Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wistful Wednesday: Easter 1956

Easter in 1956,  Far Guy is holding the eggs really gently..his sister has a new coat and hat..and looky at that wonderful little handbag.   Far Guy would have been six, his sister was almost eleven.  It looks like there was snow that year for Easter...usually we have snow for makes the egg hunt pretty easy.

This year we will bask in the brownness that our early spring has brought.  Warming our wintery bodies in the warmth of the sun, opening the windows at night and hearing the birds singing in the morning.  Hiding eggs that will show up in the dead grass.  I am not complaining, if it is a really cold stormy wintery have to hide the eggs inside the house.  One year when Jacob and Rachael ( Nephew and Niece) were little the eggs were hidden inside the greenhouse..a toasty warm place for an egg hunt.

I remember the eggs that we used to color on Saturday, that adorned our baskets the next morning..and would be found in a big soup bowl on the center of the table by the end of the day.  I never cared for hard boiled eggs..especially the ones that were cracked and the dye would seep into the egg mirroring the crack that was found on the outside.  The smell of vinegar would linger in the kitchen..and the memory of trying to hold your egg under the goop the longest for the wonderful dark colors, trying to achieve a perfectly colored egg.  Attempting a two toned color at one end..another at the other..never being able to achieve it..because you only got to practice once a year:)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chance : Happy Trails

Hey!  It is I, the wonder blogging Border Collie.  I have several trails throughout the yard.  Ball trails.  I like to play ball!  It is one of my jobs.
 I follow one of my trails, going way out and around.
Hiding..ready to leap out and capture my ball.

I flunked "The Test" the other day.  I passed for quite a long time..but then I failed miserably. 

Far Side and Far Guy were going to the neighbors for a birthday party. ( A Great- Nephew and ball player was five! )  They took off walking.  They told me to "Stay" so I did, I even stayed when more relatives walked by..I stayed for about an hour.   Then I couldn't stand it anymore..there were kids playing outside..I was so lonely.  I went through the woods..just to peek. No highways were crossed..only a two track road.   I tracked them..yup I am a tracker..a fearless tracker, I figured out where they went and I followed them there.
I got there just in time to see the attack on Sponge Bob Square Pants..Far Guy said "Well here comes my dog."  Now what kind of welcome is that for a fearless tracker?  I just came to show them the way home ..just in case they forgot the way.
 Big boys having the last whack at Sponge Bob, candy was everywhere..and it was time for me to go home:)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ice and No Robins Yet

There is still ice on the lakes.  However if our warm weather continues it will be an early ice out.   This is Lake Bemidji, I took this photo last week.   Ice being shoved ashore is a normal thing.  Sometimes it comes ashore in huge sheets, taking docks with it.   Most people on Minnesota lakes remove their docks for the winter.  It is a true rite of spring the weekend people put their docks back out.  It is something to look forward to after a long winter.

I have not seen a Robin in our yard yet..not for lack of trying.  I have raked a little, and Far Guy even started the lawn mower and mowed down some of my wildflowers. In the summer the lawn mower brings them in to search for worms.   I looked especially hard yesterday as she who sees Robin's first was gone for a few days.  The rules for this First Robin Quest are this: You must see it on our property or theirs and since they is fair.  I am sure that "She who sees Robins first" will see them way before me..she probably already has seen them, has a photo and is just waiting for me to mention my sighting...but my sighting is just not happening yet. Last year it was April 11..she saw them an hour earlier than me.   
 Chance at Lake Bemidji
I did hear from Judy that she had Robins in her yard on March 20, she lives 40 miles south of us.  I got an email saying Auntie Esther saw one on March 24 just 14 miles east of us.  I stood at the window a long time this morning..nothing.. I have been known to be weeks behind in my sightings. 

The other day, we had the opportunity to watch the Hawks hunting in the fields.  The field mice must be out foraging.  We also had the rare opportunity to see a Golden Eagle feeding on a deer carcass.  He was massive, I did not get a photo..he flew away to quickly.  We see Bald Eagles all the time..but a Golden Eagle now there is a real treasure.

It is almost that magical time of year in Minnesota if you live on a lake.  The ice as it melts is held in crystalline form, tiny icicles in the water that float on the surface.  If it is a quiet evening and there is a bit of a breeze it sounds like thousands of tiny wind chimes as their irregular shapes touch each other. Very much like an "Ice Dance."  It only happens for a few evenings just before the ice goes out.  The ice will serenade you..if you stop to listen:)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Whats Blooming?

