Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wistful Wednesday: The Old Ponsford Store

Back in April I wrote about the old Ponsford Store burning down one evening. You can read about it here, just in-case you missed it. It has been an unfolding story.

First I heard from the present owner, she was searching for a news story on this fire and found my blog..imagine that.

Hi, I found your blog when I did a search for the Ponsford fire. It was so nice to read about your memories of the store and the photos of the fire are really amazing.

My parents (Dale & Linda Anderson) bought the store from Cullens and ran a grain cleaning business out of it. That's why they called it the feed store in the fire call. When I was little, that is what I remember; climbing on top of piles of brown sacks of wheat seed ready for sale and the sound of the cleaner. The store has sat empty since the early 80s and the last time anyone used it was for the Ponsford Centennial in 1990. Since then, I'm sad to say my brother and I let it fall into ruin, because we didn't know what to do with it. It was too old and in bad shape to fix it, and the reality was that it wasn't going to support a business. Ironically, after all these years of watching it fall, I was making arrangements to have it torn down this week. Then I got a phone call saying it had gone up in flames. I'm driving out tomorrow to see what is left.

You know, the only thing I really regret is not removing the old signs that were on the abandoned building for years and years. Eventually they were stolen. There was the large metal side that hung on the east side advertising Bubble Up pop and a small metal sign that hung on the west side that said "Ponsford Grocery."
Anyway, it was time for it to go, but it is still sad to see Ponsford fade away.
Thanks again for your memories and photos.

But wait.. the story continued yesterday when I heard from Chuck Masog whose parents owned it back in "my" day. I thoroughly enjoyed what he wrote.

I can add some history about the Red Owl store in Ponsford. My name is Chuck Masog. My folks were Bev and Ray Masog and the four of us including my brother John lived behind the store. They purchased it the winter of 1947-48 from Mr Colgrove and ran it until we moved to Frazee in the summer of 1958. John and I went to school at Linnell grade school 3 miles east on MN Highway 225 and Park Rapids High School. 

It was primarily a grocery store but we also sold feed, tires, firewood, drugs, Lee jeans, and oil and gas. We sold and delivered bulk gas and fuel oil to farmers, resorts and households. Dad had a 400 gallon tank and pump specifically made to fit our 1952 Ford F3 pickup by Marvin Longfors who owned the garage. We bought and candled eggs from the farmers and sold them to Pederson-Biddick in Wadena

There were five grocery carts and one checkout counter which gives you some idea of the size of the store. The clientele were predominately Indians and farmers but with a nice influx of tourists in the summer from Iowa and Illinois. We also supplied the scout camp on Many Point Lake and I recall making 800 minute steaks which was part of their weekly order and was an all day job for our small meat equipment. Some of the unique items we sold in the store were bulk lutefisk and herring which came in wooden 25 pound pails, and bulk vinegar which came in 50 gallon wood barrels. Popular items in the meat counter were bacon squares (smoked pig jowl) which sat on top of the meat counter unrefrigerated and sold for 19 cents/pound, and pork neck bones. Our entire frozen food section was one open topped freezer that was about 3x4 ft and stocked predominately with frozen juice and meat pies. We also sold a lot of Mennen skin bracer as that was the drink of choice after the 5 beer joints were closed about 1954 because of a shooting that resulted in death. 

My folks were good hearted and one could pay cash or charge it. This is not a business model I would recommend to anyone as not everyone paid up.

Dad remodeled the front of the store in the mid-50s and used vertical redwood siding. I saw the store in 2005 and was impressed with how well the redwood stood up over the years. I was also impressed with the how modern the front of the building and signage were, even to this date. 

My dad also bought furs and wild rice. Ricing season, which started in last August, was the busiest and most exciting time of the year, with long hours. In the early years, the rice was sold to a processor in Aitkin, MN and in later years my Dad processed the majority of the rice himself on a 40 acre farm about a mile west of town.

Here are the photos that were so kindly included in an email later in the day. Ray in the Red Owl hat was the owner. Hazel was a local gal who I knew for years..she died just a few years ago. I am not familiar with Joan, but if Bev and Ray thought she was a great clerk I am sure she was!
This been an interesting experience for me. I shared something and two people have shared back to make the story of this little grocery store more complete. Thank you to Holly and to Chuck for sharing their memories of the old Ponsford Store:)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Straight Lake: Legend of the Collars

