Saturday, December 30, 2006

All Good News


Our Colorado family beat the storm by leaving a day early. Our Salina family was able to get here a little early also. We hiked down into the valley this morning to an old oak tree that our kids called the "Climbing Tree." Memories made.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

There's good news and bad news

I removed the little Christmas movie as I couldn't play it myself on my desktop computer. Here is a link if you didn't have a chance to try and want to take a look. I know it played on newer models, but thought if my computer doesn't have the right setting maybe others don't also.

The bad news first. There is another massive storm moving in on Colorado which may prevent our family from making the trip from there tomorrow night and even may hamper our Salina family also. I am trying not to be too disappointed as (1.) it might work out if the storm moves off to the north and (2.) we don't want them on the road with a blizzard. We will wait and see.

The good news is we can watch the KSU bowl game tomorrow night on our television where many friends are watching in person. Thank you DISH. Also, I have tomorrow and Friday off work--maybe if everyone is able to come, I will be better prepared.

I better get back to writing thank you notes to the wonderful customers I have on my route. They are very good to me. Meanwhile, I am battling yet another round of hiccups. What's with that? Nope--no alcohol.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas



May you have
Health and Happiness
Through the Christmas holiday
and 2007


Third Annual Route Two Bake Off

Third annual Route Two Bake Off judging has been completed. The judge is me--afterall I am the most qualified. The First and Second winners did not enter--is my contest a jinx?

The contest opens when the first treats appear. These can be either found inside mailboxes or brought into the post office. Let me say that this has been a bumper year for food gifts. If an indication of the economy is food gifts left in the mailbox, then we are definitely in an upswing. And, I have a very rural route with very good cooks.

On to the judging. The first treat in the door the first week in December was Diane's hot cinnamon rolls. Wonderful because of their freshness and the fact that they were, in fact, homemade. It is a strong beginning--can it hold for the entire month.

There were lots of quick breads but Jeanne's was the best. I can't put my finger on what it is, perhaps apple? I do know there are those cherrsains and nuts in there. Sharon's Poppy Seed is a winner as is Brenna's pumpkin. I also received a good ole standby banana.

In the cookie category we have many excellent examples. The best overall plate goes to Sherri, who happens to be Jeanne's daughter. Every cookie on the plate was perfect and delicious. Having said that, there were several others, including Billie's which were also noteworthy. The best example of a handful of hot out-of-the oven chocolate chip cookies thrown in a bag goes to Nellie. But then, she spoils me quite often with that treat.

In the candy category we have Anncarolyn's as the winner. In fact, she should be the overall winner just because it is her candy our kids always ask for when they walk in the door at Christmas. She makes this coconut fudge that Russell Stovers should use. Makes my mouth water to think about it. There were other great candy gifts. One even used dark chocolate, my favorite.

I have decided that Diane's cinnamon rolls held on for the entire month. Diane is also a well known artist and my wish is to own one of her beautiful flower paintings. My ship will have to come in first, however. I doubt if she uses this honor on her resume, but congratulations to Diane, the 2006 Route Two Bake Off Winner!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Monument Colorado Snow Report


So far we have 2' on the ground and counting. The snow should be blowing out by this afternoon and then comes the shoveling! Thank goodness for snowblowers.
All this snow does put me in the Christmas mood though...bring on the presents!!!!
Submitted by son, Doug

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

White or Multi

Christmas lights, that is. For the past few years I have been a "dyed in the wool" white light person. White lights on my tree, around the windows and on the front porch. This year, however, I am enjoying multi lights in more places. My tree is still white, but both porches have multi and the Fig trees in the livingroom have tiny multi colored lights. Maybe it is my mood this year. I asked Dan if he was feeling multicolored or white, he said he wasn't feeling anything concerning lights. I don't think he had given it enough thought because everyone has a preference.

Last year I posted an article about Christmas light preference printed several years ago in USA Today. The link is here. If you have a few minutes extra, read and enjoy.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Kansas Christmas Quest: Part II

Saturday morning found us in a parking lot near downtown Cottonwood Falls. We enjoyed our leftover chicken fried steak and coffee for breakfast and took off. I wanted to see the sunrise over the Flint Hills. We continued south on Hwy 57 , part of the Flint Hills Scenic Byway. The sun was just peeking over the horizen as we stopped at an overlook. What a beautiful sight; the hills as far as we could see and cattle still grazing despite the time of year. We enjoyed the beautiful hills, impressive barns and rock fences as we continued toward the Matfield Green entrance to the turnpike.

In no time, we were in Wichita. Gander Mountain, our destination, is a outdoor/sporting store located in downtown Wichita near their convention center. It seems out of place but very good planning on the part of Wichita to bring people to the center of town. We spent several hours looking around before heading toward home. As we left the parking lot, we knew we were in outdoor country when we spotted a bumper sticker reading, "If we're not supposed to eat animals, why did God make them out of meat".

We again exited at Matfield Green exit on the KTA because the Cassody Cafe located in the town by the same name nearby was on the Best Chicken Fried Steak list and we were hungey. I actually think we would have eaten it again if it would have been available, but the cook only serves it on Thursdays. We settled for their buffet of fried chicken and homemade beef and noodles. The gravy there was delicious. I would say if you are anywhere near, stop just for that. I passed on a wonderful selection of desserts for a second bowl of gravy.

As we entered KTA again, the lady at the toll booth acknowledged it was our third time through that day and mentioned we were sure busy. We laughed and headed home.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Kansas Christmas Quest

Friday afternoon around 2:00 Dan called on my cell with an idea. How about a little trip in the Trekker. The weather was unusually mild, I said why not. I was home from the mail route at five and we were on the road by six.

Our thought was to head southwest on back roads to visit small towns and enjoy their Christmas lights with the eventual destination of Gander Mountain in Wichita to Christmas shop. I was armed with Marci Penner's Kansas Guidebook for Explorers, a list of the best Chicken-fried Steaks in Kansas from the Kansas Explorers Club, and a map. Our first taste of Christmas was Overbrook. We could not "Overlook Overbrook" with their cheery decorations; however, we might be prejudice as we haunt this small town often. From there we headed west on Hwy 56 and considered stopping at the restaurant at Four Corners because the parking lot was full. We had the Chicken Fried List, however, and it wasn't on it so we headed on--past the Trop, for inquiring minds.

Scranton's lighted snowflakes were very beautiful for the size of their main street. We continued on to Burlingame because the Santa Fe Cafe was on The List. The Santa Fe, housed in an obviously historical storefront, nicely decorated and a varied menu for the size of the cafe, was pure small town with young families and farmers in from their work. Even though a prerequisite to be on The List is pan fried steaks, not deep fat, which ours were, the wonderful homemade gravy and real mashed potatoes were enough to make them qualify. We were full and armed with enough leftovers for breakfast. One last look at their brightly lite main street and we were "on the road again."

Continuing on Hwy 56, which follows the Santa Fe Trail, we reminisced about our trip to Phoenix last January in which we followed the southwest Kansas route. We Trekked close by Osage City, Admire, Allen and Bushong and marveled how even the smallest towns managed to be festive. As we approached Council Grove, we discussed it would be interesting to see how this noteworthy town welcomed the Christmas season.

Council Grove was tasteful and understated. As we slowly drove down the street, the lights outlining the buildings and the festive storefronts all came together very nicely. Almost a similar look to the Plaza in Kansas City. We took a little extra time to drive back through before taking off south on Hwy 177 toward our destination of Strong City and Cottonwood Falls.

The beautiful court house and Cottonwood Falls are synonymous. We wondered if it might be decorated so we wanted to get there in darkness. We weren't disappointed. The store fronts on the one block street leading up to the courthouse were all brightly decorated, but not to take away from the main attraction which was the beautiful white building completely outlined in white lights. My picture does not do it justice, very impressive.

