magnolia blossom
Photo illustration & magnolia photo © Virginia McCorkell
Spring arrives early in North Carolina, as magnolias bloom.

Photo illustration & photo © Virginia McCorkell
But winter wasn't quite done with the rest of us yet.

Updates -

UPDATE -- Coni
by Weston Johnson
Maple Grove, MN

Coni and her sister Tami flew to Maryland on Tuesday for round two of Coni's chemotherapy, which began on Wednesday. So far, she has been feeling better than she did during the first week of the first cycle. She has had more time to relax, as her days are not filled with an endless series of tests and scans as they were during our first trip out there.

She will return home on Monday, at which time I will revisit my role as an underqualified doctor by administering her Neulasta injection. On the bright side, she can wait until she gets home before having the injection this time so she won't be feeling the side effects during the flight home as she did last time.

Both of last week's benefits went very well! Over 200 people turned out for the concert benefit in downtown Minneapolis on the 8th, and over 800 people came and enjoyed a pancake breakfast in Osakis on the 12th. It was pretty incredible to see the number of people who came out to support Coni, and we were overwhelmed at the generosity of so many people who provided items for the silent auctions, contributed donations to Coni's fund, and spent hours planning and staffing the events.

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to the success of the benefits in any way!
Thank you to everyone who has included Coni in your thoughts and prayers, helped with benefits or contributed support in any form to aid in her recovery. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers again this week. You can send e-mails and e-cards to her here:

Weston & Coni with Coni's family at breakfast benefit in Osakis.

Front: Weston, Coni holding Jamie (niece); Dianne (mother) holding Erika (niece), Al (father) holding Nicole (niece).

Middle: Shari (sister); Tami (sister); Makayla (niece); Lori (sister) holding Tyler (nephew); Megan (Randy's girlfriend) holding Isabelle (niece); Kathy (sister in law).

Back: Greg (brother in law) holding Ryan (nephew); Kristi (sister); Kurt (brother) holding Josh (nephew); Diana (sister in law); Randy (brother); Jeff (brother).

Here is a list of the couples pictured and their children: Jeff and Kathy - Jamie; Kurt and Diana - Makayla, Nicole, Josh; Greg and Kristi - Ryan and Erika; Randy and Megan - Isabelle; Shari is divorced - Tyler is her son; Lori, Tami and Coni are single; Coni is dating Weston.

UPDATE -- Moving Day ahead
by Janie Anderson
Dwight, ND

We have a bit of news for you all. It has been in the talking stages for quite some time. Today Nathan made "the announcement" after meeting, so we thought everybody could now know.

We have decided to sell our farmstead to the Hills and we are planning to build a new house in Wahpeton on a lot that we bought last fall. Last fall we had an appraisal on the farmstead and had it surveyed. It will consist of 5.66 acres and it won't affect any farmland. Nathan and Brenda just put their house up for sale yesterday. They're starting by trying to sell it on their own.

In a nutshell, their house is getting small and ours is really bigger than we need, now that the kids are all gone.

Barb has drawn all the plans for our new house this past winter and we have revised and revised and revised ... until we feel it's now the plan that we want. We have talked with contractors and hope to settle on one this week.

The plan would be to start building just as soon as road restrictions come off so the heavy equipment can come in. We would hope to be finished in time to move in before school starts in the fall. If all goes well, contractors feel it's a very feasible timetable.

This move has been talked about for some time, but at first Dwight wouldn't hear of it! He has gradually come to accept the idea that it's time for the next generation to live here! Jazmine and Jonathan will be the 5th generation to live here.

So, if all goes as planned, you can come to visit us on Spruce Drive next fall!

Editor's Note: Congratulations and best wishes on your planned move -- and of course you realize we will need to have a picture of your new home when it is finished! Thanks for the Update.

UPDATE -- Also on the move
by Brenda Hill
Wahpeton, ND

Most of you probably know by now that we put our house up for sale yesterday. We plan to buy the "home farm" when Dad and Mom move this summer. The other news from us is that we are expecting baby #3 the first part of October. There is just never a dull moment around here ... and there won't be for a long time to come!

Just thought we'd let you all know...

Nathan, Brenda, Jazmine, Jonathan, and (?) Hill

by Wyatt Johnson
Moorhead, MN

I was happy to see our basketball tournament picture in The Bulletin, but no story to accompany it. This was one of those teams that "looks better on paper." I guess when Donna submitted the picture, she went with the old, "If you can't say anything nice about someone, don't say anything at all."

