Monday, December 13, 2010

The forging of a knife

First off, if the title didn't already clue you in, this is Gabe. I know, that fact and the actual titles content likely means a good portion of you will stop reading now. Fine, be that way.

For the rest of you, I thought I'd do a rambling post in case you find knife making interesting at all.

There are probably a lot of pictures I could post, if I had taken them, and if I had room to post them here. I have some pictures on my picasa that you can take a look at, although it isn't many.

One evening my cousin Pat told me he was going to take an old file he'd gotten on a garage sale, and forge it into a knife if he could. That struck me as being one of the best ways to spend an evening I'd heard in sometime, so I begged him to let me come. He accepted my invitation.

That was the beginning of my knife making hobby. And I did manage to pound out a reasonable looking knife, do some kind of heat treatment to it, and make a handle. I even got it sharp enough to scrape a few hairs off my arm. Then the tip failed when it got used as a prybar, and it now is pointless.

I began to do some reading about knives, and the forging of them, and discovered that there was a lot to learn. I got some "high carbon" railroad spikes and began forging knives out of them. That was fun an certainly gave me some good experience, but the steel was pretty soft for making a useful knife.

After doing quite a bit more research about knives and steels used to make knives, I realized that probably the best steel I could use to make knives was 1084. The 10 series steel is a simple carbon steel. The second number (84) refers to the amount of carbon in the steel. 1084 is approximately .084 percent carbon. I'm sure I'm boring most of you here, but if anyone is interested in this, I'm giving you enough info for a start point. The reasons 1084 is good for a limited equipment, part time forger are mainly related to the heat treatment. Heat treat is the single most important thing in making a usable knife.

So the knife making process for me right now is as follows. Get a piece of my 1084 bar stock. It measures 3/16 X 1"X whatever length. Start up my coal fired forge, which is an old brake drum with forced air (from the air compressor) blowing up through the bottom. Or the 1800's forge that has a hand crank fan. That one needs some more work. I have an anvil that I am borrowing right now, and would like to find one of my own. My 3 hammers and 1 hand forged set of tongs complete my forging tools.

The actual forging is pretty self explanatory. I heat the metal to red heat (not too hot, if it sparks it's overheated, and overheated steel is not good), and hammer the steel to the basic blade and handle shape and thickness I want. That varies. Working hot steel is like working play dough, except it's a lot harder. It does what the laws of physics say it will do when the hammer hits it. If you don't know what the laws of physics say it will do, it may surprise you what direction it grows. Directional hammer blows have a huge impact (pun alert) on the direction the steel will shift. Forging is all about rearranging the metal in the form you want, not removing what you don't need.

After I have a basic shape and the right thickness, I get a smaller hammer and work at smoothing the metal as much as possible, so that it requires less work later. Refining the steels surface with a small hammer on the anvil is far more enjoyable than filing it off later by hand.

Next I take it to the grinder, and grind away the inevitable bumps along the edges to get the profile I want. It's a good idea to have a pattern marked on the blade, since you can overdo it and mess up pretty easily. After that, I file the surface until all the low spots are gone (unless I want it to have a hand-forged hammer-marked appearance). Then it's time to sand it until it shines. You can get it to a mirror finish if you want to, but it still has to be heated up again for tempering.

1084 steel is easy to heat treat. You need a magnet, a torch or forge, and vegetable oil. I don't recommend using water to quench 1084, although some folks might do it. Here's what you do. You heat the steel evenly, and slowly until it becomes non-magnetic. That's what the magnet was for. At this point (I need to know just when it becomes nonmagnetic, so I check frequently)the steel needs to rise another 100 degrees or so. I can see color in it now, so I just bringing it up a shade or two in color. That will be around 1550 degrees Fahrenheit. The next part happens quicker than I can explain. The steel is taken from the forge or torch, and plunged into the quenching liquid. This happens quickly, because you've got about 3/4 of a second to get that steel from the 1500 degrees or so, to below 900 degrees. If it doesn't happen that fast, you won't get good hardening. After the quench, when the steel is back to room temp, I take a file (the same one I used before) and check the steel. If the file skates over the steel and won't cut into it, I got it hardened correctly. Next I temper for two one-hour periods at 400 degrees in the oven, letting it come down to room temp in between.

After that, it's time to make a handle, and use the belt sander to grind the bevel in the knife edge. Of course, that must be done carefully, since if the knife heats up too much it will ruin the heat treatment. So I keep a glass of water handy to dip the knife in whenever it begins to get warm.

The handle can be made many different ways. The last knife I made (the big chopper that's halfway through the golf ball) only has paracord wrapped around the handle. It's simple but effective. My neck knife has walnut scales glued and pinned on each side of the full tang.

Okay, if anyone actually read all through until here, you must be dedicated. It is a long and complicated process, and I've only touched on the main and most important points. There's a lot more I could have said, and a lot more that I have to learn yet. But its been fun so far, and I'm enjoying learning what has become something of a lost art. For anyone out there who is interested in learning more about forging knives, there are many excellent resources out there, including the internet.

Wrapping this up, here are a few pictures of my knives....

This is my favorite railroad spike knife. I had a low spot in the blade I couldn't get out without making it too thin, so I left it there. That's why there's a "blemish" in the blade near the heel.

Here's a collection some of my first knives. All of these began as railroad spikes.

Below is my "neck knife". It's the one I carry most, and use for anything I'd use pocket knife. It's forged from 1084 steel, and I try to keep it sharp enough to shave with, although I'd hate to try.
At the bottom is my latest knife. I call it my 'beast'. It's about 13" over all with a 9" blade. I made it for the sole purpose of having a knife of 1084 steel that I could use and abuse with the intention of testing its limits (and thus mine). The heat treat on it is slightly different than I described above. It's treated so as to have a soft and flexible (that term is relative) spine, and a hardened edge that will take and hold a sharp edge. It's sharpened at a higher angle so as to hold its edge better when it's doing things like chopping through two by fours, being driven through firewood to split it, and chopping into a golf ball at (my) full strength. None of those things have broken it yet, not that I particularly want to break it. That's not a faked picture, that is how far it went into the golf ball with one swing.
I have another creation that I can't show in pictures until after Christmas....

So as you may have guessed, I'm enjoying myself. If anyone needs a knife made just let me know about it and maybe we can work something out! I can use the experience, but as of now I surely wouldn't guarantee my work!