We weren't ready to call it a night so we headed back to the Emma Chase Cafe, which we passed on main street. A group of Bluegrass musicians were jamming there and we grabbed a corner table and to enjoy the music. Toward the end, there were more musicians than listeners, which tells you how much the jean and overall clad participants were enjoying themselves. At 10:30, the Emma Chase was winding down and so were we. We headed back to our Trekker and drove around town until we found a spot to boon-dock for the night.

Check back tomorrow for our early Saturday morning drive down the southern part of the Flint Hills Scenic Byway, Wichita and home.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Prairie Dogs

Logan County is in Western Kansas near Russell Springs. It has been in the national news with its battle over the little rodent called a prairie dog. I listened to at least an hour of talk radio out of Topeka on the subject yesterday.

Picture from Hays Daily News
The owner of the 5,500 acre ranches, Mr. Haverfield and his wife Betty and Gordon Barnhardt, , have no problem with the prairie dogs. They have cattle herds which share the space with the dogs. The neighbors, however, want the county to enforce a law enacted a century ago to eliminate the plague. This law would allow the county to come in and poison the entire village. Read the story here.

Prairie dogs multiply quickly and poisoning them does not fully eradicate them, often driving them to another spot. However, Mr. Haverfield and another rancher nearby, are confident their cattle and the dogs can live side by side. They see increasingly more wildlife such as eagles and the swift fox. They are considering reintroducing the endangered black-footed ferret which lives on a diet of prairie dogs.

As of yesterday, it was still a standoff. Stepping back, it is not too hard to see both sides of the story. However, it is an issue of property rights. Mr. Haverfield would like to leave the prairie dogs, and it is his land. It becomes a question of who has the right to tell people what animal on what land. I see similarities with the prairie dog and the feral hogs in our valley, although from entirely different perspective.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Calendars

This time of year I begin thinking about next year's calendars. I have calendars all over the house. This year we had an especially nice bird calendar in our reading area. I might try to find something like that again. Here at my desk, I use our friend, Blake's business calendar. Downstairs in the laundry room we put a freebie from the pharmacy or hardware store.

The big calendar decision each year is the one where we post all our activities and birthdays. It is predominately placed on a wall in the kitchen. I like Kansas calendars for that area. One year I had Kansas wildflowers. This year we have Kansas landscapes. I should have stopped by Barnes and Noble yesterday when we were out shopping and looked at their selection.

I also carry a calendar in my purse. It is usually just a small one--I am not organized enough to use one of those day planners. Last year my friend Kayzie who winters in Phoenix sent me a small one with pictures of Saguaros. Yesterday, I stood in front of the display of portable calendar/planners trying to make a decision. I think I will just make a homemade one on the computer this year. For one thing, I need addresses with me. I should get it done as there are dates and times for the new year already.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

This N That

Wow! What a weekend.

Saturday night we hosted the Post Office Christmas party here. We ended up having 25 adults and 8 children. We don't live in a huge home, but it is fairly open. The kids were in the basement play room. It wouldn't have worked if not for that area. We had barbecued brisket, baked beans from scratch and scalloped potatoes. That latter two were Kim's recipes. One of my coworkers brought scalloped corn and the rest desserts. Everything was delicious.

Today it was time for Christmas shopping. We started at Sam's in Topeka. Moved on to Wal-Mart and ToysRUs. We were looking for easels and the board game Payday for the grandkids. Our kids played that game at their Grandparents home when they were growing up. They had fond memories and it does teach good lessons about handling money. We were heartened to see there was still a fairly big selection of board games in the stores, although no Payday until ToysRUs which had an especially impressive selection of board games, although an even bigger selection of video games. Thankfully, our grandkids are still happy with board games, probably because their parents take time to set down and play with them.

At the last minute, we headed east on the Turnpike to Kansas City. We found the easels at Nebraska Furniture Mart-- on sale! I had a makeshift one set up downstairs Saturday night and it was a big hit. Hope these will be with our grand kids. We also found some little things at Cabala's. That place is so impressive.

I am having trouble keeping my eyes open as I write this, so it is on to bed--a big week of Christmas Card delivery this week.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Steady Sweaters

Our family has been emailing tonight about Christmas. Well, actually, it was our kids. Dan and I ran to Lawrence to shop so I was in on the "conversation" late.

Kim just happened to mention she and Marc might like matching sweaters. I thought it is a great idea, Doug was giving them grief.

Dan and I had steady sweaters. This was high school in the early 60s, so we were still wearing bobby socks, rolled up jeans and wool skirts at DCCHS. At some point we decided to get steady sweaters to wear to a sock hop high school dance. It might have even been around this time of year because I sort of remember we gave them to each other for Christmas. Anyway, we finally found matching brown sweaters in the men's section of JC Penney's . They were 100 percent wool and bulky. I thought they would look good with a brown wool skirt. (Girls would not have worn jeans to a school dance then.)

We finally ventured out on the gym floor to dance. That's when we discovered the sweaters were way too warm--and itchy. So, our beautiful sweaters have been in my cedar chest ever since. I think I wore mine snow skiing one winter. With several layers underneath, I didn't even need a coat.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The H word

The Holidays are a reason (excuse) to break from the normal routine. I find time to send letters bake cookies and decorate. I even try to keep the house picked up and dusted as well as get more sleep. Yes, I am saying I don’t do these things too well normally.

Today as I drove around the route, I made a mental note. A list of things I normally do, but have let go by the wayside during this busy season.

First on my list is to drink more water. So often during the Holidays, other beverages take the place of water. Also, drink more water on the route. I actually think I have more energy.

Second, I am trying to limit myself to one sweet treat a day. There are so many available at home, post office and even in the mail boxes. Maybe I will be more selective and gain less weight.

Finally, I am making a menu and grocery list each week. It is just too easy during the holidays to piece on high calorie goodies and, as my Mom used to say, “ruin my meal.”

Hey, I just want to have a healthy, happy, hydrated holiday with less hassle.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Just call me Nana

It has been confirmed. We are going to be grandparents again next June. If the baby is a week late, it will be born on Dan's birthday. Aaron and Adam want a girl.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Christmas ornaments

I am slowing bringing boxes of Christmas decorations up from the basement. There are quite a few of them anymore. I am not sure I have ever thrown away a Christmas tree decoration.

Bear with me while I go through these boxes. Here are all the little handmade ones the kids made in grade school—some with pictures. No way, they stay. Oh my gosh, here is the box of ornaments Dan and I bought at an after Christmas sale before we were even married. They may be worth something on Ebay since they are over 40 years old. Nope, too many memories. Got to keep these post office ornaments. I will always like mailboxes and these different Santa ornaments too. I can barely get the lid off this big box full of assorted purchased and handmade stuff. This is the one I need to check. Surely, I could throw something in here away. On the other hand, all these little do dads don’t take up much space and it is fun to go through this box each year even if I don’t put it all on the tree.

Something in all this mess could surely be cleared out. OK, here is a slightly soiled, tattered one that probably should go. It is a doll-like Christmas Angel with a pink dress. When Kim & Doug were a little, I would put it near the bottom of the tree so they could look at it and move it around. Over the years, I still put the little pink Angel at the bottom for the grandkids and any other children with the thought that they, too, can touch. It stays.

Some things cannot be discarded no matter how much down sizing one decides to do.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Blink and it is Christmas

Tomorrow is December 1st. A blink of an eye and it will be Christmas. This is one of my favorite times of the year. The sometimes outrageous decorations and themes of peace and love bring a different focus in my life.

