Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Winter Lore

The Old Ones would say that whenever we have the 1st trackable Snow, the date of the calendar represents how many Snows that we will have.  Melanie was hoping for upwards of 30.  Tomorrow is the 1st.  Snow is not yet in the forecast. We love Snow. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Taking Care of Family Archives

A couple of weeks ago, Amanda Langendoerfer, from Special Collections at the Pickler Memorial Library of Truman State University, presented on preserving family collections to the annual fall meeting of the Adair County Historical Society.  She shared the following, "Resources for Private and Family Collections" from the Northeast Document Conservation Center:

This is a big deal for me.  I have some very precious family photos and documents with which the ancestors have entrusted me.  They are entrusted to me, not because I "own" them, but rather to hold for future generations. These simple treasures demand my utmost vigilance and care.  I choose not to be a break in the chain. I may not be perfect in their care, but I will do the best that I can.

Thank you, Amanda...

Great Internet Resource

I just discovered "The Lexicon of Sustainability".  This is a great resource, helping those of us who are concerned about Sustainability to increase understanding, reclaim language which has been co-opted by the industrial complex, and put words into practice.

Seeing works like this and having people doing this work telling about it via the internet into our home is hope of our time.


In the middle of winter, 
I discovered in myself an invincible summer.
Albert Camus  
Note:  This is one of my favorite all time quotes.  I had forgotten about it, but it is rather time that I remember.  At least 20 years ago, I was using this in one of my classes.

Toward Small and Many

I found this to be a great read. Once again, Bill McKibben is spot on.  He speaks of the shifts in our time when we are moving away from a world of the Few and Big toward a world of Small and Many. "Small is beautiful." We are watching this shift from our view out here on the Farm.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Picking Up Speed

Daily counters on Blogspot and Statcounter show that "hits" on the post "Recipe: Povitica" on this blog ( are picking up speed.  This recipe was originally posted December 23, 2008.  Since that time, this recipe has received 2995 hits.  Google searches have shown it to be anywhere from 1st to 3rd ranking in number of hits for Povitica Recipe. 

And why would it be picking up speed now?  Thanksgiving and Christmas are traditional seasons when this Croatian nut roll would have been served.  Easter is not far behind.  Ask the Grandmothers.  Just perhaps they are nudging us now.

Melanie and I will be making Povitica in about 10 days.  Yum.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


We had a simple but serene Thanksgiving.  Most of the food was local and most of that we raised right here on the Farm.  We just sort of sat in awe at all that was before us, including the 3 of us who sat around the table.

The Turkey was raised by Farmer Friend John Arbuckle.  Melanie picked it up yesterday at their Farm.  It was fresh.  We also had 2 kinds of stuffing:  Cornbread and Wild Rice.  The Wild Rice was from Dorreen, our dear friend up north.  I included some roasted Corn from her family.  That's a traditional dish among their tribe (Sahnish).  That made us smile, a big warm smile.

We had Cranberry Sauce, fresh Brussels Sprout Salad, Mashed Roots (carrots, parsnips, celeriac).  The celeriac crop was pretty pitiful this year, but just having a taste made it all the better. 

I used to think you had to have heaps and gobs of everything.  We had plenty today.  And I didn't over stuff myself.  Instead, I savored every bite.

Our meal was gluten free and dairy free.  I was tempted to "slide back" into my relationship with my old favorite companions.  But my family said we didn't need too.  So we didn't.

We also skipped dessert.  I will make Pumpkin Pie tomorrow and it will be "sans Crust".  Things have changed around here, but they have also stayed the same.

It was  beautiful outside:  sunny and in the mid 60s.  We could have snow soon.  We also did a little work outside to finish off prior to winter setting in.  Richard completed the chicken wire fencing in the Garden.  With some degree of ceremony, we opened most of the Garden up for the Chickens.  The ones who found it were pretty impressed.  They had a Thanksgiving celebration of their own.  I finished picking my Dry Edible Beans.  No, I did not "clean the vines".  I just took some.  That's plenty.  We will give the rest back to the Earth.

