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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Someone Left The Icebox Open

As we prepare to hunker down for these ice cold temperatures coming, we were pleasantly surprised at the good sense of the people that operate our county handicap transport system. It's being closed down for the next two days so Steve will not have any driving jobs.

I suppose if there's a real emergency that someone needs to get somewhere, they can contact an ambulance. He is normally transporting wheelchair patients from nursing homes and hospitals back and forth to clinics and doctors and dialysis. The sub-zero wind chills will be down in the 50 to 60 below zero range for Wisconsin. This I am sure is a determining factor to close down the courthouse and thus, Steve's transport driving department. The vehicles that he uses are somewhat old and maybe not capable of handling this cold weather too well. Today he had one idling for almost half an hour to warm up enough before he picked up some residents at the nursing home to bring them to Appleton. We are at 0° but it's 25 below zero wind chill right now even in the sunshine. You got to figure, these poor old folks are coming out of nursing homes that are warm (usually in the 72 to 75 degree range). They just can't tolerate these cold temperatures either. If there would be a break down on the side of the road with Steve's transport vehicle, I am sure Steve would have to call an ambulance to transport them immediately to somewhere warm.

So the next two days 
my hubby will be home with me!


I'm working right now on a pink baby quilt. It's made with the leftover squares from the quilt I posted yesterday. The pink blocks just didn't look right in the big "Winter in Wisconsin" quilt. So I arranged them into a small baby quilt or wall hanging or lap quilt. I have it all sandwiched together with batting and backing.... ready to start the stitching. This is what I will do the next few days.

I recently invested in these little plastic templates and a special machine foot from Westalee.  I did a little practice with them, and they are kinda fun! They will allow me to do cute little designs in various portions of the quilt.

I think I will put some little snowflakes or flowers in the larger blocks, and then still do regular quilted stippling in all the other areas. Maybe this evening I will load it up on the frame and get started?


For lunch today I made up one of my most favorite soups. Cream of potato with ham and shredded carrots. I cheat a little bit though...

I get Steve to peel me up a couple potatoes. I hate peeling potatoes so if he is around, he is conscripted into doing the job. I cut them up into chunks and put them in a pan with water and some chopped onions and shredded carrots. I add some of these dried vegetables from Piggly Wiggly. I just love these in soup.

I simmer them until the potatoes and carrots are tender. I added some chunks of baked ham that I had in the freezer. Then I cheat by adding a couple glug glugs from a jug of milk and then I sprinkle in some instant mashed potato flakes!!! It thickens the soup and makes it creamy rich. I add a little seasoning and some dried parsley.

Tastes like I simmered it all morning long and it really only took me about 15 minutes tops. I made enough that we can have some for lunch tomorrow as well.


This afternoon I finished off a pair of socks that I have been hand knitting on needles.  I started them last week when Linda was visiting. They are thick wool knit with doubled yarn. A long time ago I learned how to knit two socks at the same time on one long circular needle. That way when I change the colors on the socks I change both at the same time and they come out identical.

When knit on a long circular needle, they also both come out the same size. Sometimes when knitting two individual socks at two different times, one sock will be tighter than the other due to a difference in tension while knitting. They say when watching a drama on tv, your stitches get tighter than when you are relaxed while knitting. This way, the socks both come out the same in diameter as well as length.  For those knitters who are curious as to the method:

I had made a matching hat a while ago,
and I have a scarf hanging with my coat in the back hall.

Got these socks done just in time for the cold cold weather!


I noticed something strange this afternoon. While I was knitting, I had Binney by my side but Finnegan was nowhere to be found? I looked and looked for him. I finally found him way upstairs alone laying in the bathroom between the tub and the shower on the floor! He appeared to be sleeping there. I hope he's not getting sick. It was so strange because he and Binney are always glued to each other's sides.

When I called to him, he woke up and perked up and looked alert. I hope he is okay. Otherwise, our vet is only a couple blocks away if we need her.

p.s. he ate supper now at 5pm and is acting fine. Whew! 


