Friday, August 29, 2008

Out With The Old, In With The New

I had a yard sale today, it went very well, and I will do it all over again tomarrow, several others went in on it with me. Let Me just say, I love going to sales much more than I love having one. So, after i closed up my sale, i went garage sailing.

This is what i could not resist. This home made wood, umm thing was $3, you can use it this way, or turn it upside down, i have not decided how i am going to use it, or where, all i know is, i had to have it.

My upstairs bathroom has lighthouses in it, One might think the bathroom might be an odd place for light houses but, it works . So when i saw this picture, well, first i talked her down from $5 to $2, i had to have it. I know which spot this will go.
Below is my " I am So excited!" find. Skip does`nt like it but, i love it, and it has a matching tv tray. I am trying this table out in my front porch, just trying it out mind you, it could end up anywhere. I paid $8 for this wicker table, and $5 for the tv type tray. It`s heavy, and very sturdy, and i just love it!

I also bought a sewing machine for $5, i don`t need another one but, i thought i should have a spare. No picture because, how boring it would be looking at an old sewing machine. Anyway, i just had to show you what i bought! And now being i sold a bunch of stuff, i have room for it!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bothersome Matter

Buying locally. I have done a pretty good job of this for about 20 years. But in the last 6 months, the savings i have seen by not buying locally is staggering.

I was a firm believer in buying locally, staying within our tiny town as much as possible. Of course there are things we cannot buy locally, such as clothing and perscriptions. but we do have a grocery store, hardware store, gift shops, lumber company, diners, conveinience stores, gas stations, flower shop ocationally, and thank goodness, a funeral home. I`m not a clothes horse so the lack of clothing in tiny town does not bother me. Our basic needs are being met.

BUT the price differances are astronomical. For example, we started painting our house with locally bought paint. Then one day we were in walmart, 45 miles away, we needed primer, so we bought a gallon of Kilz 2. In tiny town, we pay $19.99 a gallon, at walmart, we paid $13.00. That is a $7.00 a gallon savings. Now, if we needed just one gallon of primer, it would be no big deal to pay that price in town. But, if we need 20 gallons, we will save $140.00 on just the primer! For a gallon of exterior white paint, we pay 26.00 a gallon in town, we bought paint out of town for $14.99, 20 gallons is a savings of $220.00.

Another example, for smaller items are , lets say i want a package of name brand cookies, and i usually do. In tiny town, i pay about $3.89, at walmart, i pay $2.50. Pretty much anything i buy out of town, i will save a dollor or more on most every item. All of these savings pay for the gas plus a meal out, if we so choose. I pay $9.99 for a cube of Diet Dew here, i pay $6.50 or less somewhere else. I am finding it very difficult to justify shopping in tiny town, yet, i feel guilty about it.

I understand that the prices will be higher in a smaller town, especially when things need to be shipped farther but, such dramatic differances? Also, i know walmart can get their products cheaper, because they buy more, but, these things still do not in my mind justify such a huge price differance.

So, today i am going shopping, out of town, not to walmart, but to another grocery store that is very closely priced to walmart. And i will go with guilt.

Should one feel guilty for not shopping locally just to save money? I am torn.

Monday, August 25, 2008

My Almost Finished Kitchen

I have been working on my kitchen for the last couple of months, It seems like it is taking forever, because all i am doing is repainting. But, i am painting the cupboards, with oil base paint, it seems like a dumb decision now but, oil base paint holds up so much better. It does`nt help that every inch of this kitchen had to be repainted. The ceiling, the walls, the wainscotting, the trim, the doors.

So, here are a couple of my favorite areas in my kitchen. Below is my cooking area, do you see that little brown counter between the stove and fridge? That needs to be painted white yet, inside and out. That is the old color, yuck. What was i thinking? Maybe i was in the throws of menopause and i did`nt realize it would look like crap alone with dark marroon wainscotting, that is my excuse.

