Sunday, April 6, 2008
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Update -- Hanna finds her new "forever" home
We now have a new girl in the family. Hanna is 100 lbs., approximately two years old and came from Ohio. She was a stray and had been in one of those shelters where if not reclaimed by the owner in seven days they are euthanized. She was such a nice dog that a rescue in Siren, Wisconsin, was contacted about her and they took her in.
We saw her on the Internet by chance and thought she was beautiful. She had not been spayed (the rescue took care of that) and has had no training whatever -- couldn't even walk on a leash without bounding and wrapping Don up and choking herself. We have no history on her but assume the negligent owners left her alone in an outdoor kennel until she escaped enough times that they didn't want her back. (She came with a collar and a 2007 rabies tag with a vet clinic phone number on it so we know the owners would have been found.)
She loves being inside the house and the first few times we had to talk her into going out -- almost as if she was afraid she would not get to come back in! She is very intelligent, gentle, wants to please and she loves cats! She seemed to have an immediate friendship with all of our cats -- even Lucy, who formerly detested all dogs -- ask Doug's Otto. (Lucy had a reluctant truce with Gracie that took several months but she calmly walks by Hanna, stepping right over her tail, after only a few days.)
We have learned much from "The Dog Whisperer" (Cesar Milan); he is on the National Geographic Channel on Fridays and also has several books in print on becoming a "pack leader." Dogs are pack animals and they instinctually need exercise, discipline and affection -- in that order. They need to follow a calm, assertive leader and clearly understand their role in the pack.
When we brought this beautiful 100-pound, undisciplined ball of energy home, we knew we had to set the standard right away, before she even came into the house. We got directly out of the car and took her on a two-mile walk. The first half mile was a struggle, as you might imagine, but Don kept calmly and firmly correcting her with a quick tug and release of the collar, praising her each time she walked calmly with her head at his left knee. By the end of our walk, she was a perfect lady on the leash, with only an occasional correction!
When we got home, Don showed her the potty place (all the way across the yard and into the tall grass) and she knew just what to do.
It had never occurred to us before we had Gracie that you could actually train a dog to be a "considerate pooper" and keep the business off the manicured lawn. As with many things, we've found they just need to understand what you expect and if they see you as the leader they want to make you happy and comply.
In less than two weeks, Don has taught her to sit, drop and stay. She waits on a rug for her food to be made and set down across the room; then Don gives the "OK!" before she can come and eat. Pretty hard for a hungry dog! Training aside, she loves hugs and grooming and meets new people calmly, with a friendly tail wag. She has great potential to be the best dog ever, so we're very grateful to those negligent owners who had no idea what they had!
Update -- Elaine prepares for home dialysis
It is a beautiful day, in the 50s ... it's a long time since we saw that! Yesterday (Wednesday) I had the port put in that is to be used when my home dialysis treatments begin. I slept pretty well last night. And today (Thursday), Muriel took me to the clinic for blood work. When we got home I had a good nap.
My grandson Steve sent a bouquet of spring flowers. Muriel left soup last night so I had that for dinner. My friend Lynette and two little boys stopped by to say Hi. Muriel stopped, too, so she made tea for us. Mindy stopped by during noon hour. Brenda and two kids stopped as they drove past from daycare. Muriel had gotten the bench out of the garage so we were sitting in the sun then.
Thanks for notes and all. I have an appointment in Fargo next Tuesday (April 8th) and here in Wahpeton on Thursday (the 10th) again. There is some soreness with the incision, but not enough to take pain pills, so I am glad for that. I am doing fine!
Update -- the Morgans are on their way back home
Mom (Mavis Morgan) asked me to let you know they were planning to leave Fort Myers, Florida, at 5 a.m. Thursday, April 3, for their return trip to Hope, North Dakota. We hope they have good weather and safe travels. Thursday evening, Mom called from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where they were going to spend the night. It's a little way south of Nashville. They had a good day's travel. Traffic through Atlanta was not a problem -- she had worried about that. They drove through some rain today but have 800 miles behind them.
Update -- April Fool's fun in Breezy Point
Just thought I'd share some of the April Fool's hijinks going on around here.
I am in charge of the welcome sign at work. Whenever we have visitors, we try to put their names up on the sign to welcome them. As you can see below, we had some very interesting guests on April 1st.
