Monday, September 03, 2012


Pear picking is such an enjoyable task.  Bryce on a 12 foot ladder with a fruit claw on the end of a long handle, picked about two five gallon pails of pears the past couple of days.  Before that last week we picked a couple of grocery sacks full.

I heard on the Nebraska TV program, "Back Yard Farmer," that it is appropriate to pick pears green and wait for them to ripen, mellow, and sweeten in the house.

We had guests yesterday for swims, pizza and apple pie.  They went home with a large grocery sack of pears and an ice cream bucket of grapes.  Great grandchildren seem amazed to learn where jelly and fruit comes from.  Bryce said the boy, nearly 10 years old, counted every pear that he handed down to him from the ladder.

The "Antique Road Show" is going on without me and I am missing the first few treasures.  Life is good, small duties are a pleasure to finish, and picking produce is a grand reward for patiently waiting weeks during  our hot, dry summer for the pears to gain size and sweetness.

Friday, August 31, 2012

City Harvest

Pears ripe and ready for picking;  grape jelly canned in quarts.  

Our backyard fruit is better, more abundant, and larger this year than ever before.  The concord grapes are sweeter than previous years.  The many, many 100 degree days did not seem to harm our fruit. 

Picking pears and grapes is good for the soul; all the more perhaps because we planted both many years ago.  There is something comforting about being in one place for over 40 years.  It gives a person time to discover gardening mistakes never imagined.  Weather cycles make impressions and surprises me on the way the world works.

 Thirty years ago we planted 13 Scotch Pines on the perimiter of the west and north fence.  They must have been about four or five foot tall and trucked in from Iowa.  They grew and were trimmed and grew more, ever needing more trimming.  The neighbor to the west found them obnoxiously hanging over his back yard so he trimmed them also.  When they got too close to the power lines the power company trimmed them.  I loved the wild life they sheltered, even the possums and racoons.  But most of all the birds.  We were graced one summer by a small owl family, mother and three curious, sweet babies.

We didn't know when we planted them that three decades later pine wilt and bark beetles would wipe out pines near and far.  Omaha yards are blighted by dying pines; even one in a neighborhood is certain death for those within blocks. 

This week He Who Must Be Obeyed has taken out three;  cut limbs with a small chain saw and re-cut smaller limbs with a cutting tool.  Dead needles flew in all directions, but eventually he bagged them up in the yard waste bags seen behind the ladder.  Our city waste pick up crew threw 22 bags into the truck yesterday.  The rest of the trees will surely die.  With them will go my shady plantings, my reading hammock in the shade of one pine tree and the pear tree.  Will our hostas and ferns survive heat and sun?  Obviously, I can now select annuals other than the ones for shade.

Our little yard and the dirt that I cherish has been a source of never ending joy for me.  So much so that I, at this age, have discovered the satisfaction of making dirt in my mulch pile.  I am not very good at it yet, but I will learn.  My mother could turn plant matter into mulch for her African Violets in a plastic bag on her window sill when she was 84.  Surely I can learn how to turn plant waste into dirt in my back yard.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Use it or Lose it.

This afternoon I tried to log in to this site on my Kindle, which I have had long enough so I should have all of its capabilities mastered.  I do not.  As I Googled my way to this URL on the Kindle, I could not get access to it.  Instead I got a notice that my domain name was for sale.  Did I want to buy it?  That got my attention.  It is quite a relief to find nothing about that at this moment.

I wish I had been a regular writer all summer.  Now that I have had my miracle pain patch, perhaps my life will settle down and once more I will anticipate the daily delightful activities. It is very good to wake up to several task possibilities, each one equally enjoyable.  Today we, he and I, sorted and boiled the Concord grapes into the jelly juice to be canned tomorrow.  A couple of weeks ago we made 8 quarts of the jeweled purple perfection.  Jelly making has a wonderful aroma. I think there is something to aroma therapy.  All of my good feelings seem to be associated with food, unfortunately.  Ah, well

You know that visual illusion in which looking one way a person sees an old hag and another way is a beautiful young girl...well pain can give a person two sides that change equally fast with relief from the beast.  As I write this, I think the word "hag" is about the worst word in our vocabulary and to be sure there are a lot of 'worst words.'

