Now Irma is taking over in Florida

Yes, I have a sister who is living in Florida so now my attention has been changed from Houston to the whole state of Florida.  My friend and her husband in Houston have moved back into their home. Today, they actually mowed the lawn and it looks wonderful on the outside. They had been nine days away, living with a friend who was on dry land.  They are thankful things are getting back to “normal” but she said that everything else in their neighborhood looks like a war zone. See photo below that shows the mess.

Houston war zone

Meanwhile, people in Florida are bracing for the BIG hurricane that will hit in about three days.  The forecasters don’t know which way it will turn, whether it goes straight up north the eastern coastline or covers over Florida to the west…that is where my sister lives, midway inside the Gulf near Fort Myers.

This past weekend, my brother was up to help with my Dad’s shop more.  Also, my husband and I moved around furniture in 3 out of 8 possible rooms in our house.  The two bedrooms now have twin beds, one is called the Sheyenne room and the other is the Balaton room.  The first is because the headboard and footboard came from my maternal grandparents place in Sheyenne.  The second one was from my paternal grandparents in Balaton, MN.  I don’t have photos of the big changes, but I have one of the HUGE mirror that we took out to create more space in our entry way. The next photo is one of the 7×8 foot Squirt signs that I helped clean up.





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Harvey has taken over global news

News for us is that the plum trees have taken over with their bounty…the harvest is plentiful.  The apples are done and my Mom has taken care of about two 5 gallon buckets full of apples.  I have maybe a gallon or so in the fridge and will make a few more apple pies.  Now, what to do with all these plums that Ken and I picked tonight?


That is OUR news on the homefront but things are not good for my friends down in the Houston, TX area.  The following are pictures of the couples home that I know from Almaty, Kazakhstan.  The devastation that so many families are going through is very sad. But these people are working together to help each other because that is all they have left.

I’m grateful for our fruit and vegetable harvest even though it means a LOT of work to make them into something.  I just give most of it away like the turnips and the basil.  Next will be the red beets.  Oy my!

Thom Orr

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Sunrise in the Valley

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASunday morning, just yesterday, it was about 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. and I caught this sunrise with my little indestructible camera. These skyscapes are so fleeting and yet glorious to take in.  Later by another half hour or more it was gloomy as if this had NOT happened with the promise of sun for the rest of the day.  In fact, it rained a bit and then later in the afternoon it was sunny again.

Because of all the harvesting in the Valley, we have grain straw clouds hanging in the air that look like smog in the evening dusk.  The farmers are in earnest to get their grain into the storage silos once in the big semi trucks.  Then these monster trucks trundle down the road and churn up more dust from gravel roads that have not had rain for several weeks.

grain harvest

I am busy harvesting on a much smaller scale in my two vegetable gardens. I have basil like NEVER before.  How I love to make pesto but having had enough of that, I am giving basil away.  I LOVE my yellow beans and will give some to my Mom. She is getting all of my tomatoes and I give her beet tops so she can cook that up.  The beets have needed thinning out so she got the baby beets.

I have been picking lettuce and some snow peas.  Swiss chard too is always good.  So much of a good thing, it is the time of bounty now.  Nothing to complain about here. I enjoy the cooler temps at night…you can tell that fall is around the corner. Oh, did I mention the Haralson apples we have? I made two pies already but I dare not look at the plum trees because they are heavily laden with plums. I’ll call my friends over to come pick their fill of plums.


School is starting up next week so I will have to turn my focus to that.  Looking forward to meeting my new students for this semester.

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Cleaning and MORE cleaning

Yes, we are getting ready for an auction of my Dad’s stuff.  There is still much to clean and it has been a family effort.  I’ll show a few photos of signs that were in his shop that are 1941 and another is 1954. They are relics and sure to go for a high price next Saturday. My two brothers were up this weekend and my one brother and another sister will be up for the first of three sales.



First, my Mom and I had been cleaning big, lunky riding lawnmowers in the basement. Cool place but dirty with dust and grime build up. Today I adventured in the attic and cleaned these old signs.


Much has to happen between now and next Saturday. HOpefully my Dad will make some money on all that he has stored for such a day like next weekend.


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Stained Glass window

I guess I was angry last time I blogged and now those feelings are replaced with other vexed thoughts and ideas.  Yesterday I sent an e-mail to people on my committee for the restoration of an old building’s flooring on the lower level. We have 20 days left before we open this historic building to the public. Much energy has gone into getting the posters up all over town and postcards sent out to people who have donated to our cause in the past.  However, there are some people connected to our historical preservation society who do not care one iota about the work that archivists do, they do not read or study old documents…what they do is build, construct, create with wood, etc.

So, this kind of procrastination has happened before when we needed a project done but we had to wait on this person’s timetable. Then this person’s kitchen sink got put into our kitchen nook area of this old building.  Indeed, it helps with watering all the plants that I have on the second floor. It is nice to have it upstairs, we also have a bathroom on the lower level, that helps too.

Now we have an annual event coming up in three weeks and this person is putting up the smoke screen that we have to pay someone to be given their written approval that we can go ahead with cosmetic changes on a dropped ceiling and also putting the floor in.  What gets me is that the board had agreed to having this flooring done last fall. Not only that, this person also went ahead last October and bought the flooring without asking any of us on the committee. He is now stalling and does not want to do the floor because of moisture problems in the coal bin area. We have needed a storage area for bucket, mop, snow shovel, pail, paper towels, toilet paper, etc.  Two reasons this person gives who does not want to be laying the floor in order for our committee members to be ready for our three day event! Power play!

