Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Little Morning Adventure in the Snow

front steps 2-25-16

The front steps … somewhere.

The storm caught us full force last night. I’ve no idea how much snow we got, because it came sideways with 35 – 45 mph gusts. Drifts. We have drifts. Lots and lots of them. Deep drifts.

I waded out to feed the wood stove and livestock about 7:00 this morning. Had to shovel snow away from the wood pile so I could find the logs. Negotiated a waist-high drift in front of the barn. (Nearly lost poor Murphy, all I could see was the top of his head!) After the animals were fed and watered, I dug out the front steps where the top of the drift was almost even with my shoulders.
Got back in the house and out of my coveralls when Josh came to plow out the drive. Less than five minutes after he arrived, I heard that sound you never want to hear when someone is plowing out your drive. Stuck. Buried. Ice under the tires. *sigh*

Back into the cover alls and out with a shovel. We tried to dig him free. That didn’t work. I got the tractor out (which took about 20 minutes, had to get through those waist-high drifts to where his truck was stuck)Tried pushing his plow front with the bucket of the tractor. Nothing doing.

front drive 2-25-16

Looking down the driveway.

Watching us from the road, was a line of at seven trucks, five with plows on them, waiting in the middle of Nicholson Hill Road because some mental midget in a CAR was stuck a few feet west of our driveway. Way to go, buddy. They finally broke free when a county V-plow truck showed up and pushed the car out of the way. And then they all drove on by. Not a one offered to help. Some people’s children.

I negotiated around the drifts, digging through where I needed, and worked the tractor to the front of Josh’s stuck truck. Tried pulling him out with a chain. Nope. Didn’t budge.

He asked me if my truck is 4-wheel drive. Yes. But I asked him if we were going to get them both stuck trying that. He shrugged. Why not? With him in my truck and me doing my best to keep his plow truck running and steer it (don’t laugh – it’s an old plow truck), he finally jerked his truck free. 
front of the barn 2-25-16

The tunnel I dug with the tractor to get it out of the barn.


All that took just under an hour. By the time I’d peeled off my coveralls, hat, both pairs of gloves, and shucked my boots, I had to sweep a dustpan full of snow off my floor. Then it was into a hot shower.

The drive? Yeah. It’s still not plowed out. Josh is coming back later. He had to go help his buddy … who had BOTH of his trucks stuck. Good thing Josh didn’t mention that before he suggested using mine!

At least the temps weren’t too bad, in the mid-20s, so we didn’t freeze. But I do believe that the rest of my day – until evening chores – will be spent pursuing indoor activities.


Posted by on February 25, 2016 in Uncategorized


The Dreaded Thomas Family Christmas Webpage


It’s a new day and a new look for The Dreaded Thomas Family Christmas Page. After fifteen years I no longer own the webpage. I also let my old blog, The Sheepish Scribe go dormant. And, in keeping with the times, I’ve moved everything here at These are just a few of the many changes Michael and I have traveled through this past year.

snowing trip

A cowboy and his horse.

Jeff finished his move to Sturgis, MI. The last of his belongings, including Cash, went south after New Year’s Day. It wasn’t the best weather to travel in, much less pull a horse trailer through, but they made it.

While Jeff was starting his career job, Michael was losing his. He was laid off from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services with a month’s notice. His job was still there, but someone higher up the food chain lost their job and bumped him out of his. It was devastating.

that face

His coaching face.


We tried to keep things as normal as possible, including a visit with Jeff to watch him coach his 8th grade basketball team in January. He’s a good coach and enjoys working with the kids, but it does put a crimp in his roping schedule.

Michael’s final day at work was February 14th. Yeah. Happy Valentine’s Day from the State of Michigan. We were fine, financially, but it was still worrisome. After a couple of weeks, he was offered a position in Traverse City doing exactly the same job he did here. Of course, he jumped on it! Janet and Marsha (sister and adopted sister) had moved to Lake Ann (near Traverse City) a few months prior. They offered him a place to stay while he worked during the week while I stayed home to sell the farm.


