Friday, November 30, 2007

Could this be Kansas?

Well, this speaks for itself.

This week, I have seen a number of hunters in their bright orange outfits, some in camos, driving trucks and heading for the woods. Of course, deer season always starts on our anniversary and, this year, it will again. However, my dear husband (MDH), who was offered hunting trips by several of his buddies, will not be shooting Bambi this year. Well, that's okay by me.

The first year we lived in Wabaunsee County, he brought home a six point buck. It was the first time in YEARS that he had been hunting and got the deer on the first day!

After the deer was field dressed, MDH strung the head and hide up in the tree -- in our front yard. Now, how redneck is that? MDH didn't want it in the garage, but he wanted the antlers and the hide.

Did you know that nylon ropes s t r e t c h ? After about a week, we heard growling and fighting going in the middle of the night. The next morning, there were hunks of hide and tuffs of fur all over the yard and the hide was shredded. The head and antlers were still in tact, but the hide... Well, coyotes had their fill! Needless to say, us city folks cut down carcass and properly disposed of it after removing the antlers.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Professional fo-tog-er-fur

Well, I had one of my photographs published in the Wabaunsee County Historical Society newsletter for the Fourth Quarter 2007! I took the above picture approximately two years ago. This is the Wiser Barn, north of Allen, Kansas in Lyon County Kansas and Highway 56. About one year ago, we had a violent storm and some additional damage was done to the southwest corner of the barn. I understand that several years ago, the owners (Copelands) had extensive work done on the barn at a great expense, then a tornado stuck and damaged the SW corner. This picture was used to promote the Kansas Barn Alliance, formed in January 2006 as a non-profit tax-exempt organization, to preserve the history and architecture of Kansas barns.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Okay, I am a nice person. However, I like to mess around with little programs and make computer dolls and stuff. This is from My "person" 's name is Rosamond, after my favorite artist from Lawrence Kansas who made it big in the late 70s and 80s. Rosamond is a watercolor artist who used negative-space in a wonderful way. She drowned in a tragic accident in 1994 in the Pacific Ocean. Such a loss. I current have two of her pieces hanging in my home. Although they are not originals (I wish), they are beautiful and represent my thoughts about myself. Check out her stuff on eBay sometime or just search the internet. She did a lot of self-portaits and of her son... VJ

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Jail House Rock!

... well, not quite! Today, a friend and I went to Wamego and lunched at the Friendly Cooker, which is downtown. We walked the shopping district; stopped at Duckwalls where I picked up some items for the church Advent Celebration beginning December 2; and then headed home. Before we left town, we drove through the park because my friend had never seen the grist mill - a one-hundred year old windmill where wheat and corn is still ground. The museum in the park was also open and we plunked down $4.00 and received a grand tour from Mr. Gene P. His wife, Jean, also worked at the museum. We toured the old White Chapel School House, a Mercantile, the old jail (see above), and an old wooden homestead that was lived in until 1950 (?!!) and one other building that housed old-time telephone equipment. Most of all, Mrs. Jean P. gave us a tour of the main museum where they had displayed many, many old quilts and a fantastic collection of antique dolls. There was one doll I had only seen in the Theriault's Auction Catalogue -- with three faces! I actually held her. There are not too many museums that let you do that!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving Day Woes

Mmmm... The only disadvantage to having someone else prepare dinner for you and wait on you hand and foot at their house is... no leftovers.

We traveled to my daughter and son-in-law's house for the Thanksgiving Holidays. This is the turkey she made. It was wonderful... I had considered asking her to send leftovers home with us, but I know we would have gobbled 'em up before we got back to Kansas.

The traffic on Saturday between St. Louis and Kansas City was really wild! As in Missouri fans were caravaning with their little tiger tails a-waggin' all the way to KC. Groan. I am just glad that we didn't have to wait in line at the Arrowhead Stadium like all those folks did. The trip was worthwhile. Mizzu won. Darn it.

All in all, we traveled a thousand miles for a great meal and homecoming. I am just thankful that our daughter enjoys our company and allows us to visit. That makes growing older worthwhile.

The road to a friend's house is never long.

