Archive for November 2010

The Fisherman’s Birthday and Deer Hunting   Leave a comment

Door County is usually the place to come for deer hunting but this year has followed the pattern of the last few and deer have been hard to come by.  Even the sharp-shooters in our community have had a hard time of it.  Add to that the cold and rain, well, it has been a miserable season so far.

The Fisherman’s birthday always falls around opening season so his birthday is often celebrated on the night when everyone can be home, and later in the evening, just in case someone gets a deer.  The Fisherman decided Saturday night would be when we could celebrate.  Mandy and Matthew came home we had a fun day.

The Fisherman headed out to sit in his stand around 3:00 after being incredible morbid and telling me exactly where he would be sitting, just in case he has the “big one” aka heart attack, while he is out there.  This is how he has been all week, just in case!   Morbid, he forgets how young he is!    I was making this nice dinner for him and was frosting his cake etc..   THe girls had wrapped everything for him and he had quite a pile of gifts on the table when he came in from hunting, cold and damp.   He had just about warmed up and dinner was almost ready to be served when  Annie’s friend Karee, who had just pulled out of our driveway  called to report someone shining deer in our cottage yard. What a good northern woman!  THe Fisherman’s phone rang and it was Jeff who just happened to see an eight pointer walking across the highway into our yard.  I told the Fisherman to get the gun and shoot it!  He gave me that familiar puzzled look and told me that would be illegal as it was past sundown.  OH!

I continued to get the food ready for the table when Fisherman got another call that our friend Duce had shot a nice ten pointer and needed a hand.  You had thought we had said “get in the car, we are heading to Disney Land!”  for the way everyone reacted.  Everyone was yelling to get their coats and head to the shed to see Duce’s deer and before I could object due to a tenderloin ready to be eaten NOW, they were all out the door!  We are northerners, and a tenderloin can’t hold attention against celebrating a friend’s achievement!   And that’s the Gills Rock way!

Thanks goes to Melody for the following pictures as I handed her my camera as she ran out the door…… someone had to stay home and watch the tenderloin!

Though they ran out the door on a moment’s notice, Johnson girls still look good, even to see a dead deer!


Our friend James, also a fisherman and my fisherman discussing …………???


Whatever it was,  Mandy had to get in on the discussion because the guys just love it when a Johnson girl gives her opinion!!!   HA HA HA

Don’t ya know!


Kristi and Matthew


The great hunter……  oh wait a minute, that’s not her deer!   Obviously working for a Blood Center has helped Mandy lose her fear of blood.

She would have never come this close years ago!


Duce and the Fisherman discussing the kill…….


This is Duce’s wife Elma, we love her, she is SO much fun.  She is a banker and dresses to the T during the work week and then goes out

hunting in bright orange with her husband on the weekend.  That is a TRUE northern woman!  I just love her!


The girls at home, where Mandy thought she was getting sick, so she put on a play mask to not spread the germs.

Glad to report that she was not getting sick just very stressed out, equally not as fun…


Finally the gang came home and we sat down to celebrate the Fisherman’s birthday.  Although we were missing our precious Jeni and Jason, it was still a full table which is what the Fisherman loves to see.  There is never a more satisfying smile of happiness on my Fisherman’s face then when his children are home and around his table or living room.  That is when he feels the richest as they are our treasure.  Some may need stuff and toys, we just need and love our blessings, all seven of them!

We did something new this year that technology made happen.   We Skyped in Jeni and Jason and Cassidy from Milwaukee via computer.  It was almost like having them here as they sat at the end of the table, all together in one spot.  Just think of how many chairs I could spare if we just did a Skype family dinner!!!  HA!     It worked so well and they got to be a part of singing happy birthday to the Fisherman and blowing our his candles and opening presents and reading the cards.   What fun, we laughed so hard because our family all have a major funny bone gene and they rock!   We served the cake but the Milwaukee group left about then, I guess they don’t like carrot cake!

