Friday, January 30, 2009

Slowed Down but Picking Up Speed Again

Just a quick short check-in to tell you I have not disappeared from the blogging sphere. And I'm looking forward to getting back in stride shortly! I've been able to spend some time reading but writing is a different matter. A laptop moves slowly and I tend to fall asleep in the midst of a sentence. So blogging doesn't go well at the moment!

Things seem to be coming along well, with only a couple minor gliches here and there.

Give me a week and give me my home computer, and I'll by typing madly again!

Bless all of you.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Just a Minor Diversion

shirt quiltThis is just a minor diversion in today's events. I hope you will not think me light-headed when I shift abruptly from my previous post to this one. It is a wonder of today's time that we pack a laptop wherever we go and hence, even in the midst of the most unusual day, we can do the usual. (She said with a smile.)

I've been quilting for nearly twenty years. There were a handful of quilts prior to that but I didn't yet consider myself a "quilter". In those twenty years I've made a ton of quilts...mostly of my own design...mostly using traditional blocks. It's not that I don't admire the patterns and the new ideas of today's quilt's just that somehow my favorite quilts are those that look vintage. And about seven years ago I began a series of shirt quilts.

I think it all started one afternoon at a garage sale. There were four men's dress shirts hanging on a rack. The fabric was 100 percent cotton and I sez to myself, "Why not?" Since then I've purchased a ton of shirts...shirts made by name brand companies and whose fabric is the finest.

This 4-patch in a square in a square is based on a vintage quilt that I found on eBay. I didn't buy the quilt...but the pattern was simple enough to recreate with my shirt stash. The stripey border? Yep, a man's shirt. Such a simple pattern to make such a lovely quilt.

P.S. Check the armpits on those shirts. If they stinketh, pass them by!

The Valley of the Shadow

Tomorrow morning I'm stepping down into the valley. You know, the valley mentioned in Psalm 23:4 - the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Whoaaa...that sounds heavy. It IS heavy. At least from my perspective. I'm placing my life in the hands of skilled surgeons, but knowing that they are skilled does not preclude a ton of possibilities. And for several days now, those possibilities have been going through my mind. The valley is deep and the shadows are long and they loom heavy. If we get our preferences (or our druthers), I'd much prefer not to have to go there. But druthers don't count for much in most of our life.

A friend reminded me of Daniel 3:17-18 wherein Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answer King Nebuchadnezzar. The king has assigned them to the fiery furnace for their refusal to bow down to the golden image (idol) set up by the king. The three say this, "...our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up."

Get it? The three were worshippers of the Creator God, the Almighty God, the Only God. And whether God caused them to walk into death or to remain in life, they acknowledged Him as their God. And then, marvelously we read Daniel 3:25. Nebuchadnezzar is astonished to see a fourth person in the midst of the fiery furnace...and says the fourth one's appearance is "like a son of the God's". An angel? The pre-incarnate Christ? Whichever, we know that this person is protecting the three.

God causes each one of us to walk our own individual can't walk mine and I can't walk yours. Where God takes me is God's business...and if it is His business, how can I object to where He takes me? How can I complain, as Job did, that He is not treating me fairly? God has all our days written before we are ever born. I can look back and see nothing but God's blessings on my life. I have no complaints.

Surely God's mercy is with me at all times. Psalm 23:6.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

You Won't Find Clovia Too Many Places on the Net

I've googled "Clovia Doll" many times, hoping to find info on the internet about this red-headed doll that was mine in 1950-51. Surprisingly, there is very little info out there.

Who is Clovia, you might ask? Clovia Wallet was that red-haired baby born to Skeezix and Nina Wallet in the Gasoline Alley comic strip of the time. Clovia's comic-strip birthday was 15 May 1949. That means that Clovia will be 60 years old this spring. Some short time after her birth, a doll was created to represent Clovia.Clovia Doll And I was one of the lucky little girls who received a Clovia for Christmas.

I've found one online photo of Clovia here. And you can read about the Wallet family history here. And you can read my previous post about my Clovia doll here.

And now I'm adding my own photo of Clovia to the worldwide net. By the time this photo was taken Clovia's "real" red hair was getting a bit bedraggled. You can see by the license plate that this photo was probably taken in 1951.