As a boring old person here talking about the good old days: we never knew about "wind chills" when I was a kid in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the 60s and the 70s. Well, at least the weathermen didn't talk about wind chills. If it was cold out, that didn't matter, we went to school anyhow. 

(me on the left and friend Sherry Masonova on the right) 

  • We wore two layers of clothes under our thick snowmobile suits. 
  • We wore long johns or thick cable knit fuzzy leotards or "tights" under our jeans.
  • We wore heavy snowmobile boots with thick felted wool liners and double woolen socks. 
  • We had double knit heavy hats underneath our hoods as well as face masks or multiple layers of a scarf wrapped around our neck and covering our face. 
  • Our hands were protected by thick leather choppers, which were sheepskin lined, along with an extra pair of mittens inside of those as well.

I remember a pair of yellow woolen mittens knit by my great-grandmother Anna Today that had a certain smell when they got wet. That wet wool smell gives me comfort to this day because it makes me think of those yellow mittens.

Cold didn't matter to us.....

(me driving and Shelly Sarafiny Losey and Lori Angus riding) 

 (brothers Randy driving, then Umpee, friend Jamie Angus and sister Linda Anderson on back)

Do you know what? As soon as school let out? We hopped on our snowmobiles or grabbed our sleds or ice skates while we enjoyed the weather outside.

We didn't have "wind chills" telling us when it was too cold. 
If it was the weekend, we would load up the snowmobiles and go into the woods
traveling the trails and stopping to roast hot dogs over a fire.

 I know the temps were below zero on these days, 
but we didn't know about wind chills. 
It was just a weekend family outing. 

Winter in Wisconsin! 

Monday, January 28, 2019

Winter in Wisconsin

Hey, I got over 200 readers yesterday so I guess I didn't lose everyone. Although my normal blog count per day is usually 600 to 800 readers. Thanks for tuning in!

We really got whammied by the snow. It started last night about 11 pm. I peeked out at 4 a.m. and there hadn't been even a single vehicle going down our road since the snow started!  The snow was smooth and straight across with no tire tracks. Mind you, this is a state highway through the middle of town --- the main drag that we live on. About 4:30 I heard a semi truck go through. Then at 6:30 I heard the snow plows.

As daylight struck, we could see that it was still snowing, and they said it would continue most of the day.  It sure was beautiful!!!!

Steve went out with the snowblower to try and clear the worst of the snowbank that the plows left right across the end of the driveway. If you don't get to it right away it solidifies and hardens into a huge ice chunk.

He got the snow blower down there to the end of the drive, after shoveling his way out of the garage... and the snowbank was as high as the end of the snowblower!

He went back and forth across the front sidewalk as well. The distance between the sidewalk and the curb is only about a foot or maybe two feet. So when the plows go through, all the snow piles over the bank and back onto the sidewalk. He did the neighbors as well, and met up with Nate from two houses down who was doing the other neighbors front walk. Those are kind sweet men to do that for the houses around us.

From there he went back and forth alongside of the house to clear our own driveway all the way back to where the motorhome is parked. Back and forth, row by row, taking a 24 inch swath at each pass.  I told him to do it in spurts and come back in to warm up and take a break. Of course he didn't listen.

After he got in and got warmed up, we had a little breakfast. After that he ended up going back outside two more times to snow blow again!

Finally the snow stopped falling about 5 o clock. We got around 13 or 14 inches total. But now with the winds blowing it's hard to tell because it's drifting up deep in some areas.

So his last time snow blowing at 5 pm should clear it up before the cold weather sets in tonight.

In the statement from Governor Evers's office, it's said temperatures will fall below zero Monday night and will not rise back above until Friday. The life threatening cold air will cover the state setting possible record overnight lows of -15 to -25 with wind chills from -35 to -50.

I don't mind the snow,
but the bitter cold and wind
is hard to deal with.

