Monthly Inspiration

I plan to continue my Monthly Inspiration posts this year but in the absence of a 2023 calendar (I plan to buy one this week.) I decided to share some stories that I have found both heartwarming and inspirational.

This first story is one that I read several weeks ago – a potential tragedy with a happy ending. After a plane traveling from Louisiana with 53 dogs crashed on a golf course in Wisconsin, some of the first responders who came to the rescue gave the furry passengers their forever homes. Click here for full story. Perhaps it’s because I know the impact that adopting rescue animals can have on one’s life that this story touched me so. What an incredible gift to both the rescuer and their new furry friend!

If the first story wasn’t enough to give you hope in humanity, this one certainly will. The headline, Heroic actions of ‘Amazing Jay’ who saved 24 people and 2 dogs from deadly cold is the story America needs, tells only part of the story. Read the full story here. I experienced a mix of emotions while reading this. I don’t know what kind of people would turn away someone who was stranded in this killer storm, but I found myself being thankful that they did. What a blessing he was to others in need!

The last story is about a lady in our area who turned 100 years old on Christmas Day. While I have never met Verna, she is a longtime friend of my sister and her family. This very brief news clip tells a bit about the community birthday celebration that was thrown for her. After hearing firsthand accounts of the party from my sister I was disappointed that the clip did not show any of the presentations made by community leaders, commending Verna’s contributions to the community, nor did it show the school children presenting her with the 100+ birthday cards. (My sister told me yesterday that birthday cards were still coming from around the world. :)) I was also disappointed that the reporter spent so little time speaking with Verna, but in the end, I think that these two lines, spoken by Verna, “Just happy that I can do for other people, rather than do for myself. And, if I can serve and do for other people, that’s what I’d like,” may be all we need to know to give us the secret to a good and happy, if not long, life.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and all the best in 2023.

Gnome Sweet Gnome

Hello and welcome! I hope you all had a nice Christmas. We did. It was a blessing that the storm that wreaked havoc across much of the country did not disrupt our Christmas plans.

One of the gifts I made this year were these gnome towel toppers. The free crochet pattern can be found here. I made several of these as they worked up pretty quick and were budget friendly to make. I didn’t make them in red in green as the original pattern calls for because I wanted the recipients to use them throughout the year not just around Christmas time. I knew when I started making these that one of them would be for my next-door neighbor, Karen. Like me she is a cook and a crafter, and she and I like to exchange homemade gifts.

These gnome towel toppers have a ring crocheted inside them to hold the towel so the towel can be removed and washed. The gnome hat loops down and buttons so it can be hung, usually on the oven handle.

On the Tuesday before Christmas, I took Karens gift over to her. As I handed her the gift she said, “Oh, I have something for you,” then handed me a gift bag. We opened our gifts at the same time and then had a good laugh.

Karens gift to me were the two towels, with toppers, pictured below. The first one I saw was the Gnome for the Holidays one.

The strange thing is that she and I had never even spoke about Gnomes before, we just thought they would be a good gift each other.

Thanks for visiting.

Not In the Mood

I haven’t felt much like writing lately. I’m not sure why but it’s certainly not due to a lack of things to write about. In fact, here are some of the topics that I have either began writing about or thought about writing about.

EGGS
I began writing about our hens who are not laying this time of year and the difference between the eggs that our hens lay and the eggs that we have been buying either from other farmers or the grocery store.

Our eggs have a yolk that is darker in color, thicker in texture and more flavorful than any of the eggs we have bought. I assume it is the difference between hens that are fed primarily commercial chicken feed and those who roam and forage for their food – the later providing the superior egg.

I deleted the original draft of this post as it made me sound like an egg snob. I am not an egg snob. I am truly grateful for the eggs we have been able to buy.

RUBY

I started writing an update on Ruby since she has been with us for just over 6 months now.

I’m not going to go into all the details today, but I will say that we have all fallen head -over-heals in love with her. “All” being defined as my husband and myself, Ranger, our daughters who were here for Thanksgiving, (Tina informed me that when they get a bigger house she is going to steal Ruby.) our grandkids, and even Peanut the cat.

Our prayer for the perfect (for us) dog was answered and Ruby has found her furever home.

Christmas Preparation

Regular readers will likely remember that at this time of year that I am usually busy making Christmas gifts. This year is no different. My sewing machine and crochet hooks have been in my employ for the past several weeks and will likely work some overtime this week. 🙂

Also like in previous years our Christmas tree came from our farm this year. It is a lovely little Norway spruce that we planted as a seedling (twig) in 2012.

KEEPING THE HOME FIRES BURNING

A couple of weeks ago, on Thursday evening, our furnace went out. Since it was after 5pm and not an emergency we waited until Friday morning to call the repair company. It was not an emergency because once I realized that the furnace wasn’t working, I built a fire in the fireplace and warmed up the main part of the house. We ran an electric space heater in the bathroom to keep that area warm and added an extra blanket to the bed that night.

We were thankful that the repair service was able to get to us on Friday and repair the ignitor that had gone bad in our 25-year-old furnace. Having to go the whole weekend without the furnace would have been quite the nuisance and having to replace the furnace would have been even worse.

Do you have a backup plan if your furnace goes out?

A Lesson in Patience

The next week, again on Thursday evening, my computer crashed. I was doing some reading when suddenly the screen went blank, then this message showed up: “No bootable device detected.” I received the same message after shutting it down and restarting it, so I got my book and went to bed to read. Books never crash!

The next morning my husband took my computer to the Cybernerd (repair man) and since I had no hope of getting my computer back before the weekend, if at all, I obtained a backup computer – an extra that my dad had sitting around. It was an antiquated Dell laptop business computer, specifically designed to run Windows 98, but it had been updated with Windows 10.