I've thought about finding a Clovia doll to replace my original Clovia (who disappeared by the wayside far too long ago). However, the doll had a rubber body and even if one were found, it would be in very poor disintegrating condition. Wouldn't it be cool if the doll company came out with a repro?

A side note ... before I could read I would climb up on my Daddy's lap and ask him to read the comic strips to me. His favorite was Gasoline Alley and he would chuckle as he read each day's antics. It puzzled and amazed me how he could "read" those scribbly lines and come up with words. Sometimes I would point him to the front page and ask him to read me something there as well but the day's news didn't make much sense to a young girl. The comic strips were much more fun.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I Got a Camera For Christmas

When I was about 10 years old I pleaded for a camera for Christmas. I really don't know what possessed me to want a camera. My mother had one and we took plenty of photographs at picnics, birthdays, etc. We really didn't need another camera. But whatever my reasoning my mother responded and under the Christmas tree that year was a small Brownie Kodak. While there was a more expensive model that could hold a flash attachment, mine was the plain one with no flash and so most of the photos I took were outdoor photos.

Here three of my brothers willingly pose for the camera. The instruction book suggested "action" photos and so at my request they demonstrated their afternoon's play of pulling each other on sleds around the farmstead. We love this photo because in the background you can see our oh-so-rickety chicken house, our father's old International pickup, the stand-alone forge where Dad would heat and temper steel when he was repairing machinery. My brothers are wearing their tattered "every-day" coats and my youngest brother was still enamored of his Lone Ranger mask. My brothers never had a problem of finding play.

In the far back of the photo, between our flatland fields and the Loess Hills, lies the Little Sioux River where we learned to swim while doing the half-drowning-dog-paddle.

When I took my first roll of film to the drug store to be developed I was very much surprised to have the photos come back as prints equal to the size of the small 120 film. In fact the first couple rolls were printed this way and I was dismayed that the camera did not take larger pictures. They were wonderful if you wanted to keep them in your billfold, but I wanted "real" photographs. Then someone advised me that I needed to ask for the larger (regular) size prints.

I wouldn't mind taking black/white photos again. I have a 35mm in the drawer...perhaps I'll get it out and use it again. The digital is wonderful, but there's something about a film camera that feels so much like "camera".

Thursday, January 22, 2009

There are Wolves Who Disguise Themselves as Sheep

I am going through a personal struggle of unknowns and I was comforted today by Peter's first letter, wherein he writes to believers in the Roman provinces in Asia Minor that now make up much of modern-day Turkey.

And so as I read I Peter, Chapter 1, I am comforted by his word to believers. He states that in Christ we have a living hope, an inheritance, and that we are protected by the power of God for that final day in spite of the tribulations and trials of this life.

Here's how Peter puts it..."Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith -- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." I Peter 1:3-7

This is no health, wealth and prosperity gospel as is being deceitfully preached from pulpits across this country and by glittery TV preachers who drive fancy expensive cars paid for by the offerings of the poor. Their so-called gospel is a lying deception aimed at drawing in fame and fortune.

In Peter's gospel there is no proposal of "seed money" nor of promised healings on stage in front of thousands, nor is there a picture of faithful believers falling and fainting in the aisles. Peter is point blank in saying that believers will be tested by fire (Vs 7). We're going to go through life's turmoils just like everyone else. Christianity is not a magic potion that can be applied to make one's life full of good fortune.

Paul, too, speaks often of affliction. In 2 Cor. 1:8-10 he says this..."For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God, who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us..."

Christianity is not a magic potion that can be applied to make one's life full of good fortune. Nor can Christians "buy" health and wealth by "investing" in some teacher's version of God's work here on earth.

Be wise! Be gentle! Be aware that there are wolves in sheep's clothing. Matthew 7:15

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I'm a Pretty Cool Gramma

My previous post was prompted after a very sudden and unexpected minor surgical event involving laparoscopy and four small surgical incisions about 1/2 to 1 inch in length. Today I viewed the incisions in the mirror and as I pondered their collective 15 staples, I thought to myself, "Body Piercings! Fifteen of 'em! Those kids have nothing on me!!"
She said with a giggle.

