Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Hodgepodging The End of May

The Neighbor's Barn
on Sunday, May 28
(taken with my crummy cell phone)

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
and join in!

Thank you, Joyce, for all of your work
and dedication to this weekly Hodgepodge!

1. What makes you feel accomplished? Explain.

I'm not even sure what you're meaning by that. I don't think I've ever felt 'accomplished.' As a great man once said, 'There's always room for improvement.' Maybe a feeling of being accomplished is more suited to the generation after mine.  I am not from the 'self esteem' generation. In my generation, doing what you had to do was simply what was expected, nothing extraordinary.

Drive-by pic of a farm north of Bloomer, WI

2. If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be? Tell us why.

I would invite Diana from The Nana Diana and 'Katie' from Preppy Empty Nester and Debby from Debbys Favorite Things - because I think it would be a blast. :-) And the next week I'd choose three other bloggers that I've enjoyed getting to know over the past years! And I'd probably also have Tommy & Smokey in attendance to keep order. I can see things getting out of hand FAST with that crew!  LOL

Tommy & Smokey
Eager to take charge

3. Do you have a great burger recipe? What's in it? What do you like on a hamburger and where is your favorite spot to order one out?

I rarely eat burgers, and never with a bun, so I guess I'd say that I'd want mine grilled with lots of lighter fluid flavor in it and also I'd have a skillet of onions fried in butter to put on the top. Maybe some coarse, dark mustard too. That sounds good to me.

Giving me the evil eye

4. What's the biggest anxiety producing thing you do on a regular basis?

I probably shouldn't have joined the Hodgepodge today, because my answers are all pretty lame, but actually I tend not to do things that produce anxiety. Why would I? Although I'll admit that it does produce temporary anxiety when Etsy changes something and makes it more complicated than it has to be.

Mr. Blue Eyes, getting the lawn ready for
Memorial Day weekend

5. This is the last Hodgepodge of May. Tell us about your summer plans.

Summer and fall are Mr. C.'s heavy workload months (in the contracting business) so we rarely have summer plans. We save all the fun for winter, where we huddle beside the fire and wait for spring to arrive. BUT, the first few weeks of my summer will be taken up with jury duty, which means you can't really go anywhere in case you're called in. But on the weekend I am going to go visit my sister who is in Minnesota after spending the winter in Florida. She lives in the lakes area around Minneapolis, and I've not been to their new place yet, so if it doesn't rain, it should be a great day. Also, we're spending a weekend in Door County (my first time ever!) with our daughter and son in law next month (looking forward to that!) And I'm hoping to get a few weekend trips to Duluth and to Copper Falls. And then there's the best summer weekend, my birthday weekend in August. AND I will be buying train tickets and Oyster cards for an upcoming fall trip to England. Other than that, summer will, I hope, involve seeing more of the family. Grandkids are allowed to bring their parents along and I promise to feed them.

I take it all back about rarely having summer plans.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

a.  I'm hoping to get to the Westby area again soon for another visit to my second favorite part of our state. 

Red Dot=Where We Live
Blue Dot=Westby
It's about a 3 hour drive...a 3 hour drive. 
Get out of my brain, Gilligan!

b.  Mr. C. just pointed out a couple of sign's that had unnecessary apostrophe's. It is a pet peeve that we share. So if I ever put them in blog post's, be sure to let me know.

Mr. Smarty Pants
Photo by John

Saving the best for last:

c.  At kindergarten last week, our grandson's teacher told the class that they were going to learn about putting an 's' at the end of a word to  make it plural - more than one.  Henry piped up, 'Oh, like bacteria and bacterium. Bacteria is plural and bacterium is singular.'

Uh, right.

That poor teacher. :-))



Father's Day is June 18

Check out my natural, handcrafted vegan soap!
Buy any 5 or more individual soaps, Get 1 FREE

In addition,

Check out this Father's Day Special
 In my Etsy Shop

Our Father's Day Special includes:

Clockwise, from upper left:
Country Gentleman
Highland Tweed
Patchouli Grapefruit
Morning Brew (Coffee)

Another Father's Day Idea:

New! Photo Greeting Cards
(with envelopes)
now in my Etsy Shop

(Professionally printed on premium heavy card stock)

Wisconsin Farm Animals set

Also available:

Wisconsin Barns
Wisconsin Amish Life
England Sacred Spaces
North Yorkshire
England Favorites

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

and at

Photo Greeting Cards currently available only on Etsy,
but coming soon to

Join me on Instagram: @cranberrymorning

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Wildflowers On Fifth Avenue

Anti-inflammatory? Anti-viral?

Isn't it amazing the things that God has put on this earth not only for us to enjoy, but even to use as remedies to common ailments. (Should we be surprised?!) I'll let you do the Google research if you want. There's a lot of information out there on mullein, besides the fact that it grows all around here. Commonly known as 'velvet leaf.'

All of the photos in this post are from another walk along Fifth Avenue. I love this time of year!

Left: Stickseed and a wood violet
Middle: Mullein
Right: Trefoil - not only is the flower pretty, but the leaves
were copied on the sleeves of generals' uniforms from the Civil War. Trust me.

