Sunday, November 2, 2008
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Update -- woodcutting weekend at the Ashby farm
Although it sounds like a lot of work, I look forward to woodcutting weekend every year, probably even more than I look forward to any other weekend. It's the one weekend when pretty much the whole family is around the farm, with no other places for people to be. It's a weekend of nothing but good, old fashioned hard work (well, not old fashioned like using axes or anything, but old fashioned plus chainsaws ... you know what I mean), good food, and campfires!
Unfortunately, Camryn ended up getting sick the night before, so Jolene and Camryn stayed in Moorhead for the weekend, to avoid having to keep a crabby baby happy in unfamiliar surroundings and getting everyone sick. Joanna had plans with her mom, but everyone else made it. As a bonus, Eric and Leona Anderson came, and Anita Oliva Wolbrink came, with Rachel and Yoel, to join the fun.
Saturday was a brisk morning and we started by leaving the farm in a caravan including two of Dad's pickups, one gravel truck, a four-wheeler, and a loader. Ben and I started cutting, using the two older chainsaws, and Weston got to break in the new Jonserud -- quite a step up from the old Stihl that used to break every year. We figured with three solid saws, we'd have a good day of cutting. Dad ran the loader and the others carried wood, filling the loader bucket, so Dad could dump it into the gravel truck.
I started having saw problems fairly early in the day, attributed it to the chain, and replaced it. Pretty soon, the saw was smoking a bit, so I checked the chain, tightened it up, and tried again. Something didn't seem quite right, but it seemed to still work all right, so I kept going. After lunch, I couldn't keep the chain tight, so I finally had Dad take a look. He realized that a bearing had been completely broken out of it, so my cutting day was over. I reluctantly joined the grunts hauling wood, my glory days of sawing over ... well, over for the weekend, I guess.
Saturday night we sat around a campfire, made s'mores, and listened to a ghost story from Brooklynn. It's pretty relaxing after all that hard work, sitting out in the cool night around the warm fire, laughing and enjoying each other's company.
Sunday, after a huge brunch, looking out at a brewing snowstorm, we all took off. The drive back to Moorhead was pretty stressful, with a snow-covered Interstate, vehicles in the ditch, and a general mess.
Even though we were missing a few members of the family, we still had a great time and got a lot of wood cut to keep the farmhouse warm for the winter!
UPDATE -- Brandon kicks for UND Fighting Sioux
One of our main activities lately has been attending the home games of the University of North Dakota football team in Grand Forks. Brandon is in his third year as place-kicker and this year also has the punting duties for the Fighting Sioux.
Ryan and Jessica have accompanied us to the first four games. Brandon's girlfriend, Mikaela Kleeb, has made the trip for two games from her home and school, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
At 11 a.m., the team arrives in buses with a police escort at the indoor arena, The Alerus Center, from their "home base," Memorial Stadium. Parents and fans congregate in the tailgating area of the parking lot; the band and game-faced players walk down through the middle of the crowd and we cheer them on. For the next while, we can mingle with other parents and fans and eat grilled food in the parking lot.
At 12:00 we go into the Alerus and watch Brandon do his warm-up kicking and punting. The team comes out a bit later and does their warm-up drills and stretching. Ryan has a press pass, which allows him to be down on the field to take pictures for the entire game.
Kickoff is at 1 p.m. Then an exciting game ensues. They have won their four home games and lost one on the road, to Southwest Louisiana.
After the game, parents and friends gather in a room outside the locker area and wait as the players shower and pack up. We can greet them as they come out. It is the best opportunity we have to see the other players close up and no helmets.
Then it's time for Buffalo Wild Wings for supper, as Brandon gets very hungry. Last week, after supper, we went to Char and Tim's home where Jeff, Jessica and baby Alexa Gauderman were visiting, so everyone got to meet her.
Today, Brandon flies with the team to Sacramento, California. They will stay in a downtown hotel and play at the University of California Davis on Saturday evening.