I have just a few of these legends to share.  I shared the Legend of the Cap back in March.
Back in 1986 when we moved back here the first time, to raise our girls in the country and to try to make a living owning a resort while Far Guy commuted back and forth 180 miles a day to a job with a real paycheck.   I had two dogs, Shelties..Misty and Moses, both registered Shetland Sheepdogs.  We had various cats, as our oldest daughter had many boyfriends and each new beau would give her a kitten.   The Shelties had a litter of puppies, about that time the Eagles started to take up residence in the trees in our yard.  I wouldn't let anyone out of the house if the Eagles were in the tree.  I would step out side and holler, and run toward the trees like a wild woman, the Eagles would fly away and I would let the dogs out..including the pups when they were old enough.  The Eagles stalked my puppies.  I believe that one of Trica's cats by the name of Midnight narrowly escaped an Eagle one evening, he came back wet with his long hair freezing stiff as a board, something apparently tumbled him into the freezing water in one of the open springs. Sure he was kind of lovable ditsy cat and could have just fallen in by himself..but after that he didn't want to go outside at all.   I was convinced he was attacked. I told everyone that would listen that the Eagles were being a pain in the butt and they were attacking pets, everyone said that I was crazy ..the Eagles only fish and eat on road kill deer.

The Eagles Nest has always been very near the lake in an old pine tree.  We have watched them come and go, we have watched one of them give flight lessons riding the thermals and calling to their young. 
 Now for what we heard.  We heard that there were no Eagles nesting in that same old spot on the lake this year.  The DNR wanted to investigate the nest, they did and reported back to the property owner that 27 collars were found in the nest.
Twenty seven dogs and cats with collars have been a snack for these glorious creatures.  I am sure not all their catches wore collars either.

Chance weighs well over fifty pounds, it is doubtful that he will ever be taken as Eagle food, or Miney either when she visits.  But Little Elvis..he sticks out like a sore thumb..being black and weighing only about ten pounds he is the perfect size for Eagle food:(

Someone nameless reports that it is a good thing she got the tetanus shot in her butt, because the grapefruit sized swelling is much less noticeable there than on her arm:(

Monday, June 28, 2010

Snow Drifts in June

A neighbor has a whole field of daisies.  Personally I like them, they are so perky and cheerful.  Far Guy and I both remarked at the same time "Looks like drifts of snow."   I am not sure what their other neighbors say, but it made me smile.
 I have a full desk, I usually line up the projects I am working to complete on my desk.  Things I need to put away, things I need to decide what to do with.  Decisions I need to make.

One of the "things" that I am working on is my parents 60th Wedding Anniversary party in October.  My brothers are not real vocal about this gathering..they just want to know when to show up.  My sister..she is on my list too..I need to call her for input. I am sure it will all come together one way or another. As long as the basic groundwork is laid properly it should go off without a hitch.  I am looking for a good punch recipe..I think my cousin Leann might have one.  The menu must be decided soon..a light lunch will be light..and how much like an actual lunch remains to be decided. Today I am designing a business type card that my Mother can keep in her purse, it has all the info for their anniversary..she can give these to friends and family over the summer, in lieu of sending out invitations.

I seems like I have a  hundred projects I am working on.  Requests from people, could you make a slide show for the family picnic?  Yes..check!  Could you email me photos?   I am still working on getting family photos scanned..and since I am working on four branches of our family at the same time..I just seem to be treading water.  I should work on a slide show presentation for my parents anniversary too.  I am now officially one year behind on  the hard copies of this blog.  Somedays I have to sort things thinking if I croak today..what will really matter.

I drift in and out all day long, picking some project up..sometimes sighing and putting it back down again. Sometimes actually completing a project..a day where my out pile is bigger than my in that is a day to be celebrated.  Sometimes it is best for me to keep my focus on just one project at a time, instead of spreading myself so thin that I accomplish nothing:)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wildflowers: June 27, 2010

These are some of the wildflowers in bloom this week. 

I was greatly encouraged to see the first of the milkweeds in bloom.  The Oval-Leaf Milkweed or Dwarf Milkweed or Asclepias ovafolia is a native plant.  Milkweeds are the only host for the Monarch Butterfly Larvae.  I have only seen a few Monarchs flitting around.  This Milkweed bloom is white. Milkweeds have a milky sap inside their stems.

The Birds Foot Trefoil, is in bloom all over, it usually grows in patches..and unless you look closely it can look like a patch of other yellow plants..the dandy ones.  This is a non native plant which is also known as Lotus corniculatus.

American Dragonhead or Dracocephalum parviflorum is in the Mint Family, it has a square stem. The flowers on this native plant are on a very thick spike.

Last but certainly not least is Heart-Leaf Four O'clock or Mirabilis nyctaginea.  Its flowers open in the late afternoon and close before noon the next day.  It is a native plant that has opposite heart shaped leaves and tubular flowers.  There are many of these along the roadways.

Some of the sides of the roads are being mowed now..I hate it when they do that..but I suppose it is necessary.  So that people can see the freaking deer that cross the road in front of their vehicles.

