Welcome Back, Henry!

Staff and residents at St. Anne’s made our scarecrow, Henry, again Tuesday afternoon.  He has been coming to visit every October for the past several years.  He sits in our entrance to meet those who pass by.  Actually, people have been known to say “hello” when they first see him, thinking he’s real.

Scarecrows, according to one article, have had their place in human society for centuries. Even back in ancient Rome and Greece, people would put wooden figures out to watch over their fields. Scarecrows, or variations thereof, actually cross many cultures. In fact, in Japan, rice field protectors were made of oily material and fish bones, another source said. The first record of scarecrows comes from Ancient Egypt, where wheat fields near the Nile were protected from quail by scarecrows.

European farmers, during the middle ages, followed this well-established tradition. Some actually believed that scarecrows had special powers and actually thought they would protect crops from diseases. A scarecrow ould consist of animal skulls (as in Italy) or a wooden witch (in Germany). In Brittan, scarecrows were actually alive, since boys were given the job of patrolling the wheat fields with bags of stones, according to this same source.

Here, in our own land, the native people used “bird scarers” as well, but these were mostly real men.   Some would stand on wooden platforms, howling and shouting at approaching crows and woodchucks. Other means of protection were also employed, such as poisoning crows so that their wild flying deterred others and placing poles around the fields.

Scarecrows had their place in the history of the American Colonies as well. Later immigrants to America also shared their traditions. During the Great Depression, scarecrows became especially popular.

Although we at St. Anne’s aren’t seeking protection from harm due to birds, or crows in particular, we enjoy having our resident of the month with us this time of year. Some staff, however, have commented on being startled by him.  Sr. Christina, her mother (visiting from Minnesota), and a few residents put him together one afternoon this past week.

If you stop by to visit us, you might want to say hello to our scarecrow, Henry, as well. Don’t expect any response though, as he is rather bashful and not accustomed to conversation.


Are You Achin’ to do Some Bakin’?


In a previous post, we offered information about the benefits of baking.  We’ve realized this firsthand with a few of our residents, who enjoy the chance to “get domestic.”  We’ve given them a chance to help mixing up cookies or other treats to serve. They remember doing such work in years past and enjoy being a part of a project like this; they don’t mind a compliment on their tasty results, either.

We’d like to offer you a similar opportunity!

Do you enjoy baking, but not have much of an outlet?  (Maybe you’re not too eager for the extra pounds that come from indulging in a lot of baked goods.)

Our annual bake sale is coming up on October 21st.  If you’d like to bake something(s) to contribute to our sale, we would appreciate it.

You can even fill out this form to let us know what you’re planning.

PS: We won’t tell on you if you sample it first 🙂

“Autumn Begins”

fallThis week Mother Nature got a jump start on Autumn. The calendar states “Autumn Begins” September 22. Our exceedingly creative God got ahead of the date and was doing a magnificent paint job already a week before.

Sister Rebecca and I attended the North Dakota Long Term Care Conference in Fargo for three days this week and were able to drive back and forth from Grand Forks each day instead of traveling to Bismarck and staying overnight for the duration.

This meant six separate 81 mile trips, three to Fargo and three back home to Grand Forks. We were privileged to delight in the numerous fall colors: gold, yellow, red, rust, green, yellow green, brown, tan. Oh, so beautiful! The trees were still fluffy because the wind had not yet divested them of their leaves thus creating an even more gorgeous grove of individual colors.

The fall colored grasses in the ditches took on a special hew that delighted one’s view as we drove by. Such a multitude of mixed beauty!

And, to really top off the experience, Sister Rebecca pointed out a flock of geese flying over the Fargo Holiday Inn. What a marvelous additional sight adding to the already amazing experience, a sure sign of fall.

Thank You God for giving Mother Nature these gifts of color and her ability to present them to us in such varied ways for our amazement and joy. May You, O Creator, be thanked, honored and adored.

Count Me In! Share your time & talent at St. Anne’s

Image may contain: textDid you know that there are lots of opportunities to give back to the community by serving as a volunteer at St. Anne’s?

Whether you’re interested in doing one-on-one visits with a resident who doesn’t have much family, if you’d like to help with our special events, if you’d like to lend a hand with regular activities, or you have another idea of how you’d like to help, the St. Anne’s Volunteer Program is worth checking into!

In fact, we’re getting ready for our annual volunteer business meeting, which will be held on Thursday, October 5th.  It’s a “working lunch” from 11:30 to 12.

If you’re interested in attending, please RSVP with Shelly Mack (701-746-9401) no later than Monday, October 2nd.


We hope to see you there!

Spuds at St. Anne’s

As we approach “Potato Bowl Week” and some of our residents and staff anticipate the big parade and UND football game on Saturday, we thought “Potatoes at St. Anne’s” would be an appropriate topic.

We actually serve potatoes, in various forms, several times a month in our dining room.  Menu selections include:

  • Tater tots
  • French fries
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Scalloped potatoes
  • Whipped potatoes
  • Cream of potato soup
  • Oven-browned potatoes
  • Potato salad
  • Potato chips
  • Baked potatoes
  • Spudsters

Image result for garden our franciscan fiatWith such a selection of items made from potatoes, we are reminded that we are in “spud country.”  A couple of times, we even grew potatoes in our residents’ garden!

During this coming week, our “joke of the day” will be selected from a list of several potato-related “knee slappers.”

For example: Where were the first French Fries made?  In Greece.

Have a happy Potato Bowl Week!!

Cherries, Anyone?

pasted_image.pngA couple of weeks ago, one of our nurses brought in a couple of pints of fresh cherries from her own trees.  Although they were on the smaller side, they were sweet and tasty.

As we had recently received over 200 lbs. of rhubarb and Sr. Rebecca was in jam-making mode, they made their way into a couple of batches of a cherry rhubarb “taste-treat.”

Sr. Christina pitted the cherries in preparation for this endeavor.  Rather than simply discard the pits, why not try a little experiment?  Wouldn’t it be fun for our residents to watch cherry trees grow from these?

The pits were carefully soaked and any remaining fruit fragments were removed.  Next, they were set out to dry for a few days.

A bag of clean, dry pits now is sitting in a bottom refrigerator drawer for until December to provided the needed cold period for the proper preparation for germination.  (There are several variations in instructions for this process.)

Sr. Christina’s parents had recently had trees removed from their front yard in Minnesota because of a Ash boar that is killing off trees in their area.  Her mother is interested in possibly taking cherry saplings, so the above picture was taken for her information.

Really, cherries are nothing new for the human family, even if we’ve never grown them here before.  Fossils point to human consumption dating back to prehistoric times.  The Greeks and Romans enjoyed them, too.  In fact, they were part of Roman soldiers’ rations.  An interesting story is that they would discard them as they traveled and one could find old Roman roads by following the path of the cherry trees.

Perhaps one explanation for the varying instructions on growing cherries is due to the multiplicity of varieties which numbers over 1,000.

There are several dates commemorating different aspects of this cherished fruit, including January 3rd as Chocolate covered Cherry Day, April 23rd as Cherry Cheesecake Day,  May 17th as Cherry Cobbler Day, May 26th as Cherry Dessert Day, and coming right up – August 28th is National Cherry Turnover Day.

Cherries are very nutritious and are even credited with stabilizing blood sugar levels, easing joint pain, and aiding with sleep.