My dad was handsome, tall and strong

In my eyes he did no wrong

Until I reached and age


He was only middlin’ to fair

Dad worked hard for us to live

 showing love not easy to give

I knew he did

love me that is

 hugging and kissing…not a way of his

He was around both night and day

hard at work, more than play

Dad loved to hunt and fish so much

he had the skill and the touch

Holding game for him to dress

was a task and a mess

He’d skin a rabbit, duck or fowl

while cats circled round

with a meow

Dad taught me many things alright

to work and learn and hang on tight

to all the things that he held right

He called me sis when I came round

or when I’d call when I was down

Dad made me sad at times that’s true

but more than not

I always knew

He’d be where he’d alway was

in my heart just because

He was my dad that’s part of me

the kind of memory

that will always be

Karen Ross Epp














Potty Training Olympics

Yesterday, I spent the day with my youngest grandson who is three, and will be four this fall. He’s in the midst of being potty trained, so I helped the cause along throughout the day.


His mother had figured out what his currency was, and  we capitalized on that. With my own son, his father, I used M&M’s but, alas… this is a different age.

She sent along toys he could earn each time he did the deed in the potty. I was a little sceptical, but as the day progressed it was obvious, this kid loved earning the rewards.


Every ten minutes, after the first success he wanted to go potty. I thought for sure he was going to wither up like a raisin by the end of the day.

I explained that he needed to replace water and food so his body could make more.

“You mean, water is pee?” He asked. Then, of course the following question was, “Well, what is the poo made of?”

He was so excited about his deposits we even had to summon Papa. We also put stickers on the potty lid to further show evidence of his successes!


Kids love stickers and they don’t care how they look when they’re displayed. The art teacher in me wanted to direct each placement, but the grandma said, “This is his thing!”

With all the accolades of an olympian, we clapped, cheered and told him how proud  we were of him. Then with the sweetest expression, he said, Nonna, I’m proud of you too! You did good at the potty like me!”

I couldn’t have asked for a better compliment.

If I’m around, I’ll try not to embarrass him at his wedding! I’ll press these moments to my heart, and take them out when I need a little encouragement.

P.S. I didn’t include the photos of the real thing. Those I sent to his mama!










June in Kansas is green. The hills, pastures and lawns burst with a verdant collage. And, many of the perennials are blooming in full force.



Walking around the place this morning was like a buffet for the eye.



Our yucca are especially beautiful right now. Their full blossoms only last a few days, but what a show they give us.  There a many varieties of yucca… the ones growing in our yard, and all over Kansas, are some of the smallest of the species. But, for their size they put on quite a show!

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So here’s a little eye-candy for those who love plants, flowers and everything growing.

I’m hoping we get the rains needed this summer to keep it going!



I’ve not posted for a while. Family illness and life has kept me at bay!

Today, I’m energized to write.  A new chapter in my life is about to happen.

As many of you know, I wrote a book, Corn Rose,, which is historical fiction, but based on what my mother orally passed down to me over the years. It is a glimpse into her life before Iowa and her marriage to my dad and their lives together during the first tumultuous years in Iowa.

During my childhood I only met my mom’s side of the family, the Cina’s, once. That was when I was two or three. Mom wrote letters to her family, but not being able to see them was hard on her. What I learned of them was through her recollections.

Anyway, over the past couple of years I have been corresponding with a first cousin via Facebook. So, this friday the 23rd, my birthday, we will finally meet! John is my mother’s nephew, and son of my Uncle Joe Cina. I’m very excited to meet him and sit down and exchange family history. Not knowing my maternal side of my heritage has always been a yearning and need for me.

I’m anxious to give him a hug, have him meet my family and exchange lots of stories.

To be continued with photos…soon!



There are things that triggers memories. Maybe its a song, place, or person. All can bring up memories long-buried, but smells– fragrances really do conjure up strong remembrances for me.

There is a farm about four or five miles from us. When the wind is just right…well you get my drift! I remember the barn lot where I milked cows, held new kittens and waded in sucking mud during the rainy days, of my youth. The images of me feeding my 4H steer and brushing his shiny red coat float above my head.

