I miss my Akron, Houston, Red Rock, and Strawn friends.

Barb Collier, Pam Perdue, Kim Morckel, Bev Vaughn and I were a quilting group in Akron. The first year we made a different quilt block each month while we chatted. I chose to use fabric that represented the month of the block. This was about three years ago.

This is the group at Barb’s house August 2017.

I split these block in to three lap quilts. I gave one to Rachel, Michael and Gretchen. Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of each one when they were done. I used different fabrics for the blocks on each of the quilts.

Gretchen received her quilt last Thursday. I do not quilt as fast as Barb (or as neatly) but I finally finished the quilt. Gretchen was kind enough to pose with the quilt and send me the picture.

Molly photo bombed in the bottom right corner. You can see the January, April, May and June blocks.

The Depot Express

On Tuesday, May 15th I began a part time job at The Depot Express in Coralville. It is a gas station/convenience store that is locally owned with 9 stores. It is only an 8 minute drive.

The Depot Express

The first two days I was trained by Jo, great gal, on the food side of the store.

Great selfie of me in the bathroom with my COOL hairnet!

We made burgers and other hot sandwiches, deep fried a lot of appetizers, and made pizza. I made at least 20 pizzas in two days. I am good at making them, BUT….my slices are not as even as they should be!! Ask for a big slice when you stop in the store.

Carnival of Mathematics 137 | Blog on math blogs

On Thursday I started my training on the register and front of the store with Jenn. Another sweet gal.

My nemesis…..

Displays & Shelving - Pan-Oston

There are at least 15 different types of Marlboro cigarettes. Then there are about a zillion other brands. The prices in this clip art picture are WAY off. I think the average pack is at least $6. Then there is the chew and the snuff and the cigars and the vapor products. My head was spinning. Luckily the customers were very kind in pointing out where their brand was located.

Knocked Out Smiley | Symbols & Emoticons


I had to get a post office box because I could not receive mail at the dam since it is a government facility. My mail usually goes to Rachel and Nate’s in Texas as their address is my official address.

Rachel screens my mail (don’t send anything to her address that you don’t want her to see) and forwards or scans.


Today I had letters to mail and stopped in at the post office. I had two letters from friends, a piece of junk mail and two packages. I can’t express my excitement!!! REALLY!!! Thank you Barb and Jeannine for the cards! Thank you Rachel for sending Henrietta her official Texas license plate ( the other Henrietta never became an official Texan). She says thank you to you Rachel and a huge thank you to Sharon who sent decorations for Henrietta. I will take a picture once they are up.

My address is P O Box 881 North Liberty, Iowa 52317.

Coralville Dam

United States Army Corps. of Engineers (USACE)

I am now a volunteer for a branch of the Department of Defense. I had to be fingerprinted!! I volunteer 20 hours a week in the Visitor Center. I work Friday 12 to 4, and Saturday and Sunday 10 to 6.

This is my spot. Not a great picture. I am with three other families that are volunteers or contract workers. We have a special place to camp.

My first weekend went very well.

This is part of my view while working. Directly across the water is where you put in boats and then to the right of it is the beach. The dam is to the left of the boat ramp. The Devonian Fossil Field is on the other side of the dam and to the right.

Strawn, Texas to Coralville, Iowa

After a sad goodbye to Gary, Diana, MY courtyard chicks, and the rest of the animals we left Strawn on April 23rd and drove over to McClain’s RV in Fort Worth. This is where I bought the new Henrietta. I am going to call her Henrietta instead of Henrietta II. I do not want her to think she is second in or to anything. At McClain’s they checked out a few issues with Henrietta. Two were quick fixes, but the awning (which does not go in or out) needed replaced (thank goodness this is a warranty item). Unfortunately it would be two weeks for the new awning to arrive.

So, off we (Hank, Henrietta, Hannah, Eddie and I — in case you didn’t know –BB is no longer part of the expedition and will be greatly missed) went on our 950 mile trek to Coralville.

Lots of first on this trip: no BB, new Henrietta, Eddie rode in Henrietta (he was VERY relieved to not be riding in Hank, not sure what he has against Hank other than he is the only other male on the expedition), heading North, Henrietta’s first time in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, and our first time camping out in a Walmart parking lot.

I took this from the front of Walmart. Yep, it is crooked. This was our first Walmart and we were all alone. I had a hard time sleeping because it was TOO QUIET!!! No animal sounds, no people or vehicle sounds. Creepy.