Speaking of Winter, I finished up a king sized quilt this weekend that I have named "Winter in Wisconsin." I just listed it on my website in case anyone is curious, or knows of someone who would like to purchase a lovely homemade quilt from a little old grandma?

I did my favorite free-motion quilting pattern of hooks and swirls on the quilt. It is based on a kit pattern by Bonnie Blue Quilting. I added more borders to make it a king size, or a very generous queen.  I love the country, rustic, homespun style look of this one. If it doesn't sell, I might just keep it myself for our guest room.

I spread it out here on our own king size bed to show how large it is. It would fit on a queen with a generous side drop as well, and be perfect for one with a big thick high mattress.

Steve did a little project for me. He had found me two of these black extension halogen desk lights to go over my quilting frame. They really illuminate my work area, and I found two little shelves at a thrift store for him to mount on the wall to hold up the lamps. Little projects like this, with his effort, make my quilting projects so much easier. We make a good team!

Speaking of effort, after we took down the Christmas tree and put away all the decorations, Steve decided that we should rearrange our living room.  This time we decided to put our mission recliner chairs on each side of the doorway next to the colonnades. My chair on the left happens to be right near the heat register which makes it extra cozy for the winter.

On the wall opposite our chairs is where the big window is that faces out to the front porch. It's hard to take a picture during the daylight of the interior of the room, and also show the beautiful leaded glass above the big window.

He decided that we should put the TV in the corner on the right. It's never been in that corner before, so we did not have an antenna coax in that corner either.  Now with some more effort, he went down in the basement and tried to figure out the best spot to drill a hole up from the basement. The basement walls are so thick from the old stone foundation, he had to come quite a ways inwards to get a clear spot in the wall alongside of the TV.

He was tapping from below while I was tapping from above until we could find a good spot to get access.

He pushed the coax up inside of the wall near the electrical outlet. We made a small hole in the plaster wall to fish the coax through. So now the hole is neither through the hardwood floor, nor through the baseboard.   Preserving the original character of this home is important to us both.

The other wall in this room has the pocket doors that lead to the foyer. Really, all four walls in this room have something structural on them so it makes it a little difficult to arrange furniture, other than in the corners. That is why we moved our couch into the family room, so it no longer blocks the light coming in from the big window in the front.

When you enter the room from the foyer, through the pocket doors, you can see the fourth wall, which is our gas log fireplace.  I got the mirror above from the family who used to own this home... and the rocking chair came from the neighbors out back.  The quilt and pillow rest there until I grab them to curl up with in my comfy chair.

With this awfully cold temperature,
you can bet this fireplace
is fired up tonight!

It is keeping us cozy warm
while I type this blog.

(the reflective light from the tv sure makes it look pretty!)

We will get through these next few days,
and by the weekend it's supposed to warm up again.

Just our normal
Wisconsin Winter Weather
 I guess.
Although the lowest wind chill temps might set a few records.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Getting Back My Blogging MoJo and Visit from Linda

I'm really sorry that I haven't been blogging lately. I think I'm disappointing all of my blogging readers! It just seems that I lost my mojo, combined with how busy we've been these last two months, that I haven't gotten a lot of time for blogging.

I am always thinking of things that I want to put in the blog, and taking pictures of things that might be interesting to put in the blog. But I just haven't been getting around to doing it.

I feel that if we're not traveling anywhere, my RVing blog readers don't find anything interesting and reading about family stuff, or my fiber arts, or seeing the umpteen million pictures of my dogs.

I'm going to try to get back into blogging almost every day if I can. I hope you folks tune back in. So many have been emailing me or messaging me asking if we are okay or if everything is all right. Yes we are, just that things got crazy busy!

I did have something great happen last week. My wonderful friend Linda traveled here from Tennessee. Her husband was gone on a mission trip to Africa, but for Christmas he gave her a plane ticket to go anywhere she wanted while he was in Africa. And believe it or not, she chose to come and visit me!