While a professional athlete may be considered in the prime of his career at age 30, in the game of small town basketball, 30 years old seems to be where you're just happy if you don't hurt something while playing. Keeping in mind that the point is to have fun playing games like this, we certainly did have fun, even if we lost our three games by a combined total of around 100 points.

This weekend had all kinds of things going on. My step-dad, John's birthday was on March 9th, and Jolene's is today, March 12th, so we went to my mom's place Saturday, and had my mom's homemade pizza with Weston, Coni, and Jolene's twin brother Joel joining us. As if mom's homemade pizza isn't good enough, we followed it up with Dairy Queen ice cream cake.

Today (Sunday) we went to Osakis for Coni's pancake breakfast benefit. It was a lot of fun to meet some of her family. As I walked around the room, I'd see someone who looked a lot like Coni, and I'd ask, "Are you one of Coni's sisters?" The answer was yes both times I tried! We also met her mom and dad, which led to the inevitable discussion of what incredible people Weston and Coni both are.

By the time this edition of The Bulletin hits the presses, we'll be on our way to Tulum, Mexico (south of Cancun, in the Riviera Maya area), for a stay at the Barcelo Maya Tropical Beach Resort. So an early hello to everyone from sunny (hopefully!) Mexico!


Day to Day R
With Donna Mae
Ashby, MN

Photo © Donna M. Johnson
Bridget Larson checks out silent auction items at benefit for Coni.

Beaver, the kids and I made it for the last 15 minutes only of Coni's benefit in Osakis. The photo doesn't do justice to the size of the crowd. Weston and Coni said there had been so many people there. They were both very appreciative of the support shown to her. I'd say it was a big success!

Jayce at Children's Hospital to be tested for a medical study.

The Matriarch Speaks W
by Dorothy (Dake) Anderson
Alexandria, MN

Who Is This?

Let's Play a Guessing Game: Whenever it is handy to do so we will run a picture of someone of the subscribers or staff members of our e-magazine. Tell us who you think it is -- we will let you know who was the first to guess it right -- and the correct guess -- in the following week's Bulletin.
(Send us some to run; we will line them up in our staging area to take their turn.)

How many can you identify?

Answers to last week's mystery pictures (click here to review them):

The one on the left is Loren Sigman and Gertrude cutting their cake! And the one on the right is Gert and Don Pettit at their home by Mud Lake.

Tom Miller
Madera, CA

Would that be Gert's wedding to Loren with Dean Larson in the background on the GUESS picture? So, Gert is in both GUESS pictures, right? (Yes, that is correct. --Photo Ed.)

Betty Droel
MoundsView, MN

LTD Storybrooke

Crutching Time
by Larry Dake

One day, the sheepherder Esteban, stopped by our house to bring our family a holiday greeting card. Domingo, being more literate than Esteban, had helped him sign the card. It read:

is good friend yor my

yor friend Esteban

This moved Sarah, our six-year-old daughter, to make cards for Domingo and Esteban -- they were written in Spanish, with the help of me and the English/Spanish Dictionary. The ranch manager had lent us the dictionary and a set of Spanish language cassette tapes.

Sarah carefully spelled out the greetings to each of the sheepherders. It wasn't poetry -- but it pleased them immensely.


The ewes were getting great with lamb, indicating the rapidly approaching lambing season was soon upon us. Due to difficult weather and scheduling conflicts, the usual fall shearing hadn't happened.

This left the ewes looking extra big, round, and fluffy. They were still in full fleece. It was decided that the ewes would be "crutched" instead of shorn this year, to minimize stress on them at this late date.

Crutching involved leaving the fleeces on. The ewes were shorn only around their backsides and their udders. This would allow the shepherds to monitor the progress of the birthing, and more important, it would contribute to the cleanliness of the ewes. It would prevent the newborn lambs from wasting precious time sucking on dirty tags of wool in their first feeble search for milk. The sooner they struggled to their feet and latched onto a nipple, the better would be their chance of survival.

The first milk, called colostrum, was life giving.

Four sheep shearers and their helpers arrived the evening before the crutching. They drove an odd assortment of old pickup campers, camper trailers, and trucks. A shearing trailer was set up that evening.

Crutching began at seven the following morning, when the shearers jerked on their pull-chains. The electrically powered shears powered up and began clacking away. When one sheep was finished, the chain was pulled again, stopping the noisy clacking.

With the next sheep quickly slid into position, the chain was jerked yet again, restarting the shears. Each on/off pull clicked the counter, which kept track of how many sheep each shearer had shorn that day. The shearers would be paid per head at the end of the crutching, for however many sheep they had crutched.

