Monday, August 31, 2009

Up North

We are Up North...someone was in a pickle with daycare. At ten and almost eight they are too little to stay by themselves. BUT they don't require much care either. Basically they just need a warm body..and Far Guy and I qualify.

We watched football practice this morning, and then we watched them mow the football field. These are things we never see back in the sticks where we live. I trimmed the roses out front and pulled some weeds. Noah and I went for a walk..I walked he rollerbladed. "Grandma did you rollerblade when you were a kid?" Nope..sorry they weren't invented yet.. "Bummer." Noah told me this morning that he thinks he might be a Veterinarian when he grows up..cause animals always seem to like him. I told him that is because he is always so kind and gentle to animals.

Adam is in the "Why" stage..we did some reading out loud..he doesn't try to make up words like his Mother did..but he struggles with sounding them out. Todays hard words were decorate and decision. He will begin second grade next week. I believe I was still reading "See Dick, see Jane, see Spot run." when I was his age. He doesn't seem to enjoy reading..he is the first of our grands that is not a reader. He will probably be a famous writer someday.

I was really bored, so I went into the pantry and rearranged all the canned goods so they are all right side up and facing the right direction in neat rows. I have never had a can of Cream of Potato or Cream of Broccoli Soup in my pantry ..ever. I wonder what they use them in..and Spinach..I didn't think anyone ever bought canned Spinach. :)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

An Old Church

There was an old church in our local town, it was built in 1887. It was a Baptist Church, what I recall about those Baptists is that they sang great songs and they went down to the lake every spring and baptized their members in the lake.. yup..totally immersed them in the water.. sprinkling a little water wasn't good had to be dunked. Being Lutheran, I always thought that our music was fairly dull and we could take a lesson or two from the Baptists. Anyway..the old church was made it past the 100 year celebration..I think it got a new coat of paint that year. Then there were rumors of building a new church. The old church ended up at The Lake Itasca Pioneer Farmers Grounds.

I was anxious to see it, it has been resided and perhaps even re looks great. The steeple seemed taller and more massive than I remember. It may not see a congregation every Sunday, but it is preserved as a reminder of days past.

I couldn't help but think about my father in law. You see the church had a small entry a long time ago, lots of churches up here in Minnesota had them, it helped to keep out the cold wind in the winter, but it was also a perfect area to fill with pumpkins at Halloween. Yes sir, he was part of the very wild bunch that stole pumpkins and carted them over to the church filling up the entryway. I believe they also filled the outhouse with kids..raising havoc in town:)

Saturday, August 29, 2009


You know..those things you aren't supposed to talk about..

Did you wear a garter belt to hold up your nylon stockings? I did, you can imagine my embarrassment when I was all dolled up and at a dance..and the long blond hair on my legs were poking through my nylons. My blond hairs sparkled in the sunlight..they sparkled so much..I was sure that everyone that wasn't blinded by the sparkling was laughing. For goodness sakes I could have curled that hair on my legs. The next day..I took my Dads razor and shaved my legs. My Mother said "Well, from now on you are stuck shaving your legs." Yup..shaving is better than curling, and way better than sparkling shining hairs poking through my nylons.

Are my seams straight? Those were words spoken often when you were in the company of other women. My Mothers sisters were so particular about their seams. Goodness sakes..their seams must be straight at all times.. crooked seams were not allowed. And runs..oh once they had to stop them with nail polish..preferably CLEAR nail polish. Colored nail polish was a last resort. The nail polish always had to be applied while you were wearing the nylons. You could pick the excess polish off of your leg later. Runs in your nylons were a big embarrassment, and if that wasn't bad enough, everyone would point it out to you "Hey, did you know you have a run?"

Those garter belts were a pain..sometimes you lost a garter and sometimes one would come unhooked, sometimes they pinched you when you sat down. Hooking up the back ones sometimes required some acrobatic movements. I never mourned the demise of the garter belt. Panyhose, what a great invention..but still an unmentionable. I kept all my unmentionables in my top dresser drawer about you?:)

All photos taken inside the old General Store called The Wallingford Grocery 1937 at the Lake Itasca Pioneers Farmers Show.

