Thursday, September 22, 2016

First Day of Fall

Morning Mercy

I walked this morning in the dark of six.
A south wind blew a wet fairy kiss.

Close in a sheltered wood,
a cricket in a lonely mood
buzzed like a wind in a loose wire.
It was an inquisitive cry, lost and alone
for he'd missed frosty memos
and didn't go home.         

Trees raised willing arms of praise
clothed in choir robes of steel blue sky
glowing like stained church-glass or a child's eye
eliciting songs of love and awe       
for One Great God who created it all
and calls to mankind with utmost mercy,
"Come to My son whose blood sin-frees."

I walked home this morning in the light of seven,
my tears of joy joining those from heaven.

Have a joyous autumn.

"Morning Mercy" is a poem in Mary Allen's third book of poetry, "Full Spectrum Living." Allen is a La Porte County Poet Laureate Emeritus (2010) and was commissioned to write "Connected", a poem which appears on the Lincoln Highway kiosk at the Greater La Porte Chamber of Commerce. Her first work of fiction, "God's Love Most Gentle", was published in 2015. Her books are available on Amazon.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Venture Into Homemade Kefir - A Video How-To

I LOVE kefir, with it's zingy taste and many health benefits, even more than yogurt! Today I'd like to introduce you to the simplicity involved in making kefir for yourself. Why spend money on store-bought, when you can have an endless supply with just a few kefir grains? So come along and watch. Really... I'm a relative newbie at this, but it's so easy and quick, anybody can do it.

If you'd like to learn more about the history and many health benefits of kefir, here's another site with good information: Cultured Food Life

Eat Well and Stay Healthy!
Naomi Musch

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Remembering Nine Eleven and a West Bend Wisconsin video

First, it's 9/11. 

I haven't forgotten--I'll never forget and neither will anyone who was of an age to be affected by the events of the day. In memory of one of Kewaskum's fallen, Andrea Habermann, who had taken her first big trip to New York for work that day, please visit the link. 

A permanent memorial with WTC steel is currently on permanent display.

Secondly, Enjoy this half-hour show Featuring 
West Bend, Wisconsin

Thursday, September 8, 2016

What's In Your DNA? Part II

Shelley Wilburn

Okay y’all, the results are in! Well, before I get to that let me just say that checking one’s email periodically throughout the day only wastes time. Ancestry dot com doesn’t get the results of your DNA test any quicker.

However, when that email pops up in said inbox, the excitement is nearly too much to handle. At least mine was. It was quickly cooled though because I received the email while I was out with my husband driving home from dinner – in the dark – when I screamed, “Finally!”

Side note: Please don’t open emails on your iPhone while riding in the car at night with your husband. More importantly, don’t yell, “Finally!” or other such exciting words while he is driving, unless you want to rear end the car in front of you, or run in a ditch. Thankfully, we did neither due to my husband’s defensive driving skills that he learned when in law enforcement.

The next frustrating thing about receiving the email through my iPhone was that I couldn’t look at the results online and kept getting the screen to order a DNA kit. So frustrating that I had to wait until I got home and could get on the computer.

Finally able to view the results, I had to wade through a lot of percentages among other things, and my geography isn’t all that great so I had to literally pull every one of the areas up on the map. Remember, I have been told my entire life that on my mother’s side of the family, we had Cherokee Indian. More precisely, I supposedly had a great-great-great-grandfather that was full-blooded Cherokee, and it was hinted that he was a chief. Hm.

On my father’s side, I was told in no uncertain terms that we were strictly German. That’s it. German. End of discussion, except to state in a very vehement way that we were absolutely not Russian. Now, don’t you think that would make your child curious? Yes, it did me too. Hence the DNA test.

Nevertheless, the biggest question I have had was answered right off the bat when the DNA results said that 100% of my DNA comes from Europe. Most of the percentage precisely is from Western Europe.


Hang on…

Where are Native Americans found? Oh yeah. America. That would be the U S of A.


Wait, where is Western Europe again?

Oh. Well, at least we’re westerners… of sorts.

So as I’m looking at the percentages from Europe West, Scandinavia, Iberian Peninsula (where is that?), Great Britain (I kind of liked that one), Europe East, Ireland (Ireland? Aren’t they Irish?), and finally European Jewish (which really got me tickled) I decided to click on the link that showed all the regions and their percentages. This only confirmed that yep, there is absolutely zero percent Native American DNA in my bloodline. Had there been Native American, there would have at least been a trace of it, but no. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

In each region, I clicked to get a more precise location. It did list many areas in each region but Germany popped up in almost all of them. Ireland was also listed. But the most fun one I came across was Russia, which is located in the Eastern Europe and European Jewish region.

So where do my ancestors come from? Who knows? I do know, through ancestry searches that my paternal great grandparents were from Germany and guess where else? Russia. That much from my childhood is true. I guess that means I’m not adopted. Ha! But from my maternal side? We’re still looking. The most confusing part about this DNA testing is that the information my aunt and I have discovered by doing the DNA tests is that everything we grew up hearing and thinking we knew about our heritage has been a fabrication. A lie. Why? We don’t know.

Maybe someone was embarrassed about where they came from. Maybe the stories got so blown out of proportion through the ages that no one really remembered the truth. That did tend to happen. However, there are some interesting and sordid details about a few members of the family from years gone by that maybe will get told someday. Of course, with my being a writer this information may crop up in a fictional novel someday. Now wouldn’t that just make great-great-grandad roll over in his grave!

All in all, the Ancestry DNA test was a fun thing to do. It has given me a new outlook on my heritage. Honestly though, when I saw the “less than 1%” that came from European Jewish, I had to smile. And as I showed my husband I pointed to that one and said, “That right there? That’s Jesus’ blood.” It was a fun statement anyway.

