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. 

A quick side trip … Munsinger Clemens Gardens

Heading pic Munsteinger gardens.jpgTwo weeks ago, we went on a day trip, traveling to about twenty cities west and north of our house. Our first (surprise) stop that day was Munsinger Clemens Garden, located on the east side of St. Cloud, Minnesota, across from the campus of the University of Minnesota – St. Cloud (one of my alma maters). (For more information on the gardens, click HERE.)

Although early in the season, the gardens were still beautiful. We arrived mid-morning. The air was humid – with a promise of very warm afternoon temperatures. Although still a little unsteady from my recent medical adventures, where there are flowers, I must go. I managed to slowly wander around a very small portion of the Clemons Garden, which was established in the 1990’s and covers about seven acres.  This is what I found … Munsteinger Gardens collage 1.jpg

. . .  spectacular color everywhere I looked …

Munsteinger Gardens collage 2.jpg

. . .  the serene setting of the fountain …

Munsteinger Gardens collge 3.jpg

. . .  more and more color everywhere.

Munsteinger Gardens collage 4.jpg

If you ever have a chance to visit the gardens, please do. It is well worth the effort. You can spend many joyful hours there – sitting and relaxing, taking photos, or just wandering around.

Thanks for reading. I hope you will come again.





Just off the freeway … cheese and breeze


On our way home from the Herrshner’s Warehouse Sale (in Stevens Point, Wis.), we stopped in Thorp, Wisconsin – in search of cheese curds. The cheese store is at the Penterman Farm, whose cows provide the milk for the Marieke Gouda cheese that is served and sold on the site.


030e.jpgThe site is much more than a farm and a cheese store. You can book or take a self-guided tour of the farm. On their web page, it states that the cheese is made within five hours of milking. Check it out HERE

There are children’s activities  … such as the self propelled go-karts and vehicles or you can jump and jump and jump …


051e.jpgYou can have lunch or dinner, either inside or outside …


Outside was absolutely beautiful … with a nice breeze, under a bright orange umbrella …


And the food was wonderful and priced very affordably. And, of course, included cheese curds …


And you can shop for gifts and cheese products.


The back area where they keep the freshly made cheese

Or you can people watch … I would guess there is an Amish community nearby.


How can you pass up dill pickle flavored chap stick?


If you happen to be in the area, I highly recommend a visit.

Thanks for reading! I hope you return. 

Silly Milli … part hunter, part naughty

Another episode of the adventures of Silly Milli B … 

Silly Milli seems to get longer every day. She used to fit on my desk, in front of the keyboard. I used to be able to pick her up with one hand; no more. Now I am lucky if I can pick her up with two hands – mostly because she is so crazy – always wanting to be petted, or to be ‘fighting and biting dog.’



Silly Milli is also sneaky. When I am at my computer, I often slip off my Sketcher shoes. The other night, I decided to go outside for a bit so I reached, with my feet, to put my shoes back on – but, they were nowhere to be seen. After a few minutes of wondering ‘what the heck,’ I checked Milli’s bed. Guess what! There I found both shoes. Luckily she didn’t have them for long. She has managed to chew up several shoes or sandals. Fortunately for us, they were ones we no longer wear.

Milli’s new trick is to chase chipmunks. At first she was scared of them; actually, she was scared of most anything that moved. Now – likely because she is bigger – she chases them. As you may know, we have lots of chipmunks. We used to feed them peanuts and sunflower seeds. However, last year they buried them all over our yard so we have a ‘bumpy yard’ – which makes for an interesting time when mowing the grass. This year they are surviving on the seeds from the maple tree.

Milli generally spots the chipmunks at the end of the deck or on the sidewalk. She stands at attention for a bit – and then off she goes. The chipmunks are pretty quick, though, and get away easily. And there are times when the chipmunks are within a few feet of Milli and she simply ignores them.


Our present from Milli last week – a  mouse that she tortured until it was dead.

Milli also does not like it when we put her flea and tick treatment on her back. We both had to hold her last time – but I got the worst of it. (See picture below.) Now we need to take her to have her nails trimmed …


Thanks for reading about Silly Milli. I’m sure she will have more adventures. ! I hope you return.

Yes, another Mother’s Day …

I am particularly glad that it is Mother’s Day today. About three weeks ago, I collapsed while at the hospital after receiving an infusion treatment for my lung disease. I simply could not breathe. The doctors/nurses removed fourteen pounds of fluid from my heart and lungs. It was like drowning from the inside out. Six days later, I was released, and while not back to ‘normal,’ I am very grateful to be here.

I learned something very interesting during this hospitalization. I normally have my fingernails done with acrylic nails. What I didn’t realize is that the acrylic blocks the readings for the oxygen monitors. It is very likely that my oxygen levels have been quite low for a long time – but I wasn’t getting accurate readings. So – the acrylic nails are gone. I originally did them – not just because the look nice – but because my ‘real’ nails are so brittle. Getting accurate oxygen readings is more important – so no more acrylic nails for a while. (I know some of you will miss – or not – my photos of my nails. )



Once I was moved from intensive care, I shared a room with another patient. She was in her late fifties, early sixties. She has been through brain cancer, lung cancer and is on dialysis. But I am pretty sure that isn’t enough to stop her. She was in full control and spunky as can be. Before she left for surgery to replace a port (likely for her chemotherapy), she called her daughter to wish her a Happy Birthday and apologized for not being able to visit her that day. She also kept the nurses on their toes! I would bet she is a wonderful Mom and a reminder for me that things could certainly be worse.

And when I came home from the hospital, I had this little girl who is there to comfort me whenever I sit on the loveseat …


Happy Mother’s Day from Silly Milly B(raun)

Happy Mother’s Day to anyone who considers themself to be a Mom in any way.

Thanks for reading!

Milli takes a bath …

You may have noticed that I haven’t written in several days. I was side-tracked – taking a break at the hospital. I am better but more on that in another post, coming soon.

Given that our little silly Milli girl can be a  bit to handle, daughter-in-law Michelle offered to give Milli a bath – which appeared to be a new experience for Milli  (and a bath for Michelle).

As we expected, Milli braced herself, trying to escape the sink and the water.


Twice she pulled out the plug, emptying the water.


But she loved having the shampoo rubbed on her …


But, then the rinse …  not as much fun  …  and it’s all over. Silly Milli is now clean, pretty Milli.


Next, drying her off … with granddaughter Lena assisting …



And then the big shake off —


And finally, snug in her new blanket (made by Michelle) … 124.JPG

I hope you enjoyed Milli’s bath time. Stay tuned for more adventures of Silly Milli B.

Thanks for reading; I hope you return,