Monday, July 6, 2015

Our Fourth in the North

We spent the weekend of the 4th in the North. NCW has a big gathering of her family every year and this was another in a long series. There is always lots of food and a good fireworks display offered up voluntarily by one of her sons. It's a tradition and every one eats well and watches a very good display of the best fireworks that Wisconsin has to offer. For the first time, both of my kids came to enjoy the weekend.

Unky Herb (UH) and Mrs. Herb (MH) posed on the lawn near the lake at the NCW B&B. It was her first time to the Iron Range and first stay at the B&B. She commented on the piles of reddish rocks adorning the sides of the road that she saw on the way north and the trees that seem to grow out of the side of the rock piles without any visible sign of soil.

Here's the hostess with the mostest. NCW and Sherrie (with some other help) made eggs benedict on the morning of the fourth for about 20 family and friends at her B&B on the shore of Swan Lake. This photo was taken on the deck looking down towards the lake.

We were all together, my kids and me in Hibbing. The wild flowers are not native, but arguably wild and growing near the Hull Rust Mine as PP leans on the sign. It was a nice afternoon in Bob Dylan's hometown. Zimmy's is still closed by the way.

Unky Herb and his spouse near the edge of the Hull Rust mine in Hibbing. It was a place that we have visited before, but the first time for the MH.

It's called Swan Lake, but Loon Lake would be a better name. There were quite a few of the big birds around when we took a boat ride on Saturday, and they were used to boats by this time, because the lake was filled with boaters and water skiers. Near dusk they sang their plaintive song for all of us.

NCW's youngest grandson was doing some fishing as the sun began to set. The smoke from Canadian fires made the sun red and the rest of the sky murky.

Unky Herb has a fireworks setting on his camera and used it under the home grown display on NCW's beach.

We're back from the north and only photos and good memories remain.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Last night in Pengilly

The last night before the Michigan family went back to the east, Unky Herb made the trip to Swan Lake. He made it in time to spend some minutes by the fire and to sample a s'more before the deluge arrived complete with both Lightening and his loud buddy, Thunder.  Paula Bunyan had left for the big city and missed his arrival.

We're back in the saintly city and a new week is in view.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Paula Bunyan

Who knew that the Prairie Princess was really Paula Bunyan in disguise?

Paula posing before splitting another log for the fire.

From the shores of Swan Lake where the loons are singing in the dark.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Best Father's Day/Solstice Ever

It was Father's Day and the solstice all wrapped up in the same day. Adam and Kelsey took me to the Arboretum in Chanhassen for a nature walk and to visit the place where Adam and Ying were married in August of last year. NCW came along, of course, and we had a nice time viewing the flowers, the herbs and the trees. It was warm and sunny and it made for good photography. I, for some inexplicable reason, left my camera at home so am relying on Adam's photography skills. Mad skills indeed.

Kelsey wanted to see some prairie. There is prairie at the Arboretum. We walked in the prairie and I'll be checking myself for ticks later on tonight. We had some photo opportunities. One below.

Another shot at the Arboretum taken by today's photographer, taken near one of the statues that the park has installed.

Then we went to dinner at the Grand Szechuan restaurant for tasty Chinese vittles. Ying joined us there and helped enliven the dinner group. We ate and drank well and then went back to Adam's to celebrate the day with cards and good wishes. It was a great Father's Day - the longest daytime of the year.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Author Dennis Herschbach

It's Saturday and a pretty nice one at that. We're well into June and the weather is pretty darn nice. I played tennis in a significant wind this morning, but played well enough even with the breeze to enjoy the experience. The interesting event of the day for me was the book signing at the Once Upon a Crime book store in Minneapolis. NCW and I discovered that one of our classmates, Dennis Herschbach, has been writing a series of crime books set on the North Shore of Lake Superior. He's already at book four in the series, so I guess it's going pretty well. I haven't read any of them ... yet ... but plan to now. We decided to go to the book signing and see if we knew any of his fans. Dennis was there and was glad to see us. Carolyn (nee) Booth and Libby (nee) Nordstrom were there, too. We chatted a bit and caught up with some news of the class of 1961.  It was good to talk to Dennis again. We saw him about a month ago at Bill Hachey's funeral, a sad event, and this was much more pleasant. I told him that I hadn't read any of the books, but that I had a lot of time and would like to give his books a try. He autographed the four books in the series and I brought them home to read. I'm starting "Convergence at Two Harbors" this afternoon.

Dennis with NCW at the Once Upon a Crime book store in Minneapolis near Lyndale. (Traffic on Lyndale sucks.)