UPDATE -- a great grandaughter's great grin
Here's one of my favorite pictures of Alexa Gauderman, taken October 27th at one month! Alexa is growing and smiling, as you can see. She rolled over before she was a month old so will really need watching from now on. She seems to be holding her own on being the center of attraction with all the family members.
Update -- Wade Printz celebrates 9th birthday
We had great plans of having a birthday party for Wade. We invited all the other kids on the ranch and he picked out a football cake -- everything was set. Then we got the stomach bug a few days before. Seems like Murphy knows when you have something planned with kids!
We were all feeling fine by his birthday, but in kindness to the other parents, we decided to postpone the party. Instead, we had a little family birthday evening and it was quite fun. Wade shot balloons. (He LOVES to shoot!) Then we blew up some balloons to draw on and play volleyball with, and then, finally, Daddy got home from work and we could open presents!
UPDATE -- making dirt: a first step in beautification
The perennials in the public gardens at the Pioneer Avenue median and Chugach Foothills Park are sleeping under a thin dusting of snow now. The hoses and tools have all been put away. The rock garden got a makeover this summer and new "lasagna" beds are "cooking" under wraps. In my back yard, compost bins are filled with one-, two- and three-season compost. Leaves, grass clippings and expired annuals are being recycled into humus. Microbes are busily making "dirt."
Composting in Anchorage is a rather slow process, due to our long, cold winters. In Phoenix, the whole process took a few weeks; here it takes a few seasons -- at least two, and preferably three. Initially, I just piled leaves and grass clippings in a heap on the ground. I tucked a 9'x12' plastic painter's drop cloth around the pile to hold the heat and moisture in and to keep the pile from getting too soggy during long rainy spells. It worked, but it looked a little too messy for my taste.
I missed the sectional compost bins I had left behind in Phoenix. I found plans to make them and considered building new bins. Then, last year, I found just what I was looking for at Lowe's -- rot- and rodent-proof, Organic Choice Biostack silos. They were lightweight recycled plastic, just the right size, snapped together like Legos, and had lids. I gulped at the price ... and invested in six.
A summer's worth of grass clippings and fallen leaves from my yard, plus vegetable and fruit scraps from my kitchen, fills three bins over one season. (Three more bins hold compost from prior seasons.) The material heats up on its own, though an infusion of microbes from the garden store speeds up the process. A cheap plastic painter's drop cloth holds heat and moisture in. A compost thermometer tells me when it's getting too hot (or cooling down) and needs to be turned.
About once a week, I mow the lawn, add fresh grass clippings and turn the compost with a five-tined pitchfork, moving one space left or right, filling one tier at a time. If it's too dry, I add water from the garden hose; if it's too wet, turning it with the manure fork lets in more air. Earthworms are happy to help and they do. As the weather cools in the fall, they head for the bottom of the stack ... and the last time I turn the compost they may have to make that journey all over again.
When we cleaned up the median and containers this year, we created new "lasagna garden" beds to try recycling frost-killed annuals, iris leaves, etc. with grass clippings and fallen leaves in the park. Our plan is to create two new flower beds by "sheet composting" materials we would pay to have hauled away into humus. Next summer we will plant those beds with perennial divisions from the median to create new flower gardens along the edge of a path that needs beautification.
Day to Day R
Woodcutting Weekend Warms Hearts And Home
Our woodcutting group came through again this year! Bless their hearts, we'll have a warm home for quite some time, due to their efforts. For some reason, they seem to enjoy coming out and working. We are thankful they feel that way. And we LOVE having them; it's lots of fun when there is a whole group of people.
So, thanks to Eric, Leona, Yoel, Shawn, Wyatt, Weston, Chris, Ben and Ashley for helping with the actual woodcutting and hauling. Thanks to Anita, Eric, Leona, Jessy, Wyatt, Weston, Ashley and Lori for bringing food to keep everyone happy. It was a huge success, even though the day they were to go home, we had a surprise snow storm, which resulted in slippery roads. That was NOT so wonderful!
We missed Jolene; she stayed home with a sick Camryn.
