Friday, January 29, 2010


Our fifteen acres was blessed with numerous springs. We children enjoyed watching the water gurgle out of the ground. The one spring was located at the edge of our patch of woods and was the start of a creek that then meandered its way through the community till it was joined by several others and wound up in the Casselman River.

Another spring was in our front yard. It was really big and Daddy dug a ditch and laid pipes in it to direct the water into a tank in the pasture for our animals. He made that the overflow would run back into the creek from which it had been diverted. This spring had some of the coldest, sweetest water that could be found. Even in the summer it was cold enough that Mom would often float covered bowls of food to cool them off and keep them cold. An occasional watermelon would be placed in it at the shallow end to get crispy cold by evening when we would watch as Daddy would retrieve it and cut it open and we would sit on the front porch and enjoy eating it

There was a big slab stone beside the spring and we used to enjoy sitting on it and listen to the water and pretend we were fishing. If we were brave we would dip our toes in the water but it was so cold we didn't want to keep them in the water longer than a few seconds.

There were a few seasonal springs too. One of them was in the basement of the house. Whoever had built the house must have wanted to have a running spring there because there was a trough deal set up for a place for the water to run through and a drain at the end to guide it outdoors to the creek.

Several other springs were scattered throughout the pasture and the front yard under the chestnut tree. Daddy used to be glad once those dried up by summertime, but I was always sad since I thought you can never have too much water to play in or springs to watch.

One day when we came home from school we decided to play by the big spring until it was time to go make supper. As we sat on the slab we noticed something moving in the water. Upon looking closer we saw what appeared to be a crawdad. David got all excited and wanted to catch it to show it to Mom and Daddy. He leaned down and grabbed for it but the water was deeper and the crawdad faster than he gave either of them credit for. The next instant he fell in headfirst. As he tried to stand up John and I managed to grab hold of him and drag him out. We headed for the house where Mom met us at the door. She got David into dry clothes and John and I helped get supper on the table.

A few days later we were disappointed to hear that Daddy had plans to cover the spring. He didn't want anyone else falling into it. We were in school when they fixed it so that the water all ran underground until it reached the tank in the pasture.

It continued to be a source of great drinking water but it would no longer provide a place to chill watermelons and other food.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Another Kind Of Memories

On a whim, way back in July my husband thought having his own blog similar to mine would be something he would possibly enjoy, and created an account, dug up a few good old pictures and made one teeny tiny little post.

I was hoping he would post regularly because he has so many great memories that it's a shame to let them be forgotten. Like the time he thought he was being kidnapped. His many adventures that only a boy growing up on a farm could have. His summer spent in the woods as an Indian and many more.

I have given up hope that he will ever blog regularly and so I was pleasantly surprised when this one of a kind book appeared.

He says his memories are copyrighted, so unless enough people would want a glimpse of what he has to share there will only ever be this one book.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Good-bye Jim

John and I were walking home from school. The snow banks beside the road had dwindled down to sad dirty piles. The melting snow created a creek in what was usually an empty ditch. As we dawdled along watching the water and floating twigs in the stream we heard a horse and buggy approaching.

When we looked up we were surprised to see Mom driving Jim. She stopped beside us and we climbed on the buggy wondering where we were going to, since a ride home from school was unheard of unless it was raining.

It didn't take long for us to notice that Mom seemed sad. When we asked her what was wrong she said a man was coming by that evening to buy Jim, and that she had wanted to drive him for one last time yet before he left us.

John and I weren't happy to hear that we would have to sell Jim. Mom assured us he was going to go to a good home and that he deserved to spend the rest of his life in a nice place where he would no longer have to pull our heavy buggy up and down those long hills.

Once we got home Daddy came out of the shop to unhitch Jim. Mom stood there stroking Jim and talking to him for a long time and then turned to go to the house. Her cheeks looked wet from tears and that was the last straw for me. The sobs I had been trying to choke back came. I went to pat Jim's velvety nose and tell him good-bye. He had been our faithful horse ever since I could remember and the thought that he would no longer be in the barn or out in his pasture to welcome us with his gentle whinny was almost more than I could bear to think about.

I went to the house to help Mom prepare supper. After we had eaten we heard a truck and trailer pull into the driveway. Daddy went outside to help load Jim. When he came back inside we got ready for bed.