The books in the series and in order left to right:

Grand Old Day is tomorrow so we in this part of the Saintly City will be staying home and ignoring the outside visitors.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A cardinal lives around here somewhere

A cardinal has taken up residence in the neighborhood. I waited for him to land in the yard and I took his picture. I hope he and his friends stay for the summer.

As you can see, it's nearly summer here already. The dandelions are taking their time in the sun.

I missed commenting on Star Wars day by just a single day.  May the fourth be with you.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Trekking through Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary

It was a pretty nice Saturday. NCW was off to GR to a funeral and to check on the lake cottage. I stayed in St Paul to play tennis and try to recover some energy from my weekly tennis activities. The Prairie Princess was home and we decided to take a stroll or maybe a mosey through the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, a place where she'd worked at one time, planting trees and flowers as part of its restoration. And I was once again in search of the elusive marsh marigolds. The sanctuary is a pretty place as spring starts to emerge from the brown of last fall's fallen leaves and old grass. Some of the old vegetation in the area has already been burned off and the terrain is getting green already. The trees are just beginning to get tiny light green leaves popping out of the branches. The sun was out, it was in the lower 60's, and a great day to be alive.

We encountered this snowy egret next to one of the ponds. It was surprisingly unstressed and hung around quite a while so that I could get a few photos of its activities. This is my favorite of the several I took. It never flew away. I think it knew the pond was its territory and wasn't about to leave for a couple of transient humans.

The first sighting of marsh marigolds this year. I'd looked on previous outings to other wild areas, but it was too early, I guess.

A closer look at some marsh marigolds. There are plenty of them in the wet areas of the sanctuary.

In one of the three ponds at the sanctuary there were some turtles sunning themselves. They were the first I've seen this year and a harbinger of the season to come.

It's still April and summer is on its way. I haven't been outside to play tennis yet this, but next week may be the beginning of outdoor tennis. There'll be the cry, "Hurray, hurray, the first of May, outdoor 'doings' start today."

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Prairie Princess has a birthday

She and her brother have birthdays just 5 days apart. They have been a huge part of my life for nearly half of mine. She has had a lot of different personas over the years. Photos bring a lot of them back. She started as a very athletic and fit little girl and continues to be very much an extension of what she was as a tot.

The young lady with an attitude and my hat, probably in Florida.

The Prairie Princess as a successful fisher person in her youth. She actually caught that monster fish.

A more recent shot of the adult Miss Prairie Princess.

Tonight we went out to an Indian restaurant and ate together - Unky Herb, PP, NCW and I. The food was good, the company excellent. Another birthday season is nearly done, but there will be more and we'll celebrate them as they come.

Happy Birthday, Prairie Princess.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Adam has a birthday

It's Adam's birthday. He's 35 and I can hardly believe that time has flashed by so rapidly. He was here today to celebrate his new age a bit and to help me do some chores that I'm getting too old to do. Like go up on the roof. He and his little sister were here for a few hours and we had some fun just hanging out. Life sure has changes, slow but steady changes, and they sneak up on a guy. I was happy to have a few hours of his busy life.

Here is the young guy in about 1984 at a zoo in San Diego. The kiddies' zoo and all he wanted to do was to ride a composite material turtle.

Adam at about six years old. One of many of my favorite years.

Adam and Ying in 2014 on their honeymoon in Kauai. A long way from 1980 in Minneapolis where he was born.

Happy birthday young guy. And many more.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Spring begins to creep back to the tundra

After a morning of some tennis and then lunch, it seemed like a good idea to go a-walking at Crosby Farm. We hadn't been there in a number of months and there was hope that green sprigs were emerging from the brown base. It was a bit more hopeful than realistic, but a day that's pleasant enough to hike is a good April day. So NCW and I walked down along the big river. The Mississippi is very low for this time of year. Our lack of snowfall this year means that we are emerging from winter in a drought. We're not as bad off as California yet, but the park by the river is lacking green vitality. We walked by Upper Lake, too. Also low and the foliage around it drab. We saw a lot of other hikers, all using the weekend to get out and quell the winter cabin fever blues with a walk in nature.

I have a selfie from yesterday that wasn't good enough to cause a blogging event then, but today, a cloudy, grayish day, it seems better. I think the blue sky in the background is the decider.

We stopped at Cecil's deli for a reuben sandwich for dinner. It's a busy weekend there, what with the convergence of Passover and Easter. They actually have a reuben on a popover as an option and matzo ball soup on the menu. We stuck with the traditional reuben on rye. It was a tasty way to ease into the evening.