Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mother of Invention

Necessity is the mother of invention.

A mother may cause you to invent an alternate plan.

That's the new version of the famous saying after the guys had to get creative to work a new baby calf. They danced around the protective mama and eventually got it deposited in the back of the pickup, away from the mama, who was pawing the ground as ferociously as any bull eying a matador's red cape.

The mama retreated. I imagined her bellowing was designed to bring the cavalry to the baby's rescue. She couldn't round up any of her friends, so she came barreling back.

She was glad to be reunited with her baby. Mission accomplished.

We had already worked the other calves at that location, necessitating the one calf round-up for the late arrival. Today will be the third day that we sort and work a group of baby calves. More on the process later.

Another irony: Yesterday, I was in my black skirt and dress-up clothes at the middle school music festival, weaving my way through hallways packed with kids in their Sunday clothes and trying not to get run over by protruding tubas and trombones.

Today, I'll be in a corral trying not to get run over or stepped on by baby calves and their mamas.

I will not, however, be wearing my black skirt.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tickling the Ivories

(I wanted to bring this dala horse in downtown Lindsborg home!
It's my kind of horse of course!)

I am running a marathon today. Unfortunately, I won't be burning many calories as I race from one piano bench to another down a hallway at Central Christian Schools in Hutchinson.

But the "race" couldn't be for a better cause. The Heart of the Plains league middle school music festival gives students a chance to make music.

We celebrate grand feats on the gridiron or the basketball court. But too often, we don't find the same fervor for the arts.

My mind is cluttered with key signatures and dynamic markings that drift through my consciousness as surely as "visions of sugarplums" danced through the heads of Clement Clark Moore's central characters.

Why have I done this for 16 years now? The answer is in the music. I hope I share my love for the music and give the students a tip or two that will make a solo more than black notes on a white page.

Yesterday, my friend and a former band instructor at Stafford Middle/High School shared a link on his Facebook status that demonstrates this very message. Both Tony and Kelly Ballard are among the teachers for whom I've accompanied through the years. It couldn't have been better timing to see this vivid demonstration of what musicality truly means.

I'm playing 30 different accompaniments today - mostly vocal and instrumental solos, a couple of ensembles and two choir numbers. We've been practicing since January. I hope I've done just a little bit to help the kids realize it's more than just singing or playing the right notes.

For me, it's way more than that. Some of these students have a lot of God-given ability. Some are not as blessed, but they work so hard and want it so badly.

So, even though the music has center stage today, it becomes a lot more to me. My time on the piano bench is more about being a cheerleader, an encourager, a person who cares for an uncertain adolescent (and isn't their parent or their teacher, but someone who chooses to be there.)

So, if you wouldn't mind, say a prayer for the kids today. Pray that they will overcome the nerves and just remember the music.

Music is what feelings sound like. ~Author Unknown

(And, while you're at it, say a prayer for Mr. Gill and me, too!)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Window to the Past

The old joke is that today's newspaper becomes the lining on the bottom of the birdcage. These days, many people don't even get newsprint on their fingers reading the news.

I still love curling up in my recliner and opening my daily edition of The Hutchinson News and the weekly version of The Stafford Courier, though I also read several other newspapers online.

Even though my son loves the written word, he says he and his contemporaries will likely not subscribe to newspapers that arrive on their doorstep or in their mailbox.

And even for those who read the black and white words on a page, the daily newspaper goes into the recycling pile and is cast aside beside the coffee grounds.

So it was quite a treat to find that a Lindsborg artist studio/museum had a framed copy of one of my Hutchinson News features on the wall.

It was at the Red Barn Studio, which is run by the Raymer Society for the Arts. The museum preserves and promotes the work and memory of Lester Raymer (1907 - 1991), a Lindsborg artist who did paintings, prints, ceramics, metalwork, woodcarving, stitchery and more in the Red Barn Studio.

I interviewed Raymer and his wife, Ramona, at the Birger Sandzen Museum in 1982, so I hadn't been to his studio before. The long-ago feature was about Raymer's Christmas-time exhibit there, which featured the handmade toys the artist gave to his wife. All told, Raymer made 53 toys during a 30-year period.

