Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Museum: Old Maps

I worked on the Historical Museums Newsletter yesterday again..it is finally ready to mail.  I am all done with newsletters until May when I am back in my office.

I am working on several H.U.G.E. projects…it all takes time. If I would stop making suggestions and having ideas I would be less stressed and in charge of less projects.  Ground work and making the road maps for an organization to follow is not an easy job. Attracting new members, raising funds, seeing that things get repaired and keeping one hand on the pulse of an organization is not exactly a walk in the park or a stroll down the road either. The board members assured me that they would send articles for the newsletter..three did and the other four dropped the ball. I filled in the blanks so I could get the newsletter off of my desk.  I did not think I would feel burned out during the winter..but after yesterday and the day before..I sure was.  I have to give them one more day this week..and then I can get all my ducks in a row on the next project. Most everything is in place. I just need to set the wheels in motion.  I hope the map I made is a good one. I do not want to crash and burn after all the effort.  Don’t worry I will tell you all about it sooner or later.

I thought that this was a cool map to share today.  The map is all folded up inside this folder.

Highway map all folded up 

I wanted to see what 1924-1925 looked like in my neck of the woods.  So I took a photo!

1924-1925 Highway Map

I was thrilled to find that Detroit Lakes was still called Detroit ( Later in 1926 it was changed to Detroit Lakes so that it would not be confused with Detroit, Michigan.)

Highway 34 went right past the farm I grew up on and very near where we live now. The stair step highway which we live near was featured in the opening chapter of Red Earth White Earth..which was written by a local farm kid and eventually became a movie.

Highway 34 was realigned in the 1940’s..and the booming town of Ponsford was no longer on the main route to Detroit. A new road was built, and the old part of Highway 34 that included Ponsford became known as Highway 225.  Old roads were often the life blood of a community..that and railroad tracks..if you were missed by either of them your town was going to struggle before it eventually died.

I wonder did the powers that be ever wonder if their new road map was the way to go? Did they feel guilty..or was it all in the name of progress?

Yesterday I took one of my volunteers out to lunch..and one of these days I will take my other wonderful volunteer (Far Guy) out for breakfast..both of them are ready to hit the ground running in the spring and are looking forward to the Museum opening..me not so much..at least not today..perhaps tomorrow:)

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Saving National Geo’s and Time

The other night whilst watching Hockey..I searched for a photo I did not find..but I found lots of other things.

Like these.


I had a whole bunch of 1930’s National Geographics and then these two.  Then I remembered the day that Far Guy and I were at a garage sale that had hundreds of these.  We searched through stack after stack until we found  one for each of the girls from the month and the year they were born..just for fun.  It could be worse..they could have been photos of half dressed natives of some foreign country. Jen is not going to appreciate those Eels or whatever kind of weird looking albino fish those are.

I tried to save some time yesterday..by typing fast and not saving..I was almost done..and then the blankety blank old dying Historical Museum computer hiccupped..and lost everything I had written.  I was working on the February newsletter.  I came downstairs..disgusted.  Went back upstairs after I was done feeling sorry for my stupid self..and every five minutes Far Guy would holler “Save your work!”  I finally got it done, came down to print it out and discovered that I could not access a pub file from either of our computers.  I called Jen to make sure I wasn’t missing something.  I wasn’t other than a  Microsoft Publisher Program on one of our computers.  That program costs about 120 dollars…the Museum may have to spring for that software after their computer crashes. I believe a former Director loaded her personal copy onto the Museum Computer.  So anyways we had to haul my printer upstairs and hook it up so I could print the Newsletter..and then I ran out of ink…twice.  So now I need to go get ink before I can finish…I figured as much..but I held out hope that I had enough ink on hand to finish the project.  It is not quite February yet..I still have time.

We tried one of those thingys from Wally World Electronic Department.  It is a thinga mabobber  that you plug into your USB port and it makes your old computer wireless..it worked as advertised on the Historical Museum’s piece of junk computer.  Eventually I will use it on my old computer upstairs that has lots of games on it for the Grandkids.  For now it limps the Museums Desk Top Computer along for the winter..which saves me the hassle of having yet another computer downstairs..but I am not sure it saves me any time at least not yesterday:( 

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ta Da!