Murphy on the run

Murphy on the run.

snowy log pile

Log Pile

March came in cold and snowy, but at least Michael had a job. Murphy and I got the house ready to put on the market. We also sold the sheep. That was difficult. But I logistically, we wouldn’t have been able to move them with us. It was a sad day when we watched them driven away.


Edwin H Gott in the ice

Michael and Murphy boatnerding


April brought a bit of a thaw, so Michael and I  – and Murphy – took a day trip up to the Soo. It was still pretty cold! The river above the locks was still clogged with ice, although the Edwin H. Gott had no problem moving through it. The river down at our favorite spot, Mission Point, was pretty much open. Just some floating ice here and there. A sure sign of spring.
fish dinner 5-25-15ARGH Cap'n MichaelMay brought fishing! I caught a handsome small-mouth bass and turned it into that beautiful dinner complete with hushpuppies. We didn’t get fishing as often as we’d like this year, but it was a casualty of living across the state from each other all week.

Michael and Jeff with Jimmy Fortune



Jeff discovered a fun place to visit in Shipshewana. It’s a little theater where a lot of old-time country music stars give concerts. We went down in May and saw a few of them, including Jimmy Fortune from the Statler Brothers. Yes … he really is that short! We also saw Bobbie Bare, TG Shepherd, and LeRoy Van Dyke.



hole under the floor 5-3-15

Hole through the cement.

what a mess 5-2-15

Ripping up the mess.



Murphy checking out the new laundry room floor 7-3-15

Murphy checks out the new floor.

May also brought … the mold. We’d lived in this house for more than 14 years and never saw a sign of mold before. We had to take the house back off the market and get rid of it.

Michael had only the weekend to work on it, so it took a few weeks. First was tearing up the old flooring and sub-floor in the laundry room, which is on the bottom level of our tri-level house. Once he did, he found this square sump pump hole. We’ve no idea what mental midget thought it would be a good idea to put a sub-floor over this open hole. *sigh* But now it’s all filled in and a brand new floor is in place. At this point, we decided maybe we’d jumped the gun on selling the house. Maybe the Lord was slowing us down. Janet and Marsha were willing to put Michael up for a longer period of time (or should that read: put up with Michael?). At about that same time, rumors expanded about more State of Michigan changes at DHHS. The last thing we wanted to do was sell the farm and then have Michael moved again. So we decided to give it some time to play out.


working the hay 6-29-15

Bailing hay

Calvin Miller raking hay 6-29-15

Raking hay

June means hay season. With the sheep gone and just Old Trooper to pasture, we asked a neighbor if he’d like to hay off our horse pasture. He did and I snuck some photos from the back porch. What a pretty sight to watch!


On the boatnerd dinner cruise 6-26-15

On the Boatnerd Cruise

We did our annual trip to the Soo for Engineer’s Day. The weather was fantastic and we saw many of our favorite freighters. Jeff joined us for part of the weekend, but he had to cut it short because he was in a friend’s wedding on that Saturday. Michael and I took the “Boatnerd Dinner Cruise” and it was fun. We got stuck in the MacArthur Lock! Our tour boat had to back out of the lock because the upbound gate malfunctioned. A word to the wise … tour boats don’t back up very well! But the tour boat guys were great and they extended our trip by an extra 45 minutes to make up for it.

Jeff and Michael with the Federal Satsuki 6-25-15

Jeff and Michael with Federal Satsuki





the family with some smiles 7-4-15

Family Photo


We celebrated the 4th of July with Greg, Sandy, Adam, Diana, Nathan, Andrew, and Danny (my brother, sister-in-law, and niece’s family). It was a fun time and the little guys didn’t mind the noise at all. We also heard Three Men and a Tenor, one of my favorite vocal groups.





matching boatnerding hats 7-24-15

Wearing our rally hats!

We did a full week of camping in July at Algonac State Park on the St. Clair River. It was HOT that week! We laughed when we bought the new camper and it came standard with an air conditioner. We didn’t think we’d ever use it. We did that week. Jeff joined us for the whole week.

