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The Gift of Life


Fri, Apr 20th, 2001
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Monday, December 18, 2000

When the phone rang at three a.m. last Monday morning, my husband Joe sat straight up out of a deep sleep, "Baby time," he said.

With one foot on the floor, he then heard me saying, "Yes, you can dry ginger and black peppers.”

After a pause, I asked the man with a deep accent on the other end of the line, "Where are you calling from?"

"Tanzania."

"What time is it there?"

"Noon," he replied.

After answering his questions as best I could, I lay back down. In my Internet-based business of selling food dehydrators, books and supplies, giving advice in the middle of the night is not all that unusual.

Then a few minutes later the phone rang again. This time, we were both convinced it had to be my son, Eric, or his wife, Shayla announcing they were on their way to the hospital, but again it was the Tanzanian devil. This time he wanted to know how to dry bananas.

Everything had been ready for weeks: the crib, high chair, blankets and most importantly lots of lots of room in our hearts for unconditional love. We had talked with other first-time grandparents about the sheer joy of an absolutely fabulous, beautiful new baby.

The responsibility of being grandparents and passing down our traditions to another generation helped Joe and I acknowledge how influential our grandparents and parents have been. We remembered the cookies, the Sunday pot roasts after church, tobogganing on fresh snow and hot chocolate, the family get-togethers, the stories, and the fishing expeditions. We talked about how going to our grandparents meant there was one safe place, when the rest of the world seemed out of control and scary. They provided the rock, the foundation, and the base that we could always count on.

Since Eric and Shayla knew they were expecting a boy, my grandson has already had an identity for quite some time and I think this has helped all of us to connect with him. The wait was all that was left. One night I dreamed of a little boy standing next to the road with two older Indian men, one on each side of him. Eric dreamed of seeing his son lying in his crib, looking up with open eyes.

Then on Wednesday, December 13th at 10:59 p.m. Hunter Evans Gehrke entered this world. At the hospital, I saw Eric and Shayla instantly bond with this little buckaroo, falling into the role of parent as naturally as one breathes. I was overwhelmed with pride watching .....
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Foods Weekly Ads

Farming California Style

Fri, Apr 20th, 2001
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Monday, April 9, 2001

Anyone listening to the news lately could make a fair assumption that California has been having many resource problems in their recent history. What most people don’t realize is how it affects California’s farm economy. ..... 
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A New Way of Looking

Fri, Apr 20th, 2001
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Monday, April 16, 2001

The first bones belonged to a cow and her unborn baby. I found them near a small wetland by the South Fork of the Root River. I trudged back up the hill to my house carrying a huge pelvis that looked like a primitive mas ..... 
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"Alias Brontosaurus"

Fri, Apr 20th, 2001
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Monday, April 9, 2001

Although known as Brontosaurus to most people the long-necked giant dinosaur serving as the mascot of the Sinclair Oil Company, or as Fred Flintstone’s "steam shovel" for all you cartoon fans, is in reality properly calle ..... 
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Seed Starting

Fri, Apr 20th, 2001
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Virginia CooperMonday, April 23, 2001

About the time of year when most people are still worrying about winter storms and road conditions, some of us are performing secret alchemical rituals in the darkness of our basements and back closets. Ba ..... 
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Talking to Strangers

Fri, Apr 20th, 2001
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Monday, April 23, 2001

Those of us who live along quiet and sparsely populated township roads pride ourselves on knowing what is going on around us. After all, how tough should it be to keep track of the few neighbors with whom we are privileg ..... 
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Trash Talk

Fri, Apr 20th, 2001
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Monday, April 16, 2001

I went for a walk with my two kids a few Sundays ago.

The sky was wonderfully blue, the sun warm and we knew that the last vestiges of winter would soon be gone.

We crossed the road to our neighbor’s woo ..... 
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Fri, Apr 20th, 2001
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Fri, Apr 20th, 2001
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