Archive for December, 2013

Wide Prairie

You’re up on your beautiful Appaloosa stallion. It’s a fine spring day. We’re riding through the woods. The bluebells are all out, and the sky is clear-blue.

2013 was a good one. Thanks for contributing.

Ottawa River

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Selkirk Dec 12, 1949

Dear brother and sister in law,

We have a very bad snowstorm, so I want finally to write you people in the homeland. Everybody in my family is healthy. The crop this year wasn’t very heavy. We had no rain from October 48 until September 49. But it rained more than enough in the fall. In October it rained so much the fields looked like lakes. Yes, we have the best prospect for next year. I was satisfied with the crop this year because I plowed so much more last year. However we were very unlucky this spring. May the 12th we had a fire and lost the chickenhouse, gasoline barrels, the big barn with all the feed in it including seedgrain, the smith and workshop, pumphouse, the big silo, the machineshed with everything inside. The papers reported a loss of $30,000. I had one of the biggest barns in this province. To build only the barn would have cost $21,000. No livestock perished in the fire. Only my wife and the 3 youngest children were home when it happened. It is awful when you lose everything in only 2 hours. All tools and dishes. Luckily I had some insurance. All in all I got $13,000 so I started again to build. By the time the grain was ready to harvest we had a barn to bring it in. I also have a harvestor again. After the harvest we started to demolish half the house to build it bigger. The children grow up and need more room. So we are getting a bigger kitchen, one more bedroom and one bathroom on each floor. When everything is done it should be very nice and modern. Running cold and hot water, one big electric stove with automatic on and off. Also an automatic heater in the basement with coal heat. We have to work on it over the winter to get everything done. When everything is finished you are invited to visit us. Next year I have to build a big granary and machinehouse. This winter all the machines are parked outside, which isn’t very good, but what can I do about it? I’m thinking I would like to visit Germany but all the building has to be done first. You don’t have to be afraid for me. I will finish all eventually. Maybe you understand now why I never wrote to you. I thought it’s enough when I only build the barn this year. But my wife would have declared war on me if I didn’t start on the house right away. Also today we have the first forceful snowstorm of the winter. It would be good here, if one could hibernate for the next 4 months. It will be over eventually. But enough about myself.

How are you all? Hopefully everybody is healthy and well. And otherwise how is it going? Hopefully you all have work and are able to survive (from it). Is still everything rationed? Can you again buy things reasonably priced? I heard many Americans visit Germany. How is it with gasoline and oil? Are there many cars driving around? I don’t think as many here. Please write and let me know how everything is.
We have a big mess (or all is topsy turvy) in the house right now. We can still sleep up stairs, but downstairs kitchen, livingroom and bedroom are all in one room.

To end this letter, (or to come to an end) I wish you, your wife and children Merry Christmas and a blessed year, good fortune and happiness in the New Year.

Greetings from the heart from far away
Your brother, sister in law and children

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Rockets on the Battlefield

You will become an example, uncreative peasants
By the lessons of the untalented ones

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the Unseen

And a woman spoke, saying, “Tell us of Pain.”

And he said:

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility:

For his hand, though heavy and hard,
Is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen.
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.


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call the law


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Life Is Short




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