Chickweed on a roll!
Photo illustration © Virginia McCorkell; photo by Suzanne McCorkell
Nature's crazy quilt, waiting for a blanket of snow.

Updates -

UPDATE -- a new teaching position for Leona
by Leona Anderson
Brooklyn Park, MN

I have a news update for The Bulletin. :-) I am now officially a staff member at Maple Grove Junior High School, until at least December 8th and possibly as late as the end of January. On Tuesday morning, I received a phone call around 10 a.m. from the principal and I started around noon that same day!

One of the English teachers had to have emergency knee replacement surgery on Wednesday and, apparently, I came recommended from some of the staff I worked with at the senior high school while I was student teaching.

I am teaching three classes of English 9 and two classes of High Performance English 9. I was able to talk with the teacher enough on Tuesday so I feel confident in what I'm teaching. Now I just need to find the worksheets in the sea of papers throughout her room. I like to call her style "organized chaos." At least it works for her; it should, since she has been teaching for 36 years. Eric had this teacher back when he was in junior high.

I will be teaching the books Animal Farm and The Odyssey as well as Aesop's Fables. Other than that, the lesson plans are still up in the air.

As a long term substitute, I will be following her lesson plans, for the most part, but I already know that I need to modify some things, due to the confused looks on the students' faces when I mentioned literary analysis on Friday.

I'm already bonding with some students and hitting walls with others. Some students are eager to learn and others would rather make paper airplanes than take the test. Then again, I'm sure I'll find that wherever I go.

The only other thing I have to say is "Go (MG) Mustangs!" :-)

Photo © Donna Johnson
Stacking crew keeps busy with four chainsaws cutting up logs.

UPDATE -- wood cutting day - 2006
by Donna Johnson
Ashby, MN

We had a marvelous weekend at the farm! All of our "children" and grandchildren were here. That, in itself, is fantastic, but we also had bonus people: Don, Patty, Eric and Leona. Love having them all here!

They all got out and worked hard on Saturday, working with Beaver on getting wood cut for the winter. What a group they made, working very well together, making the shed fill up quickly.

Don, Weston, Wyatt and Ben ran the chainsaws and the rest helped load pieces into the tractor bucket. Eventually, when they got to working from the bottom of a hill back up to the tractor, they formed lines to pass the chunks along, to be placed in the loader. Once the bucket was loaded, Beaver would dump the load into the back of the dump truck.

This "passing the wood" was quite a feat for Leona and Jolene, as some of the pieces weren't what you'd call small! Then the "line" people would come back to the farm with the truck and carry the wood into shed. I was amazed at how much they got done!

Photos © Donna Johnson
Logs dumped from the truck are stacked neatly in the woodshed.

Later in the day, Don got the grill fired up and made two beef tenderloins and a huge prime rib that we'd been saving for this day. What a treat that was! He did a superb job and they were so tasty that Patty declared it to be the best prime rib she'd ever had. That's high praise for our beef and Don's cooking!

Beaver and I thank the whole crew for all their hard work. It was TERRIFIC having each and every one of you here! We look forward to a repeat performance next year...

Photo © Donna Johnson
The Ashby farm wood cutting crew for 2006.

Standing, left to right: Ben Johnson, Jolene Johnson with Brooklynn in front of her, Chris Chap, Wyatt Johnson, Lori Ostendorf, Shawn Ostendorf, Weston Johnson, Leona Anderson, Beaver Johnson, and Eric Anderson. In front are Beaver's dog, Lexie, and Patty and Don Anderson with Ben's lunch-stealing pooch, Buster (only that is a different story).

UPDATE -- preparing for winter
by Anita Weiland
Yankton, SD

Hello, everyone. It's been a busy week, and it's been so nice out that I got some outside work done: cleaning up the garden things, pruning back the cactus. Got three bags full of the ears from them; they really grew well, even if the other things did not this summer.

Daisy Mae (my constant companion) doesn't like it too well when I am busy and she doesn't get attention at the same time, but we made it. She got her tail in the paint, so had to use paint thinner on her; she wasn't too happy, she wants to be right next to me. With a white dog, and red paint -- the two don't mix very well.

I have been wanting to paint the shed out back, so on Saturday I did that. It's a barn red ... very classy looking. My little ole barn ... now I need to paint the shutters, etc. and I am wondering if we will get our Indian summer, or if today was it? The temperature was 75 out today; it's mostly been in the 50's, so nice to paint. Hope tomorrow is good, also, and then we are to get a cold spell. When the snow is blowing, I'll be glad for what got done this fall, so I won't have it all to do in the spring.

