Saturday, October 31

Happy Halloween!

We had two trick-or-treaters come to our house tonight, spiderman and a power ranger!  They are our neighbors across the road and cute little guys.  It seems like a long time ago that we got the kids dressed up and drove them around to trick-or-treat.  I had to dig through the photos again.....

The pumpkin family!  This was in 1994 and I was eight months pregnant with Leanne.

Not sure what Brian was this year (?) and Leanne was an adorable cow!  She didn't think so.

This was a costume Bill's mom sewed and Bill wore when he was little- very fun!!

Brian wanted to be a spider-- scary, huh?

Leanne as a sweet, sweet angel!

     Football stars!


                       Go Vikes!!                                       

Ride 'em cowboys!  Grandma made these get ups too.  They are holding on to stick ponies that would whinny  and make galloping sounds when you squeezed their ears.  I love this photo!

      Some clowns, a quarterback, a princess and a scarecrow.

A couple more clowns on their wedding day!!

Happy Halloween!!

Recycled Reeboks

My husband is actually a pretty sentimental guy.  He once had a pair of Reebok tennis shoes that he wore out but thought he could still get some more out of them if we washed them.  So I washed them and he hung them out on the clothes line and they dried and dried for days and weeks and months out on the clothes line.  They hung there all winter!  Well, after a year went by (seriously) I thought we should throw them away but Bill still didn't want to let them go.  So I decided since the birds hadn't made a nest in them I would try them out as flower pots!  Put some petunias in them and set them on the front step for a summer.  Then one day when Bill wasn't home I said a final goodbye to those Reeboks.  Actually, I didn't dare throw them out without asking first, so he finally agreed to let them go.  He still misses them I think.

Tuesday, October 27

Time for fall hair cuts...



Aaah, that feels much better! 

I took advantage of the nice day to do some pruning and clipping.  I think I worked twice as hard, though, because my clippers were so dull -- I'm sure my arms will complain tomorrow !  It was good to get out in the fresh air and do some work. 

Petals from my man...

My husband rocks!  And not just because he brings me Rotary roses, although they do cheer a person up!  My husband is a crazy, wonderful guy who chooses to love me each day in spite of myself.  He is thoughtful, friendly, funny, honest and wise.  A good man.  Amen.

Saturday, October 24

Twin Sisters...

Some of you might not know that I am blessed to have a twin sister.  Her name is Linda Rae.  Obviously, we are fraternal and not identical!  She has brown hair and eyes and I have blue and blonde, well, used to be blonde anyway.  We were quite the excitement when we were born I'm told, numbers 6 and 7 out of 8 kids, all within 13 years.  Uff dah, what were my parents thinking?  Not that they planned on twins, in fact they didn't know until a few weeks before we arrived that there were two of us.  My Mom told me she had liked the name Lorinda and so that's how she came up with Laurie and Linda.  I'm on the left here.  I am 11 minutes older than Linda.  She weighed over 6 lbs and I was just over 4 lbs.  She was teased about being a little piggy but I caught up eventually and have completely forgiven her.  The one above was taken at about 6 months I think.

This was taken when were were about five and our little sister, Darla, is in the middle.  She was born just 20 months after us!  As you can see, Mom dressed us alike.  She sewed most of our clothes- I have no idea how she did that for all of us- for many years but I think we stopped dressing the same by 2nd grade and started wearing hand-me-downs from our older sisters.  The one below one was taken in 1st grade.  We don't remember being called this but are told that our Grandpa called us "Chink" and "Swede"--can you guess which one is which? 

This was in 2007, the day of our Mom's funeral.  Linda found matching tops for us to wear that day.  Darla is in the middle again.  People have asked us if we think of the same things at the same time like identical twins do and no, we don't, but we get along great and I am so glad to have her as my twin sister! 

Friday, October 16

The Old Red Barn...

