Saturday, April 25, 2015

Trekking through Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary

It was a pretty nice Saturday. NCW was off to GR to a funeral and to check on the lake cottage. I stayed in St Paul to play tennis and try to recover some energy from my weekly tennis activities. The Prairie Princess was home and we decided to take a stroll or maybe a mosey through the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, a place where she'd worked at one time, planting trees and flowers as part of its restoration. And I was once again in search of the elusive marsh marigolds. The sanctuary is a pretty place as spring starts to emerge from the brown of last fall's fallen leaves and old grass. Some of the old vegetation in the area has already been burned off and the terrain is getting green already. The trees are just beginning to get tiny light green leaves popping out of the branches. The sun was out, it was in the lower 60's, and a great day to be alive.

We encountered this snowy egret next to one of the ponds. It was surprisingly unstressed and hung around quite a while so that I could get a few photos of its activities. This is my favorite of the several I took. It never flew away. I think it knew the pond was its territory and wasn't about to leave for a couple of transient humans.

The first sighting of marsh marigolds this year. I'd looked on previous outings to other wild areas, but it was too early, I guess.

A closer look at some marsh marigolds. There are plenty of them in the wet areas of the sanctuary.

In one of the three ponds at the sanctuary there were some turtles sunning themselves. They were the first I've seen this year and a harbinger of the season to come.

It's still April and summer is on its way. I haven't been outside to play tennis yet this, but next week may be the beginning of outdoor tennis. There'll be the cry, "Hurray, hurray, the first of May, outdoor 'doings' start today."

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Prairie Princess has a birthday

She and her brother have birthdays just 5 days apart. They have been a huge part of my life for nearly half of mine. She has had a lot of different personas over the years. Photos bring a lot of them back. She started as a very athletic and fit little girl and continues to be very much an extension of what she was as a tot.

The young lady with an attitude and my hat, probably in Florida.

The Prairie Princess as a successful fisher person in her youth. She actually caught that monster fish.

A more recent shot of the adult Miss Prairie Princess.

Tonight we went out to an Indian restaurant and ate together - Unky Herb, PP, NCW and I. The food was good, the company excellent. Another birthday season is nearly done, but there will be more and we'll celebrate them as they come.

Happy Birthday, Prairie Princess.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Adam has a birthday

It's Adam's birthday. He's 35 and I can hardly believe that time has flashed by so rapidly. He was here today to celebrate his new age a bit and to help me do some chores that I'm getting too old to do. Like go up on the roof. He and his little sister were here for a few hours and we had some fun just hanging out. Life sure has changes, slow but steady changes, and they sneak up on a guy. I was happy to have a few hours of his busy life.

Here is the young guy in about 1984 at a zoo in San Diego. The kiddies' zoo and all he wanted to do was to ride a composite material turtle.

Adam at about six years old. One of many of my favorite years.

Adam and Ying in 2014 on their honeymoon in Kauai. A long way from 1980 in Minneapolis where he was born.

Happy birthday young guy. And many more.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Spring begins to creep back to the tundra

After a morning of some tennis and then lunch, it seemed like a good idea to go a-walking at Crosby Farm. We hadn't been there in a number of months and there was hope that green sprigs were emerging from the brown base. It was a bit more hopeful than realistic, but a day that's pleasant enough to hike is a good April day. So NCW and I walked down along the big river. The Mississippi is very low for this time of year. Our lack of snowfall this year means that we are emerging from winter in a drought. We're not as bad off as California yet, but the park by the river is lacking green vitality. We walked by Upper Lake, too. Also low and the foliage around it drab. We saw a lot of other hikers, all using the weekend to get out and quell the winter cabin fever blues with a walk in nature.

I have a selfie from yesterday that wasn't good enough to cause a blogging event then, but today, a cloudy, grayish day, it seems better. I think the blue sky in the background is the decider.

We stopped at Cecil's deli for a reuben sandwich for dinner. It's a busy weekend there, what with the convergence of Passover and Easter. They actually have a reuben on a popover as an option and matzo ball soup on the menu. We stuck with the traditional reuben on rye. It was a tasty way to ease into the evening.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

It was 83º and that's no April fool's joke

It was a rare, in fact a record day in the saintly city. This was the warmest April first on record. It's a one day event, however, since tomorrow's high is expected to stay in the 40's again. Weird weather.

I've been watching the bridge in Como that used to be used for Lexington Avenue back in the days when we had street cars. It's being renovated and will be used for bikes to go over the top of a different bike path. Now that spring seems to be here, work has begun on shoring up the crumbling concrete and making the span useable and safe. NCW and I walked by it yesterday - after circling the lake on foot - and found that they are progressing nicely.

I played tennis today at the Fort Snelling Tennis Center (actually named Fred Wells Tennis Center, but no matter). The wind was gusting outside at about 40 mph at times. The tennis center is composed of a pair of large bubble structures made of some kind of tarp material - anyway soft in texture. The bubbles have light fixtures hanging from the ceiling. They hang down perhaps five feet from the top. Those light fixtures began to sway back in forth in rhythm with the the wind and whatever resistant force the bubble could provide. It was sort of eerie playing with the lights and shadows moving around and the soft walls of the bubble rippling in the wind. It was unnerving for a while, standing under those massive fixtures, but we persevered. I guess because the bubble stayed up all winter through whatever blizzard winds we had and we just didn't want to quit while we were having fun. The bubble made it and, I think, still stands out there on the edge of the airport.

Chinese food for dinner from Golden Chow Mein. PP joined us for the feast. The vegetarian egg foo young is my favorite.