Far Side's Attic and Woodshed

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Chance: Getting the mail



I know the way to get the mail, we walk the long way around in the winter. Sometimes Far Side goes along, but usually it is a guy thing. Even though it was barely above zero she went along yesterday. She wears funny dark glasses outside, I think the snow and sunshine nearly blind her.

Sometimes she just needs to get out of the woods. I showed her the rabbit run and the rabbit hole. No one was home. Besides that she said "Leave the rabbits alone." I usually do leave them alone after a little run around in the woods.

I have to wait here, it is a rule. I am not allowed to actually get the mail..I am supposed to watch from here.

When soon to be Eagle eyes Far Side tells you to sit and wait..you do it as handsome as you can. She says I am almost as white and clean as the snow..in fact she called my white fur brilliant..guess that means I won't need a bath anytime soon!

View from the end of the driveway.


Far Guy was getting cold, so he took a short cut home. I could tell that Far Side wanted to walk with me on the road. Far Guy was insistent that she follow him, so she did, he apparently took really huge steps through the woods..he blazed a trail for her..unfortunately he forgot that she can't walk as good as him and her stride is much shorter..she was trying her best to keep up..then she just hung onto a tree and hollered "OH, go on without me, I didn't think it was a race, I have snow in my boots now" ..she also muttered some other stuff that just might have been some unladylike cuss words. She eventually made it to the house to warm up. She probably won't go to the mail box again for awhile :)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ringo's Story

“If you love something let it go free. If it doesn't come back, you never had it. If it comes back, love it forever.” Doug Horton

This is a story that has been written in my mind for some time. Today is as good a day as any to excise it. Perhaps it is the below zero weather..or guilt..or Jen telling me that our Grand-dog Elvis hates a leash..

December 2006...The phone rang, it was Megan, a dog trainer that we had used with Chance. She had a friend who was in a pickle, she was fostering a Sheltie (Shetland Sheepdog)  and needed someone to take over for her because she was pregnant.  The dogs name was Ringo and he apparently was one of those Summer throw away dogs that the "summer people" get for their kids just for the summer and then leave behind. His Foster Mom said he was sweet and lovable, she had no problems with him, he got along with her other dogs quite well, she was sure that he would get along well with Chance. Two neutered males..no problem. I made arrangement to pick him up on January 02, 2007. Our initial meeting went well, he seemed to like me..so it was a go..I loaded him in the car and brought him home with me.

I brought him into the house, he and Chance hit it off quite well, tails wagging, and chase me games were played. Ringo ate some food and drank some water.   I went to take them outdoors, I had the leash in my hand..I like a dummy just opened the door..and let them outside. As soon as Ringo hit the outside world..he ran..and ran..then he took off down the driveway.... Far Guy and I tried to catch him, and I got within three feet of him..but he was too quick. We enlisted neighborhood help in looking for him.  Jen and Andy came and walked the woods at night, Jen even found another stray dog that eventually was reunited with his owner.  Chance and I and Far Guy walked the woods for days, there wasn't much snow that year...we tried to track him...eventually we discovered where he was and contacted the land owner for permission to walk his property. We found where he had been sleeping in a hole made in the ground by an uprooted tree, we saw him on several occasions..we found dog poop and pee..so I knew he was eating something and obviously getting enough water out of the snow. He was living on one section of land and feeding there on old deer carcasses. I had his previous Foster Mom come out one afternoon with her dogs in hopes that he would respond to her voice or his old friends being in the vicinity. No luck.. I was so upset by this turn of events, I did not know what I was going to do, beside eventually burying a starved dog..that I was responsible for. I cried buckets of tears over this dog, just the mention of his name would make me bawl. How could I have been such an idiot..first to say that I would take the dog and second that I would open the door and let him out without a leash..stupid ..just plain stupid.

