Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Yes, I fell asleep when I was wading through all of the entries written in that log.
Besides celebrating the Holidays, Hunters, Hikers and a couple on their Honeymoon stopped here.

People brought pets and children. Everyone had a grand time!
Unless the disgruntled folks didn't write their thoughts down for others to read.
I suppose that could be possible.

When I woke up from my nap I made chicken and dumplings for supper using a recipe from my
Mennonite Community Cookbook.

After dark the hunters came back to camp. It was getting cold and windy. The guys moved one bed out of the wall tent and moved a table in. Some of us sat next to the wood stove and others crowded around the table.

The forecast was for snow. . .  and wind.

We were thankful for a wall tent and heat inside it. (a wood stove cuter than a bug's ear and it really works! also a propane heater) There were wooden beds up off the ground with foam mattresses, pillows, sleeping bags and blankets for warmth.

Up in the *castle* the princesses had a propane heater that kept the room toasty warm even though the wind howled around the corners.

As I write I am thankful for Chili Soup and an onion and cheese sandwich for my supper tonight.
This reminds me of my dad who always made himself an onion sandwich when he had a cold.

Let me tell you!
A whopper of a cold caught up to me with all of the travelling
we've done in the last two weeks.

Vitamin C and onion sandwiches to the rescue!
November 16, 2016

Saturday, November 26, 2016


What a gift! A whole day to myself  - in a lookout -  at the top of a butte.

Everyone else went hunting. I watched two pick-up trucks drive away and thought about what I wanted to do first. At the top of the list was reading *The Log* we had found on the shelf, several stacks of yellow lined pages stapled together, mixed up with maps and books. They dated back to 2010.

Before that luxury I wanted to bake a cake. It is very distracting to look at the panoramic view out the windows while trying to concentrate on the recipe for Jiffy Feather Chocolate Cake. I didn't bring the recipe because I know it by heart. As I gathered the ingredients and cleared a working space I heard clomp clomp clomp on the wooden steps outside the door.

I looked out the window. A man looked in and said, "Do you work here?"

I couldn't hear him but I could read his lips. I opened the door and stepped out.

"Hi! We are renting this place for four days."

"What? You can rent this place? That's great!"

"Yeah, my husband found the info online and reserved it for this week."

He looked out across the countryside. "This would be great to bring the wife and kids out here!"

We agreed that it is pretty awesome. He asked what is provided and I told him about the fridge,

stove, heater and lights all ran by propane.

"Just look up *Diamond Butte Lookout* online and it will tell you everything you need to know."

                                                                  - - - - - - -                                                                                  

After the cake was in the oven I curled up to read the papers that tell the history of the lookout.
It was fascinating to read where people came from. Some from as far away as Spain and Finland.

Pack rats and mice came to visit and bother the guests. When one couple went hiking they met up with a rattle snake.

Descriptions of the scenery and the weather took up a lot of space.

The climb up the bluff was a challenge for everyone.

I found out what food was prepared and served.

People stay at all times of the year celebrating every major holiday from New Year's Day around the year to Christmas and the eve of a new year.

Some tales told about arriving after dark and struggling to open the gate using the code you are given.

Another whole set of stories tell of struggles to keep the pilot lit on the heater.

There have been new windows installed and maybe some insulation, too, because we had no troubles with the wind blowing out the pilot.
November 16, 2016 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Diamond Butte Lookout

“Rapunzel! Rapunzel! Let down your golden hair!” These were my thoughts as I climbed the hill to the lookout that would be our home for the next four days. Jeremy and Liz got there ahead of us and opened up the gate and turned on the propane for the cook stove, fridge, lights and heater. Liz sent a txt that said, “I feel like a princess!”

Elizabeth, our daughter-in-law with golden hair, waved at us from the deck. With much huffing and puffing we hauled our food supplies, cooking utensils, clothes and sleeping bags up the steep incline. The elevation is over 4000 feet at Diamond Butte Lookout. Before the week was over we were all wishing for a lift of some kind. All the wishing in the world did not produce an easier way to reach the sturdy room perched on top of this section of the world.

