Saturday, November 20, 2010

Holiday Raspberry Salad

The requests have already started for the recipe for our traditional salad for holiday dinners!  I may have put this up already but here it is again in case you need something to make ahead or to take to someone else's  for a dinner party.

Holiday Raspberry Salad

This is the salad we all call around to get the recipe every Christmas so now you can just print it out.   I don't have the actual recipe here but here's the way most of us have modified it.

Top and Bottom

1 large (6 serving) box raspberry Jello
1 1/2 cups water
1-2 bags frozen raspberries (depends on how raspberry you want it)
1 cup apples, chopped (optional)


1 8 oz package cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 cups miniature marshmallows

Dissolve jello in hot water.   Stir in frozen raspberries and pour 1/2 mixture into a 9x13 pan.   Set in refrigerator while making filling.   Set other half aside.   Soften cream cheese and sour cream in mixer.   When well blended fold in marshmallows.   Spread filling on top of jello in 9x13 pan.   Spread rest of jello mixture on top of filling and refrigerate until set.

Number Of Servings:

Preparation Time:15-20 minutes

Friday, November 19, 2010

Memories of When We Had The Nation's Capitol Christmas Tree in North Park

Click on pictures to make them larger and hit the back button to get back to the blog.

The first day cover from that special time for all of us North Parkers!
 A friend of mine emailed me that the 2010 National Christmas Tree just went through Cheyenne after traveling all around Wyoming.   Many of you will remember way back to 1990 when the Nation's Capitol Christmas Tree came from Walden.  It was our Centennial and it was part of the celebration.

Bob was on the planning committee for this big event.
It was a really big deal with TV and newspapers from all over interviewing everyone.  Everything was a big event.  I think some Forest Service people went out and chose several trees to be flagged 2 or 3 years before it was our turn.  This part was very hush, hush so no one would know where the trees were and activists couldn't chain themselves to the trees when the time came to cut the chosen one!

Nice wood burning on Bob's plaque.
 When they cut the tree down, everyone was invited to attend the ceremonies.  There were speeches and as I recall they had the manufacturer of the chainsaw up there taking pictures for advertising purposes and who knows what else! I actually didn't attend but that was the story.  I think it was a Husquvarna but I'm not sure!

This was on the back of Bob's plaque.
 Traditionally school children from all over the state have been invited to make decorations for the tree and that was the case that year too.  I was not involved with that.  Our school groups, 4-H and local civic groups were invited to participate in a night time parade.  I'm not sure but I think it was the class I sponsored that had a float and I remember we had lumieres on it and it looked real cool!  Other floats had battery operated Christmas lights and I think my FHA or the 4-H or both had them all over their floats.  It was really very lovely and probably the only big night time parade ever held in North Park!
The logo for that year.
 A few days later they pulled the tree (which was all wrapped for shipping) through town with the Budweiser team. Everyone including me was running out into the street every few yards to get pictures and shake hands with the drivers.  They would stop and wait and then move on a few yards.  It was such fun!  A lot of kids who had graduated and were attending college or working somewhere else came up for this event and it was like the rodeo parade only with even more folks attending!

Of course we had to watch the lighting of the tree with all the children's decorations on it; and all the specials about how they placed and decorated the trees in the White House. You see, we didn't send just one tree but all the trees for decorating the White House and I think other Washington DC buildings as well! A delegation from North Park was there for all the festivities and they had a great time.

The funniest part of the whole deal was when my cousin called me from New Jersey and told us if we needed anything to let them know so they could help out!  It turned out that all the national TV and news coverage kept mentioning how poor our town was and how it was one step from bankruptcy!  We had a good chuckle over that even though it turned out to be very close to the truth.

This was how all Christmas cards were stamped that were mailed from Walden that year.
  They sent the tree back here when they were done with it. One of my students who was going for his Eagle Scout badge made wooden benches from it to put around town with a plaque telling the story of the tree.  The National Post Office Service also had a commemorative stamp made and I have a first day cover of it.  Sadly, there won't be any more trees from here, I don't think.  The pine beetles have really killed a majority of the big ones in our county.

Now I need to go see if I can find those pictures I took of the Clydesdales!  And where did I put that first day cover????

Sorry, I couldn't find  my pictures of the Clydesdales.  This all took place before I owned a digital camera and I'm sure the pictures are stored away in some box from one of our moves!  Or maybe Carla has them at her house where she is doing a lot of scrapbooking.  If I come across them I'll have to post them on this blog later.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Update on Harvest Craft Fair 2010 and Our Snowy Weekend

We are all set for a fun day at the craft fair.
 This year Carla decided to come down from Casper to do the Harvest Craft Fair with me.  I didn't do it for several years and they had moved it back to the old gym again.  We got up bright and early, got the car packed up with all our stuff and headed for town.

