March 30, 2009

Another Tradition

Finding Spring...

Well, we have started on one of our other “rituals.” Finding spring. I was done with the need for more snow, by Christmas. Yet it take another 3 or more months for even the first promise of spring, here in the Heartland of the USA. (When we lived in the Dakotas it took until May, usually.) So, after we retired and spend winter at home, we use an early opportunity to go a bit farther South. We look for Red buds, Dog woods, and Forsythias, even a Dandelion gives me great hope for the coming warming period. This usually goes coupled with a Mission Support trip to CEF in Warrenton, MO. On the way and during our weekends there, we visit with Rick and Jena. Often there is some project for which an extra hand comes in handy; so we get to work together while we visit. By the pictures you can see, that we were successful in finding Spring. We are at Rick and Jena’s house in Saint James and even though it is rainy and cold outside, we see the huge forsythia blooming. This weekend in the later part of March is our start of our enraptured enjoyment of the budding of the trees and other wild vegetation this year. Missouri is a great place to find spring. At least until Saturday night, winter tried to get back in, with about 1 ½ inches of snow. It was a wimpy show, fortunately. On Sunday the sun was back to melt it all away. Keep coming spring!

March 6, 2009

Fietsen (2)

I am overdue for my blog update. Sorry, but the weather was so great that we have gone for a bike ride last Wednesday (February 25) and also yesterday, March 4. Beautiful weather and 20 miles of gorgeous trails along the Des Moines river and surrounding areas. I forgot the camera, so no pictures of this trip. I have a picture or two to share, however. On I found on the web, and it shows a standard type of bak-fiets, which you can use to move just about anything that can fit in the “bak” The other one is a cut out from the picture in the previous blog, and it shows a bak-fiets with only two wheels, which is more difficult to balance, but seems to steer easier, with the single wheel up front. When I grew up in Appingedam, I helped deliver bread and other baked goods on Saturdays. We had a large, heavy, and covered bak-fiets; like the one with the kids in it, except much longer. Also the milkman had a large open bak-fiets which usually had two or more milk cans with a tap on the bottom, as well as a variety of other dairy products. He usually had a house-to-house route, which he completed every day.

If you look at the other picture (which I resubmitted here form last time), Corrie is holding an older type of ladies bike, the curved, low “bar” allows a lady to “step through” to get on the saddle, which is really handy if you wear a skirt. For you younger ones: it was very uncommon to see a middle aged or older lady in slacks, until the seventies, or later. This style bike is now affectionately known as a :granny-bike.” Also note the covers of part of the wheels in the back; this would prevent your skirt from getting dirty by rubbing on the tire or the spokes. Most bikes in Holland have splash-guards to keep the rain from dirtying your shoes or your back-side, like happens here when you go through a puddle... Remember that a bike is the primary local transport for very many people and it rains a lot in the Netherlands, so you can see the need. Also the chain is usually totally enclosed in a chain guard on Dutch bikes. I remember the difficulty of replacing the chain, if it would come of the gears. You’d have to remove the chain guard to do anything. Good preventive maintenance is a must. The other bike which Corrie is holding, (mine) has an open chain-guard, so it was an import, – German I think.