After 2 1/2 years (thanks, Covid!) I finally got to go home to Minnesota and spend some time with my family. We crammed as much as we could into a few days.
I know it’s cliche but …
My goodness, how they’ve grown!
(8, 13 and 13, 14)
Fall sports were just starting up and Mason had football practice. First year for wearing protective equipment, but it’s still touch football, not tackle. Whew, glad of that!
Minnesota Twins played the Texas Rangers.
Grown-ups only. It felt very strange to leave the boys home without a sitter.
Our seats were right behind home plate and the ball was coming at us at up to 103 mph! How does a batter ever hit that?!!
Nail biter until the very end and the TWINS WON!
I did not recognize one player left from my days of being a Twins fan.
We’re a family who loves puzzles.
This Star Wars challenger has 2000 pieces!
Mason’s really good at puzzles but doesn’t have the attention span of the big boys.
Never at a loss for things to do however!
(Or maybe he thought this was a better vantage point for finding that certain piece?)
Chillin’ with the grand dogs, Annabelle (right), a Texas kill shelter rescue, and Nettie (left), a retired show dog. They are both so sweet, and the best cuddlers.
Lots of ball games — basketball, whiffle ball, football — to use up that boy energy.
The big Minneapolis farmers market with real farm-to-table prices and So Much Stuff! How do you even choose?
Sarah still has her Mexican taste buds and bought a bowl of each of these kind of peppers.
She snacks on them like carrot sticks!
“Surprise” birthday party for Anna
My beloved daughters, Anna and Sarah
And the final evening, a bonfire with marshmallows, singing, and dancing around the fire. Until the mosquitoes chased us inside. Not a Minnesota summer evening without some of those!
So hard to watch them drive away at the airport!
So thankful to have this time together!
I want to say a few words about my last post, the one about the neighborhood man who feeds the feral cats. First, I am aware that cats kill birds and other small animals and that pet cats should be kept indoors. The cats I have owned have all been indoor cats for that reason, and if I get another cat, she will be an indoor cat, too.
There is a cat problem in the small Southern town I live in. Traditionally, cats here are outdoor pets. Although there are no-cost spay clinics and individuals who attempt to trap the many cats that live around the fishing and boat docks, it’s a drop in the bucket. There are so many stray cats that the local animal shelter provides outdoor shelters, food, and neutering for hundreds that come and go near their facility.
And finally, the man who feeds these cats in my neighborhood is old, poor, in terrible health, and alone. Feeding these 15 or so cats brings him some happiness and a feeling that he is doing a kindness to God’s creatures. Who am I to judge? He has lived here all his life; I have lived here six years.
Since I am still catless, I have to get my cat fix where I can. This house on my morning walking route provides a constant supply of cat cuteness! An elderly man lives here and feeds all who come to the table. I counted 12 waiting this morning. I think he leaves the watermelon on the left for the fox family that lives in the woods next door.
We recently spent time with my mom at her care home in Florida where indoor and outdoor sitting areas allow the human residents to enjoy the wildlife — raccoons, egrets, squirrels, ibises, and this Sandhill Crane family. The guy on the right with its beak open is a youngster still being fed by the parents.
Besides the animals, the grounds are beautiful with huge 400 year old oak trees draped with Spanish moss along a large creek. The craziest thing though — the prettiest view is reserved for the smokers, which seems very unfair to Mom and to us!
She isn’t always happy to be there but she does love being able to take herself outside and enjoy nature.
On the drive back home we spotted this interesting cloud towering in the sky.
The top appeared indented and bowl-shaped.
Never seen one like it before.
Meanwhile, the South Carolina summer does not disappoint those who love heat and humidity.
When I was cleaning it, the nectar I poured out was really hot and I figured it just might burn those tiny hummingbird tongues.
Can’t have that!
Speaking of birds, we have had fun with a pair of Carolina wrens this summer. They are very noisy, very friendly, active, and messy little birds. We like them a lot and have encouraged them to nest in our YARD with two very nice bird houses …
but one very determined pair had other ideas. They seemed to want to be near us. In our sunroom, to be exact. Over a couple days we removed several nest starts, hoping to encourage them to build elsewhere. Then one afternoon we came home to …
a done deal!
