About Me

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Within the confines of this blog, you will find bits and pieces of the life and times of myself, my family and friend dear and near., far and wide, few and far between. You will find bits and pieces of my world, tho small to some, but huge to me. You will find everything from 'soup to nuts',; recipes, hobbies,crafts, gardenings,loves of my life, GrandLoves-a-Plenty, and even my pets... Sooo, if you can handle family life, enjoy the tour of my 'Stuffings'.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Seven Years Ago

I come across these pictures of one of our last Great Rainfall Years.
My sunflowers and squash grew leaps and bounds 7 years ago.
We are getting desperate for rain. Our water table is so low, that another year of drought will surly be devastating to the area. The trees are showing signs of stress, the ground is powder, and we can only pray it rains, rains, rains, and rains some more. How dry is it? Well, the old-timer down the road says the frogs are lining up at the pump for a drip and the creek is only running every other day. That's dry.
This sunflower towered 12 feet, saluting the sky. Praise the Lord.
The sunflower on the left is well over 16 ft. tall. My son is 6'6", to give prospective. It's been many a year since we have had a good crop of winter squash.
So, be a love, and pray for rain for us up north in the mid-WI. The southern part of the state does not seem to be doing as badly, but the rest of us are in need of a lot of praying to dampen things a bit. We will take all the moisture we can get. Our new well will get a real work-out watering my gardens this year. Let's hope it's deep enough to last til the drought has passed.
Enough of my griping, but I was just thinking of the gardening we need to do to sustain the shelves and freezers with this wonderful economy we are in. We shall reap what we sow., and be glad of it. We would love to have our spirits 'dampened.'
Bless Your Hearts and Have a Prosperous Year

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dandelion Bed in Highlands

Meet Windy. Doesn't she look like Spring in her bed of Dandys? This picture was taken by www.highlandphotos.net. Please check out this wonderful site of my daughters.

My daughter, Darcie, has had a true love of horses since she played 'Pin the Tail on the Horse'. She HAD to have a horse, not a donkey, when she was just 5 years old, for her Pin the Tail on the Donkey game, at her birthday party.
Her love was seen in her drawings. I saved them and just a few years ago, I made a wall quilt of the drawings, for her by transferring them onto fabric. Surprise!

Her first horse was actually an auction error...on my part. I was at a horse auction with my brother Doug, talking away, 'with my hands', while he was wanting to pay more attention to the auction than I actually was. When the auctioneer said, "SOLD to number 257" and looked our direction, we started to look all over for who the lucky owner of this cute white Shetland Pony was. I backed away from my brother aways, leaned back, cleared my throat, whispering to him and pointing at the numbered card in his shirt pocket, sheepishly said, "Um, Doug, That's YOUR NUMBER." Well, he immediately said, "YOU, Go to the other side of the arena, sit on your hands, and don't even look at me!" I didn't go to the other side of the arena, but I DID sit on my hands. I guess you could say that ,as I said in my Twins post yesterday, THAT was one of the times Doug would just as soon have 'punched' my teeth out.
Needless to say, Darcie was surprised to see a pony of her very own waiting in the old coop when she got home from school that day. If memory serves me, she was about 9 yrs. old. She named him Honey, who was the sweetest little guy. Bill was concerned that Darcie would take care of him about a week and newness would soon wear off once she found out she would have to get up and take care of her horse before school. I told him that it would either last two weeks or the rest of her life.
Not once all through school and then her first Arabian,that she bought with her own money, did she complain. The horses were always tended to before she even ate her breakfast. I was pretty proud of her., well, maybe, except the time she and her girlfriend tried to bring Honey in the house.
She joined 4-H, entering her King at the fair each summer, went on many trail rides and competed whenever, wherever, and with whomever would take her with. She learned much independence with those horses, as well as responsibility and respect. We were concerned that she would show no interest in anything that would see her through life. As she entered college, she became a graphic artist, but, big surprise, most of her art was horses, nagging away at her.
Her love lasted a lifetime. She created her own business, via internet combining horses and her love of photography. She doesn't have time to show her own horses at the time, raising 2 little boys, running a business and chasing her dream. She is on the road weekends and sometimes weekly, taking photo after photo, at shows throughout several states, fairs, anything equestrian., her favorites, of course, the Arabians.
Below is a picture of Darcie with her Windy, the filly in the dandelions. Notice, my daughter sports the same mane as her horse. When this picture was taken, she just had gotten a foot cut off her hair and donates to Locks of Love.
Do you think I am proud of my Lil' One?....You bet I am!! (((HUGS)))
Take a look at the wonderful photography she does on her website at www.highlandphotos.net. She would love a visit from you anytime.

