Wednesday, October 4, 2017

I love October ...

This is my favorite time of year!  Mostly because of the cooler weather and the beautiful fall color we enjoy here in Indiana.  I love fall also because of pumpkins, squash, corn stalks, mums and bales of straw; all of the things that make this fleeting time of year special.  Yes, I know, 'it just means that winter's coming' but I love it anyway!  So there!  

Maybe also because my birthday is this month.  I'm so looking forward to my birthday this weekend -- Wendell & I are going to the Wabash Coffee House in Hutsonville, IL for pecan pancakes, then on down to Palestine for the wine festival (over 15 wineries expected to have booths there!), then home on the back roads -- that's the plan anyway.  Then on Sunday after church, we're meeting Jeff & Jane in Indy for lunch.  What more could you want for a birthday weekend?!

I've been adding items to the garden shed wall; here's the latest I found at the Worthington yard sale for $2.

Wanted to tell you about a special weekend --
Couple weeks ago we went to the Lee Family Reunion, just south of Poneto, Indiana.  (I'll bet you have no idea where Poneto is ...)  This farm has been in the Lee family (my mother's maiden name) for more than 100 years; I'm thinking now maybe closer to 150 years.  Where the folks in the first picture are sitting used to be the orchard when my grandparents lived here.  It was a really nice weather day, in the low 80s with a breeze.  We enjoyed lots of good food, talk, laughs, croquet, corn hole and poking around the old barn.  Just a good day all around.  For me the best part was just catching up with family I haven't seen since last summer!  I think there were about 25 of us ... Wendell & I had a great time.

This is my Uncle Roger Lee (whose farm we visited) and Aunt Rosie Harrold.  Aunt Rosie is from Union, OH.  Uncle R was worried all day that someone would get beamed by a dropping walnut (under which they set up the food and party tents (?)...).  The 5-gallon bucket was for collecting the walnuts.  Mom and Uncle Keith are now both gone from the picture and were surely missed.  Uncle Keith's son Erin was there this year for the first time! Yeah!  [BTW, Uncle Roger was asking $20 for this photo op ...]
After we left the farm, we went over to Wabash and stayed overnight at the Charley Creek Inn.  It's an old downtown hotel that was renovated a few years ago and it's super nice.  I highly recommend it if you're thinking of going to Wabash to the Honeywell Center (we saw Ron White there last fall; they have pretty good entertainment at the Honeywell).  There are a couple really good restaurants downtown, also -- one right in the hotel, and we ate there.  Of course we weren't very hungry after all that reunion food!  But we managed to choke down a couple appetizers and a bottle of wine, and really enjoyed our stay.  Check out their website if you want to read the history of the place. 

The lobby of Charley Creek Inn ...

Exterior, taken from the northeast corner.  Sunday a.m. when there was no one stirring yet ...  It was so nice and quiet here.
On Sunday, after breakfast at Bob Evans, we drove just about straight west of Wabash for a couple hours to Fair Oaks Farm in NW Indiana.  It was SUPER!  I really recommend this farm experience, especially for anyone with children.  You can enjoy the dairy farm experience or the swine experience or both.  Or you can just go to their big family style restaurant (which we didn't do).  Or just go to their gift & snack shop and watch them make cheese.  I brought home several hunks of cheese .....  Since I'm still a kid inside, I naturally loved this place.  Also, I'm a farm girl so this was a perfect entertainment match for me.  It's very convenient to find, too, right along interstate 65.  Here's some pictures.  This may be overkill, but as I said -- I loved this place.  And I took lots more pictures than I'm putting up here ......

On the left is the restaurant; we didn't visit this building.  On the right is the building where you buy admission tickets.  This is where we began the day.

You begin the dairy experience in a big barn-looking building where you can watch a 3-D movie about what you'll be seeing. This movie comes with bubbles and mist; I felt very moisturized when we left.  Don't miss this movie!

FYI -- Jeff and Jane are not the only ones who get a private showing ...
After we left the theater we toured the exhibits in that barn that give you lots of 'cow facts' and explain what you'll be seeing, then you board the bus and travel about a mile north to one of 11 dairy barn complexes.  Here's some of the many calves living there.  The cow barns are in the background.