As I recall, Ramona was the more vocal of the two. While Lester idly went around the room twirling knobs on the intricate toys, she was the public relations guru, touting her husband's talent.
But last Friday, his studio spoke for him. From the outdoor spaces he created to the candlesticks made from pitchforks or the chandelier fashioned from a barrel stave, his artistic look at life shined through.

I would have been on the job a little more than 16 months when I interviewed Raymer. In typical fashion, I looked at the feature posted on the wall and told Randy I should have done better. That fresh-faced 25-year-old reporter could have learned a thing or two from 53-year-old me. Maybe the older and wiser me would have been able to draw him out.

I think I would have had better luck to interview him in his own space, a place that provides a window on his creative mind.

And I was struck by something else. The museum has preserved this little tableau. It's an artist's palette still stained from years of creativity and work and an unfinished painting of a rooster. It's the scene Raymer left behind on the day he died.

And isn't that what we all hope for? We hope and pray that we'll continue to do the work that we've been called to do until our dying breath. Farmers want to keep planting and harvesting seeds. Teachers find a way to keep teaching, even if they no longer stand in front of a classroom. Mothers still mother though their children have babies of their own. Writers still write, even though their work may no longer be found on yellowed newsprint but is typed and released into cyberspace.

And we all hope the work we do and the lives we touch will still make a difference long after we're gone.

Monday, March 28, 2011

You're My Best Friend

Thirty years ago today, I married my best friend.

Where did 30 years go? Gosh, where did those two fresh-faced youngsters go?

Photo by Stan Reimer, March 28, 1981

I guess they were left behind in three decades of working together, a quarter century of parenting together and the ups and downs that life brings.

Photo by Stan Reimer, December, 24, 2010

But through it all, older and wiser, he's still my best friend, and I probably love him more than I did 30 years ago.

I still believe everything I wrote last year on this special day. I am thankful every single day for him (even if he irritates me on occasion. Of course, I never irritate him. Who, me?)

Our kids (read Jill) surprised us with a card shower to celebrate our 30th. After being gone a couple of days, it was great fun yesterday to find the mailbox stuffed with cards and greetings.

And just like it used to be Casey Kasem's radio show, here's a little number I'd like to dedicate to my best friend and my love. Happy Anniversary, Randy!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy Vaffeldagen

Vaffeldagen is my kind of holiday.

What?! You've never heard of it?

Actually, I hadn't either, but today - March 25 - is International Waffle Day. The holiday originated in Sweden and was known as Varfrudagen (Our Lady's Day). The holiday coincides with the Feast of the Annunciations and the start of spring in Europe.

What does that have to do with waffles? It's all a misunderstanding. In some dialects, Varfrudagen was mispronounced Vaffeldagan. And Vaffeldagan means "the waffle day."

At the County Line, waffle day comes every Sunday. That's our go-to meal after getting home from church.

Jill and Brent got tired of having waffles every Sunday. Jill says that by the time she went to college, she never wanted to see another waffle.

But then again, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Nowadays, if they are home on a Sunday, waffles are on the menu ... by their choice. And by the time Jill was registering for wedding gifts, she wanted a waffle iron of her own.

In Kansas' Little Sweden today, the downtown Lindsborg eateries will celebrate Vaffeldagen with blueberry, strawberry and lingonberry waffles at breakfast, lunch and dinner. As Randy and I begin our 30th anniversary celebration, we plan to partake in the festivities.

If you want to try your own celebration, I have a syrup for you to try. This Cinnamon Cream Syrup is our attempt at recreating the syrup at the Pancake Pantry in Nashville, TN. When Jill was completing her dietetics internship at Vanderbilt, we usually had one meal at the Pancake Pantry during our visits.

I'm not a big maple syrup fan, so the Cinnamon Cream Syrup is a yummy alternative. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Cream Syrup
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 5-oz. can evaporated milk

In a saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, water and cinnamon. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil for astir for 2 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Stir in milk.

Serve over pancakes, waffles or French toast.

De smakar mycket goda! (They taste very good!) Happy Vaffeldagen!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Eatery

It may have begun life as a drive-in, but the new restaurant at 26th and Main Street in Hutchinson has definitely grown up.

There's not a burger to be found these days. The new Wilder's on Main Bistro and Bakery has maintained the original curving wood pillars unique to the Sandy's Thrift and Swift Drive-in chain from the 1960s.

