Red tulips, pussywillows in snow storm
Photo © Jerrianne Lowther
Alaska Easter Bouquet: Red Tulips, Pussywillows & Snow Storm

Easter Egg Hunt, Ashby Farm
Easter Egg Hunting, Donna's & Beaver's Farm

Off, they went ... each one looking for and finding 26 eggs and the bonus egg, containing a dollar bill. They all seemed to really enjoy the hunt, Rylie so much that Beaver and I rehid some eggs for her to find!

UPDATE -- Easter Egg Hunt
by Donna (Anderson) Johnson
Ashby, MN

The Easter "bunny" came early at the farm, arriving on Saturday ... at least several of his helpers made an appearance, hiding eggs while trying to avoid mud and snow.

Egg Hiders
Weston, Chris, Brit Finkelson (cousin), Beaver, Wyatt and Lori hid eggs over dry portions of the yard around the barn and driveway areas.

Easter Egg Hunters
Those anxious to find eggs first had to don traditional head gear for a picture.
Front row: Caity, Sawyer Risbrudt, Jayce, Vincent Finkelson, Drew Risbrudt, Grant Finkelson; back row: Rylie, Shawn, Lori Risbrudt (cousin).

Day to Day R
With Donna Mae
Ashby, MN

Caity hunts Easter Eggs Vincent Finkelson
Caity, left, Vincent Finkelson, right, hunting Easter eggs.

Thanks for delightful birthday treats!

I'd like to say thank you to my family for a wonderful meal out at The Peak. Joining me in celebrating my coming birthday a couple days early, were: Lori, Shawn, Wyatt, Jolene, Rylie, Brooklynn, Weston, Chris, Ben, Caity, Jayce and Beaver. It was a fun time and good food.

Thanks to all for the nice gift! :-) Garage sale season is arriving soon and I'll be ready, thanks to your marvelous present!

Donna's gift Money Pot
Donna's Birthday Gift -- Garage Sale Season Coming Soon...

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

Starting with Bulletin 124, I planned to run biographical sketches of the members of our staff. Now that this has been done, I want to run sketches and pictures of the readers and subscribers who have not already done introductions. Please tell us about yourself. What is your work and what else do you do with your time? How are you related or what friend introduced you into the family? I am hoping that you can share family photos and background sketches. Send all manuscripts and pictures to me at

A note from Donna to me --

Kerstyn and Caity were talking at lunch. Kerstyn mentioned that her Great Grandma is 91 years old. Caity turned to me and asked how old you are. When I told her you are 79, she said, "Oh, she's YOUNG yet!" I thought you might appreciate that!

I love it!! I hope I can remember this when I feel down!! And by the way, I am actually not going to be 79 until April 9th!!

LTD Storybrooke

Correction: In my story titled Just Do It! (Bulletin 144), I said I had advanced to RVP, "Regional Vice President." Since then I came across my certificate and it doesn't say RVP at all, but rather, it says "Sales Leader." My sincere apologies to all who actually and rightfully did achieve RVP status!

Writing Memoir, and Other Meanderings
By Larry Dake

In my writing I try to get my facts straight. Granted, when I can't remember, I fill in the details by writing what I "think" the details would have been. For example, when I can't remember dialogue, I make it up, by remembering the circumstances and conjecturing what the dialogue would have been.

For fact checking, I refer to old letters, photos, and employment records.

And I tap Sherry's good memory.

Sherry and I have had discussions; I have argued that sometimes fiction can be as true -- in essence -- as non-fiction. In fiction the author can tell it like it is, whereas, in non-fiction, and in memoir, we're dealing with things like perception, memory, confidentiality, and the tender ego of the author, or of others the author writes about.

Which raises a question: why am I sharing all these personal stories anyway? And does anybody really care? I do find some comfort in the fact that it is not "required" reading. But I also hope that those who do read, find some value in having done so.

Aside from the process of writing, which I usually enjoy -- although at times it is painful -- I am also writing for the benefit of my kids, Sarah and Amy, and grandkids.

Yes, there is a grandchild on the way!

Some of the stories don't have much merit as stories, but they are laying the groundwork for understanding stories that are, hopefully, yet to come.

Some readers have commented on "the bad jobs" I have written about. However, as I see it, I chose to do all those jobs. I prefer to think of the jobs as interesting adventures, and most often, good experiences. A story that doesn't have a struggle for its characters is boring; so would be a job, or a life, without a struggle; it would be as mundane as a family letter at Christmas time.

