Thursday, February 18, 2021

David Bowie – Life On Mars? (Official Video)

This evening I watched a live Instagram of Lukas Nelson, and one of the songs he sang was Bowie's "Life On Mars" in honor of the Mars landing. I was never a huge Bowie fan, but I still thought this was appropriate today. And here he is way back in 1973. Does not seem possible it was that long ago.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Hello dollies

" It is a fine thing to preserve and pass on the dolls of the past. And the dolls in native costumes are worth handing down, too, for there may well be a day when native costumes are gone. As countries get divided up and passed around, as people fly all over the world, probably everyone will dress alike, more's the pity."
Gladys Taber
Stillmeadow Seasons 1950 

I have written a bit about Tom's parents moving out of their home into an independent living apartment here. The follow-up is that after a couple years, they moved again; this time into assisted living. They needed help with medications and other things. Last month his step-father died. It was the best death one could ask for. He essentially laid down and after a few days stopped breathing. He was 97. Tom's mother has moved into a smaller apartment in the same building. She's doing well.

One of the things we were given when they made the first move was her doll collection. I spent quite a long time three years ago documenting it in our iPhotos, and have been meaning to do a blog entry about them for all this time. His mother had them catalogued years ago, and I matched the picture of the doll and its place of origin in our pictures. 

I am so fond of this lady!


Look how tiny these are

And here are some pictures of them arranged on the shelves.

The family of dolls on the lowest shelf were played with by Hazel a lot for a couple years. She had this special voice and made up stories about them.

 Because there wasn't a doll from South Korea, I went online to buy one. She is taller so she gets a shelf all to herself

And these two are my very favorites. They are from Hungary. The expressions are so great.

And I love this woman!

 We are so, so happy to have these dolls. And someday, they will go to Hazel. I thought I might have prints made of the information and the dolls and put them in an album. 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Today's poem by Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benét

On Abraham Lincoln's birthday, I thought I would post a poem I learned as a child.  I've never read anything quite like it, and though it is probably a "children's poem", I find it even more meaningful as an adult and mother. 

            Nancy Hanks 

by Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benét 1933

If Nancy Hanks
Came back as a ghost,
Seeking news
Of what she loved most,
She’d ask first “Where’s my son?
What’s happened to Abe?
What’s he done?”

“Poor little Abe,
Left all alone
Except for Tom,
Who’s a rolling stone;
He was only nine
The year I died.
I remember still
How hard he cried.”

“Scraping along
In a little shack,
With hardly a shirt
To cover his back,
And a prairie wind
To blow him down,
Or pinching times
If he went to town.”

“You wouldn’t know
About my son?
Did he grow tall?
Did he have fun?
Did he learn to read?
Did he get to town?
Do you know his name?
Did he get on?”

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Hoping for a blog post without the word "hay"?? Not quite yet!

Yesterday our young friend delivered nine bales of hay from a town about an hour north of us. There won't be more from that source, but we are so grateful. And on Wednesday we will go again to the next state for those five bales we are allowed. The animals are smiling.

Here is the lad himself.

And the hay.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Hay, again

Today Tom took two trips to get hay. The first was the feed store in the next state - the place where you can get five bales a week. And who knew that five bales would fit in a VW Golf! He put down the back seat, and voila!

That truck in the first picture is Matt's old, now dead, S-10, a truck much loved by those who had one. You can't get small trucks anymore. They are all huge - too huge in my estimation - and they cost a fortune.

Trip two was to a lovely place a few towns away. Turns out the guy cuts many fields and then sells the hay. Tom got four bales there, which were a bit bigger than the first load. So, nine bales in the barn. Money in the bank. I think we are going to try and sign up for next year's hay. Although I don't get political here, I am going to say that it has been a stress this year getting hay and feed at our usual store. It is one of the stores in the big town next to us where they refuse to wear masks. Most of the stuff we get is outdoors, but Tom still has to go inside for dog food, bird, and deer food. He's been going to another place sometimes, but the store is the only show in town when it comes to hay. I think it would be lovely to drive down to the new person's place once a week and get lovely, local hay.