See that shelf? That funky little shelf. We have lived here for 23 years, i have been talking to Skip all these years about putting a shelf over the stove. Well, it never became a reality untill, about a month ago or so. I was just rambling one day, and happened to mention, now all i need is a shelf above that stove. Skip looked at me, said ok, went to his garage, and about an hour later, came in with that shelf. I was a little stunned to say the least.

The funky part about this shelf is, we once had an old upright piano, after the kids left, it spent it`s time being moved from room to room, i tried, but i could`nt give it away. It was`nt one of those pretty old ones, this was stained very dark, almost black and very plain. So, one day, i had Skip and the boy tear it apart. Skip saved all the wood, for whatever reason. Part of that old piano is the shelves , the sides were made by something else that once was, and are stained a nice green. I was going to paint the whole thing but the more i looked at it, the more i loved it just as it was. So, i finally have a shelf ! You rock Skip!

We love coffee, he loves Folgers, and i LOVE Folgers Vanilla Biscottie. That little brown jar on the top shelf holds mine. The rule is, whoever gets up first and makes coffe, gets to make their favorite. We gave our bunn coffee maker a place of it`s own. Meet my coffee corner. i just finished that little rug yesterday. Is`nt it cute? I love my coffee corner!

Soon i will be completly done with my kitchen and that will be a huge releif! Then i`ll show you the rest of my kitchen.
Untill then, happy sipping!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

From Rags To Riches

This is what i started with for this project, strips of fabric cut and rolled up into a bunch of balls. They don`t look very promising do they? I never know which balls i will use untill the project has been started. Oh, see that trunk those balls are on? I picked that up at a garage sale years ago. The old man who was selling it was in his late 70`s, came from finland with his mother when he was a boy, and this is the trunk they brought with them. He had painted it white and was using it for a tool box in his garage. He wanted $2 for it, can you believe that?

I have obviously chosen beige as my starting point. I love beige, that helps. Hmmmm, my quilt seems to be hanging a bit lopsided, i will remedy that soon.

I also love forest green, and many other shades of green, i`m a green freak. As you can clearly see, my *model* is not so much into fashion, and, he really can`t crochet a lick, but i needed his big strong hands, and he was game. Notice the remote , always by his side. I have used two rows of forest green, and now am chasing it with beige again. Do you know what this is yet?

I thought this gold would be a nice addition, what do you think?

Wow, that went fast! I`m done already! it`s a heart shaped rug, i have been making these for years, I`ve sold quite a few also, infact, i am considering selling them at a local craft fair brfore Christmas, we`ll see. I also make oval and round ones too, those are alot of fun too, and you`d be surprised how fast they work up. If Addy sees this post, she is going to remind me that i did promise to send her the day. So there you have it, my rug!

Maybe now my son in law Scott will believe i actually make these rugs and not buy them as he thought last Christmas. Scott, do you? huh do you?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Favorite Place

The Chippewa used to called this lake Gitche Gumee, We call it Lake Superior. The North Shore of this lake is my favorite place. There is so much beauty , it takes Your breath away.We used to go there every year, it was Mine and Skips little get away place alone. We`d take one weekend during the summer, or fall, and as late as November, It did`nt matter when, it`s beauty was year round. It has been several years since we have been there, and i really do think it is time to make that little trip again soon.

The North Shore begins in Duluth, MN. My favorite place in Duluth is Canal Park. This light house is at Canal Park, it is a great place to stand and watch the ships and boats come in. Canal Park has wonderful shops, great dining places, a maritime museum, a boardwalk along the shore, and hundreds of seagulls. it is a very fun place to visit.

But the most interesting thing it has, is this lift bridge. This bridge was built during 1929-1930, it`s purpose was to connect Park Point to Canal Park, Park Point being a residential neighborhood, but a regular bridge would not do, because ships and boats had to be able to pass under it to get into the harbor. So C.P. Turner and Thomas F. McGilvry designed a lift bridge. The bridges maximum height is 227 feet, it`s length is 386 feet. This is the bridge when it is in the down position.
Below is the bridge lifting to allow a boat to pass under, the bridge does`nt always rise to it`s full height, it only lifts to the height needed to allow a peticular boat to pass. It is operated manually. Look closely and you can see a small boat passing under. When the bridge lifts, traffic from both directions stop and wait. This is Duluths biggest attraction.
After the stop at Canal Park, which never gets boring, it is off to the North Shore of this huge beautiful lake. Lake Superior is the coldest, deepest and highest in elevation of the Great Lakes, it is 350 miles long, and 160 mile wide, and has 2,980 miles of shoreline. There is alot to explore along this lake!

