Monday, June 29, 2015

The Gardens of Ham Lake

After doing some landscaping for my daughter's garden last year, I was bitten again by the long dormant gardening bug.

Since we have the same spot each year for 2 - 3 months in the summer, I decided to plant my own little garden to enjoy during our stay.  It's primarily shade here and since our previous sticks and bricks house was in the shade I'm very familiar with what to grow.

It started out as a few hostas last year and this year I decided to jump-start the process by adding more plants.  A lot more plants.  My friend Marti will understand what I mean by this statement.

Whenever I browse through a nursery it's much like attending a family reunion as I recognize loved ones I've not seen for a while.  I love these miniature hostas and smiled when I found the blue mouse ears variety again.

So now I have some heuchera in lots of different colors...

My ghost fern....

My astible will add some height....

As will the cimcifuga ramosa (snakeroot)...

And in the sun I added a cone flower and lupine to see how they will do.

Well, now that the garden is looking good I needed to add a proper bird bath.  I had been using an old cat litter pan with a rock in it that didn't seem to appeal to anyone.  This one should fit the bill and is heavy enough to discourage theft from other campers.  But cheap enough that if it disappears it's no big loss.

One of my favorite things in the garden world are vines, so I couldn't pass up this lovely clematis.  Of course, that necessitated the purchase of a trellis. The plant is pretty tiny yet, but I have "high" hopes.

It's off to a great start now and I look forward to future visits to see the progress.  There is a saying among gardeners that "the first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps and the third year it leaps".  I can only image its glory by the end of the third year!

Long Live the Garden Queen

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Steph's Garden

I was anxious to see how my landscaping project of last summer was looking, so the first visit to my daughter's house I just had to take a walk around the yard.

It's looking so good!  The plants are flourishing and growing.

I remember finding this fun trellis for the back of their shed and can't believe how fast the clematis is winding its way upward.

This is the new bed created on the side of the house.  It's filling in quite nicely.

Hmmm.. this side of the shed is not looking as good.  Think I need to find another trellis and perhaps a climbing rose to brighten it up.

It's fun to see where there are spots to fill and then running off to the nursery to look for plants.  I might not have my own yard any more, but it's still fun to create for others.

Long Live the Queen of Gardening

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Good Fences Thursday

Once again it's time for Good Fences Thursday.

I stumbled across this little country cemetery and enjoyed the elaborate fencing.

Long Live the Queen

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Minneapolis Institute of Art

The grandkids have their bucket list of things to see and do this summer and so we started with this trip to the museum.

On our way there we stopped at a place called Rudolph's for lunch.  I had to explain to them who Rudolph Valentino was and that he was even before my time.

There were so many exhibits to see it was hard to take it all in, so we wandered until something caught our eye.

This panel is created from driftwood found along Lake Superior.  It makes the most gorgeous mosaic.

The Native American exhibit had some exhibits that created talking points for us.  This design looks like bead work and is made from beer bottle caps, symbolizing the problem of alcoholism on the reservation.

This photo is of one of the many Indian Boarding Schools from the not so distant past. 

I explained how this was an experience of their uncle Joe's father.  The children were taken from their homes to live in the boarding schools and punished for speaking their own language...forcing them to speak only English in an attempt to remove their heathen ways.  

I remember my former brother-in-law explaining why he was deaf in one ear because he was repeatedly struck on the side of the head for speaking Ojibwa.  He didn't know English.  He was away from his parents and homesick and wanted to talk to his friends and cousins but was forbidden to do so.  

From that point on the family never used their native language anymore to prevent hardships for the other children who would later have to go to boarding school.  It is very true that when you lose a language you lose a culture.

Would you believe this charming (and very large) insect is actually a coffin?  I'm not sure this would bring eternal rest for anyone.

Well, let me tell ya...when I saw this little beauty my heart almost stopped.  I think it would make the perfect throne for the Queen.  But Left Brain couldn't figure a way to get it past the guards and out to the RV. 