The following days seemed a little sad when ever we went to the barn and saw Jim's stall with out Jim there waiting for us. Several weeks later we got a picture in the mail of Jim in a nice green pasture. He looked happy and it made me feel a lot better to know that he really was doing fine.

Monday, January 25, 2010


One day when we came home from school and went out to the barn to help Daddy with the chores we were surprised to see a new horse standing beside Jim. I didn't particularly care for the new horse. He was a burnt orange color and next to faithful Jim he looked awkward and out of place.

Daddy explained that he bought this two year old to train so Jim would no longer have to work so hard pulling our buggy up all these Somerset Co. hills. The horse didn't have a name so we got to help choose it. We went through a whole list of names and finally settled on Bob.

We used to hurry home from school to watch Daddy train Bob. He spent a lot of time talking and currying him and rubbing him down with old feed sacks. He explained that the feed sacks actually felt good to Bob and he needed to get used to seeing white things flutter close to him so he doesn't head for the ditch or try to run away if anything should happen to flap beside the road while he was hitched to the buggy. Bob's training progressed nicely. Once no part of the feed sack made him jumpy at all Daddy told us to bring an umbrella and open it right in front of Bob.

John and I ran to the house to get our big old black umbrella and took it out to the barn. Standing in front of Bob we opened it. It startled him and he jumped back. Daddy spoke calmly to him and then told us to do it again. It took a little while before Bob stood with out flinching the slightest little bit as the umbrella opened and closed right in front of him.

Daddy was pleased at his progress because it would never do to have a skittish horse hitched to the buggy with the rest of his family at risk.

The day came when he tried a harness on him. Bob calmly accepted it and his training continued as Daddy walked behind him in the pasture holding the reins on the harness teaching him everything he needed to know to be a safe buggy horse.

Once Daddy was satisfied that he understood what was expected of him he hitched Jim to the buggy and tied Bob along side of him and took them for a drive down the road. When they came back Daddy was all smiles saying that Bob did really well and with several more weeks of running along beside Jim, Bob would be ready to go solo.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


There are many things I enjoy doing, and one of them is trying out and creating new recipes. I was looking for something relatively easy tonight for supper, and threw this creation together. It was a big hit with the rest of the family so I jotted down how I made it but I haven't had time to think of something intelligent to call it. So if you have any ideas I would love to hear them.

In a cast iron skillet over medium heat combine:

2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1½ cup rice
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp salt

Stir to evenly coat rice with oil and add

3 cups water

Cover and turn heat down and slowly simmer for approximately fifteen minutes or until water is absorbed.

In the meantime in another skillet combine:

2 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion (diced finely)
¾ tsp black pepper
1½ tsp salt

Stir over high heat until evenly brown.

In a 15 x 10 pan spread the cooked rice in bottom. Spread meat over it, and add:

1 can Ragú Six Cheese pasta sauce (1lb 10 oz)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Bake uncovered in a 350º oven until cheese is melted.

Serve with an optional dollop of sour cream on top.

A garden salad is excellent to serve with this casserole to complete your meal.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Chestnut Tree

In front of the house at the edge of the yard, spreading it's branches to form a canopy over our mailbox and part of the road was a majestic old chestnut tree.

I loved that old tree. It used to be the first tree to get leaves in the spring and while other trees were getting leaves, it was producing flowers already. To me they looked like hundreds of miniature Christmas trees covered with white flowers with pink and purple centers. I wasn't the only one that enjoyed those flowers. Bees would come swarming by without fail every year to feast on the sweet nectar. I didn't particularly care for the bees, their buzzing hum could be heard as soon as we stepped outside the house.

Once the flowers were done blooming they were followed by large sticky buds, if the buds stayed attached to the tree they would eventually turn to chestnuts, but if for some reason they fell off they often wound up stuck to our bare feet. It was hard to get them unstuck, so we tried to be careful where we stepped as we walked through the front yard.

As the summer passed the tree produced a lovely shade and provided a great place to relax on the big swing under it. Or jump on the little swing that was fastened to one of it's sturdy branches and go flying through the air, trying to get our toes to touch the leaves was a challenge we enjoyed.