Maybe it's because I love a good party, especially birthday parties, so the bright, loud and over the top preparations and activities while looking forward to getting together with family and friends are fun for me. But with all the celebrations and excitement, there is an ache down deep knowing that there are those, even close to me, that aren't able to feel as much joy and peace as the rest of us. It is for them that I wish a quietness in their heart to let it heal in the midst of the merriment.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

James Taylor and PBS

Whether you are a James Taylor fan or not, try to catch the tribute being aired on PBS. Carole King, Sting, Alison Krauss, Bruce Springsteen, Keith Urban and more sing James Taylor songs. His lyrics are like poems and the different singers bring them alive. There is a CD available on Amazon of the concert and I am publicly putting this on my list to Santa.

Dan and I have the closed caption on our television most of the time and I have made an interesting discovery. It is a wonderful addition to music concerts. Lyrics to songs are important to me and this way I don't miss anything the song is saying but still hear the words with the music. Try it sometime.

I am downtown Topeka with the rural carrier training this week. I am watching this first winter storm from the inside while instructing new rural carriers about their job. I am thinking about my substitute, Rick, out there on my route and feeling relief that he can do the job just fine.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Z Cavaracci Jeans

I've been checking in on the Boomer Chronicles. Recently there was a post about vintage Baby Boomer clothing. I can certainly relate to those styles. However, the Z Cavaracci jeans that were popular when Doug was in high school in the late 80s/early 90s are, to me, the fad that seems most outrageous.

The jeans were called balloon pants. They actually looked better on than this picture might suggest. Doug's were black--I doubt if he would have worn this red--think he would have drawn the line there.

They were overpriced, but if the kids wanted something trendy like this, I would pay half. This policy worked well for both of us and Doug was able to purchase his jeans and wore them quite a bit, as I remember.

My friend, Sue, saved her son's Z Cavaracci jeans. If, after reading this, you might wish to go retro and purchase a pair of these classics, there is a pair for sale on Ebay right now!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Lucy the Beagle

Kim (not our daughter) over at Luce Chatter wrote about taking their dogs to the pet park for a walk. It reminded me of our Beagle, Lucy.

While a student at KSU, our daughter, Kim, decided she wanted a dog. She found an advertisement for Georgia Beagle pups in the paper and Lucy became a part of our family. Sometime during Kim's senior year, Lucy came to live with us and never left.

It was within the first week of bringing Lucy home that we allowed her to run outside unattended. Within a few days, I came home from work and let her out to run. A short time later I went out to get her and she was gone. I called and called and was debating about taking off down in the valley to look for her when Dan came home from work. I met him at the door in tears. Lucy had disappeared and had probably been killed by a coyote. Dan immediately took off on the ATV looking for her. He was back in no time with Lucy on the seat with him. He had found her not too far away on the trail of a rabbit. Probably if I would have stopped yelling her name and listened, I would have heard her classic beagle call.

That was the first of her many treks looking for rabbits. For some reason, maybe that Dan found her the first time on the ATV, when he started it up, she would take off for the woods. Later when we acquired Skye, our Boxer, they would work the rabbits together with Skye racing around scaring them up and then Lucy tracking. Even though Lucy will have been gone two years this coming New Years Day, when we walk out in the pasture or woods, Skye runs as if she is looking for rabbits with Lucy. We miss her as she was a loyal friend--even though her nose was her boss.


Friday, November 24, 2006

So Far, So Good

So good, as in there has been some wonderful food consumed by Linda this past few days. Yesterday, was the traditional turkey, dressing (made by me and quite tasty for a change), wonderful salads and by far my favorite, Kim's pumpkin cheese cake chased by her lemon dessert.

Today I had to work so at least some one the calories were delivered with the mail. Tonight we enjoyed Sunday roast beef (potatoes and carrots) with leftover desserts from yesterday. Tomorrow is Dan's family get together and they are all excellent cooks. I am going to need an attitude adjustment next week.

It has been a good holiday, though. We have much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Be Thankful


A post from last year, but I thought it was good enough to repeat. Have a good day!

Monday, November 20, 2006

I am thankful for
















and their parents

Black Friday

A quick post before heading for work....

Click on this link for a preview of this coming Friday's newspaper advertisements. I don't usually shop on this crazy day, but have friends who make it a family tradition. By the way, supposedly the reason the Friday after Thanksgiving is called "Black Friday" is that it is the first day that many retailers see profits, or black ink.

Good luck!!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Feral Hogs--Again?

Well, actually, they were never gone. It's been a while since I have written about this controversial subject. There is background here.

The summer did not have much noticeable hog activity as there is plenty of food and cover. As the winter approaches, the cover freezes down and again there is evidence. Last week we had a hog parade of 23 across the back side of our property. It appears the Dirty Dozen ( twelve hogs often spotted together last winter) now have grand babies. That was about the size range of the parade. Neighbors have mentioned sightings also. Dan has spent time in a deer stand and says he hears snorting in the wooded areas.

The reason given for the ban on hunting is it drives the population out of the valley and into the surrounding areas. The hogs have been meandering around the valley in the middle of deer and duck season. Some mornings it sounds like WWIII down in the Wildlife and Parks hunting areas and duck marshes. How DO those hogs know all those gun shots are not directed toward them?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Light Weight Discussion

Last night was my little SHARE group. My good friends Laura and Aubrey were the speakers. They are both in their twenties and have lost 100 pounds each, gained it back and now lost another 80 plus pounds. They have been featured on a Kansas City television station and will appear again in several months. All of this because a year ago, they both had Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding (scroll down on the link page) which involves surgically placing a band around the upper stomach to restrict the amount of food that can be eaten.

First, they passed around pictures of themselves prior to the surgery. Both have experienced excellent results and have managed to loose slowly by eating the proper foods. There are unpleasant side effects of the surgery, primarily from eating too fast or too much. However, they both stressed the benefits far outweighed (their word) them.

They were very honest in their discussion of how it felt to leave food behind. It no longer could be their friend when there were no others there for them. It could no longer be the center of their social gatherings as it is for so many of us. Finally, they discussed how people perceived them differently now that they are thinner and how it had mostly been positive. Laura said something, though, that helped me understand. I have known her since she was born. Her identity is based on her personality, talents and our interactions with her during her life. She will be the same Laura no matter how much weight she looses. Strangers don't have the same background. Suddenly, the girls are thrust into the same social "battlefield" as most of their piers. If I interpreted what they told us accurately, although they hated being heavy, they no longer have that wall to hide behind.

The program was over too soon. I wish I could have sit with the girls longer to listen in on their discussion of their new life. I have a feeling I could have learned a great deal from these two beautiful, bright, articulate girls even though I am over twice their age.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Family Friends and Puppies

KSU 45-Texas 42--Turns out my green tea leaves were right! Needless to say, it was an exciting game. We drove the Trekker and glad we did. After the game, we watched the bedlam on the field--total craziness-- and crawled into bed after midnight.

Today we visited Mom at Chapman, then stopped by to see Wayne & Ruth's puppies. The great part was that my good friend from Wichita saw the pictures on my blog and traveled up to see them also. Kathy and her daughter took two. Bet they are hearing some puppy sounds right now. While everyone was playing with puppies, we also had a chance to see our great niece--an adorable little girl who giggles and smiles all the time.

Before all of the above, we also saw our grandboys from Salina. We ate at our favorite restaurant in Lawrence, Free State Brewery. Aaron & Adam are enthusiastic about life and we always feel younger after being around them.

