Wednesday, January 30, 2013

These Are Not Buttons

But they are typical of the alien items found in most button boxes.

See anything here you need? Let us know.

Monday, January 28, 2013

NDL Illustrated - The Formative Years

When we were very young, before we could understand the concept of a cautionary tale, 
we are told that this book was our most requested read-to-me book. 
It seems that the first part of the story became ingrained in us, but the ending, the moral of the bedtime story, never registered consciously or subconsciously as we likely drifted off into carefree childhood slumber each night before the last pages were read.

Once there was a greedy old rabbit.

Everyone called him Mr. Grabbit, because he liked to have just lots and lots of everything.

He bought so many vegetables at the market that he couldn't hold them and they tumbled down the hill.

When he got home he was so hot and thirsty he drank not just his own bottle of milk, 
but all the milk the milkman was delivering to the neighborhood.

He went to buy a new, bigger coat, but one wasn't enough. 
And of course he wanted not one, but several of the best hats.

Another day, when he was going to visit his cousins he noticed it looked like rain. 
He couldn't decide which of his favorite umbrellas to take so he took all four.

When a big wind came up, well you can guess, he sailed away.

And ended up on the church steeple.

In his panic he kicked the bell which alerted the townspeople.
(Why is he the only rabbit in town? It has taken 50 years for us to question that.)

A fireman rescued him and when he heard the story of how Mr. Grabbit came to be in the steeple 
he declared "Well, I never!" 

That must have been rock bottom for our little rabbit. He stayed in bed for three days. When he got up at last, he made a big sign and tacked it on his house. The sign said:

On Saturday afternoon everyone in the village was in Mr. Grabbit's from yard.

20 people bought Mr. Grabbit's shoes. 
16 people bought Mr. Grabbit's coats. 

30 people bought Mr. Grabbit's hats.
25 people bought Mr. Grabbit's umbrellas.

And after that when Mr. Grabbit went to market be bought only what he needed. He drank one bottle of milk when he was thirsty. He wore one hat and one coat and carried one umbrella and when he went out nobody ever called him Mr. Grabbit anymore.

Oh, so that's how it ends.

Friday, January 25, 2013

That's Nothing

Apparently Brit families play the "who's got it the worst" contest too.

It's a toss up, but we'd give the prize to the toddler for starting our day with a  giggle.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It Was a Simpler Time

We know what they had in mind was showing us how their snaps are meant to go together as a close pair,


Sunday, January 20, 2013

NDL Illustrated - From the Beginning

Garth Williams, illustrator of the  Little House Books as well as Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, The Little Fur Family, and many others including beloved  Golden Books such as Baby Farm Animals and Home for a Bunny would be our number one choice to illustrate our life story.

Look what he did for Laura, Mary, and Carrie Ingalls.

Laura's path and NDL's have not been exactly the same, but they have crossed and paralleled many times. We both went west from where we were born. NDL skipped over the big woods of Wisconsin and the prairies of Kansas, but caught up with the wagon train in Minnesota.

One year we took a semester detour to Haiti where the only show we ever remember the host family  watching on TV was La Petite Maison sur la Prairie.
Amazingly Laura spoke perfect french, but in a high squeaky voice very different from the one we were used to hear coming from the little rough and tumble pioneer character.

Several of our early homes have been just a step up from a sod house, and our current one, on certain days, in certain months resembles one.

We experienced the vast state of South Dakota notable for its lack of lakes and trees. 
We're not sure how the Ingalls managed to find one to live by.

While living in South Dakota there was at least one very long winter when we were not quite reduced to braiding hay to burn in the stove, and going off in a sleigh to find wheat to sustain the town, but it was close. Our car didn't start so we tied a rope to the back door, and with the wind swirling so hard that we couldn't see our hand in front of our face we tried to walk to our jobs even as icicles formed on our eyelashes and our noses and fingers and toes went numb, until fortunately we found a haystack to crawl into while we rode out the storm...

Well, it was pretty bad, and our cars really didn't run for a week or so, until a Christmas miracle happened and one of them started just in time to retrieve Almanzo from his work shift, which he really had walked to and had stayed at for several days, so that we could have Christmas together in our little house on the prairie.

 Of all the books perhaps we relate most to The Long Winter. We were born in a January ice storm, named after Laura Ingalls, and are reminded of our start almost every birthday when outside scenes consistently resemble those from our very earliest days* and from the first few winters of our newly married life.

Now we are back in the Big Woods just miles from where little half-pint started out and here we will stay. Unlike Pa, we don't need so much elbow room and rather like being able to see our neighbors and their  houses from our own. That's what makes us NDL. 

* from NDL's mother's journal
January 20 - Laura Ann was born at 8:15 a.m. lots of black hair in a pretty curl.
January 21 - Kids going late to school and coming home early. Nastiest weather in many years as ice coats everything & cuts off electricity, roads, phones, etc. Zero degree temperatures made more hazard. Safe and snug at home with our new baby finally.
January 22 - Daddy very busy keeping emergency generator going for us and neighbors. We are very lucky to have it.
January 23 -Heavy ice still hangs on everything and temp 10 below at 8:00 a.m.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Great Price, Less Filling

So, it seems that when New Belgium Fat Tire beer loses inflation, er uh, carbonation  it goes on sale.

