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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Day 19 - Tons of Rain But No Leaks

Yayyyyy! We are very pleased to report that Steve's attempt at taking care of the roof leak over the little porch area was entirely successful. We have had blasting amounts of pouring rain and high wind yesterday from suppertime continuing on throughout the night. The river in town has exceeded flood stage and we have huge ponds and puddles everywhere this morning.

Everything in the dining room was bone dry and perfect. I think he successfully took care of the leaks that were up there. Once the weather warms up, he is going to cover the entire metal roof of the front porch with a special bonded fibered aluminum paint meant specifically for metal roofs. Not only will it seal up any more potential leaking areas, but it would also look much nicer too.

We woke up to some ponding in the backyard, but not nearly as bad as it was while the snow was melting. We only have a little bit of snow left in the yard where it's actually on the surface of the water. Now all of the grassy areas along side of our woods and throughout the back meadow are clear. Just the middle icy patch over the standing water.

We do have a bit of a puddle along side of the driveway and garage. Good thing the motorhome is on a very firm gravel pad with multiple layers going down deep into the ground. The people that we bought the house from put in quite a few layers of various sized rocks to create a firm parking pad for their motorhome.

That was one of the criteria when we were looking to buy a house. Specifically that we would have sufficient room for a motorhome parking pad. This one had it already done and in place. How fortunate was that?


I finished up a few of my quilted hot pad orders the other day. I posted a picture on Facebook. Then I got orders for three more pairs of HotPads! What fun is that?

I really enjoy making these little hot pads because it's a good way to use up scraps. There are a lot of fun to work on and I feel successful pumping out one after another.

My hot pads are larger than most. They measure between 10 and 11 inches across. That way not only can they be used as a hot pad, but even when I take things out of the microwave or the oven, I kinda flip the pad underneath and it becomes a trivet to protect the countertop or cutting board from the heat. My hot pads have a layer of cotton batting, and also a layer of a special product called insulbrite. It's an aluminum fiber infused padding that helps with heat deflection.

Speaking of baking, yesterday our kids dropped off another care package of groceries to our house. They replenished some necessities, as well as a few bags of munchie chips for Steve's evening tv watching and snacking.  I had added brown sugar to my shopping list because I was out!  Again, we carefully unbagged and santized everything out in the garage, one item at a time.  Nothing is being brought into the house until it undergoes thorough cleaning, and staying out in the garage for a days.  The cleaned brown sugar bag was opened with a scissors and dumped directly into my canister while the bag was discarded. It may seem like overkill to some.... but OVERKILL is better than BEING KILLED, right?

Once I got the brown sugar into the house,  I was able to bake up a nice triple batch of my most favorite white chocolate chip cookies. I got the recipe from my friend Hillary a long time ago. They come out perfect every single time.

I mix up the dough without any chips in it.  Then I add a sufficient amount of chips to each dough ball as I form them and put them on the cookie sheets. About two-thirds of the way through of making the dough balls, I ran out of the white chocolate chips. So the last batch became semi sweet chocolate chips. Those are Steve's favorite.

I like baking with parchment sheets. No more stuck cookies to the cookie sheets. It's also a lot easier for cleanup.  My oven also has three baking racks, so I can get a lot baked at one time.

While the cookies were baking, I was working on decorating these boxes for the grandkids. We miss being with them and sending over a few little goodies is a nice way to keep in touch.

After the cookies were cooled, we packed up both boxes with a couple layers of cookies, and we went about delivering them. We did not even leave the car at daughter Heather's house. Instead we just popped our trunk button and had her come out and grab the appropriate box. At daughter Erin's house we set the box quickly in the back hallway and left before the children could see that we were there. Otherwise they would be crying and wanting to come out and hug us or have us come in and spend time.

So far it's day 19 with no physical contact with anybody. We've only left the house twice, and both times we were fully protected and safe. But it feels good to be back home in our "virus free zone".  So far, there has only been one reported case in our county.  But who knows how many cases there are that are not even being tested yet. Things around the country are getting scarier and scarier.

