Sunday, December 15, 2019

Remembering the Fallen

With a pot of beef soup on the stove and a very large batch of gingerbread dough chilling, I finally have a moment to write.

Winter will mark its official presence in just a few days with an already very good start to the season. If we don't have another storm, there will still be snow on the ground for a bit of a white Christmas. Still, it is cold, even with the sun shining. We barreled through a heavy storm yesterday as we made our way home from a day in town, which I'd like to share with you because it was a most worthy day.

Wreathes Across America

I first heard about Wreaths Across American on the evening news a couple of years ago.  Worcester Wreath Company, formed in 1992, ended the season with an excess of wreaths. As the story goes, not wanting the wreaths to go to waste, the owner decided to adorn the graves at Arlington Cemetery with the left over inventory. Now, a national organization, Wreaths Across America places wreaths on as many military graves as possible across the country. You can read more about the how program to supply the wreaths began:

Saturday morning, December 14, I dressed in my winter clothing and enlisted my husband to go with me to Grandview Cemetery in Ft. Collins, CO, to help place wreaths on 1,100 graves of fallen soldiers. Today's mosaic shows the event of the morning which began with singing the National Anthem and listening to our speaker for the ceremony giving a message on the importance of remembering the fallen heroes. The local ROTC raised the American flag and the flag honoring the POWs and MIAs. A local Boy Scout troop presented the flags of the five branches of the military. Near the end of the ceremony, ROTC bag pipers played "Amazing Grace" and the ceremony ended with a Veteran playing "Taps." Then it was time to place over a thousand wreaths. The small crowd that had come to participate were finished placing wreaths in a matter of minutes.

Each grave that would receive a wreath was marked with a purple flag. When the wreaths were all placed over 2,000 purple flags were left marking graves that did not receives wreaths. Next year's goal is to provide an additional 2550 wreaths to grace every soldier's grave.

Our Daughters of the American Revolution sold 160 wreaths and some of us were there to place them. The mosaic shows Julie Beckman, a new member to our chapter who also coordinates the Wreaths Across America project for the cemetery and my sister-in-law, chapter regent. 

Dozens of boxes fill with wreaths had already been distributed and waited to be empty.

We are a small chapter with some members who live out of state, some who live out of town, and some who are not able to venture out in the cold. So here we are: Carol Sue, Jennifer, Sue, Julie, Karen, and me. 

The wreaths can be ordered year round just by going to the website and placing your order. Local organizations as members of WAA will earn $5. back on each wreath that they sell, making the project a nice fundraising project. 

It was a worthwhile morning and I didn't even really feel the cold.

Here are home the decorations are up, yet the house is still disorganized. I just can't seem to get into full gear this year. I debated on which tree to decorate: my less than traditional pink one or the tree that has all of the vintage ornaments, representing the family though the generations. I decided on the pink tree, only this year it is not pink since my two strands of pink light failed. I bought the new warm LEDS, only to realize that they are more yellow than warm. I still love my pink tree, especially at night.

Outside it looks seasonal.

I wanted the trees lit this year, but that probably won't happen now the weather has turned bad. In years past, the weather was mild so we could wait to put up the lights until around the 1st of December. This year it's been cold since before Thanksgiving, so no lit trees. I'll enjoy the neighbors.

My dear neighbor works at a local landscape nursery. In the summer she plants the baby poinsettias and just before Christmas she delivers some to her friends and neighbors. I was astonished when she said to pick three from the back of her loaded SUV. Thank you, Carol. I love them.

Well, it is time to make gingerbread men and moose and maybe a horse or two for the girls. 

What will you be baking?

I'll be linking with Angie for Mosaic Monday. See you there.

Thanks so much for visiting.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Big Boy 4014

Not much happens in our little town located at crossroads that carry travelers north from Denver to Wyoming or east from Ft. Collins, CO to Nebraska. With a population of--I'm guessing--around 1,500 and with farming the major business here, we refer to Ault as a Unique Little Town with a reputation as a bedroom community, where residents sleep  and work elsewhere, commuting as  my husband and I did for years. There's not much here anymore. Our grocery store is now a place of worship and the most exciting store in town is Blooms and Heirlooms, my favorite antique store and my other favorite store,  Jen's Antique Mall, so when a rare train comes hooting and a hollering through town, we go down to the tracks to see it.