Last evening the deer were out and about, with all the rain the mosquitoes are out and it being a full moon and all..the wild animals become more active.  I am sure you have heard the joke that the Minnesota Mosquitoes are nearly as big as birds..they chase the deer out of the woods in the evenings..into the fields where the evening breeze can chase the bugs away. 
 Far Guy and I argued about this one..antlers or not?  Far Guy said "Not"

Ha! I have proof that I was correct..there is a ravine in this field and this deer was walking in it..he would surface every so often..then he would totally was pretty cool..for a deer:)

Someones finger is still very sore, but she did sleep last night. She can still take photographs:)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Someone Nameless

Someone who shall remain nameless, did something really stupid.  She might have been playing in the water with someone who shall also remain nameless. She might have been having the best time splashing water into the air because someone nameless loves to jump and snap at water droplets. She might have been enjoying the water as much as the nameless creature.  She might have been a bit reckless and allowed a game closer in than normal.   Some how she might have gotten her finger in the way of one of his really large canines. This might have been a game that they play in the water sometimes over at Shell Lake on hot summer evenings watching for beautiful sunsets and wildlife on the lake.

 She might have cried just a little, she might have ended up in the ER.  She might have been forbidden to use her finger for a few days, too bad she is not a lefty.  She might have gotten a Tetanus shot, she might have to wait and see if a course of IV antibiotics is needed.  She might be so allergic to meds that she is a tough patient to treat, at least that is what the ER Doc might have said.  The ER Nurse might have said "I can spot troublemakers a mile away."  She might have wondered was it written on her chart, heavens it has been almost a year since she might have darkened the door in the ER.  She might not have darkened their door this time either, but she who might see robins first, and someone who might be her other baby brother and someone who might look exactly like Far Guy all thought it was a good idea to be checked out, cleaned up and maybe stitched up.  She might have avoided the stitch part..and might just have a whole slug of steri-strips..she might have a very sore finger. She might be a little cranky for a few days...she might have been a terrible typist before..she might really suck at it now.  This whole incident might have been entirely her fault, she might even deny that it ever happened, to protect the innocent:(

She might have wrapped it all up in gauze after she got home, just to remind her not to use it.  

Friday, June 25, 2010

More Polite

My other baby brother gave me some advice the other day, he said "Sis, you should be more polite."   I have been thinking about that for awhile now.  I have decided he has a point.  I could be more polite.

So from now on, when the phone rings I will not holler. "Who the F is that?"  Especially when we have company.  It is OK when it is just Far Guy and I, but when other people are around they may have just called a short time ago, and Lord knows we don't want anyone feeling bad for a teeny tiny phone call.

When a waitress asks me "How is your food?  I will lie and say I think that their newest chef must be spawn of Bobby Flay.  Apparently when someone in a restaurant asks you "Is everything alright."  You are just supposed to smile sweetly and say "yes."  You are not supposed to say "That roast beef was frozen and then warmed and tasted like crap. " or " The music in this place really sucks." or "Years ago, this place would have been packed to the gills, and now look, hardly anyone is here, you all must have missed the boat." 

If your silverware has a spot of food on it that was missed in the dishwasher and is baked onto the finish and has become one with your utensil just ignore it, after all it is sanitized, and is not going to kill you.  If there is a bug in your salad, you should just quietly pick it out and put it on the floor, it is called catch and release.  If you are in a real fancy restaurant with linen tablecloths, and a huge bug runs across the table just think of it as part of the before dinner show.  If your coffee cup has foreign material in it..just close your eyes while you will hardly be noticeable.

I think I will ponder this being more polite idea a bit more before I actually put it into use, after all I am getting older, and a big change like this just can't happen overnight:)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Glory of the Morning

This morning the phone rang early, yes Far Guy was up and Chance was outside lounging in front of the door.  I was on the couch trying to figure out if I was going to go back to sleep or get up for the whole day.  It was my cousin Chuckie, whose real name is Melvin..go figure.   He gets up about four am.. by that time I have have only been asleep an hour or two.

As I was lying there contemplating what to do,  Far Guy hollered "Chuckie says the morning glories are blooming."   I hollered back "Wanna go out for breakfast?"  "Wanna go to the flea market."  He replied "Sure" so off we went.

The local Flea Market starts at seven am and most of the time is closed up by two pm.  I have never figured those people out.  Their Flea Market is only on Thursdays.  If they are all set up, why don't they make an entire day of it?   Perhaps they just want the tourist crowd, forget the locals...especially the working locals who just might have some extra money to part with.  The retirees..well maybe they will spend a dollar or my case three whole dollars for several old books I can remember reading as a child. The Bobbsey Twins..the one with them sledding down the hill. Annette, Mystery at Medicine Wheel and Lassie and the Mystery of Blackberry Bog.  I have collected enough of these old books that I should probably keep track of which ones I have. 

