Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lots and Lots of Miles: Denver

We got back to Denver on May 19.  Driving on Sunday has the advantage of not getting stuck in commuter traffic, but that is about all the advantage.   Church is sometimes so much the same from one week to another that you think you aren't getting much out of it, but really, it is a refreshment.  But we drove back from Newton KS to Boulder CO.  It's about 600 miles but all pretty flat and easy to drive.  We stayed at Mutti's that night and stayed up fairly late, considering who we are and how tired we all were.  But is was a good visit, and like making hay when the sun is shining, sometimes you have to stay up a little later than you normally would, and have a good yack.  We did.

Monday we got up fairly early and went to Home Depot to get some tomatoes, cucumbers, and beet seed for Mutti.  We got them all planted fairly soon and re-watered the plum seedlings that we had brought from Delta and planted the previous Thursday.  Annie had done such a good job of transplanting them that there was virtually no shock, and they looked pretty good in spite of it being so late in the year.  I also got a roll of black plastic drip hose and hooked up two watering stations.  Mutti has been a fierce and vocal critic of any kind of sprinkler system, and so putting in these small starts was kind of fun.  Very basic, no timers or valves, but you hook the hose up to them and either the garden or the orchard would get the water right where it was needed.  Line upon line.

With the garden planted and in as good of shape as we could leave it, we packed up and drove down to Katie and Conor's house.

We were met by Katie and two very sweet grandkids that had been waiting for us.  We were welcomed and bundled inside with a thousand questions and stories bursting out of the children.  Being welcomed like that by your sweet grand-kids is like being a rockstar, or a famous athlete, or the President, except much, much better.

We barely got inside before Chas had to see my knives.  I have a bag full of pocket knives, some old, some new, many lockbacks and quite a few 'leatherman' like tool knives.  Chas has been fascinated by my knives for several years now.  He likes to sit at a table and open them up. He is very careful with them and has never cut himself.  He remembers each one, and knows what it does.  .....and this one is for when you are in the garden and have to trim trees.... and this one strips the insulation off the wires when you are working with electricity..... and this one you had on the farm.....and this one you got from your dad when he died..... and this one belonged to your dad and he sharpened it on the grinder.....and this one.....

It is so interesting to watch them play, and to play with them.  Leila likes Annie or I to play with her, but we don't get to do too much playing.... she has a script for all the dolls and characters and doesn't appreciate witty, spontaneous banter from the dolls as supplied by is soooo against the rules.

We always have a fun and relaxed time at Katie's house, and this was no different.  Tuesday we Chas' birthday and we opened presents, and when Conor got home we went bowling!

                                                                   Happy 7 Chas!

Luna Lovegood

Sadly, I don't have any bowling pictures.  This was the second time that we went bowling with them, and the first time I was just shocked.  Bowling was for grown-ups.... or so I thought.  It had always been that way when  my Dad bowled in his league.  One night he let John and I bowl a frame, or was going to anyway.  I think he was a little put off when we test drove about 40 balls on the carpet.....exciting times.

Friday we went over to Lakewood Estates and had a nice lunch with Mom.  We had a nice lunch and and good visit during most of the afternoon....after while we all fell victim to the sleepys.  About 5 we went over to Dottie's for a wonderful dinner and a great visit.

Dottie had been working her fingers to the bone getting the yard/house/food whipped into wonderful shape.  Earlier she had bought a smoker, and taken some classes and done some real wonderful lab tests in learning how to make some of the best meat I've ever had.

It was a great trip.  The time went pretty fast like it always does.  It was a week full of visiting, eating, playing, working, and enjoying the company of those that we love.  We drove home Saturday - all ten hours.  We spent Sunday at home getting a little rest.  Then Monday we got up early, and headed West on the last leg of the trip - Oregon or Bust.  But that will have to wait for the next posting.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Lots and Lots of Miles: Kansas

In May we set a record for us for miles driven in a single month.  I think we are mostly recovered from our adventures, and since I have most of the pictures downloaded, I thought I would give you a little update and I'll start with the Kansas Leg of the trip.