To all you who skipped from the first paragraph to the pictures, maybe we can post something more interesting next time!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Our Thanksgiving

Here's a quick post to tell you all happy Thanksgiving Day.

We have a lot to be thankful for, not the least of which are family and friends with whom to celebrate special occasions such as this day. I just posted pictures of our Thanksgiving day here, for all of you to see if you care to. (yes, the folder is entitled December 2010, but that's because I'm consolidating November and Decembers pics since I don't have many November ones)

We had a nice service at church this morning, and then went to Mom and Dad's for Thanksgiving dinner. Matts and David Millers were there too. We spent the afternoon playing games, and taking pictures, which was fun.

We've rather sadly neglected keeping up with all the regular pictures of Gwen (3 month, 6 month, etc), and so for the record, the shots here are within about two days of 8 months. It's not that we don't have pictures of her at all those various stages, it's just that we haven't had any special sessions over it.

It's getting late and we'd better be getting to bed, so I think I'll sign off now.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You know you've been married awhile when....

....You drop the child(ren) off at Grandmas house to be baby sat, head to the car with your wife in anticipation of a nice evening of shopping alone, reach for your wifes door handle, and she says....."Oh, did you want me to drive?"

I don't really have a reason for posting this evening. I'm not even sure what I should post about, so perhaps it would be better if I didn't.

I could regale you with deer hunting stories, but unfortunately they aren't all that spectacular this year. Yes I did shoot a little buck, and yes, earlier in the day I shot at and missed (I have no good excuse) a really nice big buck that was so big that in a weird way I'm glad I missed because it would have been a shame not to mount him, and I just don't need another big buck hanging on my wall. You were saying about run-on sentences Frank? Oh, and tonight I missed a doe at pretty long range. So I'm not hitting things quite as well as I'm accustomed.

Well, the dogs are outside barking at the coyotes. Jenny is sitting in the recliner reading her book. Gwen is standing beside me saying "ooohh, aaahhh, daaaa, daaaa" with the occasional Canadian "Eh?" thrown in. Not sure where she gets that, but it must come from her mothers side. It's dark out. It's pleasantly dim inside. The fire keeps us warm, and we're all cozied up for a nice evening in our little house.

Speaking of Gwen, she seems to think that it would be a good idea to walk soon. So she's practicing standing up without holding on to things. She's to the point where she can do it indefinitely, but she rarely will stay still long enough to stand for an extended period. So she just stands up, looks around, and dives for whatever catches her fancy. Or sometimes plops back down on her bottom. I tried to get her to take a step to me, but so far she just lunges at me.

Okay, my cup of inspiration which was dangerously low when I started this post has run completely dry. Do have a good evening all....


Monday, November 1, 2010

Jenny's Post

Hello everybody!
In case anyone was wondering, my Fall Saturday was a bit different than Gabe's. After we got home from Seward... I needed a diaper pail... I spent the rest of my day in the kitchen mostly. I had made myself a nice long list that included things like cleaning the bathroom, dusting and vacuuming the floors. Much to my sorrow, none of those things got done :( By the end of the day, my kitchen was clean and the pumpkin was put away.
I had myself a little pity party that evening as I reviewed my day of working and getting nothing done. Gabe says I got a lot accomplished, but I didn't feel like I did. Does anyone else ever have days like that? I still get depressed just thinking about it.
Right now Gabe and Gwen are playing a game in which Gwen dives off the couch and Gabe catches her and throws her back up... and over and over again. Gwen thinks this is most exciting is laughing gleefully. I am glad she is happy now. About an hour ago she woke up very sad and didn't want her Daddy's comfort but cried for "momomom". I don't think she is feeling very well, but she has Tylenol in her now.
Speaking of Gwen... I have decided to start using cloth diapers for her. Now, lest any of you get the idea that I am deeply concerned about saving the earth or something, I'll just let you know that my only motive for doing this is that it does save quite a bit of money. Especially since we will be diapering two babies in the near future. After reading lots of reviews and opinions and buying a few different brands of pocket diapers, I ordered 20 Sunbaby diapers off of Ebay. I am very pleased with them and as far as I can tell, they are just as good as the expensive "Bumgenious". I bought one of those too, so I think I do know what I'm talking about.
Sometime I wonder if it's worth the bother... like when I'm dumping the dirty diapers from the bucket to the washer... but then when I hang them up on the line, all nice and clean, it gives me a sort of smug, virtuous feeling.
Now lets see... maybe you would like to know about my day today. This morning was most exciting, because we went in for the ultrasound so we could see how our new little baby is doing.
Rita, the lady who did the ultrasound, said everything looked very good and that I am 20 weeks along... I wasn't quite sure about that so far, so it is nice to have a better idea about that. I am so happy and relieved to know the baby is doing well, and that I am halfway through this pregnancy. I guess I didn't realize before that I was actually worried about how the baby was doing... and no, mom, it isn't twins :)
So then after we had a bite of lunch, Gabe went back to work, and I stayed in town and whiled away some time at Walmart and Etcetera, and then went to my doctor's appointment. Dr. Novak had a squeaky voice today, but had plenty say anyway :) ... Yes, I know Gwen is most adorable. No, I didn't dress her up for Halloween or take her trick or treating. Yes, I am taking my prenatal vitamins. No, I haven't thrown up lately. Yes, it is lovely fall weather, but I wish it would snow sometime, even if you don't. I'm sorry that Gwen is trying to rip you necklace off and your earrings out... I can imagine that could be painful, on the ears especially... How do I feel? Mostly just tired all the time... Oh, that's normal? Ok. Especially with the second child and the first child only being seven months old? I guess that makes sense.
I like Dr. Novak.
Now I think I will close this epsitle. I didn't make Gabe any supper tonight because he said he didn't want any and wasn't hungry. Now he is eating cookies and milk :) Gwen is trying to help me and would like to tell everyone "HI" but she isn't a very good typist yet.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Fall Saturday

Hi all,

Today was a beautiful day. I'll let you in on what we did with it. First, we got up and had breakfast/brunch. Saturday is usually a late morning in our house when Gwendolyn cooperates, which she did this morning. By about ten or so, we had eaten our waffles and sausage, and were ready to take on the day.