The Bulletin -- more specifically, Aunty Dorothy -- keeps giving me deadlines. This may be the only way I'll stay motivated to get this project done.

Like life itself, writing is a journey. And like life, once I press the "Send" button, I can't take it back. I can only apologize.

Travelogue t

The Bolivian Beat
By Kjirsten Swenson

Editor's Note: Kjirsten has returned to Bolivia for a second year of independent study, prior to enrollment in medical school at Baylor University in Houston, fall semester 2005. In January, she went trekking in Argentina with her parents, Sheldon and Mitzi Swenson, then continued on her own, into the Argentine Lake District.

Lago Grey, Glacier Grey
Atmospheric Weather: Lago Grey, Glacier Grey.

Torres del Paine

Buenas Tardes! I am back in civilization after nine dreamy days in Torres del Paine. It was sunny every day! Can you believe it? Some days there were a few clouds, but only one morning did it actually sprinkle a bit, and by afternoon the clouds had burned away. And there were gales of course -- one that hit me as I came over a low pass literally knocked me over, to the side of the trail. I managed to stand and turn around just in time to see my pack cover fly into the heavens. It blew east towards Argentina, where I'm heading tomorrow.

So I did the circuit as planned, walked a lot but not enough to give me blisters, met many interesting people, saw magnificent mountains, read a John Updike novel, and generally had a fantastic time. Now I'm back in Puerto Natales where I'm looking forward to spending the last of my Chilean pesos on king crab and a massive salad for dinner!

Tomorrow I bus to Calafate, Argentina, and am planning to spend a couple of days doing laundry and resting. Then I may return to Fitz Roy, or if I'm tired, I'll head north along the Argentine coast towards Buenos Aires. I do intend to spend most of March in Brazil before returning to Bolivia. There's more in the lake districts of both Argentina and Chile I'd enjoy seeing, but at this point am planning to save it for another trip. I've seen so much magnificent mountains lately, I'm afraid I just won't appreciate that region as much now ... and Brazilian beaches are sounding appealing to my weary self at the moment.

Dad, you and Shane can make the Peru decisions. I think we should allow three days for Cuzco. Any less might not be enough if we have transportation problems, and I think there are worthy things to occupy us for that amount of time ... and you do need to acclimatize.

Happy Valentine's day!

Love, Kjirsten

Los Torres Del Paine Glacier Los Perros
Los Torres Del Paine, left; Glacier Los Perros, right.

More photos:

Greetings from the Netherlands
by Frans de Been
Oosterhout, The Netherlands

Hallo, people!

Yes, I promised you all some new pictures from my home of residence, "Oosterhout."

Now it is spring and the town has in all its large roads (between the separate lanes) flowers.

Normally it is hard to put something on the street. (They take it away.) But with the flowerbeds ... nothing happens with them.

I have made some pictures of my wife, Rian, between those flowers.

I do hope you like it. Take care until next time!


Rian and jonquils, Oosterhout
Rian with jonquils in a median strip in The Netherlands.

by Ary Ommert, Jr.
Maassluis, The Netherlands

All is fine here and feel good. Have done much work inside my house and didn't spend much time behind the computer. Can't live in a house where it's a mess and replacing my kitchen was more work than I expected.

Now most of the work is done and time to relax more. Weather is getting better and in the weekend it's spring. Don't know if it will last long; you never know in Holland.

Just put my garden furniture outside on the balcony, so if the sun starts shining I can choose to sit or lie down.

Hope you feel good too, greetings from The Netherlands,


Chapter Nine, Danger Rangers, The Troll in the Chicken Coop, By Douglas Anderson-Jordet
written by Douglas Anderson-Jordet
illustrated by Brianna Anderson-Jordet

