Thursday, January 28, 2010


The Amish put much emphasis on working together and believe that it is better to do a task with several people rather than using something that might only require one person to do it. By restricting their use of technology, the Amish have been able to maintain a closeness of family and community that our larger society has lost. Those convenieces, as a result of technology, separate people rather than draw them together and limits physical activity and being outdoors. They see folly in a lifestyle that avoids physical labor, then creates exercise in the form of jogging, aerobics and 24 hour fitness centers. I can tell you for certain, they know what they are talking about!!
We are heating our home with wood. This requires alot of physical labor by both LaVern and I. We have not had to go out and cut any wood yet although I am looking forward to that this summer. Instead we have a big pile of scrap lumber and some cut logs the Amish left for us. We do have to cut it to size however. LaVern mans the chainsaw and I stack. The other day I decided to try my hand at splitting wood. Having never done this before I thought it wood be fun and a good workout. After all: swinging a sledgehammer offers numerous benefits. A condensed list includes:
Improve work capacity
Develop core strength
Enhance grip and forearm strength
After splitting three stumps this is what I learned:
You need to split from the top of the stump (not while it is laying on its side)
A dry, dry oak stump is HARD, HARD wood
You need to hit the wedge direct on (preferably with each swing)
You do NOT want to use a 16 pound sledgehammer (it's all we had)
A sweatshirt is plenty warm enough (even in subzero temperatures)
Forget joining a fitness center (get a wood stove instead and cut wood)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Thoughts of yesteryears

Thomas Edison's quote from The Illustrated London News in May of 1924: "I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that."

So do I, Thomas. So do I.


The definition of chore is a routine or minor duty or task. Every morning LaVern heads out the door to do chores. I'm not sure what all that entails particularly given the "minor" part but he sure spends alot of time doing chores and we don't have animals yet! I asked him if his chore duty would require less time now that our system is up and running. I didn't hear the response as he was going out the door! Speaking of the solar system, we were amazed that the batteries were charging up with no sun. It was "light" out but no direct sun and they charged. That is awesome as we went a good week with no sunlight. Still had plenty of electricity for everything we wanted. LaVern even ran one of his woodworking saws and air nailer.
The ice storm did not effect us like the people in Des Moines. They had power lines and trees down up there. Our gravel driveway was even ice and stayed that way for a couple days. LaVern walked to the barn with his snow shoes on as just couldn't stay up otherwise. We are at my brother's in Greeley. Left home at 4:30 yesterday morning and drove in fog until North Platte. Wasn't a heavy fog but did slow us down. Mom is stronger but I think she will be here another couple months yet. Slow recovery, baby steps. We will come home on Tuesday or Wed and then the following weekend we head up to Pella. Ross and Nicole are moving into a much bigger home so we will take our trailer and help them move.
I'll continue to keep the home fire burning. Put another log on the fire!

Monday, January 18, 2010

And then there was POWER

LaVern made the big "switch" yesterday, just a little flick of a button and we are now on solar power via the BIG inverter. He promptly came upstairs, walked out on the porch and started his air compressor. I heard it take off and he came in and said,"Wahoo, I now have my air nailer". Ahhh, the simple things that mean so much!

We drove in fog to Creston this morning with the pickup. Had the transmission fluid drained and the radiator flushed. They are ordering the motor for the 4 wheel drive and hopefully we will be back in tomorrow to have that installed. We are thinking it might be a good thing to have the 4 wheel drive working when all this snow melts. Not sure our plans for going out to Colorado as the weather is to get nasty again. Freezing rain for us starting tomorrow night. So, I guess if we go it will be after the truck is done tomorrow.

Heading back home now. We had a sandwich at Hardee's. They have free wireless access!! That sometimes dictates where we eat these days!

Love to all.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Greetings from Iowa!
Finally we are past the artic freeze and today it is a balmy 35 degrees! I had books due at the library so I made my list of errands and headed in to town. LaVern has been setting up the solar system in the basement. We are just waiting on another cable to be delivered and then he will be ready to make the big switch. LaVern will then be able to run his air compressor and ALL of his power tools. He is so looking forward to that! He said he is going to build a little box with a glass cover and put the "real" hammer in it and display it with a sign that says, "In case of inverter power failure, break glass." Such a funny guy.
I am hoping to head back to Greeley, CO. next week some time to see mom. The bacteria level is less. She had another MRI on Monday and should get results from that today. She just isn't gaining back her strength so the rehabilitation is going very slow.
The impact of the recession has finally touched our family. My brother lost his job after surviving many, many cutbacks the past ten years. He started when the company was Monfort and has been there close to 30 years, in programming. He saw the company change hands a number of times and currently it is called JBS, owned by a Brazilian family. I know everything will be fine and He has a plan. Still, it has to be a worry for my brother.
We are living our dream and loving it! We went snow shoeing the other day. Hiked down to the river and walked along the banks in the trees. It didn't take Owyn long to figure out that maybe it would be easier to walk behind us in the trail we were making. And I had my first experience crossing a wire fence with snow shoes on. You really want to lift your foot high and wide to get the shoe over the wire else you will crash and fall in the snow. But the positive side to that is you can lay there and make a snow angel!!
Beautiful fog in the morning that coats all the trees and buildings. No camera found yet.
I have been cooking and baking on the wood stove and having great results. My cast iron dutch oven is just like a crock pot. The legs get it just enough off the stove and heat. Tonight I am fixing meatballs and spagetti with an herb casserole bread.
We are still holding off getting the internet at home. Our options are limited. I miss blogging daily and catching up with friends and family on Facebook. The upside...........I am reading lots of books!