Last night Jo and I made a quick trip into town to see what my Mom had on her sale, she is hosting a garage sale that benefits the Hospital Auxiliary group she belongs to.  I found some odds and ends for the grands..nothing too exciting.

 Then I spotted a cute little box, inside was a tiny tea cup and saucer and a tea pot with a all fits neatly inside the box.  Somehow I am drawn like a moth to a flame to anything that has it's own container.   It must be the anal retentive part of the organizational me that wants everything in it's place, preferably in it's own box.  Well for 50 cents I was sold. 

This morning we ended up way south of town, at what was advertised on a sign as a moving sale.  It turned out to be a pole barn full of "Stuff"  so much stuff that it was amazing.  If it was a moving sale they were just moving from one storage facility to another..and they wanted top dollar for their "stuff" too.  As I wandered around, I said "Holy Cats they sure know what they want for their junk, don't they..but then perhaps I am a cranky old woman."  Another gentleman said " My thoughts exactly, guess I am a cranky old man."  A younger than me lady said "And I thought I had junk."   I walked away with nothing..and for me that is a strange occurrence.  I don't know where they got this stuff from, but even Far Guy said "That "stuff" was dirty."  He didn't buy anything either.

I always look for the same things at any kind of sale.  Shiny Brite Christmas ornaments, cook books that were collection's of recipes of church women or groups of women, old photographs, old postcards and old books that I have read.  Sometimes I look at the glassware.. for old bowls..if it is something that I recall as a child..then I am probably going to purchase it.  The old photos I buy for my other blog, this morning there was an album that had 30 photos in it for 50 stayed there. What do you look for at garage sales?:)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wistful Wednesday: Late 1950's

This is a photo of Far Guys family.  His Mom and his sister on the left and his Grandparents A ( Curt and Meady) on the right.  That would be Far Guy with the attitude.   I can almost smell the fried chicken, and the gravy in the soup bowl in front of Far Guys Mom.  This table with the pull out sections was in the basement for years..I wish we had it, with its chrome legs and all.  Far Guys Mom made the best fried chicken, she would dredge it through a flour mixture and brown it up on all sides and then put it in the oven. Whatever was left in the frying pan was used to make the gravy..oh it tasted so good!  I am not particularly fond of chicken, and I rarely make it with its skin on, but I suppose I could..just so I could make some chicken gravy!

This past weekend, we talked and wondered with cousins..when did Grandma A (Meady) get out of the sanitarium, she had Tuberculosis and was institutionalized, she lost her hearing during the treatments of her  TB.  We asked Uncle Willard and he could not remember when she went in or when she got out.   I will ask him another day, and he may remember. He is 93 years old, and like he says his memory doesn't work like it used to.  She is obviously out of the sanitarium when this photo was taken..I wish that calendar was not cut off in the photo.  It must be 1958, or 1959.  Maybe Far Guy's sister remembers?

So what kind of punishment do you think Far Guy got?  He was pretty spoiled, especially by his Mother.  I am guessing he had to sit in the corner or write on a piece of paper 100 times. "I will not stick out my tongue at the dinner table." :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wildflowers: June 22, 2010

Happy Summer!   Chance and I had our very own welcome to summer party, we were out looking for wildflowers.  I love the soft light of the evening, and last night the clouds were pretty interesting too.  I have learned to always take the keys out of the car, or leave the window down as the brilliant border collie can and will step on the door lock, he loves to ride in the front and co pilot for me..drooling and making nose spots on the window.  When we got back, we played ball and he went for a dip in his pool.  Our daytime temperatures are around eighty...dogs won't mold will they..he is continually wet. 

Here are some of the wildflowers that have been blooming recently.

Canada Hawkweed or Hieracium canadense, a non native and one of seven species of Hawkweed in Minnesota.

Evening Primrose or Oenothera biennis a native plant whose flowers open in the evening, by the next day at noon they will wilt and be  done.  A fleeting beauty.

Golden Alexanders or Zizia aurea, a native plant..cheerful and yellow flat clusters of flowers.

Yellow Sweet Clover or Melilotus officinalis is a non native and was once grown as a hay crop, now it is just mowed along the roadsides.

Northern Snow Bedstraw or Galium boreale is a native.  The early pioneers dried this fragrant plant and stuffed their mattresses with it.  If you are in a real pinch, after the seeds have dried you can brew them up for a coffee substitute.

Wild Rose or Rosa arkansana this native to Minnesota plant is blooming quite happily in our yard.  The fragrance is heavenly.

Wild Calla or Calla palustris is another native found in bogs and swamps.

White Campion or Lychnis alba is a non native.  The petals of this flower retract back into the green bladder during the day, it blooms best in the evening.  It's redeeming quality is the tiny seeds it produces that are eaten by sparrows and finches. 