Ta da it is all done

Finally it is accomplished.  I am not sure it was worth all the time and effort I put into it..but the kitchen cupboard and drawers have been cleaned.  Far Guy said “Perhaps I should just clean one cupboard or drawer a week.”   I said “Knock yourself out sweetheart.”

Ta da view two

Yes, I probably should be all matchy matchy and have a black fridge ..but the white one still works just fine..keeps stuff cold and makes ice cubes..what more could you want from a fridge?

I have cooked the last three nights in a row..tonight I am making my favorite popcorn.  Usually once I announce that popcorn is what’s for supper Far Guy takes over.

New Mixer with storage

Here is the new mixer with the storage thingy…it holds the cord and the beaters so everything is all in one place..ingenious..a woman must have designed it.  The new mixer works just fine…the mixer mixes as advertised.

Lemon pudding topped with meringue

I made some meringue for the top of the lemon pudding we had for desert last night.  I always feel guilty if I throw the egg whites in the garbage..so I make meringue.  I sit down right outside the oven to make sure it doesn’t get burned.  I have been known to walk away and forget about stuff under the broiler…and when the smoke alarm goes off I am reminded.  So I have a personal rule..Do not leave the stove unattended whilst using the broiler:)

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Icy Roads

The roads are terrible, it snowed some and then the wind blew and so the North South stretches of road are icy.

Icy Roads  Jan 27

Milk was the only thing that drew us out of the warmth and safety of home.  We should get a cow…or Far Guy should buy larger containers of milk.

It was a pretty day, even if the wind was blowing and there were small snow tornados in some of the fields.

I am not quite done with the kitchen yet..procrastination must be my middle name..we did stop by Wally World and purchase a new cheese slicer and a new hand held mixer.  I declared our wedding gift one from 42 years ago..unsafe with a bare wire.. and too hard to clean with all it’s nooks and crannies.  Mixer design has come a long way in 42 years with dough hooks and cushioned beaters.  Far Guy was looking at all the choices.. we both agreed that we were not going to do any dough and all of our bowls are beater proof..and wouldn’t those cushioned beaters be a pain to clean anyway.  Good thing I cleaned out the cupboards..this new mixer is larger than our other one and has a special resting bowl….Far Guy was anxious to use it. 

I did finish up entering a whole bunch of recipes in the Cousin’s Cookbook.  I am waiting for cousin Geraldine to email me more recipes.  Cousin Kathy is all done sending hers. We have 200 plus recipes.  I am writing a section of cooking tips now.

Make house rules..who ever gets hungry first should do all the cooking.  Oh my I  guess not those kinds of tips.

Some of these are interesting reading anyway.

Run ice cold water over popcorn before popping to eliminate old maids.

( What about the soggy package..will it still work in the microwave?)

Do you have any cooking tips that you would like to share?  I could sure use them:)

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Found: FBC

I found my FBC.  Do you have one?


In the olden days you might have used it.  It might have been on your table and never moved off until it had to be washed and refilled.


Give up?  Need  a different view?


A French Butter Chest dates back to the 18th Century.   It was a way to keep your butter from becoming rancid.  The inner cup holds 1/4 pound of butter.   You put enough water in the larger outer cup so that it is 3/4 full.  Invert the butter filled inner cup into the water filled outer cup.  The unglazed inner cup will hold the butter in place whilst upside down.  You add more water as the butter is used..and change the water weekly.  A marvelous way to store butter before refrigeration!

My French Butter Chest was a gift from my Baby brother and his wife a long time ago..they must have been thinking of me and how I like quirky gifts.

I found this in the back of a cupboard yesterday..I can report that all the cupboards have been rooted out and everything inside washed and disinfected.  I must wash the exterior of the last bank of cabinets..and then I am done.  The end is in sight! :)

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Blue Alligators and other stuff

You know you live in Minnesota when you stop to photograph blue alligators in the winter.