The Pussy Willows...the joy of finding these was kinda over shadowed by the dead as a doornail drowned beaver.

These little green berries are on the forest floor among the Oaks.  I have no idea what they are. I have searched all my references..I will have to tag one with a piece of fabric and wait and see what happens next and what kind of leaves it gets...I hope it isn't the Poison Ivy.  I may have known what they were once upon a time, I just cannot recall at the moment, then again maybe I never knew.  It is okay to say that you cannot remember or that you don't know..there are no stupid questions.

We have been in the woods, getting some of the dead trees hauled out and branches cut up for firewood. The brush has not yet begun to bud.  There is no Poison Ivy in sight the in the woods adventures can continue.  This is one of the first years in a long time that we could be in the woods without two feet of snow this time of year.  I heard a rumor that we could get to seventy degrees this week...practically bikini weather.  Not that I even have a bikini to wear..or that I would consider wearing one.. but just in case I wanted too, it will be warm enough.
I went and did it and got a new blog template..what do you think?  Can everyone read it OK?  Decision..decisions..from font size to color..after awhile my brain just said what looks good with beige. :)
Thanks to Erin P..I found out that the little green berries are Poison Ivy Berries..good thing I didn't get too close:( 

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Paige our youngest granddaughter is in the fifth grade.  The fifth graders put on a live wax museum for their entire school and parents, grandparents..etc.. she was going to portray Helen Keller.  We discussed what she should wear, and how she should do her hair. 

The big day was on Thursday. We heard from her mother that curlers were put in her stick straight hair, and when the curlers were removed she nearly passed out because they were pulling her hair.  She recovered from her faint while lying down and having the rest of the curlers removed.

We drove up for the afternoon.  We hung around in the hallway waiting for the next viewing.   We were greeted by Madison whose class was going down the hall, and a teacher who reported that Miss Paige had a temp and possible strep throat and was sent home at noon. 

But the show must go on.  These kids did a great job, some of their imaginations were soaring to new heights.  The premise is this..they pick a person and research that person, then they make a backdrop and dress like the person would have, then during the viewing they are to hold a pose. 

These are a few of my favorites..
 Wyatt Earp..missing the a.  I wanted to reach right over and fix it for him.
 Orville Wright..who stifled a smile when I told him he had a handsome moustache.
Harry a long underwear straitjacket.
 Grace Kelly..this is a fifth grader..goodness are growing up fast these days.
 A missing Helen Keller..
 And the winner is..Steve Irwin..I thought this young gentleman was the spitting image..

I followed a class of second graders through the exhibit..they told me while I was standing in line that they heard there was a famous ball player, a cowboy, a astronaut and a princess inside.. I asked if they knew who the princess was..they said they didn't know.. but maybe it would be Sleeping Beauty.  I suggested Gene Autry for the famous cowboy, then Roy Rogers..they had not heard of those cowboys.  Now the ball player ..they figured out it would be the Babe and it was.

Imagination seems to be alive and well in the fifth graders at Paige's school:)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fifty Six Years Ago

Fifty six years ago my status as an only child, something I am sure that I excelled at, came to a screeching halt. My brother entered this world during a cold winter day and then it stormed for an entire week, at least that's what my Mother says. I was only two and a half years old. I occupied the only child space, and he was the one that shoved me out of my comfortable spot. I began a very important job, I was the big sister.

My Dad with my brother and me in 1954.

I should have made him play dolls and have tea parties or girlie games. Instead we played baseball and softball, playing hours of catch. His baseball mitt was formed perfectly, mine had a big wrinkle in it where the ball rested. I think he used to stand and practice throwing that ball into his mitt in front of the mirror. The second born could get by with that. We played basketball, practicing dribbling moves and shots from impossible distances. We threw the football, I was never very good at that, he had to teach me how to spread my fingers over the pigskin surface for a great throw that would spin in the air. If it had a ball in it, my brother played it, and taught me how to do it, sports came easy for him. He knew all the rules, I am not sure how he knew all this sports stuff..he just did.

