Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The Hometown Visit ~White Horse Hill ~Spirit Lake Casino ~Grahams Island ~Woodland Resort ~Devils Lake Area Attractions

These Retired Empty Nesters spent a long weekend visiting our
 farm and the family that farms that land.
We visited the Cemetery and took care of some unfinished
business there.
We met with the USDA District Conservationist
to discuss the water issues.

In between meetings and appointments we found
things to do in the community.
White Horse Hill, a Natural Game Preserve, provides plenty of family enjoyment.
I have fond memories of going there every summer
to attend our Church Picnic. We had a Potluck Lunch,
played on the swings & slides,
and climbed the Hill.

Mid afternoon, the ice cream was announced, so we all raced to get
in line for an ice cream cone before packing up to go home.

The Prairie Dogs never disappoint.
One can park their vehicle and get out to
watch them scurry around and listen to them chatter.

Whenever we went to visit Grammy and the farm, we all got in the car
to drive through the Preserve, hoping to see animals.
All those years of taking our young daughters and my mother,
 we never saw one critter.

This year, a pleasant surprise…
We spotted some Elk,

And this big guy.
If you are from North Dakota,
you say Bizon, with a Z, not Bison.
And if you see more than one? We still say Bizon, not Bisons.

The Visitor Center is quite impressive with
a display of all the animals you might see in the Game Preserve.
And I loved the table of Fur Pelts that you can touch and feel.

The restrooms are clean, and there’s a neat little gift shop.

Back in our vehicle, we continued our tour around the lake…
Our next stop was at the Spirit Lake Casino.

Of course, Hubby wanted to try his luck.
We were not there very long.

It is quite a complex, where you can eat, sleep, gamble,
and enjoy the water.

Graham’s Island is a State Park, 
since we don’t have a Park Sticker, we did not drive in.

We did go to the Woodland Resort.
This is what the cabins looked like when we first stayed there.

They have made some improvements over the years.

If you are serious about fishing, in the winter or the summer,
add this to your Bucket List.

Stop back to see how we found
 some fun in town.

Take care,
~Natalie

Monday, May 29, 2023

Honoring All Who Serve and Have Made the Ultimate Sacrifice for Our Country


"As we express our gratitude, we must never
forget that the highest appreciation
is not to utter words but to live by them."
John F. Kennedy


Take care,
~Natalie

Sunday, May 28, 2023

My Hometown Visit ~Hanging Out with a High School Bestie ~a Blast from the Past

Hubby and I enjoyed reuniting with one of my
High School Classmates and Best Friend.
We were happy to spend our Mother's Day together,
since our children all live far away.

We attended Worship that morning, before going out for lunch.

We visited them in their home, too.

Do you think we have aged since our last visit, six years ago?

We have aged since this photo was taken at our Senior Banquet.

This was our little group of friends that spent time together.
Now days, we’d call that our “squad”.
Jolaine and I were the two seniors, and at the end of the season,
we were gifted those roses by our underclassmen friends.

Our “squad” made up the Cheerleading Squad
for our Boys Basketball Team.

We all loved our English and Drama teacher, Mrs. Kenner.
Our Senior Class play was “The Miracle Worker”.
I played the part of Helen Keller.
Jolaine’s role was that of her Teacher, Annie Sullivan.

The production was ambitious for a small school in the 70s.
Everyone in the High School was involved in some way.
It was well received by our whole community.

Of course, we went to Prom together with
our High School boyfriends.
Do you recognize Jolaine’s date?
She married that boyfriend…
Yes, that is her husband on those selfies.

We certainly are not waiting another six years
before we are together again.
In fact, we’re planning to gather next June, with the rest
of our classmates, at our 50 year class reunion. 

Take care,
~Natalie

Friday, May 26, 2023

Things in Our House Thursday ~The Little Things that Make Me Smile ~Old Farmhouse Treasures ~What We Have Salvaged

First, the Memories…No one can take those away.
This special occasion was the 25th Wedding Anniversary
Party for my parents. That is my Grandmother seated at the table,
a position of honor with the Silver Service Set, pouring coffee.

