Bang ! … part 1 (of 2) of Cousins weekend

Part 1 of 2 – with each part containing a story about our near catastrophes. 

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At Lake Lipsett

This part weekend was the second annual Cousins Weekend at my sister-in-law’s cabin on Lake Lipsett near Siren, Wis. This year there were 4 older women in attendance. The fact that we are all older is good in many ways: (1) we can sit around in our pajamas or nightgowns and not offend anyone; (2) we don’t have to be concerned about our weight or jiggly arms – we all have pretty much given up on that;  (3) it doesn’t take much wine at all to make us happy (actually it didn’t take much of anything to get us laughing); and (4) we don’t have to worry about holding anyone up because  most of us are pretty slow-moving.

Time for a pontoon ride

There is nothing more peaceful than sitting by a lake with a nice breeze and the sun shining. What’s even better, though, is a long pontoon ride on the lake. The youngest woman (who just retired) became the captain. Of course, none of the rest of us knew how to drive the pontoon; this was her second time at it so she is the professional.

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A Little about the Lake

Lipsett Lake is a 393 acre lake located in Burnett County. It has a maximum depth of 24 feet. Water clarity is low (according to the Wisconsin DNR) with numerous patches of lily pads and weeds. Fishing seems to be pretty good (at least for the bald eagle who kept swooping down by the dock, near the shore of the cabin, and picking up his fish lunch). Those out fishing this weekend, however, didn’t seem to have much luck – but they kept trying.

On the pontoon ride, we toured the perimeter of the lake, looking for eagle’s nests in the tall pine trees that surround much of the lake. We are never disappointed. We also looked for and found loons. Often you can hear them from the shore. We also found many other folks – in boats or in the water – who were enjoying the lake.

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Time to Dock

I’m not sure but I think the ride took about an hour; I was too busy enjoying the ride to  check the time. Finally, though, we were back to the area of our cabin and it was time to bring the boat to shore and park it in the lift. This is where the ride got more interesting. The captain brought the pontoon in slowly, swinging it sideways to counteract the waves but the waves blew the pontoon a little too far sideways. Our lady captain put the motor in reverse and backed up for another try.

This time she steered the boat further to the left to counteract the waves. Things were looking good and we were almost to the lift. But then … have you heard stories about pressing on the gas when it should be the brake?? Well, the captain had one of those moments. All of a sudden, we were heading for the dock. The captain was screaming:” Oh, my God!!” My sister-in-law – sitting in the front of the pontoon – had her feet firmly braced for a crash landing. My other sister-in-law (who owns the boat) was laughing – and we hadn’t had any wine yet. And I was expecting us to hit one of the posts on the canopy – so I am yelling: “the post!” And then we hit — a loud BANG! After a quick survey of the scene, however, we determined there was no damage at all. All relieved, we managed to pull the pontoon into place under the lift. And then we laughed … and laughed … and laughed. Then we got the wine and sat right there, on the pontoon, with a cool breeze, and drank wine and laughed some more.

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Coming next – Part 2 of Cousins Weekend – There She Blows! 

Thanks for reading! I hope you will return.

Pure and simple …

On our recent trip to Steven’s Point, Wisconsin, we stopped early in the trip at a gift store  – Pure ‘n Simple — on Highway 8 near Amery, Wisconsin. (Click HERE to visit their website.) You can grab a bit to eat in their deli or shop for local meats, cheese, organic and natural foods, bulk baking items, or convenience items.

As we got out of the car, however, we were welcomed by a crowd — a crowd of fun animals — all of them ‘yelling out’ for us to come visit them. So, we completely forgot about the gift store and headed over to the animals.

First, we talked to the goats. Each of them wanted attention.


Next, were the chickens – all vying for position at the front of the cage. They were quite chatty and seemingly happy – birds of all feathers.


But, of course, the real show-off was one of the peacocks. She or he turned all the way around in a circle – very slowly – so I could also view the backside. It’s too bad the birds were in cages – which made it hard to get good photos. I suppose, those, they couldn’t run loose – we wouldn’t have been able to get out of the car!

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Then the donkeys, who had been waiting patiently, decided they needed attention — and they noisily made it known. They were very mild mannered, however.


And, finally, the lonely pig called us over. He or she just needed a little love – pure and simple. 


We probably spent a half  hour playing with the animals. We did finally made it into the store, bought a snack, and perused the baking goods aisle and home crafts. There’s a very nice selection.

If you ever get close to Amery, this is a fun stop.

Thanks for reading!! I hope you stop again. 


It depends …


A quick sketch of me shopping by my granddaughter SJH. Perhaps it is me a few years ago.

A quick little story …

Recently I went to Walmart – because I needed some mini-pads. Yes, folks, I said mini-pads. They are a part of  my reality because I cough a lot with my lung disease – and, well – you know what can happen when you cough. Typically I try to get in and out of the sanitary supplies aisle as fast as possible. I’ve even grabbed the wrong product a time or two – because I was in a such a hurry – just so I wasn’t seen in that aisle. Well, after this trip, I don’t think I need to hurry with my purchase.

A couple of years ago I went shopping in search of adult depends (disposable underwear) for my brother-in-law who is now eighty years old. There was very little to choose from – just a few options and not many in stock for any of the options. Last weekend, however, one whole side of the sanitary products aisle was packed full of various sizes, styles and brands of disposable underwear.


This is not the aisle from the store I was at but it looked similar, packed full of sanitary products.