Ringo ran out of deer meat or perhaps it was the fresh blood of a newly butchered hog that drove him to visit Jo (West Side of Straight) and her husbands farm. Hooch lives there too, Ringo was sighted mornings and evenings coming and going. We tried unsuccessfully to capture him..he was just too fast and too wild to be caught. Jo called me one day and she said "That dog is going to die, we have to do something ELSE." Then she called later and said "I borrowed a live trap, lets see if we can trap him." The first few days we baited with dog food and caught Hooch a couple of times.  Hooch kind of liked the live trap. We did not want to leave the live trap set over night..because it was so cold..way below zero. If we caught Ringo early in the night, he could be froze to death by morning. So we made arrangements to bait the trap at night, I finally used some venison sausage..we set it and would go back at 11o'clock to disarm it for the night.  When we went back Far Guy said "Why, I'll be ..we got him."  We loaded the live trap in the car and took him home trap and all..we carted the trap in the house and let him out. He was thin..I checked his paws and his ears..it was January 18, 2007. He had survived sixteen days out on his own. He had some sore paws..but they healed up nicely..he was hungry..very hungry. We only fed him a little at a time..but lots of feedings. He was only allowed outside on a leash, he and Chance became best friends.

This is the only photo that I can find..January 18, 2007 after we rescued him from the live trap.

Ringo settled in with us really nicely, he didn't like to ride in the car..so we worked on that. His kennel was under my desk..if the door was going to be opened he was put in the kennel. I hung a note on the door that said "DO NOT LET RINGO OUT"...everyone cooperated..Far Guy and I inadvertently let him out twice..both times my heart was in my throat..luckily I had taught him the sit command by then...he obeyed my command and he was scooped up with a huge sigh of relief. I was getting more attached to Ringo by the day, he cuddled with me on the couch..he was the lap dog that Chance was not. He laid at my feet when I was at the computer...he followed me everywhere. We tried to socialize him the best we could..he was skittish with other people..he was going to be a shy one person Sheltie. I talked with the Humane Society..he was after all technically still their dog..I was still just fostering. I thought maybe since I lost him once, they would want him back..but no they thought it was okay that I keep him until he was adopted. I thought that they might want to have him checked by a Vet after his 16 days in the wild..but they didn't.

Chance was like a big brother...they played tug games and ran around the house like chickens with their heads cut off..running circles..banking off of the couch.  I did what some people would call a big no no.  I felt so sorry for Ringo being on the leash all the time outdoors..I tethered him to Chance. Then I would take them both for a walk.  Chance outweighed Ringo by about 45 pounds..if I wanted them to stop I just hollered sit.  Trees were our biggest obstacle..one dog going one way around..and the other going a different way.  Chance loved his new job..Ringo loved a little freedom.  We also let him run around inside the Greenhouses..he was food driven..so a treat could be used to capture him.  He was afraid of loud noises, and all vehicles.  If a vehicle came down our driveway while I was walking him..he would refuse to go potty.   If a vehicle came into our yard..he freaked out. He didn't like men.. but he learned to love Far Guy.  Obviously this puppy had a bunch of issues.  I think he was about one year old.

I really didn't know what to do. Could I possibly manage another dog? Two dogs and a business that needed me sixteen hours a day from March to July. Then we got a phone call..our daughter was moving from Nebraska to Minnesota and needed a place to live for awhile, along with her husband, three daughters, two dogs and a cat. What was a quiet existence was in our past, we now had girls to get off to school, huge dinners to cook, and a zoo full of animals to care for. The girls loved Ringo..they helped me to keep an eye on him, no one opened the outside door with out standing there first hollering "Who has Ringo?"

I finally took some darling photographs of him  (they were lost in one of the computer crashes.)  I took the photos into the Humane Society and I made up some posters. He was adopted by one of our long time customers. We visited him during the summer..he still remembered Chance and the girls. It was very hard for me to give him up, I felt better that he was happy and loved in his new home, he was getting the attention that he needed to be a really good dog. I kept track of him. Then the months wore on..then a year..he was fine. I felt like a bad person calling to check up on him all the time. So I let it go.