Last weekend we spent time with our Colorado family. It had been too long and we enjoyed celebrating Carly's happy second birthday and communicating with Trent, something he takes seriously. I was thinking on the way home this afternoon; opportunities to see those we love and care about are just around the corner, but the past two weekends are still my favorite.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Cleaning & Cooking day

Peg over at Kansas Prairie wrote about fixing cornmeal mush which, she said, perhaps you had to be a depression baby to appreciate. I am not a depression baby, rather a very early baby boomer, which means my parents remembered the time clearly. My Dad loved it and so did I. According to Peg, the type of corn meal makes a big difference. Wish I lived closer as I would swing by with my pure Vermont maple syrup purchased in September to pour over a piece of that fried goodness.

Tomorrow is Veterans Day but being the Federal employee that I am, I got today off. I was definitely in a cleaning mood--unusual for me. I started with the kitchen cabinets this morning. Wish I could say there are completely done, but I did make a difference in the base units. Now I won't have to stand on my head to find the Christmas pans, cutters and bowls. I miss my daughter when I start the cabinet/closet cleaning because she knows how to clean and organize like no one else I know.

I stood with the refrigerator door open at 11:00 thinking I should cook a nice lunch. The only thing in front of me were three huge Portabella mushrooms. I cooked one several nights ago slowly in butter and it was only so so. I decided to try a different approach. I washed thoroughly, cut off the ugly black back, and sliced them horizontally, then dipped the slices in beer and cornmeal fish breading. The slices were then fried quickly in hot peanut oil. Very delicious. We ate several dipped in Ranch dip and then made a sandwich of the rest, adding a fried egg. For supper we each had a big sweet potato. Just for the record, we are not vegans, but I am not afraid to go several days without meat.

To round out my day at home we watched a movie on HBO entitled The Constant Gardener. It was excellent.

Tomorrow, will KSU win against Texas? The odds makers say 17 1/2 points. Maybe I am high on my hot green tea, but I will take K State on that one.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Lost on LOST

I don't watch much television. Having said that, I have been hooked on LOST from the first show and have even written about it before. Tonight was the last show until February, 2007. I have mixed feelings.

I feel the creators have kept the story line fresh by moving past the original plane crash/hatch of last season. They have linked back to that story line just enough to keep the thread. The sequence of events this fall have been a good introduction to the Others, who obviously are going to play a bigger part in the series.

I have one complaint, though. The direction the show is going right now, does not seem to have a bottom line of truth. I think we are used to that in movies, but it is resolved in two hours. This series just seems to float around with no ground. Oh, I guess we now know that Sawyer and Kate are in love. However, part of me thinks that will end up not being fully the truth. I used to think Locke was sincere in his motives, but now I am not so sure.

I think it is human nature to trust. As adults we become a bit leery, but still we want to believe at least some of what we are told is the truth. This show needs to do that for me next spring or I might be lost from LOST.

BTW, I sure hope the election has chosen a group of people who can be trusted to be telling the truth. Because there are those who are saying that is why so many were not reelected. We'll see...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bad No Hair Day

Many years ago at DCCHS, Sherry was the type of person who took the role of leader naturally. She might not have realized at the time because she did not seek limelight nor use her leadership abilities to further herself. She was talented, outgoing and interested in other people. Even though she was a "towny" she welcomed this shy country girl.

That was 40 years ago. Tonight we spent three hours catching up on what has happened between. Just as in high school, Sherry has led an interesting and eventful life. She is Dr. Sherry now with a PhD and position at a state college. She has two successful children. You might have seen one in a Ford commercial on television as he is a working actor in California. Her most important and recent accomplishment, however, is her successful battle with breast cancer.

We visited about her year long journey. She honestly talked about the difficulty of working through the treatments, side effects and adjustments of the surgery. We laughed about her own take on a book about chemotherapy, "Don't bother me, I'm having a bad no hair day." Then, we moved on to children, pets and politics. So is life.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Puppies

My brother & sister-in-law's Great Pyrenees mix had a litter of puppies. We received the announcement by email today. They didn't say, but I am not sure they were expected--at least not seven of them!

They live by a busy road, at least by rural standards. It is one of the routes to Milford Lake. Over the years they have nearly always had dogs that have been dumped, Gracie is no exception. She has made herself at home and often is found out with the cattle. Once in a while she wonders on to the road and they fear not only for her, but for the vehicle that might hit her. She is big.

Meet her new family, and as the email said, just in time for a Christmas present.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Skye and the Cat and Mouse Game

Skye, our Boxer, and Kitzie and Sylvester, our two cats, have maintained a shaky friendship. Perhaps they actually aren’t friends, but three animals who like us and especially like us when we feed them.

Skye has always thought it was her responsibility to protect our house from the two cats. If they ventured too far away from the barn, she could intimidate them by a cold steady stare or an occasional halfhearted chase back. They seem to accept their roles of barn cats and enjoy the game.

All was well with the animal family, until we left for two weeks and took Skye to the dog sitter. The cats stayed and guarded the place, including Skye’s garage, and things have not been the same since we returned. As hard as Skye tries to keep them out, the cats are always slipping in her garage. Her cold stares just do not work as well anymore. Well, they probably would work, but she doesn’t want to take the time necessary to persevere. She rather lay in the sun on her pillow than keep the cats in line.

So, when I opened the door out to the garage around 9:00 pm and both cats were sitting there staring at me, I knew they were seeking a COA (change of address) from the barn to the garage. And, they not only were in the garage, but thinking about coming right on in the house. Meanwhile, Skye barely opened an eye from her pillow. It’s not that I don’t like our two kitties, but they were just fine living in the barn. I used to yell at Skye to leave the cats alone; now things are a little too comfortable. The winter is coming, I am afraid with our barn cats liking the garage, the mice will now like our barn, and the food chain just moved up a notch.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Persimmon Jam


Hmmmm This would be a good name for a band, but that's not my subject--edible persimmon jam is.

We purchased acreage near our home over twenty years ago. At that time there were four persimmon trees, two male and two female. I asked Dan how he could tell that information and he said the male has three flowers and the female has one, and only the females produce fruit. I guess it has been a happy marriage between our two couples as we now have five large trees and a bunch of little ones.

The Persimmon tree and its fruit turns out to be a fairly reliable weather forecaster. If the seed is hard, then hard winter; if the seed is soft, mild winter; if the seed is spoon shaped, lots of snow. This site had many medical uses for the fruit and the tree itself.

Dan decided this year to make jam with persimmons. He picked, cleaned and ran them through the colander. We then added 1/2 cup lemon juice, a cup of water, six cups of sugar and cooked. We ended up with seven small jars.

Is it good? Good question because I am not sure. I have been trying to think how to describe it. Maybe like a very dry wine, not the taste, but how it makes my mouth feel. I told Dan we probably should have hung the pulp and drained the juice for jelly.

How were the seeds? One got caught in the garbage disposal and it was very hard.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Down but not out

Blogger, my Blog posting site, has been down for a while. I was beginning to worry all was lost, but it appears I am back in business. I have changed over to a beta version (no clue what that means). This should be more reliable. We will see.

Meanwhile, I must get to bed. Nothing great to post tonight, just that I am alive and well and back in the business of blogging--see you tomorrow night!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Turn, Burn, Light, Ignite

I mentioned earlier I have been involved with a rural carrier substitute training class this week. I am looking forward to getting back to my route tomorrow as I am not cut out for eight hour inside work.

There were twelve adults in our class, one being a retired Kansas Highway Patrolman. He was a joy in that he kept us all on our toes and laughing with his sharp wit. The discussion was mail delivery. He informed us it would be no trouble for him to quickly deliver the mail. He would just turn, burn, light, ignite.

