Saturday, July 31, 2010

Val Chatel

Yesterday I was transported back in time.  I was a teenager learning to downhill ski.  My best friend in high school Cathie was a skier..she would invite me to go along.  I was not a very good skier, I was not coordinated enough to use the tow only alternative was to go up the hill in the chair lift.  Once you are up there, you must ski down.  So I learned to ski out of was a do or die situation.
 There was an estate sale happening at the old ski lodge yesterday. Next door neighbor Jo and Far Guy and I went.  Far Guy never attempted skiing so he had never been out there before.
 There were lots of people, and a whole bunch of Antiques for sale.  We visited with friends and greeted relatives.  While I was taking photographs, a very nice man joined me, he walked up and said "Take those photos now, because you aren't likely to get the chance again."  Then he proceeded to tell me about how much fun he had learning to ski here.  We stood for a long time, admiring the view..each knowing what the other was seeing.  Not green grass and a lake, but a frozen expanse of lake, and hills covered with snow, tow ropes and a chair lift..and skiers zigzagging down the cold that you can see your breath.  Red cheeked kids laughing as they came down the hills, snow plowing to a stop at the bottom of the hill..turning around and going right back up the ski hill again.
This is a beautiful setting, the usually long grass had been mowed for the sale or maybe to keep the bugs down.  It was such a long time ago that I had dinner here, before prom when I was sixteen..
I bought a set of old bells that I will use as a wind chime..Far Guy bought a couple of rocks to use in the landscape of his train set..he carried around my bells for me.  They are a handy device, I could tell where he was at throughout the rest of the sale.  I could hear the bells disappearing up the road and knew when he was headed to the car.

This was a beautiful place in it's day.  I have lots of good memories here of old friends from well over forty years ago.  In my mind I could still see that damned tow rope, the one where I could never get my hands and feet to cooperate..I always ended up face first at the side of the trail:)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Waterfront at Walker, Minnesota

Recently we had lunch at the waterfront in Walker, Minnesota.  It was fun to watch the sailboats zip back and forth.  Chance loved watching the Seagulls.  I was taking some photographs for a photography challenge, so while Far Guy walked Chance I got some time to just be one with the scenery.  We weren't the only people that found this tucked away spot to picnic and watch the water,  a really elderly couple pulled in and proceeded to recline their seats and have an afternoon nap.  It didn't take long for them to doze off and begin to snore they must have been pretty tired. Oh yes I was tempted to take a photograph..but I didn't.
The Culver's Root (the white flower)  was in full bloom as was the Fireweed.
 Fireweed is also called Epilobium angustifolium, it has a spike type flower.   It is a native plant, that is often found in areas that have had forest fires.  It often grows in large patches.  I was very happy to find this shore-land restoration planting in full bloom:)

Thursday, July 29, 2010


 It is a fact of life, when you get older, your body or mind starts to fail. Your big outings are to the Clinic, and if you feel up to it after that you might live dangerously and go out for a late lunch or early supper.  When you get older you can often just eat once late in the afternoon and it counts for two meals.   You look in the mirror and instead of a youthful image, you are frightened by the old lady that stares back at you.. screaming does no good..she is not going away.  So you may as well just accept the fact THAT YOU ARE OLDER!  It is just one of those facts of can be carried into oldness kicking and screaming or you can just sit back and enjoy the Senior discounts and afternoon naps.

This morning I heard on the Today show, that Memory Loss is not a problem until you start becoming lost.  What if you can't remember that you are lost..just a thought.