Crutching was a rapid fire process. Keeping the shearers supplied with sheep was the job of the ranch crew. It kept us hopping! If a shearer turned a sheep loose and there was not another ready, he would shout "SHEEP!" letting everyone know he was unhappy about waiting. After the first hour the sheep began to flow through at a nice, steady pace. Each of us settled into a routine that kept the animals flowing smoothly.

I was stationed at the chute, right before the shearing trailer; I kept running back and forth along the length of it, to keep the single-file line of sheep moving. I learned that when the sheep could see me approaching from the front, as I walked toward them, they would "escape" by scooting past.

The top edge of the solid-sided chute had an eight-inch plank attached horizontally along its length. I put Checker on the plank, and with a little encouragement, he soon learned to run up and down it, from one end of the chute to the other, helping me to keep the sheep moving. If a ewe was stubborn, he would nip at her ears, speeding her on her way.

The 2,400 ewes were all crutched in a day and a half.

After the crutching was finished, a meal was served to the entire crutching crew in the "ranch house." The ranch house was a showcase old two-story, fully furnished with extravagant antiques. No one lived in the well-kept house, but it was in tip-top condition for special events such as this. Stepping into the house was like stepping back into a more elegant time. It was a grand experience!

We were all seated around the huge old dining room table, the ranch manager sitting at the head, keeping us all entertained. Conversation centered around the big sheep outfits of the "West," past and present, and the traveling men who sheared the sheep.

The highlight of the meal was when a birthday cake was presented for our daughter Sarah, and the entire crew sang her the "Happy Birthday" song.

Photos © Larry T. Dake
Amy checks out the parlor stove, left, and the bedroom scales, right, in the ranch house where the "crutching" crew meal was served.

$  A Long Time Ago   !

Ruth (Miller) Collings, one of our father's first cousins, gave me a copy of a 12-page manuscript her father had written in 1960 of his growing up years (1890s) near Ashby, Minnesota. This is another excerpt. Words in square brackets were added by me. --Jerrianne

On November 1, 1960, our great uncle Edward W. Miller wrote:

by Edward W. Miller
Ontario, CA

Even though Joe Marcott had no school education, he did have an eye for business. A small sawmill located in the town of Alexandria, about 35 miles away, had burned down. Joe made the suggestion to Father that he go there and buy the iron parts left from the fire. They would not cost much, and he would rebuild the wood part of the mill. With the mill engine to supply power, they could then saw the farmers' logs into lumber, either for a cash price or for exchange in lumber.

Father agreed to it, and by the next winter, Joe had everything ready for operation. For the next three years, farmers brought their logs to be sawed into lumber. Those that could afford to, paid a fixed fee per thousand feet. Others shared by giving half of the sawed lumber for pay.

Each farmer's lumber was stacked in a pile by itself. Father, with his pad to figure on and Joe with a rule to measure, would go around and measure the amount of footage in each pile. Father would get provoked because before he could figure the footage on his pad, Joe would come up with the correct answer by nothing but mental calculation. He seldom was wrong, and no one knew how he did it.

It was customary for neighbors to share the expense when it came to building joining line fences. Joe's farm joined a neighbor's, by the name of Torgerson. [This is confirmed by a plat of Eagle Lake Township in 1884, which shows all the boundary lines.] They needed a line fence in order to separate their cattle. Joe tried to get Mr. Torgerson to join in the expense of building the fence or to agree that each would build half. Mr. Torgerson refused to do either, thinking that Joe would have to do it by himself. That was just what Joe finally had to do.

Much to the disappointment of Mr. Torgerson, Joe put his fence the entire length -- but one rod [16 feet] inside the line. He then dared Mr. Torgerson to let his cattle trespass on that rod of his property. Mr. Torgerson then had to go ahead and build a fence of his own. That one rod strip was never used until after Joe sold his farm.

Joe was a frontier man and loved the wild woods. When the country began to get filled with settlers, he sold his farm and moved into new country, taking the sawmill with him. Everybody regretted to see him go.

Travelogue t

Greg Dake and Sonja Maness left Raleigh, North Carolina, for Shanghai, China, on January 6th and returned January 28th. It was a business trip for Greg and Sonja went along. They took extra time for sightseeing while they were there.

Oriental Pearl TV Tower, left; Greg & fish at Shanghai Aquarium, right.

Saturday In Shanghai
(posted by Sonja)

Saturday morning, we decided, rather spur of the moment, to go to the Shanghai Aquarium. The weather was cloudy and looked to be threatening rain, so we wanted something to do indoors in case it did rain. After having breakfast in the club lounge (pretty much the same food as the week before; it's starting to get a bit old), we got a taxi to take us to the aquarium. This taxi ride wasn't as insane as some of the others, but it still was nothing like riding or driving on the roads back in the states. We snapped a few pictures out of the taxi windows on the way, just for fun.