Seven years ago when Bridger came to the door covered in
Stickseed and Virginia Creeper. He was so scared.

Ferns and trilliums are everywhere!
And barbed wire, known in the South as bob wahr. ;-)
This is especially for Sandra.
By the way, be sure to see her Memorial Day header!

From left: Ferns, Lichen, Wild Geranium

Creeping Bellflower
I looked it up to make sure it was one word, and I found,
'creeping bellflower eradication.' What??!

Bottom left: Neighbor Bill's Barn
from Fifth Avenue
More Wood Violets

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

I'm linking this post to Maggie's Mosaic Monday.


NEW! In my Etsy shop:

See Friday's post for a full introduction

Shown is just one of six different sets of photo greeting cards.
Check them out!

You will also still find handcrafted, vegan soap there!

Buy any 5 or more soaps, Get another FREE

'French Lilac & Lavender'
Natural Vegan Soap

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

and at

Our ETSY Shop

Join me on Instagram: @cranberrymorning


Friday, May 26, 2017

Photo Greeting Cards - The SUCH Has Arrived!! - And Anglophile Friday

When I opened my Etsy shop, HomemadeSoapnSuch, in 2012, there were several possibilities of what the 'such' would be to accompany my natural, handcrafted vegan soaps. I made many different trial products such as massage balm, lotions, etc. but none of them was exactly what I wanted.

Then it occurred to me that it didn't have to be a bath and body product, and there was no reason that I couldn't include what I really wanted to include, which was photography. Once I got on Instagram, it was evident to me that people are crazy about barns. Living in Wisconsin all of my life thus far, barns are simply part of the landscape. But I have taken a lot of photos of barns simply because I know that although there are as many if not more dairy cows in the state now, most of the small dairy farms are no longer operating. And once the barns are no longer heated by those beautiful bovine creatures, the foundations begin to crumble and soon the barns are falling down.

I decided to make a collection of photo greeting cards with Wisconsin Barns pictured on them. I wanted a card of exceptional quality, so I settled for nothing less. 

It's pretty hard to stop with just Wisconsin Barns, so I decided to also create a set of four photo greeting cards with Wisconsin Farm Animals, pictured above. Of course I have more than four photos of farm animals, but these are really my favorites.

Each note card is professionally printed on premium matte heavy card stock and has a blank interior, comes with an envelope (always handy) and is enclosed in a cello sleeve, then all four in the set are wrapped with a cigar band label (pictured above). The back of each card has a mini photo of the photo on the front.

Besides Barron County, where I have lived most of my life (except for the year that I was riding motorcycle and shooting alligators in the Beni River in Bolivia), my favorite part of Wisconsin is the Driftless Area, southwestern Wisconsin. There is a huge Amish community there, and we happen to be friends with some of them. Although we also have an Amish community in our neighborhood in Barron County, Vernon County is where the larger community is and where the photos for my photo greeting cards were taken. So that's another set, as you can see: Wisconsin Amish.

AND NOW we move to England (not literally):

In 2003 I traveled to England for the very first time, with my brave daughter who rented a car and took me touring the country for twelve fantastic days, from Bath to the Cotswolds, to North Yorkshire, to Cambridge, and back to London.  Personally, I think it's nearly impossible to visit England once, and I certainly wasn't going to attempt it. So I have ended up with thousands of photos from various trips to that enchanting land, but I created three sets of photo greeting cards with an England theme.

North Yorkshire:  Pictured above is the photo greeting card set from some of my favorite photos of Yorkshire. (I know I use the word 'favorite' too much, but really I can't think of anything else). It is a magical place, and although some people seem to think that sheep aren't extraordinary, Scottish Blackface sheep most definitely are, and I managed to get a few photos of those beautiful creatures (my favorite is included in the North Yorkshire set).

England Favorites:  Pictured above is the set of four, which includes the fabulous York Minster, a scene from the charming village of Kettlewell in North Yorkshire, High Street in Oxford, and St. Paul's at Night (London). 

Last, and definitely not least, the Sacred Spaces England set (pictured above): This was the most difficult of all to narrow down to just four. But included are two that I took in Canterbury Cathedral (to include the apse and the Becket Flame), York Minster, and the dark and beautiful Ely Cathedral.

All of these photo greeting card sets are now listed and described in full detail in my Etsy Shop.

Of course, I still sell natural handcrafted vegan soaps too, don't forget. :-)

So be sure to check out my new photo greeting cards. I am thrilled with the finished product and I hope  you'll like them too.


Check out my natural, handcrafted vegan soap too!
Buy any 5 or more, Get 1 FREE

Amazing Men's Soap,
'Country Gentleman'

Perfect for Father's Day - coming soon!

Natural Vegan Soap

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

and at

Our ETSY Shop

Join me on Instagram: @cranberrymorning


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hodgepodging Neverland

Photos from our walk along Fifth Avenue
on Monday evening

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. What color is prominent in your home?  Light brown or dark brown, depending upon how much gets dragged in on everyone's shoes. Are you glad about that or wishing you could cover it up or remove it? I can remove it, but it's a neverending job.

