Take a walk in Blue Bell Woods listen to the sounds around you, of bird song and bees. Smell the flowers and the scent of Spring in the air. Every year is a new beginning and every day a blessing

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." (Colossians 3:15a NIV)I would love to hear from you, if you don't have a blog you can still comment, join google it's free. I appreciate hearing from you.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Way back when...................

Do you realize just how much time we waste doing nothing? I was reading an article about Amish girls and what they are expected to know before marriage. Well, it always used to be that way for most girls when I was young. There was no TV for us until 1952. We got our first one to watch the coronation, but it had very limited programming. We listened to the radio for entertainment.
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I will always remember "The Hound of the Baskerville's" on the radio. I was terrified. Anyway who had time in those days. I was born in 1946 on the cusp of changes in society. Women had stayed in the work force when the war ended and domesticity changed. Through the years in school we were taught house crafts. Everything was done by hand and so took plenty of time. Kids had so much more freedom though and we were gone all day when we were not in school. We learned to do dishes just as the Amish do. One washed while one wiped. You also rinsed the dishes. The water was boiled on the stove for chores. Also for daily washing and hygiene because we had no hot water. The once a week bath was completed with water heated in a copper. A large gas lit tub. The whites were also boiled in the copper.
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My mum didn't can anything. We got all our veggies fresh from the farm or market so I suppose she didn't feel the need. Before that my grandparents both grew thier own and had chickens. It was what people did. I know my Granddad Burt had rabbit's I was not to know they were for food. Poor things. I was unaware when it came to that stuff. I was so naive that when I saw the animals going into the abattoir I never associated it with being killed and sold in the shop. Even though I saw blood running down to the street to the drains. People were I suppose closer to nature back then. I saw the pheasants and chickens hanging in the window of the butcher shops. They used every part of the animals for food. My dad loved Pigs trotters and cows tongue and even brains in some form ewwwwwww. I no longer eat red meat thank goodness.
Anyway, the Amish girls also learn to work in the fields and orchards and vegetable gardens. Children had much to do. We didn't do that much but we did learn HOW. My Dad loved his garden and taught me stuff I have not forgotten. How to graft on a fruit tree and form the tree into an Espalier.
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the Amish girls learn to drive a buggy now that's one thing I could not do but it doesn't look too difficult so I am sure I could do it if I had a cooperative horse.
In school we learned to sew and embroider to make clothes and decorate table cloths etc. I can remember a couple of disasters but also some successes. I did make my own clothes for a long time. My friends and I would get together and make us each a dress to go out in at the weekend. My dad bought my mum and me a sewing machine. I made a friend her wedding dress and would make my neighbour a new dress for her to go out in. We learned to cook and clean. I remember being told to never use any dish or cup that was cracked because bacteria would grow in the cracks. Some things you never forget.
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In school we also learned to keep a garden, track weather and everything else we needed to know. Although everything I learned I learned from my dad who set aside a little spot in his garden for me. I think he did more of it than me though. Short attention spans and all that.
So what happened? Was it the TV that got more and more intrusive. The Amish do not have TV and so it is so much easier to do those hand crafts. I remember mum and dad sitting by the fire embroidering or my dad making baskets while mum knitted. I have learned all those skills because like my Dad I just wanted to know how. The only thing I have not tackled that I can think of is Tatting. I may yet try but my vision is not what it was and it looks fiddly.
Laundry was done by hand and hung out to dry on the outside line as the Amish does now.
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The difference is the Amish in their modesty wear plain clothes that they make themselves, both men and womens clothes. Even their quilts are plain but hand made too. Wow.
Another chore that is now easier due to Windex is window cleaning. Back in the day it was done with a pink "lotion" that dried pink and was rubbed off with newspaper, no paper towels then
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Upstairs windows one sat on the sill with window closed over the knees to keep one safe as you did outside as well as inside. I didn't like that job.
So part two of this saga will be herbs and medicines.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Amish Country...............

One thing I enjoy when we go downstate is the Amish country. I love the big ol' farms down near Mt Pleasant. The countryside is much different from here further north. Its flatter and ideal farm land. It's good to see the crops and the cycle of life. Right now the ploughs have been at work and the rye grass sown. The corn (Maize) stalks are being cut and stacked in bundles (shocks) to cure and dry. We were lucky to see an Amish farmer cutting with his with a two horse team.
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The fields are mostly ready for next Spring sowing.
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The Amish farms are no doubt passed down generations and some are really big. I have heard that many Amish are not kind to their animals. They are "work" horses and used to pull the carriages. They are not pets. They are worked until they can no longer work. I have no idea and do not want to know if this is true. I assume even they have exceptions.I hope it's not true.
Recently there have been a few horses killed in road accidents. Usually its the other persons fault being impatient and overtaking when not safe. Children have been killed as well as the horses. Today there was one on the news, the person driving the buggy lost control and the horse pulled out in front of a child in bad shape after being thrown out of the buggy. Its just a matter of patience mainly because they are slow but they have the right of way. Took us awhile to get around this one.
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The carriage horses are nearly always black. Maybe common ancestors.
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In this area there are several stores and they sell the vegetables and baked goods. The prices are really good and we have several we go down to, it's worth the trip to get the wonderful butter and cheese. They also sell bulk goods.
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I love seeing the women in their special dresses, all hand sewn with white caps. So refreshing after the fashions seen by the rest of us. I seldom take pictures of the people I feel I am intruding.
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The leaves still have some colour down there, where here they have mainly fallen now
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I missed a couple of chances to get pictures of the washing on the line but got this one
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I do love the Tamarack trees. They look like pines but have softer needles and they turn yellow in the Fall. When the sun is on them they glow
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Anyway, I could live down there in farm country except..........I can not take the cattle trucks and the knowing what happens to the beautiful creatures in the fields.
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I would get a farm and rescue who I could (smile) take in the old horses and the unwanted ones. Maybe an old farm to fix up. A dream. Not a reality................