We Can Come Boldly

This past two weeks a series of unexpected jolts have hit our lives. And the aftershocks are still rolling. Not that we don't expect there to be sudden bumps in the road of life for we certainly do and haven't lived this long without experiencing them long before now. Every life has trauma of its own...sooner or later...that's just the nature of the game since Adam messed things up, so to speak. But this series of events is not yet completely played out and we are deep into it and somewhat stunned, to say the least.

Last night was a restless night and scripture after scripture came to mind. This morning a friend emailed this one..."Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16.

She added this personal note... "We can come boldly to ask for grace and mercy for the situations that we face. Not boldness to get what we want, as some people may think..."

Thank you, Dear Friend. We do come boldly before the Lord. And we thank Him for all things, knowing that He watches over His people and cares for them.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's So Irritating...So I'm Wondering...

I try to be sensible with my cell phone...turn it off or to vibrate mode in public meetings, church, doctor's office, etc. However, I constantly forget to return it to the regular ring setting. This causes me to miss important calls.

So I'm wondering...are there cell phones that can be pre-set to turn back on after a prescribed amount of time? In other words, if you turn it off, why can't it be set to automatically turn back on after an hour and a half...and alert you to that fact with a small beep?

If no cell phone maker has done this...I hope they will...and I hereby ask that they give me a percentage of their profits for my bright idea. If this feature is already available, I hope someone will let me know what kind of phone has the feature.

And if none of the above happens, perhaps I can hire a secretary.
(She said with a smile.)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Vintage Photographs

It's funny how photos from your childhood can bring out family memories...especially if you ask questions. Our 1928 Studebaker still holds fascination for my siblings and me.

I was probably a year old when I rode in this car on a long trip from Nebraska to California and back again. My grandparents lived in California where they had moved from the old homestead in Nebraska. My mother missed them. And so it was, that sometime in 1946, my mother asked her brother Jake1928 Studebaker, home from the War, to drive her the 1800 miles to see her parents. Imagine the slow pace of the trip!

My two brothers sat in back. I, on the other hand, was barely a year old and reluctant to leave my mother's side even though it meant I must be brave enough to sit beside this virtual stranger who was my Uncle Jake. His method of ingratiating himself to me was to pull a silver dollar out of his pocket and let me play with it, joking that "Money always entices the ladies".

In California we visited family. My three uncles (Jake, Clarence and Fred) posed for photographs in their uniforms. Jake had served considerable time in Europe during WWII. Fred and Clarence were in uniform but had not been overseas. Gramma must have been greatly grateful that her three boys were home safe and sound.

Later, the car played out another family story when Dad and two friends rolled it on a rough gravel road one morning on their way to work. The car rolled a couple times, bounced upright, and went on down the road with nary a dent in its tough body. The only damage was a broken rear window. The men themselves sustained not a scratch in spite of the tumble and continued on to work.

Sadly, years later, my father junked out the old car. It was becoming impossible to keep tires repaired on those old wood spoke wheels. And by then we had a "newer" car, so this one went into the scrap heap. Dad kept the "Oogah" horn and the headlights. For years the headlights hung by a wire in his shop. He gave the Oogah horn to Uncle Jake who installed it on his 1953 Ford and with which he used to "oooooogah" unsuspecting passers-by and then laugh uproariously as he greeted them with a wave of his hand.

Later, Uncle Jake would be called up again to serve in the Korean war. He received a wound that paralyzed him from the waist down and which caused his early death at age 42. He was a kind and gentle man.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Let Us Reason Together

Whether you love or hate President George Bush, take a moment to read his proclamation of January 15, 2009. And when you read, do so with an open mind, regardless of your past perceptions on the subject. Read every word and take in every thought.

It would seem to me, that while we agonize as a nation over the lives of our brave young men and women in Iraq, Afghanistan, anywhere in the world, we fail to agonize over the 1.3 million infants lost each year in America to abortion. (That figure may be a bit under, for I took it from WikiAnswers which is not exactly the most accurate source of info on the net. But I'm typing this quickly and you can do more research yourself on the numbers if you wish.)