My job at the Pine Lane Estates assisted living has been busy, as well ... some in the hospital, some coming back, and others moving in ... no rest for us. Seems like in the fall and spring the older ones become sick more often, and more deaths. Sometimes there aren't enough hours to get the work done there. I had to go back on Wednesday evening, and again today ... couldn't do it by phone. Most of the time I can do it by phone, which is so nice.

The mall health food store where I bake has also been busy. I've started to make the cranberry chewy cookies; they have to have the fresh cranberries, and the customers just wait for them, so the cranberries will be coming out my ears ... and I'm also making pumpkin bars. It is the season!

Photo illustration © Virginia McCorkell; photo of Amy by Larry T. Dake, left.
Photo illustration © Jerrianne Lowther; photo of Brock by Heather Dewey, right.

We rounded up some good helpers for you, Anita! Got any jobs to do?

UPDATE -- a new grandma-to-be
by Peggy McNeill
Ashby, MN

Roddy and Alisha McNeill, my son and daughter-in-law, are expecting their first child around March 17, 2007. We are told it is going to be a girl.

I am so excited about being a grandma!

Photo illustration © Virginia McCorkell; photo by Tim Holman
Hunter Timothy Holman manages "finger food" very well.

(Just think of all the fun times in your future, Grandma Peggy!)

UPDATE -- Aydelotte family arrives safely in California
by Jeff Aydelotte
Antioch, CA

Wednesday marked the end to a very, very, long, grueling drive from Anchorage, Alaska, to Antioch, California. Our time spent in Alaska was very memorable and the friendships we made there will be forever treasured.

The drive from Anchorage was pretty much uneventful, with the exception of a couple of winter storms encountered leaving Alaska, as well as in parts of Canada. The major one hit us between Fort Nelson and Fort St. John, British Columbia, in Canada. With a couple of feet of unplowed snow on the road, the snowplows were definitely a sight for sore eyes.

Both moving truck and our van ran very well. The kids, for the most part, were very well behaved.

We stayed Wednesday night with my parents in Walnut Creek and unloaded the truck on Thursday. We were looking forward to sleeping in our own beds again.

For those of you who helped us prepare for our move out of Anchorage, thank you again.

Photo © Argyle Anderson
Jeff & Twila Aydelotte family leaves Anchorage for Antioch, California.

UPDATE -- still looking for a homebuyer
by Diana Mellon Martin
Coon Rapids, MN

Just thought I'd touch base this morning, to say hello, and to comment on the latest Bulletins. They have been so interesting and informative! I just love reading about what is going on in the family!

Just a quick update on my situation. I still haven't sold my place up north. I pray every day that someone will come along who will love it as much as we did, and want to buy it ... but, I guess it will happen when it's supposed to.

I'll have a CAT scan this Thursday (11/2), and what is called a Tumor Marker test, to determine if the chemo is working or not, and then I see the doctor on the 8th for the results, and his determination of what comes next. If you recall, my last results were quite wonderful, so, of course, I'm hoping for more of the same!

I've started having more side effects of the chemo ... mostly hair loss and stomach upset. Fortunately, hair grows back, so I'm not too upset about that. My head does get cold these days, though! Thank goodness for caps and wigs! I guess chemo can cause tenderness of the scalp, making it difficult to wear a wig, so I'll have to see how that goes.

I hope this finds you and yours well.

Photo illustration © Virginia McCorkell; photo of Brock by Heather Dewey
"If you're happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it..."
Click here for words and music to "If you're happy and you know it..."

UPDATE -- Tricks or Treats!
by Betty Weiland Droel
MoundsView, MN

Late on Hallowe'en afternoon, I was standing at the sink seeding a pomegranate when I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked up to see a van had driven into the driveway, and out stepped A BOX OF POPCORN and a SHOWER!

I quickly wiped my hands and went out to welcome them in: my great nieces, Shalana, 9, the box of popcorn, and Krista, 6, the shower. They were so cute, and of course they had their containers poised, waiting for Tricks or Treats. I grabbed the digital camera to share them with The Bulletin, if there was room for them and if it fit in.

Shalana dresses as popcorn snack while Krista goes for a shower.

