Murdo Girl…90 years ago

When the M.E. Sanderson family lived on Horse Creek, which is about ten miles south of Murdo, SD, the kids all went to a country school. Mom, who was one of six children often talked about the Osborn kids. They were a family of thirteen offspring, and the kids all attended the same country school.

Mom was only eleven when her family moved closer to town which meant the kids would all go to town school. Mom, of course, made it sound like she was really moving up in the world. She always told the story that one of the Osborn girls said they would miss Helen and Ella, (Mom’s older sisters), but they wouldn’t miss her.wp-1524104921128.jpg

My friend, Dianna, found this picture of the Osborn family in later years. Her Aunt was an Osborn…one of the thirteen kids. It really is a small world.

I haven’t heard a lot of Horse Creek stories, but Aunt Elna, Mom’s younger sister, once told me of a Christmas memory she had. The family had returned from visiting relatives in Iowa just in time for Christmas. Little Elna was given a box and when she opened it, a puppy jumped out and scared her to death. She wanted nothing to do with her new pet, which wasn’t the expected reaction. She was only five when they moved, but she had that one vivid memory of life on Horse Creek.

Mom was never interested in housework or cooking. She left helping Grandma up to the other girls. She preferred the outdoor chores and helping with the livestock. One day she was off by herself riding one of the horses. The horse was startled by something and shied which caused Mom to fall off. Wanting some sympathy for her frightening fall, she tried her best to cry until she got home. It turned out, she wasn’t injured that severely and couldn’t keep the tears flowing, therefore, no one felt sorry for her when she told them of her harrowing experience.


This photo is of the Sanderson and the Thomas families. Mom is the one with the short dark hair. Her sister, Ella is the taller girl standing next to her and Helen is next to Ella. Jeff is in front with his hand over his heart. Grandpa is second from the left in the back row. Grandma is next to him, (big hat), and Wayne is behind Ella and Helen.

Wayne was the oldest of the Sanderson kids. When he was bitten by a rattlesnake and Grandpa cut a slit with his knife and sucked the venom out, I’m sure Mom was impressed. I know I would have been. Now they say that type of emergency treatment isn’t the right thing to do. I bet Wayne would argue that point, as he had no serious after effects.


I think this is Grandma’s parents with Grandpa and Grandma, (holding the baby). I think the baby is Ella and the little boy is Jeff. I don’t know who the woman is standing next to Grandpa.

I’ve been to Horse Creek a few times over the years. I remember the picnic we had there with the Haverberg cousins, from Michigan,and Mark and Jeff H. Sanderson. I was probably about the age Mom was when the family moved. Part of the old log cabin was still standing.


The land is now owned by Dan Height. When my cousin, Greg, told told him Mom had requested she be cremated and her ashes spread around Horse Creek, he graciously allowed us to drive a caravan of 4-wheel drives, off-road, to the site of the old log house. The day was beautiful as was the landscape. I looked at all the relatives spreading Mom’s ashes around, and I could almost hear Mom saying, “So there, Osborn kids!”


Murdo Girl…Listen up

If you have in your mind that you would like to unencumber yourself from stuff, you will learn everything you need to know right here on the Murdo Girl blog. I won’t let you down. This is not an easy transition, but together we can make it happen.

Several years ago, I was involved in a training the trainer, training and I learned to teach people how to reach their goals. We are going to use the SMART goal method to get where we need to be. Even if this is not the time for you to downsize, or at least get rid of the clutter, you can use the method I am going to teach you, to successfully reach your goals, whatever they are.

1. Take a piece of paper and write your goal on it. Then turn the paper over. We’ll be looking at it later. It won’t be until tomorrow or the next day.

Here is my goal.

I am going to reduce the number of material things I own so I can live comfortably without clutter. I will surround myself with those things that only have meaning or purpose in my life. I told kip he can stay. I will wear only comfortable, good quality, and easy to care for clothing. I will not have more than enough, clothes, product, costume jewelry or serving dishes.

I will, however, keep my Beasterhop and nutcracker collections.

