Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Oaks

Burr or Bur( if you prefer) Oaks surround our home in the woods.  They are the last to get their leaves in the spring.  They are in bud forever. Their real name is Quercus macrocarpa.  They are in the white oak family.

They provide heavy shade all summer.  Shade that is ten degrees cooler than the temperatures in town.

Have you ever wondered about the sex life of a Burr Oak?  Well just incase you have, I can tell ya all about it. The Oaks are monoecious, which means they bear both male and female “flowers” on the same tree.

Burr Oak Catkins

It is that time of year for the dangly earrings..or catkins. This is the male part of the tree or the staminate flowering part.  He is long and bumpy and has many dangles..covered in greenish yellow pollen.

Bur Oak Acorns to be

This is the female part, tiny little pistillate flowers.. little specks..If the pollen from the male parts fall or gets blown onto the little tiny brown specks of female parts..we will have fertilization and acorns!  The brown specks are located at 12 o’clock and 5 o’clock in the photo.  The acorns remain on the upper portion of the leaves to grow, the male catkins dry up and fall off.

There ya are!  Everything you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask about the formation of the little nuts called acorns. Some years there are lots of acorns, some years not so many. I believe that the trees do that naturally, the years of plenty are their way of making sure that all the acorns will not be eaten by deer or squirrels..or whatever else eats them.  I have eaten them, they are bitter.

The bear has not been back, he was more than likely just passing through.  Thank goodness:) 

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Decoration Day

Before we called it Memorial Day..it was Decoration Day. It was always May 30th and it began in the South with women decorating the graves of those soldiers that died during the civil war.

Avenue of Flags  Single flag

It should always be the day that we pause to think about all the soldiers that died during their service to our country:)

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Growing Like Weeds

The “grands” are growing like weeds. I always like to take pictures of them all lined up…tallest to shortest.

Grands 2004

This was in 2004, the year that Far Guy and I made them all walking sticks with their names on them. I think Miss Paige has her shoes on the wrong feet. Oh well, Adam has no shoes on at all.

Grands 2007

This was in 2007, they had a good time fooling around.

IMG_3140 This year was no different. The girls are awfully close to the same height..I bet by next year Adam passes up the girls, and is standing next to his brother.  


Finally.. they are ages 9, 12, 13, 14 (almost 15) and 12.

Yesterday they toured the museum, and helped with some projects.  They all loved the ghost story..and believe that the place is haunted. Miss Paige did not want to go down to the bathrooms in the “scary basement” all by herself. 

The boys are out of school for the year, the girls still have a few days to go, Savannah won’t be finished until June 13..and then she and Maddie start Hockey Camp for the rest of the summer.

We are blessed with beautiful and handsome grands, we are very proud of them all:)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A strange deep voice

Thursday afternoon the grands arrived, all five of them at the same time!   Chance was so excited!

We have a new tween, someone turned twelve.  Someone who used to be a little boy and whose voice I could recognize in a crowd, whose laugh I could hear from a long ways off..has changed.  There was this new deep voice, and a different laugh..and my grandma ears were confused.  Who is this new person and what have they done to my grandson?

I didn’t notice it when I talked to him on the phone..when we discussed his cake.. “How about an ice cream cake when you come over on Thursday Noah?”  He replied in his little boy voice, “Sure Grandma that would be fine, but I don’t like the frosting.”  I said “Neither do I, we will scrape that part off and just eat the ice cream” He said “good deal” ..there was no hint of a deep voice..I was clueless. He looks the same, well he might be a bit taller and a tad skinnier than the last time I saw him.  The little boy is gradually disappearing.

Noah's is twelve

A young man, with a deep voice has taken his place.  I will just have to face the fact that he is growing up:)

Friday, May 27, 2011


Do you wear bloomers?

Bloomers Wadena Historical Society

Thank you Amelia:)

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spring Snow

There is a beautiful flowering crabapple called Malus X ‘Spring Snow’.  I was sure that I would have to go to the NDSU Campus to see one again. It is a Zone 4 plant.  On Monday when I stepped out of the vehicle at the Library I knew it was her. I could smell her immediately.