Jeff toasting marshmallows 7-19-15

Jeff toasting marshmallows

Michael and Jeff with the Alpena 7-20-15

Michael and Jeff with the Alpena

Murphy steals my chair 7-19-15

Chair thief










Michael at Scalawags 8-1-15

Michael at Scalawags

August was a quick day trip to Mackinaw City to visit the Rendezvous there. There’s a fellow who has a booth there and sells handmade wooden utensils that I love. We’ll go back next year so I can purchase a couple more. And have lunch at Scalawags, of course!



2015 garden and house 8-8-15

2015 Garden

Corn Relish and plain sweet corn 8-25-15

Corn Relish & Sweet Corn

I hummed and hawed about canning any of the garden produce this year, still uncertain if we’d be moving or not, but finally decided I couldn’t just let it go to waste. So I canned a few things, but not as much as I might have if we’d been certain we were staying.



Camper on lot 215 Brimley State Park

Michael smiling 9-18-15

Michael and Murphy

Pegg and Murphy in their chair 9-19-15

Pegg and Murphy

September we camped another full week at Brimley State Park, our favorite campground. We relaxed, watched boats, and generally rested up before Michael’s surgery. About this same time, we learned that a supervisor in the Alpena office had given a retirement date of January 31. A chance for Michael to come back home!


Michael's new blue cast 10-7-15

With his 2nd cast.

Michael in recovery 9-24-15

In recovery

Michael's arm 2 post-cast 10-7-15

Between casts, a look at the scars.

But before we could get too excited about that, Michael needed surgery on this right thumb. He has degenerative joint disease and every so often he needs a joint repaired. This one was a major surgery. His thumb joint had deteriorated to total bone-on-bone. They basically removed his thumb joint, took part of a tendon out of his forearm, and then used that tendon to reconstruct how his thumb will operate. It worked! But it took longer than we thought it would. He’s still in physical therapy and just now starting to build strength back. The doctor says he’ll have 85% or so of his original strength.

sunshine through the trees

Trails at Ocqueoc Falls

Michael and Murphy

Michael & Murphy

Bridge with birch tree

The Bridge

eagle in flight

Eagle in Flight






We took another day trip to Mackinaw City while Michael was convalescing. We had sat by the bridge in the park, had lunch at Scalawag’s, then on the way home we stopped at Ocqueoc Falls and took a walk in the woods. We saw a group of bald eagles, which was really cool, and even made it back to the car just minutes before the skies opened up and drenched us.


Samuel Lewis Hainsfurther 11-23-15

Samuel – a Keeper!

Dad 06-20-09

My Dad

November brought another great-nephew! This is Samuel and he’s a keeper.

Life has its circles. While we welcomed Samuel, we said goodbye to Dad. He lost his battle with Alzheimer’s on November 16th. Jeff called me around 8:00am to tell me he’d shot his deer and while I was talking to him, my brother texted me that Dad had died.

He died at almost the same time Jeff shot his deer … with the gun Dad had given him. A deer with a perfect 8-point rack, the nicest Jeff has ever shot. I think Dad ran that buck past him on his way to heaven.


Father and Son with their 8-points

Here is the deer, along with Michael’s deer taken the evening before. Both 8-points, both now at the taxidermist’s. Look for these big boys to be on the wall and decorated with Santa hats in next year’s post! Way to go, guys!

It’s been a wild year with a lot of changes and a lot of unknowns. At this point, we’re not sure when – or even if – Michael will get moved back over to this office. The possible retirement here is uncertain. There is a possible job opening in the Tawas office. His position in Traverse City is a secure position. We’ll reevaluate in January if we should put the house back on the market, or if we should sit tight and wait. Prayers appreciated as we make this decision!

We wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year in 2016!



Posted by on December 14, 2015 in Uncategorized


Bringing It All Together

After many years of maintaining the Twin Willows Farm webpage and The Sheepish Scribe blog, it is time to consolidate and get my personal web presence under one little umbrella. Here it is!

This will be a work in progress over the next several months. I’m not sure how much of the Twin Willows Farm webpage I’ll be moving over. I won’t be moving any of The Sheepish Scribe. That little blog will languish on Blogspot until they pull its plug.

This is a new day – a new beginning! It’s exciting. It’s daunting. It’s loaded with possibilities. Wish me luck!



Posted by on August 16, 2015 in Uncategorized


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