Saturday, July 31, 2010

Family reunion near county roads FF and U

Instead of the usual Saturday morning game of tennis, I went with GZ and BB to the Anderson family reunion held today near the intersection of county roads FF and U and by the Yellow River bridge at Fort Folle Avoine Historical Park. It's an area well known to GZ and I as the land was once farmed by our grandfather, Richard Anderson.

Besides the get together of the families of about ten of Richard's grandchildren, there was a viewing of a granite bench to commemorate the 50 plus years that the Anderson family farmed and lived on this land. It's a nice bench placed in a nice location near the visitor center and inscribed with the names of the Andersons who lived here. They are all now gone from the earth, but not forgotten. All their names were spelled correctly on the inscription. GZ and I posed behind the bench which is in an area that once grew corn and soybeans not far from the Yellow River.

The group of cousins gathered for a photo, too. Besides the cousins, Terje Nordberg posed in stead of his wife, Nancy. Terje brought his book to the reunion and we were able to obtain autographed copies. The book chronicles the immigration of Nils Olai Anderson and his family to Wisconsin from far northern Sjovegan in Norway. His daughter, Hansine, married Richard Anderson in 1913 and lived here until her death in 1957. Also pictured is John McCune, our uncle who farmed the land for many years and now is the last member of that generation. He remembers a lot about the land and how it was farmed with the two horses, Babe and Toots. Babe was the white one. Toots was the one with an attitude.

Also displayed at the museum was this piece of history describing the family that lived on the farm for those 50 plus years. The photo includes several of the attendee cousins at today's celebration. It's a nice addition to the visitor center.

It is interesting to note that the family farm was used for about 60 years, until 1969 when it was sold to the state of Wisconsin, while the Fort, which has been rebuilt as part of the park, stood for a single winter in 1803 before being burned down when the traders deserted it. It shows that recent history is much less interesting than history long forgotten and nearly lost. Of course, it should be noted also that the Native Americans lived on and used this land for hundreds of years before the fur traders came with beads to trade.

Friday, July 30, 2010

How the garden grows

A potpourri of a day. Although it rained off and on, I managed to get in 45 minutes of tennis ball smacking at the St Clair courts before the rain began. My old racket is still holding up. I was able to buy a new one of similar vintage on eBay this week, but it's still en route. We mostly just hit the ball back and forth and played a few simulated singles points to practice serve and volley technique. But the rain curtailed the action.

The garden, mostly just tomatoes, appreciates the rain and the heir loom cherry tomato plants look like they'll be producing a lot of fruit in the next few weeks. You can see below that the plants have rallied and are taking up quite a bit of space in the back yard. My old Wilson Hyper Pro Staff 6.1 tennis racket for scale.

PP's corn and beans in a pot seem to be doing well, too, although plants in a pot seem to need quite a bit more water to keep them green and growing. We have taken a few bean pods from the plant and PP pronounces them edible. The same Wilson racket for scale.

There is a farmer's market at Lexington and Summit every Friday. I went up there between showers and was able find some good looking ears of corn and locally grown tomatoes, in lieu of my own production. The quality of the veggies at the market seems pretty good, so I almost always overbuy cukes and corn when they're available. I'm looking forward to home cooked corn on the cob for dinner.

The Anderson cousins family reunion is tomorrow at Fort
Folle Avoine between Webster and Danbury, Wisconsin, the previous homestead of Grandpa Richard Anderson. My brother, Tommy, who meant to attend, and who was on his way from Pensacola, Florida, had an unfortunate mishap with his prescription meds and was forced to turn back after making it as far as Kentucky. We'll miss his presence and hope for better luck next year. I'm bringing the several bean salad that was inspired by my sister, Santini, to the gathering as my entry ticket. There will be some new books available, too, that describe the coming to America in 1903 of my great grandfather, Nils Olai Hansen, and his 8 year old daughter, my own grandma, Hansine. Terje Nordberg, the author of A Giant Step: Nils Olai Hansen goes to America, will be there. Terje is married to my cousin, Nancy.

