16 January 2011

Sunday Open Forum – Mailboxes and Old Barns

Written By Emma
In 1925, with his World War I Navy service behind him, my father was beginning to work his own land, thinking about rain and wheat, and wrote the following to my mother in a letter dated September 14, 1925:

Dear Friend,
….Our wheat averaged 12 bushels, so we really had a good crop and everything to be thankful for.
It’s too bad your people didn’t get a little more, because 5 bushels is just about enough for expenses.
We didn’t have enough rain for plowing yet. At present I am disking, doing some breaking, and other small jobs.
I have a little over 100 acres to plow this fall if it rains, otherwise I will be pretty busy in the spring.

May I have the pleasure of calling on you Sunday afternoon?
This is the reason I am writing so soon; to give you time to answer if you have other plans. Just be frank about everything.

My mother’s family had arrived on the prairie in 1910 from Racine, Wisconsin when she was 5. My father’s family arrived in 1907 from Hampton, Nebraska when he was 9. From the day they arrived, the center of their daily world was water~~for the simple reason that there was none. There were no streams or flowing water on top of the ground: the Missouri River was miles away and useless for irrigating. There was none underground that was accessible: in later years, the typical well was 400 feet deep or more and always undrinkable~~sometimes even for the cattle. And water from the sky? 14″ in the wettest year would only occasionally fall when needed for the small grain crops.

The obvious problem of too little rain on the unbroken sod prairie meant that the issuance of 160 acre homestead parcels being heavily promoted by the railroads faced some heavy going around 1900. By 1909, this was taken into account when Congress passed the Enlarged Homestead Act authorizing homesteaders to receive twice the land~~320 acres rather than 160. Surveying of the land had largely been completed by 1870 but even so, anyone with a lick of sense could be forgiven for not mistaking the eastern Montana or western North Dakota vistas for black Iowa farmland or even thick Nebraska prairie grass. No, the land agents needed a little extra something to get past sensible Scandinavian immigrants who might resist sinking their lives into dry and treeless prairie that stretched endlessly under the Big Sky, honestly described in “Home On The Range” as a place where “the skies are not cloudy all day.” Well, the sales and marketing tool that the railroads needed and used had been around since the 1860′s. The tool was a theory summarized as The Rain Follows The Plow. (Much later, this theory properly gained fame as one of the “top ten science mistakes” of the last 4000 years or so.)

Here’s how it ran: “The reason there is no rain is because there is no bare dirt. So, potential settler, don’t be discouraged! Don’t be disheartened! Come! Get your 160 acres homestead land now!” (Later it was determined by more rational folk that it would actually take about 2500 acres of this kind of land to live a decent farmer’s life, but never mind…) “So come! If you take your one-bottom plow and your horse or two and break up a few acres, and do that for several years, and if the grasshoppers, drought and storms don’t destroy it, you’ll harvest a fine crop! Then The Rain Will Follow The Plow! Here! We have brochures! Send them to your relatives in Denmark and Norway and Sweden! Tell them there are endless acres available for them!”

The Danish families who had ended up in Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska after Ellis Island in the 1890′s may have actually believed that the rain would follow the plow~~or maybe they had just run out of options. Whatever the case, between 1895 and 1910 they continued to get on the emigrant railroad cars for one more ride with their plows, their horses, their cow, their household furniture and their trunks to go to sod prairie country so big, they claimed, that when you stepped out of your house to go for a walk you were lost before you took the first step.

Two miles from my Dad’s father’s homestead, there is an artesian well in the front yard of the old one room school house that yields up the sweetest, clearest, coldest water this side of heaven and there is a hand pump fixed to the top of the well. It’s an artesian well in that the water “flows in” very freely, far below ground level. It is not an artesian well in that every drop of water that is going to be used is pumped out by hand.

My older brother whose teen years spanned the 1940′s remembered bringing water from that faithful well on a stoneboat pulled through the dirt by a team of horses. He described the water in eastern Montana as precious to begin with, and then “…the more it was handled the more valued it became. We first pumped the water out of the well, hauled it home and dumped it in a cistern, then pumped it back out and carried it into the kitchen for Mother, or in for bathing and washing, and then we carried what remained afterwards to the garden or to the pigs.”

After electricity and running water were available in the 1950′s, my memory of how precious the water was includes the anxious tightening of my stomach when town visitors, accustomed to municipal water systems, would use the bathroom and run the water way too long. Hearing the pressure pump in the basement kicking in again and again as it drew water in from the cisterns, I would feel the butterflies flying in formation~~wondering why on earth they didn’t have enough sense to use less water.