We arrived at the aquarium without incident, and went in to buy tickets. It was 110RMB each to get in, about $14. We took pictures and enjoyed the chance to see some specimens of Asian aquatic animals we couldn't see in the states. We ate lunch in the aquarium restaurant, which was your typical tourist attraction restaurant. We had spicy chicken burgers, French fries and Diet Pepsi.

After we ate, we went through the gift shop, which was again pretty much your typical gift shop. The two differences that stuck out were, there were no "Shanghai Ocean Aquarium" T-shirts, which I'd hoped to get. The only T-shirts for sale were decals you could get an employee to heat-press for you, but none of the designs were for the aquarium. They did, however, have Florida and Myrtle Beach designs among the selections! I was quite amused at that.

The other difference was, when you selected something you wanted to buy, an employee took it from you to hold and wrote you a ticket to take to the cashier. Once you brought back a receipt, you got your items back from the employee that wrote the ticket.

I bought a keychain with leafy sea dragon artwork on it, and a lot of postcards to start addressing and mailing home to family and friends. Greg picked out a couple of small pins to go on the camera-bag strap; both were fish, but again, didn't have any aquarium logos on them. He got a miniature plate that did have aquarium stuff on it, with the intention to turn it into a fridge magnet when we get home. The magnets they had for sale didn't appeal much.

When we left the aquarium, we were right next door to the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. In spite of the weather being cloudy, we decided to go in and go to the top. It was about 110RMB (about $14) each. We went up to the various levels, took a few pictures, but the weather wasn't very good for that.

Bought a T-shirt. (There was no dearth of branded merchandise at the tower!) Greg got another miniature plate, and I got a couple of small gifts for people back home. Went back to ground level and found another gift shop, where we finally got watches. (We both used our cellphones for watches back home, but didn't bring them here because they probably wouldn't work, anyway). We paid, I think, all of 2RMB for each one, all of 25 cents each. Got another souvenir for someone back home. Bought T-shirts for the boys and a silk scarf for me.

Left there and tried to find the tourist tunnel going under the river to the Bund, walked one way along the river, then back. Walked a long ways into a residential neighborhood that was in pretty poor repair, and tried to talk a security guard into letting us go through a locked gate back to the main street. He wouldn't budge, though, so we had to hike all the way back. We took some pictures along the way, but had forgotten to bring the monopod along so not many.

By this time we were hungry and tired, and it was getting cold and felt like it might rain. We'd passed a Spanish restaurant on the way, and decided to eat dinner there, since it was close. The name of it was La Verbena, and it turned out to have tapas as well as à la carte. We had garlic potatoes as an appetizer, and filet mignon with asparagus for our main dishes. Very good steak, probably among top five filets I've ever had. We ordered flan for dessert, one to split between us, and it was absolutely delicious. Far and away the best flan I've ever had.

We have learned that when you are ready to leave a restaurant here, you have to ask for the check. Service at restaurants here is very very good, but they don't hover over you or ask you questions while you dine, the way American waitstaff do. You don't pull out your own chair; waiters do that for you. You don't put your napkin in your lap; they do that for you. They very discreetly take away plates you are finished with and replace them with fresh ones. You don't open the door when you arrive or leave; they rush to do that for you, as well.

Nor do they seem to push you to leave once you've eaten, by bringing and leaving the check as soon as you seem to be finished eating. You could sit and wait an hour after eating and they don't bring the check until you ask. So you say "Min dahn" (probably not correct spelling) "check please" when you want to go.

We walked out to find it was sprinkling rain. We walked back to the main road and flagged down a taxi to go back to the hotel for the night. We stopped by the concierge desk to try to book a day tour to Suzhou for Sunday but it was too late; the offices for it were already closed. Back to our room we went, and not long til we were asleep. A long, tiring, but enjoyable day, sightseeing in Shanghai.

to be continued...

Sea Dragon, left; creepy-mouthed creature, right.

Photo Editor's Note: We are serializing Sonja and Greg's web log and illustrating it with the photos they are posting, but there is far more photo material available than we will be able to fit in The Bulletin, so we will also provide the links to the blog, for those who are interested:

Web Log:

Photo illustration © Virginia McCorkell
After breakfast, Greg & Sonja got married.

Flight Privileges
by Virginia McCorkell
Blaine, MN

A year after Larry started working at Northwest Airlines, we finally got around to using our "Flight Privileges." By privilege I mean the opportunity to spend the day at the airport waiting to see if you get to fly today ... or tomorrow.

Neither one of us got on the first flight and there was only one seat left on the second flight so I got on by myself. Larry came the next day and the plane was so empty that he got bumped up to first class.

Suzanne picked me up at the airport and we spent the night at Sonja's and Greg's. Ernie and Carolyn were there as well ... on a Friday afternoon in the middle of tax season and Carolyn is a CPA...?

Evidently, Suzanne knew something I didn't know ... because I was informed that we had to leave by 10 a.m. Which I found a little bit puzzling, as nobody looked like they were going anywhere. But off we went.

We spent the day shopping and doodling around. Had lunch at a very nice Chinese restaurant. We split a meal of Wok Seared Lamb with brown rice -- Suzanne's choice -- and it was excellent.

Thank goodness for cell phones ... we were able to keep up with Larry as he watched the computer to see whether he would be able to fly or not.

While we were killing time, waiting for Larry's flight to arrive, we got a call from Carolyn. She said, "Are you still in town? Would you like to come over for wedding cake?"

I said, "Wedding cake? Whose wedding cake?"

She replied, "Greg and Sonja got married this afternoon."

Imagine that ... right under our very noses!

Unfortunately, Suzanne had our plans made and we really couldn't back out of them.

We were right there in town and never got to help them celebrate.

Larry's last call was to let us know that he was on the ground in North Carolina. We picked him up at the airport and I called Carolyn one more time to let them know that Larry had arrived and we were on our way to Mt. Airy.

No more than five minutes later ... as we crawled along in rush hour traffic ... Suzanne burst out, "There they are!"

Sure enough, there was Sonja's little red car with the license plate "RedSonja." We drove along beside them for a bit and offered our Congratulations by way of a thumbs up and a Woo Hoo as we passed...

The first couple we visited introduced us to Redneck Pizza. They had served this outstanding breakfast -- complete with biscuits and gravy -- after which we sat around and visited until almost 11 a.m.

I was feeling sorry for this poor lady ... she had just served this huge breakfast and now there was the kitchen to clean up and start all over on the noon meal!

My sympathies were wasted, however. Pretty soon we were escorted out the door and all seven of us climbed into the RV. I had no idea where we were going or what this was all about.

We headed for town, and as Butch pulled into Pizza Hut, he announced that we were going to have Redneck Pizza for lunch.

He went in and got the pizzas as Millie started pulling out the salad and beverages. We enjoyed our pizzas, sitting in the RV in the Pizza Hut parking lot.

Any pizza can be a Redneck Pizza ... if you eat it in the parking lot in an RV ... with friends!

Pound cake and ice cream followed the pizza ... it was delightful.

We spent time at two more homes before we headed back to the airport. We got into town early enough that we went out to eat at a nice restaurant for our last meal with Suzanne.

Then we took a stroll through the shopping area and ended up at Barnes & Noble Bookstore. I stopped to look at something and then caught up with Larry and Suzanne again.

Suzanne took one look at me and burst out laughing. I had tucked the nice cloth napkin into my waistband so it wouldn't slither to the floor while we ate ... it was still hanging from my waistband.

If anybody had looked at me funny, I had missed it ... I had no clue it was tagging along with me.

We got back to the airport and the e-pass that we printed out said we would be seated in first class. Joke ... we both got on the same flight home ... but we were two rows behind first class.

We weren't complaining ... it's a privilege to fly!

Photo illustration © Virginia McCorkell
"Redneck Pizza" with Butch & Millie in their RV.

Bound For Boston
By Beaver

After months of planning, our trip taking Jayce to be tested for a medical study in Boston was happening. D had spent many hours on the telephone and computer, lining up details of Jayce's appointment at Children's Hospital, as well as the details of our airline tickets. It had been a long and complicated process, getting medical records sent and hotel reservations made. Linda would be taking care of things at home. Ben would feed the livestock, so all was ready.

We were to leave Minneapolis at 1:40 on Wednesday afternoon. The weather forecast was for freezing rain Tuesday night, so we decided to leave for the cities Tuesday evening. Monday night, D realized that the hotel room she had reserved was not going to work out well, so she spent the evening looking for another hotel. After a long search, she found a room on Priceline in a four-star hotel at a reasonable rate, much closer to the area where we would be spending most of our time.

As Tuesday sped by, the weather became more threatening, so we hurried to get everything done in time to leave when Caity got out of school at 3 o'clock. We just made it to pick her up at school, and we were off for the Cities.

We drove in rain for most of the two hours to Rogers, with the temperature hovering just above freezing. Meeting Lori and Shawn at Shawn's house, we went out for dinner, then continued to Weston's house in Maple Grove, leaving Caity with Lori.