I will reach my initial goal by one month from the day we move into our tiny home.

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed…SMART

I’m starting with my wardrobe.

I had to try on some stuff, but I was steadfast and brutal. Sheesh! Look at all those jackets? Can’t have all those hanging around in a tiny home.

It is important to identify obstacles you will face. It took me all day to go through my RV closet. I had already practiced by filling a plastic bag with clothes and putting them in my Jeep. I went out there twice to retrieve something. I traded those things for something else in my closet that weren’t “me.”

The obstacle??? I love, love, love, resale shops and they love me. I confess that I have some pretty great finds, but much of what I purchased doesn’t meet the criteria listed in my goal.

Here is what I did with the items I culled today.

I ordered a bag online from Thred up. You fill it with quality clothing, purses and jewelry and take it to the post office. They pay the postage. In a few weeks, you receive a check for a small percentage of the value of the items you thought were treasures. The point is…it is gone and you cannot increase your left-behind lot in numbers. You can only add to it if you are willing to give up something. I plan to do this a lot as the seasons change.

I made a list of all the things I sent. I will record other goals in my minima list book. Go get yourself one. It will be a treasure you will want to keep.

Murdo Girl…The event

I’ll fill you in on the tiny home as soon as it stops raining…

Well, I’m on my way over to Pearl the human’s. I know you want to hear all about the pep rally fundraiser we had yesterday, but I just don’t feel like I can put it into words. If you really want to know about it, go to Sanderson’s Store and buy yourself a Murdo Coyote Newspaper. I hear that new reporter they hired didn’t miss a thing. She even dug up the whole story behind the big feud between Pearl and Queenie. It’s in the fine print.

Anyway, read all about it…………



Associated Press…….The Feud behind the Fundraiser…by PG, MCN reporter

It was one of those, “You had to be there,” kinda gatherings. All attendees, including this reporter, couldn’t believe what they saw with their very own peepers.

It was wild from the get go. Queenie and Pearl each made a grandiose entrance. Queenie had Mr. Bradley Crandall on one side of her, and the illustrious owner of the Auto Museum on the other, which put Pearl, (who was accompanied by Pearl the Coyote-dog mascot and her longtime friend, Grace who was obviously still in pain from a broken tailbone), at an awkward disadvantage. You see Pearl is raffling off a red convertible from the auto museum, unbeknownst to the owner, who lo and behold was, as reported earlier, riding in Queenie’s car.

The whole event was planned  by Pearl and unbeknownst to her, it was a brilliant plan. Get this! There was an invitational basketball tournament in progress at the auditorium, so there was a huge crowd who soon got wind of the raffle and were more interested in who got the car than the jump ball.

Pearl marched in there with her, made specially for pep rally, purses and set up for business in the lobby.

Queenie set up a pep rally hat stand right beside her.

Then things got crazy. The hats, purses, and band uniform contest got all discombobulated.

wp-1522112982663.jpgWho could decide between Pearl’s purse and Queenie’s pom-pom hat?


The band uniform competition was close. In the end, it was decided the old uniforms weren’t so bad.


Not having to buy new uniforms was a good thing since the merchants were only able to sell $178.00 in tickets, which not only disturbed Pearl, but the owner of the car who didn’t know it was being raffled off.

Mr. G said, “What were you thinking, Pearl?”

Pearl said, “I was just trying to help Queenie, the PTA president, raise money for the not so much needed band uniforms.”

Queenie said, “Since when did you want to help me. I remember when you thought PTA meant, Pass the Appetizers. You brought cheese fondue to our meeting instead of cookies!”

Mr. G, “YOU’RE the one who brought that delicious fondue? Well, Pearl…your heart was in the right place, and a deal is a deal. Go ahead with the drawing.

And the winner is! Who? Someone from Ft. Pierre?

The girls scratched the pep rally. In fact, they both went into the ladie’s room and didn’t come out for the duration. I know one of them is going to be devastated by the loss and the girl from Pierre might have a new best friend.