Jenny needed some things in Seward, so we went up to Walmart first. After we got home, I decided it was high time to tackle the garden. We still had tomato cages standing with tomatoes that had partly frozen, so that was my first project. We had about ten tomato plants this year (although we didn't get many tomatoes due to a wet spring that seemed to cause the tomatoes problems). After getting the cages out, I searched for and found the soaker hoses that were buried under all the undergrowth, and got them out. Then I went down to Dave's place and borrowed the 4020 and shredder. Pictured is Gwen helping me shred the garden.....

And a little more of a closeup...
Following that project, I borrowed Dad's 4440 and disk, and disked the garden. It was what you might call overkill, and I'm sorry I don't have a picture for you. Suffice it to say that the disk would have easily covered the garden in two passes. I left the wings up so it would till a little deeper, and managed to get that bit done.

We have this shed..... It usually doesn't get a lot of attention, but today It did. I have fond hopes of actually keeping it clean and organized, which may prove to be a challenge since I also have fond hopes of it becoming a home for my blacksmithing hobby.....

Oh yes, that. Well, after getting the above projects done, I took the time to work my forge a little and shaped another railroad spike knife. Want to see it?

It still is in the beginning stages. It will probably get wooden scales on the handle, but it's pretty early to know yet. After all, the last knife I made that resembled this ended up getting re-purposed after I accidentally overheated it during the heat treat. So we will see.

I think that covers today pretty well, at least for my end. Maybe if you all comment and beg enough Jenny will post!


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fishing Date

I guess you've all begun to believe that we've totally given up on staying in touch with this blog. The fact is that we've stayed busy enough that we just haven't kept up very well.

I could try to do a quick re-cap on the summers events, but I don't think that's necessary. The reason I decided to post again was because of what my wife and I did last night.

Yesterday morning, Jenny and I decided to go fishing. So I called up a neighbor who has a nice pond, and asked for permission to go fishing. He was agreeable, so we lined up my mom to take care of Gwendolyn for us, so we could do a fishing date. Jenny had some work to do in the morning, and so Gwen went with her Daddy to Walmart to get some nightcrawlers and to do some other things. She seemed to enjoy that, although it's the first time she's gone around by herself with her Daddy like that. He was appropriately pleased that she enjoyed her time with him, as he's not sure what he'd have done otherwise.

After doing some mowing and such, we took Gwen to the folks and left her there while we went fishing. It was a beautiful evening (I'm sorry I didn't take the camera along). The sun was a little warm, but there was plenty of shade. There was no breeze and the only imperfections on the surface of the water were the plop our our lures and bobbers, and the fish breaking the surface. One feature of this pond that is always neat (although sometimes frustrating) is that fish seem to always be breaking the surface somewhere or other. Catching them isn't always as easy as it seems it should be, but as least you know they are there.

Jenny continued in her tradition of catching the first three fish or so. She caught a few little bluegills on her worm and bobber setup. She was sitting on a fallen tree trunk, about four feet above the water, fishing in between weeping willows that hung into the water. I was fishing a ways away from her when I heard her excitedly fighting a fish. Her exclamation, "It's huge!" was enough to make me come running, since I knew that she'd have trouble getting a big fish out without it snagging, or simply breaking her six pound test as she lifted it over her log. She got her bass up beside the bank, and as I ran up it came off her line. I vaulted the log, into the water and grabbed it before it could get clear of the weeds in the waters edge.

Following that excitement, I decided that perhaps a worm and bobber was the way to go. Jenny managed to get another bass about the same size as the first, and I started catching bluegill. To you Wisconsinites, a bluegill is a sunfish. The largest bluegill we caught was eight and a half inches, and I can tell you that catching one of those is about like hooking a bass. It's doubly exciting when you have a eight foot wide window of water, and you can't let them go either right or left of that or they'll snag and break your line. We got about four really nice bluegill and a few smaller ones. Sitting side by side on a big old log watching our bobbers as the sun set would have been very romantic and nice, except that we were so busy reloading worms and catching fish that we didn't have time to think about it too much.

As the sun set, fishing slowed, but I decided to try dropping my worm into a place that was very hard to get to. I could just squeeze in between some trees and toss my line out about eight feet. My first cast in, I knew I was in for some fun when there was a splash by my bobber and it went flying up as a fish struck it. About two seconds later, the bobber was underwater and heading for the snags. I managed to get that one in and found him to be a sixteen inch bass. I think he was the biggest, but we didn't measure the others, they were all really close to the same. I dropped my line back in to that spot, and immediately my bobber started moving again. This bass was about the same as the first one, and came in protesting. I tried once more, and my luck finally failed. Another bass (I say a bigger one) took my worm, and after I tried to persuade him to join the rest of his buddies in my bucket, negotiations failed and he took several wraps around a snag, after which I spent the next five minutes unwinding my tangled bobber from the branches in the vicinity of my left ear, and he undoubtedly bragged to his friends about how big he was and showed off his new lip ring.

So a good time was had by all. Oh and here's a carrot to you Wisconsinites. Come on down and I'll take you fishing!


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Two posts today!

I just had to add this. We rode our bicycles down to David's tonight, and took Gwen along in the carrier. She didn't seem to mind it a bit. I had her on my back. Then on the way home she fell asleep. So Jenny ran and got a camera while I pedaled around the yard awhile. Just thought you'd like this!


Visitors and such

We had some visitors from Idaho recently. Here's Gwen with her great grandma.

And here's supper at our house.
Great Grandpa Sid and Gwen.
And Hans and Mandy stopped in for supper last Tuesday evening. They were only around for a day, and we were privileged to have them come by for the little time they did.
Today Jenny got a new sewing table. I went to an auction and was able to get this for a quite reasonable sum. Jenny has been wanting something like this to keep her sewing stuff in, as well as a place for her machine that doesn't include clearing out one of our other tables.
More pictures will be on my Picasa.... See ya later ~GB

Monday, May 17, 2010

A digital walk down memory lane

Two years ago today......

.....Add two years, a wedding, and a baby, and here we are!
This is me playing with my little girl. I do that when she's happy, otherwise I try to let her mother do most of the playing... I actually take care of her when she's unhappy too, sometimes.
I guess that we're probably typical parents in that we think she's not only a lot of fun, but probably the cutest baby around.
Gwen and her mommy taking a nap.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, you can just consider this a 4,000 word post!

For a more exhaustive study of our daughters facial expressions, you can click here.....

Happy anniversary C&C!


