Tuesday, July 31, 2018


I had an Uncle named Otto, he married my Dad’s sister my Aunt Marie.  My Uncle Otto was a marvelous man, a lifelong educator, a artist and woodcarver with a wonderful sense of humor.

I have a Great Nephew who will carry on that strong name.

Baby Otto

He has beautiful blue eyes and cheeks you just want to pinch…but I didn’t. Otto is about 13 weeks old now.  His Mother reports that he is teething but is a very easy going baby.

Otto is here with his parents and his brother and sister for a vacation at the lake.  Otto lives in New Jersy so this is the first time I have gotten to see him. Otto’s Grandfather is my baby brother…he has eight grands under the age of five and Otto is the youngest. They are all at the lake this week.

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Monday, July 30, 2018

Chokecherries: Part One

It was a great year for Chokecherries.  They grow wild here in Minnesota and if you don’t pick them and make jelly the birds eat them. When we pick we always leave some for the birds.

Chokecherries hanging heavy in the bushes.

Far Guy and I walked the perimeter of our clearing in the woods and picked about 5 ice cream buckets full.  The best way to pick is to loop your bucket handle through a belt that is held loosely around your neck…that way you can have both hands free one to hold the branch down and the other to strip the chokecherries off.  Your hand turns purple if they are too ripe…and if they are hard to strip then they are not yet ready to pick.  You want to pick berries that are dark burgundy.  I picked about three hours and Far Guy picked about two hours…an hour a bucket!


Jelly, syrup, wine and fruit leather are the only things you can make from chokecherries.  The pits inside the chokecherry are poisonous as are the leaves and the bark of the bush.

I cleaned our berries a little at a time, running cold water over them and swishing them around in a bucket makes the leaves and bits of twigs etc…come to the surface and flow out of the overflowing bucket.

Once they are cleaned I put them in a dutch oven and put just enough water to cover the berries and boiled them. Stirring often.  We cooked up two dutch ovens full.


After the fruit was split we dumped the whole works into a pillowcase that was held above a large pot.  Far Guy clamped the pillowcase in place so it could drip out the juice.

Hanging to drip

We collected 21 cups of juice.   I put the juice into peanut butter jars and it will stay in the fridge a few days until I have time to make jelly. Some people can the juice to make jelly another time and some people freeze it…I just want to make the jelly now and see it in jars…and taste it!  The pillowcase was sacrificed, it accompanied the pits into the garbage.


That is a flat ice pack under the juice pot…it helped to cool the juice quickly.

It was a project and we are only half done.

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Sunday, July 29, 2018


Last evening we took a ride around “the block” to see what was happening in the fields.

We had a late afternoon nap because of the rain…yet another inch plus that will make our grass grow.  Soon we should be coming into the dry part of summer.


A bean field…two deer were way way out there feasting.


Irrigators working real hard even though it just rained and low areas of the field are filled with water which become mosquito breeding areas.

Hay field and deer

Hay field with deer and no irrigation.

corn no irrigation

Corn field no irrigation.

small grain

Irrigation again on a small grain of some sort field.   The grain looks like it is getting close to harvest.

We saw seven deer on our little trip around the block.  Chance enjoyed the outing. During the summer he rarely goes with us during the day because it is too warm.  Evening rides are his outing.

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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Reading Glasses

You know those new reading glasses that I have had for a year…never been able to wear them because the prescription is off…they are on their third set of lenses.

I had hoped they would be fixed this time.  Things are still blurry.

Slightly Blurry

I hate blurry.  I like things crisp and clean and easy without a struggle.

The ever so helpful gal at the eye doctors office said “You should wear them as much as possible and then you will get used to them.”   I asked politely how do you wear a pair of reading glasses that you cannot read with?  I had to bite my quivering lip.  “Well you will have to see the Doctor again.”  Fine.

Far Guy says just give up already.  But I am tired of looking through the scratches of my old readers that I can see quite clearly and crisply with.  Right now it is the principal of the thing…why can’t they make the new glasses with the price approaching $1,000 just like my old ones that I can see with? 

Monarch on a coneflower

I have an appointment soon.  Time will tell if I will be able to ever read with the new pair of glasses. 

Customer Service is most likely non existant at the new eye clinic. 

I called that gal every bad name I could think of in my mind.   I even photographed a flower that made me feel better.

up yours coneflower

Up yours Coneflower

For the record.  Far Guy tried on my old readers from 2011, and then the new readers and he says they are not the same glasses.

My Blepharitis is much better, the eye wash cloths seem to be taking care of the problem, my eyes are much improved.

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Visit from Paige

Our youngest Granddaughter Paige came for a visit.  She brought her beau with her.  We went out for lunch and had a good visit.

Paige July 26 2018

She is working two jobs this summer and getting ready to head back to the University of Minnesota at Duluth in the Fall.

Paige July 26 2018 Two

We were glad that she wanted to visit us on her day off.  Chance was so happy to see her, she is one of his favorite people.  She is one of our favorite people too!