Everything there is HUGE.  Here's one of many silage piles!

We drove through the barns (3 huge barns at just this one 'farm') and saw lots of cows, then went on to the milking parlor where they milk 23 hours a day.  (They stop for an hour to clean then get right back to it.) If you'll look in the upper right corner, you'll see a herd of cows waiting to be milked back in the tramp shed!  Also, right after they enter their stanchion on the carousel to be milked, they pass that gray colored board you see at the upper right.  It records their number to keep a record of their milk output.  It was amazing to me that the cows actually nudged the board with their heads!  When they get around the carousel, they back out on their own.  By one trip around they've been milked.  Most of these cows do this three times a day.  This was all fascinating to me.

After we left the milking parlor, we got to see where the milk goes through a cooler and right into a tank truck which was parked outside.  Most of their milk goes to Kroger.  Of course, when you have milk you also can have cheese.  Did I tell you I brought some home with me?!  Yum!  And it was all about cows in the gift shop.

Here's the birthing barn.  We visited this area to see a calf being born.  Even though I was raised on a farm, and we had dairy cows, I never saw a calf being born before.  So this was a new experience for me.  The cow we saw calving was a first-time mother and the attendant said she had remained calm and did really good job!
Just beginning to show the front feet ...

The calf is out and she's cleaning her up.  This took about 15 minutes.  It's a girl!  Whew!  After seeing this I was exhausted so we headed for home.

It was a wonderful weekend.  I slept well that night in my own little beddie.

God is good.  ... More later!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Ups and downs and ups ...

Boy has this been a strange summer.  The weather was cool, then too wet, then too hot, and now too dry.  We did have a few sprinkles last night.  While the poor folks in TX are being inundated with more than they would want in a year!  Also, in our own life, we've had our ups and downs.  Started out great for Wendell with him feeling fine, then it started to go south, followed by a few weeks of feeling awful, then surgery, and now he's almost back to where we started from in the spring.  So, in other words, I don't want to wish my life away but I'll be glad when autumn gets here!  (It's my favorite season anyway!)

Met my friend Teresa Benassi recently for lunch at McCormick's Creek State Park. We had a great time catching up on what's been happening in each other's lives. She brought along this rug to show me; she completed it recently. Doesn't it have a wonderful old-fashioned look!?  I LOVE it!  The colors look so much better "in person" than in this picture. I love the border! Teresa is a very talented person who is also a human dynamo. (She told me she had canned 24 jars of raspberry preserves the evening before. She works full-time, too!)

This was taken outside the entrance to the Nature Center at McCormick's Creek.  The wild flowers growing there were outstanding.  I enjoyed watching a crow at their bird bath, too. I've gotta say that I've never seen a crow at a bird bath!  (and I hope they don't start frequenting mine, either ...)

I'm really enjoying being part of Jane Steward's "project kindness" in Worthington.  We meet once a month and sew various items for people and places that need them.  Below are pictured some surgery dolls we've been working on.  We also do fringed fleece blankets and we just started making bibs for patients at a local healthcare facility.  What can I say -- it keeps us off the streets ...

Okay, just quickly, here's some other stuff I've seen or done recently. I guess I've been more occupied than I thought.  And thrown in there was a GREAT visit from our family. They came down to visit Wendell on his birthday, July 31.  

I cut four more rugs off the loom couple weeks ago.  Left to right they're made from a white chenille bedspread, four pieces of recycled wool, striped & printed t-shirts, and cream colored loopers (sock tops).

At hooking Guild this month we had a guest who brought along this unusual Cathedral Windows quilt to show us.  We were all super thrilled that she shared it with us!  All I can say about the woman who made this is WOW!  Great Job!

We had a crop duster buzz the house again this year.  This happened year before last, too, when the farmer across the road has corn.  It was thrilling, watching him make the cut up to avoid the trees in front of our house!  Again -- Wow!

Well, Wendell is doing so much better following his surgery in July. Right now he's out supervising a crew trimming and cutting trees here. He's dragging brush. He had a very favorable report at the doctor a week ago and we couldn't be happier. God is truly good! And I hope you have just as good a day as I'm having today!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Prayers for my sweetie ...

