Posts tagged with Lifestyle

But, Mom, Does it Hurt? For Tracy Hill giving blood is a family matter as her children Martin, Gordon, Truman and Vivian along with husband, Dennis, gather around to provide company and ask questions.

And no, it doesn't hurt.

Stull United Methodist Church filled their entire Community Blood Center schedule with donors Sunday, January 17th. It is a cheerful gathering as donors roll up their sleeves for a nearly critical blood shortage. The delicious bowl of soup provided by the church bolsters the atmosphere.

Click here and fill in your zip code then "search" to find a donor location and date with the Community Blood Center. Walk-ins are always welcome.

Here are American Red Cross donation sites within 50 miles for the next month.


Freezing Corn on a Hot Day

Almost two bushels of corn and that is only half of it. Time to begin the harvest that started here.

Our process:

First, we locate our propane turkey fryer and the big stainless steel stew pot we purchased to make Frogmore Stew. (Which, by the way, sounds pretty good right now with all the fresh vegetables.) This setup will provide boiling water to blanch the corn.

I dig out a huge muck bucket, scrub, run a disinfectant clothe over it and rinse again just to make sure, then add three gallon milk cartons of ice and water.

It is best to get the corn from the garden to the table or freezer quickly. So, we pick and immediately shuck and wash the corn to get as much of the silk off as possible.

By then, the water is boiling. The pot has a basket so we fill it half full and drop in the boiling water. Most information says to blanch sweet corn four minutes. That time seems too long for our tender ears. We end up leaving them in for only one minute. In that time, they taste done.

Then comes the trick. Dumping the hot corn immediately go into the ice water without a burn or scald. After time to cool in ice, drain and slice kernels off with a sharp knife, bag and spread about in the freezer.

Family arrives to help around 3:00 pm and by 5:00 we were mostly finished except for the cleanup. It went smoothly. And in a couple days it will be even better now that we have the routine.

The day was hot but maybe that memory plus the tasty homegrown corn will add a little warmth to cold winter days in only a few short months.


Celebration in Stull Cemetery A cemetery tour might seem an unusual beginning of a 4th of July celebration. On the other hand, it is a place of history, a documentation of the opportunities and sacrifices our freedom offers.

Stull United Methodist Church began its 150th anniversary celebration with a potluck supper and fireworks display on Friday night. Continuing on Saturday, July 4th, is the cemetery tour.

A cloudy rather dreary morning greets an upbeat group gathered on the hayrack for the ride around and through the Stull cemetery tombstones. Our tour guide Iona Spencer has researched the lives of over 4,000 people in the Stull and Lecompton communities. Elsie Middleton also works on the project and provides color commentary for the tour.

The first grave marker we encounter is Wittich, 1832-1910. An unfortunate family name spelling most likely is the reason for persistent stories of this cemetery being haunted. A KU professor, bed sheets and fraternity initiations fuel the fire. Over the years, Iona Spencer said she frequently brought coffee and cookies to Douglas County Sheriff deputies guarding the cemetery at Halloween and the 13th of the month. Razing the original church high on the hill has deterred this activity in recent years.

Tombstone names are familiar to most on the wagon. Many families emigrated from Germany in the mid 1800s because of the unrest in Europe as well as opportunities to find cheap land here in the newly organized Kansas territory.

There seem to be many old tombstones with birth and death dates indicating children. One baby is buried with its mother, both having died during childbirth. Diphtheria was often a deadly early disease for children. One child died because of a prairie fire. His older brother was able to climb the rock fence to escape.

Adults died before their time. A roll over lumber wagon, family feud over equipment and as well as hard work involved in living off the earth—all stories affecting the lives and deaths of local residents.

Perils of early homesteading often found children with one parent other than their own. One father raised two sets of stepchildren plus his own.

The common European homeland gave the community a connection and often children found their partners within the community. An assumption for someone new in the community is, “always assume everyone is related when talking about anyone.” A custom in Germany, which carried over to early America, was if a family were all girls, the eldest would retain the family name when married.

All too soon, our 4th of July cemetery tour is over. It was a great opportunity to hear Stull community history by looking at family burial plots. We appreciate Iona and Elsie’s work in chronicling the past and, in doing so, gathering stories for future.


Love in Six Words

Love letters remind me of the yearly Valentine Peanuts cartoon. Charlie Brown is waiting by his mailbox for a love letter only to be disappointed. Love letters are wonderful if they appear. Often, as with Charlie, they don’t.Still, as the Country Parson once mused, “Spoken words tend to float away—only written words endure.” How many of us have a box of keepsake letters in the back of the closet.So, what if the thought is there, but time is short. An alternative to a long, romantic love letter might be the six word memoir.Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser, editors of Smith Magazine's Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak, visited with NPR’s Neal Conan on NPR's Talk of the Nation about their collection of well known and not so well known authors who share their six word tell all. Listen to podcast here. Smith and Fershleiser, said their inspiration was Ernest Hemingway who penned, “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn” when asked to write a full story in six words. My personal favorite from the program was, “He sees the me I don’t.” and the most sobering, “For the children, I remain his.”Several friends agreed to share their six word statement on love. We would love to read yours."Ralph, Martha. Laughs, tears. Indelible years." Ralph Gage"We kissed and then played house." David Lignell"in your arms, I was born." Marlo Angell"love abandons, ethereal promises in dream." Ronda Miller"Confused, used, enthused, contused, infused, amused." Multidisciplinary"Sometimes love makes my face red." Aaron Hoobler (age nine)"Friends for life, love seals deal." Linda Hanney


Super Bowl Ads Don’t Measure Up

Clydesdales, snow globes, and which soft drink ad is the best. The buzz this week is as much about the advertisements as the Super Bowl game. down, outside of the Super Bowl hype, I think the Angus beef breeders have the best advertisement campaign.The experts who know about grades and types of beef say it is true, Angus beef is a good product. They tell us to purchase an Angus hamburger at Hardees and which roast or steak to purchase at the meat case.Now, as this can spotted in a grocery store indicates, they are appealing to the most discerning palate.