Well done, people!
Nick Hobson, the developer of Nick's Mathematical Puzzles, has used his fascination of mathematical puzzles as the basis for this web site. As he explains, "The puzzles presented here are selected for the deceptive simplicity of their statement, or the elegance of their solution. They range over geometry, probability, number theory, algebra, calculus, and logic. All require a certain ingenuity, but usually only pre-college math.... The puzzles are intended to be fun, with an educational element." Here's your chance to test your math and hone your skills while you work on becoming the expert mathematical puzzle solver, with Nick's help, of course! Should you surpass the teacher, he welcomes all puzzle submissions as well as related correspondence.
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.
It's Little Miss McKenna Ostendorf, on the left and Chris and Jessy Chap, on the right. :)
L-R, McKenna, Chris, Jessy.
Editor's comment: Straight to the point!
Like Erma Bombeck, I do believe that a grandma is expected to not recognize who any of the little folks are when they come "tricks or treating" ... but it would have to be a different kind of grandma not to know your own babies (no matter how old they are).
Saying thus, I will now identify the three wild creatures.... First, on the left, is my sweet great grandbaby, whose mama is my first born grand baby ... and the little charmer may look like a witch but that is really McKenna Ostendorf. (Isn't she cute?) The mismatched couple on the right are, in truth, matched to perfection as that is my grandson Chris Chap and his sweet wife, Jessy.
I got such a cute Hallowe'en hot dog picture of their puppy -- and what a trick on us! She sent it under the name "Jessica Chap" ... and we had to call Donna to find out which of the Chaps that was. :-)
It's always fun to have a puzzle or two to keep us alert and smiling as we read page after page of the newest Bulletin. I know that the left one is McKenna. The right one has to be Eric and Leona.
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 wasn't there when one chimney fire happened, but I can remember my ma telling about how they carried snow. There was a lot of snow, fortunately, right by the house and they shoveled that in and got it out. At one point they almost decided they'd have to let the thing burn down. Don't ask me where I was. I was going to high school. I can remember that.
Right then, Dad decided to make a chimney. This fire was in the wintertime, but he didn't make the chimney until the next summer. He got new stovepipe and made a form and poured concrete in it. My dad was clever doing that kind of thing. It was made a block at a time. It was solid too. He just kept pouring like they make silos today, by adding stove pipe and mixing that stuff up by hand and pouring it in this form and kept building the form up as he went. I remember helping him some on that. It was located between the kitchen and the living room in the old homestead, right where the stovepipe went up. It kept the stovepipe away from all the wood and everything.
The problem with stove pipe was it didn't last very long. Creosote, especially, would burn a hole through it. You had to check that out often in order to be sure that it wasn't thin and have little like rust holes in it where sparks could come out and burn the house down.
Greetings from Africa. Kjirsten and I have traveled to Tanzania to try to walk up Mount Kilimanjaro. You might ask why Africa and why so soon? You have just been to Peru. That is certainly what my colleagues at work have asked. It is mostly Kjirsten's fault. She took some of her 4th year rotations in her third year, took less study time for Part 1 Boards and has therefore opened up several free blocks of time to do other things, like travel.
September is one of the driest months in this part of Africa (rainy season is very wet and cloudy), so here we are. We hope that if we can make it to the top we will not just be in one big cloud of fog like it would be other times of the year.
Once again, altitude and time for acclimatization are issues. Mount Kilimanjaro is about 19,340 feet high, the highest point in Africa (about 1 mile higher than Mount Rainier). The oxygen concentration in the atmosphere at that height is only about 70 per cent of that at sea level. About half of the many trekkers who try this do not make it to the top, giving up either due to fatigue or altitude sickness. A few people die every year from cerebral or pulmonary edema, complications of severe altitude sickness. We do not want to be part of that group so we have signed up to first go up Mount Meru, an adjacent volcano, to condition and acclimatize. We have booked this and our subsequent adventures with a trekking company: www.goodearthtours.com
A well used land cruiser pulls up to our hotel at 8 a.m. with our guide, cook and assistant cook in the vehicle. Mount Meru is part of Arusha National Park, one of about 12 national parks in the country of Tanzania. We register at the park entrance and also meet the park ranger who will walk with us up to the second camp while carrying a rifle to protect us. The African (Cape) Buffalo have been known to attack people if startled or if protecting their young. We suspect this may be more of a way to provide jobs in a country with high unemployment but we do feel very safe.
