Smell of the Farm

Where I grew up, folks used to laugh at city people who objected to the smell of a farm. Knowing that, John and I used to say to each other as we drove in farm country, “Smell that fresh country air!”

I hadn’t thought of that for a long time until we walked to the creek on a breezy morning. The wind was coming off the mountains and swooping over the farm, catching every nuance. John took a deep breath and said, “Mature manure.”

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Policeman on our Porch

Joyce, our next door neighbor, called us after she got home from work. Did we know anything about a small silver car parked in her driveway? We didn’t. We can’t see the front of her house from ours because of big evergreen trees. She and John came to the conclusion she should call the police. She had already checked through her house and found no evidence that anyone had tried to enter. Joyce called again after looking through the windows of the car and seeing a sweater and pocketbook.  The longer you live with a mystery, the more it gnaws at you. Joyce was concerned that perhaps a woman had been abducted. Who was the owner of the purse? Who might have taken her? Where were they now?  John offered to stay with her until the police came, and she eagerly accepted.

John locked our doors and turned on the porch lights as he walked next door. A bit later he called and said Joyce would feel more comfortable staying with us. Would I take his towels out of the bathroom? I did more than that. I cleaned the toilet and vanity. I also flicked the duster around the guest bedroom. I was very thankful I had changed the sheets on the bed that very morning.

I wasn’t expecting a policeman on the porch, but he began his search with me. I answered that I didn’t know anything about the strange car and explained that my husband was with Joyce. He told me the car was registered to someone in Clyde and that he suspected the driver was a high school student because of a parking sticker on it. He asked about the other neighbors and said he would check Amy’s house.

“Let me call her first,” I said. “She is alone and might be shocked to see you on her doorstep.”

I quickly outlined the problem for Amy and offered my phone to the policeman to talk to her himself. After her house was ruled out as harboring a fugitive, the man asked about the other neighbors. I lost sight of him as he headed across the street. That may have been when he noticed a car coming down the street.

A few minutes later Amy called, wondering what was happening. She was watching from her window and saw flashlights bobbing. It was John coming back, so we put the speakerphone on to hear the report together.

“It was Jean’s granddaughter and her friend,” John said.

Jean owns the house across from Joyce. We knew one daughter lived with her, but we didn’t realize there was a teen living there, as well.

John continued, “The girls went shopping at Walmart. The friend didn’t want to pull into Jean’s steep drive, so she parked in Joyce’s, and the granddaughter did the driving.”

Things were back to normal, so Joyce didn’t come to our house. I was a bit disappointed that we wouldn’t have a fun house party, but solving the mystery was better. Was there anything gained by this flap in our serene neighborhood? Yes, indeed! We had a freshly cleaned bedroom and bath, all ready for company!

Logan Hits a Tree

We volunteered to keep Logan again while his parents went to the airport. To diffuse some of that high powered energy, John met him at the door and immediately went sledding with him. The toy camera and I followed. The run was pretty fast, and the camera caught the action. Listening carefully, you might hear Logan laugh just after he hit the tree and rolled off the sled. If only we had captured a few more seconds, you could have seen the boy run up the hill still laughing.

As if that were not enough exercise, Logan and John still had energy to horse around inside. I liked the demo of the tandem exercise machine. Which person do you think used the most calories?

Official Mehrling Measurement

The full moon was brilliant at 4 am, casting distinct shadows on the thick layer of snow left by the big storm. I did not have the photographic skills to capture it, so just imagine it with me. It was stunning.

I took a photo at a more reasonable hour when the sun obeyed its appointed call to rise. The air was crisp, as you’d expect at 5F.

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I dared to step outside when the temperature had risen to 16F. The green ruler pronounced our snow to be 8 inches deep. For all I know, it may have settled to that depth, but that is all we can prove. It is enough. We are satisfied.

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Logan’s Heroes

A dear friend labeled one of our Logan stories with a takeoff on the old TV show Hogan’s Heroes. I am definitely not in the hero class, but John is. Any man in his mid-70s who will stay outside in 21 degrees F for an hour while a 5-year-old sleds has earned his badge, cape, wings, or power helmet. Hip, hip, hooray!

We had it easy compared to Shawn and Bob. All we did was play with Logan while they went to the airport. Shawn’s flight was canceled because of snow yesterday, but today they trekked out to the airport. At the time Shawn got on the plane, there had been no flight in or out of the airport for one or two days. Bob stayed for quite a while before driving home. He and John finished cleaning Amy’s drive and front steps. That’s when the call came, that the flight was not leaving after all. The plane had not been de-iced, and the fuel truck was stuck. I don’t know how long the passengers were confined to their seats, but they were finally returned to the terminal.

John went outside with Logan as Bob headed for the airport again. The boy used both of our sleds — a butt board and a plastic sled. I don’t know which was more successful, but at the end Logan was able to go from the top of his drive well down toward the creek. John was getting chilled and knew he had to go inside. He gave Logan the word, this is the last run. The boy suggested he would stay out by himself, which was not an option. The final run was prolonged, but Logan dragged the sled up the hill. As old man and little boy headed across the street, Logan said, “Thank you for taking me sledding.”



They came in cold and wet. John persuaded him to take off his pants and put them in the dryer. He didn’t want to be in our house wearing only underwear and a shirt, but heaccepted one of John’s tee shirts. I asked if I could take his picture, because he looked so cute in that outsize shirt. He declined, and I put the toy camera back in my pocket.


There is a moral to this tale. Keep a few of your children’s or grandchildren’s toys for your old age. You never know when you’ll need to entertain a child with them.

Storm Dressed in White

The snow raced the forecaster’s prediction and won. We thought we’d wake to rain and found about three inches of snow standing at attention on the railings. It was fun watching the mountains come and go. I reveled in watching the heavier snow blot out the view and sculpt toppings for pots. It added a white mask and high hat for the bird feeder. The snow designed a fancy scalloped edge for the railing and sometimes blew from the roof, pretending to be a blizzard. To me it was a gorgeous day.

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012216 Bird bath sculpture.JPG

Eager Logan

John hadn’t been in the house more than a couple of minutes when the doorbell rang. After he was invited in, Logan burst into the hall, full of energy. He told us he stood by the window for 20 minutes waiting for John to come home. It seems Bob told him he couldn’t come over until both of us were home, so the boy watched eagerly for the car to return.

If you can see the video, you can tell that John does not fit the character of Mr. Wilson in the comic strip Dennis the Menace. I am Mrs. Wilson to Logan’s Dennis, but John is never grumpy with a visiting child.