Sunday, February 28, 2016

How to Make a Travel Journal

 Making a Travel Journal

Our granddaughter asked me if I would guest post for Two Nerds Travel, a blog that she and her husband co-author, while they're away on their honeymoon. She specifically asked me to write about how I make a travel journal, because she's seen me do it - when, before she was married, she accompanied us to London and Cambridge. And although some of you have already seen this little project, many have not. For me, it's a fun and easy way to take a few simple tools along in my carry- on and end up with a completed souvenir to take home at the end of our stay.

So, to get the easy instructions on how to make a fun travel journal, please go to Two Nerds Travel for all the juicy details. I know that Anna and Ben will love to hear from you when they return from their honeymoon on warm, sandy beaches, far away from cold, blustery Minnesota...sigh.

On a personal note:  After reading my post at Two Nerds Travel, I hope you will leave a comment for them, so that they will know it was worth asking Grandma to guest post! :-)  I've gotta protect my reputation, you know!

Linking to:


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Ah, to be on warm, sandy beaches.

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Writing in March, Wisconsin's snowiest month,


Friday, February 26, 2016

Cambridge Reflections - Anglophile Friday

This is not what I had originally intended to write about for this Anglophile Friday post, but I could not look at this photo after uploading it from my camera card without seeing such a striking analogy of the believer's life in Christ. How much do we truly reflect his character? Is his spirit evident to others, or would people be shocked to hear that we call ourselves Christ followers? Something to think about. Well, something for me to think about, anyway.

 King's College entrance

 King's College Chapel, r.

"And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit." - 2 Corinthians 3:18

 "...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things." - Galatians 5:19-23

More Cambridge photos another time.

Linking to: Weekend Reflection

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Dark and Stormy Night, Wisconsin Barns and Good Fences

Sunrise on OO
Although it started out like this at 7 AM
(from my cell phone, as I was taking Abby home)...

...within about ten minutes it had completely clouded over and we had a gray day, all day (below).

It rained off and on during the day, settling the snow a bit, and the winds picked up and became quite wild.  Mr. C. was out of town, and Alert Dog, although she's a wonderful, loving and snuggly companion, wasn't designed for security. She always alerts me to anyone coming onto our property, but she is, after all, your typical party animal, inviting anyone to come in and be her new friend.

Semper Vigilans
(not exactly)

After dinner, I had turned on the TV to watch an old George Gently and fell asleep on the sofa. Don't ask me how I can fall asleep during a George Gently, because it's my favorite. Maybe it's because I'd already seen that particular episode at least three times.

Uh-oh. Vigilance is turning to Drowsiness.
She's fading fast.

Fortunately, I had been awake about a minute before the following occurred: 

All of a sudden, there was an ***EXPLOSION*** that shook the house. No, really, it did. My brave Alert Dog came quickly trotting into the living room to leap up onto the sofa beside me. I lay perfectly still for a minute, imagining at first that someone had kicked in the basement door. Then I thought maybe a shotgun (or a cannon?) had been fired. Or maybe something Mr. C. had stored in the basement (like paint?) exploded. At last my more reasonable self kicked in and I thought, 'Ah, I wonder if a branch on that old maple tree broke off in the wind and fell onto the deck.'

Sure enough.  I looked outdoors at the tree in the dark, and there lay the branch, in several pieces on the deck. Even with a flashlight, I could not see whether or not it had hit the roof (that would not have been a good thing), but at least I had found the source of the huge explosion.

 With all the woodpecker activity,
we should have known that
it was only a matter of time.

After examining the fallen branch, Alert Dog and I returned to the relative safety of our living room and waited for Mr. C. to arrive home.  There's a lot more of that tree to fall down during the spring. We had it trimmed a few years ago, but the branch we were most worried about falling on our house was unable to be reached by the trimming guy. So I don't know what happens now. We had a new roof put on the house last summer, and I hope the tree doesn't fall on it.