Okay, I vented and have had help from another person who was a second pair of eyes to see what I wrote to our committee about this new development of no new flooring but using just the plywood.  Very upsetting that a retired guy who can’t hear at the meeting sits up with us as if he is a board member, he is not.  How does he get all this power to change things or give excuses to delay the process?  At our next board meeting, I am going to make a motion that we find someone else to take on the mantle of “groundskeeper” for our building instead of this guy who does not care one bit about our deadlines or the fact that this is our biggest fundraising event of the year!!!

Well, I’m putting a nice stained glass window up to show that there is beauty despite the angst that has been created by this ONE person who is old, retired, hard of hearing and doesn’t have the energy to volunteer anymore.  We are ALL volunteers and there are people who have donated money to have this project completed.

stained glass window Carnegie

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Amber Waves of Glass and Broken Pain

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI knew I needed to get something done with all the glass and shards and ceramic pieces I am finding in a nearby field.  I’ve found buttons and marbles as well as old bones and teeth from long decayed animals from when this was a working farm with sheep, cows, horses and other critters.

What I find fascinating are the pieces that you turn over to find the name brand of the plate or that it was hand crafted or painted.  What did people do with this fine china if it was chipped or cracked?  They threw it out but sometimes it went into the outhouse. Well, now we have an outhouse remains that have surfaced after 60-70 years of being all covered up.  We had indoor plumbing for a long time but this century old house used to have an outhouse and my grandparents and aunts and uncle with my Dad used chamber pots as well.

I’ve needed to be creative lately, we are going through a family crisis period right now and it is NO fun to have personalities clash over what they deem as necessary in getting my 87 year old dad out of business.  Some of my siblings will have nothing to do with this, others are over involved. I’m the bystander that is closest to it all and I see what is happening. I’m sad by it all.

This too shall pass. I’m glad that I have an understanding husband who listens to me when I feel hurt or betrayed.  I’ve volunteered by hours and then when I show up to see how it is going, I’m accused of interrupting work in progress. AS IF I WAS THERE FOR HOURS when in fact it was only 15 minutes. I was checking to see what I could do the next day but this stop that I made seems to have been amplified and reported to another sibling. So then I hear “time is money” and I was wasting money by stopping to see how I could help and volunteer the next day…which I did.

I am willing to get my hands dirty and do some fairly bad chores…especially when I was cleaning out the furnace room. I finally had to use a shovel to scoop up all the debris, it was a hateful job.  But so is a LOT of other things that are left behind by a hoarder. I was going through one area in the main lobby and I found empty containers, about 7-10 of them that should have been trashed but instead were chucked away in a certain area. This same place had gallon containers that had a little bit at the bottom of it, not thrown. Glass, aluminum, scrap metal, paper, plastic…all of this has to be decided on and it wasn’t  done for 30 plus years.

So, I do the dirty work of a volunteer and I look into other options of selling inventory that could make lives living easier, especially for my parents. However, I hear the refrain that I stopped progress one day when my brother was sorting and wasted money. Wow, that is quite an accusation when I feel like as a volunteer I am not being recognized for the work I have done. I stopped by for 15 minutes and this is what I get?  Yet my brother can talk to me on the phone for over an hour or so and that is okay?  Time is LOVE, not money.  I keep hearing this that Time IS MONEY. I want to scream.  People are to use things and LOVE people but instead I see that there are those in my family who USE people and LOVE things!

Okay, that is why I do art to ease the pain. I’m accused of being domineering and trying to control.  Well, the person who makes that criticism is doing that in spades!  So, I will continue to be creative and NOT let this negative energy get to me. I need to be praying for these people who are hurting and angry and are striking out against those who are there to help.

Here’s my art so far!


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Sweet Pea Power

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe days are still long and so I went out to do the watering of gardens and potted plants which I have many of…three hours later I was back inside.  What did I have to do?  Since it might rain tonight, I needed to take out water from our large rain barrel and water the vegetable gardens.  That’s when I discovered in ONE of our gardens that the deer had been eating off the top of my yellow beans!  That is a BIG mistake on their part because those are my favorite and my husband knows it.

Then I went around the perimeter of our property to talk to the deer and sometimes yell at them hiding in the woods that they don’t belong here.  I see too many hoof prints from a big mama deer and her baby deer.  Whoever came up with Bambi did NOT do us any favors because these creatures can be spiteful with eating our maple trees and other young trees.  We have a LOT of other trees they can munch on, why go for the young ones?  I wish they would eat the walnut trees, that would maybe kill them!

Oops, did I really write that?  Yes, I’m glad for deer season when hunters can actually kill these animals and harvest the meat.  People eat venison around here, we did not grow up in a family of hunters but we are surrounded by those who love to hunt and fish.

Then the other thing I did was pick asparagus and also weed around the sweet peas. That was my LAST thing to do before I turned in for the night at 10:15 p.m. that is how long our days are still though they are getting shorter.  Sweet peas have a nice fragrance and they can be quite colorful. The more you pick, the more you get.  So, I intend to give many different bouquets to people throughout the rest of the summer.  Nice to be able to bless others with my abundance.


However, the deer do NOT fall in that category, nor do the gophers.  I have my battles with them as well.  Their mounds of black soil they churn up, I put them into garden patches but it is not fun to mow around these mounds…thus the extra work that is created from them.

Yes, deer and gophers, those are our nemesis this summer along with the awful weeds.  No mosquitoes though!


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