Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Chance: A Close Call and a Winner

It’s me!!  My turn again.  After errands yesterday we stopped by the lake to smell look around.

The sun was shining.  It was a beautiful day and 60 degrees above zero!! Straight Lake I smelled looked around.  I wandered out on the ice until Far Guy said  “ Far enough, that is as far as I want to wade.”  I wandered around..close to the edge.

Chance at Straight Lake

I got a drink, I was thirsty, and it was a warm day.  Far Side was sure I was going to end up in the water.  Then all of a sudden they were both hollering at me to “COME” as I was teetering on the edge…Far Side even put down her camera for a moment.  I didn’t fall in..cause I listened and came when called.


I wasn’t scared.  But..I learned later..that if one of those guys gets ahold of you they don’t let go.  I was getting my drink about four feet away from this guy.  He raised his head out of the water to look at smell me.

A snapping turtle

It is a Snapping Turtle..not a very big one but big enough.  WHEW..Far Side said “Let’s go.”  If you click on the first picture you might be able to see him right next to the boat ramp.

Now for the Winners!  We drove in the yard and Far Guy said “Looks like we got some winners!”

Chance declares a winner

The area voices local blog winners are Jess who guessed April 30 afternoon and Brenda who guessed April 28 afternoon.  No one guessed exactly right..so Far Side will send them both a carving. (Brenda we still need your address..we sent you an email.)

The blogspot winner is Birthday Gal Francine at Primitive Stars she guessed the ice would be gone on her birthday!  She has had a long winter too as she lives in Winterpeg.

Congratulations to all the winners!  Far Side and I will make a trek to the Post Office tomorrow!


Monday, April 29, 2013


The snow is melting quickly.  The fields are turning black and the ditches are full of water.


Far Guy says the snow stick is now an ice stick.


There is still an inch of “stuff” to melt.  A couple of days..or really sudden if it rains.  It hardly paid to rake and clean up the yard last fall.  The snow was so heavy that it brought down lots of twigs.

Shell Lake  April 28

This is Shell Lake.  My cousin Chuckie says that once the ice loses its snow cover it will be two weeks before the ice leaves the lake.  Shell Lake is getting close to being snow free..the whiter spots are still snow.  It will be touch and go to have the ice going out before Fishing Opener May 11th.

The rumor has it that the Governor will fish on the rivers if he cannot fish on area lakes:)

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Looking for open water

We took Jen and Andy through Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge yesterday.  Jen had not been there in years, and it was Andy’s first time there.  We go over there quite often, there is always something to see, it is one of our favorite drives.

Hooded Merganser

These Hooded Mergansers found a small pocket of water to swim in.

Trumpeter Swans

The Trumpeter Swans were putting on quite a show, there were another pair on a pothole nearby and they kept talking to each other.

Deer watching the Swans

There was a deer watching the swans..can you see him?  This was along the Ottertail River.


Further over on Tamarac Lake, the fisherman were out whilst the Swans were waiting for the ice to melt.


It was a beautiful day, it showed 72 degrees on our thermometer.  Andy and Noah carried the patio furniture out of the garage.  It was a pleasure to sit outside and soak up some sun! 

The snow stick had a massive melt of six inches yesterday:)Snow stick 3 inches

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Signs of Spring Finally

It was 53 degrees yesterday..two inches of snow melted at the snow stick!  We might have a winner in the next couple of days!


A Robin flitted in and out of our yard.

Robin April 26

Finally he/she stopped long enough for me to catch a photo.  Some of you who live where Robins are year round may not be impressed..but the first Robin of spring is a big deal here in Minnesnowda!


I am not certain when “She who sees Robin’s first” saw her first one..no doubt it was days ago!  Even though she lives more North than me..she always sees them first. 

Daughter Jen and I went out on a photo adventure last evening.  Just to see what was happening in the area.

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes out on the prairie.

Pussy Willows

Pussy Willows popping…a sure sign that spring might be on her way!

The weather people are forecasting 70 degrees for today..I am so looking forward to some warmth:)

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Making of the May Baskets

Every year I make May Baskets to give to my great nieces and nephews on May Day.  It is a tradition.  I grew up making May Baskets to deliver to neighborhood friends young and old. 

Simply..you make a basket and fill it with some kind of a treat..a flower or candy.  You hang it on the neighbors door knob.. knock on the door or ring the door bell if you have fancy neighbors..then run before they catch you and kiss you.

I encourage you to make just one basket to share!  You still have time.

May Baskets one

I had on hand some red plastic cups and some stickers..oh and pens..I have lots of colored sharpies.  I purchased the lime green paper because it reminds me of green grass, I cut out some hearts.  Nothing fancy just fold a piece of paper in half and cut out a pattern. I decorated the hearts and put the kids names on them..it is always nice to get something with your name on it when you are little. I glued the hearts to the cup.  I also purchased some red chenille stems to use for handles.

May Baskets two

I used a hole punch to make some holes in the cup so I could  secure the chenille stem and form it into a simple handle.

Then I filled them with candy..and put them in a muffin tin to keep them upright until I deliver them on May Day.

Easy peasy…perfect little May Day baskets.  I hope you will join me celebrating the coming of May.   If you haven’t heard of this tradition..it’s okay..you can help spread the word:)

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Nesting Material

I bought an extra suet cage at the farm supply store.  I cut up pieces of yarn and collected some dryer fuzz for nesting material.

If nothing else it provides a spot of color in the yard.

nest materials

The next time I brush the black and white wonder dog I will add some of his fur.

Far Guy braved the snow banks and cleaned out all the Blue Bird and Chickadee houses.  If you go out when it is early morning you can walk on top of the snow banks.

Yesterday morning Chance was outside laying in front of the window when a huge Hawk swooped down and tried to grab something in the snow bank..either a bird or perhaps a mouse.   Chance and I looked at each other “Did you see that?”  The Hawk sat in a tree for a long time..switching his tail up and down..he was high in the trees so my photo did not turn out at all.  I finally went outside to see if I could get a better photo and he flew off..it was a hawk..which one remains unknown.

We still have snow at the snow stick.

We lost an inch of snow at the snow stick yesterday.

Snow stick 8PM

The trees are absorbing heat and melting snow.  In a couple of days it is supposed to be 60 degrees..ya sure..I have to see it to believe it..maybe in town where the concrete warms up everything:)

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wistful Wednesday: A party 30 years ago

April 26, 1983.   Far Guy left every morning about 6:30 for work.  Shortly before he left the phone rang.  He answered..oh no.  His Grandmother had died.

Tracie was 87 years old, she had been diagnosed with Liver Cancer and had died in the hospital.  It was a good thing.  She did not want to go to the Nursing Home, that was one of her greatest fears.  I was happy for her..happy she escaped “the home” ..but sad..because we would miss her.

Both of Far Guys paternal grandparents died in the same hospital, on the same floor, fifteen years apart.  They had been married for 54 years..just six weeks shy of 55 years when Grandpa died in 1968.

The past two winters I have transcribed Tracie’s diaries from 1911, 1912 and 1913.  I have poured over family history, scanned photos and all the things she kept and treasured for years and years. 

Bottoms Up Toes Up

She had quite a sense of humor.  This was one of the newspaper clippings she kept.

Just a few nights ago, I finished entering the last family obituary..it seems I am a collector of “things” too.  Obituaries are wonderful sources of family information. 

I am left with 13 years of farm journals from 1916 to 1929, written by Far Guy’s Grandpa and some entries are by his Grandmother too.  They are in a manila envelope in my desk drawer.  They are written in pencil, it will take some time to transcribe them.  I have not decided if I will scan them or transcribe them..or both.  They belong to cousin Bonnie, if she allows me to keep the farm diaries for yet another year perhaps I can wrap up this project.

So that all family members could follow this project I started a private family blog.  So it is online, safe and sound and someday when I am finished with it, it will be a book.

Our youngest kid

Grandma wrote on the back of this photo “Our youngest kid.”  This pump stood right outside the front step and the porch on the west side of the house that was covered in vines.

Tracie henderson

She had one of those old photo booth photos taken sometime in the late 1940’s when ladies still wore hats.   I imagine she sent some of those photos that come in that long strip to her sisters.

Are you wondering about the party yet?  Grandma always told me “When you get to heaven, there is one big party and I am looking forward to it.”  She always loved a party:)

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

For the birds

Ya..the weather is still for the birds..but it didn’t snow yesterday…practically a miracle..but then the sun did not shine either.

The Junco’s have arrived.

Juncos are here

In my opinion they come with the spring snow storms.  They are ground feeders and clean up under the feeders.  They are working their way north.

I was out playing ball with you know who..

Who was hiding behind a snow bank.

Chance waiting for me to throw the ball

Silly boy.

I have been stalking a male Red-Bellied Woodpecker who is very camera shy.  Yesterday a female flew in ..a hungry female.

Red Bellied Woodpecker a female

She has a spot of red above her beak and her red hood doesn’t come all the way up her head.


She is a pretty little thing..the male is larger.  Maybe they will stick around and have babies!  They are a bit north of their year round area.  I am pleased as punch to see a pair.

Far Guy moved the turkey feeding area further down along the driveway.  They were starting to come closer to the house and peck on the windows and leave presents on the patio.

One of Chance’s acquaintances a chipmunk returned and took up residence in the woodpile.  Which provides said Border Collie with hours of recreation:)

Snow Stick Report:

Almost 13 inches of snow April 22

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Big Flakes

The snow came down in huge flakes yesterday. One day of sun is followed by one day of snow.

We went up North to visit the birthday girls and go out for lunch.  As we walked out of the restaurant someone said “Looks a lot like Christmas.” Sad but true.


