Saturday, February 27

Friday, February 26

Mystery Tracks

Can anyone help me identify these tracks?

Thursday, February 25

My Dull Evening = Dull Blog Post

Tonight is a crochet night. It is cold, snowy and I have just applied henna to my feet, so sitting still is necessary and going outside for anything is unthinkable.

I have to say, it doesn't look as bad as the weather man said but I am still staying in tonight. We are supposed to receive the brunt of it tonight around midnight but each station says something different and I am not getting my hopes up. Don't get me wrong, I hate winter with a passion but when those really heavy storms come through, I just can't help but get all caught up in it.

My evening is shaping up like this:

The baby is in bed, the house is relatively in order, Snowy is lounging outside (I know, it is cold but she absolutely loves in and cries when I try to bring her in), I have a half finished afghan to work on, the pellet stove is roaring and I think I might actually make cocoa.

I feel like I need to finish things. I always have about 12 projects/books going at any given time. Currently, I am reading 3 books, I have 2 knitting projects going, 2 crochet projects, a sewing project and I have World War II magazine that I still have not read yet.

So tonight I will try to finish one afghan project.

Some might say my evenings are boring but I can really not think of a better way to spend one.

Resolution Report

My husband had a business trip last week which required him to spend two days in NYC. He returned home with a gift for me - a box of Godiva Chocolate. He handed it to me and said "That is the most I have ever spent on a box of chocolate."

So, needless to say, I was excited. I waited until I had time to myself and I could relax and then I ripped into that box. I was so impressed with the beauty of the chocolates that I paused to take a picture. So shiny, so rich looking so perfectly pretty and smooth. I wondered which one contained caramel - my favorite. I hoped beyond hope that they all might contain caramel.

But, as hopes seem to go around here lately, they were kind of dashed. Sent into an unappetizing void of almonds, cappuccino and praline. Yuck. I did not hide my disappointment and I should have considering that "this is the most expensive box of chocolate ever." Well, hind sight is 20/20 and, apparently, so is choosing the milk chocolate arrangement instead of the truffle assortment.

In an effort to ease my husband’s irritation with my disapproval, I vowed to try one. And, this would also count towards one of my New Year’s Resolutions to try new foods. Granted, a milk chocolate hazelnut praline with hazelnut pieces and ground nougatine does not fit into any fruit or vegetable category I am aware of, I thought I would make an exception.

I chose a delightful looking piece which, according to the "guide" was a sweet chocolate cream with cappuccino. Millions of people like cappuccino. There must be something yummy about it.

No. There was not.

Nothing yummy at all.

But I tried it and that’s what counts.

I fulfilled a resolution requirement, I made my husband happy and I learned that I definitely do not like sweet chocolate cream with cappuccino chocolate.

And I managed to chip bits of otherwise very delicious chocolate off the outsides of other pieces.

Wednesday, February 24

Book Report

Homesteading: A Montana Family Album
By: Percy Wollaston

I bought this book because I was looking for personal stories on homesteading and this one did not disappoint. It is about the early homesteading adventures of the family of Percy Wollaston in the Dakotas and Montana. He tells of building cabins, cowboys and of the beginning and ending journeys of homesteaders.

The forward, written by Jonathan Raban describes the Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909 and how it brought people like Percy’s parents west, looking for “320 acres of land for anyone willing to cultivate it.” He describes the family history and tells about a trip back to the homestead area in 1994 with Mike Woolaston, Percy’s son, and they found all sorts of remnants, including the metal parts of an old photo album in what was once a fire pit. “They must have burned the family photos when they left.”

The genealogy fanatic in my screamed “NO!!!!!!”

The book is incredibly interesting with stories about all aspects of homestead and frontier life. Sometimes I had to remind myself, however, that I was reading about things happening in the 1910’s instead of the 1870’s.

A memorable story involved a homesteading couple:

“A young couple with a new baby moved in and built on the of 12’ by 14’ shacks on the Little Whitney Creek, not far from the Alex McDonald ranch. I don’t even know their name or when they arrived, but it was probably early summer because they has just got the house built and a little patch of garden plowed or spaded when the baby died and they gave up and moved away.