As I drive I 70 and see a KHP in the rear view mirror quickly cut across the median, rather than tense with quilty fear, I will now laugh at the thought of these four words so accurately describing his maneuver...I hope.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Carry on, Friends

I am serving a three-year assignment as a trainer. It is an ad hoc position amounting to less than a week every other month. Six years ago I also spent a five-year stint doing the same work.

Some of my co-workers would say this is not work, especially when my turn to do the training is during a extremely hot or cold time.. Actually, it is work. I am more exhausted at the end of a training day than a mail delivery day. Maybe my mind needs more exercise.

The best and most exciting aspect of this small job, though, is meeting the people from all over the state who come to be trained. Their enthusiasm for the new job is exciting and uplifting. They are eager to learn and full of questions. It makes it easy to uphold my end of the assignment. In the end, they generate a renewed appreciation for my job. Just what I need at this busy and colder time of year.

Carry on friends.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Listen to the trees scream

The road crews are out trimming trees on the route. I know it is necessary having been through an ice storm and without electricity for a week. Keeping the high lines clear and brush back from roads to help with snow removal is good but still, butchering trees along country roads does not make me happy.

Butchering is a strong word, but it seems that is how some of the trees are treated. Sometimes the line runs down the middle of the tree so a huge gap is cut leaving branches on each side. Perhaps the tree trimming company feels that from some vantage points the tree still looks normal. I am not sure where that point would be.

Today as I left the post office, the sun was sliding down in the west and its glow was on a beautiful red maple by the old Grange building. I admired its beauty and then realized there was only half a tree. The entire back (east ) side was gone because of a electrical line. We have a friend who told the crew to cut his tree down rather than hack it into ugliness.

The worst, though, is when the county comes by with their huge rotary cutter. It is like a grass cutter, but larger and more powerful. They run it along the sides of the trees and "trim" them from along the road. The cuts are as if someone twisted branches off and left a torn, jagged stump. I have a friend who says she cannot watch that machine because she feels she can hear the trees scream.

My compliments to the crew along one of the more heavily traveled roads in the area. They had a chain saw carefully trimming limbs, cutting the largest into firewood and piling it by the road. The trees were quiet.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly



The Good: Our friends, Barb & Darrell, Missouri wines (especially the Norton), the friendly Hermann area people, the Missouri River valley peak autumn colors (click on picture of better view)

The Bad: The cold rain during entire Kansas State University vs. University of Missouri football game in Columbia yesterday

The Ugly: The score of that same game

Thursday, October 19, 2006

If you don't use it, you'll loose it

The Postal Service was in the news again today, stamp machines are being phased out. My first reaction was, just like pay phones, I didn't think we even still had them.

I have worked for the USPS for nearly 27 years. There have been changes during that time, but probably none that most would know. There have been a few small post offices closed as the population moves closer to urban areas. Thankfully, though, nearly everyone who has an address and puts up a mailbox, receives daily service. And, of my total route, there are less than the fingers on one hand that don't pick up their mail each day.

In this day of $1 bottles of water and $2 to $3 per gallon of gas, 39 cents is still a bargain to deliver a letter anywhere in the United States. The old adage, "if you don't use it, you'll loose it" might have been the demise of stamp machines. Let's make sure it doesn't happen to any other service.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

This apple does not make pies


I promised to post Kansas color tonight. The trees are looking very pretty out on the route, but I decided this is also a fall event.

Years ago we lived in a house on a lot with at least five hedge Osage Orange trees. These trees would not be considered decorative yard trees partly because of the "apple" it produces. However, they were there when we purchased the lot and we found the trees to be very nice shade and well shaped.

This tree from the Mulberry family has served many purposes in its past. It was planted as fences before barbed wire made its appearance on the plains. Even though farmers have cleared out the hedge rows, many are still visible throughout eastern Kansas. Its wood was used for fence posts because it was resistant to moisture and rot. Indians used its wood for archery bows. We heat with wood and hedge definitely provides the best heat, although it must be burned in an enclosed space because it also pops wildly. Finally, there is a belief that cut up hedgeballs keep crickets out of the house. I have not had much luck with that use.

When I was a kid, my cousins and I decided we would pretend to can some hedge apples. We borrowed some of Mom's canning jars and cut up the apples and stuffed them in the jars. What a mess. The juice of the hedge apple is sticky and is hard to wash off. We learned our lesson well.

Even though the leaves aren't pretty this time of year and the balls are a pain, the Osage Orange or plain old Hedge tree is a keeper.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sisterhood revisited

Sunday afternoon the sisterhood met again. I wrote about our group last year so I won't explain again how we came to be long distance friends. The afternoon passed quickly and we finally decided we better get on the road around 7:00 pm. We never ran out of things to talk about. It was a great day ending with Kayzie and Lynn spending the night here. It was just like old times, Kayzie and I sat up until midnight talking some more!

We had two fairly hard freezes here last week. Well, the temperature reached the upper 20s. That seems cold to me. We saved the mums, but everything else either got nipped or was moved into the house.

Overall, the trees are currently not too colorful. I thought after last week the leaves would fall. I guess it is all about the length of days because even with the cold temperatures, many of the trees still have leaves and are showing a little promise.

I'm taking my camera with me tomorrow on the route--I'll see if I can capture a little Kansas color.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A ton of telephone books

Really, the way I figure it, I lifted a ton of Feist telephone books today.

Each one weighed 3.5 lbs. I delivered right at 300 books so that is 1050 lbs. I had help loading them in the back of the pickup so I won't count that. However, I had to lift each bundle from the back of the pickup to the front then deliver. Give or take--that is a ton.

I'm going to bed as I have 90 more to deliver tomorrow. Hmmm, where is the cheese because I think I have some whine.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Trees in the house

Dan and I managed to get all the plants in before dark. The two fig trees required a dolly. Last spring I gave them a very short "hair cut" and moved them out on the north side of the house just as I always do. They love their spot and contently watch over the front yard all summer. As usual a few seeds drop into the pot by their trunk so they have company. One had four Zinnas. The other had several Fire on the Mountain. I was tempted to bring their friends in with them, but was afraid that some tiny bugs might tag along.

They are now situated in the livingroom in front of a south window. Their short dark green branches will grow long and spindly by spring. Still they are handsome trees and provide a lovely outdoor like atmosphere in the livingroom. I was a bit sad to have to bring them in to avoid the frost/freeze predicted for tonight, but walking in the room and seeing them there makes me feel more ready for the cold weather ahead. I thought about posting a picture of them, but decided to wait until the holidays and they are adorned with their tiny white lights.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Butterflies

Sunday evening I drove as far as our Salina family's home to be closer to today's rural carrier's meeting in McPherson. I played with the boys and enjoyed the family's company for a few hours.

On the way home from McPherson, I stopped by Chapman to visit Mom and then on to Lawrence for a meeting of my little SHARE group. We toured Kansas University's butterfly gardens. We learned about various plants that attract butterflies, their breeding and migrating habits.

KU is known worldwide for their knowledge and experiments with butterflies, Monarchs in particular. Anyone who is in Lawrence should go by the Monarch Watch headquarters. It would be best to wait for their open house and tagging days, but the gardens are open to the public at all times. At their peek starting late June, they are beautiful and busy with insect life.

Chip, the head of the Monarch Watch and biology prof, is a communicator and a teacher. He knows the best way to move his life's work forward is not totally with his college students or adults like us, but also with our young people. Chip will take the time, either in person or by his elementary school outreach science materials, to tell young people as well as people of all ages that this is a wondrous planet and it must be watched over religiously. A sermon we all need to hear.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Kansas Sunrise & Sunsets

One of my favorite columnists in the Topeka Capital Journal wrote a wonderful story about Kansas's beautiful mornings and evenings. If you have time for a entertaining Sunday read, here is the link.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Shine on Harvest Moon

This was taken about a half hour too late. The moon was beautiful as it was coming up.