Signing off for now, your traveling within 8.5 square miles reporter, PG for MCN.

“Can I go for another ride in the red convertible?”

Murdo Girl…Pearl’s pep rally

I’m on my way to Pearl the human’s. I probably won’t have to walk Pearl the dog ’cause Faith-Hope has been walking her ever since she got here last week. I’m sort of contorted about how I feel about her. She’s a real California girl. She has long, straight-ish hair, and she’s really pretty. Pearl and Grace fawn all over her and brag about her to everyone who will listen to them. I don’t mind so much except I miss Pearl the dog. We haven’t spent much time together since Grace broke her tailbone and Pearl the dog has been kinda my best friend for a long time now.


Thank the Lord, Grace is doing better. She still walks funny, but she went back to her flats with the rubber bands holding them on. She’s worn them for so many years, I guess her feet are trained to walk straight in them. Pearl said that a orthodontist could fit her in better shoes, which seems kinda weird to me, but Grace doesn’t want to listen to Pearl.

Well, I’m not there yet, but I almost am.


“I’m not sure who to tell this too, but I’m here! Is anybody home?”

I heard Pearl yell from her front room. When I got in there, I noticed she was by herself, and she was doing something I hadn’t seen her do for a while. She was smoking air cigarettes.


“Are you still upset over the Methodist Church basement cooks and their sunrise service tea, Pearl?”

“Heavens no, Essie. I handled that days ago. They settled right down when they found out the tea didn’t have anything sinful in it. When I told them it was made from brewed tea and Tang with a couple of cinnamon sticks thrown in, they decided to serve it at all of their functions. I’ll still make a profit because they don’t know how long to brew the tea and the exact amount of Tang it takes to make it taste as delightful as I’ve convinced them only I can make it. Plus, I have given them the power of exclusivity. Sounds rather heavenly, doesn’t it?  I already talked to the Lutherans, anyway, but they weren’t interested in playing second fiddle to the Methodists.”

“Then why are you taking all the long draws on the air cigarette, Pearl?”

“Well, I’m nervous about Faith. She went south of sixteen to see her grandfather, Mr. Crandall. He bought the house Faith’s mother, Constance grew up in. I don’t think you know this, but Mr. Crandall has been seeing a woman I don’t get along with and I’m sure he’s going to convince Faith that I’ve been, well, meddling in his affairs, and I know she won’t approve.”

“Shh…here she comes. Faith…is that you, dear? Essie and I are in the front room!”

Hope came through the door, threw her purse on the floor and plopped down in a chair.

“Well, that was interesting, Grams,” she said. “Hi Ellie…get ready, you’re about to witness a showdown. “Grams over there has stirred it up again. You are too much, Grams. You are just too much!”

“Well, now, Faith…I’m ever so sorry, but I must run to Pearl’s Busy Nest. I have a busy meeting there in just a few minutes. In the meantime, I have a surprise for you! I know how much you enjoyed being a Murdo High School cheerleader. Well, being the community supporter that I am, I have planned a phenomenal event to help the PTA raise funds for new band uniforms. Anyway, change to the outfit in your room and come to the Nest as soon as you can so we can continue with this phenomenal plan of mine. Essie…there will be an outfit for you at the Nest…chop, chop, girls…I’m off!”

Hope went into her room and changed. She was laughing when she came back out.

“I can see right through those fake glasses of Gram’s and tell what she’s up to. Grandpa Crandall’s new girlfriend is the head of the PTA. They refer to her as Queenie. Grams is in a pickle, Ellie, and she is burning rubber trying to smooth it over. I just love watching her in action. I’m so glad I got back here in time for this!”


“How do I look as a twenty-three year old cheerleader, Ellie?”



To be continued…..Pearl gives new meaning to the cheer, “Orange and Black, Fight, Fight!!”


Murdo Girl…Over Beasterhop Hill

With Beastertown all in a fluster, the shining crown was losing it’s luster.

Easter Sunday would soon be here. When would the Easter eggs appear?

The streets of Beastertown were bare. There was no bustling here nor there.