Krista guts her pumpkin, left; Krista's & Shalana's jack o'lanterns, right.

Day to Day R
With Donna Mae
Ashby, MN

Photos © Donna Johnson
Caity dressed as Cleopatra, left; & Jayce as a Silver Power Ranger, right.

Hallowe'en was frosty cold -- but the kids enjoyed it!

Barb Dewey made Caity's Cleopatra costume this year, as I'd found the headpiece at the Dalton Threshing Show this summer. Caity said it was her favorite costume. So, a big thanks to Barb!

Becky and I took the kids to Peggy's and then Bridget's before we headed back to town and made it around Ashby. Many homes revealed people we didn't know had moved into them ... so we found out where many people are currently living. That was fun. I realize how many more people we know over the years of living in the area. Makes it lots of fun. Becky did the walking with the kids and I drove the van, to haul them for the longer stretches and for warming up in between times.

It was cold! Many of the people would invite them in, giving them another chance to thaw out some. By the end of the evening it had dropped to 22 degrees. Caity was more than ready to quit, but Jayce would have gone on for blocks more, if we'd have let him! They each got a huge bag of goodies ... candy, pop, yo-yo, bubbles, pencils and more!

We finished the evening off with a trip out to Barb's place for our last stop. I'd say they figured it was a very fun evening, in spite of the deepfreeze it had become!

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. Thanks to Ginny McCorkell for sending last week's mystery picture.

How many can you identify?

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

I think it is OK for me to do a Guess this week as I am probably the only one of us who remembers being there when the picture was taken, in front of our house, in 1938. I was most likely in the 5th grade, and quite impressed with all the Cheney relatives that met at our house that day. My Grandma Mary Cheney Dake Greer was the hostess at the meeting of that whole family.

The picture is of Grandma Mary Greer and her sisters (and sorry, but I do not remember any of the last names), Aunt Sara (the one referred to as Sarie) and Carrie ... so then they were Mary, Sarie, and Carrie ... and though they all look a bit fierce I do not remember them as being so!

(Click here to see the picture that includes the Cheney brothers, too.)

Dorothy Dake Anderson
Alexandria, MN

LTD Storybrooke

This story is out of order. It takes place on December 11, 1987. We had recently started work on the remote sheep ranch in eastern Oregon (Bulletin #177 and #179.) "Checker" was my new border collie puppy (Bulletin #180.) It was 80 miles to town.

The 11th of December
by Larry Dake

"Uh-m ... Checker's got a porcupine needle in his nose," I say into the mike on the two-way radio. The radio sits on our kitchen counter. "Do you copy?"

"Yes, I copy," my boss answers.

"The quill is in pretty deep. What's the trick to getting these things out?" I ask.

I haven't seen my boss for almost two weeks, since I got the pup from him, but I've talked to him on the radio a few times. I've heard that porcupine quills have wicked barbs on the ends of the quill, and that the barbs tear the flesh when you pull them out. In fact, I've heard that they can keep working their way deeper and deeper into the body, where they cause serious damage.

"Just yank it out with a pliers," my boss's voice crackles back over the radio.

I'm thinking, Isn't there something about soaking the quill in vinegar? Or some trick!

"Really! Just yank it out?" I ponder.


"Hm-m. Okay. Thanks." I hang the mike back on the radio.

Just yank it out with a pliers, I tell myself.

Sherry's busy decorating birthday cakes. Amy, age two, is frosting a cookie. Her sister Sarah's on top of the world! Tomorrow's her sixth birthday. She's been anticipating her birthday with great excitement for over a month. She's had her dolls all lined up for the party for a week.

Sarah and Amy fall in tow as I walk back out to the mud room. Checker sits on his rug, a dejected expression on his face. The white quill protrudes awkwardly from the end of his shiny black nose.

"Don't touch it," I warn the kids; "I'll be right back."

I run out to my pickup, without a coat, and rummage around in the dark for my pliers.

I'll just yank it out, I reassure myself.

The Canada geese are honking in the hayfield down below the buildings and a coyote is yipping in the distance. Most of the eight inches of snow we had a few days ago has melted. What's left of it crunches underfoot as I run back to the house.

"Br-r-r-r!" I step back into the mud room and close the door behind me. I kneel by Checker's bed and wrap one arm around him, grip the pliers in my other hand -- and take a closer look at the protruding spear.

Just yank it out! I tell myself, again, to bolster my courage.

