Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Gottlieb Klein

        Our family origin is from the Germans who went to Russia in the 1700's.

        During he 1700's economic and government conditions were very poor in Germany. They had the Seven Years war which had created much economic and social chaos. Security was limited. There was no central government. 

      Along came an offer many Germans could not refuse. Catherine II of Russia invited Germans to areas of Russia that were sparsely populated. Her idea was that these areas could be settled and developed. The Germans were given free land, self government, could keep their own language and religion, were given loans that were forgiven , no military service as they were pacifist and could leave Russia at any time.

      We don't know when the Klein family left Germany. They were the Germans who settled on the Volga. 

       All went fairly smoothly for about 100 years. They became successful farmers and traders. There were some problems. Marauders robbed them from time to time. Crops were not always successful.

      These people were peasants. They were given about 40 acres of land. Most of the work was done by hand. Some people had a horse that was used by several farmers. They had some farm animals. They grew crops , vegetables and some fruit. 

      Their houses were built of clay and probably had a thatched roof. They had dirt floors. These houses were warm in the winter and cool in the summer. 

     They had very little money . They were able to sell some of their produce but most of it they used for themselves. They milled flour from their grain. They grew many vegetables. They grew lots of cabbage that was turned into sauerkraut as this would keep for the year. So some people had businesses as in milling grain. Leather was produced and used to make their shoes. Wool was spun and some weaving was done. Very little was bought. 

    They were happy with this life. After Catherine II they gradually lost some of the rights they were first given. They first lost some of their independent government. Things were slowly taken away. My Grandfather was in the Russian army for two years. 

    Many Germans came to North America starting in the 1870's . Our family began coming to America in the late 1890's. Grandfather Gottlieb was born in the 1840's and brought all his adult children to America. Gottlieb had three daughters and four sons  who were all married. Gottlieb was about 60 when he came here so some of his grandchildren were also married. Over a period of ten years the whole family left Russia. They came to Manitoba , Canada and North Dakota . USA. Mennonites had given them some aid to make the trip to America. So when they first came some of the Kleins worked on farms to payoff their loans.

     Borders were not big deals in those days as some of them lived in Canada and some in the USA. Some of them lived at Neche North Dakota and some at Gretna Manitoba.

To be continued...


Sunday, December 27, 2020


      A few posts ago I thought about how I'm in my eighties with some great ancestors. I had photos of my Dad on his 80th birthday, and my Grandpa when he was about 84.

   I also said that I would like to get the three of us in one photo but I didn't know how to do that. My friend , Bill saw this and couldn't resist so sent me a photo of the three of us in one photo. It's done by melding. Then I found a photo of another great Grandfather. 

     So here is the first meld. 

Then I thought , I wonder if Bill would put the four of us together.

So here we are! Great Grandpa is on the right at about 84. It is difficult to meld there are four different types of technology in making these photos.

     So next I will do some short biographies . 

Thursday, December 24, 2020


  In many places people wish to have a white Christmas. It's a romantic idea and is probably encouraged by Irving Berlin's classic I'm dreaming of a white Christmas.

     I am definitely going to have a white Christmas here. We had a heavy snowfall three days ago. 

       There is also another color for Christmas that I must remember...the blue Christmas. So some people have had losses and sadness for many other reasons. There are many places where a blue Christmas ceremony is held. 

      Here's wishing all my fellow bloggers a Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020


     In the last post I got off on a tangent and veered off my idea. So that raised some questions and I thought I would give some background.

     My daughter commented that I was wrong that both of them were picked up on the same day two years apart.  So she is right but neither one of knows the exact date which is in files.  We agree that they were two or three days apart. 

     There was much more behind the last post that would explain some things.

     I mentioned that the application process was long and detailed. We also had a long interview. We were also told that it may be two years before a placement might be made. Okay if that's the situation we'll live with it. I told the Micro Manager not to buy any baby stuff because if for some reason we were turned down she would be extremely  disappointed .

     This was September. Life went merrily on. I was teaching and she was nursing. 

     So Dec. 21 the Micro Manager received a call at 2:30 PM to say that we had been accepted into the program but that they couldn't say when a placement would be made. At 3:30 PM , one hour later she received a call to say that a pending placement had been made. They wanted us to come up the next day and pick up the baby.  This was a Thursday afternoon and Friday would be the last day of school. Remember now we had absolutely no baby stuff! So the Micro Manager is pretty fast so told them of the situation and asked for a delay until the Monday. 

     So Friday and Saturday the Micro Manager did what she is good She had a list and madly dashed around to pick stuff up. Every once in a while I would get a phone call to come down town and pick up a load of stuff. By Saturday closing time we had everything we needed. 