And Tommy, we'll miss you.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Not a Monarch

Yesterday was too steamy for tennis. The heat index was over 100 again and storms came through in the evening and cooled it down enough for sleeping.

Today was a nicer day and it's a good thing. We played some tennis at Marie Park. Three other geezers and me. It was still hot enough to get me completely knackered after two hours and two close split sets, 7-6, 4-6. I think I was short of electrolytes by the second set and my coordination began to suffer. Luckily I was among friends and we weren't playing for money. There will be more days like today.

I understand that the Monarch butterflies are getting close to peak viewing time in Minnesota. There were a few butterflies in PP's native grass garden today, but they weren't Monarchs, maybe not even royalty, but they were doing their pollinating job on the blazing star plants. I tried to get several shots on the little guys, but they seemed to want to flutter away about the time I was ready to snap the shutter. This is about as good of a shot as I got. Does anyone know the variety of flutterby that I have here?

July is waning. Not much left before August and the lure of the blueberry patch.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Twilight sky

A pretty nice day for tennis. For almost any outdoors activity. There were eight eager players at 3:30 when we started, but by 5:30 when we quit we were down to four fairly hardcore geezers. I played well the first set, but as the day went on the heat and level of activity slowed me a bit and I was knackered at the end of the third (partial) set. Having split the first two, I didn't feel too bad about the level of play, but I was happy enough to call it a day.

The photo is a couple of days ago at Como in the evening. The sky was pretty dramatic, and I was happy to take its picture.

Michigan blueberries and the cottage by the lake are drawing me. It's almost time to do some beach walking and beech viewing.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A day of rest

It seemed like a rest day. The weather was cooler than lately, and it looked like rain most of the day. But there was very little precipitation in St Paul. There was a decisive stage of the bike race today and so I spent a couple of hours watching Andy and Alberto ride shoulder to shoulder for about five hours and finish at the top of a mountain in France less than a yard apart. And a long way ahead of third place. There are a couple of stages left, and an 8 second lead is not much, but Alberto looks like a winner.

My old tennis racket, the one I play with, is looking pretty ragged. I decided to see if there were any of the same type still available on ebay. It's an old Pro Staff 6.1, that hasn't been manufactured in about 10 years. There were about 10 listed at a variety of prices - from $20 to $179.95. I decided to try to buy one in an auction. This is not exactly a hotly desired racket, so I have a chance. This is the kind of thing I do on rest days.

There was no paint to watch dry, so I made some three bean salad. My three salad has morphed into four bean salad with pieces of carrot. It's marinating in the refrigerator as I type.

I plan to smack some forehands tomorrow ... and slice a few backhands.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A bike path

After watching the TDF stage on Versus, I had a hike down by Crosby Farm. The bike race was pretty interesting. The Contador managed to squeak into the lead with what has been judged a slightly unethical move, when the Schleck unchained his bike in a burst of acceleration. Contador didn't wait, as ethics require(?), but took off up the mountain. To climb mountains like they do, they must have some interesting substances flowing through their veins. Contador now leads by 8 seconds, which is not a very secure lead. The next few stages should be very competitive.

The hike at Crosby was uneventful, but restful and pretty. I managed to squeeze off one photo of the path through the woods. I have biked this path on many occasions.

The geezer tennis session at 3:30 included two very close sets and finished at 6:00. There don't seem to be many lopsided sets anymore and it takes longer and longer to determine a winner. It's fun on a nice day like today, but on the high dew point days, it can be pretty grueling.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Crop Report

It's Sunday after a pretty big wind storm. There didn't seem to be much damage in the neighborhood and my tomato plants seem to have survived intact. The blossoms are appearing and there are some tiny nubbin tomatoes that will soon be edible. The plants are growing rapidly, partly because they are well fertilized. T. Tousan's tennis shoes for scale.