At some point in time this was a lookout for spotting fires. Now the Custer National Forest Service rents it out four days at a time to adventurous people. The very first thing to be done is cook lunch/supper while the guys unpack and set up the wall tent and the bunk beds. A little wood stove is set up to heat the tent. The guys cut some firewood in case it turns cold.

Liz, Chelsea, Krysta and I have the lookout for our bedroom. This room is square, 16ft x 16ft and has windows for walls. The door opens into the corner of the room. A table and a twin bed line the south wall. One cot is set up along the west wall. There is just enough room for the third cot to be set up with the head end by the window and stretching into the middle of the room. We had blue mats stacked on top of each other to make the fourth bed on the floor. Sleeping bags, fuzzy blankets and soft pillows add finishing touches to our sleeping quarters.

On the east side there is a refrigerator, cook stove, cabinet and a low coffee table piled high with our kitchen supplies. We really have brought everything but the kitchen sink this time. The fire finder stands in the very center of the room. It is now used as a book shelf and holds maps, books and the log book. Guests can write down their experiences to help newcomers know what to expect.

The very first morning we had a scrumptious egg bake made by Liz. I learned the fine art of making coffee in a French coffee press. We took the food, hot from the oven, down the side of the bluff to the waiting men. The ones who didn't care for onions and peppers dished up their food out of one pan. The rest of us had a pan all to ourselves with yummy onions and peppers mixed into the egg bake. 
It is the middle of November! What a gorgeous autumn day!
November 15, 2016

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Hunting Trip 2016

So, if a family has two nearly identical vehicles
(one is white and the other is forest green but otherwise identical)
and keeps one for spare parts to repair the other
it is a good idea to keep track of the paper work
and not rush off and buy tabs for the license plates of the parts vehicle
(and insurance too)
then notice that the numbers and letters on the license plate don't match
the numbers and letters on the paper/cab card.
Fortunately, we discovered this before we stuck the new tabs on the wrong license plate.

There is always, always, always something to be
                               thankful for
                               (quoting from a motto hanging in the home of a dear friend.)

Ellis transferred the insurance to the right van and endured some teasing from our insurance agent. Then he drove straight to the DVS office and found they were closed for Veterans Day. This caused some anxious moments because he is/was planning to leave on a hunting trip tomorrow morning bright and early.

After some phone calls Ellis found an office that was open. Krysta and I made a quick, unexpected run to Rochester and spent more hard earned $$$$'s to get the right tabs for the right van.
                       As Laura's Ma said many times, "All's well that ends well."

Ellis has been burning the candle at both ends the past few days getting ready. He worked on the van and he built bunk beds to put in the wall tent the guys are sleeping in. Now comes the job of fitting everything in the van so he can drive to MT tomorrow. Maybe he will need to pull a small trailer.

Here comes the surprise! Krysta and I took off work and we are heading out to join the hunters - leaving in the early morning hours Tuesday - between midnight and 1:00 A.M (If all goes as planned)

This marks the beginning of the story. This was written late last evening, November 11th.
I forgot to click on the word *Publish* so this didn't get posted until Saturday morning.
Ellis and Jorgan are on the way MT.  

(to be continued)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Walks and Road Trips

I collect rocks. When I walk along our country road before long I notice a lovely stone. I stop
and pick it up, turn it over in my hand and admire color, size, and shape then put it back in its spot. The other day after I walked away leaving the beautiful little pebble behind I suddenly thought, "I could save that one for my collection."

When I turned around and went back, carefully looking for my triangular bit of quartz it was gone.
So I chose another one and clasped it in my hand until I got home. I washed it and found a safe
place to display it.

(There is another story about finding a tiny piece of petrified wood written April 11, 2009.
Krysta and I tried to link it to this post with no success.)

Another fun thing to do is watch the clouds and imagine cloud animals floating overhead. This can be especially helpful on road trips across Montana. The sky is a beautiful blue and huge, puffy white clouds are constantly changing shapes. Elephants march across in front of the car then turn into other zoo animals before your eyes. Montana is our Big Sky Country.

Have fun exploring!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Stories and Shoes

Have you ever traveled over a road so many times that eventually it seems ingrained in your
mind? For the first twelve years of my life I rode with my family back and forth on Hwy 11
from Roseau to International Falls more times than could be counted . . . with many stops in
between. Our cousins lived between Roseau and Warroad . We drove to Roosevelt to visit grandparents. Our school was in Williams. The post office was in Graceton and our church was
there as well. We shopped in Baudette, and stopped at Clementson to see those falls on our way
to visit friends in Loman and International Falls.