Sometimes you can let go..but you still wonder. I wondered half the summer and I left a couple of messages..but my phone calls were never returned. Then in September2009  I ran into Ringo's Grandma..she saw me and immediately looked down after she smiled and gave me a hug..I knew he was gone. Somethings can be conveyed without words...she did confirm my worst thoughts..Emmy moved into a new house, Ringo was confused and ran into the road one day and was hit by a car. I was so sad. I am still sad. I wish I could have made the life of this little dog better for longer..if wishes were ..:)
“If wishes were fishes we'd all be throwing nets. If wishes were horses we'd all ride.” Doug Horton

Friday, January 29, 2010

Clear and Bright

I can see without glasses..it is a miracle!! I have worn glasses since I was about 9 years old. I got a bra, my first period and glasses all about the same time. Maybe that was too much information..

Yesterday when  young Doctor W pulled off all the tape and bandages and said..OK open your eye and blink a few times..I was nearly blinded by the light. I could see Far Guys face across the room..and I mean his ever so handsome face too.. I  did not have to go just by the shape of his head and the color of the clothing he was wearing. Things were crisp and clear..20/30 according to the Doctor..and healing well and my pressures are just fine. I have to go back in a week..Far Guy puts drops in my eyes four times a day.. a steroid and an antibiotic.

All the way home. I was like a kid in a candy shop..looking at all the colors..even from behind my huge sunglasses they look awesome. I can play the before and after game by closing different eyes..They removed the right lens from my glasses. But my eyes fight each other..they both want to be in charge.. The left says " Hey, you are supposed to be old and tired and filled up with a cataract..I am way better than you are, my cataracts are just troublesome not completely clouding over her eye, like you were" My new right eyes says "Hey, I am brand spanking new and I want to be in charge, ha!!  my cataracts are all gone..who is superior now?"  I had to take charge and lay down and close both of them for awhile..this is going to take some adjustment. Seeing without glasses is very hard work.

I can actually see myself in a mirror ..scary..without having my nose touch the mirror..very scary.

Now I have a deep seated problem..I feel like I am missing something when I don't wear my glasses..I can see pretty good..even with one bad eye. No, that is not the problem..I have deep indents in my nose from years of wearing glasses..and ridges that run from the corners of my eyes to my ears..all you people that wear glasses on a regular basis know all about these ridges. Please say you have them too..or maybe I am the only person in the entire free world with them??  Will they go away..or has fifty years of wearing glasses deformed my skull? I guess we will just have to wait and see. Then there is that scar, the one that hardly ever showed before..I had a mole removed right between my eyes years ago..it never showed before...oh goodness sakes you don't suppose I am going to have to wear make up. I have one more tiny problem..I need to have my eyebrows "done"..I have always done them myself..after all they were hidden by my glasses so they had no need to be beautifully shaped..but perhaps now they should have a little work done to them..I will have to find an expert plucker.  I suppose there is some special goop for your eyebrows too..rats.. I will have to go shopping :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cataracts Half Done

I survived the cataract Surgery!! It was a same day surgery and I was over in the hospital about three hours. Far Guy and my Parents accompanied me... Chance held down the fort at home.

The nurses were kind and sweet, they took all my info, had me dress in one of those glamorous gowns. They started an IV, she was really good at it..my hand is not sore at all. Everyone that came into the room marked my forehead. When Far Guy and my Dad came in to keep me company, they took one look at me and began to laugh. I had asked Far Guy before we left if he wanted to be in charge of my camera or leave it at home...he chose to leave it home..but at that moment when he was chuckling at me he said he wished he had the camera. When the Nurse came in to check on the progress of my extreme dilation.. Far Guy was freaked out and would not look at me..no matter what ploy I used to get him to look ..he wouldn't. (The nurse said I won the prize for the best dilated eye she had ever seen.) He did read to me, he knows how much I love being read too..so he read an article about Warren Buffett to me.. a fascinating man! Dr. B came in to say "Hi" and the Anesthetist came in to discuss my anesthesia..I asked him what he was using? He said "Propofal..the Michael Jackson drug." I asked him if he was going anyplace. He said "No, he would stay with me the entire time." I asked Far Guy if I should sign the consent form..he said "Yes" So I did.