The last time I saw the place, stock had trampled and smashed the little porch, broken through the floor and rubbed down part of the fence around the baby’s grave. The creek was undercutting the bank and would soon swallow up both grave and house.
So many high hopes and dreams ended in tragedy and the sites of the homesteads have vanished…”

That was so sad to read. I think about all those people moving around, having babies, losing babies, and everything they must have gone through. And then I think about how hard it would be to trace them through records if they happen to be relatives. That a descendant would probably never know about the baby, never be able to make a note in the family tree. The whole thing just seems so sad.

But it is not all serious. One of my favorite quotes was “You don’t go lighting matches in barns unless it’s really necessary.” How true that is with many things…..

A very good book, a quick read, even with a 1 year old in the house, and it sparks all sorts of history and genealogy ideas. I was running searches on Ancestry and looking for pictures of Mildred, Montana before I even finished the book.

You Don't See That Every Day

I was taking Snowy out this morning and I noticed that Roy left the air compressor and the hose on the front porch. He was using it to clean out the exhaust of the pellet stove the other day, which is still working by the way.

The hose was made in the USA. I had to take a picture.

I had just had a conversation with a neighbor who also has a young baby. She said that her husband had wanted to try and buy USA made products as much as possible. She then added that it turned out to be just about impossible. I agreed.

It is pretty much impossible, which is kind of sad. If we were to shut down trade with just China alone, I think that there would be a total meltdown of society. It is just taken for granted that a lot of the stuff you buy is made in China.

So much so that when I see something that says Made in the USA, I actually stop and take notice. Am I the only person that feels there is something wrong with that?

European Starling

I had a European Starling at the feeder this morning.

Monday, February 22

Utterly lap-less

I have a friend that I went to college with for a couple of years who now lives In Colorado and just had her first baby.
I follow along with her blog to enjoy her stories and photos of her garden, her pets and her new addition. She has a beautiful long-haired , gray cat named Buster. This is a recent post from her blog:

"I feel like Buster’s been getting the shaft lately. Sydney gets all the lap time and snuggle time that used to belong to Buster. Anything that’s leftover usually goes to Annie, at least in the forms of walks and a few belly rubs. But Buster… poor Buster… he stands by the door or camps out in the middle of the floor and just looks up at us. I don’t think there’s hope in his eyes. He’s more like Eeyore — no expectations and when we pass him by, he’s resigned to it. So, here’s my call out to Buster and a note to self:

Offer Buster some snuggle time. Get his hopes up again. Honor his spirit. Revel in the fuzz-master. Make sure he gets what he needs to."
Johnson's Blog

One of my cats, Mr. Prince, the oldest and wisest of the animals here on the farm, felt compelled to post a reply which went something like this:

"Oh, Buster, I feel your pain. I too am living in anguish over the lack of petting and snuggling I used to enjoy, pre baby.
I try and try, with my brother and sister backing me up with the sad eyes and lonely looks, but there is no lap to be had. My days of lounging on Mom’s lap for an entire afternoon of couch potato activities has become a distant memory – replaced by a quick 2 to 3 minute lap sit and pet, until a shrill cry pierces the air and I am lifted up and set on the couch. Utterly lap-less.
And shall I even venture into the sad stories of my poor fur. My beautiful long orange fur – a target for a baby who, in his efforts to pet me, pulls and grabs and forces me from my spot on the footstool.
Since Mom is still watching out for me, I am not abused by this new addition to the household but I have to ask, why oh why did they adopt this noisy, hairless, obnoxious cat?!?!?! He doesn’t even know how to use the litter box!!!
All I can offer are my condolences and the knowledge that you are not alone, my friend. Just remember, you have a roof over your head and food in your bowl, and this too shall pass.
Mr. Prince"

Sunday, February 21

Clothes Line Fever

I found myself having a severe bought of clothes line fever today.

i have my pellet stove back and laundry is drying by it now but, as much as I love drying clothes on the rack this way, I love my clothes line just a little bit more.

