Friday, March 31, 2017

Spring Sky

There are many Trumpeter Swans gathering for a rest after their long flight North.

We were visiting at Shell Lake one night.

The hill overlooking Shell Lake 

This is a hill from my childhood, possibly before I was afraid of heights or maybe the reason why I am afraid of heights.   The road used to be narrow and gravel.   The sand on the hill soft and slidey… you could slide down on your butt and then run along the road and duck back in at the edge of the woods and go back up to the house again and slide back down until you were tired or an adult hollered that you better stay away from the road.  Your socks and shoes would be all full of sand, if the sand was damp, your butt would be all wet and dirty.

No more sliding down hills for me.

Swans over Shell lake

It was a great spot to watch the Trumpeter Swans fly over the lake. 

Trumpeter Swans at sunset

The sunset was calm and soothing after a fairly busy day.

I recall seeing many sunsets from this place on the lake.  It brought back many memories.

Fresh baked flat bread with butter and jelly, card games played at the kitchen table, knitting projects to oh and aww over as my Aunt was a marvelous knitter.  The marble topped coffee and end tables that were in the living room, the old tire swing that hung from a large limb in the yard.  Walking the ridges with my Uncle, hunting and learning how to mark your trail in the woods so you would never get lost.

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Warm weather!

The weather is delightful for March!  It has been near 50 F or 10 C eh!


Wintery mess

March 20 the bird feeding/solar light area.  What a mess. The black is mostly from that snirt storm.

This week we spiffed up part of the yard, cleaning up after the birds and their empty sunflower seed hulls.  I checked all of my solar lights and added a few.  Now there are twelve and three are still faulty, maybe they need a cleaning.

After: Nine days later


I saved that red white and blue whirly gig, last summer it blew off the holder and someone might have been me, mowed the holder to smitherines.

Last winter the wind from North Dakota and Montana took out my cheery yellow sunflower twirly whirly gig…I found it back in the woods one day and put it back up…Far Guy said “That sunflower looks pathetic.”   It did…it was not as cheery as it once was.  It kept falling off the holder when it was windy. Sadly I gathered it together to take to the garbage and then had an idea.

The old holder was still in the ground and the flower head part… well I might be able to use it with some modifications…I ripped off the silky petals…decided to make it work with my red white and blue twirly whirly gig…cause I hate to throw anything out!


I glued some beads on the flower head part so it would be kinda matchy matchy.

This time I glued the round flower head part right on the holder…we will see if it holds.

We lugged out the patio table and two chairs…Far Guy likes to woodcarve outside. I just like to sit out there and feel the sun on my head and watch for birds.

It may snow again, in fact I would bet on it…I carried my pretty red snow shovel away from the front door.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Watery Wednesday: April 6 1997

The old emails continue from 1997.

Subject: Flood Stage One and Blizzard

Hello everyone, we are high and dry for the moment, yesterday we sand bagged around the house.  Water is coming from the north and west across the highways.  Our lake is rising, last evening the rain turned to ice and then snow and there is a blizzard warning.  My Mom and Dad are here with us as are Trica, Richard and Savannah, they were here to sandbag and are now stranded.  Mom and Dad will really have to hunt for a road to get back to Minnesota, as most of the roads are closed due to water.   All bridges east of here are covered with water.

It is not a pretty situation except that now we have all this wonderful white snow to cover all the dirt and mud.

Sandbagging went well: we had people from the North Dakota Air Guard, Our Redeemer in Moorhead, and a NDSU Fraternity.  We did well except it was cold and wet work.

Mom and Trica were the chief cooks.

If you all have maps of ND the water is coming over Hwy #17 West of us, Hwy I-29 East of us and the Sheyenne River North of us is due to crest this week, and the Red River by the weekend.  Water is coming from all directions even from the skies.  We still have electricity, a lot of people don’t so we are warm and can communicate with the world. 

Gene had a pretty bad day yesterday. He was alot excited and is pacing today and watching the water.  We need to close up the driveway with sand bags yet, and set up our pumps to take care of seepage.  You all take care.  Gene and Connie

Harwood April 1997 Front sandbags

Sand bag view from the garage.  Harvey and Joyce’s house is yellow.

Harwood 1997 two front of house April

Sand bags and snow

Harwood April 1997 Number four

One of the panels was removed from the dog fence on the North side of the house so sand bags could be laid.  Water from the rain gutters had to be diverted…we used that grey pipe to get it away from the house and over the sand bags.