(For goodness sakes…Didn’t they read the book?)

Mayor Beasterhop strolled outside. He knew he must forgo his pride.

There was no use getting all emotional. The tiny house transfer was non-negotiable.

Mrs. Beasterhop said, “You might find this surprising, but I’m cool with downsizing!”


“I’m tired of hoeing carrots and lettuce. We need not let this move upset us.”

Mayor Beasterhop looked at his dear, Bunny. Was she serious or being funny?

wp-1521513233827.jpgHe said, “What about Beastertown? The city with the shining crown?

I’ve tried to talk to every rabbit. But move?…They just won’t have it!”

Mrs. Beasterhop smiled.

“Do you fear you’ll take a spill, if you ride your bike up Beasterhop Hill?”

To be continued…

Kip watching the progress on the RV Port.

I’m still just visiting at the factory. They will be moving me onto the lot, Thursday or Friday


Backslash up in the kitchen…ceiling light and fan in living room

Paper towel holder on sale for $3…I didn’t get it!

Murdo Girl…A belated top of the morning to you

PG: Ring, ring…hey KK, how much does it cost to put an ad in the paper?

KK: Five bucks an inch. Why? What are you selling?

PG: A ten foot ladder…(click)

KK: Hey PG…did you hear about the call old Mr. O’Leary got from the Doc? He had good news and bad news.

PG: What was the good news, KK?

KK: The doc told old Mr O’Leary he only had 24 hours to live.

PG: Begosh and begoshan, KK! What was the bad news?

KK: Behuh? That’s just what old Mr. O’ Leary asked him.

PG: Boil me a potato and tell me what the doc said, already!!

KK: He said, “The bad news is, I’ve been trying to contact you since yesterday.

PG: Hey, KK…What do you call an Irish man on a couch?

KK: Oh, I don’t know…Paddy O’Furniture?

Sad, huh? Wanna play Irish frisbee? I learned it from me da…

Murdo Girl…Close, but no cigar

I realize this is a little out of the ordinary for an MG blog, but I’m going to share it with you, anyway. It’s a rough draft of a song I’m writing for a special group of guys. I haven’t found the right music yet, but I’m open to suggestions for the song and soundtrack. 

I’m messing with these guys a little.

Maybe the soundtrack could be along the lines of this:



If you didn’t see him coming, but you knew that he was here

If you saw a ring of smoke around his beer

If he saunters on over and he smells familiar

If he has a crooked smile and one lopped ear

He’s doing fine so far, but no cigar

He can belly up to the bar but no cigar.

He can stay a while and listen to their stories

but cigar smoking buddies are elite

You can’t just smoke any old stoggie

And you can’t pour a drink that isn’t neat

He’s doing fine so far, but no cigar

He can belly up to the bar, but no cigar.

Cigar smokers might be braggadocious

But they don’t identify as athletes

You might say they’re precocious

If you miss their story there will be repeats.

He ‘s doing fine so far, but no cigar

He can belly up to the bar, but no cigar

If he tells you he was born in the forties

And he’s been smoking cigars since he was eight

If he opens up a box and offers you a Cuban

maybe you should re-evaluate


They’ll all belly up to the bar and smoke cigars

They’ll tell him they were all football stars

They’ll chase elite, neat drinks down with a beer

and invite the new guy back each time he’s here

Murdo Girl…Tiny tipster in training

It’s been three weeks and one day since we moved from the small house to the RV, which is our home until the tiny house is completed. We’ve lived in the RV for as long as two months at a time, but it is a little different when you’re traveling around seeing new places, or family and friends you haven’t seen in a while. It’s different when it rains for two and one half weeks and you can’t just up and say, “Gotta go! We follow the sun.”

We absolutely do know how lucky we are that we sold the small house quickly and considering we live with three dogs and a cat, we’re grateful we have our RV to live in while we wait.

What, with our investigative activities, our social obligations, and our chores, including taking time out to walk the dogs several times a day, we have very little spare time.

We are in training for tiny home living. Here are some things I tested just yesterday.