In later years, when he got his own room with twin beds he also got the homemade curtains with the horses on them. I used to lay on his bed and covet those curtains. I had some boring beige fiberglass curtains that did not stir my imagination in the least. His curtains were filled with wonderful steeds that could dash you off into wonderful daydreams, he didn't even like horses. He would only get on the cows old bony backs if I insisted that his life was never going to be the same again if he didn't do what I told him.

He hated doing chores in the barn, there was no doubt in my mind that he would never be a farmer. He used to sit downstairs on the bench changing into his barn clothes ever so slowly. Mom would holler "Hurry up son" He took his sweet time. I can still see him with his head lowered sitting at the bottom of the stairs..with his barn shirt in one hand in great contemplation, he was a deep thinker and his life revolved around sports. He could be heard mumbling "I will never be a farmer." There was no sport in being a farm kid. If he had been a town kid he would have been off playing whatever neighborhood game was going on, forgetting to come home for supper. Instead he was stuck on the farm, daydreaming of sports.

My other baby brother, Far Guy, my Mom and my baby brother
 ( January 2010)

In his retirement years, he will probably Coach or Ref or Umpire. One thing is for sure, he won't be farming, although I have tried to talk him into grapes or an orchard. One thing he did very successfully was age.. would you look at that silvery grey hair..perfect..If mine was like that I could forget my trips into town for highlights! Happy Birthday to my baby brother!:)

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Chance and I went on an adventure on Tuesday. We went down to the river..just one mile away.

Last year this culvert was washed out, this year the township has repaired the road..and hauled in some fill.   I pulled over to the edge of the road..not exactly a heavily travelled one came by during the twenty or so minutes that we spent there.  Chance is only allowed to view from the car.  He was quiet..watching..
The first thing that I noticed was a brown hump..I knew right away it was a beaver.  I took two photos through the passenger window before I got out of the car.  I was certain it was going to plop into the water, perhaps even splash it's tail and disappear.   There were a pair of Canadian Geese on the river and a pair of Swans.  The Canadian Geese took off just a honking.  The Swans kept swimming around.  The beaver stretched out and became less humped up.   I cautiously went to the edge of the road...beavers can be was obvious to me at this time that this beaver was either ill or injured.  I leaned up against the car and watched.  I was ready to get back in the car or hop up on top of the hood if the beaver came toward me.
Castor canadensis or the beaver is a rodent.  They usually weigh  40 to 50 pounds and can chew through a six inch tree in fifteen minutes or less.   Beavers make dams and create more wetlands..they are the ultimate builders.  Trapping season is open until May 15th in Minnesota.  There is no limit to the amount of beaver that can be harvested.  Drowning or killing traps must be checked every three days.  Foothold or snare traps must be checked everyday.
Chance and I drove home and got Far Guy, I wanted to see what he thought.  He thought it was in a trap.   We consulted with several experts who felt that the trap was probably one left over from a winter trap line.  Perhaps the trap was iced in and the trapper was unable to remove he just left it, or perhaps someone is trapping..either way it is illegal to mess with anyone else's traps.
We went back the next morning..Far Guy confirmed that the beaver was indeed in a snare and was dead in the river.  It was very sad, and to me it seems like an inhumane way to die..trapped, unable to move until you either drown or succumb to the elements or starvation.   Years ago when we lived on the lake, neighbors on either side of us used to dispatch beaver to beaver heaven swiftly when the beavers began to wipe out their little trees.  One well placed shot, and the beaver did not have to suffer for days. We just let the poor things have as many trees as they wanted along our shore..they were just looking for materials to build homes with.
I respect the trappers..but I suspect that this one left a trap and forgot about it..either that or if he was actively trapping..he was not following the rules.  I will ask around and find out who was trapping that part of the river..whoever it was is going to get just a little piece of my mind about following the rules, or a gentle reminder to count all his traps and go back after the iced in ones:(

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wistful Wednesday: March 20, 1949

This is a photo of my Mothers family in 1949. Sixty-one years ago. I am not sure what the occasion was. My Grandparents are on the far right and my Mother is in the back row on the far left. This is a photo that brings forth many feelings for me. My Mother was very young..she was 19 years old, she wasn't married yet..and had not yet met my father. My Grandparents had twelve children, my Mothers older brother Alfred had been killed in a car accident in 1947. My Grandmother gave birth to a very small baby boy who they named James in 1948, just four months to the day after Alfred was killed. In 1951 shortly after I was born my Grandmother gave birth to twins. So I have an uncle and an aunt who are younger than me.