Or could that possibly be a typo?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

In Memorium

Never will we have a back-fence neighbor as wonderful and as colorful as our first one.

Tom passed away this week.

He left us this beautiful tree and many interesting memories.

In 2011 we wrote:

25 years ago we suggested during an over-the-fence chat with the neighbor man that this, then scrawny tree, with a rather ugly name be cut down. Tom moved to the other hill long ago, but whenever he comes around he never fails to say, as we stand under the graceful Hackberry tree in the lovely shade, 
"Yeah, I guess we should have cut that tree down."

Photo: S. Plasch

Monday, January 14, 2013

Retro Readers

These newly released board books have the mid-century design vibe of the stories we grew up with.

The themes are timeless. 
As long as there are toddlers they will want to "do it myself".

And delight in discovering that they are growing.

I Can Do It Myself and Now I Am Big by Stephen Krensky. Illustrated by Sara Gillingham.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Christmas Presence III

 On Christmas day a little sewing bird came to stay.

He will be good company for us - NDL and this little guy.

That he has a pincushion tail is obvious, but do you see the end of his secret, tummy tape measure?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Christmas Presence II

Heerzall, Seezall, and Tellzall came to hang out on Christmas day.

The three naughty, little, vintage '48 monkeys are hardly even pretending to be good.

We are highly amused every time we look at them -
and secretly pleased that the chief  tchotchke detractor in the family was the gift giver.

They mock now,
but we know they will be fighting over who gets our knick knack treasures when we are gone.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Christmas Presence

The gift that keeps on giving.

A thoughtful friend and fellow gnome lover obviously knew we would need some indoor gardening to get us through till the thaw.

Thank you!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Epiphany Angels

Look at all the good deed doing going on. Heavenly music on high and on earth, taking treats to the woodland creatures, spreading stars and arranging them just so, helping St. Nicholas make his rounds and delivering a few presents themselves, visiting the Christkindl Markt, and keeping the stars bright and shiny. 
We've wondered who actually helps make Christmas miracles happen. 
Now we know!

Made in Germany. EAS - E. A. Schwerdtfeger, Berlin, 1880-1980.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Her Ladyship Calls

Here they come again. The lads and lasses, lords and ladies of Downton Abbey reprise their roles 
on PBS on January 6, 2013. 
If you need to catch up on the story so far, or review who's who in the high drama of the venerable English estate you are in luck for over at Grasping for Objectivity they have laid it all out for us. 
Thanks to a tip from clever NDL correspondent Honeybee, we present for you here 

If simply you can't wait another minute to see what the goodies and baddies of the household are up to next, check out this preview of Season 3 right now.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Feelin' Groovy

Inspired by gifts of granola from two friends who have been supplying us with crunchy, grainy goodness 
for many years we decided to give it a go ourselves.

We made a hybrid recipe from several we came across and put some of the finished product in jars saved  from all the West Hill Honey we have consumed over time.

Then we went to the Jam Labelizer site that we've been wanting to play around with
 and created these labels for free.

Here is our recipe for Groovy (and Good for Your New Year's Resolutions) Granola:

Mix together in a large bowl:

6 cups Old Fashioned Oats
2 cups nuts or seeds – Any  combination of pecans, sunflower, sesame, pepitas, almonds, walnuts or ?
1 cup coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix together:

½ to 1 cup honey, brown sugar, or maple syrup, or a combination of any of these.
¼ cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Pour liquid over dry ingredients and blend well.

Bake at 350F for 40 minutes in a roasting pan. Stir several times while baking.

Add 1 cup dried fruit such as raisins, cherries, or craisins after baking. Spread on parchment paper to thoroughly cool before storing in airtight containers.

And here's a little something to whistle, hum, or sing, while you work:

Slow down, you move too fast.

You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobble stones.
Looking for fun and feelin' groovy.
Hello lamppost,
What cha knowing?
I've come to watch your flowers growing.
Ain't cha got no rhymes for me?
Doot-in' doo-doo,
Feelin' groovy.

Got no deeds to do,
No promises to keep.
I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.
Life, I love you,
All is groovy. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Nothing to Grouse About

It was a very Wisconsin Christmas.

Taxidermy, Smokey the Bear memorabilia, Leinenkugel's swag,
and shooting sports equipment were exchanged.
A custom-made Wisconsin-shaped cutting board was presented to a lucky recipient with the explanation
that Door County had briefly seceded, but the state was easily reunified with a bit of glue.
Cheese and beer were consumed (in moderation of course). 
Team trivia at the tavern was handily won by a Christmas Break super-team. 
And wild game was cooked by the hunters and their sous chefs and served on Christmas Day.

 The birds were filleted and inspected to make sure they were buckshot-free. 

The fillets were browned, wrapped in bacon and covered with white wine, broth and shallots.

After baking, the juices became delicious, bacon-rich gravy.

We declared the recipe for Northern Ontario Partridge a winner. 

Leinie's Creamy Dark Carmelized Onions, a white and wild rice mix, 
and petit haricots vert rounded out the menu.

It was the best Christmas wild game dinner ever!