Friday, January 31, 2014

Still cold, still snowy

Not much new same old same old.  LP prices are now at $5.50 a gallon according to she who sees robins first who got LP yesterday. If this Ice Age continues half of the people in this area will be poor as a church mice.  Most Gas Companies are only delivering 100 gallons at a time to their customers.

Yesterday I had an eye appointment in town, everything is status quo.  We stopped by my parents,  had coffee and I fixed their TV settings.  We did errands whilst we were in town.  Chance got to go along because it was a sunny day and –2 degrees F.

I accomplish a few bothersome items that have been on the back burner.  A password that was recovered that I have not used in years..three emails and two phone calls later it was resolved.  Cross something off the freaking list!


I am working on a huge fundraising project for the museum.  It should be completed in the next week or so.  They don’t pay me enough for the off season work I do for them…it is discouraging.

Old truck March 2009

I suppose you were wondering what was under all that snow…a gate and an old truck, a  local landmark. I am hoping for another day or two of warmer weather so I can get out and take more photos.

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Celebrate at the lake!

Yessiree!  We had a party going on at the lake yesterday.  The weather was 20 degrees above zero (-6C)!  Even if the wind was blowing we took advantage of the warm day to go for a drive.  It was so good to get out of the house. Toad Lake 

Toad Lake

Toad Lake and Toad Mountain Jan 29 2014

Toad Mountain

Lawn Chair

Going to the lake brings back memories of other days spent at the lake, relaxing in a lawn chair…almost smelling the lake…it smells a little like fish…and a little earthy.  The two complementary smells make war on the breeze each fighting for dominance. On warm days the fishy smell wins.Old Cabin

Thinking about repairs that need to be done in the spring…almost hearing the buzz of boats along the lake and the laughter of children and the barking of dogs…and the mosquitoes that buzz around, oh and the ticks that we have to watch out for not to mention the snakes that might be underfoot.

The smell of the campfire and burnt marshmallows that make your fingers all gooey and the marshmallow is almost liquid as some escapes your mouth dribbling down your chin..and you laugh out loud.

If you were to swim at Toad Lake you will have to be prepared.  One word Leeches. It is the only bad thing I recall about this beautiful little lake.   My brother and I would swim there and when we came out of the water we would pick leeches off each other. When you yank them off they leave a little blood trail behind.  Ah ..the memories of childhood at this lake.

We returned home.


Where the wind was blowing the snow across the road and the sun was retreating into the clouds.  Reality smacks you right in the forehead sometimes.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wistful Wednesday: 1978 Canada Trip

In 1978 we made our first camping trip to Canada.  We headed into Ontario with our ultimate goal to be Sioux Narrows on the opposite side of Lake of the Woods.

Back then the US Canada border was pretty flexible.  Where are you going and what are you going to do when you get there.  Camp and relax..some were going fishing.

There were eight of us in June of 1978 on that trip.  Far Guys Mom (Evelyn) and Dad (Marvin), Me,  Far Guy, Trica (6 years old) Jennifer (almost 3 years old), Far Guys sister Janice and her husband Ronald (the fisherman.)

It was the first time that Far Guy and I and the girls visited Canada.

Lake of the Woods Cabins 1978

I was impressed with all the tiny islands on the Lake of the Woods, I wanted one then and I would still like to live on one  now.

Far Guys parents were retired and they had a Motor Home.  If I recall correctly we also took our vehicle and a tent.

Of course with children we stopped along the way, to let the girls stretch their legs and run off some energy.

Canada 1978Evelym Jennifer Ronald and Trica

Here Grandma Evelyn is the door guard and Jennifer has escaped…but Ronald has Trica under control.

Canada 1978 Gene Evelym Jennifer

I can hear Grandma say “Eugene get out here right now and watch those kids.”  She always called him Eugene with the emphasis on the EU.

Canada 1978 Gene Trica  and jennifer

I think he may have someone’s “blankie” in his hand.  Can’t forget our blankie…it was pink and flannel.

It was cool that June in Canada, we only got a day maybe two of sunshine at the sandy beach at the campground.  Then it started to rain.  We had a river going through our tent and the little girls got cold so they went into the camper to sleep.  We managed a day or two of rain checking out the local gift shop and driving around…but Sioux Narrows is almost nowhere.

I introduced the girls to Canadian licorice pipes at the gift shop.  A whole bunch of them in a box with red candy in the bowl of the pipe.  Back then they were not wrapped in plastic…you just reached in the box and grabbed as many as you wanted.  I think they were 10 or 15 cents each.  I long for that kind of licorice.

