Duck Fever

The Mallard Family
Flying high over the wheat fields of North Dakota
(great picture - not mine)

Drake:  Pen, Let's just stop down there for lunch
Henny Penny:  It must be good, the parking lot is full

Drake:  Wait, something doesn't look right.

Henny Penny:  It must be really good.
They are playing duck, duck, goose

And we can land right there on that bale of hay
or on that pile of straw
 Drake:  Penny look what just popped out of the hay bales
and that pile of straw has a camera

Who do they think they are fooling?
I think I'll fly down there and give them a piece of my mind.

Henny Penny: DRAKE!!

This isn't exactly the way it happened,
but while I was being invisible in my Ghillie Suit
and the guys were hiding in their Coffin Blinds,
I got really tickled.
(sorry guys)
Intelligent adults
hiding from ducks

The ducks would circle, take a look, then turn around
and fly by again for another look.
I started thinking about what the
 duck conversation high in the sky might be like.

I had to control myself or it was going to be
like one those laughing in church times
( when you are shaking all over and crying on the outside
while trying not to belly laugh or snort).
Besides, the ducks might see my shaking straw!

But they had a great time anticipating the hunt,
 getting all that great hunting gear together,
and getting away from work for a little while.

Isn't that what it's about?
The anticipation
The camaraderie
The adventure
The story

and I cooked Peking Duck

So ends another adventurous day
on the
Prairies of North Dakota

(I won't get invited back if they read this...)

Thanks for joining us.



The windbreak trees here in North Dakota fascinate me.

  Instead of a single row of cedars or desert pine like we see around houses in the tabletop plains of North Texas, there are more rows of trees around farmsteads than I can count.  When we drive close to one, I try to count as we drive by, but it's too fast and there are too many.
 "Onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnine....and they are out of sight." 

The trees aren't just cedars - they may be cedar, and spruce, and cottonwood, and oak, and maple, and apple, and lilac, and choke cherry.  So what I see that I can't stop on the road for a picture is a several acre farmstead (houses, barns, and silos) with a forest on two, three, or four sides . 

The NDSU agriculture website (click here)
has this to say about farmstead windbreaks:

"Trees are important around homes in our communities to provide
wind protection, shade, fruit, beauty and collect snow.
  In the same way, windbreaks provide these benefits to the farmstead."

And there's a plan for creating a windbreak:

But then, to add to my fascination, I heard these windbreaks referred to as hedge trees and hedge rows.  And where did my brain go?  Straight to Job:

“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied.  “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land." 
(Job 1:9-10)

 I've thought of all the hedges I've prayed around my family. 
They were nicely trimmed short hedges. 
 Chinese Holly bushes or something.
  Well a lot of good that does.

(borrowed photo)

Beginning today I pray for you my family and friends,
a North Dakota Windrow Hedge of Protection,
so that the destructive wind and weather from the enemy of your soul
can't get over, under, or through to you. 

I pray that the angels encamped around your tent
form a hedge and
are of all sizes, linked arm in arm
tall, short, solid, and strong.

"The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them."
(Psalm 34:7)

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways."
(Psalm 91:11)


Too Much TV


 in my turn of the century
two bedroom, one bath
rental cottage with potential
in the heart of historic Tioga
the Oil Capital of North Dakota
within walking distance to the
 Financial District,
 Bank of Tioga
Shopping District
Food Pride
Tioga Floral
Farmers Daughter
Hardware Hank
Tioga Drug
 Restaurant District
Lil's Diner
The Sportsman
The Jungle
Entertainment District
Tioga Theater
 (Saturday and Sunday evenings only)
Senior Citizen's Club
 (lunch by reservation only one week in advance)
Skol Bar
(no reservation required)
Arts District
Crafty Hands
Nordic Museum
 (open 4-6 Sundays Summer only)
 Parks District

I am certain I have watched waaaaaay too much television
House Hunters.

Thanks for stopping by!


Texas Our Texas

Image Detail

After 15 wonderful jam packed days in Texas, we are back in the north land.
(This great Texas flag picture is not mine, but borrowed from the Internet)
Even though there was business to take care of,
I tried to fill my time home with as many of my favorite things as I could.


Group Hug?  Group Lean?
Group Lovin' on Papa!
We met in San Angelo for a soccer tournament
and to cheer on the grandbaby boy's team - the longhorns.
The soccer field is in the shadow or the O.C. Fisher Dam
(whose lake is sadly completely dry)
The Longhorns won second place. 
Five games made for a tired boy. 
He's eleven and all about the matching shoes
 and the hair
He assures me that he is not a Justin Bieber fan and had the haircut first.
Every morning the hair is brushed before the teeth.
If I had 14 grandsons, he would still be my favorite.
He says I'd probably tell them all that!
During a break between games,
we went to our favorite Mexican Food Restaurant,

...and aren't they the best looking family?

