Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Busy but Good Weekend

Friday was a trip to Fargo for me. The neurologist wanted to see me for a re-evaluation after the EMG earlier came back that all my nerves, muscles, and tissues were healthy (thank You, God!). Tony was extremely busy getting everything ready for our first Pumpkin Party on Saturday, so my sister-in-law Beth joined me for the day. Beth is married to one of Tony's older brother's, Mark, and they recently moved back to Park Rapids from Spokane. We had such a great day! Talking, getting to know each other better, shopping, going to lunch, just spending time together -- I'm really thankful for the time we got to spend, just the two of us. Beth has a tender heart and a very out-going personality...and I'm glad God has brought yet another friend who is also a sister-in-law into my life!

The neurologist is very hopeful that, since all the different tests I've had are showing up normal, MS is not what is affecting me. He won't completely rule it out, but he tends to think that most of the health problems I've had this summer are caused mainly from stress. Wow, ya think? My life, stressful? Anyway, we're nearing the end of one more busy season and then Tony and I will look at ways to make some practical changes. There are some changes that will be happening some time in the future that will really help...thing is, we don't know when that will be -- six months, six years, shorter, longer. I know for me, at least, once the biggest of these issues is settled, my mind will be more at ease as we settle more completely into our family life.

Thursday night I attended our first small group Bible study. Tony was again working at the market until dusk, but it was great going to the start of our small group. We're not doing a full-fledge Bible study, per se, but we are part of a group going through Dave Ramsey's Financial University study on biblical principles for paying off debt, being good stewards of the blessings God gives, and saving for our future.

Yesterday was our first pumpkin party. It was a beautiful, sunny, warm, autumn day. We had a great turn out, at least better than last year, and yet I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't a better turn out like I had hoped. I had to quickly stop that thinking and thank God for the weather and the crowds that we DID get! Plus, our local newspaper was there taking pictures and getting ready to write a story which will be in Wednesday's paper...that should get us better crowds for next week!

Tony has some really cute new things this year. Many more cut out "photo op" things, a really fun rubber duck race that is run by hand pumps, an even bigger and better maze (with sun flowers scattered among the corn's beautiful!), and more. I didn't take my camera yesterday, but I'll get pictures over the next couple weeks and post them. Our concession stand is really taking off, and the cherry pie slices and fresh brownies sold especially fast. The wagon rides were a big hit, as usual, and everyone loved the pumpkin boats. I don't know if it was the early mornings, jam-packed days, or what, but I did end up leaving early with a headache and put in a video for the kids while I took a short nap at home. We all ended up going to bed and falling asleep before 9:00 last night!

Today was a continuation of a great series our pastor is giving on being part of the church -- unity, not uniformity. Learning to serve others with the gifts God has given us. I'm thankful for the great leadership in our local church that is concerned with individual spiritual growth in each of it's members/attendees and encourages us to use the gifts God has given us, even if we don't feel we are equipped or feel someone else can do a "better" job.

Thus another week begins. It should be quieter this week...I have a Watkins party tomorrow night and have to deliver some Watkins items in the morning along with grocery shopping. I hope to can some beets and more tomatoes, do "school work" and Cubbie work with the kids, and do some baking for next week's pumpkin parties. Maybe make some yummy apple desserts for our family with the apples I brought back last week (that we are still rapidly selling). Oh, and two of my father-in-law's sisters will be here this week along with his cousins to celebrate his 85th birthday a few days early! Luke was fascinated to know that Grandpa had sisters and cannot wait to meet them!

And, I don't think I mentioned this earlier, but I am VERY thankful to have two more new Greenstar customers! The first orchard we went to, Aamodt's, has a wonderfully big and beautiful store...and they put in a very nice first order, and a garden center in South Dakota that stopped by my booth earlier this year in St. Cloud also sent in an order! God is so good...three new customers along with an extra order from an existing customer, all in a two-week time period. We continue to save for home/farm improvements and a nice family vacation (if we ever find the time to take one!).

What are your plans for the upcoming week?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Just like his dad?

As much as Luke loves being Daddy's helper and going everywhere with him, I'm glad to know that he misses me during that time. He informed me today that he plans to stay with me forever and ever, even after he's grown up. I'm not banking on that one -- and I'm even hoping and praying that's not the case. Not in a negative way, but in that raising him, he has the confidence to go into the world as his own person, knowing God loves him and will guide his steps, if Luke seeks his guidance.