Recent generations of Americans have been brain-washed into the falsity of individualism and into the idea that morality is relevant only to their own situation. To them there is no black and white, no right and wrong, except as they individually assess and evaluate. When they read the portion of the Declaration of Independence that reads, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness", that it is THEY who have the right to happiness. If an abortion will produce "happiness" then abortion becomes acceptable and their arguments for it are multiple in their self-duplicity.

Life is life. Death is death. Nobody has the right to take life without severe provocation such as in self-defense or a just war or a civil penalty for the most abhorrent of crimes. Those instances of taking life don't even begin to compare with slicing and dicing an unborn child to "improve" the quality of life for Self.

There are multiple instances in the Old Testament where God took his protection away from His people for placing their children on the alter of false Gods. Our alter is "Self" and we worship self rather than God. This nation will be judged for its idolatry, for placing self before obedience to God is indeed idolatry.

And Dear Reader, if it is you who have had an abortion, recognize that forgiveness is something God offers to all those who come to Him. 1 John 1:9 Romans 8:1

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Extreme Cold (Why Don't They Make THAT a Reality Show!"

An AP article from Des Moines talks about the extreme low temperatures in Iowa this week.

Yesterday, Waterloo, Iowa experienced their all-time record low of -34 for January 16 and tied their all-time record low for the entire winter set way back in March, 1962.

Other extreme lows for January 16 included:

Embarrass, MN -46
International Falls, MN -41
Coggon, IA -40
Sterling, IL - 36 (a possible all-time low for Illinois
Necedah, WI -42
Paradox, NY -35
Island Pond, VT -42
Berlin, NH -39
Big Black River, MA -50 (a possible record low for Maine)
Allagash, MA -48
Clayton Lake, MA -44

The possible new record low in Big Black River, Maine breaks a previous state record of -45 set way back in 1925. What that means is this is the coldest its been there in eighty-four years and for umpteen years prior to that!

Let's look at these extreme temps in terms of heating your home. If the outdoor temp is say, 30 degrees, your furnace has to raise the indoor temp a mere 40 degrees in order to maintain a 70 degree room temp. That's lightweight duty for your furnace and your utility bill.

If, however, the thermometer plummets from 30 degrees down to -50, that means your furnace has the duty of raising your indoor temp a whopping 120 degrees in order to keep you toasty at 70. The difference on the load of your furnace is tremendous!

Do you see why old folk hate the cold? They've spent many years fighting it, both in terms of keeping warm and in terms of paying the bill. We, ourselves, are blessed in that we're able to pay all our bills, but there are many who struggle when utilities rise higher than normal.

By the way, it's warmer today in Anchorage, Alaska, than it is in Atlanta, Georgia.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sometimes I Just Don't Get It

A major news network reports that the high school records of hero pilot Chesley B. Sullenberger have been inappropriately released by the school...and then the news network flaunts a photo of the inappropriately released records.

Am I missing something here? Wouldn't that be just as inappropriate?

Whatever happened to editorial INTEGRITY in the news business?

Oh, I forgot. It's disappeared from the American scene. Long ago. All in the name of ratings and money and one-up-man-ship. The trend is to produce the hype before the competitor.

Shame on Fox News. And Shame on every other news outlet that picks up on this by displaying the same photo on THEIR page.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Global Warming and My Own Backyard

I know there are two strident voices out there in regards to global warming. Some say "Aye"! Some say "Nay"!

I only know my own backyard. Last night the temp got down to a minus 20 degrees. That's a new record low for this date in January. The previous low was a minus 18 set in the year 1972.

The past two summers here have been unseasonably cool and totally unlike the summers of previous years when we might experience temps well above 100 several days in a row. Not that I want to see those kind of days...I actually LIKE a cool summer.

Did you know that the State of Iowa has been covered with several glacial Ice Ages, the last one at its height a mere 20,000 years ago and melting a recent 13,000 years ago. So...with glaciers retreating from a major portion of Iowa so recently, it would seem to me that we can consider weather cycling a rather recent phenomenon in terms of geological time (where scientists often speak in terms of millions of years, not thousands).