The Fishermen requested only socks for his birthday and so that is what he got…. lots of them, although he is not sure it was quite enough!~   He also got an Arctic Cat green calculator to prevent him from taking Melody’s bright pink school calculator.  Fun gifts

THe cake was so moist that I could not frost around the side as it just came undone.  The fisherman thought the side needed frosting as he loves cream cheese frosting and never gets enough….. I assured him that Martha Stewart frosts cakes just like this on purpose!!!      🙂

Here is the Milwaukee gang via Skype seated at the end of the table.   So glad they could make it!


This is how I love to see my family the best —     laughing, hard, full out, gut wrenching, wide open joy,  Can’t you see it on the guys as well?  They are just about falling off the bench from laughing!!      Oh my little Scandinavians…


This was after supper, when we are were not sure yet what Mandy had going on in her system.  To be safe we ended the meal with shots of apple cider, colloidal silver and immune tincture.  This is a classic Johnson man-face when they are handed my natural stuff!  Skeptical yes, but they always drink it down anyway!

So a wonderful day was enjoyed, friends and the Fisherman were celebrated, feasting happened, family laughed, we chose joy and we were……



I want to add a note here with the deer hunting.   A young family who we are friends with came up for the week hunting as they are in need of food, the husband has lost his job and things are tough.  I saw the wife yesterday and she was telling me how they had not seen any deer on her family’s 40 acres and explained to me how they really need the meat.  I told her I would go home and tell my Fisherman and see what he could do for them.  When Rick got home later that afternoon I told him about their need.  Within ten minutes he got a call from another fisherman who had just shot a doe and wanted to know if we would want it.  We could use it, but we both knew who that deer was for,  our friends!  The fishermen went and helped this family clean and halve the deer to hang.  That’s the way we do it here in Gills Rock, and more praise-worthy is that our God did it, He took care of this family’s need.  He is good!

Posted November 24, 2010 by joyfulhouse in Around the house, Door County Life, Family

And Folks say Raising Boys Can Be Wild!   Leave a comment

This was a week ago Sunday afternoon, the Packer game was on and as usual our living room was at the patriotic temp. of 60, remember how we were told years ago to put our thermostats down to 60 to save on energy?   We are very patriotic that way and so you will find an unusual amount of quilts and afghans in this are of the house!   For some reason, we were short an afghan and so these two were attempting to share one together.  Notice the mischievous smile on the face of one of them?  That is the smile before the storm!

Now who has the whole blanket?  Kristi’s look is a fair warning that the “challenge” has been spoken!

I am not sure who won the battle, as you can observe below the blanket was being shared in a very aggressive way, and poor Jazmin looks very tense about the whole situation.   All in fun and was quite the entertainment for our guest!

Posted November 23, 2010 by joyfulhouse in Family, Packer Life

When a Duty Becomes a Moment of Fun!   Leave a comment

Two weeks ago, or so, my Fisherman came home and announced that he would need a ride to our Sand Bay dock about mid-morning.  Although both Kristi or I could have done the job, I grabbed the chance to be with my honey and told him that I would take him!.   In case you might be thinking that needing a ride involves me actually driving my husband as in him being the passenger, let me correct you!   Gills Rock men do not ride while their wives drive, unless they are having a heart-attack or bleeding profusely, and even then they would be completely in charge!  🙂   And that’s the way we like it around here!  Although……. come to think of it, I did drive Rick home from church a few weeks ago, and I believe I recall him saying, as he got in the passenger’s side, to hurry up and drive before someone saw him!   It is only 2 miles from church to our home so my man hardly had time to break a sweat due to my being the driver before we reached our home!

This is a boat which is really from Southern Lake Michigan where they do their names all fancy —-    I took one look at this and announced to the Fisherman that I am painting his boat in the Spring and making his  name all fancy like this one’s.  I think he rolled his eyes!


So off we went to Sand Bay and we talked about stuff in the privacy of the Fisherman’s Ford Truck, about the only place we can get privacy with all of our children!    It was a beautiful day and fun to be together.