ANYWAY! As we are spending a day at home, "decompressing" from the busy-ness of the past few weeks (and before the busy-ness of the weekend), the kids and I spent some "school time" and "Cubbie time" before playing some logic games (which they think is just plain fun, not realizing how much it's building up their brains, haha!) then giggling over Bambi. Out of all the kid movies we've watched, Bambi has to be my favorite...not necessarily the story line or the cute characters, but because Luke and Susanna giggle almost the entire time watching Bambi's and his friends' antics. That in turn makes me laugh. Today, however, it finally sunk in to Susanna about Bambi's mom. As they were racing from the meadow to the thicket (Mama, what is a thicket?) and the shot rang out, Susanna came over to me with concern all over her face, "Mama, did Bambi's Mama get shooted?" "Yes, Susi, she did." "Oh. Okay. By a huntay?" "Yes, Susanna, by a hunter." (although when I told Tony about our conversation he said to make sure they know it was a POACHER not a HUNTER...hunting season isn't in the spring with the new grass peeping through the snow...). "Oh, okay, Mama." "Hey, maybe it was Uncle Tim that shot Bambi's mama!" (yeah, above all, I'm still a sister to a no-longer-pesky little brother) To which Luke came back with, "No, it was ME! I'M a great hunter! I got that deer!"

Yep, you can tell we live in hunting country.....

Another Girls' Day Out?

So as I was taking 25 bushels of apples to the market yesterday afternoon with a familiar little passenger in the back seat (while Luke was again helping Daddy), I turned around with a smile and said, "Susi, it's another girls' day out! Just you and Mama!" Sadly, she replied, "yes, I guess so."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Girls Day Out

Well, yesterday morning, Mama, Susanna, and I loaded up in the van and headed to south of the Cities to get more orchard apples. Susi did warn her brother before we left (finger wagging at him), "Luke, you make sure you are a good boy for Daddy with good behavior, and you be a good helper boy!" "Okay, Susanna, I will. I am going to miss you." "I'll miss you, too, Luke." Big hugs and kisses, the almost-knock-you-over type. I'm so glad my kids love each other!

Susanna travels quite well by herself (well, without her brother along to pick on her, as brothers do!), and kept herself entertained by talking to herself, talking to the straw she was drinking from, talking to us, singing, and just enjoying the view from the window! Every once in awhile she'd break into giggles saying "it's just the girls!"

We were also on a mission to find more material for an animal costume Tony is trying to get finished before the first Pumpkin Party. Good grief, who KNEW there were so many different kinds of faux fur? We never did find an exact match, although I spent most of the time during our lunch calling all the JoAnn Fabric stores (where we originally got the fur) in the central/southern Minnesota area. My mother-in-law told me after all the trouble we went to, I could "bop" Tony in the face if he wasn't happy with it! I did warn him about what she said, so he didn't say anything (even though I could tell he really wished we COULD find an exact match!). Hey, he told me to get what I found even though I warned him ahead of time.....

Susanna made a bee-line to her favorite places at the orchards we revisted, only to find the "fun" things weren't opened on Tuesdays. She still enjoyed showing Grandma the animals! I also made more cold calls for Greenstar and stopped in at a current customer -- I do believe I've gotten another new customer for Greenstar (a wonderful meat market half way down to the Cities) and picked up a new order from the current customer, yippee!

We had a long day. We had a productive day (bringing back fur, 25 bushels of apples -- how long will they last this time?? -- two more cases of cider, and a case of fresh-ground peanut butter). We had a fun day. We had a wonderful day of just talking and visiting about all kinds of different things. I learned new things about my mother-in-law (like the fishing trip she took with Tony when he was a kid, just the two of them -- how cool is that?). We had safe travel, thank You, God! And it was "just the girls"!

Meanwhile, the "boys" worked at the market almost the entire day getting ready for Saturday. Luke informed me all he did was play and eat chips (thanks, Miss Diana!) -- and was once again worn out from everything during the day. How in the WORLD am I going to wear this boy out each day once our notorious winters come and I'm trapped inside with him all day in sub zero temperatures????