I am thankful we are their friends. vj

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Life is a Highway

Life is a Highway.

This picture was taken at the "Goin' to the Sun" highway at Glacier National Park in August 2007. Pretty scenery, huh?

Well, sometime the scenery is not too good and the highway is sort of rough. This morning, however, the scenery out my front door (of the beautiful Kansas Flint Hills) was absolutely beautiful. A heavy frost covered the evergreen trees across the road; a white icy coating on the blades of grass in the front yard; colorful leaves piled up around the corners of the house. The house is toasty warm, it is 25 degrees outside and the sun was shining brightly in the blue canopy above us. God is in his heaven and God is good.

The road, however, is bumpy and the times are trying. I miss being a young mother, I miss seeing my daughter more than just on holidays... a fact of old age and children growing up -- ; I miss my grandparents who were so much a part of my life in my younger years - supporting me, caring for me. My brother is in my life and I rejoice; so is my dad. God is good and He is always near. Even if I don't feel like it.

Take care and God bless. vj

Friday, November 23, 2007

Holiday Traffic

We arrived! Wednesday night at 11:30 EST, in Terre Haute, Indiana. And it snowed or sleeted most of the way. You talk about bumper to bumper traffic, it was a moving parking lot on I-70 from west of Kansas City through Saint Louis. It took an hour to get through old' KC, but Saint Louis was a breeze compared to KC.

We have had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my daughter and her husband. Turkey, dressing, traditional comfort foods. Today, Friday, we are staying away from the shopping malls and all those shopping spree places. I think will we go out for lunch, though, at some little cafe or deli. Hmmm...

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Take care and God bless. vj

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It's what?

Happy Thanksgiving!

It is cold. It is wet. It is sleeting and it is windy. Well, it is November!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Construction on HWY 31

Congratulations to the Kansas Department of Transportation on another construction zone in Wabaunsee County! Highway 31 was closed, one mile east of Harveyville, Kansas. Of course, the detour is about 25 miles out of the way - to get to Burlingame - unless you want to take a one-lane gravel road going over a one-lane bridge over the turnpike. Since it is dry, it was dusty and at least one was able to tell when someone was speeding toward you... on the one-lane gravel county road. Thank you KDOT! another day on the Kansas Highway System. --

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Kansas Native American History Week

This afternoon I had the pleasure to work with the librarians at the Eskridge Branch Library in Eskridge, Kansas. The second grade children from Mission Valley Elementary School, their teachers and assistants visited the library and were treated to a special afternoon of story-time about Native American History as well as listening to a local Native American Drum Artist, Susan Skyes, play her drum.

Ms. Skyes of Auburn, Kansas is a skilled orator on the history of the Native American Tradition as well as a talented artist. A member of the group, Folk Medicine Jamboree, Ms. Skyes brought her musical talent, teaching the children simple Native American greeting songs as well as letting each child take turns playing her drum.

The drum is constructed from pine, painted black and stenciled with 29 different phases of the moon . The drum is covered with Buffalo hide on either side (about the size and appearance of a bass drum) and laced together with strips of Buffalo hide. It has a variety of deep, beautiful tones, depending on where on the surface one strikes. It can be played by either hand or by padded drum sticks -- not the kind you see in a music store!

Mr. Alan Willes of Jackson Hole, Wyoming made the drum for Ms. Sykes in the Hopi drum making tradition. Sacred Mountain Drums is the web site. Please click on the drum and you will be taken to his web site for various drum designs!

Beside the musical group, Ms. Skyes also teaches healing drum classes as well as leading a women's drum circle in the Alma, Kansas area. For more information on the Folk Medicine Jamboree or either the drum class or drum circle, you may contact Ms. Skyes at

'nuf said. vj

Ride em' Cowboy!

May your horse never stumble
May your cinch never break
May your belly never grumble
Nor your heart ever ache.

A sign seen in Malta, Montana at the "Hitchin' Post" cafe.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday News

We finished up the west side of the porch, primed the siding and cleaned up. One more coat of finish paint to match the side of the house and we are done. Painted the north end of the house, then I drove Maisie Devore around Lake Wabaunsee and we picked up all kinds of aluminum cans for the Maisie DeVore Community Pool. (check out the link by clicking on the name. ) Our biggest haul was a the North Shore Steak House -- at the bar. Two trash sacks! Yahoo. We took them to her house and she said that she would crush them tonight!