I'm so thankful that the branch (which wasn't a giant redwood or anything, but still was about 11 inches in diameter) didn't fall into the leaded glass window, which it surely could have done.

 I would greatly miss that old window.

Why do dark and stormy nights always seem scarier when Mr. C. is away.

Do you like staying alone at night way out in the middle of nowhere?

When it's dark and stormy?

And windy?

And stormy?

And dark?

And the power goes out?  

Fence on D

 Barn on D

Do you have a favorite HOME ALONE story? Dredging my memory bank, I can think of a few from my childhood too, but will save those for another time. How about you?

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Loving Daylight,


Monday, February 22, 2016

Vintage Treasures and a Downton Abbey Moment

 The smiling dog was thrown in for extra credit.

I hope you all had a nice weekend surrounded by some hints of spring. For all the Downton Abbey fans out there, I'd love to hear what you thought of Sunday night's episode. Feel free to share your thoughts in a comment. I think this was the next-to-last episode of the entire six season phenomenon. I'm hoping that Mr. Fellowes rounds up the cast for an anniversary show in a couple years. (More on Downton at the end of the post)

Today I thought I'd post a mosaic of some backyard photos. We have lots of vintage stuff around here, and I'm pretty sure our kids are hoping we'll get rid of it soon (except for the daughter who won't let me forget that I didn't ask her if she wanted the total piece of junk red metal shelf before pitching it.) I'm a little more careful now.

 Ye Olde Grain Bin

When I was a kid, there was a TV cartoon called 'Tom Terrific.' The old galvanized steel grain bin just beyond our [frozen] garden pond always reminds me of Tom Terrific. The lights are some I strung on the basswood tree a couple years ago. They're handy in late summer evenings if anyone wants to sit out beside the little garden pond and watch mosquitoes hatch.

 Someone was enjoying the pond.

A pair of ancient skis leans against the barn door. Mr. C. found these at a demolition site. I've mentioned before that I'm often the recipient of interesting 'finds.' Some wonderful, some not quite so much. As hard as I try, I'll never forget the ancient chartreuse, ceramic bedpan he once brought home. Really.

Do you remember when skis looked like this?

 No longer storing milk in a concrete cooling tank

In years past, on dairy farms across Wisconsin, milk houses would contain concrete water tanks in which several milk cans (like the can above) would be placed, each as it was filled with milk, and cold water was pumped into the tank to keep them cool until the milk hauler arrived to take them to the creamery. That was before the advent of the bulk tank with its electric agitator and cooling unit.

 Vintage Fuel Tank
in the West Wood

 February Sunset
glowing through the string of lights

Have a great week, everyone!

P.S. And about that Downton Abbey episode, we sure weren't at a loss for excitement. The last couple episodes have given us a shot of real drama. I'm looking forward to your thoughts on the subject.  Last week,  my favorite line was uttered by Lady Rosamund to her brother, Lord Grantham, 'The English language never lets you down.'  That was perfect! I won't set the scene, in case some have not yet watched that episode. But in context, it was a great line.

The more recent episode, Season Six, Episode 8, contained one of my favorite scenes, and a subject that I've written about before in a blog post about the importance of shared history.

From a scene with Lady Mary and Lady Edith:
“In the end, you’re my sister,” Edith says with a shrug. “And one day, only we will remember Sybil. Or Mama or Papa. Or Matthew or Michael. Or Granny or Carson. Or any of the others who have peopled our youth. Until at last our shared memories will mean more than our mutual dislike.”
The importance of shared history - something to think about.


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From your vintage blogger pal,


Saturday, February 20, 2016

A Prayer of Saint Augustine

 First Lutheran Church
Red Wing, MN

 A Wider View

'Almighty God, in whom we live and move and have our being, thou hast made us for thyself, so that our hearts are restless until they find rest in thee; grant us purity of heart and strength of purpose that no selfish passion may hinder us from knowing thy will, no weakness from doing it; but that in thy light we may see light, and in thy service find perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.'  

-  Saint Augustine, 354-430

Have a blessed Lord's Day!