And did you know that the Northern Hemisphere experienced a Little Ice Age a mere 300-500 years ago. According to this PBS article (click here) glaciers advanced "in China, New Zealand, and Peru, and snow covered Ethiopian peaks." North America and Europe experienced disastrously cool temperatures in regards to crops and harvests.

You can read about the glaciers that covered a major portion of North America here. And more info here where you can view a small active map of the retreat of the glacial ice.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Obsessed with Winter Weather?

Today's Scripture: Job 37:10 (just put your cursor on the reference for a pop-up)

We were out and about today and it was bitterly cold. The temp made it to a high of 3 degrees F and that wouldn't be all that bad, but a brisk wind dragged the windchill down to BITTER!

However, after reading this blog I don't think those in Iowa have much to complain about. Michelle Mitchell pretty much froze my socks off with her description of the "Freeze" art show in her Alaska hometown and the recent cold. No global warming there!

Today's Tip? Dress appropriately for the cold. And make sure your small children do the same. Sometimes they need an extra bit of supervision on those super cold days. (And if you're not sure if they're dressed warm enough take a gander at what You put on this morning...if you're wearing two shirts and a sweater, make sure your kid is not running around in a single thin layer.)

Tonight's temp has already dipped to 12 below zero and we have some gusty winds. That means the wind chill is about 35 below. That's cold! As the weather site mentions, "Low wind chills will result in frost bite and lead to hypothermia if precautions are not taken. If you must venture outdoors...make sure you (and your children) wear a hat and gloves. Do not leave any skin exposed if you will be outside for more than a few minutes.

Just a little heads-up!

P.S. How did I find that verse in Job? Diane over at GINOSKO mentioned it today. Check out her blog.

Believe It or Not, It's Going to Get Worse!

We're getting poor. Really poor. I'm not imagining this... I am beginning to see it often. Young women out and about who have nothing in their closet. They're wearing pajamas in the public square. Flannel pajamas. Polar fleece pajamas. Pajamas! PJs!

I don't understand it...the entire shopping mall is made up of clothing stores. Yard sales abound in our small town. There are two thrift shops within a 7-mile radius. And two Goodwill stores in the nearby city. Surely there are enough clothes to go around, wouldn't you think?

But, no. Young women, teens mostly, are resorting to wearing pajamas in public.

I'm old enough to remember when it was unacceptable to wear blue jeans to the office. In fact I initiated Friday jeans in the small agricultural office where I worked. The girls in the office next door gratefully followed suit. Then it became five days a week and not just Friday. This is a farming community and farmers often stood at the counter in boots that had recently left the barnyard. The aroma of manure often lingered for some time after. So blue jeans seemed to fit right in the rural atmosphere.

But Pajamas! Oh, I'm kidding when I say there aren't enough clothes. I know Pajamas are becoming a fashion trend although I don't know how you can call them fashion. There is no "style" to a pair of pajamas...they're sloppy, they drag on the ground, they look loungey and lazy.

So I am saying right here and now. Expect to see more. It's going to get worse.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Comments by a Full-Time Caregiver

I've been blessed lately reading Paula's blog. Actually she has two blogs, one about daily things and thoughts, and one about her role as a full-time caregiver to her husband. Even though I am not in her situation, her insight is a true blessing to me. I hope you'll take a moment and check out her blog. Click here.

This News Article Reveals Much

Hollywood proponents of benevolent thinking towards the Islam religion as it is practiced in its strictest sense might want to be aware that a great number of their own might be considered guilty and subject to this penalty if they were living in Iran.

According to the news source in regards to adultery, "....typically under Islamic rulings, a man is buried up to his waist, while a woman is buried up to her neck. Those carrying out the verdict then throw stones until the person dies. If the person manages to escape from the hole, he or she will remain free under Islamic law."

In all aspects this seems a bit unfair, wouldn't you say? If the man is able to dig himself out before he is stoned to dead, he is allowed to flee to safety. The poor woman, no more guilty than the man, has no chance whatsoever.

But I'm not commenting herein on the unfairness of Muslim laws in regards to male and female. What I'm saying here is that the high and unholy cries emanating from the Hollywood liberalism against Christianity have yet to accuse Christians of stoning adulterers in the street.