A consistent theme emerging is "rest".  We worked that in too.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


When people are least sure,
they are often most dogmatic.
John Kenneth Galbraith

Monday, November 21, 2011

Upcoming Events

Melanie and I are in the Kirksville Community Chorus, a fact of which both of us are quite proud and humbled too.  Melanie has been interested in music since she was in elementary school. She loves to sing.  I am a new kid on the block.  My first choir since the sixth grade (in 1960) was last spring.  And I do love to sing.  "It's never to late to teach an old dog new tricks."

We have 2 concerts coming up.  The big concert is Monday, December 12, 7:30pm, at the First Christian Church.  We will sing our director's (Rich McKinney's) original composition of a "Christmas Cantata".  But Rich has had numerous requests over the years for a sing along.  And we are going to do that too.

The "Holiday Heritage Tunes and Treats" will take place at 7pm, Friday, December 9, First Presbyterian Church.  This "sing along" of beloved Songs of the season also features a sampling of traditional treats with special meanings to friends and family in our community. Door prizes will be given.  The evening is at no charge (in fact, both concerts are).  A free will offering will be given to Hope's Kitchen, a project which feeds families whose means prohibit adequate food. 

Members of the Community Chorus plan to bring special treats to share.  We invite others interested to do the same.

Kazimir Blaskovic

We know little of my Croatian Grandfather Kazimir (also Kaiser, Kasimer) Blaskovic (Blascovic, Blaskovich).  We have precious few pictures.  Some show him partially cut off the picture.  Others show him under the shadow of a hat which makes seeing features of his dark skinned face difficult to impossible to discern. The only clear picture is the photo which accompanies his application for citizenship. The man sort of floats in mystery.

He was born in Sunger (also Sungar) Austria, March 4, 1874.  According to writings in the file, Kazimir's parents were Peter Bloskovich (also Petar Blaskovic) and Catherine Kruzich (also Katarina Kruzic).  He married Dragica (also Dora) Budiselic (also Budiselich) May 1904.  According to his declaration to become a citizen of the United States, he entered the United States for permanent residence at New York, NY on the vessel SS St. Paul.

Ship's manifest records give the following information for Kazimir:  Croatian in ethnicity, Austrian nationality, Sunger (permanent residence), "non-immigrant alien" (meaning previous residence in USA: Connelsville, MO 1905-1908), 34 years old, "workman", could read and write, nearest relative (Petar Blaskovic), paid passage himself, $100 in his pocket, described as joining brother "Stif", 5'9" tall, brown hair and blue eyes, birthplace: Sunger, Croatia.  The St. Paul left Cherbourg, Manche, France, and arrived at Ellis Island, October 24,1908.

Kazimir's obituary written in English states he died at age 72.  This obituary is assumed to have been written for a Kirksville paper.  His residence at that time was 1111 East 9th, Des Moines, Iowa. He is buried in Highland Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Des Moines.  His obituary notes that he came to the United States in 1900, later returning to Sungar where he married Miss Dora Budiselich. Parish records from St. Phillip Apost. in Mrkopalj (now: Croatia) give their marriage date as June 7, 1905.

According to his obituary, they came to the United States in May, 1908 and lived at Albia, Iowa until 1916.  Daughter Mary's birth certificate lists her birth in 1910 as Novinger Missouri and her place of baptism was Milan Missouri.  Daughter Anna's obituary lists her birth in 1913 in Albia, Iowa.  Son Joe's Certificate of Discharge from the Civilian Conservation Corp in 1936 lists his birth in 1915 in Albia, Iowa. (Family story has it that they were born in Fraker, Iowa, a coal mining town in the central part of Bluff Creek Township of Monroe County. Its post office was Fraker from 1907 to 1915. Source: 11/26/11) Son Jack's birth certificate lists Kirksville Missouri as place of birth in 1918.

Kazimir died in 1946.  He was survived by his wife, two daughters, Mary and Anna of Des Moines, one son Jack of Kirksville, one brother Steve (also Stif) Bloskovich (also Blaskovic, Bloscovich) of Madrid, Iowa.  Son Joe had gone missing in the 1930s, a subject of great family pain and life long seeking. Two sons had died in infancy.  The 1st died shortly after their arrival in the US and is buried somewhere in southern Iowa.  Dad said longingly in the latter years that he had a little brother buried up in Iowa. The last born (Tonay) was told to be buried in an unmarked plot among the children of the Philip and Anna Bubany family in the Highland Cemetery in Kirksville. When I was growing up, my Father and Mother never failed to put flowers on that grave.