Friday, August 28, 2009

August Wildflowers

I have been out taking photographs of Wildflowers, here is what is blooming lately..

Hedge bindweed or Convolvulus sepium, at first glace you think my what a beautiful bloom, then you may notice that it's foliage is hopelessly wound around something. This one was climbing up a compost pile.

Jewelweed or Impatiens capensis, this plant is also called the Spotted Touch Me Not. The ripe seedpods can explode when touched throwing seeds in all directions. We gave this plant a little haircut..and harvested some of the stalks for relatives that have Poison Ivy. The sap inside the stalk soothes the itching and helps to promote healing.

Hedge Nettle or Stachys palustris which is also called Common Woundwart, it is said to have been used to heal wounds.

Prairie Onion or Allium stellatum a true onion that is native to Minnesota. Tip your head to the side to view this one..blogger is being a pain in the neck again.

Butter-And-Eggs or Linaria vulgaris. This plant is a pain in the butt, I find it very invasive. It grows very happily in my wildflower gardens. The huge Sphinx moth the one that looks like a hummingbird really likes this plant. It may be the only redeeming quality of this plant.

The Asters are just coming into bloom..a sure sign that Fall will be here soon..maybe it is already. We have pretty much had a non summer. Now if that means we will have a non winter..I am all for that! :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Shell Lake

A long time ago when I was a kid, on hot summer evenings our Mother would give into our pleas for a swim. Sometimes we would go to Shell the bend in the road where there are less weeds or the small resort or over to Bob and Ruby's on the west side. Our Mother couldn't swim, so we were always told "Don't be going in over your head." There was no air conditioning back then, nights when there was no breeze made for a long miserable night.

We had a few warm days here..and several evenings we found our way to Shell the bend in the road. Chance was the only swimmer, I certainly did enjoy splashing water at Chance and wading knee deep in the water. We were the only ones times change..fifty years ago there would have been many kids swimming there. Sometimes there were so many that our Mother wouldn't stop, because she might lose one of us amongst all the we would go back home and have to be content with playing water games with the water hose...not nearly as much fun as swimming.

There are quite a few places for sale over there, some of them need a lot of work.. I asked Far Guy if he would like to live there.."Nope" he has no need for a lake..he doesn't fish, swim or even wade in the water..and looking at water doesn't relax him a bit. I like to wade in the water, and I like to just sit on the edge of a dock and put my feet in the water and look out over the lake..I find it very relaxing.

Great Blue Heron, the heavy vegetative patch out in the water is Wild Rice.

Shell Lake is much the same as it was fifty years ago..there are a few more reeds.. Wild Rice still grows there. There was more garbage on the shores of the lake, there were no boats out on the fishermen in sight. One evening there were a number of "fisherman" in the waterway down under the road with bows and arrows..shooting fish..seemed pretty strange to me:)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wistful Wednesday : 1952

Me in 1952!
The Babee Tenda, a tip proof high chair play table on wheels. My Mother used it to corral me, I could play safely off of the drafty floor inside or outside out of the dirt and grass. It was an ingenious invention. I used it lots of times on my baby brother Jody, the straps that were used to buckle him in were all worn I used a dish towel and tied him in..poor kid..trapped by his older sister! :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday Thoughts

Yesterday on the shores of Lake Beltaine, I watched a casket being lowered into the ground. I had never seen that before, sure you know it must eventually end up being lowered into the vault..but they actually did it during the graveside service. WHOA! The sight of that casket disappearing is pretty final. I did however think that having a cemetary on prime lakeshore property was pretty cool, even though the occupants were past viewing the view. Our friend died of a untreatable brain tumor at the age of 59. He knew back in June that his days were numbered, and there was a gathering one day in July on a Sunday.....he was there and very full of life..last week I heard that he was scared of death, and then he slipped into a coma.

The Funeral was painfully long, but there was a great Funeral Lunch. Again, we non Catholics were left in the dust because there was no printed order of service. Is this a normal occurance? Don't they want anyone else to participate in their service? Why won't they share??