Spring Snow at the Library May 23

The fragrance was heavy in the air..it was intoxicating.  I told Far Guy..I will get some photos and be in shortly..I was so happy to see this old friend that I used to enjoy every spring on the campus.  Over in the Red River Valley they are a Zone 4 and can grow her.  In this area the microclimate must be just right to grow her, apparently the area near the library is warm enough for her to thrive.

Spring Snow Crabapple

She is fruitless.  Yup a sterile Crabapple which makes her perfect for boulevards and yards where you don’t want the messy little apples all over the sidewalk or in the yard attracting bees.

When she loses her flower petals it will look like it is snowing. Now that is my kind of snowstorm:)

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wistful Wednesday: 1957

Back in 1957 I was six years old, and my baby brother was three.

There had been tough years on the farm in Minnesota, drought and grasshoppers..they were lean years.

To this day I hate macaroni with homemade canned chunks of tomatoes on top.  I like mashed potatoes with sauerkraut on them..I ate sugar sandwiches..you know a lot of butter and a bit of white sugar.  I would make a sugar sandwich for me and I would make my baby brother a ketchup sandwich( that was his favorite.)  I have since given up sugar sandwiches..but I still like just a slice of buttered bread.  I think my brother still likes ketchup..but he probably eats more with his ketchup than just bread.

My Dad went to North Dakota to work for the summer. He worked for a construction company in the Ray and Tioga, North Dakota area.  My Mother took us out there for the summer, we lived in a basement apartment and then in a trailer house.

I remember seeing snakes, big long ones called bull snakes sunning themselves on the roads. I was terrified.  I saw a Rattlesnake and was even more terrified.

Badlands of North Dakota 1957

This is my baby brother and me.  Facing the sun and squinting, it looks like it was windy that day too.  This photo was taken by our Mother in the Badlands of North Dakota.  I thought that the area was named the Badlands because they had so many snakes, OR because I loved westerns on TV..it was a great place for the bad guys on horseback to hide from the good guys:)

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

behind the scenes at the museum

I am getting more organized..I can find the paper clips now.  I still have some file cabinets to go through.  I finally have my very own scotch tape dispenser and a stapler that works ( One that does not jam every other staple).

The alarm system works..how do I know?  I set the alarm off. I had my hands full and hurried to set my crap down and turn on the light and the freaking alarm started to sound.  I quickly entered my codes and then the phone rang..sure enough it was the alarm company checking on me. That was exciting.

1978..that was 33 years ago.  Some of the enclosed display cabinets were window dressed back then..they have keys but no one knows where they are..I have not found them yet. They must be pretty much air tight displays because they are not real dusty..but they need re arranging and new display cards need to be made.

This week is filled with school tours and we have a board meeting and then another meeting followed with a program.  I wrote my report and wrote about my concerns. I guess I am supposed to address the membership.

IMG_2925 The Museum

I survived the newspaper interview last week.  It ended up being a paragraph in the paper..and one of the names was spelled wrong even though I gave them a printed copy.(Frustration)

I moved the rattlesnake skin…it kinda bothers me..but it is flat..so I can be in the same room without screaming.  I hated dusting around it..it sits on top of a glass display case.  I gently moved him or her with one pointy finger all wrapped up in a paper towel to the back of the case and moved the turtle shells up front.  He/she can stay at the back of the case and be dusty for years now as far as I am concerned. ( I am not sure why we need a rattlesnake skin and rattles..it is part of a natural science display in the old schoolroom. Rattlesnakes are only found in South Eastern Minnesota…nowhere near North Central Minnesota. )

Far Guy came in as a volunteer one day last week, he helped me to stuff and fold and mail the newsletter.  He also hung up some Service Uniforms for me. We have lots of Service Uniforms…and hats and caps.

Everyday is different, I am never bored.  Sometimes I start a project and it doesn’t get finished for days..because I am a slave to the phone and questions…and I have many interruptions throughout the day. 

Our weather has not been real warm.  I turn the electric heat on in my office for part of the day.  Yes, I still get cold.  There used to be heat in the building years ago when it was a courthouse.  Most people comment about how cold it is. I am getting used to it, and I go dressed for cold weather. No one told me that the building was unheated..they forgot to tell me that little tidbit. 