The substitute computer did what I needed it to do. I could access my email and WordPress accounts and do a little reading, but man, was it slow. It also spent a lot of time updating apparently because it hadn’t been used for a long time and had missed a lot of updates. Rather than let it frustrate me I spent little time on my computer and more time working on making gifts.

On Monday my husband spoke to the Cybernerd and learned that my computer could be repaired, and he could save all of my files. He would have it ready on Tuesday or Wednesday. I was so happy! Wednesday came and went and then Thursday. My husband’s calls to the Cybernerd went unanswered. Finally on Friday he got word that it was ready, and My husband brought my computer home to me.

One really good thing good came out of me using my dad’s old computer – I discovered a bunch of old family photos. He had told me there were some picture files and music files on the computer and I could delete them if I wanted to. After browsing through the pictures and taking a precious trip back in time, I decided rather than delete the files I needed have them saved and backed up so that I could share them with my husband, kids and sisters (and perhaps even you). I now have them saved on a flash drive.

Left to right – Kathy, Aunt Shirley, Jamie, Ruth (me) Front: Erin

I don’t remember what year the above picture, of me with my sisters and Aunt Shirley, was taken but I’m guessing I was in my mid-twenties.

OOPS

A funny thing happened when my husband and I were grocery shopping. Quite by accident I toppled a cardboard display stand of batteries and sent several dozen packages of AA batteries crashing to the floor. My husband and I both watched helplessly as it was falling and my first thought as I looked at the mess was of Steve Urkel in the whiney, irritating voice “did I do that?”. I appreciated by my husband’s reaction; he didn’t roll his eyes, he didn’t shake his head, nor did he walk away and pretend he didn’t know me. Instead, he graciously asked me if I wanted to unload our two carts full of groceries or clean up the mess I just made. I let him reset the display while I unloaded the shopping carts. The thing is even if it was a complete stranger he would have jumped in to lend a hand. It’s one of the things I love most about him. Yes! he’s a keeper!

Looking Ahead

With just a few days before Christmas the National Weather Service has sent out a message that a winter storm, which I think they should name “Grinch” or “Ebenezer”, is threating to steal Christmas.

Winter Storm Watch

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Detroit/Pontiac MI
348 AM EST Wed Dec 21 2022

MIZ047>049-053>055-060>063-068>070-075-076-082-083-212115-
/O.NEW.KDTX.WS.A.0003.221223T0300Z-221225T0300Z/
Midland-Bay-Huron-Saginaw-Tuscola-Sanilac-Shiawassee-Genesee-
Lapeer-St. Clair-Livingston-Oakland-Macomb-Washtenaw-Wayne-
Lenawee-Monroe-
Including the cities of Midland, Bay City, Bad Axe, Saginaw,
Caro, Sandusky, Owosso, Flint, Lapeer, Port Huron, Howell,
Pontiac, Warren, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Adrian, and Monroe
348 AM EST Wed Dec 21 2022

...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY EVENING THROUGH
SATURDAY EVENING...

* WHAT...Blizzard conditions possible. Wind gusts in excess of 50
  mph possible. Potential exists for snowfall totals in excess of
  6 inches for some areas.

* WHERE...Portions of southeast Michigan.

* WHEN...From Thursday evening through Saturday evening.

* IMPACTS...Travel could be very difficult to impossible.
  Widespread blowing snow may significantly reduce visibilities
  to near zero yielding whiteout conditions. Drifting snow could
  hamper snow removal operations. The hazardous conditions may
  impact the morning and evening commutes Friday while posing
  great risk to holiday weekend travel. Strong winds may bring
  down tree branches and cause scattered to widespread power
  outages.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...A rapid changeover from rain to snow is
  expected late Thursday evening into Friday morning. Wind chill
  values drop some 5 to 15 degrees below zero at times.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

Prepare for possible blizzard conditions. If you must travel,
have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay
with your vehicle.

Continue to monitor the latest forecasts for updates on this
situation.

We’ve been watching the forecast for several days and checking off items on our preparedness list.

  • shopping done
  • vehicles fueled up
  • firewood stocked, oil lamps, flashlights ready
  • generator, snow blower, tractor fueled up
  • bucket of water for flushing in case water goes out, bottled water for drinking

I still have a couple of errands to run today including a visit to my dad to take him a few things, but I think we are as ready as we can be to face this storm.

I am also aware that power outages or poor travel conditions may change our plans to have family over to celebrate Christmas, but I’m sure that the best gift would be to have everyone do what it takes to be safe and well.

If you are in the path of this major winter storm I hope you too will do what it takes to be safe and well.

Merry Christmas

Even though I haven’t felt much like writing lately I did want to wish all of my readers a Merry Christmas and will take the opportunity to do that now in case this “Grinch” of a storm decides to cut off our power.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Holiday Cactus

Last year around the holidays my husband bought me a Christmas cactus. I was thrilled because, even though I had not mentioned it to him, I had been wanting one. It blossomed beautifully for many weeks.

My sister told me if you want it to blossom for Christmas don’t water it during the month of September. I didn’t. Several weeks ago I noticed buds beginning to form it. It was blossoming by Thanksgiving.

I learned something new when my aunt was over for Thanksgiving dinner. She mentioned that her Thanksgiving cactus was blossoming. I was surprised at hearing she had a Thanksgiving cactus because I had never heard of such a thing. She explained that the difference between a Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus was in the leaves. After reading this article I determined that my plant is, in fact, a Thanksgiving cactus. It has spikey leaves, and the anthers of the flower are yellow which, according to the article define it as a Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata). I do hope it continues to blossom through the holidays.

Have you ever heard of a Thanksgiving cactus?