Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Hodgepodge and Driftless

West of Westby
in the Driftless area of Wisconsin

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!

Thanks to Joyce for another round of Wednesday Hodgepodge!

1. Are you currently operating at 100% capacity? If not, what % are you? What's keeping you there?

I'd say probably 93%. What's mostly responsible for keeping the other 7% away is snow and cold. But we're getting some nice, sunny days right now (although still lots of snow), and springier weather should arrive soon. That should take me up to about 96%. I think it takes July, August, and September to get me to 100%. They're the best months of the year! (although I love May).

Why I love the month of May
This and the GREEN alfalfa field.

2.  Have you done your taxes? Planned/booked a summer holiday? Thought about or started your 'spring cleaning'? Besides what's listed here, tell us one task that needs doing before spring rolls around.

I'm trying to think if I've done anything at all. Planning a trip is really fun, but I've not done that this winter. Really, the DEAD of winter brings out the bear in me - as in hibernation. Ah well, I guess that might also explains the cranky attitude.  I tend a fire. I sleep. I read. That takes up most of January, February, and March. One task that needs doing is going through books. I hate doing that because I hate parting with any books, so I end up procrastinating.  (I even procrastinate procrastinating!) Even writing that sentence made me realize that I've already talked myself out of the job. This is the problem with actually having enough room for things - there's little incentive to get rid of them.

3. What's a favorite food from your part of the country?

I don't think I have a favorite food from northern Wisconsin. I'd say a fish fry, typical of Wisconsin, especially Friday nights, but we don't really do that and I don't eat fried much of anything these days, not that I don't love it. Okay, how about cranberries. I think that Wisconsin might be the #1 state in the production of cranberries, and I am a huge fan of Craisins. We buy them by the big bagful at Sam's Club because we use them on salads and in stirfrys.

We add a few dried cayenne peppers
and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning to our
jars of olives and let it steep a week.
Do you see the Craisins?
This is a soup bowl full of vegetables, a little diced chicken,
Craisins, and a lot of olives.

4. This isn't a leap year, but let's run with it anyway...look before you leap, a leap of faith, grow by leaps and bounds, leap to conclusions, leap at the opportunity...which phrase might best be applied to your life currently (or recently)? Explain.

I don't believe in a 'leap' of faith, nothing up here is growing by leaps and bounds (except for Tommy and Smokey), I tend not to leap to conclusions but research far too long on anything, and I'm more cautious than to leap at an opportunity. Soooo, 'look before you leap' would be the most fitting this time of year. There's lots of snow and ice, and it would be a good idea to pay attention to where you're placing your feet so you don't slip and break your neck.

Tommy & Smokey
Growing by leaps and bounds

5. As the month draws to a close list five fun and/or fabulous things (large or small) you noticed or experienced in February.

Personally, I am so ready to leave February behind, but as to the question:

1. I noticed that our daughter had a birthday (yesterday).

2. I enjoyed spending a few days in Madison and meandering back home through the pretty countryside (giving me another batch of barns to share).

3. Even more, I enjoyed spending a few days in Westby, staying in the fantastic Logan Mill Lodge, wandering about the Amish countryside, visiting with friends, including the church of the ancestors, Coon Prairie Lutheran Church (last Sunday's post).

Both are out of commission.
West of Westby

4. I experienced a definite change in my attitude (for the better) that occurred with a day of slightly warmer temps and bright blue skies. So I could get a WALK.  I know. The weather enjoys manipulating me.

5. I experienced a longing to re-visit York Minster or Durham Cathedral or Canterbury Cathedral, but that's simply an ongoing state of mind, so nothing unique to February, I guess. Listening to John Rutter probably doesn't help.

Red. Especially appreciated when the landscape is mostly white.
Westby, WI

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Feed Mill Elevator
Westby, WI

For our couple of overnights in Westby last weekend, we stayed at the Logan Mill Lodge.

Our little home away from home was Condo Unit 2, a 1500 sq. ft. unit that has everything, including "an original 1910 vintage wooden freight elevator that was used to haul bags of feed and seed during the years this building was a feed mill." (Shown above) I'm so glad that Ruth didn't rip out the old feed elevator when converting the old feed mill to a lodge. 

