Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Spring training

It was a nice day, about 80º and we decided to go to Fort Myers to watch some baseball, which we had heard has broken out there in a couple of spots. The Twins were at work at Hammond Stadium and we stopped to watch and buy memorabilia. We had expensive new Twins hats so we had a guy named Bob take our photo with the stadium in the background.

The main Twin players were around and so were the old time Twins greats who are now coaching. We saw Tony O., Rod Carew, Tom Brunansky, and Gardy trying to improve the team for the 2014 season. Current Twins star, Joe Mauer, was also there and was doing a media interview while we watched.

The boys of summer were out getting in shape for the 2014 baseball season. A couple of these pitchers have seen major league action in the last couple of pretty unsuccessful Twins seasons. The first game is Friday against the Red Sox.  Can summer be far off?

After lunch we drove over to check out the Edison Museum.  We spent a couple of hours looking at artifacts and marveling at the accomplishments of the man.  He was the guy that lit up the world with electric lights and learned how to record sound, among other deeds.  It was an educational experience, but wore us out and we went home for home made vittles.

There was a huge tree on the grounds of the Edison Museum - not a banyan, but still really, really big. We stopped for a photo. Santini and NCW for scale.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


We had a little walk around Ollie's Pond this afternoon. I wanted to get a better look at the gator who's been hanging around there and scaring the tourists. I said that I wished that I had a butcher knife for protection, but I think maybe a pitchfork would have been better. He's a pretty good size critter, but showed no interest in us as we went by, but we were pretty careful to stay far enough away to be safe. He was in a different spot than Santini remembered, but NCW caught a glimpse of him before we were very close and we stopped to get a good look at his mossy old back.

Here's a slightly closer view of the gator. Thankfully I have a zoom on the camera and I didn't have to stand very close. I had no weapons to defend myself and had to rely on the gator's supposed respect for fairly large animals. We both stood our ground.

The North Country Woman and TT proving that we visited Ollie's Pond. That's Ollie's Pond behind us.

There are actually flowers here growing outside. There is no need for a hothouse or a conservatory.

This ibis was hanging around near the waterway and eating whatever ibises eat. I took his picture.

Later gator

NOTE:  Blogger played some tricks on me and I thought I'd lost the original post, so I tried to start over and reconstruct it.  As it turns out I was able to find most of it and I posted that one too.  This is the try at reconstruction.  Sorry about the blip.

NCW, Santini and I went to Ollie's Pond to get a better look at the gator who's been spooking the tourists nearby lately. He a pretty good sized brute, but didn't seem interested in the passersby. I guess big animals are too much of a task to take down for this juvenile creature. In any case he kept his distance and kept an eye on the pond while I snapped a few pictures of his movements.  Since I was weaponless, I was careful not to disturb his activities.

A closer look at the brute.  He's covered in moss and seems pretty well camouflaged for the hunt.

To prove that we were at Ollie's pond we posed for the camera. That's Ollie's Pond in the background.  It was teeming with bird life again as we walked by, but they were not much interested in posing for photos.

There are some hibiscus flowers growing next to Santini's place. This is a pretty one. These things can't survive in the outside in Minne-snow-ta, but thrive here.

A fairly tame and very white ibis walks the yard between the house and the waterway. I suppose he thinks he owns this plot of grass. Maybe he does.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Ten inches of snow

It's still February and maybe a little too early to panic, but we did get one of those snow events yesterday and overnight that makes a lot of people yearn for southern states. I was able to get my share of extra exercise this morning moving, with Unky Herb's help, several tons of lovely whiteness from the sidewalks and alley near here. We even helped get two autos out of stuck positions and get them on their way to wherever they were off to.  One of the drivers was a woman from North Carolina who had ill advisedly moved here without learning how to drive through snowbanks.

 The street where I live was plowed today, but the highway patrol recommends no travel on Minnesota's roads until Monday. Like anyone will pay attention to that.

Congrats to the Canadian curlers and hockey teams, men and women, in the Sochi Winter Olympics. They took down the USA and the rest of the planet.

Monday, February 10, 2014

February continues apace

The Olympic curling tournament has begun. I'll be watching the USA teams, a lot because the whole men's team is Minnesotan, and one of the women is from Eden Prairie. Since I've spent some time on curling ice in the last few years, I've come to appreciate the skill and strategy that's required to curl at this level.

Still frigid in the state - below zero again this morning. The birch trees are going to survive the cold, but it makes it hard for the humans to get out and about.

Cold and clear view of Swan Lake.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A little of this, a bit of that

I decided to get a new camera to deal with the battery issues of my current elderly ones. I bought a compact Nikon Coolpix to carry around and take some photos when my good camera is too clunky. This is one of the first photos that I took. It was snapped on a walk - a brief walk - outside at 4º in the playing field at Linwood playground. NCW was with me and can attest to the briskness of the air. As often happens when the temperature is this puny, no one was skating. They were possibly at home getting ready for the Winter Olympics at Sochi.

It's cold so I've been looking at old photos. I don't think that I've posted this one before, but anyhow I like it and it's from 1945-46 or so and includes the Tom and Lillie Miller family of Webster, Wisconsin. TT on the left, Santini on the right next to Tommy.  I look older and taller than Tommy, but it's an illusion because I'm sitting on my mom's lap.

I have a copy of the 1926 Sylvacola - yearbook for Webster Wisconsin High School. I was thumbing through it and came upon a photo of the Sylvacola staff. Thomas Miller was the humor editor and is pictured at the left end of the middle row. I'm somewhat familiar with Thomas' sense of humor, him being my dad and all, so I was curious as to the humor selections in the annual.

There is a whole section entitled, "Jokes."

Examples follow:

Miss Beranek: Give us a sentence using the word "triangle."
Melvin: Next time you go fishing, try angle worms.

Myra: I think there is something dove-like about you.
Alice: Not, really!
Myra: Sure, you're pigeon toed.

and surely enough:

There are meters Iambic and meters Trochaic
And meters of musical tone,
But the meter that's neater, completer and sweeter,
Is to meet her in the moonlight alone.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Winter Carnival Snow Sculpture

The Winter Carnival has been over for a few days, but the temperature has stayed consistently below 20º and below 0º overnight so the snow sculptures from the contest have held their form pretty well. It was 10º today and since the sun was out NCW and I went to check out the sculptures. We were on our way to Har Mar for some mall walking so it seemed pretty natural. The sculptures are standing in the State Fair Grounds, just off Snelling Avenue. The site was nearly deserted today so we able to amble through the premises and get a pretty good gander at the works of art. This is a type of art perfectly suited to Minnesota and there are quite a few enthusiastic partakers of the contest. Some of the works are of a pretty good size. The creatures below are pretty big and took a lot of snow for their creation. NCW for scale.

The theme of this sculpture was the buffalo nickel. This is the heads side. There is a buffalo in high relief on the obverse (or tails) side.

This snow sculpture is a bee tending to a part of a beehive. It was singled out and given an award for it's artistry and creativity.

We stayed around for about ten minutes and then went off to the bookstore at Har Mar to warm up and search for literary bargains.

January has gone, but so far February is just its identical twin.