Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Two Herbs

At last we come to the end of November and the commitment to blog every single day. Today, I dip into my archives to find some old pictures of Unky Herb when he was but a slip of a child - about 1986.  I couldn't decide which of the two was cuter, so I took both and combined them with cybermagic.

It was a cloudy day, but nice enough. I played tennis again at Fort Snelling, and although I was a little fatigued from a busy week, I played well enough and managed to stay upright through all of the competition. One of the gang of geezers brought up a uTube video that seemed intriguing. Joe Kapp, an old time Viking football quarterback, and a fan favorite, got into an altercation with another old time football player at a function in Canada, and it actually came to blows. It was a couple of septuagenarians having at it because of a fifty year old grudge. The other guy, Angelo Musca delivered a late blow to Willie Fleming, one of Kapp's team mates in the 1963 Grey Cup game. The boys should have let it go years ago, but the testosterone got the better of them. They are both 73.

 In the interest of entertainment the video.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Alien rock

Sometimes a photo needs no explanation.

There seems to be a human force which impels some people to paint imaginary scenes on perfectly innocent rocks. I know there is one at Hamline University that gets repainted pretty often. This rock celebrates the arrival of some fictional aliens on earth. The rock rests alongside Minnesota highway 65 in Itasca county.

It begged to be photographed.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Swan Lake at Sundown

The lake is not yet frozen over, I guess because it's pretty deep. The reflection off the still water late in the afternoon is pretty and peaceful. It was warm enough for a mile walk down the highway to the video store to rent "Bad Teacher." And a mile back in the near darkness.

I understand there was a big solar flare recently and the northern lights are expected to display queer sights. But the queerest that I've ever seen was the night on the ...

I'll be looking into the northern sky for whatever fireworks exist there and that are not obscured by clouds.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A walk to TJ's

I was out for a walk to get some exercise and to see what I could see this afternoon. I thought a trip to the neighborhood grocer on Randolph would be about the right length of a stroll - it's .9 of a mile there one-way. When I arrived I was surprised that some of their ads in the window refer to themselves as TJ's. I hadn't thought of that before, but I have heard of the store referenced by several other monikers including, Trader Vic's and Trapper John's and its real name, Trader Joe's. Along the way I took a few photos on a cloudy, almost murky afternoon.

While crossing the bridge over Ayd Mill Road: train tracks partially obscured by baseball style cap's brim, a photo of railroad tracks.

Further down the street a half block off Lexington I saw this non-rectangular window, hexagon if I'm not wrong. Since I suggested it as a theme for blog photos I took advantage of the site and snapped a photo.  Note the Christmas decoration.

And when I finally reached the store I snapped a photo and went in to buy some hummus, bananas and peanut butter for a late afternoon snack. The store self-proclaimed "TJ's."

Today in tennis:  Roger Federer won the end of year World Tour Finals tournament in London this weekend and over a million dollars to go with it. It was his sixth World Tour Finals title - another Roger record. Incidentally he has won his last 17 matches and is now ranked number 3 in the world of men's tennis.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A turn towards winter

The day started out nicely for a late November day. It was close to 50 overnight, but has sunk to 37 as I type. I was able to drag myself out of bed and off to my 9:00 a.m. tennis skirmish in Woodbury. The tennis was streaky, but the sets were close and that always makes it fun. We finished two 6-4 sets and went home refreshed.

The day turned to mist and the wind came up a bit. It's not a raw wind yet, and I took a walk after noon to look for a photo of a non-rectangular window, or a bench, or perhaps a barn. But since the good photos require good light, I was a little discouraged by the lack thereof. As luck would have it, I have a cache of photos from days when the light was better and for use on a day such as today. Voila! A fall photo from 2009, of a favorite spot - Upper Lake at Crosby Farm Park.

Not much else to say. I did some reading; investigating a little more the subject of thorium and its use in nuclear power plants; did a little investigation into the tourist attractions in and around Oslo, and generally rested these old bones.

 Only four more days to go until December when the need to blog every day will be relieved.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

Black Friday, the consumer spending holiday is also known as Evacuation Day (there is also a Daily Show video) and Buy Nothing Day.   I, personally, did not participate in the shopping blitz, but I did manage an hour's walk around the neighborhood and later ninety minutes of Fort Snelling tennis.  The walk was pretty pleasant for the 25th of November.  The temperature peaked at 52 degrees - not a record, but pretty exceptional for this late in the fall.  The Governor's Mansion on Summit has decorated for the Christmas season in a simple, understated, but premature manner.