I thought that Rick would get out of the truck and I would be free to leave, but as we drove out on the dock, to which I quickly asked the Fisherman to turn the truck around for me as the dock is narrow and I did not want to put his pretty red truck in the Lake, he started telling me all the things I was going to need to do.   What fun, except that I always wish I would have paid more attention in the earlier years to tying the knots, the different kinds of knots, the different names for the different ropes, the names of the different sides of the boat…….  you get the picture!  Thankfully, Rick did a lot of pointing as he had me help with the battery charger and untying the ropes and the only moment I panicked was when I had untied the boat completely and was holding on to the electrical cord for the charger, still connected inside the boat and the boat was drifting away from the dock.  I saw the cord getting tighter and knew that electrical chords are not made to hold steel boats to the dock.  My fisherman was in the boat with it running and I yelled loud as I had to be heard over the sound of the Volvo-Penta, to which he came and gave me the familiar puzzled look.  It did not faze him that the cord was stretched tight, he just forgot to tell me to expect that!   He finally released the cord and threw it to me, shouting orders on what to do with the other ropes on the dock etc..

About that time I realized that it was a beautiful day and I should have planned to take the trip around Death’s Door with him.  It was not to be, but I did get to take a rare picture of the Freitag.   I have many pictures of the boat heading in laden with fish and surrounded by sea-gulls, but I, to my best memory do not have any of the boat leaving the dock.

So here is the first picture ever of the Freitag heading out of dock onto Lake Michigan.   Different view than normal.

I cleaned up ropes, loaded the charger, gathered electrical cords and checked tires on the dock.   What was supposed to be a quick drop off turned into an hour of helping my Fisherman.  What fun to help and to be outside on a beautiful day with my guy!   I hopped in his truck, or I should say I climbed up into his truck as it is such a stinking big work truck that I have to use the handles to get up into it, and drove home.

This is the area where they are repairing the dock, driving the steel and reinforcing the end of the dock.  This dock is really turning out well and is such a well maintained dock.

This is Charlie, our partner in the Sand Bay Dock, he is working on mending his trap nets that were damaged the last few days of the season.  He is sporting the traditional fisherman’s hat which my non-taditional Fisherman will not wear.  It is a baseball cap for my guy!

Choosing joy, thankful for the way of life that we live…… unusual and charming to say the least,


Posted November 23, 2010 by joyfulhouse in Commercial Fishing Life, Door County Life, Family

Morning   1 comment


It is the first day of hunting and I am sitting here in the dark after sending my hunter/husband out the door decked in orange, with wool socks on and hot coffee drunk.  He is sporting his first birthday present (the rest will be given tonight at his family party) a bright orange Packer baseball cap.  He may hunt once a year, but he is always a Packer fan!  He is not alone, as the Packer stadium will be filled with green and gold and orange from now to the end of the season.   Rick came back in, he forgot his doe urine………… yuck!

The sky is lightening and I can see the last stars of morning between the blackness of bare tree limbs reaching up to the sky.  It is one of my favorite times of the day, the changing of night to morn, and it is beautiful.  The hunters can shoot as soon as it is dawn which I would think is at any time now.  I do believe they are given a certain time….. we will see!

A few weeks ago I started noticing the movement of the deer as does any good northern woman, worth her keep ;).    I was telling Rick’s friends about seeing two big bucks over my Little Lake as I did not think we would be here for hunting.  Big mistake!  A northern woman is too notice deer but NEVER to tell anyone except family where they were seen.  The problem is, we live in community and everyone IS family to us!   I saw more deer, only my husband knows where!   🙂

Rick also saw deer and for the last week has watched a buck moving in the morning across the road from us.  Usually in the morning Rick and I have coffee in the livingroom and discuss everything from business needs to family and world issues.  Most of the time I have his attention, but not during the weeks prior to hunting.  Our two large living room windows keep him less attentive as he watches for deer passing by as it is common to see in the early morning.  Again, northern girls know how to adjust to this and know that in just a week it will be back to routine as usual!

Speaking of routine, I had asked Rick last Sunday if we could break the annual night-before-hunting panic of finding all the hunting paraphernalia!   Amazingly he did find his gun of choice for this year, Matthew’s, and even went to sight in the gun more than once.  On Thursday he and a bunch of guys went shooting up in the field and in the process someone lost the keys to his truck…. not going to mention names!!!      Highly unusual behavior for the certain man!   Only yesterday did Rick get his coat out and last night asked for his boots….. so some traditions just keep on happening!