I picked her up from the airport as we were anxiously awaiting snow and wintry weather for a "Wisconsin Experience". The weather sure didn't cooperate at all. Almost all of our snow was gone.

Linda grew up in upstate New York and was used to snowy winters from her childhood. Since she moved to Tennessee they only get a small scattering of snow every now and then, which melts by the next day.  She has always teased me that she would come to visit me in Wisconsin with the fantasy of making snow angels.

The only snow we could find were crusty hard snowbanks here and there. We managed to find a halfway big one out at High Cliff State Park for her to pose with. But alas, there would be no soft fluffy snow for making snow angels. She will just have to come back again when we do have some.

Linda and I both like the same things. We love weaving, knitting, spinning or any fibery stuff. We also like hitting the thrift stores. During her week-long visit, we managed to go to 10 different thrift stores and a 24-hour rummage sale store. She found an amazing treasure of this beautiful Rowe pottery lamp. We researched it online for $195.00 She got it for the grand price of $6.99!!! She actually had to buy a second suitcase so she could get it back home!

I found a few bargains too, including four complete full brand new bolts of flannel fabric in pretty plaid colors. I can use these for backings on quilts. I paid a grand price of $3.99 a bolt! Heck, most stores don't even sell flannel for $3.99 a single yard unless it's on sale.

We had fun, gabbing and visiting and sharing stories and working on fiber projects together. We even got the dogs to model hats that Linda and I had knit.

Linda brought along a cute little wooden pot holder lap loom.  She worked on multiple matts and hot pads while the dogs looked on.

I worked on some socks as we sat in the sunshine in our family room... enjoying each other's company in person.  Otherwise, on the internet, we are part of a gabby rug weaving group and part of a trio with Rosie from Missouri. We gab back and forth many multiple times a day with chained emails, photos and messages.  We missed having Rosie alongside of us... and kept in contact with her via the internet throughout Linda's visit.

While we were gab, gab, gabbing... patient Steveio was sitting aside in the livingroom keeping out of our way.  He had some driving days for the county handicapped bus, and other days he drove us around to various thrift shops and out to eat!

We went to a few favorite local restaurants... including Hilde's Deli and Bakery in Chilton.  When I asked Linda what types of things would she like to do in our town, the only thing she wanted to do was to go and visit Hilde's. She heard about this wonderful little place many times from me over the internet and wanted to see it in person.

For the very first time, Linda got to experience string cheese. This is much different than the pre-packaged stuff you buy in the dairy department at a regular grocery store. That stuff is all dense mushy goo from the store. This stuff is fresh from the local cheese store and as you pull it apart it makes delightful little strings of tasty mozzarella. It's kind of a dry cheese and it tastes even more flavorful as you pull it apart to eat it.

Hilde's carries the string cheese from Vern's Cheese Store which is just down the street. It is bought in packages of about 8 or 10 pieces and best eaten fresh.

After we were done with their lunch at Hilde's, we went on down to Vern's Cheese Store. There Linda got to try for the very first time another Wisconsin oddity. It's called cheese curds. They are the leftover squeezings after making cheddar cheese. These little lumps of cheese, when fresh, give a squeak sound as you bite into them with your teeth. It's a really strange sensation. They are kind of salty little lumps of cheese. They only squeak when they are fresh for the first day or two. Then after that they just become lumps of plain old cheddar cheese. So it's best to get them fresh and have fun eating them.

Here is Linda's reaction before and during her first cheese curd. She said it was interesting, but then she politely said that she didn't care for any more of them! Lol! That's okay, Steve eagerly ate up the rest of the bag that I bought.

We also went one evening to Lupita's Mexican store in Chilton. It's an interesting little place, with a Mexican grocery store in the front portion of the building. In the back are a few tables and they serve Mexican food and drinks, restaurant style.