 Christmas decorations are up at the governor's mansion.  There is still a little snow on the lawn, too.

The walk continued along Summit and past the law school until I discovered a previously unpictured bench next to the Steppingstone Theatre on Victoria.  The bench is a little off the beaten track and not easily accessible, but seemingly well constructed.  It's getting so I can't walk by a bench without snapping off a photo.  It's only memory that I'm temporarily using.

Another pretty nice public bench with freeze dried flowers (roses?) in the foreground.

Tennis went pretty well, and then I came home to try to make a dent in the mountain of Thanksgiving food still resident in the fridge. I'm not yet tired of tacos made with lefse, Turkey, dressing and gravy. I'm thinking about adding a new series to the bench, cute cat and barn series that sporadically show up here and on other related blogs. How does non-rectangular windows sound? A new series might come in handy during the November blogging marathon.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Thursday

It was a successful day of cooking and overeating. I roasted the turkey with wild rice stuffing and I got a lot of help from Unky Herb, in fact all of the guests joined in to get the food on the table at about 2:10 pm. Barb and Emmy brought cranberry bread, Gino made a pie and the gravy, and Ying brought two Chinese delicacies - an egg plant dish and a corn and pine nut creation. Very tasty.  The buns (rye, I think) came curtesy of Sharon, the Girl from the North Country (GFTNC). The folk at the feast table with me are pictured below, and we were joined a bit later for pie and coffee by the GFTNC. It was a lot of good natured conversation and as promised, everyone was on their best behavior.

What the table looked like before the feasting began.

I wasn't able to send home anywhere near all the leftovers either. As is expected for Thanksgiving, we all over produced vittles, but I was able to send off only a bit of some of the choicer tidbits. I'll be having turkey sandwiches for a couple of weeks or until I sicken of them and toss out the remains or use them in soup. And I have some stuffing and gravy leftover, too. An almost unheard of situation in past festivities.  Cleanup is done and I'm starting to hanker for a turkey sandwich.

Photos of the bird can be found elsewhere on the inner tubes.

We missed having the Daughter of Norway (aka Prairie Princess) here to participate in the cooking and subsequent tomfoolery, but she seems to be well and contented, but a little turkey deprived somewhere south of Oslo.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The night before Thanksgiving

It was a beautiful day in Minnesota, especially for a day so late in November.  My car thermometer read 53˚ at about 2 pm as I reached Fort Snelling for my Wednesday afternoon tennis session.  And tomorrow is the first Thanksgiving that I can remember when the mercury will rise to over 50.  I can remember a Thanksgiving not many years ago when some of our dinner guests were barely able to make it home to Roseville in the blizzard and in fact were forced to abandon their auto in the middle of their residential street.  We don't need no stinking blizzard.

Tomorrow is turkey day and I appear to be ready for a feast to be consumed here.  It's the first turkey that I've roasted in about three years or so, but the ducks are in a row and the ingredients obtained.

Statue of Blaise Pascal at Tower of St Jacques in Paris taken in late July. Blaise once wrote: "I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter." This blog entry, too, should have been shorter, but I didn't have the time to make it shorter.
A photo very much like another, a photo at Hôtel de Sens and featured elsewhere. This one shows the photographer of the photo there as he just finished the photo.
There are likely to be new photos tomorrow for this blog - perhaps photos of food.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Curling revisited

It's still looking like winter and probably will lean that direction until March. I used to do some curling at the St Paul Curling club with some of the November can't-miss-a-day bloggers. We stopped curling about two years ago, but I've maintained an interest in the sport and even spent quite a bit of time watching the winter Olympics curling tournament in 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. Both the men's and women's tournaments were a lot of fun to watch.  The Swedish women and the Canadian men won the gold medals.

Tonight I visited Bif Adams Ice Arena on Western Avenue to see some curling.  The St Paul Club has expanded and it is now using this arena for the sport.  It was the same sport as the Olympics and the same stuff that we played a couple of years ago.  It's a good way to spend a couple of hours on a cold November day waiting for Thanksgiving to roll around.  At this point in the game the Flaherty rink was leading 6-1, but was destined to lose a squeaker.  A pretty good effort by all involved.