The Anesthetist wheeled me off to the OR, where I met four Nurses..it was really cold in there. I knew one of the Nurses a long time ago..Mavis..it was her brother Jody that I had the snowmobile adventure on Bass Lake with back in the 1960's. Anyway the table is narrow but they have a special headrest for your head. They put a pillow under my knees, and strapped down my arms. Dr. B asked if everyone was all set.. I asked him how he felt and if he felt at all shaky..he put his hands up and said " I am calm and cool as a cucumber." Then I felt a burning in my arm..and a strange smell.. then there were beautiful lights..mainly pink ones..beautiful sparkly squiggles and very bright white lights.    The Nurses were talking..and the Doctor was talking about how he didn't like the lens..it kept folding back on itself..I asked if the Handsome Anesthetist was still there and he was.. ( He is my age, maybe a bit older and has a moustache and kind eyes. ) The nurses all laughed, and said "It is obvious that she couldn't see straight with that cataract." About that time I had some discomfort..a pressured poking feeling that I didn't like. I was about to say "I give" .. and then they removed all the drapes and put on a bunch of bandages. They had me sit up and I hopped over to a chair and they wheeled me back to recovery. Far Guy joined me there..and they brought me lunch..a diet soda, a banana and a turkey sandwich. The handsome anesthetist came by, I thanked him and said "Well I never went to sleep."  He said "Oh yes you did..for about four or five minutes."  You could have fooled me.. maybe that is why they call that drug "milk of amnesia." They monitored my vital signs, and Far Guy visited with the nurse who was a very attractive red head..anyone that knows Far Guy well..knows he has a thing for red heads...( I am a blonde/grey haired beauty) any way she was sure she had met him previously. He jokingly said " In jail or the newspaper?" It turns out she was from the Gulfport/Biloxi Mississippi area..now retired to Minnesota. They had a good time talking about that area of Mississippi as Far Guy spent a fair amount of time there during his Military Career. We all laughed at the coincidence. It turned out that they were in the same eating establishment one night back in the 1980's.
 ( You may say how is that possible that they both remember? The Governor of North Dakota was there that same evening.) After about an hour they let me go home..I got a ride to the vehicle in a wheel chair.


I got home and Chance was very happy to see me. I developed a humongous headache and headed for the ibuprofen and the couch. The pain worsened, it was like brain freeze only a hundred times worse..and moved around in my skull. I had something more to eat and an Oxycodone that belonged to Far Guy. I rested on the couch..until I was startled by some strange flashing lights...it was Far Guy playing Cameraman.


I will be really happy to have the bandages removed ( I have to wait until three o'clock..that is still over three hours away)..they are bugging the crap out of me.. every once in a while my eye itches.  I put my glasses back on right after the surgery..They kind of balance on the end of my nose and let me see something..enough to watch TV.  Most of the time I spend with both eyes closed..it is just easier that way..when one of your eyes has to work independently..it gets really tired.  In two weeks, my other eye will be done..one eye at a time hopefully my vision will improve:)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wistful Wednesday : An Old Snowplow

Last week I was able to sit down with my Father and go through some of the photos in the box that used to belong to his Father ( My Grandfather).   Very few of these photographs are marked.


This is an old snowplow..it just happens to belong to one of my Mothers Uncles.  Years ago when it snowed, snow removal was hard work.   Young strong men had to break the hard packed snow in front of the V of the snow plow.  Dad says that this photograph was probably taken sometime in 1938 to 1942.  He also said that he is sure his Uncles, Bill, Joe and Levi are in the photo as are his brothers Jalmer, Ervin and Oscar.   Now that I have them scanned and I can enlarge them on the computer, I will have him look again to make positive identifications.  I believe that I can identify only one person..and that would be my Uncle Ervin. That is only one out of the twelve people in this photo..so much is lost from one generation to the next. ..we have to keep moving on this project!


Look at how deep the snow is..that was lots of shoveling:)  

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cats


I like these kind of cats. This one happens to be Uncle Archies mouser. I took it last Summer before my vision started to become blurry.