 Far Guys medication makes him forget sometimes.  However it is a very selective memory loss, as it always seems to be concerning something that I have told him and reminded him about..and then he says "Well how come you never mentioned THAT before?"  or "This is the first I have heard of that."  I have threatened to write stuff down and make him sign it and date it.  He on the other hand says that I just think I told him and since he cannot read my mind he hasn't got a clue.  He is constantly hollering at me from the other room "I can't hear you talk to me when you are in there."  Perhaps I was just mumbling under my breath.  One of our most frustrating forgetful incidents is medications..some days he just forgets all day long to take his meds..If I ask him, he will say "Yes, I took my meds." When it is obvious by the pill reminder container that he has not.  "WHAT are all these pills doing in here then?"  I am now in the habit of walking by his pill container and visually checking its contents..I pick it up and shake it..and always remember to take it with us wherever we go.  Togetherness takes on a whole different dimension when you get older..together perhaps one of you will always remember to take your meds everyday..and keep you from getting lost.  
 Happy Birthday to my perfect Son In Law handy Andy..he is smack dab in the middle between thirty and forty today. He is on the cusp of oldness, the part where a little grey hair just makes you more handsome:)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wistful Wednesday: 1970

These are a couple of my cousins, they are lucky kids, they were adopted by my Uncle Adolph and Aunt Lila back in the late 1960's.  They were much waited for babies.  My Uncle and Aunt built a brand new house in preparation for their first baby's arrival..I do not remember if they knew that they were getting a little boy..I just remember a huge baby shower and two new parents beaming with pride.  His sister followed a few years later. This photograph makes me smile every time I look at was taken about forty years ago..A Paramedic/Fireman and a Hair Stylist/Teachers Assistant :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chance: My Sisters turn again! Far Side says I should talk about my sisters, that way she won't get in trouble..and just between you and me they both love me so much that it would take an awful lot for me to be in trouble with them.
 Both my sisters have boats, a real advantage when you live in Minnesota, which is the land of 10,000 lakes.
Better yet is when your sister lets you help navigate. This sister has the boys, and two dogs, both Shelties..Miney and Little Elvis and one cat named Chaucer..with a name like that you can bet that this one is the English Professor. She only has three more weeks until school starts again..that and she taught two summer school sessions..she is a really busy person and Far Side once heard her say "Hurry, hurry, quick, quick, quick ANDREW." She and Miney are the only girls in that house and sometimes I think they feel outnumbered, or maybe just a little stressed out from all the testosterone. I did make her mad once or twice, in my jumping up stage I managed to welcome her with muddy feet. I was just so happy to see her I could not contain myself, I am older and wiser now and realize that women wearing white pants and muddy paws don't mix.  How was I supposed to know, Far Side never wears white anything.
 My oldest sister has the girls, who all adore me. They also have a Sheltie named Dakota who is old and grumpy. Far Side says I should be patient with her, because Dakota has had a stroke and has a thyroid problem. They have four cats at their house...I like to stalk cats..I am not sure what I would do if I caught one ( Far Side says it might not be I am admonished to be nice...very very nice) They have Bailey, Luna, Ziggy and Skittles (One for each little girl plus an extra) . The kittens hiss and carry on something fierce when I show up, but they are getting more tolerant as they are getting older. Paige quoted her father one day " Dad said no more cats, three cats ago." This sister is a Nurse, she works in a clinic. When I was a pup, this sister used to sneak me bits of beef jerky...I will love her forever.

Just so you know, Far Side took lots of photos of them..she won't share them all..especially not the eye rolling ones and probably not the one where one of them was sticking out her tongue at Far Side..but here is one  from our day on the water.

This one Far Side calls "My Grumpy Girls."  Do you suppose that they have been irritated once again by our Mother and her camera? :)  

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dog Catcher

We had a great day out on Cass Lake with our daughters and their families yesterday. It was a beautiful day, one of those perfect to be on the lake of those days you dream about in the winter. Chance was an only dog yesterday..I took him out on the lead..he can swim..he prefers not to be out of his comfort zone..but he can dog paddle. Border Collies are not relaxed swimmers like retrievers..but he did great!

Far Guy did a nose drive out the side door of the pontoon and I fell out of a perfectly good beach chair..landing in the water but still holding my camera in the air. Our daughters are amazed that we can be left alone during the week.