The ranger is very kind, polite and anxious to please, despite the rifle he carries at all times on the trail. Our group also consists of three porters, who will carry all of the food for our group plus most of our gear. We are embarrassed to have them carry this heavy load for us but are grateful for their help. We will be climbing 10,000 feet in 2-1/2 days and the trail is steep much of the time. We realize these are decent paying jobs for these young men, who would otherwise likely be unemployed. They are friendly, happy and strong. They travel up and down the trails faster than we but do stop to rest more often.
Shortly after leaving the gate, we cross a meadow where we see a group of buffalo hanging out around a water hole. There is a fairly large herd of zebras not far away. We see three different groups of five to eight giraffes feeding on trees along the edge of the meadow. We then see a group of warthogs and then a group of baboons before entering the rainforest and trail leading up the mountain. We reach our first camp about mid-afternoon. The ranger shows us a dorm type room in one of several long, rectangular wooden cabins. Our guide than invites us to the dining shed for "tea." There is a plate of fresh popcorn, store-bought cookies and hot chocolate available. We realize we are going to be well taken care of on this part of our African adventure.
After a short time, we are invited to supper. This consists of soup, bread, fried fish, french fried potatoes, a vegetable stew, more tea and hot chocolate and fresh fruit (papaya and watermelon) for dessert. There is much more food presented to us than what we can eat. We hope the porters will be able to eat the leftovers.
After supper, the ranger warns us to watch out for buffalo when walking to the nearby bathrooms. They apparently like to graze on the vegetation around the camp. The next morning, as we head up the trail, I see some fresh droppings that put any cow pie I have ever seen to shame. It appears that the buffalo have indeed been grazing around the camp.
To be continued...
$ A Long Time Ago !
Appalachian Trail Trek: October 1973
Our return to the mundane world began gradually and gently. Connie Cross, a friend from Phoenix who was living in nearby Putney, Vermont, at the time, spent the last night on the trail with us in ramshackle Bromley Cabin. She walked out with us the next day and gave us a ride in her car to the nearest Greyhound Bus stop. We watched the scenery flash by the windows all the way to Mission Control in Rochester, New York. Paul and Fayne Doering, friends from my college days at Rochester Institute of Technology almost a decade earlier, picked us up.
We dressed in street clothes we had mailed there and were reunited with our International Scout, which had been driven there by courier from Atlanta at the start of our trip. I trimmed Mic's hair and beard. We reveled in the luxuries of hot showers, clean clothes, soft beds and delicious food cooked by Paul while I sorted through dozens of boxes of slides from film I'd exposed on the trail.
Kyra took charge of the "granny squares" she had crocheted in her spare time during the trek and assembled them into three ponchos -- for Fayne and herself and me -- adding crocheted necklines at the tops and yarn fringe at the bottom edges.
We visited familiar places in Rochester, including the George Eastman house photography museum and the new suburban campus of my alma mater, R.I.T., which had been right downtown when I was a student there. The old campus had mostly been removed to make room for a major highway interchange. We had a lovely and leisurely visit with the Doerings before heading to Minnesota to visit my family at the Ashby farm en route to our home in Phoenix.
"Toward noon we donned packs a final time and walked to the highway. Connie would drive us to Manchester Center. From there we'd hop a bus, roll off a day's miles every ten or fifteen minutes, and be in Rochester, New York, by evening. We'd have a month to make our way back to Phoenix. I loaded packs into the car. While Jerri, Kyra, and Connie got in, I stood at the door and took a last look at the trail we'd come to call home.
