Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Hutterite Diaries Snippet # 5

Since this is Earth Day, I thought today's snippet should reflect that. One of the chapters in Hutterite Diaries is on the topic of taking care of the earth. I'm delighted to say, I've heard a number of positive comments on precisely this chapter. One reader wrote, "The 'Weathered Wood Lessons' chapter really got to me." She went on to suggest I write an article with excerpts from that chapter and submit it to a newspaper. I did, and as I mentioned in a previous post, it was published last week in The Manitoba Cooperator a farm publication. You can read it online: We Should Celebrate Earth Day Every Day.

Today's snippet:

           My fondest recycling memory involves pieces of weathered wood. After raising geese for more than thirty-two years, our colony decided to discontinue this enterprise, which left my dad with the task of disassembling fencing and loading scaffolds. “I’m going to ask Uncle Joe to build a desk with the old planks from the loading scaffold,” he announced at snack one day.

“You can’t be serious!” I exclaimed, thinking this as far-fetched as a goose laying a golden egg. “Those planks have been out there in the elements, trampled on in rain, fog and snow for decades! Not to mention that they’ve been pecked at and probably pooped on by geese.”

 “They are solid oak and thick enough to be planed down,” Dad continued calmly. “Would sure be a shame to just burn them!”  When Dad pitched the dream desk idea to Uncle Joe, he responded with as much gusto as if Dad had just suggested he take up embroidering. Nevertheless, not known to waste words, he reluctantly agreed. 

For years, Dad’s antique brown desk beautified our home, giving him many opportunities to tell visitors its story. Sadly, Dad hasn’t sat by his desk for years now and all we’re left with is a desk-full of memories. Today, it stands in my classroom, stately as an oak, a sturdy worktable and a daily reminder of all Dad taught us.

Hutterites have been practising frugality for centuries. Learning new ways to utilize old things is imperative in today’s world, however. With materials more readily available nowadays, people tend to needlessly throw out and replace things, rather than reusing or recycling them. As stewards of the earth we’re obligated to teach today’s more affluent generation our own weathered wood lessons. 

Here's another endorsement as well:

“Linda Maendel gives outsiders a rare peek at day-to-day life inside the close-knit colonies—weddings and holidays, mealtimes and schooldays, beliefs and practices. A wonderful collection of true stories and insights, written by a thoughtful woman who loves the life she’s been given.” Suzanne Woods Fisher, author,  The Heart of the Amish 

Monday, 20 April 2015

Hutterites and/or their Writings Featured in Local Newspapers

Click on this link: A New Venture to read an interesting article featuring a friend of mine, Paul Wipf, the farm manager at Viking Colony in Alberta, Canada. The article appeared in the Country Guide, "Canada’s oldest farm publication, with roots back to 1886, Country Guide is about the business of farming, providing farmers with strategic business thinking."

The Manitoba Co-operator is a Manitoba based farm paper, "with roots going back to 1925, the Co-operator is an institution in Manitoba, received by most farmers in the province. Each weekly issue contains production, marketing and policy news selected for relevance to crops and livestock producers in Manitoba. The Co-operator also has Manitoba’s largest and most popular farm classified section. The Co-operator’s website provides daily agriculture news, event listings and a daily newsletter.
Manitoba Co-operator is published by Farm Business Communications with offices in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario."

From time-to-time the Manitoba Co-operator kindly publishes pieces written by Hutterites. Over the years, I've had a number of articles featured within their pages. I'm happy to say, the most recent one is in this April 16 edition: Earth Day Should Be Celebrated Every Day. Part of this article is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Hutterite Diaries, which will be available in book stores in about a month from today! You may also be able to read it on their online edition soon. I can't see it there yet...when looking for it just click on the above Manitoba Cooperator link, then go to the Crossroads section.

My sincere thanks to John Morriss, Editorial Director for taking an interest in Hutterite writings and publishing them in this long-standing and popular farm paper!

Friday, 17 April 2015

A Few 'Hutterite Diaries' Updates

The release of my book, Hutterite Diaries is now just a month away - May 18! If you are interested in reviewing it, click here, as it's available through Net Galley.

