Tuesday, January 31, 2017


I have collected marbles for years.  They are small and don’t take up much space. 

Yesterday there was a package in the mail for me…a slingshot and marbles for ammunition to shoot down Far Guy’s Gyrocopter when it attacks me.

I used to play marbles with my brother all the time.  The Orange/White/ Green and Orange/White/ Brown are from the1950’s. As I swirled those marbles between my fingers it brought back many old memories.  Playtime was simple back then… we would play marbles for hours.  I can still remember the excitement when I would capture one of my brothers prized marbles.Marbles from the 1950's


These are all very old marbles, I was very impressed with the two shooters!

Clay Marbles

Clay Marbles

I had to make room for this windfall of marbles.  I decided that the dice which are also small and easily collected needed to go to a different container and these marbles needed their own jar.

Jar of Marbles

They fit nicely in the jar along with a note that tells about them.

Kids don’t play marbles much anymore.

Far Guy says : I had a tin full of marbles, cousin Jay and I sat at the top of the steps upstairs at the house in Park Rapids.  We rolled them down the wooden steps one at a time, plink plink plink on the wooden steps.  One of our parents yelled “I don’t want to hear ONE more marble come down the steps.” …so we dumped the whole tin at once!

  I asked him if he recalled the punishment he replied “nope.”

Blog Signature

Monday, January 30, 2017

Woodcarving: Santa Complete

Well here he is all painted and ready to be put away until next Christmas.

Santa completed

Back of santa

I painted him and then thought he looked too new, so I put some more thinned paint on him and scrubbed it off and then sanded it a bit.


I did and redid his eyes.  Far Guy said at one time “They look wonky!”  I worked on them some more! Finally I figured hey I can live with them.

The next woodcarving project;  I have something new to work on and my Daisies are the next ongoing woodcarving project.

Blog Signature

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Winter Photography Class

I attended a photography class with my youngest daughter Jen.  It was a fun afternoon of classroom and some practice outside.  It was about 20 F so the weather was not too cold.

I learned a few things. I have a new appreciation for Spot Metering and I got in the P mode (program) something I have not ventured into before.  Canon people should all sit together, especially when the instructor has a Nikon! We can learn from each other.  It was fun to see a couple of teenage girls with new cameras!  There were several people with point and shoot cameras also.  The Instructor said that in order to take good photos you should have a fully charged battery and a SD card in your camera.

We went outside for a short photo session, I did not go out on the lake (it was very icy) but found several good subjects near the building.

Nuthatch Jan 28

A hungry Red-Breasted Nuthatch.

Icy Fern

Icy Fern

I get bored with photography in the winter, so this class was a good one for me to take.  You are never too old to learn something new! 

This was a free class put on by the Lake Bemidji State Park, the Instructor was retired Law Enforcement with the Minnesota BCA.  Crime scene photos were her specialty.

Blog Signature

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Those Christmas Letters

I started two red three ring binders for the Christmas letters.

If you ever write a Christmas letter my suggestion is to put a date on it and sign it yourself instead of just typing your name…make it personal.  It was like a huge puzzle here trying to figure out what year was what. Finally reading through the letters and doing the math I figured it out.  I had old Christmas Letters from 1996 – 2016 to sort through.  The file cabinet I kept them in is quite empty now.

I found letters from both of our daughters before they became mothers.  They are interesting bits of history.  I made copies of them and will include them in the Grands folders but I ran out of page protectors the non glare kind.

So the Christmas Letter project is done but the Grands binders filled with keepsakes still need a little work.  I need one more newspaper clipping.  They are close to completion.

Today I am off to a photography class, I should stay home and work on something but tomorrow is another day.  Today is a “me” day.  I think I have earned it.
Wagon Wheel 2
Blog Signature

Friday, January 27, 2017

Ongoing Project: Christmas Photo Cards

This year we put all our Christmas Cards and letters into saddlebags.  It worked great, as the cards and letters came in…about 90 of them I double checked addresses and shredded envelopes right away.

Yesterday I emptied the saddlebags.


It was a way cool place to keep cards and letters.

Christmas Cards

The greetings were read again and then recycled.

The photo cards…

Photo christmas cards

were admired and then put into sheet protectors in a three ring binder. 