I have Cataracts in both eyes. My right eye has become particularly fuzzy. I no longer drive at night, and if it is a sunny day I don't drive either. I drive on cloudy days only...Far Guy loves to be my chauffeur anyway. Christmas was pretty interesting the nighttime lights were awesome..when you have cataracts every little light at night takes on a starry appearance..and appears larger than normal, sometimes a half a dozen lights seem to appear...it is like your eyes have gone nuts with lights.  Shopping inside a store with overhead lights is almost painful, the light bounces around so much that I have to squint to see. It has been very frustrating for me not to see the television clearly...I have become a good listener..often times just "watching" TV whilst my eyes were closed. I know, I know, I should have been on top of this situation but I had to wait six weeks for an eye appointment, then I had to wait four weeks to see the specialist..then I have had to wait four weeks to be scheduled for the surgery, so from the time I said "I cannot take this anymore" ..three months have passed.  I am looking forward to tomorrow and the beginning of seeing properly again..hopefully. I have heard more positive reports about this Doctor than I have heard negatives..only one negative..it was a big bad negative in that the individual lost her eyesight totally in one eye. I guess that is why they only do one eye at a time.


Doncha just love this green foggy photo..I took it last June. My winter weary eyes search for green.

Am I scared..not really. I am a little freaked out that they are going to remove a part of me that I was born with and replace it all shiny and new.

I was curious what the risk factors were ..of course the first one is diabetes..nope. Family history..yup..both of my parents have had this same surgery, just so happens that this Doctor did their surgeries too.  Working in the sunshine, duh..the years in the greenhouse follow me everywhere. Smoking..yes I guess the free radicals that it creates helped to cause the cataracts, and just because I guit..it doesn't make a difference.   Age..now what can I do ABOUT THAT ONE? None of the other risk factors apply to me ..corticosteroids use..nope, previous eye injury or eye surgeries..nope. Exposure to ionizing radiation..I am not sure what that is..but I probably have not done it. I was first diagnosed with one cataract in 2004.  In 2008 I wrote about cataracts..in a blog post called OLE ( Old Lady Eyes).  

  This is about what I see..everything is blurry.  Good thing I don't drive anymore  ..eh??

The good news..half of you out there in blog land will be joining me by the time you are sixty-five. You probably don't consider that good news..oK OK..I will go first and l give you a full report. I understand that I should see better the day following the surgery.  In time I possibly won't need glasses..except for reading. I have never been able to see without glasses, I am blind as a bat.  They used to call my glasses coke bottles.  Plastic Lenses were such an improvement for me.  I sleep with my glasses on..I have done this for years..Glasses 24/7 ..so this could all be an adjustment for me. My surgery will take place sometime tomorrow..they haven't even called with a time yet.   I will catch you all on Thursday..Wistful Wednesday will go on as usual, thanks to the delayed posting options!  I am going to be just fine..:)  

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ice-cation 2010 Visitors

The quiet descends on the house once more.  All of Chances friends are gone.   He made fast friends with all of our house guests this past weekend.  He woke them up in the morning..his cold nose will do that to you.  He brought them his prized possession...a ball many, many times.  He was fed an abnormal amount of summer  sausage and cheese.  I don't have eyes in back of my head but I am sure that he was fed at least twice the amount that I witnessed.



My brother and sister in law invited two friends, Lou lives in Chicago they met him a long time ago when they were all in school in Tulsa, OK.  Lou is a bachelor..he cracked me up.. he said "The husband is the head of the household, but the wife controls the neck and can make the head go where ever she wants."  Lou is a marvelously sensitive gentleman, he was in the kitchen almost continually, doing dishes. preparing food, getting stuff for people..what a guy..he is the perfect house guest!   Warren is from Oregon..and a talker..he is also single..but I see his freedom slipping by the wayside..he is a huge Oregon Beavers Fan..my brother met him when my nephew Kirk was a kicker for the Beavers.   Neither of these gentlemen had ice fished before..it was one of those life experiences for both of them.  They are calling this long weekend Ice-cation 2010.  My sister in law and I were totally outnumbered in this testosterone city for the weekend.


One morning Lou got up before any of us..Chance showed him where his treat drawer was located.  Of course Lou gave him a treat.  My brother said "See it is possible for the dog to train new owners."  We borrowed Chance to Lou for the snow fort building at the neighborhood children's house...the dog came back home and slept for hours.


