Friday, February 28, 2014

February In The Rear View Mirror

Wow, I can’t believe it is already the end of February!!  I realize it is a ‘short’ month but it really feels like it flew by.

My project of getting my studio back in order finished quickly.  That really shocked me.  I silently thought this one would flow into next month.  Now it is ready to use and create in.  And to start decorating.  Clean and orderly is great…but you know it has to be cute too!  There’s a lot of painting I need to do; which will wait until I can have open windows to air the place out.

Himself opted out of getting his study redone.  Truth be it, it’s not really too bad as it is.  The plus side for me is that he was more available to help me in MY studio! 

March will be the month for cleaning out the garage (not too bad) and the shed (downright scary!). 

We made our monthly trip up to see the babies.  They recharge my ‘battery’… everything is better after being with them.  Tired but better.  (You know, if I could tap into their energy I could get my monthly projects done in a week!)

There was another kidnapping too.  For Valentine’s (a few day late) I whisked Himself off to a local B&B.  I’ll be writing about that soon.  It was a great stay. 

We only did one volunteer class at Whole Foods.  It was an Italian class with some good recipes.  I’ll be sharing those soon.

Our big time consumer this month was our “2nd Annual Sweetheart Banquet” at church.  Our Sunday School class is the one that puts it on.  Last year we did a 50s and 60s song night, plus pulled a joke on our pastor.

This year it was “Hee Haw”.  It was hysterical!  That’s yet another upcoming post… with lots of photos and even some video (I hope).  Himself was “Charlie Farkelson… KORN News”.  I was the photographer for couples photos and the event.  There were a lot of rehearsals and set making all thru the month getting ready for it. 

Hello March… whatcha got lined up for me?

Monday, February 24, 2014

... I'm an Ol' Cow Poke...

I have one more story to share from our annual “pilgrimage” trip up North to see family and friends. 

Himself and I got to be cow pokes for a day!

While visiting some friends of mine, we were there during the time they normally wean the calves from their cattle operation.  Given the opportunity to help, we jumped at the chance.  

They came in pretty easy… lunch was being served!  The cow dogs (some brilliant Border Collies) encouraged them to pick up the pace a little bit. 

All was nice and calm until some of the old cows starting getting a bad feeling about this…  Next thing we knew, a few made a run for the hills and it was round up time!  (Sorry, no pictures to share of this; I was too busy chasing cows and yelling at the top of my lungs.  And trying not to get stepped on!)

Even with our friends on their ATVs and Himself and I blocking the ‘passes’, it took a while to get them back up to the barn.

Once we did, the separating of cows from calves went fairly fast.  And there were some unhappy mama cows.

VERY unhappy mama cows!  They bellowed well into the next evening!!

Anyway, separating the calves brought the next project for the day.  The calves needed to be vaccinated, wormed, and weighed.  And like any ‘kid’ – they don’t like getting a shot!

The first chute had a head gate to keep them still for their shot.

Then they mooove into the second chute for weighing.  The scales are very accurate…


(It also gave the weight of one of the farms cats to walked across it… 18.2 pounds!)

Then Himself spritzed them with the wormer.

And from there, it was back to the other calves where they complained to each other about the rude treatment!

We had such a blast helping!  I would love to be able to help next year!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Pretty Boy

Charolais Cross Bull Calf

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Somewhere In Time; Our Ste. Genevieve B&B

In Ste. Genevieve there are quite a few options for B&B stays.  It took me a while to peruse the selections.  Did I want to stay in an old inn?  Perhaps out at one of the wineries.  

In the end, I chose “Somewhere In Time”.  Gary and Mary, the owners, are Christian and it is right in the center of town.

Our room was very large, with one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in.  It has two queen beds and a sitting area…

…and a cozy gas fireplace.  The fireplace had a remote!  How wonderfully lazy to not have to get out of bed to turn it off.

The bathroom was huge too.  

Down the hall is the guest room with games, TV, and movies.  

And over in the corner…

…fresh baked cookies every evening!!  Oh yeah, now we’re talking.  I can be bought with hot chocolate chip cookies….

Each morning we had a delicious breakfast, starting with fresh fruit in yogurt,... 

…then some hot homemade treat.  This morning was stuffed blueberry French toast.  The bacon is from Oberle’s, a local meat market.

It was a fantastic stay.  Gary and Mary are gracious hosts.  If you have an interest in Civil War history, Gary is the man to talk to.  He’s written a couple books and is very knowledgeable.  

Vacation within a Vacation: Ste. Genevieve, MO

Our time in Missouri over Christmas was very long due to how early in the month the kid’s Christmas programs were.  So we decided to take a bit of a vacation within our vacation.

Not too far from my family is the town of Ste. Genevieve.  It was settled in 1735 by French Canadian colonist, which makes it Missouri’s oldest European settlement.  After the Louisiana Purchase in 1804 German immigrants started coming in. 

And for 2 years in the mid-60s, my family lived there.  Dad coached at the high school.  Because of the friends we made in ‘Ste Gen’, we were frequent visitors after we moved away and I have a lot of fun memories.

So I decided that Himself needed to see this part of my history and I made a ‘mini kidnapping’ out of it.

After Little Bird’s Christmas program we headed south.  We checked into our B&B which I’ll tell you about a little later.