It was a fun day!  Water and some sun will tire you out. About a half a mile from home, we both watched a little animal come out of the ditch and begin running down the road as fast as his little legs would carry him.  We both said "It is a puppy."  Far Guy stopped at the side of the road. I hopped out and began to chase down this puppy, he was running in circles, he had a collar on..but he was a pretty fast runner. Cars are coming from both directions..well it was a good thing that people slowed down..I guess if I saw a wild looking woman wearing a red shirt standing in the middle of a State Highway waving her arms..I might slow down too. The "puppy" hid under our car. When he came out he ran circles in the road..he finally got curious enough about me to come too close and I grabbed his collar.. now is the time I could be bitten..but I was fearless..I lifted him up into my arms and got into the car.
"Dude, have you been in the slammer long?" 

Chance's new outdoor kennel worked wonderfully for the evening, I made some phones calls, Steve and Jo came to look at him...there is a 500 dollar reward for a lost dog in our area.  Chance and I have been on the lookout for that dog.  Steve and Jo both said "Nope, you don't have the 500 dollar dog."  Bummer, but who ever he belongs to must be worried sick.  Far Guy didn't think that I should bring him into the house..because he might have fleas..well I checked and didn't see any sign of fleas. He was hungry and helped himself to food in Chance's dish. When he accidentally "watered" the log post in the dining area..he was put into Chance's kennel indoors for the night. He is a friendly little thing, maybe part Spitz and part Pomeranian. He does have a rabies tag and I am waiting for the Vets Office to open so I can find out who he belongs to. He was a gentleman all night long, and slept quietly. I am guessing he is about four years old and belongs to a little old lady because he has a pink collar..and that his name starts with a "B" maybe Buttercup ( my guess) ..or Buddy (Steve's guess) ..I will update here later with the results:)
Update 10:15 AM : Pee Wee's person was located, she lives with her family about a mile away.  She was very happy, Pee Wee had quite an adventure:)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Far Guys Hobby: Lionel Trains

Yesterday we were on one of those missions.  Going to a train show.. Going to buy some cool cars for the train..choo choo! Far Guy was so excited he could hardly sleep. He has been looking forward to this sale ever since the last train sale way last spring.   All the way over there, he said "I hope that this is not a waste of time."  All the way over there I am looking for Antique Shops and Garage sale signs, because after the train show I get to shop!!  I was disappointed because there were not many shops along the back roads that we took.  We are going to have to take a different route home if I am going to get any shopping in today.  We didn't get lost or anything, and traffic was reasonable. Our mission was clear  "The Helicopter Car" should be located and purchased.   We walked into the building and paid our 3 dollars each for a ticket and ten minutes later we walked back out...empty handed.  Far Guy was so disgusted, and dissapointed..we drove almost two hours for that?  He said "Well lets hit some Antique Shops."   So one by one we hit some new to us Antique Shops and some great little garage sales along Hwy 371.  One place was one of those there were only pathways..and one room led to the next..Far Guy kept walking..when the floor got real spongy under my feet I began to get claustrophobic..and retreated to the front door..I have never been in such a place in my entire life.  No old photos..but they did have a tame striped gopher that ate bird seed under the counter.  Then I hit a nice jackpot with old photos..and low and behold the next Antique Shop had two boxes of train "stuff"  ..Far Guy bought them both. I asked him how many cars were in the boxes.."Oh a couple, I didn't dig all the way through them."   It was a fun day, Chance had a good time watching for cows and barking at other dogs, we walked him several times throughout the day.

All the way home Far Guy speculated " What could possibly be in the boxes? "  All the way home I am hoping that he won't be disappointed.  I asked him "What if the old Desoto Car that you really want is at the bottom of that box..or the Helicopter Car?"  He said he would be so excited that he would wet himself.  I am going to have my camera ready!
 He unpacked the boxes in his old greenhouse/workshop,  the first one had lots of track, one building and two cars.  Not too bad.
The second box had a huge transformer..a bunch of odds and ends and fourteen cars..count them fourteen freaking cars.  Choo..choo.. I hear that train a coming..but we don't have room for all these cars after they are all cleaned up and presentable.. a few more cars on the old Lionel upstairs and it will catch itself coming and going.
Luckily he went potty as soon as we got home..because here is the car that holds the helicopter was found..maybe some other day.  He had this same car as a kid..fifty years ago.  I told him that this one looked broken, he said "It looks just as broken as mine used to and it still worked."
 A US Army Car.  It held missiles.  He will probably carve some out of wood.
 A Fire Car.  We will need to find a little guy to sit up in the chair to man the hose.