Regardless of whether I ever find out the whole truth about my ancestry, one thing I have learned; family is family no matter whose bloodline you’re from. God put us all together and blood is irrelevant. And if we were to follow our ancestors back far enough I’m sure we would eventually find Abraham and Sarah in there. So I really can’t complain.

One last thing though; there was also another link to click to find others whose DNA matched mine. I clicked on it. There were several people in many categories. There were many categorized as “Extremely High.” However, in the “Closer than First Cousin” category, the first and only person to pop up was… wait for it… my aunt.

Turns out she’s not adopted after all.

Monday, September 5, 2016

"What would you like to do for your ninetieth birthday?"

Ninetieth … maybe a little get-together with the family … nothing too exciting …

Well, one courageous North Iowa woman, widowed in 2011, decided five years ago that she wanted to do something special to celebrate her birthday every year from then on.

So that's exactly what she'd done. She can't recall what she chose to do each year, but about a year ago, she heard about George H.W. Bush parachuting on his birthday.

The urge to follow in his steps grabbed her.

So in July 2016, accompanied by her two daughters and with a crowd of friends and family watching in wonder, Ellen Bork realized her dream from 13,000 feet in the heavens.

The photographs say it all.

Was she frightened? Not even one tiny bit, she quips.

Did she have trouble sleeping the night before? Not at all.

Was she always a risk-taker? No. She's always bee shy and quiet.

What happened to produce this change? She's not sure, but has no regrets.

Today, we can all celebrate with her - one brave woman who knows her heart and follows her instincts. And maybe, just maybe, we can take courage with our dreams and GO FOR IT!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Meet The Tomato Hornworm

Note the red horn on its tail.
When it comes to his tomato plants my husband is fanatic. Do they have enough water? Are the blossoms forming fruit? What's the spot on the bottom of the tomato? Are they ready to pick? And then this past week: What's that green bug with the white eggs on its back?

He spent some time on the internet and came up with the answer. It is a tomato hornworm and the eggs aren't really eggs but tiny cocoons of a small type of wasp. I thought he was exaggerating until he called me out to the deck where our tomatoes and peppers grow in special earth boxes that he ordered this year along with a kit that contained the right amounts of fertilizer.

The hornworm we found was fascinating so of course I had to look it up and check it out myself. They grow anywhere from three to five inches (depending upon which site you read). Eventually they become a brown moth. They like only certain plants and favor the tomato the most, thus the name. They will burrow into the soil for their pupae stage and can have two generations in one summer as well as winter-over in the soil.

Against the green leaves it is difficult to see them unless the wasps have found them and laid their eggs there to hatch into larva which actually feed off of the hornworm. They then spin their small white cocoons and eventually emerge. Meanwhile the hornworm is spent from being food for the wasps. Several sites I visited said to leave the hornworms with the wasp cocoons alone as the wasps will help to control the hornworm population.

Uncontrolled, the hornworms will defoliate your tomato plants, feeding off the tender new leaves first and working their way down. Without the wasps, it is suggested you pick the worms off the plants and put them in a soapy water solution (or smash them if you are so inclined).

Every year there is something new to discover in our backyard and we certainly don't have to travel far to see it.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Glass with Class

by Connie Cortright

Have you ever seen a colored glass vase or candy dish sitting on a shelf or in a hutch at your grandmother's house? Maybe the glass item was multi-colored like the one in the picture on the left - called carnival glass because of the pinks, blues, and greens that show up when light is reflected off it. Sometimes it seems to look a dull amber and then breaks into a rainbow of color in bright light.

Or the glass item might be a pale yellowish-green color - called vaseline glass. Some of the glasses might even be a pinkish or cobalt blue color. All these antique colored items are very beautiful and worth quite a bit of money these days.

Did you know that your grandmother or great-grandmother might have pulled these beautiful pieces of glass out of an oatmeal or detergent box during the 1930s? Or she might have gotten it free one afternoon when she went to the movie theater and bought a ticket. It might have been a giveaway item in the corner market for purchasing ten dollars of groceries in a single shopping trip.

All these colorful items are called depression glass. From the late 20s into the 30s glass manufacturers mass-produced intricately formed glass pieces that were made of poor quality. These molded glass items often contained bubbles under the surface or other flaws that more expensive glassware did not have. They were inexpensively made and given away to brighten someone's day during these trying years.

Women collected these different types of depression glass, making entire place settings of the same color from purchasing groceries in the same store. The manufacturers made the cups, plates, bowls and serving pieces for the set, giving away a different piece each week.  This was also a marketing technique, keep the customers coming back to get the next item.

Vaseline Glass under ultraviolet light
One type of depression glass was actually made from uranium, in some cases up to 25%. This type of glass was nicknamed vaseline glass because of its usual pale yellowish-green color. Of course, during the late 30s and into the early 40s, uranium became used in a much more important way for the War Department, so this type of glass was discontinued. There was no need to worry about radioactivity with this glass since it was considered to be harmless even if some pieces could be detected by a Geiger counter. Under a ultraviolet light the items turn into a beautiful bright green.

The amazing thing is that today this depression glass, that was given away free in an oatmeal box, is an item in demand by collectors. Antique dealers  study copies of "The Collector's Encyclopedia of Depression Glass" to find out what is a good buy and how to choose the best items.

Wouldn't it be nice to know today what items we use in our daily lives will end up as collectors items someday? Seventy-five years from now maybe your child's lunch box with Dusty Crophopper on the front will be sold for a hundred dollars. That thought alone would motivate us to take special care of it and make sure it was never scratched or chipped. Someday, someone could sell it for high quality then. What do you you think will be a collector's item from everyday life today?

Information taken from Uranium glassDepression_glass, and
Antiques-About Depression Glass.


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