When I arrived, there were a three people shopping in the sanitary products aisle; none of them were in a hurry to make their selection. One couple thoroughly discussed the various attributes of each brand: Is the elastic too tight on the legs? Maybe you should get a bigger size. You don’t want them too tight – what if they rip? Etc.  Interestingly, the folks looking at the products were not old-timers; they were more likely in their fifties (keeping in mind that I am not good at guessing ages or they just didn’t look their age). And, seemingly, as soon as one customer left the aisle, another appeared. That made it hard for me to get my product and get out of there – in a hurry – and hopefully relatively undetected. The aisles are so narrow, I couldn’t just sneak in between the other customers.

Finally I grabbed my product – well, actually I grabbed two – so I don’t have to go back anytime soon. The good thing – I don’t need to feel embarassed when buying sanitary supplies – no one else seems to be.

Thanks for reading! I hope this story made you smile a little.

Disclaimer. This is not an ad or endorsement for Depends. It is just a story I couldn’t resist. 


A tour of Amish country – Long Prairie and points north and west

Part of the reason for our day trip route a few weeks ago was to look for Amish buildings. We love looking for them – because often the Amish will also have a home store or stand where we can buy baked goods or other hand-crafted or home-grown items. This trip did not fail us; we bought bread, pie, and candy. All healthy and all tasted wonderful.

This blog contains bits of Amish life – buildings, work, and transportation.

First we have photos of Amish homes. Note the large size of the homes with additions — all painted white. Out buildings are often painted red.



Below is a schoolhouse – small and serviceable to a rural neighborhood.


And an outbuilding –


Below is an Amish-run sawmill. It looks like they have been busy.


And then there is farming and haying  …



And finally, there is the preferred mode of transportation …


And the end of the day …


And there you have a quick glimpse of Amish life.

Thanks for reading. I hope you return. 

Other of my posts about Amish:


Once home …

On our recent road trip, we found an abandoned homestead. At least we think it was abandoned … but the barn may have been in use – based on the barnyard smells.

As we looked forward (parked in the end of the driveway, just off the narrow township road, we saw the house on a knoll — still commanding a grand presence, in a perfect setting – surrounded by full growth trees. The multi-roofed structure is typical of large farm homes, complete with the enclosed porch. A garage structure, now absent the windows, is attached to the house and open to the elements. I wonder what time has done to the inside of the house. I wonder what stories it can tell. I can visualize young children running across the knoll, perhaps flying a kite or playing tag. I imagine a woman hanging clothes on the clothes line. I imagine picnics on the lawn. What do you imagine?


The barn on the site is starting to deteriorate (but may still be functional). It still has great character – with broken or open windows, missing boards, and weathering.




This blog ends the posts of buildings from our recent road trip – well, almost. The upcoming Amish blog has a few buildings.


Next: A tour of Amish country – Long Prairie and points north and west

Thanks for reading! I hope you return. 



Beautiful old buildings … a mix

This blog is part 2 of the old or abandoned building focus of our recent road trip. This time I am featuring a variety of structures – all majestic in their own way; all containing stories from the past. If only we could hear those stories …

As in the last blog, because we visited so many cities and wondered from here to there, I really have no recollection of the exact location of these buildings. They are west and north of St. Cloud – somewhere.

Snuggled somewhere along the route, and tucked back in the trees, is this beautiful rural church.


In one of the small towns, we found this mostly abandoned feed mill. The building takes up a large area next to the railroad tracks. Just think of all of the people who worked here and the stories they could tell.


DSC02118bJPGa.jpgAs is common in many of the small towns, we founded this boarded up at-one-time retail building Sadly, the buildings eyes (windows) are now shut to the outside world (they are boarded up). Do you see anyone peeking out of the upper windows?


This town hall sits out in the open. As you can see, it is fully complaint with ADA (the American Disabilities Act) handicap-accessibility requirements. It looks a little forlorn with no trees or other vegetation but buildings such as these have served townships well for many years.


This retail space was converted for use as an historical society – a perfect reuse. Note the mural on the right side of the building – a nice touch.


This last picture is my favorite – an abandoned – or not – outhouse — one with character and charm – in a perfect setting. It has a bit of a Halloween look to it – with eyes (windows) that are shut (or are they?), a doorknob as the nose, and no mouth – leaving you to wonder. Can you imagine the stories this little building could tell? Would you be willing to go inside? (No, I did not. I took the picture from the road. I must admit, however, that I thought about it.)


Thanks for reading! I hope you return.

Next time: An abandoned homestead – almost.











The mystique of old buildings … barns

One of the purposes – other than to be in air conditioning – of our recent day trip was to look for old buildings. I am fascinated by them. If only we knew the stories they could tell.

We traveled through the countryside west and north of St. Cloud, Minnesota. This area is quite rural with numerous farmsteads. Many of the ‘out-buildings’ (often called accessory buildings, such as barns and sheds) are in a state of decay. Still, there is a sense of beauty in their sagging roofs, open spaces and missing boards.

I must note that I really  have no idea – other than very generally – where these buildings are located.

This building appears to be mostly empty. Note the small window in the center – perhaps looking out from a loft area. Imagine children playing in that loft – hiding from the outside world, telling stories and having fun. Imagine a tractor or other farm equipment parked in the end bays. 


The barn below appears to still function. While weathered and worn, with only hints of its previous red glory, the barn stands tall, straight and majestic. 


The barn and silo below have seen there last useful days. Now lying in a pile of rubble, they unfortunately reflect the status of many rural barns. 


The barn below, though tattered and torn, is standing tall – as are the other out-buildings and still functions for farming purposes. 


My next blog will feature an abandoned farmstead.


Related blogs:

Thanks for reading. I hope you will return.