It was cold in the arena, but the weather outside is expected to improve to reach the 50's (can you believe it?) on Thanksgiving day.

I'll be back to playing tennis tomorrow afternoon at Fort Snelling.

Monday, November 21, 2011


It was a cold day and icy to start, but the sun managed to get warm enough to begin to melt some of the unwanted ice off the streets of the saintly city. Most of my morning was used up thinking. And doing the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle. It looked hard as I began filling in the squares and the title "Either Way" wasn't helping much. I wasn't making much progress until about 58 across when after filling in a few of the letters I discovered that the answer was a phrase that was a palindrome - the same forward as backward. Thinking was paying off. With that piece of information the puzzle suddenly became doable, almost easy, although some of the answers were a bit contrived and awkward. Ex: 22A Students err? "pupils slipup" or 46A Reinforced ice cream container? "buttressed dessert tub" or 97A One-on-one job for a ladies man? "gigolos solo gig" or my favorite: 68A Recollection from a winter tourist in Poland? "Warsaw was raw."   After finally getting the squares filled in I did some thinking about Thanksgiving and what kind of purchases I would need to make at the vittles store. I think I have it pretty well in hand, especially if I'm able to locate some hand made lefse at one of the busy grocers in town.

Then I had to think of something to put in my post for the day. This is day 21 of blog every day month and I've come too far to fail now.  But I had neglected to take any photos all day. It was just too cold and dark. And I'd spent most of the day thinking. Then I saw the posting from my traveling companion when I visited the City of Lights last summer and I knew it was okay to fall back on some foreign photos. And it adds a bit of variety to a month that has a kind of sameness to it. Voila. Two views of a famous sculpture on a beautiful day in Paris.

 Le Penseur. by Auguste Rodin.

The Thinker by Auguste Rodin at Rodin Museum in Paris.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Snow Cover

The snow yesterday persists into today. The temperature is still subfreezing and the landscape has taken on that whitish hue that whispers, "winter has arrived." A walk around the neighborhood was a lot more dangerous for the less sure footed amongst us. There was ice on the sidewalks. The Statue of Liberty wood sculpture that was carved from an old elm tree serves to show the change in the landscape.

Walking by the stores on Grand always has a few surprises. Whoever owns these bikes chained them to a bike rack and it looks like the season for riding them has essentially ceased. I did see a biker on a bike path near Jefferson who was braving the poor footing and was out for a ride. A brave soul.

 Bikes stranded near Walgreen's.
Only 31 days until the solstice when the days start to again lengthen.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Steel-toed boots

First snowfall of the year. Maybe, probably about two inches of fresh white snow. It was inevitable. I'm going to do a little shoveling when it stops, but I think it may melt this time. The guys that predict the weather for a living say that Thanksgiving on Thursday will be warm - probably 50 degrees. I'm still likely to do a little shoveling this afternoon as part of my exercise program.

 Those are work boots in front of Daughter of Norway's (DoN) native grass garden. The boots also belong to DoN, but are currently on a break while their owner pursues other interests somewhere south of Oslo.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A little goose scoop

I waited until after tennis to go in search of a bloggable photo. After spending yesterday helping the Daughter of Norway deal with a computer malfunction long distance, it took me a while to get started on the day. Her Mac's charger stopped working, probably because of a faulty voltage converter and the Apple people in Norway wanted the receipt of the computer purchase before dealing with it on warranty. Luckily Unky Herb was able to get Best Buy to print out a duplicate and he scanned it into his computer and mailed it off to Norge. Problem solved, I think.

 So. Tennis. Then a trip to Como to see if there was anything going on. The city seems to have jumped the gun a bit with their warning signs. The "thin ice" signs have been duct taped to several trees around the lake. The ice is extremely thin today - one might say nonexistent. But the warning will be there when the water does enter the solid state as it most assuredly will.

The geese are still hanging around, too. Hanging around and "fowling?" the paths. There was a large flock sitting on the lake, and sporadically a small group of them would take off and I'd try to get a photo of them, without any success at all. I think they'll be heading south pretty soon, because winter is about to make an appearance.