One of the highlights of the day was calling Daddy on the way home. I handed the phone to Susanna, and when she heard his voice, she started kissing the phone all over. As I reminded her to hold the phone to her ear and talk to him, she responded, "oh!" Then, Luke got on the phone and the jabbered at each other what each had done so far that day. He was fast asleep by the time we got home (and didn't even realize we were here and "stomped upstairs to bed" as he told me this morning!), but Susanna sure was happy to see her Daddy wake her up and carry her inside when we got home!

Today, I'm unloading apples at the market, canning tomatoes, bonding with my kids, reviewing Cubbie lessons, and taking the kids to AWANA then grocery shop for pumpkin party concessions while Tony continues working on the pumpkin parties. Hopefully, I'll also have time to make two batches of pumpkin cookies for the party on Saturday.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

oh, and did I mention....

that there have been reported sitings in town (1/4 mile from the market) of a MOUNTAIN LION/COUGAR???? We know one of the men who claimed to have seen it, and he's a reputable guy....

Anyone wanna come visit????

Update on what's going on

I got an email from my sister-in-law Rita today telling me how she caught up with things via my blog -- it's so great being able to keep in touch with loved ones from the Philipines, Indonesia, Paraguay, Canada, all over the United States, and who knows where else with just a quick (yeah, okay, long) blog entry! I love the emails, comments, etc. Keep 'em coming!

This weekend it dawned on me that I'm getting OLD! Okay, I've had creaks and aches for awhile, but my parents celebrated their birthdays yesterday (Mom) and today (Daddy). And I MOM is closer to 70 than she is to 65! And Dad is closing in on the big 7-0, too. Wow! (Sorry, Mom, I don't mean that in a bad way, it's probably just as hard to realize you have a daughter who is 41!) Is it me, or do people just turn like ten years older when you blink? I mean, kids I used to babysit have children. Babies I held in my arms are DRIVING. Kids who I used to have to bend down to talk to now have to bend down to talk to me! Anyway, happy birthday, Mom and Daddy!

Health-wise I'm doing much better these past few days. I did really well for about a month then started having problems again with my stomach, chills, shaking, fatigue, weakness, etc. My right foot was also very painful to the point where I could barely walk. I finally called my doctor after dealing with these daily for almost three weeks and she asked me to come in right away. Blood pressure still pretty low, severe plantar's faciitis (or however it's spelled) -- doctor's orders to wear shoes in the house, a definite no-no in this one! (hey, I'm married to a farmer with a hubby and kids and visitors coming in all the time after being in the fields and cow barn, need I say more about what may or may not be trekked into our house???) So I wore my sneakers that day then went and got a pair of Crocs the next day -- and got a pair for Tony, too. My feet are already feeling MUCH better! She also gave me a prescription for my stomach problems with strict instructions to call next week if there was no improvement so she could order an ultra-sound to check my gallbladder. I'm very happy to report that there was a big improvement the first day I took the medication, and I'm back to feeling 100% now, praise God! I still have to go in one morning for more blood work....I'm so tired of this all....but at least I have energy again, and was quite surprised and thankful when I told Tony last night (after the TOH show) that my LEGS hurt from standing all day, and not my feet!

Remember the 14 bushel of apples we got last weekend? Last fall, we sold maybe a total of 7 bushels of apples throughout September and October. I thought 14 bushel would last at least thru mid-October, or at least until the end of the month when I hope to go back down to the Cities for Honeycrisp as well as restocking other apples. Good grief. We have less than a bushel left! By Friday afternoon, we had sold about 12 bushels of apples with people requesting even more of the common ones (McIntosh, Haralson, Cortland) and some that aren't being picked yet (Honeycrisp, Gala, Fireside). I'm heading south again on Tuesday.....

We are getting ready for our pumpkin parties. The first one is this coming Saturday, then we'll add Friday afternoons in October. Tony has added duck races this year, too. So this week will be packed with him busy at the market getting the maze and everything ready while I bustle around with the admin side of things -- wristbands, give-away candy, buying food and making treats for the concessions, getting out the pumpkin party paraphenilia, and wondering if everything will be done in time...while getting in that trip to the Cities all day Tuesday and a trip to Fargo on Friday! Thankfully, though, things do slow down work-wise once the first pumpkin party is done!