I have no idea what he is going to do..I do know that he has a few cars in this bunch that are really cool, and it will keep him busy half the winter fixing and repairing and cleaning them up.  Perhaps he needs a train cabinet, where the cars sit on pieces of track, and every day he takes out different train cars to play with:)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wildflowers: July 24, 2010

Time for some flowers! These photos now come complete with mosquito bites.  All the rain we have gotten has made the mosquitoes go just wild.  Far Guy got some stuff that you can use on horses for Chance, that is what the Vet recommended.  No kidding they are so bad that they fly in and out of your ears and your mouth..I would laugh my butt off if it snowed tomorrow and they all croaked. They are just as bad during the daytime as during the night..the only time they don't drive you nuts is when the wind is blowing ninety miles an hour.

One by- product of all the rain is a plant called Culver's Root or Veronicastrum virginicum.  It is a native plant and it is in the Snapdragon family.  The four fused petals make up the flower petals and they have two brown tipped stamens.  The flowers bloom from the bottom to the top.  This is the very first year that I have seen it on our property.  Usually it is found in wet ditches, I have seen this plant all over on the edges of the woods where I have never seen it before.  It must like all the rain.

Bouncing Bet or Soapwort or Saponaria officinalis is found all over blooming in clumps in the ditches.  It is a member of the Pink family.  It is a non native and the flower can vary from white to light pink in color.  I think the name is cool and I tried to get Adam to remember it last luck. When I asked him what it was called he said "Whatever you said before Grandma."  I guess I have no budding Horticulturists to tutor.

Grey-Headed Coneflower or Ratibida pinnata is a native plant.  It is one of those tall native prairie can be found in our yard, blooming its heart out.  It has droopy petals and the cone starts out grey until it fills with tiny brown flowers from the bottom of the cone and on up.

The Creeping Bellflower or Campanula rapunculoides is another non native plant. It is commonly found on old can be invasive.  A couple of years ago we had one plant that bloomed, last year we had none, and this year we have two.  Since it is nothing that we have planted, I will blame or thank the birds depending on how aggressive it is.  The flowers are located on one side of the stem is a very organized plant.

The Bee Balm is blooming prolifically along the ditches.  It is also called Wild Bergamot or Monarda fistulosa.  A native plant that is made up of a cluster of tubular little flowers, usually a light to medium lilac color. Bee Balm is in the mint family and has the characteristic square stem of the mints.

Have a good day everyone:)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hooked or Hooked Up?

I have Far Guy hooked on Garage Sales, ever since he found that one piece for his Lionel Train (The Depot)  for a whole dollar he has been "hooked."   There are many advantages to this situation, he straightens up the house, encourages me to accompany him and always takes his billfold, sometimes he even springs for lunch.
 Recently I have found some cool stuff, like the long legged and long armed Angel that hangs from a wreath outside the front door.  I really should attach her with a wire instead of just a red twist tie.  I have lots of "stuff" I hang from this wreath..all "stuff" bought at garage sales.
 I have a bare nail outside on the opposite side of the door..sometimes I hang a Christmas Wreath there..this summer I found this creation for a quarter or maybe it was fifty cents. It was a good deal.

Yesterday we were at a garage sale, Far Guy is always talking to people, he knows lots of people from the Hockey Arena, from the Air Guard and from growing up in the area. I cannot begin to remember the names of all the people he knows, sometimes he cannot remember their names either.  He will ask me "Do you have any idea who that was?"  This time it was one of his old girls friends..again..they talked and talked. I noticed he tried to walk away on several occasions, she just kept following him around.  I tried to drum up an equally exciting conversation with a perfectly good looking stranger in a red shirt with grey hair..and we spoke just for a minute or two, at which time he retreated hastily..perhaps I was a bit too exciting for him or maybe my days of batting my eyelashes are over.   I wandered back and forth, forth and back, Chance was in the car, I was tempted to join him..they talked and talked and laughed and I think I have this "thing" all figured out..either she is stalking him or they make prior arrangements to meet at garage sales.  When he finally escaped her clutches..he paid for my purchase and we went to the car and Far Guy said " I think we will have to stop meeting like this."