The majority of these people in this photo are dead. My Grandparents lived long lives. My Uncles and Aunts not so much. Three of the siblings in this photo are living..of course my Mother the oldest girl, my Uncle in the plaid coat, and another Uncle in the very front ( the littlest boy). The twins that are not in this photo are also alive. I had a good visit with that twin Uncle a few weeks ago, he would be my favorite Uncle on that side of the family.

Most of my Mothers siblings have succumbed to some form of Liver or Brain Cancer. I just figured it out, my favorite Aunt..the one with the white anklets died when she was 58 years old, that is the age I am right now. She had a sense of humor and was an excellent cook, she also was an alcoholic..from her I learned that drinking was not glamorous. I used to visit her in the morning only, she started to drink at noon and didn't stop until she passed out. Her children and grandchildren were robbed of her presence way too soon, not by death alcohol. It is hard to stand by and watch someone drown their sorrows in a bottle. I did not go to her funeral..It was just impossible for me to attend. I did visit with my Grandparents the weekend after her was very difficult for them to bury their children..and she was the fourth and last one that they buried before their deaths. Four of of their children born, died and buried in their lifetime. I remember that Grandma and Grandpa both cried..she was dabbing at her eyes with a Kleenex and he with the red hankie in his pocket. They were stunned by her death..they felt guilty for being alive:(

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bluebird Houses

Far Guy just finished making some Bluebird Houses..we had two last year..this year we are adding six new houses..we spread them through out our property.  Last year we had one nesting pair near the house and one nesting pair along the driveway in a this year that set can have it's own new house if they so desire.  They should be here in a week or two..perhaps this year I will be able to witness the fledging young.  I read where Bluebirds will come back to the same area they were born in..and since we know that our pair last year raised two sets of young..we wanted to be ready!
Far Guy did a great job with the houses. I just supervised.  Chance kept him company.  The nice thing about Bluebirds is that they appreciate a plain jane house, nothing fancy,  they can be allergic to paint and varnishes.

The inside of the panel with the hole is roughed up on the that the little ones can get out of the nest successfully in case the parents don't build a tall nest.

The Bluebirds that visit here are the Eastern Bluebirds.  They eat small berries and bugs.  Both sets of parents tend to the young together as a team...some people could learn much about parenting from the bluebirds.
I have to prune the Chokecherry bush that is right behind the nest box that they used last year.  It is on my to do list for today.
Last year the Bluebirds arrived on April13.  This year is anyone's guess..the deer ticks woke up a whole month early this year on March 16 compared to 2009's April 15.  There were a few little bugs in the air one the food supply is waking up..they could show up any day..their new houses are ready for them:)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Labors of Love

Our daughter Jen resurrected some of her Grandmothers old recipes.  The ones written in her Grandmothers hand.  She made a scrapbook for herself, and gave a copy to her Father.  Since then we commissioned another copy that was given to Far Guys sister. 
 Click on this photo to enlarge! 
When we cleaned out Far Guys Moms apartment recipes were found in drawers and tucked in books..I put them in a plastic bag..I knew they would be worth reading someday.   One day Jen asked if she could take them home with her, and a recipe scrapbook was born.  Jen was very close to her Grandmother, the recipe book was cathartic way to move on and forward through the grief that she felt after her Grandmas death. 

The little bits of paper that these recipes are written on and the comments we make as we perfect a recipe are important.  Historical in their own way. 

I have a  friend who started a new blog recently..she is sharing her Grandmothers recipes.  Gram's Recipe Box is a treasure trove of old recipes..I enjoy reading recipes..not so much the cooking part..but the reading part:)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dog Sitting

This weekend, we are dog sitting for Hooch and Odda. They are a pair. I had to have a talk with Hooch on Friday. When I went up to let everyone out of their kennels..he went to one of the sheds and would not come out. Little bugger we had a talk..I explained that if he came out..he could go home with me. He is a little mad that he was left behind..I brought some of his own food over here to feed him..he gave me a look that said "You have lost your freaking mind." Far Guy mixed some of Chance's food in with it..and he chowed it all down. At night Hooch goes back to his own house to his own bed..he kennels up nicely. This morning..he ran between me and the if to say..I am ready lets go..forget about my sister already.
Now for Hooch's sister..the beautiful Miss Odda. She has an outdoor kennel..she begins to jump as soon as I turn in the yard..just like a doggy jack in the box. She knows she is not to jump on people..and she tries real hard not to. If I holler "Odda sit" she does..right on my get a good head scratch. She is not yet a year old. She irritates Chance..and Hooch..she submits to both of them..but she goes right back to her antics.