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Thursday, July 26, 2018


Sometimes it is a really good thing to have lots of photos of some of your favorite things.
IMG_0237 (2)
One of my favorite barns in a cotton candy colored sunset.
Barn at Sunset (2)
Or maybe a firey sunset… many times I would snap a photo of this barn as we left our neighbors.
The towering old barn was shortened and got a new roof.  No quite the photo op that it was but  most of the barn was saved and will be put to good use.
Change isn’t easy…but sometimes necessary.
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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Wistful Wednesday : Ernie

Ernie was sometimes called Ern.  He was a Silky Terrier and he replaced Zack who replaced Baby Snuffer.  Ernie belonged to Far Guy’s sister Jan and her husband Ron and their daughter Bethany.  Lately Ernie had been staying with our niece Bethany. ( I think Bethany and her Mom had shared custody of the dog.) You see years ago right after Zack died Far Guy’s sister said “No more dogs.”  Well…Bethany waited for her parents to go on vacation and she brought home Ernie.  Ernie captured their hearts.

Chance and Ernie got along just fine.  When we visited we quickly learned that if we left them out in the yard at the same time…Chance would come when called…Ernie would ignore you and run willy nilly all over the neighborhood…he would come back when he was good and ready.

2007 ERnie gene and Chance

Far Guy, Ernie and Chance in 2007.

Ernie had quite a time with teeth.

Ernie 2014

Teeth help keep your tongue in your mouth.  I took this photo in 2014…I was up early and so was Ernie…I laid with him on the floor and took a few photos.

Last week Ernie died..I am not sure how old he was. O.L.D.  Ernie’s family in Indiana is very sad.   I understand.  Ernie was a fun little dog.   He liked us and we liked him.  We are sad too.

Far Guy shared a poem with his niece.

Dogs Never Die

You can go and read the poem if you like.  Basically it says that your pets never die they stay in your heart and wag their tail so hard your heart hurts and that is why we cry so much after they die.  As time goes on they are still there but the wagging of the tail is less and hurts less…or so they say.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Logging Camp

We have not been to the Logging Camp for supper in years.  My other baby brother called and said “Let’s go check it out.”  So we did.  It hasn’t changed at all in twenty some years.

Logging camp plates

Tin plates and checkered oil cloth and family style service…we all had ribs piled high on an oval serving plate…sides were buns, corn bread, coleslaw, macaroni salad, baked beans and mashed potatoes. It was all topped off with a Lumberjack Doughnut.  We all ate too much.  There are many kinds of meats…you can have meat with your meat…roast pork, roast beef, baked chicken, ham or ribs….they will bring you as much meat as you can eat.

Everyone sits at long tables on simple long benches…there are various cast iron cooking vessels on the wall and misc logging equipment. The wood floor has seen lots of traffic over the years.

There are chickens, turkeys and ducks running around free range outside…eating bugs and most likely ticks as The Rapid River Logging Camp is located in the deep woods.

Logging Camp

The food was excellent, and the sevice was great.  It is a family dining destination open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  They also serve breakfasts…pancakes, eggs, ham, sausages and hashbrowns…and stewed prunes.  After all you have to keep the lumberjacks regular.

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Monday, July 23, 2018

A Visit With Faye

I got a call from an old friend.  I went over and we bounced around in her golf cart on her 240 acres looking at areas that were logged off and her recently disced CRP land.  She has become quite the land steward after her husband’s death.  She has four properties and some are in better repair than others.


The barn has a new coat of paint.


Since the logging you now have a view of this pothole.

We saw deer and a partridge on the trails…no bear thank goodness she has a bear with two cubs that visits.

About half way through our trail ride Faye said “I couldn’t get the gas cap off to check the gas, so we might have to walk if we run out of gas.” About that time the bugs were getting bad and I envisioned a long hike back to the farm…but we made it back just fine.


We toured all her flowers and her Rudbeckia was very impressive.  We had a good visit.

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Almost Ready

It was a really good year for Chokecherries.  Just the right amount of rain I guess.

I am watching the berries closely.


They will be ready when the berries are black looking and not hard.  It will be a race between me and the birds to see who gets the most berries.

I hope they are ready when my baby brother is here on vacation as he is real tall and can help pick.  He also likes the Chokecherry Jelly I make.

Jars, Pectin and Sugar are going on my grocery list just in case.

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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Lunch and Smoke

We went Up North to take Savannah out for lunch for her birthday. We picked her up at the Radio Station and went out for lunch to her new favorite place.

Grandma the sun is in my eyes Age 22 and 2 days

Age 22 and 2 days.

We had a great lunch it is a “get some meat with your meat place.”  I had three sows and a cow.  A hamburger patty with a slice of ham, bacon and pulled pork…yummy!  Savannah had a Patty Melt and Far Guy had a Swiss Mushroom Burger.

As we traveled Up North the air got smoky, the smoke from the forest fires up in Ontario Canada are funneling down into Minnesota.

