Sunday, August 31, 2014

On My Walk This Morning


"People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child…our own two eyes. All is a miracle."


Thich Nhat Hanh



Friday, August 29, 2014

UFOs, Identified

I saw something tonight I've never seen before. It was getting dark and about to storm and I was looking out the window while I brushed my teeth (doesn't everyone?). I noticed a big swarm of something flying around and around at levels from inches above the ground to above the treetops. They looked like tiny radio-controlled helicopters gone mad.

My first crazy thought was hummingbirds but then one flew close to the window.

Dragonflies! Five inch long dragonflies!

( I tried to get a photo myself but it was getting dark. I found this one, thanks to the Dragonfly Woman who has a blog here in case you want to know more about dragonflies or report a swarm.)

Apparently dragonflies swarm for two reasons - migration or feasting on a swarm of other insects. I'm pretty sure mine had discovered a dinner buffet over my garden. While they can swarm in groups of 10 to 1,000,000 or more, I'd say my swarm was in the hundreds.

They are still out there circling, 45 minutes later.

What a fun way to end my day.




Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The August Garden

This is the first year I've planted dahlias.  The package said they would be 36" tall and this one is over 6 feet!  The package also shows this variety as bright pink with a bright yellow center.  Do you think it got put in the wrong package?

Dahlia #2 is much less vivid in color than the photo on its package, but it is about 36" tall.

Today was the day to dig the potatoes.  They are Yukon Golds and I have about 15 lbs. to eat this winter. That's about an average crop for this variety.
My back garden is surrounded by a 6 foot high wood fence that goes right down to the ground.  These plants are inside another fence as well, a "rabbit-proof" fence (says so right on the package!) that did not keep young rabbits from going through it and decimating the green beans, as you can see.  Nothing left for me but a bit of the stalks.  They also chewed the beets, chard, and carrots right down to the ground.

The heads of amaranth are so heavy they are bending down.  The young leaves are pretty, delicious, and nutritious in a salad or stir fry, while the seeds have a high protein content and are high in other valuable nutrients.  Besides which it just looks so pretty amongst all the green in the garden!

All my tomatoes are heirloom varieties, not hybrids.  These little sungolds have the most tomato flavor pop you can imagine when you bite into them 

These are called Black Cherry and when they ripen they are a brownish black.  They, too, have amazing flavor.

Somebody already took a taste of this German striped tomato.  Oh, all right, I'll share!

Painted zinnias

And a whole row of purple zinnias, with a bumblebee.

The August garden . . .  last hurrah of exuberant color,  busy insects, and juicy fruits before all withers in the frosts of September. Pull up a lawn chair and enjoy the show while there is still time! 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Score One For The Bees!

I don't live anywhere near Shorewood, but if I were a bee, I'd head up there. I hope this encourages other towns to take note and do likewise. I have almost no zucchini this year, and lots of blossoms but no fruit on the eggplants. I also have few bees. Coincidence? I don't think so!


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes

  I dropped a bag of clothes off at a charity shop last night and had a wander through the store.  As I looked at the racks upon racks of cast-off clothing, I thought about the ease with which we acquire new clothes nowadays, mostly on a whim rather than when they wear out, and how it hasn't always been that way.

   Earlier this summer I visited the little Swedish museum in Vasa, Minnesota, and I remembered I had taken these photos.

.Back in the day, acquiring clothing took a lot of work.  First, fiber had to be grown--in Minnesota, that meant flax or wool.  Then harvested, spun into thread, andwoven on a loom like this one -- all by hand.  If you fancied a color other than beige, dyes had to be prepared and applied from  plants you grew for that purpose.

No one saved the ordinary, everyday clothes because they wore them out, but this delicate wedding dress made its way into the museum. It was hand made and worn by Elin Prenn for her marriage to Henry. 

Another wedding dress, which was often worn as a "best" dress after the wedding until it fell apart, then found another life in the squares of a quilt.

This was a man's handspun linen nightshirt, a summer one if it was worn in Minnesota, I think. Linen is made from the flax plant, bleached, carded, spun, and finally woven into cloth.

It was hand sewn and embroidered by a bride, Martha Person, for her husband-to-be, Erick Larson in 1827 and came with their son to Minnesota in 1857.

I don't think any of the clothing I saw in the charity shop last night will end up in a museum nearly 200 years later!


Friday, August 8, 2014

Cream of Lutefisk Soup

Ja, I think maybe I'd better explain the whole lutefisk thing here. The mug in my last post is kind of an inside joke, doncha know? It's made to look like a can of Campbell Soup, the most common brand of soup in America, but no one would ever really eat lutefisk soup. (I don't think!).

Lutefisk is made by reconstituting dried cod by soaking it in lye. It becomes gelatinous and reminded Scandinavian immigrants of the homeland, I guess. My mom boiled it in a mesh bag that kind of held the quivering mass all together until it got to the table in a large tureen.

Lutefisk is pretty tasteless by itself but it is served with a large amount of melted butter poured over it. Many of us can't get past that the texture and smell of it cooking, however!

Many Minnesota and Wisconsin (and probably Iowa, too) churches still have lutefisk suppers that are extremely popular, often sold out weeks in advance. And some families serve it on Christmas Eve, which my family sometimes did until my grandma's generation was all gone.

Thank goodness, most churches also serve a variety of other dishes for the non-lutefisk generations. We can fill up on lefse and oh! those meatballs and mashed potatoes!

Prise Herren, it wouldn't be November without a good lutefisk supper in the church basement.



Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Summers With Mom

My mom has arrived in Minnesota from her home in Florida for a month Up North. I don't think she would mind my telling -- she is 87 and still travels, alone, including changing planes in one of the busiest airports in the country. And we have been going non-stop since she arrived!
Sarah and Mom at the Gammelgarden Museum in Scandia. Although it is a Swedish museum, we Norwegians enjoyed it anyway! (Except for the bee sting -- I was attacked while sitting in the little church, quietly minding my own business. I suspect it was a Swedish bee. Uff da! Norwegians can't trust 'em.)

We had all the boys at the new splash park but it's hard to get them all in one place in a photo as they are all in constant motion. So here is Mason, doing a bit of girl-watching.
No, we didn't have any for lunch. In fact, only one of us can stomach lutefisk and I'll let you guess which one.
My friend Trina is cleaning out her house in Edinburgh for a move and found this photo of the two of us, which I kinda love. We did some work for an ad agency for the first Bele Chere Music Festival in Asheville, North Carolina, and here we are, enjoying it in the early 80s. The name sounds French, the t-shirts sport a bagpipe, and Asheville is in the heart of Appalachia. What were the founders thinking? The now annual festival is still happening. (This was my attempt at the Princess Diana haircut, I believe.)

Well, that's the week so far. More overnight guests coming this weekend for baby Mason's christening.

This is my first post using the Blogsy app and I hope it comes out all right because I'm not sure I know how to un-publish and edit! Thanks for visiting.