 A gaggle of geese on Lake Como.

It was late afternoon, but the sky was pretty interesting. There is some weather moving in and the clouds are beginning to form. I snapped off a couple of photos to include here.

The sky at about 4 pm at Como.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Looking for Kelsey trees

Santini reminded me about Kelsey trees in one of her comments - the trees that refuse to accept the arrival of fall and insist that "it's still June." Since I'm sure it's autumn and it was a little brisk out, plus I needed a theme for another of my November blogs, I went in search of Kelsey trees. It didn't seem fair to include oaks, because they obstinately hold on to their leaves into January and some times longer. There are also a few buckthorn bush-trees that are actually still green, but they're widely acknowledged as junk trees (too messy and wildly invasive), so I excluded them, too. I set out for a walk to the east, getting as far as Dale Street and as far north as Lincoln. Along the way I encountered the remnants of Halloween, more than two weeks past. There were black, white and grey squirrels out feasting on the leftover jack o'lanterns that are still decorating peoples porches and front yards. I had a chance at a photo of one hungry squirrel in a "jack", but he vamoosed before I could get the shot off. Instead, I settled for a ghost still blowing in the wind somewhere on Lincoln. I bet this scared a few pre-schoolers on Halloween.
There were a lot of oaks on Linwood - a whole block of mostly pin oaks still hanging on to their leaves, and I also encountered a buckthorn in someone's backyard and still green with black berries. But I also found these two hardy tree of unknown species in someone's yard, I think on Goodrich. They look to be denying fall (autumn deniers), summer lovers, real Kelsey trees.

 Hence a couple of non-oak Kelsey trees.
There were also the oaks and I include just one example from a whole lot of them that are stubbornly holding to their leaves. Just because I like oak trees. This is apparently November's dress code for oaks.
I'm off soon for my Thursday night tennis gig at Wooddale. I'll see if I can come up with another theme for tomorrow's blog. November is just barely half gone.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tennis returns to the blog

After raking the leaves and bagging them yesterday afternoon, I found this morning that the rather stiff wind overnight had denuded the remaining trees with leaves and I had more pretty yellow foliage particles to add to the leaf bags. I raked some more, cursing silently, knowing that there are still more oak leaves to give up their high positions and clutter the front yard. Then I toted seven black plastic bags of leaves off to the recycling center. I'm claiming that I'm done with leaves for this year and I'm sticking to it.

 It was a windy afternoon as you can see from the posture of the flag in front of the Boy Scout Headquarters at Fort Snelling. I'm sure that there was a wind chill number, too, but with the raw temp at 33 at the time of the photo, it was cold enough to appreciate the convenience of indoor tennis. This was about 1:45 pm, just a few minute before the scheduled Wednesday afternoon tennis session with my usual pack of geezers.

The two tennis bubbles at Fred Wells Tennis Center at Fort Snelling have eight indoor courts. We were on court eight near the closest (southern) part of the bubble on the right. The tennis went well today, close games, a 6-4 set and a 2-3 partial set before time expired, no one fell down and there was no blood or skin left on the court when we left.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Many leaves leave

This may have been my last chance to get the fall leaves off the lawn before the first blizzard hits. One of my favorite radio stations reported that it is snowing up around Hibbing. They mentioned two to three inches. We may be next in line for the white blanket of winter. I got my favorite rake out of the garage and set about gathering the leaves that were on the ground. You can tell from the photo that there are straggler leaves still attached to maple tree branches. I decided to ignore that fact and went about my task. I also used my lawn mower as a blower and leaf shredder, so the task went pretty fast. By noon I had five black plastic bags filled with mostly maple and oak leaves, ready for transporting to the leaf recycling center on Pleasant Avenue, which I find is not open for business on Tuesdays. Ah well, a task for tomorrow.  In the meantime the wind has continued to knock the remaining leaves off the trees and onto the freshly raked yard.  So it goes.
After lunch I went down to Crosby Farm Park to see if there were any deer to be seen. I think they've been scared back into deeper woods by the recently completed archery season there, and I didn't see even one. I did notice, however, that the native plant area that Unky Herb and the Prairie Princess help seed a couple of years ago, has been burned - likely to kill the non natives. As the day waned the temperature sank and the wind came up. It began to feel as though we might be getting our first snow soon. 