A really great family vacation would be to stay at Logan Mill Lodge and use it as a base from which to explore the beautiful countryside of the Kickapoo River Valley and Amish farming territory - on scooters! In the summertime, of course.


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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Coon Prairie Lutheran Church, Westby, WI

Coon Prairie Lutheran Church
in the country

where the ancestors are buried

 Coon Prairie Lutheran Church
in town

"Coon Prairie Lutheran Church was established on July 12, 1852, just four years after Norwegian settlers entered the Westby area. The congregation received its first pastor in 1855 and dedicated its first wooden building in 1857. Coon Prairie’s pastors served as many as 11 congregations throughout the region for many years. During the pastorate of Halvor Halvorsen (1872-1921), a fine stone building was erected which burned to the ground on Easter Sunday, 1909. Congregation members could not agree on a new building site and two identical edifices were built at $22,500 each: Country Coon Prairie on the original site and Westby Coon Prairie in the thriving new town. Coon Prairie was an important member of the Norwegian Lutheran Synod and experienced the theological divisions over predestination which rocked that church body in the 1880s. In 1917 it joined 92 percent of Norwegian Lutherans in the United States in forming the Norwegian Lutheran Church in America and is currently part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America." 

 - From Westby, Wisconsin Remembered blog, by Eric Leum, Mr. C.'s cousin. In memory. Today would have been his 70th birthday.


"Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime." - Martin Luther

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Have a blessed Lord's Day,


Friday, February 23, 2018

Wisconsin Country Schools

Once a country schoolhouse, now a private residence
Barron County, WI
Photo taken last week.

Yes, the house above was originally built as a school. If I had been close enough to get a photo of the west side, you would see the bank of tall windows.

"In 1919, there were 190,000 one-room schools scattered all around the American countryside. Today, fewer than 400 remain.  These schools, the mainstay of the Wisconsin public elementary school system, had their origins in the Land Ordinance of 1785 where land was set aside to fund education. It said that section 16 in every township in every county be set aside to raise money for the use of schools. The land could sell for no less than $1.25 an acre. Sales commenced May 1, 1850, raising the first money for public education. In the town of Mitchell, section 16 is still known as the school section and remains in much the same state as 1850." - From

Joliet School
Now part of the Barron County Historical Society Museum

 Earl, WI Public School, 1924
Now an antique shop

 Sunny Valley School
Originally located in the town of Wheaton,
Later moved to Irvine Park, Chippewa Falls
as a museum

Wisconsin's country schools were built on one acre of land and were located every couple miles. That meant that most kids walked to school, rain or shine, winter or winter. (Winter takes up most of the year up here). 

 I think this former schoolhouse
is located somewhere west of Bloomer, WI

 Woodside School in Barron County,
Now completely gone from the landscape.
I attended this fabulous school in grades 1 and 2
And I'm not responsible for the broken window.
I don't remember learning a thing except that the chocolate goiter tablets were delicious
and most of the other kids would give theirs to me!

About walking to school, uphill both ways: There was one large Catholic family in our school district who did occasionally transport their kids to school in their wood panel station wagon. I remember the dad once asked if I wanted a lift home from school. Of course I said no because they were Catholic. I don't ever remember my parents saying anything negative about that family, so it must have been the kids in the school (figures, doesn't it!) with their strange tales who gave me a fear of Catholic adults. That poor family, undeserving of ridicule and suspicion!  I think they were the only Catholic family in our school. And I'm pretty sure we were the only Baptist family. (Most of the others were Lutheran and Methodist. There was one Communist.) Fortunately I was young enough that the tall tales didn't really affect my relationship with the Catholic family's first and second graders, but imagine...!!!  Besides, what stupid kid would turn down a perfectly good ride in order to walk home in the cold and snow with older brothers who ran on ahead! And why were we so trusting of Lutherans?? (just kidding). :-)

Thank you for your patience and mercy, dear Lord. Help us to remember that your family is made of ALL whose trust is in You. Possibly even Baptists.

District No. 5
Somewhere west of Arland, WI
This is also currently a residence.

 This schoolhouse-turned-residence
is located in Dunn County, WI
Look at all that GREEN!

 Actually, this water cooler with a spigot was a modern contraption.
My school had a bucket and dipper.
We got all our communicable childhood diseases taken care of in just a couple years.