Harwood 1997 April Number three

Here is our cul de sac.

Harwood April 1997 five

Back of the house, the hoses to the left are from pumps.


Thoughts and recalls:

I was at work on Saturday afternoon ( I worked at a Greenhouse in West Fargo), it had been raining.  Back at home the neighbors Stephen and Mae said that the water was coming over Highway #17  and we should sand bag.   Far Guy called me at work and said “sand bagging has begun.”  I left work and headed for home.   Far Guy had sand delivered and dumped in the driveway.  Bags were filled and plastic was laid on the frozen ground, sand bags were placed on the plastic and then the plastic was pulled over the outside of the bags…and a few anchor bags laid on top of that plastic.  

Harvey and Joyce were gone for the day and said “What the heck happened while we were gone?” 

Many people said that was the day when hell froze over. 

My Dad made us a sturdy double sand bag holder, made from tamarac lumber from Grandpa Drewes collection of “stuff”.  Two shovelers shoveled into the top of the holder while two other people held bags, when the bags were full they were handed off to be tied securely and then loaded into the wheelbarrow or lawn tractor wagon or handed down a line if you had enough people. Sand bags were put in place one by one.  A staggered pattern works the best…kinda like laying bricks.  Every bag weighed 30 to 40 pounds depending on who was filling the bags!

There was no Red Cross handing out sandwiches or cups of coffee, the homeowners did the best they could to feed people and keep them warm…dry gloves were a luxury…as was dry clean clothing.

I know our good friends Susan and Mike and Lynne and Jim came out to help…Susan was muddy from head to toe…and cold …but still smiling.

We helped out in other cul de sacs in the neighborhood, there were many people who just drove around and looked for people sandbagging and they would stop and help.

Strangers helping strangers.


Far Guy recalls: Trica and I were putting sand bags in place, it was dark and it was a blizzard.  Trica asked me “Dad is this the end of the world?”

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Hanging on

I picked up some sticks in the yard.  Someone wanted to burn them right away in the firepit.  I said just cover them up for another day.  A piece of steel is our cover, it keeps the rain and or snow melt out of the pit.

Hydrangea blooms survived the winter

This old hydrangea bloom held on all winter. 


Eunoymous ‘Chicago Fire’ otherwise known as a Burning Bush held a few berries over the winter.

We have two trees that are just hanging on. They are Oaks that grew funny with weak branches way off the ground, that are now almost on the ground.  One day we will deal with them.  It was a tough winter on many of the trees. I miss my electric chain saw….I cut wood as far as my cord would go…when I talked about loading up the generator in the wagon behind the three wheeler to attack trees farther away…my chain saw mysteriously disappeared.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Carving A Crocus

During the winter many afternoons we sit at the dining room table get out our knives and carve.

Far Guy likes to carve flowers.  He likes the design process and the challenge.

He wanted to carve a Crocus.  He talked about it for a year.  He had no pattern so he designed his own.  What is the worst that can happen?   You end up with firestarter.

Carving a Crocus

In front are petals and two leaves.   A crocus usually has six petals.  The one in back is a special crocus as it has seven petals…we even have one with five!  He scoured the Net and looked at colors of crocus.  He decided that he likes the ones tipped in dark purple the best.



Finished crocus

The rare five petaled crocus.


Crocus in progress.

It was a fun project.  He did all the carving.  I did the final touch up sanding, he painted them with gesso and then turned them over to me for the final painting…as I painted them I started out light and they got darker and darker as he urged me on….darker please!  The stamens are toothpicks rolled in glue and then sawdust and finally painted.  Each petal and leaf attachment are reinforced with pins….toothpicks with glue on them.

It may have been winter outside, but inside we had blooms and a few finished projects to gift to friends!

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Flashback to 1957

Far Guy and I had a discussion this week about the neighborhood.  We wondered exactly when the old Linnell School was demolished. We think it must have dissappeared in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s.  You could see it from the farm where I grew up …it should show up in photos.  I couldn’t remember any photos.

Then I was looking at an old photo of my baby brother…who will soon be older than me even though he was born second.

con carey about 1957

The school is above my baby brothers head.  We are standing out by the old lightpole and near the cloths line, the pasture is in the background and the school is beyond the pasture. 

con carey about 1957

I think this photo was probably taken in 1957…that is how many years ago…sixty if my math is correct.

Today is the day 63 years ago that I became a big sister.  I think I should get an award or something.

Happy Birthday to my baby brother!

