Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day



They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fly, Fly, Little One

When I walked out the back door tonight,  I saw two baby robins hop out of the nest.   The first one had no problem flying away.   The second little one had some trouble.    He landed on the deck with a thud and then hopped off into the grass.


He doesn’t have the hang of flying yet..   


He looks awkward and uncoordinated hopping around.  But he’s very quick.


Mom and Dad are both nearby.      Mom fed this little one a worm as he sat on the ground.  Both watched him and squawked at me as I sat on the deck.    I think robins are good parents.


Of the four babies that were in the nest,  I think that two or three survived.      I know for sure one did not because I found the little body on my deck. 

I hope this little one learns to fly quickly so he can get into the nest or trees where it is safer from cats and dogs and children.

He doesn’t look too happy about not being able to fly.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fern Leaf Peony

Meet Dave.

DSC_1236 I see Dave every workday when he comes in to clean our offices.     We chat.   I’ve known him for years.    Knowing  him for many years,  I feel like I’ve got a good grasp on what kind of person Dave is.    He’s a good guy.   Hard working.   Honest.   

Last summer, Dave and his wife came over to my house one evening to show me their motorized bikes and see my garden.   I promised to share some zucchinis with them when they grew.   They offered to share some flowers with me.   Later, towards fall,  Dave gave me something that looked like dried up sticks  and told me to plant them in the ground.    Because I know Dave,  I knew  he wasn’t lying when he said it would grow.    I did think he was terribly misinformed.     It really was just some dried out sticks.   I didn’t hold out much hope. 

Still,  I put the dried out sticks in the  ground and watered them and those dried up sticks didn’t cross my mind again…until this spring,  when I saw  the gorgeous foliage of a Fern Leaf Peony.    


I’ve wanted a Fern Leaf Peony since the first time I saw their feathery greenery and beautiful flowers.    I was very surprised and pleased that those dried up sticks had some life left in them.

One of the best things about gardening is being able to share, whether it is fruit, vegetables, herbs or flowers;  gardeners seem to be some of the most generous people.   


I guess Dave did know what he was talking about after all.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Baby Robins

When I walked out the back door onto my deck,  I noticed some screeching.  

The baby robins are here and they were hungry.

Mom and  Dad were both  nearby with a meal.


These babies get fed often.


All day the parents are back and forth to the nest with food for the babies.


They have a lot of little mouths to feed.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mom, Thanks for the Advice


On Mother’s Day I thought it would be appropriate to pass on some of the advice my mom has given me over the years.     She’s given me lots of good advice and I’ve written about what a wonderful mom she’s been to me and my brothers and sisters.   This year however, I’m going to pass on some of the dubious advice she’s given me.    

1.  You don’t want a big diamond ring, someone might cut off  your finger off to steal it.      Oh, really mom?     If someone wants to give me a humungous diamond,  I’ll take my chances.    

2. Keep Working,  Life isn’t supposed to be fun.  I heard this often when I was growing up.  These words of wisdom were usually doled out on the hottest days of summer when I wanted to be at the lake rather than helping make breads, washing dishes, folding clothes or weeding the garden.    Along with this advice usually came:  You should be thankful  you have  hands so you can pull weeds, wash dishes, etc…     I took this as a warning that some tragic accident was likely if I wasn’t thankful I was pulling weeds in 90 degree weather  rather than swimming in cool Cedar Lake.

4. Sing before morning, cry before night.    An old superstitious saying that she passed on.   I never understood it but  I think it might have something to do with keeping a little peace in the morning;  I do understand that.    I prefer to wake up happy now days, a little singing in the morning isn’t a bad way to start a day.

5   Nothing good happens after midnight.   Not true but it was a good way to make me want to stay out after midnight.

6. You’ll understand when you’re older.    This was my mom’s way to avoid answering questions.  She used it often.   Now that I’m older, I still don’t understand.

Happy Mother’s Day

Saturday, May 8, 2010


PD loves to play Frisbee.


He runs to retrieve it after it has been thrown but he hasn’t figured out how to catch it in the air.


