Saturday, February 25, 2006

Burn season

I heard the sirens before I saw the dust. I sat at the mailbox and waited. The fire truck and a water wagon behind it turned on a road leading to a wilderness area of the lake. We had fairly strong wind here yesterday so I wondered if a campfire got away at the primitive camping area.

I have a retrace, so on my return by the road, a small, beat up older model foreign car was turning out of the wilderness area road. If the passengers were the culprits, they managed to "get outta Dodge" although they look scared.

At this point, I make a loop and down another road that leads to the lake area. This would put me on the north side of the wilderness area and fire. By this time high pillars of smoke were visible. The flames were coming down the hill on the other side of the cove of the lake. Several people were watching as it burned itself out at the water's edge. No harm done, probably only red cedar trees killed, the animals could escape to the water area.

Next week we hope to burn off the area where I want to plant wildflower seeds. It's early, but "they" say burn early for wildflowers, burn late to kill weeds depending on your perspective. We know from experience, we will be prepared with water because there is no faster fire than dry prairie grass.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Proper English

Dan and I attended all eight years of elementary school in an one room school house. Despite the distractions, we learned the basics just fine. Actually, in some ways it might have been better than a regular classroom as we couldn't help but overhear what the other grades were covering. So, we not only reviewed the previous year's material, covered our current material but also knew what was ahead. Often the older students would help with the lower grades. Perhaps this is why I struggle to this day with spelling.

Dan was two years older than I. He was the only one in his class. My class, being the first of the war babies, had five. So, he often helped with our spelling lessons. Even then, I think he liked me because he would tell me how to spell a word I didn't know. The teacher never caught on and I had good grades in spelling. Even today if he is around when I am writing, I will still ask him how to spell a word. I think it is our little inside joke.

I was reading over at Kansas Prairie Blog this evening about proper English. For years my writing consisted of letters to my parents. I would write like I talk, not worrying about proper sentence structure. So, this blog has been a challenge. When I first started, sometimes it took me all evening to finally post something. I still will write, publish and the next morning find a glaring error to correct. Peg did provide a link to a site called Common Errors in English. I have a feeling I will be referring to it regularly.

Other than my early years as a private secretary and the shorthand incident, I have been able to communicate fairly well. There are some people who just have a gift (my daughter, Kim, is one) to write clearly and effortlessly but that is not me. However, if you see any errors in spelling, just blame Dan.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I love waterfalls. We are always looking for them when we travel. Of course, Colorado has beautiful streams and falls. I suppose most all streams have some sort of waterfall.

Anyone know where this one is located? If you attended KSU or lived near Manhattan Kansas, Pillsbury Crossing would be quite familiar. As the name implies, there is a crossing above the falls on a huge flat rock when the water is low.

Last weekend I was queen for a day for a belated celebration of my birthday. Knowing my love of waterfalls, Laura and Aubrey gave me a little indoor waterfall. Running water is soothing no matter where it's located.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

It doesn't get much better than this

This was my treat at the post office. I set the bread machine last night. This bread was warm when the picture was taken. The Malkin jam was purchased last summer on our fishing trip to Canada. We were told everyone from the States loves the Malkin jam. It is very good, but $4.00 for the little tin? That's Canadian money so it was a little less. It isn't as good as the blackberry jam a sweet retired lady left in the mailbox last week. Dan & I won't be sharing that.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Read Letter Day

The conversation was with my sister-in-law. My niece (her daughter) is in Spain teaching English as a second language. We were visiting about their communications with her—some by phone and a lot by email. I mentioned maybe she would enjoy receiving mail and perhaps we should get the word out to friends and relatives.

“Why, yes, I bet she would like to receive letters!”

The media likes to refer to this as “snail mail.” When I hear that term, it slightly ruffles my feathers. I know of no other service where 39 cents will enable something to travel thousands of miles or make someone feel as special when it arrives. I carry mail to nearly 400 families and almost all pick up their mail each day. The elderly are often heading out to the box as I pass on down the road. Are these people looking for bills? I doubt it. I suspect each secretly hopes there will a personal letter for them in the mailbox.

It doesn’t have to just be a birthday, anniversary or heaven forbid a get well or sympathy card with your signed name. It can just be a three-line note that says, thank you for being my friend, you are special, hang in there, whatever you are feeling at the moment. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale once said his reason for writing inspirational notes is simply “to build others up because there are too many people in the demolition business today.”

We delete emails with a touch of a button. The feelings conveyed in those communications are short and to the point. Email etiquette says don’t be wordy, don’t fill up email boxes with chit chat. So, the notes and letters of today are gone. How will the next generation know us.

So, pick up a clean sheet of paper, close your eyes and visualize the person you are writing to and then write down what you would say to them at that moment as if they were there with you. Make it conversational, sincere, and in your own style. It doesn’t have to be long. Personally, I do not feel it has to be handwritten (other than a thank you note). For me, typing is more spontaneous. Any way you want to do it—just do it. Make a relative or friend’s day when they open their mailbox next week.

It's cloudy and cold here and I am looking forward to catching up on my letter writing, including one to Spain.