The priest asked that everyone spit out their gum. Well far be it from me to be a rebel..and I would have complied if he had a note written in Hebrew from God. High Mass or whatever you call the long communion service without a stick of gum in your mouth was a little too much to ask. Besides that IF I was to have gotten rid of the gum..where exactly was I supposed to put it? I do not carry a hand bag..sure I had an emergency Kleenex down in my bra..was I supposed to put it there..or was I supposed to sneak it out of my mouth and attach it under the pew..or just tack it to the kneeling rail? Goodness sakes..he didn't think that I should swallow it.. that wasn't going to happen. After the service Far Guy said "Did you get rid of your gum?" he was sitting in the front pew because he was a Pallbearer..I was sitting in the last pew..the deemed spot for Pallbearers wives. I replied "Heck no, did you think I would?" Far Guy just shook his head.

This morning we breakfasted with an old friend, one that we met up with at yesterdays funeral. Life is a circle, and Tom is still circling. He exhausted me, Far Guy kept up with him in his own medicated way. I take no medications..therefore I started to weep. I wept for his children, who will never know what a marvelous gifted funny man their father was before Alcoholism and Manic Depression claimed him. He has a degree in Theology, he was a Pastor a long time ago. He says now he argues with God, as long as there is some communication with God..that is a good thing. He is homeless, but everywhere is his home, he has no regular job, he paints..he finds solace in the lines he makes on the walls with his painting tools. He writes, deep stuff, heart wrenching, soul searching, painfully truthful stuff..he has two manuscripts someplace..he said he doesn't care where they are or if they are ever published, he said "Perhaps I will be famous someday after my death." Out in the parking lot he read to us from a well worn blue notebook..thoughts of the way things might have been. He might be famous someday ..I hugged him goodbye, and my tears still flowed. They fell like raindrops, heavy and wet..I must still have one lousy hormone acting up today.

I have to remember that God weaves the tapestry, and just because I don't like the colors that he is weaving right will still be a beautiful tapestry, I am just viewing it from my tiny little perspective..and God sees the entire thing.

Leaving the restaurant I encountered an old friend, she was forever changed the day that her son was killed in a tragic car accident. It is like that day was the day that she stopped living..since then she just exists. I think she is still mad at God.

I also encountered my parents as they were leaving the restaurant and they told me of the birth of my newest Great Niece early this morning.. Brooke Hazel.. a perfect little girl..a gift straight from God.

Life is a circle, some die and some are born, some laugh and some cry..we don't know how many days we will be blessed we better make the most of the ones that we have:)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bunker Hill

Saturday was the changing of the flags at Bunker Hill. Five and a half years ago, Bunker Hill was just a farm yard, on the edge of the prairie. Now it is a destination.. a place to stop and reflect and remember. Howard was in Vietnam, he built Bunker Hill because he could never forget, it was his way of saying "thank you" to those that served beside him, a way of remembering those who came home changed forever, and those whom would never return. All Veterans who served their country are honored on a hillside in the boonies of Minnesota in August. Friends and Neighbors come together to show support for one man with a dream who couldn't forget..who reminds us that we shouldn't forget either.

The flags are changed out, one by one. New ones unfurling in the gentle begin their 364 day watch. The flags are lit at night, and you are welcome to just sit a spell and quietly remember anytime what ever the weather.

This is where I found the grenade..hopefully a dud:)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Thousand Words: Boom!

Betcha can't guess where I found this? Don't be a party pooper, go ahead and guess:)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Thousand Words: Imagination

Someone had a marvelous imagination..I took this photo yesterday at the Lake Itasca Region Pioneers Farmers Show. Far Guy and I were both very impressed with this show, we walked til we were exhausted..and we will go back tomorrow to make sure we didn't miss anything. Far Guy was so impressed with this group, he says we will join them in their efforts to preserve farming and farm life like it used to be. I took lots of photos and got tons of blog fodder. It was a really fun afternoon:)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Curiosity: Akhal-Teke

I have always been a curious person. Someone said "Curiosity killed the cat." It may have, but that doesn't stop my curiosity. If I weren't a curious sort..I would never learn anything new..I was one of those "Why" kids, and I never grew out of it. From time to time I will visit something or someone that I am curious about, and it will end up here on my blog.