I wish he could figure it out but I’m not sure how to train him to do it.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Mushroom Hunting

Early on a Saturday morning at a super secret location in the upper midwest, a crew of rubber-booted family members, led by an experienced guide, set on on a mission to find the elusive morel mushroom.

The guide, who happens to be my camera-shy brother, can no longer eat this particular fungus because of a reaction that sent him to the emergency room last week.


He pointed the morels out to us new mushroom hunters when he found a  morel.   He’s good at spotting them but he doesn’t even touch them now;  he doesn’t like emergency rooms or shots. 



                It took a while for us to learn how to spot them.    Those morels are hard to find.   They camouflage themselves amongst the leaves and pinecones.  Some grow under fallen wood.

I was nervous about snakes, but I kept looking down for the mushrooms.  It’s good to face your fears, right?


The littlest mushroom hunter was one of the best at spotting the morels.     She told me that her hands smelled like mushrooms at the end of the outing.   And they did.  I smelled them.


After an hour or two of traipsing around in the cold and drizzly morning, our pails were not full, but they were no longer empty either.


My sister and I soaked the mushrooms in a sink to remove anything yucky.   There wasn’t much.   I was relieved about that.


We’ve got plans to find more next weekend.


Sunday, May 2, 2010



I recently spent a few days in Florida.  It was one of the best get-aways in recent history.

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It was sunny and warm. There were blooming flowers everywhere so I decided to get outside my hotel room with my camera.

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I heard some noises coming from inside a thick planting of flower bushes.  There was  a tree stump in the middle of the flower bushes.   On top of the tree stump a small lizard was sunning himself.


I quickly realized what was making the noise from below his perch.   And lucky for this lizard, so did he.

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Someone looking for dinner.


Each time the bird would come after the lizard, the lizard would scurry down the tree trunk.   The bird looked around from the perch and then went back to the plants on the ground.   While the bird searched through the plants, the lizard climbed up the tree trunk and sat on top.  When the bird came up, he ran, fast.

DSC_1877 (2) This happened over and over.


I wondered why the lizard kept coming up to the top of the tree stump.


I guess it must have been safer for him on the stump than on the ground in the bushes.   He sure could run fast.  I didn’t think the bird had a chance.    

DSC_1876 (2) This was a really close call.

It was all happening so fast, I couldn’t tell if the bird even got close until I saw the pictures.  

Eventually neither the lizard or the bird came back to the top of the tree stump.   I don’t know if they both got tired or the bird finally got a meal.

It was really a great day for taking pictures in Florida.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Birthday Card and Cake

My sister Tonja learned to decorate cakes in the last few years.   She’s made some really creative cakes.   She makes the cakes from scratch and they always taste great.   We tease Tonja that she should just go into business running weddings because she also sings and does photography. 

She made a cake for Cindy’s birthday.  It had  a spinner on top so you could see  what Cindy was older than.  We spun it around a lot.     Someone accidently hit the side of it getting it out of the container.  It was a tasty chocolate cake with something really yummy between the layers.   I was most shocked that she actually put the word “shit” on a birthday cake.


When my sister Lynn came over on Friday she mentioned that she had to sign Cindy’s birthday card.   I said that I’d gotten a gift but forgot to pick up a card.   She said I could sign her card with her.  I did.

She owed me.


Last Mother’s Day I got my mom a beautiful card and sent it to her in the mail.   Apparently not everyone sent a card and mom had mine displayed on a table.   My sister Lynn has a great husband, Jeff, he’s quiet and very nice.   He was at my mom’s house helping her with something when he saw the Mother’s Day card I’d sent.   He covertly changed the front cover which read “for a wonderful mother” to “for a wonderful mother-in-law”  and then signed his name after mine so the card which had read "Love Mary” now read “Love Mary and Jeff”    He put the card back and didn’t say a word to anyone.  No one noticed.  He finally mentioned to my sister about a month later. 

That’s why Lynn had to let me sign Cindy’s birthday card with her.