One other obituary is in the files.  This obituary is written in Croatian and is assumed to be for one of the many Croatian newspapers in the US at the time.  His date of death is listed as May 15.
"The deceased spent many years in Kirksville and there belonged o the section Hrvatska [Croatian] Brotherhood.  He joined us P.L. last year on the 23rd of January, 1945.  He slipped on the ice at the time he was still in Kirksville and he hurt his leg.  So since that time, he was getting worse.  His two daughters lived here for many years and owned a restaurant.  They brought their parents to them so they can give them a special hand.  The deceased worked for many years in coal mines and was one of honest and hard worker of the old Gorski region.  He was born 73 years ago in a village Sunger, of Mrkopalj, Gorski Kotar, Croatia." [Gorski Kotar means "small mountains".]  ... "One of his sons Joe disappeared 12 years ago." [Translation was done by a Nun at an orphanage in Zagreb when Melanie and I were there in 2002.]
Kazimir's work life in the United States as a coal miner was a typical choice, a harsh and dangerous reality of immigrants of the time.  On August 3, 1923, he received his Certificate of Competency as a Coal Miner from the Illinois Department of Mines and Minerals State Miner's Examining Board.

A letter from Philip Mihalovich (who represented Croatian miners) dated February 21, 1949, documents Kazimir's coal mining experience, with the intention of finding financial support for his widow.  This is an excellent review of his experience.  Without it, we would have little idea of his work.  The following information comes from this letter.

Kazimir joined the United Mine Workers Union in 1902 and was an active member until about 1939. Over his life, he worked in different places and states (Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa). He worked in the following mines:  Connelsville, MO, mine number 4 or 1; Novinger, MO, mine number 50; White City, Iowa, mine number 6; Fraker, Iowa, no mine number listed; Albia Iowa, Croatian Coal Company Mine; Des Moines, Iowa, Moyle Block Shuller Coal Company; Kirksville, Missouri, mine number 3; Springfield, Illinois, no mine number listed; Kirksville, Missouri, mine number 3; Madrid, Iowa, mine number 6 and Carny Coal Company.

"Kazer" Blaskovich was listed on the pay roll of 854 coal mine employees (1924-1966) for the Billy  Creek Mine Company which is in the Novinger area. Billy Creek was the last shaft mine in operation in Adair County.  It closed January 14, 1966.  (Source: November 25, 2011) An article in the Chariton Collector, a magazine which featured local stories and lore, discussed the Billy Creek Mine. This article speaks to the seriousness of the mining occupation and the balance with humor and camaraderie of miners. [Cenedella, David. (Spring 1983) Billy Creek Coall Mine. (]

Kazimir was a Timberman for about 15 years.
"a. In bituminous coal mining, a head timberman is a foreman who supervises workers installing timbers in a mine to support the roof and walls of haulageways, passageways, and the shaft. Also called timber boss; timber foreman. b. A miner skilled in notching, erecting, and securing timbers set in mine workings. The craft of the timberman is gradually becoming extinct with the advent of power tools and steel as a support."  [from Webster's On Line:  November 23, 2011]
I have often heard my Father refer to his Dad being a "Timberman".  While I am no expert in mining, I can assume from the description above that a Timberman was a very serious occupation requiring considerable skill, responsibility and trust.  The Timberman's work was to make the mines safe for his fellow Miners (and himself). This was no small responsibility.

Mr. Mihalovich's letter goes on:  After that, his activity and his health declined.  "Most of the time was absent memory and no good for any of the hard labor."  (This date of separation came when he was about 65 years old.) A draft document in the file lists members of the United Mine Workers who testified that they knew "Brother Kazimir" and that he was an active member of their Union. 

Frank D. Wilson, President and Secretary Treasurer of the United Mine Workers of America (Albia, Iowa) wrote back on February 18, 1948, noting that "we can find no record in this office of death benefits having been paid on Kazimer Blaskovich." ... "We are indeed sorry we are unable to help you in this respect as we did not know Mr. Blaskovich personally and have no knowledge where he last worked and to which local union he last belonged."