There was marathon tennis again yesterday morning. It was almost three hours before we gave up the court to the waiting hardcore girls and went home for electrolytes and lunch. It was still morning, but the humidity was kicking up and later spawned a rain-wind event that produced tornado settings around the city. I used two water bottles of water and was still thirsty when I arrived home.

Today was mainly a get back to normal day. I rested and took a morning walk in pleasant temperatures in the neighborhood. There was very little wind damage. In the afternoon I went to Minnehaha Falls to see how high the water was in the creek, and to see the rush of water over the precipice. It was a pretty day and there were a lot of people visiting the park. I walked the mile or so to the Mississippi in the woods and enjoyed the rushing waters in the creek.

I also watched the bike race in France for a while. It looks like a two man race, but there are some mountains to climb the next couple of days to help decide a winner. Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador are about thirty seconds apart and clearly better medicated than their competitors.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Not a boat anchor

To prove that I can take a photo and then later load it onto the new computer and use it in a blog, I took a picture, loaded it onto the new computer and am now blogging with it. The new machine rules.

Another hot summer day. I played some tennis at the tennis court at MacKubin in the morning before the major heat event. It was mainly hitting ground strokes with Curt. It was all practice and shoot the breeze sort of day. We had to discuss the BP oil gusher and its progress. And I had to tell the story of the recent transition of my iBook from trusted compatriot to boat anchor and the subsequent trip to the Genius Bar to make it all better. But it was mostly hit forehands and volley at the net. It was good to be outside and to be mobile.

Later I visited the Farmer's Market at what used to be St Luke's, now St Thomas Aquinas, where I was able to procure early season veggies. There may be corn on the cob somewhere, but I didn't find any. I just bought cukes, zukes, and tomatoes. We ate some of each for dinner when the young'uns dragged home from their day labors.

A slow day and a good day to still be in the early stages of my geezerhood.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Further adventures

The boat anchor refused to give up its treasure. I took the old computer and the new one, plus the hard drive and my iPod Touch to the Apple Store. I was hoping that the guys at the Genius Bar would be able to salvage my photos and my iTunes. Those guys are good. And they were working for free. The photos were salvaged from the hard disk, and iTunes from an old backup copy. The music that I bought over the years was relinquished by the Apple Store. The boat anchor, once a trusted partner, refused to utter even a single byte. Who can you trust these days? The shiny new computer is good to go. I have a learning curve to travel, but I can get to all but a week's worth of photos - nature shots at Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary. I have to learn a new set of Applications, iWorks, iNumber, iPage, and I get a camera on my computer and good speakers.

This photo is my first from photo booth. It turns out that a camera on a laptop nearly always points at the picture taker. It's a nice toy, but not very flexible as a still camera.

I guess I'll be able to blog successfully again. Soon I'll download some new photos and everything will be normal.

My friendly MPR radio station was filled with news of the Prez in blueberry country. "Obama visits Holland," they said. I'm interested in finding how he was received in Red Territory. He was speaking at the dedication of a battery factory or some other business eager to create some jobs with federal financial help.

It was a really nice July day. In addition to the computer project, I mowed the lawn and ate some lunch. That's pretty much it. Enough for one day when a data emergency was averted.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Boat Anchor

This is an interesting story, at least to me. Monday, after several weeks wherein my Apple iBook was slowing to a crawl and I was getting frustrated dealing with it, I bought a new computer. I had backed up all my files to a stand alone hard disk about a week ago, so I was ready to move my files and go on with the new guy. The morning that I brought the new computer home, the old one died. Stone dead. Boat anchor dead. I can't boot it at all, even with the DVD that comes with it. I'm beginning to deal with the issue, but my photos are still captive on the old computer, but also on the stand alone. I think I'll be able to get them eventually, but for now, I'm using a nice flower photo that I took about a year ago. I rescued it from the standalone. I like it fine.

I am blogging from the new computer and it is pretty nice. A lot faster than the old one, too.