On the way down, D had decided that we really needed a laptop computer, and we could just as well buy one now, so we could have it along on our trip. I have long ago learned that it's sometimes easiest to agree, so I said, OK, that will be your birthday present. On further reflection, I included Mother's day, Christmas, and next Valentine's Day. She said fine, it will be your present for the same occasions.

So, off we went to Best Buy, arriving with less than a half hour to go until closing time. The salesman was very helpful, and immediately sold us up to a laptop that could do everything imaginable, with a price to match. D had called all the computer experts in the family on the way down, getting some general advice. Now she called Wyatt again, and he went online to the Best Buy website. She gave me the phone, and I read stock numbers to him while he looked at the specs. He steered us to a computer that he said would do everything we wanted it to do, for much less money. Ten minutes after closing time, we were out the door with our new computer.

We spent a little time at Weston's getting the new computer up and running, making sure it would connect to his wireless system, and then were off to bed.

Wednesday dawned foggy and cold, but with no freezing rain or snow. We got organized and had breakfast at the golden arches. We found our way across town to meet Lori at her work, where we would be leaving our van until our return. She gave us a ride to the airport, where I discovered that the name "David Johnson" is no longer on a "watch" list, so we boarded uneventfully. Soon we were winging eastward, with a nice tailwind helping us on our way for a fast flight to Boston.

Skinny Recipes  6
from Donnie Anderson
Isanti, MN

Salads don't have to be boring; neither does chicken! Here's a recipe that proves the point. I've actually combined two recipes to make this combo. The chicken was supposed to be served with rice and the spinach with a vinaigrette (yawn). Be creative; you could add most any salad ingredient to make this your own. This is a pretty simple meal; I would rate it a 2. (The yellow dish in the upper left is a forgettable carrot and habañero pepper soup. I could send it, on request.) Eat healthy, Donnie Jr.

Spinach and Chicken with Cider and Bacon Dressing
Difficulty rating: 2
4 servings: 336 calories, 7 W.W. points for 1/4 of the salad and one chicken breast.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 lb.)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 slices bacon (1/8 lb.)
1/4 cup onions, coarsely chopped
1 cup apple cider
1 cup chicken broth
1 bag fresh, whole spinach leaves (9 oz.)
1/4 cup almond slivers
1/4 cup red Bermuda onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup mandarin oranges

1. Place chicken breasts between 2 sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap, pound to 1/2 inch thickness with a meat mallet or rolling pin. Salt and pepper evenly.

2. Cook bacon in frying pan over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon, add chicken, cook for 6 minutes, each side. Remove from pan and keep warm.

3. Add onion to pan, cook 2 minutes, or until tender. Add cider and broth, bring to boil, cook until broth is reduced by half (about 6 minutes). Crumble bacon into mixture, let set until salad is ready.

4. Place spinach on 4 dinner plates, top with almonds, onions and oranges. Slice the chicken breasts, placing one each on the 4 salads. Spoon the bacon and cider mixture over the chicken and salad and serve.

Photo ©Donald L. Anderson
Spinach and Chicken Salad with Cider and Bacon Dressing

Celebrations & Observances
From the Files of
Hetty Hooper

This Week's Special Days
March 20---First Day of Spring

This Week's Birthdays
March 21---Rachel Henderson
March 23---Colette Huseby
Happy Birthday!

More March Birthdays
March 1---Betty Weiland Droel
March 2---Tom W. Miller (MN)
March 3---Donald W. Anderson

March 6---Jerrianne Lowther
March 11---Kjirsten Swenson
March 12---Jolene Johnson
March 18---Janie Anderson

March 28---Donna Anderson Johnson
March 31---Linda Knutson

March Anniversaries
March 3---Mike and Kelley Seaman (5 years)
March 3---Greg & Sonja Maness Dake (next year)
March 14---Brian and Melanie Birkholz Lehtola (4 years)
March 15---Dan and Gina Henderson (1 year)

March 26---Stanley and Janice Dake (36 years)

March Special Days
March 17---St. Patrick's Day
March 20---First Day of Spring

Miss Hetty's Mailbox:

Dear Miss Hetty,

Thank you for the anniversary wishes. You asked how we celebrated, so thought I'd share this with you.

Tim and I celebrated our 23rd anniversary recently. We enjoyed a sunny trip to Florida. We got to spend time with Mom and Dad (Tom and Mavis). We watched one of her shuffle board tournaments in the park. We got to the beach a couple of times, did some shopping, and LOTS of eating -- including more than our share of key lime pie!