The Taste of Home cooking show! I've had questions on how it went! It was busy; we had a GREAT location for our booth, about five slots from the entrance. Good set up, good products from the Market and from Watkins, you name it. Two years ago when the show was here before, they told us over 2300 people came through. I had three helpers scheduled along with me and hoped we'd be prepared. Well. The show didn't sell out. They even had more than 100 extra bags AFTER cutting the bags down from 850 to 800. Everyone in town saw the big advertisement in our paper for the show....two days earlier in Alexandria (an hour or so away), but only one person remembered seeing an ad for the Park Rapids show. Even today at church three ladies I spoke with didn't even realize there was a show yesterday...and would've been there if they knew! We did have brisk business off and on throughout the morning, but not as good as I was expecting. However, from what others said who have been there before, they had great long-term results from exposure at the show. So...that's what I'm hoping for! Maybe the calls and orders will start pouring in for Watkins...and the market will be innundated with customers from now until October 31! They did give each of the vendors one of the give-away bags, and there were some GREAT give-aways! Best thing, though, is that we found more participants for our home-based business show on December 6 (more about that in another blog) and I was asked to participate in a huge pre-Thanksgiving bazaar at a local church here in town! So...we'll see where that leads!

Luke and Susanna have decided they are coyotes and go around the house howling all the time. Either that or wild ponies. Or farm dogs. Or sheep. They do give us clues by the sounds they make.

For now, I'm heading off-line. Got a few more things to do before bed time as well as figuring out when I'm going to do what this week! I think, God willing, everything is under control...but you can keep us in your prayers!

And big congrats to my cousin's son, Brandon, who was baptised today! God is good. ALL the time!

Friday, September 19, 2008


It has been almost a year now since receiving that phone call..."Lin, I wanted to let you know that Grandpa died in his sleep last night..." or something along those lines. I felt joy for Grandpa -- his reason for living left three months earlier when Grandma went to be with Jesus and it was just as if getting through each day was a chore. Knowing it appeared that he went peacefully was reassuring.

What I remember most about Grandpa was always his one word answer to "how are you?" "Thankful." After Grandma passed away, I don't remember hearing him ever say that again. He would give a deep sigh and reply, "I miss her." Even through the last years with Grandma battling Alzheimers and other age-deteriorating things, with her often not recognizing him, Grandpa was always there for her.

Grandpa could be, I suppose, what some would call "crochety." You never wondered what he thought about something because he didn't hesitate to speak his mind. He was open, he was honest, sometimes painfully so, and if he didn't like something, he'd let you know. There were many people he did not agree with, but to my knowledge, he never let disagreements affect relationships. He was firm in his beliefs, strong and reliant, dependable, and he had a passion for missions and traveling.

Grandpa was a pastor and elder of the Apostolic Christian Church forever, it seems, and helped build many a church, spiritually, financially, and physically. He loved to garden, and I think when I married a hard-working farmer that helped forge an even deeper bond between us. He loved to call and talk to Tony, asking questions, giving advice, and if Tony wasn't available, he'd ask me to pass the questions and advice on to him.

I learned even more about my Grandpa through writings of my aunt's after he passed away. My heart went out to the little boy who lost his mother at age five. That might account for how it wasn't easy for him to vocalize his feelings to us, but you could tell through his actions and the smile on his face (and in his voice on the phone) how much he truly loved each of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren...although his love for Grandma was even deeper...and his love of God even more so. He was proud of each of us and lived for and loved our telephone calls and visits. I remember one conversation with him where he must have told me ten times in fifteen minutes about Richard calling him all the way from Switzerland! Not because he didn't remember telling me but because it meant so much to him. And it was like that with each one of us who called or stopped by or wrote a letter. He so often bragged about his grandchildren to others.

You take so much for granted when someone is still alive. I wrote before how I had planned to call him the night before he passed away. But...time got away from me, I had to get kids to bed, I forgot...then it was too late that night...and then it was just too late. I regret not calling the moment I thought about it...but I wouldn't have wanted him to stay here for one moment longer just so I could call. After all, he was finally united and reunited with the two things that gave him the most joy -- Grandma and God.

There aren't many men left like my Grandpa. My friend Jane's husband recently passed away, and he reminded me so much of Grandpa. My father-in-law also is very much like Grandpa, as is my husband. Hard-working, God-fearing, honest, strong, honorable, respectable, and respected...and very deeply loved.

If you would like to read more about what others shared about him, you can follow this link to the obituary guest-book online until September 24. It is a delight reading through the memories others have of Grandpa.