"A carload of hikers tied boots, hoisted on packs, adjusted waistbelts for a weekend walk north. Jim would soon be along to hitchhike to town. Stan, together at last, had headed south. Life on the AT went on.
"The trail led north to Katahdin, south to Springer. All along its length that day, the next, and for years to come people would walk, climb, camp, see, and perhaps know the simple life we'd known. The Appalachian Trail was a world to itself. One could escape there for a time for any reason he or she might choose: to walk, to achieve, to regain something lost, or to find something one never knew was there.
"We'd stood at the entrance to that world exactly seven months before. It was a crossroad of sorts, where pavement from a familiar world met a dirt path through a place that felt foreign.
"In that last minute on Vermont Highway 11, I knew we'd reached a crossroad again -- but the path through the wood was now the familiar way, and the world along the pavement was foreign.
"'C'mon, Dad,' Kyra said. 'Let's go to town.'
"Town. That's right, we were going to town. It was starting to rain." --from Walking North, by Mic Lowther.
Celebrations & Observances
This Week's Special Days
This Week's Birthdays
This Week's Anniversaries
More November Birthdays
More November Anniversaries
November Special Days
Miss Hetty's Mailbox:
Dear Miss Hetty,
Thank you for the cute birthday e-card. I had a great 30th birthday! On Friday, Lisa surprised me at work with a birthday balloon bouquet. On Saturday morning, Keith and I took a bike ride along the lake, followed by lunch at a café. That evening, the whole family got together at Mom and Dad's. Mom made one of my favorite meals -- tacos and Spanish rice. She topped things off with a yummy marble cake. Keith and Steven decorated it with 30 candles. We're glad to note we didn't set off any smoke alarms or need to call on the fire department to put it out. :)
What a nice surprise to receive that interesting birthday card! Thank you so very much! We had a very nice day, breakfast out at our Village Inn -- then some shopping and then a great dinner at Bob and Norma DenHerder's home -- our dear friends here -- then played some Rummykub -- easy for us old folks.
Thank you again and thank you for The Bulletin!
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?
Sorry it's been so long, but I really haven't had much except work going on! Thanks for the birthday card! I spent my birthday weekend sick with a cold! I haven't really celebrated much, except a few things here and there.
I am down to just one job now (my office) so I feel like I have more free time.
We were able to go to North Dakota for a quick trip last weekend. It was nice to see everyone. Barb even surprised us and flew in. Jason did some duck hunting with Nathan, but it wasn't the greatest as it was a rainy day.
Now, just back to work like normal!
Tami Anderson Hunt
Last Week's Bulletin Review JKL
There is a certain look in McKenna's eye that I wish I could know what she is thinking. So thoughtful and sober. Sort of overwhelmed by all these big orange pumpkins as big as she is.
What a fun day for all those children and their families to enjoy the pumpkin patch, and next best is that they shared it with us along with pictures. They look like a happy bunch. Might as well get in the center of things there, Weston and Joanna.
Joanna, you are certainly going to be the center of attention for awhile. We are all so curious to know just who our Weston has chosen for a good friend at his side these days. We are excited for him. The fact you are a big Gophers fan is a plus, as that is what he tells us about mostly -- his trips to the games. Do we call you Joanna, or do you have a nickname?
Our son, Darrel's, wife's name is Johanna ... and we usually call her Jo, so I was wondering how it would be best to make a good impression by calling you the right thing. Weston has an extended family with all of us Bulletin subscribers. Think you can handle that?
I was so touched by the picture of five generations. That is a very valuable picture, considering there could be all eight available for the picture. I so well remember Doris and Bob Myron ... Bob with his jet black hair, and pretty Doris, so sweet and young. Can they actually be the great-greats?
Once again, I am dating myself by thinking back of when Gina was the little baby that was brand new (at Jim and Kathy's house). But time passes and time brings changes, so that it is now Dan and Gina who have the brand new baby, Abby. (My great niece, Shalana Weiland, named her American Girl doll Abby. So it is a favorite with a lot of folks.)
