Friday, August 31, 2012

Gone Flying . . . Again

When I see this sign on the back of husband's chair, I know Charley has called to him. (Much as the refrigerator calls to me sometimes.)
I know the little critter has captured my husband for the day. . .
And flew him to the Antique Tractor show in Portsmouth, Indiana.
Charley landed safely at the airport . . .
And Husband went to see the tractors. Notice the caution sign as he leaves the airport.
Awesome #1
Awesome #2
Awesome #3
Umm . . . what is this????
Husband met up with some old friends. That is always a great part of traveling, don't you think?

For Husband, this trip represents a perfect day in the Midwest. What happens on your perfect day?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Street Where You Live

Who knew? Not every state labels county roads by using letters. Wisconsin excels at it. When we run out of alphabet we just start to double up. If it's a big county, we may triple our letters. Other number-employing states may laugh at us. But I don't care. I like the friendly, sometimes euphonious letters used to identify our county roads as much as I like our many unusual street names. Sorry, Main Street. You may be well-known but you lack the je ne sais quoi of some of these below.

My mother's favorite color was purple. County executives had no knowledge of this, but in a serendipitous turn of events named her road...

My sister lives here. Can you see her house in the background?
Can you see the name on the street sign? Coincidence?

What question do preschoolers never tire of asking?

 When something is tasty it is mm-mm good, but when it is fabulous you say

Just because a cartoon character's eyes are closed doesn't mean you know
he's asleep. Not until the cartoonist adds this above is head:

Who was that intrepid girl reporter who worked with Clark Kent and had a crush on Superman?
Oh, that's right.

Fill in the blanks:
Perry Mason's faithful secretary ________ Street was at his side in the _______room
(hint below)

 Let's see that funny face you make.
That's it! That's the one!

May everything on the street where you live suit you to a

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pastie Delight

Blame Gertie Johnson…she let Deb Baker print the recipe in Murder Grins and Bears It. Gertie, early-sixty-something “recent” widow, lives, enjoys her friendships, and otherwise helps her son Blaze the sheriff, solve murders which seem to plague the U.P. – somewhere around Escanaba – whether he needs her help or not. He usually doesn’t, but Gertie doesn’t have a whole lot else to do, besides try not to get caught driving since she doesn’t have a driver’s license and staying out of her former mother-in-law’s sight, which is hard to do since Grandma moved in. I’d tell you more, but then you wouldn’t have the pleasure of reading all the Gertie stories yourself.

Anyway, my mouth started watering the first time I read the recipe. Took a couple more years to remember to ask hubby to plant rutabagas in the garden. This year I actually remembered, and…voila.

Rutabagas, you ask? Yes, my friends, rutabaga is the secret ingredient that makes a pastie a pastie. I won’t wax eloquent on them here, you can take a gander yourself:

And that’s PASS-tee, not the other pronunciation which is a whole different thing. Okay, I know you’re dying to know, what exactly is a pastie? Just hold on there now, we’re getting there. It’s a meat and veggie pie, easily packable. Here, let me show you.

Gertie’s recipe as found (James G. Baker Jr. BEAR BAIT(Kindle Locations 3833-3837), makes 6 large pies, and I’m only sharing the pastry recipe because I actually followed it, sort of, and it worked well, and it’s not a secret—I’ve seen it before. For the filling, I’ll add my commentary, and if you want the actual recipe, you’ll have to buy the book.  


For pastry

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 cup butter cut in pieces, 3/4 cup ice, water, 1 egg (divided – use yolk here and whites later)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Make up the dough like standard pie crust by cutting the butter (I used butter flavored Crisco) into the flour and salt, then adding the egg yolk, keeping the white for brushing the top, ice water while stirring with a fork, then kneading just a few times to make all the ingredients meld.

Refrigerate for 20 minutes. In large bowl combine all filling ingredients. Grease baking sheet.


Create the filling – yes, all these are raw:

2 pounds coarsely ground meat (you can certainly adjust the meat/veggie ration to your preference) – I used venison and pork, you can use nice beef in place of the venison, but remember, the fat will melt out while you’re baking. I used ground venison and pork and course-ground some steaks to make up two pounds. Pork is important, though, for flavor.  Add 1 1/2 cups chopped onions—I used hubby’s purple ones & you really need that many, 1 cup each of peeled diced rutabagas & peeled diced potatoes; add some salt and pepper to taste. Between the meat and onions and rutabaga, those are the ingredients that combine for the flavor. There really isn’t any other seasoning. You can make a gravy to serve with it, or ketchup, or steak sauce if you want.