Something reminded me of the Dan Rather mugging of some years ago and the question that one of the muggers put to Dan before punching him just under his ear and sending him to the hospital overnight, "Kenneth, what's the frequency?" It's a question still waiting for an answer.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Getting ready for winter

We are not the only beings who recognize the onset of frigid weather and set about to do something about it. The pack of beavers in Fort Snelling State Park do some preparation, too. These ex-trees were downed by an unknown beaver in a area of the park very near Pike Island. The tree was trimmed and some limbs dragged off to build a winter abode - a beaver lodge. I looked around to see if there were any lodges in the area and sure enough just a hundred feet or so from the bridge to the big island, the new construction was underway.
Ergo. Beaver lodge at Pike Island.
It was a nice day in the saintly city, a short respite from the inevitable arrival of Old Man Winter. Days like today are a bonus meant to be enjoyed and appreciated.

Incidentally, this is my 900th post on this blog since beginning May 3, 2007, the first day.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Northern Bench

Santini and I have been featuring benches that we come across from time to time, especially on days when photos worth of posting are hard to come by.  Sometimes that happens on cloudy days when the quality of light for photos is iffy, and sometimes on days when the weather is basically bleak.  Today was such a day, and in order to continue my unbroken string of days posted in November (the month of posting every day) I've gone to an old standby, the bench.  Hence a remarkably primitive bench located on the Mesabi Bike trail, a couple of miles from Nashwauk.

In the area near the bench, the water is still in liquid form.  But you can perhaps see that the day was not conducive to photography.  But I did get in a reasonably long hike in the greater outdoors and three games of bowling in Grand Rapids.  A day well spent.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hull Rust Mine

Since I find myself in the northern part of the state, I'm posting a picture of a really big truck parked next to a really big hole in the ground from which lots of iron ore has been mined since back in the early 1900's. There was once so much iron to be mined here that it caused the mining company to move the village of Hibbing so they could dig it up. I hadn't seen the big hole in the ground since the Iron Range TRAM five or six years ago, and I'm still amazed at its scope.
It was a nice day on the Iron Range, but even with the temperatures in the 50's, there is ice on the streets of Hibbing. Residual ice from the last few days below freezing. And I had lunch at Sammy's Pizza, the same pizza joint where I had my first slice of the cheesy delicacy in 1960 or 1961. Life is good.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Eleven eleven eleven

After a black and white day, the sun came out and the color has returned. The trees have yet to completely shed their leaves, but the stragglers won't be hanging on much longer.
It's Veteran's Day and one of those days whose date notation makes it seem like something special should happen today. 11/11/11. There have been wild predictions about the end of the world and solar flares, but so far it just seems like a really nice autumn day.

 I'm off to play some tennis at Fort Snelling and then a drive in the country. I predict a great weekend.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Black and White Day

It flurried a bit this morning, but it didn't really snow. The sun, however, stayed hidden behind clouds and the temperature stayed in the thirties all day. A dark day, one might say, a black and white day. A good day to photograph a black squirrel hunkered down against the chill.
And a good day to post a bunch of photos from about sixty years ago, more or less. Photos from my childhood that include some of the readers of this blog, brothers and sister. I'm guessing about the year of the photos for the most part, but they were taken in the late 1940's and early fifties.

 1949? Jimmy, Tommy, Sylvi on a snowy day in Wisconsin.  No mittens.  No pie???

1953 or so. Jimmy, Tommy, Sylvi in Coleraine by our home in Second Addition.  Converse tennis shoes and patched pants on the guys.

1953??  Sylvi, Gene, Jimmy, Tommy in Coleraine next to the hollyhocks.  The photographer's shadow appears in the foreground.  New pants for Tommy and Jimmy.  Classy shoes on Sylvi.  The sun was too bright and made everyone look at the ground.