Someone has a sense of humor.


I took these photos yesterday..we still don’t have very much snow by Minnesota standards.

My kitchen cleaning was interrupted yesterday by  Dentist appointments.  “Look Mom no cavities!!”  Far Guy did not fare as well..he needs to have a troublesome tooth pulled. We have a Dentist in a further away town so it takes all afternoon by the time we both get our teeth cleaned and have our checkups.  We both like the same hygienist..so we schedule our appointments back to back.  Then we go over to the bakery and buy some Finnish Flat Bread and an Apple Fritter to gunk up our oh so clean teeth. 

One of our daughters wanted to know what was taking so long in the kitchen?  She asked her Father “What is she using a toothbrush?”  The answer is yes, sometimes and Q Tips and sometimes a tooth pick.  There is nothing  being done half a$$ed in that kitchen this winter.  Beside that if I am in there half the day..Far Guy cooks..cause he feels guilty.

I scoured the oven racks whilst the oven was cleaning itself..and the fridge got moved out and cleaned.  Not much left..one more day maybe two and I might have it complete.

My other projects are coming along as well..entries from Grandmas 1912 diary, entries into the Cousins Cookbook and Photo Cards are being made and Newsletter Articles are being written.  One by one things are crossed off my January list:)


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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wistful Wednesday: Solitaire

Far Guy’s Dad played Solitaire all winter long.  I often wonder what he would have done with a computer. 

He marked the cards..he marked the aces with his thumb nail.  He had special marks all over his personal deck of cards.  He played Solitaire for hours…and he usually won.

He got his coffee and settled into his chair, he played on one of those fancy tri fold table protectors that graced the dining room table on days when dinner was served in there.  The linen tablecloths were never put on the table until the table protectors were in place.  They made a excellent temporary tabletop for endless games of Solitaire in the winter. 

Marvin relaxing (2)

Here he is in his spot.  The lampshade still has the plastic shield.  No doubt because he was a Tiparillo/ Pipe Smoker.  He didn’t smoke while he was playing cards. 

This photo must have been taken right around 1965.  It is a Polaroid snapshot.   He always wore flannel shirts in the winter, every shirt must have pockets..room for Tiparillos and Pipe Tobacco…and a pen.  He was a connoisseur of GOOD pens.  Only the finest pen made it’s way into his front pocket.  No regular Bic pens for him.

He liked to play cards.  We would often play 31 for nickels or Whist.  If we played Whist we learned to play opposite couples..because he could remember every card played.  If he was partnered with Far Guy’s Mom..she would be visiting away and forget all about the cards..she would miss a play.. he would tell her and she would cry..so I was a much better card partner for him.. because I did not cry easily over cards:)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Butterflies Are Free!

I had butterflies until I began to speak..then they flew away one by one.


Unknown Butterfly Summer of 2010

The event where I was the featured speaker went okay.  I was greeted warmly by almost everyone I met..I did not know a soul there.  I enjoyed their potluck lunch and the pre-speaker music, which was a very talented older lady who played guitar and sang hymns.  I am not so sure I like a microphone..it seems so cold..but this group was older than most so I guess it was to help their hearing. Ehh!  Why didn’t they just turn up their hearing aids?  ( I tried desperately not to envision them all as naked old people with those antique ** ear trumpets held up to their ears.)

Not one of them had a question? Really?  Were they shy?  Tongue tied?  Perhaps I was too long winded, and they just wanted to get it all over with. ( I couldn’t blame them..I wanted it to be over with also.)

Several people approached me before I left to chat and share an old story or two.  One person had a complaint about the Museum..I apologized graciously even though the incident happened well before I became the director.  I am not going to argue with anyone..least of all cranky old women who feel that someone stomped on their toes.  I can try to mend fences gently…I can be patient and understanding some times.

Small towns..full of “he said she said”…I came home and had a two hour nap.  I was exhausted.