Carey born in 1954 photo  when he was a year old

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Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Mud Season

The rain made mud.  Mud should have it’s own season.  The only time we have mud is in the Spring…I hope it is a short season.

The front driveway is a mess.  Brown brown everything is brown.

muddy drive March 24

Chance and I walked on the back road…no mud there.

the back road

That is a resting bench in the middle of the road, if someone wants to drive this way they have to get out and move the bench.

See that dark area off to the left?  Three guesses what it is???

old pickup box

I used to plant tall flowers in the old Dodge…Marigolds and Cleome…maybe I should throw some wild flowers seeds inside.  I have some seed around here someplace…hopefully I didn’t put them away so good that I won’t be able to find them.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Not Spring

The calendar may say it is spring but the cold wind that entered this area the past few days will chill you to the bone.

The Bald Eagles are back in great numbers, they know the eating is good from deer that were road killed over the winter.  They can pick a carcass clean in just a day or two.

four eagles in flight

These three older eagles and one younger one I caught flying away.

Yesterday late in the afternoon we had thunder, lightening and small hail/large sleet.  It was in round balls bigger than a bb.


It made the ground white again.  I watched it fall and bounce around.  Went outside to take a few photos before lightening scared me back in …besides that someone had to protect the dog.  (he thought I was nuts to go outside)

It has not been a real productive week for projects.  I am working on Mikey’s blanket. A few more evenings and it should be done.   I am in the process of shredding a bunch of old papers from 2009.  I have been tired this week.  Far Guy too. 

I will blame tiredness on my inability to recall the numbers of our street address one day.  I finally gave up thinking about what it was and guessing numbers and looked on a piece of mail.

Far Guy’s infusion went slower than normal this week. Then he had an “oh crap” moment…he removed the needle before finishing with the saline flushes and heparin…so we had to put in a new needle to finish things up…thank goodness for extra supplies!  He said maybe we are ready for “the home.”

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Grands: Savannah and Maddie

We had lunch with Savannah and Maddie yesterday…funny thing too…we all looked at the menu and ordered the same thing with varying degrees of carmelized onions.  Patty melts all around.   It was mid afternoon so it was a late lunch/ early supper for us.

Savannah bought a “new to her car” a Chevy Malibu.   She saved up for a long time to buy a car outright.  She has three jobs so reliable transportation is a must for her.

Vannahs new car

She likes red cars too, her last one was red also.

Chance was with us and he was so excited to see his girls.

Chance getting a scratch


Maddie has about nine weeks to go before our Great Grandson who I will call Mikey is born.  Today she is 31 weeks into the pregnancy.  She feels pretty good but hates getting stretch marks. 

Maddie march 22

We had a good visit. 

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Watery Wednesday : March 19 1997

Today I begin a series of blog posts about our experiences throughout the 500 Year Flood of 1997. 

I dug out some old photos, I am not sure who took them, our neighbors Harvey and Joyce, my parents and maybe even me.

A bit of history first.

We bought a home in May of 1996 in Lake Shure Estates near Harwood North Dakota.  Lake Shure is smack dab in between the Red River and the Sheyenne River.  It was way too large of a home for us, but it had an out of town but close to town feeling that we both liked.  I was going to school at NDSU studying Horticulture and Far Guy was working for the North Dakota Air National Guard.  Ten minutes and I could be a the College and the same for Far Guy.  We had three Shetland Sheepdogs Moses, Captain, and G’Day Mate.  Our fourth Sheltie Miss Misty had died before we moved. The house was perfect for dogs, it had a fenced area for them with a doggie door in the garage, we added a doggie door that went from the house into the garage.
harwood home
The house was a rambler, with a double garage.  Three bedrooms upstairs, 2 baths, kitchen, dining, formal living room and a family room.  Downstairs was a furnace room, a huge walk in cedar closet, a bedroom, a laundry room, a huge rec/family room and closets from floor to ceiling along one wall.
During the winter of 1996-1997 the area received 119 inches of snow.  We had snowstorms every week. We had Flood Insurance as it was required because we lived in the flood plain.  In February there started to be talk of a flood.  We went to meetings that spelled it out.  We conferred with our next door neighbor Harvey.   Far Guy was certain it was going to flood, I said it might be a slow melt.
back of house at harwood
Harvey and Joyce lived in the yellow house.  The whole development was built on a series of cul de sacs…we were at the farthest point in the cul de sac closest to the lake.  I am standing near the garden shed when I took this photo.  There is a bird feeder in our yard sticking out of the snow. On the right side of the photo you can see that the snow has gone over the dog’s enclosure…

I began emailing a few people…Ardith (she saved the emails for me and gave them to me before she died….she said it is history you might want someday.) I also emailed our daughter Jennifer, my brother Carey, Far Guy’s sister Jan and her husband Ron, Katie at Big Piney High School to relay messages to my other baby brother Jody, our friends Dave and Debbie, Lorri and  Kelly,  Doug and Arlene, Cathie, Laura, Hans and Jeannie.

