Friday, February 28, 2020

Poetry Friday, The Humble Candlestick

Candle burning bright

Happy first Friday of Lent.  I chose this poem from 2015 to share today. I hope you like it. Also, if you have a lenten practice, you might want to check out yesterday's post, which offers a prayer from the Celtic tradition.

Behold the humble candlestick
It bravely offers up its wick
To host the fire’s hungry lick

Then waning, shines on through the night
The victim of a dancing sprite
Aglow with endless appetite

As one they dance and ebb toward dawn
Til a sputtering, guttering, bottomless yawn
Proves sprite and candle both are gone

What morrow for the candlestick
That quietly offers up its wick?
Yet it shines a light! That’s no mean trick.

- Karen Eastlund

Image result for image candle burning

It's Poetry Friday, gathering today at Karen Edmisten's blog. You can find it here.  Karen has a poem about February's extra day. You won't want to miss it!

Keep your lamps trimmed and burning...

Thursday, February 27, 2020

In the Celtic Tradition

Yesterday began the ecclesiastical season of Lent, a Christian time of self-examination and prayer. This year I will focus my meditations on the Celtic Daily Prayer Book, which offers prayers and readings from the Northumbria Community. There are many beautiful prayers and poems in this collection, and I will share a few here in hope that you will find peace and beauty in them also.

Image by hbieser from Pixabay

I am not sure of the author of this prayer/poem. It may have been St. Patrick, or it may have been another of the celtic saints. In any case, I commend these beautiful words to you.

I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven
the glorious sun's life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea,
around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need,
the wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Blessings all...

Friday, February 21, 2020

European Hornets and Poet Intro

Welcome to Poetry Friday.  You can find the whole kidlit poetry gang today at Cheriee Weichel's blog, which introduces a wonderful Canadian poet. Find her here.

I felt the need to do a follow-up on the hornets' nest that blew down out of a tree and into my backyard a few weeks ago. One person asked what happened to the hornets. That set me to discovery. I learned that the type of nest I found is made by European hornets, and the only hornet to survive over the winter is the new queen, who goes underground. The rest of the hornets die with the cold weather. It was a relief to know I had nothing to fear from the nest that had blown into my yard, but I admit some mixed feelings about the hornets.

I started looking for a hornet poem, and found one by an Irish poet who went by the name of Padraic Colum (1881-1972). I had not heard of him previously, but he was quite well known and prolific, and so I decided to introduce him. You can read more about his life here.

I rather like his poem about the hornet's nest, but I must confess I still puzzle over the third couplet. I think I get the gist of it, but ... maybe you can help me? At the very least, I hope you will enjoy his imagery.

How strangely like a churchyard skull
The thing that’s there amongst the leaves!

A Hornets’ nest; but stir the branch
And they’ll be round your head and ears!

So wary ana so weaponed,
How do they not possess the wold?

Their lives a watch, their act a doom,
Of their own terrors they must die!

Livid, uneyed, articulate,
How like a skull their nest they make!

Padraic Colum

Image result for hornet's nest images
That's it for me this week. I hope you enjoyed this poem and poet, and I hope you might take a look at my new posting of Grandma Pierce's diary for July 1928. Her life on a farm in Iowa comes to life in her diary, and...I've included a classic picture of her with my aunt and my mother.  Click on the link under archive.


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Grandma's Diary July 1928

Thanks to my cousin Jacquelyn for this fabulous picture of my grandma, Grace Pierce, in the middle, with Jacquelyn's grandma (my aunt), Anita, on the left and my mother, Doris, on the right.

July 1 – Sunday
Very warm day. Emil & Raymond went fishing and then went to Cresco. They got back about 5 o’clock. Elmer went up to Lennie Asks & got home about 7. Luella & kids were here a little while in forenoon. Marilyn and I rode over to Raymond’s when Emil & Doris took Raymond home.

July 2 – Monday
A terrible rain early in the morning & hailed some. Doris washed in forenoon & I washed baby’s things in afternoon. Elmer went to sale at Willard Barth’s, LuVerne was here to dinner & in afternoon and until 4:30. Elmer got home about 6. It rained hard between six and seven.

July 3 – Tuesday
Very hot day, I sweat a tub full. We washed and got through about 10:30. Anita picked peas and I made custard for dinner. Doris cut Margarette’s hair. After noon Doris, kids, Luella, Roger & I went to Decorah and almost cooked down there. We went down to see Lillie. Emil & Raymond took a phonograph to Cresco but brought it back. Elmer & Charlie went to B O in eve.