I met this fancy-smancy horse about a year did Chance..he barked at her. She didn't look or seem real special. What was all the excitement about? Just another expensive hay burner. Then I found out more about her. She was causing quite a stir, people were coming from foreign countries to do some DNA testing. As it turns out she is an Akhal-Teke, a breed of horse originally from Turkmenistan and she is one of only 3,500 in the world, rumor has it that there are only 400 in the United States. Her name is strange and foreign it starts with an "M" ...she has a longer name too but I am lucky to remember "M."
Akhal-Tekes have a natural metallic bloom to their coats. Some shine or shimmer more than others. She could become a race horse or an endurance horse, her path is still unclear
"M" is very spoiled, her special feed is measured and weighed, she is feed at the same time twice a day. She has an owner, a trainer, and a stable hand. She has a pasture mate..Sandy..she is a real sweetheart. She is just around to keep "M" company, to keep an investment "happy."

They were both very curious about my camera, and me, and they were not a bit shy:)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chance : A Great Ride

I get to blog again! First of all, Far Guy is feeling pretty good, he is off of all the extra pain medications and only on Advil. He still has to lay down occasionally ..because Far Side says so. If Far Side says to lay down..we just look for a comfy spot. Yesterday the phone rang, and Far Guy got a take a Fire Truck for a quick computer checkup..about 30 miles away. Far Side said " Oh no you don't..not with out me." That is great ..if they are both going..I might get to go too! Why is Far Side going? Because we are a team..and she can drive that truck IF she has to.

Far Side says I must be a big boy and be very brave and ride in the back seat... because I am too big of a lug to ride in her lap the entire way. Riding in between them on top of the radio console is not a option. Far Side says if I get lonely in the back, she will come sit with me ..WOW you can really see from up here. This truck is really, really gives you a great view. I love to watch for horses and cows in the fields.

The view from inside the truck, they should really wash their windows on the outside.

All of a sudden Far Guy jams on the brakes..OH MY..he has forgotten his coffee cup on the running is still there! He says this is one smooth riding truck.. two miles from the Fire Hall on a gravel road and his favorite red coffee cup is still along for the ride.

Later Far Side said "Look at that!! Can I get a photo?" Far Guy says "Sure, you want lights? A siren? " He stops right in the middle of the highway so she can get a photograph. Nothing was coming from either direction..

An Amish Field

I barked at this guy and his horse. The guy had a great red beard and a beige hat..but Far Side missed that part.

Far Side had to wash the back windows when we got back to the Fire Hall, she said I drool too much..and had put too many nose prints on the windows.. we saw lots of Turkeys, a few Bald Eagles, and some Deer along with the usual horses and cows. We didn't do any lights or sirens..maybe next time:)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wistful Wednesday: Cousins

I have many cousins, these are three of my cousins who just happen to be sisters. I love the look that Diana is giving Petie, cause Petie (that is short for Beatrice) is holding a kitty. Bernice seems oblivious to the interaction happening between her sisters. Petie only has eyes for the kitten.
This photo was probably taken in 1949 or 1950. My Mother may have taken this photo. Those are some serious curls on those girls! :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Never Again

Yesterday we got up early.. the trip North was filled with birds. First Canadian Geese, then a Bald Eagle that raced with the car, it was very impressive to see him or her all stretched out just thirty feet from the car. Then we saw a huge flock of Red Winged Blackbirds..are they grouping already? Then another Bald Eagle..this one feasting on the body of a tiny spotted fawn on the edge of the road. The big meany, but I guess a big mean car or truck already did the killing part..he was just getting an easy breakfast. Then something unidentifiable..maybe a young Eagle or maybe it was a young vulture. There was no time to stop for photographs.. we had a mission. One that neither of us had been looking forward to.