Richard purchased the carbon lamps in the photo above at auction.  These lamps with the flames in front were typically worn by Coal Miners of the period that Kazimir represents. 

A video of the Novinger area reports that women made beds so that they would be ready for a miner who had been injured. I cannot even imagine what that would have been like, for the miner and his family, both of whom knew he might not return as he left the house for his work day.  I do not even want to think about it. 

I can surely see that my Grandfather likely did not have the full range of choices in his new homeland, which was then typical of immigrants.  He could not go back. He did the best he knew how to do.  A secure job with a secure income had to be extremely important to stabilize the present and future of his family.
(1)Regretfully, I am unable to use the appropriate diacritical marks on Croatian spellings.  My miniscule knowledge of the language allows me to know that something significant is missing.  I suppose I could comment that the "language eradication program" begun when he arrived is surely now mostly complete.  
(2)Please also note that there is inconsistency in some of the records, which with the passage of time and the communication between immigrants and English speaking recorders is not surprising.
(3)Sometimes I will post a writing that I am continuing to "tweak".  Usually, entry is complete within 2 weeks of the 1st posting, if anything is ever complete. This surely is one of them.  More information is popping out of the file.  If you have special interest in this entry, you may wish to note the "last edit" at the end.  That will tell if  some change is still being made and when that most recent change was complete.
Last edit:  November 26, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

New Chapter

I could probably write a book about this one, but I will keep it brief here.  There are markers in life which "close a chapter" and "open another anew".  Those moments are substantial.  We have had one such moment occur in the last 2 weeks.

In the 4 1/2 years since we moved here, a continuous theme has been care of ageing parents, support for end of life stages of frail elderly (who were and always will be giants in my life), and transitions for those who remain.  Mother passed a year ago in October, so we marked the first full year without her. That was big. Two weeks ago, my brother and I sold our parents' house.  We moved in when I was 3 years old, which was 60 years ago this month.  The house is small by today's standards, but it is special none the less.  A young family is moving in and we could not be more pleased.

On the way to the closing, I checked into my Facebook account.  A friend from Up North had just posted a poster showing a ground squirrel all stretched out with a front paw that seemed like it was waving.  Bold print read:  "Go on without me."  The poster was from "Dorothy", to whom my friend said "Thank you, Dorothy."  (Mother's name was Dorothy.)  In the approximately 4 entries below was reference to Titanic Jack.  (Dad's name was Jack.)  My friend closed with "Have a great evening everyone."  In that moment, I knew it was going to be OK.  My brother and I (with our families) have done well in closing out this chapter.  It is now time for us to get on with our lives. Mother and Dad smile.

On: Horizontal Surfaces

I had noted earlier that during the Harvest Season, every Horizontal Surface is covered with produce or with supplies and materials for processing Food.  We have made substantial progress.  I am pleased to report that the Horizontal Surfaces are once again freeing up.  Today, we found the top of the Dining Room Table.  I felt like I was reuniting with an Old and Beloved Friend.

As the crescendo of the Harvest is fading and an end for Garden Season 2011 is in sight, another Horizontal Surface is being reclaimed.  These are places of repose and restoration for the Farmers.   Yes, the Gardeners are finding themselves on Horizontal Surfaces. And that feels so very good.

Book Friend

Wright, Harold Bell. (1907). The Shepherd of the Hills. New York:  A.L. Burt Company.
These days, I am really drawn to read books from an earlier time.  When I was growing up, I would hear fondly certain titles that probably came out of the time of my Grandparents.  When I read them, I feel like I am being given a privileged glimpse into thinking and thoughts of another time.  This book, which is set in the Ozarks, is one of them.


I have often thought that the Litter which we Humans in our "Advanced" Civilization so carelessly toss about should bear our names, addresses, and phone numbers.  That litter is a gift for all those who follow.  Some Litter will take 100s and 1000s of years to biodegrade.  Those future generations (and even some of the present ones) would surely like to know to whom to credit the "gift".


It's really easy to pass by that trash we see littered about.  There's plenty of it.  Those plastic bottles seem to be multiplying.  Most of our fellow Human Kin don't even give it a passing glance. I wonder if those elements of trash are secret road "counters", keeping track of how many Humans in our "advanced civilization" pass by before anyone does anything, before anyone cares.

