Monthly Archives: February 2015

New Roads

rutsLate winter is by nature a time of ruts.

There are ruts in my driveway, ruts in my schedule and ruts in my menu planning.

So when Jan suggesting a quick trip to civilization for supplies this week – I jumped on it!

Then – to spice things up even more – he took a new road.

What a simple concept with profound results.

Instead of driving the well known and frequently traveled highways – we turned off.  Suddenly everything was different.

We meandered over country roads never really sure what was around the next curve.  We crossed over sketchy bridges and looked deep into unknown ravines.

We drove through tiny little towns and wondered about those who lived there.

And slowly our perspectives changed.

The late winter constraints that bound us relaxed their grip.

We talked.

We laughed.

We dreamed new dreams.

And yes, we eventually made it to civilization. We bought the needed groceries, the mineral for the cows and the tractor parts; but this trip wasn’t about the destination.

It was all about the journey and seeing things in a new way.

It was about jumping out of the ruts and banishing the doldrums.

All that because we took a new road.

A Weekend of Surprises

I had a birthday this weekend. 🙂

And it was a crazy wonderful weekend – full of surprises!

It started on Friday night when Pedro unexpectedly drove in the driveway.

It was a surprise birthday visit – and he bought me flowers and a birthday gift!

IMG_2081 Isn’t he handsome?!

He spent the night and the whole next day.

My momma heart was so happy!

Oh – but that was just the beginning!

On Sunday there were special surprises.

Hugs and chocolate and teasing and sweet gifts left in the car after church.

10928139_789384287821963_1557231960_nAnd Matt called and had time for a wonderfully long chat!

And the kids got me very thoughtful and sweet gifts.

But the biggest surprise of the weekend came from my husband who masterminded the perfect gift.

It started last fall, when we were in the big city – 90 miles from home – to pick up some car parts.

Since auto parts stores don’t hold my attention for long, I left Jan in the muffler section while I headed next door to Cecil’s – a consignment store.

I was mindlessly walking through the large back room of furniture when I saw the most wonderful antique wardrobe!

It was love at first sight.

It would make the perfect sewing cabinet! I could just imagine sorting all my material and notions into the drawers on the side.

But, alas, it was not to be. The store was closing in just a few minutes, we didn’t have a way to get it home, we had several more stops to make, and let’s face it – it just wasn’t in the budget.

Cecils 001So I left that beautiful oak wardrobe in the back room of Cecil’s , knowing that I would never see it again.

You know where this is going don’t you? 🙂

Unbeknownst to me – my sweet husband called Cecil’s and asked them to hold that perfect antique wardrobe for him – which they very happy to do.

Then he asked some amazing friends to pick it up and hide it in their spare bedroom – for several months.

These same friends just happened to show up at my house just as we were eating my birthday supper – which I must admit I found rather odd at the time.

And they sat with the kids and Jan while I opened my gifts – ending with the tiny box from my husband that held an antique key and a Cecil’s business card.

10994860_789384327821959_1606915880_nAnd then they helped Jan bring in my dream cupboard that they had delivered in the back of their van.

I was shocked speechless.

And then I started blubbering nonsense and I cried and everybody talked at once as the details of the surprise that was five months in the making came out.

I felt so humbled and so blessed.

Not just because I now have my dream wardrobe sitting in my sewing room – but because I have the most amazing husband, children and friends.

My heart is full to overflowing.

Off to Work She Goes

Look who got a job!IMG_0807

Yup. My Angel Girl.

You’ll never guess where!

Give up?

A local preschool and daycare.

How perfect is that?!

Seriously – this girl is a kid magnet. Every Sunday you see her with a baby in her arms and one or two attached to her legs. They love her.

And she loves them.

After her first two days of work she came home and said, “Wow, I can’t believe they actually pay me to do this!”


And with the job comes the first pay check.

Last week Daddy took her to the bank to set up her grown-up account – complete with debit card.

This week he taught her how to fill the SUV with gas and how to drive in winter weather.

She looks so grown up as she leaves every afternoon.


My baby girl is growing up fast.