Since I was on a roll, I decided the kids could have green eggs and ham for dinner that evening (served with a McMuffin twist). Erik said he would have eaten his if he could, but since one of his bottom front teeth decided to become loose that day, he opted for a softer dinner. I ended up eating his green eggs and ham, but luckily I didn't turn green too!
During dinner, Ashley said, "Mom, turn around, Suzanne's behind you." Of course, I turned around and Ashley laughed with the greatest of glee, "April Fools!"
Update -- a triple mailbox mystery story in Maple Grove
The recent Bulletin articles about smashed mailboxes made me realize I never wrote about my own unfortunate mailbox situation last fall. I'll add my two cents to the running theme (see below). I also have a good start on an Oklahoma City article, and plan to write about last week's Florida trip and last night's season-opening Twins game. So I think I may get on a roll here and have fairly regular contributions for the next few weeks.
Based on the last couple of editions of The Bulletin, I guess I'm not the only reader whose mailbox has been the victim of a hit and run. I bet Jerrianne didn't think her recap of the death and rebirth of her mailbox would be the start of a multi-week series, but I'll add my story nonetheless.
My mailbox adventure occurred last fall, when I returned to Maple Grove from a weekend in Ashby to find my mailbox in a sad state of disrepair. Prior to the weekend, it had resided on a horizontal board mounted atop a heavy wooden post, along with the boxes of my next door neighbor to the north and my across-the-street neighbor to the west. Underneath the top row of black metal mailboxes hung a row of plastic boxes for the Star Tribune and the local community paper.
By Sunday afternoon, the three metal boxes, now dented to varying degrees, were crudely bolted to a sawhorse, while the old mailbox post, the plastic boxes and the metal frame on which they hung were propped up against a nearby tree, twisted and broken beyond repair.
I ventured to the home of my across-the-street neighbor, on whose yard the mailboxes are located, to investigate. The doorbell was answered by a middle aged man, who I would soon find goes by the name of Ray. (I'm embarrassed to admit that I hadn't met many of my neighbors, despite living in the same house since 2004.) I introduced myself and asked if he knew what happened to our mailboxes. As it turned out, Ray was already way ahead of me when it came to investigating this crime.
He explained that the hit and run had occurred at about 2 o'clock on Saturday morning. One of his sons and his friends had still been awake and heard a crash. They went to the front yard to see where the sound had come from, when they discovered the mailbox residue spread across a good portion of the front yard. It had snowed lightly that night, so they could see the tracks of the offending automobile. I suppose the slickness of the snow was a factor in the car losing track of the street. Given the hour, I have a feeling alcohol may have played a role as well. But there was no way to confirm these suspicions, as the driver hadn't stuck around long enough to be caught in the act.
What the fugitive failed to realize, Ray explained, was that the thin layer of snow had allowed Ray's son to identify the house to which the mailbox assailant had fled. The son had decided not to confront the driver at 2 o'clock on Saturday morning. As of Sunday afternoon, Ray said he planned to visit the house later that day, with the goal of collecting the money that would be needed to replace the boxes, providing a more permanent fix than his temporary sawhorse job. I told him to keep me posted, and to let me know if he needed help putting up new boxes.
The next evening, Ray stopped at my place with an update. He had gone to the house to which the offending car had fled, but it turned out it wasn't the right house. I didn't really understand his explanation, given that he had seemed sure they had the right place when I talked to him the day before, but I left that question unasked. He said he would buy the supplies needed to put up a new post. I thanked him and told him to stop by if he needed help, and to let me know how much I owed for my share of the supplies.
By the time I got home from work the next night, Ray had already put up a new post and attached the boxes, just as they had been before this ordeal. I was glad he took the initiative, as I would have had neither the time nor the expertise to do the job as well as he had.
In the end, it cost my neighbors and me $20 each, not to mention the time Ray had spent shopping and installing the new boxes, and we never did find out who wrought such havoc on our poor old mailboxes. A far cry from the honesty on display in Jerrianne's story, but this time, the perpetrators missed out on the prospects of homemade cookies!
Update -- introducing Callie Jo Printz -- our pink princess
Callie is 6 and loving first grade! Her biggest accomplishment in first grade (in her eyes) is that on the snow hill at school, she stood on the top and the boys couldn't even pull her off! Well, it's either that or the fact that she outran a second grade boy at recess recently. That gives you an idea of Callie's tomboy ways!
