Wednesday, July 31, 2013

An old photo from about 1909 in Gaslyn

On the 26th of July I posted an old photo from about 1910 depicting the G. L. Miller clan. There was some question about the woman sitting next to G.L. and whether or not it was Sylvia Melissa Jones Miller. I have this other photo from a little bit earlier - perhaps a year judging from the age of the two boys - Bob and Charles. The new photo, call it the 1909 photo, has Grossfather (in the long beard) and distinctly labeled on the back of the photo - in the lower left corner - is Sylvia Melissa. The bald guy in the front is G.L.'s brother, Charles, next to his wife (Mrs. Charles? - that would be Nora??). The rough hewn guy next to Sylvia is her hubby, G.E. Miller. The young women are the McDill girls, except for Aunt Mayme in the upper right corner. G.L. and Nancy Jane are in the center.

There is no dog in this photo.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A rabbit lives around here somewhere

The clouds stayed all day and a feeling of impending autumn was prematurely in the air. I guess it's too early to say summer is ending, but it was a reminder that summer is short at this latitude. The rabbits have taken advantage of the summer and the population has seemed to grow to a pretty high level. I have at least one living in the area, probably in the native plant garden - where the bergamot grows. At least that's where he or she runs to when I surprise it and give chase - like a latter day Farmer McGregor. It always escapes, but just a couple of days ago I found the remains of one of his cousins in the backyard. It had run afoul of a cat or some other killing machine and was half consumed when I came upon it. It's a cat eat rabbit world out there. This one is imperiled every time it goes out for lunch.

Some stats:  Yesterday was the 92nd day of 2013 that I've played tennis. Which averages 13.14 times a month for the first seven months of the year. There have been 210 days so far in the year. 92/210 = 43.8% of the days. No wonder I'm feeling tired today.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Give bees a chance

I saw a bumper sticker a few days ago that said, "Give Bees a Chance." It was referring the problem of colony collapse in bee hives that seems to be threatening various crops in parts of the USA. I guess they're worried about almonds in California, for example. I checked the native plant garden in the back yard for bees and found lots of them. Honey bees, waspy looking bees and the distinctive bumbles. I tried to get some photos of the workers and was at least partially successful. They were all over the purplish flowers in the photo. I don't know the name of the flowers, but the bees were pretty fond of them. The bees are doing just fine in this part of the Saintly City.

The flowers, even the commercial ones are very pretty this time of year. These are growing in a pot on the patio, sitting there radiating their beauty.

It was a really nice day. One of the nicest of the month, if not in the history of days. We had nine geezers at the tennis courts today. We've evolved ways to deal with odd numbers by playing a version of five person tennis that rotates in a new player after every game. It makes it hard to keep track of the score, but no one seems to mind. We play and then go home and forget the results anyhow. That's kind of the beauty of playing with codgers.

 Today we played a bit over two hours, and we finished it was 75ยบ F.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday stroll

After yesterday's September-ish day, today dawned coolish, but clear and it was clear that summer has a ways to go yet. The North Country Woman is in town and we hadn't visited Crosby Farm in a while, so we went for a morning walk down by the river and around Upper Lake. There were some other walkers and some bikers, but the population is always smaller than the better known lakes in the city, so we were mainly alone, except for the hungry horde of mosquitoes and the one lone garter snake that scared the bejesus out of NCW. It was pretty harmless and only about a coiled foot long, but they always seem to startle whatever sensitive humans that happen to be in the area. We managed to get by the serpent and walked along the boardwalk that goes through the boggy part of the walk. The reeds and cat tails are encroaching on the walkway, and they are quite tall this year, owing to the record amounts of rain we've been getting, so I snapped a shot of the way we were going.

We got back to the homestead in time for lunch and a chat with the Prairie Princess over the intertubes. She's back from her latest trip - this one to Spain - and is getting ready to bid Norway "farvel" or "adieu." She'll be home in about two weeks

Friday, July 26, 2013

Another birthday

It's Mark's birthday. LVI. This photo was taken in 1974 - 39 years ago - when he was still a teenager. He was wearing his hair long as was the style at the time. You'll have to ask him if he was a hippie.   I wish him a happy birthday.

I ran across this old photo that I acquired a couple of years ago at a Miller cousins family reunion in Waseca. I had forgotten that I had taken a photo of a photo that was in the possession of one of my paternal side cousins. It's an old photo from the early 1900's, and taken at the family "ranch" in Gaslyn, Wisconsin. I did get some unwanted glare in the process, but it's still kind of interesting. At least to me.

The kids are my uncles Bob and Charles.  Bob was born in 1904 and Charles in 1906.  I'm guessing the picture is from 1910 or 1911.  Who are the others?  Adults, left to right: Mary McDill Lemon, Nancy Jane McDill Miller, G.L. Miller, Gladys McDill (?), Mollie McDill(?) and Mayme (Mary Elizabeth) Miller.  Best guess.