I cautiously move the pliers into position. Checker abruptly turns his painful snout away. He senses what is about to happen.

"What are you doing, Daddy?" Sarah exclaims.

"I'm pulling the porcupine quill out of Checker's nose," I say with confidence.


"Because it hurts Checker"


"Because it's stuck in his nose."


I approach the quill with the pliers again.

Just yank it out! I repeat silently.

"Why, Daddy?"

Amy pipes up, "Sit by the funny man!"

Monday night we had driven out to meet the shepherd, Esteban, at his sheep camp. He was a charming and entertaining little man from Peru. Amy sat beside him on his bench and giggled. Then we all laughed and laughed as he talked. We couldn't understand a word he said, but he talked with such expression -- and so fast, moving his whole body, and waving his hands about. Amy wants to go see him again. "Sit by the funny man!" she says.

Just yank it out! I think. Checker ducks the pliers.

"Will Checker cry?" Sarah asks.

"Sit by the funny man!" Amy says.

"Daddy! Will Checker cry?" Sarah asks.

Just yank it out! I tell myself.

"Sit by the funny man! Sit by the funny man!" Amy chants.

"SHER-R-RY!" I holler.

Sherry comes to the door, licking cake frosting from a finger. "Did you want me?"

"Yes," I say, handing her the pliers. "I'll hold Checker."

"What do you want me-e to do?"

"Just yank it out!" I say, indignantly.

Holding Checker tight to my chest, I close my eyes. Sherry quickly grips the quill with the pliers and Checker jerks his head away -- pulling it free. He gives a little yip.

I open my eyes and see that the quill is gone. "See how easy that was!" I say.


Sherry wrote a letter home to Minnesota the day after Sarah's birthday: We're just about to meeting. Will write a line on this bumpity road ... We had a fun party at noon yesterday when Larry came home for lunch. We baked cakes, cupcakes, and cookies all day Friday, which are almost gone now -- some are left for Larry's 32nd birthday, today.

Photo illustration © Virginia McCorkell
Sarah knits sheep's wool and rabbit fur into warm socks.

Homespun, Hand-Dyed, Knitted Woolly Warmers
by Sarah Dake Steinhauer
Warroad, MN

I finally completed this pair of socks about two months ago, after working on them, on and off, for about eight months.

They are made from a mix of wool and angora (rabbit). The wool came from a sheep on some ranch we used to live on, and the angora came from angora rabbits I raised during high school.

After the wool was washed and dried, I sent it away to be carded on a big drum carder. Carding straightens out the wool fibers and gets them all lined up in the same direction in preparation for spinning.

In January I decided I wanted to learn to knit something more advanced than a scarf, so I decided socks would be something fun that would be useful. I started by dying the wool, using Ritz dye. I poured on three different colors, allowing them to blend somewhat, and then steamed the wool to set the dye.

Photos © Sarah Steinhauer
Dyed wool, left; hand carding, right.

Then I decided to add some angora to make the yarn softer and fuzzier, so I blended this into the dyed wool by carding it with hand carders, being careful not to blend the colors together too much.

Photos © Sarah Steinhauer
Carding white angora with dyed wool, left; spinning yarn, right.

The next step in the process was spinning the yarn on my spinning wheel and plying two strands of yarn together to make a strong yarn. After spinning the yarn, I washed and dried the yarn to set the twist and preshrink it.

Photos © Sarah Steinhauer
Washed and dried yarn, left; knitting a sock, right.

Then the knitting started. I didn't really have a set pattern, but I found a book called The Twisted Sisters' Sock Workbook, meant for those knitting socks with handspun yarn. It had some guidelines to follow, depending on how thick your yarn is and how big your foot is. It took a few false starts before I got them to come out in the right size! I knit these socks from the toe to the heel to the cuff. I kept knitting until I ran out of yarn and they ended up to be just below the knee length.

Photos © Sarah Steinhauer
Knee-length socks, left; shorter blue socks, right.

Actually, this was my second pair of socks; my first pair was blue, also done by the same process. They are both very warm socks! Now I've just started spinning wool for another experiment. I am going to try knitting a purse and then felting it. We'll have to see what happens!

OK, that's probably a lot more than you wanted. You can either say that, yes, they were knit using handspun, hand-dyed yarn, or go into more detail using my long explanation and extra pictures!

