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.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Tristen's weekend, September......................................

We don't get to see Tristen so much anymore, I am not sure why except that they keep him busy. That's good in some ways. Dan told him that whatever he does he does it because it's for his best interests. He said he promised his mother when she died. Well...........that's not what I heard. Laura was with her and she says Alex told HER to take care of Tristen. So, what happened? Neither of them took Tristen. I did. Maybe a baby was too much trouble? Now he is a little boy I guess I am chopped liver. Sigh!!!
So when Tristen does come over we try to do what he would like to do. First off he always takes a bath, he only gets showers over there (so he says) and he likes to play. He asked if we could go for a walk and we set that up for Sunday morning early because it was way too hot by then. His birthday is coming up on the 23rd next Saturday so we knew we would not see him and so we did his birthday this weekend just the 3 of us.He and "daddy" Gerry went shopping to Meijers to get what he wanted for supper and cake and ice cream'
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Saturday was a nice day and when they came back they sat out in the garden so that Tristen could play with his new nerf gun.
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He enjoyed feeding the fish
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Isn't he cute?
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So bright and early Sunday morning he was ready to go for his walk. He wanted to explore the trails over by Twin lakes. He didn't even bother with the park itself.
We walked along the trail I took the kids the other week and then walked back on the rest of that trail. It's short and really a lovely walk in the woods. Maybe next time we will climb the hill up to the fields and see whats up there.
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He took is Kindle with him, we now have to figure out how to get the photos off that device.
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We have so many pictures of us all in the woods over the years from the time he was a tiny tot. It's hard to believe he is 8 now.
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He is growing so fast. I try hard not to say anything negative about his situation. After all they do what they think is best. We miss him so much but know he has more than we can give him living with them.
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We will always be a lovely memory for him when he gets bigger. I don't want to say or do anything to change that.
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When we had done with our walk, the next stop was Books A Million where he was able to choose a book and a lego to go with his birthday gift.
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Right next door to Toys R Us and yet he could not find anything he wanted haha.......had already been there once the day before. That's where he got his smurf gun. It was nice to see that he is not greedy or takes advantage. I thought that was great and told him so. I was proud of him. So we went home so that we could spend the rest of the day playing with his stuff. He wanted another bath when he got in. Funny thing was on the way home, we had been in the car 5 mins and he nodded off.
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Look at those eyelashes.
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We got home and had to let him sleep for a bit but after awhile I sent Gerry to get him and he came and snuggled up on the couch with me and slept for another hour.
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I really loved our snuggle, reminded of me of my days of snuggling with Baby Tristen. This wont happen very often now he is getting so big. It was great for me, even though my legs went to sleep haha. I miss baby Tristen but love the little person he is becoming.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Last of Summer adventures.......................

Laura and I took a day to go out on what will be one of our last summer adventures. She is moving away, about 2 hours down state.
It was raining when we set out, the sky was dark but blue up ahead. We didn't care, photo ops abound when the skies are busy. I had hoped for but didn't see any rainbows.
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Our van knew the way, we headed without prior planning to Leland. We looked for Leland Blue Stones but there were hardly any stones on the beach this day. Just pure sand except for one patch at the far end of the beach. Not much luck there but I did pick up some small pieces of drift wood to make wind chimes next year. A nice walk along the empty beach. Just the odd person walked by us but no one sitting on the beach as it was not that hot. People have gone home now, the ones who rent or live on the beach, all gone. We took a picture for a group of people who were obviously taking a last group picture before going "home". The houses will be shut up again now until next year, the boats and picnic tables put away and only the Sea Gulls and Eagles have the beach now. Just how we like it. They have the snow fences up, what do they know that we do not?
This is the beach at Leland.
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The sky was amazing, and it was quite warm. I didn't want to get wet even though the water was warmer than expected. I was not in the mood really for searching for stones. Even so I did find a couple. It was nice just to enjoy a quiet walk, only a couple of people passed us by on their way back to the Whaleback no doubt.
We didn't stay long but got back to the car huffing and puffing, hard walking on sand.
Next we headed towards Point Oneida. We stopped at the first farm house and admired the gardens. They have planted all the crops that would have been set by the original owners way back when. Port Oneida puts on a display once a year to show how people lived back when these first settlers homesteaded here. The crops that they would have grown are shown as well as garden flowers and fruits as well as vegetables. We have not yet gone to one of those events because we generally try to avoid crowds, but it is certainly interesting,
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They had an abundance of crops as well as beautiful flowers. I will do a separate blog to show the pictures of the gardens.
We stopped at the Olson farm next and caught some pictures of a few butterfly that I will also show later.
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We saw the Sandhill cranes enjoying a snack in the garden of one of the few remaining occupied farms
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We went down to the beach without a lot of enthusiasm, we were both too tired. Again it was most pleasant to have the beach to ourselves again.