Linked to InSPIREd Sunday

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Wisconsin Barns and Good Fences

Barn just down the road

Good morning, everyone! It's Thursday, and time for more Wisconsin barns and good fences.

That country road near our house that I showed you on Monday

The same road in October. A color scheme I much prefer.

Photo taken from the car, about a mile from our house.
It's another view I love. I'm so grateful for rolling hills.

The neighbor's horses in winter

The horses look cold, don't they!


 From the Archives
Cows head to higher ground after an autumn rain
 floods part of their pasture on a nearby farm.
October, 2014

Linking to: Theresa's Good Fences
and Eileen's Saturday's Critters


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From the rolling [currently white] hills of Wisconsin,


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Random Acts of Hodgepodge

(or maybe Hope)

This photo is for all of you who live in the northern states and can't wait for spring! It's a 'random' act of kindness from me to you, my blogging friends. xoxo

Join Joyce and the Gang
She writes the questions;
we write the answers.
Plug them into your own blog
and join in.

1. February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. It lands on the calendar one day after National Do Something for a Grouch Day (February 16) which somehow feels related. Perhaps the 16th inspired the 17th?

Tell about a time you performed a random act of kindness or were the recipient of one. Will you make an effort to perform a random act of kindness on the 17th? Share details if you're so inclined, and if you have something specific in mind.

If you make an effort to plan and execute, is it still random? Anyway, my random act of kindness on the 17th will be that I'll be pleasant to Mr. C. even though he did not bring me a puppy on Valentine's Day. When I'm the recipient of his random act of kindness, I will be sure to let you know.  ;-)

2.What's the most uplifting or encouraging thing you see happening in the world right now? You may have to dig deep for this one.

The most encouraging thing is that Christianity is growing rapidly in Asia and Africa. People are coming to know that Jesus is Lord, are putting their trust in him, and are wanting to follow them with their lives.  Quoting a newspaper article from a couple years ago: 'Officially, the People's Republic of China is an atheist country, but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seem to have supplied.' -

3. Black olives, black currants, black grapes, black beans, blackberries, Oreos...your favorite food the color of night? Your least favorite on the list?

My favorite on the list is black olives. I'm not sure if I've eaten black currants, but black grapes, black beans, and blackberries are all good. I won't even buy Oreos.

The other black olive?

4. A while back I read (here) a list of twelve things you should do before you turn 50. They were-

travel when you have the chance, take care of your skin, learn a foreign language, make exercise a habit, leave a toxic situation, stop caring what others think about you, stop worrying, volunteer, spend time with your grandparents, pledge to work less, learn to cook an amazing dish, and seize an opportunity as it arises.

What do you think of the list? What would you add or remove and why? If you're over 50, have you done all 12? If you're not yet 50, have you done any at all? What's on the list that you haven't done, but would like to do?

I think that's a pretty good list. I'd add: Visit the grandkids. Make the chance to travel. 

Two of my favorite travelers

5. Besides the classic Christmas flicks, what's your favorite film where winter plays a part in the setting?

I can't think of any movie involving snow that holds the least bit of appeal for me, except maybe the last episode in Season Two of Downton Abbey where Matthew proposes to Mary during a light snowfall. It was very sweet. And Julian Fellowes should have just skipped Season Three altogether. And hey, what do you think about this season? (Season Six)

6.When did you last feel helpless, and what did you do about it?

While waiting 25 minutes for an ambulance to show up after dialing 9-1-1. I prayed. A lot. Long Story. But it's nearly an 11 year old story and all's well now.

7. Share a favorite proverb.

Mr. C. and the dog who should have won Best in Show

If a dog will not come to you after he has looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience. - Woodrow Wilson

 (I know he reads my blog each morning - Mr. C., not Woodrow Wilson.)

8. Insert your own random thought here.

This made me laugh. And they're posted all over the perimeter of airport property.

'Dear Sir or Madam:  May I please have permission to trespass on airport property.'


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