Saturday, August 27, 2016

washing the stones

I spent some time in the cemetery this past week.  I went there with a task in hand.  I wanted to clean off twelve headstones in the Iverson family plot.  I used a flat bottom shovel to make a clean edge along the sides of the stones and then I brushed away the excess dirt that had settled on the stones over the years.  When that was done I used some water and a scrub brush and washed the stones.  They look so much better now.  It was a labor of love for my family.

Friday, August 26, 2016

yum.....Tom Thumb

It's state fair time in Minnesota and nothing says state fair like Tom Thumb donuts (if they could talk, that is).  There's about two dozen of these little tasty morsels in this small waxy bag.  Just as the writing on the bag says, these donuts are "light as a feather" and oh so delicious.  They are not donut holes!!  No, No.  They are miniature circular donuts without a center..... just like the big ones (only smaller).       tiny, tasty, treats     oh boy!

Sunday, August 21, 2016


This is where I went to church today.  This church plays a very important role in my life.  This is where I was confirmed and this is where I was married.  It is a mid century modern building built in the early 1950's and it retains a contemporary look for today.  I love this place.  Good sermon, too.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

a very pretty flower

 I saw this flower the other day.  The bloom was so perfect.  It was the size of a dinner plate.

Friday, August 19, 2016

back to school

I helped a teacher set up her classroom for the new school year today.  There was an air of excitement in the school as other teachers stopped by to check in on one another.  Everyone was happy.  It made me think back to the days when I was in elementary school and we arrived at the school for the first day of the new school year.  We went to the classroom that we had the year before and our previous teacher greeted us.  She called out each of our names and we formed two rows.  Each row was assigned to a new teacher.  At the appointed time we walked quietly in single file to our new room assignments.  What a fun way to start a new year by saying goodbye to one teacher and saying hello to another on the same day.  It was very exciting.

                     Just imagine this hallway in three weeks.....FILLED with kids!!!  Happy times.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

a house built of stones

This is what a lot of stones (and hard labor) will get you.....a beautiful old stone house.  Every stone that covers the outside of this house was hand picked from the ground and surrounding lake bottoms and attached with mortar to this house.  The house sits along the narrow strip of land between Lake Amelia and Lake Villard.  It's quite old and very beautiful, I think.  Hard work does pay off.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

a peaceful place

This is Fort Snelling National Cemetery.  We visited here a few days ago.  The grounds are immaculately maintained.  The place is very peaceful.  Our brother rests here.  He rests in the quiet beauty of this very peaceful place.  Thank you for your service, Steven.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

a slice of pie

From simple fish stand to pie palace---that's Betty's Pies.   Just like the box cover says--over fifty years of great pie.  I can attest to that.  We were on our way back from visiting Split Rock Lighthouse and exploring Gooseberry Falls when we cruised down highway 61 north of Two Harbors, Minnesota and stopped in for some pie.   Glad we did!

This is what the strawberry rhubarb pie with the crumble crust looks like in the box.   And.....this is what the strawberry rhubarb pie with the crumble crust looks like after it is half eaten.   And.....this is what the strawberry rhubarb pie with the crumble crust tastes like.   mmmmmmmmm (happy face)

Monday, August 15, 2016

the BIG mall

Is any visit to suburban Minneapolis complete without a visit to the biggest indoor mall in America??  I say not.  So, here we go.  There is an amusement park in the central court which is pretty good because I clearly remember as a child that no amusement park was open in the winter in snowy Minnesota.  Look at the giant Legos!!  There's something for everyone here including shopping.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

St. Anthony Falls

This is St. Anthony Falls.  Thousands and thousands of years ago the falls were much higher and wider rivaling Niagara Falls in size.  The large volume of water that melted during the end of the glacial era passed over these falls with great force.  The falls has gradually moved upstream (over thousands of years) as the soft sandstone layer that lies underneath the harder limestone surface layer was undermined by the rushing water.  The falls was saved from becoming a rocky rapids when the Army Corps of Engineers came up with a plan to build a shield over the falls and place concrete blocks at the base to stop the erosion. Today St. Anthony Falls is part of the Mississippi River and Recreation Area, a 54,000 acre park.  The National Park Service maintains about 100 acres of the park and the rest is privately owned.  It's ours to enjoy.

the locks at St. Anthony Falls

The system of locks is used to move river traffic through areas of low water levels.  The St. Anthony Falls locks are located on the north end of the Mississippi River at St. Anthony Falls in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.  These locks are no longer in use and river traffic now ends at St. Paul  giving St. Paul the distinction of being the northern most port city on the Mississippi River.

flour wars

Minneapolis is known as the milling city.  The old flour mills were built along the Mississippi River at St. Anthony Falls in order to make use of the water power.  This mill, Pillsbury, is where my Great Uncle Ed worked during the early part of the twentieth century until his retirement.  Across the river is Gold Medal flour mill.  There are more.  These are just two of the many flour mills.  So..... let the flour wars begin.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

sunset on Lake Villard

Here it is in all its orange-y splendor.  I remember these sunsets on the lake well.  My childhood is filled with them.  And here I am seeing it again.  How peaceful.  How special.  How wonderful.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Le Tour de V

Here's a quick tour of Villard, Minnesota.  Here's the welcome sign.