Years ago I met an old lady, well she was way older than me. She really irritated me.  She wanted only native plants in her yard.  She had no Wild Rose..she had no Northern Bedstraw..certainly no Evening Primrose..she was missing the boat.  I am not sure if she ever had a boat ..she definitely did not have both sets of oars in the water.  I have met these "nature women " before.  I do not get along with them. They are a total waste of my time.  She doesn't want seedy weedy plants next to the shoreline, I explained that many of the natural tall grasses that are near the shore produce seed heads that are food for baby ducks..she isn't the least bit interested in those messy creatures.  I almost tore my hair out..sometimes shore-land restoration drives me nuts..just let the natural grasses come back and let the Wild Iris bloom..don't be so picky.  No matter what kind of fancy native plants you plant ( the kind that are rarely found, but you pick because of a pretty flower or the ones that struggle to grow)  sooner or later your knees, hips or your back are going to give out, the native grasses will take over again and the baby ducks will have some food once again along your shoreline.  Your pathetic attempts trying to manipulate native wildflower plantings will be history. 

I enjoy the native wildflowers..but I enjoy them where they grow naturally...not where someone tends them, eagerly watching for the next tiny weed.  I swear the only thing some of these people have to do is weed, then again with the lake shore taxes they must pay perhaps it is the only thing they can afford to do:)

Monday, June 21, 2010

An Elvis Sighting!

Yesterday was the Father's Day Picnic at the local Fire Hall, it is a fundraiser.  This was the 33rd year, it is a roast pork dinner with all the fixings, buns, potato salad, hotdishes ( a mixture of meat, a starch and usually a vegetable in a sauce or a can of soup).  I never eat potluck hotdishes as I am allergic to so many foods. In other parts of the country this is probably called a casserole..but in Minnesota it is a hotdish!  There was none of Vi's homemade sauerkraut, she is probably saving it for her grand-kids.  Dessert was pie, I had pumpkin..I noticed that there was less homemade pie and more store bought pie..the young gals don't have the time or the know how to made pies from scratch.  The old gals that knew how to make a good pie crust have all died, or are so old that they have forgotten how to make them.

People come from far and wide for this picnic.  Elvis lives in town (Ponsford), he showed up to play for the people..and to open his guitar can't blame him for trying.   I heard he had been in some kind of trouble the night before, probably too much shaking going on.
 Elvis performing.....

Far Guys cousins got a big charge out of it and wanted their photo taken with Elvis. He can play the guitar..singing..well not so much.. he would get the big buzzers on America's Got Talent.

Far Guy always manages to yank my chain.   Years ago and before I went out with Far Guy, I had an admirer who I will call Bernard.  He wanted to be my boy friend so badly..I had to break his heart by refusing to go out with him.  I am sure as a small child his coke bottle glasses were continually smeared with snot. I could rarely look at him without having that exact thought. Yeeew.   Far Guy figured that he should point me out to Bernard..just incase I changed so much in 45 years that I was unrecognizable.  I on the other hand, liked my anonymity.  I did hear that there was a Mrs. Bernard and a little I believe that he successfully got over my refusal to date him:)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

This is the card that I made for my Dad for Fathers Day, the photo was taken on June 06, 1953.  Dad was off to be the best man at his brothers wedding.  He took time for me and a photo by the picture tree.

"A man's children and his garden both reflect the amount of weeding done during the growing season". -- Unknown

My Father was gone every year from early spring to late fall, he was home only on weekends. The construction jobs he worked on were usually hours away.  I was a very difficult child, strong willed and opinionated, always challenging, always asking why and why not, always trying to find a way around the rules..there was much weeding for him to do on the weekends:)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Observations in June

Just a few observations today. The Yellow Lady's Slippers that are along our back drive are in full bloom, they were 28 days behind the Yellow Lady's Slippers that are in our wildflower gardens. This year there were four blooms, that is the same as last year. The clumps seem to be staying the same size.

We saw a skunk on our outing last has a den near an Oak along the fence line a mile and a fourth down the road. It waddled very fast into the tall prairie grasses, sadly I missed the shot of the skunk. Far Guy said I should get out and follow it. He would have waited in the car, as back up support. My brother and his wife and their grands often bike that way. I remember one time when one ran right along side Maddie when she was riding her bike, she was so scared..but she kept on pedaling her bike.    She ran into the house, and hollered "Grandma, I saw a skunk." and then she burst into tears.