According to this article, the moon tonight is 12 percent bigger than usual. It is called the harvest moon because farmers harvested their fall crops by its light.

When I look out my window from a dark room, it is amazingly light outside. I think the coyotes are feeling it too.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Color right here in Kansas!

We spent the better part of two weeks looking for fall color in the New England states and look what I came home to on the route--you gotta love Kansas.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Young and Reckless

Today the local talk show was discussing the 18 year old young man who is in critical condition after jumping from a vehicle going 30 to 35 mph. He was being videoed. The young lady from his school who spoke on the show said it wasn't the first time something like this was done.

The discussion then turned to how parents, teachers or even grandparents like me communicate to young people the consequences of dangerous behavior. This is an excellent question and not a new one either. It's been 15 to 20 years ago that our two kids fit into the "dangerous teen" category. At that time, we worked hard to be aware what was going on in their lives. We attended their functions, knew their friends, even allowed all night fishing at the pond with parental checks. We have found out, though, as the years go by, that there were incidents where someone very likely could have been hurt. At this point, I am tempted to tell some of those crazy things, but that alone seems to be a sort of bragging of bad ideas gone good.

The late teen years are notorious for dangerous behavior. I am sure the military services are fully aware that young people of that age range make excellent candidates for fighting wars. They are strong, feel invincible and outwardly seem to have no fear.

Not all young people will fight a war, thankfully. Sports have long been touted as an excellent way for young people to work off their aggressiveness. I would agree, but there are only so many star players. An elaborate intramural schedule would involve more people. Some would say exercising the mind is good also. I am not sure I agree; there is something about physical exercise that soothes and clears, the mind and the body.

I suspect there is no answer. It seems a rite of passage. My thoughts go out to the parents and friends of the young man fighting for his life.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Home to 90

We are home as of about 7:00 last night. It was a great trip. I am still trying to post my travel notes over at wildflowers waterfalls. I have a few days left and then will add some pictures. I had a lot of these already written on my other computer--RIP. Guess that should teach me to back up that kind of thing when traveling.

The weather here in Kansas is in the 90s. Today, not having worked for two weeks, plus the heat, made Linda a struggling mail carrier. So, I think I will make short work of this post.

If you want interesting reading, check out this article in the New York Times (be patient you have to get past an ad before it loads) . Also note it features my neighbor Chip!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Click on the picture of the sunflower and butterfly at the left or here for our travel journel. My first entry might not be until Sunday. Looking forward to sharing our trip.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Leaf Peepers


Yep, that’s us—Dan & I are loading the Roadtrek with warm clothes, hot drinks and plenty of maps because we are headed to New England.

The plan is, if we can get our house sitter arranged, to leave on Saturday morning. We are meeting friends in Maine on Tuesday, the earlier in the day the better, so we are hoping to get across several states by Saturday night.

This is the first extended trip in the Road Trek and we are excited. Of course with our short trips to our kids and my brother’s driveways, the KSU game and the Amana colonies, I think we have the kinks out. We haven’t had it out in the cold weather we will most likely experience in Maine, but it can’t be any worse than the 38 degree Venture van night in New Mexico last winter. At least we won’t have to bear it in an outhouse!

When I told Stephanie, a former travel agent, now a substitute at our post office, our plans she laughingly said, “So, you are joining the silver-haired leaf peepers.” Well, Step, we might be peeping, but we are just salt n’ pepper…..

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering.....

It does not seem like five years ago this morning that we were preparing to return home from Colorado Springs after a visit with our son & daughter-in-law. We were loading luggage when we received a call telling us to turn on the television because there had been an incident in New York. We then witnessed a scene that to this day almost seems unbelievable, the magnitude incomprehensible.

We spent that day driving home and listening to the radio. We alternated between weeping and feeling angry. At each stop for food or fuel, the people were quiet and somber. At one gas station there was a man laughing and talking loudly. It seemed totally out of place. Most gas stations raised their prices a couple cents, but one in Junction City hiked something like a dollar—how crass. All planes were grounded and we remarked how silent and clear the skies were.

In the days after the disaster, I watched news coverage whenever possible. The heroism of the firefighters, police and other public workers still touches my heart. I purchased the tribute music CDs as the words of the songs were meaningful. President Bush’s strong words were a comfort. We needed to hear what he was saying. Bill Caspar, a friend from childhood and co-worker when I worked summers Central National Bank, was killed when the first plane hit. The Junction City Daily Union wrote about him today.We had lost track of him, but the news from his family reached us quickly. It even was as close to me as the anthrax scare in the Postal Service.

Families are still grieving their loss of loved ones and many workers on the scene after the disaster are suffering health problems. I heard an interview today saying the American people should expect another terrorist attack. Our life will never be the same since this day five years ago.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


The weekend included the Huff and Puff Balloon Rally, KSU Football and an overnight visit with Grandboys. This probably wasn't the best picture I took, but I love candid shots that capture personalities. It was a good weekend.
picture by Linda

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Drink green

Almost without fail, each day I drink at least a three cups of green tea. Actually, this time of year it is iced at least in the morning. Right now, I have a cup of decaffeinated hot green tea here by the computer.

I started drinking green tea because Prevention magazine praised its benefits. Presumably, it will, among other things, lower cholesterol, fight cancer and help with weight loss. I have continued to drink it because I enjoy it and, probably because of the caffeine, it makes me feel good. Two web sites I thought were informative are here and here.

I make my morning allotment of tea in a bottle. I drink while casing the mail but never quite finish. It’s become a habit to dump the remaining tea on my Peace lily when I come home. The plant absolutely loves it. It is healthy looking and continuing to shoot new leaves that are growing higher and have a healthier dark green color. I haven’t fertilized it any more than usual nor changed its location, the only difference is that I have dumped a little green tea on it each day.


I am convenienced that drinking green is good.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Green beans were a failure


Wait a minute!! Look what is cropping up on vines that we thought were dried up. Nothing like this , but a start.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Just get it done

Today was, as they say in the Postal Service, a double mail day. Yesterday generated mail but no delivery. Labor Day is the second heaviest double mail day. The first is Columbus Day in early October. This might be contrary to the belief that a major holiday would #1, but for the most part “Monday holidays” are big.

When I arrived at work this morning, there was a lot of mail, but that is what I expected. The challenge was laid out. Personally, I do not feel there is a need to discuss or complain about how big the job is because it changes nothing.

That is not to say I am not beyond having a “Whine & Cheese Party” about work I need to do. Most generally, though, this work doesn’t seem to have an end such as the cleanliness of our house. I tend to talk about how much I have to do and as if just talking about it makes some of it go away, then I head in to the computer or out to the flowers.

For me, though, the set workload of casing and delivering mail is comforting. I don’t have to think about what to do first or prioritize. I just jump in and work. Maybe it’s a little like running as exercise as apposed to a race. All you have to do is set your pace and go.

The other possibility for my feelings on this matter is my farm background. It did not set well with Mom or Dad to discuss our thoughts as to the work load. As anyone raised on a farm knows you "gettr done" . There weren’t many preliminary complaints as the work did not disappear.

One of my co-workers is a dear friend so she felt she could confide in me that sometimes on a heavy mail day, it just hacks her off that I don’t complain about the work load. She says I am just too happy for the occasion. I guess there could be worse office complaints.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Bill Snyder Family Stadium

Before last night's game, the University had a touching tribute to Bill Snyder and dedicated the Bill Snyder Family Stadium. He and his wife came in on a Mustang convertible and the rest of the family entered in a limo. All the years Bill Snyder was the coach, he seemed serious and humorless in interviews. So, it continues to amaze me how much he smiles while effortlessly speaking kind words for the University, his former coaching staff, the fans, and, most importantly, his family. He introduced each of his family members last night, and seemed especially proud of his grand kids. Who knew he had such a soft heart.