We are pleading with our elderly parents to not leave their homes.

Steve's Dad up in Sister Bay is very secluded out in his rural home. The volunteer fire department is helping with delivering prescriptions and necessities from town. The local grocery store is doing deliveries to their homes as well. He was low on postage stamps, so I was able to order a roll and have it shipped to his address from usps.com. How nice is that?

My parents live down in Florida. They are also in a small rural setting just southeast of Gainesville. Today they are going to settle down on their porch swing, with their smartphone between them, at 11 a.m. to watch their little church's live stream service on You Tube. It's the first time they are trying it. I hope it works for them. My stepdad Lyle is a very antsy energetic guy and gets restless. It's hard to keep him in one place.  Mom said this morning he is out sorting through stuff in his storage shed and working on some projects. Good for him!

Today is our middle grandson's 8th birthday. Happy birthday Mason! It sure is hard for children to have birthday celebrations during this time of quarantine. It's hard to believe he is 8 years old already.

Seems like yesterday we were holding him in our arms at the hospital....  sigh.

Breakfast is done here, the rain has let up some, and I think it's time to get back to some sewing.  Steve is measuring and planning and figuring on some new projects.  Stay tuned to see what he is going to work on next!

Stay in.
Stay healthy. 
Stay safe

Thursday, March 26, 2020

EEEEK! EEEEK! It's a Roof Leak!

It's day 16 of being hunkered down together. We are both feeling fine, and thankful that we have a safe spot to be quarantined in.  So far our northeastern county in Wisconsin hasn't had any cases with any confirmed tests. Things on TV aren't looking good for the rest of the country and world....  I can only keep watching the news for so long. While it's good to be informed, after a while I have to turn it off and put on some soothing soft music in it's place.


We are having our own
 little crisis here in our 
National Folk Farmhouse, 
oh my~ A LEAK!!!

Last night with all the rain, a little leaky spot developed in the dining room. During the pouring rain, it started really leaking a lot! We had to put down plastic garbage bags to protect the hardwood floor, and then three or four bath towels to absorb the dripping water.  We tucked a few smaller ones along on the windowsill so it had somewhere to drip without ruining our hardwood floors.

Steve wanted to get up on the roof and see where the leak was coming from but I said that he had to wait until daylight. He tossed and turned all night, just thinking about it.  There is a section of our dining room that extends out under the older roof over the porch, not the new roof on the main parts of the house.

He got up there once it stopped raining this morning. He can see where he thinks it's going in but he needed to get that BlackJack fibered cement roofing compound in a caulk tube. It is the type that you can put on in moist conditions and still have it seal. The only problem is that we don't have any on hand!!

So we went online through the ACE hardware website and ordered two tubes. They offer curbside pickup right here at the little local ACE Hardware in Oconto!

We went ahead with the order and it said we could pick it up curbside TODAY in Oconto as soon as they email us to come and get it. We waited 3 hours. Nothing. No email.

(It's a very small store with one clerk...)

We finally called the store. He said the regular guy that takes those orders is home sick. He's just filling in! So we would have been waiting all day or maybe days for our order to get filled? 

Steve told him we want curbside pickup and if we pull up with our car, could we still pick it up?  The guy said he don't know, he has never done that before.  Steve offered that he will put our paid receipt (that I printed out already) on our car windshield under the wiper blade on the passenger side. And then Steve will pop the lid for the trunk and the clerk can put the two tubes right into the car trunk. 

The clerk agreed.....  so Steve said he will be there in 5 minutes.  And sure enough, the clerk was standing in the foyer vestibule of the store waiting for Steve. 

The clerk grabbed the slip off the wiper blade, double-checked the products, and put them both into our trunk in the bucket Steve had waiting. Slam the trunk and off he went. Done! 