April 2007

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


At Afton Apple with their wonderful raspberries and really fun play ground.
MN Harvest with their petting zoo...miniature and baby animals, including baby goats still with their umbilical cords (one is sucking Susi's finger, and I wish I'd gotten a pic of the one who decided to hide and lay down between Tony's legs!)
This was an unscheduled stop to see pumpkins, giant chickens, and promote Greenstar!
At Emma Krumbee's (my first official new account, they ordered today, yippee!) -- lots of baby goats, scarecrow festival, and fun!

As you can see, we had loads of fun and excitement, and these shots are from just a few of the places we stopped....

Monday, September 15, 2008

Home Sweet Home!

Ah! These are almost the three best words in the English language! Don't get me wrong, we had such a GREAT time this weekend...we went to three apple orchards Sunday and another three today along with a couple unplanned stops (other apple markets that I thought would be good prospects for Greenstar products) as well as a really fun hotel to stay at -- and we had a blast at each place! (I'll post pictures starting tomorrow....) But any of you who are moms probably understand when I say that with little kids, it's a relief to get home, too. The kids were horrid the last 30 minutes (is that the norm?), although the last place we stopped, Susanna ended up crying hysterically without explaining why. She finally told me she would be happy when she was home in her own bed and could get dog kisses from Rudy!

We started out Sunday at Aamodt's orchard -- a fun place with some low keyed activities -- a "kiddie tractor" area that Luke loved, pony rides that Susanna enjoyed, and some enthusiastic responses to Greenstar products that I loved! In fact, when I was looking around for someone to talk with, I approached the first adult employees I saw, mentioning my name and that we had a farm market up in Park Rapids. Whoa! The enthusiastic response I got was QUITE unexpected! "Park Rapids? A farm market? New products? We want to hear ALL about it! We REALLY do!" I was thinking, okay, either they train the employees to be very welcoming to everyone, or else these folks are a bit loony! Neither, it turns out. Rob was born in Park Rapids and grew up here! After spending about an hour or so, we hit the road to our next stop...

Afton Apple had a great layout; about a 20 minute wagon ride which dropped folks off at different locations for apple picking along with a stop at a really fun playground before looping to the main store. The tractor driver must've enjoyed our kids, because he'd speed up and slow down, grinning when Luke and Susi would giggle non-stop. He even did a wagon-ride version of a 360. Don't ask any more! They were also in the midst of u-pick raspberry season. I've never seen so many raspberries in my life! Ripe for the picking, you could stand in one spot and literally get half a pint within a few minutes. I think Luke and Susi (okay, Tony and me, too!) probably each ate a full pint while picking another five. We have less than two left.... And yep, they were interested in Greenstar, too! We also picked up our first apples there, yummy! MacIntosh and Red Baron's.

Then it was on to McDougal's Apple Junction, about five miles away. By then it was drizzling, much to our disappointment. See, McDougal's has a GREAT kiddie area, a mini maze for the kids, another "tractor trike" park (even better than Aamodt's), lots of animals to pet and feed, cut-out cows to "milk," and more. And while the kids enjoyed their time (and Tony enjoyed his even more out in the corn maze!), we were all soaked enough where the kids had to be completely changed before heading on our way. We picked up some WONDERFUL Zestar apples, first time I had them and WOW are they good! We also got lots of fresh cider which will sell quite fast! Gary and Alice are a lovely older couple who sent us off with a bag of hot fresh mini apple donuts, much to everyone's delight! They plan on retiring within a year....and our next stop was....

AmericInn in Shakopee -- and it had a couple great water slides in the swimming pool area. Tony enjoyed going down the 108 foot slide several times with and without the kids. The pool was much too cold for me to dare going down (I really wanted to, but I was border line shaky and didn't want to risk having another "spell," bummer!). They also loved climbing up the back of the frog and sliding down his tongue into the kiddie pool. We all crashed pretty quick for the night and got in a good 10 hours (Tony and me) and 11 hours (the kids) sleep. Yeah, it was good! The kids went swimming again in the morning, charming the manager on site into opening the slides again (which are usually closed week days). They decided they wanted to stay there forever...but were all for heading to the next pumpkin party at....

