Saturday, May 31, 2014

May wanes

May is rapidly fading away. It's been a busy month and I have a few pictures and a few occasions to comment on. I spent last weekend in Pengilly with NCW at the lake. The septic system has thawed and the loons have returned. The loons were vocal and melodious in the evenings, getting ready for the summer up north. It was the first really nice weekend after a very long winter and cool spring, so we enjoyed the outdoor living and had a big bonfire to celebrate the return of summer.

Here's a photo of NCW sweeping the area near the lake.  Nice crocs.

The city, too, is getting ready for the growing season. This is the second season of community gardens on St Clair and it seems as though the seeds are planted and the mulch in place for another year. We're having a scourge of rabbits in the Saintly City, so I suspect there will be rabbit fences and all sorts of other strategies to keep the little bleeders away from the produce.

The community gardens on St Clair are taking shape.  The fences haven't yet been erected.

On my way to Pengilly I stopped in Wisconsin to check on the graves in Webster Cemetery. It was Saturday, so it seemed time to clean up the sites and put some flowers on the graves. Someone had planted flowers (geraniums) on the Anderson graves including Lillie's (maybe Uncle John?), but the Millers were untouched at that point at least. I put a pot of red geraniums on each and took some photos. It's always touched me that my parents and grandparents are all buried in the same small town cemetery.

Lillie's grave in Webster.

The Miller lot in Webster with geraniums.

Sunset on Swan Lake last weekend. NCW's son, Scott's family was there for a day and they enjoyed the sunset and the bonfire with us. This is Scott getting Ryan's fishing line untangled as the sun set in the west. It was an activity that seemed to recur as Ryan learned to cast with his fishing rod.

In tennis related information, I managed to play tennis 15 times in the month of May. It's the cutover to the outdoor season so about half were outside. I'm also playing on an over 65 USTA league team. It's an interesting situation. There only are two teams in the league. There are few players in this age group still playing league. We have played the other team, from the western suburbs, three times and have won all three. We will play them a total of 9 times, I think, and the winner of the league will be our region's representative in the age group national tournament in the fall. Perhaps in Arizona.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Signs of Spring

It's a good time to look for signs of spring. There are a lot of them around, including yesterday's sighting of rollerbladers and shirtless runners. On one of my sauntering walks around this St Paul neighborhood, I encountered a few more and used my search engine to try to identify the flowers by their common names. In a lawn on Lincoln and in the edges of the park's grass at Linwood Park there are lots of these blue star scillas. They are always one of the first flowers that emerge from their long winter nap and a welcome sight.

The seemingly out of place white magnolia tree is nice. An early and prolific bloomer. This tree is a couple of blocks away, on Lincoln, I think. It was in the same lawn as the blue stars.

And your classic yellow Dandy Lion. These hardy beasts were growing out of a crack in a wall next to the sidewalk on St Clair. They can germinate when the soil temperature is as low as 50 degrees. Today it made it to 64º, just three degrees below the average high for the date here. It might be spring.

There is a fairly new French themed bakery on Grand Avenue, Chez Arnaud. They sell pastries as well as French style quiches.  After a stop at the First Grand ATM, NCW and I stopped to see what kind of pastries were available today. They had pain au chocolate, but nothing, they said, with almond paste. We bought a pastry, pain au something else, with raisins and custard or cream filling of a Frenchy variety. To share later over a coffee. We asked, they said zero calories. We cut it in half and we did the math. Zero divided by two gave us each zero very tasty calories.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cinco de Mayo

A fine spring day came to visit here today. I managed to spend much of this Cinco de Mayo outside. It was 66º at one time and it felt extremely fine. I was able to finish some of my raking responsibilities and ferried the leaves and other refuse to one of the Capitol City's yard waste recycling sites. I had some branches and, because of the Emerald Ash blight that has lately arrived here, all wood has to go to a specific site. For a Monday the site was bustling. Spring has brought out the rakes and black plastic bags.

Later in the afternoon NCW and I took a saunter around Como Lake. It was nice. The signs of spring were there. The wood ducks and black birds were bustling about. The first sighting of a rollerblader. The first sighting of shirtless runners circling the water front. The first view of turtles basking in the sun. And the lineup of "Nice Bikes" by Black Bear Crossing. They were being rented and used, too. As we walked up to the lineup of bikes a mom was helping a five year old (or so) count the bikes. So I know there were thirteen of them there.

There are at least six turtles basking in the sun at the city lake.

Not much else going on just now. I'm still playing tennis four times a week and today was a day off. A welcome day off when I can rebuild my stamina to get ready for some more geezer tennis on Wednesday. We haven't played outside yet, but I think we'll be outside by Saturday. Maybe spring and summer are actually going to happen this year.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Blogger returns from hiatus

Well, that was a long time. I haven't blogged much, but it's been mainly because of lack of inspiration. The landscape has afforded very few opportunities for nice photos and that's what usually gets me inspired to write in this space. Today was pretty nice for at least part of the day, and the sun shone for enough of the day to get me outside and I even took a few photos. By the time I took them it was after five and the sun was being overwhelmed by haze. Or maybe just whelmed. But I was enough inspired and frankly, I usually enjoy the process of writing here and was beginning to miss it. So the hiatus is over for a while.

On the subject of the first photo.  This is my personal wild rabbit who lives in the back yard. There are, or were, two others in close proximity. There have been instances when when there were three of them in the yard, all eating off the tops of crocuses or lilies or any other green plant that dared to rise from the ground and bare it's leaves. Those rabbits were hungry bunnies. I set about trying to discourage their continued residency in the yard. Every time I'd go out and discover them chomping on "my" vegetation, I'd make it a point to chase them around the yard until they exited to the neighbor's place. I didn't know if it would work, but I made it a little stressful for them to remain. I kept it up for about a week.  It may have worked. I haven't seen any of the three in several days. That may just mean that an eagle got them, but I like to think that my strategy worked. This is a photo of the most brazen of the three before he left the yard.

It was a beautiful Sunday for most of the day. I had a walk around the neighborhood in the morning with NCW and then did about an hour of yard work. I raked the front lawn and spent some energy sweeping up the crushed rock that I'd deposited on the ice on the sidewalks a couple of months back to keep from falling and breaking a leg or a skull. I think I'll be able to use the rock again next year, because I think the ice will return. This is another recycling strategy and I feel pretty good about it.

After about five o'clock NCW and I took a trip over to Minnehaha Park to see how the falls are doing. And to get a little exercise. The creek has high water and the falls are roaring. I've posted so many photos of the falls in the past that this time I'm posting a photo of the nearby Hiawatha and Minnehaha statue on the island in the middle of the raging creek. We walked around the park a bit, too. There were lots of people out and about. The Se Salt restaurant at the park was open and humming. A line of hungry Minneapolitans strtched out the door.  There were bikers galore going by and I even saw a young guy running in shorts without a shirt. After all, it was nearly 60º.

Hiawatha and his maiden, Minnehaha, are situated in the same spot since they were placed there in 1911 - over a century ago.  The leaves of the surrounding bushes are just beginning to emerge.  Spring!!!

Hooray, hooray, the fifth of May,
TT's blogging resumes today.