Thursday, April 17, 2014

Back in Time - Freda

Freda and Terry S.
approx. 1980
Freda was a Red Angus and Holstein cross and was the first born on the farm. She was named after Fred, a redheaded young man, who worked for my mother and brother. Freda became one of my mother's favorite bucket babies, and she continued to seek attention as she grew.

My nephew Terry (shown in the photo) is a dare devil and will try practically anything. Since Freda was so docile, he thought he could sit on her back, and he did many times. The day I was there to take photos, he had just finished his irrigating duties, which is why he is still wearing his irrigation boots.

Terry and Freda

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Simple Beauty

April 2014
Last week, I was stuck by the simple beauty of the morning sun casting a shadow on the wall near my grandmother's china cabinet.

The cabinet is probably close to 100 years old: I inherited it from my mother, who inherited from her mother. I remember when Uncle Otto (my mother's brother) delivered the cabinet to the farm on a bitter cold day in December. Wrapped in old quilts and blankets, the cabinet had traveled in the back of his pick-up from South Dakota. Mom was afraid the glass would crack when the cabinet was brought into the house.

I, too, worried about the glass when I moved the cabinet to my home 20 years ago. The glass in the door has dimples and waves in it, and the side pieces are curved. The glass and finish are original. This is the oldest piece of furniture that I own.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Two Special Ladies

Ferne Watson, me, Rosie Baker
approx. 1994
Ferne and Rosie fed over two hundred individuals a delicious, homemade hot lunch for over 30 years. I doubt that one student ever said they disliked anything these ladies created.  I remember thick and creamy potato soup with oven-baked cheese sandwiches, shepherd pie, macaroni and cheese, cabbage rolls, chocolate pudding (not from a box), cakes, pies, cookies, and their famous cinnamon rolls. They baked bread or rolls every day. These women were Masters in the kitchen!

They used federal commodities (cheese, canned fruits and meats, flour, etc.) to create their meals, but none of their entrees were pre-made and heated: their meals were prepared from scratch, and the results was heavenly. Students and staff often went back for seconds.

Ferne and Rosie cared about the students they fed and would often check on someone who hadn't eaten lunch or who was experiencing some problems in their life. Ferne loved kids, and she and her husband raised several foster children.

If the students (usually freshmen) got a little too rambunctious in the lunchroom, all it took to calm things down was for Ferne to walk about with her long yard stick. If peas were flicked around the room, she swiftly cornered the culprits, and they had clean-up duty. No one messed around in Ferne's lunchroom, and the principals quickly learned that was her domain.

When Ferne and Rosie retired, it didn't take the replacements long to begin serving pre-made and processed food.

Until Ferne passed away, we visited through telephone calls or letters frequently and met for lunch four or five times a year. She held a very special place in my heart. Rosie's health is now failing, but we manage to get together when we can.

If you need a great cake for a crowd, here is one of Ferne's recipes. I doubt the students even knew the cake they loved so much was made with prunes!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Home(s), Sweet Home

Childhood home
Wild Licorice Road
approx. 1960
Throughout my life I have lived in multiple houses, a dorm, apartments, a trailer house, and a BOQ. Each was unique and most were comfortable, but all were home for at least a year.
Spanish Walk Apartments
Wheatland, WY
approx. 1976
I lived and worked in Wheatland for six years, and while there lived in a motel room (for a month until my apartment was vacant), a basement apartment in an elderly lady's house (for one year), an apartment (for a year), a house with a friend (for six months), and a trailer house (for three years).

The Spanish Walk apartment was a great place to live - one block from the school. The living room had a Murphy bed in the wall that could be used for guests. This apartment was memorable because of the steam radiators that sometimes went ballistic and poured massive amounts of steam into the apartment, resulting in the exterior doors swelling. I had to climb through the bedroom window once in order to go to work.

Card's Trailer Court
Wheatland, WY
approx. 1977
I loved this trailer and purchased it in 1977. It had a kitchen with windows across the entire front of the trailer, a small dining area with a built-in china hutch, an large living room, two bedrooms, and a full bath. I especially liked that the hallway did not go through the bedrooms. The master bedroom was at the rear of the trailer and also had window across the entire wall. The only problem was that the wind often howls in Wheatland, and sometimes the windows would actually bow under the pressure. I slept in the spare bedroom when that occurred. The bathroom had space for a full-sized washer and dryer. The trailer was sold when I moved to Japan. Photos of my house in Japan can be found here.

Pavillion, WY
approx. 1982
This small house in Pavillion belonged to my brother, Rich. I rented it for a year or two. It was tiny but comfortable. The front door opened into the living room, two small bedrooms were on the right, next to the bedrooms was a bathroom. On the left of the living room, another small bedroom had been converted into a dining room (part of the wall was cut out to open up the room. The minuscule kitchen and a laundry room were behind the dining area. I enjoyed living in this house, but the water pressure was terrible in town and it took nearly 40 minutes for the washer to fill enough to wash a load. Doing laundry took all day.