She loves pink, will play dolls if Amy wants to, but will just as readily grab a football and head outside to play catch with Wade. Callie has a knack for using the English language in a way that keeps us in stitches! Recently, she asked in all seriousness, "Daddy, are we Democrat or hypocrite?"
Last summer when she'd pick flowers, she was very disappointed after pulling them out of her pocket to see that they had "melted."
When Justin was putting the sprinkler system in, she was his helper. He sent her to get two elbows and one "T." She came running back and very proudly announced: "I have two elbows and one wrist!" So, we always look forward to her next sentence!
Callie is quite a Daddy's girl. She does NOT enjoy the cold, but would brave it a lot this winter to go feed or chop ice with Dad! She does really like to cook and bake, too, so I enjoy having her in the kitchen as a helper! I always appreciate about Callie that she is just so flexible and laid back. Middle child syndrome?
Her teacher recently asked the class, if they had $100, what would they spend it on? We couldn't help but get a bit teary when we read her response in the newspaper that, "If I had one hundred dollars I would spend it on Dad and Mom's anniversary. An orange teapot for Mom and a horse for Dad."
She often will offer to help buy things; most recently, after learning that you take out loans to buy things like cars, she asked me if her money would be enough to help pay off our car. So, our little blondie keeps us laughing one minute and thanking our lucky stars the next that we have such a sweet and thoughtful girl!
Update -- grandkittens celebrate their first birthday
We got an e-mail from Kyra about the grandkittens birthday party and Ken sent us lots of pictures of Cheerio, Oreo and Tabasco playing with their new toy, Mr. Squid. Oh, dear! Now that they are one year old, technically they aren't kittens anymore. I suppose that means they are "grandcats," but somehow that just doesn't quite have the right ring to it. How about grandkitties?
The big birthday was celebrated with a new Mr. Squid and a new way of hanging it from the ceiling (more bounce, more reach, more of the living room taken over by exuberant cats). They also got their first catnip toy. Much playing ensued, as you'll see from the pictures.
They also enjoyed a can of salmon. That might be putting it too mildly -- it was like they were having a pie-eating contest, with each one accelerating towards the next delicious morsel, determined to grab the winning bite before it was all gone. They smelled rather fishy afterwards, but seemed quite content to be one year old. --kyra
The picture below shows why Cheerio tries to stay out of the landing zone when the other two are feeling rambunctious. Flying felines tend to land on top of Cheerio, Kyra said. Boy, do I sympathize! Around here, when Mai Tai takes death-defying leaps, it's "Look out below!" And, somehow, "below" is usually right where I happen to be. That is so-o-o-o annoying!
Day to Day R
I certainly had a terrific birthday, with lots of celebrating! Thanks for the many cards, e-mails, letters and calls. I enjoyed and appreciated your thinking of me.
Lori, Shawn and McKenna came Thursday evening, which was fun. Friday, had the day off, thanks to Kristi! I awoke to a beautiful breakfast made and served by Lori. That was a very lovely way to start the day!
Then we headed out for a tour of Tastefully Simple, located west of Alexandria. Lori is a distributor for this company and she, Shawn, McKenna and I checked out the facilities. Very beautiful!
We next met Mom and Dad for a yummy lunch! Thanks to Lori, Shawn and McKenna for treating us all to our birthday meals from them! McKenna enjoyed the horse in the entryway area, more so after she'd eaten, than before, though. Smart girl!
Jayce went to Fargo on Friday night with the Ostendorfs. Caity rode along with Beaver and me on Saturday. We did a little shopping and then met the rest to watch a couple games of bowling. Shawn bowled his highest ever score, a 230, which has to be mentioned!
We then headed out to Outback for my birthday meal. Wyatt had made reservations, but somehow they were confused and had given our large table to another group; it was either wait for them to be finished or sit at two separate tables. We chose the two tables. The hostess was very kind and brought us five free, huge, complimentary appetizers, so we appreciated those; I especially enjoyed the Ahi tuna.
Beaver and I stayed overnight at Chris and Jessy's place and Sunday afternoon the whole group descended on Marlene's. We ordered pizzas and Marlene made a salad and dessert. It is great to have them back! They are nice and brown; we can certainly tell they'd enjoyed the warmer southern temperatures!
So, a very nice weekend! Thanks to everyone for everything, and especially to my family for my new computer that is to arrive sometime this week! Wow! (Caity and Jayce are excited, too, as we'll clean out my old one for them to use at their place.)