1) I framed these beautiful photographs. They’re tiny enough for the smallest wall.

These three are my new favorite photographs taken by my friend, Dianna Kenobbie Diehm. Woops…The 3rd one isn’t  framed.


I named this photo “Cloud Lasagna.”

I decided to add a depiction of South Dakota weather.

I spent a portion of the day cleaning all of my silver jewelry with tarnish remover. It took about 1.5 hours, including the 1.25 hours I drove around town looking for tarnish remover. I didn’t remember I don’t have much silver jewelry. I ruined two pieces that were very thinly plated, but I have two necklaces that are blindingy shiny.

Next, I decided to whiten my teeth with some charcoal stuff I saw on TV and found at Dollar General. I ruined two toothbrushes, one T shirt, and used half a bottle of 409 to get the charcoal mess in my tiny sink cleaned up. I didn’t think it through. I should have known a tiny container of charcoal shouldn’t cost twenty dollars even if it did come from a tropical region.

I like to try time saving things seen only on TV, and some of them are worth the one for $9.98 and another free plus shipping and handling. Those handlers make bug bucks. I bought two gel filled cushions. The free one ended up costing four dollars more than the first one.

The hangers that make more room in your closet do, however, work like a charm. I showed Kip and he said, “But I thought I was supposed to have room for more than three shirts, now. You just doubled what you have in the closet.”

Here’s your pretend sign, Kip. I’d give you a real one, but we don’t have any place to put it.

Those little hard boiled egg cookers seen on TV work great! I’ve been on a roll making hardboiled eggs and every kind of tiny omelet you can imagine. It makes a tiny home smell like eggs, though, so you might want to work in some other protein sources once in a while or wait a couple of days if you’re planning to have (a) company over.

Meanwhile, all of my beautiful Beasterhops are in storage. I hope I can spring them before Easter.

More tiny home tips from the tiny home tipsters will be forthcoming as soon as I save up some money.


Murdo Girl…Ellie learns to think it through

I’m on my way over to Pearl the human’s to take Pearl the dog out back to do her business. We’re not going over to The Busy Nest, today. It’s just going to be Pearl the human there… all by her lonesome. Grace had an extremely unfortunate accident yesterday and will be bedridden for a while.

If it hadn’t been so tragic, it would have been kinda funny.

You see, Pearl convinced Grace that she looked trashy in her black flats, because of the rubber bands she had to stretch around her feet to hold them on. Grace just loves flats, but her feet just weren’t made for them. Pearl says Grace’s arch is too high, which makes her foot bow up. When her foot bows up, it’s too short for the shoe which makes the shoe fall off. I know what you’re thinking, because I thought it too. Why doesn’t she buy a smaller shoe? Well, because when she steps down, her weight makes her foot straighten some and that makes the shoe fit a little better. It’s on the uplift that Grace needs the rubber bands.

Anyway, Grace and Pearl were gonna go to Pierre and shop for a serviceable, yet fashionable shoe for Grace, but they couldn’t get away when the stores in Pierre were open, so they had to resort to ordering from the catalog. They weren’t for sure what size Grace wears since her flats never fit her so they had to guess.

They didn’t think it through.

Grace didn’t have those shoes on for more than half an hour when they came untied and one of the fashionable but not so serviceable ribbons got twisted around the leg of the folding chair Grace was sitting on at The Nest. When Grace got up and tried to take a step, the shoe and the chair came with her. Grace made all kinds if moves to try to stay upright and I think the big surprise to all of us was that when she finally stopped reaching and twisting, she actually did land back in the chair. Too bad she wasn’t able to stay in it. She slid right out and onto the floor like a wet noodle. Somewhere along the line she broke her tailbone…and guess what? Both of her shoes fell off. Right now, she’s resting uncomfortably in her bedroom, and Pearl the dog and I have to take care of her. Guess who will be answering all the Dear Grace letters until dear Grace has a less painful day.

It’s the least I can do.

Well I’m not there yet, but I almost am.