This was really 3 trips squeezed into one.  Earlier in the Spring, Annie found out that Mutti had the opportunity to attend her 70th reunion (Class of 1943) of Bethel College in Newton Kansas.  We also wanted to be in Denver for our grandson's 6th birthday (Chas). The dates were close enough that we could drive from Delta to Boulder, pick up Mutti and drive to Kansas, and make it back in time for Chas' birthday.  And so we did......

But since we also wanted to do some work on the new house in Oregon, so we bought a cargo trailer and packed it tight with furniture, tools, wood.... you name it, and had it parked and ready to go when we got back from Denver.   I'll give you some highlights:

Kansas Reunion Hightlight #1: 

When we arrived in Newton, Kansas, our fairly trusty GPS (Judy Garmin) sent us to 'The Breadbasket' which featured German dishes served buffett style.  There we met Mutti's brothers Merlin and LaVerne, Merlin's wife Karna, LaVerne's son Craig, and Craig's daughter and friend.  The place was packed and we were hungry and it all tasted pretty good to me

  There are many German dishes that have never made it out of ethnic German communities.  So it was really interesting to taste some of them.  They served a cucumber salad that had dill and sour cream... but was sweet.  Interesting.  Of course there was sour kraut, and sausage, and zweibach (although the zweibach didn't live up to Annie's standards - and her's really is a lot richer and softer).  There was also a very interesting desert made with a pastry stuffed with sweetened beans (small white, I think) and it was surprisingly good

The best part was the visit that we had with Merlin, Karna, LaVerne and Craig.  The 'Breadbasket' closed at 8 pm (and the sidewalks rolled up shortly thereafter) so we went back to the hotel and visited in the lobby until about 10:30 or so.  It had been a busy, long day of driving and we were glad enough to get to bed.  We were pretty well topped off with carbs, and stories new and old.  So it was a good day.

Kansas Reunion Highlight #2:

So maybe this wasn't the biggest high light, but there was a very nice meeting in the home of the Bethel College President on Saturday morning.  The President and his wife  live in a historic house on campus that is really very lovely and full of good examples of fine wood working.  Mutti was a little disappointed that no one from her class was there. But she was warmly received by a friendly alumni, and the President and his wife were very gracious.

                                      (This window seat was in the movie 'Arsenic and Old Lace')
                                        (The 'Geroz House', done in wheat by the Voth Sisters)
                                        Mutti and the President of Bethel College and his wife.

The evening banquet was also disappointing in that there was still no one there from her class when everyone was assembled for the main get-together.... well, except for Fredrick Dick, who was not from Mutti's class but lived up to his name.    He was from Missouri, and I think he might have lived across the river from Carthage.... and I was just there for the meal.

Kansas Highlight #3

Happily even Fredrick Dick couldn't cast a shadow on meeting Vic and Elizabeth Goering, who are a couple of Mutti's friends.  We didn't have an address, so Judy couldn't help guide us.  But after a little driving we found their house and knocked on their door and had a very nice visit.  They were so gracious and welcoming.  Vic was recovering from a table saw accident - so that wasn't fun (two fingers) but he took us out to his shop and showed us all of his projects, and garden and many of the beautiful and unique pieces of art and interest that they have in their house.  Very, very nice people.
                                           Mutti                   Vic Georing         Elizabeth Goering
                                                    Vic Goering and the jewel box.
                                                      Vic, Annie and a thriving garden
                                            A clock Vic made - a scaled up pocketwatch

Kansas Highlight #4

Lastly, Annie was able to meet the Sister's Voth.  They are twins, and I think they said they are 88.  They are artists, and their pictures are made entirely from wheat (remember, we were in Kansas).  The pictures are intricate including shingles, bushes, trees with twigs, awnings (3D)....they were great.  I hope the pictures do justice.

         This house made of wheat is really not as 3D as it looks.  It sits pretty flat on the velvet canvas.  The 3D showed up when I used a flashlight to introduce some shadows.

                                                            Mutti and the Sisters Voth