November newsletter

 No wonder that the weather is topic number one in Kansas. This last week end we went from 75º F (24º C) during the day to 5º (-15º C) at night. One day in shorts and the next day in long underwear under heavy pants. We were also supposed to get 1-2 inches of snow, but only got a dusting of the white stuff.

This month was clean-up time in the garden. The fence around the upper garden was dismantled and reset as a snow fence along our road.  Next year we will be planting only a small garden since we will be leaving Kansas in the summer. Therefore, cleaning up the garden made us a little nostalgic and sad.

We have a new boarder at our farm. It's the horse without a name. David's cousin Mandy owns the horse, but she has moved to Kansas City and cannot make it back that often. Her mother brought us the horse, but did not remember what Mandy had named it. Anyway, it's a friendly and gentle stallion and our horse barn and pasture give it a very nice home.  It has not had a saddle on its back for awhile so we'll give it time to get to know us before we will try to ride it.  Luckily the horse was used to dogs because our dog Lilly got very excited about a new playmate and tried to play games like pulling the horses' tail. The horse has not kicked her yet although it could still happen.

New activities have kept us pretty busy lately. David accepted a singing role in the Smith Center High School Musical "Bye Bye Birdie" and had to attend the various practice sessions. The performances will be this week-end. Lars has started to train for basketball which means an extra 2 to 3  hours each afternoon in the gym. Cecile and Christina like to tag along with David to his "Fat Men's Basketball" on Wednesday evening, but they also have dance and piano each week. And I have become a Yoga teacher at last. My first class with 12 students was last Tuesday. I teach the class in a large meeting room that belongs to the Kensington library for 75 minutes each Tuesday. Since this is my first class, I need to spend a lot of time preparing, but the first session was a full success. And the best thing is that I stay motivated practicing by myself. Cecile has been very skeptical about my ability to teach yoga because I am not able to do a free-standing headstand or a full bridge. We settled it by deciding that I will only teach beginners and she will teach advanced students.

I am also a one woman show in promoting Fair Trade coffee in Smith county. After selling it in our church in Athol, I am now scheduled to give presentations about the fate of the small coffee farmer to other congregations. I won't preach in this newsletter, but go to the Lutheran World Relief web site to find out more about the coffee project:

The last two weeks have made our back roads here busier than ever because it is pheasant season. Luckily most pheasant hunters are pretty lazy and do not walk through the fields. When I take my cross-country walks I therefore still see a lot pheasants that have escaped. The deer are in rutting season and they seem to have lost all sense of caution. You see them right next to the house and many on the roads. This winter I want to start documenting the empty houses and old barns that are all around us. I am pretty sure that they won’t be here in a couple years. A piece of history will be lost when all these farmsteads will be gone. I’m sending a couple of pictures of our neighboring houses with this e-mail already.

Christina and Cecile are doing well in school. Christina gets to do some advanced math work and loves to work on multiplication tables in her head. Cecile is reading and writing a little better each day. On her days off from school she likes to write at the kitchen table and has me spell word after word while I cook. Do you know how hard it is to spell continuously and measure ingredients at the same time? At their last piano lesson Christina and Cecile picked out the Christmas songs that they wanted to learn to play on the piano. They both picked “Silent Night, Holy Night”, Cecile also picked “Jingle Bells” and Christina “Away in a Manger”.  At dance, they graduated from ballet lessons to tap dance. The teacher had tap shoes for all the kids and they really enjoyed the noise they could create.

We will be having a big Thanksgiving dinner at our house. Although I see a flock of about 200 wild turkeys on a regular basis at the creek two miles east of the house, David has not managed to shoot one of them. He instead hunted down the best deal for store bought turkey and that's what we are going to have.  We’ll introduce our nephew Lars to the American classics of pumpkin pie, candied yams, and cranberry sauce.

We wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!


Hayride and Campfire for Christina's Birthday



Old Houses and Barns


The "Horse with No-Name"