Monday, January 31, 2011

Totem In Town

There is a totem pole in town, near the courthouse. It was a source of entertainment for Chance and I one day.  Far Guy was getting his Drivers License renewed.
I drive by this totem every once in awhile, yet until I began to photograph it, I had no idea what animals were on it.
The lowest animal on the totem is a wolf..the highest is an eagle just above the owl.
IMG_1179 would have missed it..I almost did too..but it is is just not real noticeable.
IMG_1178 This guy is third from the top, I take it that it is a man or is it a monkey?
The carver had a sense of humor..
He or she also successfully merged four creatures in this section of the totem..Deer, fish, bird and cat.
I know there is much to be said about take is that they are artwork..just in a different form.  Sometimes art work is in the form of words..sometimes they compliment each other.

I think I could turn and live with animals, they're so placid and self contain'd,
I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the earth… Walt Whitman ( from Song Of Myself 1891)

Today is the last day of a fairly long January that brought us more snow than normal, some cold temperatures but nothing out of the ordinary for us people who live in the frozen tundra they call Minnesota.  I hear a large storm is brewing for much of the nation..we are north of that we will just get a couple of inches of snow and below zero weather. Just another fine day in Minnesota:)

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Have a seat, take a load off, sit your busy butt down and enjoy the moment.


Ahhh..stretch out your legs and warm the bottom of your feet at the fire pit.  Have you put marshmallows on your grocery list lately?  You will need some for the roasting, toasting and burning that happens at this firepit.  WHHHat?  You cannot imagine…

IMG_3043 This campfire pit worried me..were we going to run out of marshmallows? Was Adam going to have the sticky marshmallow picked off of his cheek successfully?  Was Andy’s marshmallow going to just hang there on his stick?  No..NO the fire is at ground level. I was worried…

IMG_3039 These are the reasons why..especially the black and white one with the fluffy tail he likes to wave in the air like a flag.

This was the old campfire pit.  Far Guy and I dug a pit and put some rock around the edges and smeared some Quickcrete here and there.  It worked fine..but at almost ground level, I worried about a child or a dog falling in the winter I stepped in it one harm was done, I felt stupid but that is nothing new.

Far Guy was in the Emergency Room late one Sunday evening with his Mother a number of years ago. A burn victim was brought in.   A two year old child was playing near a campfire up in Itasca State Park..and fell headfirst into the campfire and was severely burned.  That summer we found an old refrigerator rack and put it over our campfire pit so that no one could fall in.

IMG_3239 Far Guys fancy smancy way to make sure that we start this project on the level.

Last summer fixing the campfire pit was on our “things to do list.”  Maddie helped, she got to drive the three wheeler back and forth with the landscape blocks.

IMG_3251 In between throwing the ball for you know who.


We still have to watch Chance and his tail that he waves like a flag..but no one should be able to fall in head first..not a dog and not a child.  Notice the Shelties and how they carry their tails versus the Border Collie.

I like my marshmallows burned to a ..crunchy..the ones that are mistakes..the ones no one wants or the ones that are thrown back into the fire.

There is no such thing as a  completely safe campfire..but ours is safer now:)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Need Ice?

Years ago you had to get your ice chunks from the lake in the winter.  Jalmer Thompson would cut you  a 16 x16 inch cake that was 18 to 20 inches deep..depending on the depth of the ice on the lake.   He charged 4 cents a cake.

The cakes would be unloaded in your ice house, each tier that would be unloaded was covered in about a foot of sawdust from the local sawmill.  Three tiers of about 30 cakes each would fit in an ice house in this area.  Dick Taylor had the sawmill in Ponsford.  I have no idea what he charged for the sawdust.

In this area the ice came from Dezell’s Lake, which was then called the Chilton Lake…when I was growing up we called it Zauche’s Lake.

Donnies Dock at Chilton Lake

Summer of 2010

Chilton Lake Sunset

Now it is back to being called Chilton’s Lake or Donnie’s Lake.  We walked down to the lake one day last summer with Donnie.  The lake has sure changed since I was a kid, of course this part was never any good for swimming..we swam in the eastern most part of this lake, where the bottom was sandy instead of mucky.

I had no idea that this was the source for cakes of ice for the early settlers…but I guess it makes sense.  I think that we take much for granted in our modern ice cubes that magically appear in the freezer from an automatic ice maker:)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Twenty Five Years Ago

Do you have things that stick in your mind?  Emotions that are intertwined so closely you cannot separate them? Like the day that President Kennedy was shot or for the younger generation 9-11.  Days in history that you recall..exactly where you were and what you were doing?

