A new critter … Meet Chopper

Some of you may know that we have three carved bears and a carved eagle. Recently we picked up our newest addition to the critter family. All of the animals were carved by Tom Svien, TS Wildlife, from Two Harbors. I think we have achieved the status of a regular customer. Part of the fun of getting the critters from Tom is that we also get to travel to Two Harbors – and see Lake Superior. We usually make a sight-seeing day of it.

You can find photos of the bear family HERE.

Well, here is our new critter Chopper … We haven’t decided if Chopper is a boy or a girl. But – Chopper has attitude!



Chopper watches us very carefully … 002.JPG


And Chopper takes good care of his/her tail … 004.JPG

Chopper is also initialed by his/her creator …


And Chopper’s feet are firmly planted on the ground …


And in case you didn’t realize it … Chopper is a beaver. Next we’ll need to place Chopper outside … I’ll update you when that happens.

Thanks for reading! I hope you will return. 











Nature and shopping … all in a day trip

Last Saturday my friend Pammy and I went on a day trip. Our intended destination … St. Croix Falls to see the turning leaves. A few things kept us from reaching our intended destination (until the end of the day). You see, we kept getting side-tracked.

First, we spotted these swans and couldn’t resist a photo op.

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Then we spotted a yarn store in Cambridge …

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We next headed east on Hwy. 95 toward North Branch and visited a few garage sales and thrift stores. Below are my teapot finds at the thrift stores.


We then headed toward Lindstrom, in search of a yarn store that we heard about from the folks at the yarn store in Cambridge. The yarn store in Lindstrom was amazing ( and connected to a game store and tea shop); the owner was very entertaining. It was easy to spend a lot of time in her store – and she gave us more suggestions for places to stop. After lunch in Center City, we followed her suggestions and …

went to an orchard …


Then to the historic village area of Franconia which contains many of the original homes…

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And then on to the Franconia Sculpture Park in Shafer, Mn., a 43-acre outdoor sculpture park. There is also a residence for artists on the site. Access to the park is free.

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The park is interspersed with walking paths, providing access to the sculptures, and large areas of prairie grass. Golf carts are available for those who can’t walk the 43 acres … which was a blessing for me.

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The photos below show some of the sculptures. There are many more …

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Next we headed to Taylors Falls, in search of yet another yarn store. Alas, by the time we arrived, they had already closed for the day. Maybe next time.

As we left town, we caught a marvelous view of the St. Croix River and the city of St. Croix Falls on the other side. But, as you can see, the leaves have fallen and most of the color is gone. Nonetheless, we had a wonderful day. Nature and shopping … you just can’t beat that.

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Thanks for reading! I hope you will visit again. 



Color inside and out …

Fall is a wonderful season for brilliant color … both inside and out. Today’s blog is a photo tour of our color.

Inside, I find the following  …

The brilliant color of my violets …


And my cactus .. which often blooms around Halloween …



And then I venture outside … and I find the orange and red hues  …



And my favorite oak tree … I protected this little sapling when it was just a sprig with two leaves. Years later it is magnificent.


I hope you enjoyed the tour of color.

Thanks for reading! I hope you will return again. 





A very quick Fall decoration …

After typing for six hours straight, I decided I needed to take a break and do something fun. The result – a very quick fall decoration  …

My supplies –


… along with scotch tape and clear Elmer’s glue.

First, I stuffed the lights into the jar …


Then I covered the top with leftover crepe paper (from our recent class reunion) and taped it down, leaving an opening for the cord for the lights.



Then I glued a piece of Fall ribbon around the neck of the jar – using tape to hold it until the glue dried. (Of course, I bought the ribbon at 70% off the original price.)


And this is the result … It can also be used for a Fall night light. The best part – you can remove the ribbon, crepe paper and lights very easily  … and reuse the jar.


May you take time out of your busy day to have a little fun.

Thanks for reading. I hope you will return. 
















A very quick trip north …

On Monday, we took a very quick trip north. Our destination – Grand Rapids, MN – a county seat city of almost 11,000 people (2010). Grand Rapids is perhaps most well known as the home of Judy Garland from the ‘Wizard of Oz’ movie. It was also home to Hugh Beaumont ( Mr. Cleaver, father of Theordore “Beaver” Cleaver ) from the TV series ‘Leave it to Beaver’ – a late 50’s and early 60’s situational comedy.

On the way to Grand Rapids, we went by a childhood landmark for me – Nine Mile Corner Bar – which is located between Hillman and Grand Rapids. My grandfather used to live near this bar. On weekends, we would make the trip – often riding in the back of our pickup – from Princeton to Grandpa’s house so Dad could go fishing. In the evening, we would go to Nine Mile Corner Bar – where we listened to the band and ate bar food. (Keep in mind that we rarely went out to eat, so this was a real treat for us kids.) Often the band played polkas, waltzes, schottishes, etc. – and I danced with my favorite partner – Grandpa ‘Shorty.’

