Waterfowl for Warriors … 2016

Last Thursday I was privileged to attend the lunch for one of the annual veteran’s hunts that are part of the Waterfowl for Warriors project. The hunts are held at the City of Anoka Nature Preserve. This year there are four separate events throughout September and October. (See HERE for last year’s blog about this event.)

waterfowl for warriers 002.JPG

When I arrived at the lunch, I was greeted by this mound of birds. The hunters bagged 45 birds – quite the successful hunt!


Just prior to lunch, Sgt. Scott Wall, Minnesota State Patrol and one of the founders of the Waterfowl for Warriors program, recapped the morning hunting event.

waterfowl for warriers 014.JPG

Jim Urban, Anoka Legion Chaplain and Waterfowl for Warriors volunteer, lead the group in prayer before lunch.

waterfowl for warriers 019.JPG

Hunters and volunteers were quite busy, discussing the successful hunt. (The man who is standing is Anoka City Manager, Greg Lee.) Just sitting there, I could feel and see the respect and joy of the veterans and volunteers for one another. What an amazing experience.

waterfowl for warriers 015.JPG

Katie, a black lab, was pretty interested in the lunch being served. Maybe she wanted some of the carrot cake that is provided by Ellen Ward each year. All I know is that the whole cake disappeared, but Katie is not to blame. The veterans requested two cakes for next year. Katie is the cook’s (Mark Bechenbach) dog.

waterfowl for warriers 039.JPG

This is Tom Weaver, the man who makes custom duck calls. Two duck calls were given as (out)door prizes to lucky veterans. To learn more about the duck calls, click HERE.


Easton Eckstrom drew the names of the winners for the duck calls. Easton is the five-year son of Derrick Ekstrom, a veteran and a City of Anoka Police officer. Also shown in the photo is Sgt. Scott Wahl  and Jeff Weaver, Anoka City Council Member.


The group also recognized the cook, Mark Bechenbach, for the excellent meal. Mark is a little shy. Also shown in the photo is Mark Anderson, City of Anoka Public Works Superintendent, Bill Bye from the City of Anoka Public Works Department, and Mark Bechenbach, Veteran, City of Anoka Volunteer Fireman, and Event Cook.

So, here we were, sitting out in a nature preserve, enjoying lunch on a warm Thursday in September, with veterans. It doesn’t get much better than that!


The hunting crew (Photo by Jeff Weaver)

Thanks for reading!


The time has come …

All summer we have been watching the box elder tree along the driveway, waiting for it to go down in a storm. It is a volunteer tree that was allowed to grow according to its own whims. As a result, it has two trunks … one large one that is cracked and leaning perilously toward the ground and another – split into two smaller trunks.


Not wanting to risk the tree falling on a vehicle – which, with our luck, would belong to someone else –  we called a tree service. The service suggested we remove the larger trunk and trim up the remaining tree. I have to admit – I hate cutting trees down.

A crew of six men arrived just before 2 pm; they were finished and had left by 2:30 p.m.  It was like watching a precision team – each person had their own job. They got right to work and didn’t waste any time.

The first branches go down … and my heart sunk a little.


The branches were quickly removed and ground up.



More branches gone …and more sunlight coming through.



And down goes the big trunk …


This is how the tree looks now … Hopefully what is left of the tree will fill out next summer.


As a bonus, however, we have lots of wood for next year’s bonfires.


And some of the bigger pieces might go to a sawmill to be sliced … maybe for table tops? I’m sure we can find something to make from them. The pattern in the wood is absolutely beautiful.



I think this stump will make a perfect home for another carved critter.


Thanks for reading! 


The end of summer …

Well, Labor Day is here and the unofficial end of summer has arrived. It seems that summer had just started … and it’s now over. Wanting to savor as much summer as I could, I took a walk around the yard, looking for signs of fall and remnants of summer.

Gratefully, there is still a lot of summer color …

flower collage.jpg

If you look closely, you also find examples of color and design in the many mushrooms in the yard (before the lawn mower arrived). I have no idea what kind of mushrooms they are … but I love the detail in these tiny plants. If we stopped mowing our lawn, I think it would become a landscape of violets, johnny jump-ups, wild strawberries and mushrooms.

Mushroon 1

Mushroom 2

Mushroom 3

Mushroom 4

Mushroom 5

I also found signs of fall …

signs of fall

And this is how the weekend will end … one more bonfire to cap a weekend of nightly bonfires.


Welcome to Fall and Thanks for Reading !!

Sometimes you need to go …


More and more, I find myself reading obituaries of people I know … friends, acquaintances, relatives, etc. I suppose it’s just natural as one gets older. As a consequence, there are more wakes and funerals to consider attending. Neither of these are my favorite thing to do … ever since our daughters funeral many years ago.

This week the obituaries contained the name of our long-ago neighbor. My sister and I saw two of her sons last week and commented about how we loved listening to their mother – who had a wonderful British accent (although she always said she didn’t have an accent). Little did we know, she would pass the next day and we would never hear that accent again.

Last night, on the way to our Needlecraft Group meeting, we decided to stop at the wake for our neighbor. She lived about a half block from our house. I used to be friends with her daughter, who is one year older than me. I hadn’t seen her since high school – in over 50 years. I was hoping she would be there. She was – and I recognized her in an instant. Not so with me, however. After re-introducing myself, we had a wonderful chat. She was so pleased that we came.

Soon other neighbors arrived – also neighbors of long ago. Many of the places where we lived are now gone but … the old neighborhood was together again. You could feel the tension of the wake melt away. You could feel the change in the atmosphere. You could feel the sunshine. Most importantly, you could feel and see the pleasure and joy on the faces of rhe family members. And Ivy (the neighbor who died) was pleased, too.

The moral of the story: Sometimes you just need to go to a wake. It’s not only the right thing to do; it is the best thing you can do for everyone involved – you included.