I am under contract until April 30.  My new contract has not been negotiated yet.

The Butterflies are free..larvae is extra:)

Monarch Larvae Two

Monarch Butterfly Larvae

**Ear trumpets were cone shaped, the small end fit into your ear..the cone was supposed to catch the sound waves and deliver them to your ear.  Often times people yelled into the trumpets..

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Dish Hoarder

I admit it..I have a dish problem. I like dishes..I have a hard time resisting them…I think some of them are calling my name at garage sales.


I have a drawer full of old dishes..I got this set for Christmas back in about 1983. Every year they become older..I rarely use them..sometimes the soup bowls if we have lots of people for supper.


This is what the dish drawer looks like normally..the salsa dish was a gift from Riley after we took care of him ( he is a Sheltie that lives on the lake).. I am not sure where the cookie plate came from..most likely Jo..it is a pretty wildlife plate and I use it for cookies.  The tin blue creamers can be used as cups for little kids.  I am still looking for a cover for the clear butter dish.. and I like my glass measuring cup.

I  love all my drawers..nothing better than drawers. They are heavy duty.. Far Guy built all the kitchen drawers and cabinets for me..and I helped.


The flannel valence is up..looks warmer to me.

The dusty dishes are no longer dusty.


Having open shelves in the kitchen is sometimes a pain. I have more sets of dishes there..a tin set, a set of Fiesta, a set of Cobalt Blue Avon dishes most likely collectable too..and a set of Loon dishes  Thanks goodness all these sets are just place settings for four!

I took lots of photos in the kitchen, after the drawers were clean I photographed the contents.

I have several more sets ..a set of China for 20..when will I ever have 20 people in for dinner?  And many sets of real antique dishes that are packed away in boxes.  I am fairly certain I am a dish hoarder..what do you think?

I am still in the kitchen..slaving away..onward and forward to another bank of drawers and cabinets.  I am happy to have two thirds of the kitchen completely done.  I have eight more days until lollygagging can continue:)

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Sunday, January 22, 2012


I am a featured speaker at a number of events over the winter. Some are big events and some are small events.  I hope I can inspire some new membership, new donations and new volunteers. I am so not a wonderful public speaker..I don’t enjoy it..I like groups of twenty to thirty people..not hundreds..but I will do what I have to do.  I guess it comes with the territory.

I will resurrect the makeup and get all dolled up and dressed all proper before noon and put a smile on my face to have lunch with total strangers..gosh I hope I know someone there..one friendly face can make a difference. After lunch I am suppose to talk for at least 45 minutes..uffda..maybe 20 minutes..and then a question answer session for 25 minutes. I hope no one falls asleep.

I am a little bummed out. My counterpart that worked upstairs for the Art Museum will not be returning. Kelly all dressed up everyday in her high heels with her hair just perfect is going to spend the summer with her family..I don’t blame her..but I will miss her. I am a tad on edge wondering who will take her place.

In the meantime I have to come up with some kind of presentation to give this next week..I suppose I should work on it..so the butterflies don’t get the best of me.

IMG_7303 (2)

Painted Lady Butterfly on Zinnia Profusion Cherry last Fall.

Just like this butterfly flitted from flower to flower getting the best nectar.   I have to touch on all the best parts of the Historical Museum:)

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Saturday, January 21, 2012


I absolutely loved playing hopscotch as a child..all you needed was a stick to draw the hopscotch squares and a rock to use as a marker.  I played many a game of hopscotch with Kathy who was a neighbor gal whose Mom used to take care of my baby brother and I while Mom was at work at the Boat Factory.

I suppose it was a girls game, you could play it whilst wearing a dress..as long as you were careful bending over to pick up your rock on the way back.

Times have changed..now we have sidewalk chalk.  In town there is hardly any dirt left to scratch around in.


Jo made the squares last summer at the Grand Re -Opening of Main Street.  There was some discussion about numbering the squares amongst the older ladies.   When I got there I added the numbers..because I have never played hopscotch without the numbers in the squares.  Jo said she hadn’t either..and the older ladies didn’t say a word. 