It's fun to see the green vegetation, flowers in bloom and fruit on the trees in February, and to feel the sun's warmth. It certainly is a nice place to visit in the winter!

Char and Tim Morgan
Thompson, ND

Tim & Char Morgan, Florida bougainvillea.

Thank you for the Anniversary card! All those flowers (especially the orange poppy) reminded me of Grandma's flower gardens.

You requested pictures of our celebration. Unfortunately, thousands of miles separate us, so I don't have any of Brian and me together. BUT, I did attach two pictures that show how each of us celebrated our March 14th anniversary. He grilled in shorts and I shoveled in boots!

(OK, can't lie ... the Minnesota picture was actually taken in December, and not at my house, but that's about what it looked like around here after the snowfall a couple days ago!)

Thank again for remembering us!

Melanie Lehtola
Howard Lake, MN

Brian grills in Iraq as Melanie shovels snow in Minnesota.

I must tell you about a wonderful thing. I heard a noise, and I looked out, and here was our neighbor man shoveling our walk, as well as plowing our driveway. He has done it before, but usually manages to do it and be gone before we even know he's been here. Very nice, quiet, young couple. I suppose we are the "old folks" neighbors to them.

Our trees hung clear to the ground with heavy, wet snow -- and it was at least a foot thick of very heavy snow to shovel. I had told Roy I wasn't even going for the mail down our 100-ft. driveway in the deep snow, and he said to just wait -- it would melt down before long, etc. etc., so we were so happy when it got cleared.

I don't know why it's so easy to write when dishes are sitting on the sink, ha. So, I will go and do supper dishes and put clothes in the dryer.

Betty Droel
MoundsView, MN

Thanks to Betty Droel for these photos of nature's snow artistry.

Miss Hetty Says

Winter's Last Gasp (We hope!)

We have had an avalanche of snow pictures -- from subscribers in Minnesota, California, and the Netherlands -- who are eager to tell about all the snow that came down with this snowfall on Sunday and Monday. The grass in southern Minnesota already had some green tint to it, and we started to think Spring seriously, but Sunday afternoon about 3:30 there began a slight snowfall like tapioca, and then it just continued right on overnight and all day on Monday. Heavy, wet -- and several inches thick.

We know it can't last. March is already half gone. But, lest we forget, we got a reminder! Power outage and all. So, we are putting some last snow pictures in The Bulletin for this first week of Spring, so all our subscribers from all over can see our beautiful winter before it's gone for another season.

Photos © Sandra Schaefer, left, and © Frans De Been, right.
Winter's Last Blast in northern California, left; and in the Netherlands, right.

Just a few pictures to share what our weekend was like -- absolutely bea-u-ti-ful! Even with a 19-hour power outage -- cooking oatmeal and soup with grilled cheese on the woodburning stove added to the fun. We almost were disappointed when the power came back on. ;0)

Steve and Sandy Schaefer
Coarsegold, CA (near Yosemite National Park)

(Sandy Schaefer is Jerrianne's California first cousin on her father's side. We heard about snow in San Francisco and on the mountainsides down by the Salton Sea last weekend, too. Old Man Winter doesn't give up easily, you know.)

Keep Us Posted!

Please drop Miss Hetty a line and tell us who, and what, we've missed. And how about a report (photos welcome) of YOUR special celebration?

'Many Thankse

Miss Hetty


Click here to review last week's Bulletin

Another great Bulletin and we very much appreciate all of the letters, pictures and updates on those who could use a little extra help. Thanks.

Gert mentioned my name. Yes, I have helped with some of the work around the Dake Farm but not nearly enough to cover all the benefits from having a part of growing up in the "family." I had the greatest respect for your mom and dad and how they put up with all of us, coming and going at every hour of the day and night! It was special!

Tom Miller
Madera, CA

Larry's reply to Captain Jack Adair (Bulletin 194), who wrote:

In reference to Larry McCorkell's introduction in Bulletin #187, where he is enumerating some of his "lists," one of which stated no English word rhymes with "month...

Larry McCorkell is a friend,
But one of his lists he must amend,
And I must inform him at oneth,
I use a word that rhymes with month!
Captain Jack

Captain Jack. Yup, you're right! Oneth does rhyme with month. I'll have to change my list. Great poem. Thanks Jack!

Larry McCorkell
Blaine, MN

Last Week's Bulletin Review JKL
by Betty Droel
MoundsView, MN

As The Bulletin scrolled up onto the screen, I was positive I was looking into Suzie's eyes. Then I knew for sure I was when I saw how obediently she was placing the sticker on her forehead and smiling. I was also sure it was Minnehaha Falls, but I know it wasn't now. I am not a very good guesser, but I try.