In the fall the large prickly thorn covered balls of chestnuts would start dropping. We children spent hours gathering them and carefully opening the prickly shell and removing several glossy brown chestnuts. They weren't edible, but they were so pretty that we saved all we could. We used to share some of them with an elderly couple that lived in the village. She used them to make wreaths and her husband liked to carry several around in his pockets saying that they relieved his arthritis pain, so we always made sure they got how ever much they wanted. We children got to keep the rest. They were so much fun to play with. I was always sad once they lost their glossiness and we had to throw them away. But I knew that before long that grand old tree would give us another batch.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Wedding

The first wedding to be held in our new church house was scheduled to happen in less than a week. I was looking forward to it since we were also invited to the reception.

Mom went to help get ready a few days before the wedding. There was a lot of baking and food preparation to do to get ready for all the guests. Since we lived close to the bride's home they borrowed our fine china too in order to have all the tables set with pretty dishes.

Once the day of the wedding came we went to church. Everything seemed like a regular church service except the first bench facing the preachers was reserved for the bridal party which was still hidden away in one of the coatrooms in front of the church house.

The first song was finally done being sung and the 'Lob Lied' started. After the usual twenty minutes of singing it, it was time to sing the third song. Mom had told me to watch the door of the coat room carefully once they start singing the third line of the third song. I had been waiting for that line all morning and now as the first drawn out word faded and the next one followed all eyes were glued to the door as it opened and the bridal party came walking carefully into the room. I watched as they all stood in front of the bench and sat down at the same time. The bride looked very happy but I wasn't thinking about her happy face. I had happened to see that the girls all had to have their hand held by the boy that was escorting them, I nearly shuddered at the thought that I would ever have to do that and vowed I would never get married.

After two regular length sermons the bishop told them if they still wanted to be married they could come stand before him. He had a long row of questions to ask them to which they answered with a soft little yes. The rest of the church stood for a prayer and then the bishop joined their hands and pronounced them man and wife. They returned to their seats while the rest of the preachers gave them words of advice and commented on the sermons. The closing song was sung and it was finally time to go to the reception.

As we got to the home of the brides parents I looked in awe at all the tables that had been set with pretty dishes. There were lots of girls hurrying from the kitchen to the tables carrying bowls filled with steaming food. Everything looked really good and I looked forward to sitting down at one of those long pretty tables. I followed Mom upstairs where she placed our wedding gift on a bed that was heaped with gifts for the happy couple.

The brides father was in charge of seating the people. Close relatives got to be seated first and closest to the bridal table. Once we were seated I was happy to see that we had an excellent view of the bridal party from where we were sitting. Sitting right next to me was a little girl about my age. Once silent prayer was over and everyone started passing the food we started talking. Her name was Effie and she was a sister to the groom. Her mother was one of the cooks so she had to sit at the same table we were at, but she was happy to be able to see her big brother from where she was sitting.

It didn't take her long to eat everything on her plate and then she sat there gazing into the living room at all the other people. Directly across the table from us was a little three year old who was misbehaving and in a fit of anger threw his bread crust that his mother was trying to get him to eat right into Effie's plate. A little later Effie happened to notice the crust and hurriedly picked it up and ate it looking mortified that she still had a crust on her plate.

I felt sorry for her that she ate someone else's crust but I didn't tell her that it hadn't been hers. And as much as I had looked forward to that wedding it is the bread crust I remember the most vividly.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tasting Snow

One of the many games we enjoyed playing was using a jump rope and wear it over our shoulder and then under our arms and pretend we were a horse while someone else drove us.

One Saturday there was a few inches of fresh snow covering everything and John, David and I decided to play horse again. Our barn was a big old spruce tree that had branches that touched the ground on three sides, the other side had an old propane tank that had been converted to an air tank to run some of the smaller machinery in Daddy's wood working shop. The hooks on the tank worked great as a place to tie our 'horse.'

On this particular day John was the farmer and David and I were the horses. I stood under the tree waiting for John and David to get back from their little run and have my turn. I was hoping they don't go to far because I wanted some fresh snow to run through to before we had all our little paths made.

Once they came back John unhitched David. As I prepared to have my turn David announced how great it was to have a fresh layer of snow that he can pretend to eat hay by licking the snow on the tank and proceeded to take a lick.

Unfortunately he didn't get to enjoy the snow because his tongue stuck to the tank and he couldn't get it to loosen. He started crying as I ran to get Mom, but before she could bring a pitcher of warm water he gave a hard yank and pulled himself loose, but cried even harder when he discovered he had left a good bit of his tongue still stuck to the tank.