I am thinking that I would like to have a permanent hopscotch course on one of the sidewalks that lead up to the Historical Museum.   Colorful  squares with numbers and perhaps some old timey objects..a top, a doll, a train…you get the idea.  Something that would catch a youngsters eye and bring back a memory for the oldsters.

I suppose I have to get permission for the project from the Country Commissioners, then approval from the Historical Society Board, then get a donation for the paint..and then find an artist to paint it.  My one little project is no longer an easy one.. In the meantime I have lots of sidewalk chalk that I can use up.

I have lots of little projects swirling around in my head.  The ground work is being laid this winter…some will work out and come to fruition and others will die a sloooow death:)

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Friday, January 20, 2012

How many degrees below zero?

How many degrees below zero before something important freezes off?  Like your nose, your ears or your butt? 

I sleep real well during cold weather..it is the grumpy old bear part of me that wants to hibernate.

Yesterday morning near 4 AM  we were –25 degrees F..that would be – 31C.  Some people said they had –31F or –35C..but they may be part of the “Well we were way colder than you and proud of it”  crowd.

How do I manage..I stay inside!  Far Guy and Chance walked to the mail box..Chance lifted up one of his paws a few times..but then pressed on with their mission.

We made sure that the birds were well fed, the Downy Woodpeckers are making short work of the suet ball that we hung in the tree for them. 

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

I am still holed up in the kitchen..I got some walls washed..some shelves and clutter washed and I changed the valence.. to a flannel one..perhaps it will make the room seem warmer.  I am moving at a snails pace..oh well..11 more days till lollygagging resumes:)

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Nerve Center

I have always hated phone books especially after they got rid of the small local area ones and replaced them with huge five inch things that weigh five pounds.   I just want a few local numbers.  I just call the same people all the time anyway..and no I do not have them programed into the phone.  I have them up on the “Nerve Center” ..stuff is stored there until it is thrown away, paid or otherwise dealt with.  The only thing that stays is the note card list of phone numbers, cell phone numbers and the list of when the magazine subscriptions were paid for.  The sleazy magazine people will try and get you to renew your subscription a year in advance if you let them..I have one that says they have me on automatic renewal..well I said “Listen Buster..I have news for you..I write the checks and you are not getting one with that kind of automatic attitude.”

The Nerve Center was getting too small..actually it has been too small for a long time.  Off we went looking for a larger cork board to make my life more organized.  Well good luck with that one..I found only a couple of sizes..the one I had and another one that was the size of a billboard.  I decide that I could live with the one I had..it might just need new cork. So we bought a package of cork squares. 

On the way home as we pulled into the garage I noticed an old bulletin board that I had used for the greenhouse..it might just be the perfect size. It barely fit between the phone and the landing.  I could use what cork I had and run to town and get more if I needed it. 

Bulliten board project two

I was impatient..it was cold outside..below zero..yuck.

Bulletin Board three

We had to move that clock..one of the hazards of having wood walls is footprints on the walls when you move something..it will fade in time.   I glued and double stick taped the new cork tiles in place.  I found some scrapbook loony paper to fill in for cork at the bottom.  I used lots of push pins to help hold everything in place.  Fancy Smancy new wooden ones, and I even found my little bug pushpins from the greenhouse!    Ta da..

Use what you have and make it better instead of buying new.

This will work for now..I have visions of a cabinet with two doors with loons on the front..when you open the doors..you are in the nerve center..shh..no one tell Far Guy but I may put it on list for him to build next summer.

I am still working on my list for another 12 days.   The cubbies under the step have been completed..and the dining room is all done..except for the glass thingy's on the light fixture..the days are dark and dreary and I don’t want to wash them when they are hot.

Onward and forward into the kitchen..it is way below zero here..very cold.  Good time for me to stay holed up in the kitchen:)

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wistful Wednesday: 1950

This photo was taken in December of 1950. 