When that person comes along who does pick up the trash, things should stop.  People should note and spontaneously cheer.  I can imagine that everyone in the outer realm (Human and non-Human) would be a part, plus all of those who are yet to make their homes here.  But most important of all, that cheering section should clearly reside within the person picking up the trash.  We pick it up because we know that is what we should do.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Turnips and Beets

 November 10:

Harvest is almost complete. On this day, Richard harvested Turnips and Beets. They are beautiful. The Beets are not near so abundant as the Turnips. Would you believe that some of those Turnips weighed in at 3 pounds?

In Praise of Back-ups

These last few days, I have been sitting with a cold.  I am indeed better, for which I am grateful beyond words.  I am not quite there yet.  I still need some tender care and rest. 

It is amazing to me the insights that come from being sick.  Bodily functions become so much more clear.  I'm more aware of what works and what should work, but doesn't.  Everything else just seems to fade away.  So what is an example?

For 1-24 hour period, which seemed like an eternity, I could not breathe through my nose.  Needless to say, I was aware of every breath. I should probably be aware of every breath every day anyway.  I also became aware that the marvels of our construction have provided a back-up just perfectly suited for such occasions.  If the nasal passages are compromised, one has only to open one's mouth.  In fact, that happens automatically.  If Nature had not provided this, the outcome of this cold might have been way different for me. 

You could call this little entry:  "In Praise of Back-ups".


This video clip is deep, rich.  Arundhati Roy goes to the heart of the matter.  It will likely not be an easy read or "sit" for those who have been fed for decades a paltry and unquestioning diet of corporate sponsored mainstream news. This kind of news comes with "blinders" whose intention is to keep us on a well rutted, worn out, and unsustainable path.

But her words can provide thoughtful reflection and hope.  She, along with countless others, are beacons of hope in a dark time which is emerging into the light. Times of transition and change demand courage to sit in places of great discomfort, to take off the blinders and adjust to the glare. If we keep doing the same thing, we will indeed get the same results.   Now why would we want to do that?

These times of great change demand a careful look at solutions beyond the frame.  They demand a look at changes in the outer world but more specifically in practices of our own intimate worlds.  Every idea that comes down the pike deserves our thoughtful review.  All those (human and non-human) who are ill affected by conventional practice of greed and privilege demand our attention.  We are all in this together.  We are all a part of the problem, which makes us part of the solution too.

What an amazing time to be alive...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

1st Garden Catalog

We received the 1st Garden Catalog earlier in the week.  In the times of our parents and grandparents (and earlier in our own lives), those catalogs would have been arriving just after Christmas.  It was a ritual that was greatly anticipated. 

This is a little early, Dear Publishers of Catalogs.  Your Catalog will wind up on the bottom of the stack. The 3 Gardeners on this little Farm need a rest.


If you were hanging around this little Farm, you would hear ever more consistent murmurings from the Humans: "I am ready for the Garden to be done."  That little word "ready" has only recently been used and it is ever more consistent in its expression.  It's been a long season.  But considering we are trying to grow as much of our own food as possible and we are in the middle of considerable abundance, we have no complaints, only joy.

We began ordering Seeds for Garden 2011 just after Christmas this past year.  I began planting and tending Leek Seeds in flats in late January.  We continue to make progress on freezing and preserving. Melanie is working on some "Pumpkin Butter".  Yum. Less and less produce is waiting in the wings.  That feels really good. Seeds need to be inventoried and put away.

Temperatures are dipping.  It is supposed to be 20 on this night.  It's time to cover the Strawberries with Straw.  They need a bit of a blanket, you know.  I have a few more Dry Edible Beans to pick.  If the Fairies would come and pick them for me, I would be delighted.  They could bring them in a bucket inside the house and deposit them by the easy chair by the Fireplace. 

Soon, the Chickens will have free rein in 2/3 of the Garden.  They are ready too.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Change

When we moved to this little Farm, some changes in life style were clearly "writing on the wall".  We expected them and they happened.  Others were not expected. 

One change that has happened is that we hardly ever listen to our large collection of CDs.  It's been years since we have bought a CD.  We loved our music when we lived in our little house on its little lot in the city.  Somehow, it swept away the noise of the city.