2. What's something you'll NEVER do again?

I will never again wallpaper a wall, unless I can't get this miserable wallpaper off. Then it will be my only option. Why is it that when you carefully follow instructions before applying wallpaper SO THAT it can be removed later, a mere 28 years on, it just won't come off!

3. Tell us a couple of ways you fit the stereotypes associated with your gender, and a couple of ways you don't.

a. I just can't believe the disrespect shown by the younger generation (I kinda think every generation thinks that, don't they.) b. I think that all the years and life experience ought to count for something besides getting one step closer to the nursing home.

a. I take responsibility for my own health and don't want to run to the doctor to give me a pill to fix whatever - well, except for putting in a hip implant, although I might just as well have done the first one myself. Thank goodness for the cream of the crop specialists at Mayo Clinic in Rochester who can fix almost anything.  b. I try to keep up with technology in communication, but I don't tweet and I don't do Facebook. Hmmm. Maybe I need to reconsider my answer.

4. May is Motorcycle Awareness Month. Have you ever owned a motorcycle? I think I might have, years ago. Ever ridden a motorcycle? Yes, in the Bolivian jungles. If the opportunity presented itself would you hop on a motorcycle and go for a ride? Maybe, wearing full armor and driving on a road with no traffic, except perhaps for an Amish horse and buggy. I've often thought it would be fun to take scooters through the Driftless Area of Wisconsin (SW). It's gorgeous there - I'd want to drive something slow and quiet - but I'd only do this in the summertime, not on those scary, icy, winding roads in the winter!

5. If someone wanted to understand you, what should they read, watch, and listen to?

Read N.T. Wright, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton (and as far as I know, they're not lone gunmen assassins*, but I can't prove it). Watch British mysteries, documentaries, and historical dramas. Listen to classical music, Michael Medved, and Laura Ingraham.

Why is it so hard to remember a name like bellflower?
Bell - Flower. How hard is that??
And I think this is creeping bellflower - along Fifth Avenue.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

From*  (Remember Conspiracy Theory? One of my all-time favorite movies)

Jerry: David Berkowitz, Ted Bundy, Richard Speck...

Alice: What about them?
Jerry: Serial killers. Serial killers only have two names. You ever notice that? But lone gunmen assassins, they always have three names. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, Mark David Chapman...
Alice: John Hinckley. He shot Reagan. He only has two names.
Jerry: Yeah, but he only just shot Reagan. Reagan didn't die. If Reagan had died, I'm pretty sure we probably would all know what John Hinckley's middle name was.

We missed this little guy when the family got together last weekend.
His daddy sent me the photo. But we'll get to see him next Sunday.


Check out my natural, handcrafted vegan soap!
Buy any 5 or more, Get 1 FREE

'Southern Magnolia'

Natural, Handcrafted, Vegan Soap

Delicious Fragrance
No harsh chemicals
No animal products

Always moisturizing and Gentle

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

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Weekend Review, Last Week's Tornado, Grandkids

I hope everyone had a good weekend. The family was here, and I've got a few pics to show you. There are those who don't like the camera, so I'm not posting those this time, but the grandkids, that's another story. Oh my goodness. Everyone arrived Friday evening between rain showers, but it rained all day Saturday, preventing any outdoor play time or hay rides. Although the kids were able to play on the front porch a bit of the time, it was mostly Grandma's gymnasium with the running circle and other attractions, that kept the kids from going stark raving mad. It might have had the opposite effect on the grownups. :-)

Yes, I came upon the kids trying to give themselves concussions by riding (being pulled FAST) lawn furniture cushions down the steps to the living room. I finally had to put a stop to it, but they got several rounds in before I caught them. I can see that it's great fun, until somebody has to be rushed to the emergency room. I know, Grandma is SUCH A KILLJOY!

Upper right: Grandpa and a few kids taking a breather a.k.a. 'recharging.'

Anyway, it was lots of fun to have the family home. I always love it. 


I realized that I hadn't shown my Blogger pals the aftermath of the tornado that ripped through (3 miles from our home) Barron County  last Tuesday. Here are a few pics to show you some of the storm damage. One life lost and so many homes demolished by this terrible storm. Along Highway O and Highway SS, the tornado snapped off 25 power poles. I didn't get a photo of the destroyed turkey barns and confused, wandering (or dead) turkeys. And the odd thing about a tornado is that either side of the path there's no damage. So one place will be obliterated and the other, just yards away, will be left intact.

Life can change in an instant.

'After' pic of what had been a beautiful little barn (shown below)

I took this photo in January.
This was before the barn was instantly turned into a pile of kindling on Tuesday.
(see previous pic)

 What's left of a mobile home park,
just 100 yards from where our son and his family live.
Their home was undamaged, but 40+ homes were destroyed.


Bleeding heart, lilacs, and flowering crab in our back yard.
I think all the petals will be gone before we get another sunny day.

Such a minor concern.

A storm like the one that came through last week really helps put things into perspective.




Check out my natural, handcrafted vegan soap!
Buy any 5 or more, Get 1 FREE
Balsam & Siberian Fir

Natural Vegan Soap
with Essential Oils

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

and at

Our ETSY Shop

Join me on Instagram: @cranberrymorning



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