So my Christmas Photo Card project is completed.  The photo cards were marked with the year using a special pencil to mark photographs.  They joined previous years photos.  Not every photo was saved but the majority made the cut…child, sibling, nephew, niece,  cousins, aunt, uncle and special friends.

Some of the Christmas photos dated back a long time.  For days I kept finding a few here and a few there…I may hope I have them all rounded up now. 

I also finished up the Special Occasion Project I was working on…four days early!!  Yeah for me! It was a great trip down memory lane.  I had to speed it up, I knew the approximate dates I was looking for…and got er done.

I got a start on the grands photos in my archives and I will return to them every day for a folder or two…I hope.

Next on the list Christmas letters. It will be a big sort.

Blog Signature

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Paige: Hockey

Tuesday we went up to Bemidji to run a few errands.  We stopped to see Savannah and also saw our daughter Trica.  We shopped at Hobby Lobby and Kohls, had supper at McDonalds (It has been about two years since we have dined there where the food is still greasy and salty) and attended Paige’s Hockey game.

The Lumber jacks

The Lumberjacks line up.  Paige is number 5.

Star Spangled banner


Paige on Feb 24

Paige is the Captain of the team.

Congratulatiosn after the goal

Paige made a goal it was so quick I didn’t get a photo …I did get a shot of her team congratulating her.  She was assisted by her teammate  Number 16.

After the puck

After the puck

Number 5 and sixteen

Paige Number 5

It was a good game and all the girls played well.  Paige made the only goal.  They lost the game.  They are improving as a Team.

There were a couple of Coaches scouting for their teams.  After the game we gave Paige a quick hug and sent her off to talk to the scout.  She has one solid offer and two others that look promising.  The one in Michigan looks the best to me, it is a guarenteed four year scholarship…plus the posibility of a booster club scholarship. But it is a long way from home.

Who knows if she will become a Lion, a Wildcat or a Tommie…or maybe something else…a Beaver maybe…a Fighting Hawk is not likely.  She wants to play College Hockey and it seems she is good enough.  She also wants to go to college for Pre Med.

She will be visiting schools in “The Cities” and in Michigan after the hockey season ends.  Then she will have big decisions to make.  She is an honor student and I am certain that she will make the right decision. What ever she decides we support her and look forward to College Hockey games.

Blog Signature

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Midway Memories: A Few Stories

Today I will share just a few stories about life out on the Carnival.

We did laundry every 7-10 days, the best laundrymats were sought out sometime during the week, some were just filthy, some had old machines that hardly washed anything. If we knew that the next spot had a great laundrymat we would wait 10 days. The best ones were always busy.  One day Edna (She and her husband Alva owned the Carnival) was in a laundrymat in Southern Minnesota.  Edna was busy washing, drying and folding when a lady came in and said “Better watch your laundry there is a carnival in town.”
Alva and Edna Merriam
Al and Edna
Celebrations were free. County Fairs usually had an admission fee.  We were given passes and a pass to put on the car for the duration of the Fair.  Some fairgrounds were easy in and outs, one particular fairground gate (Northwood Iowa) was really slow…I waved my pass and pointed to the vehicle pass and swung around the stopped cars. My Mother in Law was with me, at that time she did not drive.  She said the old fat guy at the gate shook his cane at me and started to run after me but stopped…she said “You almost gave him a heart attack.”

Move day started early, after only a few hours of sleep for me, no sleep for others…sometimes Far Guy would still be tearing down rides at sunrise.  In the motor home the electricity was the first to go, then the water would be shut off and hoses rolled up. My Mother in Law always saved a glass of water for me, after getting dressed I would stand outside and brush my teeth, have a swig of water spit it out and splash the rest of the water on my face and I was good to go. I would hand her the empty glass and we would wait for the steps to be put inside and then go to the car.  She and I most always rode together.  The men would check the fridge and make sure it was switched to propane, put down the table and make sure that everything inside the motor home was secure.  Far Guy would take off to drive the Wheel Truck or The Slide.  We headed off toward the next town.  We always stopped on the right side of the road for breakfast, there could be a a dozen cafes on the left but we never stopped  at them.  I never did learn how to back up a trailer, both Far Guy and his Dad attempted to teach me how to back up a trailer…so my Father In Law never took me anyplace I had to back up…he picked cafes with parking right along the road or with roads that made a circle and back onto the highway…but never on the left side of the road.
Ride Truck
A ride truck
Pooping was a subject.  My Father In Law would say “There is time enough for pooping next winter.”