Dad had a 400 gallon tank that would be positioned in the back of the 1951 Ford grain truck. In our early teens, my brother and I frequently had the summertime task of getting water for the two cisterns~~one just outside the back door and the other 20 feet or so across the yard, that one with a heavy cover weighted down with big stones. That second one was big: about 12-15 feet deep and about 6 feet across. Absolutely terrifying to look down into the water of that one knowing that if I fell in, I would never be able to get out. So we make as many trips as it takes to fill the two cisterns.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The low prairie hills and fields stretch away in all directions from that abandoned school yard. With some sandwiches, an apple and a jar of koolaid, we settle into our task with sweet sights, sounds and smells all around: the buzz of bees in the wild honeysuckle along the old schoolhouse door, a butterfly or two, the song of meadowlarks, the nuisance of grasshoppers and the sweet clover blooming in the ditches that can be stripped off the stalk between our fingers with a zzziiiipppp! sound, and the steady….splash, splash, splash….with each push of the squeaky pump handle~~100 times for me; 150 for my brother: push, up and down, push, up and down…..until we had pumped 400 gallons for each trip. In between our turns, we sit in the shade on the running board of the truck eating our lunch or whistling through a blade of grass carefully lined up between our thumbs.

109 Responses to Sunday Open Forum – Mailboxes and Old Barns

  1. Pat P says:

    It occurred to me this morning that one of the things I love about this post is that it points out how you and your brother shouldered part of the responsibility of running the farm and supporting the family. It is a character builder that so many kids are denied today. Kids need to know that they are an important part of the family, that they contribute to the family. Haven’t had my coffee yet, so hope this makes sense!

    • Jennifer H says:

      Yes, my kids learned this in spades in 2006 when I hurt my back and was basically out of commision for over a year. They complain about the chores and work and helping out- but their complaints fall on deaf ears as I know in the long run their character is being strengthened.

      Thank you Emma you have talent as a writer that is certain, I feel as if I am there in a different world part of a different time. Lovely.

    • sundancecracker says:

      Beautiful work Emma. Food for the soul….. yum, yum…

  2. JRD says:

    Oh Emma, thank you so much! I enjoyed your descriptions so. I could pleasantly just picture it all. I also took pleasure in the courage, bravery, fortitude, and will of your Danish brethren to achieve success in conquering the elements to sustain a living and provide for their families.What a breath of fresh air and pleasant contrast to those who would rather experience the smug satisfaction of receiving a”Pigford” settlement.

    This should brighten your day.

    To: Barack Obama und Frau Obama

    Subject: Political rally masquerading as a memorial service

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/01/clarices_pieces_another_memo_f.html

  3. AFinch says:

    Emma–Thanks once again for getting our Sunday off to a great start with your beautiful prose.

    Here’s the Reuters report of Eric Fuller’s arrest in Tucson yesterday. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE70F0R020110116?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews&rpc=22&sp=true

    It concludes with the following paragraph: “The rampage sparked a national debate about whether the vitriolic tone of partisan politics in the United States in recent years had contributed to the suspect’s motivations.” No mention of Loughner’s mental instability or his history of threats an violence. Nope, all they say is that he is “a college drop out.” That’s funny. I thought he was expelled because teachers and students feared for their safety.

  4. JRD says:

    Where the media leads, we don’t follow

    By JONAH GOLDBERG
    http://www.nypost.com/f/print/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/where_the_media_leads_we_don_follow_1ykcLkS1e2v97rUHj1LtQO

    It is abundantly clear that many of the people and institutions piously speechifying about the desperate need to moderate the political discourse had no problem falsely indicting others in a horrendous murder, not because they knew the charge was true but solely because they desperately wanted it to be.

    • Ting says:

      Finally……..someone has written about the speech that shares my view of it. I have been amazed at the “reviews” of the Tucson speech, and though I admit that I often have a different “take” on things than others, I have felt like the pundits have lacked the ability to see through it, or chose not to comment on the utter self-serving element behind the whole thesis. I doubt this idea will get much traction anytime soon in the mainstream thought, but at least a few wheels are publicly turning.

      Here is something that troubles me about myself – does it take a manipulator to know one? Because I can see the method clearly. Maybe you all should beware of me. I don’t think of myself as manipulative, but perhaps I am.