A small crowd gathered between the highway and the railroad track on one of our coldest days of the season  to greet this mammoth 1940s steam engine as chugged through town on its way home to Cheyenne Wyoming. Aptly named, Big Boy weighs 1.2 million tons, is 137 feet long, and boasts a massive 6,000 horsepower. This particular engine was used to push other trains over the steep Sherman Pass in Wyoming. It was restored to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first transcontinental railroad. This day it was nearing the end of its journey.  You can read more about this train of the past and if you are in Cheyenne, Wyoming, you can go visit it. In fact there are four such engines in other cities, perhaps one near you.

Want more information on Big Boy 4014's trip? Visit this link: You can also read more about the engine by visiting this Union Pacific link:

I really didn't get very good photos of the train because the camera was slow to focus and the train sped through town.

 Look closely in this photo and you see the entourage of train chasers that probably followed the train across the prairie clear into Wyoming, about a 35 mile drive.

Pure Massive Power

The first major storm of the season left plenty of snow behind which was whipped by the wind and redeposited it in other spots, leaving some bare. We stayed home that Saturday because the ground blizzard had made travel dangerous impossible. 

We indeed did have a white Thanksgiving. Even the little water garden in the front courtyard looked like a winter wonderland sculpture.

 Inside, I keep myself occupied. This is my current project that I will finish tonight, a sweet beanie in patriotic colors that I will donate to our DAR chapter's silent auction to raise funds for the two Native American schools that we support.

When I need a break from chores and crocheting, I've been putting up Christmas decorations in one of the dollhouses, my Texas Farmhouse. I haven't done a thing in real life yet. Have you?

Packages are arriving. I don't think the family that lives here is too worried about porch pirates. 

The outside lights aren't up yet. Look closely and you will the tangled mess on the ladder.

 Thanks for stopping by. I always enjoy your comments.

I hope you join us there.

Monday, November 25, 2019


It's a quiet Monday morning. As I work on the this post, I am alone for the moment. I have my pumpkin flavored coffee in my favorite snowman mug, my mosaic is designed, and I am enjoying the piece and quiet. We are waiting for the Big Storm to arrive sometime today, with a prediction of 18 inches of snow. I am skeptical that we will actually get that much snow.

We also have company who arrived last night from the Western Slope--the other side of the Rocky Mountains. Their grandchildren who live north of us are expecting their first baby, the first great grandchild, momentarily. Labor will be induced late Thursday if the baby boy does not arrive sooner, so our friends will be here for the week. It's always nice to have company in a normally quiet house.

I'll begin baking--I thought this morning--, but I am short some ingredients, which means a trip to the store first. Can you guess what I'll be making?

Jen and her husband will be hosting Thanksgiving brunch, so I'll take a pumpkin pie, a pecan pie, and cranberry relish.

I am also crocheting the little beanie hats that the grandchildren like so much. These are Nathan's. I made the one with the orange band and it seemed too small, so I used a larger hook on the second one and it seem to be sized better. Easy little hats. I'll make him a pair of mittens and fingerless gloves to with them. 

The house has worn its fall colors since the first of October, beginning with Halloween accents. I love the warmth of the fall colors, inspire of being a very pastel person, especially pink. Still I enjoy the fall colors both outside and inside.

I made the pompom turkeys a few years ago. They are silly little birds that make me smile. The candles, looking so realistic, are battery operated. They photography pretty 

We have so much to be thankful for with a full, rich life, surrounded by good friends, loving family, and good health. I spend some idle brain moments contemplating the reasons to celebrate Thanksgiving, which really is a relatively modern holiday. I think a lot about John Howland and his wife Elizabeth Tilley, my great grand parents, (13) who were brave enough to get on the rickety wooden ship to travel across a lot of water to start a new life. Howland was a 21 year old indentured servant to John Carver who served as governor of Plymouth colony from 1620-1621. The governor died tending his field of corn, probably as a result of a heat stroke and his wife soon after passed. His fortune went to John Howland as the eldest household member since they didn't have children to pass on their estate. 

John Howland is probably more well known for falling overboard on the Mayflower during a storm. No one knows why he was on deck during such a bad storm. He clung to the ship's halliard until he was rescued. 

You can read about John Howland in William Bradford's journal as he recorded daily life on the Mayflower voyage.

