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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Memorial Day Celebration in a Small Town, USA

Ahhhh nothing can beat a small-town parade!

We are lucky enough to set right on the parade route in our tiny town of less than 4,000 people----    It goes right by our house and up the road to the cemetery where a program is held among the graves of the soldiers.

The early morning started out with rain rain rain... But by about 8 a.m. it quit so the parade was still scheduled to run.  We brought out lawn chairs and set up on our front sidewalk, bringing along a couple of chairs for the neighbors.

 I have always wanted to be "those people" who live on a parade route!

Here come Laurie and RC, our neighbors thru the backyard.  
 Steve: "When is this thing starting?"

Please... keep in mind, this is a VERY fast parade, about 10-15 minutes long.  I have taken a picture of EVERYTHING in the parade as it happened so you get the feel of a Small Town Parade!

Ahhhh here it comes----

First are the soldiers!!

Even our doggers know to stand at attention when the flag goes by!

Sad reflection, but it seems every year there are less and less soldiers to march in our parades.

Next in line comes  the Woman's Auxiliary all dressed in patriotic colors.
Behind every good soldier, there is an army of women supporting him!
Wives --  Mothers -- Sisters -- Aunts -- Daughters and so on

Every parade MUST have a Poppy Princess---
Isn't she so cute?   She was doing her "parade wave" just like Jackie Kennedy!

Oh my!  Here come's the music!
In this tiny parade, we got to have TWO marching bands!
Playing patriotic music all the way... no marking time, just one wonderful song after another.

Here is the first one....
 I just love seeing their uniforms and instruments all shiny and blasting.
So glad that even with so many of the schools cutting out the music programs,
 that we still have enough students who love music, and have bands to march in our parades.

AHHHHH  then come the Boy Scouts!!!
They trudged along, scraping their shoes on the cement.
I don't think they REALLY wanted to be in the parade, but yes, there they were trying.

Soooo sweet---- here come the little baton twirlers!
Just adorable!!!

Here is comes, the next band!

I was even able to video record the music they were playing,
but it starts out wiggly.... why?
Because little Finnegan decided he didn't care for the booming drums!
He was wobbling around on my lap while I was holding the video camera.
But then he settled down and the rest of the song can be enjoyed.

That was followed up by the mayor in a car, and the buses to haul the band members back from the presentation at the cemetery.  That was it.  End of parade!  No commercial floats, no candy throwing, no congressmen shaking hands and kissing babies.  No hawkers of gee gaws along the edges of the crowds.  Nope...  Our little small town parade on Memorial Day is just that... a memorial of Honorable Patriotic Americana for the day set aside to remember those who fought to keep our country safe.  

I just love it!  What a fitting tribute. 

Later in the afternoon, the daughter of the original owners of our house came by... she brought some family photo albums so I could scan in some pics of our house over the years.  Here is one from when it was first built!  She is thinking it's only a couple years old in this pic, but there's no date.  It was started in 1913 and finished up in 1914. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

100 Year Old Juno Lamp and hanging out with friends for dinner

Steve and I went out for breakfast Saturday morning over to Hilde's Bakery and Deli which is two blocks away.  It was a nice little walk and we enjoyed eggs, ham and cheese on croissants.  Hilde does the best food and baked goods in her little shop on Main Street.... what a Treat!  

Afterwards we stopped at a couple rummage sales.  Last year, I had stopped by this one particular guy and bought three wonderful treasures.... an old crockery bowl, a enameled white coffee pot and a framed print of the collie and little girl on a time out called "A Special Pleader"  that hangs in the grandtots's bedroom. All very reasonable prices.  This guy has some wonderful stuff and he has his rummage sale a number of weekends each year.

While there, I happened to see this lamp...  and looked at it several times.  Steve was ready to leave, but I just couldn't stop thinking about that lamp and how unusual it was.  There were several old oil and kerosene lamps, but this one struck a chord with me.   I knew that if I didn't buy it, I would probably regret it and look to find another somewhere else someday.  Finally I asked the price because the tag that was hanging on it hadn't been written on.  (all of his other things were clearly marked)  I held my breath.... and he said "Oh... Twenty bucks?"    SOLD!  I didn't even dicker on it, I just wanted it!

It's called The Juno Lamp by Edward Miller

It's all nickle plated in pretty nice shape... and still has the wick inside. The center "draught" device was a little stuck, but Steve gently and carefully worked it loose. That is how the air gets into the lamp, through the screen grid around the neck and draws up from the holes around the base of the lamp near the table.  I just had to have it.  It will look SO nice in the diningroom!