We also saw the remnants of a deer leg in the road...HA!  one Lady Slipper eater bit the dust..was it a coyote? A wolf?
I usually spend some time visually drinking in the neighbors horses.. enough so I can imagine their smell. Most of the time Chance is quiet, last night he barked when the horses came to visit. There are an even dozen there now, Joe must have sold two. There are only two more days until the summer solstice. The days have not seemed very long because we have been cloudy and rainy.
 Now here is one thing to ponder.  Who is their right mind would mount a deer stand on top of an old manure spreader?  It isn't something you see every day of the week.  I hope it wasn't one of my relatives or a neighbor that reads this blog...if so what we you thinking?
On the bears,  I have seen only two in my entire life in Minnesota, one at an Auction Sale in the early spring..he awoke to the smell of hamburgers frying, and was relocated by the DNR.  The other one Far Guy and I saw running across our driveway at the resort.  A few weeks ago I missed seeing one because I was looking for Trillium.  Well, I can add one more to the list, one day I was coming back from Menahga on the back roads and saw one lumbering across the road..they truly are magnificent creatures.  I missed that photo op too, by the time I got close enough to take a photo he or she was in the woods. :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Weathering the Storms and Wild Iris

Yesterday there were 35 tornadoes in Minnesota. The town of Wadena was hard hit yesterday, it is located about 45 miles south of us. We were in the grocery store when the Noah weather radio started going off. We headed home and just as we pulled into the yard it began to rain, we let Chance out..he made short work of his business. The thunder rolling across the area was continual. Far Guy said "Sounds like a freight train." We were joined a few minutes later by the neighbors, we enjoyed some snacks with the busy twins and Aubrey. Aubrey is talking more and more..she can now say Yucky ( That is what Chance's ball is after he drools on it). I think her speech is improving, although much of what she says is in her own language. The twins did lots of tornado talk..but the bad weather was the reason they were not allowed upstairs to play with the trains.

Daughter Jen sent us a photo of a snaky, tall and lean twister up in her area. I immediately wanted to know where she was when she took the photo..she was safely south of the tornado. Even though it was a cool photo, I wondered why she was not in her basement. Where were her children? Where were her nieces? Well, with her of course and they all got to see the twister.

Jen has her hands full, she is taking care of Maddie and Paige this addition to moving into their "new" old house two blocks from where they live now. We were supposed to be extra hands and support this past week, but Far Guy is ill, he has been to the Doctor,no exact diagnosis has been made, he has a temperature and aches all over and his normal (that is a terrible way to describe it) ..yes his normal pain level has been ramped up several notches barely tolerable. The Doctor "thinks" it might be one of the tick borne diseases that has exacerbated his Trigeminal Neuralgia pain. Think twisting a knife in an already present wound. Call back if he doesn't feel better the meantime he is to take doxycycline..just like Chance did awhile back for his anaplasmosis. Chance took it for 28 days, Far Guy for just a week..what is up with that? Darn deer..darn ticks..darn TN. June has not been a good month for Far Guy. This last more violent episode is a week old today, that is when he woke up with throbbing pain that has never left from the right side of his face. Maybe one of these days he will wake up with no pain..yeah right.. we would just settle for having the old pain back, this new pain is the pits. As Far Guy's Neurologist says..when you have TN anything is possible, as it seems to have a mind of it's own. We are "laying low" staying quiet, not venturing too far from home..Chance and I have had a few wildflower adventures. I feel sorry for Jen, I am sorry that we were not there to help her out, but you do what ya gotta do..and she understands that.
The Wild Iris are blooming. Iris versicolor or Blue Flag Iris is one of my favorite native plants, it is a good year for them. They are on the riverbank a mile away..
and they are in some of the swamps. They always look so darn cheerful:)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chance : Jailed

It is I Chance, the wonder blogging Border Collie! 

I was in jail, I have never been in jail before, I had no get out of jail free card either.  This is how it went down..

Far Side has been talking about this "jail" for years.  She has been holding out for a big jail, with a doggie door to the out of doors.  She goes on and on about how great life was when they lived in Harwood, North Dakota.  They had a big jail, and there were two doggy doors one from the house to the garage and another from the garage to an enclosure that was six feet tall..with lots of room for the Shelties to play and bark ( That is what Shelties do best.)

Anyways..she gave up because Far Guy said he didn't want me locked guys gotta stick together! Then "she" had that garage sale and announced "He will be on the lead or in the house all day..NO exceptions.  We don't need a sail dog."  Just in-case you don't know what a sail dog is is one that is flatter than a pancake that you can pick up and sail across the road.  Yew...  Far Guy saw the light.  He went to Farm Fleet and bought me my very own jail.

It isn't very large, Miney kept me company.  I never howled or barked or anything.  Lots of kids came to visit me, and I watched the cars come and go.  I do not chase cars, only the ball.  But when someone drives into the yard, I run to greet them..kinda like a Border Collie Welcome Committee... Far Side says it is not my job..but I think it is..when she drives into the yard she stops and glares at me, until I sit down and don't move.  She has a mighty powerful stare.  Far Side says that this kennel will be just the ticket on days when I cannot go to town because it is too hot for me to be in the car.