Photo Editor's Note: Our motto is, "Anything worth doing ... is worth overdoing!" :)

Travelogue t

Bound For Phoenix
by Weston Johnson
Maple Grove, MN

"We could use
A hand full of wheel
And a day off
And a bruised road
However you might feel
Tonight is real."

The sounds of Wilco drifted out of my speakers as I pulled onto Interstate 35, headed south. I couldn't have said it better myself, fellas. After months of anticipation, it was hard to believe I was on the road to Phoenix. Yet there I was at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon, with a hand full of wheel.

I had left work at 4 o'clock, planning to drive until I was too tired to continue. I wasn't sure how long that might be. It had been a long week. I had spent my evenings boxing up what was left of Coni's possessions at her house and bringing them to my place, one carload at a time. It was a project I wanted to finish before I left for my trip and I was able to get it done. But as a result, I hadn't started packing for my trip until 10 o'clock on Thursday night. I wasn't sure about the wisdom of leaving for a long road trip on five hours of sleep, but I figured Dr Pepper, loud music and the excitement of being on the road would carry me for a while.

By the time I reached Ames, the sun was setting over the Iowa cornfields, which had been reduced to stubble by farmers' machines over the previous weeks. As I continued toward Des Moines, the lights of small towns and high school football fields were often all that could be seen in the darkness.

I reached Des Moines at around 8 o'clock and stopped for gas and food before setting out for Omaha, then Lincoln, where I encountered my first adventure of the trip. The speed limit on rural Interstates in Nebraska is 75, and I had grown quite used to this speed by the time I hit Lincoln. Unfortunately, the limit was reduced to 65 on the outskirts of town, then slowed again to 55 through the center of the city. It was hard to keep my car from exceeding that snail's pace, and soon my speed had drifted up to 63. How do I know it was exactly 63, you ask? I'll get to that in a minute.

As I drove through Lincoln at the fairly reasonable speed of 63 miles per hour, I suddenly noticed red and blue lights flashing in my rear view mirror. "Oh come on! I was only going 60-something," I thought as I pulled to the shoulder. I hadn't accounted for a speeding ticket in the budget for my trip.

As I began to ponder the amount of the fine imposed on speeders in the great state of Nebraska, the state trooper approached my car and informed me that I had been driving 63 miles per hour in a 55 miles per hour zone, before asking for my license and registration. I retrieved my license and began rummaging through my glove box. Let's see, insurance papers, a Twin Cities map ... hey, there's that CD I was looking for! But no registration.

I gave the trooper a hopeless look and he said he would go back to his car and run my license, then return for the registration card, which by now I knew full well I had absentmindedly filed in my cabinet at home instead of keeping it my car like a normal person would do. When the officer returned, I explained that I didn't have my registration papers, that I must have filed them back home.

"Have you been pulled over lately?" he asked.

Silly question. If I had been pulled over lately I'd have known full well where my registration was.

"No, not for a long time," was my honest reply.

I guess he figured since I wasn't drunk and was doing no real harm, he'd take pity on me. He issued a warning for speed, and gave me a postcard.

"When you get home, have a law enforcement officer sign this card to prove your car is registered, then mail it to me... Or if you don't get around to it, don't worry about it."

Easy enough -- I think I'll choose option B! I merged back onto the freeway, making a mental note to try very hard to avoid being pulled over again. The next police officer may not be so understanding!

Thankfully, the rest of the first day's drive was rather uneventful. I reached Grand Prairie, Nebraska, at midnight with a solid eight hours of driving under my belt. I pulled off the freeway and found a hotel. As I mentioned last week, it was not the finest of establishments, but after a very long day, it felt good to get some rest.

To be continued...

By Don Anderson
Alexandria, MN

Mowing Grass, Pursuing Fish

I would like to tell about my summer job. Last spring I was asked if I liked to mow the lake lot of Lori and Shawn Ostendorf. A two-hour job once a week.

It is so peaceful and quiet out there, I hate to leave at times.

I told them I would do it under one condition, only: if there were wedding plans in order. (I think they then moved the date up to have my lawn service.)

The mowing season is over for this year; now I have begun to negotiate a contract for next year. Knowing it is not easy to get anything out of "lake folks," I decided to make another proposition. But before I could get back to make my offer, I got their final offer, for which I was happy. Now, for this year, it is free fishing and free gas for the lawnmower. How could I go wrong on a proposition like that!

