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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Emotions run high

Monday is Memorial day. I have been very bad about staying away from the cemetery since Mom died. I know that is not where Mom and Dad are, so I didn’t want to go. I didn’t go at all last Memorial day. Phil convinced me I need to take flowers and go visit. When I got home from work today we headed down to Weeping Water. Phil will never turn down a road trip …. and enjoyed his normal “look at that” all the way down.


We first removed all the nasty flowers from Mom and Dad, Grandpa and Grandma and Uncle Joe’s graves then put some new pretty flowers on. Phil as usual had lots of questions about the family and how things used to be. When we finished there we went to Mom’s mothers grave. I pulled the old flowers out and found the strangest thing. The flowers were wrapped around with a coat hanger kind of crumpled up in the vase to keep them from blowing away. I looked at that and realized Mom must have done that when we took her to the cemetery 3 years ago to put flowers out. She is the only one I know who would come up with something like that. I can’t believe I haven’t changed the flowers in all that time! They were pretty faded and ratty looking. Now that I have them in my car ……… I’m not sure I want to get rid of them. That was Mom’s last gift to her mother.

I was showing Phil how old the graves were in that part of the cemetery, when I noticed a man in a wheel chair come into the cemetery. He had no legs, but seemed to get getting around very well in the chair. Something inside of me wanted to go talk to him … but I couldn’t do that. I had no idea who he was. Just then his big yellow lab came running over to me giving me kisses. The man was close behind and stopped to talk to Phil. Phil said hello, the man introduced himself as Delmer Guehlstorff. I looked at him and told him my (maiden) name. His face kind of dropped and he held his arms and to me and asked for a hug. His son and I went to school together. We talked for a long time. He told me about his wife being in a nursing home and dying a few years ago. He is still able to drive and get around OK with the chair and his van. The dog (and a cat inside) are his companions. When we parted he gave me another very long and hard hug. I saw tears in his eyes. I wonder if he was just lonely or if I brought up old memories of when we (Steve and I) were younger and his wife was alive.

After that Phil and I drove through town. I wasn’t sure where he was trying to go, but it didn’t matter. I was happy to see my home town again. He drove past houses and I told him stories about things that happened years ago. As he got to the edge of town I saw someone I thought was my cousin sitting outside her house. I wasn’t sure because she lost her husband recently and I didn’t know if she would stay in that big old house by herself. Phil pulled into the driveway so I could make sure it was Doris …. She recognized me at about the same time. She said she knew that smile. We had a wonderful visit. She and Dale were so good to Mom. They were the best of friends. As we were leaving she asked me to wait she wanted to give me something. She had an aerial photograph of my great grandparents Barkhurst farm she wanted me to have. She told me that Aunt Shirley and very likely all of the kids were born in that house. I remember Mom went to visit that house shortly before she died. I am still amazed at the generosity of that gift.

My heart was and is full of the awe of the day. It was happy and sad at the same time. I wish that Betty and Marge could have been here with me. I miss them so much.

Tomorrow is probably a slow day at work. Many people will be off for the holiday weekend. I am already in the mindset for a long weekend. Phil and I will be finishing up planting the garden. We hope to get the chicken coop completed and ready for occupancy. Gosh, can I push my luck and hope that we get a pig pen done? I know I ask a lot!

Off to bed for me. 5 AM comes much to quickly.

Friday, May 21, 2010

digging for buried treasure

When I was a little girl my dad encouraged us believe that you can find treasure if you just look hard enough.  In fact he would regularly search in the basement of the farm house my older sisters and I were raised in.  It was a old house, built stone by stone by an old German guy for his family.  Dad was convinced if he looked hard enough he would be rewarded with a huge treasure.  Apparently he dug up the entire dirt floor of the basement piece by piece over the years we lived there.  He even pulled looser stones out of the walls thinking there was something hidden there.  When we moved to "town" his quest didn't stop there.  He was sure that his father had hidden money at the family farm (in his defense Grandpa and Grandpa did hide and bury money in crazy places).  I remember him searching in the basement, barns, chicken coop, everywhere.  I don't think he ever found anything. 
Phil came up with a brilliant idea recently.  I love arbors and arches.  He said we were going to bend a cattle panel and anchor it with fence posts so I could grow climbing crops on it, and they would fall down into the arch.  We did one the other night and it looks great.  Phil said we would do another one this evening.  We took everything down to the garden and got the first post into the ground.  We started putting the second post in and it would not go.  We both tried pounding and nothing happened.  I suggested it might be buried treasure and we should try to dig it up.  Phil, being patient and as usual letting me do as I please started digging.  We had no idea what we were after.  It was hard, and seemed to cover an area at least 3 feet square and down about 8 or 10 inches.  Then we found something else .... this thing was round.  It seemed to be 18 - 24" around.  Phil thought it might be a barrel (it was about the right size).  What in the world had we stumbled across? 
The next shovel, he was able to pry it up a little ........ and found a tire.  1/2 of it was rotted away.  Crud ....... well we still dont' know what the other thing is.  I reached in and pulled at it.  It seemed to be a tarp like thing.  Then we found part of a blanket.  Oh man ....... WHAT have we found.  I know I have watched way to many mystery shows so I had horrible visions of what might be wrapped up in that tarp.  What we found was just a nasty old tarp.  We have no idea why it was there ...... or how long it was there.  Thankfully it is out of my garden now. 
I still believe in buried treasure.  Most of my treasures are potatoes, carrots, worms crawling through my garden and watching God work daily in my gardens.  Treasure is in the eye of the beholder.  I thank Dad for giving me the ability to search for treasure.  I thank both Dad and Mom for giving me the knowledge to be able to grow such wonderful fruits and vegetables. 
Isn't it fun to live in such a wonderful, fun world?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Weekend Follies