We talked and argued politics, played games( mainly Dominos) and ate.  They fished, went for snowmobile sled rides, built snow forts and watched the Vikings lose their bid for the Super Bowl ( I did get a nap..but woke up for overtime) , they also had a little fender bender when the ice became too slick and a tree got a little close to my parents vehicle but no one was hurt.  All in all I  think a good time was had by all..especially Chance:)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chances



Yesterday while everyone was off fishing..etc.. Chance and I went out to take some photos.  Our little Jack Pine which was just a troublesome seedling has grown almost before our eyes.  Not everyone has an appreciation for the little Jacks.


This morning Chance and I were out again..since yesterdays ice and snow our poor little Jack is a little bent over..his ability to spring back may have been severely compromised.

Today everyone is planning to watch football or play board games.. I heard something about Bananagrams, never played it..but it sounds interesting.  I will probably nap during the football game ..what are the chances that the Vikings will get to the super bowl anyway..about as many chances as my little Jack Pine has of complete recovery:)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Icy Weather

Last night it started to rain..then it started to sleet..then it rained again..sometimes a warm spell in Minnesota in January is not a good thing.


Chance and I ventured as far as the patio which possibly could be mistaken for a skating rink.

My brothers are having a good time fishing..but haven't caught any fish yet.. they did play catch and release with a minnow...

You are a minnow, you have been raised in a lake, caught and are at the Bait Shop. Fishermen come by and talk about you and all your friends, about how some minnows are more delicious looking to certain fish. You just happen to be a sucker minnow..perfect for Northern Pike bait. Your new owner buys a little harness for you..he wriggles it on your little scaly body..which you must have puffed all up..because he didn't get the harness tight enough..after a big sigh .. you escape into the icy depths of the lake...free, free at last. But you are still just fish food, fairly lucky fish food.

We had hoped to attend a Hockey Game this evening, two of the Grand girls are playing tonight. The icy roads will probably keep us home. Madison just called and all Hockey Games have been cancelled.


I am reminded of another adventure in the rain, in the winter, in the Ozarks, in the middle of the night. We were headed back to Minnesota from Mississippi. I was driving and it was raining. It was fairly hilly country, going up a hill I happened to glance at a brightly lit window..there was a naked lady with long flowing hair sitting in the window. I told Far Guy "You should have seen that naked lady" ..he missed it..he wanted me to turn around so he could get a good look..our girls were both sound asleep in the back seat. I was tired of driving anyway so I pulled over to the edge of the road to let him drive, if he wanted to go back and oggle over some naked lady he could do the turning around..as I stepped out of the car I slipped and nearly fell on my butt.. Black Ice. No we did not turn around, all thoughts of beautiful naked ladies in windows were forgotten as we proceeded cautiously and carefully up one hill and sliding down the other side while the car was just idling..sometimes going sideways. I never thought it could ever be slippery enough so that a car in neutral could slide downhill..we eventually got to a motel in Harrison, Arkansas. We call that "the night that we were saved by a naked lady." I can still picture her in the window..was she real or not..I don't know..I do know that I was driving the speed limit and was not aware that I was on black ice.
Stay safe out there this weekend:)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Inside A Dark House

Yesterday Far Guy, Chance and I tagged along with my brother, Jody ( the one that lives next door)  down to his dark house. He was opening up the hole..in preparation for our brother Carey's arrival from Oregon.  Carey and his wife arrived safely..he was here maybe five minutes before he was off to the fish house for some late afternoon fishing.

This is the Fish House on the lake. The sticks that are sticking out of the snow on the right are where a fish house sat previously..when the house was moved to a different spot..sticks were put up as a marker so that no one would walk into it.... plus there are some hunks of ice that should be avoided by snowmobilers.


This is Jody, cleaning out the hole with a little strainer..clearing out the small pieces of ice. The door flap was open for this photo.


A decoy..snug in it's home on the roof. Decoys come in all colors and shapes and should be good swimmers in the water...there is an art to running a decoy. I personally prefer some nice circular swimming movements and then resting with just a few little jerky movements..you never can tell what is going to lure a Northern into the hole. One of my favorite decoys was hot pink..