Shhhh - don't tell the pellet stove because it might decide not to work again.

I want to wait and listen for the washer to finish its final spin and click to a sudden stop. I want to heave the heavy, wet clothes out into the basket and feel the warm, almost too hot, air as I go out the back door. I want to listen to my flip flops click against my heels as I walk over to the line through the warm grass and i want to squint up at the line while the bright sun shines down and I pin the clothes to the line and await the dry, crisp towels.

OK, even I am having a little remorse about writing that. A little too much - people might start to talk about that crazy girl down the street with her unmentionables drying in the breeze.

But that is how much I missed that summer ritual today. It was sunny out today which hinted at a warm-up, but it was still pretty cold and windy out there. And there is still snow on the ground no matter how much I try to pretend it isn't there.

That is why I sit here now, surfing around online looking at pictures of clothes lines and different style poles and lines. Some people look for, well, any number of things. I look for pretty pictures of laundry drying in the breeze.

Just to cure the clothes line fever.

Saturday, February 20

It Works! (for now)

My love/hate relationship with the pellet stove has turned to more "warm" feelings today as it is finally fixed (as far as I can tell). As I type, it is happily roaring away, the clink of pellets dripping into the burner.

According to the repair man (my husband), it was a clogged. Apparently, it runs on a fan system, funneling air through the thing, and where the exhaust fan connects to the exhaust pipe there was a buildup of creosote gunk. The buildup was in a catch point in the pipe and this caused not enough air to come into the fire box, which lead to the fire dying out. We had a heavy smoke buildup on the front window and we were constantly having to adjust the pellet feed rate.

After a full cleaning and a careful examination of the guts and inner workings, the fan was remove, the pipe exposed, the buildup found and cleaned out and that was all there was to it. We have a nice fire going now for the first time in a week and let me just say that it is still winter in Upstate NY and it's pretty chilly out there. We have our furnace for backup heat but oil prices are sky high and it heats unevenly - the downstairs is chilly and the upstairs is much too toasty for comfort.

How nice it was to turn the pellet stove back on and turn the furnace thermostat down.

If there is one thing that is a must for homesteading, it is a fireplace. Being without mine blazing away made me feel incomplete. I felt like I was missing something when it was sitting cold and quiet. Almost like a member of the household was on sick leave.

Tomorrow I will get some bread rising on the warm top, I will take a few extra minutes to stand by the front fan and take in the heat, and I will do a load of laundry just to hang it on the drying rack and get that wonderful feeling of energy conservation.

That is, if it is still running in the morning.

Friday, February 19

Bird Count

Here is this mornings bird count. I mention it in its own post because it was so eventful:

American Crow (2)
Downy Woodpecker (1)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (1) This guy is very skittish and does not photograph well
Blue Jay (3) Mean old birds....
Dark Eyed Junco (4)
American Tree Sparrow (tons) I have a whole line of bushes filled with these guys.
White-crowned Sparrow (1)
Cardinal (2)
Mourning Dove (3)
Black-capped Chickadee (about 5)

I use the Birds of New York Field guide by Stan Tekiela for identification on the birds I don't know. All those sparrows kind of look alike to me and I have to figure out who had a orange head, a gray stripe or whatever.

Pictures below:

Downy Woodpecker

Thursday, February 18

A Little Note

Just a quick note today to let the world know that I finally get it.

I finally get, after over a year of ups and downs, disappointments and redemptions, that the only person you can count on when the chips are down is yourself.

I have tried to be patient, and forgiving and all that when things don't seem to work out the way I want. And I have had to ask for help against my better judgment more times than I care to admit. And it just leads to hurt feelings and resentment.

Part of self sufficiency for me is just that - SELF sufficiency. I have to stop relaying on other people and trusting that things will not come around to bite me in the ass.

But here is where I a torn: do I, as things seem to be coming apart at the seams, break down and admit defeat? It would feel good to just give up and unburden myself and resign myself to what will be. Or do I say the hell with it and take matters into my own hands? Put my ducks in a row, clear the road and get it done. It sounds so good, that second option. I wish I was that strong. But I want help. I want to have someone to relay on and to turn to.