    So it was a big surprise and very exciting. Basically it took one hour for us to become parents. 

   Monday when we picked our son up was a very exciting and stressful day. We went through more interviews. We were given backgrounds and asked many times if we still wanted to adopt. Finally our son was brought in to us. They left us alone with him and than came back and asked us if we still wanted to adopt. The answer was a quick yes . Then the paper started flying. 

    You are on probation for 6 months. If you mess up the child will be taken back. It is STRESSFUL.

    So off on the two hour drive to home. It was late but we were ready to feed and look after our son and put him to bed.

    What I remember about both kids is that when we first held them they were stiff and tense. They knew that something was going on. They were not relaxed like most babies. In a couple of days with us they relaxed. 

    This whole  procedure was a shock to us but it was also a big surprise for our family and friends.

Sunday, December 20, 2020


       Today was our Christmas bird count. I've done the same area close to 50 times. I know the area well as I go through it summer and winter. The bike trail goes through the area. 

      Today was not a good day . I found ten species but only about 50 birds.

      Now the area is a small valley that has a stream running through it. Like most valleys it's variable terrain.  Some of the terrain is very rough.

     I had been following a game trail that I wanted to leave and go back to the top again. I had to find my own trail which is something I've done all my life. I chose a route to go up and of course some of it's steep. I put my foot on something that was covered with snow but not solid. I started moving backwards and then lost control. So when I was finished I'd done a backward roll and my feet were much higher than my head. So I was proud of myself that I completed a backward roll! Do I hear the applause?

    When I stopped my feet were much higher than my head so I had to roll over and get my feet lower than my head before I got up. 

     A couple of things: I'm happy no one was watching to see this embarrassing situation. And second I thought about the possibility of serious injury. The micro Manager wouldn't miss me for a long time and when she would notice that I hadn't returned, had no idea where I had gone, So reminder to self. Tell people where I'm going.

     Anyway, how many of you can do a backward roll and live to tell about it?

Thursday, December 17, 2020


      As a young man I spent much of my time partying but sooner or later I found somebody who I really liked and was married.

      I don't think either one of us thought about children until a couple of years later.  When we thought about children it was a very short sighted view. We tended to think of babies , toddlers and preschoolers. I couldn't get my head around thinking of children being older. 

      My children are adopted so I had lots of time to think things over. After you go through interviews and fill out forms with all kinds of information , you've had time to think things over if you want a family. They ask yoi over and over if you want to adopt a child. You have to get people to give you references. I've often thought that all people should have to go through such a procedure and then some people may make a different choice of being a parent. I remember going to pick up both kids. Again we were asked if we wanted children. Then you got  chance to see the infant. Then they asked again if this is what we wanted. 


             At this time of year this is one of my favorite photos of the kids.

Time passes quickly and those little kids grew up. As I said I couldn't really see past pre school. And when school age hit time really flew until suddenly those little kids were ready to leave me. I wasn't ready to let them go but that was the only decision there was. 

   And guess who the guy with the white shirt and tie is?  And did he have friends.

    Today I have children who are 49 and 51 years old. How did that ever happen?


      Choosing some favorite Christmas decorations.

    I realize that at the same time this was happening to my kids I was aging very quickly. 

    So after all this time my answer is still yes for children.

     So the kicker in all this is that both children were picked up on the 22 nd of December! How's that for a Christmas present you'll never forget. 

Saturday, December 12, 2020


      This morning was dull, cool and windy so I said to myself, "This is a soup day."

      I went to the freezer and got the bag with five cups of carrots and got on my way to making carrot soup. While the soup cooked I worked on a sudoku puzzle. 

     When the soup finished cooking I took the blender and pureed the soup. Ah , great stuff.

     However, I wouldn't have got good marks on presentation as I had orange food on a red table cloth and I had slopped soup up the sides of the soup bowl.

    How do I know about presentation? My classroom was beside the Home Ec lab for a few years. I was in the home ec lab often . Sometimes the  kids baked cookies and I was right there. The kids were always judged on how they presented the food they made.

   I have great respect for those teachers who taught in a lab situation. Shop ,drama, art and home ec teachers always had their kids on task. I always thought that these teachers could naturally be excellent administrators. I can remember going into the shop and kids were using saws and other tools without killing themselves.

   Well, one time the guys on staff got the idea that they would treat the female staff members to a formal breakfast. Guys knowing anything about a formal breakfast?!!! I don't think so. So the home ec teacher was a good sport and helped us to make a menu, prepare and serve a formal breakfast. My contribution was fruit salad. It was fun. We acted as formal waiters and served each table. It was a highlight of the year. Later in the year the guys were served a lunch.