We are celebrating Rick’s birthday tonight, only his children will be here upon his request of no friends.  Rick can be very low key sometimes and often this is the case for his birthday and even Christmases.  We will make him carrot cake which he loves and tenderloin and red jello ( a big treat around here).  He will open gifts after touching each package and telling us exactly what is in it and he is correct 90% of the time.

Choosing Joy!


Posted November 20, 2010 by joyfulhouse in Door County Life, Family

The Poor   Leave a comment

Collin and Kristi sorting items accordingly for packaging

Last Sunday night we gathered in our church gym for a time of  ministry unto the least of these.  Our small church is part of the Shoebox ministry and this is our third year.  What a beautiful outpouring of our hearts as tables were filled with shirts, pants, socks, hygiene products, toys and school supplies

I was in charge of wrapping boxes with our Pastor’s wife Twila and a few other ladies.  Not as easy of a job as it looks!

This is the other table of wrappers, Gloria and Jerry Littler

We worked for over two hours, wrapping and packaging and sealing and organizing the boxes.

Here are some of the workers going around the table gathering appropriate gifts for each age and the sex of each child.  Fun!

Team Johnson was well represented in all areas including entertainment!

In all, we packaged 92 boxes of love to be given to the children of the world who need so much, given from we, who have so much.  It is more blessed to give than to receive says our Lord, and it also brought us joy!

Yesterday, we sat in Green Bay eating lunch at Applebees when the topic of the poor came up.  Kristi brought some great insight into the poor from some of her college classes.  She had heard it said that taking care of the poor is of utter importance but almost impossible to accomplish the task.  I mentioned how Jesus said that the poor will always be among us.  After some discussion of how we deal with this issue and yet not be consumed with it to the place of despair over it, we agreed that it is not what we do for the masses that matters, but what we each do individually as we are convicted by the Holy Spirit.  I am not the world’s keeper, but I am my brother’s keeper, not millions, but maybe dozens!  Doing my best to those who our Lord places in my path.  This is not living less, this is living fuller and obeying and fulfilling my calling as a Christian, one set apart for good works.

The poor will always be among us, but what beautiful and sacred opportunity to reach out and touch, to love in the name of our Lord Jesus as Christians for centuries have done.  The continuum of grace and love to the least of these.

Choosing joy!


Posted November 20, 2010 by joyfulhouse in Door County Life, Family, Photos, Spiritual Life

Choosing Joy   Leave a comment

So glad that Melody loves Mia


Pastor Doug spoke to us from 1 John two weeks ago, about the Christian life and how it must be characterized by JOY, and that the base of this joy is from thankfulness.  Thankfulness because we have been offered forgiveness for our sins and a way to have a relationship with the God of the universe and abundant life.  What else do we need after that?  The rest is a bonus!  Pastor held up a sign that said Stop Global Whining!  As Christians we have the ability to model the opposite of grumbling and whining —  we can bring the joy!

So glad that Kristi loves Mia and knows how to take care of a fussing baby!

I was raised in a home where this joy was modeled well.  Grabbing and living life with gusto was the norm.  Adapting and handling hard times with grace was just the way things were done in the Clark family.  It has made me who I am  and I can roll with a lot of adversity and take it, choosing joy instead of fussing.  This pattern continues as I hear it in my parents still, being evident when I call my dad and ask him how he is and he says “terrific!”   Choosing joy when many would be angry about losing a very active life to being wheelchair bound and now bed-ridden for the most part.  Choosing to believe in a loving God of Providence who is no less loving and kind when our lives are in suffering and we must practice long-suffering.  Or, my mother expressing to me how grateful she is for every day with my dad, despite the hard work it is to care for his needs at home, choosing joy instead of complaining.

So glad that Annie loves Mia, and that she makes sure Mia has the latest in baby hair products!