Here on the Farm, we find ourselves charmed by sounds of the country.  We hear the trains going by in the distance.  We hear the Amish buggies and wagons going down the lane.  Clip clop clip clop.  Those are sounds my grandparents heard 100 years ago.  We love the bird sounds which shift with the seasons.  We are totally in love with the sounds of frogs.  We take comfort in our chicken repertoire. We listen intently for any sound that might suggest the chickens have an intruder.  And we move quickly when we hear it.  We know when we have company coming down the drive:  Freddie the Rooster crows a characteristic crow and Ladd the Dog barks his characteristic bark.  We love the sounds of the Quail.  We are now playing around with creating our own music.  Melanie and I are sometimes plunking on the piano keyboard.  Yes, we are learning.  Sometimes our sounds are off, but that is learning at its best.  Sometimes we sing.  I cannot even imagine shutting out or overriding any of these sounds.

We have a box of CD's that are on their way to the thrift store.  Who would have thought we would have made this shift?

Reflections on Food Waste

I have long been appalled by Food waste, waste of myself, my family and my culture. On a personal and family level, it began by noting how many Foods seemed to become "science projects" in our refrigerator.  Their little ornaments of color and texture seemed to wave at me:  "Pay attention".  

When we would eat out, I noted that appalling amounts of Food were often served.  Some restaurant goers would ask for "doggy bags" but much of the food just went to the dump. We'd ask for "doggy bags", but then leave them on the table or in the fridge after they got home. I began to feel more comfortable in restaurants which offered only the amount of Food eaten.  Sometimes I would ask for a half portion, or eat from the list of appetizers.  It was less expensive too.

Many years ago, we 3 C's used to waste Food over and over again.  That was not our intention. We were busy and we just lost track. But was there something more? What I came to conclude was that the Food did not taste good, it wasn't the maximum living vitality. Were our bodies backing away? 

In those long years when we bought most of our Produce at the Grocery Store any time we wanted it, I remember the Strawberries in February. They looked like Strawberries but did not taste like Strawberries.  They also did not rot like Strawberries.  I remember the Apples which looked like Apples. That first bite told me they really weren't the Apples my taste buds desired.  And those Tomatoes which could have passed for Billiard Cues were the tipping point.  Something was wrong, deeply wrong, with an industrial process which lined up Produce appearing like Produce on the Produce Aisle.  It was better suited for Transportation and Shelf Life than for my Consumption.

Now we raise most of our own Food, we buy locally grown and we eat seasonally.  It's almost straight from the Garden. The Food has a different vibration and feel. We are less likely to waste. It is so very good. We also know exactly what goes into the food.  That's sweat off the brow and it's precious land space that the Earth provides.
If we do have Food waste, we have chickens who don't call any of that waste at all. They convert it into poop which enriches the soil. That's full circle.

One of the 1st areas that we focused on was not wasting Animal flesh. If 1/3 of the Chickens are wasted, does that mean that 1/3 more have to be raised and slaughtered to cover this waste?  I found that appalling. This little insight really drove me to action.

Looking at this overall: if 1/3 of the Food is wasted, does that mean that we could reduce Food production and land use by 1/3? Now that's a good idea. Give Mother Earth a rest. Save some of that Land for the Creatures and Plants who are our Kin on our Beloved Home.

This little entry would be incomplete without a "spiritual" insight here.  To me, the Creator gives us the Gift of Life.  With that Gift comes an abundance which supports Life itself.  I need to act consistently with the preciousness of that Gift.  To waste even a small part of that is to diminish that Gift of the Divine and my relationship to it.
While we are not perfect, we have made substantial strides in reducing Food waste.  That feels good. Life comes with Lessons.  This is a big one for us.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I Have a CODE...