The Matriarch Speaks W
In March, Don Anderson celebrated his 81st birthday. This week The Matriarch turns 82. I asked them to tell us about this photo, sent by Ginny ... when it was taken, what they were doing, where they lived then, what their lives were like ... and the story of this fancy automobile. --Photo Ed.
This is a dear memory to me. I was going to my second year of St. Cloud Teachers College and my friend Lorraine Slotten was attending a part of her nurse's training at the St. Cloud Veterans hospital. At Thanksgiving, I was invited to her home and there, at a get together of young folks, I met Don. The pictured event happened several weeks later, after quite a bit of acquainting had been done by mail. My, oh my, that was a long time ago!
This picture shows probably our first or second "date." We were invited to spend a night at Blanche and Jim Miller's house near Dassel. I cannot remember so much of the details ... but I do know we had to be pulled out onto the road by Jim with his tractor as it snowed so much. Don thinks it was in January of 1950 ... and he is the one who keeps track of dates in our family. You asked about the car, so I have assigned that part of the story to Don.
The photo was taken in January of 1950 on a visit to St. Cloud and then to Jim and Blanche Miller's near Dassel, where we stayed overnight.
The following day, we drove on to Howard Lake to meet Dorothy's folks. I took Dorothy back to St. Cloud Sunday evening and then I headed back to North Dakota.
This trip was to see just exactly what I was getting into, to put it frankly. And what it got us into was a marriage that, if it makes August 15th, will be 58 years long (or short, however you look at it).
My car was a 1940 Chevrolet club coupe. I purchased it in Fargo one year earlier. The price was $750 (hard earned money). The car served us well for the next three years. Dorothy drove it to school. (Gasoline was 29 cents a gallon, as I remember.)
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.
How many can you identify?
Editors' Note: Correct guesses appear in bold face type and incorrect guesses in normal type ... generally in the order we receive them, so the first guess received is on top.
Once again, this is not a guess ... but a memory (although I'm not sure of the location or whose birthday it was). Left to right are Kathleen Dake Stahlecker, cousin Cheryl Miller Wrzesinski, Carol Dake Printz and Stan Dake. My guess would be that it was Cheryl's birthday and that her sister Michele wasn't present because she wasn't born yet. You have to love those birthday hats! And notice that low-riding pants weren't the fashion yet!
Carol Dake Printz
Editors' Note: the photo was submitted as "Stan's birthday party."
I think I may know the four people in today's Bulletin! Looks like my two girls, Michele and Cheryl, and Carol and Stan Dake. I don't know when it may have been taken but would guess it was at the Dake farm and about 1960.
I should have known two of those on last week's picture -- but that was a long time back and the girls have changed a lot! (Ha.)
I think that the first two are Tom's girls, Michele and Cheryl Miller, and you don't miss that that is Carol and Stan Dake. It is nice you run all of the old pictures, I enjoy them.
I had a little bit of help from my wife, but those pictured from left to right are Kathleen, Cheryl, Carol, and Stanley. The picture was apparently taken in Midland at the Gandy grandparents's. This photo shows some resemblance of our granddaughter Trinidy to Kathleen (Granna).
I for sure recognize a few of the little ones in the picture ... from left to right: Kathleen (my mom), Cheryl (my dad had to help me with this one!), (Aunt) Carol, and (Uncle) Stanley!
Adriana Stahlecker Brown
I have to pass on the Mystery picture. I will be very anxious to finally find out who they are. I was shocked at who the last week's were.
Betty Weiland Droel
I needed a newer stock trailer, and it was time to go and find one. I had been watching the farm ads for weeks and finally located a good used one near Browns Valley, Minnesota.
Watching the ads hadn't really educated me about how much used trailers were worth, so I decided to go to Fargo, North Dakota, first, to look at the trailers offered by dealers there. I would buy the one at Brown's Valley unless I found a better deal. Fargo is about 75 miles northwest of here, Browns Valley is about 100 miles south of Fargo, and home from Brown's Valley would be about another 75 miles. So, early in the winter of 1983, Mark and I set off on a long day's journey that Mark and I chuckled over for years.
We left in my '74 Chevy pickup right after morning chores, when the sun was still near the horizon in the east. It was a beautiful day, the weak winter sun glinting on a foot of new snow. We were in Fargo in an hour and a half, touring the lots of a couple of trailer dealers. Nothing there was very appealing, but I was getting a good idea of what used trailers were bringing. The one at Browns Valley looked like a good deal.
