Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy 93rd Birthday Lloyd

My dad celebrated his 93rd birthday on Saturday. The photo above shows my dad on the right, seated with his mom Lydia and his younger brother Donald and little sister Lois. The photo was probably taken about 1923.

This photo had to have been taken about 1925, my dad and his sister Ruth posing with their Christmas presents.

In the spring of 1935, Dad was graduated from Barron Senior High School. I had not seen this photograph until a few weeks ago.

Dad and his girlfriend Maxine, later to be my mom. I'm not certain that this was taken before they were married, but I suspect so. Isn't my dad CUTE!!!  And look at those pants my mom is wearing! And the hair! Why is it that men just have the same old hairstyles decade after decade and don't have to look back in horror at old photographs of themselves. But women's hair styles, that's another story!

My dad on the left, along with someone else who apparently was also part of the crew of men who built the Alaska Highway. This photo was taken in 1942.

Having watched the PBS documentary about the building of the Alaska Highway, I have a little more appreciation for what those men went through. This was no piece of cake. Plus, Dad had left his wife and little son back home. It must have been a good short-term job that he would leave them and go so far away. But, when time are tough, you do what you have to do. I can hear him saying that.

Update: Dad fell and fractured his hip in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday, but was able to be up in a chair and enjoying company, thanks to Vicadin, and celebrating his birthday on Sunday afternoon, at the nursing home.  Here he is helping light the candles on his birthday cake.

Dad checking out baby Glenn, the first time he's seen him. Four generations:
Lloyd, Judy, Kevin, and Glenn. Happy Birthday Grandpa Nelson.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Punting in the Rain

I wonder if that title triggered a little tune in your head, yet another 'ear worm' for which you can thank me later. :-)

We visited Cambridge, England with our son and granddaughter in the spring of 2008. I was determined to go punting, so even the persistent rain couldn't deter us! 

You can see by the punts at dock how many people weren't punting that day! Someone had sense enough to come in out of the rain, but it wasn't us!

Yes, it was cold and rainy, but still so much fun to be on a punt with an expert punter! He just happened to be from Michigan. Michigan?? I knew something was up when he spoke and sounded just like us! He didn't even attempt to fake a British accent as he punted us along 'the backs,' past the buildings that make up Cambridge University. (His parents were professors there.)

The Bridge of Sighs, built as a replica of the Venetian Bridge of Sighs. Our punter said that the students crossing this bridge to take their final exams was reminiscent of the Venetian convicts whose sighs could be heard as they crossed the bridge and got their last view of the outside world before their imprisonment.

The Anchor, a fun pub at the other end of our punt. The Anchor serves the best fish and chips ever!

King's College Chapel with accompanying swan. This is not cut and paste. That cute little swan posed in the grasses long enough for me to get his photo!

This is fuzzy, but the best I could get -in the driving rain- of the little choir boys who sang for the very moving Maundy Thursday service at King's when we were there.

That was one of my best rainy days ever. Do you have a favorite rainy day?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Little Farming, Big Farming

This is how we garden. See the little onions, now happily basking in the warm soil.

See the wee tomatoes and peppers, raised from seed, eagerly awaiting their turn to be planted.

See (if you squint really hard) the stressed little tomato and pepper plants, feeling betrayed by the hot sunshine when a cloudy day had been forecast.

See the farmer who rents our land taking the alfalfa from the field north of the house.

See the HUGE farm machinery. The chopper and truck run side by side, the chopper blowing the alfalfa into the truck. Another truck stands by to switch trucks when the first one is full. It took them just about no time to take all the alfalfa off the field. It is an amazing thing to watch. I wished our little grandsons could have seen this.

Our brave little Tiller the Hun looks puny by comparison.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Peter Pan's Travel Aid

I've been reading other bloggers' travel adventures and travel preparation and it reminded me that when our three youngest were little, we traveled quite a bit with them. In fact, at that time we were attending a church one whole hour away from our home. We loved the church, but after an hour of listening to 'Mom, he's looking out my window!!!' , not to mention travel with a child who often got carsick, and being ready to tear my hair out after the hour drive, it was difficult to arrive at church in anything remotely resembling an attitude of worship. We eventually found a church closer to home.

