Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wistful Wednesday: The Grain Bin

Back in 1998  the grain bin was put together piece by piece.  It was just like a big jigsaw puzzle.  It was a team effort one of us would be on the outside shoving the bolts inside where they got a nut, then they got tightened up whilst the person on the inside held the nut in place with a box end wrench.

During the winter 1998/1999 while wintering in Florida we ran onto a fishing net on a private beach.  We dug part of the net out one day, got too tired and hot and returned the next day to finish digging it out. We let it dry out and shook most of the sand from it, but it was still really heavy.  It was draped around the grain bin in the spring of 1999.

Like I said before we use the grain bin for storage.  Lord only knows what is really in there.

Grain Bin 2000

This photo was taken in 2000.  We edged the bin garden with little logs of Oak.

Grain Bin 2000 view two

This was the year we planted Morning Glory ‘Heavenly Blue’ around the whole thing.  Too bad I didn’t get a photo when they were in bloom.

Grain Bin 2001 

This was the other side of the grain bin the year I ordered too many Non Stop Begonias.  Someplace I have some photographs of the Honeysuckle Trumpet Vine that grew wonderfully a few years..then it got a bug and died.  I tried to grow fancy varieties of Clematis to climb up that homemade ladder several years with no luck.  My two old lumberjack saws have been retired to the garage.

Grain Bin July 26 2013


The old fishing net is still there.  The vine Clematis paniculata or Sweet Virgin’s Bower is growing well and is beginning to spread northward.

Virgins Bower

It is in full bloom now, it smells wonderful.   Originally I got this “start” of a plant from my good friend Faye.  The vine dies back to the ground every year, it sends up new shoots every spring which we try to help by tucking it into the old fishing net:)

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Company from Indiana, Oregon and Oklahoma has kept us busy the past few days.

Monday my baby brother and his wife and their daughter helped us pick raspberries at our cousins U pick.  Our cousin has a raspberry patch where years ago my Great Grandparents lived and  farmed.  The raspberries are a little late this year because of the cold spring.


If you listen you could almost hear the corn grow.


The clop clop swish swish of the horse drawn wagons is always a sound I enjoy.


Seems like a much simpler life to me.

We secured 18 pints of raspberries, I put them on cookie sheets and freeze the berries individually.  When they are frozen I put two servings in freezer bags for next winter when I need a taste of summer.  Raspberries are $2.00 a pint here, how much are they in your neck of the woods? :)

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Theatre, Opera and a Whine

The Theatre was really enjoyable, one of my cousin’s daughters had a part in Dixie Swim Club..what a hoot.  Even Far Guy enjoyed it.

But the Opera..oh Lordy.  B.O.R.I.N.G. I kept falling asleep.  The group scenes were wonderful but the scenes with two singers singing forth and back, back and forth..just lulled me to sleep. Three hours of singing was a tad much for me to endure. Far Guy and I concurred that if we had been there by ourselves we would have left at intermission and saved ourselves some misery. We had four friends in the production and one relative…they all performed is not their fault that we have little or no appreciation of really fine musical productions.

I was supposed to have Saturday off to attend a family reunion..but no one volunteered to work for me.  Such is life.  Today my supposed day off is full of meetings and programs late in the day. I am tired.  Last week was pretty much “hell week” at the museum…early openings because of the rummage sale…not enough volunteers to go around…board members that assured me they would show up but “forgot.”  They forget that they are supposed to be part of a team, and a team is only as strong as it’s weakest link. I am  real tired of leading the blind and there is no way I can send enough messages to the one with dementia, the two in absentia are no help at all and one shows up every Tuesday to tell me he is way too busy to be bothered with museum “stuff.”  That leaves me with two active Board members…thank goodness for those two.  2/7 is better than 0/7

Have you ever thought you were in a real slow boat headed nowhere?:(IMG_0519

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Going Buggy

Jen found me a bug, she was playing bug scout. ( What did you do this weekend?  Oh I wandered around looking for bugs for my Mother to photograph.)

Little Bug

Then the entire bug committee was called in to argue..spider, grasshopper or praying mantis.

Bug advisory committee

I don’t has been a long week.  It is a bug. A cute little bug. As you can tell by the bug committee’s wardrobe it is still a tad chilly here in Minnesota.


Even the bugs are cold, I think this guy was shivering:)

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Saturday, July 27, 2013


Far Guy has his tomatoes in a wagon.