By early afternoon, we were rolling down I-29, headed for Browns Valley. Peterson Ranch Sales was our destination. It was well off I-29, nestled back in the hills on the South Dakota side of the border, on a winding gravel road.
As we drove up the driveway, we could see trailers everywhere, all with roofs mounded with snow. There were new ones and old ones, and everything in between. As we got out of the pickup, the proprietor emerged from the ranch house to greet us. He was about 70, a slim man, with the whipcord toughness earned through a lifetime of working cattle on a windy, dryland South Dakota ranch.
He was a genial fellow, no sales pitch, just a friendly way of showing us what he had to offer and letting me make a decision. He showed me several trailers that he thought might work well for me, but I soon came to the conclusion that the one I had come to see was the one I wanted.
This was a gooseneck, or fifth-wheel trailer. This type of trailer attaches to a ball hitch mounted near the middle of the truck bed. My old trailer hitched to the bumper, so I needed the plate and ball hitch in my pickup before I could even hook up to the newer trailer. The trailer deal included a plate and ball hitch mounted in the pickup bed.
By this time the sun was low on the horizon. We were in some of the shortest days of the year, when darkness comes early and suddenly. It was obvious that there was no place to work inside to get the pickup ready, and working out in the snow after dark to mount the hitch didn't sound like fun.
I offered, "How about if I give you a check for the trailer, and I'll come back tomorrow to get it so we can mount the hitch in the pickup in daylight?"
Mr. Peterson looked shocked. "Drive all that way back again? We can easily have you ready to go before dark."
That was fine with me, but I was going to have to see it to believe it.
He said, "I'll go get some tools and bolts from my shop. Oh, I forgot, I need to weld a new chuck on my electric drill, but that will only take a few minutes."
Mark and I looked at each other. Weld a chuck on his drill? I had never heard of such a thing. Mr. Peterson climbed over a big snowbank and slid down into a ramshackle open front lean-to shed attached to a barn. He hadn't invited us along, so we stood on the other side of the snowbank. Soon we heard the buzz of an arc welder. It was already dark enough so the flashes of light from the welder lit up the entire area.
Soon he came plowing back over the snowbank, drill in hand. Sure enough, a shiny new chuck was welded to the shaft. But the drill! It looked like the first electric drill ever made. The handle where the switch normally goes was missing entirely, along with the top handle that one normally pushes against when drilling.
Going to another shed, he collected four bolts that looked much too long, an assortment burs, an extension cord, an oak board about ten feet long, and a few wrenches. Mark and I helped him carry over a heavy iron plate with the ball hitch already welded into the middle. We set the plate in the pickup bed.
I expected we would spend considerable time at this point measuring and marking, because it was essential that the bolts holding the plate and ball to the pickup must go through the box floor in the right places so they also would go through the frame of the pickup.
Mr. Peterson knelt in the snow, looked under the pickup, got up and looked at the inside of the box, and looked underneath one more time. "OK, this will be pretty easy. If you guys will give me a hand, we'll drill the holes."
I thought to myself, "Well, if the old boy misses the frame with the bolts, the box floor will hold well enough to get the empty trailer home, and I can always start over and drill more holes."
Standing in the box, he bent over and placed the end of the drill bit where he wanted it on the new plate. To Mark, he said, "You're my drill switch. You stand there with the drill cord and the end of the extension cord, and plug it in when I tell you to, and unplug it when I tell you to."
I got a job, too. He said, "You take that long board, stick one end under the upper box corner, put the middle of the board on top of the drill, and when I tell you, you bear down on your end of the board. You're going to be my pressure to force the drill through the iron."
I could see so many ways this could go wrong that I couldn't count them all. I was sure the newly welded chuck was going to break off in the first hole. And then there was the matter of the man holding the drill not having direct control of the on-and-off function. I had been banged more than once by a drill grabbing metal and trying to wrench itself away, and that was a drill with all its handles.
But we were going to try it. When Mr. Peterson and I were all set, he told Mark, "Let er rip," and we were drilling. He ran his team like well practiced coach, telling me how much pressure to apply, when to let up, and anticipating when he would want the drill stopped to give Mark a little lead time to get unplugged.
The first hole went great, and I could hear from how the drill sounded that we had hit the frame. Mr. Peterson dropped a bolt into the hole and moved to the other side. Very quickly, we did the other three holes the same way.