Mothballs.  Before I became a driver that would never go in reverse Far Guy was the driver.  My Father in Law would throw me three or four small brown paper bags.  Inside were dyed rabbits feet and a plastic bag with small gold chains.  As we traveled down the road I strung the rabbits feet…to this day if I smell mothballs I think of rabbits feet.

One of my fondest memories was at the end of the season in Schuyler Nebraska probably in 1970.  It had rained cats and dogs and there was a lightening storm so we were shut down early.  About 12 – 15 of us decided to go to a local cafe to eat.  We got there and started pushing tables together in the center of the dining room, there were booths and tables all around us filled with people.  We began to tell stories and laugh, pretty soon all the people in the other booths and tables and all the waitresses were laughing right along with us.  I cannot remember any of the stories told that night, but as I recall they were hilarious. Friends, old friends, not many of them alive anymore, but the time spent with them was priceless.
Schuyler from the top of the slide
The Super Slide in Schuyler Nebraska. Note the Little Digger Joint on the right, at this time Far Guy was in charge of the slide, we would take turns seeing that Darrell (who was mentally handicapped) got lunch and bathroom breaks and that the drunks didn’t get too rowdy and try to come down the slide backwards or without gunny sacks.
Blog Signature

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Woodcarving: Santa

Years ago, probably about 10 years ago some of my relatives ( Aunt Anna, Chuckie and Kathy) got together to carve a Santa.  The inspiration was a ceramic Santa that belonged to my Aunt Anna.  Someone scanned it so we all had copies of how it should look plus when we got together to carve we could look at the inspiration in person. Everyone finished theirs…except me. Luckily I kept the scans.

My carving has been in and out of my carving bag, for awhile it was hidden upstairs in a very large tin of unfinished carvings.  If finally found it’s way back into my bag during one of the carving sorts…there is “stuff” in that tin that should be finished or burned.

Santa Carving

I worked on it before Christmas (ever optomistic that I would finish it before Christmas but that didn’t happen) yesterday I smoothed out some rough parts. He carries a tree in one hand and holds the bag slung over his shoulder in the other.  I hope to help that area between bag and beard when it is painted… it was one area that I really struggled with.Santa Carving two

Back of Santa

His bag looks more like a backpack, I suppose I could fix that but I have declared it DONE and ready for gesso and paint. When his is painted I will share the finished carving…just another of my ongoing projects.

I have been woodcarving for about 13 years now.  I have learned so much over the years and I think my carving skills have improved.

Blog Signature

Monday, January 23, 2017

Next Project

I am not finished with my other ongoing projects but I am on to a different project. At some point you have to leave a project behind and move on. (Ongoing is SO my word for 2017.)

I am going back into my photo archives hunting for photos for a special occasion in March.  At the same time I am deleting photos AND retrieving photos of the grands. 

I think this photo was taken about 25 years ago….I found it as a scanned negative.  Far Guy spent the better part of a few weeks scanning all our old negatives a few years back.
Firetruck 1992 Picnic
What kid doesn’t like a fire truck?  Every year at the Father’s Day Picnic little kids get to climb all over the fire truck and sometimes they got to go for a ride.  This photo was taken in 1992.
On the right is the old six by six that Far Guy drove through a line of fire in a CRP field while I was on top with the hose…I leaned over and squirted the hose through his window and finally just held the hose in my hands and pointed it straight up so it acted as a waterfall and cooled the air around me.  Needless to say I was relieved to get back to the black (the area that already burned.) I also gave him the what for.

I can only work on this digital project for a short time…it is tedious…one digital folder at a time.  I also have to bring down several photo albums to make sure I get the dates correct.  I would like to have this project done by the end of the month…I am crossing my fingers on this one.
Blog Signature

Sunday, January 22, 2017

January Thaw

We are thawing out.

the walkway

The walk is clearing up bit by icy bit.  The rain followed by heavy snow twice since Christmas did a real number on the walkway.Snowcurls

The snow slid down Far Guys garage yesterday…it was a slow slide and it continued all day.  It may be gone overnight.  We hope Chance is not outside when it comes down.