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Due to all the visitors now the steps they put in (they being the park service) it does make it easier to make our way down rather than scambling down the banks.
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A lot of stairs though and fun coming back up. NOT!!!!
Saw this guy sitting sadly on the beach, Laura moved it further in so it didn't get wet. Probably wont survive though.
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After that we went down side roads to see if anyone (animals) was about. Nope, everyone napping I guess. I did see the smallest snake I ever saw, thin as a piece of spaghetti and about 6 inches or less, so tiny we had no idea what it was. It scurried very quickly out of the way..........we took a trail that we have not been on before but we were too tired to go far and it was getting late. We must go back and explore that more next time
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The meadows had all been cut for hay and the views were pretty.
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Goldenrod shone in the sunlight.
Passing the Dunes on the way home we saw a White Heron in the water lillies.
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These guys crossed the road in front of us
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Another farm in the park all the fields are cut and hay is all put away
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The sky was just so pretty
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We like it when we see wildlife but no one was out today except the few birds we saw...............never mind. Maybe next time. Now Laura will be 2 hours away we won't go as often. Life is always changing and with it comes new adventures and a new area to explore maybe. Next year who knows, I may go down to Allegan for a few days and stay with them so we can explore that area. Who knows...........who knows, not me.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Charity Walks.........

My aunt Liz posted this on my Facebook page................."Janice Hines Schaub, just watched two girls jogging along our road and thought, wow, they've got energy. Then I remembered May 1967, Mark was 14 months and Laurajane Schaub Rodriguez just 5 months. I was working, picking Mark up from your house at 4.30, getting home, cooking dinner for he that had had a hard day at work, doing chores, then popping Mark in his pushchair and walking down Bidwell Hill, along Thorn Turn, then the A5 Chalk Cutting, back up to the village. Practicing for the 50 mile Cancer Charity Walk. Was good for me and good for Mark as he had my undivided attention, the pushchairs then had the kids facing Mum so I could chat to him all the way. Do you remember the actual walk? What fun that was, Sat night 8.00pm start, full moon, you had your transistor radio and tuned into local station who were playing requests for us. We had some little battery lights which clipped on our coats for safety but we turned them off for modesty when we had to dive behind bushes and then fell over in the dark! By 3.00am we had done 25 miles and were done for, but that was good going. We had to wait until around 6.00 am for a lift home so got there just as everyone was getting up. By the time I had got Mark up, fed him etc there was no time for a nap as someone was coming to buy our kitchen cabinet, so I had to keep going all day Sunday and was not at all sympathetic to other AC employees who couldn't make it to work on Monday! I still have my certificate for the 25 miles, we raised a lot of money but ohhhh the blisters and aching muscles. So, where did I get all that energy from, I wonder. And where has it gone?" Says Liz.
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I see kids doing charity walks now and often think of that one. We had friends and family pay so much per mile, they assumed we would not get very far and were quite generous. We did 25 miles on that particular walk. I later did another one and manage 35 miles. Funny though I don't remember that one.
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We walked up to Dunstable to the start and then doubled back to begin the 50 mile trek. We walked through the village and down Bidwell Hill, up Lords Hill to Toddington and onwards from there. They had people in cars spotting for us. A couple of ambulances patrolled the route. I think we had got as far as Toddington when we heard that the first people (Army) had completed the walk. Amazing. We were already dragging. It was fun though, especially as it was in the dark most of the time and out in the country.
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Liz said about our little lights that we wore so that any traffic would see us..............well the first trip into the bushes we forgot to turn them off so were sort of glowing in the shrubbery. What a laugh we had about that. We probably expected it to be creepy walking out in the countryside in the dark of night, it wasn't though. We were young and that made it all fun. I can't remember who was with us now but we stuck together and kept on going even when it got hard to put one foot in front of the other. Around midnight a car stopped to ask if we were walking on or if we wanted to go home it was last call till morning. Maybe it was the idea of being out all night that kept us going because we did. I remember sitting on a farm gate when we just could not take another step. Heard my very first Dawn Chorus. First a Black Bird said hello, answered by another. Then a few more chimed in until the whole neighbourhood was singing and the sun was coming up. Eventually someone stopped and took us home. I went to bed exhausted. When I got up again my legs were so sore I could not move them. I had to slide down the stairs on my bum.....I couldn't walk. I did go to work on Monday though.
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I agree where has all that energy gone. We are elderly now I suppose and walking one mile is an effort. Back then we spent Friday and Saturday nights dancing and walked a lot, thought nothing of walking to town rather than catching the bus. Was much nicer walking over Dog Kennels. Margaret and I would often walk to Dunstable and back just to see who we could see out an about. Now I suppose we don't walk unless we have to. If I was still in England it would be a different thing indeed, much easier to walk there. Sidewalks everywhere. Sigh!!!