We headed back home..and it was still cold.  We stopped again to let the girls climb rocks.

Canada 1978 Trica and Jennifer

Now about the “A” or “EH” or “eh”.  We vacationed many times over the years in Canada, both in Ontario and in Manitoba wherever we went the locals would end a sentence with “A.”  Nice weather “A”   Where you from “A”  So it has been a custom over the past 35 years that when we talk about Canada or our vacations there we always say remember that time in Canada “A”?

Of course I am sure you all have heard the joke??  When they named CANADA  they were all standing around thinking of a name and someone said C and they all shouted A, and some one else shouted N and they all shouted A, and someone else finally shouted D and they all in unison holler A. And that is how CANADA got it’s name…

I mean no disrespect to our good neighbors to the North, it was just something we noticed over the years.  Now I would like your input…have you heard “A” or “EH” or “eh” in Canada, and what area were you in?

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snow and Eye Event

The west driveway is plugged, snow coming off the fields plugs it up real good.  Years ago we used to abandon that driveway during the winter. 

Joshua plowed it on Sunday afternoon and overnight it plugged up again.  It is a battle with the snow.

West Driveway

The end of the west drive at almost sunset.

We can still use the tree protected south driveway.  We use that one mostly anyway except the mail is delivered to the west driveway cause that is where the mail box is.

It is 9PM on Monday night and it is –30 F or –34 C for my friends that say eh?

I had an event. A Posterior Vitreous Detachment.  I  scheduled a visit with my eye Doc.  He gave me a complete eye exam and it was as I suspected old age related, the vitreous fluid that keeps our eyeball round in shape …slowly shirks and it’s gel like form changes with age and pulls away from the retina, since the vitreous fluid is filled with small fibers you get an increased amount of floaters that have been irritating the crap out of me for the past couple of weeks.  There is NO macular hole or detached retina.  That was good news. My  Doc says to call him if I see flashes of light or if a dark curtain descends over my vision.  I asked if that meant I could call him at home and he replied “Absolutely.”  Hopefully this is the end of the event.  Just another of the rewards of old age.

My eye appointment took a really long time.  Far Guy did all the grocery shopping and errands whilst I was at my appointment and he still had to wait.  Waiting patiently was not easy for him yesterday.

The cold weather is taking it’s toll on each of us differently.  I have a hundred projects to work on and many books to read.  I am reasonably calm at least for the moment.   My husband spends a fair amount of time lamenting the cold weather and worrying/wondering what will break next.  So far this month it was the new DVD player he bought, his Direct TV Signal and the Fireplace sit valve which required many expensive parts and six hours of labor to fix..can you say uffda to THAT bill.  So far this month I fixed two remote controls and an old VCR…three cheers for women who can fix “stuff.”

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Blizzard on Sunday

Another blizzard, just another day in Minnesnowfreezeyourbuttoffota. Ya, you betcha!

I ventured outside for a couple of photographs yesterday.  Chance looked at me like I was nuts. Chance doesn’t like the wind in the makes them move.  He would be a good prairie dog.

Wind chills were about 50 BELOW ZERO.  I will go outside if it is 25 or 30 BELOW ZERO…but 50 that is pushing it.

Someone asked “How do you stand it?”  Well I dress for the weather. Usually with many layers. A hooded sweatshirt, a hat, a scarf and my big old long down filled parka. ( For me a scarf is a necessity..I can double wrap my face and tuck it in around my neck)  My boots are good to 40 below zero and my gloves have thinsulate linings.  If you go outside without the proper clothing you are going to freeze…not many fashionistas here in Minnesota…if someone looks fashionable then they are some cold skinny broads that won’t last a winter.

Chance is okay being outside for quite awhile.  BUT he is an indoor dog…so we monitor him closely, when a dog starts holding up their paws or limping on three paws or just lays down licking their paws then they are too cold.  On warmer days Chance will often lay down in a snow bank  curl up and have a nap. Many people have dogs that stay outside all the time in Minnesota as long as they have a dog house with some insulation they are just fine. It has been my experience that if any part of a dog freezes it is the tips of their ears.  I have seen many a cat with no ears or very short ears.

Someone not sure who used to say “Wear a hat or your ears are gonna fall off and you will look funny with holes for ears.”  Might have been me.

Jan 26th snow 

You can see my bird watching bench has a real cold seat.  The usual birds are here, Chickadees, Nuthatches and Woodpeckers but we are missing the thistle eating machines the little Redpolls.  They must be eating elsewhere, perhaps someone stayed home this year instead of going south.  Last year at this time we were feeding 10 pounds of Thistle Seed a week. 