Can you believe that Far Guy was trying to get a wisdom tooth at his age? One of those way late, who woulda thunk it after all these years things. Years ago he had two of his wisdom teeth removed..he got painful dry sockets. So he said "Never again" ..well he shouldn't have said that. Never sometimes sneaks up on you. Never again was yesterday. This stupid wisdom tooth was coming in sideways pushing against another tooth, it was part way through the skin..and part way covered and stuck. A real troublemaker. It had to go.

What might be routine for someone else..becomes a big deal for someone with Trigeminal Neuralgia. The Neurologist said " Anything can happen, your pain could get better, or worse, or stay the same. Call me if you think we need to change medication dosages again." Fat lot of help he was. Anyway we got an Oral Surgeon.. a famous Hockey playing one at that..and the tooth is history. A little Nitrous Oxide and Far Guy was feeling no pain during the procedure. It was a rough day, especially for me, all I could do was dole out pain pills and Advil. I just hate it when there is nothing I can do except push pills. I got so stressed out, I had to nap. Today is better than yesterday..but the TN pain is worse. The famous hockey player turned Oral Surgeon said " Quite a big hunk of sinus bone came along with that tooth, but I don't think I tore a hole in your sinus cavity. " I asked Far Guy, "How do we know if that happened or not?" He replied "I guess if you blow your nose and air comes out the spot where your tooth have a problem." I think perhaps I should take his temperature for a day or two. It hurts Far Guy to talk he just listens and I talk..I could actually just do his part of the conversation also, but then it wouldn't be called a conversation would it? Yesterday he talked to practically everyone in the free world, he hurt too much to talk to me or the dog after all his phone calls. He is a trooper, eating soft foods and taking his medications. We are still just doing one day at a time.

If you are curious William (Bill) Baker was the Oral Surgeon, he scored the goal in the 1980 Olympic game with Sweden that tied the game. That goal gave the American team the momentum to be carried forward..some books say "Like a Rocket" So now you know what happened to one of the Miracle on Ice Hockey Players, never again will there be such a game or such a team and Far Guy says he is never having another wisdom tooth removed ever again. He only has one left..:)

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Thousand Words: Retirement

Retirement is one great big giant coffee break. ~Author Unknown
This is Chances outside water dish..he shares with the birds:)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Curiosity: Zinnia Corner

On a stretch of road, just North and West of Glyndon, Minnesota on a corner someone has planted a bunch of Zinnias. The planting stretches North and West and makes a perfect backwards "L" on the corner. I have passed by these Zinnias for many Augusts now, always wishing I had a camera when they were in full bloom. Last week I had the camera, the photographs aren't perfect..there was some kind of road construction happening. I would have loved to have wandered closer to this magnificent planting to capture the Zinnias up close and personal but I could not safely get too I settled for photos from a far away approach.

Now I wish I knew the why? Why does this farmer plant Zinnias? Is there some tragic romantic story or does he/she just like Zinnias? Maybe they read my blog, or maybe someone that reads knows the story. Maybe next time I will just have to stop by the farmhouse and say "Thanks, I have been enjoying your Zinnias for many years. Could you share their story with me? "

How many of you are curious? I have always been a curious person, never afraid to ask a question. Never afraid to learn something new. I just have to take the time to stop and ask the question. :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pow Wow : Final Thoughts

A few final thoughts and photos that I wanted to share ..

One thing that really impressed me, the honor that they show to their Veterans. After the Grand Entry they held a flag ceremony. The Flags that had been flying all day, were flags from Funerals, they were taken down by Veterans..Native and Non Native.. Far Guy helped. The flags were folded and then presented back to the family was a very touching ceremony, I watched and took no photos.

The Flag carriers were all Veterans, I am used to a very uncluttered military uniform. A pony tail would have never been seen, or bells on shiny boots.

The Dancers, although I enjoyed the Jingle Dresses, there were some very young and energetic Fancy Shawl dancers. Fancy Shawl dancers can whirl and twirl wildly til they are dizzy!