But, after 14 months of renovations on the 50-year-old building, that's about all that remains of a drive-in atmosphere.

Except there is that drive-up window. Randy & I questioned that feature after eating there on Monday evening. It seemed a little out of character.

However, from reading The Hutchinson News, I think the owners were looking at the window for making it easy for customers to pick up breakfast, coffee and bakery items.

The dinner menu is definitely a more fine-dining atmosphere. Of course, these days people are wearing everything when they dine out, including shorts, jeans and ball caps.

But the food was definitely higher end. And so was the atmosphere. We were there on a warm evening, so the see-through gas fireplace at the entrance wasn't lit. But the restaurant has interesting lighting, redwood ceiling panels and opaque glass panels that separate parts of the dining room from the multi-colored lighted bar.

We became sweet potato fries fans when Jill lived in Nashville, Tennessee, during her dietetics internship at Vanderbilt. Randy couldn't resist. (I'll blame it all on him!)

Wilder's on Main sweet potato fries came in a pretty cone-shaped holder. They had a little too much freshly chopped garlic for our taste, but the sauce was good. It said it was a ranch/bleu cheese sauce, though I didn't taste a lot of bleu cheese. Maybe it's because I was tasting so much garlic. The fries themselves were yummy though.

The dinner menu features entrees ranging from about $13 to $20 and includes Mushroom Risotto, Apple Pork Chops, Filet Mignon and Marinated Lamb Popsicles.

Randy asked the waitress what her favorite entree was. He ordered her recommendation - the Apple Pork Chop.

It came with a sweet potato, bacon and apple hash and a mustard sauce. The pork chop was brined in apple cider. Randy shared a bite with me and it was delicious. The entrees don't come with a salad, and there's not a house salad option. It would be expensive to add a salad without sharing with a friend.

I chose two items from the starters menu.

I love tomato soup. This one looked beautiful when it arrived at the table, and it was fun to break through the puff pastry surface to find the tomato soup underneath.

It had roasted tomatoes, herbs and cream. It was a little heavy on the pepper for me, but my kids will tell you that I'm a wimp when it comes to spices.

I also ordered the roasted beet salad. It had both yellow and red beets. I would have been happy with a plate of those beets, but they were served with mixed greens, toasted pecans and goat cheese crumbles. The balsamic vinegar definitely dominated the dressing. It probably could have used a little more olive oil to smooth it out. But I enjoyed the salad.

We both looked at the dessert case, but opted to leave that for another adventure. There were lots of choices from creme brulee to a flourless chocolate cake to giant cupcakes and cookies.

Our waitress was exceptional. She was personable, and our water glasses were always full.

There isn't a children's menu, which doesn't affect us. But a mom and dad with two small children came in and I wondered what they would order for their kids. While we were there, the family's Garlic Parmesan fries arrived, but I assume they were just sharing a portion of mom and dad's entrees. Wilder's has macaroni and cheese on its starter/small plates menu, but it's bleu cheese - probably not what a 2- and 4-year-old would choose. (That was this mom's guess about the kids' ages.)

I was also surprised to see three teenage girls dining by themselves. I guess they have a bigger food budget than picking up a Sonic burger.

I would like to go back and try the lunch menu. The restaurant's Facebook page says their salads and sandwiches for lunch cost about $8 each. Or if it's dinner time, I will probably opt for the salmon dish the next time. It's served with smashed potatoes and wilted spinach.

This restaurant location has been a kind of revolving door. It's last reincarnation was as Luigi's Italian Restaurant. Before that, I think it was a Mexican place.

I hope it sticks around long enough for us to try it again.

See what other diners thought on Urbanspoon.

Wilders on Main Bakery and Bistro on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ordinary Miracle

It's just an ordinary miracle: How's that for an oxymoron?

Here on the County Line, we are surrounded by ordinary miracles. But if you just take time to look, the things you walk past or drive past every day become extraordinary.

The tree which had stripped down for the winter is now wearing its new springtime garb.

Six weeks ago, the wheat was buried under a blanket of snow.

February 9, 2011

Then, just three weeks ago, the wheat was starting to green and wake from its winter sleep.