I didn’t get a picture, but there was a jacket slung over my bike handlebars and tucked inside it was a completed nest. Inside the nest were …
Yes, four little spotted eggs, each the size of my fingernail!
They had us! It was too late take it down this time.
What to do?
I carefully removed the very sloppy, loosely constructed nest from the jacket and placed it in a small wicker basket I hung on my handlebars. We were surprised when mama wren came right back to the nest as if nothing had changed and settled in. From then on we gave over all use of the sunroom to the wrens and had to leave all four sliding glass doors open night and day.
We have to walk through the sunroom a dozen times a day to get in and out of the house but it didn’t seem to faze the wren parents in the least. In 13 days the eggs hatched.
Then one morning 12 days later we came out and the babies were gone. They had somehow made their way out of the nest, out of the sunroom doors, and were hanging out in the azalea bushes, being shepherded and fed by their excited parents.
Carolina wrens are monogamous, mate for life, and raise up to three broods a year. Ours have apparently sought a change of scenery for their next family. We miss them but we are glad to have our sunroom back.
A national tour of art inspired by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo that began to tour the country in 2019 is at its final stop in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. That’s about an hour north of us and we were fortunate to get to go see it this week.
Ninety-five entries, selected from artists all over the world, inspired by her life and her art, interpreted The World of Frida Kahlo in paintings, prints, photography, collage, sculpture, textiles, and mixed media.
It was a colorful and exuberant extravaganza of a tribute and it was fascinating to see the ways Kahlo has inspired creativity in her admirers. We enjoyed it so much!
An iconic Frida, clothed in monarch
Silk and metallic crewel embroidery
Brussels, Belgium artist, “Trying to be Frieda”.
Appliqué and embroidery, Hamburg, Germany.
“Larger Than Life”
Kahlo was severely crippled as a young woman when she broke her back in a bus accident, and later lost her foot from health complications. Her life was filled with severe pain and she lived and painted mostly in a wheelchair and flat on her back in bed.
I love the way this artist imagined her as beautiful and free from those painful limitations.
“Frida With Birds”
A medium of expression for everyone!
Do-It-Yourself project in the
museum gift shop
(Anyone else paint these when you were a kid? I loved them, and actually learned quite a bit about painting with oils doing them.)
I hope you enjoyed seeing a few pieces from this exhibit. I want to tell you if it ever comes your way, do go, but as I said, this is its last stop and the pieces will be going back to their artists when they leave here.
I haven’t been posting on my blog for a while for a couple reasons. One was that my last few posts had so few comments I decided I wasn’t writing about anything anyone cared about and it didn’t seem worth the effort. Well, this week I was poking around and discovered that for some unknown reason a lot of comments were in the SPAM folder and never published! I don’t understand why.
Has that happened to anyone else? Anyway, I moved them and I will be feeling more inspired to write now!
They used to say one human year equals seven dog years, which would make our girl 91 today. Now there seems to be a more complicated formula. The American Veterinary Medical Association believes the first year of a dog’s life equals 15 human years. Year two equals nine years and after that, add five year for each human year. By my calculations, that’s adds up to 79 candles this year for Bob.
I thought I’d do a little interview with Bob for you on her day.
Me: Bob, I know you’re a girl. How did you come to have a boy’s name?
Bob: (Big yawn) I’m tired of answering that. Ask The Writer. Hey, have you seen my ball?
Me: Okay, I’ll ask him in a minute. What’s your favorite treat?
Bob: Peanut butter cookies from Trader Joe’s. Did you hide my tennis ball again?
Me: No I did not! Do you do any dog tricks?
Bob: Sheesh, why would you ask me that. Of course not. Tricks are for poodles. I need that tennis ball.
Me: Why do you hide your tennis balls under things and all over the yard?
Bob: For occasions just like this! Gotta have one, gotta have one, gotta have one now.
Me: Okay, just a couple more questions first. Why do you always take the long way through the house instead of going through the kitchen?
Bob: You can’t figure that out for yourself? Years ago when I was a wee small pup I once walked through the kitchen when the floor was wet and slippery. I will NEVER do it again. Ever. Got it? Now gimmee my ball.
Me: Last one. What would you like for your birthday?
Bob: Really? You don’t know that? I worry about my humans sometimes!