Chance just hates it when she tries to scoot underneath him..or puts a paw on his back. The whole group sounds wild and crazy the first few minutes that they are all together, with the boys snarling and snapping at Miss Odda ..after that they all calm down.

Hooch is real good at our house, he naps on the couch..he helps himself to food and water. Chance is a good host and shares his toys and his balls..letting Hooch catch half of the balls thrown.
Last night when I took Hooch home..I heard a Coyote howling and the Canadian Geese honking up in the corn fields. Hooch went in the pasture..the heifers gave him the what for and chased him back out again. Since they live on the prairie, and we live in the woods..going to their place is always an adventure:)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Straight Lake: Legend of the Cap

This is an important photo..this is Chuck.  Chuck is a long time friend from Indiana.  He and his wife, Ardith used to come to my parents resort every Fall.   When my parents sold their resort, they starting coming  to ours next door.  One year Chuck and his son Mark, and daughter in law Kay had been fishing early in the morning. Fall fishing was best in the mornings or late afternoon.  Ardith was on vacation..sewing in the cottage..instead of fishing.  I heard a big racket, the dogs began to bark, something was amiss.  I went to see what the problem was.  I saw two drowned rats, Kay and Chuck. They were totally soaked and Mark was dry as a bone laughing his butt off.   They had been fishing on the other end of the lake when Chucks boat seat broke, in his attempt to stay out of the drink..he grabbed Kay and took her in with him.  Mark fished them both out of the lake.  They retold this story and laughed half the day..everyone that came by had to hear it.  Chuck complained that he had lost his best cap.  Well I thought he was pretty lucky..neither of them had any injuries...other than they were pretty cold..a hot shower fixed them both up.   Chuck bellyached about the cap that he lost.  His life was never going to be the same again without his favorite cap. 

A few days later early one morning, Far Guy was down on the docks and saw something floating past the dock.  He fished it out, low and behold it was Chucks had made the mile and a half trip from the south end of the lake to one of our docks against the current.   Far Guy made a big deal out of presenting it to became the legend of the cap:)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Creatures of Habit

I knew it was too good to be true, this morning we woke to some of that nasty white crap in the air again.  Good thing I didn't put my parka away.  The ground is getting white, Chance didn't stay outside very long.  He retreated to the bathroom to sleep, and deposit all the sand that was locked into his fur from his early morning romp. He has no job until Far Guy gets up. That is when his day really begins.  They have to play ball and play chase me games, they might run errands or walk to the mail box or take the garbage to the dumpster, then the dog will want Far Guy to lay down and rest.  When the Fire Department Pager test goes off at 6PM it signals that someone should be cooking some supper. Talk about habits, the dog practically wears a watch.   If Chance needs to rest during the day, he takes up his post right in front of the door.  There is no sneaking out without him.

He has become a creature of habit just like his master.   When Far Guy gets up, he gives the dog a milk bone biscuit.  ( Dogs that only eat once a day are more prone to twisted stomachs..and this is one way to prevent it.) Far Guy read that once..and since then Chance gets his treat every morning.  Far Guy starts his coffee, then he heads for the bathroom..after that the coffee is ready.. and he sits down at his computer to read the morning news and to really wake up.. he yawns repeatedly.  Then the dog lays his head in his lap which is a signal that he needs to go out.  When he is done outside, he paws on the dining room window, he can see inside. so he knows when you are headed for the steps to let him in.  He then waits patiently for Far Guy to make peanut butter toast and cereal.  Chance gets some crusts that have been dredged through the peanut butter, some mornings he drools so heavily on Far Guys leg that clean up involves a towel.

I prefer to watch my news rather than read it, and in my waking up stages I will watch CNN or the Today Show or BBC News..if I am up really early I will watch Imus in the morning.  I usually have plain toast, and share crusts with Chance too..but I usually make him work for them.  He doesn't like to be petted on the head while waiting for naturally I must pet him in between his crusts. It was a war of the wills when I discovered that petting him while he was focused irritated him and he would back away.  He wanted the toast crusts but on HIS terms. He did not get them. He had to allow me to pet him in-between, he was quite stubborn about it all. When push came to shove, he wanted the toast!

