Monday, March 27, 2017

Bleak March in NW Wisconsin

  When is shearing day? Sign me up!

I'm assuming that these ewes are gong to be lambing sometime in April. I don't know when their shearing date is, and no sheep wants to be without its coat during a March snowstorm, but these sheep look pretty eager to get rid of their coats.  

Amish farm

On Sunday, on the way home from church, we drove on a few backroads (which is pretty much any road), so I could show you what bleak March looks like in Wisconsin. If I had a better photo-editing program, I might have been able to do something with these, but we've a string of gray days and colorless landscape, so this is what I've got.

 This is a familiar sight: a weight limit sign on the side roads.

Evergreens and red barns are the only bright
spots in the monochromatic landscape.

We live in a lovely area of wooded, rolling hills. It's beautiful. 
But you'll want to visit Wisconsin in May, not March. 
It's much prettier with sunshine and GREEN.

May 2015


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Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Message About the Cross

'For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.   

For it is written, 

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe.  For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;  God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.  He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption in order that, as it is written, 

“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”'

                                                               I Corinthians 1:18-31

St. Felix Church,
Wabasha, Minnesota

Have a blessed Lord's Day.


Friday, March 24, 2017

The Shop Around The Corner

Barn near Turtle Lake, WI

We're getting several rainy, dreary days in a row, which always makes me realize how dependent I am upon sunshine. I guess it's a good thing I don't live in England or in the Pacific Northwest. I'm posting some odds and ends of photos, some of which some of you might have already seen.

I took this pic a few years ago when I was checking out the vintage country school I attended in first and second grades. As I was backing out of the driveway, suddenly there were two little goats who appeared to want to get into the car. No kidding, they chased me down the road about a quarter of a mile! And yes, when I was far enough ahead, I stopped to quickly get this photo before hopping back into the car and speeding off. I wanted these little creatures to go home, and not be out on the road where they could get hurt!

Blue skies and the old feed mill in Stillwater, Minnesota. A grain elevator (feed mill) has such a recognizable shape here in the upper midwest and all across the Great Plains.

In case anyone has a husband who isn't interested in accompanying them on a shopping spree, I guess this is Stillwater's answer to that problem. Actually, what I liked even more than the sign was the reflection of the buildings across the street. 

Smokey, getting equal screen time

Marcia, from Birds, Blooms, & Books blog, mentioned in a comment on my Wednesday's post that the movie 'You've Got Mail' is a remake of the old 'The Shop Around The Corner' with Jimmy Stewart. I hadn't known that, nor had I ever seen the Stewart movie. So yesterday, Smokey and I watched 'The Shop Around The Corner.' What a cute movie!  I do like the newer one better, especially because of the group hug with the dog at the end. Of course, Jimmy Stewart was wonderful, and I think that Margaret Sullavan was just as good as Meg Ryan in the role of the charmingly confused correspondent.

Smokey and I will have to watch 'You've Got Mail' to see if she agrees with me.

Some of my favorite scenes of London
and of course my table-top street map

 Thinking of London


Linking to:

Eileen's Saturday's Critters
Maggie's Mosaic Monday


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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mad As A Hatter Hodgepodge

Someone enjoys pulling books from the shelves!
Tommy's first step in learning to read

Join Joyce and the Gang

From this Side of the Pond

She writes the questions;
we write the answers.
Plug them into your own blog post
and join in!

1. Setting aside the real March Madness (NCAA Basketball) describe something happening at your house this month that might earn the title 'March Madness'?

This pretty much sums it up:

But the kittens surely have been a comfort
after losing our 17 year old Tuppence last week.

2. What's a favorite made up word from your childhood or a favorite from your children's childhood? Does your family still use the word today? If there's a story behind the origin please share.

I can't think of any cute, invented words from my childhood. We didn't have time for frivolity, struggling as we did to keep the family cave warm and the dinosaurs fed. But there are some in our extended family who had pretty cute words we all found amusing. One used 'Clo' as singular of 'clothes' and 'Santa Claw,' because he was an individual. Another used 'jamp' as past tense of 'jump,' and her family thought it was so cute that they never corrected her. She was in high school, really, high school, when she used it one day and was laughed at by the other kids. How embarrassing!

Shadows cast by late afternoon light
on my dancing cast iron cats.

3. Will you be doing any spring cleaning now that the season is upon us? I read here a list of 15 quick (under one hour) spring cleaning tasks. They were-

clean out a drawer, vacuum furniture, whiten tile grout, dust the nooks and crannies you don't get to year round, degrease kitchen cabinets, wipe down walls, go behind furniture, wipe down ceiling fans, vacuum the mattress, clean the range hood, wash baseboards, shine the stainless steel, clean out vents, tackle the windows, and wipe down gadgets

Of the fifteen 'quick' tasks listed which two most need doing at your house? Will you do them?

I've already been cleaning out drawers, and it's not a quick task, believe me. The windows desperately need to be washed, but I'm not making any commitment here. We'll see. It's a huge job. 
When I was a kid, we had a Norwegian neighbor lady who would coerce her husband and son into moving all the furniture out of their house and setting it on the lawn. NO KIDDING. Then she would proceed to scour the house from top to bottom before returning the furniture to the house. You'd drive past their farm and see all the furniture sitting out. It was so strange. Every spring it looked like they were holding an auction!

4. A favorite movie set in Paris or New York?
Two of my favorites!

I like so many Audrey Hepburn movies

I loved the group hug in the final scene of 'You've Got Mail.'

5. What's put a spring in your step this month?

The fact that there is currently NO SNOW on the ground has definitely put a spring in my step, or maybe it's my new New Balance shoes. They have a nice springy sole.

See? No snow!
6. Did you ever want to be a teacher? Why or why not?