Oh, the dilemmas we face when the chips are down.
But I do know this. I can count on myself. I can take care of the things that need to be taken care of. I will get through.

Tuesday, February 16

Geo-Thermal: Step 1

My parents have heated with wood since they built their home in 1974. My Mom's parents still heat with wood. My husbands parents do too. So, it was kind of interesting that my Dad decided to go the geo-thermal route. First, because he actually LIKES cutting wood and using it for fuel, and because they are not really "into" this all new "green" stuff. But they enlisted my husbands help in finding a dealer and handling the details of the installation. And he was only too happy to help.

The meansurements were taken and the contracts signed and the checks sent and the first load of black tubing was dropped off last week. The digging will not begin until we get a week of non-freezing weather so the ground can have a little thaw.

I am supposing their thinking is along the lines of not wanting to have to rely on heating with wood when they are older, and the fact that their house is one story with plently of room on the basement ceilings for all the "stuff" that is going to go there.

It should be intersting to see how it is installed and how it works. And how well it works, I hope.

Out Of Range

Even though there is snow on the panel and it is cloudy, we should still be making a little power. I would know this if the little wall mounted monitor thing in the kitchen worked. Right now, when I look to check the status of the boundless free energy we are creating I get the message :"out of range."

This means that the signal from the basement panel box thing to the kitchen monitor thing and the thing that plugs into the computer upstairs are not communicating. This is something that Roy needs to get working on since I want to see the positive outcomes of our investment on a daily basis while I am making breakfast.

But in the mean time, here is the link to the article they did on our solar in the Webster News. LINK

Just Another Day....

Today is just another day here - snow and cold and wind, and unfortunately, I have to venture out to take two of the cats to the vet for their checkups.

This is always a dilemma for me in that it is a battle of wills to get even one cat to the vet. Heck, it's WWIII just to get them into the carrier. So my dilemma begins the day prior with deciding just how I will approach things. Should I go for the sneak attack and pretend nothing is going on and then, in a minute, trap the unsuspecting cat in the bathroom, bring the carrier in, and, wham, bam, thank you kitty, they are in and we are off? Or do I go for the more serene, motherly approach - bringing up the carriers and letting them sit in the kitchen. In full view of all those involved, and spend the better part of an hour coaxing them out from the closet or from under the bed?

Either way, this is going to result in scratching, swearing, crying and hurt feelings. And that's just my half.

I have opted for the motherly approach. I am not in a wham, bam mood today.

I am tired today. Up late getting things done and up early from Mr. Prince, climbing on my head. He was purring his little heart out this morning, obviously knowing that he was the only cat in the house not going to the vet today. And, of course, who can forget the wonderful noise of Connor's toys in the morning. My favorite today was the plastic tractor that plays a variety of kids tunes when you press down on the smoke stack. Only the batteries are dying and the music sounds like something from a scary carnival. Good times.

So I am sitting here at the little table by the window in the dining room, with Connor trying to press keys (he has already deleted this post twice), and I am looking at my big pile of books on the floor waiting for their shelf. I have too many books. And I keep acquiring more. I can't help myself. I will never be an e-book person. I love the feeling of an actual book. And, I am running out of shelf space. I ran out quite a while ago actually and I have been looking in thrift shops for a bookcase to no avail. Craigs list is an option, but let’s face it folks, that’s a scary place sometimes.

So I broke down and, while in Walmart to get some dog food, I saw one on sale. It's an ok shelf and it worked for me so I bought it. And I put it together with the help of an 11 month old. And I set it up against the wall, attached the won't-fall-on-your-kid strap, and arranged all my books and I was happy.

Then the smell came. Off-gassing, as my engineer husband calls it. I just call it - that stinks!! So the books are on the floor in piles and the bookcase is airing out on the front porch and I am back where I started until the thing is done off-gassing. I should have known better.

