Sunday, September 21, 2008
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Student Update -- Universidad San Francisco de Quito
I have really been enjoying my time at the University -- a beautiful campus, great professors and interesting people from all over the world. As an international student, I feel lucky to have the "in" that allows me to mingle with everyone -- not just the Ecuadorians and not only the foreigners. I learn a lot simply by showing up at the U and chatting with the person next to me in line or sitting beside me on the bus. I get amazing culture lessons every day.
I have only four classes remaining before graduation. Originally, I had planned to take a few more classes, simply for the sake of interest, but after a week of scheduling difficulties and great experiences off-campus, I realized that I could benefit as much outside of the classroom as I could through taking one more class. Consequently, I now have a very uncluttered schedule, consisting of four classes focusing on Spanish language, literature, history, etc. At first I felt like I was slacking off a bit, but now I am very pleased to have more time to spend with the people, explore the city, travel...
...this means, too, that anyone with the travel bug would get some company if they showed up in Quito!
Hope all's well in the northern hemisphere :-)
Update -- chasing goats -- the saga continues
Where, oh, where have my little goats gone?
All 11 of our goats ran away from home a couple of weeks ago. One day they were here and the next day they weren't!
We contacted every neighbor; we searched all over our property and the land next to us. Not a sign of any goat. I placed an ad in the local paper and, thank goodness, honesty still exists in our little town! A man who also raises goats found our goats mingling with his ... and he fed and cared for our goats while waiting to find out to whom they belonged. He was a super nice guy.
I would say I am glad to have them back but, seeing as how they have destroyed my rose bush, my fruit trees, and the hood of my van ... and seeing as how they are now climbing on top of the chicken coop to get out of their pen and haven't stayed in a pen the entire time we've had them ... I just might call that guy up and pay him to KEEP them all!!!! ARGH!
Above is from my blog "And Then There Were Four"...
Well, it seems that some things just don't change. I wrote the above blog entry over the summer, and yet, we found ourselves chasing goats again on Sunday afternoon. A different neighbor (we'll call him Mr. D) called us on Sunday to inform us that the goats, the herd now down to 10 after the passing of our billy goat last week, were on his place ... and would we like to come and get them?
My thoughts were, "Um, actually, no I wouldn't like to come get them, but seeing as how they technically belong to us, I guess I will."
So, I gathered up the two oldest boys and we walked the quarter mile or so from our house to the neighbor's house, with a feed bucket in hand. This man is a nice, friendly guy, and he visited with us awhile about how cute goats are and how nice our goats looked, etc.
At one point, Tracer, now 10 years old and getting smarter by the day, asked Mr. D if he liked goats so much, would he like to buy ours? (I think Tracer is getting just as weary as I am of chasing the goats every day.) So, Mr. D, in jest, offered Tracer $20 a head for the goats, and Tracer decided that wasn't a good bargain, so it was no deal.
The goats seemed excited to see us as we approached them and they happily followed us, and our feed bucket, down the driveway, out the neighbor's gate, down the dirt road, and back into our gate. It would have been a very cute sight, if I wasn't so mad at those silly goats! We've patched fence, and patched fence, and patched it some more. At this point, we could have replaced the entire fence line and spent less time and money!
And, there is nothing cuter than a baby goat, until they fall through the chicken coop roof trying to escape. I went to check on the goats a couple of hours after we put them back in the pen, and one goat was missing! Then, I heard a commotion coming from the hen house. It seems that this goat tried to break out again, by climbing on the chicken wire roof of the outside chicken pen, and she fell in! So, she was trapped inside with the chickens, and it turns out that she is afraid of chickens! Silly, silly goat!
So, the goats are still climbing on every vehicle we own, eating every plant and tree they can reach, going potty all over my porch, and running away every chance they get! They are worse than really, really ill-behaved children.
By the way, anyone want to buy a goat? I've got 10! I'll give you a good deal. The only stipulation? No returns or exchanges!
Update -- Jazmine takes first place in pedal tractor pull
Jazmine Hill won first place in the 5-year-old girl division at the North Dakota State Pedal Tractor Pull in Abercrombie this afternoon. She'll now go on to the national competition in Mitchell, South Dakota.
Mavis Morgan forwarded us this letter from Brenda Hill ... it answers a question Mavis had asked about the State Tractor pull for Girls:
First Mavis's letter:
Thanks for the news of Jazmine. She did really well. How many did she have to compete with? Did she ride Grandpa's red tractor (is it an "H")?