So I honor may family heritage as I celebrate Thanksgiving, realizing that I am a part of a very large family, for the Howlands have 11 million descendants, along with the couple's dozen children who combined have millions of descendants. Isn't that just simply incredible!

To you my dear friends, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving with lots good company, delicious foods, and abundant blessings.

Linking with Angie for Mosaic Monday. Join me there.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Stepping Out

Our family doesn't have a military background. My father wanted to join the Navy during WW II, but due childhood eye injury, he didn't qualify for naval service, nor would the Army accept him. Instead he worked in a munitions plant in DesMoines, Iowa, where he met my mother. I think he carried that stigma of not being fit for duty for a life time. He never spoke about not serving; instead, he told stories about working in Iowa and other jobs that he had as a chemical engineer. He was smart man with a degree from the University of Denver, a private university. He never understood that he did contribute to the war effort in his own way. He was never really specific about what his job was, but I am sure that with his degree he developed and tested munitions.

Even more since dad didn't go off to war as all of his friends and even his brother did, I respect, appreciate, and honor the men and women who did and do serve our country. That's one reason that I joined Daughters of the American Revolution. Along with it being a service organization, I appreciate the patriotism and honor of country that I was taught as a child. This last week, then, was devoted to honoring our veterans.

I spent several days making cards for the patients at the VA hospital in Cheyenne, Wyoming, only 35 miles north of us. While it was meant to be a group project, others were not able to help, so I spent quality time with myself making cards. I've always made my own greeting cards, so using my Circuit to out the stars and the other tools that I have collected over the years to do scrapbooks, too, I was able to make variety of cards. Making the cards for the veterans certainly was a labor of love.

Monday, my daughter Jennifer and sister-in-law Karen drove to the VA where we met, 
Sam, a representative who introduced us to Taylor, a sweet young woman who is the nursing home's recreational therapist. We gave her 20 packets of Christmas cards that I shared with you in my last post and another 50 cards thanking the veterans for their service. Our guide then took us through the nursing home, including the new addition that is modern, bright, and cheerful. I wish had taken more photos. He talked to us about the VA's services and their future plans. It is a very small facility compared to others across the country, such as one in Denver that just opened and is a multimillion dollar project.

Most notably and astonishing are the demographics of the patients who range in age from 20 to 100 years old, with the younger soldiers the majority of the population, all suffering from various war injuries and illnesses. 

Making and delivering a few cards to show the veterans that they are not forgotten is a very small but honorable pleasure. 

 Since card making and  blogging require much too much sitting, I've been trying to get in  more steps. While I am not a slave to my FitBit, the little device does keep me moving and lets me know if I need to move more. The best way to get my steps in certainly requires longer walks besides going from my chair to get a drink or doing other minimal duties.

I like walking in the fog the best, probably because we don't  have many foggy mornings here.

The Garden Spot takes on a mystical, magical aura with the frost covered landscape.

While we enjoy the fog, we are glad that we don't have to drive in it.

 I knew that morning as I was taking photos that I didn't need many, but the landscape was so ethereal and mystical, I had to take more.

Fall has been messy this year. The trees still have their leaves, now dead and dry, desperately clinging to the branches as if in hopes that life might return. I am hoping that I can convince the Head Garden to put the Christmas lights on the trees this year. It's not one of his favorite chores.

Even dry and dead, summer's blooms bring a certain beauty to the garden.

On another day, the sky was clear, the air was crisp and the wind brutally cold. I hurried that afternoon and finished my walk sooner than planned.

From the guest room window, this morning's landscape with a dusting of snow and 12 degrees.

 If I am not making cards or piddling with a dollhouse, I am working on this afghan for my friend. I am safe to show you because she doesn't follow the blog. I'm working with four colors and doing twenty rows for a more bold look. I wish now that I would have made each band a full skein because I will have yarn left over. Hats and mittens, perhaps.

And finally a grand celebration, Elinore's birthday. Can you believe that she if 13? Her color this year is lime green, so Hank, her horse,  got some nice lime green accessories for show. Can't wait to see him in his green leg wraps and boots with a lime green show halter. 

Instead of buying or even making their girls' birthday cards, I am making them photo album pages. They love the photos that I take of them and the photos don't do much good hiding on my lap top. 

Thank you for joining me today.

I'll be linking with Angie for Mosaic Monday

Thank You to Our Veterans for Their Service and Sacrifices

God Bless America

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