So proud to be MoM
Bless Each and Every One of You
Happy Spring

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Twins

Meet Douglas Wayne (Doug) and Darla Suzanne (Dar)
Aren't we just the cutest 'widdo darlins'
Mom and her twins ...
Dad holding his angels
Portrait time! Don't you just love that little bunny in her hand,? and check out those shoes and the toothless grins!
Speaking of toothless, Doug was always happy to slam the door that held one end of the string that was tied to the my tooth. What a helpful brother.
Their Senior High School Portrait
Off to war he goes and was she ever scared for him. Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, all part of the package deal in the late 60's and early 70's.
Thanks God, our prayers were answered. We have lived many years as twins, right down to knowing what each other is thinking, physically feeling each others pain, and crying together. We will be celebrating our 60th birthday this summer, and are still there for each other. This last picture was taken at our parents 50th Anniversary over 13 yrs. ago. We haven't changed much in looks so this picture is legal as an update...LOL..however, we also still have the same receding hairline we had as babes...so there you go. Doug and I, the 'O' twins of 1950 still going strong on fun through it all. Life is good.
God Bless Your Day and Smile

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Breakfast Birds? and Change

The trees were full of songs this morning. I opened my eyes and just out my bedroom window, the top of the trees were full of goldfinches, purple finches and chickadees. They were having a breakfast of chokecherry buds. Those not eating were singing all about spring being well on its way.Who doesn't love this time of year when the trees are budding, the flowers slowly poking their noses through the yet cold earth. It won't be long and the whole yard will be ablaze in bright floral colors , green, green grass everywhere, trees leafing out, birds making their nests, babies of all kinds of the woods being born and shown off by their proud parents. I can't wait to see the first fawns of the season. There are always families of them born in my woods at the edge of the lawn. So much to look forward to. Life is good.

Our family is going through so many changes too, this spring already. It's going to be another good year.

God Bless You Another Day

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


We have always been a 'hugging' family, so this was so fitting for our home.
One day when my youngest son was just a teenager, he came home from school, hugged me, and gave me this paper to read. He asked if I could frame it and hang it up for all to see. Of course I would, and it has been hanging in our house ever since.
Some of you may have already read this but here it is for all to hold close.


Hugging is healthy.
It helps the body's immunity system.
It keeps you healthier, cures depression, reduces stress, induces sleep, is invigorating, rejuvenating and has no unpleasant side effects.
Hugging is nothing less than a miracle drug.
Hugging is all natural. It is organic, naturally sweet, no pesticides, no preservatives, no artificial ingredients and 100 % wholesome.

Hugging is practically perfect.
There are no movable parts, no batteries, no wear out, no periodic check-ups, low energy consumption, high energy yield, inflation-proof, not fattening, no monthly payments, no insurance requirements, theft-proof, non-taxable, non-polluting and , of course,
Fully Returnable.

So here a huge ((((HUG)))) for each and every one of you.
Have a blessed day.

Monday, March 22, 2010

From Sap to Maple Syrup

                                            It's Maple Syrup Season once again. 

 This story is from a couple yrs. ago, but the content continues each year as we make Pure 100% Maple Syrup again this year.  The only difference this season is that we still have a couple feet of snow in the woods, the trails are a mess but the process continues.  Today, we canned our first batch of pure goodness in the amount of 18 quarts.
Enjoy what we do for entertainment after a terribly long winter, plus what we do for our GrandLoves~like school out of school.  Maybe, someday, they will follow tradition that has been handed down in our family for the past 4 generations, or more.  Enjoy the journey!