I like to think of the first woman, or perhaps a newlywed couple,  who bought this lamp as brand new so long ago.  Was it a prized possession in their home?  Did they have to scrimp to buy the fancier embossed decorative lamp as opposed to the plainer looking average lamps this company also offered? Did they treat it with care and pride?  Or was just another lamp in a house that was full of lamps?   Of course, kerosene oil lamps were common before houses were electrified and you needed lamps in most every room of your house.

We did a little research on it last night... and wrote to an expert collector who happens to live in Australia, to find out more about the lamp.  Some photos show lamps like this with a tall skinny shade like the one on it now.  But some other photos of the Juno Lamp show an extra piece with extending arms and larger dome shade that sets around the tall skinny one. I would like to find out which way it was when originally sold.

It's not even very dirty, although it's over 100 years old.  The instructions on the historic website say to carefully wash the nickle plated lamp in soapy water and dry.  That is all.  No polishes, cleaners or tarnish removers.  It's electroplated nickle over a brass casting.  Amazingly the website said to keep it filled with kerosene or lamp oil to prevent the metal from drying out and cracking.... so I guess we better fill it up!

Here is a bit of the history of the lamp maker.

Edward Miller commenced business in Meriden, Connecticut in the 1840's making and selling camphene and burning fluid burners. By the 1860's, Edward Miller had become an effective manufacturer and marketer in the kerosene lamp business. 

When oil was discovered in 1859, kerosene became a safe and affordable lamp fuel. Miller was quick to seize the initiative seeing the need for burners for the new fuel. In 1866, Miller formed a joint stock company and reorganized under the name of Edward Miller & Co (E M & Co). 

Edward Miller's first lamp was branded 'The Juno Lamp' and has a wick raiser that closely resembles that of the Rochester.  Miller first posted patents for his own wick raising devise in June 1892 which he branded 'The Miller Lamp' and constantly improved on the design of both the wick raising device and burner.  It seems at the same time he modified his earlier Juno lamp, simplifying the raiser and enabling a universal wick carriage.

After we were done with our rummaging... we managed to get a few jobs done around the house.  Imagine that!

I had gotten all 18 of my tomato plants in a row behind the garage...I think I have 14 different varieties to choose from.

Once they were all planted, I robbed some dried grass cuttings from the neighbor's yard to mulch them in.  It will put a lot of rich nitrogen in the soil and keep the weeds from growing around the tomato plants.

Of course I had two "assistants" to help me with this task.  Oooooh I can almost taste the harvest now! Come on, fresh garden 'maters!

I also finished up the second coat of the dark green on the blocks across the front of the house.  I think they look kinda cute!  Steve said it reminds him of the green and white striped window awnings on old house.  Ya... kinda sorta!  

Up in the front yard, I planted my flowers in the two concrete pots for the stoop on the front porch (some pretty pink and white variegated geraniums, clumps of dusty miller, spikes and some vinca vines)   My hostas in the front bed are coming up too.

 I planted 2 dozen little pink impatiens
 in a round circle under the weeping cherry tree.   

Steve was busy with washing the rubber roof that is over the bow window of the dining room.  A bit of the seal has let loose at one corner so he wanted it good and clean before he reseals it.  He was up there in the afternoon with the pressure washer hose snaked up the ladder.  He scrubbed good and got all years of built up gunk and mold off the black rubber roof.  It looks pretty good and he will take care of sealing the seams again when it's fully dried.

Steve also fired up our motorhome engine for a while to run and also started the generator up.  It's good to "exercise" the generator monthly and run it under a load.  He cranked up both rooftop air conditioners to create an electrical draw and gave it a good workout.  During the first few years that we owned our rig, we learned a valuable and costly lesson.  Because we have so much solar power and battery reserve on our rig, we weren't using our generator often enough.  The center rotor windings went bad from non-use as well as some other parts like the regulator and control board.  They need to be worked and used to prevent corrosion and lubrication problems. We had to undergo the costly repair of removing the generator out of the bottom of the motorhome, tearing it apart, shipping the rotor out to get rebuilt and then putting it all back together again.  Not cheap, Not Fun.... but we did most of the work ourselves to save money.  We make sure now to use it at least once a month.   Here is the blog post from that project:

Once we got our "chores" done, we tossed the doggers in our car and headed up to our friends Sharon and Fred's house for a cookout.  They live about an hour away, so it was a nice jaunt on a sunny day.