MN Harvest -- they had such a great layout and I was so impressed by what we saw! Horse and pony rides (unfortunately, only on the weekend), about two dozen mini and baby animals where you could go in and pet/feed them. BIG hit with the kids! A big maze, wagon rides, all kinds of stuff! And yes, they were very interested in Greenstar, yippee! We also picked up more apples -- Haralsons, 1606 (a newer apple not yet named...they "create" many new apples), and my favorite by far -- Creamy Delicious. It's a cream colored apple with some shots of red in the skin, delightfully sweet and crisp, and it actually does taste a bit creamy! I wanted to get extras, but they only had one bushel left...everything else (sob!) was sold out, and it was the end of the season for them. We then took another very short trip to....

Emma Krumbee's. I think this was by far the favorite place of all of us. Their store was wonderful and had such a variety of items! Yep, VERY interested in Greenstar, yeah! But they had a great corn maze, a scarecrow contest (folks make and enter scarecrows all season long -- we saw "Kermit the Frog," "Bob and Larry," about 7 "Batman," and three "Michael Phelps" along with many other clever entries. They had another tike tractor park, a mountain with a slide coming down, goats and donkeys and ponies to feed, a huge straw mountain, wooden trucks and trains, you name it! After picking up 6 cases of frozen "take and bake" pies, hungry and tired, we climbed into the van in search of an inexpensive place to get lunch then were off to....

Apple Junction (with both kids getting in naps during the hour trip) -- many of the attractions were closed during the week, but we got to again see goats, chickens, and more, take a wagon ride, and pick up apples! I somehow managed to get the last two bushel of Cortland in the van the console Susanna, assuring her she would soon get doggie kisses, then we packed up and headed back home.

The kids lasted about 2 minutes before falling asleep in their beds. We're getting ready to head there ourselves, and we genuinely enjoyed our weekend. Tony took tons of pics...I'm gonna post some tomorrow.

If you live nearby, stop in for some apples at the market! It was well worth the trip!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

And we're off!

Each year, we try to get away for a long weekend (usually starting Saturday night or Sunday morning...such is the life of farming with a farm market!) after the extreme busyness of summer is done but before the rush of pumpkin parties start. Sometimes we are successful (like when we went to Duluth...twice! and a cabin at some friends' resort), other times, we aren't (like last year).

This year, we started planning a trip down to the Cities to visit some apple orchards -- pick up some Minnesota orchards, check out some other "pumpkin festival" activities, and do some Greenstar business (me). We leave in just over an hour! And up until we woke up this morning, our trip was questionable...

After feeling quite wonderfully healthy for almost a month, I had a horrible spell on Friday evening. Don't even know what triggered it, just know I had all the problems of my first bad attack back at the end of June. I was in bed by 6:00, shaking, feeling miserable, wondering what is happening and why (and praying the same thing!). Saturday, I had to work at the market all day, but thankfully we had great help, so I was able to really take it easy and even leave early. As much as we've been looking forward to this trip, I kept wondering if I was going to be up to it.

To top off that, we've been watching the weather forecast. Sunday night's forecast has been going back and forth between 40s and mid to low 30s -- frost danger! That would mean Tony would be up watering crops, making sure things don't freeze...and we wouldn't be able to go.

As of last night (Saturday), after a lovely evening at Paul and Lori's (where I spent pretty much the entire time in their spare room sleeping and didn't feel in the least like partaking in the wonderful roast pork supper finished with homemade apple pie all cooked by Lori, one of the most wonderful cooks in the world!), the forecast was still mid-to-low 30s, and I was still feeling shaky (although, thankfully I finally wasn't shaking!). Tony and I were in bed shortly after 10 and definitely praying about whether we were really to get away this weekend or not. We'd not be able to get away again probably until at least Thanksgiving since I have the Taste of Home cooking show next weekend then pumpkin parties start then hunting season starts...

Well, we woke up this morning -- I feel GREAT! Refreshed, energized, amazed and thankful that I'm feeling better. The weather forecast for tonight is now lower 40s -- thank You, God!

So...I'm gonna finish this blog, hop in the shower, finish the last minute packing, wake and dress the kids (all while Tony is checking the van, getting it packed, and reviewing last-minute farm stuff) -- and we're off! Three fun-filled orchards today (Aamodts, Afton Apple, and McDougals -- with a 35 foot wooden train...someone in this house is REALLY excited about that!), staying at a hotel with a great water park (including a kiddie-slide into a toddler pool!), then three more fun-filled orchards tomorrow (MN Harvest, Emma Krumbee's, and Apple Jack's) before heading home with a van full of apples and hopefully several more clients for Greenstar!