On one trip out east, car sickness struck again. This time, I made up a song on the spot - one which you might find handy if you're ever in a similar situation. It certainly did lighten the mood and we survived the trip.
Here goes:

Sung to the Peter Pan tune of 'I Won't Grow Up,' ...
[Enlist the other kids to help with the echo.]

I won't throw up (I won't throw up)
I don't wanna puke in here (I don't wanna puke in here)
I don't wanna be disgusting (I don't wanna be disgusting)
And get vomit in my hair (and get vomit in my hair)
For throwing up will always be
A great big mess all over you and me...
I'll never throw up, never throw up, never throw up - NOT ME! (not I. Not ME!!)   :-)

P.S. Okay, I know this is bizarre. I actually have friends who put up with this weird sense of humor. :-)

P.P.S. Any tricks up your sleeve for traveling with bickering or carsick kids? 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Danish Puff Recipe

This is not a gluten-free dessert. This is not sweet. The only sugar in it is the drizzle of powdered sugar frosting which is optional. But this is so delicious that it's a danger to have in my house - for me. It doesn't last long around here.

I usually eat gluten free. Unlike my daughter who is a stickler for remaining absolutely gluten-free, I tend to eat gluten free for 90% of the time, then crave wheat flour products, indulge, then regret it for a couple days, and so the cycle goes.

If ever I am tempted to break my gluten-free diet, I can tell you right now that THIS is one of the two things that would be worth it. The other is homemade bread fresh out of the oven with butter on the thick crust - oh yeah, especially in October or November.

Here's the recipe for Danish Puff. Again, this is NOT gluten free.

In a bowl, place 1 c. flour and 1/2 c. soft butter. Cut butter in like you would for a pie crust. Sprinkle in a couple tablespoons of cold water. Form into a ball with your hands, then cut the ball in half.

Spray a large jelly roll pan with Pam, then pat each dough ball into a long, wide strip. Each one will be about 3-4 inches wide and about 15" long, and they will lie parallel to each other on the pan.

Bring 1 c. water and 1/2 c. butter to a boil. Remove from heat. Quickly and thoroughly whisk in 1 c. flour, then whisk in 3 eggs, one at a time. Add 1/4 t. almond extract, 1/4 t. vanilla, 1/4 t. salt. This mix will resemble a very thick pudding.

Place spoonfuls of above mixture on the pastry strips in the jelly roll pan. Use a spoon to spread the mixture out so that the pastry is covered almost edge to edge with the pudding-like topping. You may want to dip the spoon into water now and then to keep it from sticking as you're trying to smooth out the topping.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 40 - 45 minutes. Check after 40 minutes. When crust is golden and makes a hollow sound when tapped, the Danish Puff is ready to take from the oven.

When it has cooled, place about 3/4 c. powdered sugar in a bowl. Stir in 2 T. soft butter and a little cream or milk, and a bit of almond extract or vanilla, maybe 1/4 t.

Beat by hand until frosting is a smooth consistency that can be drizzled over the Danish Puff. You're almost done. Now, sprinkle some sliced or chopped almonds over the top.

Slice on the diagonal and serve. Don't turn your back on this stuff or it will be gone when you go back for a second piece. Just a warning.

This post is linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.
and Tasty Tuesday.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Evidence All Around

'For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.'

As I lay in bed this morning, I was wondering what it would be like to think that God doesn't exist. It was probably the birds singing outside the window that awakened me in the first place. I felt and heard Lionel next to me, purring, and although the sun had not yet risen, the sky was getting lighter and I saw the pine boughs moving gently in the breeze. 

My plants on the window seat were still green and growing, my brain, heart, and lungs kept working during the night so that my body could stay alive and even heal a cut on my finger. Something outside the window caught my eye when the sky became lighter, and I saw a crane flying effortlessly over our cornfield on its way to the pond behind my friend Debbie's house, no doubt.