Our young waiter was only ten years old, and he was totally adorable. He managed our order correctly and his older co-worker brought the alcoholic drinks to our table.

It's a family operation with a few little children playing around among the tables and with some toys in the back while their mothers were cooking our food.  Who needs daycare when you can bring your little ones to work with you?

Steve and Linda each had chimichangas while I opted for a taco salad bowl. A side dish of guacamole with a bunch of chips set off the rest of the meal. We love the food here and have never had a bad meal.

Our little server boy was so cute, and we tipped him well.

While Linda was visiting, we also managed
a home-baked meal of traditional Cornish pasties
imported from the U.P. of Michigan,
 a breakfast at Seven Angels restaurant in Chilton,
some ice cream at Scoops in Chilton,
and lunch at Schlotzsky's Deli in Appleton

It seems like the days just flew by. The dogs were very excited to have a "burglar" in the house. They would run barking frantically and warning us that Linda was here every time she left the room and re-entered. They forget she was here already, and they act like she is a new "burglar" every time. By the third or fourth day, even timid little Binney was hopping up near Linda, getting her ears scratched and getting petted.

While we gabbed or crafted, 
the dogs laid patiently in the family room
listening to us or taking naps.

We managed to fit in a visit to a fiber shop in Cedar Grove that had some friendly llamas on site to pet.  They were curious and seemed to like Linda more than me.  Perhaps it was the phone clicking pics that they were avoiding?  We never got to see the inside of the shop... the sign said they were open, but it was locked, and nobody came out of the nearby farmhouse to greet us. It was pretty cold, so we hopped back into the car and drove to the nearby town for lunch instead.

Too soon, all seven days had passed and it was time to bring her back to the airport. Of course just as we were on the way to the airport, it start snowing!!! We had waited all week long to get some snow, and it finally snows on the day she needs to leave. Doesn't that just figure?

Linda went outside of the airport terminal
spread her arms wide to the sky
and let some snowflakes fall on her face. 

She carefully packed her winter jacket around the precious Rowe Pottery Lamp and stowed into her new carry-on bag.  It would have a place of honor on the seat next to her for the flight home.  There weren't any seat mates on her flight.  As you can see, after she went through the HUGE long lines at the TSA agent's station, she was well on her way to the proper gate for her flight.  Gotta love small town airports?

We said our goodbyes and off she flew away back to Tennessee. I miss her so much and even the dogs were looking for her.  They would wander into our guest room with puzzled quizzical looks on their faces.  Where did our "burglar" go?

Come back again Linda, 
and stay long enough to get fluffy snow 
for some snow angels??

After Linda departed, Steve and I decided it was time to take down the rest of the Christmas decorations around the house.  We had left up all of the Christmas decorations during Linda's visit so she could see our house for the first time in all of its decked-out holiday glory.

What took so long to put up, came down so fast. The artificial tree was soon packed away in five separate bags. The Christmas village was removed from the hutch in the family room. The outside lights and garland and bows were removed from the hooks on the exterior of the house.

Everything was stowed away in tubs and totes. We put shrink wrap around the edges so no bugs get in them and stow them away up high on shelves in the garage.  I loaded things up and Steve hauled them out the door. 

Another Christmas is over, 
and we only have 11 more months
 to bring them all out 
and start decorating again!

It looks we have like we have quite a storm brewing --- coming this way to Wisconsin tonight. We are due to get 12 inches of snow and high winds of 35 miles an hour with whiteout conditions.

After that storm, the temperatures are due to drop in the twenty to thirty below zero range. With accompanying wind chills of up to fifty below. It's going to last most of the week next week so we don't see a warm-up in sight.

We will be cuddled up in our stout little house, and our furnace is now functioning correctly after replacing the last $200 part in December. Of course, if the power goes out, we still have the gas fireplace, candles, oil lamps, and the generator in the motorhome to run a few electrical powered things if we need it. We are stocked up on groceries and we can manage just fine. I guess this is just Winter in Wisconsin...