Don’t Get Around Much


Back to the Basics-Ear Plugs and Safety Goggles

The current financial crisis seems over powering even in the midst of cheery Holiday celebrations. One way to cope is to live a more basic lifestyle. Basic lifestyle may vary by individual. With upcoming holiday vacation time, personally completing all aspects of a home improvement project is one type of basic living, which results in a great deal of financial savings. Many of us find ourselves dusting off tools half forgotten in the corner of the garage. Often the old saw brings back memories of the shop teacher yelling above the din. I wonder if young people, amazingly proficient in electronics, have any knowledge of these basic woodworking tools, the skills needed to run them and do something with what they turn out. Or loud shop teachers for that matter. Perhaps this is why there appears to be a change in future state funding for basic education.Recently, the ,Abilene Reflector Chronicle Lifestyles Editor, Kathy Hageman reported, the Solomon USD 393 Board of Education approved moving the wood shop equipment from the Ag shop back into the original Wood’s building that was converted to a tech lab.Mitchell Tigtmeier, Solomon vocational-agriculture teacher said, “What we have now is state funding has shifted back to the basics—to woods and the agriculture classes, Ag education, animal sciences, metals, woods, drafting, project construction and cabinetmaking.”While many school districts have maintained a vocational technical curriculum for students thinking of a career craft, I wonder if other middle or junior high wood and drafting shops were turned into computer tech classrooms. It is this early teenage time when young people are open to new opportunities especially hands on skills in woodworking and drafting. Learning to draw up plans, identify woods, handle power tools and even something as simple as the proper use of a coping saw is best taught in a highly structured setting to both girls and boys at an early level. How many have a junior high woodworking project in their home? It seems Kansas and the Solomon school district are moving in the right direction. It is time to get back to the basics. Most importantly, as Abilene's Hageman reports, "Board member Mark Wallace said, I feel the skills being taught are ones of interest to students.”


Rainy Day

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.Langston Hughes


Staying positive

Losses as a result of the financial crisis concern most every family. How could it not cause stress? News stories using ominous words and dire predictions do not help. Here are three links I found helpful.Steve Kraske, a political correspondent for The Kansas City Star is moderator of "Up to Date" KCUR public radio's daily show. He hosted an informative discussion entitled, "Your Investments in a Turbulent Economy" with an emphasis on, " what you should be asking your adviser about your financial plans."David Jackson, CFP of Waddell & Reed and Kathy Stepp, CFP, of Stepp & Rothwell discuss this complex subject with Kraske and call in listeners.With all the stressful information bombarding us from every direction, you might want to listen to this segment aired on NPR's Talk of the Nation entitled Bad at Multitasking? Blame your Brain . It sounds like it is less stressful to concentrate on one thing at a time--who knew?Finally, are you feeling as lost as I am with the words describing the current financial crisis? I recommend the Bloomberg Financial Glossary. There are also links on the glossary page to other investment tools.


Landon Center on Aging Offers Continuing Education

Theo and Alfred M Landon, names often associated with Kansas State University, also contributed to Kansas University. Research at the Landon Center on Aging located north of the KU Medical Center complex in Kansas City focuses on major issues for the aging population including stroke recovery, Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's. Recently, I attended a class offered at the Landon Center. Maril Crabtree, a published author and presenter spoke about Flow Writing. I cannot pass an opportunity to learn something new about writing. Arriving early allows time to study "This Motherless Child" series of eight drawings by Elizabeth "Grandma" Layton on display. I say, "study" because one cannot just look at these drawings. Elizabeth Layton describes the Motherless Child as a "frail, elderly person, who, like a very young child, has become dependent on someone else, yet still has dignity and independence of spirit." Perhaps because of experiences with my family, I find her drawings reassuring. She uniquely captures the elders determination of character in a care facility with drawings and explanations. As the tables fill, I feel apprehensive. All women and one man sit with pen in hand. They are mostly retired. Were they previously English teachers, newspaper editors? Listening to conversations, I learned there are several poets. Thankfully, no credentials checked and in fact, laughter all around and I feel at ease. We are ready to write."Flow Writing is a way to find out what's going on inside. It's an act of discovery" explains Ms. Crabtree. To accomplish this, she tells us to keep our hand moving, try not to think too hard or control our thoughts. Lose our critical editor. Be specific. See a mind picture and write it. Don't worry if it doesn't make sense.The hour and half flies by. We write three essays, read them aloud, feel emotions of humor and sadness in the compositions while learning something about ourselves. I know these people a short time, but feel they are old friends.There is a final Flow Writing Class this summer on August 12, 2008, from 1:00 to 2:30. Attendance at previous classes is not a prerequisite. In addition, September 23rd will be another writing class entitled "Thanks for the Memories" all taught by Maril Crabtree.Our last assignment was to write two minutes about an object from our past that is dear to us. Try it. Get a piece of paper or sit at the computer and let the words flow.