Sunday, November 24, 2013

Big Boys and Their Big Toys

   After a wrong turn in a small town, I came across a portion of railroad track along the edge modern townhomes.  And on those tracks was someone's personal collection of railroad memorabilia.  I know some guys who collect model trains, but these big boys apparently collect the real thing!

One engine . . . .

A few old boxcars for hoboes . . . .

Passenger car with observation windows . . . .

A caboose from Canada . . .

Add some accessories . . .


A little station and milk cans ready for the milk run . . .

   Someone's dream come true!
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013



Photo by Per Eide and Bengt Wilson
From The Norwegian Kitchen  

   Here's a little challenge for you.  What is this?

Clue: It's a necessary tool in a Norwegian American home, especially at Christmas.

Need a closer look?

Extra credit for knowing the correct answer even though you have no Scandinavian blood!
I'll let you guess awhile before I tell you the answer.

It's a rommegrot whip!  And rommegrot is a festive pudding made at Christmas time with sour cream (must be at least 35% fat), whipping cream, flour, milk, and cinnamon.  As it is cooking, it has to be beaten constantly to make the fat all rise to the top, and the cook twirls the stick between both palms to beat it. Otherwise, your arm would fall off with all that beating! When the fat rises, you skim it off and pour it back on top, along with cinnamon sprinkles, when the pudding is cooked.  
Rommegrot...another white food brought to you by the Norwegians!
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Today's Walk -- A Study in Brown

   The sun came out about 1:30 this afternoon and I dropped everything to get out for a walk. November in Minnesota is a damp and dark month, so when the sun does come out, so do I.
   Gone are the exuberant colors of fall and brown is the color of the day.

The marshy edges of the lakes are accented with cattails. 

I've read that Native Americans lined the babies' cradle boards with the fluff of the mature tail and it served as a kind of diaper.  Way softer than Pampers!

The brown orbs on the goldenrod stems are galls, winter homes for goldenrod gall flies.  The larva will stay in there for a year, eating the plant stem from the inside.  How do they survive a Minnesota winter?  They produce a chemical, their very own antifreeze.

Milkweed, food of the monarch butterflies.

Do you see what is at the edge of the lake?  Ice!  Freeze-up is not far behind.

Joining with Our World Tuesday.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

"The Eleventh Hour"

"The Eleventh hour of the Eleventh day of the Eleventh month..."
Veteran's Day 2013
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We shall remember them.

A heartfelt thank you to veterans all over the world
who have fought and given their lives or their youth to bring peace.

Papa -- US Army 1941-46.  Served in the Philippines.

Thank you for reading my blog today.
Joining with Our World Tuesday

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Last Hike?

  We have had snow this week, lots of drizzly and dark skies and a 3 inch snowfall.  Even so, I have made it out for my daily walk most days. But the days of long hikes are about over until I get my snowshoes out.  I'm wondering if this was my last hike "in color" (as opposed to the black-and-white color scheme of winter).
It was a gorgeous day and a beautiful drive past some Amish farms to the area I wanted to explore.  Many were out in the fields and yards doing the things that need to be done before the snow flies.
  The first part of the trail was just above the Mississippi River, through an abandoned dairy farm. 

The stanchions are still intact in the milking parlor, but all the equipment is gone from the milk room. A cold wind was blowing through the broken windows, and I thought of the farmer and the cows who came together here at 4 o'clock every morning and afternoon, rain or shine, sickness or health.  A way of life, forever gone.


Corn crib on the left, machine shed on the right.

   Off through the countryside again ... I smell sheep.

And there they are, as curious about me as I am about them.  These fine ladies with their pretty black faces are Suffolks.  They are mainly raised for meat, but this farm was advertising their wool.

Time for lunch, along a bubbling stream, as clear as glass right down to the bottom.  How lovely someone placed a picnic table right here!  Lunch is almonds, cheese I stopped at a creamery to purchase, and a chocolate truffle I found at the bottom of my backpack, only slightly stale.

Another great activity for a sunny afternoon in the country.

I ended my walk at a business where I had parked my car.  I'm not sure what to call it, because it is a combination store/gas station/bank/restaurant and as you can see here, it wears one more hat: game registration station.  It was bow hunting season for deer and I saw hunters everywhere.  I hadn't worn orange, so I tried to stay out of the woods and along roads so as to not be mistaken for a deer.
I leave  this quote from my Inspirations notebook book for you:
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.            --John Muir
It's so true!
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Monday, November 4, 2013


  After two weeks of steeping myself in the history of London, on my last day I ran into this modern memorial on Tower Hill.
It commemorates the lives of all the workers who have died in construction accidents and celebrates the contribution of generation after generation of workers who have built and rebuilt London over time. The pose of the figure has been compared to Michelangelo's "David," and it would seem the sculptor intended the similarities as the tape measure clipped to his belt is engraved with the name "Dave." 

   Dave is looking out over the final lap of the Tour of Britain cycling race and in the sky to the right construction cranes carry on the work of building in London.  Not far to the right is the memorial for the Great Fire of 1666.  At the center is The steeple of All Hallows' Church, the oldest church in London, that withstood the bombs of World War II that destroyed so much of the city.  And on the plinth, today's workers have placed their lunch sacks and cans of soda in a safe place. 
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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Time Travel

 I took a turn on a rural road and I thought I had driven right into the past.  Before me was an old schoolhouse and beside it was the playground that I remembered from my elementary school days.  I dearly loved this playground equipment, have thought of it fondly over the years, and never expected to see it again.  Why not?  Because I'm sure parents today would be appalled at the lack of safety it afforded.  But oh, the fun!

In the background is the merry-go-round.  You had to rush out the door at recess to get a place on it because everyone wanted to ride.  The "big kids" stood and hung on to a pole while the "little kids" hung on for dear life seated on the boards with feet dangling.  The big kids on the poles rocked the whole thing side to side with their feet and more big kids took turns pushing. Soon the world would be going by so fast you just could not believe the thrill. 
   In the foreground is the trapeze bar from which you could hang by your knees and do daring tricks like flipping off to land on your feet, then go to the back of the line for another turn.  I was very good at this.
This is the view from the merry-go-round if you hung onto the handrail and leaned back as far as you could from the board seat.  Yes, it made you dizzy and queasy, but still oh so fun.

  This is the view from the top of what we called the teeter totter.  You did your best to get a friend of equal weight on the other end because if the opposite person were too heavy, you could never get him up in the air.  If he were too light, you would get quite a bone- and teeth-jarring thump when you hit bottom.
   Local 4-H club members and their horses were practicing barrel racing in a field and someone had opened the schoolhouse doors.  No one was close by to ask, so I went in. 

 Just like my school, inside the door and up a few steps was the cloakroom with hooks to hold the wool coats and snow pants we wore in the winter and a place underneath to store the rubber snow boots that went on over our shoes and zipped up the front.

One last surprise awaited me when I stuck my head in the classroom -- the exact light fixtures that graced the ceiling of my school.  My school was a rural school with eight grades.  I don't know how many classrooms there were but most had more than one grade in each.  When I was in fifth grade, a new school was built, and I moved up the hill with my class into this new building.  I cannot tell you one thing about the new school and its playground, but I remember every little detail of the old Powers School!  Wonder why that is?
Thanks for visiting my blog.  I'd love to read a comment about your school days.