Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Already -Missing -July Hodgepodge

Neighbor's Windmill

Join Joyce and the Gang

  She writes the questions,
we write the answers.
Answer on your own blog
and join in the fun!

1.  I recently read here about four secrets to happiness from around the world. They were-

Overcome your fears by facing them head on, allow yourself to relax and reset, work to live versus living to work, and find the good in life. Not sure if these are the actual secret to happiness, but which of the four do you struggle with most? Which one comes most easily to you?

Most easily? Definitely, finding the good in life. There's a lot of good if you're tuned to see it. I pray daily for God to open my eyes to his mercy and grace - in creation, in people, in circumstances. 

I tend to avoid fear-inducing situations. For example, I have a fear of falling off the edge of a cliff, but if I tried to face that fear head on and walk closer to the edge, it could prove to be counter productive.

 July Clouds

2. How would you spend a found $20 bill today?

I would spend it as quickly as possible before the value is even less than it is today. Have you noticed how a $20 bill buys you so much less than it did ten years ago?  Just keep paying attention. It's getting worse, fast.

3. Ego trip, power trip, guilt trip, round trip, trip the light fantastic, or trip over your own two feet...which 'trip' have you experienced or dealt with most recently? Explain.

'Trip the light fantastic' is such an odd phrase, isn't it. It definitely doesn't apply to me. Round trip might be the one most recently applicable.

 Raspberry- Yogurt Mid-afternoon Protein Treat
1/2 c. Fage 0% Plain Yogurt
1/3 tiny packet Raw Stevia
1/3 c. fresh raspberries

4. If you could master any physical skill in the world what would it be, and how would you use that skill?

Do you mean master with effort, or just be able to do it? This reminds me of our oldest son (last week's Hodgepodge birthday boy) who would listen to his younger sister play the violin beautifully (I mean, beautifully!) and would say, 'I'd do ANYTHING to be able to play like that...well, anything except practice.'  That cracks me up every time I think about it.  And yes, I'd love to be able to play violin well, but I'm counting on a computer chip being implanted in my brain. I'll hold off a while longer before I resort to practicing. (Y'all do know when to take me seriously, right?)

 Mr. C. and Middle Son Building Porch Ceiling

5. As July draws to a close, let's take inventory of our summer fun. Since the official first day of (North American) summer (June 20th) have you...been swimming? enjoyed an ice cream cone? seen a summer blockbuster? camped? eaten corn on the cob? gardened? deliberately unplugged? watched a ballgame? picked fruit off the vine? taken a road trip? read a book?  Are any of these activities on your must-do-before-summer-ends list?

I can hardly stand the thought of summer coming to a close. Even July coming to an end means we're going into August. That means things are winding down and autumn is soon upon us. And that means that winter is just around the corner. How did this happen so quickly??  Are you done with your Christmas shopping?............................In answer to the question, I've gardened and picked fruit off the vine and read a book or two - well, reading a few books and reading parts of others. There's always something interesting that's a Kindle temptation. Non-fiction mostly, theology - or historical fiction or a good mystery. Diane from Lavender Dreams mentioned a couple mysteries she found at the library. The Fleet Street Murders and A Stranger in Mayfair. I'm going to look into those.

Currently reading or sitting in my Kindle queue:

Who is This Man? Ortberg
Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child - Esolen
Lectures by N.T. Wright
A Method for Prayer, Matthew Henry (What an interesting, amazing man.) Probably more on him at a later date. 
Alan Turing, Unlocking the Enigma, Boyle
Grantchester (No, I've not finished it because I'm easily distracted by the other above-listed books and non-fiction is always more attractive to me.) 

6. The Republican Presidential candidates will debate on August 6th. What's your question?

Didn't the term 'liberal' used to mean favorable of individual rights and freedoms? That is so far from what the term means these days. Now it seems to mean favorable  only to the approved opinion - and the government will tell you what that is.

How are you different from any other politician who wants more government, not less, and who wants to use other people's money for their own pet projects? Can you prove that you're not bought off by big corporations? What do you think of the idea of letting people have more control over their own lives, rather than government dictating and taxing the working American citizen to death? Do you favor rights for illegal immigrants over the rights of legal immigrants? What do you think of promoting a culture of life, rather than a culture of death? What do you think of doing away with the death penalty but also doing away with funding Planned Parenthood, who has used taxpayer money to kill 6.8 million American babies since 1970 - and is now known to be selling baby body parts. How can anyone think this is okay? Who are you most afraid of, that you're not willing to be a real statesman and stand up for what is good and right, but simply cave to what you perceive to be popular opinion - because you care more about re-election than you do about the survival of this country?

Were we allowed more than one question? And I've a few more, if my time's not up.

Raindrops on the Garden Pond

7. What's your most listened to song so far this summer?

The tones of the wind chime on my front porch. It's my favorite right now.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

 Tuppence with her knitting

I'm actually progressing on the little peach sweater, finally. I have an amazing friend who solves my knitting problems, including the one yesterday, where I put a buttonhole on the wrong side of the button band. Then I did stockinette? stitch for 10 rows, ignoring it, hoping the problem would go away. It didn't vanish, oddly enough, so this morning I took it to my patient, engineer-brilliant knitting friend who actually managed to take out just the button band stitches back 10 rows, fix the problem, and then knit it back up. It was like watching a magic trick, one that I'll never ever learn, but one that gives me even more appreciation of the brilliance of my friend (and her generosity). 