Tomorrow my sweetie will be having surgery, implanting an ICD.  Hopefully he'll come out of this feeling better.  So if you can, say a prayer or send a positive thought our way.  Thanks.  xoxo

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Taking a break ...

I think I'll take a summer break here.  Wendell is not feeling well and my every thought has been with him and his well-being.  I can't seem to concentrate on anything else right now.  Perhaps I'll be more collected later in the summer.

But here's what I've been doing since I last wrote ...

As you might remember, I'm really hung up on Steve Meadows' pot head art.  We went back to his gallery in Palestine, IL recently and I came close to buying another one but settled for a necklace instead!  And lots of pictures to dream on.  Yeah, I know.  Not even close.  But the necklace does contains a message I'm trying to make my summer mantra -- "Let It Go".  My current favorite piece of jewelry!  But anyway, here's some pictures I took in his gallery ... 

We attended the Memorial Day services on the courthouse square in Spencer for the first time.  It was probably a pretty typical small-community service with short speeches, volleys of gunfire, wreath laying, etc.  They have this wonderful doughboy statue on the northwest corner of the square under the flag pole.  A highlight was a 99-year-old vet of WWII who was recognized.  Following the service there, everyone traveled the three blocks south to the river bridge and two wreaths were put into the White River in memory of those who were lost at sea during our country's wars.  It was a really great service.  After that we went to the cemetery where the wonderful old shelter there, made from geodes, is the center of the military burial area.  Just a good way to celebrate the true meaning of this holiday!  And so glad we went!!!

I have been hooking 'some' ... here's (below) the beginning of a rug that I hope to finish before winter!  (LOL!)  It will look MUCH better when I start getting background around these two big birds.  What I'm really feeling the most contented about is giving some rugs away.  I've really enjoyed seeing them go to family and friends who expressed an interest in what I do and I hope they will enjoy them for many years.  The one thing I'm still consistently working on the most is weaving!  Got the loom going again and I'll put some pictures on this fall when I have a run of woven rugs finished and knotted.  Also, so enjoying Jane S.'s "project kindness" sewing days.  I've sewn several little hospital gowns for surgery dolls and put the fringe on a few fleece throws; looking forward to seeing them off to a good cause!

Enjoyed our Jane's 50th Happy Birthday party couple weeks ago.  She's a real sweetie and you could tell how much she's loved in her community (Winchester) by how many friends, and family, turned out for this special day.  Wendell says she should run for office -- she knows everyone!  It was just a great day.

But, the porch is where I've been spending lots of my time.  And plan on being here as much as I can in the next few weeks.  Wish you were here with me!  Say a prayer for my Wendell.  God bless you and God willing I'll be back with you later in the summer ......

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

WAY too many showers ...

Keeping my feet up ......
We're flooded in here.  This is the longest we've been stranded at home, even longer than the June 2008 flood!  Freaky.  We were out to lunch, errands  and the library last Wednesday and drove through a 'little' water to do that.  That was the last time out.  Had to miss church Sunday -- bummer!

This was at the beginning of the flooding on our road; by Sunday you couldn't see the grass or the tops of the fence posts. So stunned when we drove down to look I didn't even take a picture! We thought it might have gone down but instead worse than this ...
Been busy though.  My house is the cleanest it's been for a long time.  And we've mowed the yard and got things whipped into shape outside, too -- mended fence, divided perennials, sprayed weeds, etc.  So it's not been all bad.  I've cleaned out drawers, polished furniture all over (not just the tops) and went through closets, starting Goodwill bags. 
I am getting low on meal ideas though and have only two possible dinner menus plans left!  Have plenty of main course items (meat) left, but I'm almost out of fruit and veggies; fresh is all gone as of yesterday and down to canned.  Not good!  Last night I took a half pound ground pork and half a package of tortellini and half a jar of marinara sauce, and made pasta and meat balls!  It was surprisingly good.  Used the last half package of frozen mixed veggies to go with.  Now all I have is a can of lima beans & some Chinese veggies!  On the plus side, I can make bread.  And I made a half gallon of espresso-Heath bar ice cream.  So we're good, really.  When you have ice cream & TP you have all you need to survive.  [But the bottom line is, in the future I'm keeping more staples on hand!]
Wendell had a special day April 29, receiving his Masonic 50 year award at his home lodge in Bluffton.   Adrian, Jeff & Jane were there.  It sure was an important event in his life and he so appreciated his family being with him.  I got to pin his gold award on his lapel!  Though it was raining mightily that day, it didn't dampen our enjoyment.
Wendell gets pinned!

