Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Ring Out the Old, Ring In the New


Happy New Year 2014!

Monday, December 30, 2013


OWe had a brief respite from below zero temps, a balmy and spring-like 40 degree F day.  It was sunny with plenty of snow on the ground, perfect for some snowshoeing.
A perfect field, not a footprint in sight, not even a rabbit trail.


Wind waves in the snow

 Through a small woods to the lake

Just across the lake they are fishing on the ice, but I'm not sure I'd trust it.  That's a wood duck house leaning at a crazy angle over open water.

Wait!  What is that up in the tree?  Two squirrels' nests and  . . .

A robin!  Singing!  Why did he not migrate?  Can spring be far behind?
Well, yes, I am afraid it can.  This morning it is -18F and more of the same predicted for the week. 
Joining with Our World Tuesday   http://ourworldtuesdaymeme.blogspot.com/
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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Memories

   Christmas 2013 is a memory now, a sweet but chaotic one full of boys under 5 and their new baby brother.  Next year this Christmas will be added to the memories on the window.

Christmas photos from years past

 Two generations, beautiful young parents, aunt and uncle.

Grandparents, aunts and uncles, great aunts and uncles, sister and me, three generations.

My girls, jammies stuffed with Christmas wrapping, the fourth generation.

  Add Anna's twins four years ago, the fifth generation.   And (right) last year's photo, the first Christmas without my dad.

What will this Christmas's photo be?  Maybe this one -- Grammy (my mom) meets baby Mason, the youngest member of the fifth generation.

I hope your Christmas was sweet, and just a bit exciting and chaotic, too!  Thanks for reading my blog.  I really enjoy reading your comments.

Monday, December 23, 2013


. . . to you and yours from Minnesota, USA.
Thanks for reading my blog.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Solstice -- the Longest Night

“I will love the light for it shows me the way. Yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.” – Og Mandino

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” - Albert Camus
  Light a candle or a bonfire tonight and welcome the Light back into the world. 

Thanks for reading my blog.  Thanks for leaving a comment.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Come On In!

    I love a peek into other people's homes, especially at Christmas time, so I thought I would share a visit into mine. It's almost ready for company, which starts arriving on Thursday.
    I have always had a real evergreen tree, usually one I grew myself, but after several cat-related disasters that involved breaking quite a few of my old ornaments, I thought I'd try something different.  Thinking that maybe it was the scent of fresh pine that was too much temptation for Rosie, I thought I'd try deciduous.  So I decorated three deciduous "trees," all up off the floor at least a bit from cat height.

                                                                                 I've already removed balls from the lower branches, but now she is studying just how to attack the higher ones.

                                                                   This one is in the kitchen and I call it the acorn tree.  It has one very special non-acorn ornament on it, which you will see in the next photo.
                                                                                 It's a Santa made from a milkweed pod!  It was sent to me by a blogger friend, Far Side, and I love it.  She made 67 of these for family and friends. 

                                            I love to decorate for Christmas, mostly with old things and things from outdoors.  This is the first Christmas of my retirement, the first time I've had time to do much decorating in years.  It's been so much fun!
Thanks for reading my blog.
Joining with Our World Tuesday  http://ourworldtuesdaymeme.blogspot.com/

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Deck the Halls With Boughs of Evergreen!

 It's looking like Christmas at my house.


Not the usual stalactite icicle here.

This is the wagon my sister and I had as kids,a heavy-duty red Radio Flyer.  We got it for Christmas from Grandma and Grandpa, and it's got a lot of miles on it. Now its job is to brighten up the garden at night.

I love to decorate inside and out for Christmas.  I love to search through the woods for things that will brighten up a Minnesota winter and bring them home.

For awhile I didn't like Christmas so much, mainly because it was exhausting and involved things I don't much like to do (like shop and cook turkeys).  Over the years, I've eliminated most of what I don't like and the season has become precious and beautiful to me. 