That’s my day so far. Only highlights being - I got to mist the tomato trays, the laundry is almost done and I got to paint my nails last night.

Monday, February 15

And So It Begins....

I did it. I have kicked things off. Months of cabin fever have built up this kind of craving for something green - grass, leaves, spouts - anything! And I finally got my fix. I started my tomatoes today.

A little early, I know, but after last season’s vegetable fiasco, I made a note in my gardening hints notebook to start everything earlier this season. So, I decided that this season I will be transplanting nice, sturdy, healthy, as large as you get at the garden center when yours don't grow well at home, plants. I will lovingly nurture them under grow lights and sprays from the water bottle will mist them daily. I will watch them and keep the cats away from them and when the time comes to thin them, I will do so feeling like a murderer, even though I know it is necessary.

Not only did I start tomatoes (Sweetie cherry, moneymaker, red brandywine, yellow brandywine), but I also started peppers (regular old green bell), snapdragons and, my personal favorite, bells of ireland. I have found that for some reason, these four always take forever to germinate and grow into nice little plants. So this year I am starting early and giving all I've got.

Thursday, February 11

Rush at the Feeder

I sprang for a two suet cakes the other day at the hardware store, and keeping with my resolution, I asked myself, do I need this. I decided that yes, the birds could use this. It is cold and I chose the High Energy Suet. And, I do get a ton of entertainment out of the chaos that ensues when the suet hits the fan.

This morning I braved the chilly air and filled the feeders and put out the suet. They couldn’t even wait until hung the feeders back up. I had chickadees hoping around on the low hanging braches of the lilac bush, chomping at the bit.

At last count from the kitchen window, about 1/2 hour later, I have observed the following: at least 10 chickadees, 5 dark-eyed juncos, two pairs of cardinals, three huge blue jays, 2 mourning doves and one red-bellied woodpecker. All carrying on like little kids at a piƱata party. It was like the call went out - "fresh seed and suet at the feeder!" - a network of birdie text messaging.

First, blue jays are not the most friendly of birds. They seem to be mean, aggressive and kind of scary. Even though they are pretty, I think of them as very intimidating. Cardinals are very skittish, mourning doves are the designated feeder-tippers (go land on that feeder with your bulk and knock a bunch out for us on the ground!), and chickadees are the most friendly.

Wednesday, February 10

Genealogy Melt Down

The other day I thought I was going to have a complete and total meltdown.

Anyone who knows me knows that there are a few 'hobbies' (obsessions) that I am a total fanatic about: gardening, WWII, history and, the big one, genealogy. I am the go-to person in my family for all things family history related. I love it. I don't know why. It just feels so very, very important to me.

Roy bought me the latest edition of Family Tree maker for Christmas and we installed it and transferred my files over from my other, very outdated program. But, when the baby calls.... So everything was put on hold, hobby-wise, and I am now just finding a few minutes in the day to check out the new program.

That is what led to my almost-meltdown. The Notes!!!! They didn't transfer over!!!! Not that they weren't still here, somewhere. Buried deep in the code of the saved backup file. But getting them to go into the new program was proving to be a challenge, even for my computer wizard hubby. For some reason, (versions, language, code, blah, blah, blah) they weren't 'allowed' in to Family Tree Maker version 'latest greatest'.

After hours of messing around with the thing, Roy said "Well, maybe you can just re-enter the information." I could feel the meltdown coming on. Year after year after year of work, compiling it in the ever-handy 'notes' feature. Reentering it, after finding it in all that mess, would take, well, years and years and years.

Roy said "Look at is as being able to go back through everything." Always positive, he was trying to save me from a complete breakdown. And as much as a I love a good genealogy review, I was still on the verge of crashing.

Turns out, that after a night of sleeping on it, I found a partial solution. I was able to convert the data into a notepad-readable file and now it will only take about a week, maybe, to 'cut and paste' the notes over. I just have to scroll through the gibberish code until I hit a name, then the notes are right after.

Crisis adverted. Meltdown avoided. Breakdown still pending (there is just so much to do around here).

Tuesday, February 9

Quiet, please.