All of that was in the first few seconds after I awakened. Evidence of God is everywhere around me - and then I remember that this magnificent creation is only the fallen world we're looking at, the sinful world, not the perfect world as God created it.


' Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.' 

In other words, we can't even imagine what God has in store for those of us who love Him.


'...let us lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.'

It's easy to be discouraged by the sinfulness of the world we live in. Stand firm. 'Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.'

Texts are from I Corinthians chapter 2, Romans chapter 1, and Hebrews, chapters 11 and 12.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Answers to Yesterday's QUIZ

For yesterday's Word Games Quiz, just in case anyone wanted to know, it's a...

  •  CRASH of...rhinoceroses
  •  SOUNDER of...swine
  •  PRICKLE of ...porcupines
  •  SCURRY of...squirrels
  •  STREAK of ...tigers
  •  BUSINESS of...ferrets
  •  SHREWDNESS of...apes
  •  CACKLE of...hyenas
  •  BLOAT of...hippopotamuses

Have a great weekend!

I indulged in a wonderful wheat treat yesterday. I think a BLOAT of hippopotamuses will be easy for me to remember.  :-(

Friday, May 21, 2010

Word Games

Did you know that a group of goats is called a 'tribe' or a 'trip' ? (Aren't they cute!! They're the neighbor kids.)

...a group of horses belonging to a single owner is called a 'stud'...'s a 'warren' of rabbits...

...a 'kindle' of kittens...(although Lionel and Tuppence don't really qualify)...

...a 'herd' of cows, of course (Yeah, we all know that, but I liked my photo of the pretty neighborhood Holsteins.) :-)

So, do you know which animal [groups] the following terms refer to?
  • A Crash
  • A Sounder
  • A Prickle
  • A Scurry
  • A Streak
  • A Business
  • A Shrewdness (no kidding!)
  • A Cackle
  • A Bloat
Just for fun...and I thought that you might like to try this little quiz out on your kids!

Have you got any others to add to the list?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Angela's 'Best Chicken...Ever!'

I happened to think ahead and cook up some black beans for this recipe. Angela and Rebecca served this for one of the main meals at our family reunion last summer, and it was delicious! Don't tell anyone, but it's also really easy, for you put the chicken in the crockpot for the day and walk away. I love recipes like this.

In Crockpot, place 4 or 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

In a bowl, mix together:
2 T. olive oil
Juice of one fresh-squeezed lime
2 T. chili powder
         ( I make my own chili powder: 2 t. cumin, 1 t. paprika, 1 t. oregano flakes, 1 t. cayenne, 2 t. garlic powder)
Sea salt
1 diced jalapeno
5 minced garlic cloves (unless you've followed the chili powder recipe above. Then it might be a little too much garlic)

Drizzle mixture over the chicken breasts that are in the crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. When it's done, shred chicken with a fork. 

Shortly before mealtime, slice up a red bell pepper and a couple onions. Sometimes I will include a poblano pepper as well. Saute until translucent. Don't overcook.

Serve shredded chicken with black beans,  cooked rice (we like Basmati), peppers and onions, and guacamole.

This makes a nice buffet lunch. You might also want to have hot tortillas ready to make a wrap, and some shredded Mozzarella or Italian cheese in a bowl. Extra fresh-squeezed lime juice in a small pitcher would be a great addition as well.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

NW Wisconsin Dairy Barns

I have been eager to get out and about the neighborhood to take photos of dairy barns. There are so few of them that are occupied, for the majority of the cows in the county are owned by the huge farms. When my husband and I were kids, most of our neighbors had herds of dairy cows. Now, even among the barns pictured here, only a few are on active dairy farms.

These barns appear to be in fairly good shape, but many of the old, unoccupied barns, from lack of heat in the winter and the springtime thawing and heaving of the ground are quickly going to ruin. It's very sad. We've always marveled at the buildings in England that are hundreds of years old, but they don't have to contend with frost that goes to an average 6 feet deep in the winter - sometimes more!

My husband tells me that the number of dairy cows in the county has not decreased, it's just that the dairy herds have gone from 20 or 40 cows to hundreds of cows in some cases.

