Sunday, October 16, 2016

Fall Panic

It is still autumn, but there are signs of impending doom winter. The days grow short and I have to turn on lights to feed the horses. We have had our first frost and while it was several weeks later than "normal" it was having some effect on my little part of the world. When I looked out that morning I knew it was frosty because there are no less than 4 different colors of shingles on the run in shed on a
summer day. 
Another sure sign of fall is the return of Professor Batty and the Weaver to the North woods all the way from Flippist World Headquarters to the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. It was a fun visit as usual sharing a meal at Trail Center on the Gunflint Trail. This is getting to be one of the annual highlights of autumn. Pardon the blur, but low light, no flash, beer, and poor judgement are somewhat responsible. At least that's my story.
On the way back down the Trail we came upon a younger, maybe a thousand pounds or so, bull moose trotting along the road. At least he stayed on the other side of the road and made no attempt to attack the car. However, as a result of this chance encounter I kept a death grip on the steering wheel, slowed down a bit, and my vision miraculously improved for the remainder of the drive home. It was a dark and cloudy night.

Despite the frost and the wind and rain there are still some bright colors to be seen. Here are a few around the house.

Last weekend was another nice one with a bit of a chill in the air. A couple of friends came over and we all decided to go for a walk in the woods and take a look for mushrooms. It has been a wet year and the tasty ones have kept us in fungus for most of the warm months. We brought books, baskets, and bags to look, gather, and study our discoveries.

We didn't have to go far to find an abundance of 'shrooms of various colors, sizes, and shapes. I think we identified about half of them, but there are always lingering doubts. We have a strong tendency to be careful as we are all too young to die from a mistake caused by ignorance.
The squash harvest was also pretty good with some rather large samples. We have already started to eat some and give some away. Some are fairly huge so to judge the size you should know that the table is three feet wide.
We'll be eating well this winter.

No snow at the farm yet, but a few miles inland and farther from Lake Superior they have had a little. It won't be long now before it's time to get out the snowshoes, skis, shovels, and make sure the tractor is ready to dig us out.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Beautiful Days

Still in autumn mode here, but at least the weather is nice enough to get out for a walk. We have had several lovely days in a row which has been unusual this year, but things are still soft and squishy as if rain had just fallen. It is still quite lush, but the greenery is still pretty green and the colory is still pretty colorful.

The interesting thing is that here on the farm we are coming into peak color. A half a mile farther inland is already past peak. I went past our apple tree and picked the last three on there. Seems like the woodland creatures have beaten me to it again. Maybe next year.                                             

We took a drive a little while ago looking for the last rich colors. Four of us stuffed in the Subaru.
There was also a little hunting for mushrooms, but when we looked up there were nice things to see. We stopped at a nearby lake.
There was still some color in the maples and there were others out looking and playing with their dogs. I saw a few people I knew out looking at the same stuff, but we were all enjoying a beautiful day in the North Woods.

As always, click on the pic to embiggen.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bumpkin goes to the Big City

Earlier this week I had to go to Duluth for some medical checks and follow ups. All is well in that department, but there were so many things to do I had to stay overnight. Between appointments, including one for the car, I had a  little time to enjoy the nicer parts of the city. I stayed on the Duluth side of the mini metro area which also includes Superior (or "Soup Town"), Wisconsin.

After my Monday morning appointment I decided to go to the beach. Now this is not an ocean beach as there is little in the way of tides and the water isn't salty, but it has sand and water which is good enough when you're a thousand miles in from an ocean. So I took a walk on the beach. As always, click on the pic to embiggen.

It was nice to have the beach mostly to myself as I would expect on a Monday morning.

I had an appointment early in the afternoon and after that I went over to Canal Park where the St. Louis River flows into Lake Superior and wandered around. There were more people, but it was still very relaxing and uncrowded and the clouds had gone away.

The cormorant didn't care if I was looking at him and the lift bridge was going up.

The harbor is large with room for lots of commercial and private ships and boats. It is a main terminal for shipping products from the Midwestern grain fields and iron ore mines as well as other bulk goods. It is also a great place to hang around and see the history of the area which, thanks to the native population, goes back thousands of years.

The Lakewalk begins at Canal Park and follows the shore for several miles. It is used by walkers, gawkers, bikers, runners, and anyone else that wants a nice place to get out and about in the city.