      • Pat P says:

        I always like to hear what Byron York has to say. Bill Bennett has him on his radio show – Bill Bennett’s Morning In America – every Monday, and plans to have him as a substitute host sometime in the near future.

        • Patriot Dreamer says:

          I like Byron York’s work, too.

          Teh Won had a golden opportunity here to come out early and tell the media and the talking heads to knock it off, focus on the victims, and wait for the evidence instead of jumping to conclusions and assigning blame. Unlike the Fort Hood shooting, he just sat back and waited for the polls to come it. This is not what real leaders do.

      • AFinch says:

        I think if you were a manipulator, you would keep it to yourself instead of broadcasting it to all of us. Then again, it could be part of your grand plan! You’re a tricky one!

      • AliRose says:

        I don’t think so. My dad can see through pretty much anyone and I don’t think he’s a manipulator.

  5. JRD says:

    Cantor: A ‘Leverage Moment’

    “The debt limit increase is a result of years of fiscal mismanagement in Washington, and while no Republican came to Washington to increase it again, we did come to cut spending, rein in government, and get this country’s fiscal house in order,” Cantor continued. “If we look at the vote on a debt limit package as an opportunity to accomplish those things, we can really start to force the President and Leader Reid in our direction and begin to steer the country back to fiscal responsibility.”

  6. JRD says:

    I edited this propaganda for ya all.

    Jewish COMMUNIST Group Wants Glenn Beck Dropped From Fox News

    Jewish Funds for Justice (JFSJ), a (Communist group funded by “Spooky Dude” that poses as) a charity that campaigns for social change, delivered a petition with 10,000 signatures to Fox News Thursday demanding that talk show host Glenn Beck get the pink slip.

    The petition drive began in November after Fox News aired a three-part Beck special on businessman and (faux) philanthropist (and self-hating Jew) George Soros called “Puppet Master.” The television show was deemed anti-Semitic by many in the media and (self-hating) Jewish groups.
    Beck once said that his election coverage goal was to “make George Soros cry,” which is “hard to do,” as Soros “saw people into gas chambers.”

    Beck’s Thursday night show highlighted nine people of the 20th century who contributed to “the era of the big lie.” All nine of these “shadowy figures,” as Beck called them, were (self-hating Communist) Jews, including (Communist liar, propagandist, and Soviet stooge) NY SLIMES columnist Walter Lippman.

    Mik Moore, chief strategy officer for JFSJ, told Politics Daily that the group met with Fox News Channel president Roger Ailes last summer to raise concerns about Beck’s use of Holocaust references. Moore said the group received some commitments from the network that it would watch for anti-Semitic language. But that didn’t happen, according to Moore.
    On Thursday, the group unveiled Beck’s 10 worst quotes of 2010, which included (BS) “Women are psychos” and “Charles Darwin is the father of the Holocaust.”

    The group says it has other plans regarding Beck. On Jan. 17, WOR in New York, citing Beck’s low ratings, and WPHT in Philadelphia are dropping Beck’s radio show. JFSJ has sent letters to six radio stations in New York City that seem like a match for Beck’s talk show, asking them not to pick it up. If that happens, Beck will not have a radio outlet in the city.
    “We are just beginning to enter into a conversation with those stations,” Moore said.
    In light of Sarah Palin’s blood libel comment this week, the group said that Palin and Beck “have abused two of the most tragic episodes in the history of the Jewish people: the Holocaust and the blood libel.”
    The group’s president Simon Greer said, “The Jewish community does not appreciate their identification, which only serves to denigrate the very real pain so many Jews have suffered because of anti-Semitic violence. It is clear that Fox News has a Jewish problem.” (No it’s clear that self-hating American Jews who are atheists have a Jewish problem.)

    http://www.politicsdaily.com/2011/01/14/jewish-group-wants-glenn-beck-dropped-from-fox-news/

    • WeeWeed says:

      :) Thanks, JRD! I wish all articles were edited as clearly, especially those about Spooky Dude.

    • NeeNee says:

      “We are just beginning to enter into a conversation with those stations,” Moore said.

      Translation: we will lean on youse guys with whatever it takes
      to get you to see that Beck needs to go. Maybe picking apart your
      program log to make sure that liberal hosts/shows are given time
      to make their point . . . yanking your license because there aren’t
      enough liberal stations in your area . . . yanking your license and
      giving it to a minority . . . heck, maybe even sitting down with the
      station owners to go over their family members’ daily whereabouts

      on an hour-by-hour basis . . .