As we have no pictures of this event (I do have my certificate somewhere) I am using local views.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Cold days 1950s .............................

Long ago in the days of yore, or at least when I was young, our houses were not heated.
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This picture, above, reminded me of those days.
Dad would take Poppett for her evening walk and when they came in Poppett would come upstairs to sleep with me. Sometimes she would be wet and the gravel would be on her little foot pads leaving me with little wet spots on the sheets. She slept under the covers with me, we would burrow into the mattress. Those old types that were made of stuffing and you could move it around to make a nest. We would cling together, she by my tummy and the hot water bottle at my back, and then I would put it on my feet for awhile. I would wear my coat and hat and anything else on my body to try to stay warm.Poppett had the best spot next to my tummy. Mid way through the night I would wake up because the water bottle was cold.Most of the time we would be warm enough by then but some nights were sleepless because we could not stay warm.
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There would be a heavy pile of blankets on top and an Eiderdown to top it off. The frost would cling to the window panes and blow under the seams of the window casing. Nothing was air tight and you could feel the frosty breeze. This was typical of all but the most modern of houses, of which there were not many at that time but new estates came quicky in the 1950s. Bidwell Hill was built in the very early 1900s I suspect and had gas lights just prior to us moving in. There were still gas lights in the village then. It seems everything changed at the same time. I have written about all this before.
When my dad was a boy, he also lived in our village. At first they lived in the High Street in Houghton Regis.
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When there were more kids than there was room for the older ones moved with the neighbours. I am not sure how often they moved unless I look it up, but they ended up in ST Omere in Cumberland St.
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My Grandmother Hines's family also lived in the village. Her father was a shoemaker
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Most of the houses had open fires and used coal and later Coak. I remember Dad had to make us a coal bunker when we moved into Bidwell Hill. The previous tenant kept the coal in the cupboard under the stairs in the living room. Bidwell Hill only had one fireplace and that in the living room. Dad would get up and "get the fire going" so the chill was off the room when we came down. Some times it was necessary to use newspaper over the fire front to "Draw the fire". Sometimes when the wind was blowing a certain way it would blow down the chimney and a cloud of smoke would fill the room. There was a fireplace in the big bedroom upstairs but was never used in our day. We also had a fire like a wood stove that was used once a week in the kitchen to heat our water. It was too expensive to keep two fires going.
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I know that in St Omere there were fireplaces in the living room and parlour and a wood stove in the big room that Nan cooked on sometimes before the more modern gas stove was put in the kitchen.
My other grandparents house had fireplaces in both rooms too. No one had central heat. Only very new houses had that luxury. Our water was boiled on the stove top for washing every day and in a boiler for laundry. We would use that to heat water for a bath as well more often than not.
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My Great Grandmother died when her clothes caught fire, she had an oil lamp next to her chair. She dropped a coin and knocked it over as she bent to pick it up. I found and read the newspaper account when doing my family history. Her mother in law (I believe it was) was bed ridden upstairs at the time. I guess she managed to get to the door and someone saw her and called for help. She lived a week with her injuries. I can not even imagine the agony the poor woman endured. A lot of people caught clothing on fire back in those days, well actually right up until they began to put fire retardant in children's night clothes. A bad habit was for women to put a mirror over the fire place. I know I used that mirror to do my makeup so know how easy it would be to catch your clothes on fire.
Another wonderful non luxury that went along with the freezing cold rooms was the outside loo.
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The picture of my cousins sitting on a bench outside the bath room and toilet at ST Omere. On Bidwell Hill at least the bath was inside. At St Omere it was more primitive back in the day. It was at least attached to the house but was accessible from outside too for some reason. A very cold concrete and brick room with no luxuries. Ours also was brick and concrete but was painted and had a rug on the floor. During the night if one needed to use the loo, it was going downstairs and outside for you, unless you chose the "Chamber Pot" under the bed. That led to some great laughs after Gerry moved in. Although the toilet was inside by then, we still had no heat and had to go downstairs, so he tried the "pot" under the bed. I about died laughing. Not being a guy I had no idea how he was supposed to use it. My Dad's job was to empty them and would I think delight in embarrassing me by doing so when I had a boyfriend over. Being Harry, he was not discreet about it.
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Another non luxury in those old Council Houses were the gas and electric meters. Just as we would all be huddled around the fire, burning cheeks and freezing backs, there would be a loud thunk............and the lights would go out. Get out the torch and hunt for coins for the meter. If you didn't have the right coins it would be run next door and ask Mrs Mac, do you have change for the meter please? It happened to us all. Gas and electric were on the meter. A man would come every so often to empty the meters, see how much you had actually used and sometimes you would get money back. If you didn't have the coins no worry, there were always candles.
I still think of that as the good old days but I sure don't know why. However maybe my blood is made for that because I like my bedrooms cold and have windows open even on snowy winter days here in Michigan.