Steve worked with Sharon and Fred for years at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, but also we are RVing buddies and have camped together over the years.  We took a long trip with them out west to the Badlands, Custer Park and Mount Rushmore in 2006.

Brandy is their beloved pet, a yellow lab.  Duke has known Brandy for years and was happy to see her.  Finney had to meet her for the first time, and he didn't know what to think of her!  She had to wear the "cone of shame" because of an injury and surgery on her back leg that she keeps chewing on.  

Finney sure didn't know why there was  a silly black cone around a dog's head....  he kept his distance and made sure that strange thing didn't get too close to him!

Fred grilled out pork tenderloins and we had a nice feast.  I brought stuff to make salads and some wine.  We were all set to eat our meal, with Brandy looking longingly from her cone!

Sharon followed up with homemade strawberry shortcake!  It was a lovely day to stay outside on the patio with the dogs... we talked till well after dark and headed on home and to bed.

Sunday now has dawned with more sunshine and holds great promise to be a wonderful day in the mid to high 70's.  We are just having coffee and Steve has started to add things on my "Honey-do" list.  He is going to work on the bow window roof in a bit, uh oh...  he is up on the ladder now as I type this!  I better take a break and go help, or at least hand him things through the window and take pictures!

There... all done!  
He used some of our good Dicor caulk from the motorhome roof.  It's pliable and UV resistant and is just about the best stuff on the market.  Although it's white, nobody can see if from the ground.  

I think I am going to post this, and then go back outside to plant my coleus flowers around the yard.  After that, who knows what is next around Our Old House!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Upcoming Weekend around Our Old House

We were looking at a three day weekend that we HAD planned to help our kids with a special task... but now it's been delayed until next week.  I will blog about THAT next week then when it happens.  Let's just say they are frustrated and irritated and anxious and excited--- all rolled into one big ball of emotions! But I can't say till it's done and happened. 

Instead, we are avoiding the busy campgrounds and staying home this holiday weekend.  We will go out to dinner on Saturday, heading up to our friends Sharon and Fred's house. And the plans for the rest of the weekend???? 


I already started one yesterday afternoon.  When Steveio got home from work, I had him set up the ladder on the front of the house.  I don't care to go up on a ladder unless he is home, just in case.

I took out my green paint (solid colored stain really so it don't chip and peel like paint does)  and did up every other square on the front fascia....  They are kind of  "gridded" sections with a texture that trapped dirt and looked darker than the smoother sections between.  So I decided to make them dark green as a feature instead of just looking like grubby and dirty white sections!  I have five more sections to do.  I ran outta time and had to get supper going, so I will finish it later this afternoon when Steve comes home to do the ladder again.  See the one grid to the right above the 227 number?  That is what I mean about looking grubbier than the smooth sections....

We already have some dark green trim here and there on the front of the house, that I did last year, including the sides of the front steps.  But I wanted a bit more for contrast.   I think it will look good when it gets finished. Once the flowers and hostas all come up in the front flower bed.  Add the two big white cement planters on the front stoop with green ivy plants and red geraniums---- ahhhh we think it will look great!

Next, we might put a "pediment" up on the top gable end for an added feature. 

I was going through my photos this morning and found something I forgot to put on my blog the other day... with the grandtots...  were these fun little wiener doggies!  My mom bought each of her great grandkids one of these in Florida and I brought them back to Wisconsin for them, and they took the wiener doggies all home.  But the wiener doggies are soooo cute and adorable, that I saw them up here at Walmart and bought two more just to keep at our house. 

 Set a cooked hot dog on the green grid.... 
(note the little doggie dish at the left end for catsup!)

Now set the wiener doggie down on top and push downwards
which cuts the hot dog up into small bite sized pieces to dip in the doggie dish of catsup!
 How cute is that????
plus.. it's a no choking hazard for the toddlers on the hot dogs 
because the hot dogs are now cut up into small bites.

The other thing I forgot to mention the other day on my blog was my helper Chelsea in my Loom Room.  I love it when the grandtots want to come in the Loom Room and play with my machines.  She was helping with the weaving of this big heavy looper rug! She pulls the chains of looped fabric through the open shed of the loom---- while pressing down hard on the appropriate treadle with her foot.  (this loom there are only 2 treadles, so it's easy for them to understand)  and then she can weave a new row of the rug. 