       When I was very young and spending workdays at my grandmother's house, I became fixated with her chicken coop. Actually it might have been my aunt's coop, I'm not sure, but it was a fantastical and mysterious place to me, and I could not stop thinking about it.
       Somehow I picked up the notion that a troll lived in the chicken coop. Maybe some older person planted this seed in my fertile young soil, or perhaps Billy Goats Gruff was to blame; regardless, I was convinced that a troll lived in the chicken coop.
       I never shared this belief with anyone. Even at such a young age, I knew that I would be singled out for ridicule if such a thing were publicly known, so I kept my dark secret to myself. I went about the business of being a seven-year-old as if nothing was at all out of the ordinary, all the while knowing that a two-foot-tall man with long, grey hair and a pointy red hat sat in the corner of the chicken coop, waiting for me.
       With a mixture of terror and sublime fascination, I would lift my bare feet over the raw lumber doorjamb into the pungent funk of mud and straw inside the chicken coop. I would inch around the tin feeders, certain that today would be the day that I would meet the hairy-eared little gremlin, at last.
       Of course, I would always lose my nerve and retreat before reaching the far west corner, where I believed the troll to be keeping his patient vigil.
       The trolls I saw illustrated in books were not very frightening to me; the trolls of my imagination, on the other hand, were terrifying. They were pint-sized, leering gargoyles with wide lapels and conspicuously buckled shoes. I sensed that the troll in the chicken coop had something he wanted to tell me and I knew that I was not ready to hear it.
       The greatest honor that my grandmother could bestow on her grandchildren was the privilege of picking eggs. Picking eggs was like going on an Easter egg hunt in the middle of July. Sometimes the eggs were fat and brown, like the color of a clay pot one might plant a miniature cactus in. Other times they were bone white, or lightly speckled like a robin's egg. Sometimes there were no eggs to pick and we would drink our root beer floats with a bitter taste in our mouths and a sour look on our faces.
       Once when I was picking eggs, a huge gardener snake slithered out from the hen cages, and for a split second I thought I was about to meet my elfin friend, but it was not to be.
       Eventually, my days became a procession of new adventures and experiences and I forgot all about the troll in the chicken coop. I could move easily about the chicken coop without fear, even to the dreaded far west corner where I had previously believed the troll to have lived. I encountered nothing but crabby hens and the occasional gardener snake or tree frog; no legendary creatures come to life to scare the pants off of me. Egg picking became much less stressful and I would languish around the henhouse casually, checking on the progress of this hen or that, as relaxed as a Dane at a fish market.
       Then I saw the footprints.
       I dropped to one knee to investigate. Much to my horror, I could not make out any distinct paw pad imprints, such as a fox or weasel would make. The tracks resembled tiny shoe prints.
       I bolted from the coop, leaving a trail of broken eggs behind me.
       "What in the world are you doing, Dougie?" my Aunt Gertrude asked. I spun around and dropped the homemade butterfly net I had nearly finished constructing.
       "Nothing..." I lied.
       "Goin' after butterflies?" she asked. That seemed like a good cover story, so I nodded timidly.
       "Don't tease the dog," she said, and moved along, a laundry basket under her arm.
       Naturally, I wouldn't have dreamed of teasing the dog. "The Dog" was 125 pounds of surly St. Bernard named Prince, with a nasty penchant for stripping shirts from my body.* I had other plans for my crude butterfly net; I was on the hunt and my quarry was indigenous North American Troll.
       I waited at the entrance of the chicken coop on my belly with my makeshift net poised over my head. No sisters or cousins in sight.
       Night fell and a chill blew through my body like a virus, leaving me unsettled and ready to abandon my post. I clutched the garden spade handle with a basketball net nailed to it like a truncheon, ready to strike at the first sight of any movement.
       We all know that trolls do not exist. Neither do unicorns, fairies or Bigfoot, but none of these anomalies have been disproved officially, so who knows? Many prominent English nobles have claimed to see fairies and woodland spirits. However, these claims may well stem from a stagnant British tourist trade or illegal Scottish whiskey; either way, there are indeed some things in Heaven and Earth that are definitely not dreamt of in any of our philosophies. The Silverback Mountain Gorilla was considered a myth until the early nineteenth century, after all.
       I saw nothing.
       After a week or two, I decided that my imagination had made a fool of me and that it was better to abandon my mad plans of troll entrapment. I had begun to suspect that someone might have made the footprints with a doll to have a little fun with me, perhaps even the same person who had told me the tall troll tale to begin with.
       Then the miniature cogs in my brain began to turn.
       Why not trick the tricksters? Heaven knows my cousins were always having a good laugh at my expense, so why not turn the tables?
       I quickly retrieved a doll with shoes from my Aunt's ample toy box and headed for the chicken coop. My plan was simple; lay down a good patch of miniature footprints heading from the chicken coop and tell my cousins that I had seen a troll running from the coop and into the cornfield. For once, the joke would be on them.
       I figured the footprints should begin at the far west corner, the most logical place for a troll to live, in my opinion. I entered the chicken coop with the doll tucked under my shirt, looking shifty and sly.
       I stopped cold.
       Standing still as a statue in the far west corner was a miniature human being in ragged, old-fashioned clothes, his cold black eyes piercing holes in my soul. His beard was yellowed with snuff juice and I could smell a faint trace of sulfur in the air. He gestured with his stubby arm for me to come closer.
       As if mesmerized, I moved closer to the freakish little man, unable to break away and run, as I desperately wanted to. He motioned with his filthy little hand to come closer, and I obeyed, as if drawn by an invisible net. He stepped onto a three-legged stool and leaned in toward my face, a devilish grin spreading across his face. My heart was pounding in my chest and I felt as if I might faint. I could smell his vile breath as he cupped his hand over my ear and whispered in a faint and cracking voice:
       "Do you really think people read your stories all the way to the end? You lost 'em pages ago. Egg-picking! Who cares?"
       He jumped off of the stool and waddled to the coop entrance, pausing as he did to turn around and add:
       "Oh yeah, I almost forgot. April fools."
       Having said this, the beastly little man let out a wicked little cackle and disappeared into the cornfield, never to be seen or heard from again.