I have a CODE.  
It's in my head: 
congestion, sniffles, 
occasional (but fewer than before) 
Stuffed up.
Can't breathe 
through my nose. 
Feel like 
one big germ.  
Sentences become 
short sound bites.  
I am miserable. 
Impatient too.  
I have higher priorities 
than being sick.  
I missed a really big one today.  
A really big one.
I am not going anywhere 
and doing less.  
I'm not fit for much 
of anything.  
Chicken soup, 
lots of water, 
hot water with lemon and honey, 
throat lozenges,
netty pot.  
In time, 
CODE will pass.  
I need to be patient. 
I need to let my body do 
what it most likes to do:  
be healthy. 
I need to work 
with that energy 
rather than against it.  
It's hard. 
The sooner 
I let myself rest, 
the sooner I will be well.
Glinda Crawford, 2011

Marking 2 Dates

My mind has drifted back and forth between 2 dates and the present. One hundred years ago November 11 (1911), my Grandfather Fred Albert Brenz and my Grandfather Lottie Hart (Brenz) got their marriage license.  And, exactly 100 years ago this date (November 15, 1911), they were married.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Oral History

This is a great video of Novinger, a little town on the west side of Adair County.  My Croatian Grandparents Kazimir and Dragica Blaskovic (Kaiser and Dora Bloskovich), who arrived in 1908, lived there in 1910 when my Aunt Mary was born.  My Grandfather worked the coal mines until he could no longer do so. For many years, Novinger was quite the boom town.  Those days have long passed.

I am reminded that we have many Elders in our midst.  Somebody oughta be walking around with a tape recorder.  Those memories, the affirmation of them, and the Elders who hold them are treasures.  Like Mother said over a year ago: "Don't wait too long."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Povitica Season

In these weeks before Thanksgiving and Christmas (as well as before Easter), hits on "Povitica Recipe" increase dramatically on this little Blog.  I suppose it is a nudging of the ancestors.  These are the holidays when Povitica is traditionally made and served.  I can't imagine these holidays without it.


With every Rain, we head out to the new Pond and check its level.  We have been known to check it in the Rain.  It's slow, but it is coming.

Yesterday, we planted 2 clumps of Violets on the Pond Banks.  The Violets were from Mother's house.  That made me smile.


October 24:

We 3 C's headed on a walkabout up to our new Pond. It is so new that it is more like a Cup rather than a Pond. With some recent Rain, the Pond now has a puddle in it and quite a large puddle at that.

Remember the little Boy (and Girl) who used to like to throw Rocks into the Pond (or Puddle)? Well, the Little Boy (and Girls) are all grown up, but they remember and still love to throw Rocks in Ponds and Puddles.

Deer Season

Deer Season opened today.  Richard came home with a "button Buck". 

Permission to Rest

The last 5 1/2 years were intense.  
The move here was amazing.  
We have shifted from an urban 
to an agrarian lifestyle.  
Learning curve was steep, 
a cliff at times.
We learned a considerable amount 
with more teachings garunteed ahead.  
We gave support to my Elderly Parents 
who have since passed.  
With the sale of Mom and Dad's house earlier this week,
life has shifted.
A door has closed.
Other doors are opening.
We are moving into Winter.
Our hands were full
of Harvest chores and putting the Garden to bed.
Those chores are more and more complete.
We are arriving in the season 
which promises
permission to rest.  
That feels good.
Really good.
Glinda Crawford, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rebuilding the American Dream

In every step, we make choices to "rebuild the American Dream".  Check out this video: "The Story of Broke".

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Don't Touch the Clocks

This is the night when my family advises me: "Don't touch the clocks."  I have this wonderful knack of turning them the other way, with interesting results.

Deer Season

I have to admit that Deer Season is not one of my favorite times to be on the Farm.   We do not hunt or allow hunting on the Farm.  Blaze orange appears and moves about the landscape of the neighboring properties.  From a distance those blaze orange vests, jackets, sweatshirts make the wearer look like a tiny bright bug on the landscape. Trucks and Hunters routinely travel sometimes at great speeds down our off the beaten track road, as if to say "Don't get in my way."

This weekend is Youth Season.  Next weekend the full season begins.  This will feature the most intense activity.  A break for Thanksgiving is in the works and some limited season follows after that. The quiet country side will be broken with punctuations of shots. 

We 3 C's are not opposed to hunting.  Richard hunts.  We do eat game, deer and turkey especially.  Deer is a staple in our diet, surpassed on by Beef, or should I say "Cow".

During Deer Season, we 3 C's are careful not to walk around our property, which we absolutely love to do, especially during the late Fall.  If we are out and about, we wear blaze orange or bright colors. We feel relatively safe, although it is important to be smart about it.  It is not as tranquil to walk in Deer Season, I might add.  A major reason why we do not walk is that we do not want to scare up any Deer who might then wander into sight of Hunters.  They have few places of sanctuary at this time.