To make the pastie, flour up your counter, divide dough in 6 pieces and roll each into an 8 inch circle. On half of each pastry, spread 1 cup of filling (I divided my filling into 6 as well, to avoid issues if a cup wasn't exactly a cup,  ya know? and really, don't make a ball of it, leave it loose). Fold over and crimp edges either fluted like pie, or with a fork, or a hearty pinch. The dough is a bit tender, even chilled, so take care not to tear it up.

Place each on baking sheet (a spatula is handy – I got three on a tray – and while I used a cookie sheet the first time, I wouldn’t do it again due to the fat running out of the pastie while baking) Cut a few slits in each top, brush with egg white, and bake 1 hour.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Around the World - Kinda Corny

Hello all you barndoorers! If you were expecting Cheryl Moller's post today, Surprise! You have me sliding in at the last minute. Cheryl is under the weather and I am just ready to walk out the door to church, so I grabbed a post from my blog to fill in.
Cheryl will be back with another hilarious post on her next scheduled day.

Until then, this is what you got:

Thought you might enjoy a few facts about our corn planting this year and the God we serve.
This year the corn planter was high tech.

This year we planted 651 acres of corn.

640 acres of corn equals one square mile. So, I am using this as a measuring stick.

We planted our corn in 30 inch rows with each seed six and one half inches apart. That square mile planted every six and one half inches adds up to 32,000 seeds per acre population. Take the 32,000 seeds per acre multiply by 640 acres and that equals 20.5 million seeds that we planted. This is about 260 bags of corn.

Now, let’s take those 20.5 million seeds that were planted six and one half inches apart and stretch them into one long line. That becomes 133 million inches of seeds planted. There are 63,360 inches in one mile, so the corn we planted in that square mile will stretch 2100 miles. In other words, from 49315 (Byron Center, MI where we live) to 90210 (Beverly Hills, CA).
This year our corn was 13 feet tall.

Here’s where around the world comes in. Let’s say that those stalks will grow to 7.5 feet tall when mature. We’ve had years where they were taller, but 7.5 feet is a good common number. When we lay those stalks end to end, they could circle the world.

And, this information is only from our farm. Our farm is not a huge farm either.

Corn yields have increased 125% since 1950.

Okay, if you weren’t impressed yet, you should be after reading this.

Each seed produces a stalk which will have one to two ears of corn.

Each ear of corn has an average of 600 kernels.

So, if you take our 20.5 million seeds that were planted and if each stalk only produced one ear each that would result in twelve billion three hundred million kernels of corn in that one square mile. I’d say that is quite a grand increase.

Who else but God can create such a thing? Drop a kernel of corn in the ground. Smother it with dirt. It basically dies, sprouts, grows and increases 600 – 1200%.
God definitely knows how to do increase.

You can check out our everyday "stuff" on the farm at

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Eating Along Superior's North Shore

Not only did I go wilderness camping this summer, but I did a LOT of eating. If you're thinking of camping or merely driving along the North Shore of Lake Superior, here are the mouthwatering stops you should make...

The Northern Lights Cafe
Beaver Bay, MN
It's a little swanky looking on the outside. There's a double-decker British bus in the parking lot for crying out loud. But don't let the curb appeal turn you off. Behind the facade is some fantastic food (Scandinavian - think Swedish meatballs and torsk). Plus, the big bonus is you can eat outside on one of the many decks looking over Lake Superior.

Great Lakes Candy Kitchen
Knife River, MN
Looking for chocolate? Look no further. This little shop is a MUST stop! All their candy is made fresh on-site, and there's more than simply chocolate. If you've got a sweet tooth, make sure to swing by this little nugget of goodness.

Sven & Ole's Pizza
Grand Marais, MN
I've always wondered what the Sven & Ole's bumper stickers were all about. I see them on cars here in Minneapolis all the time. Well, I finally figured it out. It's the pizza joint of all pizza joints in Northern Minnesota. Not only can you get a fantastic meal here, but some Sven & Ole wear as well.

The Naniboujou Lodge
Grand Marais, MN
A little farther north up the highway, there's another restaurant you should save some room for. This lodge is pretty amazing. It started out as a grand resort area by none other than Babe Ruth, but then the Great Depression hit and plans were changed. The dining hall is pretty amazing though. And the brunch, oh my! They even have a proper tea in the afternoon.

So next time you go camping in northern Minnesota, don't settle for burnt hot dogs over a campfire. Stop by one of these!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Summer endings…

August is a plump lady moving heavily with sweeping grassy garments and fruity necklaces she manages bulging gardens. September offers to take over for her, but like a child, tires and leaving everything untended, runs off to play with the wind.

Life is filled with changes. In the neighborhood, the emu, Matilda (see an earlier post) gently passed away at the age of thirteen.  I miss her, even though we only had a cursory relationship.