The End

       * See Chapter eight, The Prince and the Tree House.

This and That
by Elaine Wold
Wahpeton, ND

Geese Demonstrate "Power of the Flock"

What a sight in spring to see the large flocks of geese flying northward in their "V" formations as they head to their northern nesting areas! Honking and flapping their wings, they cover many miles in a day.

While watching them the other day, I thought of this little story which I read some years ago. It was written by Angeles Arrien. If readers have read it before, they can again be reminded of the qualities of geese. If this story is new, you will learn some good lessons for all of us to follow.

Lesson 1. As each goose flaps its wings it creates uplift for the birds that follow. By flying in a V formation, they are able to fly 75 percent faster than if each bird flew alone. The lesson learned is that if we share a common direction we can get wherever we are going quicker and easier because we're traveling on the thrust of one another.

Lesson 2. When a goose falls out of formation, it feels the drag of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to again get the lifting power of the other birds ahead of it. Lesson learned for us is to stay in formation with those headed where we want to go, accept their help and give them help also.

Lesson 3. When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into formation and another goose flies into the point position. Lesson learned it that it pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. We need others' skills, capabilities and talents.

Lesson 4. The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. Lesson learned is to make sure we are encouraging others in all things.

Lesson 5. When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot, two other geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help or protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then they launch out with another formation and catch up with the flock. Lesson learned is if we have as much sense as a goose, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

Overall ... Though we may want to fly off on our own, we would do well to remember the power of the flock!

The Birth of a Hummingbird
(sent to us by Donna Johnson)

This is truly amazing. Be sure to click on NEXT PAGE at the bottom of each page; there are five pages in all. A lady in California found a hummingbird nest and got pictures all the way from the egg to leaving the nest. It took 24 days from birth to flight. Because you'll probably never see this again in your lifetime, enjoy; and please share. Just click on this website link that's written in blue:

Kodak Birdcam Returns

The webcams on the Kodak Tower in Rochester, New York, have been reactivated to show the nest box of the Peregrine Falcons that return there each year. Click here for main camera view.

Click on these additional links for the four camera view and the falcon discussion board.

Peregrine falcon eggs Nest Nanny
Falcon nest box recorded on Kodak's four camera view Friday.

The first egg appeared March 29 and Thursday evening I saw Mariah (the female falcon) on the nest. A little while later I noticed there were now two eggs visible, left, in one of the four camera views. Imagine my surprise when I looked in on Friday morning and saw the photo at right! Well, it wasn't a troll, by any stretch of the imagination ... but it sure wasn't a peregrine falcon, either!

Celebrations & Observances
From the Files of
Hetty Hooper

Just Married
Dan and Gina Henderson
Dan & Gina (Edwards) Henderson

Dan Henderson and Gina Edwards were married in Wailea, Maui, Hawaii, March 15th. Jim and Kathy Edwards and Curt and Patty Henderson will host a reception to honor their children on April 9, at Hutchinson Event Center in Hutchinson, Minnesota.

Best Wishes!

This Week's Birthdays:
April 4---Meryl Hansey
April 4---Barb Dewey
April 5---Lorella Grob
April 6---Dusty Meyers (11 years old)
April 9---Richard Johnson (from Oregon)
April 9---Dorothy (Dake) Anderson

Happy Birthday!