Speaking of cold, one unusually hot summer, we packed the kids in the car and headed for Lake Superior to go swimming. We are 90 miles from the lake, and the promise of cooler weather was too hard to resist. When we got to the lake, we all joined hands so we would not lose the kids, and tip toed into the lake, oh my gosh! Immediately our legs began to sting from the cold, and we could not stay in there longer than a couple minutes, as we were rushing out of the lake, mind you , we were still holding hands, a passerby looked at us and said, " you all look like a suicide pact!" I swear i heard him mumble " tourists!" It was the quickest dip we`d ever taken. Since then, we stay on the shore or rocks when we visit. Is`nt it beautiful?!
See those stones below? This is how the rocks wash up on shore, all rounded smooth, and flat. miles and miles of these stones. It is a great place for a rock hound.

Below is the Temperance River Gorge, it is stunning. But do not step too closely to the edge, it is dangerous, if you fall in, you will not come out alive. The water in this gorge is so forcefull it will spit you into the lake in a matter of minutes.

This pretty waterfall is the Cascade River Falls, everywhere you go along the North Shore is pictureque, for miles and miles.

Below is an Ore Boat, this is a common site on Lake Superior, these boats haul the ore that comes out of the Taconite Mines on the Iron Range in Northeaster Minnesota. The lake is filled with these boats.

And this spectacular site is The Split Rock Light House. One of several that can be found along the North Shore. These rocky cliff shores are plentiful, we once stayed a night in a cabin that was built right on the edge of a similar cliff. It was an amazing view.

These are just a few of the sites that keep bringing me back again and again. Everytime i go there, something new is discovered. If you ever get the opportunity, go there, see it, you won`t be dissapointed.

My First Blog Giveaway Win

Not that i am bragging or anything, no no no, BUT, if you mosie on over to Noble Pigs website, you will see that i just won a book! The Food Snobs Dictionary, and i can`t wait to get it. Look to the side bar and just click on Noble Pig, that will take you there!

Are you all jealous or what?

And, something is wrong with my blogger, i can`t download pics, or ANYTHING. It may be my computer, i am going to check that out right now. I really wanted to do a post about my favorite place, Lake Superiors North stay tuned!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

One Down, Three to Go

Three sides that is!

Whew, the front of the house i completely done, save for the porch floor, that is being saved untill next spring, it`s a big job.

I was a bundle of nerves as i sat on my bed looking out the window at Skip up on that ladder which was resting on the porch roof, as He painted the very peak. It was then that i decided he should not be the only one risking his life for the restoration of this big ole house. So i crawled out the bedroom window to hold the ladder for him. Well, not hold the ladder, but steady it while he was on it. That did`nt work out to good.

You see, i am a little bit afraid of heights. Heights make me dizzy. Heights make me want to grab on to something really tight and hold on for dear life. So i did. Only one problem, everytime i became dizzy, and grabbed tighter onto the ladder, Skip, the big baby , let out a yelp, like he was falling. sheesh. like i`d let him fall.

After some begging on his part, i finally crawled back through the window, which allowed him to finish painting. Guess he can`t hold onto a ladder for dear life and paint at the same time. I did`nt know that.

I went back to bed sitting and watching the ladder. Ready to spring into action should it begin to slip from the roof. I`m a good wife that way.

See this floor? I love this old floor. I am hoping we can reuse these old boards when we redo the under belly of the porch next spring. I want to keep everything i can as original as possible. See that round wooden table? I picked that up at a garage sale a couple years ago, i am going to paint it, as soon as i decide the colors. I think it will look darling. Skip and i play yahtzee on that table in the evenings when the weather has cooled. I`m currantly on a winning streak.

