Saturday, July 01, 2006

Community celebration

Tonight we attended the local neighborhood Fourth celebration. It was a covered dish dinner with the bluegrass band “Rhubarb Pie” playing on a hay trailer. Then at dark was a wonderful fireworks display which had a little bit of everything—even some of the big boys.

It was good to see everyone. We have lived in this rural community for close to thirty years. Our kids were members of the 4-H club for many years and tonight it occurred to me that many of those young people who were involved in the club with our children have stayed right here in this area. It is true that we are near two large cities so there are jobs available, but it also speaks well for the character of the people and the desirability of raising a family here.

As in any community, several families are leaders. These families are well-liked, hard working and are willing to spend the extra time or money to insure an atmosphere of fellowship and good will. Tonight as I watched the children running about and people sitting around in groups visiting, I felt a sense of belonging. It is a good feeling
.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

This N That

We met our friends Kay & Lynn at the Salty Iguana in Lawrence tonight. We were seated, ate our meal, moved outside, moved to the ice cream store and finally to the parking lot before deciding we had visited enough for this evening anyway.

Several days ago, I wrote I am a member of an organization that was once called a Home Demonstration Unit. Bill at Prairie Point mentioned he would be interested in hearing more. I thought it would be simple to find the history of this important early organization for rural women. I have found a publication entitled "When Good Homemakers-Good Neighbors: A History of Kansas Extension Homemakers Units, 1914-82." I am sure it is out of print, so I am on a mission to find a copy.

Did I say I really like black beans? And, did I say I ate lots of delicious black beans tonight? More water, please.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Monday, June 26, 2006

Last night I visited with my long time friend and cousin, Carolyn. We have known each other since we were born. We played all through childhood, attended grade school and high school and she was in my wedding. .

I always wished I could be like Carolyn as she was thin and athletic and I was chubby and slow. The first to jump off the stack of bales or the barn roof, she would then wait until I took forever to get up my nerve. Carolyn could run like the wind and if there would have been girls athletics when we were in high school, she would have excelled. The only time I won a blue ribbon at the county last day of school track meet was when I was Carolyn’s partner in the three-legged race. Carolyn, her sister and I were once the top cattle judgers at Angus Day. Believe me, that was a big deal at the time.

As we have aged, we have often been told we look alike. We do have grandmothers who are sisters and perhaps we both look like that line of relation. The other possibility is that some think our mothers look alike but are actually no blood relation. We often laugh that we must look like our mothers.

Carolyn taught elementary school for many years and I carried mail. She and her husband only live about fifteen miles from us. We still belong to a group that started as a Home Demonstration Unit (more about HDU in another post) so we see each other once a month or so. She had the presence of mind to sit down with my Dad before he died and interview him about his young years and then write it down. She might have done it because my Dad and her Dad were best friends when they were young, but her information is priceless to me now.

So, why did Carolyn call? Well, to check on how we were, check on my mom, and to tell me she and her husband, Rick, had also been battling Carpenter Bees and she had the information to get rid of them. Here is the formula:

2 tablespoons Sevan to 1 gallon water. Saturate the wood where the bees are hanging around. It won’t kill them, but they don’t like it. Reapply as often as needed.

Thanks, cousin!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Erma's Bread and Butter

It was a busy weekend—baby shower, visit Mom, clean and wash. We stopped by my brother, Wayne, and Ruth’s house on our way through from the shower. I dug up more starts out of Ruth's flowerbeds.

Wayne & Ruth live where I grew up. My parents built just a mile down the road. They have handled living that close to my parents well. They have made the house theirs by adding on, remodeling and most importantly, Ruth has added elaborate beautiful landscaping around the house, including a waterfall and pond which included this visitor yesterday.

Several weeks ago, Ruth asked if I might want some starts. She was cleaning out her flowerbeds. I took her up on the offer and as soon as we got home, Dan helped me clean the brome, crab grass and weeds out of a long neglected bed behind our house. We added bags of compost and planted Ruth’s plants.

The interesting thing is, however, these really weren't exactly Ruth’s plants. Her starts were from neighbors, friends and relatives. Each time she dug up a plant, she would not tell me the biological name, nor the common name, but the name of the person who gave it to her. How wonderful to have plants in remembrance of special people. It has been done this way for centuries. One plant, Bread and Butter was given to her by a long time neighbor, who had dug her start from her mother's garden. The rural women (and it was the ladies as the men where in the field, no time for gardens) traded with each other as there was no nursery. If there was, why buy something that was already in a neighbor's garden.

My new (old) flowerbed has been a joy to me this spring. Just about every night I pull the new little grass shoots and water. Every plant is thriving, just like their ancestors before.