I've been weaving this week.  We got the loom warped!  Actually, I don't think I could do the warping process by myself.  And I don't feel bad about that because Paul (my weaving mentor) says Marilyn has to help him, too.  I'm working on a t-shirt rug.  It should be very interesting; it's sort of lumpy and bumpy and bright!  I'll put some pictures on when I get some rugs complete, off the loom and knotted!
I finished a new quilt last fall and my friend Benjie quilted it while we were in AZ.  I got it bound this week, also.  (I told you I've been busy!)  Here's what it looks like, front and back.  I'm very happy with how it turned out.  Not my usual subdued colors for sure!  What do you think!?
Front ...
and back!
Well, gotta close and think about lunch!   But what do I have that I can prepare????  Got some boiled eggs, so I think it's going to be egg salad sandwiches on the last 3 slices of bread!  LOL! 

I'll close with these pictures from the yard.  Spring has sprung!

The first rose of summer ...
and the chives are blooming already!

Friday, April 21, 2017

April showers ...

It's been a while since I've written but it's been a busy time.  That's my excuse!  Got the flower beds cleaned and "preened".  Last week I got the yard d├ęcor (which I'm discarding more and more of each year) out of the garden shed and dispersed amongst the flower beds and the potting table.  Still have the big whirly-gig to put out yet.  That job will need some assistance from W.  He's mowed already of course; he got a new zero-turn mower.  I think it's the first new mower he's ever had; everything else has been purchased used.  He really likes his new mower!  (I don't think I'll learn how to drive this one ... LOL!)

As I was working that day, I saw this squiggly arrangement on the wall that's next to the basement door!  Yikes!  I hate snakes but this was sort of interesting ... the smaller one had his tail draped around the middle of the larger one.  I just let them alone; they weren't hurting me and obviously I wasn't bothering them.  HOWEVER, early this week W. whacked two smaller snakes which were hanging around on the front deck, way too close to our screened porch!  They don't need to be up there!  (I don't know what I'd do if he wasn't around to kill snakes, set mouse traps, and get spiders ...)

We've had some amazing sunsets here lately.  I'm sharing a couple.  I think there's something about sunsets that attract everyone, don't you?  Doesn't the Bible say something like, the skies proclaim the work of His hands?  I believe it!  But man-made things are awesome, too.  Earlier this week we were in Bloomfield for dinner and as we walked back to our car, we heard the train whistle blow.  I said, 'I'll bet I can get to the trestle before the train does!'  And I did. 
Here's a couple pictures I took.  We've been fortunate to see a few trains cross the trestle in the 20 years we've lived here and it never ceases to interest me!  (BTW ... they put out one of those 'little lending libraries' at the trestle overlook parking area and I found a neat old book on crafts!  Two birds ...)  And we met the nicest young couple there with their two little girls.  They came from Linton!  They've lived here all their lives and never saw a train go over the trestle so that was neat, sharing that with them.  Then, sadly, just as the train left the trestle this young couple came whirling in and they were very unhappy to have just missed it; they, too, had never seen a train cross this magnificent trestle!  All in all, it was a good day ...


We drove out to Goose Pond last week and saw rafts and rafts of pelicans (pictured below)!  When they fly you can see specks of black at the tips of their wings; beautiful in flight.  Also lots of ducks of several species, and plovers and sandpipers, as well as tons of red-wing black birds!  We saw the eagles nest that's on the Pleasantville Road but didn't see the eagles.  Hadn't been through Pleasantville recently and it was interesting to take note of their old high school gym, still standing and in use as a special-occasion rental facility.  It's a quiet little town; no businesses & just a few homes.

Well, I'll close with a photo of my favorite tree near the edge of the woods, taken from the deck just outside our front door.  Wish we had more dogwoods!  I love them.  Take care of yourself and enjoy this lovely spring weather!  And remember, these spring rains are good for the earth and good for us!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Home again, home again, jiggety jig ...