The roads were terrible on the way home.  Slushy and icy.

Our weather has not been “right” up here in Minnesota since that earthquake in Japan a few years back that moved the earth on it’s axis.

13 inches of snow April 21

It didn’t warm up enough to rain.

I didn’t move the snow shovel away from the house, I didn’t pack away my parka, boots and gloves( I will need them for work)..I didn’t do anything to cause this horrid weather.

I am officially on the back to work count down. Nine days to finish up my list here at home. I am NOT looking forward to spending time in an unheated building, I hope the weather warms up a tad before May 1st..whatever the outside temperature is..that will be the temperature inside the museum.   I have an electric heater for my office but with 10 feet ceilings it takes a long time to warm up:(

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cooking New Stuff

We cooked some new foods recently.  We seem to eat the same things in rotation..it was time to add something new.   Our daughter Jen is an adventurous cook and readily shares her successes with us.

Sloppy Joe Philly Cheese Steak

brown one pound of hamburger

add onion

1/2 cup of beef stock or broth

2 Tablespoons A1 Steak Sauce

Simmer till reduced, spoon onto buns and top with cheese..I threw them in the oven to melt the cheese..they were very good and we will make them again. We only used half of the hamburger mixture, I froze the rest so we will have a quick meal in the future. Next time I will use French bead and cut out some of the center to make a nest for the hamburger mixture..it will be less messy that way. I used Provolone Cheese..next time I will use Monterey Jack.

Far Guy is not a soup eater…but Jen made a soup that he liked.

Chicken Tortilla Soup.

I cooked up some chicken breasts until they were tender

Then add:

I can of Cream of Chicken Soup

I can of chicken broth

1 can of black beans

1 can corn

2 Tablespoons Taco seasoning ( I will reduce this amount next time)

1/2 can of green chilies

1 can of diced tomatoes..I didn’t have tomatoes so we added some salsa instead.

I did not like that soup..my stomach has compartments and corn and black beans would never ever go down together.

I make my own vegetable soup …now Far Guy can have his soup and I can have mine. We freeze individual servings. It is nice having stuff in the freezer that is easy to prepare when neither of us wants to cook, especially after I go back to work. 

Next week I will make enough baked beans to last the summer..it is the last thing on my “what I need to cook before going back to work list.”

Here is the snow stick report.  It may rain tomorrow…it has to warm up to rain:)


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Life at the river

We went for a ride shortly before sunset last night.  Chance is ever vigilant looking out his window..for him one last game of ball after supper and a ride cap off a perfect day.

It didn’t snow yesterday!!

Dead Beaver area is just about two miles from our house and it is a favorite area of ours.  I named it Dead Beaver Area the year that we saw a beaver struggling and then dying in a trap.

The beavers are alive and well this year..

Beavers work area

This is their work area.

Ducks taking off

These ducks took off.

Ducks in the air

Not perfect photographs..but at least they are not total blurs.


Some kind of water fowl taking off and a Bufflehead Duck in the lower right corner.

As you can see we still have plenty of snow.  The sun was out all day long but it looked warmer than it was. My parents came out for lunch.  I worked on some wood carvings, Far Guy made a couple of woodcarving knives.  We just putzed the whole day away.

Swans on the river

A pair of Swans came down the river.  We drove around some of the back roads and came home just as the sun was setting.  It sets way North now..since we still have snow it doesn’t seem right..but it is what it is. 


No field work being done yet.  I am sure the farmers are just as anxious as everyone else to have spring.  I hope you have spring where you live..enjoy it for me too! :)

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Friday, April 19, 2013


Yesterday we had a winter storm warning.  It snowed and blowed.  Seems it snows just about everyday. Kinda like the monsoons that we used to have every afternoon when we lived in Florida …just to bring the humidity level up a bit.   Perhaps we are having snowsoons.  Snows everyday anyway might as well have a word for it.  The snowsoons have me standing at the window watching it snow..and remarking “Looky that more snow, goody goody.”

We went out for supper..good to get out and see a couple of different faces.  She who see Robins first and my other baby brother who has been real busy joined us. 

The roads were a real treat on the way home.

Snow April 18 

This is what a ground blizzard look like.  The snow drifts over the road and makes it all icy and you cannot tell where the road begins and ends.


This is a corner..follow the weeds on the edge of the road…as soon as we could we got off the road and took a dirt back road the rest of the way home.

Here is the snow stick report.

Snowstick 13 inches

Thirteen inches of snow at the snow stick.  At the rate of an inch a day we are still looking at May 1st..unless it rains but it has to warm up to do that.  It is cold during the day..in the 30’s and in the 20’s at night. Wintery.  This is the 6th month and 14th day of snow.

Most everyone I talk with is as discouraged as I am, and they cannot wait for winter to be over.  Misery loves company I guess..at least I know I am not alone:)

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