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Blue Bottle Gardens

My Little Blue Bottle Collection
Our church women's groups had a combined Spring meeting not long ago.  The speakers were Master Gardeners, one from the Lauritzen Botanical Garden and the other a nice former teacher friend who is a member of our congregation.

I had the pleasure of sitting with him and his wife for the luncheon and he asked me if I was familiar with blue bottle gardens.  The concept was new to me as well as intriguing.  There are a few hits within blogs for Blue Bottle Gardens I discovered.

My hunt was on for blue bottles.  I had three small ones that I placed in a pot of ivy; and as my dearest walked by the wines at Aldi's last week, he selected two in blue bottles.  It is a Landshut Riesling Mosel 2011 from Germany.  I guess the next pleasure will be to open them, but not for a while.  Being no wine connoisseur, I have no idea what it will be like.

Our Cozy Corner
The afternoon sun pours through the blue glass into this window facing west.  As you can see one of the chairs is used a great deal more than the other one.  This is a sight that I see nearly every afternoon after lunch.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

One Large Leap

They, whoever "they" are, say that time flies when one is having fun.  I have come to believe that one season flies after the other.  Is this the blessing reserved to the old?  Or is the curse of those of us that would prefer to have a few more years of good eyesight and the brains to read.

And there is a darling, yes darling, camera in its new box under the Math Card Catalog in our bedroom. The high school librarians chose the physical catalogs for a symbolic putting away of the cards when the collection was digitized. I have an assortment of prized things in that catalog.  I kept one drawer of the math cards and now wish I had gone into the collection and chosen a few from each drawer.  This is what is meant by older and wiser, perhaps. 

The one year old, new camera awaits my fumbling fingers and the two inch manual awaits my numb brain.  A person has to move around and pretzel oneself into many positions to take reasonably good pictures.  I don't know what happened to my once agile self.  I have to practice getting off of the floor now and do it sporadically.  A couple of decades ago I took a goodly number of photographs from the ground.  Little grand-kids are not tall and even though a stumpy 5 foot, I find that is not low enough to take pictures of my unfolding ferns, flowers, or little children.

On Wednesday I will be taking a four and a half hour test to see if I can still think.  If I can, I will clean out the Jeep Wrangler and dust off my driver's license and practice on the busy Omaha streets.  I might have a book or two in this old wise noggin and I have a book to clean up and send off to the Library of Congress.  During all of this testing and doctoring I now know I have no brain bleeds nor any brain tumors.  All I have left is plain old age atrophy of the frontal lobes and who knows what else.

Test or no test life is very enjoyable and I have a houseful of wonderful reading head of me.  We (He Who Must Be Obeyed) and I, the reader, started "Dust to Dust: A Memoir" by Benjamin Busch.  I learned of it on C Span II's Book TV and it is going to be as good as I expected.  I am easily captivated by a good book.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Run for Your Life

Take Exercise'
Ukraine's Emergencies Minister Viktor Baloga has advised the public to take more exercise as a remedy against the cold.
"You need to get up in the morning, take active exercise and work," he was quoted by Ukrainskaya Pravda as telling reporters on Wednesday.
"It hasn't killed anyone yet and only makes a person fitter."His personal advice to keep warm, he added, was to "run 8-10km [5-6 miles] every morning and bathe in cold water, all year round"From BBC

 My darling, He Who Must Be Obeyed, has told me the story many times over the nearly 60 decades that we have been married.  He tells of going to a country one room schoolhouse when he was a boy in Wyoming.  On a particularly windy and below zero day, he and his sister started out for school on a horse. When they came out of the more sheltered river bottom, up the banks and onto the prairie, the cold was life threatening.  His sister began to cry.  He jumped off of the horse and hanging on to its tail, he ran the rest of the way to school. When they arrived the teacher was nowhere to be seen.  They put the horse in the barn and went into the freezing cold schoolhouse. 