We were set up and ready to go by 9 AM and people started coming around.  Meanwhile Carla met up with a classmate she hadn't seen since graduation from high school (Nancy Knox Wattenberg).

Carla and Nancy get caught up on the North Park scuttlebutt.
They started visiting and 3 hours later were still talking!  That is the best part about doing a craft fair in North Park.  It is not about selling your wares as much as it is about getting caught up on all the visiting with friends you haven't seen in a very long time! Our table was between the Senior citizens booth and the Cattlewomen's booth.  That was great for us since I knew most of those people and we had a good time chatting with each other!
Two "crafty" ladies!
We did sell some of our wares and made enough to cover our fee for the table and then some.  Bob, of course, pointed out that I didn't cover the cost of making my Christmas Mix Cones, but then I didn't use up  even half of the supplies I bought and they will make great Christmas presents for the grandkids who are away at school and for all of us to use over the holidays.

In the afternoon it started to snow and by the time we got packed up and started for home the road was very slick with black ice.  When we were stopping to open gates we had 3 to 4 inches of snow and visibility was low!  Good thing we had Carla's Jeep with 4 wheel drive to get up the hill behind the barns.

After unloading the car and getting things put away we felt it was time for some hot tubbing.

Ahhhh!  So warm and relaxing!

Notice the ambiance while hot tubbing!  Nothing like a cold metal shop building to make you feel warm and cozy!
Brrrr!  Carla is braver and hardier than I am!
  It was a long day and after a glass of wine, some delicious cream of cauliflower soup and Red Lobster cheese biscuit clones we called it a night.  But not before Carla made some yummy baked apples with cheese.  It was a very good day.
A snowy evening at Meemo's cabin.
Sunday was a lazy day of watching the Broncos finally play a game worth watching and winning it too!  We were so sure they would win that at the half we decided to hot tub again.  It was still snowing but not really putting down much snow so we did not heed Bob's advice to plug in the Cat so we could get out the next day.  We watched TV, played on our computers and drank some of the chocolate Peppermint Cocoa mix we had left over.

Carla and Izzy are worn out after our busy day!
We finally got to sit down and watch some TV.
  Before I went to bed that night I checked to see if the moon was out but it was snowing pretty hard by then!  Oh well, too late to worry about Carla getting home by then,

It is now Monday and still snowing and not putting too much snow down.  We can probably drive out of here still with the pick up and Jeep but Wyoming roads are a different story!  Carla cannot drive home because all the roads she needs to go on are only "for necessary travel"! She has decided to spend another night here and take her chances tomorrow.  It is supposed to clear up by then so I think she'll finally make it!

Carla checks on the road report for Southern Wyoming.

Here are some more pictures of our weekend.

  Messing around in the hot tub and snow!

Our friends the Stellars Blue Jays have returned.  Notice the 3 waiting their turn at the feed box!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Edmond Fitzgerald--Remember That Old Song?

The Edmund Fitzgerald
 Every year around November 10, I hear something about the big ore
freighter, The Edmund Fitzgerald.  Some of you might remember that song written and sung by Gordon Lightfoot that went on and on for about 5 or 6 minutes telling the story of how it disappeared in Lake Superior during a terrible storm losing 29 lives.

I always think about our experiences with my dad every time I hear about this story.  When I was young Dad used to take us down to the docks in Milwaukee to look at the big Ore ships and oil tankers.  Even then they were huge and very impressive!  We would discuss how many stories tall those wheel houses were.  I remember us kids laughing about the unimaginative names of those big vessels, and wondering who the men were that they were named after.  It was kind of fun to be down there and I know it sounds pretty dorky but I'm glad Dad thought this was a fun and educational thing to do.

Today I am thinking that one of those huge ships was the Edmund Fitzgerald!  Lake Michigan is right next to Lake Superior up north and it is probable (and I even think in that long song he mentions something about leaving from Lake Michigan).  By the time the tanker went down, (I think 35 years ago) I was married and living in Walden where shipping news doesn't quite make it out to the ranches very quickly.  When the song came out, I was busy with babies and cooking for hay crews, etc. and didn't really listen to the whole thing very carefully.  I did say to myself, though, that it was pretty typical to have such a boring name for the ship! 

Now for the last few years the news stations have a piece on this story every year and it got me to thinking about it and bringing back fond memories of our family time down on Lake Michigan. You can probably tell that I am a history buff and now I am sorry I didn't memorize some of those names so I could really know I had actually seen this famous ship!

