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“And knowing that the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for no is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provisions for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” Romans 13:11-14

It is cloudy, windy, cold, just plain winter. But still, it is not too bad. The wind is sharp but not really strong. The forecast for the rest of the week doesn’t look too hopeful for much sunshine.

That’s OK, we’ll manage. It just makes it inconvenient to charge batteries.

I am once again slogging (is that a word? Probably not proper English). Anyway, I’m laboring away with my writing in the late afternoon. Why do I always do that? Well, today, first thing after I got home and had my snack.

Are my priorities in order? I had to work on the checkbook. Never a pleasant task for me. It took me until it was time to go get Erwin.

I hope I won’t do the lame thing I did last week. I labored and sweated to get my column done on Tuesday afternoon. I wanted to go do my cleaning job Tuesday evening, as Erwin wasn’t working Wednesday. I didn’t want to leave early Wednesday morning just to take my papers to town. We had to leave, just not early, and not to town.

I got my things done in good time, wow! I mentally patted myself on the back. It should have been farther down!

On Wednesday morning, I woke up at the usual time. I thought I didn’t need to get up as early but couldn’t go back to sleep. I got up, followed my usual routine, was going to chore, then thought I didn’t need to yet since we weren’t leaving as early.

I went back to the house, was getting my coffee, and slam! It hit me — not the coffee, but the thought — my papers are still on the buggy! I forgot to leave them in town. Groan! Well, there wasn’t anything to do except get ready and take them to town. Early. Oh well, everything worked out OK. It was actually a beautiful morning to make that trip.

I guess my vocation as mouse trainer has basically ended. For several weeks, every morning, there would be three mice in the feed barrel. The feed was low enough that they couldn’t jump out. I would catch them with the scoop and toss them out. It got to where when I’d lower the scoop and they would jump into it, knowing it gave them a free ride out. Sometimes they would miscalculate and jump too high. That’s when things went flying! And that’s why I had grain strewn across the floor.

Now, lately, a cat was sitting out there on the manger close by the barrel. There’s only one mouse now.

The other Sunday, daughter Jane

and Milton and the girls were here. They were about ready to go home when we heard a pounding outside. Milton went to investigate. There was a light in our shed.

So Milton goes out to see what’s going on. Lloyd was out there and had cut a hole in the floor. I guess he was looking for a barrel of money! That is not where we hid it! As if!

In all reality, he was looking for Marley, their one Dachshund. They had let her out of her pen when they chored, and she didn’t come back. Then they heard her under our shed. She was having her puppies under there. It was too cold for puppies there. The only way to get her was to cut a hole in the floor.

After Lloyd had closed up the hole, he was looking around as if maybe he lost something. I asked if he did. He said he didn’t, but Jeffrey had moved the stuff away from the wall and he was trying to decide how it belongs.

I told him to leave things, I’ll clean out the shed and put it back. It hasn’t been done yet. What am I waiting on! Spring, maybe?

In closing:

“All that is beautiful, all that is best —

“Joy of activity, calmness of rest,

“Health for life’s pilgrimage,

“Strength for its strife,

“Sunshine to brighten the pathway

of life;

“Courage to trust, tho’ the skies

be o’ercast,

“Hope for the future born out of

the past,

“Love that is tender and friends

who are true;

“This is our New Year’s wish for you.”

Maybe you’d like this dip. It’s a little late for a New Year’s Eve party. Sorry. But you can have it anytime.

Hot cheese dip

Makes about 2 cups.

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese,

softened, cut into small chunks

2 cups shredded cheese, your favorite

1/2 cup half and half

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

4 pieces cooked bacon, cut into small strips

Coat inside of 31/2-quart slow cooker with cooking spray if desired.

Add all ingredients except bacon. Stir well to mix. Cover and cook on low for 11/2 hours. Stir in bacon before serving.

Serve with crusty bread or crackers.

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