Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Bits and pieces September 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 10:41 AM

Postage due

LAST WEEK MY FRIEND Jane made a special trip to the post office to have an envelope weighed. She wanted assurance that the envelope had adequate postage for mailing from Duluth to my Faribault home.

Well, yesterday I got an e-mail from Jane. The package was returned to her postage due. “Apparently our two post offices don’t agree,” she wrote.

Huh?

#

The Case of the Mysterious Wire

ON TUESDAY MY WASHING MACHINE started squealing, right before the rinse cycle. That evening my husband determined the source of the problem—a bad water pump—and showed me a curved piece of broken wire.

Wednesday evening he returned from work with a new water pump and that broken piece of wire.

“Do you know what this is?” Randy asked, holding up the wire.

“Uh, no,” I replied.

“It’s from an underwire bra,” he said. “Karl (that would be Karl, our friend and the appliance man) said he sees a lot of these from washing machines.”

“Well, I don’t wear that kind of bra,” I said, feeling somewhat embarrassed.

But I do know two young women who may be getting a water pump bill for $65.73.

#

My fake body part

MY SISTER MONICA and her family have nearly completed a major home addition. A few finishing touches need yet to be completed, like installing steps to the front door.

So when I stepped out of the front door on Sunday, I did so carefully. Even so, the step down was a bit further than I anticipated.

“Wow, that’s a long drop,” I said.

“You should just jump, like this,” my 7-year-old niece Cortney said as she leapt to the ground.

“Well, I can’t do that,” I said. “Part of my leg is fake and I need to be careful.”

Cortney stopped dead in her tracks.

“Remember when you came to visit me in the hospital?” I asked.

She shook her head.

“Well, they cut out part of my bone and gave me a ceramic one,” I said, trying to explain to her what getting a new hip means.

“They took off her leg and put on a new one,” my sister said, trying not to laugh.

Well, sort of, but not exactly.

Cortney covered her ears. “I don’t want to hear that!” she yelled.

#

© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Steam and gas engine show novelties

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:50 AM
I had never heard of David Bradley ag equipment until I saw this sign posted by a collector with a sense of humor.

I had never heard of David Bradley ag equipment until I saw this sign posted by a collector with a sense of humor. Be sure to click on this photo so you can read the small print under the big red lettering.

SOMETIMES I SUPPOSE my husband simply wishes I would just stay home and let him do his guy thing. But last Saturday I decided that, since I hadn’t attended the Rice County Steam & Gas Engines, Inc., show in years, I would tag along with him.

Randy made for an excellent tour guide, patiently explaining this engine to me and that engine to me, identifying tractors and answering my many questions. I’m always full of questions.

And I’m always looking for the interesting and unique. So I stray away, drawn to the unusual. That happens often as I tend to see what others may not notice.

But that’s OK. It makes life more interesting.

I discovered there’s a lot more to see at a steam and gas engines show than mechanical stuff.

Here’s the proof, straight from my camera.

A vintage picnic basket personalized with decals caught my eye because, well, I like vintage picnic baskets.

I nearly missed this gem of a vintage picnic basket tucked near a machine. Even though I think it had been modified with custom decals, I still like it.

Cowboy boots hanging on the exterior of an 1860s log cabin marked the building as an on-site shoe repair shop. Inside, Randy Malecha of Willie's Shop Repair in Northfield demonstrated his craft.

Cowboy boots hanging on the exterior of an 1860s log cabin marked the building as an on-site shoe repair shop. Inside, Randy Malecha of Willie's Shoe Repair in Northfield demonstrated his craft.

If you're upset or frustrated, these gingham DAMMIT dolls were available at the craft/flea market.

Upset or frustrated? These folksy gingham DAMMIT dolls from the craft/flea market offered a creative way to vent frustrations. Not that I condone cursing...

Whoa! I did a double take when I saw this gigantic trap. How many varmints could that catch at once, I wondered.

Whoa! I did a double take when I saw this gigantic trap. "How many varmints can that catch?" I wondered as I side-stepped The Thing.

(Watch for more Rice County Steam & Gas Engines show photos in upcoming blogs.)

© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling