Friday, September 30, 2011

Birthday Loot

I promised I would tell you what I got for my birthday.  Of course what I asked for wasn’t just something that is found in every 5 and 10 cent store anymore..years ago perhaps.

I asked for a Shiny Brite Tree Topper.
Far Guy found it’s original box!

Here is some of my loot.
The old photographs are from my daughter Jen along with one of my favorite treats Chipsters..potato chips covered in chocolate…they are not in the photo..I put them in the fridge:)

The sunflower bowl and the sunflower table runner are gifts from Jo.

I got a pair of orange crocs from my parents and some money.  I bought a cookbook that I had my eye on all summer.  It is a collection of recipes from all the Hubbard County Homemakers’ Clubs from their Christmas Fair Booklets 1967 to 1985. I do know some of those cooks.  Far Guy got his hopes up for just a few seconds..he thought I would make some of the recipes in the book.  Not real likely as I just like to read cookbooks.

I got cards in the mail and many wonderful birthday wishes on Facebook and here on the blog..Thanks everyone for your good wishes!  I think I have finally accepted the idea that I am now sixty and older than dirt.  That would be just regular dirt..not the guy known as Dirt who is married to Lanny:)
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Free at Last

I am done going into the Museum! I worked only a partial day on Tuesday!  ( I had three and a half days of comp time coming.)  Free Time here I come!  They have retained me to work on a limited basis for the next seven months.  I will be answering their emails, writing their blog, and returning phone messages.  ALL of which can be done from home..clad in my jammies at my leisure…no makeup required.   I am happy as a clam..nope maybe happier.

When I went outside this morning, Chance came running to the door to be let in and he laid down at the step…he is a creature of habit.  He was rather mystified that I spent the entire day with him..and we went for several rides…which is one of his favorite things to do.  

Tuesday night we noticed that there was a large amount of dust in the air.  We went to investigate what was causing the dust bowl conditions.

Dust Bowl Beans


The Corporate Farmers were harvesting the beans.


Dust Bowl Beans Two

What a mess…Far Guy was very irritated.  Usually the wind is whipping along the prairie..that night it was still with very little air movement, what there was came from the all that crap in the air came to our house.  They finished yesterday morning and have moved a mile down the road. Thank goodness.

I have so much free time now, I don’t quite know where to start or which project to tackle first.  I am sure I will figure it out..I must make a list!  The Museum closes for the winter on Friday..and will be closed until May.  Since the building has no heat no one can work there during the winter..well I suppose a snowman would find the working conditions to his liking:) 

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wistful Wednesday: 1952

This is a photograph of me and my Grandma D.  in the spring of 1952.   This is a picture of my Mothers Mother.  She lived a good long time, and probably would have lived longer if my grandfather hadn’t died.  He was much older than she was ( 8 years)..he died and in two months and three days she was gone too.  They both died in 1995, Grandpa was 92 and Grandma was 84.  I was 44 years old that year. 

Elsie and Connie 1952 (2)

It was Grandma’s birthday last Monday, her birthday is just six days after mine…I like to think that perhaps I was an early(40th) birthday gift..but she was seven months pregnant with twins at the time.

I loved my Grandma very much…and she knew it, and she loved me too.  When she died, they made her up kinda fancy lying there in the casket.  Makeup and bright red lipstick with her hair all fluffed up. She didn’t look anything like my grandma. Except for her hands they couldn’t change them..she had pudgy little fingers and hairy arms…I said goodbye to those hands and arms, with the familiar ring and the watch that made marks on her arm.

She was a wonderful cook and she was happiest cooking  and baking.  There was always food in the pantry, usually a cake..a spice cake with raisins and brown sugar frosting..or Lemon Bars.  There were jars and jars of canned goods..she always sent a jar of pickles home with me..she knew I liked them and the yellow string beans..those were the best beans ever!   She made dressing (stuffing) with raisins and apples at Thanksgiving and Christmas.   She made fresh peas and new potatoes in white sauce.. yummy!  She made cole slaw with slices of apple, and Sauerkraut that was to die for!  A pork sausage that I used to watch her and grandpa run through the meat grinder into a tub where it was mixed with spices and then stuffed into the empty intestines that were cut and tied every so often. I can still taste that sausage in my mind..I have never found another ring sausage that even compared to theirs. Elsie  (2)

Grandma cooked at the church, she was very active and it seemed like she was always helping out someone by cooking and serving at a wedding or a funeral.

This year I was 60, and Grandma would have celebrated her 100th birthday.  She was born September 26, 1911 and died October 17, 1995. 

I am sure she would be pleased that I remember her for all the good food I associate with her, all the flavors of summer with fresh garden ingredients, the bountiful fall harvest and the preserved and canned foods for winter meals:) 

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011


We went up to Thief River Falls Minnesota to a train show on Sunday.  We drug the Grand boys and their parents with us.   Far Guy even won a subscription to a Train magazine.

Train Show in Thief River Falls

Since I worked on Saturday..we missed the first day of the was held in a Hockey Arena.  That is an old Marx train headed into the silver trestle.  The show was okay, not fantastic..but sometimes it is all about the networking..I met two very talkative men and found out about a few train shows coming up in North Dakota and in Canada.  The Antique Shops were all closed on Sunday..but Dairy Queen was open! 

Big Train

We stopped for a photo op, the train displayed is very much like the train engine that Far Guy has upstairs. 

What were we looking for at the Train Show?  I was looking for cows with little stands that have little bumps on them.. Far Guy was just is interesting to see what different people have.  I think Far Guy bought an O scale truck that he will fix up and repurpose. If I had known how much his train collection was going to grow..we would have designed a room around a train set.

One of Far Guys friends from high school gave him his old train set from the 1950’s… a whole train set..can you believe it?  I couldn’t, I said “Surely he wants it for his grands?”  Apparently not..  Far Guy will just have to build more shelves.  He has lots of new to him “stuff” up there…someday I will take more photos and count all his train cars.  Pre war..HO and O..I am getting to know all this train talk:)

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Chance : Happiness

Happiness is playing ball with your best friends.

Happy Dogs

Little Elvis, Me and Miney

Happiness is being too big to carry up the slide.


Noah and Little Elvis

Happiness is resting next to your bestest dog friend.


While keeping one eye on the ball.

And one eye on Little Elvis.

Elvis on the slide

As he zips down the slide:)

***No dogs were harmed on the slide, after a couple of times Little Elvis hid behind Far Side to escape his next turn.  Noah and Adam showed remarkable teamwork, Noah took Little Elvis to the top of the slide and Adam waited at the bottom.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I wonder if either of the Grandboys will be called stretch..or spider..or beanstalk.

You can almost see them grow.

IMG_6474 (2)

Noah is taller than his Mother and gaining on his Father and little brother isn’t far behind.  I wonder  who will be taller..


Way to go tall one!  Stretch yourself so you can grow even taller.

Adam Sept 24 2011

This short one marches to his own drummer, he is a constant source of laughter for me. Out of about a hundred of the group photos..there are only a handful that his Mother found acceptable..the rest of them made me laugh out loud.

It was a beautiful evening, the golden light of fall highlights Noah face while he balances high in a tree. 

Noah  Sept 24 2011

Seventh grade is an adventure.  I asked him what his favorite subject was..he replied “Science.”   He likes Junior High because of the lunch period and  because you don’t have to be escorted by a teacher if you are in the hallway. He also told just can’t be tardy.  The first week of school he was tardy..but it didn’t count because you are just a seventh grader and it is your first week.  He is the tallest kid in his class:)

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chance: I Rule or is it drool

drool.  I cannot help it.  I am a wet mouthed dog. I drool in the car on the seat, I drool on the steering wheel, I leave wet spots on the dash..and then I put my wet nose on the window.  Sometimes I roll down my own window and drool outside.

I drool on my ball, it gets all soggy. Some people will only throw the ball once or twice..some people don’t like drool.

Many times after a strenuous game of ball outdoors I am told “Lay down and cool off.”   I think that might be a polite way to let me drool outdoors on the patio all by myself. 

Chance Drools

I drooled on the car..the car needs to be washed:)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hello Fall

The Northern Red Oaks are turning color.  We have a few in our driveway.

Red Oak Leaves

Hello Fall.  I guess you are officially here.  Chance is our very own personal leaf carrier..his big old fluffy tail is like a leaf catcher.

I watched this tree change color.  It is along the road on my way to work.


One day Far Guy slowed down so I could get a photo.  I have always thought this was a Maple.  Turns out it is a Buckeye according to my cousin Chuckie.  I have never stopped along the road to get a closer look…too much traffic.  It is the very first tree to color up in our area.  It stands all naked now..the wind and rain has denuded it.  We don’t have very many Buckeyes in this area…too cold during the winter..but this one is a beautiful survivor.

In the next few days the Fall color will peak in our area:)

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Counting Down

I have 3 1/2 days left..3 1/2 work days till some morning jammie time and afternoon adventures.

I heard through the grape vine, that they want me to stay on part time over the winter, writing their blog, answering their emails and collecting the mail and phone messages.  Since most of that can be done from home..I might be talked into it. Might.   We might be able to negotiate some type of contract. My contract ends at the end of this renegotiation is in order.

I have been asked if the Board Members read my blog..they may..they may not.  So far they have not left any comments.

I am busy, clearing up loose ends..taking volunteers to lunch, giving Cub Scout Tours and freezing my butt off. The high today was 52..and windy and was not much above 52 in the building.

This is a corner of the Heritage Room. We have a swinging cradle with wheels, two rocking chairs, a parlor organ and a table with glass balls on it’s claw feet and a dusty old rug. 

Far Guy came in to volunteer today, he vacuumed ( he finally understands my vacuum cleaner complaints) and made sure all the storm windows were down and in place and locked.  Tess came in to work on an ongoing project.  Sentence to Serve came in and washed windows in the basement..this time with two guards..and a few more women in this STS group..who had apparently never washed a window in their life. ( Just my observation..since they used the one sheet at a time paper towel method..S..L..O..W..L..Y… first in clockwise circles then in counterclockwise circles ) I had to leave the room, I exited biting my lip..where do these people come from..oh right STS.  I am always temped to ask..what did you do?  I figured this group was a little more dangerous than the last group..just a vibe..or maybe it was the two guards that put me on edge. Perhaps the women fight and pull hair..that could be why they need two guards. 

It pissed me off today..yes sometimes I get pissed sue me.  Someone took one of my cheater know the 39 cent plug that converts a three prong to a two prong.  The wiring is old.  I splurged and bought I will have to get two more..because when you are down to will soon have none. 

Gus the Ghost has calmed down a bit..I think he will miss me over the winter..I think he may be depressed.   He sabotaged one of the ancient garage sale vacuum cleaners and almost started it on smoke was everywhere.  One more vac bites the dust..that would be the number 4 garage sale vacuum.  Perhaps if all the board members would have chipped in on a new one, I would have one decent one:)
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Here is the link to The Hubbard County Historical Museum Blog.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wistful Wednesday : 1952 or 1953

Alaska Guy is Far Guys cousin.  He spends a third of his life in Alaska, a third in Arizona and a third in Hawaii.  He is not married at the moment.  Although he has a “gal” and we have met her( she is a doll.)  He flew in and out to see his Dad ( Far Guys Uncle).  Alaska Guy is a pilot…so he comes and goes at will.  He is footloose and fancy dogs or cats..

Barry Abbott 

I knew Alaska Guy before I knew Far Guy.  You see Alaska Guy lived kitty corner from our farm.  He lived in a little house behind his grandparents house. He was a year older than me and his sister was a year younger.  We played together all the time.

In 1954 or 1955 it was their house that I was running off to for an afternoon adventure. Knowing I was not supposed to walk anywhere near the highway,I took off into the pasture where I promptly got my britches stuck in the barbed wire and could not get loose. There I hung by the britches, until my Mother noticed my red scarf bobbing up and down. My feet would not touch the ground, I couldn’t get unstuck no matter what I tried. Barbed wire and having short legs ruined my afternoon adventure.

Alaska Guy had his hip done two years ago..he would call and talk for hours.  He must have had good drugs because he doesn’t remember calling us.

When he was here on Sunday he and Far Guy talked about hips, old classmates, when they were little, cars and planes.  It is good to spend an afternoon just talking to one of your cousins.

If you ever fly from Phoenix to Honolulu this may be your pilotSmile

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Well the name of the blog is NOT changing.  When I began to blog apparently I did not have the forethought to wonder what it should be called if I lived to be over 59 years old.   60 is still the Far Side of Fifty as far as I am concerned.

Connie second birthday

I am now “older than dirt.”   A long time ago when I was younger I thought anyone older than 50 was ancient. As I grew older I adjusted that to be I am there and no matter how much I would like to make that adjustment I cannot.

Logically I should just accept the fact that I am no longer a spring chicken and have become an old bird. Sometimes a cranky old bird.


I never ever thought I would reach 50 years old..60 was not even a possibility.   Yet here I am.  I should have been more prepared.

My other baby brother and “she who sees robins first” took us out on Saturday evening for a Prime Rib dinner to celebrate my birthday.  My other baby brother said “If you are turning 60 the least I can do is buy you dinner.” It was yummy!  In 9 years when he is 60 I will return the favor. ( Goodness gracious I will be on the cusp of 70 by then. Perhaps I should tuck 50 bucks away in an envelope marked other baby brothers sixtieth birthday steak, just incase I croak before his big day.)

I am not certain what wonderful thoughtful gift I will get from my husband.  Chance may have been shopping too, that dog is resourceful.  I heard my daughter was gifted a Waffle Iron for turning 36.  Romance runs rampant with birthday gifts up here in the Northland:)

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Monday, September 19, 2011

This n That

It was a rainy day yesterday..we went south of Detroit Lakes to give Jen a hug for her birthday and enjoy breakfast with her. She was at her annual Fall Scrapbook Retreat.  Last year I attended with both of my daughters, this year I had to work.

We had lunch at the park in Osage with members of the Fire Department.  The food was great, it rained the entire time we were there. After all that food I needed a nap!  So nap I did. What else do you do on a rainy Sunday afternoon anyway?

Far Guy visited with his cousin Alaska Guy..I heard them talking but I can sleep through just about anything. We have not seen Alaska Guy for quite some time.  His Father’s health is failing, he is sleeping most all of the time, when he is awake he is day he asked his wife who she was..she replied “ I am your wife.”  He said “Really?”  She replied “We had seven children together..I should know if I am your wife or not.”  The other day he escaped from the apartment building..someone found him wandering outdoors and brought him back home.  He is 94 years old.

We skipped supper..and went for a drive because the rain stopped.

Sunset over the corn field

We watched the sun disappear under the clouds up on the prairie.

We stopped by the neighbors and got some onions. Barb shared her onions with Far Guy.   They have a very pretty Border Collie named Maggie.


She is shy around people she doesn’t know.  The opposite of Chance, who thinks everyone is his long lost friend.  I never did get to pet her, even after I threw the ball for her and  a ball crazy Boston Terrier.    Maggie is about the same size as Chance.  He barked at her from inside the car and drooled on my seat.

Far Guy came home and cleaned  his onions, chopped them all up and put them in freezer containers to use all winter. He only had to stop a few times to wipe his eyes:)

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Sunday, September 18, 2011


Someone is 36 today.


She has always loved the water. I used to worry about her and water, especially when she was little.  She wore a life jacket as part of her summer uniform when she was a little girl.  One time I let her and her sister near a pool in Havre Montana without life jackets on.   It was hot, they went swimming, the pool was fairly deep..there they were in the center of the would bob up and the other would bob down. Eventually they would have drown each other..but their Mother showed much bravery and jumped in fully clothed and saved them from each other.


I taught her to float..and to dog paddle.  I spent hours at the kiddie pool.  She took every swimming class she could take.  She became a Life Guard and then a Swimming Instructor.  She always had some part time Guard or Instructors job during High School and College.

Relaxing Jen

She loves “her” time on the water.  It helps to renew her watery spirit.   Happy Birthday Jen:)

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

“Better lookout Gramma”

That is what Maddie said last weekend.  I was walking along in the water along the shore of Lake Windigo enjoying the sun and taking some photos of some Asters.

Asters at Cass lake

This one I have seen before…some kind of Stiff Aster.

Huge flowered Aster at Cass Lake

This one is very large flowered, I have not seen this Aster before.  Some butterflies and bees were buzzing around.  Jen was off in the kayak.  Chance had a red squirrel chattering at him from high in a tree..I don’t know where Far Guy was…off doing important guy stuff I guess.

Maddie said “Gramma, you better lookout, there are lots of gardener ( garter ..Maddie has always called them gardener ) snakes along the trails.  They won’t hurt you or anything but it feels kinda funny when they run over your feet. See.. there is a little one now..Chance doesn’t like them.”

Maddie and a new haircut sept 11 2011

Ohh Maddie thank youuu for ssssharing.

She said “I figured you would wanna know..since snakes freak you out a little.” ( That would be an understatement..freak me out a lot perhaps..just a little.. not me…it is all or nothing.)

Do not pass go, do not collect your 200 dollars..go back to the safety of the pontoon at the other lake not wet your pants either.


From Cass Lake looking at the path that leads to Lake Windigo. I made it safely back to the boat without having anything run over my feet and without screaming or bawling or peeing my pants..I did good:)

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Noisy Birds

The Sandhill Cranes are in the grain are the Canada Geese.  Everyone must be bulking up for the trek south.

Sandhill Cranes

We stopped to watch these one evening.  They have fluff on their behinds that reminds me of a fancy ladies bustle.

Sandhill Cranes closer Sept 11

They are reasonably elegant with their long legs and long necks..and then they shriek..nothing ladylike about that karr.o..o.o..a..a..a. ( Their call may be reminiscent of something prehistoric.)

A whole “construction", "dance", "sedge", "siege", or "swoop" of cranes calling is enough to make you say “What in the world is that noise?”  Chance looked at them as if to say “What kind of weird bird is that?”

Aldo Leopold conservationist and writer called Sandhill Cranes  “ wilderness incarnate.”

A new day has begun on the crane marsh. A sense of time lies thick and heavy in such a place. ... The cranes stand, as it were, upon the sodden pages of their own history.
Aldo Leopold,“Marshland Elegy,” A Sand County Almanac

These birds were almost extinct in the early 1900’s.   They were very slow to recover. They are large birds with a wing span of up to seven feet and they can weigh 5 to  8 pounds.


I had not seen a Sandhill Crane until a few years ago.  Now it is common to see them in the fields in the spring and in the fall.  I heard today that several swoops spent the summer about 10 miles south of us. 

They are making progress:)

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