Even Jesus, when asked by the strict religionists of his time regarding the penalty for the adulterous woman, replied to her this only..."Go, and sin no more." John 8:1-11 (click and read the entire passage.) (Jesus does, however, point his finger in this passage. He first speaks to the woman's accusers and says, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." John 8:7)

To follow Christ is to know that His intent and purpose for coming into humanity (John 1:1-5 and 14) was to redeem or buy back those whom the Father had given Him. And we come to him knowing that we are "that woman". We are guilty; we are enslaved to sin. Without Him and His work on our behalf we are subject to eternal death, eternal separation from God. In Him we have life, an eternal life that begins now. John 5:24

Those that the Father gives to the Son will come to the Son. And those that come to Him He will treat with mercy. John 6:37.

Jesus came into the world in order to:
To Serve and to give His life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28
To give eternal live to those who believe. John 3:16-17
To do the will of the Father. John 6:38
To give life abundantly. John 10:10
To give light to remove darkness. John 12:46
To die for us sinners. Romans 5:8
To save sinners. 1 Timothy 1:15
To make purification for sins. Hebrews 1:3
To take away sins. John 3:5
To sanctify us, to make us holy, to make us "clean". Hebrews 10:10 and 1 John 1:7
To be the propitiation or sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10
To render powerless the devil. Hebrews 2:14-18 and 1 Cor. 15:20-26
And the one that says it destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8

When all is said and done...Death will be no more. 1 Cor. 15:55

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Saga of the Bone Cyst

He's broken his arm again. My grandson, that is. Last year (click here) he broke his arm hanging from a school monkey bar and his own weight snapped the arm. Unbeknownst to his parents, he had a bone cyst in the upper part of the humerus (the bone that connects to the shoulder). The cyst makes the bone weak and his weight was enough to snap the bone. You can read more about bone cysts here. For a very brief explanation, I quote the following...

"A unicameral bone cyst, otherwise known as a simple bone cyst, is a fluid-filled cavity in the bone, lined by compressed fibrous tissue. It usually occurs in the long bones of a growing child, especially the upper part of the humerus......."

The second break occurred from roughhousing on the playground. Fortunately, the break is not painful. Last July he wore a sling; no cast was required. Same this time. The healing process sometimes causes the cavity to fill in. In this instance that did not happen. So surgery may be in the process.

Is Grandson unduly concerned? Absolutely not. Today's event caused him to miss a math test. It was a good day in his opinion. The little rascal!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Lustre of Midday

It's 2 am and I am pacing the floor with a backache. Stepping to the window I look outdoors. The moon is brilliant, reflecting off the snow and lighting a blue diamond sky. The words of Clement Clarke Moore came to mind...

The moon on the crest of the new fallen snow gave a luster of midday to objects below.

Surely he was walking the floor at 2 am on a moonlit night when he wrote that poem.

I am so smitten by the pale loveliness that I momentarily think of putting on coat and boots and taking a walk. But then I think of waking the neighbors' dogs and how silly I might look at 2 am if the neighbors might peek out their window. (If I lived in the country and had a good Fido dog to walk with me...I would have gone!) I take one last wistful glance before lying down to finally fall asleep.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Root Cellars also known as Storm Cellars

Not many people today know what a root cellar is. Sometimes they are called storm cellars. When my siblings and I visited our "growing up" home over Thanksgiving, I took several photos of the old root cellar that was on the farm when we moved there in 1951. I have no idea when it was built. But it still stands and with a bit of help it could be returned to its former useful condition. However, the farmstead now stands vacant and that is not likely to happen.

Even though my photos are poor I think you can get an idea of the construction of the walls and arched ceiling. The lower third of the vertical wall was cement. There is more cement on the higher/outer sides that acts as a retaining wall for the dirt covering the cellar. The thick dirt acted as insulation from summer heat and winter cold. One year we planted moss rose over the cave and it self-seeded every year thereafter. This made for a rather prolonged job of weeding which always seemed to be assigned to me.