Here is a photo with a flash.. of the fishing hole..when I sat down..I sat in the chair on the left..you can see one of the chair legs. Far Guy was near the door, Chance was warming up his feet by the heater and my brother was running the decoy and manning the spear. Three people and a dog..cozy!!


Here is a photo without a flash.. you can see the decoy in the water..you can see the ice depth..it is thicker than it appears. I believe the ice to be about eighteen inches thick. The water is about nine feet deep here. This is the view that will make you a Dark House Spearing enthusiast or not. I do fine..some people are a bit freaked out by it all.


This is the spear at the ready..



My brother Jody fishing...we were hoping that something would come into the hole while I was sitting there with the camera..no luck.

I hope you enjoyed your glimpse into a Spearing House in Minnesota in the winter. Since I grew up Dark House spearing ..I think that there is no better way to fish. Somehow the danger and the view down into the water has mesmerised me since I was just a little girl.  I find it very relaxing.  I love listening to the lake "talk" ..it moans and groans within it's icy depths..and to me that is relaxing and entertaining.  Dark house fishing is all about patience..and that adrenalin rush when a big ole Northern comes through the hole:)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hoar Frost and Updates

We only had one day of hoar frost..I was hoping for a double day..it didn't happen ..or perhaps I did not get up early enough to capture it.

Far Guy kindly offered to drive, and Chance was the co pilot. We headed by a few of my favorite places.


I have photographed this barn in all seasons, I visited with the owner a few days ago..his wife has a bum shoulder too, however it is her left..between us we make one good woman. She is doing physical therapy too.


I had a very difficult physical therapy session last week that set me back. Mike tried to break up all the scar tissue in my shoulder through deep massage..it was very painful..and remained that way until today. I had another ultra sound treatment yesterday..the plan is to keep doing ultrasound and to continue with my exercises until my Orthopedic appointment in mid February..and then see if they want to give me another steroid injection. My shoulder is better, I have less bra emergencies, and I can put my coat on without shedding even one tear. ..so this is progress..I have not cut my hair all off, I am getting more proficient brushing it with my left arm!


I always stop at this bunch of barbed wire for a photo..


The farm where I was born and raised is in the background. I have many different views of the old farm. Someday, I think I might like to try to paint one of these views.

My brother and I in 1959, enjoying our own swimming pool on a warm summer day.
My brother, Carey and his beautiful wife who is a Cancer survivor will be arriving later today. They live in Oregon and are coming back to do a little Ice Fishing with a friend. They will all be staying with us. We had some really fun outings planned..but it sounds as though they may be bringing a winter storm with them ..so we will take things one day at a time. I think it has been just about two years since they have been back here for a visit. I am looking forward to arguing with him..just like old times..actually we get along quite well. I am the talker and he just nods his head and yawns:)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wistful Wednesday: 1969



This is Far Guy, his Mother wrote on this photo. It was indeed the day before we got married. Some couples may go out for romantic walks, we went to the fish/dark house together. As I recall it was fairly cold, well below zero. We just got the stove nicely started when I saw a huge Northern come in and tapped Far Guy on the knee..he waited..the spear sliced through the water..we had a monster Northern.. we guessed just about twenty pounds. ( I believe it officially weighed 19 pounds and 6 ounces) ..it was thrown outside to stay cool. (Ha!) A few minutes later another fish came in, this one was smaller, only about six pounds it joined it's larger relative outside on the ice. We continued to fish..I was a good decoy runner..we both kind of looked at each other and said "Suppose that big fish will cause some excitement, maybe we should high tail it out of here." It was common for other fisherman to make the rounds on the lake to see who was getting some action. It was also common for the Game Warden to come around if you had fish outside the fish house..and wouldn't you know it, neither of us had a fishing license. Just imagine the ruckus if we had been caught and thrown in jail!

