Monday, July 29, 2013

Whodunnit? My World Tuesday

Mayhem in the Garden!

Birdbath broken, St. Francis of Assisi on his head.  Who is the culprit?  Probably not the raccoons.  They definitely have a rap sheet here, but I don't think it was them -- it happened in the middle of the day.

Number One Suspect, with four gray accomplices right behind. 
For days, the four young gray squirrels have chased this albino relentlessly, non-stop.  The pitter patter of their little feet even continued on the roof long after dark! 
Apparently they have worked out something and the peaceable kingdom has returned to the garden.  And once again my birdfeeders are equal opportunity diners for all  squirrels, gray or white.

One last photo: Squirrel levitating. 
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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Looking up in Canterbury Cathedral

   This is the fan ceiling over the nave in Canterbury Cathedral. The only tools available to create this in the 1300s would have been a hammer, a chisel, some measuring tools, and wooden scaffolding. Masons would have lain on their backs for up to 12 hours a day, using the crude tools to shape this amazing ceiling.  How long did it take, I wonder.  What did they think about when the chips and dust were falling on them?  The fan-shaped vaulting carries the weight of the 235-foot high ceiling to the foundations of the cathedral, which you can see more of in the photo below.  It just takes my breath away.

   I've been working on the photo album from my March trip to London and Paris.  I taught British Lit. and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales for many years, but this was the first time I had seen Canterbury Cathedral.  It was my first trip to Canterbury and my last trip with students as I was retiring in May.  I will never forget the feeling of sitting under that ceiling and staring up at the glory man can create when he uses his talent for good.






Friday, July 26, 2013


"Fair are the lilies that weather the storm." 
                                           Amy Carmichael poem
   It started out a beautiful, cool morning, and I headed out to a country meat market to buy bacon for company that's coming.  The blue sky and a bank of bright tiger lilies caught my eye, so I stopped and noticed the clouds begin to rapidly move.  I sat and watched the storm approach.




   A life storm came up this week, and every bit as fast as this rainstorm did.  It's not over, but I have dealt with most of it and I'm counting my blessings. 

"Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm."                                  (Anonymous)

Monday, July 22, 2013

My World Tuesday -- Milwaukee Road Depot

   In the late 1800s, Minneapolis, Minnesota, was a bustling and growing city, so busy it had more than one train station.  The largest one, Union Station, sadly is gone, razed in the name of progress, but The Milwaukee Road Depot still stands.

The steeple on the clock blew off during a windstorm and has not been replaced.  The outdoor train yard to the right was 1/8 mile long!
   Built in 1899, in its heyday it had 29 trains coming and going every day.  Now it holds a ghostly reminder, sculpted figures depicting its life in days gone by.

The conductor.  Edwin Kelly

  Dining car waiter. Charlie Strong
Shoeshine boy. Timothy


Officer Binsfeld

Sailor.  Norman and many, many other young men travelled by train far away from Minnesota farms to serve their country.
I have been unable to find the name of the sculptor, but was told at the depot that each was based on an old photo and models for the statues were the artist's family members.  She could not recall his name.
Special spill-proof coffee cups had a lip on the edge to keep the coffee in.
   I remember going to pick my dad up from the train station (not this one, a much smaller one in Wisconsin) when he travelled to Chicago for business on the Milwaukee Road train, waiting in the cold and dark for it to arrive. Loud hisses of steam coming out from underneath the beast before the passengers disembarked would have me clutching my mom in fear and excitement.  Daddy usually brought a present.  One time it was a Davy Crocket milk mug, which I still have!
   The Minneapolis Milwaukee Road Depot closed in the 1970s and became a dirty, rundown wreck in a blighted neighborhood.  Fortunately, someone saw its potential, and today it is a hotel with historic suites in the old plush offices of the railroad executives.  The gorgeous ornate passenger terminal has been restored and is an elegant banquet room and ballroom.  The train shed becomes a popular ice skating rink in the winter.

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Morning in the garden

   The temperatures have been in the 90s and the humidity tropical.  Although I'm not loving it, the garden is.  I went for a stroll this morning, and here is some of the garden's July beauty.

I bought this perennial at the farmer's market this spring.  It's very fuzzy all over and waist-tall.  And the blooms are going to be spectacular, I think.  Wonder what it is.

 I'm happy to share my dill with this little guy!  He will turn into a beautiful black swallowtail butterfly, which you can see here:

"Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these ...."  Matthew 6

  I came back into the house and saw . . .
Rosie.    "What do you mean, it's too small? Most of me fits!"