Thank you, Bethany.


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Monday, July 27, 2015

Wisconsin Barns and Good Fences

Barn on D
It sounds like the title of a musical composition, doesn't it.
Anyway, it refers to Highway D in Barron County, WI 

This barn has many components that appeal to me: Stone silo base, rusty roof, weathered wood, glass block windows, green roof, and it's within five miles. The not-looking-too-stable part doesn't appeal to me, but then again, it's what happens to barns in this climate that go unheated during the long winter. Once all those warm cow bodies are no longer keeping up the interior barn temperature, the ravages of our harsh winters take their toll on the foundations, and the barns begin their descent to destruction. Very few owners can afford to pay taxes on those structures, let alone keep them heated just for olde time's sake.

Neighbor Cows 
Note the fly swisher-offer on the right

Just Chillin'
Not a care in the world.
Only an occasional pang of sympathy for those mega-dairy cows who never see pasture.


And, the following photos for Theresa's



 The neighbor's covered wagon,


Oh, and just because I'm sure y'all need to see a happy little grandbaby who's just discovered scrumptious fresh raspberries from the garden...

 Photo by Mama


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Friday, July 24, 2015

Saxon Tower, St. Michael at the North Gate, Oxford, Anglophile Friday

One interesting thing leads to another, and this Saxon tower is no exception. (This is why it takes me such a long time to write this kind of blog post!) Access to the tower is through St. Michael's, City Church of Oxford, parts of which date to the 13th century.

 Saxon Tower of St. Michaels

"If you approached Oxford from the north 950 years ago, coming down St Giles, the most conspicuous building in your line of sight would have been the present church tower, dating from about 1050. It is probably the oldest surviving building in Oxford, rivalled only by the castle tower, and originally situated just within the North Gate, of the city, protected to the north by the city wall." -

Of course, we had to climb the easy 97 steps to the top of the tower for views of the city, although there were some pretty skinny passageways enroute.

 Martyrs' Door

Sign on the door reads:

"This is the door through which Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and Bishops Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, known as the Oxford Martyrs, were led to their deaths. It was the entrance to their cell, originally located in the Bocardo Prison, which was constructed over the North Gate of the city, and could be entered through this tower."

There was a bit more to the sign which didn't make it into the photo, but the fact is, these men were burned at the stake in 1555-1556. Thomas Cranmer, responsible for The Book of Common Prayer, was deemed a traitor by Mary, the reigning Catholic monarch, who had the men put to death.

More of the story...

"Once his appointment [as Archbishop] was approved by the pope, Cranmer declared Henry's marriage to Catherine void, and four months later married him to Anne Boleyn. With Thomas Cromwell, he supported the translation of the bible into English. In 1545, he wrote a litany that is still used in the church. Under the reign of Edward VI, Cranmer was allowed to make the doctrinal changes he thought necessary to the church. In 1549, he helped complete the book of common prayer.
"After Edward VI's death, Cranmer supported Lady Jane Grey as successor. Her nine-day reign was followed by the Roman Catholic Mary I, who tried him for treason. After a long trial and imprisonment, he was forced to proclaim to the public his error in the support of Protestantism, an act designed to discourage followers of the religion. Despite this, Cranmer was sentenced to be burnt to death in Oxford on 21 March 1556. He dramatically stuck his right hand, with which he had signed his recantation, into the fire first." -  from this BBC article.

Before his death, Cranmer is supposed to have made a very looong speech, which can be found here. 

According to This Website, "Cranmer five times wrote a letter of submission to the Pope and to Roman Catholic doctrines, and four times he tore it up. In the end, he submitted. However, Mary was unwilling to believe that the submission was sincere, and he was ordered to be burned at Oxford on 21 March 1556. At the very end, he repudiated his final letter of submission, and announced that he died a Protestant."

However, the part that I've found in many sources, including Foxe's Christian Martyrs, is a variation of the following:

'He said, "I have sinned, in that I signed with my hand what I did not believe with my heart. When the flames are lit, this hand shall be the first to burn." And when the fire was lit around his feet, he leaned forward and held his right hand in the fire until it was charred to a stump. Aside from this, he did not speak or move, except that once he raised his left hand to wipe the sweat from his forehead.'

I realize there was some repetition in the above paragraphs, but I think you can piece it together. The point is, Cranmer, whose Book of Common Prayer is used by the Anglican communion today, and the other two martyrs, walked to their executions through that door that you see in the photo above. So the tower wasn't just any old tower. I don't know how people in England get anything at all done. There's just way too much to see and learn!


Now, finally, are the views of the city as seen from the tower:

 One of the locals who frequently hangs out at the tower

Bells, viewed from the landing

Find them on Amazon:
The Book of Common Prayer
Foxe's Book of Martyrs

Have a great weekend, everyone!