I can report a happier ending to the post about the ducklings I quacked to safety. A month after the rescue I happened upon them bedding down on the shore. All nine survived and most often are seen together. I feel a bit of a thrill to know I had a part in their life cycle.

In La Porte, the Arts in the Park season nears completion. I’ve enjoyed reading poetry and listening to the concerts as the changing skies checked their reflections on the lake like a parade of teenage girls in a dressing room.
After three years, people readily recognize me and pull me aside to comment. Perhaps their enjoyment will spill over to “Kernels of Hope: Real People, Real Stories” book sales at the Meet the Local Authors night. Either way, the pleasure has been mine.

A new La Porte County Poet Laureate was named on August 15. I took third place to a long established writer. I’ll hang the plaque proudly with my others. I’m not sure, but I have a sense of closure about the competition.

When I was a child, life felt neatly divided by the seasons, one beginning as another ended, marked by school starting, holidays, and summer vacation. As an adult, life is filled with overlapping endings and beginnings. Among them all, I cling to the One Who Is the Beginning and the End. There I find true contentment and joy. I hope you do too. 

Mary Allen is a life-long Hoosier. Except for being born in Brazil, she's never lived more than twelve miles from where she was raised. Content to enjoy close family relationships and the beauty of the area, she is happy to share these joys with other who take pleasure in the Midwest.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Poem of Lake View Dreams

I Dream of a Serene Lake View
by Lori Lipsky

On bad weather days
In Wisconsin’s capital city
I dream of a serene lake view

Longingly my mind
 Ambles to sites
With a peaceful lake presentation

A picnic bench at Governor Nelson
The pier at Maple Bluff beach
The Lake Monona bike path

Memorial Union Terrace
A canoe in the middle of Lake Wingra
Through branches at the tip of Picnic Point

My friend’s white cottage
With the huge back porch
On the shore of Lake Waubesa



photo credit: Sue Vick Finley

Find more of Lori's poetry: Lori Lipsky||Poetry Patio

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Taxi Mom is currently unavailable...


Our Patty is a little busy today...tune back in next month and see what's new.
In fact, a little bird told me that tomorrow is going to be exciting! Something a lake...

Clipart provided by Classroomclipart

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Modern Pioneer: Transitions Part 3

Modern Pioneer—Transition from City Feller to Country Boy (Part 3)

by Boyd Sutton

You have to remember what got them up there on the mountain in the first place. Horses! Home building took priority until one bathroom, the master bedroom, the girls’ room, and the kitchen were “finished.” (That means livable, not company-ready.) They actually “moved in” (that is, started living there) before that stage. Electricity came from an extension cord to the utility box in the front yard. It powered a refrigerator and one extra light, which was moved around the house as needed. They used the camper’s small port-a-potty as a toilet. And they hauled water in five-gallon containers from a neighbor’s place about a mile away. (Think about trying that today with all the regulations and inspection requirements!)
Once the electricity was hooked up, the well pump provided water, and the plumbing was functional, all inside work stopped.

More clearing for the horse paddock. Then setting wooden fence posts and building the fences using 16-foot 1 ½ x 6 raw-cut oak boards. All of the post-hole digging was done by hand, using a post-hole digger and a digging bar. The soil was extremely rocky, so about one-third of perhaps 200 posts had to be set in concrete—also mixed by hand. Measurements had to be precise because the boards had to be nailed to posts on each end, with enough room for nailing the abutting boards. The posts were only six inches in diameter. That left only three inches for each board on its end posts. A tolerance of three inches every sixteen feet isn’t easy to maintain, especially in rocky ground that slopes up and down more often than remaining flat. They learned more about digging and setting fence posts and nailing boards than they’d ever imagined.

After the fence was complete, they built a 12 x 24 shed. One half was completely enclosable to keep stored hay dry. The other half was open on one side to allow the horses easy access.

The entire process took most of two years. By the end, suburban living had become a fond memory and Boyd—that city feller—had become a country boy, expert in the use of a chainsaw and axe; house-building tools; pulling wire and wiring switches, outlets, and light fixtures; roughing in plumbing; putting in a hardwood floor; living in makeshift housing; setting posts and building fences; and building a rudimentary “barn” for hay storage and horse shelter. From raw land to livable horse farmette.

About the author:
Boyd spent his youth overseas with his family, moving frequently throughout Europe and the Middle East. A graduate of Pennsylvania Military College (now Widener University), the Program for Senior Executives in Government at Harvard University, and the National War College, he retired from the Senior Intelligence Service in 1997. He spent 11 years in the U.S. Army and 26 in the Central Intelligence Agency. He and his wife of 44 years now live on what used to be her family’s farm near Siren where their life is enriched (and controlled) by two horses, two dogs, a cat, acres to mow, fences to maintain, gardens and flower beds to weed, ...


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