  7. JRD says:

    A Congress that reasserts its power
    By George F. Will
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/14/AR2011011404663.html

    The American Revolution was a political, not a social, revolution; it was about emancipating individuals for the pursuit of happiness, not about the state allocating wealth and opportunity. Hence our exceptional Constitution, which says not what government must do for Americans but what it cannot do to them.

    Americans are exceptionally committed to limited government because they are exceptionally confident of social mobility through personal striving. And they are exceptionally immune to a distinctively modern pessimism: It holds that individuals are powerless to assert their autonomy against society’s vast impersonal forces, so people must become wards of government, which supposedly is the locus and engine of society’s creativity.

    Two years into Barack Obama’s presidency, we now know what he meant about “hope” and “change” – he and other progressives hope to change our national character. Three weeks into his presidency, Newsweek, unhinged by adoration of him and allowing its wishes to father its thoughts, announced that “we are all socialists now” and that America “is moving toward a modern European state.” The electorate emphatically disagreed and created the 112th Congress, with its exceptionally important agenda.

  8. WeeWeed says:

    Thank you for another excellent chapter, Emma! I loved it. It’s so easy to forget that one of the necessities of life, water, didn’t always magically come out of the wall in your kitchen.

  9. JRD says:

    Russia Rushes Backwards
    http://spectator.org/archives/2011/01/14/russia-rushes-backwards

    There appears to be a direct correlation between Putin’s tough guy image and the respect for his leadership given by racist Russian youth gangs. From an operational standpoint it is impressive that these organizations have the ability on relatively short notice to pull together thousands of supporters and bring them into the streets of central Moscow and other major cities. That these gangs hold Vladimir Putin as their idol says a great deal about the way the current prime minister and former president has used Slavic ultra-nationalism in the consolidation of his personal power. To overlook Putin’s totalitarian inclination, is to disregard reality. At this stage it is hard to tell if one is dealing with Moscow of 2011 or Munich of 1933.

    • JRD says:

      Tsar Satan

      The Red Army is updating its heavy lift ICBM to the SS-18 class, nicknamed “Satan.”

      The Kremlin disdain for POTUS is routine, widely known in Europe, endorsed in Berlin by the Angela Merkel government. POTUS Obama weakness is a contributing cause to the swift combination of Berlin and the Kremlin for social and financial exploitation of Eastern Europe and into the Caucasus. German bankers know where the golden links are to be made. US bankers are late to the dance but present.

      POTUS is indifferent to the disdain. Little threatens POTUS illusion of supremacy (perhaps only Sarah Palin), not especially the facts of the Kremlin opinion. Chekhists get rough. Putin jokes rough of POTUS. The SS-18 will not touch POTUS: he is deaf to the SecDef and the Congressional committeemen.

      http://therealbarackobama.wordpress.com/2011/01/15/batchelor-tsar-satan/

    • Mrs Compton says:

      After reading a biography on Margaret Thatcher I now understand where these groups come from. They are all union thugs. They all work together and send money and support to all the other unions. They called them flying pickets. They picked them up and moved them all over the UK when they needed them. They were not all UK citizens, they came from all over Europe.

    • AFinch says:

      Here’s Bush’s weekend interview in the WSJ. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703583404576080053621757790.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

      You can see the Bush coalition forming to select the 2012 candidate. Notice how the author (who I usually like) sets the criteria for the 2012 candidate: (1) two term governor; (2) of a large state; with (3) an ability to attact the hispanic vote. Nothing about energy policy. Nothing about foreign policy or national defense. (But I guess the idea is to set Bush up as qualified.)

      Notice too that on fiscal policies Bush points to Christie as an example of one has “shown that you can take on these entrenched interests and be popular and sustain the efforts to change the state.” Never mind that Palin did all of these things before they were popular and had a near 70% approval rating before the OFA destroyers moved in.

      Final question–why is Bush getting all this attention all of a sudden? Is he promoting a book or something?

      • Mrs Compton says:

        I don’t see Jeb getting all that much support. Yeah, his brother might not be as hated right now but noone is going to rush in to elect another one. Besides we are all getting just a bit sick of political dynasties. I think he’s getting the attention cause the highest poll is putting Huckabee out there and he’s got NO chance of winning.