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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hodgepodging the Family Reunion

 'Here, little cousin, let me help you.'

This past weekend, we had a family birthday party for our oldest son. Everyone was here, except for the daughter who is in Italy and her husband, stuck at home (his own choice, silly boy) in Texas. It was wonderful to have the group here for the two days and an overnight. The weather was perfect.  Camping and swimming* and shooting and a trip to Valkyrie, the local craft brewery were on the agenda. And the best part is, we're going to be doing it again the first part of August, but that time we expect the Texans to join us! All the photos are from the past weekend

 Our large, above-ground pool
Remember? I did say *swimming.

Join Joyce and the Gang

She writes the questions;
we write the answers.
Answer them on your own blog post
and link up!

1. Is your home air conditioned? If it's not air conditioned, is that by choice? Did you grow up with air conditioning? If not how did you cope with the heat? Share about a time or place you remember as being too hot-the temperature kind of hot, lest anyone be confused.

Yes, our home has central air, although we didn't need to use it until July, and then only occasionally, and only during the warmest part of the day. It's been a beautiful summer. When I was a kid, no one had air conditioning. No one had lots of things that people think are 'needs' these days. Everyone got along fine and didn't whine about it. Being too hot in the summer was part of life in the summertime. I remember my dad and brothers getting hot and sweaty putting up hay in the summer. The chaff from the hay would stick to my brothers' sweaty, shirtless bodies. It wasn't a pretty sight. Then again, we didn't have to look at their sweaty, white skin. :-)

The only place I remember being too hot was when we landed at the airport in Panama. It was  smotheringly hot and muggy. There didn't seem to be much oxygen in that thick air. I was glad there wasn't a long layover before we took off for LaPaz, Bolivia.

Oh wait! I remember it being too hot at some of the 'tent meetings' when I was a kid. They were outdoor evangelistic meetings held for the community. Sawdust floors, a huge tent, uncomfortable wood benches, and sometimes very hot inside. That is a memory that hadn't surfaced for a long time.

 The Birthday Boy (l.) and part of the crew at breakfast

Mr. C. making one of his morning specialties - 
French Toast and Bacon
Full English Breakfast is his other specialty.

2. What's something in your life right now that falls under the heading 'up in the air'?

Possible revision surgery. More on that later, if there is more later.

3. Your favorite light and airy dessert?

I'm not really a fan of light and airy; rather, more a fan of dense and delicious. But if there were something very lemony and not too sweet that was light and airy, I'd give it a try. Also, I guess my Strawberry Freezer Dessert is somewhat light and airy - and far too delicious, so that I have to keep any leftovers in the freezer in the basement or it would be a constant temptation. After a good freezer burn, I don't mind throwing it out.

 Front Yard Weekend Encampment

4. When did you last feel like you were 'floating on air'?

A couple things might make me feel like I'm 'floating on air.' One would be the daily encounter with God's beautiful creation: flowers, blue skies, puffy white clouds, green fields, gentle breeze, the songs of birds in the early morning, beautiful rivers, etc. etc. The other would be having the family home for the weekend. It's wonderful. Exhilarating, exhausting, and wonderful!

The cousin pals, together again

5. Airport, airmail, airtight, airhead...which have you most recently encountered? Explain.

Remember when airmail meant thin writing paper and thin envelopes with a stripe around the edge? Anyway, I avoid airheads, almost nothing is actually airtight, so I guess an airport would be my most recent encounter of air things. And that reminds me, airports aren't nearly as much fun as they had been before the big beef-up of security. Remember the days when we could go to the airport and watch the planes take off? Now we aren't even allowed to go to the gate to see friends or family off on a vacation.

 Downton Shooting Party
(without the costuming, the killing, or the posh accent) 
target shooting, of course

 Birthday son and lovely wife

6.  Have you ever been to the Alps? If so where did you go? If not, is this a destination on your must-see list? If you were headed that direction this summer, which of the following would be your preferred activity...a gentle walk, a serious walk, a bike ride, a boat ride around one of the lakes, or summer snow skiing?

I've never been to the Alps and don't have a desire to go, but could have a desire to be in Verona, where you can see the foothills (or maybe the foothills of the foothills) where our daughter is studying Italian this summer. Just Skyped with her and was given a tour of her apartment with its views over the city. (The up-side of technology). Sigh. BUT, of the activities mentioned, I would take a serious walk if I could. Until I get that issue resolved, a boat ride around one of the lakes sounds great. A row boat, or a boat with a punter (punter?) or a gondolier. No noisy speed boats for me, thank you.

Aspiring forest outlaw archer

7. What is one saying or phrase that was considered 'cool' when you were growing up?

'Neat' and 'cool' were considered neat and cool when I was a kid. But actually, I was never into being cool or knowing phrases that were. I grew up in the Mostly Pre-Cool Era (for which I thank God.)

 Prayer before lunch
The weather was beautiful, so we were able to eat outdoors.

 Our daughter (r.), striking an Egyptian pose

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Nary a random thought is floating past at the moment, so I'll just post a few extra photos.


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Mosaic Monday


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