Saturday, May 8, 2010

A quick picture update

I'd like to remind you of something I said in my very first post.... It went something like this: "This blog will be something to do on long winter evenings, but when summer comes we'll just have to see how it goes...." Do you see how it's going? We're busy with the garden, keeping up the yard, all the little spring projects, taking care of our baby--- and the list goes on.

So if you don't see as much of us this summer as you have over the winter, it's not that we don't want to keep up and keep you all updated, it's just that we might be too busy for such extracurricular activities as blogging.

I had a good day today of gardening and mowing, and Jenny was able to get outside a little bit too. We sold onions, radishes, lettuce, and spinach at Farmers Market (although very little of each).

Now then, for the pictures.

I got this and the following picture of Taylor Kremer the other night when her family came over for supper. Christi Orendorf (my cousin and her aunt) was here from Maryland, and so we invited Thad and Darla over for a cookout. More pictures of that can be seen on my picasa. I thought that the above picture captured a childs' enjoyment of a swing ride rather well.

Both of these little girls are quite photogenic (in my opinion), and no, I did not "pose" Taylor. That's how she sat to hold Gwendolyn for about fifteen minutes.

Who wants grilled pizza for supper? This brings us to tonight. I grilled pizza. Oh, and those tin foil things are apples. Supper was a success. I took some left over sourdough bread from Farmers Market and cut pieces and laid them out on the pan. Added some pizza sauce and some chicken, topped it with cheese, and grilled it for fifteen minutes. By the way, I don't have a conventional grill, so you might not have good success trying this depending on your grill. The apples were filled with sugar, butter, and cinnamon.

And after supper we were ready to go for a short walk. Here's the baby all ready to get into the stroller, bonnet and all.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

A productive day

What do you consider a productive day? Jenny and I just had one, and I'll outline it so you can know what we consider a good day.

Got up (that's always the best way to start).

We went to some garage sales in Seward this morning and found a few misc. items, but not too much of note. I did get a hand coffee grinder, which I thought was neat.

When we got home, I mowed the lawn while Jenny took care of the hungry baby. David was here working on a computer and had Rebecca with him, so she rode with me for awhile.

Following that I cut some peppermint tea, and we dug some perennials and took them over to Beth, and got a few plants from her in return.

When we got home, Jenny planted flowers and weeded flower beds while I worked at re-doing my grapevine strategy. I now have a better system on which to grow my grapes (which are coming out of dormancy nicely). I've changed my method to a cattle panel, as opposed to stringing wire which stretches way too easily.

I replaced the dirt in a few little flowerbeds for Jenny, adding some horse fertilizer (pretty rich stuff, you can overdo it with that stuff), and added some of the same around the drip line of my apple tree to encourage root growth outward. I hope that was a good idea. I used it very discreetly as I have no wish to burn my tree.

Then I hoed my peas, radishes, lettuce, spinach, potatoes, and onions. After which I planted more onions (I guess I'm a glutton for punishment).

Meanwhile Jenny took a nap and then finished planting her flowers.

About then it got windy and looked a little stormy, so we went in (it was six o'clock by then).

After supper, I ran over to a friends house and got some cuttings from his grapevines. Came back home and planted them, I do hope they will root as well as all the websites claim they will.

Now I'm ready to get to bed, and so is the rest of my family.

Well, there's a very abbreviated window into a Saturday at my house!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gwendolyn Turns Four! (weeks)

I guess the title of the post is pretty self explanatory.

Here's a picture of our little cherub (sometimes she's not as cherubic as others) at four weeks. This of course was today. Just four weeks ago we were happily and perhaps rather tiredly sitting around in a hospital room with loads of company (my family). I guess those are the times of which memories are made.

Gwendolyn came into this world at exactly 7 lbs, and has been doing just fine ever since. We weighed her tonight, and she was exactly 8 lbs 13.2 oz. So her average (I have a spreadsheet for this, I assume that's normal) is an increase of 1.04 oz per day since birth. One of Jenny's books about babies assures us that it's normal for a newborn to grow at an average of 4 oz weekly for the first month. We're at 7.3 oz per week (spreadsheets are fun). So I guess she's going to be a little porker soon at this rate.

Anyway, maybe I should get on my soap box for a bit. Or rather maybe I should just tell you my experience with a certain thing that you may have heard about. Swagbucks. I thought it was getting such rave reviews by some folks that I'd try it out. If you're tempted by the idea of getting money back for searching the web, etc, you can give it a try for yourself. Basically, they pay you (minutely) for using a search engine that gives advertisements for search results. You have to set it as your default search engine, or go to the swagbucks site to search in order to get credit/ "swagbucks" for your search. Depending what you search for you may get points or you may not. Supposedly it doesn't reward you based on what you search for, but I'm not so certain. Eventually, at least in theory, the points add up to enough that you can redeem them on the swagbucks site for stuff.

I used it for about three weeks and never got enough points to redeem for anything. I think there could be two reasons for that. Either I don't spend enough time surfing the web randomly, or else my searches aren't the kind of searches companies are willing to shell out money to get "found" on. In other words, if you search for a retail item or merchandise of some kind, swagbucks will dole out the points because you are looking at the "add" space they are selling to companies. If you are searching for information on say, "pruning grapevines", you aren't as likely to get points for that search, because you aren't searching for something someone can sell you. So for me who doesn't surf all day for new merchandise it was pretty useless. It seems to me that if they didn't pay people to use their search engine, no one would since their top results are 100% advertising on every search.

I could have got on here and said how wonderful it was and given you all a link to click to sign up (cause that would have given me points), but I think I'll just skip that since I cancelled my account and went back to a useful search engine. Now I'll get off my soap box.


Friday, April 16, 2010

For Clark and I.....

This post shall be devoted to some pictures I took very recently. Clark and Charlotte were here a week ago, and we had fun taking pictures. But unfortunately Clark had to go home just before one of my favorite spring blossoms appeared. The wild plum bushes around here tend to grow in fencerows, and can be a bit of a pain. They do make good pictures though, and they always remind me that Spring really IS here. They also exude a most pleasing aroma.

Due to the rather snide posts of some other person I won't mention.... I thought maybe I should devote this post to Apertures, ISO's, Shutter speeds, and focal lengths. The above picture is very self explanatory, but the two below are a bit more interesting.

Typically, shots like these will have one of two problems. Either the sunset will be exposed correctly and the blossoms will be a silhouette, or else the blossoms will expose correctly, leaving nothing but a sick white overexposed background. Neither of those results are particularly pleasing to me, so I took a slightly different approach.