My oldest grandson is a wonderful young man.  He is smart, good looking, and normally very sweet.  Sometimes his brain is so masculine he forgets to use it.  He was helping me clean wood in the yard this afternoon and decided to "flip" the rake with his foot.  I saw it coming, but could not get any words out fast enough.  He smacked himself in the head with the handle of the rake.  Poor kid, it really HURT and he got a nasty goose egg on his head.  Hopefully now he understands why I tell him not to leave tools laying around, and why NOT to step on them. 
The weather is still darn cold and wet.  I don't know if I am ever going to get my garden planted.  I hope this week warms up and it quits raining. 
The kittens are growing so quickly.  They are still staying in the "nest" all the time, but I think they will be venturing out very soon.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Spring is here

It’s Monday, and my body hurts again. Living out here is sometimes pretty tough. I’ve already talked about moving the shed on Saturday. Sunday I moved some bales of hay. Normally that would not be a big deal, but the has been sitting outside all winter and spring so they were soaked with water and were about three times heavier than normal. I planted potatoes so had to dig up the area they were planted (that area is not as soft and fertile as the rest of the garden). I planted tomatoes (maybe not a smart idea it looks like it may frost this week) and got them caged. Next weekend I hope to plant the tomatoes and peppers I started from seed. The garden is finally starting to look like a garden again. I love this time of year …….. it is beautiful to watch Mother Nature bring the world to life again.


The bees never seem to go smoothly …….. this year one of the hives seems to be growing very well, the other not so good. I installed the queen, but she either died or was a virgin and never laid eggs. Without a queen a colony of bees is doomed. I took a few frames of brood (eggs and larvae) out of the laying colony and installed them into the queenless colony. Yesterday when I went out to check I was amazed. The queenless colony has taken one of the eggs and fed her royal jelly. The cell is two to three times as big as the normal cell. It takes longer for a queen to develop so she will not be ready for about 2 more weeks. Even after she hatches she will need some time to mate then come back to the hive to lay eggs. Fortunately I will still be able to swap more eggs with the good hive so they don’t fall to far behind. It was my most amazing time in the hive to date. I saw the queen cell, drone cells and for the first time I saw the queen (in the other hive) laying eggs. Phil says this is my “hobby” I don’t see it that way. I have chosen to assist bees to live on our property. They in return will pollinate our garden and trees and give us the best honey I have ever tasted. If I play this right, in a few years my apiary will grow and I will be able to sell honey (and other by products) to help Pooh Acres become more self sufficient. My dream is to somehow make this property pay for itself …. this is just one of the ways to make that come true.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Grandma got run over ........... by Grandpa

We bought an outbuilding and decided to use it as our new chicken coop.  Then we found another building that will work better for the chicken coop, so we need to move the first one.  We decided we had to get it done this weekend since the new coop will be here on Wednesday.  We jacked up the shed and put it on "skids" trying to move it.  We spend the entire day moving this shed, and didn't get it where we wanted to, but at least it is moved enough to get the new shed where we want it.  During the process of moving, stopped, putting the boards in, repeat repeat repeat I was guiding Phil so he could back in and hook up to the shed.  I am not certain what happened, but he hit the gas and backed up REALLY FAST toward me.  Horrible thoughts flashed through my head about this guy I heard about who was squished to death between to train cars.  I thought that was going to be me (except I would have been squished between the truck and a shed.  I think Phil was almost as frightened as I was.  (He said he could never have faced the grandkids!!)
I didn't get to go to garage sales today ....... living out here we tend to give up a lot of the weekend fun stuff ... I had wanted to go into Bellevue because Delana's neighborhood is having sales.  We popped over there last evening to see the kids, and we were able to prevue their garage sale.  The kids were selling cookies and lemonaid so Grandpa and I bought some of the cookies giving the kids a head start on their money making day.  Caelum even had a sales pitch planned out for his customers.  I am excited to find out how the sale went.  I hope they made a ton of money!
Our kittens are growing so quickly.  Clyde is such a good mommie.  I was amazed today to realize they really are getting bigger.  Our neighbors were over this evening and they also have kittens, there were born a few days before ours were.  Hopefully I will be able to find homes for all of them.  It seems the stray tom is the dad of both litters.
In February my boss at work was promoted to a new position.  I wasn't sure what I would think of our new boss.  I had met him a few years earlier when he first came to work at Info and I was training him in what our department does.  I am happy to report that I do like my new boss.  He is very down to earth and we both have the same values/goals etc.  He is a hunter.  Thankfully he is a hunter with values, so no road hunting for turkey, no killing frogs and turtles to watch the die.  He hunts only for what he eats.  We have become friends, I have brought him some of the things I have made or grown.  His son loves the things I send home with him and last weekend when he shot a turkey asked his dad if he could give it to me.  What a great kid!  I was so amazed that he would do that for me.  We ate it tonight.  Yummm, it was good.  I am now making broth to can tomorrow.  Dale has promised me more meat if we want it.  How cool that he is able to hunt for almost all the meat his family eats!
Off to bed for me.  It has been a long day.