Once I help with setting the chain into the exact right place, making a good corner,
she pulls back on the beater with all her might --- BAM BAM to pound it into place! 
Pounding hard and making a racket is right up any grandtot's alley....

I finished weaving up that rug yesterday and added the header to the end ... the headers get folded over three times, clipped into place, and then hemmed on the sewing machine.  I also started a new rug in rich jewel tones in a twill pattern on the other loom.  Might work on that one today a bit.  I do a little at a time and come back again and again throughout the day. Easier on my body that way.

But I think first on the "to do" list this morning is to give two doggers a bath!  They are always up to their doggie shenanigans and full of fun and mischief in the backyard. The white portions of their fur can get pretty grubby.  So I will toss each one in the laundry sink for a soak and scrub.  

Here they are hanging out with Steveio, they are hoping for some treats....  Notice Finney's new begging routine? 

He figures by draping himself over our feet, we can't get away from him.  It's his "stake my claim" position and he has to be just a tiny bit closer to us than Duke's position.  It means we are HIS.  LOL

I did do some sewing yesterday too... I am working on a new quilt.  These are the blocks I have started that grandtot Chelsea helped with over last weekend.   I am going to set them apart with rows of black sashing so they really POP out.  This is the fabric I bought while on vacation in Florida, and will always think of my Mom and Auntie Lois helping me find it when we were down there.

 Kinda hard to photograph, but they are purples and lilacs and pinks.. not blues....

The morning sun is streaming in on the front porch as I type this.  The temps are in the high 40's this morning, but soon to get to 70 or more. Steve was here sipping coffee for a while, but now has left for work.  I snapped this one before he left....

Now that we finally got some spring time weather in Wisconsin, and the danger of frost has passed---- I planted some little pansies with "Happy Faces" as my Mom says....  into colored bamboo pots for the little rack by the back door.  Being all cement between the garage and the house, it's nice to have a splash of color to greet us as we go in the back door.

I also bought 18 tomato plants that need to get planted along the west side of the garage, so I think that will just about fill up our weekend around the house.  If not, I am sure Steveio can add to the "to do" list around Our Old House!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Lakeflies have Erupted!

At High Cliff State Park, the annual lake fly hatching and mating ritual has begun.

The volume of insects swarming in the air is unbelievable!

Lake Fly Video
I am heading out to work on flower beds this morning, will post more later....

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Guild Meeting Evening and Grandtot Graduations

Ahhh last night we had a choice to make.  It was my monthly guild meeting with the Menasha Weavers.  It was also the last night of Mason's T ball course and Allegra's gymnastic's course at the YMCA up in Green Bay.  So we "split" ourselves in half and Steve went to the grandtots' events and I went to my meeting.

Here are some pics our daughterinlaw shared of the grandtots.....  

Allegra has taken a few courses now of Gymnastics 
and is getting quite confident with her tumbling, balance and jumps. 

 Little Mason took part in a Tball course, 
and he is well on his way to becoming a Little Slugger!

Grandfaddah Pfun was a proud grandparent to watch the wee ones in their classes. 

I drove through the pouring rain to Menasha to go to my weaving meeting.  It is held at the library in Menasha, about 30 miles away.  The group attendance was only 8 this time, probably due to the bad weather.  We all bring in items to share and discuss the techniques on how we made them, what fibers we used, what we learned and what we would do different next time! 

Alan is fairly new weaver who has a wonderful loom called an AVL and has been doing some fantastic projects. He was working on complete sets of towels.... doing colorful interactions of various tones to get shaded sections in each quarter.  The blue and pink ones below are called Summer and Winter, which are opposite when reversed to the other side.

Here are some places mats and napkins in tones of green that he made to match a set of dishes... how nice is that?   He has very neat hem stitched edges too.

This sampler of various colors was working out his patterns and even beating to get symetrical movement across the panel.  This is a very thick piece of cotton cloth which would make nice mats, or even a cozy blanket.

I like the way he worked the deep purples, to the turquoise and then into yellow gold... To me it looks like a sunrise!  Each section of intersecting colors is different than the one next to it, because of how it's threaded and what color is chosen to weave crossways to make the color and value density.

This is Cheryl's cotton sampler... she is working on values and color.  This is only halfway done, because now that it is woven in a bunch of non-matching colors, next she will "over dye" it with most likely a blue to make it all harmonize and blend.  It's a great way to use up crazy colors that don't match very well.