Mom and Daddy tried to comfort him in any way they could think of. They were worried that he might never be able to taste again and have trouble speaking. For several weeks we had to put all his food through the baby food grinder but bit by bit his tongue healed until you could no longer tell anything had happened to it.

We had learned our lesson well and never tried licking snow on any metal surface again.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Moments of Stupidity

I have had my share of moments of stupidity, but I made one that I won't be repeating if I can help it. This moment of stupidity began when I got this brilliant idea to spend the day at my mother-in-law's house.

She asked me if I would be interested to come and help her go through her books and all her craft things because she wants to get rid of most of them since they are remodeling their house. The hint of free books and knowing the many great ones she has I told her I would come.

Now comes the stupid part..... They live nine miles from us which isn't that bad if I would have my husband drop me off before he goes to his job in the woods as a logger. But being the ninny I am I got to feeling all young and energetic and told him since it warmed up to almost 40 it would be the perfect weather for me to take a walk. Cold enough that once you get warmed up from walking it's perfect. My husband looked a little dubious that I could do that, but I assured him I really want to, if he would come pick us up then in the evening. (Why don't I learn my husband really is a wise man?) I got up at 4 and did my morning things and then roused everyone else and stuffed some food into their mouths, bundled the children into their warm clothes, set Sunbeam in an old umbrella stroller we had stashed in the tack room in the barn. Hanging my purse on the stroller handle I started off.

It didn't take us long to discover that almost everyone in our area has several dogs and they all enjoy barking furiously at anyone stupid enough to take a nine mile walk. I am not a big fan of other peoples big dogs to begin with and the ones that barked around our feet didn't appear cute nor friendly.

Sailor and Rosebud had no problem with all their energy but a little more than a mile down the road I started wondering why I thought this was such a good idea, but pride kept me from reaching into my purse and getting my cell phone and calling my husband to come rescue me. And so I kept going. Six miles later I got to the post office in our little town where I wondered how on earth I'm supposed to make it the remaining three to their house. But I kept going. Sailor and Rosebud still had a bounce in their step as they enjoyed the slow pace and seeing things they never had the chance to by whizzing past at 50 mph. I was much to tired to help them enjoy anything as I plodded on pushing Sunbeam in her stroller.

We paused a moment on the bridge that passed over the 4 lane and watched as the traffic whizzed under us with people comfortably sitting in their vehicles. And I pondered a moment at my supposed sanity that I would willingly opt to walk instead of taking a vehicle.

We kept going, past the truck stop, past the sale barn that was crowded with farmers and ranchers from all over since this was their monthly special dairy sale. The thought of going inside and finding a seat to rest my weary bones was very appealing but I trudged on.

Once we finally got to the little dirt road my in-laws live on Sailor and Rosebud asked if they can run ahead. I gave them permission and they ran the remaining half mile. I was thoroughly envious at all their energy as I gasped for breath and wearily dragged one foot in front of the other. Once I finally got to their house I collapsed on a chair but my poor feet wouldn't quit throbbing. I finally took my shoes off and discovered huge blisters that were already popped on both feet.

I felt like going to bed and sleeping till the end of the month but I helped sort the books and stuff and secretly sent a text to my husband to please come get me as soon as possible. He came by late afternoon and then decided to let me buy a pizza at Wal-Mart before we go home. I got our favorite and then also a big box of creme filled Krispy Kreme donuts. I figured with all the calories I burned I had better replace them somehow. I want to lose weight but not that way and I didn't want to risk having my husband encouraging me to take another long walk.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Canning Time

Summer days were filled to the brim. With a growing family Mom had planted a bigger garden and days were filled with picking up any stones we could find between the rows of vegetables and piling them beside the garden for Daddy to use on one of his many projects. I enjoyed picking stones much more than pulling weeds which also thrived in abundance.

It was always fun to start the canning season. Peas were always the first vegetables ready to harvest. Shelling peas was a tiresome job. With several five gallon buckets heaped full, we would get bowls and sit on the front porch swing and start shelling them. To make a boring job more fun we often played guessing games while we worked or sang songs.

Once we were done shelling them Mom would wash them to remove any of the dirt that happened to get into the bowls of peas while John and I went to the attic to find the jars Mom needed. Once we found the jars, they needed to be scrubbed in hot soapy water, which I thought was a total waste of time since they looked clean already.