There was one small, probably insignificant situation that I noticed. Of course, there was a camera up close during the entire presentation to project on the jumbo-trons. At least twice I saw Kathleen Sebelius get very close to Snyder and one time managed to communicate by getting right up in his face. I realize this is an election year and politicians never miss an opportunity to get some free publicity, but this was a time for Bill, his wife and family. Shake hands & step back, Governor. This was not a campaign ad.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

KSU Football & Crew

Yesterday was the first Kansas State Football game. We arrived at the stadium at approximately 1:00 pm. We had to wait in line for at least 20 minutes to get into the parking lot five hours before the 6:00 pm kickoff on a rainy, almost cold afternoon. Faithful tailgaters met it head on with their grills and burgers. We were right in there, although we drove our Trekker so we had a few more of the comforts of home.

The little boys played catch and watched a movie. The rest of us talked football and coaches. KSU won by one point against a better than expected team. The jury is still out on how they will play against the big boys.

We learned one thing, though, and that is the stadium does not go to sleep after the game. We found that out because we spent the night there. The game was over by 9:30 and we were back to the Trekker shortly thereafter. Around 11:00 pm is when the action started. First, were crews of people picking up trash on the lot itself. Then sometime around 12:00 midnight they started with the vacuum. Yes, they vacuumed the stadium. We didn’t hear them finish entirely because we fell asleep.
We woke at 7:00 this morning to fog and two men going through the dumpsters picking out aluminum. On our way out of the parking lot, we drove by to visit a bit about the art of dumpster diving for aluminum. Here was their advice:


Never argue with a pro

Wear gloves…..

Find banned beer cans with confidence that they were only drinking soft drinks out of them

Start midway down the line of dumpsters because the first part is from the stadium itself and they only contain plastic

We asked if they ever find anything of value. We laughed at the story about the bag that was playing country music—someone must have been disgusted with their radio or more likely the score of the game & tossed it in the trash.

By the way, these two men were retired professionals who are doing their part for the environment and making a buck or two (50 cents a pound) on the side. Carry on KSU Wildcats and stadium crew.

Friday, September 01, 2006


I dismount to deliver a wheelchair bound older lady who encourages me to pick some of her fruit each time she sees me. So, I have a snack from her pear tree every day. I sat it on the dash to deliver the next box and thought it looked appealing. It was juicy and perfect on-the-tree ripe. Enjoy!
Picture by Linda

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Armadillo sighting

Another quick post about Dan's ability to see things on the road. We were on our way to the family reunion Sunday morning when he had another road kill sighting. Instead of putting on the brakes and backing up, we made a U turn at the next opportunity (four lane road) and went back to check it out.

Just as Dan had thought, it was an armadillo. It was out of its southern United States habitat, but the web site at KSU said they have been spotted this far north. There is also the possibility it was a pet that was released. I did not take a picture because of the condition, but it definitely was an armadillo.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Did you see that?

Dan has “a little” hearing loss. He has worked around power tools for years and only until recently done so with his ears unprotected. When he turns on the screaming power miter saw, I wonder how he hasn’t lost more. Of course, there are those who say he can hear all he needs to hear--hummm.........

Well, anyway, if there is any truth that when one sense is lessened, another becomes stronger, it would explain his keen eyesight. Actually, he has always had the ability to see things that seem invisible to me. We have a large picture window by our dining table and we both look at the same view. I see trees, grass, the hummingbirds at the feeder and barn swallows swooping around the field. Depending when we are looking, he sees among other things deer, turkey, raccoons, cranes, skunks, beaver, coyotes and even pigs. He just has a knack for seeing wildlife. Maybe all men do because it is part of their history of hunting and gathering.

All of this explains why I wasn’t surprised when we were coming home from a family reunion Sunday, he suddenly slams on the breaks and exclaims, “What was that on the road?” Of course, I did not have a clue because I was either dozing or daydreaming. He says, “I’ve got to see what that was.” I knew at that point, we would be backing up on a paved road that carries a fair amount of traffic. I quickly scrambled for my camera, because usually when we do the back up/turn around to see what is on the road thing, it is worth a picture. This is what he saw driving down the road at 55 mph.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Night School


Dan and I attended an ebay school tonight. We are now convenienced we are set to make some bucks.

Actually, it sounds like fun, but I don't think we will get too carried away. To do it right, it is time consuming. The two girls who taught the class are real pros. It was interesting to hear where they found the products to sell. Of course, they attend garage sales and the second hand stores. They also shop end of the season sales of name brand clothing and wait until the next season to list.

I have purchased on ebay for a number of years, especially unique handbags. I have never signed up to sell, though, because I didn't really know what I was doing. We learned a great deal tonight about what does and does not work. I especially appreciated learning how to best set up the site and what kind of pictures to post.

We were given a large box of recipe books after my aunts auction. Maybe I will try selling one of those to see how it goes. Will post the link when I do.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

40 Years Ago


We attended Kayzie & Lynn's 40th anniversary party Saturday. It was a well-planned, fun afternoon. This is a picture of a picture of the newlyweds getting ready to take off for their honeymoon--aren't they cute?

I did not check the newspaper account of their wedding, but I suspect it went something like this: "For her going away outfit, Kay wore a white wool dress with matching jacket trimmed in red. She wore a red beaded pill box hat to accompany her red bag and pumps. Lynn took her white gloved hand in a dark gray business suit." Yes, they actually put all those things in the wedding writeup, especially in a small town. We wondered why Kayzie selected wool to wear in August. Probably because it was white--back then we only wore white in the summer, with the change to darker colors on Labor Day.

Finally, I wanted to share this picture because in the background on the left you see the married only two and a half months, Dan in the skinny tie and me in a green wedding- party dress in a style that almost looks current.

Happy Anniversary, Kayzie & Lynn!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Blogacation

I never thought I would say this after nearly two years of blogging, but maybe my loyal readers could use a break.

So, I am going to take a couple days off. Well, I guess a couple more days since I haven’t posted since Tuesday. I should be back on a roll by Sunday evening. Please check in with me then.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tuesday Tally

One ugly bird.

I turned a corner today and there were five buzzards working on a roadkill. I had a feeling it might have been two adults with their young. Usually, buzzards fly immediately when approached. This one was curious about my camera. It is the best picture I've taken so far. Previously, I thought this was the best.

Not sure why I am so fascinated with this bird.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Sunday, August 20, 2006


I don't believe this will work for winter storage
Picture by Linda

Friday, August 18, 2006

What a difference a year makes















The image on the left was taken 8-8-2005. The image on the right was taken 8-18- 2006.
You may check the post at this link. Prairie grass is resilient, but lack of moisture and many days of over 100 degree temperatures has taken its toll.





Thursday, August 17, 2006

One more school post

Acker School district was probably not much more than a three mile radius. Dan lived two and a half miles away; there were several a little further. Around 1958 another small school was consolidated with ours, but even then no one traveled much more than four miles.

The school building served as a community meeting place, so we had “community meetings” periodically. It doesn’t seem it was as often as once a month, but several times a year. The one program that I can almost see in my mind’s eye is the magician from Junction City that came once a year. By today’s standards, he might not have been that good, but all of us farm kids thought he was wonderful. I think we had musical groups also but they did not leave an impression like pulling a bird from a hat. The schoolhouse was also the meeting place for the Blueline 4-H club (not to worry, I won't get started on 4-H).