THE WRECK OF THE EDMUND FITZGERALD is based on the real-life sinking of a giant ore freighter which went down with all hands on Lake Superior in November of 1975 (Gordon Lightfoot made it famous with his haunting ballad).

It reads like a Greek tragedy: they knew they were in trouble (but didn't know why) and that their only hope was reaching the safety of Whitefish bay.

The story follows three Captains: McSorley, Stigler and Cooper. Captain McSorley was the captain of the Fitzgerald and many have questioned why he did the things he did and what happened. Captain Stigler was his colorful mentor who taught him the survival skills he needed to face the third worst storm of the century.

Captain Cooper was master of the ship Arthur M. Anderson, which accompanied the Edmund Fitzgerald across Lake Superior on its final voyage. Cooper turned his ship around and went back into the worst of the storm to look for the Fitzgerald.

Throughout the fateful evening, the Edmund Fitzgerald began having problems as her radars went out, her ship began filling with water and she began to list to one side.

Nature conspired against her as well shutting down several Coast Guard stations, forcing the evacuation of communications towers and finally shutting down all power in Sault Ste Marie as it grew into one of the worst storms of the century.

In the summer of 1994, the writer, Chris Chabot was invited on an expedition to the ship where they found a crew member and made a lot of news. Word made its way back to the families that he had written this script.

He was tracked down by five family members who asked about the project. Each was sent a copy of the script. One by one they responded. Several said they cried for quite some time after reading it and each said it was a story that must be made!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Embroidery Machine Woes and 2010 Craft Fair

2007 North Park craft fair held in the high school halls.

Two weeks have slipped by without a comment from me!  Where does time go anyway!  I have been so frustrated this fall with a malfunctioning embroidery machine!  On Thursday just as I was gearing up for the fall craft fair here and just hours after I had mailed my check for a booth, my machine mysteriously shut down and only made clicking sounds when I tried to restart it!

I called Larry up at Twin Falls Sewing Center, my guru for embroidery machines and the man who keeps my machine going.  He said it either overheated or the power board had gone out.  By Friday I knew it was the power board.  This was the third time since the first of September that I had to box up my machine and Fed Ex it up to Idaho!  You may wonder why I wouldn't just take it in to my local Bernina dealer--Larry even asked me why that wasn't an option. 

Well, here's the story on that.  First, my "local" dealer would be like in Ft. Collins or Loveland 120 miles away over Cameron Pass.  Second, I have tried both of those dealers plus a dealer in Casper WY while I was up at Carla's, and a huge repair shop for commercial machines near our hotel in Denver this summer.  All of these except the last one would not even look at my machine for at least two weeks (they had to send it out to a repairman somewhere else or were overwhelmed with machines) and then could not say when they could get it fixed!  The commercial place would have fixed it immediately but did not have parts for home machines and couldn't get them unless they were a dealer--which they weren't!  Third, Larry always has fixed my machine the day he gets it or the day the parts get there and shipped it back the same day.  If the parts are there he can get it back to me in about a week.  The cost of shipping it is less than driving down to the valley anymore and Larry gives me great discounts ( I gave him a lot of business when I was teaching in Elko County).

  Although it may sound like he doesn't do a good job (3 breakdowns in 2 months) it really isn't like that.  Each of the problems has been about something else and he has always gone over my machine carefully before sending it back because of my isolation.  I think my machine is getting old and I use the heck out of it, so it wears out parts pretty quickly.  You might think I just need to get a new machine but Berninas do last a lifetime and it is just some parts that need replacing from time to time.  Well, that is enough venting.  It's just that it always happens when I am on a deadline so I have to be resourceful and flexible.

More Christmas decorations from 2007.
 This time it happened a week before the craft fair and I had plans for some great Christmas ornaments and fall(Thanksgiving) decorations and table settings.  Well, maybe next year.  Back to the drawing board......  I have some really great stuff I haven't  sold yet so it will be there and of course my old mainstay, Meemo's Mountain Munch will be back along with our Christmas Cocoa Cones.  I did get some projects finished and they will be there too along with some of my newest project--embroidered soaps!

Still more items.  I have some of these things for this year too!  Obviously not the food items!!!!

Our decorated cocoa and scone cones that can hang on the tree or wall decoration.  I have fresh made cones for this year and of course new Meemo's Mountain Munch, too!

Close up of one of our decorated cones.
Embroidered soap!
Close up of the soap.
When the soap gets down to the embroidery you can use the design for applique, key chains, ornaments or whatever.

Some cute stockings to hold small gifts or cards that can hang on the tree.  I have a few for this year.