I hear that there is a LP (Liquid Propane) shortage in the Midwest.  We filled our tank a few weeks ago, and the price went from $1.69 per gallon in October to $3.20 a gallon a few weeks ago and now it is up to $5.00 a gallon.  With our fill two weeks ago we should be good until spring/summer when hopefully the price should go down.  We have a high efficiency LP furnace.  I feel sorry for people that have old LP furnaces…I cannot imagine paying their heating bill.

I worked on my organizing get rid of stuff project which is ongoing upstairs and we watched The TV Serial Centennial…it was originally shown on TV in 1978 and I have read all the books and recall most of it from years ago.  Far Guy had never seen it so it was interesting for him.  ( He could have been on deployment someplace when it was originally shown…which means he would have been stuck in a barracks with no TV.)

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Walk to the Mail Box

It was a brisk walk to the mailbox.  Most days Chance and Far Guy go alone, since Miney and Little Elvis were going along I tagged along to herd the dogs.

It was cold, but there was no wind until we got out to the end of the drive.
Mailbox walk
The sun was out and I heard there were sun dogs earlier.  I didn’t get up that early.
Chance and Miney Waiting
Chance knows he is supposed to wait at the gate.
The dogs were beginning to hold up their paws. I was cold too. The wind chill was –25 to -30 below zero…it was just bitter.  I only took my gloves off a few times for photos and I took my camera that fits in my pocket.  When it is so cold I don’t take my big girl camera.

We were all happy to get back to the warmth of the house.  On the way back I wondered what if Adam woke up while we were gone? I remembered one time he thought we had all died and a bear was outside ready to attack…he had quite an imagination a few years back.
We had a quiet day, Adam slept until 1PM.  His Grandpa called upstairs “Adam are you still alive?”   He was and came downstairs..hungry.  He is growing again so he eats and sleeps.  He is an easy keeper we hardly know we have a boy in the house.  He chose to spend the weekend with us instead of accompanying his parents and brother to a Robotics Tournament…or perhaps we were the lesser of the evils. Whatever… it was still nice to have him choose us.  He was supposed to stay another night but there is a storm coming so his Mom picked him up early and headed home.
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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Chance: Visitors

Hiya!  It’s me Chance the blogging Border Collie.   I have visitors. 
Friends visiting
They like to play ball too!  Miney is the boss and she gets first picks of the balls that are thrown.  I wait patiently in the background just incase she misses one or decides to sit down and clear out one of her snow filled paws.

Little Elvis is the trailblazer, out in front is a good place for him.  If he is behind he grabs my tail or my leg.  You know how hard it is to run with a Little Elvis attached to your tail putting on the skids?
Playing ball
It got up to 27 F today or –2 C and it snowed.  It was a great day to play ball!  One day that was all we got as the dreaded wind started blowing the snow around and no travel was advised on Friday evening. Oh well I can’t go anyplace anyway I have company!

Friday, January 24, 2014


If you happen to be a Border Collie you spend a fair amount of time waiting.

Far Guy went to a meeting, it was too cold to go to town so Chance and I stayed home.   We waited, and he sighed, and sighed some more.  He is just not himself without his best buddy.

Even though it was below zero we went out to play ball.


He waits for me to lob the ball in his direction.

Happy Chance Jan 23 2014

Ah he is a happy boy now, his tail is up and he is so proud bringing back that ball.

snow on his nose

He ignores me and my camera, but I still capture the snow melting off his nose.

We played until he was cold and ready to quit, he dropped the ball and went and curled up right in front of the door so I couldn’t possibly go inside without him …his signal that he was done.  I did a few more chores outside while he patiently waited for me.

It was –38 F on Thursday morning…that is –38C.  Friday our high is supposed to be A POSITIVE 30 F or –1C.  68 degrees difference in 30 that is unbelievably weird weather worth waiting for.  I pretty much have to see that 30 degree weather to believe it.  So we are waiting…

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cold Weather

We are at the first part of a one two three punch from those Canadians that send that artic weather on through to us.  It didn’t get above zero on Wednesday.  I think the high was -8F or –22C.  The wind chills were brutal.  Is it another Polar Vortex? ( Just another word for Polar Express or Siberian Express?)

I got a phone call and was asked “Are you part of the elderly group that is staying home today too?”  Yes…even the dog makes his trips outside in record time.

Far Guy and Chance ventured out to the mailbox, they returned nearly frozen.  Far Guy spent the afternoon woodcarving and I brushed the dog and played ball inside and we all napped and watched old westerns on TV.