Yesterday I worked in the yard. I was on poop patrol. I cleaned it all up. Now the next time it rains..the grass can be really clean.   Chance and I had the usual spring "poop in the woods" talk..he gets a little lax during the winter..and just goes where the snow is removed.  He can go back into the woods again.  I hate walking through the yard and seeing dog is unsightly and unsanitary.   I informed Far Guy that he should also have a "poop talk" with Chance guy to guy.  If you have a dog or dogs is the time to go on poop patrol..unless of course you brave the cold winter weather to clean up after your dog everyday.  Cleaning up after your dog is just one of those things you do because you are a responsible pet owner:)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Early Spring Report

The snow is disappearing rapidly..those rains really helped to obliterate it. There are some snow banks left but for the most part the yard is clear. Chance found a whole collection of his balls, one of which was his favorite.. a blue ball. I don't know what the deal is..apparently he can see blue better than other colors. This is a really early thaw for us.. at least two weeks early. So I will call it a tenuous spring..we are certain to get more snow. I would bet on it. It will probably get below zero again too. March weather can do is not to be trusted.

My stupid Day Lilies are up, the line that runs underground from the outdoor wood stove to the house keeps their roots cozy all they poke their noses out sooner than they should. They won't bloom until mid July it is not worth getting too excited over.

The sun finally decided to shine late on Tuesday eleven days with no sun..It nearly blinded me. I sat outside a long time yesterday soaking in that warmth. Today the weather forecast is for 50 degrees..unbelievable!! The frost has gone out, and all the excess water in the yard has disappeared.

Chance and Far Guy took off with the Pedometer to measure different walks..distance is important to him. He gets bored with the equipment inside the house. The Phoebe's are here..I can hear them but I never see them. Their "Phee-bee" calls are good to hear. They eat bugs..and the deer ticks..the little itty bitty tiny ones are out..we know this for a fact..Chance had two of these dastardly ticks crawling on him on Tuesday. I had one on the table stuck to a piece of tape ready to take a photo but Far Guy threw it away. There will be more..doggone deer anyway..they are part of that tick life cycle that brings them into our yard. We have stuff to put on Chance..Frontline..I hate to put that crap on him but it is the least of the evils with all the tick borne diseases.

So my early signs of spring include balls lost in the snowbanks magically appearing, itty bitty deer ticks, no standing water in the yard, and Eastern Phoebes. What are your early signs that spring is coming?  How do you know when it is here for sure?  In Minnesota it is the first Robins that I see in MY yard that makes it official:)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wistful Wednesday :1955

This is a photo that Far Guys Mother saved.  She put a little x above her sons head.  The other little boys remain a mystery.   I asked Far Guy if he could remember...he was only I guess not.  This was taken in the winter, obviously, in front of Hazels house.   Hazel was a shirt tail relative.   Every fall when Far Guy was sent back to Park Rapids with his sister to start school.  Hazel would take care of them.   He loved Hazel, but he hated her cooking.   Hazel made lots of vegetable soups..Far Guy will not eat vegetable soup, and he usually fed his to the dog..a tiny little chihuahua. That poor little thing was often subject to vomiting and diarrhea for some "unknown" reason.  Every fall Hazel would knit Far Guy a pair of mittens, even when he was a teenager she knit him mittens.

Sarah (Sally) and Ruth were Hazel's teenage daughters..they often babysat for Far Guy and his sister.  We see Sally in town quite often..she is a Great Grandma now.  Ruth is coming to visit next summer, she wants to see Far Guy. The connection to our family is through Great Grandma Martha Jane Aleck. Hazels father was Martha Janes brother ( John Xaver Aleck who moved into and began farming in this area in 1912.)