Indoor tennis will be attempted again tonight at Wooddale. Indoor tennis is/was a great invention.  It helps get me through the black and white days.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Turkey time

There are turkeys on Pike Island, too. Yesterday, when I went looking for more wildlife photos, I found not a single deer, but found a large flock of wild turkeys. Since it's nearly Thanksgiving, they were pretty shy about letting a human get very close to them, but I can be stealthy ... and patient. I was able to get a few decent photos. Again, there was no gunfire and no blood spilled in this "turkey shoot."
While I walked down the hiking trail in the middle of Pike Island, I noticed that the tree trunks were all pretty much two tone, like a 1950's Buick. Pike Island is in the flood plain and it was under water for much of the spring and part of the summer. The color change on the trees seems to coincide with the crest of the flood water. The lower, brownish portions are likely colored by mud. I tried to get a photo of the phenomenon and was at least partly successful. Note the water line on the trees from spring floods.
I played some tennis this afternoon at Fort Snelling with the geezer guys. We managed a set and a half or so before we gave up the courts to some much younger players. There is a youth tennis program at Fort Snelling that brings in inner city kids from Minneapolis in the afternoon and they are coached by some Fort Snelling pros and several University age kids who seem to be aiding in the coaching. The place begins to get pretty noisy about three o'clock when the players begin to arrive.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Election Day in the Saintly City

The first Tuesday after the first Monday this November is local election day. The ballot was sparse this week, just city council and school board seats were up for grabs. This is the first St Paul election which uses the new ranked voting system to determine the winner. I guess that means that one can vote for more than one candidate, but only in a ranked manner, wherein your second (and third) choice only gets counted when there is no candidate with a majority of the first choice votes. There is a better explanation of the process here. There was no way I'd pass up an opportunity to participate in this new and novel voting system. Unky Herb and I went to the polls at Linwood at about ten this morning and found it very sparsely populated and then almost exclusively by election judges. There was one other voter in the room. We voted and Herb expressed his "joie de vivre" for the camera on the way out.
The walk to the polls was also entertaining. Big man or mini bench?
No tennis today, nor deer hunting. And no snowstorm quite yet, as the weather creatures called off the snow for overnight. Sorry, Chicago.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Deer Hunting

There is a sanctioned deer hunt at Crosby Farm today through Wednesday. I discovered this when I went there for a relaxing afternoon walk on a fine November day. The road block and the sign on the post said that the park is closed for an archery season. I took that as a sign to go elsewhere for my relaxing walk in the forest. The alternative is the state park across the river from Crosby, Fort Snelling State Park and the island in the river system where the Minnesota River merges with the Mississippi. The park was open and I drove towards Pike Island, passing a flock of wild turkeys on the way. I wasn't able to stop for a photo, but they were beauties. I decided I'd hunt deer with my camera. I had my telephoto lens on my best camera and it seemed like a good project for the afternoon. It took about five minutes before the buck in the photo below ambled in my general direction and I stood in place and took about thirty photos before he passed me and disappeared into the brush. Neither one of us was frightened and no blood was spilled.
I continued up the west side of the island for another ten minutes or so and encountered a doe grazing in the forest on tender plants, the ones which have not yet frozen. She was pretty tame and stayed as I took another twenty or so photos of her activities. I was even able to get a bit closer to her without scaring her, and after a while she decided to trot off across a clearing to thicker cover. Again no blood was spilled, but I figure that I bagged two deer today. The doe at Pike Island:
As I left Pike Island I passed another guy with a big lens taking photos of another buck. I glimpsed a pretty big set of antlers in the brush. I crept by without taking any photos, leaving the big buck for him. I had already filled out my license.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Daylight Savings Time Expires

The extra hour of sleep seemed worthwhile, but the early twilight was not really welcome. I managed to get all the clocks set to the correct time and mainly stayed around the house doing some outdoor chores and doing the Strib's crossword. While outside this afternoon, I encountered the remains of a rabbit that used to live in the neighborhood, maybe in the native grass garden. It was pretty thoroughly eaten, so I assume that it fell to a coyote, fox, or perhaps a neighborhood cat. It was a fairly large rabbit and a couple of its paws were intact. Those rabbits feet in no way conferred luck on the misfortunate hare. A couple of days ago, I encountered this odd sculpture at Harriet Island. Today as I was looking at photos for the blog I realized that the sculpture has some images of wildlife carved into the stump. The rabbit is pretty obvious, but there are some snakes and a couple of other animals. It is an odd thing and I think bloggable on a Sunday in November.
Unky Herb and I chatted with the Prairie Princess via the inner tubes and iChat this afternoon. She seems to be adjusting well to the change of seasons in Norway, and had some amusing stories about her German and French fellow students. She spent the weekend in Copenhagen with the international student group and promised to do some blogging in the near future to be able to publish some of her recent photos.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Windy Saturday