The teacher had a stack of magazines that he treasured.  They made for great fire starter, torn off page by page and twisted tight for makeshift kindling.  Starting a fire in a cold pot bellied stove is serious business.  With a stack of pitch kindling, it is easy if one knows how to set it correctly.  From that point my recollection of the story fades away like a whispy cloud.  Did he find firewood? Did the teacher arrive from Belle Fourche?  Did someone come in a car for him and his sister?  Maybe after warming up they once again mounted the horse and galloped for home. How far away was the school from home?  Five or six miles comes to my mind. 

I could get all the frightening details if he were awake.  I read him to sleep again after lunch.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

So Dark So Long

It is 7:04 a.m. in Omaha and there is no sign of light yet.  Not through the closed drapes, anyway.  I see on that the latest sunrises for mid northern latitudes is around January 5. And then there is that solstice that does not mean much to when the sun sets and rises.   "For example, sunrise time in the central U.S. – say, around Wichita, Kansas – for the next several days will be around 7:45 in the morning." 

With Epiphany yesterday what can we do, those of us who wish Christmas could go on a little longer.  Maybe start gearing up for it around Halloween like the rest of the masses, and I do not mean the Advent service folks.  I think it is that word 'mass' that divide the Catholics and we Lutherans.  It should be abolished and we could be one Christian family.  Maybe 'services' makes Catholics think about the army.  I don't know and it is way too early to think.

I am sad that we are not having a proper winter.  My lilacs want to bloom and are budding out, I have been told by my better half.  The pool freezes at night and thaws out by dinner time.  The photo header of that wonderful snowfall we had earlier is all I have to remind me what time of year it is.  It melted and now nothing but brown grass and dirt.  The grass is struggling to green up, however.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

December: Dark Yet Beautiful

Monday, October 31, 2011

"Water Witcher" in High Demand.

It is appropriate that I have my very own water witcher, it being Halloween tonight.  This odd phenomena was useful when He Who Must Be Obeyed served as the Superintendent of Public Works in a small town north of the Black Hills in South Dakota.  Not only could he find water for wells, but he could also locate both water and sewer pipes underground.  He tells me he was taught the ancient skill of dowsing from Mr. Nicodemus who was his meter reader.  Nicodemus would find a dime in a sand-pile with his witching rods.  One can also use willow branches.  My own witcher was pretty good at it.  He said the problem was that he could find too much stuff.

I was reminded of this a few days ago when our daily newspaper ran an article from Abilene, Texas.  Dowsers are in high demand there because of the drought.   It works by holding two L shaped divining rods. One walks slowly over the ground until feeling the rods move.  When they cross it is a signal of a potential water source.

We built a home in Cleghorn Canyon west above Rapid City.  He found water alright but it was 300 feet down.  Water witching has nothing to do with the occult, nor Halloween.  It also entertains small children and grandmothers.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

No Rainbow Yet

The Missouri River Flooding and the Aftermath in October 2011

Our son and his wife flew to Omaha this past weekend.  I was offered the opportunity to see the devastation left by the Missouri River from the plane.  It is rightly called the Big Muddy.  Some say the farm fields will not be usable for two or three years.  The mud left behind makes the land unrecognizable.   It is a terrible mess.  Even the trees died.  Volunteers from Omaha and Council Bluffs filled thousands of sand bags in 100+  degree heat for weeks.  In spite of precautions our nearby nuclear plant was shut down;  Epply Airport remained open, thanks to a lot of pumping the water back into the river.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Concord Grape Jam
Bryce and I picked two buckets of grapes on our back fence. We sorted, washed, boiled, and dripped the juice one day.
The next day we canned fourteen quarts of jelly/jam. As you can see we treated ourselves to cinnamon rolls to celebrate our results.My homesteading grandmother and thrifty mother would approve; but not so much that one would notice.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Nebraska in the Fall: Football, Football, Football

