Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Flowers seem to captivate us.

For Grandpa Ranum, it was roses. He liked getting them as gifts and he had a way about him that was nurturing. Mother liked marigolds around the foundation of the house, (although Daddy always said evergreens were the best for foundation planting). Mother didn't care, she bought flats of marigolds and fed them lots of fertilizer and made them into bushes with huge blossoms. Grandma Mae had her garden of glads and Grandma Ranum had her stand of Hollyhocks. Mother's birth mother, Clara, had climbing roses on a trellis, as did Atropa in Kansas. And Ella, the children's other grandmother had petunia's lining her walk from the curb to her front step.

Perhaps for me, the best of all, are lilacs. It is a spot of heaven. On a road trip, we passed a farm with lilac bushes on two sides. They had not bloomed yet, just loaded with buds ready to pop. A short cut to our house goes by a stand of them. From the sun room, I can see they have now bloomed from two days ago.

I have pictures of my daughter holding lilacs. The bushes at the house in KS where under her window and the scent drifted in. The bushes had been a garden gift from friends. We had dug them up in their yard and moved them.

Perhaps I need to think more about daisies, which swing and sway in the wind and when the seeds are cast far from home, they seem to take root, grow, and with their yellow centers, capture the sun and dance in the wind.

Perhaps dancing in the wind and casting seed here and there is my wannabee spirit. Perhaps it is my spirit.

For now, a touch of heaven in the blooming of the lilacs.

Flower. Bloom where you are planted.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Old Trunks looked at old photographs with weathered houses. She wonders why the houses weren't painted (better). Have you ever painted weathered board?

The project this week is to paint the pike which Howard the bear, (who stands in front of the garage) holds above his head. Two cans of spray later, it just now starting to show. All the paint is soaking into the thirsty pores of the wood. Will there ever be a sheen?

Isn't that the same with the old weathered houses in the pictures? Did they not go so long without being treated that the first order of business was to 'wet' the wood? Is this why primer was invented?

I wonder what paint cost per gallon then. It was all oil base and certainly had lead in it. No matter the cost, if that amount was needed for groceries or shoes, it is understandable houses stood silently and did not question when they were going to be made Sunday best.


Saturday, May 14, 2011


It is walleye opener in Minnesota. Many were on the point at one past midnight hoping for a creel filled with good eating. Today, boats have been zooming by going from one place to another. Are the fish that scattered?

We are not fishing. We are waiting until next weekend which is bass opener. Although we considered going out, the weather has just adjusted to sun and 61. And now, MST is on yet another task, this one, outdoors with neighbor Paul as his helper as he removes the front of the deck to get set to have the trailer straightened this week.

Yesterday's project was to hang new blinds. I can't praise the company enough. We have one minor mistake which can be corrected by just telling them about it. As we worked on hanging the blinds in the bedroom, we saw two pair of wood ducks, one male in full color and a younger couple where the male was just beginning to get its unique feather color pattern.

The supreme joy of the inside project was spotting this couple in the swamp behind us through the screen and through the window. We know them as skittish water fowl and wondered if we could get the screen off and the window open without spooking them. We did and with elbows braced on a stack of pillows hoped for an opening in the brush. And this is the result.

The first time I saw a wood duck decoy, painted by a man who took it up as a hobby after he became wheel chair bound, I was certain he was making up his own feather color pattern. Alas, the return to Minnesota has taught me there is such a thing as wood ducks and they really are marked in this magically way. Yet with all that color, they are lost in the natural colors of their surroundings.

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Monday, May 9, 2011


Old Trunks is thinking about gardening today. Oh, no! Not for me or us rather about my grand parents. And for everyone out there in the cloud, I do admire you for your efforts and the nurturing you do to grow product for your own table. I don't have the gardening gene.

My grandparents always had a garden I never remember them not having one. The first one I remember was when they lived with us when mother was in the San with TB. The garden was right outside the back door along the fence between our property and Botham's crap apple orchard. It was sacred ground. NO ONE stepped on that area. NO ONE. The next summer it was moved to the back of the lot to host a larger garden and water was pumped from the river to water it. Previously it was close to the house and a hose was used.

What I remember most about that garden was that Grandpa grew watermelons. He saved the seeds. For some reason, he put the seeds in the oats box where Babe the Welsh pony took her grain. I could never understand how he could be so mad at Babe for eating something he placed there, but he was!

Now the garden was always masterfully groomed. It seemed to happen magically. I never saw them pull a hoe or pick a weed. Of course, it was tended daily and that is why it always looked like it was a model garden.