Smoke near Bemidji 

After lunch we ran some errands to Hobby Lobby and Home Depot.  I bought some yarn that was on sale that I could not resist, some paper because I am a paper hoarder, some embroidery floss to use on the Christmas Ornaments as the hanger,  gel pens to replace the ones I thought I bought but cannot find…I am certain I will find them now, some new glitter pens and a container to hold all Far Guy’s “stuff” on the patio table.  Home Depot was just a hike inside to find out they didn’t have what Far Guy wanted so he ordered his item online.

Smoky Hills asre smoky

When we returned home our Smoky Hills were really smoky.  We closed up the house and turned the air conditioning on…it smells like smoke outside…Far Guy will have to do his walking inside.  There is an Air Quality Alert for all of Central Minnesota and parts of Northern Minnesota…hopefully the smoke will clear out by Saturday morning.

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Friday, July 20, 2018

Rainy Day Thursday

Good thing I got outside jobs done before it began to rain.  The Burr Oak trees have enough of a canopy that I can stand under them while Chance is doing his thing.  We have cooled off here, highs are in the 70’s which is just perfect summer weather.

Rainy Day activities included; a lunch date, a load of laundry, a nap, odd ball things around the house that I needed to get to and some Find A Grave work. Before I knew it the day was over.

Some yellow flowers are beginning to bloom in the wildflower area over the septic system.  That dead plant in the middle is a Canada Thistle.  I killed it.

IMG_0880 I put some old probably not working anymore solar lights in there to mark a few Lilac Bushes. Far Guy mowed around the edges for me.  We mowed this entire area last spring and we inadvertantly mowed down the Lilac bushes…they have come back nicely since then.


I wander through this area looking for poison ivy and thistle with my red muck boots on. We mowed part of it that had a plant (Stickseed) with burrs that Chance was getting into.  Nothing worse than a dogs covered in burrs.


Some parts are prettier than others.  Far Guy threw wildflower seed back there this spring and it is fun to see what comes up.

Thursday is always the day for Far Guy’s Infusion.  It usually goes well, we seem to be able to handle small glitches.  His port is slowing down.  Not enough to be a concern at this time, except he worries about it.

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Bleph and other stuff

That is short for what I have.  Blepharitis.  When your eye feels like it has something in it, it is sore, scratchy, itchy and will drive you half nuts.  It is an inflamation of the eyelids, often the tiny oil glands near your eyelashes become plugged.  People with psoriasis often have problems…well guess who has psoriasis.

I finally called the eye clinic and insisted I have the old eye Doctor and not the new one fresh out of school.  I explained my symptoms and told him that he has seen many more eye balls than the new eye Doctor and he just laughed.  I am to discontinue the antibiotic drops…and have special wipes to cleanse my eyes twice a day…and they are already better.  I also got my year old reading glasses straightened around so maybe I can see the computer with them.  I have a pair of prescription reading glasses from 2010 that work great…another pair from 2012 but the new ones from 2017 were a complete failure.  ( One of the gals at the Vision Ordering Area told me to wear them all the time and my eyes would get used to them???  I said “They are just reading glasses should I wear them even if I cannot see?” She was obviously a idiot…I finally said very sweetly alrighty then I will talk to the Dr.) 

It has been a week and it is not over yet.

We attended the visitation/wake for our long time friend (since 1975) who died.  Jim was 71 years old.  We enjoyed the slide show and the rock n roll music at the visitation.  We got to hug family members and give them our sympathy. We attended the visitation instead of the funeral…during the visitation you can move around and away from people who are coughing and avoid those dipped in perfume/aftershave. I shared  a story with Jim’s son Tori.  When Tori was about two years old we adults (Jim, Lynne, Far Guy and me) were playing cards…Tori was being a turd acting up, he was being a real pill…Jim went to swat him on the bottom and our very protective little Scottie Mutt named Snuffer bit Jim.  Jim had a look of amazement on his face……he didn’t know if he should be mad at the dog or praise her. Jim was the only guy we ever knew who used WD40 on his fish hooks…he said it made the fish bite…we were never convinced.  He was “a classic.”

I mowed the lawn yesterday, dead headed and pinched back some of my flowers and sprayed poison ivy and thistle and worked on leveling the dirt in the driveway.  I was busy all day long.


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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Wistful Wednesday: Savannah

Twenty years ago Savannah was the flower girl at her Aunt Jen and Uncle Andy’s wedding. Savannah was almost two years old.

1998 Gene and Savannah (2)

Savannah and her Grandpa in 1998.  Savannah had blonde hair back then and Far Guy had some hair.   Savannah looks a bit teary eyed.  She did fine during practice the night before the wedding, but the day of the wedding she was a little afraid with all the people…even though she knew I was in the front row and had gum for her.  I think Grandpa was telling her that there was nothing to be afraid of.

Gene and Savannah May 2018

Here they are twenty years later.

Happy Birthday Savannah! We think you are just beautiful!

Savannah almost 22

Your smiles and giggles have always brightened our days.

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