Mavis and Tom Morgan
There were only three 5-year-old girls at State, as you had to have won a trophy at a local pull first (where the 5-year boys and girls are in the same division). The girl who got second place at State is the girl who has beat Jazmine at two local pulls, but Jazmine beat her at State!
They supply the tractor and I'm not even sure what kind it was!
Update -- spaghetti night
Just wanted to share these photos ... this is what spaghetti night looks like with Sully and Everett!
Update -- porcupine rodeo
Photo Editor's Note: Martha Bolan is my neighbor -- the lady who collided with my mailbox when my street was extra slippery and rebuilt it for me, triggering a whole series of mailbox stories in The Bulletin. A beekeeper, she also contributed a story about the bear that visited her beehives and tore the gate off her chain link fence trying to escape their wrath. More recently, her adventures have included a prickly porcupine that invaded our peaceful neighborhood...
About 5 a.m. one Saturday morning a few weeks ago, I was awakened by the neighbor's dogs barking. They barked frantically for a time, were quiet for a little while and then started yelping. I finally decided that they must have scented a bear, but since it wasn't in my yard, I rolled over and went back to sleep.
Later that morning -- at a decent hour -- my neighbor Amy called to tell me the story. Her three dogs -- two Great Pyrenees and one Black Lab -- had started barking frantically. She saw something small and black on her deck. She thought it was probably a baby bear and let two of her dogs out to chase it away.
How wrong she was! It was a porcupine. Both dogs got quilled.
Amy realized what was happening and went out with her broom and knocked the porcupine off the railing of her deck, which is about 12 feet up in the air. The porcupine fell through the lilac bush, breaking a couple of branches en route to the ground. As Amy was telling me this story, we were picking quills out of the ground so that none of the little kids in the neighborhood would step on them.
To get the quills out, one dog had required painkillers and the other one needed anesthesia. We thought that was the end of a story, but it was just one chapter.
Chapter 2: An hour later, Amy showed up at my door, asking for my mighty hunter of a husband. When he came to the door, she asked, "Can you shoot a porcupine out from underneath my husband's car?" Then we knew we had problems.
An informal neighborhood meeting immediately convened. The end result was THE PLAN, which consisted of using the hose to spray the porcupine out from under the car and then ... I don't know. They weren't really clear on what came next. Maybe it was time for the porcupine to meet his Maker, but maybe they just didn't think that far ahead.
The kids were put safely in the house and the hose was hooked up and the little guy was hosed out from under the car. He ran immediately to my back yard and hid under my shed. So the next hose was hooked up and he was hosed out from under the shed. One neighbor tried to close the gate, but the desperate porcupine knocked it open and -- you guessed it -- ran right back under the car again.
So another impromptu meeting convened and PLAN NUMBER TWO was unveiled. This one was far more concrete and creative. It involved poking at the porcupine until he came out and catching him in a dip net. I must say, those dip nets are really good for more than just fish.
Chapter 3: Two neighbors started poking; my husband crouched with his dip net, ready to take a hostage, and the other neighbor was directing. At that point, I realized I was missing a serious Kodak Moment. I got my camera and the rest of the story is illustrated.
Day to Day R
The Matriarch Speaks W
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.
I'm going to guess that it is Alyssa and Angel Freesemann.
My guess is that it's Alyssa and Angel Freesemann in a ton of soap suds in their grandparents' whirlpool tub.
"That's my sisters! That's Alyssa and that is Angel. They have bubbles on them. They are all wet!"
Jettison Quaid Freesemann, Age 3
This would most likely be Alyssa on the left and Angel on the right.
Oh, now the Guessing Game is getting a redo. Making it way too hard for the likes of me to ever figure out who is in that tub of suds. I give up!
Betty Weiland Droel
Larry McCorkell sent us a manuscript he transcribed from his father's tape recorded memories and made it available to The Bulletin for a series of excerpts. These stories were originally tape recorded by Bruce McCorkell of his growing up days on the homestead near Effie in northern Minnesota. They were recorded from a period of the mid 1980's until the early 2000's. These are Bruce's words of happy, sad, funny, good, and hard times.