When Steve got home, while wearing gloves, he sprayed down both tubes liberally with Lysol and let it sit while he got out the ladder.  Toot sweet he was scurrying up on the roof and checking out the situation.

Quick as a wink, he figured it out and put liberal amounts of the BlackJack roofing caulk into the little hole that he found rusted in the metal roof. The rest of our house has all new roof, but the actual front porch is metal and that is where he found a hole. That's where he thinks it's leaking in to the exterior wall of the house and oozing through and coming out on the inside on our dining room ceiling.

He found another area that was questionable as well.  This will hold for now, and we will order a big bucket of the proper roof sealant and give a good coating for the entire metal porch roof once the weather warms up.  We are due for more rain on Saturday, so we will see if that patch job holds.  Keep your fingers crossed?


We took a nice walk this afternoon. The sun poked its head out about 2 p.m. and the temperatures went up to 45 degrees. As we ambled along, we came across this big slice of wood sitting at the parking lot to the museum.

It's over 50 inches across! 

The dogs thought that it would make a perfect little platform to sit on if we could wheel it home into our yard?  Can you just imagine seeing Steve do that?

They are going to use it on a display. It's most likely the oldest tree on our entire street, if not the whole city. We tried counting the rings and got up to around 150 years old. Here is the base where it was cut down from just down the street from our house.

Speaking of trees-----

A few years ago, before we bought this house, there had been two large trees right in the front yard of our house. The previous owner had to have them cut down. One was rotted through and a portion of that fell up against the porch. The other one was also rotted and ready to fall. It's a shame they had to come down. I would have loved to have been able to sit on the front porch in the dappled sunshine and shade of these big beautiful trees.
(this is an old pic from 2015 with the trees)

We are thinking of putting in a couple clumps of white birch in front of the house on each side where the trees would have been. That might be nice, but of course it will take a lot of years for them to grow up and give us any substantial shade.  But birch are quick growing trees and would really look nice in front I think.

Just dreaming ahead to Spring and getting some ideas of what we'd like to get accomplished this summer.  In the meantime, we are just watching the snow melt and the water is going down slowly in the back yard.

Spring is on it's way! 

Supper is almost done now-  I made up some stir fry chicken and steamed jasmine rice and some steamed fresh veggies.  Time to eat!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Day 15 - Staying at Home and Staying Safe

It's day 15 for Steve and I being self-quarantined. I'm so thankful that neither of us are showing any symptoms of anything, so I think we can be reasonably assured that our house is virus free. If we don't go anywhere and don't do anything, I think we can ride this out with our health intact.

Hopefully many of you are in the same position and are able to hunker down at home and be safe. Of course there are those essential jobs that give me such worry and angst in my heart. Especially because our children are out there performing them!

Our daughter Heather is busy at UWGB University of Wisconsin Green Bay prepping rooms in the residence halls. They are getting ready for housing overflow additional medical staff from the area hospitals that might be brought into the Green Bay area, as well as a quarantine area for people awaiting test results instead of returning back to their homes. She won't be dealing with the inhabitants of the residence halls directly, we hope, but instead is getting things prepped and arranged to make the facilities more accommodating.

Daughter Erin has been busy working within her role in the healthcare system. Many essential workers are working tirelessly behind the scenes as well as on the front lines to get everything ready in case the numbers increase in the Green Bay area. The planning and strategy is tremendous, laying the groundwork that goes into the drive-up testing stations and expansion of medical facilities if need be.

I just wish I could take all of our children and keep them here safe in our home. To have them and all of our grandchildren come with their campers and motorhomes and stay here and stay safe. All of their pets could come and bring whatever food they have on hand and we could combine it all. It could be a great big Pfundtner Commune!!! 

I would love to see all of my grandchildren every day, and know that they are safe and healthy, and if nobody leaves and no germs are brought in, we could ride this through.

But that is a daydream. Our children need to work and things need to move forward so we can all heal and get out of this mess.