The reviews are starting to come in. I was just informed you can read one of them on Goodreads.  

Here's another heartwarming endorsement. This one from Canadian Author, Sigmund Brouwer, Thief of Glory and over 100 children's and adult books. I know this author personally; he's done a captivating presentation at our school.

“I so much enjoyed the chance to step into the Hutterite community and feel a part of it. Linda Maendel’s delightful use of the power of story makes Hutterite Diaries the type of book that is universal and enduring.” 

Got an email from a friend in Europe, telling me he pre-ordered my book and that he can't wait to read it. It's still available for the special pre-order price on Amazon. 
I'm planning an early June book launch at McNally Robinson in Winnipeg. Will post the details next month sometime. Yes, exciting times ahead! Can't wait to get the first glimpse of my own author copies! 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Dance of the Flowers

It's that time of year when some of us get the itch to be outside, get our hands dirty digging up flower beds, rake lawns, trim shrubs, start flowers...and hope that they will bless us with beautiful blooms for a few months. On that note, enjoy this breath-taking video as you dream of your own flowers this spring and summer. (Thanks, Yolanda, for sending this my way.)


Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Hutterite Diaries Snippet #4

One of my favourite chapters in Hutterite Diaries is about my cousin, Judith and her horse.  Even if you're not a horse enthusiast, you will appreciate 'riding with Judith'. Here's an excerpt of that chapter. 

When my colony, Elm River, was established in 1935, colony members relied on machines that ran on oats to farm the land. In his younger days, my dad loved working with these “tractors”—horses, of course—and occasionally helped break wild ones. I grew up hearing countless horse tales. Thus began my fascination with these magnificent animals. I especially enjoy watching humans and horses doing extraordinary things in tandem.

While horses played a huge role on early Manitoba Hutterite colonies, today they’re used mostly for leisure activities. Some Hutterites, however, take such leisure to a whole new level. People like my second cousin Judith prove that with the proper mix of psychology, principles, practice, and patience, a phenomenal human-horse partnership can emerge.  
Today's endorsement is from Donald B. Kraybill, premier scholar of Amish life.

 “Like the Amish, Hutterites have wisdom aplenty  for the rest of us. Living like the early church did, America’s Hutterites challenge the values of the selfie generation.”

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Sweet Maple Syrup Season

Looking out the window, as I'm writing this, I see fat snowflakes twirling in the wind, a gentle reminder that winter is not ready to bid us adieu just yet.Which is fine, at least on one front - it extends the maple season a bit.

Every spring, my sister, Sonia is busy collecting and cooking sap, which she's been doing this for a number of years now. It's obvious how much she enjoys this sweet season, especially cooking it over scrap wood. Throughout the year my brother, who works in the carpenter shop, saves some scrap hard wood for her. (Hard wood is perfect for this task, as it burned longer.) If it's going to be burned, it may as well be used to produce something sweet and savoury. 

This year has been strange, with spring being nice and mild one week and much colder and wintery the next. These changes caused the sap flow to be much slower than usual. 

Still, she managed to get a fair amount of beautiful and tasty syrup thus far, putting smiles on the faces of many maple syrup fans around here. Now for some hot-of-the-griddle golden-brown pancakes and saskatoons to savour the syrup with.

Wishing you a blessed and meaningful Easter!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Hutterite Diaries Snippet #3

 One chapter in Hutterite Diaries is about a fire that destroyed one of our buildings. Today's snippet is from that chapter:

 On the first Sunday after the fire, when this loss was still
heavy on our minds, worshiping together with brothers and
sisters was like a soothing balm. We were reminded of God’s
goodness, even in the face of tragedy. “Compared to all the
things we still have to be thankful for, this building was but a
speck,” our minister reminded us. “We have every reason to lift
our voices with the psalmist David, ‘Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits’ ” (Psalm 103:2

I'm also including another endorsement:

“This book will awaken your longing for a better world. As I read it, I smiled, laughed out loud, and cried along with the author and her community. I love the idea of Plainspoken Memoirs and eagerly await more. Linda Maendel takes you deep into Hutterian community life one gentle picture at a time.”—Shirley Showalter, author, Blush