We always enjoyed fishing in the winter. We usually had a dark house for spearing. For those of you who have never been in a dark house. A dark house is about 6x8 feet..it has a wooden floor with a square cut out that is about 2x3.. all the ice is removed from this hole...so that you can see down into the water. You sit in chairs or on wooden boxes and run the wooden decoy that is on fishing line that is held directly above the hole and attached to a stick. You move the decoy up and down to simulate swimming little fish to attract larger fish, which you spear!! The ice is fairly deep..some years when it is really cold it can appear to tunnel downward. There is always a little stove, either wood fired or propane to keep you toasty warm. The ice strainer hangs on a nail near the door and the spear is attached to a line that is tied to a hook in the wall. You can only spear Northern Pike..not Walleye Pike. Northerns are easily identified in the water..their snout is very distinctive and their coloring and body shape is different from Walleye. We used to take the girls with us spearing ..we tied ropes around their waists just in case they accidentally fell into the water. Spearing in a dark house takes patience..sometimes you sit there all day long and see only perch. We always took lunch with us..and coffee. The hardest part of having a dark house is keeping the hole open..you have to fish just about everyday in order to keep it from freezing solid again. Far Guy and I have been inside the dark house and fought over who was making it out the door first when muskrats came right up the hole into the house to visit. It isn't very funny at the time..but years later the thought is. Far Guy says "Those muskrats can scare the crap out of you." I agree especially if fishing is boring, and you start to relax and get sleepy. All of a sudden a very large dark wet creature wants your space. That one little door to the outside seems so small especially when two people try to exit at the same time. There is no "ladies first rule" who ever is closest to the door better bail out first or be flattened.

Dark house fishing in Minnesota is an adventure. A skill I learned as a child tagging along with my Father. Far Guy also learned the ropes from his Father and his Uncles. We still have lots of old decoys and the spear..and we even have a little propane fish house stove. Sometimes we talk about dark house fishing again..it is lots of work..dragging the house out onto the lake..fishing everyday. We both like to eat Northern that comes out of the cold water of winter..it has a flavor all it's own..summer fish taste nothing like winter fish:)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Frosty Visitors



Sunday late in the afternoon all of the neighborhood children (Great nieces and nephews)  showed up..in one huge sled.  Joshua, my oldest nephew,  has a large sled that he pulls behind the snowmobile.  I went for a ride too...the kids all wanted candy..they never forget that I have a whole Jar of Tootsie Pop Suckers in the kitchen just waiting for them.  We had a great ride down the lane and through the woods...the weather was wonderful!  When they dropped me off at home I got them each a sucker and I got hugs in return..an excellent trade!


This morning there was hoar frost covering everything..it adds some interest to a winters day..I am off to take more photos! :)


Monday, January 18, 2010

Chance: I Met Elvis!



Far Side broke the news gently " Your sister got a new best friend for Miney"  I am being replaced.. how is that possible?

Elvis meets and greets Chance!
I got the lecture..be nice..he is just a baby..he is just little.. "BE NICE" ..be a good boy...be polite.

He is not polite..what part of polite grabs your tail..how is this fair?  Someone ought to take him back to his mother. I lifted my lip a little..my sister noted that..she has an eagle eye.. my tail was still wagging. It was only a half snarl anyway..you would snarl too if you had been replaced.


Now he is following me..how did that happen..Miney help!



I guess we could be a threesome..but it won't be like in the olden days when it was just Miney and me.  It might work out. I hope he learns his name soon.. My sister has to holler "Puppy, Puppy, Puppy."   Ya, ya I know he is just little..:)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Buena Vista

Buena Vista..I believe that means a good view.  Oops I just looked it up..pleasant view.  This little group of hills in Northern Minnesota provided the backdrop for some great tubing for the Grandchildren.  Son In Law Andy was the big kid that supervised the children.

The weather yesterday was wonderful, sunny with beautiful skies.  Temperatures were nearly 40 degrees yesterday...a perfect winter day!!


The kids grabbed their tubes.


Sometimes they came down as groups.


Sometimes they came down by themselves.


Whenever they came down they smiled..thoughts of school, peer pressure and all electronic devices were put aside for an afternoon spent in the snow.



I had a blast watching them..and taking photographs..after all it is more fun to sled down a hill when someone is watching from the bottom:)