  10. AFinch says:

    Here is a rebuttal to a speech Dr. Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmosphereic Research (whose emails were released in during climate gate) is scheduled to make to the AMS next weekend: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/15/unequivocal-equivocation/#more-31727

    • Pat P says:

      It is clear that we have to keep fighting this battle, since our opponents won’t give us on the obfuscation of the facts.

  11. Pat P says:

    Andrew Klavan on the Liberal arguments countering conservatism – Shut UP!

  12. Pat P says:

    Swiss whistleblower Rudolf Elmer plans to hand over offshore banking secrets of the rich and famous to WikiLeaks.

    “The offshore bank account details of 2,000 “high net worth individuals” and corporations – detailing massive potential tax evasion – will be handed over to the WikiLeaks organisation in London tomorrow by the most important and boldest whistleblower in Swiss banking history, Rudolf Elmer, two days before he goes on trial in his native Switzerland.

    British and American individuals and companies are among the offshore clients whose details will be contained on CDs presented to WikiLeaks at the Frontline Club in London. Those involved include, Elmer tells the Observer, “approximately 40 politicians”.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jan/16/swiss-whistleblower-rudolf-elmer-banks

    • GracieD says:

      This should prove interesting.

    • Patriot Dreamer says:

      Politicians and hedge funds. Hmmm.

    • Amsterdam Expat says:

      Will this leak include information about the many many hundreds of millions of dollars secreted away in Switzerland by the likes of Arafat (also Suha), Castro, numerous Soviet, Chinese, French clients in Africa, etc. etc. etc.? Somehow I doubt it …

      Even if it’s limited to Brits and Americans, will we learn anything about the monies that Saddam Hussein paid to the George Galloways of this world (and perhaps some American politicians as well)? I shan’t hold my breath.

  13. Auntie Lib says:

    Thanks again for another wonderful chapter from your parents’ life on the Montana prairie, Emma.

    For those of you who have never seen the desolate wilds of eastern Montana, here’s a link to some photographs taken out by Glasgow that will give you a sense of the awesome power of nature in that part of the world: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1334672/Jaw-dropping-image-enormous-supercell-cloud-Glasgow-Montana.html

    • Pat P says:

      I’ve seen these before – the second one is jaw-droppingly awesome.

    • emmajeri1010 says:

      You live out in mid-Montana somewhere, don’t you? Or perhaps farther west~~toward the mountains? I know others have traveled through as well and have seen the eastern part….but it’s always fun to know there’s a fellow Montanan around who knows what that endless, hard prairie is like! If you enjoy reading, check out “Badland”…about the struggles in the late 1800′s through depression years as the farmers around Terry were desperately trying to hang on. There were many thousands of square miles of Montana “farm and ranch land” that were even less hospitable, by far, than where I grew up. A good portion of the labor force supporting the war effort in Seattle during World World II were refugees from Montana homestead land.

      • Auntie Lib says:

        I was born and raised in Helena, which is just on the east side of the Continental Divide, and after having lived in Denver, Portland, and Boise suburbs for years, my husband and I moved back home six years ago when he retired. I work for the Secretary of State as the Notary Education and Compliance director. Every year I spend a week on my “Eastern Tour” conducting classes in exotic locations like Glasgow, Glendive, Sidney, Wolf Point, Plentywood, Miles City, and points in between. Our buddy, FranklyTheNut, lives in a little town right on the North Dakota border. It’s amazing how many miles you can drive out there without seeing any signs of civilization and you can literally see for miles in every direction. I am always incredulous when I think of those pioneers who were strong enough to carve out a life in such a truly hostile environment.

        • emmajeri1010 says:

          My maternal grandparents’ homestead was about 10 miles west of where FranklytheNut is now; the little town she’s is is where my mother and her sister would take wheat in a wagon behind a team of horses when they were in their teens. With only 2 boys in a family of 13 children, the girls helped their dad when they could with the homestead. Our farm was about 35 miles straight north of Sidney.

          When DH and I drive through open country anywhere (ND, SD, NB, IA, CO, UT, as well as beloved Montana) we always marvel at the survival of the early folks. I think many of their best survival episodes were successful simply because, for the most part, they had no choice in the matter.

          I believe these kinds of stories are common in the heritage of most of our Trail Hikers, although for those of you whose families are from further east, which was settled earlier, the similar stories might be found a generation or two further back, in the mid-1800′s.