As you will see in the photo, the bar is now closed and for sale – which makes me a little sad.


A bit about Grand Rapids  —

Grand Rapids began as a logging town, the history of which is now featured at The Forest History Center, a State Historic Site and living history museum that recreates life as it was in a turn of the 20th century logging camp. The site includes miles of nature trails, educational naturalist programming, and an interpretive museum. Click here for the source and more information on Grand Rapids.

Just a little exploring —

We arrived a bit early for our event, so we visited downtown Grand Rapids. We’ve been there several times; each time I say “I would love to go in that building.” Well, this was my lucky day because minutes later my husband pulled into the parking lot of ‘that building’ – Old Central School. The school was was built in 1895 in the Richardsonian Romanesque style of architecture and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This style of architecture is also found in Duluth. The three story building served as an elementary school from 1895 to 1972. The building was restored in 1984 and it now holds several shops and businesses.

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The real reason for our trip to Grand Rapids —

Monday was Indigenous People’s Day. What better way to commemorate that day than to go to a concert featuring Brule, a contemporary Native American New Age band. However, first we met friends at the well-known Sawmill Restaurant for a wonderful meal. Then on to the concert.


Brule has been performing for 20 years – and we have been attending their concerts whenever we could throughout that time. I guess that makes us groupies. We first heard them at an open-air restaurant in Deadwood, South Dakota and we have been hooked ever since. Over the years, they have added Native American dancers to the performance that, along with the band – results in a performance that reminds us that we are all related; we are all connected — Mitakuye Oyasin

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(For more information on Brule and the very interesting story about how the band came to be, CLICK HERE.)

And then for the long moon-lit ride home (just over two hours) – but well worth the very quick trip north.


Thanks for reading! I hope you will come again!


Another improvement project done …

We have a long list of improvement projects for our property. Sometimes, however, the project is just too big for us seniors. In fact, just lining everything up is a big enough project for us.

The roof on our shop area was in dire need of repair. Over the years, the shingles on the south-facing side of the addition to the shop had curled up. Every time it rains, pieces of shingle end up in the gutter, plugging the gutter, causing the water to overflow. In addition, the roof was leaking.

Of course, preparation for the shingling occurred partly during the time when my  husband was in the hospital. So, I put on my construction supervisor hat, enlisted some help from one of our sons, and got to work. Thank goodness most of the preliminary work had been done.

First, the dumpster (for the old shingles ) was delivered … Luckily, my husband had ordered that before he got sick. I just needed to be home for the delivery.

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Next, the shingles were delivered and placed on the roof. Again, they had been ordered and I just needed to be there for the delivery.

It was a one-man operation, quite fascinating to watch. After placing the shingles on the roof, the delivery man stacked them along the peak of the roof, ready for the shingler.

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My son contacted a separate contractor crew to remove the gutter. They arrived about the same time as the shingler (good timing). The gutter crew will re-install the gutter after the shingling is done. The gutter is one piece, the full length of the addition.

And then the shingling began. It was a bit of a mess but the contractor cleaned up the site every night. It took him three days, mostly working alone, to do the project.


In the picture below, the felt paper is in place,  after replacing some of the plywood underneath.

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And the roof is done – except for painting the new facia (installed by our son) and putting the gutter up again.



So, one improvement project can be crossed off the list (for the most part). On to the next project.

Thanks for reading! I hope you will come back again! 









Yes, another shed …

You may remember the arrival of our ‘new’ shed about a year ago. (If not, click HERE.) Well, we decided to get another shed – this one for lawn products, bird seed, etc. and to house a greenhouse area.

We placed the shed where we recently removed part of the box elder tree:


This picture shows the shed unloaded and sitting on the road, waiting to come down our driveway.


It’s fascinating to watch the delivery person buzz around on his little motorized piece of equipment that lifts and turns the structure. In the picture below, he is setting up the building to move it down the driveway.


The building is on the move …


Down the driveway, easily turning it to set it in place. (The rain stopped just in time.)



And here it is, set in place and ready to go …


But wait, we decided to make a few improvements, so shutters where added and the trim around the windows and door were painted white.



We plan to do more painting – most likely the railing – and add some decorative trim. However, a medical event got in the way … after painting, the Mr.had a heart attack, followed by surgery to install two heart stents. (He is doing well.) So,.the next steps may or may not occur yet this year.

Thanks for reading! Hope you’ll come back again.