He said, "You get ready to turn the bolts, and I'll crawl underneath and put burrs on them. I've got to apologize, I'm all out of shorter bolts, but I'll use some of these bigger burrs for washers, and they'll work fine. If you want shorter bolts, it will be pretty easy for you to replace these at home. And you'll have the longer bolts and all these extra burrs to pay for your trouble."
It was so dark I could barely see what I was doing to get the wrench on a bolt. Mr. Peterson crawled under the pickup and added "washers" and burrs. Then he held each one in turn while I tightened them from the top.
I backed the pickup up to the trailer and we hooked up. There was one more obstacle. My light hookup was at the rear bumper, and the trailer's hookup was at the gooseneck. Mr. Peterson fed the trailer wire back and through the bottom of the end gate, and it just reached. The lights all worked.
Mr. Peterson invited us to the house to have a cup of coffee and settle up. As we were walking across the yard, I remembered that he had told me I could have a used wheel to use for a spare tire. I mentioned this, and he veered off across the dark yard to an irregular, snow-covered pyramid about 10 feet high. He walked straight to it in the near total darkness, looked a bit, then kicked at a lump in the snow that looked just like all the other lumps. "This one is the same size as what's on your trailer," he said.
By now I was ready to believe almost anything. I carried the wheel to the pickup and we all headed over to the ranch house.
Mrs. Peterson welcomed us with coffee and treats. They were such a warm and friendly couple, it was hard to get away, and it was well into the evening when Mark and I finally got on the road again. The trailer pulled like a dream, and my biggest problem was trying to stay awake long enough to get home.
The next day, when I crawled under the pickup to change to shorter bolts in the hitch plate, I discovered that every hole had hit the frame very nicely. And the spare wheel fit perfectly.
To my regret, I must admit that I never saw Mr. Peterson again. But I will never forget him. His quiet confidence and ability to get the job done, with tools that most of us would have tossed in the junk years before, sure impressed this Minnesota farmer. And I'm still hauling cattle with the same trailer.
Little did I know, we were being watched.
After Sherry's parents had left the ranch the previous day, Sarah (age 6) had shed a host of tears. It made our families, back home in Minnesota, seem so very far away. Especially, because a visit home was out of the question.
That night a storm dropped several inches of snow, leaving the freshly shorn ewes with twins cold and shivering. After we fed them choice hay early in the morning, Esteban took them out the front gate to begin their seasonal journey to the mountains.
The ewes with single lambs were still unshorn. Toasty warm on the inside, their heavy, wet fleeces felt like half-frozen sponges on the outside. When I'd walked amongst them, the legs of my overalls were quickly soaked, leaving me wet and itchy. Their shearing would have to wait until the sun and wind had dried their wool.
Meanwhile, our yard would be occupied by the idled sheep-shearers' menagerie of campers, trucks, and trailers.
The new shepherd from Peru hadn't arrived yet and there was talk that I would herd the single ewes when shearing was over. So Checker and I took an opportunity to hike up into the hills to have a first-hand look at "the range." Where I could see the grass beneath the melting snow, it was fine-bladed and sparse.
After the frantic pace of the previous day of shearing, it was quiet and peaceful up on the hill. From our vantage point, we looked down on what might have been a traveling carnival. Even the shearing tent fit the "carnival" picture. Our semi was half loaded with bags of wool. Occasionally, a figure moved amongst the vehicles; a man and a woman stood leaning against a pickup, soaking up the sun.
The remaining ewes were feeding at the feed bunks and wandering aimlessly about their pens with single lambs at their sides. Some ewes stood quietly chewing their cuds while their lambs nursed; there were still a handful of pregnant ewes amongst them all.
Sensing that we were not alone on the hill, I turned away from the scene below to look across a ravine on our right. I found myself looking straight into the piercing golden eyes of a pair of coyotes. They were little more than thirty feet away, with only the narrow draw between us.
I didn't feel any danger, personally, but their wild eyes were unnerving, and their close proximity surprising. Their thick winter coats gave them a substantial appearance. Checker hadn't picked up on them yet, so I pulled a twine from my pocket and slipped it around his neck. I didn't want him rushing into a fight, only to find himself seriously outnumbered. Perhaps they were decoys for a larger pack. They stepped even closer, and presently the slighter of the two sat down on her haunches; they appeared calm, cool, and collected.
