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 Editor's Notebook By Bill Blauvelt Country Roads By Gloria Schlaefli A Different Slant, By Chuck Mittan Panorama By Fawna Barrett

Editor's Notebook

By Bill Blauvelt
There are times of the year when the weather makes a suitable reason for delaying a task. In the summer it is often too hot and in the winter it can be too cold. There are a few days in the fall a televised football game may make a suitable excuse to defer a weekend task but I was out of excuses Saturday afternoon and I agreed to help Rita rearrange our home office area.
We have a nice finished room, about 10x15 in the basement of our home. When my parents and I shared the house, it served many uses including living room, project room and office. There was room for my antique roll top desk, file cabinets, couch, television and round project table. With the advent of computers, it seems the room has grown smaller. It isn't uncommon for me to have three or four task specific computers set up, a printer or two and perhaps a scanner. Computers were supposed to replace paper but I've had to add book shelves and file cabinets to house the paper associated with the computers.
Saturday afternoon Rita suggested we replace some of the open shelving with a storage cabinet. Remembering past problems moving furniture into the room I estimated the cabinet's size. It was not quite as tall as I am and about three foot wide. I go in and out of the office room several times a day, I was confident the cabinet would make it.
With Rita's help I got it out of storage and wheeled it home on a large industrial size cart once used to move broom corn bales at the Deshler Broom Factory.
I knew that cart would never make it down our basement stairway so I waited at the backdoor while Rita went to the garage for an appliance cart Paul Leslie once used in conjunction with his business. That cart has made several trips to our basement and I was confident.
I was standing in the yard, lost in thought while waiting for Rita to return with the cart when I was surprised when a young woman ran up behind me and said, "Are you stuck? Do you need my help?"
Without hesitation I said, "Thanks but we are doing just fine." By the time I turned around to see who the Good Samaritan was, she was about to her car.
I appreciated her offer and would like to know her name, but I don't. She was so quick and took me by such surprise I don't know if she was a total stranger or a longtime friend. I can't give a good description, She was a small, dark haired woman, perhaps a high school student and driving a light-colored vehicle. I appreciated her offer. It demonstrated why I like living here.
It's not the first time strangers have come to my assistance and I don't expect it will be the last. She may have been headed to the grocery store or movie theatre and just driving by my house. She appeared to be in a hurry as opposed to someone out for a leisurely walk. But she had time to stop and help another human being who appeared to be in need.
At the time I didn't know it, but I was about to need help.
Rita and I worked for the next hour or more trying to maneuver the cabinet into the basement. We removed doors and woodwork to gain an extra inch. We turned it this way and that. We hauled it up and down the stairs but we finally gave up.
We knew it had to be laid either on its back or side to go down the stairs and found only one of those ways allowed us to stand it so we could turn a corner. We maneuvered around and past several obstacles but were stopped less than inch from having the cabinet in the office by a low hanging furnace duct. We had taken the cabinet off the cart and removed the floor covering to gain a bit more space. It looked like we had it made when the cabinet started under the duct. With only an inch to go, we discovered either the duct slopes down or the floor slopes up and we were stuck. At that point we had to either give up or get a big hammer. With the hammer we could have smashed the duct or cabinet, or chipped out the concrete but those alternatives came with major drawbacks.
We retraced our steps and returned the cabinet to storage exhausted and disappointed that a plan we conceived months ago to organize our basement office had to be changed.
But we won't forget the passerby who stopped her automobile and offered to help. If she should read this entry in the notebook, Rita and I would like an opportunity to properly express our thanks.
I don't know why she would but should she like a green watermelon, we have lots.
Saturday morning's frost got our melon patch just as it was starting to produce. We were late planting and knew we needed a late fall but took the chance. Until this week, our melon crop was promising. We got a good stand and had healthy vines throughout the summer. Fruit set was excellent and we had just started to pick.
We mulched the crimson sweet vines and they were nearly weed free throughout the growing season. The frost got all the crimson sweet vines. We didn't mulch the sugar baby plant from which we harvested some early melons. Though all the melons on that vine have been harvested, the weeds held enough heat that the vine appears green and healthy this week.
The frost also got the butternut squash and sweet potato vines but we are pleased with our harvest from those plants. It was just warm enough that our tomato and pepper plants appear to have escaped the frost.
Only planted a short row of turnips this year hoping a farmer friend will be willing to share a few from one of his fields.