Our oldest daughter and son-in-law were so sweet to us yesterday. They were doing a grocery store run and took a copy of our phone shopping list with them. They replenished ALL of our perishables. We've gotten fresh vegetables, milk, eggs etc. It was bountiful and refreshing to have this all come to us. We sanitized and cleaned and washed everything coming into the house, and disposed of the plastic shopping bags, all while wearing disposable gloves. This is the first time in a long time that we've used plastic shopping bags instead of our fabric ones. I guess in this time of crisis, a few more plastic bags in the landfill is the least of our concern.

In return for Erin and Waylen's kindness, I agreed to bake them a big tray of toffee bars. This is my favorite recipe, minus the nuts on top. Not for themselves, but for them to drop off at the daycare center today as a little thank you to the workers there.

Because Erin is in a essential health field position, the little local daycare here is able to stay open for caring for children of essential health care workers in the state of Wisconsin. For the extra effort that these people are doing to keep my grandchildren safe, my baking a tray of toffee bars as a little thank you is the least I could do.

I even decorated the cover of the box 
to bring a smile to their faces!

I was able to put in two layers of toffee bars in that one box. What can be nicer than getting a box of treats, only to find that there's another layer underneath when the first one is gone?

With the limited number of kids attending the daycare right now, due to some of the people not being at work, the numbers are lower. Maybe there will be enough toffee bars to share with the little kids too. That is why I was sure to note on the box that there were no nuts or peanut oil used...

We have two birthdays coming up with our grandsons. All I can do now is send out birthday cards with gift cards inside for future presents, since we can not do any shopping at this time. It will be something to have them look forward to later.


While being housebound, we are getting a few more projects done around our National Folk Farmhouse.

A part of our back acreage is all densely wooded with trees and shrubs. Over the course of many years, it was a depository for the renting people's trash and rubbish. The sellers we bought the house from hauled out 18 loads of trash from the woods, including things like microwaves, televisions, rubber tires, and other assorted junk. They left behind things like bricks and cement blocks, probably due to their weight and not really being a high priority to get out and into the municipal waste yard.  We noticed a lot of them when the leaves fell last autumn.

While the leaves are still off the trees and the shrubs, it's easier to see where these large cement blocks and piles of bricks are located this spring. Steve wheeled the flat trailer into the backyard by hand, not wanting to make big ruts in the soft lawn with the Tracker tires.

He started gathering cement blocks and bricks from various spots in the woods and is in the process of piling them all up on the cement slab where the trailer is parked. As soon as the ground firms up a little bit, he will load the trailer up and hook it on the Tracker to bring them over to the municipal waste yard. They have a section there to deposit cement blocks and bricks that will then be recycled.

He kept himself busy with that for quite a while yesterday and is probably about one third of the way done through our woods.


We are fortunate that the back section of our property butts up to a little gravel road. Beyond that gravel road is a large nature preserve that is owned by the Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust.

That property then butts up to the 
DNR marshland for the state of Wisconsin. 

The best benefit is that of course, we will never have neighbors building houses behind us. It will never be developed into any more residential housing. So we are literally on the "edge" of town.

It is such a nice place that we can go into and walk around. It is open to the public, but not for hunting.

This trail was beckoning us to trudge down it 
in our winter boots. 

Last summer, not only were we so gosh darn busy, but it was quite wet and mucky back there to explore it very much.  We decided now would be a good time to get back there, things were still frozen on the ground and the trails. There is still quite a bit of snow in the woods.

We wandered on back around the big pond and looked at it from all angles. Although it was still frozen, we didn't venture out on the ice.

Then we went further down another path to find a large foundation left over from a big barn! Upon further examination we could determine it had one time burned down and the foundation is all that remained. There are some clusters of lilac trees and apple trees nearby from wherever a homestead or rural farm had been located.

It was quite a long barn, and not too old, because then it would have had a stone foundation. This one was a poured foundation, so had to be at least in the 20th century.

