Entries to Win Afghan

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

White on White

That's all you get today. A picture of white.

No it didn't suddenly start snowing here. It's the kitchen ceiling.

The important thing is what you don't see- a water stain ring.

repaired ceiling

Yes, I know it's not perfect. It's just a teensie-weensie bit possible that I didn't care enough to work really hard to get it 100% level, since the seam is also buckling over time and it didn't seem worth the effort.

Nevertheless, the overabundant rain has continued to test my leak-sealing skills, and there has been no further dripping in the kitchen. Not even any dampness in the area.

So, I really cut out the damaged sheet rock, replaced that piece and plastered over it. But water leak stains are the pits. There is NOTHING that will keep them from bleeding through except expensive primer. The moderately good news is that you can now buy Kilz in a spray can as well as by the gallon. $5 works for me as opposed to $30.

Two coats of Kilz and one coat of latex paint. Cross another job off the list.

Yippie for me!

If you are local and need to cover a water stain, give me a call. I have 95% of a spray can left.

See Late Summer Yellows
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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

All At One Time

You may recall that this is THE SUMMER OF THE LAWNMOWER. Yes, I'm yelling. But, it's back from the shop again, and it has stopped raining, and I had some energy left today.

The lawn is mowed all at one time! You may also recall keeping the lawn mowed was one of my major goals for this year. This is the first time all season I've been able to do it all before the mower broke. We won't talk about how much money I've put into it. But new ones are really expensive, and now it's working better than it has in several years.

lawnmower shadow

The blades are terrible- it mostly hacks the grass off, but that sort of matches the quality of our lawn. Nevertheless, I'm happy tonight. I know, doesn't take much.

mowed lawn

See The Summer of the Lawnmower
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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Little Green Mystery

I almost forgot about this little guy. He was hopping around our campsite in Minnesota.

With the mask I thought he was a wood frog, since they have a lot of color variation. However, it seems green is not in the range. Pink to black, but not green.

He's less than two inches long, maybe a little more if the legs were stretched out.


He looks most like a couple of tree frogs, but the range of those is in the deep south. He doesn't have the sticky toe pads either.

I picked him up and the undersides of his legs aren't yellow. Not our common tree frog.

He sure was cute.

See The Reluctant Prince
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Monday, September 26, 2016

Old Electronics, New Food Idea

This is a pretty scatterbrained post, but some days are like that.

I spent a good chunk of the day cleaning off my desk and some shelves next to it. Managed to increase the stack of paper to be recycled to about 8 inches. Not too bad, considering this is all paperwork that was considered important enough to keep the last time I went through it.

I also have stacked to give away or sell for a small price a large stack of stationery. I never was good at "real" letters anyway, and now it's just hopeless. Electronic messages just work for me. I'm keeping a small stack of note cards and some greeting cards. The rest are leaving!

Tucked in the back of a cubbyhole I found two electronic gadgets that are both dead, but I guess I was keeping them for some sentimental reason. Nope. They are leaving now.

Both had to do with hiking. The watch was quite the item. It was actually called an electronic wrist instrument. I really enjoyed it for as long as it worked. It did time and temperature and altitude. It didn't do temperature well because it was affected too much by being near one's body. It didn't do altitude well because it was based on air pressure and you were supposed to set it every day with a barometer. Right. So basically it was an expensive watch with several timing functions. But I did have a lot of fun with it.

The other little toy could be set to the scale of a map, then you ran the wheel along the line you wanted to follow and it would tell you the distance covered by the line. Sort of. It wasn't too accurate, and it poked holes in the map. Again, I had fun with it before it died.

electronic gadgets

On the side of new things, here's a recipe I made up. I love dill pickles, probably buying a big jar every month (peanut butter and pickle sandwiches are my lunch staple). But I hate throwing out all the juice. I drink some of it, but can't get it all down before I buy another jar. So, I tried something new.

I'd been hankering for some Jello. I made some sugar-free lime with pears in it. Wow! My tastes have changed- too sweet!

Here's what I tried. I took a packet of unflavored Knox gelatin. Sprinkled in into 1/2 cup cold pickle juice and let it dissolve. Boiled 1 cup pickle juice and added it. Then stirred in 1/2 cup plain yogurt. It's pretty good! If you can handle aspic-like things you could add other veggies. I'm not a fan of really crunchy things in gelatin. But it's good with cauliflower on the side.

A couple of spoonfuls help beat back the hungries without adding hardly a calorie.

pickle gelatin

There you have it... a scattered day. But one corner of my office is cleaner. Too bad it takes so long. I'll never focus long enough to get the whole room clean.

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Writer's Rendezvous

Yesterday was the first author event hosted by our local writing group. We piggybacked with a craft supply sale, and it went really well.

Writer's Rendevouz

Here's the venue.

Here are two of our regular participants who were also selling books, Jeannie and Betsy.

Writer's Rendevouz

I sold seven books- very good!

However, after it was all over and I got home I was falling asleep at 6:30, so I went to bed and slept 14 hours.

Did almost nothing today. Need to change that tomorrow.

See Authorpalooza Again
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Friday, September 23, 2016

Ogichidaa - The Face in the Rock

On the way home Lyle and I accidentally managed to see something that I've been wanting to find. A friend in the UP told me about this, but I hadn't seen it.

There is no sign at the road. We just happened to pick this rest stop and discovered interpretive panels near the beach.

In 1820 a likeness of an Nishnaabe Indian was carved in the rock by a French Voyageur who was accompanying Lewis Cass on his exploration that eventually led him to the headwaters of the Mississippi River. The Indian's name was Ogichidaa, Powers of the Air. He was one of the last of the Nishnaabe tribe that lived near here and on Grand Island.