I think how awful it must be for the Deer to have gone from a peaceful period to one where they seem to have become a target.  What sense must they make of all of this?  I cannot make sense of it myself.  The prevailing view in our culture is that non-Human Nature has no feeling.  I beg to differ.  Besides, all Creatures are gifts of the Divine.

I just hope that Hunting, as in all Human Actions, is done in a good way.  I suppose you could call that a prayer.

Reducing Catalogs

Over the years, we have been very cognizant of the fact that paper is a "gift from Trees".  When I hold paper in my hands, I recognize it as "Tree".  I wonder what stories it could tell.  I wonder where it came from.

Consequently, we have tried really hard to reduce our use of paper.  To be sure, we can do more.  And this particular leaning means we need to always be vigilant.

One of our greatest frustrations has been the volume of catalogs that used to stuff our mailbox.  I am pleased to report that they "used" to stuff our box.  We are very careful about "lists" that sell our name and address.  Whenever we sign up for something new which requires address and/or phone number (like getting a new catalog), we try always to ask:  "What do you do with this information?"  And we specify that we do not want our name sold. (I could add a further question, which would be appropriate, but I have not done that yet:  "Do you have our permission to sell our name and address?")

Whenever we get a new catalog we do not want, we quickly head to the phone and request cancellation.  Some companies make it easy.  Very easy.  Other companies make it more difficult.  For those, I push the button described as "place an order".  That usually gets results.  When I finally talk with an operator, I request information about where they got our name (they do not always know), I state clearly they we do not want our name sold, I tell them we do this for the trees, I note that we buy only what we need, I ask them to pass this information on.

I do recognize that the operator is someone who is usually not connected to decision making.  Further, I know they are just trying to make ends meet.  I try to be nice.  That usually works.

About every 2 years, we have also contacted the Direct Marking Association to have our names removed.  We have found it important to include all variations of name and address.  It would be important to check the differences one sees in the address labels of catalogs.  The computer sees each of these addresses as different people.  Aren't computers fun?

Just recently I found what looks like a wonderful new resource that may well top that and some besides. I like that it includes an option of removing those multiple phone directories.  Who needs all those phone directories anyway?

Years ago, I read where certain locations of forested areas had produced telephone directories and toilet paper. That little piece of information really got me going.
Change is happening.  For that, we are deeply grateful.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rain and Wind

We got about 2 inches of Rain in the last 24 hours.  The Rain came in last night and with it Wind.  One can feel the energy shift into Winter.  While listening to the Rain, our thoughts drifted toward the new Pond.  And we smiled.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Notes from the Past

I love to read magazines and books from earlier times.  Somehow they reveal an understanding of where have come from and how we got to the place we are now.  Too bad, we don't always pay attention.  We could solve some problems before they become problems.  Check the letter entitled the "Crossroads Philosopher" from Country Gentleman, December, 1950, page 139: 
"DEAR EDITOR:  I read in a copy of a magazine which I picked up in my dentist's office the other day (and which I will return if my tooth ever starts hurtin' again) where scientists are baffled over the fact weeds and grass can build up an immunity to those newfangled weed killers.

It seems like the first year these chemical will kill weeds and grass satisfactorily, but by the second year some of the weeds begin catchin' on and build up an immunity, and the chemicals have no effect on 'em. As a result, scientists and some farmers are tearin' their hair.

But it hasn't bothered me---and won't.  I learned long ago that grass and weeds was apparently here to stay and the smart thing to do was for me to build up an immunity against them.  I ain't no scientist, but I figure I got as much sense as a weed, and if it can build up immunity against me, I can build one against it.  Live and let live is my policy.  Weeds and me both is part of Nature and we stopped objectin' to each other years ago.  Yours faithfully, ---H.B. Fox"

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Art Show Closes

We took the Show down today.  Sweet memories of it will last for a very long time. Jerry Jones took some marvelous photos of the KHS Class of  '66 Art Show. Thanks Jerry! I have posted them as slide show below.  (Note: I have sometimes found that a blank white screen appears where the slide show should be.  I am trying to remedy this situation.  If you have trouble accessing the slideshow, let me know.)