'Quiet' is one of the most important things in homesteading, in my opinion.

Everything seems to revolve around it for me. I want a quiet house - no tv's blaring, no unnecessary electric gadgets running, minimal chatter in that time after dinner and before bed.

I want to appreciate the quiet in being out in the garden weeding - just me and the birds.

Quiet to me is essential to achieving that feeling of true homesteading. I want to sit at my kitchen table after the dinner dishes are done, light some candles and read a magazine or a book and have the only noise be the sound of the pellet stove dropping little nuggets into the burner.

To be warm and happy and not have anything pressing to do. To be quiet. When I achieve that, I will consider myself a homesteader.

Monday, February 8

Resolution #3

Resolution: Less. More. Quality.

Description: Less - less of things that are not necessarily good for us. Television is top on that list. There are a lot of good show s out there that I enjoy but I can definitely stand to cull the herd a little. Especially when the little guy is around. I don't want him to be watching any if I can help it. Roy has been stressing this since he was born but I didn't really think too much about it until I started looking into it and finding studies that say a lot of scientific things that boil down to "it's not good for them." And, I want him to like being outside in the garden more than inside watching tv. Also included in this category: Less processed food, less stressing over things I can not change, less caring about what other people think about me, and less being snippy with my husband after I have had a bad day.

More - more attention to the things that matter. The baby, the husband, the pets. One or more have been neglected due to, well, one or more of the three. I will make more time for the cats since they have been lacking for attention since the baby came. The laps just don't stay put long enough for Prince lately and he is showing his disapproval. And as soon as the weather turns nice, Snowy and I are going to resume our daily walks.

Quality - more quality, less quantity. This kind of fits into Resolution #1 and not buying so much stuff that I don't really need. I will spend more on a quality item that I know will last. I will spend a little more on organic produce and meats and be a little more careful in general as to looking for quality in everything.

3 Resolutions in all - a lot to live up to. I hope I can keep them or at least give it a good effort.

Saturday, February 6

He Honestly Thought I Wouldn't Notice

I have a very handy pair of small scissors in the livingroom so during marathon chrocet projects, I don't have to move from the couch.

Tonight I was working on a new afghan for a gift and I needed to switch from sky blue to cream white. I asked Roy, my loving husband, to hand me the scissors which I keep in the remote boat. He handed them to me and I noticed immediately that there was something wrong with them.

Can you, from looking at the picture above, tell me what was wrong with them?

I asked him "What happened to my scissors?"

He said "I broke them. They are cheap crap."

I am not making any judgements about the cheapness of my scissors. They have always worked well for me.

So he has used them on something, I didn't ask what, and now they are broken and I have to hunt around for a small pair of scissors to stash in the remote boat. Given my new years resolution to be careful about what I buy, I am not going to run out and buy a new pair. And I am a creature of habit. I NEED to have my scissors.

Let the hunt begin.

Friday, February 5

Resolution #2

Resolution: I will try a minimum of 5 new foods this summer, mainly fruits and vegetables.

Explanation: Anyone who knows me knows that when it comes to food, I am the world most picky eater. It is easier for me to list the things I will eat than the things I don't. I do not know where I picked up this distaste for many things bit so far it has not been a totally bad thing. However, I see people enjoying all these fruits and veggies - pears, melon, strawberries, zucchini - and i think i might be missing out.

But why is it so hard for me to pick up a strawberry and try it? What if I don't like it?

I think that I can pinpoint a time in my childhood when this food pickiness developed. My Grandmother on my father’s side lived right down the road from us when we were growing up. Every Saturday morning was cookie morning and the relatives that lived close knew to show up at Grandma and Grandpa's house anywhere between 6am and 11am on any Saturday. Grandma baked so many different kinds of cookies and breads and we all had our favorites. Mine were the sour cream chocolate chip with white sugar sprinkles on top. Followed closely by peanut butter chocolate chip.

But with all those wonderful chocolate chip filled cookies, there came other things from that oven. Brownies.