We are expecting it to stay above feezing most days for the next ten days!!

The snow stick has shrunk by 6 1/2 inches.  Yesterday it was holding at 10 inches.

10 inches of snow

The great sort continues, this time to old files….it is a paper nightmare. One more day and then I have to switch gears…I promised to help someone with a project and it will require my attention for a few days. Then it will be back to the great sort…or maybe the Shiny Brite tree…it is still up and pretty.

Blog Signature

Saturday, January 21, 2017


Yesterday I watched Jody my other baby brother’s  crew cut down a huge Norway Pine at my baby brother’s (Carey) lake place.   The crew was like a well oiled machine, they work well together.  They are used to removing large trees safely.

She had to be removed for the new addition to the house.Norway pine to be cut down

See how close it is to the house?  AND she is leaning too.

Tree four

Here it is falling.  Timber…not sure if anyone said that.  Many of her smaller branches and twigs exploded when she reached the earth filling the air with the scent of fresh pine. “She who sees Robins first” and I were glad it was over…so they do this all the time…but we don’t watch all the time. (The person down there is Frank and yes he was supposed to be there…he was half way in between the chain saw operator Josh and Jody on the Dozer.)

Tree is down


Straps, cables and chains were tied off to the Dozer.  It all went off without a hitch…no one was hurt.

Tree going up the hill

Four thirteen foot sections are off to the mill to be made into lumber of some kind to be used in the house.

Norway Pine

When the tornado went through this area in about 1978 many of the tall Norways were taken out…this was a survivor…there are many more huge Norway Pines on this piece of property so they will still be able to hear the long bundles of Norway Pine needles rub together and make a swishing sound as the wind blows.

This 200 year old giant will come back to this property… just differently.

Blog Signature

Friday, January 20, 2017

Chance: Roof Roof

Hiya it is me the most handsome Border Collie in all of Minnesota.  (Humble too.)

Did ya know that when it gets warm outside the snow sliding off the steel roof sounds like a freight train is coming through the house?  WELL it does. Scared me and Far Guy too and we were inside…Far Side just said “OH shit.”  Sometimes she swears…betcha didn’t know that did ya?

Far Side has been working her fingers to the bone and recycled paper flies out of the house on a regular interval.  That means we get to go for a ride!  Didja know that she has been saving Christmas cards, letters and photos since 1997…wowza…

Chance and his blue ball

Well back to that scary sound that the roof makes…it now requires that I am accompanied by BOTH of them when I go outside to do my duties.  If I have to go…so do they!

Do ya know about the bike to nowhere?  When Far Side rides it I bring her the ball…she can throw left handed…she is particular she wants it dropped into her hand…none of the bounce once you can play ball too stuff…if I drop it she will not get off the bike to nowhere to get it for me.  SO then I talk to her and she talks back…she has no idea what I am saying but she answers me anyways.  If I whine she whines, if I bark she barks, Far Guy just laughs…old people are easily entertained.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

1982 Again and The Big Sort

Here is our family photo taken the same day as the larger group family photo I shared the other day.
Family 1982
Yes the dog is in this one.  The cranky old photographer said “Yes that dog can be in the photo but I don’t fuss with animals.” So Snuffer just looks like a pile of fur facing the wrong direction.  I liked that photographer until that day.

The sort continues… progress is slow. ( I should not READ everything.) I did a big sort of family genealogy papers…Far Guy has a good bunch of Family History all in one place now (was that even on my original list?) I have asked a cousin on his Mother’s side of the family to share the Canadian/English History. 

I managed to get a couple of obits typed up…ran into a name problem…Almeada Clara was really Clara Almeada according to her obituary and funeral pamphlet…so I made that edit at Find A Grave.  I wonder what her birth certificate says….census records say Clara A.  Finding that info lead me down two different rabbit holes….and still no birth record…but I found one for her husband in Canada.  All this time I thought he was born in Wellington County Eramosa Twp …wrong it is West Luther Twp…I saw the record of birth online…it also said he was born on Jan 27…family history/find a grave/obituary says Jan 26.  See now I have more questions that I bargained for.  That is what happens some days.

Our weather is lovely …sunny and in the 30’s F…we sat outside ysterday…and it felt good.
 Blog Signature