For those of you who have been praying for my health and knew especially about this last bout, thank you. For those who have been faithfully praying even without knowing, thank you!

And...we're off!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Okay, I don't know how many of you watch TV any more, there isn't often much good on now a days. However, Tony and I have found another show we absolutely LOVE! We just laugh our heads off (well, not literally) when we remember to tune in to ABC on Tuesday nights. Wipeout! is a show that ABC started during the summer and it turned out to be a big hit. It is great for laughs, although we both think someone has to be an idiot to actually go on the show (although they've had a few Olympians, a Miss Olympia, and world champions in different events...usually making a laughing stock of themselves).

It's hard to explain Wipeout! other than it involves lots of mud and lather, a battering wall, big bouncing balls, several obstacle courses, the final wipeout course, and a lot of contestants who think they have a much better chance at success than they actually do. There are folks who are actually quite good at getting through the obstacles, but for the most part, ya just gotta laugh at them and the situations they get in! Even Luke and Susanna laugh hysterically at the antics!

Other than a few adult innuendos that pretty much fly over the heads of young viewers (well, maybe not older teens), this is a pretty family friendly show -- there is some inappropriate language occasionally (usually when someone ends up in the mud or punched in the face by the battering wall)...but it's bleeped out.

So, if you aren't doing anything Tuesday evening and are ready for a good laugh, tune in to ABC during the first hour of prime time (for us, it's 7:00; for most of you, it's probably 8:00). Let me know what you think....or if you've already watched it!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Keepin' Busy

Here are some shots of what I've been doing this summer and last (still gotta do this year's spaghetti sauce, tomato juice, and soups) -- wanna come over for supper?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Labor Day

Well, on Labor Day we took our annual canoe trip down the very crooked Straight River to Grandma LaMae's house where a very delicious spread was waiting all the canoeists! I'm not sure how many groups canoed down this year, but there were five canoes in our group and several groups left earlier than us! This is my fourth time in six years -- and it's always a blast! The kids had fun, as usual, although part way down Luke informed us he did NOT like canoeing...until he found out the alternative was getting out into the river for the rest of the trip. He quickly decided he really DID like to canoe! Our nephew Steven joined us in the canoe this year, and his dad Mark (Tony's brother) let us use his canoe while they took our leaky old one. Thanks, Mark!

We saw many great sights, as usual, but didn't see the bald eagle that graced us with its presence last year. The cat tails were plentiful, as were the wild rice patches. Lots of beautiful wild flowers and high bush cranberries. We even caught a glimpse of the elusive "Wild Man of Straight River" which some attributed to folk lore...but I caught him on camera, proving he DOES exist! Hm....maybe I'll catch Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny on camera, too, perhaps even the tooth fairy!

The kids decided afterward to "canoe" home, too!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Calling John McCain!

We had my in-laws over for supper tonight, and Mama, who usually likes to sit and visit, was in quite a rush to get home in order to see John McCain speak at the convention tonight (on TV... we're too far from the Cities and didn't have tickets anyway). Mind you, she had an hour and a half before he was scheduled to be on the air, but she was excited to see John McCain.

Well, her enthusiasm spilled over to her grandson who continued to discuss John McCain until bed time. Luke also picked up a toy phone so he could "call" John McCain. "Hello? John McCain? Are you there? Grandma wants to see you. You coming over here?"

Yep, Republican to the core!

Luke, one month, at his first Republican Caucus

Carter Get Together

A week or so back, we had a get-together at the farm before Carla and the girls went back to Canada. It was great, being with so much of Tony's family (really, it was!), but we did miss Al, Clinton, Paul and his family, and Rita and her family. Here are some shots of those that were there...I got MOST everyone before the camera died (didn't get Beth, Steven, Hazel, Julia, or me)!
In the next day or so, I'll post some pics from our trip down Straight River as well as some pics from the Guatemalan Feed put on by Dwight, Juan, and Jose! YUMMY great food!
Susanna and Maggie Kay Carter
Elisabeth, friend, Olivia, and Katherine Kehler
Mama, Dwight, Dad, and Carla
Samuel Carter

Luke Carter

Maggie Kay Carter

Tessa Carter

Juan and Jose, Mark and Tony Carter