Shooting directly into the sunset will naturally give you a very high shutter speed to control all that light. And the blossoms in the foreground need a much longer exposure to expose correctly. The solution is to make both the sunset and the blossoms need the same exposure time (shutter speed). Here's what I did. I set my ISO as low as I could, and then cranked my f-stop to as high as I could get it. This put me at ISO 100, F32, and about 1/125. This was within my flash sync speed, which is what I needed to make this shot happen. At this point a few test shots were required to get the right shutter speed and flash output combination. Of course I shot this in full manual, because otherwise my meter would vary shutter speeds wildly depending on where exactly my camera was pointed (blossom or sun).

Now for those who like to pick up a camera and take pictures without understanding what is happening inside it, you may not have found this post interesting at all. On the other hand, if you don't undestand what goes on in there, you can't make it take a picture like this. And this is the whole point of f-stops, apertures, shutter speeds, ISO's, etc: To take better pictures by controlling the camera instead of letting it do whatever it jolly well pleases. Because sometimes the camera (smart as it is) just doesn't know the best solution for the situation.

There, that's the end of my rant. By the way, I'm neither upset nor offended, nor do I even feel particularly defensive. I'm just enjoying an excuse to elucidate the reasoning and technical information behind what I think is an interesting picture.

Now then, what do you think Clark?


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Layout....

I've been hearing from some of you that it's about time to change my layout to something a bit more springlike. So here you go!

The two pictures featured in this layout were taken in the past week. Clark and Charlotte came and visited, and last Saturday we enjoyed going out to Kearney Ne. That's west of here about 150 miles or so. We visited the Kearney Arch, and watched the Sandhill Cranes at sunset over the Platte River. The picture above is Sandhill Cranes silhouetted in the sunset on a little island in the Platte.

The background picture was taken a mile from our house in my favorite little old graveyard. Clark and I enjoyed taking pictures together, and did quite a bit of it. To see more of the pictures I got over the weekend, you can click here to visit my picasa.

Jenny enjoyed having her family here over the last week and a half, you will see pictures of that as well.

This little baby of ours is doing pretty well, notwithstanding that a certain saying about babies is applicable. It goes something like "having a newborn baby in the house is a lot like heaven, there is no night there...." Perhaps that explains why you haven't heard much from us lately.

Gardening has been going pretty strong here for me. I've got about half the garden planted, which keeps my evenings busy, along with getting the yard in shape to mow, and mowing it. I planted about a thousand sweet onions last evening, and have regular onions, peas, radishes, kohlrabi, garlic, lettuce, and spinach all growing. I also have the potato's planted, but haven't seen them yet. Ditto on the green beans (I know it's too early, but hey, they might not freeze off, and if they don't I get them that much sooner).

Well, thanks for stopping by and don't forget to comment and tell me how you like the layout. We sort of departed from the traditional picture of the "little white house".


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Babies Don't Keep

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,

empty the dustpan, poison the moth,

hang out the washing and butter the bread,

sew on a button and make up a bed.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?

She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue (lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

Dishes are waiting and bills are past due (pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew

and out in the yard there's a hullabaloo

but I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.

Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue? (lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,

for Children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.

So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.

I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep......

~Author Unknown ~

Perhaps, the mother in this house will have time to post something sometime, but as the poem says.....

Today I mowed lawn for the first time this year, and over the last week or so we have planted nearly half the garden. So it's beginning to feel like Spring is really here, and we're awfully glad after this winter that we've had.

Gwendolyn Marie has been doing really well (although her mother might have more and better details than I). She was to the doctor at about ten days and has regained her birth weight plus two ounces. (She's now 7lb 2oz.) She likes to look around at things when she's awake, and has been doing better at sleeping at night. Last night she went five hours between feedings, which was a record, I believe. Well, I must be going, at least you got a little update! Be sure to check out picasa for the latest in pictures.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Our Little Girl

I'm sure that you all have managed to find out we had a baby, but I thought I'd let you know a little more about what we're up to now. If you haven't seen the pictures already, you can click here to do that.

We're currently at the Seward Memorial Hospital with our little girl. Click here to watch for a picture of her on the hospital website. It's not up as I write, but it should be soon. Just so you know, Lydia Ruth (on the same page) is her cousin. So is Jolene Danae on the February page. Everything has gone super well, Jenny and little Gwen (yes, it get's shortened sometimes) are doing splendidly. Except that right now the little one is testing her lungs and vocal chords. It's all normal though.

Gwendolyn is a pretty strong little baby, she can hold her head up and look around, although she's not looking around much yet. So far, she's been very good and likes to eat pretty often. Last night we let the nurses take care of her in between feedings so that Jenny could get some sleep. Jenny didn't get as much sleep as I did (on my cot) but she's doing pretty well, and hopefully can catch a nap this afternoon.

We are planning on being released tomorrow, although Jenny would rather have gotten out of here today. Doc says that they'd like us for a 36 hour minimum, especially since it's a first baby. She followed that up by saying, "although you sure don't act like a first time mommy!" She was very happy with how things were this morning when she checked over mommy and baby, and so we expect there will be no problems with being released tomorrow.

Anyway, that's how things are going right now. We've been having lots of company (see the pictures) and it's been fun and exciting. I don't expect to have a lot of spare time to post anything once we get home, so I thought you'd all like if I said something now. Of course, we will try to keep you all updated, but don't expect a lot right away! I'd put up a picture or two, but right now I think we'll just let you click the above links to see all the pictures on picasa.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Welcoming Gwendolyn Marie Burkey

Hi all, here's a quickie to say that Gwendolyn Marie Burkey was born 3/23/10 at 5:00 pm. She scaled in at seven pounds even, and at 20" long is a definite keeper. We'll post more later, I'm sure! Here's a link to the latest photos

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


We're all ready....

Our bag is packed...

Please come soon baby!

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Geese Flying North

In Nebraska, one sure herald of Spring is the arrival of hordes of migrating geese. The geese have been showing up in the last week or so, and they are usually around for a month or so as they spread out over the fields and try to fatten up before heading on north. The Sandhill Cranes don't come by where we live, but we occasionally drive west about an hour in order to observe them in the Platte River Valley. I thought you all might enjoy seeing a few geese pictures anyway. The geese are mostly snow geese (I think) although I'm pretty sure I saw some Canada geese too. We've also seen some ducks mixed into the group as well.