We spent three more nights in Walmart parking lots along the way. At the others we always had the company of semis and other trailers. I was surprised that other than the semis starting in the morning it was quiet even though the Walmarts were all 24 hour stores.

In one Walmart parking lot I had several people stop and chat with me. They either saw me walking to Henrietta from the store or passing by her door. The most interesting was the couple that had been married 50 some years. They were in the parking lot in their truck to park by the street and watch traffic. Did I mention this was in Kansas? Hey Nate, what is up with the people in Kansas? Well, I should not be so judgmental as Gary, Chuck and I sat in the courtyard several times watching my baby chicks as they grew and ventured out from their mama.


Oklahoma and Kansas were just as uninhabited along route 35 as Texas and several times I drove 20 minutes off the highway just to find a Walmart. I thought the scarcity of Walmart would be behind me once I left Strawn.

No driving problems along the way. I stopped in Hiawatha, Iowa (30 minutes North of Coralville) at a KZ RV dealer to have them look at and order the new awning. Ketlesen RV was a nice place.

Then on to the dam!


Since the December in Houston my truck has been covered with pollen on and off. Not just a thin layer, but a lot. No sense washing poor Hank. He is covered the next day. The tonneau cover shows it the most. It is a light green and makes me want to sneeze when I see it.

SheKnows | Entertainment, Recipes, Parenting & Love Advice
I am sure I look even more ridiculous.
Stacey Kalkowski's Art Journal: Pollen Spores and Asteroids

Pollen is a fine to coarse powdery substance comprising pollen grains which are male microgametophytes of seed plants, which produce male gametes (sperm cells). Pollen grains have a hard coat made of sporopollenin that protects the gametophytes during the process of their movement from the stamens to the pistil of flowering plants, or from the male cone to the female cone of coniferous plants. If pollen lands on a compatible pistil or female cone, it germinates, producing a pollen tube that transfers the sperm to the ovule containing the female gametophyte. Individual pollen grains are small enough to require magnification to see detail. The study of pollen is called palynology and is highly useful in paleoecology, paleontology, archaeology, and forensics. (Wikipedia)

I found this very interesting.

Our pollen levels are on a scale of 12. Low is 0-2.4, Low-Medium is 2.5-4.8, Medium is 4.9-7.2, High-Medium is 7.3-9.6, and High is 9.7-12.0. These levels take into account how much pollen the allergy sufferer is likely to be exposed to for that given period.

Pollen counting has been recognized as an important process since the turn of the 20th century. Not only have pollen counts advanced our knowledge of the role plant pollen plays in causing allergy, they have become a powerful tool just like accurate weather forecasts in day-to-day, individual health problem solving. (

Can you tell I have time on my hands? This sneeze is for you!!!

Grab a tissue! Sneezes may be the 'Sharknado' of germs ...

Eight Days of Hope

XIV February 10th to 17th  and XV February 17th to 24th in Houston, Texas

This is a fabulous organization that is helping to rebuild the areas flooded by Harvey. 4B is one of the local organizations working with 8DOH.

Mike, Chirs and Pastor Butch (Shari wasn't here when I took the picture.)

There have been soooo many people from Clear Creek Community Church. I ask them all if they know Nate and Rachel. I am soooo proud of all the positive comments about my kids!

As of Friday evening we had at least 3004 volunteers. They came from 47 states and 4 countries. We hope to help at least 720 homes.

I have been blessed by working at the check in desk. I start at 6A and work until 8P. Of course, this is the perfect job for me as I LOVE to talk.

These are some of the lovely gals that have had to put up with me.

Diane, Margaret and Kay

Escape Artist or Cattle Drive

Wednesday, March 7th

Well, Missy and Gomer did not come in to eat at 8A. I checked several times for late arrival and then got preoccupied sweeping and cleaning rust off of tools.

At 4P Missy and Gomer were no shows. So, with phone in pocket and a can of cattle cubes I set out to discover their whereabouts.

The first adventure in the pasture was the horse and donkeys seeing the can of cubes and deciding to follow me. What would that be? 1000 to 1500 pounds stalking me. I hid the can under my shirt. Fanny just quietly snuck up behind me and yanked at my shirt. I felt blessed that Stanley, huge boy cow, had not discovered me. There lay Gomer near the back fence. He was watching me, but didn't move. Perhaps I should say now that his horns stick straight out the side of his head. I never really noticed their size when feeding him cubes by hand.