I'm not sure what's up with Bob's headgear. It looks a little like bandages. It seems like baby Tom should have been in the photo, too, but maybe he was napping. The photographer may very well have been G.L.'s daughter, Sylvia Melissa Miller or maybe the third McDill girl, Ruth, also not in the picture. The dog may be Tippy. Or Duke. Or Brownie.

It's a really nice day in River City - cool and without much humidity. Except for the occasional shower. I've been taking it easy, resting up for another morning of tennis with the gang of geezers tomorrow.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


A happy birthday wish to Santini, who is still not a septuagenarian, but has lived long enough to remember the days when all photos were black and white.  And because I have a stash of old photos, I'm posting some to remember a time long, long ago.

 • The first was taken in Coleraine inside the home where we lived in Second Addition. It was a special occasion of some kind (a birthday?) in maybe 1954 or so. Is that a girl scout or Brownie uniform?

• Four generations of women. Jacobine, Hansine, Lillie, Sylvi at the farm where Avoine Folles now stands, just north of County road U. Half of them were born in Norway, north of the Arctic Circle in the 1800's. They're posed at the door near the kitchen of the farmhouse.

• In Coleraine with Jimmy and Tommy at Hartley Avenue home in about 1954 in front of the rose bush. I remember those shoes, or at least that style of sneakers. The photographer made me doff my hat.

• At the Yellow River home across County U from Dick's Ranch. I'm guessing 1949, but my memory is pretty suspect here.

• Santini and Bud Hoffman in about 1948 at their grandpappy's farm. Barn and chicken coop in the background.

Happy birthday from LXX.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Septuagenarians rule

It's Wednesday. Before tennis I went into the back yard to see if any flowers were ready for prime time. I found this one in a pot of flowers that NCW planted for me about six weeks or more ago. It may be a petunia. It is certainly purple. I have some other flowers and a patch of garden that used to be, years ago,  for vegetables that now is the unruly home for the Prairie Princess' native plants - grasses, wild flowers and, I think, a family of rabbits. A single milkweed grows there, too. PP will be back from Norway to tend her native patch on August 15 - in about three weeks. There are also three tomato plants in the back yard. All three are growing rapidly and green fruit is starting to set. The plants were a gift from Unky Herb's friend, Drew, and thus I'm not sure what style of tomatoes I'll be harvesting in a month or less, but I do know that they'll be organic and fresh from the garden when I eat them.  Unky Herb says he thinks they're heirloom tomatoes.  I'll eat them with respect.

It was a really nice day for tennis outside.  The temperature was mid 70's and dew point in the fifties.  The tennis playing geezer group has expanded for the summer and now we're playing three times a week at Sibley High School in Mendota Heights.  Today we had ten competitors, most in their sixties, but one, at least, at 58 and two septuagenarians (you know, guys in their seventies). We draw cards for partners and then play mini sets to start so that we get some variety of competition. A mini set allows everyone to serve once and if the set gets to 2-2, we have a seven point tie breaker. It's all pretty low key, but silently competitive. No one wants to lose to an old guy, even other old guys. After three mini sets against a variety of opponents, the survivors and the hard core play a set of doubles against whoever is still willing to play.

As one of the septuagenarians, I got to play the last set with the 58 year old guy against two guys who are cousins and pretty good players. It was a fun day and we all managed to get out alive and well. It was good tennis, good for geezers and competitive enough to make the afternoon feel like two hours well spent.  I love those guys and I love that game.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A nice July day

This was Bastille Day Eve - ten days ago - and Unky Herb, tricolor in hand, was celebrating the French national holiday. It was part of a larger get together, but it's the only photo that I managed to take that day, but it's so joyous that it really needed to be posted. Even nine days late and ten days after it was snapped.  Note that his costume mirrors the hand made flag (from the creative mind of the NCW) clutched in his left hand.  Red, white and blue.

Today was a really nice day and I was feeling energetic. The weather has kept me inside way too much lately, but today I took a walk over by Lake Como about noon to enjoy the weather and the native plants and flowers growing in the park. There were a lot of other people with the same thought and there were a lot of pedestrians, but it's a big lake and I took my time ambling around the newly paved walking path, and smelling the flowers.

The flowers on the shore of the lake are are in full bloom and showing off their colors. These, I think, may be Indian Paintbrushes (if that's a politically correct enough name) and there are lots of them blooming near the shore.

The lake has a new amenity. Thanks to HealthPartners, a local HMO, there is a bike repair station on the east side of Como. It has air pumps and tools - although when I went by the tool box was padlocked - a definite impediment to the use of the tools.

As I was rounding the corner at the end of the walk around the lake I encountered a gaggle of these guys. Not geese. Not crows. They're black and big and I think water birds.  I'm guessing cormorants.

It was one of the nicest days of the summer so far, maybe in the history of days(?)

It was so nice that I came home and mowed the lawn and then made some soup.