March 1, 2011

But here's how the wheat looked yesterday morning. It was like God's green paint can tipped over and spilled in our wheat fields, dousing them with the very color of springtime and new life.

March 22, 2011

It's pretty amazing what some moisture and warmer temperatures can do.

Ordinary miracles? I think not.

Here's Sarah McLachlan singing the song "Ordinary Miracle" from "Charlotte's Web." Enjoy!

Ordinary Miracle
It's not that unusual
When everything is beautiful
It's just another
Ordinary miracle today

The sky knows when it's time to snow
Don't need to teach a seed to grow
It's just another
Ordinary miracle today

Life is like a gift, they say
Wrapped up for you everyday
Open up, and find a way
To give some of your own

Isn't it remarkable?
Like everytime a raindrop falls
It's just another
Ordinary miracle today
(Click here for all the lyrics)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bake and Take Month

Want to make friends and influence people? Home baked goodies will usually do the trick.

For 40 years, Kansas Wheat's Bake and Take Month has been an opportunity to celebrate relationships with friends and family by baking and sharing treats.

Bake and Take Day began in 1970 as a community service project of the Kansas Wheathearts in Sumner County. The Kansas Wheathearts, an auxiliary organization of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, set out to share baked goods with family members, friends, neighbors, and those in need, generating goodwill in the community. The idea expanded in 1973 when the Kansas Wheathearts created a national Bake and Take Day celebration.

Even though the Kansas Wheathearts disbanded in 2001, the tradition continues with the Kansas Wheat Commission and the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers. Now, they team up with the Home Baking Association to promote Bake and Take Month each March.

I just shared 6 dozen cookies for a Stafford Main Street promotion. Home cooks throughout the community contributed baked goods, and Stafford Main Street delivered them to say "Thank you" to the small businesses who call Stafford home.

I used some tried and true recipes, but I also tried a new one for my baking efforts. I saw dark chocolate-covered coffee beans on a recent stop at Glenn's Bulk Foods at Pleasantview (near Hutchinson) and decided to add those to a chocolate cookie rather than the customary chocolate chips. And Cappuccino Cookies were born!

Randy, as usual, was my willing guinea pig. And even though he's not a coffee fiend like me, he thought the cookies were good enough to share.

If you do participate in the Bake and Take event, be sure and let the Kansas Wheat people know about it. You could win a prize bundle, including a couple of cookbooks. Here's a link to the entry form.

You can find additional recipes on the Kansas Wheat website, under the Consumers link. Just click on "recipes." (Or just click on the links!)

Cappuccino Cookies
2 cups flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup shortening
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 to 2 cups dark chocolate-covered coffee beans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients and set aside. Beat shortening, sugars and vanilla in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate-covered coffee beans, retaining several to use to decorate the tops of the cookies.

Use a cookie scoop and drop onto greased baking sheets. In the center of each cookie, put a chocolate-covered coffee bean. Bake for 8-10 minutes (depends on your oven) or until cookies are puffed and centers are nearly set. Cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet. Remove from cookie sheet. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

  • You may use butter instead of shortening. The cookies will just spread out more.
  • If you don't have a bulk foods store where you live, you might try finding chocolate-covered coffee beans at a bulk candy store.
  • If chocolate-covered coffee beans don't appeal to you, you can substitute chocolate chips, any of the swirled chips, Andes mint pieces, Almond Joy pieces, Reece's Pieces, etc. They keep coming out with new additions all the time.
Need other tried-and-true ideas for Bake and Take?

Try Caramel Coconut Squares


Or try Fudge Bars.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Has Sprung

“The daffodil is our doorside queen;
She pushes upward the sword already,
To spot with sunshine the early green.”

William Cullen Bryant
An Invitation to the Country

The daffodils got the memo: It was the first day of spring yesterday.

And seemingly overnight, the bright green shoots I'd been watching for a week suddenly sported tiny yellow sunbonnets outside my front door.

On Sunday morning, the daffodils at the church parsonage seemed to be on steroids. My daffodils at home were anemic compared to the hearty variety planted near our minister's door.

These are my kind of flowers. They bloom in spite of my ineptitude as a gardener.

Welcome spring!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Joyce's Stovetop Ham Casserole

I don't know who Joyce is. But she makes a good ham casserole.