So, there we are. Good for now. Haven't heard back from our friend yet, but that may well be another source. A tentative "whew". 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Hey, hey, hay

 So here we are on Groundhog Day. Tom went in to the farm supply store, and there was no hay. And there will be none till Friday. We have Nebby the donkey and eight sheep who need hay twice a day. Tom drove out to visit a farmer from whom we bought our raw milk for years and years who now raises meat cows. He said he didn't have any extra at all. He said because of the drought last summer there was a scarcity of hay all over. But his daughter's partner has some hay and he gave Tom her number. In the meantime I called a feed store in the next state, some 30 miles away and asked if they have any. She said yes, but she knows they are going to run out so they are allowing a customer to buy only five bales a week. That sounded great to me! I also texted a young friend (who is going to become a first time father this year at almost 43 years old) who knows everyone in the north country. He said he'd get back to me. He does know a guy. Tom came home and we are now going to get some hay from each of those sources, and then buy more at our store on Friday. But still, it is really worrisome. Our next call will be to a few towns north of us where the drought wasn't so bad.

It isn't enough to have a virus and discord in the country. We have to be fearful about the most basic of basics, hay.  

Sunday, January 31, 2021

January Book Facts

To save myself doing so much work at the end of December, I am really going to try and do the stats each month.

Read 9 books

children's books - 5 

mysteries - 4

Kindle - 6

print - 3

by men - 3

by women - 6

By the years:

1900-1909 - 1

1940s - 2

1950s - 1

1960s - 1

2010-2019 - 1

2020 - 3

January books

January - 9

1. The Purple Onion Mystery (aka Murder on Friday) - book 7, and last, in the Spike Tracy series 

by Harriette Ashbrook

mystery 1941


finished 1/2/21

Sorry to say farewell to Mr. Tracy. I've so enjoyed these books.

2. The Theft of the Iron Dogs aka Murderer's Mistake - book 28 in the Robert Macdonald series

by E.C.R Lorac

mystery 1946


finished 1/10/21

One of my favorite books in the Macdonald series. He goes back to an area, and sees some of the people he met in a previous book, Fell Murder. Such good characters, and she was a really good writer. I've read she's getting a lot of acclaim since being re-introduced through the British Library Crime Classics series. She deserves every bit of the praise.

3. The Railway Children

by Edith Nesbitt

children's fiction serialized in The London Magazine 1905, published as a book in 1906


finished 1/14/21

Best book of the month! I loved it so much. She is a great writer, and I plan to read more of her this year. Wonderful family relationships. Realistic children. Life in the "olden days" when kids could pretty much live their own lives during the long days. 

4. The Owl Service

by Alan Garner

children's fiction 1967


finished 1/16/21

I really wanted to like this, but I mostly felt it was odd. I don't want to say too much because it is a good story to come to fresh. I am interested in the mythical stories about old England and Wales, but this one just didn't strike my fancy.

5. Murder in Vienna - book 42 in the Robert Macdonald series

by E.C.R. Lorac

mystery 1956


finished 1/21/20

Still loving Lorac so much. What a terrific character Macdonald is. It is one of those series where you don't see him at home, or with relatives. It is just him on the case, yet readers get to know him as a person.

6. Kamala and Maya's Big Idea

by Meena Harris; illus. by Ana Ramirez Gonzalez

Children's book 2020


finished 1/24/21

7. Joey  The Story of Joe Biden

by Jill Biden; illus. by Amy June Bates

Children's book 2020


finished 1/24/21

8. The Fatal Flying Affair - book 7 in the Lady Hardcastle mysteries

by T. E. Kinsey

mystery 2020


finished 1/27/21

I love this series! It is historical fiction set in the pre-WWI years. Awfully good relationship between two women, both of them strong and interesting. 

9. The Boy, the mole, the fox and the Horse

by Charlie Mackesy

illustrated fiction for adults and children 2019


finished 1/27/21

My main print reading is a very big (and wonderful book) about Churchill and the Second World War but I did read a few children's print books this month. 

I heard about The Boy...  from The Duchess of Cornwall. And then I saw it everywhere, so I bought it. I must be missing something. I think it is a perfectly fine children's book, but I am not one of the many adults who've written about how wonderful it is. I thought it rather simple and bland and not surprising or interesting. Probably I'm the only reader in the world who thinks this, but there you go. 

The book about President Biden was really quite wonderful. We got it for all the grandchildren for Christmas. It is quite detailed about things in his life. I think it will show children that ordinary people can do great things as children and may even be President someday.

This book about Kamala Harris and her sister, Maya written by Maya's daughter was based on a story the writer had always heard. It isn't necessary factual but is a good story. I didn't care for the illustrations.