I am still waiting for the volunteers to start beating down the doors..I would settle for just one little old lady with a smile to greet people and answer the phones..so far that old lady is me:)   

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Monday, May 23, 2011


Last night we had a visitor.

He (or she) dumped bird feeders all over and the bum took one with them.

The bum stomped all over my daylilies under the bird feeders.


He could not reach this feeder..the other feeders ended up empty on the ground.  Far Guy will fix the damaged ones..he did not touch the thistle seed that was in the mesh feeder.


These are the tracks that we found.

Three Tracks May 23

We have never had a bear at the bird feeders before.  We will have to take the feeders in at night..we will leave one feeder out tonight and set out the trail camera..and see what we capture.

Chance gave the bird feeders a wide berth this morning.  He finally smelled the ground all over..we walked the yard looking for the missing feeder and found these tracks out back where my greenhouse used to be.

We have not heard of any bear activity on this side of the lake..perhaps he was just passing through:) 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles passed through this week.  I was hoping that they would stay and raise some babies. IMG_2990

Apparently we were just a convenient  place to eat on their way further north.


If you look closely you can see the grape jelly on this guys beak.  Oh they love that jelly.

My Dad made me an Oriole/Hummingbird feeder. He gave it to me on Mother’s Day.  Just in time to feed the Orioles.

Oriole feeder

It has spots for two oranges and two small containers, one we filled with sugar water and the other with Grape Jelly.


It is a very nice feeder..we will see if the Hummer’s find it..so far we have seen them but they have not seen the feeder. Far Guy had to rescue one that was trapped inside his Greenhouse/Workshop.  He still calls it a greenhouse..he planted some Tomato seed and some Walla Walla Onion seed.

The grass in the yard is greening up nicely.  Far Guy mowed some of the yard.  He planted a whole bag of grass seed again this year, and he strewed wildflower seeds the other day.  Then it rained:)

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Spring Time Planting

It is spring planting time, almost every morning this week on my way into town I saw a hearse headed out of town.  You see Minnesota has all kinds of “cold storage.” Sooner or later spring comes and the dead that were over wintered must be planted.  Yup, if you croak in Minnesota your family may have to have two services..one after you croak and another at the graveside when you are planted. Or if your relatives are too busy to show up, the Funeral Home Guy will just plant you without the customary relatives. 

Now just imagine if you are the Funeral Home Guy and most all of your weeks work is Raptured..you could have taken the entire week off.

IMG_2327 Pussytoes  and Creeping Charlie at the local cemetery.

Far Guy told me all about May 21st and the Rapture..I asked him if I should call in sick and wait with him at home or just meet up with him beyond yonder.  I guess I will be home by the appointed time 6PM..time zone by time zone the Rapture will move across the world…I wonder if Daylight Saving Time was taken into consideration? Maybe I should be ready at 5PM just in case. How long do you suppose I should wait around before panicking..:) 

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Poor Farms

When I was just a little girl, my Maternal Grandmother used to say “Better watch out or you will have to go to the Poor Farm.”

Poor Farms were very common in the late 1800’s.  There was no Social Security or 401K’s for retirement or health insurance.  Everyone did the best they could and took care of their family and extended family if needed.

I had not thought about “Poor Farms “ in years.  Then I noticed an old photograph in the museum.


Poorhouses were usually large and located on a farm.  Everyone was expected to work on the farm while they were there.  You might go there because of an illness, or the death of the wage earner in the family. You might be there a short time, just to get back on your feet again. If you were elderly, you might live out the rest of your days there. As far as I know, no one was turned away. We have a whole file full of Poor Farm information.  If you are searching for a relative and cannot find him or her and they seem to have disappeared you may want to check the County Poor Farm records. 

Minnesota was a struggling territory in 1849, and had adopted all of the laws of Wisconsin, their neighbor to the east.  When Minnesota became a State on May 11, 1858 they started to make their own laws.  In Minnesota in 1864 a Poor Law went into effect which required County Commissioners to  maintain poorhouses or make other provisions for the poor. Previous to 1864 townships were supposed to take care of their own poor, but that system did not work so well. Hence the Poor Law.    Poorhouses existed in some areas of Minnesota until the 1950’s totally financed by the County in which they were located.  