Maisie also plays the piano at the
Eskridge Baptist Church, drives a country route to pick up cans, and accepts donations for the pool...

(click here)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Tri-folded flag. Today I attended a funeral and the Big Red "1" conducted a military 21-gun salute. Taps was played. They also folded the United States Flag, in silence and respect for our friend. 13 folds, one for each of the original 13 states. We were told that the seven soldiers (6 men and one lady) had just returned from Iraq last week. They all looked so young and so serious. I was proud to watch them in this solemn ceremony as well as rejoicing for their safe return. They are so very young, I just wanted to run up and hug them all and take them home for cookies and milk. But, they were doing what was required of them today.
Later, when the ceremony was over and they were out of uniform, the young men and woman cut up and had a good time. They are someone's sons and daughter. They are our sons and daughter, too. God bless them.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

If you could see me now, that little gang of mine!

Take that, you dirty rat!
Cassinova finally gets fed up...

Working on the porch

My brother and my dear husband as they work on the porch. This was a couple of weeks ago. Today, I primed the inside walls of the porch. If the weather is good, we will finish up this weekend and then put in a door. The rest goes up next spring.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Oh, what a forecast!

Who brought on all this cold weather? Sunday we worked outside in shirtsleeves and today, the high was 50 degrees. My dear husband told me this evening that it is suppose to snow next week. Now, imagine that, snow in November? Ha, I remember a snow day on October 16, 1996 where it snowed a foot and our future son-in-law, from Canada, was visiting. Called his folks; it was 70 degrees up north.

This picture was taken in 2005 on the shores of beautiful Lake Wabaunsee, in the Kansas Flint Hills. Yes, it was very cold that day!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

How did you spend your vacation?

Oh, yes. This is what happens when you have a little breakdown. The bike follows you around Beartooth Pass on your rear bumper. Thanks to a lovely couple who agreed to drive the "support vehicle", we had a safe drive over the perilous road. Top speed? 20 miles an hour.

Thanks to "Hal" R, a dealer rep with HD, he called on our behalf to Billings Montana Shop and we were back on the road the next day...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

PPS Files

Yes! I did it! I produced my first Power Point Presentation and it turned out pretty good. Now I am fine tuning it! More to come later... :)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Too Many Books...

Today I spent several hours working at the Alma, Kansas Branch Library. Yes, I have a real job since the day I retired; actually, I was hired on the same day that I retired from "the other job" as a substitute librarian for the Eskridge and Alma Branch Libraries, which are part of the Pottawatomie-Wabaunsee Regional Library. Check out the link!

Libraries have been a part of my life since I can remember. A perpetual book worm - I love books, love browsing book shelves, and reading. I hope someday to find one of my own books on a shelf. Since retirement, I really don't want to buy books. But you know, we have a fabulous library system in Wabaunsee County and a book-loan system where you can get just about any book. So... if you didn't get your library card during "Sign up at your Library Month" -September-, it is never too late to get a card.

Oh, yes. A bit of trivia I learned today from the head librarian in Alma, JM. Wabaunsee means "Dawn of Day". Pretty cool, huh!

Have a great day! vj

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Keeping young

I am a substitute teacher's aide at the local school, Mission Valley. Today was the first day I assisted in the kindergarten and first grade rooms. It was quite an experience as my only child is more than 3 decades in age and I, just tottering below of the eligibility of Social Security, wondered at the knowledge these young people have. The favorite class of the 1st Graders? Computer Art. I am jealous! I wanna play too!

However, I loved the children and I think they had a grand time with me, especially those that know me from church activities. One kindergartener said something that really shocked me, but after I got over what was said - I chose to ignore the remark - the youngster then went about his normal behavior. Gosh, where does that stuff come from? TV?

I got lots of hugs, too, and that was wonderful. AND I was drafted to help with the reading program on Friday afternoons. Sounds like I will be busy, with that and the subbing for the library and teacher aide's. Hmmm...