Today i made seat cushions for the wicker love seat and the one chair, not completely satisfied with the fabric, but, for now it will do. I also gave the wicker a coat of white paint. I have been very busy.

Anyway, that is the progress on the house so won`t be finished this summer, i am hoping it will be by the end of next summer.

Till next time.......adios!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Crazy Times

I used to laugh when i listened to my Mother and Mother In Law talk about how it was when they were having their babies. To me, it sounded so rediculous, and old fashioned.

When They were in labor, they were given chloreform, ether and gas. Sounds a little like over kill does`nt it? They were totally knocked out and had to wait to regain consciousness before they knew what they had given birth to. Their hospital stays were about 10 days, give or take a day or two. Once they had given birth, it was several days before they were allowed to dangle Their feet, imagine that, dangle Their feet from the bed! Giving birth was time consuming to say the least.

Now, years later, 35 years after i first gave birth, i`m not laughing so much, it`s my kids who think those days were rediculously old fashioned. they cringe when i tell them how drinking while pregnant was not bad for babies then. Or so we thought.

I gave birth to 4 babies. I have never had an ultra sound, nor have i had an epidural, the only thing remotely related to pain killers, was one hypo i had one time with my firstborn. That pretty much just relaxed me enough to take the labor pains away so i could start all over again, which is why i only had one.

It seems so strange when i look back at those times now. Like it was a differant planet.

I remember the morning after i had given birth to my first baby, i was laying in bed, the baby was in a little bassinet across the room, when Dr. Walker walked in to examine me, he was holding a lit cigarrette. You could`nt find a NO SMOKING sign back then if your life depended on it. The oddest thing was, we thought nothing of seeing a Dr doing his rounds with a cigarette in his hand.

But, God forbid if a relative tried to walk into my room. No Allowed. My parents, and Inlaws had to stand outside the window of my room to see the baby. She was born in Febuary, it was a little chilly looking in!

Then, when it was time to leave the hospital, the nurse carried the baby to the car, and handed her to me, into my arms, there were no car seats. Off we drove.

We raised 4 kids and never owned a car seat. We have been so incredibly lucky with our kids.

My, How times have changed.............Thank God.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dog Gone Bad Day

That seemingly innocent pooch was a terror on my last day of blueberry picking. And it made me wonder if he would ever be able to be my blueberry side kick.

Our day has started out well enough, we had done some painting on the house and decided to go berry picking, so Skip, Flynn and i piled into the rusty roller, pail and bug dope in hand. The sun was shining, it was a glorious day. The berries were starting to dry up and this would be the last day of picking for me.

Flynn and i started picking, ok, flynn did`nt pick, he followed me and watched me pick, then mosied off into the woods, i knew he was`nt far away. Skip was sitting in the truck box whittling a piece of diamond willow. Little did we know, our perfect day was about to end.

A truck pulls up next to ours, and a local from town gets out with her pail in hand, just then i hear Skip yell, "Is Flynn with you?" I look around, and yell," Flynn?" Mistake number one, Skips mistake was not asking Penny to sit in her truck untill we get our dog.

Flynn, he`s a big one. He is 60 pounds of rambunctious puppy, who has very few social skills at the moment. Poor unsuspecting Penny, with her picking basket in hand, is suddenly standing next to me just as Flynn comes bounding out of the woods at full speed, i instantly start to sweat and panic, knowing no good will come of this. You see, Flynn thinks everyone loves him to death, and surely is as happy to see him, as he is to see.......anyone.

I brace myself, and inch closer to penny, knowing Flynn is going right for her. He slams into her, almost knocking her off her feet, and jumps up on her. I try to grab hold of his collor and at the same time i yell, " SKIP BRING HIS LEASH!!" I can`t get ahold of Flynn because in his excitement, he is jumping up and down on penny, and lovingly putting his mouth around pennys hand and arms. I glance at skip up the hill calmly talking to pennys husband and i scream again, "SKIP BRING THE LEASH!!!"