Another way to remember a road in a special way is to listen to a book on cd while traveling. 
One summer we drove on Hwy 56 on the western edge of Montana listening to A Wrinkle in Time
or one of its sequels by Madeleine L'Engle. I can still see the mountains, trees and the river winding beside the road.

The most recent adventure was traveling on Hwy 17 from Sault Sainte Marie to Espanola, Ontario, Canada. It was dark. It was raining. Sometimes the rain was coming fast and furious and we couldn't see the road. Of all the stretches of road to drive at night in the pouring rain and at the same time listen to A Series of Unfortunate Events by Daniel Handler, better known by his pen name, Lemony Snicket, this road seemed made for the occasion. Some day I would like to drive on it when the sun shines and go a tad slower.

When we got to Espanola we found a motel that was open and had vacancies. After we hauled in the luggage and got comfortable I asked Krysta to take a picture of our shoes. She thought it was a weird thing to do, but she took the picture with rumblings about, "You really need to get your own camera."

It seemed even more strange to Krysta to move that picture to my blog at 11:30 Saturday night. We weren't really going to post it, just get it ready for a blog post at a later date.

That's the mystery. I thought I simply saved the picture. Instead I touched the button to publish it. Sorry to keep you in suspense.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Help! I Can't Hear Anymore

The other day I had a chance to experience deafness. This isn't the first time of course.
How many times have people mumbled so I couldn't hear them? I thought they said
something completely different then I replied with a totally irrelevant answer and felt
knee high to an ant afterwards. Countless times!

But getting back to the other day - Krysta asked me to listen to a song on YouTube -
"Give Me Your Eyes" written by Jason Ingram. We listened to the song and watched
the video that went with it. I noticed immediately that I could not understand all the words.
Krysta said she would print off the lyrics for me when were done listening.
(There is just something about holding paper in my hands and reading the words while
people sing that helps my hearing a great deal.)

So I am listening to the song. The video is filmed in an airport. There is a picture of a man
dressed in a black suit and a red tie. I heard these words, "Lassoed with a bright red tie."
I started to giggle. It struck my funny bone. Krysta looked puzzled but I didn't explain right
away because we wanted to get the message of the song.

At last the song was over. Krysta showed me the words. My eyes scanned down the page
searching for the words about the red tie. Here they are:
"There is a man just to her right  Black suit and a bright red tie"
I pointed to this line and commented to Krysta,
"These words aren't the same as they sang on the video/"

"I think they are," she said. "What do you see that's different?"

"I didn't hear them say black suit."

"What did you hear them say then?" Krysta asked.

"They said, 'Lassoed with a bright red tie,' I said, emphatically.

We will here draw a curtain over the next scene that involves Krysta laughing hysterically
at her elderly, deaf mother. 

This episode reminded me of a huge eye ball we saw in a park in Chicago one year.
I think we were told that a high pitched sound was being played near this area to keep
young people from loitering. A sound that older people can no longer hear, but is very
annoying for young ears. Don't quote me on this. I am still checking with others who were
there to find out if my memory is failing me and this is just a figment of my imagination.

                         ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And now I am losing things as well. We needed passports for our trip to Canada.
I called Jorgan to make sure he has his passport because it wasn't in the safe with ours.
"And by the way - do you have your birth certificate?" I asked.

He had his passport but after looking through his stuff he called to say he can't find the
birth certificate. He remembers that I was carrying it in my purse for awhile when he got
his license updated when he turned 21 or something like that . . .

I looked and looked. Then I thought I might as well just go to the court house and get him
another one. The price has doubled  since 20 years ago when we got his official birth cert so
we could get his passport so we could go to Haiti to visit my sister in 1997. I filled out
some paper work then the nice gal said it would be just a minute or two. She came back
and said, "The father's name is not on this birth certificate."

I didn't understand what she was talking about and must have looked dumb. She repeated
herself and said it will cost $40.00 to have his name added. I said, "It was on the one we lost."
"Are you sure?" she asked. Then - "Were you married when Jorgan was born?"