        • Kristi says:

          When I moved from Indiana to California….. wow.. that drive. My son and I kept imagining how on earth early settlers did it.
          Wyoming, Nevada.. Utah.. there is nothing for miles and miles and miles.
          absolutely gorgeous

      • Auntie Lib says:

        For those of you who want to get a humorous taste of life on the prairie, check out the cartoon, “Earl”. It’s a hoot and a half.

        Here’s a link to the website: http://mctinstar.com/samples

        The one about how dry it is is particularly topical to this discussion. Water is a scare and precious resource still.

    • Well, Emma, I guess that explains why this town has a huge water tower, although I don’t see people particularly being cautious about its usage, and the only time I heard that they ran out was due to human error. And boy, was everybody mad at the human who made the error! I’m not sure he’s been completely forgiven, even yet.

      And since Emma grew up where I am living now, I can also offer these links (for anybody who’s curious and wants to see the terrain of which she speaks) to my daughters’ blogs. They are photographers, and have taken a lot of pictures of the area, although you may have to go back a bit, in the archives, to summertime to see much “landscape.” My oldest daughter did “A Year in the Life of a Tree.” I forget which month was pretty much completely white, and you could barely make out the tree, but it wasn’t August! All in all, although Emma and I are pretty much of an age, I’m glad I spent mine in Honolulu, and waited to enjoy HER home turf until a later, more modern, and more convenient era. 8-)

      http://goldcountrymeetsbigsky.blogspot.com/

      http://www.westbylife.blogspot.com/

      • Auntie Lib says:

        Hi Friend! I hope that when I’m in your neighborhood this year, I’ll get to meet you in person!

        • You let me know, and I’ll be there with bells on. And seasonally-appropriate apparel, of course! My younger daughter said this morning that she knew she was becoming acclimated when she was able to step outside in her underwear and snow boots and think, “Wow, it’s warming up!” when the temperature was 11 degrees. She lives out in the country, BTW. Her sister, who lives in town, has yet to try and perform the same trick!

          • Auntie Lib says:

            I’ll work the schedule so I’m near you for an afternoon class and then we can get together for a visit and dinner – my treat! I try to do that trip in late September or very early October – you know the day between “hotter than hell and colder than a witch’s ____ in a brass bra”.

      • emmajeri1010 says:

        Does that mean I can soon plan to go to Hawaii??? Hmmmm?

        • staceedb says:

          Husband’s famly is from Helena and he grew up in Kellogg, ID..

          I grew up in Green River, WY but say I am from Cheyenne as that is where my grandparents have lived almost all their lives..

          Sure wish I could get back that way and move from Indiana where I just do not belong…never have and never will..

          • emmajeri1010 says:

            We lived in southern California for 28 years and I can say that I never once, for a day, felt like I belonged there. That feeling gets so tiresome, doesn’t it? It’s like forever having to wear a belt you hate or wearing glasses that have a scratch on one lens or something. …. maybe someday you can go back….don’t give up! we drove through Cheyenne last spring, en route to Oregon after visiting our Denver son. That area is so “high and mighty”! and I mean that in all the best ways. Wow, that’s big country.

            • staceedb says:

              Yes, very depressing…hasn’t had a good impact on our family, our marriage, etc…

              I wake up here every morning and still cannot believe I live here..so, glad you understand..

        • Hawaii sounds nice! At any time, but now especially…

    • Amsterdam Expat says:

      That is awe-inspiring.

  14. GracieD says:

    Emma, as usual, your word pictures are awesome!

  15. Bijou says:

    Good morning, Honeys!

    Here in the Great White Nord, we have snow up to our eyeballs again, and we’re expecting more throughout the week. I’m not complaining because I don’t have to drive in it if I don’t want to, and shovelling does count as exercise, I suppose.

    Emma, that was a super ‘installment’, and I agree with Pat, that it’s important that the children in a family feel a sense of responsibility and status through contributing to the overall effort. That way they feel they have a stake in the family ‘project’, as you did when you knew your family’s precious water supply was being thoughtlessly squandered.

    As so often happens, that particular story ‘struck a nerve’ with me. Although my Mother’s family never wanted for anything, she had an appreciation for fresh water and how it just flowed out of the taps. As a kid, I can remember her yelling at me when I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth and just letting the water run and run down the drain. It made me think, and to this day I try not to waste water. The fresh water we enjoy is one of those blessings that most people take for granted.
    Thank you for these beautiful stories. You have a true gift.