A great many folks think life revolves around the Nebraska Corn-huskers.  They have played to a sell out crowd of about 85,000 in the Lincoln, NE stadium for many years.  My elderly neighbor across the street called me once and asked me if I would go to the game with her.  She had two tickets and the men of our houses were going to watch it on television.  We climbed to the third tier from the top.  It rained on us.  The bench was narrow and people were literally hip to hip.  It was awful.  It would have helped to know the game and what was what.

I can see why people get all worked up about the players, the coaches, the stadium, and red, red, red. Even our church asked us to wear red one Reformation happened to be a game weekend as well.  There is something contagious about being a fan.  I do not know what is the matter with me.  I believe I have always been out of sync.  A friend told me once that being a fan of some sport or another is a healthy thing.  It gives a person the feeling of belonging to a group.

I found a bug cage for my grandchildren visiting Omaha in July.  The lawns are full of fire-flies.  Kids are not the only people attracted to a bug.  I just washed the little bug cage that looks like a lantern.  I am not as fast as a cricket but I am hoping to catch one without breaking its legs.  If I can I will bring it in the house to sing its beautiful song to me.

My mother would have been 99 today.  I miss her good sense, her interest in everything around her; coming from South Dakota, she asked the Assisted Living people if they would please put up a map of Nebraska showing the counties.  She needed to know where the tornadoes were when the watches and warnings were on television.  Most of all I miss the fact that she prayed for all of us continually.  On the other hand she was spared some of the more unseemly events in the family.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Week of Events

A New Boe Baby!
These sweet parents named their little son Axel Sullivan Boe. My dad would have been so honored by this, as I am. 

In the photo below my grandson fell in love with his child immediately.

Eventful days

While I was enjoying the hospital life, a son from Washington state, and his wife were here for a visit. Our eldest son helped my better half repair a porch roof and our sixth great grandchild was born in Wichita.

For six days I was waited on hand and foot, met so many kind people, and had a view from my window that was beautiful, Nearly every person that cared for me said they loved their jobs.  The philosophy of Methodist Hospital resulted in superb patient care. 

Watch out for adhesion, they can sneak up on you and give you a few days of awful pain.  Omaha is fortunate to have two medical teaching institutions, excellent doctors, and nurses, and hospitals.  I am fortunate to be 5 minutes from Methodist ER.

And now I am home and happy.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Golden Wheel Dance Hall on Second Floor.  Upstairs through the door on the left.
This is where I first met the young man who would become my husband.
Basket Ball Tournament in 1952, Whitewood, SD

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Trinity Sunday Rock

A Salty Vicar who is now the  Rector of  St. Bartholomew's Church in White Plains, NY had this to say on his facebook page: "prevented the choir from doing schoolhouse rock on Trinity Sunday."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Videos Posted by Scott Boe: Matt's grad speech. (1)

Videos Posted by Scott Boe: Matt's grad speech. (1)

The ultimate honor...Valedictorian! You are truly amazing Matt.

Darwin or What

When a girl is 18 or 19, I doubt she  falls in love with a man because he is working on an Engineering degree and she realizes he will no doubt be good in math. Chosing good looks, charm, and muscular Davidic beauty are probably Darwinian. The vows regarding "sickness and health" are not given a thought in most cases; however here we are.  I lose strength, height, and stamina and my better half continues to do difficult work. 