Another thought..when we used to play the card game “31”..you were allowed one free turn on “the county.”

Now both you and I know more about poorhouses than we ever thought we would know.  Tell me if you have ever heard of the term “Poorhouse or Poor Farm” before.

Work is going just fine,  I learn something new everyday:) 

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chance: RIP Hooch

It is me,  the handsome Border Collie.
“Damn Ticks..Damn Ticks.” That could have been the title of this blog post..but it isn’t.
Rest Time Hooch and me in 2008
Good friends that are dogs only come along a few times in your life. 
IMG_0741 Hooch died on Tuesday night from complications due to Anaplasmosis. Anaplasmosis is a disease that the ticks carry.   He got really sick, really fast.  We were just playing ball on Sunday afternoon. We are all sad.

Here are the links to a few of our adventures.
Chance : A Secret  April 06, 2009
Dog Sitting  March 21, 2010

RIP my friend Hooch:)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wistful Wednesday : 1950

Who is this chubby faced baby with the big smile?

Gene 4 mo #4

This was taken on the west side of the house, just about 61 years ago.  He was all ready to go for a ride in the baby buggy all propped up with a pillow and he even has his bib on. 

Far Guy was a very handsome baby:)

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Forsythia Finally

After more than ten years my Forsythia finally had a few blooms, you could count them on one hand..but they were blooms none the less.


Now you must promise not to laugh..Okay..


Instead of being covered in blooms..there are only a few. But they are my favorite flower color..yellow..and they look all cheerful and sunshiny and yes sparse.  I guess my threats from last year must have worked.  I said I was ready to rip this plant up by the roots and be done with it. This year I got about four blooms..who knows what next year will bring.

Here is what it should look like.

Forsythia in town In my dreams:)

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Blooming Buttercups

The Buttercups are blooming right on schedule.  They must bloom when the hours of daylight are just right.


The water in this shallow area is always a little rusty looking.


This is a little creek that seems to comes out of nowhere.  I am sure it originates at Zauche’s/Chilton lake and flows east.

There is finally some green to feast your eyes on.  Jo next door has even mowed her lawn.  She is an over achiever.

Far Guy needed some help organizing his workshop/greenhouse yesterday. He really needs to build another workbench in his garage..I have encouraged him to do so.  I sucked all the leaves out of my garage with the leaf sucker upper.  Far Guy moved most of the patio furniture outside. Someone (not me) moved the snow shovel away from the front door. Spring must finally be here..the seventh month of winter must be over..maybe:)

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Old Relic

Today I feel like an old relic..tired.   I slept about twelve hours after I nearly frozen to death yesterday, so after supper and a nice warm bath..you can guess what happened when I laid down to watch a little TV..I was sawing Zzzzz’s in no time at all.

I do have an electric heater and yesterday whilst I was writing the May newsletter I sat within 18 inches of the heater..my crocs were very supple..being so warm and all. My  office has such high ceilings that all the heat rises..it was about 50 degrees in there yesterday.

Here is the link to the Hubbard County Historical Museum’s Blog.  It is still a work in progress, I will post there only once or maybe twice a week.  Hopefully it will be picked up by the local newspaper and they will feature the link on the front page of the online paper. (I sent them a request.) I think it will be a great way to stay connected and advertise on a different level.  Non Profits have to explore every avenue available to them.

Several of the Board Members do not have computers, I would like to be able to keep them all up to date by emails..but that is not a possibility.


This is the display that takes the place of the curators desk in the foyer. ( I was told that the usual museum desk was intimidating for some people.) The museum light is on when the museum is open, there is a guest book and a bell to ring for assistance and a box for donations. I am supposed to change the display in the glass case..to something Civil War themed. Nothing has come to mind..yet.   

This week, the First Grade School Tours start, and I am scheduled to visit the Museum over in the next county on Wednesday (I hope they have central heat.)  One of the Board Members is taking my place at the museum for most of the day.