March 19 1997 I wrote the first email to Ardith.

How is everyone doing?  We think of you often.

We are now at 106 plus inches of snow, flooding is supposed to be record breaking.  Gene bought a pump that will move 8,000 gallon an hour, he is working on getting sand bags, sand, several other pumps in case we lose elec.  I think we should make a snow dike and cover it with white plastic and then sand bag from there.  Snow is the most abundant resource available…we have a lot to melt, they are predicting April 15 as approximate flood time, we will move almost everything out of the basement soon.  I have two exams next week and after that I can concentrate on flood prep.

We had Savannah again last week, she is starting to creep a little, soon she will be moving faster than us.  The kids are still waiting on the ins co to make decisions (their home was destroyed by a fire .)

Jennifer seems happier and will be moving into a new apartment soon.  I guess she plans to stay in Bemidji, her new apt is along with a job for the County checking on three developmentally disabled people morning and night. So I hope it works out for her.
Take care of each other.  CJH
snow out the patio door Feb 1997
Snow was over the top of our deck that winter.  That is our garden shed that is down near the lake.  The trees were Russian Olives and were about twenty feet from the lake.

One Sunday afternoon we decided that we didn’t want our new lawn mower to be flooded…certainly it would get wet in the garden shed.  So we took a couple of boards and one by one we put them under the wheels of the mower and got it moved across the snow inch by inch…the neighbors Stephen and Mae said we were great entertainment that day as they watched from inside their home.

Take note of the garden shed as it will be important in posts to follow on the next Watery Wednesday.
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Chance: Announcing the winner!

Yesterday it warmed up to almost 50 F and the snow at the snow stick melted away!

March 20 afternoon

I posed patiently after supper…and the winner is Pippa!

March 20  PM    Pippa  was the winning guess.  Please click on Far Sides profile to find a email address and then send us an email with your address so she and I can send your package off in the mail.

We will leave the snowstick in place and if we get more than four inches of snow we will begin the contest again with the same guesses.

Pippa will receive a one of a kind wood carving and some notecards.

Carving and cards

March 20

We still have some snow in the yard but it is melting fast!

Happy Spring!! 


Monday, March 20, 2017

Where is spring?

Spring is suppose to arrive today at 5:28 AM.  It isn’t as if you can turn a switch and winter will be gone and spring will be here.  If there was such a switch I would have turned it months ago.

Yesterday we walked the back road, it still has snow and ice, my boots got wet, time to give up the snow boots and get out the waterproof ones.  We wandered throughout the yard for the first time this winter. There are many many twigs in the yard that will provide good exercise…and just a few steps.

March 19

The snow and ice is still at the snowstick.   We should have a winner this week….maybe.

March 20  PM        Pippa
March 21  5:20 PM   Red
March 22  PM        Sonja
March 23 PM         Alvina
March 26  PM        LD
March 28 PM         Rita

I am hopeful that spring is on it’s way.  In Minnesota you can never tell…it might be March or it might be June.

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

The St Urho’s Parade

I made a date with Far Guy and Chance to go watch the parade in Menahga.

St Urho days

It was a partly cloudy day with a bit of a north wind.  It was cool but not freezing.

Escorting the grasshoppers out of town

This gal has sisu which means bravery or hardiness.  She is escorting the grasshoppers out of town.

Sled dogs

There were sled dogs…pulling four wheeled carts instead of sleds.

men in underwear

Men in underwear…perhaps my favorite part of the parade.


Grasshoppers lives matter and a wall

signs some said “Grasshoppers lives matter.”  “I’m going to build a wall and make the grasshoppers pay for it.”

I liked this one the best!

No Finn left behind



There were lots of kids!  They were throwing candy and beads.   The T Shirts say Sisu perhe or bravery/hardiness family.

Royalty was there.


The St Urho’s Royalty along with Miss Minnesota.

Miss Minnesota

It was a nice parade.  We all enjoyed it.  Chance did not bark at the dogs but he did bark at the horses.


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