This past winter a snow rake definitively had to be "man-handled" as did the electric hedge saw last week.  The hews lost their heads.  Is it any wonder that the second shoulder needs the help of the same orthopedic surgeon that created a miracle on the first one to go. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Swimming With Wolves

Our morning started with a lovely swim.  I believe this is one of those Top 10 Days our weather man speaks of.  It was so lovely, warm and wonderful.  There is nothing like a swim in warm water to bring old joints back to life and quiet the spinal stenosis for a little while.  As I was back and forthing, my partner in crime was going around the walls with a net to take off any stray pine cones or pear leaves.  Soon he started to flail and splash around and I knew we were in with something worse than a pine cone.  "Spider", he shouted as he flailed with the net and I back swam away.  He discovered this large spider on the water's edge that crawled down the pool wall as he tried to scoop it up with his net.  Swimming with spiders is kind of horrifying, if you know what I mean.

It crawled down the pool wall about two feet.  When he flipped it out of the water, it flew over on the deck and something unbelievable happened.  This big marble of a spider came apart and hundreds of babies unloaded from its back and crawled all over the cement.  We just could not believe what we had just observed.  Not wanting to deal with this new back yard friend, it got sprayed with Round-up, which didn't do much for the creepy-crawlies, but probably killed a very nice perennial which is blooming today.

Another lesson in the world of biology right under our noses.  I am glad we had that lovely swim in such warm clean water.  Life is good, interesting also.  I think I will put the Round-up in a place that is less handy for my Protector.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Brule' and Company

Our third son and his wife have planned a visit tomorrow. He and his wife are building a swimming pool in their back yard. The preliminary work is not for the faint of heart.  Like father like son...they both do everything themselves.  

He is getting plenty of advice from He Who Must Be Obeyed;  most of it from first hand experience and a civil engineer background.  We put a pool in the back yard over 30 years ago and I was informed that the water was 90' at the moment.  The weather is threatening thunder and lightening.  Not a good combination for swimming.

Omaha's downtown art fair is this weekend.  the Native American group, Brule', will be performing tomorrow afternoon and evening.  I am so hoping we will be able to go to hear them.  The link takes you to Minnesota Post Cards and a feature story of this amazing man, his family, and his music.  I first heard the group on the street in Deadwood, SD years ago.  The selection is fairly long but if you can hang in with it for about 3 or 4 minutes you will get a glimps of the adventure and the epiphany.  If  are still with the program at 13 minutes  Paul LaRoche explains the mystery of his journey and you will experience a little of the group's performance in Branson, MO. 

 We have our own Fancy Dancer in our extended family.  If I have genealogy correct he is a first cousin twice removed or a third cousin.  He has impressive duds.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Now and Then

Near Omaha, in Shenandoah, IA, old Harold Camping is intensifying his warnings from California that the world will end this coming Saturday.  The billboards are up in Omaha, the Shenandoah, Iowa radio station alerts the sinners to repent on KYFR-AM 920 on Family Radio. Folks in Omaha have been given Judgement Day warning in grocery stores.  Newspapers have given it more coverage than it really deserves. It attracts the reader's attention.  Broadcasts also can be heard at

Shall we brace up the house for the earthquake or buy a t-shirt.  "Don't miss out on your chance to purchase a Judgement Day 2011 "Rapture Ready" t-shirt TODAY!"  The internet entrepreneurs are getting into the game.  How will that work, I wonder. Will the 'ready' wear their t-shirt to the Rapture or will they have to add the word "Not" to it?  It would be terribly exciting if I were ten again and open to this sort of hype.  I wonder if anyone actually believes this sort of thing?

So this is the 'now' and the 'then' is yet more amazing.  A son called to ask instructions about building an outdoor toilet.  How deep? A two seater or one?  Listening to his dad give him the instructions on seat height and hole depth, and other particulars was simply the last thing I would ever have expected.  I think it is very practical.  He lives in the country and is building a swimming pool and has grandchildren.  His septic system, he thinks, will never keep up with the anticipated overload.

Friday, April 29, 2011

YouTube - Tumbleweed Invasion

YouTube - Tumbleweed Invasion

For a person who has had first hand experiences with these "Russian Thistles" as we called them, this was very, very funny. Who cannot enjoy laughing children!