When Checker saw them, we four stood for a long while, gazing intently at each other. Clearly in good health, they were a beautiful pair with their large ears and black-tipped fur coats. Curiosity satisfied (or ploy abandoned), they disappeared into the sagebrush; Checker and I returned to the sheep pens below.
Photos © Kjirsten Swenson
Tower in "Chellah" (Roman ruins) with stork nest on top.
After a few days in Chefchaouen, it was time to begin making my way South towards Casablanca and my flight back to the States. I broke up the journey by traveling first as far as Rabat, Morocco's capital. Rabat is a modern contrast, with wide boulevards and lots of fancy government buildings.
I especially enjoyed wandering through the Chellah, ruins of an ancient Roman city abandoned nearly a millennium ago.
To be continued ...
$ A Long Time Ago !
Appalachian Trail Trek: Week Two, April 1973
Ten days into our trek, we were finished with Georgia -- 13 more states to go, as we crossed into North Carolina. We weren't quite done with the rain, but by the beginning of the third week, it finally let up -- for a while -- after seven stormy days in a row.
To make it from Georgia to Maine in the time we had allotted, we needed to average about 10 miles per day, including days we didn't hike at all, days when we stopped to resupply our food. From the start, there was a real question about whether we could maintain the necessary pace, but we promised ourselves that the first three weeks were for getting in shape, not for keeping score.
"We rounded the final bend near six o'clock and found a sudden change of scene. The mountain we'd been crossing dropped sharply away to a valley and another mountain rose steeply on the other side. A narrow ridge joined the two, punctuated on our side by one twisted, wind-shaped tree. A wooden sign marked the trail at the middle of the crossing: Bly Gap GA-NC Line. We had finished our first state.
"I put up the tent on the Georgia side and hung wet gear in the tree, hoping the whipping wind would dry things before rain began again. Clouds rolled dark and heavy in all directions. We watched them settle down around us as fog moved in. Jerri cooked dinner in the lee of the ridge and at dusk I gathered in gear for the night." --from Walking North, by Mic Lowther.
Celebrations & Observances
This Week's Birthdays
More April Birthdays
April Special Days
Miss Hetty's Mailbox:
I received a notice that the birthday e-card I sent had been blocked ... so I wrote an e-mail greeting for Jess Cloyd's birthday...
I do get E-cards and they take a long time to download. However, if I requested to not receive any cards, I wasn't aware and probably hit the wrong button sometime! Sorry.
THANKS for the Greeting, anyway!
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?
+ LETTERS TO THE EDITORS?
That was a lovely announcement of Harvey's death. The picture following it is incredible and seemed to belong to the news of his death. It is hard to believe he is gone -- I keep expecting him to come from the other room. The funeral was lovely -- a real tribute to him with 300 people attending. He was well loved and regarded as a friend to many.
My thanks to you.
The new job is going great. I got to go through a very extensive orientation over my first two weeks there; I went from department to department, learning who all work in each and what it is they do for the company. Then, just this week, I got started really learning about what my job will be and how my average day will go. It's so far, so good, as far as I can tell. I like the people I'm working with and I think I'll be a good fit there once I'm all settled.
Besides that, we've been pretty boring lately. Just waiting for it to finally warm up so we can get outside and do some fun stuff.
Keep up the great work on The Bulletin!
Last Week's Bulletin Review JKL
The supper dishes are still on the table, and Roy is reading what he didn't get finished of the Sunday paper, so I am taking this opportunity to sit down at the keyboard with Bulletin #302 before me. I have the printed copy -- 25 pages -- and beginning on page one, I want to see if I can bring back my first impression of this one-of-a-kind issue. One of a kind, because this very happy looking couple are only married once, and this is the sharing of it with us.
Happiness is truly having your special, beautiful friend at your side, being united in marriage with every hope that it will only continue to be happier and happier. The bridesmaid's shoes prove that this is one sensible couple. I had to laugh at the vision of that little ring bearer zooming right past the whole thing to the back of the stage. I think that was a "first," too. Good thinking that the rings were safely in Travis's pocket.
I saw Capt'n Jack today, and he did not look one day older, even after having a birthday. Oh well, some people are just good at staying young at heart. It was very nice to see that picture of him with his grandchildren. I know them. One reason we haven't had them over for dinner is trying to think of something very out of the ordinary that they would love the most. I see it is SPAM. So, that would be pretty easy to fix. I can start planning that feast right now!