Tomatoes July 17

He likes to put them in a wagon so that he can wheel them into his garage if the weather turns wicked. They have some flowers and some small tomatoes.  I told him to lop the tall one off… he ignored me.

We saw a great little wagon at the fair.

Wagon at the Fair

It has turned real cool here. Cool as in high of 65 F or 18 C yesterday, with an overnight low of 46 F or 7 C.  Just a tad chilly for July in Minnesota.  Of course it is still warm in the museum from the hot weather last week.  It has been a very busy week at the museum with Silent Movies, Root Beer Floats on Main Street and a Rummage Sale in the basement.  With the cool weather many people have found their way to the museum.  Nine weeks left… the countdown has begun:)

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Chasing Rainbows

There was a line of thunderstorms headed our way one night.  We took off in the rain to get on the other side of it to look for a rainbow…or the pot of gold.

It was raining really hard, and the rain was cold.  Far Guy said something about “Let the wet T Shirt contest begin.”  Funny man I married.  Anyways we waited..then the rain let up a bit and the bow started to first you think your eyes are playing tricks on you..but then the bow gains color.

Bow one

This was a double bow.  Even Chance was excited..I wonder if he saw what we did?  Possibly he was just excited because we were oohing and ahhing.

Bow one continued

Yessiree that pot of gold is at Barb and Rogers.

top of the bow

Here is the top of the bow proof that it went all the way over.

Double Rainbow

My best shot of the double bow.  That pot of gold was in Donnie’s lake.

So much for date night this week…chasing bows with my best beau:)

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Chance : Stranger Danger

Hiya!  It is me Chance.  I am in charge today! Far Side is really busy at the museum this week.  She says the ducks should be in a row but a crisis can appear at any moment.  I could help her herd those ducks..but I heard a rumor that I will be allowed to help greet people for a little while one day this week!!  I love being the official greeter! My tail wags ninety miles an hour when I see someone come in the door..then I sit to be petted.  Some people don’t like least that is what Far Side says..I don’t understand why ..but I guess it is true.  If someone is afraid of dogs, I can usually win them over. 

I don’t have stranger danger, I love everyone.  When I was very little I was raised with a family with lots of little kids.  When Far Guy and Far Side took me home they took me everywhere and let all kinds of people touch me and pet me..big hands and little hands, I also spent time in the nursing home visiting..until they got their own dog.  I am not afraid of automatic doors or wheel chairs or walkers.  At the nursing home I would always sit nicely to be petted.

The beautiful Miney has stranger danger.  Miney belongs to my sister.  Miney loves Far Guy and Far Side…but anyone one else is a stranger and she will turn tail and run and look for a place to hide.   


Now Little Elvis..he is something else.  He wants to do what ever Miney and I do.  If he follows Miney around too much, she growls at him…so then he follows me around. He has stranger danger too..but he is more curious about strangers than Miney is.

The pack

Mostly we are a real happy pack when we are all together!  Can you tell that we are looking at Far Guy ?  We all adore him because he plays ball for a really long time:)


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wistful Wednesday: Windmill Gardens

In the fall of 1998 we cleared the spot for the first greenhouse and built what is now my garage, but back then it was retail space.  It was nip and tuck getting the bows for the greenhouse up on Thanksgiving weekend.  We retreated to Florida for the worst of the winter in our camper.  We  planned to build a house..that would come in due time.

My Dad gave us an old Butler Grain Bin so we would have someplace dry to store the chain saw and our tools.  The grain bin also covered up our well.  A greenhouse needs water so we had a hydrant put right inside the greenhouse.

Looking back..we must have been nuts.  But we made it work.  It was work.  Hard work.

July 2000 two

July 2000

This entire area was woods.  The trees were cut and stacked. Brush was removed along with poison ivy. (You have to have light for a greenhouse.)  The stumps were grubbed out and burned.  My Dad built us a road and a parking lot.  The greenhouse in the photo was attached to the retail area (the green steel my garage.)   Perennials for sale were on pallets and benches.  We began some perennial gardens and a vegetable garden.  We were either weeding, watering or trimming something all day long. For a number of years we also sold trees and shrubs. We were open for business from May 1 to October 1st.

2000 Gene and Connie

We grew “stuff” real good.

We made the decision to close the business in the spring of 2008.   I have not regretted that decision.  Sometimes you just know when it is time to move on in a different direction.