Beautiful in it's own right - this is a view of the Minneapolis skyline taken through the window.

Here's the gang checking out an interactive display of the objects around them.

A lovely piece of stained glass for my friend Beth.

Pretty ponies all in a row.

And last but not least a funky chicken from the Americana era.

Long Live the Queen of Arts

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Damn that Cat!

This cat is going to be the death of us yet.  Yes, I'm talking about Gracie.

She is an extremely demanding cat, needing copious amounts of attention.  Odd as it is, she will demand being brushed at least daily...she just loves it.

If there's an open cabinet...she's in it.

If there's a chance to escape...she's out!

We've always clipped the end of the tunnels as she will paw it open.  But she's added a new trick to her repertoire.  She has learned to open the zipper where the tunnels connect.

I was gone during this last stint, but it aged poor Left Brain horribly.  Apparently he didn't notice her missing until George started demanding his attention.

Dad!  Somethings wrong!

He tried everything with him, cuddling, letting him in, letting him out, offering food...nothing worked.  Then it clicked in that he was upset about something else...his sister was missing.

This always reminds us of the old Lassie episodes when she had to save Timmy's worthless butt in episode after episode.  I'm sure if George could have barked he would have.

Then Left Brain noticed there was no calico cat to be seen in the tent or tunnel and one of the tunnels was unzipped.

He searched high and low through the surrounding woods and tall grass and finally spotted her lurking in the neighbors yard...looking quite satisfied with herself.

I'm not sure we have enough brain power to keep up with this one.

Long Live the Queen of Wayward Cats

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day

Okay, I've been off the grid long enough...time to get back to the blog.

We've moved from Wisconsin to our summer location in Ham Lake Campground and have been busy since we landed.

Our first night we had our traditional supper with friends Jim and Kathy who always prepare the first meal for us upon arriving.  I must remember to always arrive after they do...this is a pretty sweet deal.

Then it was off and running with the grandkids, attending Kiersten's soccer game and joining them for supper along with a friend of Steph's who is as zany as I am.  It made for a very loud and raucous cribbage game with many delays for giggling...much to Left Brain's dismay.  But we girls sure had a great time.

I found my pickleball group on Tuesday night and it felt good to be playing with my Minnesota friends again.  I look forward to much more of this over the summer.

Saturday was a bittersweet day for me as I drove over to Menomonie to attend the memorial service for my cousin, Rick, who died at age 50 with a sudden heart attack.

Funerals are a twisted way to have a family reunion, but it was sweet to see my cousins Shayna and Rob.

The drive over and back was entertaining as I listened to my own personal copies of 'Hank the Cowdog' that were provided to me by my friend Lois. THANK YOU LOIS. The beautiful water lilies at the top of the blog are from her pond.  I didn't get to see them in person this year, but next year will make a point of it.

Since I ended up having spare time before the service I stopped at the Walmart there and filled the car full of bags of wet bark mulch (it had been raining earlier that day) for my gardens of Ham Lake.  Let's just say that after sitting in the heat for four hours in a black car the aroma was rather overwhelming on the drive back.

Today is a quiet Father's Day as the family is visiting my son-in-law's family for the week at their cabin up north.  So I'll finish up those gardens and get some photos ready for future postings.

Have a great Father's Day where ever you are!

Long Live the Queen

Monday, June 15, 2015

Macro Monday

I like the concept of Macro Monday, so need to play along.  

I love to photo things that I would never touch, like bees, spiders, etc.  Spotted this anole down in Texas earlier this year.

Long Live the Queen 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Beginning the Farewells

Thursday was my last day with the Winona pickleball group and I'm sure going to miss them.  I've added a couple as Facebook friends to keep in touch until next year.

It's just an old gym, but it's special to me.  Oddly enough it's on the second floor of the building instead of on the ground floor.

There's no air least none that can be felt. 