"Yes, I was married. Jorgan is our fourth child. His dad's name is on the decorative birth certificate that the hospital gives." I pulled that out to show her. She gave me a phone number to call. I decided not to get the birth certificate yet. I am hoping I can find the first one. I never throw anything away. How can it be lost?

The worn out cliché is still true. Growing old is not for sissies.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Birch Trees


Our lone birch tree died. It was too shaded by huge maple trees.

(The yellow-bellied sapsuckers didn't help it either.)

Ellis cut it down along with a tall pine tree that was also in the shade.

Yesterday we were in Rochester returning lumber to Home Depot
                        and attending a pancake brunch.
I mentioned to Ellis that Krysta and I talked about giving him a
    birch tree for a combination Father's Day / birthday gift.
We pulled into Hy-Vee to mail some packages and looked at their selection
of trees. They had lots of trees and a sign declaring shrubs and trees were 30% off.
                       But would there be any birch trees?
We found a choice of three tubs each with three - four little birch trees in a clump.
What fun to walk down a row of baby trees with the leaves rustling all around my ears.

We decided to think about it while we went to our friends' back yard pancake brunch.
Since we parked a block away we strolled along the side walk and would you believe it?
There was a clump of birch trees in a yard we passed by. There was a low retaining wall
around them with river pebbles at the base of the trees and an assortment of shade loving
perennials growing. Now I can't even think what kind of flowers because I was looking at
the trees. That's what was wrong with our poor tree. There should have been a clump of birch trees together. Instead, whoever planted it 40+ years ago planted only one.
But it had lived a long life in company with the maple trees, pine tree and
lilac bushes in our front yard.

Now I think Krysta and I have just made a lot of work for Ellis by purchasing
a clump of birch trees for his Father's Day / birthday gift.
Oh the things we do to keep him young and agile!

* These pictures were found on Google Images.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Pillows in the Chicken Pen

By Dawn Harshbarger

“Mom, what do you think of this one?” Krysta and I were shopping for shirts for Jorgan,
her older brother. She held up a gray T shirt with green words printed across the front.
They framed a picture of evergreen trees and a row of tents.
The words were: CAMPING IS IN-TENTS.

“Camping is in-tents,” I said out loud, trying to get the hidden meaning that escaped me.
I repeated the phrase softly to myself and then burst out laughing at the mischievous look on Krysta’s face. We both caught on at the same time. 
My mind went back over forty plus years of camping.
I remembered late nights and mosquitoes.
Sometimes setting up a tent in the dark with tired children doing their best to help
brings out the worst in parents. Or it may help them find strengths they didn’t know they had.
The word “intense” fails to capture all the drama in those situations but it comes close.

Now I’m getting ahead of my story.  Many years ago my family lived in Northern Minnesota
in Lake of the Woods county.  Our address was Graceton which was only a wide spot in the
road. There was a post office and a church on one side of the road. Across the road and over
the railroad tracks was an old depot. The trains never stopped there anymore. They just blew
shrill whistles and zoomed by.
There were four girls in our family and they were named Dawn, Ladina, Trenda and Maria.
Every summer my dad took us fishing on Lake of the Woods. When I turned ten we started a
new adventure, camping. Dad had purchased a tent at a reduced rate from a company in Indiana that made pop up campers. The tent had no floor because it was designed for a camper trailer.

Dad was a carpenter. He could build just about anything. He took a tape measure and a saw
and cut boards with notches at just the right spots and cut the boards to just the right lengths to support the tent. The trailer had two plywood boards that folded out to make two double beds. There it sat, perched in the air, supported by steel poles at four corners with a little trailer in the middle, looking like a canvas house on stilts. We girls loved that tent. We begged to sleep in it any chance we could.

One hot summer day we had permission to sleep in the tent all by ourselves. This was long before personal computers that tell you a storm is heading your way. (Expect rain in gushing torrents in one hour with wind gusts of 40 - 50 miles an hour.) We settled down for a slumber party unaware what was headed our way. I was probably eleven, Ladina was ten, Trenda eight and Maria five going on six.
The hens in the chicken pen clucked good night to each other. Robins sang their evening songs as they hopped around on the newly mown lawn, looking for the last worm of the day. I don’t know how long we slept but sometime in the middle of the night thunder crashed. We shivered under the blankets. Lightening, zig zagging across the sky was visible through the screen windows. The wind was whipping around the corners of the tent. 