    Good rapport is extremely necessary for a successful staff. Money can't buy rapport but a fun breakfast can.

    And by the way home made soup on a cold day is just right.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020


     Most of us have had the misfortune to run into some one who is irrational. Most of the time we have a sense that something isn't right and we come away with out damage. But there are times when an irrational event can turn serious and damage is done.

    What I'm trying to talk about is people who are irrational. We meet people who are a little irrational from time to time and then we meet others who are seriously disturbed most of the time.

     I am sometimes in contact with one person who continuously thinks that other people are always out to harm her. There's nothing you can do that will persuade her that people are not out to get her. 

    I am sometimes in contact with a guy who continuously makes a mountain out of a mole hill. The salt shaker tips over on the table and it's like a national disaster. 

   These people are an inconvenience. 

   Then there are others who get into more serious trouble. The schizophrenics can cause very serious problems . Many get shot when there is an alteration with police. 

   Some have no idea of reality. They have no idea how to deal with other people. They are not able to make reasonable judgements. 

   What made me think of this topic is Trump's behavior towards the recent election. He believes he won the election. He believes that somehow the election was stolen. He believes that there was massive fraud to influence the election results. He has made  many attempts to have the election results over turned. He has requested some very illegal actions when he asks a legislature to overturn election results.  He has requested that certain votes should not be counted and then the total votes would be in his favor.

    These actions are irrational. They do not line up with the reality. Unfortunately in this case  there does not seem to be any successful strategy to deal successfully with his irrationality.

    Watching what is going on is alarming and you wonder where  and when it will end.

Thursday, December 3, 2020


     We quite often see great sunrises and sunsets if we're watching. At this time of year with the sun low in the sky we get some great sunrises. 

     One thing I liked about the Arctic were the great skies. For 6 weeks a year the sun didn't come above the horizon but that didn't stop us from getting some great skies.

    Okay, it took me a long time to say that the other day I had a beautiful sunrise and sunset on the same day.



Sunday, November 29, 2020


      The area I photographed on the last post is called the Bower Woods. Mr. Bower gave it to the city for a park. The land had been used for cattle. Most of the trails were those that Mr. Bower made and used for his farming operation. When the city developed the park they put in one main trail that cut through the area. However all the other trails are still there.

      The other day the photos were from the north part of the park . Today's photos will be from the southern section.

     This is my favorite area to photograph. You've seen summer and winter photos before. There are always more good photos in this area.

Friday, November 27, 2020


     These woods are about 700m (1/2 mile) from my house.  Yesterday was very mild so I went for a pleasant walk.

        I've always liked Robert Frost's poetry and especially this poem. I can sense the stillness in the woods as he stopped.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020


      I got thinking today about comparisons of my Grandpa, my Dad and myself. I was thinking that since I'm somehow in my eighties I could show Grandpa , Dad and me all in our eighties. I couldn't or don't know how to  get similar photos of each. 

      To start off I was the first grandson so here I am in Grandpa's arms...his first grandson. 

      Here's Grandpa in his early eighties.

    Here's Dad when we were celebrating his eightieth birthday. Dad's on the left by the way! Now two of his sons are in their eighties.

     And last , here's old Red when he's celebrating birthday number 81. 

      It was hard for me to get my head around the fact that we could be all compared in our eighties.  Grandpa was born in 1864, Dad 1912 and me 1939. That's 75 years apart.

Saturday, November 21, 2020


     Bushwhacking is when you go off trails and make your way through the bush by going around or over anything in the way.  

     Today for birding we bushwhacked an area. It's hard going but you see some very different things. 

      We saw thousands of ducks on the river. Around every bend were hundreds of ducks. There were also many Canada geese and a few other species of duck mixed in with the mallards. The river is not frozen over but full of ice which is flowing along with the current.

      We did see and identify the following: blue jay, black-billed magpie, black-capped chickadee, boreal chickadee, bald eagle, Canada geese, gold eye, downy woodpecker, white-breasted nuthatch and a common raven. We also saw four mule deer.

      The weather was pleasant: sunny and about minus 3 C.


Sunday, November 15, 2020


      At this time of year people will be looking to have a treat and go for a hayride. Fine horses will pull the sled or wagon. Horses will have fancy harness with colored rings and bells. Off people go and there's no hay on the ride! I once saw a rig with hay bales and another rig with wooden benches. 