Thursday, November 9, 2017

weekend at Nancy's...............................

I asked Gerry if I could go down to visit with Nancy, I was going with Edna. We left Friday morning and came home on Monday around noon. I was expecting to get back Sunday but Edna wanted to go get some Cider at an Amish store that would be closed Sunday. Fine by me. We got there around noon on Friday and after lunch (Nancy made a beef and barley soup that was great) and after that we started our adventure. While I can't remember the sequence of events I do remember mostly where we went. I had a headache all weekend and didn't feel the best, but we sure had fun.
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Nancy had found some really cool thrift shops and craft/art shops. Naturally we did go to a couple of quilt shops even though I had sort of sworn off getting any more fabric. Well I did get a few pieces, of course I did.
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The antique stores and thrift shops were really nice. I bought some nice old doilies and a few little Christmas things so that I would remember how to do them. I like to take pictures of ideas or buy a sample if not expensive. The trick is to actually do the projects.
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We headed into Amish country. I do so love seeing the Amish horses and carriages
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We went into several Amish stores, they have the best produce. The butter is to die for. I dare not buy it. You know me and butter.Nancy wanted apples. We were thrilled to see this guy cutting the corn, several fields had stacks (sheaves) of corn stalks.
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We saved some of the places for Saturday but Friday night we had supper and stayed in. We stayed up late (for them) and I slept really well. Nancy made all kinds of stuff and we were really full.
Saturday morning we ate a big breakfast and set out around 10am. We found several places that we wanted to explore.
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I bought a set of fabric that I could not resist and some odds and ends. I really didn't mean to but sometimes you just have to.
We saw this guy along the road and I had to stop and get his picture. He was going to come over to the gate but changed his mind so I just talked to him, isn't he just magnificent?
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I think I could live down there but it upsets me to see the cattle trucks go by with those poor unfortunate creatures heading to market.I no longer eat meat, beef or pork but that does not stop anything.
This is the small town of Gladwin I believe.
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We stopped by a little store where the lady lives on premises. She does paintings, jewelry among other crafts and sells them from her house as well as in other locations. What a Lovely thing to be able to do. She had this cute little helper.
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Friday evening we went to a local bar and had their fish fry. Saturday we went back and I had a mushroom swiss burgher (sorry I was bad and ate some beef) the food was so good both nights. Friday it was packed to the brim and next night we were the only ones there.
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We were in bed by 9.30 we did not turn the TV on once and it was wonderful. We chatted on about everything and it was so good to just sit with friends and never run out of things to talk about. I had taken Nancy some old Country Living magazines and we looked at those while we chatted.
Sunday we again ate a large breakfast before we went out. We went to Joannes and then Kohl's but we had enough of that and went home.
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We had another early night. Well they get up at 5am. I am not an early riser compare to those two but after hitting the sack at 9.30 I was up at the crack of dawn too. Sunday we stopped to pick up cider for Edna
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pressing the apples
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We left quite early Monday morning because Edna wanted to stop at another Amish store on the way home. It was a great weekend. We must do that more often.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Sunny windy day in the woods.................................

Today was just too nice to stay inside. gabby was feeling a bit better and Cooper too. So forget the housework and everything else I should be doing and off we go.
The leaves are not at a peak, nowhere near. Still I got a few good shots.
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That was probably one of the only coloured trees on the lake but it certainly makes a nice picture. I had to be selective and crop the rest out
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We were glad to be out in the fresh air and get our lungs cleaned out.
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I wonder how many people walk in the woods but do not really SEE? I doubt the little ones will remember but I try to explain. The circle of life. Why do the trees die in Winter. Well, they don't they shed their leaves and nuts so that the animals have food and stuff to make houses for Winter. Then what they don't eat grows a new tree, pointing to a small baby Oak tree.
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The thing is things must die so others can live but in all things, it is not the end. The next season comes and covers it all in snow and the earth sleeps, rests and the little bugs break it all down to enrich the earth. Then the Spring always comes and new life comes from the old.
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Besides, the seeds are beautiful all of their own accord
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It was hard going, we have not been walking in awhile. This cough has dragged us all down. Cooper has a sinus infection and Gabby is hacking her lungs up. Me and Gerry are still coughing but I think its allergies. I have missed going out. The weather is so nice I just had to get out. It is supposed to be nice for the rest of the weekend and next week lower temps. Maybe I can work in the yard but I still have a lot to do in the house. I bought a new carpet shampooer. Every room needs doing.
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Not much in the way of wildlife, one lonely duck but then we didn't travel far. Just the Silver lake park.
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The Beavers have left, no surprise, just way too busy at this lake. I miss seeing them, wonder where they went.
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I should take a ride out to Port Oneida and see how that little guy is doing. He has flooded one of the roads and the park just closed the road, so he gets to stay and change the landscape.
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Well, it wasn't a long walk, just about enough for Cooper. He was tired. Starting to complain. When I think how far Tristen and Reina used to walk, we would go for miles at Coopers age. (He is 4) Well I better get walking again or next year will be even harder. Several weeks now I had not been feeling well. A bit better now but really not a lot of time left for this year, but if it stays nice like this who knows.
I love the seed pods and the fall colours so I really do hope we can have a while longer to enjoy it.
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Well thats it for today.............hoping for a good weekend.