Behind her, seated on the radiator in the bay window,
from left to right, that’s me, with my cousins, Jackie and Camilla.

This precious chandelier now hangs in my sewing studio.
It was one of the first things I wanted to save from our old farmhouse.

The Art Deco Style
It is pretty amazing, isn’t it?!

That chandelier hung in this formal parlor.
Something told me, years before this destruction,
 that we should try to take the chandelier home with us.
Hubby carefully took it down, without damaging the ceiling around it.

He surprised me for Christmas, taking it to Court Street Lighting
to have it rewired, so we could safely hang it in our home.
This makes me Happy.

The lighting designer wanted to purchase it,
telling Hubby that it is in perfect condition, considering its age.
Hubby said, “I don’t think so, it’s not for sale”

The other treasure we brought home that same weekend,
 was this Stained Glass window pane from the house.
There was a storm window behind it, making
it acceptable to remove it.

See the lake water out there?

A sneak peek as to where it was…

From outdoors, it’s that little window
on the west side of the house.

I don’t think I ever walked down this stairway without pausing
to part the curtains and look out this window.

I bet I wasn’t the only one to do that!?

Here it is now, in our family room.
Hubby cleaned it up and securely hung
it above our fireplace.

This makes me happy, too.

You perhaps remember seeing it among
our Christmas Decorations.

My view from that window.

At one time, it looked out to a manicured hedge,
a red barn, and the fertile farmland beyond.
A memory I see when I close my eyes.

Take care,
~Natalie 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Visiting our Family Cemetery Plot ~Taking Care of Important Business

My parents are buried here. 
They farmed and made a home in this community their whole life.

This cemetery is a beautiful place, with
the mature trees, green grass, and blue sky above…
It is just so peaceful out there.
The only thing you can hear is the sound of the breeze
blowing through the branches.

There were years, when the lake was at its highest level,
 that this road was under water, and we couldn’t visit the cemetery.

Churchs Ferry Cemetery
Established in 1897

My Daddy was so proud of his service during World War II.
He died 35 years ago. I still remember the Veterans, in uniform,
folding the flag that was draped on his casket,
and presenting it to my Mother.
I remember that, like it happened yesterday.

My parents were married in 1946.
Five years later they had a baby that lived for only 24 hours.
They named her Twila Rae. My mother never got to see that baby.
I think that is just about the saddest thing. 

My Aunt Vivian, my Daddy’s sister, held her.
She said that Twila was just the prettiest little baby.

Hubby and I purchased this Memorial Bouquet
to place by the headstone.

It was only a few years ago that we could get in there again,
and I discovered that there was no marker for my mother’s grave.
This was another one of my priorities for the weekend.

We chose a piece of granite that is a close match
to the headstone and Baby Twila’s marker.

Deciding what we wanted etched on that stone took much thought.
We included her middle name and maiden name,
as her mother and a few of her siblings are buried there in that hometown cemetery.
Her faith was strong, so the praying hands were an easy choice.
She had requested no flowers at her funeral,
so I was not about to have them permanently etched onto her Marker.

The Monument Company gave us
one of their yellow flags to mark the spot.

It has been 10 years since she was laid to rest here.
Now, her grave will have the appropriate marking, right between
her husband and their baby.

This was a good visit.

It had been an emotional two days.
We needed some time to process all we had seen,
the discussions we had, and the decisions we made.
An evening at a favorite hometown restaurant was just what we needed.

A Smoked Chicken and Spinach, with Creamy Havarti Cheese
on a Lavosh Flatbread Cracker was the perfect ending to our day.

Take care,
~Natalie

Celebrating our Youngest Grandchild ~This Little Princess is now Two

This little girl had family and friends around her to celebrate her special day. After swimming, a little naptime, and a nice dinner, she op...