These geese were in the field next to our house. We tried creeping through our windbreak to get some pictures, but they're pretty sharp eyed and the whole group took off before we got to where I could get pictures on the ground. As soon as they took off, I ran to the edge (nothing to lose now) and got this and several other shots as they made their departure.

Today as Jenny and I were on our way home from the folks, we stopped when we say a bunch of geese flying overhead. When we stopped, we saw strings of geese as far as we could see in both directions, migrating overhead. We watched and I took the following pictures.

After about twenty or thirty minutes of this, we got back in the car and continued on, but we could still see geese as far as we could look in both directions. I counted a small group in one of my pictures, and based off of that count I estimate we saw around 10,000 geese fly overhead (the group was of course larger than that, they started before we got there and continued after we were gone). Iit's always kind of amazing to see that many geese fly overhead and once again it made me realize the beauty and wonder of God's creation. Well, that's it for my "goose" post, maybe one of these days I'll be posting about a new baby.....


Thursday, March 4, 2010

The arrival of Spring

This year, Spring has been looked forward to eagerly by Jenny and I for several reasons. Mainly, it's a milestone in our lives as we look forward to our first child (and incidentally the cutest infant ever, in my humble opinion), but the other reason is that winter has dragged on horribly long and we are ready to see something other than dirty snow. If you would like to understand just how welcome spring is, take a look at our yard......

See? It's not pretty. Now I admit that I went out this evening with the intent of taking the ugliest picture of our yard I could find, and I think I did pretty well. I also made an effort to showcase the big water ponds and mud in a positive way also as in here:

And here.
You'd think we lived on a lake. Not so far fetched, actually.

Behold our lake! This is the field right west of our house. It's not terribly deep, but it would make a great skating rink if it freezes. I'll try not to let Jenny skate on it if it does, but that might be a little hard. She thinks it's pretty bad that she's not allowed to skate.

Well the other reason that I'm so glad to have Spring come is that I'm getting sick and tired of this quilting business....It's fine when Jenny does it. But have you ever tried to actually make that thread go into that tiny hole in a needle? It's not for the faint of heart.

I'm ready to get outdoors and find a new hobby.

What else to say? Our tomato plants are doing pretty well. In addition, Jenny has started Hollyhocks, Columbine, Butterfly flowers, English Daisies, Broccoli, and Cauliflower. I am wondering if I spelled that right. Oh well, it's all growing. We just are waiting for the snow to clear out and the ground to dry up (and warm up) enough to start planting!


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Springtime (I can dream, can't I?)

Who misplaced my global warming? I'm serious, this is getting to be a big problem. I don't know just how the legislation they've been working on got enacted so quickly, but ever since the Democrats have been in power in Washington (or maybe even before) there has been a serious reversal of this global warming phenomenon. So serious in fact, that we're not allowed to call it that anymore. It sounds so ridiculously laughable to a nation wrapped in snow which has seen an avalanche of records broken this winter, that they've decided to call it something new: Climate Change. Well, they still mean the same thing, it just doesn't make them look quite as silly as when they call it "warming". If you all feel about like I do, you'd gladly go out and start your car and let it run all night long to increase CO2 globally and produce warming. If only it would work. That's the other problem they have, it just doesn't work.

I didn't start this post to take jabs at the uncomfortably chilled, red faced proponents of the global warming- er, climate change myth. I was merely going to remark on the fact that for the end of February, it seems unseasonably brisk out. For my region anyway, the -2 temperature the other morning seemed a little unreasonable. But we can't control the weather. Much as some of us would like to. (snicker)

Oh well. I don't mean to be uncharitable, I just enjoy a good joke as I'm sure most of you do.

What have we been up to lately? Last weekend was the Seward Home show. This was our first time going to the show as Country Truss, LLC. Here's a picture of our booth. It was enjoyable, although I don't know how profitable. I guess that remains to be seen.

If Spring won't come, we're going to try forcing the issue. Jenny planted Tomato seeds, Peppers of some kind, and a few other vegetables (not to mention flowers) in the past week or so, and we're just hoping that the mountains of snow outside subside in time for us to put these plants out before fall.

Right now our garden has enough snow on it that the dogs run over the fence in back of it (which is only four or five feet high, the big drifts are over the horses fence) and I seriously am considering search and rescue for my garlic and strawberry plants, lest they give up and move to Florida.

As you can see, we have a regular little greenhouse inside our regular little white house, and unless it starts warming up outside soon I'm a little worried that these plants will expand until we won't have enough room to give them all a little sunlight. We're a little challenged to find windows that let sunlight in, and these lamps aren't going to cut it when the plants get bigger. I hope to be able to put the plants in the porch, which will give them plenty of morning sun, but it simply gets too cold in there to do that anytime soon. I don't care to leave the inside door open to heat the porch at zero temps even if my heat does come from a wood stove.

That's about the scoop on what all we've got going on. We're just hanging on and hoping we can hold out until Spring rolls in to town. Until then, (or maybe sooner, you never can tell when the urge will strike to write) I'm off to throw another log on the fire.


P.S. Three Cheers! My wife saw a flock of Robins today! The worm digging business seems like it would still be a little slow, but here's hoping they don't mind waiting a month or two for their dinner!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Google must have been listening

I guess they heard us.

Google has been so kind as to now give us all the option of totally disabling and deleting Buzz from our accounts. The little "turn Buzz off" link doesn't actually delete it, it just makes so you can't see it. To delete Buzz totally, here's what you do. First of all, you need to get into your Google profile. You can do this through Buzz (which is how I did it). If you have Buzz turned off, just turn it back on, and then click the Buzz icon. When it opens, click "Edit" (it's right after your name) to edit your profile. Scroll down to the bottom and you will find the nice little option that Google just provided us, which allows you to disable Buzz and remove it from your account. To quote Google "This will disable Google Buzz integration in Gmail and delete your Google profile and Buzz posts. It will also disconnect any connected sites and unfollow you from anyone you are following." Handy, huh? If you don't use Buzz I recommend doing this, (rather than just turning it off) as it will totally disable it, instead of just not allowing you to see it.

Of course maybe you all like Buzz and want to keep it. If you do, fine, but so far all it's done for me is to allow me to see everyones status that they post all day long, which frankly isn't all that interesting.