Finally, i get Flynn down on the ground, basically by throwing myself on him, right smack dab in the middle of a blueberry patch! And i scream, "SKIP BRING HIS LEASH!!!" as i start dragging him up the little hill, all the while he`s fighting me trying to love on penny some more.

FINALLY, Skip notices, and comes with his leash. Skip drags Flynn to the rusty roller and puts him inside, Penny comes walking to the truck with blood dripping down her arms. We pour water over her arms and apologize embarrassingly. I just wanted to choke Flynn.

Skip takes Flynn home, by the time he gets back, Penny and her husband have left to go to bluer pastures, and my blueberry picking was over, i was so upset about what had happened, i had lost heart with the picking.

Later on in the afternoon, we went over to Pennys house to see how she was. Flynn was grounded to his kennel.

Penny was a trooper about the whole incident, and again we apologized and then got a better look at her wounds. On her left arm there was the bigger cut, where flynn had his mouth around her arm, and when she pulled her arm away, his teeth opened her flesh. On her right arm, was a scratch from his nail. Uhhhgggg, i got mad all over again!

Poor big ole baby flynn, he does`nt mean to hurt anyone, he does`nt bite, he just likes having arms , legs, fingers in his mouth, and he does`nt realize how big and strong he is, cuz, he`s still a baby. And we can`t seem to make him understand that he is just to big to be jumping and nibbling on people.

And to Pennys credit, she was extremely understanding and kind towards flynn. Ya gotta love a small town. They have very good people in them.

So now, we try harder to be one step ahead of Flynn and count the days untill he..........matures and learns.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Blueberry Lust

The Husband, the dog and i were out at the blueberry patch at 7:30 this morning. This bowl full of Blueberries is what i picked in two hours. Not bad!

Skip goes with me, but does not pick berries, instead he cuts down diamond willow sticks, then takes them to the truck, and peels the bark off of them, preparing them to be made into.....things.

Flynn the pooch, comes alone for excersize, and protecting me from rabbits and squirls, and hopefully bears. He loves romping through the woods, stopping occationally to eat a few berries off a bush, the pooch is crazy for blueberries.

I hope to get out one more time, and that should do it for the berries, i will have enough to last the winter. Muffins, crisps, pancakes, and whatever else i think up, such a treat during the long long winter.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Olden Days

My Grandmother Louise was Norwegian through and through, she came from a large family of ten, five sisters, and two brothers. I don`t remember much of the brothers, but the sisters, many memories.

There was, Auntie Thea, Auntie Ella, Auntie Laura, Auntie Frida, and Auntie Amelia. Auntie Laura i knew the least. All of them were quite beefy and bosomy except for Auntie Thea, she was the smallest one. The funny thing about them was, they were born right here in the USA, but they all pronounced the word thumb, as tumb. Throughout their lives, the sisters stayed close.

My most delicious memories of them were summer memories, the yearly family reunion. The brothers larence and Thomas , even showed up for that. Every year, it was held in a pie shaped park in my home town in Southern Mn, a small farming community. These Aunts all had five and six kids between them, except for my grandmother, she had only three, and all of those kids had kids, so you can imagine, that little park was near bursting with Norwegians, many of them having funny names, such as, Ludvig, Selmer, Hans, Severin and Olloff.

When the cars pulled up to the curb, piles of kids got out of those cars, not carrying games and toys to keep them busy, all they came with was themselves, and imagination. We played and played with just each other, for hours and hours. We played Red Rover and Simon Says, and we ate and ate.

I remember these matriarchs in their cotton dresses, thier aprons tied under their heavy breasts, sitting clustered around each other catching up on family news, holding plates ladened with food. Their hair up in tight buns at the back of their heads, except my grandmother, i don`t ever remember her with a bun. She must have been the rebel of the bunch.