July 4 – Wed.
Very rainy until noon. We had intended to go to Chimney Rock to a picnic but couldn’t on account of rain. Doris, Emil & kids went to Spring Grove. Elmer went to Burr Oak. We ironed all forenoon and mowed lawn in afternoon. We went over to Luella’s and got ice and made ice cream and Guy, Edna, Victor & Howard were here in eve. LuVerne stayed here all night.

July 5 – Thurs.
Lovely day, we washed a few things, & Anita cleaned the house. Luella came over after a mess of peas. Jim & Erlamae stopped to see the baby. Mr. & Mrs. Price were here after supper and after they went we went over to Luella’s a little while. Ella Hoverson & family were to Luella’s today to see the place. They lived there when she was a young girl.

July 6 – Friday
A very warm day. I picked the last mess of strawberries. In afternoon Anita & Luella went to Myrtle Manning’s to Club meeting. Doris, Emil & kids came just after we had supper. We drove over to Raymond’s a little while.

July 7 – Sat.
Another hot day. Doris took Emil over to Raymond’s to help until noon & Raymond took Emil’s car & went to Prosper & Anita & I were ready to go to Decorah so Luella took Hughie’s car & brought Doris over, we got back at 10:30. In afternoon Doris & Emil went to Preston after the phonograph he took there. Glen, Lillie & Florence were here toward night. LuVerne stayed here all night. Elmer went to Prosper & Burr Oak.

July 8 - Sun.
Nice in the morning & we hurried around & got lunch ready & was going to Decorah to the park & it started to rain so we didn’t go. It rained about all afternoon & there was hard thunder & lightning. 

July 9 – Mon.
Bright & nice & much cooler. We did our washing & Doris did hers. Emil, Margarette & Elmer went to Prosper at noon to get Emil’s coats that they sent up from Spring Grove. We got things ready for a picnic supper at the park in Decorah & went from here about 6 & had a very nice supper & enjoyed it very much. Just Raymonds & Elmer & Emil, Doris & kids & myself were there. We took two creamed chickens, scalloped potatoes & potato salad, pineapple salad, cookies & sandwiches & olives & made lemonade. Raymonds stayed to movies but we got home at 10:15.

July 10 – Tues.
Very warm day. Anita cleaned up the rooms & Doris & I ironed. Emil was plowing corn for Raymond & he came after Doris & kids at noon so she could make Luella’s dress. Anita, Marilyn & I went to Allie Ward’s & to Burr Oak in afternoon. In eve Doris, Emil, kids and myself went to Burr Oak for a ride. Charley came after supper and he & Elmer went to Burr Oak.

July 11 – Wed.
Warm today but not as bad as yesterday. Doris, Emil & Marion were over to Luella’s all day. Doris was making a dress for Luella for every day. They came home about 7 & I went with them to Spring Grove. Margarette had a good time up there, running around in the restaurant.

July 12 – Thurs.
Nice in morning but just poured right after dinner. Emil went over to Raymond’s to help but Doris & kids stayed here. Anita went to B O & brought her dress home. Raymonds went to Decorah & Emil & LuVerne came here to dinner after we were through. It just poured so they couldn’t work in afternoon.

July 13 – Fri.
Clear most of day, but muddy in forenoon. Emil went with Raymond on cream route & they went to Spring Grove in afternoon & Raymond bought a tractor. Luella & Anita went to Canton & had their hair cut. The kids stayed here. Elsie & Merle were here in evening & after they went Elmer & Anita went to the dance at Burr Oak. Marilyn stayed with me & never woke up until they got home a little after 12.

July 14 – Sat.
Very warm day. Doris did her washing in forenoon. Emil helped over to Raymond’s again, he brought the car over at noon & Doris & kids & I went up to Guy’s & over to Stevie’s & after we got home Emil, Doris & kids went to Spring Grove & stayed. Anita & I went up to Jim’s in eve & Elmer went to Burr Oak.

July 15 – Sun.
Another warm day. Anita, baby & I went to church with Jim & Eda. In afternoon we went over to Luella’s. Claude Mitson was here a few minutes in morning but Elmer was over to Miley’s. We went to bed early for we were tired out.

July 16 – Mon. – Very hot
Very nice day and we did a whopper of a washing. Doris, Emil & kids came about ten. At noon we took Emil over to Raymond’s & he got his car & took a phonograph to Cresco but didn’t sell it. He got home about dark. We took Luella over home & then went for a little ride. In eve Doris had to take the car over so Raymonds could go to Burr Oak, so she & Emil didn’t get home until 9:30.