  16. Pat P says:

    UAW Members to Lobby on Capitol Hill

    Washington — More than 1,000 active and retired United Auto Workers members will hit Capitol Hill this week, lobbying on behalf of the Detroit union.

    The four-day conference kicks off Monday with a speech by UAW President Bob King.

    Aides said King plans to talk about the union’s efforts to convince foreign automakers to agree to principles making it easier for workers to agree to form a union. King has threatened to “expose” companies who don’t agree as “human rights violators.”

    The National Community Action Program Legislative Conference will feature speeches by several prominent Democrats, other union leaders and MSNBC talk show host Ed Schultz. ……………………………

    The center said that 100 percent of the union’s 2010 federal donations — $1.4 million — went to Democrats. The funds come from voluntary contributions by members and retirees.

    “Voluntary” my ass!

  17. AFinch says:

    Here’s the Western Mom’s response to that Chinese mother’s article in the WSJ last week: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703333504576080422577800488.html?mod=WSJ_hp_mostpop_read

  18. GracieD says:

    I wonder how many of those funds are connected to spooky dude? I’m thinking that the Congresscritters who get caught up in this mess are doin some serious sweating right now!

  19. Jennifer H says:

    http://cubachi.com/2011/01/16/pc-nonsense-european-union-removes-christian-holidays-from-calendar-but-maintains-muslim-holidays/
    This is really disturbing.

    If you think Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian denominations are lying about how Europe is secularizing, shunning specifically Christianity, this should be proof.

    The three million copies of the 2011-2012 school calendar published by the European Union has omitted Christian holidays, while continuing to note important Jewish and Muslim celebrations.

    • Jennifer H says:

      Especially when this agenda is exposed.
      http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2011/01/your-future-a-servant-of-islam.html

      “Islam requires that every Muslim observe and live under Divine Law, yet many cultures are not receptive to this life. Many Muslims are prohibited from governing themselves under the principles of their own faith. We must combat intolerance to spread acceptance of Sharia across the world. “

    • Mrs Compton says:

      Do they keep the Jewish holidays so the muzzies know what day to try and kill us?

      • emmajeri1010 says:

        Are you familiar with the book “Flight From Babylon”? It documents what the Jews in Iraq (descendents of those who were taken there during the Babylonian Captivity, about 600 BC and never went back to Jerusalem)…documents what they were enduring long prior to and up through the late 1930′s when the Nazis were already working the scene in Europe, and the Muslims in Iraq who ran the place were abusing the Jews, all the while claiming that, as dhimmis, they were “under the protection” of good Muslims. phhhhhtttt! big time. The book is quite horrible, actually, but I’ve learned a bunch of missing pieces I had not been aware of….I may do a post on the book tab on it.

  20. AFinch says:

    Wow, talk about believing one’s own press. About a 2012 presidential run, Chris Christie says, “Listen, the president can rest easy. The only guy who could beat him in the poll isn’t running.” I like this guy less and less every day.

    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.a0fecf3288ed5701a75b9cd49cf8dca6.951&show_article=1

  21. Pat P says:

    Take a moment to read this David Horowitz piece. Afterward, look into the archives for juicey articles about George Soros. David is a great source on Soros.

    My Daughter Sarah and the Lack of Civil Dialogue in our Culture

    http://frontpagemag.com/2011/01/14/my-daughter-sarah-and-the-lack-of-civil-dialogue-in-our-culture/

    • AFinch says:

      Thanks Pat. Have you read either of the books he discusses in the article?

      • Pat P says:

        No, I haven’t. I would like to read the book about Soros/Clinton etal that he co-authored, The Shadow Party: How George Soros, Hillary Clinton and the Sixties Radicals Seized Control of the Democratic Party.

        I have read his essays and articles in the past, and think I might like his books.

    • JRD says:

      Pat, thanks for that. I just love David Horowitz. I remember him talking about his daughter’s book after she passed. Unfortunately, I did not read it. I imagine the reason progressives did not promote his daughter’s book was because they thought any profits realized from the sale would go to a conservative. The horror! Also, progressives don’t want to get along. They just want us to shut up and sit down.
      However, I have read many of David’s books. They are extremely informative, especially “Radical Son.” I found it very interesting that someone could actually be brought up by Communists in NYC. It certainly rocked my world as I grew up in suburbia 15 minutes outside of Manhattan.

  22. Kristi says:

    Another RINO weighs in.

  23. NeeNee says:

    Hi, Emma
    Marvelous essay about your growing-up years
    on the prairie!