I never wanted to be a teacher of other people's kids, but did homeschool our own kids for 21 years and loved it! Back in that day, however, it became a little tiresome to get the old refrain, 'But what about their social development??' as though we were keeping them chained in a dungeon. Besides teaching the basics, homeschooling provides so many opportunities for field trips, kids pursuing personal interests, interacting with people of all ages, etc. etc. So yes, I did want to be a teacher. And no, I didn't want to deal with other people's disciplinary problems.

I wonder how many kids have
great memories of times on the school bus.

7.  What's your favorite floral scent? Do you have this somewhere in your home or maybe in a perfume? How do you feel about florals in food? How about wines with floral notes-yay or nay?

My favorite floral scent is probably honeysuckle. I do have it in my home, in my soap room, as a matter of fact! I like lavender (an herb, not a floral, but you know...) in scones, and I like nasturtium blossoms on a salad because they're pretty. I don't have a lot of experience with wine. I can't get past the headache.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

The late afternoon sun these days is very revealing. Especially after burning wood all winter, the house needs a good cleaning. I wonder if Mr. C. would want to carry all the furniture out onto the yard so I could give this house a thorough scrubbing (see #3 above).

They like me; they really like me!!


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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Antique Books, Minnesota, and Kittens

 Young Folks' Library

I'm pulling some photos from my February file (except for the last one) because I've been so remiss in taking photos of anything but kittens and cat for the past few weeks. I know that many of you, like me, love old books. The spines pictured above are from a beautiful set of antique books I bought at a used book store more than 20 years ago. It is a complete set, including the index.

 One of the color plates from
Young Folks' Library

And a few photos from Minnesota:

These photos were taken north of Rochester, MN, and I don't know why it's always so interesting to me when we drive through one of these large cuts that were made so the road could go through. But it is. And when the light is better, that sandstone looks golden. This is just before entering Zumbro Falls.
 I think I put this barn photo on Instagram - maybe.

 Huge grain bins and a cattle trailer.
Look how dark that soil is!
We live on sandy loam, so this soil looks beautiful to us.


Oh! And guess what. Surprise, a little kitten collage!

I took these photos after little Smokey returned home from the vet. I had thought that I would have to keep them separated for a week or so, but the vet said no. The two kittens were eager to see one another, and you can see that Smokey got her spa treatment from Tommy (l), and after they posed for the middle photo, he decided to use her as a pillow. I did watch her belly to make sure that I could see the rise and fall (to make sure she could breathe), but she seemed to be perfectly content. I think they're happy to be back together. And they will not be making kitty babies. 

I hope you all had a nice weekend. I was hoping that Masterpiece would be on PBS, but it's another pledge drive. I think I'll read. 


Maggie has such a pretty springtime header on her blog. But she lives in Normandy. Springtime doesn't actually arrive in NW Wisconsin until mid April -  if we're lucky. I've finally learned to stop thinking that it's supposed to arrive on March 21. It helps to avoid disappointment. 


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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Goodbye, Tuppence, Sweet Kitty

1. Tuppence:  On Monday we had to take our sweet kitty Tuppence to the vet for her final visit. She had lost half her body weight over the past few months and had developed a large tumor on her forehead that pushed against her eye and also affected her sinuses, apparently. I will miss her constant presence, especially at night when she would, every night, lie snuggled up to me, pushing her body against my neck for security or warmth (or just testing to see if I could still breathe.)

Tuppence will be buried in our pet cemetery next to the other pets who have gone before her: Tommy, Lionel, Bridger, and Misty. We have to wait until the ground is no longer frozen. Currently, the ground is frozen about four feet down. So until it thaws, she is waiting, wrapped in a fuzzy blanket, inside a nice tool box, and under some insulation so the sun doesn't shine too fiercely upon her casket. That would not be good.

Fun times with the grandkids

She put up with a lot, did that cat.

Pictured here with her best buddy, Lionel,
who preceded her in 2012.

One of the stones in our pet cemetery

Grandpuppy Jazzie, found visiting Bridger's grave 2013
(I kid you not.)

2: Tuesday: It was a very odd day yesterday. I accomplished absolutely nothing, except for a couple batches of laundry and enjoying the kittens.

Why am I putting this in a blog post?
Because I've mentioned Tuppence many times on my blog


3. Smokey has a treat in store for her on Thursday morning: I'm taking her to the vet to be spayed. Because she is so small, I assumed that I had lots of time before taking her in for that surgery. The vet told me otherwise. Evidently, I'm pushing my luck with a kitten six months old not developing some bad habits related to sexual maturity. After feeling a slight sense of panic, I decided to get her spayed as soon as possible, which is Thursday, tomorrow morning. So I will be dropping her off at the vet clinic about 7 AM. Poor little Smokey. Then on Friday morning I'll pick her up and bring her home, where she and huge, rambunctious Tommy will be separated until Smokey is feeling better and healed from her surgery. I'm prepared for several days of loud protest from Tommy.

Poor little me

4. I've been following the weather map and I can't tell you how sorry I am, New Englanders, that you are once again getting hammered with a snowstorm. Will spring ever come??

 Our May, 2013 snowstorm
How glad I am that we don't currently have snow on the ground.
We got 18" of snow in that storm. It was so depressing!

5. Some of our family were here over the weekend to celebrate our daughter's birthday. Here is a picture of her when she was a tiny little girl, before I learned about child labor laws. ;-)

Her Dickens-era Life

This is the most recent photo I have of my daughter and me
It was taken nearly a year ago!

P.S. Joyce is taking a little break from the Hodgepodge this week, but will be back next week. Consider joining us!


I will be linking this post to Amy's Five On Friday
and Eileen's Saturday's Critters

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...and more! Check out all my handcrafted soaps at

and at

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