Not that our behavior is always perfect, but as Pastor spoke he said that our lives will be generalized by what is most seen, how we behave most of the time.  That way, when we sin with negative behavior it will be seen as unusual for us, out of character, out of the beautiful character of the Christlike walk!  Isn’t that lovely, isn’t that desirable?  I want it and we as a family are working toward it.  How sweet to have a husband who can speak his heart that he wants the negative gone and joy there instead, thankfulness instead.  How inspiring to see our children following  hard after this walk, living and learning to choose joy.  How loving is our God that He gives joy as a fruit of the Spirit, gives us the strength and wisdom to learn new things, new ways of thinking and acting.  He is so sufficient for all my needs, He is satis-  Latin for enough!

So thankful for laughter —  for smiles and happiness which fill our home!


Posted November 20, 2010 by joyfulhouse in Around the house, Door County Life, Spiritual Life

Applesauce   Leave a comment

I am so happy to report that the canning season has winded down to a close….  I could jump for joy!  The only little job that I will do over the weekend is can some apple butter.  I have not made any of that for awhile and it does taste so good, so I will do one batch for our home and sharing.

The apples were huge this year and because I left them to soften and sweeten, the process did not take too long.

The girls were troopers and although I did not get a picture of them doing the work, they chopped and stirred and ran the mill.  They never complain, and I am so proud of them!  Rick is usually my right hand man and does most of the milling and of course the taste-testing to make sure an adequate amount of sweetener is added before canning.  He was too busy with boat work but he did do a little milling, although no taste-testing.  I did add sugar but I am sure I may hear that it is too healthy and not sweet enough at some point!  🙂

This photo does not do justice to the beautiful rosy pink that the applesauce turned too as we milled it.  It was beautiful.  I ended up with 46 quarts of sauce.  All together I have  over 200 quarts of fruit for my sweetheart’s lunch pails and for our lunches as well.  Rick was so pleased!

This paragraph will be under the “keeping it real” moments—

At the beginning of August, Melody and I watched a wonderful DVD about canning.  Even after 29 years of canning I realize that I can still learn something new, and I did!   See that green wand in the picture?  In the DVD they showed this wand being used to pick the lids out of the hot water as the sealing process is done.  I was amazed—  to think that I would not have to burn my fingers after 29 years of getting used to the pain!   The next time we were in the “really big city”, as in Green Bay, we went into Fleetfarm and I stocked up on rings and lids and low and behold, found one of those new fangled wands.   That was August, I canned many different foods  the next three months and not once could I find that wand.  I looked over and over again in the bottom of Fleet Farm bags after feeling the unbearable heat on my fingers as I grabbed hot lids.

After putting through about 30 jars of applesauce I was running out of lids and went to the last Fleet Farm bag in the closet, I had since given up on looking for that wand, and then, right there, in the bottom under a bunch of lid boxes was that wand!   I couldn’t believe it!  I had two rounds to go in the canner and I used that wand with absolute delight.  I marveled at the easiness with which I took the hot lid from the water to the jar and I wished that the wise woman who designed this had made a fortune!  I am assuming woman as I know very few men who can!   Then, I had to run out to a music practice, turned all burners down………..  except the one under the lids and though it was at just a simmer, it went dry, the wand handle fell in and melted in the pan.   If I did not believe in God I would call it fate or a warning that I should not change my ways of canning.  Because it is still useable, I will call it what-happens-when-a-busy-mother-tries-to-do-too-many-things-at-once!     The lumpy melted end will always bring back a memory and I will laugh.  It’s MY life and I can laugh at it!

Today I planned to get the canning put away in our furnace room but we are having an issue with mice, isn’t that nice!    Rick decided to set some old fashioned traps using my good stilton cheese all over the floor in there.  Since I can not imagine trying to balance a dozen canning jars as I dodge his traps I will just wait until Monday to put the jars away.

We have been trying to catch these mice, which wake the girls up in the early morning as they scurry across the attic floor, probably congratulating the victor who dared enter the laundry room and although landed on the sticky traps, escaped leaving only some grey hair to prove he had been there.    Every morning I have to have Rick check for dead mice, as we did catch one, too which Annie announced that she would not go anywhere near the “killing room.” I was sure that there was only one lonely mouse, but the girls assure us that the partying continues.   Yuck, and this also means it will probably be a cold winter as we have not had a mice problem before.  I will keep you posted!

Choosing joy among the canning mess, mice issues and melted handles,