I asked on the local Facebook group for our area about more information on that farm. I received a couple different responses:

Tim LaCombe: Looks pretty much the same (old and overgrown) as it looked when I used to ride my motorcycle trail bike near it in the early/mid 1970’s. Edit: We used to park our bikes and hang out there but nobody knew anything about the history of the place.

Greg Barribeau: Use to be an abandoned old house there when I was a kid. Also a pond farther back. Use to walk it, hunt and camp. Kind of a favorite party spot in later years!

Karen Stranz: I grew up in Mary Jo and Eli's house on the corner. We always called that the haunted house. Beautiful lilacs in the front yard, would go back and pick them every year. We did lots and lots of exploring back there when I was a kid. Not to mention the beer parties my brother had out there two.
Occasionally I still have dreams yet about exploring in the old house.

Karen Stranz: The pond was dug when they redid Park Ave in 1966 or 67. All the equipment would go past our house, the guys would toss my younger brother and I candy as we sat and watched them all the time. We even had lemonade stands for them.

Greg Barribeau: Karen Stranz , the pond was there already in 61-62 when Dan Rhode and I use to roam around there. They probably dug extra fill after that for the road.

Steve Brazeau: Yup thats the old haunted house! Good memories 😜

Al Stranz: That was the old Siebert or Sievert (Seibert/Seivert) farm. The barn burned down in the late 50's. House and other buildings were torn down late 60's early 70's by Caspar Murdzak. It must have been a pretty nice place in it's day as there were several flower beds, liliacs, circle drive and an orchard. And a lot of asparagus. House was a 2 story red brick structure. Pond was dug in mid-late 60's, fill was used for CTH Y when it was rebuilt.

We even found a bear track in the snow so that means the bears have woken up from hibernation. It appeared to be a pretty small one.

But even still, they wake up and they are hungry and grumpy and groggy. Best to leave them be. Glad we did not have the dogs with us. Although if we did, they would be firmly secured with us on leashes. We also plan that we will carry bear spray next time we go back in that area.


I finally got around to finishing up the backside of the big blue quilt called "Indigo Dreams" that I have been working on. I was short about 4 inches or so of flannel backing fabric during the original quilting process. So I had ordered some fabric from Joann's, that I talked about in my last blog. Sadly, the fabric came in a different dye lot. It was the same SKU number and fabric name that I ordered from the original fabric. But as any fiber person knows, dye lots can differ from batch to batch. I pre-washed the new flannel to shrink it down to the same texture as the previous piece already attached to the quilt. 

Even though it didn't quite match, I still sewed it on, and was able to finish the quilting process on my long frame.  It felt so good to finish this one up, because I knew it was for US!

I had also attached the beautiful tag that my friend Connie had made for me on her embroidery machine.

I completed the binding all the way around.  This I did on my other sewing machine.  (no way was I gonna hand stitch that binding all around like more "purist quilters" do)  My machine was acting goofy for a while, so Steve and I downloaded the manual for this one and also fixed it, just like last week on my other machine.  I am SO thankful I could still sew on it, because this is NOT a good time for a quilter to have an inoperable sewing machine.   LOL

This is a super duper king size quilt, I made it extra long enough to hang down both sides of our tall king size bed.  It is a bed that Steve chose 7 years ago when we were shopping for the house in Chilton.  It's so tall, I can't even get up on it.  See the little footstool in the foreground?  That is for me!  LOL

 I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

Surprisingly, there are enough scraps left over that I can now create two or three little toss pillows that will coordinate with the quilt. That might be my project for today?  After we are done with our coffee and cinnamon rolls, fresh outta the oven.

(I cheated - frozen roll dough from the Mennonite Store)

Things are damp and cloudy here this morning, and we are due for rain this afternoon. And then on top of that, surprise surprise, about 4 inches of slushy icky snow has been forecast.  Not fun.

I'm thankful that we can just hunker down inside, safe and warm, healthy and happy, and hoping that this will all pass over and our world can return to normal again.

Stay in.
Stay healthy. 
Stay safe.