Well, I just thought I'd say something about this for those who might not find out about being able to delete Buzz.


A P.S. here. On my own account, it didn't actually get rid of the Buzz icon, it just deleted my profile and my followers. I still have to click the "Turn buzz off" thing to make so I don't see it. Oh, and an easier way to do the whole "delete Buzz etc..." is to just turn it back on (if you've turned it off) and then hit the "turn off Buzz" at which point you will see the option to permanently disable it. (Well, permanently as in until you click the icon to turn it back on)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Our First Anniversary

Roses from Gabe
We celebrated our anniversary, by going out to eat at "Chances R", which is a lovely restaurant in York. It was very nice :) The day of our anniversary dawned windy and snowy, so we spent a quiet day at home, since church was canceled. We did go down to Mom and Dad Burkey's later on in the afternoon for a little while. I borrowed a couple stacks of books from mom, and we spent the rest of the evening reading. I would say it was a wonderful way to spend an anniversary.
The last year has gone by so fast! It just doesn't seem like a year ago that we were saying our "I do's " :) It has been a good year... and we are so thankful that God has blessed us with this time together so far, and we look forward to many more years together!
The last year has brought many changes to my life. Nebraska is definitely different than Wisconsin! But I've learned to love it here too, and have found that Nebraska does know how to have winter after all! I guess the landscape isn't really the most important change I've had in my life. Getting to know a new church and making friends here, has had challenges all of it's own. I am happy to say that I have learned to know people so much better, and I really appreciate our church here. And then, of course, it is so nice having Gabe's parents and family all nearby, so that we are not lacking in family either!
Of course the biggest, most important change that has happened in our lives, is one that is still in progress, you might say :) We are looking forward very much to our baby's arrival. I am becoming more impatient, since I have begun to feel most elephantine. I think wistfully of the days when I could bend over to tie my shoes. We have the cradle all set up, and I was showered with many lovely gifts by the church ladies last Monday evening, so now all we need is the baby!
I hope you all have a lovely week, and I will post again someday, but not too often, since that wouldn't be in keeping with my record so far. I have to wait until something dramatic happens. JMB

Friday, February 12, 2010

What's the Buzz about?

Since it's been awhile since I posted, and since I finally have something to discuss that interests me, perhaps I'll do so.

I haven't ever managed to get as many comments as the time I posted my largely negative view of Facebook, and perhaps this will be received about the same way, but here goes.

This Buzz thing. Hmmm. One day you sign into your Gmail account (if you happen to use it you know what I mean, if you use another server this doesn't apply to you), and what do you know but it tells you that you are now a part of "Buzz"! That's fine and dandy you think to yourself, wondering just what in the world "Buzz" happens to be.

I guess you all know what it is by now, if you're a gmail user. Basically (my perspective here) it's a rip off of Facebook's basic gossip site idea. Don't get me wrong anyone (I love Facebook:), it's probably going to be popular for Google, but I do have a few problems with it.

In the first place, it seems to me that Google could allow users to decide for themselves if they want such a thing, rather than arbitrarily forcing it on them, thus making them have to figure out how to get rid of it if they don't want it. After all, if I want to spend my free moments sending little personal blurbs about my life to the whole world I can find plenty of social networking sites to do it on, why force it into my e-mail? There is a little "turn off Buzz" link on the homepage, if you get your microscope out you will find it. Fine. I can live with that.

Next problem. Like Facebook, it assumes that I want to "follow" a whole bunch of people. Now if I wanted this in the first place that would be great, but could I have the option to okay this? I guess not, I'm automatically following them. Oh, and by the way, it will just go ahead and allow anyone who happens to stumble onto my account to see my full name, e-mail, and other google related sites by default! I'd be okay with those being the default settings if default settings were the first thing you saw the first time it announced itself, but it just isn't that way. Unfortunately you have to figure out how to edit your account to even know that's how it set you up!

Unlike Facebook (I'm comparing Facebook favorably to Buzz, wow!) it doesn't allow you to decide if you want someone to be your "friend" (i.e. follower), it just allows them to follow you. Of course, if you don't want someone to follow you (sounds like stalking, doesn't it?) you can block them. So by browsing from one friends friends to another, you could quickly follow a lot of people you may or may not know.

As I understand it, Google (Like Facebook, by the way) pretty much never destroys pictures or other media you post (not to mention text) even if you delete your account. It's still theirs. Of course, if this is a big concern to you then don't ever post anything online or use e-mail. It's all digital and very archive able.

So let's put this together and see what we've got now. By default it will display my name and e-mail (Facebook doesn't even let others see your e-mail address). In theory, over a very short period of time it can grow to such an extent that total strangers are able to not only read whatever I post but can access personal information about me as well. I would guess that it's very few of us who are so careful about the things we say online that we couldn't be physically located by someone who wished to do so. Unless you're looking daily at your "followers" to see if there are any names you don't recognize and block them, you could have anyone following you. On top of that, there's not much of a guarantee that Google itself is not archiving everything we write for its own data purposes, and its a cinch that any pictures or other media posted can be archived indefinitely as well. This is the giant search engine after all. Fine, so you or I can handle all this because we understand the risks.....

I'm not a conspiracy theorist, I don't think. But do you see where I'm going? If you parents with children who use the internet aren't sitting up and taking note of what Facebook and other sites like Buzz, Twitter, MySpace, etc offer and aren't monitoring very closely what's going on, I frankly question your good judgement. If you've never heard the term internet predator, do some research and find out for yourself just how much information about a given person one can find using only the tool of "social networking". Again, I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but please do your homework!

That all said, I think I'll leave the Buzz icon there for now. I enjoy seeing what other folks are up to (my theory being that if they want to share, I'll read it if it interests me at all). But if I have something of any importance whatever to say (and if I didn't I could always use Faceb- er, okayI'll lay off), I'll stick to chat or e-mail. Or maybe even something as outdated and impractical as a phone call. How quaint.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Of normal life

Having discovered that it has been entirely too long since a lot of people (you know who you are) updated, I decided that I must take initiative and update my blog as an example. Thus said, I take my keyboard in lap (just doesn't sound the same as "pen in hand") to inform you all of the latest happenings in our lives. Um, now what? I sometimes get writers block. As is often the case when I post on my blog, this finds me seated in my living room, at my computer (how interesting). The stove is billowing forth heat waves (with a little smoke occasionally for variety), the lights are turned down throughout the house and the only sounds are that of a fan running, my wife quilting (you can actually hear the thread zipping through the little quilt thingy), and of course the plunking of the backspace key between intermittent tapping sounds from the keyboard.