Once the jars were scrubbed to Mom's specifications we would fill them with peas and carefully measure a teaspoon of salt into each jar and then filled them with water and turned the lids on tightly. Mom would set the filled jars in a canner and cover them with water and light the burner under the canner. Once we saw a few puffs of steam escape from the canner we would check the clock and calculate the time the peas could be removed from the canner three hours later.

Several days later another batch of peas would be ready to can and we would go through the whole process again. And so it continued all summer long, as one vegetable ended another one started and by fall it seemed everything wanted to ripen before the first frost and days were hectically busy with piles of sweetcorn and bushels of tomatoes and green beans plus the fruit, peaches, pears, and early apples. We would no longer have time to pick rocks and the weeds used to wave victoriously at us as we worked from morning till night everyday canning food to take us through until the next summer.

Every once in a while after a particularly warm and tiring day Mom would send John and me to the corner grocery store in the village to buy a box of ice cream for a treat for supper. The half mile walk was worth it as we stood in McLaughlin's Store and Mr. McLaughlin would open the freezer and let us choose a box of ice-cream. He was a kindly old man and would often give us each a Popsicle to eat on the way home. We never could make those Popsicles last until we got home as we thoroughly enjoyed the refreshing cold sweetness they provided after working all day.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Winter-Time Projects

I enjoy winter evening when you can relax and enjoy family times and watch as the children's creative side comes out.

Sailor spent hours creating the blueprint of a town he wants to build once he's old enough. He used a huge piece of paper and I'm wishing there was a way I could laminate and frame it for him. There are enough unique places on it that I think it's a shame to just let it get worn and ugly and discarded. The Museum of Leaves and Lake Fishing Hook are two of my favorite spots on it.

I'm not quite sure what to think of Rosebud's creation except that I'll be filing it away for chuckles in years to come.

Sunbeam spends most of her evenings with her favorite Hello Kitty coloring book.

And I have been trying my hand at being creative too. I enjoy this type of thing, but since this is the first one I made after four years of setting my projects aside I'm a little rusty. My second one is looking much better but since it isn't quite done yet I'll just share a picture of my first attempt at making a beaded mobile.

So, do you have any projects you enjoy working on during the winter?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Asking For Help

Several years ago I found a window cleaner that I really like. It is everything that the label promised. Whenever I use it windows are so clear and spotless that you could think they aren't even there. I especially liked to use it for bathroom mirrors it kept them clear and clean for several weeks at a time.

My last bottle is almost empty and I have no idea where to buy some more. So that is where you come in. Do you know where I could find more Perfect Glass window cleaner? I would be willing to buy it mailorder if I have to. Or do you have a window cleaner that you really like or a recipe for homemade that actually works. I'm open to hear any recomendations.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Birthday Cake

Mom's birthday was always a special occasion. Daddy used to have a nice gift for her and we children would try our hand at creating something special too.

The busy summer days were passing and as her birthday approached I kept trying to think what I could make for her this year. John and David were making a wooden shelf with a cute little rail around it, but so far I still couldn't think of anything.

I dug through boxes of fabric scraps hoping that I would become inspired but nothing seemed to work. Then one Saturday as we were doing our weekly baking I found a recipe book that had colored photos of desserts. As I paged through it I found what I was looking for. A beautiful marbled layer cake with thick fluffy frosting.

I knew Mom had a doctors appointment a few days before her birthday which would give me the golden opportunity to have the kitchen to myself to bake the cake while she was gone and the mess cleaned away before she came home.

I took the cookbook to my room and pored over the recipe. I had visions of how pleased Mom would be when she saw and tasted the beautiful cake I was going to bake.

The day finally arrived when she had to go to her appointment. I kept watching out the window waiting for the driver to come. After what seemed like a long time I saw him appear over the hill. I told Mom he was coming and she hurried to get her bonnet and handbag and told me after I swept the kitchen floor I was free to play until it was time to peel potatoes for supper. I watched as they backed out the driveway and drove down the road.