Two wood doors, one at the top of the stairs and one at the bottom, provided access to the cellar. A wood bin once stood in one corner for the year's supply of potatoes for a family of eight. Along the walls were wood shelves (now gone) that held the year's canned goods. A simple stack pipe in the roof that allowed for ventilation in the summer was stuffed with a rag and covered with an upside-down bucket in the winter. Without the seal of the rag and bucket, freezing cold air would drop into the cellar causing freezing temps.

Since cold "drops" it was important also to seal the two doors in the winter with an old piece of carpeting laid over the outer door. A thermometer hung on the wall and we would check the air temp during trips to retrieve food. If the winter was brutally cold, Dad would light a kerosene lantern and set it on the floor to take the nip of frost out of the air. Freezing temps would ruin our winter's supply of potatoes and cause them to turn to stinking mush.

In late spring we cleaned out the remaining potatoes which had begun to spoil and which had grown long sprouts as they searched for sun. The shelves would be cleaned and fresh newspaper laid down for shelf paper for the coming year's crop. Empty fruit jars that had been returned to the cellar would be lined up in one area and any remaining canned fruit would be rearranged at one end, awaiting the newly canned jars of garden produce.

The cellar served a second purpose as a storm cellar. During raging wind storms in the spring and summer when we thought we detected tornado clouds on the horizon, our family would scurry for the cellar carrying a flashlight or kerosene lantern. I can distinctly remember huddling in the near-dark, hearing the wind roar and the thunder boom. When the noise subsided of what we were certain must be near-destruction overhead, Dad or a brother would bravely open the first door and peak out the top door to ascertain whether or not it was safe to once again step above ground.

This was an unusually well-constructed root cellar. The builder, whoever he was, was a fine craftsman indeed.

Monday, January 5, 2009

So Now I'm Cleaning House and Look What I Found

Today's chore is to dust and tidy the bedroom.

Look at my Beloved's can see that he likes to read in bed. That's not unusual...a lot of people do that. What I found funny this morning was the number of reading glasses laid out on the stand. Count them! One, Two, Three, Four, Five!

When I laughed about it, he said he had just laid them there, having found them in various corners of the house. (He really doesn't want you think he has to rely on five pair of glasses simultaneously.)

And look at the books! If the nightstand is full to overflowing, there will be another small pile under the bed.

Dreams of Another Kind

I think I need time away from the keyboard. We do some volunteer work that requires lesson preparation (which requires a great deal of study and organization) and writing reports. This past week I spent 10-12 hours writing a report that had to be done with great accuracy with comments and details retrieved from numerous other documents. I like this kind of work (even though I'm no longer being paid for it) because this is what I did while working. I'm good at it.

But lately I notice that I am beginning to dream in words. I mean that in my dreams I am either speaking or writing. I'm even using "copy and paste" in my dreams! It is almost a relief to awaken in the morning!

Today maybe I should concentrate on cleaning house which has taken a back seat during the holidays.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Almost Convinced

Grandson was here for Christmas. And he brought his new kitty, Tink. We haven't had a pet in our home for some years now...we are simply away from home too often to do right by a canine or feline friend. But Little Tink just about convinced me to find a new friend ourselves. She's a sweet kitten.

Here's a photo of her with their other house kitty, Jack. Actually it is Jackson for he was named after a red-haired member of the family. But I call him Fat Jack.

Jack does not look amused that Tink likes him. Sorry about the quality of the was taken by cell. You can click for a closer view.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Fingerless Gloves

I haven't knitted for years but my daughter, who has taken up knitting, has brought me back to this pleasant pastime. I won this yarn awhile back at a blog giveaway hosted by Cinnamongirl at Happy Handwork. I thought these nifty fingerless mitts would be the perfect project. Aren't they cute? My hands tend to be cold in the winter and these warmers work really well to keep them warm while I'm at the computer. (They're not very handy if you have your hands in the dishwater. *snicker*)

I have an assortment of plastic and aluminum knitting needles purchased sometime back at a yard sale. However, for these, I purchased "new" bamboo needles and it was great fun using them. I'd list the pattern for you, but I modified one I found online, and sorta ad-libbed! So, I'm sorry, I can't give you the pattern. However, you can google for 'fingerless gloves knit pattern' or 'fingerless mittens knit pattern' and easily find a similar pattern online.

Now I'd like to make some wrist warmers. With beads!