There, I managed to fill an entire paragraph. Did I say anything? See, even though I wanted to put something up tonight, I didn't necessarily feel inspired. So I just started typing out random nonsensical drivel. Which (I'm beginning to suspect) is a good way to lose readership. Someone please tell the New York Times.

Today started a little earlier for me than a typical Saturday morning. I had to go and play hockey at eight. Well, I didn't have to but it was the first chance for me to do so all year. So I did. And while married life certainly has many positive things about it, I would just mention to any seriously contemplating that important step that it very likely may result in a decrease in effectiveness at the sport of hockey. But I wouldn't let that stop you, it's worth it anyway. Actually, they're both worth it. But on different levels. As I was saying, we played hockey. And it was fun. And now I'm sore.

Jenny and I went to an auction the rest of the day. It was up at the Seward Ag Pavilion, and we had fun. We managed to buy a reasonably serviceable pressure cooker (sorry for your loss, Arla), as well as other odds and ends. Such as a pile of random length and width oak boards, a tent that may or may not hold up to light use, several antique irons (one cute little 2 1/2 pounder and two with the wooden removable handle), not to mention a hand mixer for a dollar. That last one may have been overpriced. But when plugged into 110 it makes satisfactory whirring noises and brandishes wicked looking little beaters which I suspect would cause significant pain if applied to the fingers. It looks like it may be older than I, so I was only a little surprised that it worked. Hmmm, I guess I work sometimes too, so I'm not sure why that's a surprise. Of course, if you plugged me into 110 I imagine I'd make funny sounds and brandish things too.

I do apologize for taking up your time with this rather boring post, but at least you know I haven't forgotten about you all! Until next time....


Friday, January 22, 2010

Mrs. Burkey's Version

So how has my life changed in the last two years? Well, it has changed a lot, really :)
Two years ago, I was here in Nebraska, helping Amy, since she had just had a baby, Keagan Michael.
The first week and a half of my stay was rather dreary and emotionally unsettling for me. You see, there was a certain young man, who was causing me much distress and anguish of heart.
When I had been in Nebraska a few months earlier, I had become quite impressed this young man. An excerpt from my journal during that time says this... " Gabe came over and played "Acquire" with Dad, Matt and I. It was good to see him, even though he hadn't shaved his whiskers all week". Actually, that was the same evening when Gabe backed into Mom and Dad's car...
So here is my version of the story...
After getting to know Gabe a little bit, when I was here in Nebraska in the fall, I really thought he was a pretty nice guy, but did my best not to admit that to anyone. Mom and Dad had their suspicions that something was going on, because they asked me what I would say if Gabe would ask me... I told them "It would be pretty dumb to say 'no', wouldn't it?" I thought it was kinda mean of them to ask me that, since I didn't think there was any hope that this would actually happen.
I spent the next few months and home in Wisconsin, going about my normal life and trying to forget about Gabe.
I went back down to Nebraska in January, and I guess that is when things really began to happen. :) I was enjoying helping Amy, but I was having an awful time getting my sleep... I remember lying in bed, trying and trying to sleep, and then, at 3 AM or so, I would get up and write in my journal or read my bible and pray. Of course there were some tears being shed during these little nocturnal sessions.
On Saturday, after I had been in Nebraska for about a week, I went with Matt's to Lincoln for the evening. Coincidentally, Gabe happened to be in Lincoln the same evening and joined us for supper. I had been extremely hungry, until we got to where we were eating. I think I did manage to choke something down anyway.
When we were leaving, Gabe gave me an extra mint that he had... I still have it somewhere, it was much too precious to eat of course!
That evening, Amy finally worked up the courage to ask me how I was doing and told me that she was pretty upset with Gabe for being so friendly and not getting serious about it. She was worried that I was going to get hurt. I still didn't really want to let myself believe that Gabe was showing me any special attentions... I wrote this in my journal that evening, "Amy is worried that this is really upsetting me and I don't think it really is, unless that's what is keeping me awake at night". Silly me.
Well, I endured Sunday and Monday and Tuesday yet. Tuesday, Gabe stopped by with Pat's and Thad's and ignored me all evening, so I pretty much decided that there was no interest there on his part.
Wednesday morning, I learned differently! Here is what I wrote in my journal...
"I just can't believe what is happening to me! This morning I got a phone call from my Dad... he said that Gabe called him!!! At first I couldn't quite believe him... I had to ask if he was serious. Ok, so I told Dad that he could give Gabe the go-ahead to talk to me. I am quite nervous. I guess Gabe is going to stop in here after work to talk to me.
Dear God, please give me calmness and peace and the right words to speak... Thanks so much!"
Gabe did stop in that afternoon, and we went on a short walk outside in the wind and snow, and he had a beautiful little speech that I had been longing to hear, and I said YES! He was a little surprised that I said yes just like that I think, because he said "Really?". Then, of course we had to go meet his mom and dad, which was little embarrassing, but I lived through it. And Gabe all the sudden had a whole bunch of phone calls to make to various relatives and friends. He was pretty pleased with himself I think :)
So that's my story... and it is really only a very, very small portion of our story. We were in love, of course, and loved to be together and talk together and it was wonderful, but it only gets better.
I may have thought I know Gabe 2 years ago, or 1 year ago, but it changes and grows and matures and gets better. Some days it's not all the gooey, warm feelings, but that trust and commitment and faithfulness, that is what really matters when the gooey, warm feelings are hard to find. I thank God every day for my wonderful husband, who takes such good care of me and who loves me even when I am cranky and unreasonable. Or when I laugh about dumb things. Or drive the car into the snowbank. And he even still loves me when I'm fat and awkward and want to eat ice cream.
Now we are nearing our first anniversary... it seems that time has gone by so quickly! We are looking forward to having our new baby and hoping to have "normal" life and no trips for a long time now. Gabe has work at the shop right now, and we are thanking God for that too. We haven't had a blizzard for a few weeks now, so that is nice.
On Sunday we plan to have Mom and Dad Burkey, Grandpa Burkey, Karen, and Steve and Wanda Kremer, over for dinner. Gabe has taught me to enjoy having company and I am glad about that. We always enjoy having people at our house.. so come and see us sometime!