Marvin Janice Eugene Evelyn Grand Forks ND (2)

Uncle Jim or Auntie Esther took this photo, it was taken at their house in Grand Forks North Dakota sometime in December of 1950.  Far Guy was not yet a year old and his sister was five.

Far Guy has the old tape on his shoes, the tape made your shoes less slippery on wood floors.  He was about 10 months old and most likely had started running.

He was a handful and I know I have told you before that his Mother had a harness that she made him wear when he was outside by himself.  She clipped the harness to a rope attached to the clothes line.  He would hide in the Lilac bushes to unhook himself, go to the neighbors and play..and then come back and hook himself up again.  When his Mother was still alive, she was aghast at the escapades he told her about.

Last week in the grocery store Far Guy saw a little girl that was attached to her mother by one of those leashes that goes from one arm to another. The little girl was not very happy.  Her sisters were not leashed.  I asked him if he talked to the Mom..he said no..but he would have liked to share with her that he wore a harness for many years.

Far Guys Mom looks tired in this photo..or maybe she had a cold..or maybe she had a drink..whenever she had a drink her nose would turn red.

This is one of the photos that Cousin Bonnie gave us last summer.  It was one that we didn’t have.  Luckily I knew some of the W’s..who, where, and when.  I will have to guess at the why.  Most likely they just went to visit for the weekend:)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Adam Smiles

A long, long time ago getting your photograph taken was serious business.  You made an appointment with the photographer and awaited the big day.

Adam Smiles

The men slicked back their hair and put on their best suit coat, the ladies fixed their hair and always wore their best dress.  The photograph would be sent to relatives far away..often so that they could see how well you were doing in America.

In early photography, the exposure time was such that the people had to hold really still. Sometimes the photographer would place a wooden posing stand behind you to help you hold your pose. They never smiled because a smile could not be held for the 30 to 60 seconds that was required for an exposure.  They also did not have access to dental care.

 Adam smiles two

Photography years ago was boring, stiff and showed no personality.  Having your photo taken was a very serious solemn occasion.  After all your parents and possibly even your grandparents would be showing it off to all their friends.

Adam smiles maybe three

My youngest smiling grandson Adam..these photos remain favorites of mine.  Every time I look at them I smile, sometimes I laugh out loud. Adam smiles like no one else.

I took these photographs last fall, when Jen and I went through the photos..she was discouraged..then I began to laugh and so did she.  I am so glad I did not delete the real smiley ones:)

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Monday, January 16, 2012


I made progress on the list.  I had what seemed like a mountain of papers that needed to be recycled, shredded or burned.  I recycled what I could but there was still half of a mountain. How does so much paper “stuff” pile up anyway?  I shred junk mail as soon as it comes into the house..

Far Guy and Chance took over.

Burning papers

The wind was blowing..Chance hates the wind..the trees move and really scary twigs fall to the ground.  He led Far Guy to the bedroom three times during the day..finally they had a nap.  That must be Chances way of getting Far Guy to rest, either that or Chance wanted to watch TV. 

Changing of the flags

I changed the flags, I have always loved this Cardinal..he makes me smile and is perfect for this time of year.

I got Christmas all put away.  Everything fit back into the totes and the trunk.

I kept the red lights up on the grapevine wreath on the other side of the door..Valentines Day is coming up..I took down the Santa and added a Snowman..close enough.

Isn’t it marvelous how making a list will spur a person on!  I have now made another list of all the things I need to purchase that will  make my life easier and keep me organized.

Next I will be working on making some more cards.  I make all my own cards..I have a number of people who get snail mail from me..not everyone is connected..not everyone sees the need for a computer.  Some people just enjoy getting a card now and again too!    I gave up purchasing cards after my favorite Hallmark  store closed.  I think my homemade ones are very special.

Three Lady Slippers Number 1

They and others like them are available at the Etsy shop that I share with Far Guy and our daughter Jen.  It is called Far Side’s Attic and Woodshed.  We need to get some more woodcarvings listed.  It is on my list of things to do:)

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