This was the view from the sign. Wonder where the face is?

the Face in the Rock

I scanned the rocks with the telephoto lens, but I didn't know what size of a carving I was looking for.

We decided to walk down the beach.

the Face in the Rock

Can you see it now?

the Face in the Rock

Aha! It is only a little over a foot high. Another sign had warned us it was badly eroded.

the Face in the Rock

Here's what it probably looked like originally. This was on one of the signs.

the Face in the Rock

There is a short book about the history of it all that I have seen, but I don't own it.

And soon I'll be off to work for the night. No sleep tomorrow because there is a local author event I'll be participating in.

See Saturday Sheyenne
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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Saturday Sheyenne with Dan & Ruth

Saturday was the day almost everyone traveled by bus to the Sheyenne National Grassland in North Dakota. The eastern portion has low hills with more trees than the western part which is level prairie.

Sheyenne National Grassland

There were hikes of various lengths. I chose the 6.5 mile one because it had a special emphasis. You may or may not remember that I've had some other chances to hike with a couple who have been working on a section hike of the entire North Country Trail (see link at end). They were all but done a month ago, but saved this section so they could complete their trek at the conference.

Dan and Ruth complete the NCT

They are such nice people that everyone was delighted to share this moment with them.

Dan and Ruth complete the NCT

There was even champagne and cookies!

NCT cookies

Part of the evening activities was my plug for long-distance hikes on the NCT, which included giving them their patches and certificates for finishing their End-to-End hikes.

Dan and Ruth complete the NCT

After that, they gave a program about their 17-year journey.

They've become two of my closest trail friends. May the hiking never stop!

See Two Awesome Days
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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Tamarack Friday

Lest you think all the fun and beauty I care about right now happened near Fargo, here is this morning's sunrise. These colors are true. I don't think I've ever seen a sunrise like this.


But now we're going back to the conference. Friday the long hike (13 miles) was through the Tamarack Wildlife Refuge in western Minnesota. The trail is completely different from what it was when I hiked through there. That was a temporary route and mostly on refuge roads. This is a permanent trail route, off road and protected.

We started in the rain. Real rain. For the first hour, and we were all soaked. But by 9:30 or so people were stripping off rain gear.

Tamarack Wildlife refuge

A lot of Tamarack is forested, so we alternated between open grassy areas and wooded trail.

Tamarack Wildlife refuge

The weather for the rest of the hike was beautiful. Partly sunny and temperatures that were great for hiking. This is South Chippewa Lake.

Tamarack Wildlife refuge

One of the most interesting details was this mass of fungus. I think it's "Ruffles," Sparassis crispa.


There are always lots of aspects of the evening programs that might not be of much interest to you, but they are very important to those of us who love this trail. This is the outgoing board president, Tom Moberg. He and his wife, Mary, are from Fargo and also headed up the committee that planned the conference (read BIG job).

Tom Moberg

Friday night was the night for awards. There are awards from the National Park Service for hours spent volunteering for the trail. This is Mark Weaver, the NPS Superintendent for the North Country Trail, getting ready to start the presentations.

Mark Weaver

He was followed by the awards that are given to outstanding volunteers by the North Country Trail Association. All recipients are highly deserving!

There were a couple other things crammed in the day somewhere, as well. If you want down time, you have to skip something. I like keeping things hopping. We only get to see all these friends once a year, so I say "make the most of it!"

See Thursday in Fargo
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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Thursday in Fargo

It seems as though I can't get all the ducks lined up to do blog posts on the road very well. Now I know how to use the phone as a hot spot. Check. However, one also needs a place to plug in the computer, and time to actually do the post.

I was sleeping in the back of Lyle's truck (on a bed he had made- very comfy), but we forgot to take an extra electric cord so that I could also plug in. And every minute was packed with activities and friends and trail stuff. Since those are the things I go to the conference for, the blog gets the short end of the stick.

But I'll get you caught up. Thursday I went on a short hike on an urban trail right in Fargo.

hike in Fargo

We mostly followed right beside the Red River of the north.

Red River

We crossed a bridge and were then in Minnesota. The locals there have a joke similar to the one in Michigan about where you can look south into Canada. The Red River winds and twists so much there is a peninsula where you can stand in Minnesota and look east into North Dakota!

The Hjemkomst Center is in Minnesota and we got to peek at the Viking Ship. A real tour of that was a different activity. (I'd been there before so chose a hike since one can't do everything.) This ship was completed in 1980 and is a replica of one discovered in Norway in 1880. This ship was sailed to Norway and then returned to it's home where it is the centerpiece of the museum

viking ship

Once we were outside again, and interpreter joined us to explain some of the rather humorous history of alcohol on the area. North Dakota passed laws to go dry before prohibition, so of course all the bars simply moved across the river into Minnesota. Here we are being shown some fragments of liquor jugs and glasses.

hike in Fargo

For the afternoon activity I chose a tour of the historic Fargo theater. Its story is similar to that of the Vogue in Manistee. It's been restored and is now operated as a non-profit association.

Fargo theater

We had a demonstration and concert on the Wurlitzer theater pipe organ. It is the largest one between Minneapolis and California. That was really interesting. The organist let us hear a lot of the sounds and special effects separately, and then also played several songs.

pipe organ

That evening after dinner the program was a charcoal artist who told the history of the Red River Valley and western Minnesota with words and drawings. It was truly excellent. Everyone was pretty much spellbound.

history talk

Camping at the conferences is much cheaper, but it's harder with logistics than staying with the bulk of the people. Next year we'll be back in lodgings that are more affordable for me.

See On the Road with Lyle
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