Tommy is coming to town near the end of July for the family reunion. Maybe several of them. He hasn't been in town for several years, so he has people to see and things to do. And, true to his nature, he's driving from Pensacola. It will be nice to see him. He wants to see his brothers - all four may be in town.

Today was pretty hot. On my way home from tennis, the voice on the radio said the dew point was 78 and the heat index 107. I guess the temperature was about ninety. I had just finished playing three sets of tennis with my usual group and we all managed to survive, but it was mugggggy and hotttt. The tennis was pretty good, too, considering that the racket handles were all sopping wet from old guy sweat. The players, Bill, Tennis Dennis, Curt, and TT, when adding our ages together come out well over 250. I'm not sure I think it was a wise decision to play that long, but we had a lot of water and our insistence on finishing.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dragon Boat Races

The Dragon Boat races were held today at Lake Phalen. The local favorite team - the one that I like - is the CAAM Flying Dragons. Two of the paddle wielders on that vessel are pictured below - Unky Herb and the Prairie Princess. They are part of an 18 member force that try to propel the dragon boat along a chosen course in the fastest time. It's pretty much a sprint. The races took place as part of an Asian festival, where besides dragon boat racing, they sold some very tasty egg rolls and also Asian folk art.

This is a photo of the end of their first heat. The flag grabber in front of the boat takes the flag and that act signals that the course is complete. The Flying Dragons easily outdistanced the opponents in this heat and also the second a while later. UH is near the back of the boat on the near side. PP is near the front on the far side of the boat. Unfortunately, there was a big rain storm which caused the cancellation of further heats, so the racing was done for the day. Out of about 28 boat crews, the dragons finished about 11th.

Team photo of the Flying Dragons.

The World Cup finished finally. The 64th game of the tournament wasn't the prettiest of matches, but it was hard fought and went to over time. Spain scored with about two minutes left in OT to win 1-0. It was the first time that Spain has won the cup, so the result was immensely popular in Madrid and Barcelona.

Apparently Lance Armstrong lost the Tour de France today somewhere in the Alps. He's had a pretty good run and it's time for the younger racers to take over.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

No service

I had a little break from blogging, but decided that I'd get back into the old routine. It's July and a weekend day with very nice weather. This morning at geezer tennis we agreed that this was one of the nicest mornings in the history of mornings - perhaps a new acronym is called for here. The sky was blue, blue, blue, and the temperature in the 70's. I was glad to be playing there, but as I sometimes say, "I'm glad to be anywhere."

In any case this afternoon I came upon Unky Herb in the front yard talking on his phone, probably with his lady friend. As you can see - no shirt, no shoes, thus no service. He later went off to play some tennis with her, but probably dressed more tennis-like, and was probably allowed to serve; "everybody serves somebody" - Bob Dylan.

There were eight older guys playing tennis this morning on one of the nicest days ...etc., and we were able to play about two hours of tennis. It's a unique blend and our routine requires that we match up with a partner in a random manner using playing cards. Then we play prelims, then winners against losers, and the third set is survivors - those, who have energy to continue playing, regroup and play another set. Tennis Dennis and I played together in the third set against the cousins - Bryce and Curt. It was a good set, and went to a tie breaker - 7-6 (5). Four geezers went home mostly wrung out and tired, but managed to beat back time a bit once again. If that's not nice, what is?

Summer blog entries should have some flowers. These are wild ones growing at Crosby Farm Park. They are pretty, purple and the Prairie Princess knows their names. This picture is from last week when I was on hiatus from blogging, but not from photography. My nature walks also continued. This retirement routine surely does not suck.

And a picture from my recent trip to the Rodin Museum in Paris. It's the Burgers of Calais. I guess it was one of my favorite visits to museums when we were there. The tennis tournament was perhaps the high point, but it's really hard to choose. A lot of nice and fun days passed by the Seine.

There was a very good soccer game on ABC this afternoon from South Africa. Germany managed to win a wide open and quite entertaining game in sometimes driving rain, beating Uruguay 3-2 for third place in the World Cup. Tomorrow Spain and the Orange play for world domination.