Since the garage sale, I have only been in there once, I had a little lapse in judgement and left the yard by myself running after a squirrel..when I returned ..she locked me up and hollered at me.  Then we kissed and made up..cause she needed a model amongst the flowers..:)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wistful Wednesday: A Tree In Iowa

This is Far Guys paternal Grandmother, Theresa or Tracie.  She was visiting her old Iowa "home place." ( Near Logan, Iowa)  She was born on June 13, 1895, this year would have been the 115th celebration of her birth.  She always loved her birthday party and she would look forward to it every year, she died in 1983 just a little short of her 88th birthday.

I ran onto this photo recently, the film was developed in December of 1964.  Grandma wrote on the back " Emma and I by the big tree in Iowa, our old home place..October 1964."  Emma was just one of Grandmas sisters.  We called her Aunt Emma..even though she was our Great Aunt.  Aunt Emma was a "corker", she was outspoken and would tell it like it was. I believe that she was Grandmas favorite sister, or perhaps it just seems that way, they came to Minnesota at the same time..when it was a wilderness.  They lived just 9 miles apart from each other their entire lives, and just across town from each other when Grandma left the farm for an apartment in town.

I do not know the story of the huge tree, I wish I knew what the sign on the tree said.  In the photo Emma is hanging onto her sister, this was typical of Emma..she was a touchy feely kind of old gal and liked to hold your hand when she talked to you.

I have been trying to recall, the last time that we visited with Grandma in the hospital we had just come from Emma and Rupert's Auction Sale..Grandma asked right away what we bought..and that is the part I cannot remember..perhaps one day I will remember, what made Grandma smile and say "good for you"?  Grandma died peacefully in the hospital a few days later.  She avoided "the home", when she died from Liver Cancer shortly after being diagnosed.  I have no doubt that there was a big party for her in heaven, she always said that there would be:)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Hunt

The Snellman hill is looking pretty good, we didn't stop there, there is only one driveway and one approach. The traffic is horrendous but there are Slippers all up and down the hillside. It is nearing full bloom. I may go back, when I feel braver.
We stopped just east of there at a safer location, where there is a whole bunch of Slippers. This of course is on the same "Scenic Byway" where no thought was put into the natural wonders of the Showy Lady's Slippers, there could have been some turnouts along this road, some place of safety for people to stop, but everything scenic along this road is supposed to be viewed at 55 plus mph.
Deer Damage
We took off to the double secret place to check on the rare White Lady's Slippers, what we found was sad. The deer have been through this entire area munching away. We will have to wait a few days and go back and see if any of them survived being a salad bar. I was greatly disappointed, Mother Nature is sometimes a fickle friend.
I did see a deer, it may be totally inappropriate to think that every click of the shutter is a bullet headed their way. Minnesota needs to do something about the exploding deer population, they are already a health hazard with all the tick born diseases and then to top it all off they are eating the Slippers as a snack. Darn deer anyway.
 I was thankful for the Slippers that we found untouched by deer or humans.  The hunt continues:)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Minnesota Happenings!

The Loon nest that I have been watching since April will not be producing any chicks this year.  Today is day 40 or 38, depending on which egg is left on the nest, egg one or egg two. Normal hatch time is 28 days.  One of the eggs was rolled off into the water twice, one time Larry retrieved it and placed it back in the nest..the next time he did not replace the egg.  The remaining egg is ten to twelve days past the hatch date.  From what I have viewed with this set of loons they have been haphazard parents at best, in my opinion this is a first year set of parents, they have been nothing like the nesting loons from previous years.  I am convinced that if this nest was on shore a predator would have gotten the eggs by now.  Anyway, the nesting platform in the case of an old egg is not a good thing. The Loon doesn't know when to give up, and will not abandon it, there is a powerful bond between the Loon and it's eggs.  The likelihood of predators taking the old egg are slim.  Larry is going to remove the egg tonight about 11PM Central Time, so that it can be taken into the DNR, and so that the Loons can go on with their lives.  The State Bird of Minnesota is the Common Loon.
 Yesterday we checked on the Showy Lady's Slippers or Cypripedium reginae, the State Flower of Minnesota.  They are blooming very nicely, a week earlier than normal.  Today we hope to get to the big hillside at Snellman, Minnesota and another secret location to check out the blooms.
  I made some posters for Far Guy.  I guess he was in charge of the advertising for the Fire Halls annual fundraiser.  Every year on Father's Day they have a huge picnic, including homemade pies and roast pork. Since I am no good at pies, I made them posters:)
** Update, Thanks to my readers the mystery plant yesterday was identified as a Blackberry!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Wildflower Hunt Continues

A blog reader left me a comment,  " Do you ever find a flower you are unfamiliar with anymore? It seems you have a great variety of wildflowers where you live!!"