Maria sat up. “I’m scared!”
Trenda wriggled around and popped her head out from under the covers. “Let’s go in.”

Ladina said, “I think it’s a bad storm. We should go to the house.”
I said, “Oh, come on. Let’s not be babies. We can stay out here! It’s not that bad!”

Just then there was another clap of thunder and another flash of lightening.
There was a patter of rain on the roof of the tent.
A gust of wind hit the side wall. 

Maria cried. 
Trenda jumped out of bed.
Ladina said, “I’m going in!”
Before I could protest Ladina unzipped the tent door.
Trenda got out and helped Maria down the steps.
Ladina grabbed a pillow and slipped out.
I shrugged my shoulders then climbed out too, zipping the door behind me.

We four girls flew across the lawn. But no matter how fast we ran sheets of rain
drenched us before we got to the house. The wind slammed the screen door shut
behind us. The storm raged outside the house. Windows rattled. The evergreen trees
in the wind break bent over in the wind. We were safe and warm inside the house.

Dad and Mom came into the kitchen as we rushed in.
“This is a bad storm. I’m glad you came in!” Dad said, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.
Before we had a chance to snuggle into our beds a violent gust of wind tore a patch of
shingles and tar paper off the roof. The next instant it seemed an enormous hand was
pouring water from a gigantic pitcher into our living room. Fortunately, the living room
was a step down from the dining room so the whole house didn’t get wet.

The storm soon passed and rain water stopped flowing into the house.
Mom made floor beds for us in the dry part of the house while Dad started moving books
and furniture to higher ground. We went to sleep knowing that our parents were working
together to figure out a solution for this huge dilemma.

The next morning roosters crowing woke us to a rain splashed world.
We ran outside to see what had become of the tent. The plywood beds
were twisted and the tent had come loose from one of the corners. Our blankets
were strewn across the yard. Our pillows were in the chicken pen.

“Look what would have happened to us if we had stayed out here,” Maria said.
We all shuddered at the thought.

This was the beginning of my camping adventures. I saw firsthand how my parents
set out to solve the problems that storm brought to them. Dad fixed the roof on the house.
He made the tent as good as new. Together, Dad and Mom sorted through soggy belongings
and got the house in order again. They didn’t let this disaster keep our family from many hours
of traveling across the U.S. and Canada, pulling our little camper trailer behind us.









Tuesday, May 10, 2016


I like quotes.
They are written on scraps of paper all over the house.
When I remember one and want to use it I can't find it.
Then days or weeks or months later it shows up.
 - Usually in a book doubling as a book marker.

Here is the quote I looked for when I wrote about the sun rise.

If your efforts are sometimes greeted with indifference,
                                 don't lose heart -
                      the sun puts on a wonderful
                              show at daybreak,
                      yet most of the people in the
                        audience go on sleeping.
                                                                 - Edu Francisco Teixeira

Here's another one.

Life is not a final,
It's daily pop quizzes.
                 - Ann Crittenden
 (I found these quotes in an old Reader's Digest but failed to write the month and year.)

Krysta and I have been taking a writing class.
One evening a week . . .
This doesn't excuse the long silence but partly explains it.
A story is coming . . .

Have a good evening!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

March . . . Lion or Lamb

I totally forgot to mention that yesterday's post was a bunch of random thoughts
all jumbled together. You already figured that out by now.

Random thot's continued . . .

When March comes around each year I start thinking about spring and flowers
and birds and mud.  In MN there could be a blizzard or two, snow blowers,
shovels and snowmen.
       We never know.

Or there could be tornadoes instead like the year Krysta was born.

Krysta's birthday comes near the end of March.
Eighteen years ago 16 tornadoes caused tremendous damage in MN and WI.
Ellis and I were in the hospital waiting for Krysta's arrival.
We saw the news about the storms. Then we heard from our family in MT
that Ellis's dad had pneumonia.

Grandpa Harshbarger hung on for a few more days.
Krysta was not quite 2 weeks old when we drove
to Coalridge to say Good-bye.