July 17 – Tues.
Another scorcher. Doris took Emil over to Raymond in morning & he took the phonographs to LaCrosse & got back about 5. We ironed until about 3 and then went down to Violet’s in the Ford. Charley McCarty came this forenoon. Doris, kids & I went after Emil & got home just before it started to rain. They intended to start home tomorrow morning but changed their mind & won’t go until Fri. and Mrs. Evenson will go with them.

July 18 – Wed.
Cloudy about half the day & so warm. Emil went with Raymond on part of the route & came home about 11. He & Raymond intended to go to LaCrosse to a Fiddler’s contest this eve, but changed their mind. Doris, Emil & kids went to Spring Grove about 7 & it rained so hard they stayed all night. Raymonds went to Decorah. It was a very hard rain about 9 o’clock.

July 19 – Thurs.
Sun shone until about noon. Emil, Doris & kids got here about 10. Little Margarette fell down stairs in afternoon but didn’t hurt her very much. It rained hard again about 3. We all went over to Luella’s to supper. I picked & dressed a chicken to cook for their lunch tomorrow. We got home from Luella’s a little after nine. 

July 20 – Fri.
Very dark & a little misty early but cleared up & was very hot. They started from here for Isle about 6:30 & I hated to say good by to the little tots. Victor Masters is sick & they are afraid it is typhoid fever, but was better in afternoon. Anita & Luella went to Club at Francis Miller’s. In eve Myrtle Manning & Belva stayed here while the men went to Burr Oak.

July 21 – Sat.
Foggy in morning & rained some in forenoon. Elmer had the lambs hauled to Prosper & got $45.50 after some things were paid for. It just poured in afternoon. Elmer went to Burr Oak and again in eve. LuVerne stayed here while his folks went to a dance at Maltens.

July 22 – Sun.
Very nice day. We fixed picnic dinner & ate over to Raymonds & then Anita & I went to Decorah to the movie “The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come.” It was very good. The Burr Oak boys played ball against the Cresco boys & the losers had to pay for a gallon of ice cream. We got back in time to get some of it.

July 23 – Mon.
Another lovely day & we had such a washing. Elmer cut grain for Louie all day. Anita took me over to Luella’s at noon & I went to Decorah with Luella & she came back to Knokes & got raspberries. I rode home with Raymond when he went up to Jim’s. 
No letter today from Doris & I was disappointed. 
Elmer went to B O in eve & got raspberries from Gladys Albertson but they were half moldy.

July 24 – Tues.
Another very warm day. We attended to berries the first thing and it was an awful mess. We did a big ironing. Charlie McCarty was here. Elmer started to cut oats but they were too green, so he went to B O & got 4 qt. of raspberries from Myra Smith. Allie Ward fell & got hurt quite badly on a tree stump. They took her to Decorah & had Dr. Svebakken patch her up.

July 25 – Wed.
Very warm day. I picked peas & cucumbers early in the forenoon. After dinner Anita & Luella went down to Clarence Knoke’s and got raspberries & Anita bought a crate of cherries at Fred Glise’s for $3.75. We canned the berries after she got home. In eve we went to an ice cream social on the parsonage lawn. Marilyn was very good. Got home at ten o-clock.

July 26 – Thurs.
Nice in forenoon & very warm but looked very rainy in afternoon but didn’t rain here but got much cooler. Elmer had a boy helping his name is John Meyers. Anita & I went to Eda’s to Ladies Aid & got supper for the men after we got home. It was very late when the chores were done. The cows give so much more milk now.
We canned cherries all forenoon. Elmer started cutting oats toward night.

July 27 – Fri.
Very cool & a dandy day to work. We finished canning cherries & mowed the lawn & made 15 glasses of jelly & quite a lot of apple butter. Elmer was cutting oats & John Meyers is shocking for him. Elmer went to B O in eve after twine.

July 28 – Sat.
Cool again today but very nice & bright. Elmer’s man came again today to help. We weren’t quite so busy as we have been other days. In eve Elmer went to Burr Oak & we went to bed.

July 29 – Sun.
Quite cool. We took Marilyn over to Raymonds to weigh her & she weighed 15 ½ lbs. It rained a little shower so we hurried home. I went to church with Jim & Eda. After noon we took Elmer to B O to practice ball & we went up to Stevie’s for a couple of hours.  Luella & Raymond went to Iona’s to dinner.