I've seen porcupines in the spring, real early, because that dog we had, by the name of Pat, got into a porcupine out to Grandma's old place. I remember one time when we came up there. I can see him yet. The grass was about six inches high. We looked out by the old barn and here Pat was slinging something up in the air and we went out there and here it was a little porcupine. He had little bits of quills in his mouth, clear down his throat. I bet you they weren't over a half inch long to maybe an inch long. There were a million quills in there.
I thought, "Boy oh boy, will I have to kill the dog, or what?" But we took him in the house, took a little pliers there. He opened his mouth and we pulled all the quills out and he never said a thing. I reached way down his throat and pulled those quills out.
We didn't have a lawn mower, naturally, but my dad did take the scythe and cut around the stumps around the old homestead building and around the flower garden and around the other buildings. One time, in the summer, the grass was high. It hadn't been cut yet. It was before haying season. There was just a path to the barn and the grass was knee high or higher. The narrow footpath going out to the barn was kind of crooked, it wasn't real straight. He hadn't cut the grass along side of the path, so it was high. It was Timothy hay. This time it was just about as high as my head, I can remember that.
I was walking on this path out to the barn and I heard a funny little noise. I came around a little bend in the path there, and I came upon two porcupines standing right on their hind legs, standing right straight up, facing each other, right close together so their bellies were almost touching, and both of them were just talking away to beat the band to one another, "hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm," or making those noises. It sounded like somebody kind of singing a little bit. That was really something.
I beat it back to the house to tell Ma, but I suppose maybe I scared them. I can't remember if she went back with me. But I always wondered what they were doing there. I read someplace once they do that in the mating season. I don't know if they would be mating that time of the year or not. They have their young already. Whatever they were doing, that was really neat. That was something you don't very often see or hear about or find anybody else that ever saw anything like that. I wish I had been old enough so I would have been a little more careful. I could have observed them a little bit longer, but when they saw me they got down and waddled away.
There were a lot of porcupines in those days. They chewed up everything you'd leave around for the salt in it.
Huayhuash Trek Of Peru
Eventually, we think of going down and try to decide what would be the best route. There does not seem to be much of a trail. Nicol had tried to tell Kjirsten to "Go Left" to find the proper descent. She misunderstood him to mean to go left to find him once we hit the valley below.
We began to pick our way down the side, which was very steep but not too bad at first. As we descended further, the gully narrowed and, at times, dropped almost straight down. We had to work our way very slowly to try to find safe hand- and foot-holds. A slip or fall would have been very bad and would likely have resulted in broken bones or who knows what type of serious injuries. We agree to go back if it gets any worse but are reluctant to climb the same elevation to try a different route.
Eventually, after about three hours of slow descent, we work our way through the worst of it. We stop for lunch, enjoying the still very good views. We can now see Nicol, about another 1,000 feet below us, setting up camp. He sees us and waves his hat. He then starts jumping up and down, apparently for the joy of seeing us.
He later told Kjirsten he ran his mules the whole way so he would have time to come looking for us. He was sure we would get lost. We feel fortunate to have made it down without injury and, looking back up at the extremely steep gully, we realize it would have been much better to "Go Left."
The second place Rodrigo suggested we hire a local guide, none were available. We could clearly see the trail up the pass and Nicol told Kjirsten we should come down on the left side and we would see where we were camping. We left early in the morning and were at the top of the pass in a couple of hours. The view was spectacular but there was no clear trail down. We went down the left side, confident that if a cow had been there (and there was evidence of such), that we were fine. I was a bit worried when we saw a cow's jawbone and teeth a few minutes later.
As we descended, the terrain got steeper and soon we were going along a small stream. The rocks were the slipperiest I've ever tried to stand on and we were hanging on to plants, trying not to fall. Often the drop would have been far enough to cause serious injury. This was the most dangerous descent of our entire trip and, after a couple of grueling hours, we could finally see the camping area.
We crossed to a steep, grassy area and sat down for lunch. When Nicol noticed us, still several hundred feet above him, we could see him waving his hat. He was very happy to see us and told Kjirsten he made the mules run all the way around the mountain so he could quickly set up camp and rescue us if we got ourselves into trouble. He was very worried about us, and rightfully so. When we got down, we were horrified to see where we had come down. We should have come down one valley further left.
To be continued...
$ A Long Time Ago !
Appalachian Trail Trek: September 1973
Like migrating birds, we had headed north from Georgia in the spring; we headed south from Mount Katahdin, like returning birds, in the fall. To me, it made perfect sense to be in sync with the changing seasons and hiking south seemed like the most natural thing in the world to do. Hiking north had made spring last much longer; now our new direction was extending fall.