There were two women whose Traditional Regalia..(the correct word for their clothing) impressed me. They carry a fringed shawl over one arm and have a awl and knife case on their belt. The Eagle Feather or Eagle Feather Fan that they carry..somehow is held to honor the drums and the beat of the drums.

Just before we left, I was smelling smoke, it was the Spiritual leader doing another ceremony..a healing ceremony..for a gal with cancer and a gal that was seriously injured in a car accident. He shooed the smoke around them with an eagle feather, and mumbled words.. then they took the place of honor in front of the announcers booth while family and friends danced for them. Later Far Guy shared with me what the strange tobacco was..a mixture of tobacco, sweet grass and bear intestines. Why Bear? Someone said pleases the spirits. Earlier in the evening there was a small bird flitting around, it had a problem flying, finally the announcer said " Everyone please leave that bird alone, it might be a spirit bird. " :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pow Wow : The Jingle Dress

A Jingle dress is made from cloth, velvet or leather and adorned with Jingles. Jingles are traditionally made from the lids of snuff cans. The lids are bent and molded into triangular bell shapes. An adult dress can have 400 to 700 Jingles.

The Dance: The steps are very controlled and low to the ground, there is no high kicking or twirling. The dancer may make a zig zag trail to represent the journey of life. The sound of the Jingles jingling is considered a happy sound, a healing sound.

The Ojibwe Legend: A Medicine Mans granddaughter was very ill. During a dream a spirit wearing a Jingle Dress came to him and told him to make a dress for his granddaughter and to have her dance. She had to be carried during the first circle, the second circle she needed a little help, the third circle she walked by herself and the fourth circle she danced.

I attended my first Pow Wow when I was just a little girl, I was intrigued by the colors of the costumes and the Birch Bark Tepee that stood on the shores of Shell Lake. That was in the late 1950's. My second Pow Wow was in Canada, while we were on vacation..we were the only non natives there so we did not stay long. My Father- In- Law said "Let's stay together and walk back to the car quickly..there are no other white people here." This time I thoroughly enjoyed the Pow Wow. The public was invited and welcomed. :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pow Wow : The Grand Entry

We recently attended a Pow Wow, before taking any photographs we asked permission. Photographs are permitted, except during the Pipe Ceremony. A friend of ours is the Spiritual Leader of this Tribe. He smokes the pipe to begin the Pow Wow. He said the pipe had regular tobacco in it.. and maybe it did. It smelled pretty good to me. Anyway he puffs on the pipe and presents it first to the East saying something. I am close to him..within 15 feet and I still cannot hear what he says. He puffs and faces south then west and north. Then he puffs alot and holds the pipe to the sky and then puffs some more and presents it to the ground. Then as quietly as it started the ceremony is over. Tobacco is taken in a shell shaped dish to all the people that are going to be in the grand entry. The Grand Entry begins.

The Eagle Staffs and Flags

The Royalty came next, the elderly lady in the scooter is the "Forever Princess." I was a tad concerned about her, at one point she buzzed her scooter up next to me..she was smoking a cigarette AND she was on oxygen.

The Dancers..first the men..

Then the older women and women with small children. They encircle the entire group..dancing on the outer edges of the dancing circle.

When the Staffs and Flags have made a full circle, younger dancers join in.

A Pow Wow is a Native American gathering to dance, sing and visit. The Pow Wow grounds is made up of circles, the first circle in the middle is the circular shelter that shields the drum and the drummers from rain and the sun. Then there is the dancing circle, then the spectator circle, a covered area where you can sit. The circle beyond this is a walkway that is circled with tents and trailers, you can purchase bead work, jewelry, T shirts, fry bread, french fries, shaved ice, hamburgers, hot dogs..and yes even cheese curds!

Cheese curds are hunks of cheese covered in a batter that are deep fried..all melty and yummy!

This shopping/eating circle is surrounded by a parking circle, that is in turn surrounded by a camping circle with tents and RVs and campfires. Many people camp out at the Pow Wow grounds the entire weekend. Far Guy and I live about 8 miles away from the Reservation so we went for part of the afternoon..then we went back again in the evening for the Grand Entry. I had a blast taking photographs! :)