I think the Pancake Feed Benefit for Coni will bring a lot of response. First of all, everyone loves a Feed of any kind, and then to be aware of the reason for it would draw out many well wishers on Coni's behalf. We hope to hear how it went today -- it's over by now.

When I saw the picture of Greg, I could see Tom Miller (MN) in him. Then I did see Tom this afternoon, and his beard is almost identical to Greg's. Must be the "Miller"! It's pretty exciting to hear about Greg and Sonja getting married. Nice they are making it low key -- they will be able to use the funds for necessary things rather than a huge, expensive wedding. Their love will be just as strong, and vows just as binding.

Roy and I went across the Minnesota-South Dakota state line to the Watertown, South Dakota, courthouse, and the magistrate took us to his home on his noon hour and married us there. Thirteen years later, we are still very happily married. So, we applauded for Greg and Sonja's plans.

Jeff and Twila Jo are finding life in Alaska quite a contrast to California. Nice that Hannah got a dog bootie at the sled race! Sorry about the cast, Jeff. No dishes for a while. I remember Twila Jo at the age of Hannah ... time slips by too fast!

I think I saw Ben and Heather this afternoon. They were with Patty and family -- and so many wanted to speak to them that we missed out. For some reason I just got this special feeling, seeing the Matriarch's family sitting there. What a sweet teenage daughter.

Gertie Dake ... what a wonderful introduction. I was glad to read about her at the time I knew her best -- pretty, unmarried and popular. Lots of history and lots of children later, there she is -- still a lovely lady who probably wouldn't even know me, as I have aged and changed, too. It was with intense interest that I studied the photo of Gert's children now. For some reason, that does not look like Gert to me, but the names list her as third from left in top row. It's that same lady in the GUESS picture on the right, I'm sure.

Donna Mae, I wonder if you are in Boston about now? You will have some stories to tell about that trip in the following Bulletins.

Well, Don, I see you couldn't wait for a picture to be taken to take a piece out of the cake. Oh well, some people get into a second childhood when you get just so old. Very good picture taken at the Country Kitchen breakfast. 79 -- now THAT is getting up there. WAAAAAyyyy up there. Looks like he got plenty of cards to remind him why he groans when he tries to lift those benches he makes.

We held our breath until we saw that LTD Storybrooke was in there this time, and it was. Was that ever interesting. I am very sure those boys are still telling that story, too, as that would be a one of a kind trip to visit someone -- and am sure whoever loaned them their car had not expected it to be returned in a box, so good thing they could replace whatever had ended up in the mud. Actually, it may not be so uncommon there on the ranches.

So glad for another chapter of Life On The Farm. That was exceptionally detailed so we could almost see the dugout. Sounds like a chapter out of the Little House books. The barn raising term was finally explained so we city people can understand it.

The Travelogue is still telling us some more about China. Does not make me anxious for a trip to Shanghai. I will gladly stay put in our little suburb of MoundsView. No worry about Strange Fruit. I think they were very good sports to attempt all they did. Home never looked so good, I'm sure, and yet there is more to be continued to the story, so we haven't heard it all YET.

Skinny Recipes -- thanks for the attempt at helping us. Keep prodding us -- we need it.

Miss Kitty looks like she just got out of jail for the occasion. She really is a beautiful cat, but am sure she gets lots of tender loving care and the best in cat food. She looks so soft, and I hear she has no claws so you could even attempt to pet her. She holds a very important position in being caretaker of our photo editor. One of these issues it will be Miss Kitty's birthday -- let's see, she will be three.

(Miss Kitty says she has kept all her long, strong, sharp and beautiful claws -- and she knows how to use them when she needs them -- but she doesn't use them to claw her friends if they pet her.)

Now we have to be concerned about Diana. Sounds like she might have a serious illness, so do keep us posted. Was she in Unity hospital? Two miles from us.

Do Donnie and Patty use the kerosene lamp? I see a phone cord, so it must not be too isolated, although Isanti is only 20 miles north of MoundsView. With the heavy, wet snow we had overnight, our electricity was off for a couple hours. Scary. We could have used the kerosene lamp ourselves. Do we realize how much of our life is geared around those plug-ins?

Well, Editors, I am finally going to wind up this LTTE, but you will know we read and enjoyed every word of it again, and even if this is only Monday, we are already counting the days until Saturday. It gets to be like a continued story -- and who can wait for the next chapter?

Betty Droel


Photo illustration © Virginia McCorkell
Spring cleaning has to wait...
I am having too much fun with what I see out my window.
Ginny McCorkell
Blaine, MN

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