Kevin was telling me this morning that when his parents bought their 80 acre farm in the 1950s, they paid $8,000 for the farm and the cows, and were able to make a living for a large family from that farm. Now, that same setup would cost about $300,000. No one seems to be able to make a living from a small family farm anymore, so the husband or wife has to get a second job in order to survive.

Both he and I grew up on farms, so it's a particularly sad thing for both of us to see dairying disappearing as a way of life, and to see the old barns, which were once lit up in the evenings as the farmer fed and milked his dairy herd, fall to ruin and eventually disappear from the landscape.

This is the barn just up the street from us. Our neighbor raises heifers, but I don't think he milks any cows. If you look really closely, you can see their cute little springer spaniel sitting in the yard next to his doghouse. :-)

I am particularly fond of red barns, but perhaps that's because my grandpa had a red barn with a great haymow, and I have fond memories of playing there, sweeping the mangers, and watching the cats drinking from a pan of fresh milk.  The farm I grew up on, by contrast, had a very utilitarian milking parlor and no haymow with its kindle of kittens (I had to look that up). It was efficient, but nothing with which to make warm, fuzzy memories for children in years hence.

Is there an art, a craft, or a way of life that you've noticed is slowly disappearing?

[I wish I could think of a better way to word that. I can almost hear my son saying, ' old magician.']

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Life as a Yorkshirephile

You're right. I bought the tea simply because it was labeled 'Yorkshire Gold.' And it helped that the box was so pretty. I am a sucker for beautiful packaging.  I suppose that if a new printer ink called 'Yorkshire Gold' came on the scene, I would be tempted to at least try it.  If my old faithful 'Food For Life' brown rice tortillas were suddenly flanked by something labeled, 'Yorkshire Tortillas,' I would probably put those in my shopping cart as well.

Why? I usually am a fairly reasonable person, at least that's my unbiased self-assessment. ;-)  But I have wonderful memories of North Yorkshire, I've seen those darling sheep which I'd love to take home,

 ...the amazing abbey ruins,

...the huge castles...

and cathedrals...

I've traveled some pretty bleak and awesome countryside, 

and have gazed upon those wonderful stone buildings and walls!

Yorkshire seems so very far removed from the hustle and bustle of London. It's about as different from London as NW Wisconsin is from Madison. (Trust me, that means worlds apart!) I guess maybe Yorkshire seems more like the England that's always been in my mind. So that may mean that it's really a figment of my imagination, but I can live with that.

I can't think of anything I didn't like in Yorkshire, unless it's the fact that you can't get anywhere quickly, since for the most part the roads are very narrow and winding. And I much prefer our grocery stores to theirs. So I'm not planning on trading in my citizenship or anything, but I surely do love visiting that beautiful part of the country, and like to dream of spending about six months there. (Yes, I said dream.)

Here's a special silly treat thrown in for free, for the two people on the planet who've not yet seen The Four Yorkshiremen. :-)

Do you like to travel to the same place again and again - or try new places?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Syttende Mai

Syttende Mai - May 17th. Norwegian Constitution Day.

Syttende Mai always makes me think of Westby, WI where Kevin's cousin lives.

Here's a pic I took of Kevin and Eric in the lanai. They really DO look like old Norwegian trolls, don't they. ;-)

Several years ago, Kevin and I, along with our two (or maybe three) kids at that time, attended the quilt auction at the Syttende Mai celebration in Westby and came away with the quilts pictured below:

This is the postage stamp quilt, and the squares are about 1 1/4 inches. This is an Amish, handmade quilt. I do think of all the work involved whenever I look at this quilt!  I think I'll stick to making soap.

This one is my favorite. I never tire of the colors, although probably everyone else in the family is sick to death of the thing. :-) Look at the hand stitching in this amazing quilt!

So, May 17 always reminds me of Westby, of Syttende Mai, of Eric, and......

...of our daughter-in-law Stacey!  :-)  Happy Birthday, Stacey!!  :-)


Related Posts with Thumbnails