We held up our cell phone cameras in black and white mode to see the values of the colors... instead of just the color itself.  It gave us the understanding of what values went with the color wheel and made contrasts or complimentary comparisons.

The next photo is computer generated by myself, but this is what her sample MAY look like this after overdying it....  the pinks might be more purplish, we will see.  But it is a great technique to using up odd lots of yarns and not having to dye each hank individually... just weave em up and dye the whole thing for an interesting effect! 

We are all fiber-fanatics and love to see how each project unfolds, why we wove it, what we used and how would we do it again if we wanted to try something different.  Weaving is really an art, but also an exercise in brain matter!  Math skills, calculations, physical energy and creativity all come into play.  Sure beats sitting around watching tv, eh?

A very famous and wonderful weaving gentleman by the name of Peter Collingwood of Great Britain did a whole study of an ancient technique called Sprang-  it is plying threads that are stretched across a frame. http://vads.ac.uk/learning/csc/collingwood/essay.html 

One of the gals in our guild decided to learn about this technique and try a small sample.   It is a very interesting technique and she explained it quite well with her small sample she was working on.  Once stretched apart, you can see how the split plies are interwoven and make a loosely based cloth in the sample.  Thicker pieces were made as fabric that was used for clothing, hats and household textiles in ancient times. 

I have been fortunate to study weaving under Peter's son, Jason Collingwood, who travels to the United States every year to teach classes.  Peter and I had corresponded back and forth before he passed away in 2008.  He was an icon and mentor to so many, and has published multiple books of his weaving discoveries, works and techniques.  I feel so humbled with the small amount of weaving that I do compared to the things he took on to learn, explore and share with the world.  Peter called me "Sylvan Karina"  (KarenInTheWoods)  awwwwww.

Another type of weaving was shared by Deb who brought in an Inkle Loom.  She is weaving up some yarns that she dyed with Easter Egg Dye.  Once the woven strap is done, she is also going to overdye it to make it more harmonious.  The inkle loom is nice and portable and allows a person to weave up a long strap or belt in a small space without using a large loom to do so.

The excess yarn is wound back and forth on the pegs behind the working area.  As the belt or strap is woven, the whole things slides along to allow the newer section move forward to be woven.  Ingenious!

Thinking about that, I once bought an inkle loom!  A gal in the weaving guild I used to belong to sold it to me, sight unseen.  She said it was up at her cabin and she would bring it to the next meeting.  Well, she took my money... and never brought me the loom!  I think I tried to contact her about 6 months later and she begged off with a family member needing her health care, and she would get back to me.  Never did. It was excuse after excuse, and then she quit the guild and we never heard from her again.   So--- somewhere out there I own a cool inkle loom, I just can't weave on it, I guess????

Deb also brought in a lovely throw she overdyed the yarns.... they were all crazy colors and she dyed them in purples in the skeins before she knit them up.  By knitting with two strands, one purple and one black, she got some lovely depth and visual interest by using the two yarns side by side.  She left tiny flecks of the original colors peeking out too, like oranges, golds, greens and blues.
The photo doesn't do it justice under the florescent library lights.

Because I couldn't take pics of myself at the same time while I showed my item, I have to post pictures from back when I made it.   For many years I saved the brushed shedded hair from my first shetland sheepdog, Akasha.  I had bags of her fluffy fur saved in the closet.  After 14 years, she passed away.  During my mourning process, I took all that fluffy dog fur out of the closet, blended it with very soft merino wool and a bit of viscose... and spun it up into yarn.  It was my grieving process and there are a LOT of tears mixed up in that yarn.....

I plied the spun yarn with a strand of rust colored loopy mohair for strength, as dog hair is short staple pieces and could pull apart if left by itself.  Once I spun up enough skeins, I warped up my big loom and wove a complete blanket of her fur!

The blanket came out beautiful.....  and I think of her often when I touch it. 

note: it doesn't smell "doggy" because most of the brushings were right after she had a bath, 
so it was clean smelling dog fur to start with. 

But... it does "shed" just as much as the dog did!  LOL 

Well, Steve left for work this morning, and I better get out to the road and bring in the trash can and get a start on my day.  I have some weaving to do, and also work out a rug repair for a customer who has an old rug the she can't bear to part with.  Turns out its a BRAIDED rug, not a loom woven rug. Arggghhhh  But I will see what I can do to fix it for her.