More April Birthdays:
April 2---Duane Miller

April 10---Brenda (Anderson) Hill
April 10---Lisa Kae Anderson
April 10---Shawn Ostendorf
April 15---Melinda Miranowski
April 23---Alyssa Lynn Freesemann (8 years old)
April 23---Miss Kitty (2 years old)
April 25---Troy LaRon Freesemann
April 25---Mia Nelson
April 26---Heidi K. Johnson
April 27---Steve Rodriguez
April 27---Peggy McNeill
April 28---Justin Blackstone
April 29---Kelly Kay (Larson) Seaman
April 30---Kurtis James Larson
Miss Hetty's Mailbox:

Thank you! No celebration, no pictures -- just a nice dinner out (without kids) a few days later with my husband -- our third time out without kids since having the first one!!! Guess we will be doing that a bit more often in the future. :)

Tim & Colette Huseby
Tracy, CA

Brooklynn Johnson
Brooklynn Johnson, the littlest "bunny."
(photographed by Chris Chap)
Miss Hetty Says
Early Deadline for The Bulletin next week!

We will be leaving here to go to Hutchinson about noon on the Friday of April 8. We will not be back until Monday evening of the 11th. That means we will need to send the paper out at noon on Friday, so material for next week's Bulletin must be here one day earlier.

To Our Readers:

The newly indexed "About" and "Archives" pages are again fully searchable. (Click on the "sitemap" link by the search window to see a list of the 250 searchable pages.)

Keep Us Posted!

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

'Many Thankse

Miss Hetty


Thanks for yet another great Bulletin. I was pleasantly surprised and pleased to see the picture and piece from Betty on Edith. It brought floods of wonderful memories from the past. She is truly a wonderful, gracious, kind person.

I remember so well their neat as a pin farm and warm welcome house, including the goldfish pond in the yard. Edith's brother Lester was one of my dad's best friends and I treasure the memories of the whole family. Whenever a helping hand was needed, they were first in line to offer whatever they could. Thanks for including this in The Bulletin.

I really enjoyed the writeup and poem on quilting by Elaine last week, too. As a quilter, it seemed just meant for me! :)

As always, each edition is "special," and I look forward to Saturdays and seeing what each week will bring.

Carolyn (Miller) Dake
Duluth, GA

That Bulletin was so special. I was impressed with the lovely spring flower Jerrianne took from her collection and then the next page with Edith's lovely picture and story. It was so touching. I am sure several will know Verlaine, too, and I do feel so thrilled you would consider it for The Bulletin. I know they will love it, too. Rich and Verlaine are in Denver for Rich's work, but I did email it to them. They come home tomorrow, so will get it then. A surprise for sure.

The next pages were so interesting, too. We always read word for word, even if we don't actually know the folks. Was so happy Larry came through with the great story. He has a gift for putting a story together from just a simple thing.

I saw a blanket or whatever it was on a picture taken at their home that LeRoy Dake had gotten from someone. It had a very legible picture of his beloved old truck printed on it. Someone presented it to him, and they use it across the back of their davenport. There were four boys (that go to their meeting) holding it up, and right away I said to myself, that belongs in The Bulletin. Steve and Marci took the picture. Maybe you could get LeRoy to write another story about that, and he could send the picture.

I heard about this wedding in Hawaii, and how beautiful it was, etc., from Charlie and Rosie Erickson, who had gone over for it. (We go there for meeting.) So, I expect that story will come next, and I hope some pictures of it.

All the way through The Bulletin we kept interested and reading. It had 21 pages, which sounds like a lot, but not when you're reading it. You just never seem to want to quit reading. All the pictures are so interesting. Everyone would be interested in them, and I am glad you have a great editing team to put such together every single week. For some reason I really look forward to Saturday, when I expect the new issue, and thanks for letting me share.

Betty Droel
MoundsView, MN

A little background on the Easter Sunday with the clan. Beaver, Donna, Chris, and the great grands -- Caity and Jayce-- came to our apartment for noon lunch and the afternoon. (They also had a couple contraband pups -- no dogs allowed here!) We had a lovely meal, great time and even a short visit from Weston -- when he came by with Chris's car and the two of them went on to Maple Grove... So we had a lovely Easter meal, too!

Hi Grandma,

Sorry that Shawn and I didn't get to see you on Easter Sunday, with the rest of the clan. We were off to enjoy an Easter lunch with Shawn's family. We enjoyed a very fun weekend at the farm, though, and as always were full from my mom's cooking! :-)

I loved the latest edition of The Bulletin. Doug's Foto-Funny was hilarious and as always enjoyed the various updates and "staff" contributions. Every time I pass along a copy to friends or co-workers, they have very high praises!

Looking forward to seeing everyone at Dan and Gina's reception (and celebrating your birthday, too!!)

Lori Chap
Maple Grove, MN



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QUOTATION FOR THE DAY: He that never changes his opinions, never corrects his mistakes, and will never be wiser on the morrow than he is today. --Tryon Edwards (1809-1894) Editor and theologian

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