It was a fairly productive week…I am pleased with what I accomplished. Far Guy and Chance came by one day and helped me resurrect the old relic of a vacuum cleaner and took my carpet sweeper outside to clean it out.  The carpet sweeper will come in handy when there are lots of people in the building..less noisy than the vacuum cleaner. I need one volunteer to just dust two hours a week..I don’t mind dusting but I always seem to get interrupted. Rumor has it that a Ladies Study Group is going to make us their service project for the next two years..I can hardly wait:)

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Pretty And The Not So Pretty

There is one in every crowd ..a real looker.. a stand out.

One in every crowd

One day it was the Goldfinches among the Pine Siskins. 


The buds on the Burr Oaks are starting to swell. I am sure they are stuck in suspended animation for a little while..it has turned cold again..and dreary..and rainy. Down right freaking cheerful weather.

Did I say cold, and I work in a tomb..socks with crocs and snow boots just incase and a heavy sweater and a hooded jacket.  I must be getting used to being cold..I can type without gloves on. Yesterday I worked on several projects..I got their brand new blog up and running.. and wrote procedures for opening and closing the building everyday. Two years ago people donated “stuff” to the Museum.  Paper work should have been filled out and the items catalogued  and thank you notes should have been sent. I am cleaning up after someone  else. It would be wonderful if I could find the old acquisition files..they must be in the building someplace..but where?  I have not found them yet..other people have been searching for them for the past two years. I hope someday I find them.

I have a special computer dedicated to Museum Software. A program called Past Perfect.   Someone started to inventory items and then they just stopped..but where did they leave off?  Where did they start..and where did they end…it is a mystery.  I peeked into the program and discovered that there is room to have photographs to document everything..so I may delete everything and start over again taking photographs as I go.  They did not take photos because they could not afford a camera at the time..so they must have just started blindly inventorying items. I will have to have Board approval to delete everything and start from scratch..right now I see no other option. It is not pretty. 

Some people must be breathing good air.

I will have to decide next week if several exhibits will be off limits. I have two rooms that are packed with interesting exhibits, one is business machines and old cameras and the other is medical equipment..but they were used as work spaces..and need to be cleaned up and cleared out. I have one room that is uninhabitable..it has an original jail cell in it..and much junk piled all around.  Then I have the basement beyond the basement or the dungeon..where there is only a walkway..it is not pretty at all:(

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Friday, May 13, 2011


I have decided that I am homesick at work, and feeling a little bit blue. I miss Far Guy and Chance, even though they come and visit me every couple of days.  The first time they came to visit Chance tracked me from the parking lot to the door. Yes, Chance can come in to visit..I am not putting a no pets allowed sign on the door.  Every morning when I leave Chance puts his ears down and looks sad…really sad.   Far Guy and I have worked together since 1998 when he retired..sure we had different greenhouses and different projects..I had flowers and he had veggies..but we worked closely together and got along just fine.  So I miss spending time with them throughout the day. So far they have not gotten into any trouble without me.

“Things” are going fine at work, I am always busy organizing, sorting or cleaning out something. The days go by so fast, and I am tired when I get home. Next week the school tours start, I would be nervous but they are only First Graders..how badly can I mess up?  If I do will they notice? 

I thought I would enjoy the job more than I do, perhaps when I know everything there is to know about the museum and it’s policies and procedures I will feel better..so far they don’t have much written down ..so I am writing the procedures and policies for them.  Many times I ask a question and no one knows the answer. I am finding the answers for them or making them up as I go.  I am trying to remember to take little bites..that was Far Guys advice. I do not want to reinvent the wheel..I want to get it moving in the right direction and stay on track.   

The quilt for 2011

I stopped by my Aunts the other night after work, my cousins were quilting the quilt that will be given away at the Family Picnic in August.  This years theme was patriotic. They were doing a wonderful job and had plenty of help so I came home.

We had some visitors in the yard.

Peek a boo Bluebird

Playing peek a boo and trying out a bunch of different houses.

Bluebird and the nesting box

I hope the Bluebirds pick this one, it is close to the house and I can watch them from the patio. They occupied this nesting box two years ago..last year they picked a box near the wildflower gardens..we will just have to wait and see where they decided to build!  They are a good two weeks later than normal. They should be all settled in by now.

It is turning cold again here..we had two nice days..that’s it? As far as I am concerned we are having a non spring :(

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