I managed to get up early enough to make it to my nine o'clock tennis match at Wooddale. The sun was shining and it seemed almost nice enough to play outside, but the wind was blowing and we are paying for the indoor court time. I had a good day, much of the time playing well enough to consider it a day spent in the zone. The zone for a guy in his mid sixties is not nearly the same as the zone for a guy in his prime, but it's fun and gratifying to visit there for whatever time is available. After some lunch (homemade veggie soup and salad) I took my camera out for a walk. I haven't been to the State Fair Grounds in a while and I understand from Mr Moohoo's blog that it's pretty much deserted this time of year. He's right, but it was fun walking around freely in an area that for ten days or so in August is teeming with Minnesotans on a quest for food on a stick. I admired the sculptures carved out of the trunks of trees that used to live on the grounds. I include one of a Native-American standing in front of an oak tree that has changed and is showing off a bronzy red color in its foliage. It stands somewhere near where the sky ride starts and/or ends.
After an hour or so of exploring the fairgrounds, I went over to Lake Como to see if the birds have left yet for the winter. Quite a few must have gone, because the population of water birds is down, but there were a few mallards and some black headed birds with white bills still in attendance. (I think that they are coots.) There were a few mallards close to shore so I took one's picture to include here. The mallards are a regular part of the bird population at Como until it ices over. This is a mallard swimming about on Lake Como in St Paul. Wildlife.
It was nearly sixty degrees and the population of human lake walkers was up. Lots of folk were enjoying one of the nicest November days of the year so far. Daylight savings time ends tonight. I'll be missing an hour's sleep that I gained back in the spring, but at least I'll be on the same time as the rest of the state.

Friday, November 4, 2011

More leaves

It froze again overnight. It's November, so that's to be expected. There are still some very pretty autumn effects in the neighborhood. I was impressed by this garage and the vine that's growing on it. The garage is about a block from home so I was able to wait until afternoon to get a better sun angle and hence better color. Photography is after all taking pictures of light.
I finished raking the front lawn this morning. The resultant bags of leaves stand in front of a bush that is still partly green. You can also see that towards the back of the house there is a large tree that has not dropped its leaves. I know that I'll have to repeat some of the toil, because there are leaves on many surrounding trees and there are leaves on the ground in neighbors yards that will move around when the velocity of the wind increases. I took thirteen bags of leaves to be recycled.
Tennis continued at Fort Snelling at two this afternoon. We played some fun tennis - two sets and a tie breaker. Afterwards I found that one of the other geezers has been logging his tennis matches for many years, a practice that I started in January of this year. I'm still not sure what use can be made of the statistics generated by this record keeping, but it's nice to know that I'm not the only one engaged in statistics gathering.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Some benches

It was a really nice day for November. After an overnight freeze the day turned into a sunny dividend for any amongst us with the day off. Being a retired guy, that includes me. I walked to Trader Joe's this morning to get some vittles and snacks and, as is usual, I carried my camera. The trees in St Paul are still retaining some very colorful leaves. These were hanging around on Chatsworth waiting for a big wind to send them earthward. It's been an odd year for leaves, but it's gratifying to have maples still bearing their leaves. A few more days.
Santini and I have both posted benches from time to time. A couple of days ago I came upon these two benches less than a hundred yards from each other on the Mesabi Trail. For TRAM riders, it's the bike path from Grand Rapids to Hibbing, that we covered a few years ago. The first encountered of the benches was a really nice bench. It may be my favorite in my dossier of benches.
And further up the trail was this quite primitive bench. It's actually pretty much in tune with its environment, and practical, but a big contrast to its neighbor.
I spent a couple of hours this afternoon raking leaves in the front yard. I'm still not done, but I have eight bags of crumpled up leaves to take to the leaf recycling center on Pleasant Avenue tomorrow. And the tree in my neighbor's backyard, which shades my backyard, is just beginning to shed its load of foliage. My exercise program for the next couple of weeks will include judicious use of a lawn rake. It's Thursday night and that means mixed doubles at Wooddale and a trip to Yang's for some tasty Chinese cuisine.