July 30 – Mon.
Nice day but very windy. We did a big washing and about 2-30 Anita & I took Marilyn over to Dr. Nass on account of the breaking out on her face. He said the heat had caused it to be worse. Luella & Roger came over after soft water. Elmer finished cutting oats about 4 and helped the Meyers boy shock until it was finished.

July 31 – Tues.
Warm day. It looked rainy all day but we only had a small shower. Charlie McCarty was here for dinner but went in afternoon. We ironed & Anita cleaned the house & we killed flies the rest of the time. In eve Elmer went to B O & we went over to Luella’s, got home about 9-45. Elmer got screen for the doors & windows.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine's Day to the Robin

I had a flock of robins in my yard yesterday... a fun prelude to Valentine's Day and some vintage robin poems:

AMRO_022411_25_620 COC

Little Robin Redbreast
Sat upon a tree,
Up went the Pussy-Cat,
And down went he;
Down came Pussy-Cat,
Away Robin ran,
Says little Robin Redbreast—
Catch me if you can.

You have to go way back to remember this one:

When the red red robin
Comes bob bob bobbin' along, along
There'll be no more sobbin' when he starts singin'
His old sweet song

Wake up, wake up you sleepyhead
Get up, get up, get out of bed
Cheer up, cheer up... there's life ahead
So live, love, laugh and be happy!

Have a Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!  You can find all the kidlit poetry gang at Linda Baie's today:

Thursday, February 13, 2020

A Sweet Story and a Laugh...

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! 
Today I have a sweet story to share with you. Before we were married, my husband bought me a little peperomia plant. I loved its shiny heart-shaped leaves. Over time it has lived inside and out, in large pots and small. Sometimes I overwatered, sometimes I let it get too dry. Sometimes it was leggy, sometimes it was full of leaves. Sometimes it blossomed. Over time I have learned what it likes, and we have gotten along together. Cuttings have been shared with a number of people. Come this summer, I think it will be 49 years ago that I received it. This cutting, which I took last spring... now looks very much like that plant when I received it. I still love those leaves.   💖

We've had our share of gray rainy days lately and I, for one, could use a good laugh.  How about you?

A preschool story I recently remembered:
Early in the day, standing around the table, counting heads. 
Me: Where is Alicia? Does anybody know?
Little Boy: I know, I know... she can't come today. She's sick.
Me: Awww, that's too bad. I'm sorry. I hope it's just a cold?
Little Boy: No...I think her mom said she has chicken nuggets.

Just looked out my window and saw that a flock of robins has flown into my yard!  

A small winter flock of robins.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Big Wind... Big News!

It's Friday, and I thought I wouldn't have time to blog, but then this happened, and I decided to go for it anyway.

It's Poetry Friday, this week hosted by Laura Purdy Salas at  Join the poetry crawl!

Yesterday I posted a picture of this tree, and mentioned the wasp nest on the lower right.


A big wind
Hit town
Wasp nest
Blew down

© Karen Eastlund

The end... haha...

Grandkids coming, got work to do. Hope you all have a good week!  

Thursday, February 6, 2020

A Season of Questions

CV_SJT2020.jpgThanks to the multi-talented Carol Varsalona for this lovely new logo for our Spiritual Journey Thursday group. I'm very pleased to be able to use it here. Carol is also hosting our group today at Beyond LiteracyLink. She asked us to consider Seasonal Bliss with the verse from Ecclesiastes: For everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.

For me this is a quiet time, and a time of questioning. My husband and I walked a new path recently, and we found some pools that we had been unaware of, hidden in the woods and brush. What animals visited these pools? We heard a "squaaanck" overhead and saw a heron settle onto a branch. Where had it been? And what caused it to move? Would it find fish in this pool?

Outside my front door, the daffodils are already poking up. Will they see snow before they bloom?

Can you see the paper wasp nest that we discovered in our tree once the leaves were down? Will we need to do something about that? Can we co-exist?

In my backyard, I had a pair of cardinals, the male looking straight into my window as I looked out. What was he thinking? I gave a prayer of thanks for his visit, his bright red, then watched his mate as she foraged on the ground. Had she found some sunflower seeds that squirrel missed?

I was picking up large sticks that had fallen from a neighbor's tree when I came upon a large pile of scat. (No picture needed... haha.) What in the world left that?  A groundhog? A deer? Has my yard become the dumping spot for every rabbit in the area?

Today, a pair of house finches found my feeder. Will they bring their friends next time?

In choir, we recently sang these words: "What does the Lord require of us?"

So many questions to ponder. I'm glad for this quiet time, for time to watch each day unfold in its own way.

May your days unfold with many questions, and a few good answers.