Living Large In Our Little House


Tarantula on the garageThe first time we saw one, The Little House was barely framed in.
“What is that on the side of the foundation?” Dale said as we drove into the driveway to have a look at our new home.
“It looks like someone threw a big mud clot,” I answered, but as we got out of the truck and walked closer, we realized it was the biggest spider either of us had ever seen.
I wasn’t terrified, even then, but amazed at really, how beautiful tarantulas are. We had no idea this area had tarantulas, but have since marveled at seeing them in the road and sometimes stumbling upon the holes they dig in the ground for their nests.
Yes, it’s big spider season here again, they’re out and about gathering food for the winter. It just isn’t the tarantulas on the move, but other insects of the 8-legged variety are more prominent outside too, building webs closer to the house and lights where they can catch as many unsuspecting moths and other food as possible.


A Taste of Home

CrockpotSometimes I just have to have a little of mom’s home cooking although it isn’t possible to have some of my mother’s dishes made by her hands. I do have some of the recipes that will always be reminiscent of home.
I’m a typical American Heinz 57, 1/8 to ¼ cup of Native American, at least ¼ German with a dash of Irish, Scottish and Patriot (one side traces back to “Mad” Anthony Wayne from the Revolutionary War) thrown in.
When people hear my last name, most people identify me with being at least part Native American, but it is my mother’s German blood that I identify most with culturally. It was at least my great-great grandparents who immigrated to the U.S., but when my mother was born, her paternal family still closely identified with their German roots. My grandfather was a very early union organizer for meat packers in the Back of the Yards area of Chicago’s South side and my mother attended St. Martini’s Lutheran Church and School in the South side’s German community.


Family Game Night

8-9-2008-02On a recent weekly grocery jaunt to Wal-Mart, we found ourselves looking at board games.

“We should try to find Twister,” I told Dale.

“Just getting up from the chair is a game of Twister,” he said.

You remember the game of Twister, where you spread a plastic sheet out with different colored dots? When you spin the dial, it tells you which body part should be placed on what color and if you touch your knees or elbows to the mat, or fall, you lose.

Well, every night is family game night at our house.

We may not have the colored dots on the floor, but with four dogs in less than 500 square feet, floor space is at a premium. Moving around without stubbing a toe, stepping on a tail or falling down is a challenge and every time we can do it without harming each other, a dog, or ourselves is a winning night.


Nesting Season

Road 2009I’m sad to see summer go, I love all of the activities that go with summer – boating, fishing, swimming, sitting on the covered front porch and grilling on the party deck. Right now, our landscape is still lush and green, but it won’t be long before the brilliant fall colors are out.
Summer is so busy, we’re usually always on the go, and for that reason, I will also take winter. Don’t get me wrong, I hate the cold –and I really fear another ice storm like we saw in January, but my internal seasonal clock says it’s about time to slow down, settle in and well, nest in The Little House.
That’s why this weekend will be mostly about organizing the pantry in the kitchen and making room for some of the small appliances I use in the winter (the crock pot, the George Forman Grill, etc.) and the basement of the office, which is where most of the stuff that is sometimes needed in the house is stored including off season clothes.
The weatherman says we will have nights with lows in the 40s next week, so it’s time to say goodbye to my light cotton summer clothes and rotate back to the sweats and sweaters.


I Haven’t Seen any UFO’s at the Little House, But…

IMG_5076There’s a phenomenon that plagues almost every couple I know. It’s the strange mystery surrounding how men can be two feet away from their wives, kids and pets and not hear what’s going on.

I love my husband. It’s not possible to have been with someone for 30 years and to go through everything we’ve been through (we grew up together) and live in such a small space and not love him.

However, I don’t think there will be enough time for us on this earth to figure out this particular puzzle.

Are these sounds like a dog whistle that can only be heard on a certain frequency? I would have thought that living in a small house would have solved this, it hasn’t….


The Front Porch has me Covered

Ice Cream Table and LanternWe all have our morning rituals, and our covered front porch allows me to engage in one of my favorites – sitting down with a cup of coffee, an actual newspaper, and my thoughts.
This is one of my favorite places that we built onto The Little House, as well as to the Belle Writer’s Studio.
We weren’t here when the foundation went in for The Little House and the first thing we learned about building a house from 300 miles away – don’t try it. The front of The Little House is actually supposed to be facing the driveway, with the party deck facing the lake below.
Instead, the covered front porch is facing the woods and while it is supposed to be the front of the house, is the last thing anyone sees when they visit.
Having spent the first morning out on the covered front porch enjoying the view of the canopied yard was done was enough to bring me peace regarding its cock-eyed direction.


On Fridays: Chaos, at the Beginning of the Day

IMG_5073Friday is cleaning day, every since I was a little kid when I would help my mother dust all of her knick-knacks. I think that’s where I got this idea that there’s one day for cleaning. I do the dishes and sometimes pick up during the week, but usually not. It wouldn’t take as long to have my house “company ready” – especially in The Little House – but on weeks when I’ve been particularly busy, such as this one, it takes me longer to pick up the clutter that’s accumulated than it does to actually clean.