Even young moms trying to help their kids negotiate rocks. That concrete thing behind them showed up after a rather large storm a few years ago. That might give you an idea of the power of this calm looking body of water.

Since the Lift Bridge fascinates me as well as others, I thought I'd take a walk up to it and get a close up. Just before the bridge was my post dinner destination, the Vikre Distillery. I stopped there after dinner and had their vodka, one of their gins, and two of their Aquavits, just to see what a craft distillery was like. I was not disappointed and came home with a bottle of one of the Aquavits.  I will save it for special occasions. Of course, those special occasions can come around quite frequently and are sometimes called "evenings." A funny thing happened while I was at the distillery (that sounds like the beginning of a joke). I went upstairs to enjoy my samples and my neighbors from across the street are sitting on the sofa enjoying hors d'oeuvres and a drink at 8:30 on a Monday night 120 miles from home. What a coincidence!

After a good nights rest at my hotel I had a nice breakfast and went on the next appointment. When that was over it was time to come home, but I had one more scenic stop. It was time to stop and smell the roses at the Rose Garden of Leif Erikson Park. The Lakewalk passes by this park about two miles from where the walk starts.
That's the North Shore Scenic Railway on the right.

The roses are fading a little as we all do in time, but they are still beautiful and will bring joy to many before the seasons change.



Sunday, September 18, 2016

It's Falling

The nights are cooling down and getting longer, but at this latitude we get a long dusk and dawn. It must be Nature's way of consoling us. All the critters are either fattening up for winter or fattening up to make the trip south.
This is probably one of the last hummingbirds to leave. Most of the others left at least a week ago.

The ships heading in and out of Lake Superior are starting to stay closer to shore for protection from potential intense storms.

Our farrier was here this morning for as few hours getting all the horses hooves trimmed and putting shoes on a couple of them.

The leaves are starting to turn color to what I hope will be a colorful season. It only lasts a few weeks so I hope the days are sunny and the colors vibrant. Here is an Aspen in the front yard.
I had to go to town this morning for a short trip to work to take care of something without being interrupted. It only takes an hour this way instead of a day or more during regular hours. I decided to take the other scenic route home through the maple forest to see if the changes had begun. They had.

It happens every year about this time. Eventually, the trees will be bare and the snow will come. This year I bought a new pair of skis so when I am not working and can see what I'm doing I plan on enjoying the cold and snow. Otherwise, I'll just sit around waiting for Spring and that is a long wait. Might as well laugh in the face of climactic adversity.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Living vicariously

Fifteen years ago today I lost a classmate in one of the World Trade Center towers and had another classmate, a firefighter, respond. I know it's September 11th and it will be more than mentioned a few times everywhere else, so I'll opt for diversion.

I have some friends and family who get around in this world. I have stolen some pictures from them that have been posted on Facebook mostly, and am posting them here without permission from them. I hope they aren't embarrassed or that they don't sue me for defamation of character or anything like that. They shouldn't be as I have used my great abilities of judgement to post some of what I think are cool photos. If anyone is offended I apologize. Not everyone is included here because that would take more time than anyone might want to spend here. Almost all of these are close family.

Besides, I couldn't think of anything else to write about today. Well, that's not entirely true either, but that's my reasoning and I'm sticking to it. Here goes.

From top to bottom we have Anders and Gunhild Iren at the Vatican, Bente and her dog in the mountains, Eyglo in the wilds of Iceland, Suzanne, Knut, Karla, Anne, and Truls at the hytte, Giske and Pia in the mountains, Gro, Felicia, and daughter at breakfast, beautiful Heidi (on the right) with friends.

Gro in Cuba, Suzanne (Heidi's sister) doing some modeling, Laurie on the beach where I spent my childhood summers, Webjorn's bike in the Italian Alps, Stein Kåre' s bike followed by him, Sverrir bathing in Iceland, Tigerlilje (Kristin) hiking with friends, and Webjorn skiing.
Lars is always fishing.

One last one from yesterday of my favorite local Librarian, Ann, as she climbs the mast on Lake Superior.
When you add up all the fun available in the world it must be amazing. This is just a small group of people and just one fun thing they have done recently. Most of them are still young enough to do a whole lot more. Heck, even I can still do a whole lot of things. So with all the tragedy and nasty crap going on in the world, there are still some mighty fine diversions available for those who seek them out. So don't forget to take the time to smell the roses in your own back yard, your neighbor's, or some stranger's halfway around the planet. There is plenty of joy to be had.