I got the mixing bowl out and started on the cake. It wasn't long before I remembered I needed to preheat the oven. I opened the stove door that held the oven burners and pulled them out. After carefully tipping the chimneys back I turn the wick up and carefully struck a match to light them. As the flame caught the wick and started spreading around it I lowered the chimney. It got stuck a little bit and as I jiggled it to loosen it when it suddenly dropped down and snuffed my flame. I tried it again but the same thing happened. After numerous attempts I finally gave up and went down in the shop and told Daddy what my plans were and how I couldn't get the burners lit. He came and lit them for me, and after I had adjusted the wick until the flame was burning a nice blue like Mom always did I was finally ready to continue with my cake.

I showed Daddy the picture of the cake I was planning to make. He smiled and said "It looks really good," as he patted my shoulder and then went back to his work in the shop.

I glanced at the clock and was dismayed to see that I had wasted quite a bit of time trying to get the burners lit and decided I would have to cut a few corners if I wanted to have the cake cooled enough to have it frosted before Mom came home. I decided to make only one layer instead of two. It didn't take very long to make the batter, and I was feeling better about my plans again. The recipe told me to melt some chocolate chips and stir them into part of the batter. To save time I decided to just pour the chocolate chips into the batter and let them melt while the cake was baking and have a lot of cute little swirls in the cake. I poured in the chips and stirred it vigorously and then decided to pour another cupful of chips in to make it extra special.

As I poured the batter into the cake pan I had visions of Mom asking me how I ever managed to make so many little chocolate swirls in the cake, and how pleased she would be to find out how easy it was. I set the timer, and then turned to the frosting section in the cookbook to find the perfect recipe.

I wanted to try something different from the regular one Mom used to make, and it didn't take me long to find it. Lemon Flavored Icing. I got my bowl ready and dumped the powdered sugar in and added lemon juice. It wasn't turning out creamy and fluffy like I had hoped it would but I didn't have time to start another batch. The cake was now cooling in the refrigerator and I needed to get it frosted and hidden before Mom came home.

As I was washing the dishes I had used I thought of the perfect way to still make the cake beautiful. I would use food coloring. The back of the package had instructions on how to mix the colors to get a color other than the basic four. A lovely purple would look very pretty and be just the thing to help the cake become special since so far it wasn't co-operating with the one I had envisioned. I carefully measured in the drops of food coloring but instead of turning a lovely purple it turned into a sickly hideous brownish orange. I felt like crying as I looked at it.

There was no time to do anything because I heard the crunch of gravel on the driveway and when I looked out the window and saw that Mom was at home I quickly grabbed the cake and my bowl of frosting and ran upstairs to my room. I sat on the floor and poured the frosting on the cake. It was too thin and as hard as I tried to spread it evenly over the cake I soon found out it was impossible as it all wanted to pool around the edges. I hid it in one of my desk drawers and went downstairs and helped Mom get supper ready.

When her birthday arrived and I presented her with my miserable cake she smiled and beamed as if it actually looked pretty. She cut pieces for everyone. I was disappointed to see that the chocolate chips didn't melt and swirl like I intended that they should and since I had added more than double what the recipe had asked for the cake was crumbly. The icing wasn't much better since it had dried to a brittle lemony mess. Mom must have sensed that my dream cake had turned out all wrong because she asked for a second piece, commenting how nice it was to have a daughter old enough to make a cake all by herself.

I still wasn't happy with the cake, but Mom made me feel special and I vowed to make it up to her next year by making something really nice for her birthday instead of a cake.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Thawing Out

Once upon a time when I lived in a different part of the country I used to look forward to winter, the thought of blizzards and snow storms was exciting. Our wood shed and coal bins would be filled with enough to keep us warm and cozy until spring arrived. The sound of snow plows, graders, and gigantic snow-blowers were heard regularly as they passed the house often, both night and day to keep the roads open.

Six years ago we moved to a place where winters were said to be nothing, compared to what we were used to. I have to agree with that. The forecast of snow and cold weather now gives us a feeling akin to mild terror. Snow removal equipment and techniques seem to be a foreign thing in this area. If we do have to venture out the roads are terrible and there is always the danger of being run into by a crazy person who thinks snow on roadways equals time to spin in circles and drive with recklessness unmatched at any other time of year. So we try to stay indoors as much as possible but even that isn't a pleasure when you feel like celebrating when the temperature indoors finally reaches 60. My days are spent poking at the wood in the fireplace coaxing and pleading with it to please burn a little hotter and checking and rechecking the heaters to make sure they are set on the highest setting possible. But with all that we still wind up bundling ourselves in coats and blankets dreaming of the day when spring arrives.