My TV is finally fixed, the new receiver works as it should.  Far Guys TV works only when it gets to be a plus 13 F, must be a problem with the underground cable….which cannot be replaced until spring/summer.

We still have electricity, water, heat and sewer so life is good.  The freezer is full of food we could survive for several weeks if we didn’t like fresh fruits and vegetables..oh and milk…Far Guy tried powdered milk one day on his cereal…he was not impressed.  I have been tempted to freeze a cup of milk and see how he likes that…I wonder if it separates or tastes funny.  IMG_6274

How did the pioneer families survive?  The struggles with the cold weather taking care of animals making sure they had shelter and food and keeping a house warm with just a wood fire, pumping water outside and carrying it into the house. On the positive side outhouses never froze up, you could use them on the coldest of days.

I hope you are staying warm!  I think we are sending this cold weather off to the south and eastern part of the country.

Think of it as a gift from Minnesnowfreezeyourbuttoffota.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wistful Wednesday: Farm House

It has been over a year now since the old farm house belonging to  Far Guy’s Maternal Grandparents was burned down.  It was a hazard. We were gone the weekend the Fire Department used it for a training exercise or we would have been there.

Grandma and Grandpa Abbotts house

This is the newly built house before it was sided, it would get boards painted white just like the dormers and it would stay that color throughout the years.  Uncle Willard designed the house in a drafting class in high school.  The bump out with the windows was specially designed for Grandma Meade’s plants on the main level and in the basement there were shelves that she stored canning jars full of vegetables and fruits.

I have notes someplace of a conversation I had with Uncle Willard about the house and it’s construction.  I will find them someday…just not today…I looked.  I must have put them away real good.

I grew up catty corner from this farmstead.  Note the old house behind the new house.  I only remember that house as a fallen in heap.  Us kids were not supposed to play on or around it… “You will get nails in your feet or get hurt.”  Far Guy says “I can only remember when half of the old house was standing.”

Now both houses are only a distant memory.

Abbott farm two

November 2012

It is hard to watch these old houses and barns that were so familiar to me as a child disappear one by one.  Far Guy’s Cousin “Alaska Guy” says he will never drive down the highway past the old farm again, he cannot bear to see the house gone.

Times change, old buildings get older.  Empty buildings are vandalized….you can never really go home again except in your memories.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Some People

Someone called doing a survey, a very cheerful lady.  Possibly I skewed the results of her survey but woe is she who interrupted my thoughts.

Far Guy has taken to going in front of me and unloading the cart in the grocery store so he is the one they ask “Have you found everything today?”  He lies.  I asked the Store Manager why the bulk dried apricots were not on the shelf…he went back and asked the produce manager…backordered.

They put my bread in a bag.  I must have been scowling as I left the store. Our usual bag boy Eric stopped me and  said “What’s wrong did they squish your bread?”  “Yup” I replied “And they put it in a bag.”  He said “OH my, I would never do that to YOU, I know better.”

If I wanted bread squished down in a bag I would squish it myself…yessiree I would make flat bread out of it myself…but to have the people at the checkout counter mutilate your bread…I find that unacceptable.  If it were up to me I would make them take Proper Bread Handling Technique Classes.

My grocery cart had a wobbly wheel, that was a real treat to push along in the slushy parking lot, it felt like I was trying to push a Sherman Tank with stuck track.   By the time the groceries were unloaded and I returned the cart to the proper rack in the parking lot I was shot.  When did grocery shopping become a fitness event?

We are still struggling with Direct TV, they fixed my TV so good that it stopped changing channels…it worked just fine before they “fixed” it.  It was Far Guy’s TV with the problems…that never got fixed either by three repair persons.  This is day 21 of horrid Direct TV problems.  We even have a case worker now, finally a new receiver was sent out to replace the new receiver we got last week. Today is the day we will call them to get it activated…probably after a hour or so waiting and listening to how I can go online and fix all my problems.  If I were buying stock ( and I am not) I would steer clear of a company that has such poor customer service and faulty equipment.


Crappy Days

Now here is a crappy business for ya…yah you betcha dose Finns got a goot cents of humor you know den.

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Monday, January 20, 2014


There was an expert on television talking about people who doodle.  If you doodle during a meeting you are focused. ( I am bored and want to accomplish something even if it is emptying a pen of it’s ink on one sheet of paper.)

What you doodle says something about you. (Maybe)  I doodle flowers (the same old Daisy with rounded petals.)  I also doodle arrows, cubes and houses. (Why?)  Those are the only things I can draw that look like anything.