I know, some of you are saying "How could brownies be bad?" and you are right, brownies are wonderful. But when Grandma made them, she put 'extra' ingredients in them. Mostly zucchini or applesauce. We quickly learned to inspect the treat before eating. Us kids hated anything but the pure sugar and chocolate, as most kids probably do. Another of her tricks was to put raisins in the chocolate chip cookies and try to get us to believe they were chocolate chips.

Not so much that we did not like these things (ok, we probably really didn't love zucchini at age 7) but it was the tricking and the uncertainty of what you were eating that was the catching point.

When grandma gave you a cracker with what looked like blackberry jelly on it, you would look at it suspiciously and ask her "what is on the cracker Grandma?". She would say "just try it" and you knew something was up. And she didn’t say "just try it" like a kind, motherly old lady. It was more like a drill sergeant. She meant well but I think that is where I get my hesitant nature around all things eatable.

So when I see something that my husband enjoys, like plums or blue berries or red kidney beans, and I think that they look good and that is he is enjoying them they must be not too horrible, I also have this little voice in my head. It is saying "just try it" and I immediately say "no thanks."

So this resolution is going to be a hard one for me, which probably sounds strange to most people. But I will try at least 5 new fruits and veggies this summer when whatever they are come into season. I don't know what they will be yet but the farmers market has some great selections of all sorts of things I have never dared to try.

Tuesday, February 2

Hope for Jenna

I am on pins and needles tonight, hoping and crossing my fingers for someone in another state that I have never even met.

Jenna Woginrich, the author of one of my favorite books, Made From Scratch, has been keeping us up to date on her Blog of her search for her own farm. Tonight, it looks like it has come down to the wire. She has made her offer and she is waiting to see what happens.

And so is everyone who reads her blog.

She has massed this loyal following of readers and if it doesn't sound too "stalker-ish" of me, some loyal friends. Following along with her life in her blog, learning about her animals, her job, her vegetables and her dreams - we feel like me know her. That she is the girl down the street or the girl down the hall in the dorm or that really interesting girl that you see hanging around the library or the bookstore that you want to talk to because you just think you would have a ton in common.

Lets send some hope and good wishes to Jenna - lets hope she gets her dream tonight.

Monday, February 1


I was over at Mom and Dad's yesterday when their paper came and I saw an article on the front page that cought my eye. It had this great old picture of people in front of this beautiful old house. Of course, this is right up my ally so I had to read and see what was up. (the picture is below, courtesy of Messenger Post Newspapers).

The article was about, in short, a house built in 1810 that had just been knocked down to make room for condos or some such thing. Here are links to the two articles:
Two Centuries: The story of Lincoln Hill
Lincoln Hill Inn Demolished

This piece of history - gone. What is going on with people and towns throwing away their heritage? What kind of place or person are you without your history? So many stories and artifacts and things to learn gone because of a mix of factors. Selling of property, no decendants, money hungry developers - until they do another story we will not know the full story, but I can say this: it really is a sad day when people favor making another million over their past. What is a price for your past? How much are you willing to throw away?

Do not get me started on development. I have seen way too many nice corn fields, old barns and homes, and cow pastures turned into tracts of modern houses - cheaply made, over priced eyesores that are so close together you can stand between two and touch both. Developers take over land and squeeze as much money as they can out by exploiting every resource on it. Then they build and build until it is full, and then move on to the next place. Money, money, money.

It is all so very sad to me. Even in my own tiny home town, there has been so much done. The oldest and most historic barn in town looks like it is being allowed to rot into the ground. A resturant that had been in business since before WWII was bought by a crook who burned it down for insurnace money and fled the country. This same crook killed a herd of Buffalo by denying them water during a heat wave in July. what s left of the building sits now, empty and unmaintained and the buffalo pasture is stark and empty except for the occasional cow allowed to graze there.

Landmarks and memories and history - all gone.

I will follow this story on Lincoln Hill and let you know what happens next.

Nothing is more important than history. Its lessons are invaluable. Old homes, old buildings, old people - all the stories and lessons and ideas that we could all do well to listen to.