The recipe had been sitting in my "to try sometime" pile for a long time. "Sometime" came this week.

I like to give credit where credit is due. I emailed my sister, Lisa, to see if it came from her kitchen. She thinks maybe it was from Joyce Beck at KCLY/KFRM radio.

Well, Joyce, you got a thumbs up from my resident recipe reviewer (who, by the way, just had some for breakfast, too ... minus the green salad!)

The original recipe used a whole stick of butter. I used 2 tablespoons and it was plenty to soften the onions and celery. You can use reduced fat sour cream and soup, if you like. But it's still probably too high in fat and sodium to fit the "healthy cooking" label.

But, everything in moderation, right? I've been a little heavy on the ham recipes here lately, but I was looking for ways to use the rest of a spiral ham we had when Brent was home for spring break.

Even if you don't have ham until Easter, it's worth holding onto this recipe for your "try it sometime" pile. Enjoy!

Joyce's Stovetop Ham Casserole

2 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cups cubed ham
1 can cream of celery (or mushroom or chicken) soup
8 oz. (1 cup ) sour cream
1/2 lb. spiral noodles, cooked according to package directions
2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded.

Melt butter in skillet. Add celery and onion and cook until tender. Do this while you cook your noodles in boiling water.

To the softened vegetables in the skillet, add the soup, sour cream, drained noodles and ham; heat through, stirring often.

Just before serving, add the Swiss cheese and stir it in to melt. Remove from stove burner and serve with a green salad with plenty of chopped fresh veggies.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dear Wildcats

March 17, 2011

Dear K-State Wildcats Men's Basketball Team,

Please, please, PLEASE
Be hot, hot, HOT
as Tuscon, Arizona, with your shooting tonight.

I hope you left
your cold, cold, COLD
shooting behind.

Come on, Jacob and Co.! You can do it.

Let's dance!

(Wichita Eagle photo)

A Dedicated Wildcat Fan

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Team Effort

I probably spent more time Saturday on a state basketball court than I did 38 years ago.

I was not the star of my high school basketball team.

As I like to tell people, "I held down my end of the bench pretty darn well."

Or "That 13 seconds at the end of the game made all the difference."

But, as I look back, maybe it really did make all the difference.

Last weekend, the Kansas State High School Activities Association celebrated 100 years of providing service to schools throughout the state. To commemorate their 100th anniversary, KSHSAA invited past state championship teams to this year's tournament sites.

The 2A women's teams gathered at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan and were recognized prior to the championship game between Moundridge and Ell-Saline.

My alma mater, Skyline High School, was state champ in 1973, 1974 and 1977. I was on the 1973 and '74 teams, as well as the 1975 team that took 3rd at state. My sister, Darci, was on the 1977 championship team.

Two of the Moore girls

And here's the other sister act:

The Jones girls: Shari, Darci and Kari

The 1973 tournament was the very first state tournament for Kansas' high school girls' teams. I was a high school sophomore at the time. So we Skyline Thunderbirds have the distinction of winning the first state 2A girls' championship trophy during the tournament, which, at that time, was held at Emporia.

That meant we were the first ones on the floor of Bramlage on Saturday afternoon.

This photo was from my senior yearbook, 1975, when we got 3rd at the state tournament in Hays. (I don't have a 1973 or '74 yearbook here at my house.)

I must admit I wasn't the first one to sign up for the reunion. After all, what difference did my 13 seconds at the end of the game really make? I wasn't the reason that we won basketball games.

I wasn't really part of the team, was I?

My dad encouraged me: "Those girls had to practice against somebody, didn't they?" he told me. (I may have heard that a time or two 38 years ago, too!)

I probably rolled my eyes then, but after nearly four decades later, I have discovered that my dad is wiser than I gave him credit for during my teen years.

Yes, I was part of the team. And yes, my role was important, whether I scored the winning bucket or not.

I have an example of what happens without that in my own backyard. Stafford High School didn't have enough girls for a basketball team this year. Our girls were absorbed into the Lady Greenbacks team at Pratt High School this year.

I hope it won't be forever: We had several 8th graders who played basketball, so I hope there will be enough for a Stafford Trojan girls' team next year and in years to come.

I hope so because it is important to be part of a team.