Okay, back to the search, one cow found. Looking over the fence in to the creek bed I spy Missy. She seems happy to see me. I crawl through the barb wire fence. Have I mentioned my lack of coordination? Safely on the other side I entice her to follow me along the fence in search of a gate. Gomer has joined us on his side of the fence. I found no gate and no gap where she could have possibly fit. After some pondering on how to get us both on the right side of the fence I called Gary's friend Chuck.

My search had turned in to a search and rescue.

My knight in shining iron galloping up on a white steed arrived followed by four dogs. I need a picture of Chuck. He has snow white hair. (close enough) He too walked the fence and found no easy place to get back in. He is so kind and patient and very good at explaining things. Our plan was to loosen the fence wires and entice this massive cow to go through the wire. Yeah right…. Are you hilariously laughing!!!

Camel Passing Through Eye of Needle Parable | Jesus ...

Chuck left to get more food and fence repair tools. Chauncey and the other dogs decided to stay and protect me. Luckily Gomer was bored and lay back down just giggling away at my efforts to entice his mamma through the fence. Chuck returns with feed and tools to help loosen and then retie the fence to the posts.

Okay, get ready. I have the can of feed offering Missy cubes while backing through the barbed wire fence Chuck is holding open as wide as he can. My butt backing through was I am sure a sight he will never forget.

Missy stops at the fence, horns and nose through and pauses. I back up a tiny bit and feed. Finally Chuck says, "Get out of the way!" Missy burst through the fence. Gomer was right there watching everything very closely. Now Chuck and I get to putting the fence back together when the dogs decide to agitate Gomer. He was hopping (literally) around knocking in to Missy and generally causing a scene. Chuck is loudly encouraging the dogs to stop and me to get out of the way.

Everyone settles, but the cows are not going to allow Chuck to work on the fence. So, off I go enticing Missy and Gomer to follow me by feeding them cubes. NEVER turn your back on Stanley or Gomer!! Luckily, Stanley is nowhere to be seen. I am trying to walk sideways – backwards. I figure soon enough they will head to the feeding area or stop and graize. NO! Out of feed I try to get to the end of the field to the path to the feed area. (What is the real name for that area?)

Gomer what to try and encourage me to give him more cubes. A little head nudge. I held my breath and tried to get behind or beside him, but he wanted to rustle me back to the food area.

I now know how it feels to be herded!!!!

I am so blessed for Chuck's help!!!

We all made it back to the right place and Missy and Gomer were ready for dinner. Stanley joined us. I decided I had had enough of evading horns and gently tossed the feed cubes over the fence.

Chuck leaves and everything settles back down to normal. Just another day as a rough and tumble farmer.

Farmer Cartoon -


She doesn't look sneaky or like she could fit through small spaces.


He sure doesn't look menacing here.


They are trying to look so innocent.

Day 9 of Farm Life

On Day 1 I told you all about the morning routine.  At noon I feed Angel, the cat, a bit more canned food. The rest of the time between eight and four I do handy work around the farm. It is very interesting and Gary and Diana are very good about not over burdening me with work. I have cleaned up sprouting trees, scraped walls, cleaned up all the crud from the scraped walls, raked leaves (yeah, in January), cleaned up a burn pile (sorting for metal and using the rest to fill a large, gaping hole in a small garden area) and more. Oh, and scooping manure while the cows, donkeys and horse are  not carefully watching me.

Donkey Manure
Cow Manure

Horse Manure

Just in case you wondered about the difference in manure appearance.

4 p.m.

It is amazing how animals know what time it is.

I feed the four dogs. They get dry food with a protein additive ( eggs or bacon grease). Hot water is added to make a sort of gravy. The dogs sit in the sunroom right by the door to the family room where I am preparing dinner in a huge metal bowl. Several times I have been startled by what sounded like someone knocking at the door. I have discovered that it is either Ginger pawing at the door or Buster's excited tail banging at the door.

The dogs each have a dish. As we crowd out of the sunroom and on to the patio Ginger is gently, but forcefully directing me to her bowl first. As I go to her bowl the other three dogs go sit by their bowls and somewhat patiently await their delicious dinner being served by a master chef.

The cats are fed. Charlotte would eat everyone's food if she could.

