Friday, December 29, 2023


 There is nothing more beautiful than hoarfrost. All the world looks like it is made of powdered sugar.

Hoarfrost forms when moisture in the air skips the water droplet stage and appears directly as ice crystals on an object. The visual effect is stupendous.

Winter here in Iowa is always surprising and usually gorgeous.

Yesterday I was glorying in the beauty of the hoarfrost. Today was a new scene. 

Overnight ice formed on trees, bushes, and prairie grass. It was not an ice storm. Just a frozen form of dew. When the sun shines as it does today they all look like they have been plated with silver. It is close to the beauty of hoarfrost.

In the winter we often get snow. A new snow is pretty falling to the ground, Just as pretty is the snow on the ground before it has been walked on. 

There is a sense of quiet and calm in the winter that you will not feel any other time of year. Hoarfrost is still best.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Sewing Project

When you are cooking and your hands need a quick clean what do you do? Most of us give them a quick swipe down our hips. It leaves the side of our hips dirty. I have a solution for you. 

If you have a sewing machine this is easier but can be done without.

You need a yard of cotton cloth. Cut a 3 inch piece from the length of one end. Put a small hem on all four edges and set it aside. 

Hem all 4 edges of the large piece. Then fold about 6 inches of the cloth. If you iron a crease then it is helpful. Sew a strong hem to hold the folded piece to the sides only. Then make three big pockets by sewing two lines between the sides. If you want to be fancy you can use double lines.

At the other end fold about three inches of the cloth. Sew it to the width of the cloth. Then you will insert the original piece you cut off and hemmed. That is your belt.

 You have just made a wide apron to wipe your hands on.

Monday, December 18, 2023

It Isn't Any Trouble

 I am going to give you something that costs me nothing. It will make you feel so good that you will want to give it back. Then you can give it to others. At the same time you will keep it.

You will have a wonderful feeling once I give it to you. You might develop a spring in your step. Maybe you will even do a little dance. Either way you will be just a little happier. 

Let me stress again that it costs me no money at all. Not even a penny. But it is one of my most treasured assets.

I am going to give you a nice friendly big smile. 

Give it to the next person you see. Then you will both feel better.

It isn't any trouble just to S-M-I-L-E
It isn't any trouble just to S-M-I-L-E
So smile when you're in trouble
It will vanish like a bubble
If you'll take the trouble just to S-M-I-L-E
                                                     Written by Charlie Chaplin with a large assist from 
                                                                                                      David Raksin                                                                                 

Tuesday, December 12, 2023


Most of the United States is back on regular time after several months of Daylight Saving Time. Daylight Saving Time has always made me wonder. 

I understand the reasoning for it. The most productive day of a farmer is during the day. The sun gives light for him to produce crops and care for livestock.

My question is why can they not just get up an hour earlier?

Now there are those who would like daylight Saving Time to be the normal time all the time. There is science measuring the time zones. I would like them to stay the same and adjust myself to any changes that need to be made when they need to be made.

Which brings me to the subject of the alarm clock. An alarm clock makes a noise to wake you up at the assigned time. If I wish to awaken at 7:00 AM I set my alarm for that time. These days most alarms have a snooze button.

A snooze button allows you to go back to sleep for five minutes. Then the alarm sounds again. I have been told you can hit the snooze button for an infinite number of times. I would not know.

I have never used the snooze button... not once. If I do not get up right away I will try the infinite number of times. I know better than to start doing it.

I set the alarm for the time I need to get up. If I wish to sleep five minutes longer I will set the alarm for five minutes later. I know me. If I used that snooze button I would never get up.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Pass It On

Hand-me-downs. Since I am the oldest of seven children you would think I never had any. 

But as I have told you so many times our family did not have a lot of money. I had a lot of hand-me-downs. 

There were a lot of families in our little town who were able to buy nice clothes for their daughters. They were often expensive clothes that were not worn too often because there were so many of them. They shopped often.

Several of these families had daughters slightly older than me. When they tired of their nice clothes or outgrew them they would box them up and come knocking at our door. 

Those huge boxes contained nice wool skirts with matching cotton blouses. There were pleated skirts and circle skirts. There were straight skirts that show off the beautiful flat stomach of a young girl.

I usually loved the clothes. What girl would not like a new wardrobe?

What I did not like was the way they were given. Believe me I knew even at the time that the clothes were given because the people cared. But they would tell my mother, "If Emma can't use them just throw them out."

The statement made me feel as if the clothes were cast-offs only for someone as lowly as me. Again I do know that is not what was meant but it was hurtful.

I have passed usable clothing on to someone who might be able to use them. I am very careful to say, "If you can't use them perhaps you know someone who can."

Friday, December 1, 2023

You Know 'Em When You Hear 'Em

There are certain singer's voices you can recognize right away. Johnny Cash comes to mind. His voice is not quite gravelly but it is not smooth. It makes him extremely popular among common folks.

 I also think of Bob Dylan who has a nasal slur that makes him difficult to understand sometimes. And Della Reese had such a powerful beautiful voice. Leslie Uggams was another powerful voice. 

Perhaps Whitney Houston should be considered by herself. She had so many hit songs. I Will Always Love You was a huge hit for Dolly Parton who wrote it. Whitney made it even bigger.

Then there are the 'crooners'. My personal favorite is Sam Cooke. It is so easy to fall in love listening to You Send Me. Julio Iglesias has the same quality but he is no Sam Cooke. Smokey Robinson when he sings Ooo Baby Baby melts my heart. Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby also fall into this category. I think I will place Elvis Presly here too although he probably deserves his own category.

In the early days of Rock and Roll we had some distinctive voices. Big Mama Thorton sang Hound Dog before Elvis. As far as I am concerned Chuck Willis does the best version of C C Rider and of What Am I Livin' For. 

La Verne Baker brought fun and bounce to Rock and Roll with songs like Jim Dandy. Theresa Brewer followed in like manner. Their voices and songs just filled me with happy energy. Brenda Lee and Tanya Tucker could do it too. 

There were early groups that are memorable. The Platters are high on the list. The Coasters are in my memories along with The Temptations and The Miracles. The Beatles are also deserving of their own place. Prince is special too.

There are the screamers like Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith has screamed so much he has ruined his vocal chords.

Sarah Vaughn, Kate Smith, and Ethel Merman have memorable voices. Sarah Vaughn had a tinier voice than the other two but they are all memorable.

When I think of Big Bands I think of Louie Prima. He not only had good music but he was not stuffy. He and his band had fun together and with the audience. Brian Setzer has the same energy.

The singer of many western movie theme songs was Vaughn Monroe. You know his voice the moment you hear it.

I have omitted a lot of musicians. Michael Jackson has no category for instance. Jerry Garcia is known for being part of the Grateful Dead but he has one of the scariest voices I have heard. And I mostly stayed with American voices so those from other countries will just have to wait.

Who are your memorable favorites?