We gathered at the home of Debbie Pinhero Farmer, one of my '73 & '74 teammates, before the KSHSAA event. And it was like the years melted away.

My team

Darci's Team

Yes, some of these "girls" were now grandmas. Instead of awkward high school females, there were teachers, a nurse and a veterinarian. There were people who worked in banks, in lawyer's offices, for pharmaceutical companies, in offices and in corporate boardrooms.

But it was like coming home. I'd seen some of them through the years. But even with the ones I hadn't seen in 30-plus years, it was kind of like picking up where we left off.

(And, if I'm honest, there was that remnant of high school insecurity as I got ready: Why would my hair not cooperate on today of all days? What should I wear? Come on, ladies ... surely I'm not the only one!)

But the momentary anxieties were outweighed by the renewal of friendships. And some things never change.

As we stood on the court at Bramlage, I looked across the the court. And there were my parents, in their Skyline Columbia blue, smiling and snapping photos. And even my husband - raised with Trojan red and black - was there in Skyline blue, recording the moment for me and my sister.

Yes, those are people who are part of the team, too. They are the people who cheer you on - in victory and defeat.

Kari Jones (who, by the way, was a basketball star) made a video for us to look at before we went to the ceremony. She posted it on Facebook on Monday. And as I read comments from others, it made me realize something else: People didn't have to sit at the end of the bench to be a part of the team either.

They were the ones in the stands, cheering wildly, that flooded onto the floor when the game was over. It was that feeling of pride at being a Skyline Thunderbird.

As Kari said: "There is NO WAY we could have done any of that without everyone's support. It was TOTALLY a school effort."

And that's what it means to be a champion - on and off the court.


I can't resist adding something that made me laugh out loud. I was walking off the Bramlage Court with Cindy Howell Robertson. She was one of the "young ones," as the 1977 team kept telling us all day.

As we walked past the Moundridge and Ell-Saline players who were lined up and ready to play the championship game, we told them good luck.

And then Cindy told them, " Just think: In 30-some years, you'll look like us."

I purposefully turned away and didn't watch the sheer panic wash over their faces!

But girls, I hope you are just like us. I hope you will get together and share the memories (and maybe discover a thing or two you never knew went on behind the scenes)! The memories and the emotions will be hidden in a few more wrinkles. But they'll still be there.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

180 Degrees

Change always comes bearing gifts.
~Price Pritchett

Well, maybe the temperature didn't shift 180 degrees, but Sunday's unexpected snowstorm certainly changed my plans.

In Manhattan on Saturday, I'd left my coat in the car when we went into Bramlage Coliseum for the KSHSAA recognition of state basketball championship teams. (I'll have more on my reunion with my high school basketball team later!)

On Sunday, I went to Clay Center for a baby shower for my niece, Paige, and was waiting around to see where K-State would be "dancing" in the NCAA basketball tournament.

I was mighty surprised when Randy called and said it was sleeting at home. Five minutes later, my parents called and said they were in a blizzard east of Salina. (They had been in Clay Center for the shower, too.) Everybody advised that I stay put.

So I did.

My sister got an unexpected overnight guest. I met a friend of my sister's. Kelli already seems like a friend to me, too, because of her blog, Facebook and the fact that this is a mighty small world. There really is something to that whole "six degrees of separation thing" (the idea that everyone is, on average, approximately six steps or degrees away from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of "a friend of a friend" statements can be made, on average, to connect any two people in six steps or fewer.)

I found out Sunday night that Kelli's family has a connection to ground we farm in Reno County. Yep, it's a small world.

And then, on Monday morning, I woke to a picture postcard scene. And you know me: I grabbed the camera.

I couldn't resist, even though I needed to get my KFRM report done and I needed to get on the road to get back to accompany for middle school choir.

But there was beauty in all directions ...

From the view to the west from my sister and brother-in-law's deck ...

to the interesting pattern created by snow on the shop roof ...

to the blanket of white coating the trees with a Currier and Ives stamp of approval.

If I didn't have that date with the piano bench, I would have wandered more.

No, my day didn't go as planned yesterday. I didn't get as many things crossed off my list.

But ...

Change always comes bearing gifts.
~Price Pritchett

(including about 0.60 inches on moisture on our farm ground at home!)