The Christmas program was our production. We had a stage and curtains that went all the way across. The big thing was who got to pull the curtains. We worked very hard on our songs, skits and recitations. Everyone had to do something. Usually, it was just a little two or three line poem, but one year I did “The Night Before Christmas.” That was huge for me. I made it through. Two of our teachers were very musical. Those years we did lots of songs. After the program we received sacks of candy and fruit.

I can’t let the school memories go without telling about our fast pitch soft ball team. Each rural school in the county had a team. We had what you might call a league now. We all played each other at least once, usually on Friday afternoon. As I said earlier, Acker had a lot of boys, including Dan. Consequently, we had one of the best softball teams—at least that’s how both Dan and I remember it!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

School lunches and scooters

Acker School is a beautiful native limestone building located on Hwy 18 about six miles west of Junction City. There have been occupants since the school closed May 17, 1963. The current owners are interested in bringing back some of the original architecture. I will take a picture to post the next time we go by.

I was lucky in that the school was only a half mile from our farm. We walked to school, and Mom took us in bad weather, but our pride and joy was a Cushman scooter. While my brother was still in school (he is five years older) I rode behind. After he graduated, it was all mine. Occasionally I jumped on the scooter and rode home for dinner. However, when I did that, I missed the noon recess—the longest of the day. I took my lunch a lot of the time.

The lunches sat on a shelf in the coatroom. My lunchbox was the regular black open from the top variety. Dan and his brothers brought theirs in a lard can, which I thought were especially cool. My favorite lunch was peanut butter and dill pickle sandwich, apple and a cookie. My friend Carolyn always had Jello--Mom and I were never that organized. When the weather cooperated, we ate on the front porch. When I ask Dan his memory of eating lunch, it was the same as mine. One family of five often brought homemade angle food cake. Two of the boys (twins) would take the piece of cake and mash it up in a tight little ball before they ate it. Of course, we all would say,” ahhhhhhh, why did you do that," which is why they did it.

One time I talked my Mom into letting me put Pepsi in a thermos for lunch. It was about mid morning when there was a very loud explosion out in the coat room. It was my thermos. The noise was a result of my Pepsi’s carbonation and the fact that it was gradually warming. It was as if a small bomb exploded and sticky pop was all over everything.

We only wore nice clothes (dresses for the girls) twice a year; the first day of school and when Miss Roether came to give our yearly achievement tests. I am not sure which occasion it was, possibly the first day of school because I remember it was warm. I had on my prerequisite dress while riding the scooter to school. Everyone was outside so I felt the need to show off a little. I rounded the corner into the school yard a little too fast, the scooter hit loose gravel and down I went. Luckily, I only received a skinned knee, a ripped out dress and a bruised ego.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Acker School

There were five of us in my grade, the all time biggest class at Acker School, because we were the war babies (born 1946). There was one year that Judy and I were the only girls in the school which probably had 16 to 25 kids the years I attended.

I think they installed indoor plumbing a year or two after I started. Until then, we lined up at the two outhouses after recess. There was a time when I was probably in first grade that I decided I needed to go to the bathroom during school. I remember doing the job and starting back to the building. Who knows why (I do remember it was a sunny warm day), but I decided to just swing a little before going back in. It wasn’t long before someone (probably one of the older kids) came out looking for me. I don’t remember getting in trouble, but I was so humiliated that I didn’t do it again.

It was a cool swing, though, homemade and probably at least 20 foot high. The rumor was that someone in years past swung so high that the person sailed right over the top. No one could ever confirm it. It would be a circus act, but we all believed.

The swing was by the merry-go-round, which was one of those that you could sit on while a person in the middle pushed. A kid was always flying off that thing, I know I did. You only did that once, though. Unless you were sitting backwards and intended to see how far you would sail when you let go. The worst thing you could do is trip while in the middle pushing. There is a reason that type of merry-go-round is no longer in playgrounds.

Then there were the wooden titter-totters. You could only do so much of the up and down thing, especially when some smart-alecky kid would jump off when you were in the up position. I don’t think they are in playgrounds anymore either. Half the fun, though, was to walk up the board, stand in the middle balanced, and do anything to show off.

That was about it for the playground equipment. We played games at recess. I’ve been trying all day to remember what they were called. There was the old favorite, Kick the Can, Endyiover (no clue how it’s spelled) but it involved throwing a ball over the coal shed and then running around and hitting people with the ball, workup softball, and one that involved people running back and forth through lines and of course, slapping people on the back.

School Lunches and Scooters

Acker School is a beautiful native limestone building located on Hwy 18 about six miles west of Junction City. There have been occupants since the school closed May 17, 1963. The current owners are interested in bringing back some of the original architecture. I will take a picture to post the next time we go by.

I was lucky in that the school was only a half mile from our farm. We walked to school, and Mom took us in bad weather, but our pride and joy was a Cushman scooter. While my brother was still in school (he is five years older) I rode behind. After he graduated, it was all mine. Occasionally I jumped on the scooter and rode home for dinner. However, when I did that, I missed the noon recess—the longest of the day. I took my lunch a lot of the time.

The lunches sat on a shelf in the coatroom. My lunchbox was the regular black open from the top variety. Dan and his brothers brought theirs in a lard can, which I thought were especially cool. My favorite lunch was peanut butter and dill pickle sandwich, apple and a cookie. My friend Carolyn always had Jello--Mom and I were never that organized. When the weather cooperated, we ate on the front porch. When I ask Dan his memory of eating lunch, it was the same as mine. One family of five often brought homemade angle food cake. Two of the boys (twins) would take the piece of cake and mash it up in a tight little ball before they ate it. Of course, we all would say,” ahhhhhhh, why did you do that," which is why they did it.

One time I talked my Mom into letting me put Pepsi in a thermos for lunch. It was about mid morning when there was a very loud explosion out in the coat room. It was my thermos. The noise was a result of my Pepsi’s carbonation and the fact that it was gradually warming. It was as if a small bomb exploded and sticky pop was all over everything.

We only wore nice clothes (dresses for the girls) twice a year; the first day of school and when Miss Roether came to give our yearly achievement tests. I am not sure which occasion it was, possibly the first day of school because I remember it was warm. I had on my prerequisite dress while riding the scooter to school. Everyone was outside so I felt the need to show off a little. I rounded the corner into the school yard a little too fast, the scooter hit loose gravel and down I went. Luckily, I only received a skinned knee, a ripped out dress and a bruised ego.

Acker School district was probably not much more than a three mile radius. Dan lived two and a half miles away; there were several a little further. Around 1958 another small school was consolidated with ours, but even then no one traveled much more than four miles.

The school building served as a community meeting place, so we had “community meetings” periodically. It doesn’t seem it was as often as once a month, but several times a year. The one program that I can almost see in my mind’s eye is the magician from Junction City that came once a year. By today’s standards, he might not have been that good, but all of us farm kids thought he was wonderful. I think we had musical groups also but they did not leave an impression like pulling a bird from a hat. The schoolhouse was also the meeting place for the Blueline 4-H club (not to worry, I won't get started on 4-H).

The Christmas program was our production. We had a stage and curtains that went all the way across. The big thing was who got to pull the curtains. We worked very hard on our songs, skits and recitations. Everyone had to do something. Usually, it was just a little two or three line poem, but one year I did “The Night Before Christmas.” That was huge for me. I made it through. Two of our teachers were very musical. Those years we did lots of songs. After the program we received sacks of candy and fruit.

I can’t let the school memories go without telling about our fast pitch soft ball team. Each rural school in the county had a team. We had what you might call a league now. We all played each other at least once, usually on Friday afternoon. As I said earlier, Acker had a lot of boys, including Dan. Consequently, we had one of the best softball teams—at least that’s how both Dan and I remember it!