I remember people asking me if Krysta was ok.
They never heard her cry and thought something must be wrong with her.
She learned to use her lungs later on - believe me!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Bird Song, Coffee and Prize Coffee Cake

There's nothing quite like hearing a cardinal sing outside the window in the early
morning. It was still dark so I couldn't see the red bird but I could hear him
and the wind chimes that hang close to the bird feeder.

This happened Sunday morning when I was scurrying around making coffee
and Prize Coffee Cake for Krysta's *going on a grand adventure*.  Krysta was
getting ready to fly to India to visit friends and help with renovations at an orphanage.

When we are celebrating special moments like that this is the cake we make. If by any chance
Esther Mae Kauffman is reading she might recognize this recipe. She gave it to me many years
ago. (I added the Streusel Topping and cut down on the sugar in the cake.)

Prize Coffee Cake

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening (butter or margarine works too)
Cream together until fluffy
Add 2 eggs
1 cup milk
Mix all together

Dry ingredients:
3 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Mix together. Pour into greased 9x13 cake pan.

I cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 T. cinnamon (more or less to taste)
Splash of vanilla
6 T. Butter
Cut the butter into the mixture with pastry cutter
Sprinkle over the cake evenly.
Bake at 350 for 35-40 min.

While that is baking let's go back to the birds.
When Ellis and I got married I could name a few birds
       and match them up with their pictures.

Blue Bird
Blue Jay
Redheaded Woodpecker

Except for the Crow and the Blue Jay I wouldn't have recognized their songs.

(There was one bird my family listened to up north and it was easy to identify by it's song
. . .  the whippoorwill)

When we got married I started on a life long hobby of matching birds with their songs.
We've been feeding the birds for a few years and enjoy quite a variety at our bird feeder.
This year two pesky squirrels have taken over the feeder. They can be a pain.

If you want to follow Krysta's adventure go to:

Friday, February 12, 2016

Prairie Sunrise

How many people have tried to capture sunrises on paper?
With either paints or words it seems like an impossible task.
You just have to be there.

Was it Emily's teacher who told her to let the sun rise
without trying to describe it in paragraphs a yard long?
I need to read L.M.Montgomery's book - Emily of New Moon -
again and find that little tidbit.

The other day traveling north on a frozen winter morning just at sunrise
gave me a feeling of being in the center of a huge up-side-down
stoneware bowl. This bowl was blue washed with winter white.
A pale pink rim circled the edge.
I looked to the right and to the left and even in the rear view mirror.
It was all the same everywhere I looked.
Before long I saw the faintest yellow tinges
bordering the east side.

I could also see the windmill farm: tall, white, motionless statues.
Only two were moving their arms in gigantic circles . . .
      the others were all frozen in place.

More and more yellow showed at the edge of the world.
Because I was driving north I didn't see the exact moment the sun
showed it's face. I got a peep of a copper colored sliver of sunshine
then I had to concentrate on my driving.

Suddenly the sun was up and I was driving north on a fantastically
beautiful sparkly day.

For a great description of another sunrise read Laura Ingalls Wilder's
in On The Banks of Plum Creek. Mary and Laura are taking the cow
to pasture in the early morning. She describes birds and dew covered
grasses tickling bare toes.

Psalm 19 
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Gertie and Esmerelda

Krysta misses out on the fun. A couple weeks ago Ellis and I hurried in to Hog Slat
early in the morning. We had to unload boxes out of our two cars. We used them for
delivery vehicles over the week end.

Ellis pulled "Gertie," into the back bay to unload.
(I don't know how the green car got that name.
The white Ford is Esmerelda.
Again I don't know how this happened.)
I was in the office working on the computer.
I heard Ellis calling in a quite loud, panicked voice,
"Dawn, where are the keys for the car?"

Oh the sinking sensation!
All the smart aleck remarks that came rushing to my head!
Then he asked, "Where is the spare set of keys?"

The truth is I don't know where the extra set is. One day I put them in my purse in the car.
They have never seen the light of day since. I thought they must have slipped under the seat
but no matter how often I've looked they remained missing.

Ellis drove over to Derrick's to ask for advice.