     It reminds me of the many hayrides I had as a child. Very few people will have experienced this or remember it. I think Maybe JB from Cottage Country Reflections might  remember these days.

     I was born in 1939. My Dad bought his little farm in 1935 in the middle of the depression. He had very little money to buy animals or equipment. However, at that time many farmers had gone broke and were leaving. They would have an auction sale and move. Now people going to the auction sales didn't have much money so many things didn't sell and were left. This is where my Dad got his stuff...on auction sales. This stuff was very old and in poor repair. He bought horses that were poor and old. 

    Farming at that time was labor intensive. Before the depression farmers always had hired men. Dad had to work by himself. 

    So getting and storing food for his animals went on for a long time. Grass was cut with a horse drawn mower that had a 5 foot blade. It took a long time to cut much grass. Then the hay was raked in rows. It could be put in small stacks at that time or hauled home.

                              The hay mower.

                                The hay rake

                              The old hay rack     

    So here come the hay rides. When I was big enough I arranged the hay on the rack while he loaded the hay. Then ride home to the yard to unload the hay. It was fun to lie in the hay. My brother and I probably threw hay at each other. On top of the hay was a good place to practice our wrestling technique. Somehow we never fell off the load of hay.

   In the cold of winter the hay ride was different. It was on a sleigh and sometimes very cold. We would run through the hay and bury ourselves in the hay. If it was cold we didn't notice it. 

   It was a lot of hard work for Dad and some fun for us kids but it was a realistic hay ride.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020


      I have always appreciated office staff in schools. They really know what's going on and they bail teachers out from all kinds of difficulties. They also have a lot of pupil contact. 

     Teachers seem to have the fear that if they for one second they let somebody away with something , the whole world will fall in and all students will want to be allowed to get away with the same thing.

    One example is being late for school. Most schools have a very stringent late policy. There always are some students who are habitually late. Well yes, if a kid is late he needs a late slip to get into his class and he will be punished by having to stay after school. That's supposed to make him not come late and most of the time it works.

    So one of the fine people in the office has to look after lates. One person we had looked after the front desk to handle school visitors, kids and teachers. And yes she handled lates. She was good at it.

    I happened to be in the office one day when she was having a kid fill out a late slip. The kid was a big guy and a little rough around the edges.  While the kid was filling out the late slip our lady was giving him a running talk as to why he shouldn't be late. It went something like this. " Honey, you can't be late all the time. Honey, you have to get to school on time, Honey, you will have to get up earlier." Well the poor kid had probably never been called honey before. He was uncomfortable and rocked back and forth with each "HONEY". So it was funny to see this kid's reaction to  the secretary's pep talk about being late. 

    I've often wondered if the kid was ever late again of if he wanted the "HONEY"  treatment again. This kid certainly got much more for being late than just a late slip.

     By the way, I got the hone treatment a time or two and I wasn't even late. That's just the way this lady was. She was excellent in handling the front desk...the first point of contact in the school.

Monday, November 9, 2020


   From the teacher's hat again. 
    I started teaching in 1958. Things were much different than today. Kids were about the last thing we thought of. There was some very despicable behaviour by some teachers. Kids were yelled at, shoved, slapped and many other inappropriate behaviours.

     Gradually things began to change. After all school was for kids. School should have been a good place for kids.

    Slowly students were acknowledged for small personal things. One of the best things as far as I was concerned was to acknowledge kids on their birthdays. In the "modern " age of the intercom it was easy to wish a kid a happy birthday. If I saw the kid  in the school I would wish them a happy birthday. I got the feeling that kids really felt good when their birthdays were acknowledged. However, mistakes are made. Sometimes a birthday was missed. Many times I had some little character approach me in tears as their birthday had been forgotten. I would immediately turn on my heel and head to the office to tell them of the error. It was a treat to see a kid's face when the announcement of their birthday came on the intercom. 

     So I learned that these small acknowledgements are very meaningful to people. 

    A few days ago there was a big sign and 50 hearts on stakes in my neighbor's yard. It was their 50th anniversary. I phoned them later on in the day to wish them well. I couldn't believe how happy they both were that I had phoned. 

    Another neighbor stopped the other day and in the course of the conversation said his birthday was the next day. I immediately wished him happy birthday. He appreciated the unexpected greeting.

    So I think that if we all gave some acknowledgement to the people around us the world would be  better place. A person receiving a greeting is happy to be noticed. The people making the greeting feel good about themselves.

    Donald Trump seemed to go out of his way to insult anybody he saw. Wouldn't it have been much better for everybody concerned if a decent approach had been taken towards people . As it is we have ended up with a very sad and negative situation.