Hazel was married when she was 29 years old, she birthed six children ( 4 boys and Ruth and Sally).  She was widowed at the age of 51, at that time her children's ages were 20, 18, 16, 14, 10 and 8.  It must have been a tough row to hoe all alone with six children.  She died in 1982 at the age of 88, she never remarried.  I remember her as a tiny little lady who was very fond of Far Guy:)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

St Urho's Day 2010

Happy St Urho's Day! Smack dab in-between the Ides of March and St. Patrick's Day is the little known St Urho's Day celebration. Not many people get excited about this Finnish Hero. I felt that my Grandsons should be taken to the was our Grandma Adventure last Saturday! I wrote this two years ago. The photos that accompany the story were taken last Saturday. Typical to small town celebrations, there were a King and a Queen in the parade and people that threw candy. Finlanders travel from far and wide to partake in the parade and celebration. Well.. maybe twenty miles or more.
Today is indeed the day that Finlanders all over Minnesota celebrate Saint Urho's battle with the pesky grasshoppers that threatened the grape crop. He chased the grasshoppers waving a pitchfork hollering "Heinasirkka, heinasirkka, menetaalta hiiten"...Grasshopper, grasshopper get the hell out of here.
The colors of the day are Deep Purple representing the grapes, and Emerald Green representing the grasshoppers or the vines.
This legend of Saint Urho began in 1956, in Virginia, Minnesota as a joke, the Finns answer to St. Patrick's Day. Richard L. Mattson and Gene Mc Cavic are most often credited for starting this great celebration.
Today in Menahga, Minnesota there will be men running from the hillside toward the lake, somehow they begin by wearing green, that is magically changed to purple..they chase the grasshoppers into the lake and the whole town celebrates by having Culla Mojakka (Fish Soup) and Flat-bread.
Menahga has a twelve foot tall statue of St. Urho...pronounced Errrrh-hoe...he has a large grasshopper impaled on his pitchfork. The statue is located on Highway 71. Menahga also has the best bakery around, it is located kitty-corner from the Post can purchase the most wonderful flat-bread there...but never on a Monday.
The little boys indulged me, Little Elvis was a little scared..the boys got lots of candy and the whole parade must have lasted all of five minutes. I have always wanted to attend this parade and I was thrilled to share it with them! :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Morning Wars

We usually have a Monday morning meeting. Far Guy, Chance and I get things lined up for the week and to get on the same page. We really slept this light saving time just makes me sleepy and cranky. How can one hour mess up your inner clock so much? I feel like I have been drug through a knot hole backwards.

My brother heard a Robin.. his wife "she who see Robins before me every Spring" has not seen it yet. She will either call me right away..or wait until I finally see one and then when I call her..she will say "Well I saw one hours ago." With my new eyes..maybe I have a fighting chance..let the Robin wars begin!

This is day number nine with no sunshine. Here is a photo from a few weeks you notice anything strange? Besides the blue skies?
It is a squirrel nest. The squirrel and Chance are having wars..Chance chases the squirrel away from the bird feeder. The squirrel waits for Chance to come inside and then he swoops down out of the trees and happily fills his fat cheeks. If I bang on the kitchen window..he is off like a flash.

The birds mainly Chickadees and Nut Hatches ( Ass- Ups) are the only birds at our feeder during the winter. They will happily feed at the feeder with Chance laying on the patio on squirrel watch. I think that Chance must be viewed as a hero to these little birds:)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ice Cream and Other Adventures

Jen , Andy and the boys came to visit.  Andy was attending a Firefighters Sectional School nearby.  He is also a volunteer Fireman.   Jen and the boys arrived.. I asked Adam  how the trip was with "Little Elvis"  he replied " Just fine, no peeing, pooping or puking along the way."  Now to an eight year old that is a very successful trip with a new puppy!

I was reminded of his mother and his aunt when they were little girls.  I believe that Trica started it, and her little sister picked it up ..if they were upset or angry they would say "Poopy, Potty PEE." in a sing song kind of way..that they would take turns repeating louder and louder until I would say "Enough girls."   They would still carry on in whispers each trying to get in the last word..then they would dissolve into a fit of giggles.  Now if they were teamed up..they could really shout the PEE part, if they got some of the neighborhood children involved in their "non dirty word" sing a could be quite embarrassing.  They finally outgrew least I think they did.

Anyway we all went on a little "Grandma Adventure"  that I will tell you more about on Tuesday.  After that adventure we went to The Minnesoda Fountain and had treats.   Individuality was the word that comes to mind... Far Guy ordered a fountain Coke, the rest of us had Ice Cream..the flavors..White Cake and Ice Cream, Vanilla, Black Cherry and Chocolate, and Maple Nut were chosen.  Yup, you guessed I am the nutty one!

Noah asked me, "Grandma why do you always have that camera?"  I replied "So I will be ready anytime you do something wild and crazy! "  So he put ice cream on the end of his nose! :)