Every spring in the north to northeast, the maple syrup you pour over your pancakes, waffles, ice cream, is being produced. Some families, such as ours, makes maple syrup by the gallons to supply the family table as well as to sell to you. This year, that job is being undertaken at my nephew's place under the close supervision of his wife. Everyone seems to get in the act tho, whether to gather the sap, or just wait for hours and watch it cook and evaporate from sap to syrup.Don't be fooled by a label that says 100% maple syrup. By law, 100 % can have as much as 60% corn syrup added and still be called PURE. What goes into these jars, IS 100 % PURE, with NO additives. You have not had the pleasure of real maple syrup until you have tasted 100% PURE with that beautiful amber color and thinner consistency.
It all starts at the maple tree, tapped with a metal tap that allows the sap to drip, one drip at a time, into a bucket hanging from the tap. Depending on the weather, best being warm days, cool nights, the sap fills the pails. Sometimes the pails need to be emptied twice a day or more, on perfect days.
My nephew uses his tractor fitted with a hydraulic lift that carries a 100 gallon stock tank. The sap is poured through its first filter before going into the tank.
Once the stock tank is full, it is siphoned into the 250 gallon holding tank which feeds the sap by copper tubing, into the warming pan inside of the sap shack.
Most home operations, do not have the convenience of a nice sap shack as this one that houses the working end of making maple syrup. The next step is to fire up the cooker with firewood.
The warming pan is where the sap makes its first run before entering the cooking pan. It sits at one end of the fire warming the sap until at least 80 degrees. The warmer the sap, the faster the cook-off. To give prospective, it takes 15 min. to drip one inch of sap from a 50 gal. drum, so imagine how long it takes to drop an inch from a 250 gal. holding tank.
At first there is much steam, evaporation. The copula fan on the roof is whirling its best as the steam rises. This whole operation sits table height off the floor built into a brick oven, open at the top. The stainless steel sap pan sits directly on top of the flames.
During the cooking process, lots of skimming of sap scum is spooned off the top. This helps to produce a clear product and is done repeatedly.
Of course, no cooking operation can escape the 'spoon' test. Once the sap thickens into syrup, it will drip slowly from the spoon. Actually, this is the 'excuse' stage, to taste-test the syrup.
Grandma, Mom, gets to stir things up. She just can't help herself. Afterall, SHE is the Real Supervisor, having made maple syrup the past 40 some years for our family of eleven. A wooden spoon is used to slowly stir at least once....cause Grandma says. What good cook could resist? Another excuse to taste...
Back to the business end. The fire has to be tended often to maintain a constant cooking temperature. The fire is hot and deep at 20 inches of coals the length of the 2x6 foot pan with 8 inch walls. It gets raked back, shoveled back and re-stoked over and over for the next couple of days until the holding tank is empty.
20 inches of hot coals, 2 feet wide by 6 feet deep
The young supervisor watches hubby measure the depth of the sap to see how much it has evaporated before cook-off is complete.Meanwhile, hot sap, beginning to turn amber in color, smelling wonderful of hot syrup, boils away. During the waiting and waiting and waiting, lots of sap coffee, bean soup, and cakes are consumed by all.
The cooking continues until the syrup reaches 217 degrees, comes to a rolling boil, the steam dissipates, and it's time to 'pull the pan.' Timing is everything.Pulling the pan of boiling hot syrup off of a red hot bed of coals and fire can be tricky. This 2x6 foot pan takes four strong, steady people to carefully guide the pan off the fire and onto a waiting table. The fire is then covered by the fella in the back, with a sheet of tin that keeps the flames from getting away. Safety first.
The spigot on the end of the pan is opened and PURE liquid gold comes pouring out. A quick taste is caught in a cup for all to taste. The drip on the edge of the cup proves a success. The syrup is again filtered through a cloth liner and a wool filter system of bags before emptying into a 25 gallon can.
My nephew in the center is so satisfied with the success of this batch as Grandma gives approval. It sure was delicious.One more time before it goes into the canning jars and syrup jugs, it gets filtered again to produce clear, beautiful liquid gold, as we call it.
So it goes, with the 'old fashioned' way of making maple syrup for your family. It's time consuming, a love-hate relationship between the product and the producer. Sometimes, you are up in the middle of the night to stoke fires and check progress. Sometimes the fire is let to go out and restarted in the morning. All good things come to those who wait., right?
The Big operations are using pipelines, pump systems, barometric pressure, automatic everything, etc. etc. etc., to make their job easier. A whole other story. Nuff Said.

Hope you all enjoyed what we did over the weekend. It was SWEET.
God Bless

Friday, March 19, 2010

Yesterday's Gone

Yesterday we were blessed with such a beautiful sunrise,
Today is a fright. I fear it is going to be a gloomy day.
I do love this picture taken through my bathroom window.
It looks warmer than anything I feel today.
The house just does not want to warm up.

Yesterday, also blessed me with my first sighting of a bluebird scout checking out his box of last year. He spent a good share of the morning just sunning himself, then left. I'm sure he went to get his 'sweetie', to let her know that they should wait another week or so because of the cold front coming in and promising even more snow by the weekend. Let's hope that is not so.Until next time, have a warm, sunny, weekend. I will be keeping the fire stoked.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Out of Hibernation

We are hoping for a less damaging spring with our neighbors, the North American Black Bear. The grey bird feeder lying on its roof, has an iron pole next to it with threading, that the bear twisted and turned until he actually broke the threading and rendering it un-usable.
The green metal squirrel-proof feeder is missing its pole. We never did find where the bear took it. The broken bird bath on the left was on the ground. The other birdbath base, is the only thing left. Notice the iron pole that secured it in the ground is bent.
Yet another bent pole and broken feeder. A hungry bear can be very damaging to feeders in the spring, especially just out of hibernation.
Be 'Beary' careful out there.
It's that time of year again. This was last springs 'black bear bender' from a big boy of about 450-500 lbs. Needless to say, the car went 'no where'.
This is the young fella, a yearling around 150 lbs., that did all the damage to my feeders in '07. I set up a trail camera off the steps of my deck to get this picture of 'who came to dinner.'
The Black Bear of North America are officially out of hibernation.
The weather has been unseasonably warm, about a month ahead of itself, in our area. Due to this, the black bear are out of their dens and moving throughout their terrain, in search of food, water, salt, whatever they can find to sustain themselves after a long winters nap. Time to carry the bird feeders in each night. I have lost many a feeder and poles due to them carrying them off or bending and biting them to get after the seeds within.