Seriously, I enjoy getting out and driving the tractor. I was practically born on a tractor and tractors were part of my life.

You heard of the old saying, "keeps Grandma off the streets"; well, I guess this applies to Grandpa as well. And March next year I will hit number 80. I don't intend to just sit and take it easy. Maybe in the coming years I will change my mind, but for now I plan to keep on doing what I like and can do. (Lord willing.)

Who knows? I may want to retire, but there will be time for that up the road, too.

For now it's full speed ahead!

Celebrations & Observances
From the Files of
Hetty Hooper

This Week's Special Days
November 7---Election Day
November 11---Veterans Day

This Week's Birthdays
November 7---Thomas Roland Mellon
November 7---Sandra Kay Miller Smith
November 10---Argyle Anderson
November 11---Allison Aydelotte (9 years)
Happy Birthday!

More November Birthdays
November 2---Gert Dake Pettit
November 2---Brianna Susan Lehtola (5 years)

November 12---Patty Anderson Henderson
November 14---Marian Miller
November 17---Zachary Myron
November 17---Mark Andrew Johnson
November 19---Tyler Swenson
November 21---Alex Jo Marie Sigman (2 years)
November 21---Amy Elaine Printz (2 years)
November 23---Jessy Wolff
November 26---DeLoris Anderson
November 27---Shalana Kay Weiland (10 years)
November 30---Aaron Stahlecker

November Anniversaries
November 16---Argyle and Kathlyn Johnson Anderson (43 years)
November 26---Ben and Heather Henderson (2 years)
November 29---Kurtis and Jeni Larson (2 years)

November Special Days
November 7---Election Day
November 11---Veterans Day
November 23---Thanksgiving Day

Miss Hetty's Mailbox:

Dear Miss Hetty,

Time brings changes, we hear. Well, for proof you can see, there is 63 years between these two pictures, and needless to say, changes. We were invited to a birthday dinner for both Rich and Verlaine Weiland, whose birthdays are in October. I was glad to have a picture taken with my little brother, Richard, again. He consented to me sending this to Miss Hetty.

Betty Weiland Droel
MoundsView, MN

Betty & Richard Weiland in 1943, left; in 2006, right.

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

It seems we may have a bit of a problem. I had responded to The Bulletin before this last one to let my little bro' know how much I love his storytelling ability, but it appears that modern technology failed me! I'm assuming my response is somewhere in cyberspace right now, as we speak.

I have to say, with Doug's embellishment, I looked like a pretty good sister. (I didn't really recognize this Patty he was writing about!) If the truth be told, he endured A LOT with two older sisters -- and cousins, to boot! I have to admit, he turned out in spite of us!

Keep up the great work, Doug. I am always looking forward to the next Bulletin in hopes that there will be another story -- or at least another photo funny!

Patty Anderson Henderson
Minnetrista, MN

The Bulletin is great! I even went back and read some of last week's that I had missed. You did a good job.

Twila said they had delays getting into Fort Nelson the other night because of a migrating caribou herd. I said I thought that was pretty neat. She said it is not so neat late at night in the dark. At any rate, it will be memorable!

Kathlyn Johnson Anderson
Anchorage, AK

Received my Bulletin yesterday, and as always, truly enjoyed it. My heart broke for Shawn and Lori, in losing their beloved pet, Jake. Their story took me back to August, when we lost our sweet little Pedro. That leaves a huge hole in the heart for quite some time.

I found it so hopeful to read the news from Weston. He certainly is trying to make the best of a heartbreaking situation, isn't he? I pray the doctors find a better treatment for ACC, soon! There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of Weston and hope that he is doing well.

I loved the pictures and article, last week, about Becky's trailer. Donna's and Beaver's farm looks just like a picture out of a magazine or something. So lovely! They must enjoy it so much. I have hoped for quite some time to visit them ... maybe this coming spring or summer.

What a trip ... from Alaska to California! Twila and Jeff must be exhausted! I hope they get settled quickly and comfortably.

Isn't Gert doing a great job with her biographies about our servicemen! So much good information.

Well, Maralee and I have a vet appointment for one of the cats today, so need to run and get ready. Have a lovely day, and stay warm! How are the slippers working out for you?

