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.