Well I have news for him, he can meet her at garage sales all he wants, as long as he keeps bringing along his billfold and keeps coming home with me :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chance: A High Chair

Hey, It it's me the blogging Border Collie! The other day we went to town. Far Side saw a new attraction outside the newest tourist trap and just had to stop and take a photo.
 Far Guy lifted me up and I waited patiently for a photo..what a bunch of malarkey but I am rather handsome...I did jump down all by myself!

 Far Side was not too impressed with all the sporting goods, seen one set of waders and you have seen them all, she has also seen every t shirt and sweatshirt that has Park Rapids Minnesota embroiderd on it, she wasn't real interested in the bait shop either. She did enjoy their northwoods room...and she thought that their signs outside were pretty cute. AND someone said "Hello" to them as soon as they walked inside..Far Side nearly this hardly ever happens in town:)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wistful Wednesday: 1920

This is a photo taken right around 1920. It is Far Guys Mom, Evelyn and her wild brother, Willard.   She seems to have control of him in this photo.  Recently he shared this story with me.

" I was pretty spoiled, and I had a mind of my own.  When I was supposed to come into the house when my Mother called for me,  I would take off running into the fields.  My Mother would send Evelyn after me, she would catch me and then sit on top of me and hold me down until my Mother got there, then I would get hauled off to the house, I got a whipping too..unless my Grandma Abbott was there, there wasn't a person around that could lay a hand on me if she was around." :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Who gave these people permission to drive on my road anyway, they ruined a perfectly good photo. This is a spot in the road where I like to stop and take a photo of the empty road and the surrounding fields.

 If I really zoom in with the camera it looks like this road is part roller-coaster. It used to be worse..small children who were inclined to be car sick would sometimes feel their tummies being tickled by the road..I believe it was Tami who came up with that saying..a long time ago, and now my Grand-girls use the same tummy tickling to describe the ride ..except some of them request "Drive really fast Grandma."

This road is in the opening chapters of Red Earth, White Earth, since I didn't see the movie I don't know if it was depicted correctly in the film or not.
For me it is just the road home, away from traffic, even if it is only a car or two, most people who I know anyway..who wave and smile, so I wave and smile back through clenched teeth..I like having the road all to myself:) 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Chance: I Got Mail!

I have an admirer, Far Side says I actually have a bunch of lucky can one Border Collie be anyway?  I have a admirer  named "Sarah" who would love it if I came to live with her.  Far Side and Far Guy are just not willing to part with me, the other day when I rolled in some fresh deer poop and turned partially green might have been a good time to go visit.  I bet Sarah wouldn't mind a bit.  It is nice to know I have some Minnesota friends!
 I got mail, from Danville, IL.  from Rae. Far Side says that Rae is a special lady whose best four legged friend, Piper went to the rainbow bridge last month.  It was a very, very sad time for Rae..but she is feeling a bit better now and went shopping for ME!    Rae sent me a package,  she said " A dog can never have enough balls! "
 Thanks Rae!
 I am living proof that there can be happiness after a great loss.  You see I followed the mourning that went on around here for three long lonely years after "Captain" died.  Far Side felt like her heart had been ripped out and stomped on..she feels a whole lot better now...because of me.  She will always have a special place in her heart for all her friends at the rainbow bridge, and someday I will have to go and leave her and Far Guy alone..they knew when they picked me out ( when I picked out Far Guy) that they would probably live much longer than me.

Today, they will throw my ball and I will run and chase it with wild abandon and then plop into my pool and run over to them and shake water droplets all over them..and they will smile.  No one is guaranteed a tomorow, not a dog, and not a human either:)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Grands: Savannah

Last night I braved the mosquitoes that are nearly as large as birds to check out the daylilies.   YES, there were two buds.  The daylilies out the kitchen window always signal the birthday of our oldest Granddaughter.  The year she was born I waited half the summer for my daylilies in North Dakota to bloom, and they did bloom the day she was born.  They are a strain of very old daylilies..some are red and some are orange, but as this year proves again..they must be celebrating Savannah's birthday!  It is uncanny how reliable they are, if I ever lost my calendar I could make an new one starting with today.
This mornings bloom! 