“Hi Grace…Hi Pearl the dog. I’m here, are you?

“Ruff, ruff!”

“Elllllllie?! Hurry, Ellie. I need my donut pillow. Oh my, my, my, my… I’m suffering so, so, so much!”

“Ruff, ruff!”

I tried my best to get Grace situated on her donut before I took Pearl ouside. The poor dog must have been, so, so, so uncomfortable, too. We both hated to go back upstairs to those rooms above Sanderson’s store. It was gonna be a long, long, long, day.

Then I got a great idea. I figured as long as I had to stay with Grace all day, I might as well get the most out of it.

The first thing I did was call Mack’s cafe and order us some big ol’ cinnamon rolls for breakfast.

Mack’s Cafe

“Hello,” I said in a tired sounding voice. “This is Ellie and I’m calling for poor Grace who is laid up over here. I’m sure you heard she took a nasty fall and she is in exCRUNCHiating pain. She is moaning so loud I can hardly understand her, but I believe she is asking for two or… maybe three of your mouth watering cinnamon rolls. The problem is, I don’t have any money and I can’t leave Grace long enough to try to find someone to give me the cash OR come to Mack’s to buy those deLUSHis rolls. Hello! Are you still there?”

Well, they brought us over four huge rolls. On the house. Poor Grace could only eat about a half of one.

Fern’s Cafe

That idea worked so well, I decided to get Grace a juicy cheeseburger and fries from Fern’s Cafe. I told them Grace would surely love some of Fern’s deLUSHis chocolate cake with that fudge frosting. They brought over enough burgers and fries, and chocolate cake to feed four people. Too bad Grace wasn’t hungry because it sure was good.I ate hers and mine. Pearl the dog didn’t want any.

I didn’t think it through.

By the time Pearl the human got home, I was sound asleep right there in bed beside Grace. I only woke up because I kept hearing, “Ruff, Ruff,” and, “Hurry, Pearl! Oh, my, my, my, my…I am suffering so, so, so, much!”

“Settle down now, Grace,” Pearl said. “I brought us all BBQ sandwiches, french fries and chocolate malts from the Frosty Freeze. Where are you going, Essie? Let’s eat while it’s hot!! You must be starving!”

“Ruff, ruff…feed me, please.”

Murdo Girl…A birthday bouquet for Sue

Have I told you that we painted, today? Sue wanted to cause it’s her birthday.

“What next?” You might say. (Read really fast, it sounds better that way.)

Not the wall in the hall or the nails on our fingers, it seems long ago, now…but the memory lingers.

I began with a canvas and puddles of paint, not one ounce of talent and void of restraint.

I forged ahead and dalooped my tulips, piled colors on colors and sipped on mint juleps. Not really, but it rhymes. I try to do that when writing poetry, sometimes.

When I finished my flowers I dried them real dry with the heat of a hair dryer turned way up on high.

I wasn’t alone there, no I was invited, along with eight others who were really excited, a cute little dog and a lady to teach us how to paint like Van Gogh and create masterpieces.

I’ve never seen anything like it before. When Sue said, “Let’s do this.” I asked, “What for?” 

“It’s my birthday,” she said. “We will do as I please. My friends will bring crackers and dips with cream cheese. Did you bring me a card or forget it, again? Never mind, let’s have fun! And then…

“We’ll sing happy birthday, and Fran made a cake. We’ll each paint a flowery and leafy keepsake.”

“We will add words of wisdom… hold our canvas up proudly. We’ll stand shoulder to shoulder. Please try not to crowd me…take a bunch of cool pictures before saying goodbye. It’s my best birthday ever!” Sue said with a sigh. 

Sue went from friend to friend and admired their artwork. When she got to me, she gave me a smirk…

She looked at my flowers then smiled, casually, and thanked me for bringing the tasty spiced tea.

My flowers looked wilted and the leaves looked disgraced, but they’ll hang on my wall in a prominant place.

Happy birthday sweet Sue…let’s do this again. 

I can hear all our friends say a hearty, AMEN!

Write AMEN, Lady J!