What a precious little baby girl! Thank you for the pictures to see. A new baby and a new home. Takes a young family to be able to keep up with all that will require. Time, strength, decorating, and choosing colors and furniture. Oh, oh, I don't see a railing on the front steps. I have gotten to where I almost can't manage without a hand hold on a step. So, I guess I am old after all. I really don't ever expect to step on that step, however.
Eric, we are hoping you enjoy your new job,. So uncanny that it is so much like what you were doing before. That is good! Very nice you could enjoy taking the grandparents to dinner. A rare treat for them, and no one had to do dishes! A person has to take advantage of opportunities like that, as all too soon the chance is past.
I am secretly so thrilled about the next Update in our Bulletin this time. The grandparents that moved to Breezy Point. Could that mean we just may see them sometime? I can't imagine when, now with winter coming on, though. But coming from Alaska, they may not think our winter is so bad, after all. I hope Kathlyn's allergies don't bother like they used to in Minnesota.
Just in passing here, I was at Marlon Halbakken's funeral and I met a lady there from Anchorage, Alaska. Immediately I asked if she knew Arg and Kathy, and she said, "You mean Kathlyn?" She did know you! A niece of Myrtle Stitt's. I told her to be sure to call Jerrianne and give my greetings to Miss Kitty, but who knows if she will remember that past the moment I told her to.
Donna Mae, the sunroom addition looks like it will be the scene of many family get-togethers like the Johnsons are so good at. A fireplace seems a must, but probably gas would stay lit if the electricity goes off -- seeing you asked.
All that and a new office arrangement, too. What a lot of work has been done there! It looks very well organized already. So nice to have the window right there by your left side, and no doubt you have a peaceful view out onto that yard. I have to get my magnifying glass and check out what's on the desk.
Then there was the picture of Don and Dorothy and Abigail Mae. So many grandchildren and great grandchildren, but always so happy for the new one that arrives.
There are not many of the young generation anymore that have the respect for property or privacy that the old timers taught their children. What a challenge for Bruce to not let his curiosity get the best of him as he discovered that building in the woods!
The Travelogue is winding up with the pictures of those majestic mountains. I can't imagine anyone making that trip like the Swensons did, nor the Appalachian Trail trek that the Lowthers did. So very interesting that we got to read and see the pictures of those places. Places we can't even imagine, let alone ever see.
Thank you for sharing, and it does seem like almost a miracle they finished their trip all in one piece without a disaster that can't heal or be forgotten.
We had to laugh that the "Burma Shave" sign was there to remind the trekkers that they were still in the real world. Glad someone was there to take the picture of all three -- the three Swensons and all three Lowthers. I find myself wordless, thinking of an appropriate comment for such an accomplishment, and all are still smiling.
Today, Rich Weiland is 66 years old. Sorry, Rich, that was too good to keep. They stopped in and installed a labeler. They replaced it with one with more features, so now I have their old labeler. I am pretty happy as we likely would never have one otherwise. So, we had pizza and boughten birthday cake to call supper and to sing "Happy Birthday" to Rich over.
Having a 90-year-old cousin looking that nicely dressed and young would be hopeful, Don, that you have many years yet. I wonder if that Syverson is related to Dean that I knew?
I love reading the Miss Hetty columns. Are you sure that isn't a petrified potato, Donna Mae?
The CHUCKLES must be Jayce and ... I don't think I'm right, but it could be Caity. (Or could that be Rylie with the new front tooth? --Ed)
I loved that saying, that on Halloween a grandma pretends she doesn't know who you are. That is actually not easy to do.
So another Bulletin has come, and it's already Monday. Only five days and we can look forward to the next one. This was so huge and full and some great pictures and announcements. We never get tired of Saturday mornings.
Quotation for the day: Fear is nature's warning signal ... hhhmmm, like feeling heart attack symptoms makes you lay that chocolate cookie back down?
Thank you from Roy and Betty Droel
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Quotation for the day: I'm tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn't work. Of course it doesn't work. We are supposed to work it. --Alexander Woollcott
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