I would doodle peoples faces or cartoons if I had a lick of drawing talent in me.

When I was in  High School our Art Teacher was Mr. Windahl.  He was a nice man, I wanted to draw and learn about pencils, watercolors, chalks and shading and form… I was like a sponge ready to soak up whatever he taught me. Well he liked listening to himself talk and lecture about art, he also liked to paint.  I would have loved to learn how to mix colors.  I recall making some kind of clay pot. Big deal.

Years later my friend Susan and I signed up for an Adult Education class on how to draw…finally I bought sketchpads and special pencils.  WELL..that class was taught by an idiot. We were to look at something and then without taking our eyes off the subject we were to draw it.  Everything about that class was a dismal failure…including my sketches.

So yes I doodle…do you?  Don’t you love my purple pen?  I have a set of pens all different colors!


Notice how large those flowers are but so stylized as I have been doodling them for years.  Don’t laugh at my fat arrow either it has texture, and the house well the door is always open so it obviously is not in Minnesnowfreezeyourbuttoffota.

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

New snow and old toys

We got five inches of new snow at the snowstick.

Five plus inches of new snow


I worked upstairs most of the day.  Sorting “stuff.”  Here are few old toys that I found recently!


This is a wooden cube puzzle from about 1960.  It has Disney Characters, originally it came in a plastic case and it was made in West Germany.  It is a six sided puzzle and a real treat to put together.  There are some sheets of paper that show the completed puzzle. I bought it at a garage sale a few years ago for $5.00

Rocking Horse with storage under the seat. Gay Toys Inc Walled Lake Michigan $20

This is an old rocking horse with storage under the seat.  I bought it at a sale and our Grandkids used it, it is a safe rocking horse because it was closer to the ground if they fell off.  It was made in Michigan.

65 pieces of Vintage Halsam  American Logs $30

I thought there was just one kind of logs…Lincoln Logs.  Not so… these are Vintage Halsam  American Logs.  They have the hand hewn look.  I should have built a house or something…maybe another day.  These would have originally came in a old cardboard container with a tin cover.  I am not sure why I have this set.  I had several other new sets and the grandkids loved to play with them as did lots of other little kids when they came to the Greenhouse with their parents.  I had two drawers full of toys for little kids.  The only thing I can think of is that I bought this set to go with the others and it never quite made it there.

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

On the hunt

Why is it when you have an idea of something to do…a bit of inspiration that you cannot find exactly what you need at an affordable price?

I looked for an old sewing machine drawer all summer/fall.  I even had Far Guy and Chance looking for me.  I found one and it was $20.   Well I might have paid $10 but not $20…yes I am cheap too.

Sewing Machine Drawer

See that drawer on that little table?  That is  what I need, only mine will be painted red. I have lots of old jars…I would put wildflowers in mine and keep it outside where they wouldn’t make me sneeze.  So I don’t need a perfect sewing machine drawer although I will put some beeswax on it so it will withstand some rain.  If all else fails I will build a faux drawer and put a nice knob on it and call it good.

I have a pile of “stuff” that I am purging.  Selling on eBay and locally is going well.  A number of people must have been on a hunt for some of the crap fine collectibles that I have been squirreling away for years.  Some of the “stuff” I am finding has been in boxes so long I forgot  all about them.  Some days are almost like Christmas as more nooks and crannies are cleaned out.

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Friday, January 17, 2014


I am not sure if they named this last blizzard or not.  The wind was raw.

We ran an errand to the neighbors and went to the end of the driveway to take a photo.

Ground Blizzard Jan 16 2014

This was at 1 PM it was pretty dark and dreary. School was two hours late and I didn’t hear if they got out early.  If I had been in charge the weather conditions would have made me nervous for the school busses.

Two roads out there Jan 16 2014

There are two roads out there, we didn’t see or couldn’t see any traffic.

12 and a half inches total snowfall at the snowstick Jan 16 2014

Back in our yard the snow stick measures about 12 1/2 inches of snow on the ground so far this winter…that would be the compacted number.  That is more snow than last year at this time.

Jan 14 2013

I stayed outside for a short time watching the birds.

Downy Woodpecker Jan 16 2014

This Downy Woodpecker didn’t mind me sneaking up on him.

The Wild Turkeys were here the other day, one of them pecked at our kitchen window.  We have corn for them and will set up a feeding area for them in the woods where they can poop and eat to their hearts content.

We saw a huge Buck complete with a set of impressive antlers near my brothers driveway.  I have never found a shed antler in Minnesota…that would be a real treat. Usually they shed their antlers in Mid Winter December – March.

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