Our first stop was the cute shops along Main Street (there are also shops along ‘The Square’).  My favorite was “Only Child Originals”… that green shop on the corner next to Little Red (our truck).  The artist is recycling materials from an old barn on her property...  I absolutely loved it!!!  Check out the FB page 

That evening there was a Christmas walk at the Bolduc House, with the theme “what if Christmas had come to Ole Ste Genevieve?”  It was snowy and lovely.

Next day we were out and about exploring.  Ste. Gen is on the Mississippi River and it floods.  Sometimes majorly.  Himself is 6’1”. 

Check out the top of the graph…

Aug ’93 was not a good time…

From there we wandered down to the ferry that crosses the river.  Didn’t bother to ride across because $20 was too expensive for a joy ride.

We then headed south along old Route 61, going in once to go over a flood levy at Port New Bourbon to see the dock.  

We ended up in Kaskaskia, IL without crossing the river.  Kaskaskia is a part of Illinois west of the Mississippi River.  And the river is not kind to the town.  It was almost completely under water during that flood in ’93.  According to the 2000 census, there were only 9 people living in the village.  

But there is something to see in Kaskaskia.  There is a lovely Catholic church (which was locked when we were there) and there is The Kaskaskia Bell State Memorial.  It is a 1948 brick building that houses a bell cast in 1741 by King Louis XV of France as a gift to the Mission of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church at Kaskaskia.  Known as the "Liberty Bell of the West", the bell was rung by villagers to celebrate their July 4, 1778 liberation from the British by forces of American Colonel George Rogers Clark. The Memorial also contains murals depicting Colonial scenes of Kaskaskia.  (Wikipedia)

After that, we headed west to Hawn State Park.  We have a bit of family history with this park as Dad supervised Youth Core kids who were part of the trail making crews in the 60s.  

The camp ground is lovely, with sites right next to this creek and bluffs.  

Finally dinner at Chaumette winery's 'Grapevine Grill Restaurant'. Fantastic!! The chef, Adam Lambay has spent the past decade “chef-ing” at such St. Louis favorites as Café Mira, 12 North Café and Portabella Restaurant. Thursdays are 'chef's choice' and is served family style. 

That night was a squash soup, a wonderful salad with a dressing using a wine from Chaumette. Roast pork loin, roasted Brussels sprouts, homemade mac & cheese, and spaghetti squash with herb butter. The price? $15 a person!! We made reservations for 5pm (opening) and were the only ones there until 6pm.  

Our third day we were up early to see a scheduled visit, which I’m going to write about in a separate post.  After that we headed back to see the sights in town.  

The Catholic church is central to the town physically and spiritually.  

I remember going with my friend’s family during some of my visits.  The service at that time was in Latin and although I couldn’t understand a thing, it was so beautiful.  I also remember her dad, in one movement, cuffing the both of us in the back of the head if we got to talking too much.  It was OK for her to explain what was going on, but any chatter was frowned upon.  LOL

Isn’t it beautiful?

Next stop was just across the street… the Ste. Genevieve Museum.  It is full of local history displays.

I like this diorama of the ‘train ferry’ used before the bridge went in.

Once we are done with the museum we walked over for lunch for my Ste Gen favorite meal… German liver dumplings!  Himself had the fried chicken.

Then on to one of the several historic homes in town.  We went to the Bolduc House.  

The Bolduc House was the first authentically restored historic structure in Ste. Genevieve - an outstanding example of French colonial architecture. It was built in 1770 out near the river on the Le Grand Champ field by Louis Bolduc, a Canadian lead miner, merchant and planter. The house is of vertical log construction post on solle or foundation. The house features a distinctive stockade fence, galleries and hip roof. After the great flood of 1783 the house was taken apart, and reassembled in its present location in 1784.

The oldest buildings of Ste. Genevieve, described as "French Creole colonial", were all built during Spanish rule. The most distinctive buildings of this period were the "vertical wooden post" constructions where walls of buildings were built based on wood "posts" either dug into the ground (poteaux en terre) or set on a raised stone or brick foundation (poteaux sur solle). This was different from the log cabin associated with frontier settlements of the United States northeast, mid-Atlantic and Upper South, for which logs are stacked horizontally.

Of the vertical slab houses, the most distinctive are poteaux en terre ("posts-in-the-ground") where the walls made of upright wooden slabs do not support the floor. The floor is supported by separate stone pillars. Partially set into dirt, the walls of such buildings were extremely vulnerable to flood damage, termites and rot. Three of the five surviving poteaux en terre houses in the nation are in Ste. Genevieve. The other two are located in Pascagoula, Mississippi and near Natchitoches, Louisiana.  (Wikipedia)

I love that wide, wide front porch.  In fact, I think the whole house is grand.  With the tour of the Bolduc House you also get to go next door to the Bolduc-LeMeilleur House.  Also very nice. 

There are several very old homes for touring; these are the two I selected for this trip.  But on future runs into town we will explore the others one by one.

Our final stop was to see the “Old Cemetery”, properly known as The Ste Genevieve Memorial Cemetery.  They’re not sure the exact establishment of the cemetery but it surely dates to the settling of the village.  Local lore dates it to 1787.  It was closed in 1881 when it was deemed ‘too full’ for further burials.  

There are many interesting monuments.

Life was hard for children back then.

There is work on restoration of the cemetery.  This is one broken tomb covering that has been worked on.

As the sun set, we headed back to our B&B for our final night.  We had a blast for those two and a half days, and are looking forward to another visit in the future.