Diana Mellon Martin
Coon Rapids, MN

Editor's Note: To answer the question ... I wear the slippers every waking moment of the day (that I am at home, that is) ... and I have yet to have cold feet. WONDERFUL! --DMA

I want to also say how much I enjoyed what was written about Auntie Blanche, some of which I didn't know, and also what was shared about Uncle Tom. I really do love to hear some of our family backgrounds that I hadn't known about.

Thanks for The Bulletin again. It is something to look forward to each Saturday morning.

Anita Weiland
Yankton, SD

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

I could hardly wait to write this LTTE as this Bulletin #228 was especially interesting to me this time. How will you ever know how we enjoy The Bulletin if we don't tell you?

Maybe it was because of that first picture of a special sunrise one frosty morning. Marci captured that one of a kind picture just at the right moment. Not often a picture I send in is appropriate for that coveted first page picture.

I was so touched at the story of Jake. A pet can be an important family member, and losing Jake so suddenly will be difficult to adjust to -- even Tate will keenly miss Jake. It was wise to have determined to "put him out of his misery," with all those injuries.

For Weston to have attended the ACC conference in Arizona would have filled a lonely void in his heart, and it was something he and Coni would have participated in together. The pain of loneliness does not go away soon.

Funny how we can allow our minds to drift past the results of the hurricanes when the people involved are still facing the damage and clean up. Thanks, Steve and Marian, for sharing your situation with us. Mother Nature has renewed the landscape as much as she can. Do you have any pictures of new growth of nature there?

It was quite a surprise to see Twila Jo and family returning to California, leaving the Alaska they were just getting to enjoy next to the grandparents. Seeing the picture of the huge U-Haul and six children made it no small matter to head out all those miles in uncertain weather at this time of year. We wish them well.

Well, here is a rousing applause for Miss Kitty finally getting her turn at the keyboard. It's been so long since we heard her side of the story of the Lowther household. To hear what the frozen north is like about now was interesting to us here in Minnesota where the leaves aren't even totally off the trees yet. It's expected to be 60 here tomorrow and then turn very cold. So, we hope to finalize our yard for winter if we can if it is such a nice day. We can see the snow out that window past Miss Kitty. Wish we were heading into spring.

As I was typing this, the following e-mail just came from Jerrianne in Alaska: It's snowing like crazy here ... but it could turn to rain this afternoon and then back to snow tonight. I'm not going ANYWHERE -- except to the kitchen to make breakfast!

So, the Matriarch has Don's nice warm boots on. Could anything be nicer than a roomy pair of sheepskin slippers on cold feet? No reason why they can't be your dress up as well as dress down, and anything else that will make a Minnesota winter more bearable for you, Dorothy. When we get older and less able, we find it easy to change our attitudes toward things. I noticed your footstool was one Don made ... and I knew it was your feet with the purple dress hem showing, Dorothy. Actually, your slippers look brand new.

So, Ben has a new dog, Jack. We likely will have another update on him as time passes.

I was so glad that it appears we have a new "About" page in The Bulletin. I especially loved this week's biography of Blanche, as she became a dear and special friend, easy to become attached to when Marjorie and I were in their home so much. She was so quiet and efficient, very thoughtful and always wanting to serve just however she could. We would know Jim still misses her keenly. As folks get older they need one another even more, but often one is left alone. I am so glad to have the opportunity to be a companion to Roy, whose beloved Edith died of cancer, leaving him alone almost 15 years ago. He is a very dear man, and I respect him highly for his honesty and standards and kindness.

I haven't the slightest clue as to the GUESS pictures this week.

LTD Storybrooke -- You DID write for us! Thank you. Clever title to your story. Come Crazy, Go Crazy. Very fitting, as you read the story. To remember all those minute details is a gift, Larry. We "got the picture," just from your words. You were fortunate to find a medicine from the nurse phone call that made such a difference for you.

We were not expecting to get a Travelogue from Tom and Lou Miller. What scenery in the background! California must contribute to keeping young in appearance as well as heart. My sister-in-law, Anita Weiland, has a special fondness for Tom and Lou, as she often mentions, so it was very nice reading this Travelogue about them. I can't remember ever meeting Tom, Sr.

The last photo looked like the work of a professional dish stacker. Was that frog added later?

I don't know how 34 pages went so fast. They keep getting better and better -- and we just turn over the last page of The Bulletin and start looking for the next one. Have to wait a whole week, though, as this is only Sunday afternoon.

Beautiful day here in MoundsView, Minnesota.

Betty Droel


Photo illustration © Virginia McCorkell

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