Last evening we were invited to one of my husbands brothers that live almost a hundred miles west of us. We jumped at the chance to have a reason to soak up the warmth from the heater in our vehicle. Since the main roads were snow free by then we headed out. It didn't take long until we were once again comfortably warm. The road we travelled took us through an Amish settlement and we met a number of buggies driving along the shoulder of the four lane. The sight of them huddled shivering under their buggy robes made me say a silent thank you that I no longer have to depend on a horse and buggy for my mode of transportation as I reached over and turned the heat up a notch.

Today my husband had to go to town on a business related meeting. When he came home with his arms full of boxes I nearly wept for joy as I helped unpack heaters and get them set up. The house is warming up and we're finally getting to thaw out a little.

It is snowing again right now. I'm still not excited about it at all, but at least I have hopes to no longer be fighting the risk of frostbite from walking through our house.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Maple Sugar Time

One of the signs that spring was coming was when all the maple sugar camps scattered across the countryside were once again in use. There were lots of sugar maple trees in the area and many families looked forward to supplementing their income by boiling down the sap to make maple syrup every spring. It was a lot of hard work trudging through the woods drilling holes into the trees and setting up the taps and pails and then checking them every day, dumping the sap into a tank that they pulled through the woods on a sleigh and take it back to the camp where they boiled it down to maple syrup.

We didn't have very many maple trees on our little acreage so we weren't too caught up in all the action. We had our own things to do to prepare for the season. Daddy would try to make a lot of extra furniture to show at a booth in the annual Maple Festival in a nearby town.

We children had to take turns every year to go along to the festival with Mom and Daddy on Saturday. I could hardly wait until it was my turn to go. There were so many things to see. With booths filled with every imaginable craft and homemade things and of-course plenty of maple syrup and and maple candy.

In the afternoon we were able to watch the parade. I enjoyed seeing the different bands but what I looked forward to the most was the float with the Maple Queen. She always looked so pretty and happy as she rode by smiling and waving at everyone. I wished I could do that some day but knew I would never have a chance to fulfill that dream.

At school children would come and share maple candy that they had made. Recess was spent licking the pieces of sticky maple candy. Some of the more daring boys would try to chew it and would always end up with their mouth stuck shut for a while, while the others laughed at them.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Odd Things About Me

There is this list of things circling around and I thought I'd join in today for a change.

1. Do you like bleu cheese? Yes.

2. Have you ever smoked? No.

3. Do you own a gun? No.

4. What color Kool Aid was your favorite? Pink Lemonade.

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Not really. It's not something I look forward to either.

6. What do you think of hot dogs? An occasional one is fine but I certainly wouldn't want to have to eat them often.

7. Favorite Christmas movie? Still searching for a good one. Any suggestions?

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Water.

9. Can you do push ups? Who has time to do push ups when there are so many more fun and less strenuous things to do?

10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? I don't have any. (Yet)

11. Favorite hobby? Finding and trying out new recipes.

12. Do you have A. D. D.? No.

13. Do you wear glasses/contacts? No.

14. Middle name? Ann

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment. Wondering when I'll ever feel toasty warm again. I really should be getting the children to bed. Happy that tomorrow is Sunday.

16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Water, water, water. Yes really. I am that boring.

17. Current worry? I am actually getting pretty good at not worrying too much.

18. Current hate? Unannounced visitors. Okay hate is a pretty strong word for that but there isn't much that bugs me as badly as that.

19. Where would you like to go? Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls.

20. Name three people who will complete this: No idea. I guess anyone who wants to join in.

21. Do you own slippers? No, but I could use some.

22. What color shirt are you wearing? Mauve.

23. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? No.

24. Can you whistle? Yes.

25. Where are you now? Kitchen.

26. Would you be a pirate? No. For numerous reasons.

27. What songs do you sing in the shower? Whatever is going through my mind at the moment.

28. Favorite Girl's Name? I'll go with one I never got to use. I always liked the name Jennifer.

29. Favorite boy's name? I still like the name Samuel for some reason.

30. What's in your pocket right now? Nothing.

31. Who last made you laugh? My husband.

32. What vehicle do you drive? An F-350

33. Worst injury you've ever had? Broken ankle while doing carpentry work.

34. Do you love where you live? Not really.

35. How many TVs do you have in your house? None.