Unfortunately, this also means that they travel across many of the same roads that we travel on. At night, unless you see their eyes while they walk ,head down, you do not see them until they are directly in front of you. Even the smaller bear can do a considerable amount of damage to a vehicle and its passengers.

So, be careful out there as you travel to and fro, day or night, as the black bear are active once again. Don't forget to take your feeders in at night. And... Happy trails to you until we meet again.
Bless Your Day

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Green, Rise n' Shine, Kite

In anticipation of spring gardening, my GrandLove would hang on the fence last year waiting his turn at getting in and helping with the planting...eventually he figured out how to crawl underneath the mesh fencing.Top of the Morn to ya....wake up and...
Let's go fly a kite...
That's it folks...been too miserable with a spring cold to be much company...
God Bless and Stay Healthy

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Absent Minded and Bibs

Guess who's coffee was an hour early? And guess who, after posting to Spring forward, forgot?
All has been corrected and I didn't even loose any sleep over it. My 'old timer' neighbor calls every morning to let me know he's still kicking. He says, he never turns his clocks cause he would just have to do it again in the fall...good point Gene. I asked him if he was ever worried about being on time for his appointments? and he says, I'm always early in the summer and on time in the winter...LOL Those old fellers sure know what they're talking about. He says it's them there city edumacated folks that don't know no better. Nuff said., like my Dad used to always say when he heard enough.

Now about this lil' scrapper. His attire is the subject of the hour. My little grandson is sporting a pair of his absolute favorite bib overalls. They are camo 'just like Daddy's', he says.
Now, who doesn't love them.? They speak comfort from the shoulder to the ankle and who can argue with that. Nothing binding, always pockets to hide lil' things like Matchbox cars and trucks, a licorice whip, rocks, crackers for later, crayons for marking the spot and a toy hammer, just in case Grandpa needs help. Or shades in a pocket just in case Daddy wants to take a ride on the 4-wheeler, he will be prepared.

Or bibs for the big people who need plenty of breathing room, and pockets. Pockets for garden tools and seed, camera and pad and pencil to mark the seed trails. Seeds to be planted go in the left pocket. Right pocket holds the empty packets.
Pockets to carry change just in case you need to run into the Quicktrip for a soda for the road trip. Sunglasses have to be stored somewhere...front and center works for me.
Before I go, I have to share what happened here. Little Sis Colleen looking at Bill and myself, were getting ready one TX. morning, she for work, myself for the road trip home to WI. after a perfect visit. She was down the hall coming out of her bedroom, and I was coming out of the guest room just at the same time. Keep in mind now, that all week, my youngest son who was with on this trip, was getting pretty freaked out as to how many times, we would finish each others sentences, pick up the exact same item from a distance apart while shopping to comment on it, read the same card off the greeting card rack,...well, you get the picture.
Anyway, come the morning to leave, and what should happen? but we both come out of the bedrooms at the same time with the same thing on. Now that's kinship. To this day, this still happens, not only with Colleen but also with Mel and Cher, and of course, my twin, Doug. Well, we don't wear the same clothes...anymore...another story, another time.

That's all folks, for today.
God Bless and Have a WONDERFUL Day....the Sun is Shining

Friday, March 12, 2010

It's Time

Time is here this weekend. Time to run around the house and change your clocks.
Spring forward.
Fall back.
What a ridiculous notion.
Heavens forbid, if the coffee perks an hour late.
I haven't changed the batteries in this ol' cabin clock for years. Who watches the time on R & R time?
This beauty came back from Germany in 1969. It still keeps time but not while 'wee fingers' can reach the chains.
These just need to be tossed.
My Little Ben, or replica, has been around for ages too. Does that mean it's time for this ol gal to admit she's about to become near ancient? No sir'ree.. I have at least 40 more yrs. to go if I'm going out at Grandma B's age of a month shy of 102.
This craftsmans mantel clock was carved by my uncles Grandfather over 100 yrs. ago. It reminds me of my cookoo clock. Pretty cool, huh?

Anyone living in my hometown, WI, is very familiar with this handsome clock. I have not heard its 'mark the hour' for over 20 some yrs. though. It sits on top of the papermill office. New ownership says they are going to get it fixed. It will be a beautiful day of celebration.With good intent, I will be turning my clocks ahead Sat. night. You all who live in the time zones that do the same, DON'T FORGET TO SPRING FORWARD!!!

Have a wonderful and blessed weekend.