We sang Happy Birthday to Savannah on Friday. She said "I didn't think anyone was going to remember."  I made her a photo card from this photo that I took of her on July 01, 2010.
 I took another photo on Friday, she is growing up way too fast.  She is very responsible and takes charge of her sisters and the house for the summer.  She is a bright spot in our lives!  She was born fourteen years ago today.  Happy Birthday Savannah!  :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lake Windego

Yesterday we took Adam to meet up with his parents and his brother.  We kidnapped the grand-girls on the way and took off to Cass Lake.   Cass Lake has a number of islands.   One of them is called Star Island.  Inside the confines of Star Island is a spring fed lake called Lake Windigo.  Windigo is an Objbwe mythical creature with burning feet that could posses people and inspire cannibalism, Far Guy used to tell the girls this story around the campfire late at night when we were used to be accompanied with much squealing and them moving closer to me for safety.  Anyway Lake Windego is the ONLY lake in the Northern Hemisphere that is a spring fed lake enclosed by an island that is totally surrounded by a river fed lake.  Kinda cool. Should it ever be one of those trivia questions for a million dollars..remember where you heard it!
 Chance is pointing the way to Star Island.

We went ashore and had sandwiches for lunch and walked down to a pathway that went over to Lake Windego. 
 Lake Windego, Noah and Paige are teeny tiny specks in the distance. 

The kids and the dogs played there for quite some time, it is a very shallow can walk all the way across some parts of it.  Noah and Paige gave it a good try.  They were way too far away for my liking..finally Andy went out with them.  When they finally returned I was greatly relieved.  Jen kept saying "Mother they are fine, for goodness sakes they can stand up."  Well I guess they could ..but it didn't seem like it could be possible to me.  The shoreline is very abrupt on this lake, it goes from lake to a poision ivy filled shoreline  just like that..people were stacked up on chairs in the walkway.  Some people had their chairs sitting in the lake.

On the way back I stopped to take some photos in the walkway between the two lakes.
 Looking toward Lake Windego.
 Looking toward Cass Lake.

The kids went fishing..and Little Elvis had a nap.  It was a beautiful day to spend on the lake, it could have been less windy for Far Guy.  His short sleeved hooded sweatshirt was a blessing. It helped to keep the wind off of his face.   I took tons of photos.. the kids had a blast:)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Grands: Adam No Fun At All

The perils of staying with your elderly Grandparents. Huge tears began to roll down Adams face and he started to sob because he thought that both Far Guy and I had died simultaniously. Yes siree while lying in bed talking and obviously not hearing him calling for me in the other room, we had expired..both of us at the same time. He opened the door and immediately broke into tears..I said "Come here dude, what is wrong?" He replied "I thought you both died." Some hugs and assurances that it would be highly unlikely that we would both croak at the same time, a little tucking in and a reminder to say his prayers seemed to calm him down enough to finally get him to go to sleep, that and my promises not to leave the room..I had to get permission to go to the bathroom.

Yesterday we had a busy day, with two swimming adventures and a trip to a local tourist trap. Today we bring him back to his parents. During swimming last night he scraped his leg on the diving platform, for a moment I thought he might have been seriously hurt..instead I think he is just lonely and overly sensitive. His parents recently moved to a new house, sometimes a move makes kids more sensitive.
I glued his visions of a fish, a turtle and a vulture together. He showed me how he thought they should look..I thought they turned out quite nicely. He searched underwater for all the rocks for these designs, bringing me a few rocks at a time to save and bring home.
He told us he had no fun whatsoever..
Nope no fun at all..
He was bored to tears with his grandparents. His very old Granparents who could possibly croak at the same time..leaving him all alone with only Chance..who he said barked because there was a bear outside that was going to come in and kill him too..can you say DRAMA.:)