I found my little flash light from Yoder's Construction. This was another exercise in
standing on my head, flashing the light all around and what do you think? There was a set
of keys under the passenger seat just where I had dropped them months before.

I grabbed them, dashed around to the trunk, unlocked it and opened it and there were the
keys on a ledge just where Ellis had laid them.

By that time Ellis was back looking very gloomy.
"Derrick says try taking the back seat out."

What a change in his expression when I dangled both sets of keys in front of his eyes!
Happy Days!

Monday, February 1, 2016

All Things New

A lot of times I am ten days to two weeks (try a month) behind when it comes to writing
what's happened in our lives.  Christmas vacation was lovely. It went too fast, but that is normal.

This year we rented the township hall and invited the young folks from church
to a taffy pull on New Year's Eve. Ellis and I asked some friends our age to come
too. And some friends younger than us . . . Their oldest daughter is the same age
as our youngest daughter.  It was a nice mix of people.

We played games, cooked two pans of taffy, poured the taffy on buttered cookie trays
to let it cool, then everyone washed their hands, buttered their hands and pulled taffy.
It really does turn ivory colored. We had some experts in the group who showed us how
to get in the rhythm. (Here is where some pictures of the evening should be inserted.)

There were finger foods to eat and coffee, hot chocolate and lemonade to choose from to
either stay awake or quench your thirst.  Many table games were being played all around
the room while two groups prepared skits using random items hastily put together by me.

We had a short time of prayer together then rang in the New Year with bells. Krysta
rounded up bells from our collection and used them for decorations on the tables. 

Our township hall is a lovely old building that's been renovated.
Imagine stepping into an entryway.

Steep, narrow stairs descend to a dark basement on the right.
A combination of smells waft around as you turn to the left and step back in time.

Fortunately they saved the original wood floor. 
We walked on a floor that was installed 100 years ago. 

The ceiling is metal with designs in it.  It has been painted white. 

The windows are long with beautiful wood framing them.

Before the festivities, Deanne, Krysta and I swooped some brooms around
and swabbed down the surfaces with Mr. Clean . . .
 we ran a trap line - removed a mouse and reset mouse traps . . .

then lit some candles and moved in some decorations.

We might be on to a new tradition for us.

Someone has to keep taffy pulling from becoming a lost art.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Snow Mobile Trail

 This morning our little Ford Focus tried to be a snow mobile. Krysta and I were driving to my mom's house. Without thinking I took a wrong turn in town.

I said,"Oh, what was I thinking?"

I turned to the left then got ready to turn left again a couple blocks later. Krysta said, "Go straight ahead! See that road!"

It looked like a road. I kept driving straight ahead. All went well for a block or so. It soon became obvious . . . I was on the snow mobile trail!

"This is the snow mobile trail! I yelped. "Not the road!"

I stopped and backed up. Somewhere along the way I got off the tracks.

We called Ellis. He didn't answer. We called the store where he was going to eventually
meet a customer. We got the answering machine and yelled a message just to be sure he
could hear from the back office.

What did we do before cell phones?

We would have had a long walk.

Ellis called back. We told him the dilemma. He laughed. He brought the four wheel drive pick-up
and a tow rope. I like a tow rope and a four wheel drive pick-up in the snow.

Krysta and I were grateful beyond words.

We went on our way rejoicing!

I hope the guys on snow mobiles won't be too mad.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Luke 1:46 - 55

46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,

47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden:

    for, behold,

        from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things;
        and holy is his name.

50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.

51 He hath shewed strength with his arm;

        he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats,

        and exalted them of low degree.

53 He hath filled the hungry with good things;
       and the rich he hath sent empty away.

54 He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;

55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

Every December I try to memorize these verses. 
Today I read about God's promise to Abraham when he was called
to leave what was comfortable and familiar and go to a new country.

January 2016,  might feel like a new beginning . . .
     leaving what is comfortable and familiar.
          God is with us in the New Year.

Psalm 150

 Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary:
     praise him in the firmament of his power.
Praise him for his mighty acts:
     praise him according to his excellent greatness.
Praise him with the sound of the trumpet:
     praise him with the psaltery and harp.
Praise him with the timbrel and dance:
     praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
Praise him upon the loud cymbals:
     praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord.
     Praise ye the Lord.