     We're back.  Got home late Wednesday afternoon and by late Thursday we were unpacked, laundry caught up, house whipped back into shape, and feeling like "it's over (sniff, sniff)."
     But, I wanted to share some pictures I took on the way home.  Biggest thing for me was finally seeing the Grand Canyon.  That's been on my bucket list for years.  And we finally got there!  Along with some other beautiful spots on the way home.  About the Grand Canyon ... here's the words that describe how I felt while there:________,________, ________, & ________!!! Hey!  There are no words!  It was truly indescribable. 
     The day we were there snow was on the ground and we started out in long pants, winter coats, hats, gloves, etc.  It was mid-morning when we arrived.  By the time we left the park in late afternoon we were in our shirt sleeves.  All the time it was clear and sunny.  It was a BEAUTIFUL day!  And the cold did not keep the people away.  One of my FB friends said, you probably had the place to yourselves from the pictures with snow on the ground.  NOT!  There were plenty of people to go around! 
     But, anyway, here's some pictures from our trip home.  (Usually we take about 4 days/3 nights to go to AZ but this year we were out 8 days/7 nights.  So we experienced more than usual.)
My first view of the Grand Canyon!

Here we are at Mather Point.

That's the Colorado River you can see WAY down there!
     The Grand Canyon was our second day out, then the third day we went through Monument Valley and 4-Corners.  I've always wanted to go to 4-Corners and stand in 4 states at one time.  Let me just say that the 4-Corners Monument was disappointing to me because there were four rows of booths -- one in each state -- of Native American tourist crap there.  It was like putting slot machines in a cathedral.  That's how I felt about it.
Obviously Monument Valley was far more beautiful before the native people started putting shacks and trailers all over the place.  That's what the little dots of color are in this picture.  And they were everywhere, almost ruining the beauty of the place.  You had to get off the highway to see the rock formations free of civilization.  Over and over we'd say to each other "Too many people."

My favorite shot of Monument Valley ... there was virtually no traffic and I stood out on the highway for a long time, getting several shots.
Here's what 4-Corners looks like when you first come into the monument part of it.  The rows of booths along each quadrant are native Americans selling trinkets.

Here's Wendell standing in all 4 states at one time! UT, CO, NM, AZ!
Here's a couple pics I took In Utah ...

Here's a balancing rock just outside Mexican Hat, UT.  It's supposed to be the namesake of the town.
The Twin Rocks Trading Post was built up against the bluffs in ----- Bluff, UT!  Very interesting place to visit.
We saw some other interesting stuff.  Here's a few more pictures ...
Can you see those black spots in the center of this picture?  That's cattle, grazing on this very sharp slope.  That terraced area is overburden of a mine!  I thought I'd seen cattle in some out of the way places out there, but this was crazy.  And it was right in the middle of Miami, AZ!  (see the traffic light?)

A beautiful saguaro cactus in the Roosevelt Lake area of AZ.

The bridge over Lake Roosevelt, taken from the dam overlook.

These two pictures are taken at the NRA Whittington Center near Raton, NM.  What a place!  We just stumbled onto it; didn't plan on going.  But W. truly enjoyed it and we wish we had had more time to spend there -- they have a museum, reference library, meeting room, gift shop, shooting ranges, cabins, you name it.  All this on the old Santa Fe Trail.   
     After we left NM we decided to go east through Kansas instead of Oklahoma!  Big mistake!  Talk about the middle of no where!  Yikes!  Two days of nothingness.  (I hope no one reading this is from KS but I have to tell you, that is one big boring state!)  At least now I can say I've seen a lot of Kansas .....
     Then, of course, we finished the last two days as we usually do.  Stayed overnight in Springfield MO and went to Bass Pro the next day and spent the a.m. there, then took off for Sikeston, where we stayed overnight and had dinner at Lamberts, home of throwed rolls.  It was great.  But all good things must come to an end.

     Now, it's back to reality.  We had a great winter.  Sierra Vista was a great place to visit and there was lots to do.  We kept very busy and enjoyed ourselves immensely.  The question now is: Where to next winter?!