 Inside the Joliet School, pictured above
Most of the country schools were set up like this:
Chalkboards all along one wall
Stove at the back or front
Photos of Washington and Lincoln on either side of the flag
(No, neither was President at the time I attended)
Windows all along another wall

Of course there was no school cafeteria in those days and we carried our lunches to school in our Roy Rogers metal lunch boxes. I remember a common lunch packed for me was a couple hard boiled eggs, a tomato, itty bitty Morton S&P, and surely there must have been some good old carb in there, but I don't remember it. Maybe my brothers stole it from my lunchbox. Very Likely.

Cute grandkid doing his schoolwork
at my old-fashioned country school desk
in our home library

I think that desk came out of the Earl School when they had their auction years ago.
I also got an amazing deal of a set of world history pull-down maps.

Some Wisconsin kids still attend country schools
(this one in my neighborhood)


'Wisconsin Amish'
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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A Bleak and Cranky February Hodgepodge

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!

Note to Joyce:  Thank you for your dedication to the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Please don't take my cranky answers personally. xo

1. Where do you go when you need some inspiration?

Scripture. Prayer. Music. Books. Wine.
The books pictured are a small sampling. The music that inspires me ranges from John Rutter (96%) to Bing Crosby to James Taylor.

2. What's under your bed?

Not a thing, except carpet. Or is that supposed to be a metaphor?

Another bleak Wisconsin winter landscape

Last week, on the way home from Madison
We're in the February dreariness.

3. Thursday, February 22nd is National Chili Day, National Margarita Day, and National Cook a Sweet Potato Day. Of the three which would you most like to celebrate? Is that likely?

Who makes up this stuff anyway? I don't celebrate any of these 'national-fill-in-the-blank days,' but I would most likely bake a sweet potato. There are four of them sitting on the kitchen counter.

4. What are you 'snowed under' with right now?

Snow. Just snow. And plenty of it.

5. Tell us three to five things that make you feel balanced?

I think feeling balanced is highly overrated. Besides, if you live where winter takes up half the calendar year, it's difficult to imagine feeling balanced. And if I sound cranky, I promise it will get better once the gray days leave and color is restored to the landscape.

What May looks like, most years.

What May looked like in 2013

6. Insert your own random thought here.


Really, it's just February. In January we're still riding the wave of Christmas, and it's usually very sunny (though beastly cold). I love sunny. And in March, although it's two months yet before the flowers poke through the soil, the daylight is longer and the temps are working their way upward, which usually means the roads are clear for taking walks. There's just something so tough about getting through February. Snowy, bleak, miserable, gray February. Good thing it's the shortest month, because it seems like the longest. And I know I'm not the only one suffering from February blues. Feel free to complain in a comment. :-)

But there is one good thing about February:

Daughter #1
Happy Birthday! (next week)


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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Te Deum Laudamus, St. Peter & St. Paul, Blockley

Te Deum Laudamus

We praise thee, O God; we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee, the Father everlasting.
To thee all angels cry aloud, the heavens and all the powers therein.
To thee cherubin and seraphin continually do cry,
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth;
Heaven and earth are full of the majesty of thy glory.
The glorious company of the apostles praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the prophets praise thee.
The noble army of martyrs praise thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge thee:
the Father of an infinite majesty;
thine honourable, true and only Son;
also the Holy Ghost the Comforter.
Thou art the King of glory, O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man,
thou didst not abhor the Virgin’s womb.
When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death,
thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
We believe that thou shalt come to be our judge.
We therefore pray thee, help thy servants,
whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy saints in glory everlasting.
O Lord, save thy people and bless thine heritage.
Govern them and lift them up for ever.
Day by day we magnify thee;
and we worship thy name, ever world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin.
O Lord, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us.
O Lord, let thy mercy lighten upon us, as our trust is in thee.
O Lord, in thee have I trusted; let me never be confounded.

Photos from St. Peter & St. Paul Church, Blockley
in the Cotswolds

For many photos of the interior of this late Norman church, built about 1180, check out my Anglophile Friday post

And because I know you'd love to hear Te Deum Laudamus in song, here it is, word for word:

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Have a blessed Lord's Day!



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