Monday, July 15, 2013

My World Tuesday

The question is always asked by the curious travelers who have crossed the Plains at Interstate speeds, “How can you live here without the mountains, the ocean, the woods?” But what they are really speaking to is their desire to “get it” right away. The sublime of this place that we call the prairie is one of patience and looking.
                                                  - Keith Jacobshagen,  The Changing Prairie

Take a look!
A fallow field of prairie grasses and black-eyed susans

Dozens of semi trailers sit idle, waiting at the grain elevator, biding time until the busy days of the corn harvest in fall

It's true -- you can hear the corn grow on days like today!

The church, tallest building in town, witness to life's most
joyous and solemn events


The water tower, the church spire, and the grain elevator,
silhouetted against the morning sky

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pete and Re-Pete Pick Strawberries

"Little boys come in all shapes and sizes,
Shy and adventurous, full of surprises,
With misshapen halos and mischievous grins,
Small dirty faces, and sweet, sticky chins."
 These are my grandsons, and yes, they are twins.  Every Thursday they spend the day with me and we have an adventure.  They love strawberries and picking them themselves from Nana's garden is soooo exciting!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summertime and the livin' is easy

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” 
    Henry James
Bee balm, monarda, bergamot -- whatever you call it, it says hot hot summer on the prairie.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Something New -- Our World Tuesday

Our World Tuesday Graphic

   Another blogger told me about memes ( a word I had to look up because I never heard it before) and I am going to try linking up to one today.  It seems a fun idea.  For this meme, people from all over the world write about what's going on on a given day, then all the links are gathered and shared.  If all goes well, after you read this, you can click on the URL at the bottom of the page to see what other part of the world grabs your interest.

   So.  Today in my corner of the world it is cherry picking time. 
   This is my cherry tree, sour cherries for pies. The birds in my yard love them as much as we do, and it is a battle every summer to get enough for a few pies.  I've tried netting the tree but the birds get under the net, get caught, and then guess who has to free them. 
  That green thing is an old cherry pitter.  The cherries go in the dish, one rolls into the chute, you whack the plunger that forces the pit through a hole in the bottom and the cherry continues down the chute into a bowl.  Theoretically speaking.  In reality, about every other cherry involves a malfunction (too small, goes right down the hole with the pit), so there is a lot of hand pitting involved.
   I have picked and pitted enough for a couple pies so far.  The birds have pecked and rendered inedible enough for at least 10 pies.  I can't show you a beautiful pie picture because the cherries are waiting in the freezer for two special occasions: Christmas, and my mom's birthday.  Cherry pie is her favorite.

Our World Tuesday Graphic



Sunday, July 7, 2013

It's a bird. It's a plane.

It's ... another nest!

   A while back I posted a photo of a nest built by architecturally challenged robins in my rain gutter.  Well, their story continues. 

   A few days ago there was a ruckus in the backyard with lots of noise that brought me out to see what was going on. Just as I entered the yard, two brown thrashers swooped by me, chasing and diving at a pair of robins, which seemed to be fighting each other.  The thrashers were so close I could feel the woosh of air against me as they wheeled by.  I thought to myself that for some reason they wanted to chase the robins out of the yard and then I kind of forgot about it.

   Next I noticed that I was no longer seeing Baby Robin around, although the parents were still hanging out and eating cherries.

   Last night I was outside cruising the garden and admiring the tiny grapes on the arbor when a robin erupted from the leaves right by my head. 

   Here is what I found, perched atop one of the posts holding up the arbor.

   These are not brightest members of the bird world.  They built their second nest on a post that is 3 1/2 X 3 1/2 inches square.

   Baby is allowed back in the yard today and is hanging out in the birdbath as it is nearly 90 degrees.  I suspect he is the one who was being chased away and told in no uncertain terms that he needs to stand on his own two feet.  I don't know what the thrashers were doing.  Maybe the robins hired them for help.  You know how grown kids keep coming back home these days to live off their parents.  Anyway, he seems to pretending to not even recognize his parents.

   Mama is sitting on the nest in the hot, hot sun.  You can tell she is hot because her mouth is open and she is panting.  I filled the birdbaths and I hope Papa will spell her so she can go get a drink and cool off.  I wouldn't count on it if I were her. He is pretty busy eating the cherries I want for pies. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Oh, beautiful for spacious skies . . . .

Red, white, and blue from the garden

Albino squirrel

"God bless America,
           my home sweet home!"

Happy 4th of July!