Can't you just imagine how proud and thrilled Wade Morgan Printz would be of his big hat and boots? Nice he could be featured in this Bulletin #302. He won't forget the orange juice box episode very soon.
Playing pool was not allowed in our family. (Hmmm ... that makes it harder to catch Bitzi's clever little April Fool's joke in the picture, doesn't it? --Ed.)
If McKenna has such lovely gifts at this young age, imagine what fun she'll have as she gets older and realizes what being showered with gifts really means. With her devoted grandparents, she will be well remembered.
I remember a previous year when the Easter egg hunt was written up with pictures for The Bulletin. New little folks are added, and some older ones have dropped out, likely. But, the Johnson egg hunt was a great occasion and is a great occasion and likely will continue to be a great occasion.
We had some guests who were telling of their wonderful times to visit Don and Twila Johnson on that very farmyard. Donald had said that he didn't know if it was cheaper to drive to their home (in Morris, Minnesota) or to buy groceries and have them come to the farm. That brought a great laugh.
Thanks for the Travelogue that keeps on keeping on. We peeked to the end to see if it were still "to be continued," and yes, it is. Great! They even have cats there. Wonder what Miss Kitty would think of that? She's probably not interested now that she has Mai Tai to keep her occupied in self defense and competition for the lap. It would be puzzling to choose the right things to satisfy the hunger you had worked up, Kjirsten. The menus would be an adventure in itself. Wonder what lamb tagine was? Looking at the link for Chefchaouen, you could certainly see the vivid blue color used.
I was extremely interested in the "Appalachian Trail Trek: Week Two." I definitely want to read the book mentioned. It is so beyond me to even imagine what walking that trail might be like. I feel chilled and damp just looking at the pictures. I have heard of others who have gone. One family even went twice, which seems nearly impossible. It takes younger legs and bones than Roy and I have, that's for sure.
Well, Lois, the green hat on your Best Friend goes very well with your red hair. Let's see, now you are Hunter Holman's grandma, right? Everything revolves around Hunter Holman; have you got that figured out, yet? He is such a sharp little boy. We need updates pretty often to keep track of him growing.
So much fun to see that picture of Carrie Horne. To see how she is changing as she grows up into a Miss little Princess.
I loved reading the Miss Hetty Letters, and I would have wondered what the last spot in the shelter that Kyra mentioned was had I not read that first chapter of their Walking North story.
The purple flowers with the bee on them was such a spring-like sight as we scrolled down through The Bulletin. Beautiful. Thanks, Lori, for getting that close to the bee.
Finally, something from Barb Floyd! How interesting! One bad experience after the other, so no wonder we haven't had an update lately. Oh, in the mid-80s in Arizona. Whew, that seems like a sauna compared to our 35 here today. Your visit to the prep crew will be anticipated if you bring fresh bread out there.
I see some very muddy vehicles on trailers passing us on the road, and with that picture of CHUCKLES and Jeff Holman's antics, I can see now how it happens. I am sure they must call that fun, but then mud and boys were made to be blended weren't they?
The Quotation for the day hit home in a way -- the ability to take a joke proves your sense of humor. So, we had better remember that about next Tuesday.
Thanks again to each one who has made this Bulletin #302 possible. It takes submitting something, and sending pictures, and diligently putting it all into the right places with the editing taking out the mistakes we have made. We do know it is a lot of work, and we appreciate it -- and you.
To search a name in Who's Who or Who's Where: click on the link to open the page, then use CONTROL F on a PC or COMMAND F on a Mac. To search for a second occurrence of the name, use CONTROL G on a PC or COMMAND G on a Mac. (This works on ANY web page with text, unless the text is converted to an image. Chances are, it works in your e-mail, too.) HINT: Search by first name only, as most entries list the family name once but do not repeat the last name for each family member. In Who's Where you can search on state or city names, too.
Quotation for the day: Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be. --Grandma Moses
EDITOR'S POLICY: If you wish to subscribe to The Bulletin, simply send me a statement of that fact. If you wish to keep receiving it I hope you will contribute to one of the columns that are running in this family epistle (at least occasionally!). My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
This Bulletin is copyright Dorothy M. Anderson; the contents are also copyrighted by the authors and photographers and used with their permission, and the contents are not to be used for any commercial purposes without the explicit consent of the creators.