastor Jones told us early on in his presentation that if we undertake the ministry of visitation, we need to be ready to reach out to any who are undergoing health issues, difficulties in their lives or those unable to be mobile any longer. We should be ready to visit anyone. With that said, here are ten suggestions for visitations.

1. Plan the visit. Call ahead and set a time. Gifts may not be appropriate and be careful about food. Make sure the caregivers or staff know who you are and include them in your visit. Sometimes they have needs as well. If visiting for church, report back to pastor with prayer concerns if requested. Remember always use discretion and personal respect. Practice basic safety if there is limited mobility. Always wash hands before the visit.

2. If there is a new diagnosis or major change "I am sorry this is happening to you" is a way to start. Then let the person take the direction they want to go. Some may want to talk and some may not.

3. If you do not know the person you are visiting, introduce yourself, talk about something immediate such as weather, picture on the wall, book on table, etc. Listen. Listen. Listen Everyone has different needs.

4. Be Sensitive.  Do not talk about things they cannot participate in unless they seem interested. Be generous with touch, a hug or hold hands if that pleases. If not touch, do something that shows you care. Take something to read out load. Newspapers are good because articles are short. Be careful with religion, but if they are open, short easy to understand devotions are good.

5. Dementia or confusion. Talk, they might understand more than you think. Music is soothing.

6. How to handle silence. Favorite television show, take a computer and find a YouTube video of interest. Find something to tap into who they are.

7. How often and how long? Frequency should be based on need. Length, no less than 5 minutes, no more than an hour.

8. Make notes for reference next visit. Add reminders of things you want to bring. Note what seemed helpful and not so helpful.

9. Everyone likes to get mail. Send a follow up note. Can use email  (personal note here) but elders and children especially like getting personal letters.

10. Finally, do not use a visitation as a therapy for yourself. You are there to talk to and listen to the person you are visiting. Once again, be a good listener.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Here’s this until the rest

I keep a list of possible topics but have set a goal for myself to get to bed in a decent time—at least by 11:00 pm.  Since it’s nearly that time, here is a picture I took tonight.

I love to take pictures and generally have my camera with me if we go out on the atv in the evenings.  Tonight, I forgot the camera.  This picture was taken with my iPhone.   Truthfully, it is fun and a challenge to get a good picture with the iPhone.  I’m not always happy with the sharpness or color so I will still use my good camera.  Still, this picture isn’t too bad. 

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