Country Roads

By Gloria Schlaefli

With the annual Highway 36 Treasure Hunt scheduled for this week, I decided the storage area in our basement needed to be cleaned out with the hope some hidden treasures could be parted with and offered at the sale. High expectations were flowing as I opened one storage container after another trying to see what could go and what had to stay. The old saying kept haunting me, "If you haven't used it in over a year, you don't need it." At first the process was going well as things were being separated. I had a trash pile, a pile of neat things we could part with at a sale, and things that we could not part with.
I found container filled with family photos and though I knew they were keepers, it took four hours of my work schedule to view the photos. Many memories were stirred in the process. That container was placed back in the same spot. Curtains and drapes that had been saved with the thought that maybe they could be used again had to go. Knick-knacks that once set upon shelves and later were stored away could be parted with. Jewelry, flower arrangements, canisters, framed pictures, decorative pillows, all too good to toss but maybe someone else could use them in their homes were placed in the sale pile. Nothing is sacred as container filled with Christmas decorations that had sorted through. Only 10 more containers left to go through and I'm out of time. Why did I save and store so much?
How did the storage area get so packed? I remember when I had to make my first move and how my father brought his farm truck. We had one truck load. The next move, came after having two boys, and once again my father brought his truck. This time it took three truck loads to make the move. As the years pass, we acquire more and more appliances, furniture and "things." Clean out what is stored, in a few years the storage space is filled again.
The problem is worse when you are a sentimental keeper as I am. We keep the first booties our youngsters wear, the first toys they played with, and all the wedding keepsakes have to be saved.
Now I'm paying for all the saving.
I've watched the television show, "Hoarders, Buried Alive", where room after room is filled with boxes. Only pathways can be found from room to room. I tell myself, that I am not a hoarder as I quickly empty out another container. Now there are five empty containers in one corner and plans are made to condense and combine other containers. Some headway has been made.
If I get the sorting done in time, I can take most of my offerings to the sale, and some things to the trash dumpster, and some to local thrift shops. Then I can look proudly at my few containers all lined up neatly upon shelves. Hopefully they will remain that way for at least a year or two.

Life Beyond The Ranch

By Tonya R. Pohlman
An old tale tells of an Eskimo, who became chilly sitting in his kayak. But when he lit a fire in the craft to keep warm, the kayak sank proving, that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
Yes, that was funny. My husband, Marty, will not think so, but the rest of you are free to laugh, smile, smirk or guffaw.
I must have caught a touch of autumn madness from our backyard walnut tree squirrel, the one wildly dropping nuts and endangering any person or animal below as Whacko Wally flits from limb to limb in frantic preparedness for the rapidly changing season.
Whacko Wally is always a bit frenzied. My frenzy usually fluctuates. But recently I'm becoming more and more in tune with Wally.
One minute, I am enjoying a leisurely Republican River run, party of 10, with Marty and I in our canoe, and coworkers, and a coworker's family members - all of them in their kayaks. The next minute, I can feel the rapid retreat of summer, only reminded of our recent day's journey along the river, by the skin on my face and legs, injured by sun exposure, reddened and peeling, long after that day in the sun.
With a mental note on file to remember sunscreen and a hat on my next summer outing, I am all too aware of how distant that next summer outing will be. Autumn is here, and with it, the madness that only I and Whacko Wally can understand, as we both prepare for the winter that lies beyond these cooling and shortening days giving lengthier presence to night.
While Wally gathers and stores food for the coming months, I echo his frenzy with my own sudden need to sort, clean, discard, organize and rearrange. There are projects and good intentions in our home, forgotten and encased in dust, that only now have I rescued from cobwebs and damp.
I have sorted and re-distributed multiple boxes of disorganized photos and personal items. There were items in boxes I did not realize I possessed. There were items which needed to be sorted and given to or shared with others. Though tedious and time-consuming, many of the tasks I've undertaken as of late, fill me with more of a sense of accomplishment in knowing that things are where they should be, or at least in a better arrangement than randomly tossed about our small, damp basement.
In addition to my sorting and re-distribution, Marty assembled shelves on our back porch, for me to re-organize areas of our home for what I consider more efficient use and accessibility. I know Marty would much prefer I leave most things just as they were or at least provide a map detailing all of the new locations of the things he was accustomed to finding where they no longer are.
But in the de-cluttering process of sorting and organizing everything from old photographs, to crafts and hobby supplies, to canned goods, groceries, kitchen tools and bathroom linens, I feel there is a weight lifted, not just in the burden of tasks left incomplete, but also in no longer carrying with me into the coming seasons, the things I will no longer need or utilize in a manner conducive to the life I presently choose to live.
As we greet autumn, just as I have come to be and feel, may your hearts be light, your dwellings warm, and may your boats be safely stored until the rivers run smooth and the sun warms our days into summer again.


By Fawna Barrett

Taking three children, ages 9, 7, and 4, the latter two boys, to a stage play that lasted two and a half hours might be a problem, but in this case, they were enraptured with the music and the action. It helped that two children, just a tad bit older than them, were among the main characters.
A puzzlement to them was how two characters could flynamely Mary Poppins and Bert. Still, they just puzzled over it and didn't ask questionsas they might miss other surprises.
Changing scenery was captivating to the young eyes. And when a statue of three people came to life, their eyes became as big as saucers.
What a fun afternoon for three generations to share!