 Let's walk down main street, ok.  These old buildings were home to a grocery store and a bank.  They are now home to a fitness center and a beauty shop.

a grain elevator and the old train depot

that's pretty much it

the old church at Villard

My grandfather used to serve this church in Villard, Minnesota during the 1920's.  My dad ran the streets of this small town in the west central part of the state as a young boy.  There is a new church across the street now.  I was surprised to see it on my visit to the area.  I had not been here for fourteen years.  I guess I'm surprised that the congregation decided to go through with a building project.  All is well, though.  Life goes on.  The people are being served.  I'm fine.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Mille Lacs

The lake called Mille Lacs (thousand lakes) is so big you can't see across it.  This picture was taken from the swimming beach at Father Hennepin State Park.  Central Minnesota (land of ten thousand lakes) at it's finest.  Can you hear the Loons calling?

another day, another lighthouse(s)

This time we are in Duluth, Minnesota.  There are two lighthouses, one on each side of the shipping channel.  They are there to help guide the giant tankers into port so that the cargo hold can be filled with ore to be shipped out of the Superior port and into the great lakes shipping channels.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Gooseberry Falls

I come from a family of avid campers.  We did a lot of camping in the state parks of Minnesota.  One of our favorite spots was Gooseberry Falls State Park.  There is a three tiered waterfall within the park.  The upper falls is the steepest and the middle falls has less of a drop.  The lower falls rumbles over large boulders into the narrow river that winds its way down to Lake Superior.  The water deposited by the melting of the glaciers that covered this area millions of years ago found a way to cut through the layer of granite rock left by the glaciers and the following great upheavals in the earth's crust.  Gravity helped it find its way to the great lake.  It is a naturally beautiful and very peaceful place.

Split Rock

I have been to Split Rock lighthouse several times over the years.  I remember coming here as a child when my family camped in the area.  The lighthouse is built high on a cliff along the North Shore overlooking Lake Superior.  Built in the late 1800's it remained active until the early 1960's when radar took over as a means of guiding shipping vessels on these waters.  I think it is one of the most beautiful lighthouses.  Thankfully, the state of Minnesota manages and maintains the property as a state park and preserves the history of this truly special place for the future.

bear squat

Yep,  that's what this is, folks.  Note the fine selection of seeds and berries in the mix.  mmmmm

the lighthouse at Agate Bay

I just thought this was such a pretty old lighthouse.  It is located at Two Harbors, Minnesota.  It isn't functioning as a lighthouse currently.  It is functioning as a bed and breakfast, though.  Located right on Lake Superior it offers a spectacular view of the water.  wowsa!

the Edna G

Here's the historic tug  EDNA G.  It is docked in Agate Harbor in Two Harbors, MN.  It is still in solid working condition.  Such a beautiful boat!!

another view of the forest

Twenty one thousand red pines have been planted on this tract of land.  The process of planting and thinning has taken place on this property since the early 1980's.  Good forestry management and loving care has provided this beautiful forest.  Steven would be proud.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Brudevold Forest (Steve's Trees)

My brother was a forest ranger.  He worked in northern Minnesota.  Sadly, he passed away when he was still in his 20's.  However, his memory and his love for the trees lives on.  There is a very large stand of trees named in his honor located on eighty acres of private land in St. Louis County between Duluth and Two Harbors.  There are over twenty one thousand red pine (the state tree of Minnesota) growing here.  The planting of the seedlings began in the early 1980's with a thousand trees planted in the first year and two or three thousand planted in successive years.  What was once a flat open area has become a forest of towering pine.  Lovingly planted, carefully tended and joyfully given as a memorial to my brother, Steven.  I will treasure this land with its beautiful forest forever.  Thank you D.P.

church in the park

Today we attended church in an outdoor picnic pavilion in Lakefront Park, Two Harbors, Minnesota. The Methodists and the Presbyterians joined their congregations together many years ago to form a united church and build a larger congregation.  My grandfather was a minister here in Two Harbors in the 1930's.  He served the Methodist church.  I wanted to worship where my grandfather's family worshipped so long ago.  It was good to be a part of this service.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

train museum in Duluth

It was special day today in Duluth, Minnesota.  We went to the train museum in the old historic train depot.  It was a very nice day to see some old locomotives.

And...guess who pulled into the depot.  Why, it's Thomas the train!!  surprise,surprise,surprise

geocache in Eau Claire

My niece and I went hunting in the woods for a geocache located near a tree stump in a park in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  We found it hidden under some tree bark.  The paper inside was signed signifying we were there and we replaced it just as it was found so that others may enjoy the hunt.  Good stuff.

Friday, August 5, 2016

it's state fair time!

            I went to the Wisconsin State Fair today in West Allis, WI.  First time visitor, had a blast.  

                          Lots of animals to see--cows, pigs, sheep, horses--all the usual suspects.

           The horticulture and home craft exposition building was THE best as far as I'm concerned.

And then there's the food.  The most unusual, the better.  YUM to the Krispy Kreme cheeseburger.  Anything fried has a home at the fair.  Just walk down food's there.  munch,munch

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Basilica of St. Josaphat

Today I visited the Basilica of Saint Josaphat in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  The church was erected by and for the growing Polish Catholic community between 1897 to 1901.  The outside architecture is in the style of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

             The interior is breathtaking with all of the hand painted archways and the central dome.

                                                The stained glass windows are magnificent.

                                            Everywhere you look there is beauty to behold.