Being away has really made me realize how important friends are. 
People here are just as friendly as can be,
 but it really takes years to build strong relationships.
So, I saw as many friends as I could.
I met with my Monday night group, Tuesday lunch gals, Wednesday Bible Study and Sunday Church of course.
We visited at the coffee shop, the restaurant, the soccer field and the grocery store.  We worked on a Uganda mission project and had a little watercolor lesson.
I sent out a last minute invitation to meet out of town for shopping on San Angelo's Historic Concho Street and a sleep over at our cabin there.  Only a few were able to come.
But we had a really sweet time together.

Here we are down in the creek with the last of migrating monarch butterflies.

(Thanks Lovida for the great picture)

Still.  Quiet.  Surreal.  Serene.



Our cabin on the banks of spring fed Dove Creek
amazingly still has running water
 - even during the severe drought.

Inside the house, the fireplace is a favorite gathering place.

The rocks are some kind of porous Texas Limestone
and look like skulls.

So crazy Papa snuck down to the taxidermy shop
and added a little life to the fireplace!!

What am I thankful for?

Godly Girlfriends
Cabin on the Creek
Shopping in the Rain Shower
Running Water
Fall Leaves
Being Together



Their Mama's off on a girlfriend trip
and their Daddy's gone on a business trip.
They are stuck with guess who - me
for homeschool and all those other fun activities.
Here's the recap:

"Nana,where are we going now?
Nana, do I have to go to art?

Nana, do you have any idea where we are going?

Nana, how long 'til soccer practice?
I don't know where my ball is.

Nana, do you have any idea where we are going?

Nana, I'll get my tennis stuff.

Nana, I don't think this is the way to tennis...

I'm really good at fractions.
Sometimes Mom doesn't make me correct math.

Nana, can we have a picnic?
Nana, can we have hot dogs?
Nana, can I have a Mountain Dew?
Mom always let's us have Mountain Dew.
Mountain Dew helps me relax.

What do you mean the dog ate my hot dog?
Did Max really eat my hot dog?
Where is Lily?
Nana, we have to get in the car and go find Lily.
Nana, we have to go buy dog food.
Nana, did you put that sack of dog food there?
Look, here comes Lily across the field.

Nana, Mom said I could be in charge....

Nana, will you play soccer with us?
Nana, are you ok?
Here, Nana, I'll help you up.
Maybe Nana should just play goalie.

Nana, everything you cook is best.

I can read your shirt-
World's Greatest Nana.

Nana, Nana, Nana"

Today's Thanks:
Grandbaby Girl
Grandbaby Boy
A daughter's trust
being able to play a little soccer
being able to walk after playing a little soccer
perfect weather
hot dogs
and even Mountain Dew


Bucket List

On my bucket list
 (you know, the list of things I think I want to do
 before I kick the bucket)
is to learn to watercolor.

I have a years long collection of
books, paper, paint, and brushes,
hoping that by collecting those things
I could do it!

For a year I have painted and painted,
 now have lots of ugly painted paper
and have reworded my bucket list item
from learn to watercolor
to just be good at it. 
I have felt really hopeless.

Then, my very talented, patient, teacher, artist friend, Nathalie
(click on her name to check out her blog)
sent me a tutorial to try.
She knew it was something I would like
New Mexico - Hatch Chilies

Here's MY finished painting:

Ta DA!!!

Thanks, Nathalie.

I'm back at my Texas home for
a couple of weeks and
as soon as I made a molehill out of the mail mountain,
I had these chilies framed and on the wall of my
chili pepper kitchen.

My chili pepper collection started when
my good friends,
answered God's call to Guatemala.
They sold and gave away everything that wouldn't fit
 into their vehicle and drove south.
The sweet grandson we share was only a month old
when they left - he's eleven now.

Their beautiful Chili Pepper Woman
came to live with me.

Walking into my kitchen reminds me of
New Mexico Autumns,
when roadside vendors are roasting chilies.

Once on a motorcycle trip to New Mexico,
we were overcome by the rich aroma of the chili roasters
and packed our tiny ice chest with chilies.
We could smell them all the way home.

Since I have already rambled all over the place,
here's Pat making chili rellenos in my daughters kitchen

Now where was I headed with this?

Oh, yes!
My bucket list...

....maybe I can learn

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
(Philippians 4:13)

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