Unfortunately, that logic didn't work for Mic, who would have relished seeing Mount Katahdin far in the distance but growing larger and more imposing each day as our hike approached its end. Instead, Mount Katahdin was growing smaller and more distant with each passing mile as we proceeded southward into Maine's enveloping forests and seemingly endless bogs. It was bitterly disappointing to Mic and there was no good way to compensate for it.
"There was a mouse on my head. It had run up my leg as I lay on my stomach to write the day's log and had climbed to the top of my head. I kept writing. A mouse could see the world that way if it wanted to. I didn't mind.
"My visitor departed the way it came, then returned. I wrote on amid its furtive pacings, wondering if it might soon bring friends. (Easy climb! Grandstand views from brushy summit!) It didn't. Not while I was awake, anyway.
"Beaver activity also came to our attention the next few days. Their dams backed up streams, sending water seeping ever deeper into marshy, low-lying terrain. Wet ground turned to swamp. Swamps grew into ponds. Water flowed in the trail, submerging all but larger rocks, logs, and mounds at bases of trees. We hopped from one high spot to another, following each other like dancers. We took wide detours, holding to firmer ground when the trail led into open water. Lacking dry footing, however small, slippery, or oddly-spaced, we plunged directly through water and mud and more than once sank to our knees.
"Dry stretches of road and trail brought occasional relief, but bogs became more frequent and extensive as we went on. The AT had been rerouted time after time to get around them, yet hardly a mile of trail passed without some part sinking into the ooze. But if our passage seemed slow and difficult, it was clear that flooding had been worse not long before. We'd already passed places where others reportedly turned back.
Fords were no problem. We waded the Pleasant River as effortlessly as we had Pollywog Stream, then crossed another once-raging creek by balancing on rocks and logs. Another time, we avoided wading a fast-moving creek by taking a side trail to a bridge we noted on the map.
"Sloppy conditions were not without advantage. We met fewer people in that region and walked through much of the boundless forest in solitude. Occasional encounters with another through-hiker ranked as heavy traffic.
"A blue-blazed trail led to the right at the approach to the Chairback Range.
"'Shortcut,' I said.
"'Where does it go?' Jerri asked.
"'It meets the AT in two miles and cuts out four miles and three mountains.
"'Does it miss the shelter, too?' Kyra asked.
"'Um ... yeah, I guess it does.'
"'And the stand of virgin timber I was reading of?' said Jerri.
"We took the white-blazed trail. We had no reason to save time anymore and the climbs would lift us out of the bogs." --from Walking North, by Mic Lowther.
Celebrations & Observances
This Week's Special Days
This Week's Birthdays
More September Birthdays
September Special Days
Miss Hetty's Mailbox:
Julie Sandon, from Phoenix, Arizona, sent this recipe for chocolate cake baked in a coffee mug in the microwave. It's probably not a dessert I would choose to serve company, but it could be a quick fix for a chocoholic in a college dorm or a grand experiment in do-it-yourself cooking when a couple of grandchildren come to visit. Watching the cake rise from the mug as it bakes is part of the fun. The finished product is plenty for two and the best part is at the bottom of the mug where the chocolate chips congregate. If your microwave isn't 1,000 watts, you may need to compensate. I baked it in my 1100-watt oven at 90% power and it worked fine.
CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE IN THREE MINUTES
4 tablespoons plain flour (cake or all-purpose flour, not self-rising)
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
Small splash of vanilla
Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg
and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla, and mix
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at
1000 watts. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but
don't be alarmed!
Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate, if
EAT! (This can serve 2 if you want to share!)
(And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the
world? Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from
chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!)
(And if you want, you could have the ingredients laid out
and let everyone bake their own cake.)
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?
Last Week's Bulletin Review JKL
I held my breath, knowing it was going to be something very unusual and beautiful for the first picture as I scrolled down into The Bulletin when it arrived, right on schedule, Saturday morning. There were those vivid yellow gold Asiatic Lilies, complete with a bee, but I must admit I could not see the bee. There were a couple places that I thought just might be the bee, but I failed that test of finding it.
Our neighbors had a setup like that. A swimming pool with a huge trampoline within jumping distance. They had hours and hours of fun on that, so when I see the update on Alyssa and Angel visiting Camille Meyer I could see why they would have loved that. What a change from Burnsville to make that long trip filled with anticipation for their annual summer farm vacation. Lifelong memories are made during those visits to the farm. I know, I remember this city girl visiting my aunt and uncle, Bertram and Lillian Bartlett, on their Eagle Bend, Minnesota, farm.