When our neighbor, up the road, cuts fresh alfalfa in the summer I remember my dad hauling heavy square bales from the field to our barn. Our Mom would bring out fresh squeezed lemonade and sandwiches for the men when a much-needed break was taken. Dad and his hired help, which included some cute-buff teenage boys, would enjoy the short recess under a shade tree.

Fresh brewed coffee brings me back to my Mom’s kitchen, where she would enjoy a cup, or two while sitting at our shiny formica table with its yellow plastic upholstered chairs. Grandma made the old-fashioned coffee–cowboy coffee, we called it. She’d just poured the ground coffee in pot of water and let it come to boil. Problem was…she had to watch it closely, or there’d be hot coffee all over her stove top!

Smoke from the recent fires around here brought back cool fall days of burning leaves in our yard, or a weenie roast with friends. The smokey smell hanging on our clothes and hair long after the event.

This morning my husband brought in some Lilacs. Our bush doesn’t usually produce a lush crop, but this year, for some reason…they are beautiful!

When I took a whiff of the lavender clusters, I was back in my Mother’s yard– to springtime in Iowa, and the sweet perfume floating on spring breezes through the weathered window panes of our farmhouse.

So, I set about trimming the woody stems…a bouquet for the kitchen table and one for my husbands studio. The aroma now floats between our two spaces and make me sigh, and remember.



The creek, west of our Casa is home to many  transient guests. This is the latest interloper, Canis latrans.  I use plural because there were three of them.


He/she knew I was watching. Those eyes…so penetrating and mysterious! A little skinny but a handsome specimen. Almost seems as though he has a furrow in his brow.


The trio continued to sniff and look my way.

I may have to rethink my walks around our property. With these three lurking about, some precautions may be in order.


We often hear their eerie yips and howls at night…sounds like they are right outside our window. But, out here on the prairie, what sounds close can be miles away.

It does give my husband and I pause. We have grandkids who love to explore on foot or on our trusty golf cart. Now, it might be a little risky. One coyote is interesting…three is a pack. We know they’re capable of doing harm.


These wiley critters are a tenacious species, adapting as they must, be it here in Kansas or suburbia.

I love that we have wildlife all around us. It’s good to know not everything is domesticated. On this foggy morning they fade away into the late-winter landscape, continuing their search. 

The leader seems to be saying, “Come on, we’ve got rabbits to catch!”



This past week, Kansas and the midwest experienced the grandeur and the fury of nature.
“Beauty and the Beast,” if you will.


We endured cold, then warm days of rain, anticipating the deluge that was headed our way. Weathermen and women were, “In their height of glory!” As my Mom would say. Minute by minutes reports in pink alerted us to the storm drifting ever closer.

I, like hundreds of others in our town, fought the lines for staples–things that would not require electricity to prepare them if we should suffer an outage. I was thinking of 2005, I think it was, when all hades broke loose and many of us were out of power for days, and some, weeks. Breaking branches and trees sounded like rifle shots in the dark.


We waited and waited and waited for the ice. It didn’t come the first day, but we had a light coating on the second. It was a long weekend. My spirits were about as gloomy as the landscape framed by my diningroom window.


But, when I looked outside I was inspired!

When Nature finally did her deed, here, it wasn’t so bad. Unfortunately, north and west of us was a different story.

Toppled trees, downed power line, no water, no heat, no plumbing…you get the picture.


So I threw on a coat and went outside to capture the beauty that was left behind. I’m always amazed at the artistic splendor of nature. It’s like she says, “I’m going to hit you hard, but leave a little treat so you won’t feel so bad when I’m done!”

That’s what happens when rain turns to ice and coats everything in crystal. The most drab, dried, ugly bushes, branches and twigs become transformed into a beautiful sculptures.


Fence posts and gates drip with diamond like jewels. It’s a wonderland. Luckily, here in our county, we didn’t have a lot of wind with this storm which helped to save trees and structures from real damage.


As I reluctantly creep into a more mature age…a-hem…I am careful to watch my step. Especially when I’m looking through the camera’s eye…not on my next step!



Stalactites of gleaming ice hung, and clung to everything! What was a drab landscape the day before, now glistened and winked like fairy dust. I had to think of my Mom. She loved times like this and loved taking pictures as I do. Thanks Mom, for passing it on!