My brother purchased the house from the school district in the 1970s. At the time, the district had several houses that they rented to teachers. When I was in high school, Coach Frost lived in this house.

farm house on Teacher's Road
north of Pavillion, WY
approx. 1983 or 1984
When the renters of the house on my brother's farm (Over North) moved, my brother asked if I wanted to move to the farm. I rented this house until 1993. This house had been moved to the farm in the late 70s or 80s. My brother purchased the house from our cousin. There had been a fire in the basement, but the house itself was still in good shape. While I'm sure this was a good deal, the house always smelled of smoke, especially during the winter when all the windows and doors were closed. I liked living in the country again and being able to see all the wildlife. I liked the openness of the country. When I first moved into the house, a young couple lived across the road, but eventually they sold the farm and after that, no one lived in that house. The nearest neighbor was about a mile away. The roads to this house could be a nightmare to drive everyday to get to work. I fought snow drifts, mud, and a "lake" that a neighbor created with his unmanaged irrigation water. My little Toyota Tercel was a real warrior on those roads - it was a car with a lot of heart. It pushed snow with its front bumper many times, it climbed a mud-bog hill, and it dodged massive ruts, created by vehicles with a wider wheel base. I loved that little car.

The farm house had three bedrooms, two baths, a laundry area, a large living room, a dining room, a large kitchen, and a two-car attached garage. Surrounding the house was a large yard. I planted a lot of trees in the 9 - 10 years that I lived in the house. I planted lilacs, currants, apple trees and pine trees. The year before I moved, I harvested a few small apples.
house in Riverton
Spring 1993

I purchased my Riverton house the Spring of 1993. It is hard to believe that I have lived here 21 years. The house is very comfortable with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a front room; however, the part that sold me on this house was the kitchen, dining, and family room combo.

The house hasn't changed in appearance too much other than the addition of vinyl siding. The split-rail fence was also removed after I lived here about five years. It's amazing how much the trees have grown in 20+ years.

Do you have photos of your homes through the years?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Foreign Friday

Receptionist at Robert D. Edgren High School
Misawa AFB, Japan
Sumiko-san was the first person to greet me when I entered the main school building every morning: "Ohayou gozaimasu, Nancy-san!"

It was from Sumiko-san that I learned the basic Japanese greetings:
"Ohayou gozaimasu" - good morning
"Sumi masen" - excuse me (to get attention)
"Gomen nasai" - pardon me
"Domo - Arigato" - thank you very much
"Arigato" - thank you
"Domo" - informal thank you
"Konnichiwa" - good afternoon
"Konbanwa" - good evening

Sumiko-san is a part of my first quilt
Memories of Sumiko-san are lovingly stitched into my first quilt.

Sumiko-san and many others made my two years at Edgren and Japan a pleasant and memorable adventure. "Domo - Arigato, Sumiko-san!"

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tap, Tap, Tap

From previous posts, it should not come as a surprise that I love to work on jigsaw puzzles. Before storing the folding table in the garage for the summer, I worked on one final puzzle, a 500-piece image of nothing but crayons. It was challenging and a lot of fun.

I don't remember how it got started, but whenever I work on puzzles with Marilyn (my sister) and Brenda (my niece), it is common to softly (or sometimes, not so softly) tap the pieces as they fit into the puzzle. Sometimes we even say, "Tap, tap, tap!" as the piece slips into its rightful position.

Before I finished the crayon puzzle, I sent Brenda a text:

Are we the only ones who "tap, tap, tap" the puzzle pieces, or does your family do it, too?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Benched for the Season(s)

Noro scarf turned cowl

I loved the the Fall Swap Scarf knit from the Noro yarn so much that I adapted the pattern to knit a cowl. Things did not turn out as I planned, but I can live with the result.

My original intent was to use a provisional cast-on and graft the stitches when finished; thus, creating a cowl. It sounded feasible, so I cast on and knit, using the Noro Striped Scarf pattern from Ravelry. As I neared the end of the two balls of Noro, I researched grafting a 1 x 1 rib. Hmmm, not as easy as I thought, as it is considerably different than the kitchner stitch I use to graft sock toes. No matter how much I tried, I could not wrap my mind around grafting for the ribbing. Finally in frustration, I used the three-needle bind off. The seam is visible on one side, but it should not be a problem when worn around the neck.

Spring is nearly here, and the days of wearing a thick, wool cowl have hopefully passed for the year. This cowl's debut must, therefore, be delayed until cold temperatures return in six or seven months. I'm not going to complain, as I am ready for some warm sunshine.

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