    Fortunately I was privileged to experience
    the modified, 1950s Iowa version
    because I happened to be the accidental child
    of two late-in-life old Germans, who adhered to the old ways.

    We had superb water, unlike the little town of 150 one mile away.
    You’d order a glass of water in the town’s cafe and honest, it came
    totally WHITE, and then you’d watch it turn bottom-to-top clear.
    Nasty, nasty flavor, too. . .

    There was a big covered well next to our house, along with a smaller

    one that was rarely used. On a windy day, it was my job
    to cut through the grove, and run through the prairie
    to the windmill to set it in gear so it could pump water to the house.
    Once filled, another trip was necessary to secure the long stick
    latch that stopped the mill dead in its tracks. If you didn’t keep an
    eye on the water level in the house well, oops . . it would overflow
    sending rivulets running down the hill to the hogbarn. Big waste
    of water!

    We didn’t have indoor plumbing until 1967, the year I left home.

    Oh, we had running water to the kitchen sink, but that was it.
    Laundry was done in the wash house—no hookup of any kind
    there. Daddy had a rubber hose that attached to the kitchen sink
    and out the window into the wringer washer in the wash house.
    Monday washday began around 8 a.m. and wasn’t finished until
    after noon lunch. Delicate whites were washed first,
    followed by sheets, then towels, then shirts & blouses, then
    Daddy’s work socks & overalls. Last were rugs. One tubfull did

    all this; by the time the overalls went in, water was definitely gray!

    My dad told stories about his father coming to western Iowa in
    1877 from Chicago. Nothing but waving prairies with few trees,
    and yes, water was a precious commodity. Certain individuals
    were water “witchers”, and had the ability to locate water sources
    that would determine where a farmer built his home & barns.
    It involved using a substantial, wishbone-shaped tree branch
    known as a dowsing rod.

    Walking around with both hands on the rod, a witcher would
    experience a definite downward pull if a water source was
    immediately nearby. Walking 160 acres was a slow go,unless
    you happened to get lucky right away. At some point, a crew would
    start digging. If the source was close to the surface, perhaps they
    wouldn’t have to go more than 15 feet or so; some sources were
    much deeper. And Daddy said many times, the crew found and
    dug a deep water well that didn’t prove permanent: after going to

    all that expense & time, many wells ran dry after just a few months
    or a year, and the process had to start all over again.

    Well interiors were brick & mortar, to keep the water as clean as possible.
    A series of 3 thick planks covered our houseyard well.
    As the scrawny, 9-year-old it was my job to be lowered down by the
    ankles to fish out tree leaves or seed pods that managed to get between
    the plank cracks. Also, by the pump handle was a short length of open pipe

    that extended out. Once in awhile, if the water took on an off-taste, Daddy
    would open the planks to look inside. That usually meant a baby kitten or
    a critter had crawled in, fallen to its death, and was floating on the surface.
    Once again, I would be hung by my ankles to fish it out.

    Good times . . . .

  24. Mrs Compton says:

    I look forward to my Sunday mornings with Emma. I learn a little something, I remember a little something. What a wonderful morning it is!! Thanks Emma!

  25. Integrity1st says:

    Attention all Honeys: I will post this on the prayer thread as part of my contribution to praying for all those there since I have no ability to cite the beautiful prayers and verses you others contribute, but I also want all to enjoy it today as we come out from the horror of the Tuscan Tragedy that so derailed the momentum we appeared to have going into the new year. While my heart goes out to all those affected by this tragedy, I want to start anew with this, which, is from my heart to all of you guys with much tied to my heritage, my mom being from Norway, my sister born there, and the singer someone I’ve adored since I was little. The horses are for Jenn = ) Love to all:

    Go “FULL SCREEN”…….Have your sound on…Happy New Year…Let’s all start anew…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vC8Hffm9BE

    Now I’ll go read Emma’s beautiful writings, and then read and link to what I fear some of the issues I scanned over on my way down here will reveal.

  26. WeeWeed says:

    Well, my answer would be for the $$$$$$$$$, but who am I.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1620227420110116

  27. Kristi says:

    Ahhh.. what a great Sunday.

    I read an entire book today. “Bleeding hands, Weeping Stone” its a book about Catholic approved messages, miracles and Saints.

  28. I think I did good tonight except for the part where I ditched the shoes from hell and put on my brown fuzzy boots.

    Also, the dancing thing? Was NOT my fault.