Yes, I do find flowers that I have never seen before, some of these wildflowers only bloom  for a few days..they shout their existence for only a short time and then they are gone for another year. 

I have no idea what this one is, it is along our driveway and it bugs me to no end that I cannot identify it..I am thinking it must be a shrub or a berry.

I do not know all the names of the wildflowers either. Every year that I am able to focus on them, and learn more about their habits and bloom likes and dislikes, and can store away one tiny bit of off the wall info to connect with the plant, I am learning. 

Yes, there are many wildflowers here where I live.  In order to see them a person must just slow down a little.  Most of the wildflowers that I photograph are in the public right of way in the road..or the ditch.   Some are just off the road way in fields..those like this patch of Indian Paintbrush must be photographed from a distance..I do not trespass to photograph anything.

I would just as soon fill my days during the summer, photographing and taking observations about wildflowers.  But life has a way of getting in the way.

Lately I have been focusing on the garage sale, it is over now, I just need to set my garage back to itself again. It went well, I am just waiting for people to pick up the rest of their "stuff", there ended up being ten of us with "stuff" to sell. It is great to have group sales, everyone was helpful, and we all had a good time visiting!  It is rainy here and has been for the past four days..I am going out this afternoon to check on the Lady's Slippers and other wildflowers that should be in bloom..I am not sweet enough to melt in a little rain:) 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Curosity: The Mount Calvary Cemetery

I felt the weight on my back as the scrawny legs scrambled to the top of my shoulders, I straightened up, he had a perfect view, I could only see the siding, was it white or dirty beige, my old brain cannot decide, there were windows..but neither of us were tall enough to see inside by ourselves. I remember that the weeds were almost taller than we were when we waded our way through them to the abandoned building. We were not supposed to be here, it seemed dangerous, exciting and adventurous all at the same time. We were not going to throw rocks or anything, we just wanted to look inside. What was in there? There were lots of windows on the south side. If I had only been tall enough to see inside myself, I should have been brave and climbed on Danny's shoulders when he offered, but I was afraid of heights.
That is all I remember, Danny, was fearless, me not so much, plus that he hardly ever got in trouble..and me well lets just say that trouble followed me everywhere. Sparing the rod and spoiling the child was not happening at my house. His parents seemed older and more forgiving, plus that his older sister had paved the way..and he was a boy, I always thought that boys could get by with more shenanigans than girls could anyway.
I am not sure if it was an old church, or an old house, perhaps it was a parsonage, only the lilac bushes remain. It is the Mount Calvary Cemetery now. What was the building that I recall on this property? When did it disappear from the landscape of my childhood? My littlest baby brother, Jody recalls far he is it..even the gal that was born and raised almost across the road doesn't remember a building being there. Is it a figment of my imagination? Nope, the lilacs never lie:)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wildflowers: June 11, 2010

I will call this first plant Canada Mayflower or Maianthemum canadense or False Lily of the Valley.  It is a native plant that will eventually get green berries that turn a dull red.  It looks just like Lily of the Valley, but it is a little shorter.  I noted no fragrance..but I could have been all pollened out.

The next plant I believe to be a Cream Pea or Lathyrus ochroleucus.  It looks very much like a Wood Vetch..Vicia carolina..the vetches and the wild peas seem to be growing very good this year.  They are both very close in appearance.

Cotton Grass or Eriophorum angustifolium is really a sedge( a solid stem) instead of a grass( a hollow stem) , the plant world does this on purpose just to confuse should be called Cotton Sedge. It looks like balls of cotton in the swamps.  Long ago is was used as a fire starter or for candle wicks, you could stuff your pillow with the seeds heads too.  Recently I read where this plant is a hikers friend as it is a sign of a very deep peat bog..if you hike in June when it is blooming, or can identify the seed heads the rest of the summer.  Where I have seen it growing, no one in their right mind would walk..but hey you never know...there could be some out of their mind hikers out there ready to be one with a peat bog.

Early Meadow Rue or Thalictrum dioicum is a plant native to Minnesota that will have either male or female flowers..and I am not sure which one's these are..I am not sure that it is important...but I will take some more photos and see if I can figure out the difference between dangling and yellowish and threadlike and a greenish white. 

Sometimes looking at these wildflowers causes more questions, and I have to spend more time out standing in the field (Ha)  or the ditch or the swamp..I hate the swamps. Sometimes the window for photographs is just days, and then if the freaking wind blows ninety miles an hour photographs are hard to take, sometimes I take so long that Far Guy offers to come and hold a plant blowing in the breeze.  Sometimes he tries to make a shield out of his body to block the wind, so I will be done already. He is very patient most days and we both love the sense of adventure that can be found on a beautiful Minnesota summer day hunting for what is blooming next:)