There was food everywhere, oh the food! Everything was made from scratch back then, everything was pretty much organic and home grown. Fried chicken, potato salads, cakes, bars, baked beans, corn on the cob, breads and buns. I don`t believe i have had fried chicken like that since i was a young child. These women could cook!

This was forty-five, fifty years ago, a differant time and place. The Sisters are gone now, most of their children are gone, and some of their grandchildren. There is no one left to say tumb. The family reunion has dwindled to almost becoming extinct, and life has changed drastically since those days so long ago.

But one thing remains of those sisters, their inner strength, i saw it in my mother and her sisters, i see it in my cousins, and i see it in my daughters, that tough Norwegian stock.

But would`nt you know? Not a one of us can fry chicken like they did. Nuts

My Little Experiment

Everytime I go to the grocery store, I literally gasp at the prices, they are rising so fast that there is always something new that has increased in price since i last bought it.

Even though we are seeing a decrease in gas prices, it is small comfort, i really doubt we will see them drop to what they were before all the craziness started. This craziness is what has inspired me to do something about the rising costs, even though it is a small change, it is a change non the less. Baby steps. I am have been experimenting.

For the last 3 weeks or so, i have been unplugging stuff. It is a rather pesty thing to do, especially with the television, but i am determined, and have already seen a big differance in the electric bill.

About 6 weeks ago, we brought a HD Flat Screen TV into the house, one night i was talking to my sister who also has one. She told me that she unplugs hers every night because these televisions use 3 times the electricity than the old ones.

So, i started unplugging mine, which is a pain because i also unplug the cable box, it loses the tv guide for an hour or so everytime it is unplugged, so we never know what is airing when we sit down to watch it. I unplug the microwave, the toaster, the upstairs tv and cable box, the Cd player, the computer, and anything else i find plugged in that we don`t need at the moment.

Did you know that most everything electrical draws electricity even when it is`nt turned on or being used? Well, it does. Before i started unplugging, i`d lay in bed envisioning the electric meter turning and turning all night long. Do i need a life or what? It started bothering me.

The electric bill arrived. Last month my electric bill was $60.00. The month before it was $119.00. Whoa! Now, i don`t know if that big drop was due to my incessant unplugging, but it had to have helped quite a bit. So, i am continuing this unplugging experiment and anxiously await the next bill.

Think of all the expensive gas I can buy now with my electricity savings!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

So I Cheated

I can admit that, i cheat............ so spank me.

I woke up this morning and dived right into cleaning, washing clothers, dusting, sweeping, the usual stuff, i even worked up a sweat thinking i had to hurry, hurry ,hurry, because company would be here around noonish.

Then I thought, hmmm, I really should have something to go with coffee, so I looked and searched, and found a pre-made graham cracker crust, and a box of cheesecake jello pudding mix. (instant.....of course)

I mixed up the pudding, poured it into the crust, and stuck it in the refridgerator. Then thought it looked very plain. I dived into my blueberry stash in the freezer and made a thick blueberry sauce with sugar and corn starch.

This is what became of the pie, it looks very yummy, and if that company ever gets here, i`ll be able to tell you how scrumptious it is.

Skip and i were hungry, we had been to busy to eat breakfast soooooooooooo....

We brunched on plain bagles spread with cream cheese, a layer of left over blueberry sauce, and a smidgeon of kiwi. Oh My God, it was delitious! Even Skip loved it and he is`nt much on fufu foods. But look, does`nt it look divine

So, i cheated and did`nt need to, as you can see, i had plenty of time to make something completely homemade but, i think that pie is going to be so good, i will sleep tonight without a guilty conscious!

And, i had time to blog!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Tis The Season

Blueberry Season!

It has been awhile since I have posted, so this is the reason, I am a picken and a cleanin them.
And, we are getting company on Saturday, our oldest friends, the Tolvanens are coming for a short visit. So, it has been a little busy around here lately.

I called Deb the other night and told her to be prepared to pick, they used to live up here near us but now live in central WI. She has`nt been picking for quite a few years, so she is thrilled. Exciting hmmm? Get company and put them to work!

So, see you next week!