If you are like me and hate the hype and the expectations and the cost that surround Christmas, here's a thought:

      Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.
                                                                                      ~Oren Arnold

Thanks for reading my blog.  I hope you find some Christmas peace and joy today!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Battle of Britain Memorial - 'The Few'

“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
Prime Minister Winston Churchill
  The Battle of Britain Memorial is dedicated to the 3000 airmen who flew in the 1940 Battle of Britain. There is something about the realism, detail, and the life-size figures that makes it especially moving to me.
An elderly gentleman was very knowledgeable about the sculpture and the war when I was there, and a small group gathered around him to listen. The sculpture was built on a structure that was already in place, a smoke vent for the underground trains when they were steam powered.  It is 25 meters long and has a space to walk through the center.

At the center of this panel, airmen seem to leap out of the sculpture. Below, the Observer Corps watches for enemy planes on the coast, and one of the animals that served is depicted.

Women are honored for the roles they played in the factories that built the planes, and they also flew new planes to destinations to hand them over to the male pilots.

St. Paul's stands in victory as this scene seems to bring together soldiers and civilians under the broken ruins of the buildings and the bodies they crushed. In the lone face at the center, I see the apprehension, the fear, the disbelief at the bombings.

Citizens in the bomb shelters, Home Guard, all look to the sky in fear as the bombs fall.
I can't believe how expressive the eyes of these fliers are when cast in hard metal.  That's the genius of this sculptor, Paul Day.  The memorial was dedicated by Prince Charles in 2005 and stands on the Victoria Embankment along the Thames River in London.
Joining with Our World Tuesday
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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

'Snow Event' -- Say What?

   According to the weatherman, we are having a "snow event".  I think that is weatherman-speak for "It's gonna snow but I have no clue how much.  I want to get everyone all worried so they will tune in to my weather report."  The term is new and it irritates me.  Snow in Minnesota in December is ho hum.  Happens every year. 
   This is what it looked like in the back garden this morning.
Do you see the size of those flakes?  It's several inches deep now and still snowing.  But it's not an "event"!  It's just winter in Minnesota.

Mason and I are warm and busy indoors.  He is eating and sleeping and smiling, his latest trick.  I have a mushroom and cheese pie baking and when I have a minute, I'm working on a Christmas present.  Later on when the snow stops, I'll have some shoveling to do.
Because that's what we do in December in Minnesota.
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Monday, December 2, 2013

Paoli, Wisconsin -- Buy Local

  On Black Friday, my sister, daughter, and I headed out to do our kind of shopping. Far from the Walmart and Target crowds is a tiny rural town -- Paoli, Wisconsin.

   First stop was coffee and breakfast.
It may not look like much, but the food is amazing.  It is organically grown by the Ruegsegger family, then cooked and served by them in their little restaurant/grocery store. Everything from dairy and eggs, meat, honey, to produce is grown 15 miles from the store.

The breakfast menu features huge quiches, such as asparagus-truffle and Swiss cheese spinach/kale/chard, duck egg omelets, and Swiss roesti potatoes.  We chose three items and potatoes and split them. It is probably the best breakfast I ever ate.

The farmer and cook and sign-maker, Mr. Ruegsegger.


Apparently there has been some confusion about how long it takes to make food from scratch.

      Now, on to the shops.  There are only a few and they are in historic buildings, built in the mid 1800s.

The old grist mill, built in 1864, is now an antique shop upstairs and an art gallery downstairs where the Sugar River flows underneath.


The creamery is another art gallery.


Next stop is the chicken store.  They sell everything for chickens, including fancy houses, and everything for people who like chickens.

"The rooster may crow, but the hen delivers the goods."

   On our way home we stopped at the Amish grocery store.  There is no sign; you just have to know which farm lane to turn down.  We stocked up on the essentials to do the Christmas baking, eggs, local cheese, and some salve that fixes everything. 

Joining with Our World Tuesday
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