I enjoyed a long soak in the whirlpool with other ladies after the photos allowed of this since it's a "suit optional" whirlpool in the ladies locker room.

Now I have another listing to add to my "Places to Play Pickleball" spreadsheet.

Long Live the Pickleball Queen

Monday, June 8, 2015

What we have here is a failure to communicate

Left Brain took off this morning to see the doctor and valiantly agreed to pick up the groceries while I stayed home to catch up on some reading my Kindle.

When he returned home he unloaded the groceries and said he wasn't sure what kind of cake I wanted, so he just got this little box of yellow cake mix.  

I had to chuckle when I told him the list said coke, not cake.

It reminded me of one of my favorite skits down by Jeanne Robertson and I just had to share it with you.  She is the one that inspired me to name my husband Left Brain.

Here you go....

Long Live the Queen

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Life and Death

I've learned to plan for my future as if I'm going to live to be 100, but live life each day as if it may be the last.  Or so I thought.  It's easy to become complacent and forget this fine philosophy.

While I was waiting for Left Brain to complete his colonoscopy there was an emergency code and several of us gazed in wonder and shock as medical staff began running through the doors that had previously swallowed up our loved ones.  It was an uneasy feeling to say the least.

All kinds of thoughts ran through my mind while we waited to find out what had happened and we were all relieved to find out that nobody died that day and we all were taking someone home with us.

Later that night we had supper with our friends Larry and Eileen and Left Brain's phone rang.  I knew when he said "she's right here" and handed over his phone this wasn't going to be good.

My cousin, Shayna, was calling to tell me that her brother had just died.  Rick was only 50 years old and apparently had a massive heart attack while at work.  Death is nothing new to Shayna, her mother died at 42 and her father at 55.  Her mother's brother died at 52.  It's like a family curse.

She was trying to find her other brother, but with no luck. Rumors are he may be in a homeless shelter. He's always lived somewhat of a hermit existence. The last time I saw him was when he had his first heart attack a couple of years ago.

I thought about the decisions Rick's wife had to be dealing with, struggling with the news of her husband's death two weeks after she was laid off...ending the life insurance benefits they had.  Not working and not old enough for widow's benefits.

It's a much different set of circumstances at my age versus her age.  Being a senior, I have the comfort of a pension and having plans in place for this event.  We've talked openly about how we want to spend our final years and how to dispose of our bodies.  

These things are not topics a person wants to discuss, but it proved again how critical it is to know what the other person wishes and to have a Plan B ready at any age.  

I'd recently prompted my son to prepare a will and was met with that "why, I'm only 44" look.  Well, this is why.

Live for today...but plan for tomorrow.  

Is your life in order?

Long Live (Please!  A Long Long Time) the Queen

Friday, June 5, 2015

Cat in a Bag

I saw these advertised on the internet and thought they would be purrr-fect for our situation.   The cat used in the demo even looked like Gracie, so I knew they were "calico approved".  Anybody who has a calico cat will understand this.

Since they are cloth bags they are washable and fold up to a small package...unlike the carriers that we need to store in the outside bay.

The first time I tried it on George he was not amused, neither was Gracie.  But in subsequent attempts each was calmer.

They have vet appointments coming so we'll be putting them to a test real soon!

Long Live the Queen of Cat Bags

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Full Moon Fever

I don't think I'm the only one affected by the pull of the full moon.  There have been theories about this throughout history, henceforth the term "lunatic".

Not that I consider myself a lunatic, although many would swear to it.  But you can't believe my friends...they're crazy.

I just know that when I find myself out of whack and nothing is going right, having trouble sleeping and getting depressed, stressed, and overly wound up I look to the sky and often during the worst of these symptoms the moon is waxing and almost full.

Once it's completely full and begins to wane I'm at the top of my game.  It's the best time to play pickleball as I feel invincible.  It also seems that I have one "lucky" break after another.

The question is whether or not I worry about becoming a werewolf or if I should be purchasing a lottery ticket.

Long Live the Howling Queen