Although to a five year old, it seemed as if they stated they wanted a garden in a certain place and it happened. I didn't know about how they had to make the soil ready and all the raking and breaking up of clumps that had to happen. I did learn later that once all of that hard work was accomplished, Grandma would take two stakes and a string and mark off rows with space in between to walk and hoe. Between these stakes, she would form a mound and poke her finger in to make an indent in which to put the seed. Then, back breaking walk down the rows and drop one seed in each hole. Later she would retrace her steps and gently bury the seed. When she was completely finished, she would sit at the kitchen table and separate the seeds because as she planted, she just put them in the pocket of her apron. She did NOT put them back in the package, as the package was over the stake at the row's end so one would know what was planted there, although I suspect she had a system of how things were planted.

Perhaps her system had something to do with the way things matured OR how it looked. The corn, being the tallest crop was always along a fence line or on the out side edge of the garden. And because part of having company over on a Sunday afternoon for lunch meant looking at the garden, one had to have it as perfect as it could get.

Looking at the garden and the flowers was always a big thing. It generally happened after an afternoon lunch of cookies/cake and coffee. Once the garden was viewed, people generally left.

I wonder how many times a day the garden was visited. I heard a song when I was young called, "In the Garden". One of the lines was, "I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses". I was certain it was about Grandpa and Grandma. Alas, it was not.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011


A killdeer is a little shore bird who runs about on skinny legs and lays its eggs in the pebbles. It is a member of the plover family. Although it is considered a shore bird, they don't always nest in wet places. They especially like plowed fields for those worms, grubs, and bugs of various kinds.

Perhaps the most interesting thing to watch is when the incubating bird is flushed from the nest, the bird appears to have a broken wing(s) as if it can not fly. It also rolls and screeches to take the attention away from their ground next. It will almost act breathless. Meanwhile, the other partner flies and swoops and continues to protest until the intruder leaves.

It is said a law was past in 1918 protecting the Killdeer from being hunted for sport. The are not edible. They are, however, useful by destroying great quantities of noxious insects which includes mosquitos!

And just in case you don't know the difference between a loon and a kill deer, the loon has red eyes and the killdeer has orange. :) I am a wanna be birder. Before the move back to the north and attending the lake country, I had only heard a loon and had never seen a Killdeer. I have much to learn.


Monday, May 2, 2011


The mister and I come to an agreement but not without compromise. I think drama and pattern. He thinks practical and light walls. And so when it came to buying a toupee for the floor at the lake it would be an adventure. I think you will have to agree we can drag in buckets of sand and loose it in the loops! We could almost hide a killdeer in it!

We did find one piece but only big enough for one room and since we live in a mini place the choice, whatever it would become, had to be the same, (my rule). We had looked at another blend which would work except, it was too formal for a place where table clothes and china are not used. We don't even use cloth napkins, (although it took several years to 'break' me of it).

We went from one carpet place to another, too expensive, not enough threads per square inch. Yada yada. We went to a dealer in Dilworth, which is a blink beyond Moorhead. As we drove out, we saw another dealer, the same name as in West Fargo, (which is a flicker away from Fargo to the west). We found the toupee but did not buy it because we didn't have the measurements. I thought we had written them down. We hoped, because the roll was big, there would be enough. There was 60' on the roll.

From the carpet store, we went directly to the pain(t) store. Although I thought the paint was too light, we did find something we could agree on. The painting would happen over the weekend. We would, for the most part, tease the pain(t) unto the walls all weekend. And we did. And we are proud.

This morning, I called MST and asked him for the style or color of the carpet because I wanted to get something started on on having it cut in two pieces, tightly wrapped, and ready to ride in the boat. I had the business card and the measurements.

"What was the name of that carpet"?

"It is on the back of his business card"

"Is isn't, hon, I think you wrote it down in your book".

"No, not here", he said.

I hoped that we made some sort of a splash so the clerk would remember us. Now, what is the first thing you do when you have a question? Write an email of course, and follow it up with a phone call.

The email had all the information in document form. I could not send a picture. The salesperson came on the floor at 1P, I called and talked with him. He did remember. He remembered when we talked about two pieces and carrying it in the boat. All I had to do was put down some payment and they would cut it and have it wrapped for pick up.

I still don't know the style name or color, but as long as he does, I think we are home free! Well, not free but we have our toupee and the floor will be happy! There was forty feet on the roll when I called. Someone with a 14' idea will have plenty!

What is a Killdeer?