The Great Painting Mystery of Middlefork Township

At a recent trip to the “big city” Jan and I spend some time at our favorite thrift store.

While there, an oil painting caught my eye.

It was vastly different from the reproductions and cheap prints around it.

It had an old house and barn in the background, with a beautiful leafed out tree with a swing as the focal point.

DSC_0425Was it the bright spring-like colors that attracted me? Or the tree swing?

Whatever the reason, I walked across the aisle and picked it up.

It was obviously an original.

As I turned it over I was surprised to see that that the subject of the painting was “the Stedman farm near Delphos”.

We live 10 miles from a town named Delphos!

That sealed it. The painting was mine.

But the entire trip home I kept wondering about the Stedman farm. Is it still there? The house? The barn? The swing tree? Is it really just a few miles from our house? How many towns named Delphos are there anyway?

DSC_0427And the artist – the name sounded somewhat familiar. Who was she? When was it painted? Why was it at a thrift store in the city?

Hot diggity dog! I think I bought myself a mystery!

I googled the name of the artist. Nothing.

But I got a few hits when I searched for Stedman’s from Delphos.

It seems there were several in Delphos in the late 1800’s. One owned a restaurant and barber shop and another owned the Stedman store – the largest building in town.

And one L.B. Stedman bought two Poland-China pigs named Long Girl and Smooth Katie in 1915.

Maybe not so helpful – but at least I know there were Stedman’s in the area and at least one might have owned a farm.

Maybe some locals might know something.

So I call my friend Bobbi. She grew up in the area and is a fount of information.

But she hadn’t heard of either the farm or the artist. But the last name sounded familiar. She told me to call Chaz, another neighbor.

While he didn’t recognize the artist’s name either – he was able to give the name of a 85 year old women in nursing home who lived here for her entire life and shared the same last name as the artist. Best of all – she’s still sharp as a tack.

Next step?

A trip to town for what I hope is an informative talk with this lady and maybe a stop at the courthouse to check out some abstracts.

I’ll let you know what I discover.

Nothing like a little mystery to brighten up a long winter!


And It Snowed

So winter finally came. With a vengeance.

Our spring like temperatures and open pastures turned to below zero wind chills with huge snow drifts overnight.


I woke up pretty excited. I love a good snowstorm when everybody is in safe and sound.

But then we lost power.

Before I had my shower.

A snowstorm with power can be delightful. A snowstorm without power is not.

And a snowstorm with no power and no shower is almost unendurable.

My  mind immediately when to the infamous ice storm several years ago when we were without power for five long days. F.I.V.E.

And I might have had a meltdown. Right there in the kitchen. Sheer absolute panic at the very thought of having to do that again.

I am such a wimp. (Okay – you can stop laughing Lavern and Carolyn – my off-the grid neighbors!)

IMG_2038This snowstorm had quickly gone downhill.

But wait – there’s more.

Meanwhile – Jan was trying to get a bale of hay out to the cows.

Which was no easy feat – because he first had to find them.

They had wandered over snowdrifts, across sagging fences heavy with snow and were gone.

Jan and Buddy spent hours in the storm trudging through deep snow before finally tracking them down in the neighbor’s hay bales.

Of course. Silly cows.


By the time they had rounded them up, herded them back over the fence through the same snow drifts, and came inside, their insulated coveralls were literally frozen on them.

But the electricity had come back on!

And I had rejoiced with exceeding great joy and even taken a hot shower. It’s amazing how one’s outlook changes after a shower.

By 4:00 everyone was safe, warm, and fed. Finally.

All thoughts of our Super Bowl party were long gone.

At kick-off I was drinking tea and immersed in an Miss Marple mystery.

When the final buzzer sounded I was eating popcorn and reading Jean Stratton Porter’s The Harvester.

I did miss our amazing Pickle Wrap Dip – but Dagmar was stranded at the hospital for the duration and I knew she would be crushed if we ate it without her.

Maybe we should have a Ground Hog Day Party tonight. After all – Mr. Groundhog saw his shadow so we get 6 more weeks of winter!

Wait – celebrate six more weeks of this weather?

Oh well. At least we get Pickle Wrap Dip.

And the electricity is on.