The gardens 2013

I took this photo a few nights ago.  The gardens are “wild” now. Unorganized and weedy.  Perennials still poke through the weeds here and there especially in rainy years.  My greenhouse was sold.  Far Guy still has his greenhouse (the white building behind the sauna) he uses it for a wood shop.  The grain bin remains..I hardly ever go in there…I believe it is a wood storage area for wood to be used in wood carving…and other really important “stuff.” The Pine tree that we saved back in 1998 died last summer..the drought stressed it out.

At one time we had three greenhouses back in here.  One was mine for annuals, one for perennials and Far Guys for native plants and vegetable sets.  We still have old customers who say they miss our flowers and that no other greenhouse in the area carries the plants that we grew.

I don’t have any plants in pots to water anymore, I do not buy plants and rarely go into a greenhouse. (If I do visit a greenhouse I have a hard time with plants that have bugs and plants that need water.)  Far Guy has a couple of tomato plants in pots. The wild gardens get along with what ever moisture comes their way.  It all seems simpler that way:)

July 2001

July 2001

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Snooze and you lose

A few evenings ago youngest daughter Jen and I were out taking photos. When we came back to the house she wandered out to the wild gardens and took some photos.  She said “Hey! Here is an interesting bug!”  I didn’t pay any attention seen one Minnesota bug you have probably seen them all….except when you find out the next day that it was a baby Praying Mantis the likes you have never seen before in Minnesota. Snooze and you lose.

Since then I have been cruising the wild gardens looking for that bug..checking the Gaillardia twice because that is the flower it was on.


Maybe it likes the Yellow Gaillardia…


No luck today...maybe tomorrow:)

Here is the link to the photo Jen took:)

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Preacher’s Grove Wedding

The wedding was at Preacher’s Grove in Itasca State Park.  Preacher’s Grove is one of the oldest stands of Pine Trees in Minnesota.

Preachers Grove

The weather was perfect.  It turned cooler overnight and the bugs were not too bad under the old growth pines.  The ceremony was held in an open spot under the pines.


Hands clasping a book, grasping, pointing and hands about to be united in marriage. The ring bearer was quite young and he was easily distracted!

Wedding July 20

The brides flowers.

The kiss

The newly married couple.


These are three of the brides four brothers.

Martin Carl and Andy

They were the cooks for the lunch following the ceremony.. BBQ Pork and Chicken.  That is our son in law Andy on the right.  I am not quite sure how their mother survived their growing up years..but she did.  Being a very patient person and Pastor’s wife probably helped.  Now her youngest child is married and she can concentrate on being a Grandma:)

Sheila and Zach

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Sunday, July 21, 2013


The critter I photographed the other day.


Is it an Llama or an Alpaca..I was not sure. I will guess it is a Llama.  It was being a turd while his owner was walking him/her in the crowd. Yes, he had a body and four legs.



He or she even got a hug from his owner. He/she had been recently sheared which was probably a good thing because of our heat wave last week.  The poor thing probably needs a blanket now as our weather is now unseasonably cool for July..but I am loving every minute of it:)

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Tall Grass Prairie

Chance and I went for a drive to see how a few of the remaining Tall Grass Prairies are doing.   We were glad to see that no one had plowed them up.  It has been a wet it would be tickling the bellies of Buffalo if there were any.

Tall Grass Prairie

Photographs were hard to take because it was very windy. The light purple flower in front is Spotted Knapweed.  This healthy prairie keeps it at bay along the roadsides. I wonder what caused the darker green strip in the field..might have been where someone emptied a manure spreader.

Purple Prairie Clover Purple Prairie Clover dots the entire field.  It was nice to have some time to just mosey along.  The Deer Flies have joined the mosquitoes.  They follow the car and wait for you to get out.  I had to limit Chance’s hanging his head out the window time.  He doesn’t like the Deer Flies either.

We went by Joe’s old  pasture..the pasture where the horses used to entertain us. It has been planted.   

Joes old pasture

This field was a horse pasture for a long time. No more Joe to take care of a bunch of old horses anymore.  I am not sure where the horses went and I haven’t asked.  You know the old saying “If you won’t like the answer, don’t ask the question.”

Slowly the landscape around us is changing..not all for the good but changing none the less. 

Farm land is being bought up by big corporate farms.  More and more acreage every year.  I watch a couple of sections of Tall Grass Prairie every year..and hope they don’t get gobbled up. I will return in the Fall when the grasses turn golden/red:)

“There are idle spots on every farm, and every highway is bordered by an idle strip as long as it is; keep cow, plow, and mower out of these idle spots, and the full native flora, plus dozens of interesting stowaways from foreign parts, could be part of the normal environment of every citizen.” Aldo Leopold

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