On to the chickens. I throw the scratch and watch them run over each other to eat. While they eat I collect the eggs. Because of the variety of chickens on the farm the eggs can be white, turquoise, green, tan, light brown, dark brown or any mixture of those. I am so fascinated by the color variety. The yolk of the fresh eggs is so close to color in orange, and of course they are so very flavorful!! The chickens lay eggs in the weirdest places. I look in about seven places inside and outside of the chicken yard for eggs. I also survey the ground as sometimes one of the hens lays one in the yard.

Not my hand or eggs, but a good example.

Besides all the colors and the weird laying places I had no idea that more than one hen can lay an egg in a nest. I thought they were very proprietary about nests. Another cool thing is the temperature of the eggs. They range from various degrees of cold to hot out of the oven.

They other day a hen was in a nest when I went in the feed room to get the scratch. When I went back in the room their was a warm egg!

Everyday as I collect the eggs I say a general thank you to the hens. The variety of eggs and chickens is such a God thing.

When I was in the Blue Ridge Mountains on a farm we kept the eggs in a dish in the kitchen and not in the fridge. When the kids and I were in Italy the eggs were not in the refrigerated section. We looked all over for them and I am sure the clerk had a good laugh where showing us to the aisle with eggs on the shelf.

I am sure that there are places near everyone where fresh farm eggs can be purchased. Try 'em. They are usually cheaper than the cage free or organic at the store!

The big animals are the same routine as in the morning.

Then it is in to the house for some internet time and put away the eggs.

I hope you are having an egg-cellent day!



Miss D. and Fanny

Fanny is Miss D.'s daughter. She is much bigger than her mom. Rumor has it that a mammoth donkey is her father.

This is interesting.

About the Mammoth Donkey

By Jane Meggitt

First in war, first in peace and first to bring mammoth jacks to this country. That might not be exactly what you learned about George Washington in school, but it's true. Washington, along with other contemporary far-seeing planters and farmers, imported mammoth donkeys from Europe to cross with mares for mule production. Hardier and requiring less feed than horses, mules worked the fields for farmers and pulled freight for the army.


To qualify as a mammoth jackstock breeding animal, a jack must stand at least 14.2 hands; a jennet must reach 14 hands. Jacks generally weight between 1,000 and 2,000 pounds, the jennets slightly less. Any color is acceptable, but black, chestnut and roan are preferred by breeders of draft mules. The darker gray color of smaller donkeys is looked down upon by breeders. Any breeding animal should possess good conformation and strong bones.                           (Jack and Jill?????)

Picture from the internet, but look at that size.

Donkey info from the dictionary about its name. Hilarious!!! Being politically correct is so important

At one time, the synonym ass was the more common term for the donkey. The first recorded use of donkey was in either 1784[8] or 1785.[9][10][11] While the word ass has cognates in most other Indo-European languages, donkey is an etymologically obscure word for which no credible cognate has been identified. Hypotheses on its derivation include the following:

  • Perhaps from Spanish, for its don-like gravity; the donkey was also known as "the King of Spain's trumpeter"[10]
  • Perhaps a diminutive of dun (dull grayish-brown), a typical donkey colour.[9][12]
  • Perhaps from the name Duncan.[9][13]
  • Perhaps of imitative origin.[13]

From the 18th century, donkey gradually replaced ass, and jenny replaced she-ass, which is now considered archaic.[14] The change may have come about through a tendency to avoid pejorative terms in speech, and be comparable to the substitution in North American English of rooster for cock, or that of rabbit for coney, which was formerly homophonic with cunny. By the end of the 17th century, changes in pronunciation of both ass and arse had caused them to become homophones. Other words used for the ass in English from this time include cuddy in Scotland, neddy in southwest England and dicky in the southeast;[11] moke is documented in the 19th century, and may be of Welsh or Gypsy origin


Fanny and Miss D. are so cute, but LOUD. They are easily intimidated by the horse and cows when it is time to eat. They love to be fed by hand eating cattle food cubes.

Fanny and Miss D. in for dinner. The chicken area is behind them.
Fanny is closest and you can just see the green fence under her chin.


Donkeys have very soft lips and the lips are extremely flexible and useful. Donkeys can use them to undo latches and all sorts of cute things. They eat very gently and take the food in to the lip space. I see their teeth, but have no fear of being bitten or swallowed alive. I have never even felt the teeth. They have actually nuzzled my cheek with their lips. (It has been awhile since I had a good nuzzle.)