What a great trip, and what a wonderful time must have been had cheering up Jim Miller as life goes on without his Blanche. There would be something very special about having family come, and no matter how long you stayed, it would never be long enough. What a beautiful beach! No "Ike" to spoil it.
Wyatt fulfilled his promise of giving us "the rest of the story" of the New York, New York, trip. I'm glad they didn't settle for their 17th floor hotel room scenery, but persevered to get into the Empire State Building, eventually. I'm so glad it was "spectacular" after all that wasted time just waiting in line. I laughed at the mental plan to shove those weak-looking ladies out of the way -- HA -- but I gather you didn't, and you would all be glad.
To have thought about that trip for years, and finally realizing it, would be exhilarating. It would help to have endured and enjoyed it together with your best buddies.
The update on Lori turning one year older was so honest, and it must have been so much fun sharing it all with McKenna at her cute, aware age. We will be expecting some good pictures now, Lori. You can practice on us Bulletin family with pictures of your family.
It's always sort of surprising to me that there are so many beautiful flower photos from Alaska. Such as the colorful Wave Petunias. Thanks to Miss Kitty, we are getting the latest news from the photo editor's residence and office. Oh dear! Miss Kitty, you are getting so frisky, and I don't think that was too smart of you to give the Vet a bad time. She's the one with that big old needle, aimed wherever she wants it to go, remember! And Miss Jerrianne is the one who manages the cat food supply, so better watch it.
How funny! The grandkittens are being home schooled! Looks like Oreo found a good spot to hide there in the bookcase. How could he get in there all by himself?
I found Beaver on the train better than I could find a bee on the blossoms. I think the beautiful yard of the lake home the Ostendorfs have is so perfect for family and friends to gather. Volleyball takes lots of energy and quick thinking. A good young folks activity while the oldies sit on the sidelines, coaching and cheering, with their coffee.
I made the mistake of looking into the anatomy web site listed in The Bulletin. It could take hours just for one section. A good winter project. I just had to click it off or I'd never finish my review before bedtime.
The story about lightning hitting the maple tree and the cow was a thriller to that little boy, and now to us, too. What an experience! I'm sure Bruce had much respect for lightning after that one. Imagine, the milk pail never even tipped over!
We had Jeff and Evelyn and Cara Lee Swenson over recently; Jeff is Sheldon's brother. We discussed the Travelogue and the rugged trek of Peru. The Journal is always just long enough and just short enough to keep your interest, and to keep you reading anxiously -- and all too soon it says "To be continued." I'm glad there will still be more to this story. It hardly looks like they could cross those rugged mountains.
What a priceless picture from the Appalachian Trail Trek of Kyra finally attaining the site of the Mount Katahdin sign! Just look into the distance behind her. I can not even imagine what hiking for all those months would be like, and have taken many breaths of relief to know they made it safely over the treacherous terrain.
The Walking North book is quoted, as you see, but to read it is even more breathtaking, and you can almost see the clouds and feel the cold rain as it is written so graphically. After this chapter you just can't believe they did go on, especially to the summit. Thus, the picture of Kyra with the sign is priceless. A lifelong memory, and a once in a lifetime experience.
What a nice picture of our editor and her right hand man, at the table with Tom. Do you see the plate of food there? Mmm!
Speaking of food, the CHUCKLES was so appropriate for this season of corn on the cob. What a darling picture! Looks like Angel has her own certain routine with a cob of corn. First we eat the middle. Are those greeting cards in the background? Duplicates of lovely big ones. That grandma's house would be a real treat to visit. Memories are being made, and one needs to appreciate each and every occasion.
The journey, not the arrival matters. Well, we all would have our take on this one. I know the destination is priority in our minds.
We have had Ruth and Ken Kitto here so have been giving them all our time and attention, but they leave now to go through North Dakota and then on back home to Arizona. This review might sound a bit haphazard, but I did not want to neglect telling our editor and photo editor that they had sent out another most interesting Bulletin of fun and family details we all are wanting to see and read. Thank you, and now back to reality.
Roy and Betty Droel
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: The porcupine, whom one must handle gloved, may be respected, but never loved. --Arthur Guiterman
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 email@example.com
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.