Nothing catches my eye when I am traveling along the road of life as much as the old barns along the way (I want to take a picture of every single one, ask my family!) and the sad thing is that there aren't too many left anymore.   To me, those old barns represent where we came from, our heritage, and pay tribute to those who raised them with the help of neighbors and friends.  They remind me of our grandparents, and great-grandparents who homesteaded and worked unceasing to tame the land, produce crops, and provide for their families.  How I admire them!

This is a photo of my Mom, and our dog, Benji (he was a great dog!), in her garden with our barn and windmill in the background taken in 1975 or so.

Our old red barn has so many memories for me.  It was built in 1921, the year before my Dad was born, by my grandfather.  My grandpa and then my Dad raised cattle for many years but I was fairly young (2nd grade) when he decided to get out of the cattle business and I remember the day a big semi came to load them up.  The barn sat empty for several years then until my oldest brother decided to raise hogs.  Fascinating creatures those pigs and there's nothing like the smell of a hog farm on hot summer days(!).  My sisters and I didn't bother the pigs too much.  The boar had his own larger pen on one end of the barn and he scared the bajeebas out of us, he was huge and ugly and very ill-mannered.  But every spring, if we promised to be quiet and not in the way, my brother would let us watch the birthing of new piglets.  The labor always looked so long and painful for the sow but those slippery piglets seemed to just pop right out, one after the other.  We would keep checking then to see if the "runts" survived, quite a few didn't. :,(  We came up with names for all of them.  They were so sweet and fun to watch when they were little but always grew up to be loud, obnoxious, dirty and smelly.   I also helped my brother with castrating one time and, oh my, what an eye-opening experience for a teenage girl!

In the upstairs, the mow, of the barn were several hooks on the walls with old horse tack and one half of the upstairs was stacked high with hay bales.  We would take a running jump off the edge of the bales and swing out on the ropes that hung from the track at the top of the barn. What fun that was!  And what a bummer when Dad said we had to stop swinging because it was too old and dangerous.  It's amazing there were no bones broken in that barn, just lots of scrapes and bruises from the rope and the scratchy hay.

Those hay bales were home to many a batch of kittens over the years.  As soon as we saw the momma was skinny we would carry her to the barn, up to the hay bales, and wait patiently until she showed us where they were.  Oh the hours spent in the barn with those kittens!  When they were old enough they would follow the momma down the stairs and across the yard to the house.

The barn held some other icky creatures too, like huge spiders, snakes, mice and yes, rats.  They seemed to hang out under the stairs and we would always try to talk the other into going first and learned to go up and down very quickly lest we be attacked by the rats.

My brother eventually got rid of his hogs, got married, and moved away to Wisconsin so the barn sat empty once again, except for storing vehicles and other stuff.  Soon, I moved away from home, too, but I always took a walk through the barn whenever I got back to visit.  I can still smell the musty hay and barn wood smells. 

Sadly, in 2002, the barn had to come down.  The photo above was taken that day.  Dad used some of the lumber to build a new shop.  All that remains is the cement foundation and the windows that we each have as a keepsake. 

To the right is the cupola that sat on top of the barn- I'm still trying to think of a use for it!  Maybe a centerpiece for a flower garden?  I am not sure what happened to the weathervane.

So maybe the next time you see an old barn that's still standing, take a picture for me :) and a minute to say thanks to honor the hard-working farmers who give us this day our daily bread!  Amen


Saturday, October 10

And so it begins...

I have finally taken up the challenge and started a blog! Woo Hoo! Choosing the name was a most difficult task but I think what I came up with is better than the suggestions of my husband- "Flannel Lady" (I don't even own any flannel; fleece, yes, but no flannel) or "Kitty in a Basket" (I like kitties but what does that have to do with a blog?). Brian wasn't very helpful either, "How about 'Laurie's Blog?'" he says. Hmm, thanks Brian for the idea. It seems a blog is a place to share thoughts, memories, and moments, both the good and the unpleasant, that we encounter on our journey through life- all the joys, adventures and trials that shape and grow us. So, Petals and Thistles it is, and there are plenty of both along the path I travel. This thorny-looking thing is a cactus that Leanne got stuck in her hand when we were in Mesa, AZ last winter visiting Gma and Gpa. Ouch!!