Twenty Five Years Ago:

Far Guy was on temporary duty in Florida, at Tyndall AFB. We lived in Moorhead, Minnesota back then.  Both of the girls were in was a weekday..maybe a Tuesday?  I was in a hospital room in Fargo, North Dakota. 

My Dad was in the recovery phase.  He had been diagnosed with bladder cancer, he had a biopsy earlier, and then radiation treatments before the big surgery.  We did not know what the prognosis was going to be, the Doctor felt that he had done all that he could…for the best result.   The surgery was very painful, my Dad doesn’t remember much of what happened, but the rest of us do. One time during that long day of his surgery, my Mother broke down and began to cry.  I told her then the same thing I would tell her now.  I said “Mom, God loves Dad more than both of us put together and he will do what is best for Dad.”  I am not sure that I would have made the same decision that my Dad the outlook was bleak..he could have the surgery and have a very small chance to live or do nothing and be consumed by cancer in six months.  

I was sitting there in that hospital room, watching TV when the Space Shuttle named Challenger with the luckiest teacher in American lifted off. It was at the moment when the space craft exploded that I realized that we are never guaranteed anything in this life.  We can be here one minute and gone the next.  I was shocked and deeply saddened for the school children of America, and all the friends and relatives that were on the bleachers that very happy day that turned so sad in just  moments after lift off. Their loved ones didn’t have a chance for survival.

My Dad had a chance, he survived the removal of his bladder.  Is life different for him? ..yes it is.  Sometimes he gets discouraged..but he keeps on keeping on. He leads a very active lifestyle.

The young Doctor that did my Dad’s surgery was only in Fargo for a short time.  My Mother is convinced that he was sent to Fargo specifically to do my Dad’s surgery, after all these years I still remember his name.  Dr. Ural.  He was a urologist…and perhaps part Angel too.


Spring of 1986, Jennifer, Kirk, Mom, Ellen, Ben, Trica and Dad. This photo was taken in Louisiana, we went down to visit my  baby brother and his family.  Of course all these children are 25 years older now…and so is my Dad:)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tidbits on Thursday

We had afternoon coffee at the neighbors the other day.  I tried out a new muffin recipe on them..they were the guinea pigs. I asked them to please tell me the truth..if the new recipe sucked we could just pitch them out for the turkeys .

IMG_1122These are male turkeys..I have no idea if they are Jakes ( yearling turkeys) or Toms (more than one year old).  I wanted to show you their beards..which is the hair like tuft that protrudes from the center of their chest..and those spurs..the Indians used to make arrows from them.  I took this photo out of the window.


Dave feeds the turkeys and the deer year round. While we had coffee and goodies, the turkeys and the deer did a dance..the deer came out of the woods one by one..then a few minutes later here came the turkeys.  The deer chased the turkeys off, but as soon as the deer left the turkeys came back..until the deer showed up again.

Five deer and three turkys

I do not approve of feeding bunches them up and they can spread disease in feeding areas through their saliva.  We do not feed the deer at our house..unless you count the bird feeders that are sometimes emptied during the night. Many silver hairs in this area feed the deer..I have heard “Oh we just like watching them”  it must be one of those rites of the ageing.

Oh ya the muffins were a hit. It was just a regular bran muffin recipe that I added tart unsweetened dried cherries to.  It seems I ordered 10 pounds of tart unsweetened dried cherries when I should have ordered sweetened ones.  Next I am going to try them in brownies.  We like dried cherries..the bing cherries I dried in the dehydrator are ok..and the small packages I purchased in town are fantastic..but these unsweetened dried ones will really pucker you up.  Lesson learned ..or it will be by the time I get ten pounds of them baked into something.

Just so you know, I won some kind of lottery..I am not sure how many Euros make a million dollars..but I think I have several million, at least that is what the email said.

We have been chosen once again to be a Nielson TV Rating household.  This is the third time we have been chosen..they must have my number..either that or they don’t really believe that someone can have the TV turned to the weather channel and watch it off and on all day long.

Now for a delicate subject.  Word know those pesky little words that make no sense what so ever?   Blogger has a new spam filter..a good one..the word verification is obsolete…it is just a pain in the butt.   Furthermore there are people that insist on using it plus they also moderate comments..what is up with that? Why would you use both? ( I do moderate comments on posts that are more than three days old.)   I am trying to understand..I find it really irritating to type and sometimes retype a word to leave a comment.  So sometimes I do not leave you a comment.  GO ahead be daring..try going naked..without the word verification..and see what happens ..if you are inundated by spam then you can always turn the word verification back on:)  

****** My daughter the English Professor just pointed out that I should have told you how to go about turning off your word verification.  OK.. Go to your Dashboard> Find the blog that you want to change the settings on>click on Settings>then Comments>scroll down to Comment Moderation and make your choice>scroll down to Word Verification and chose no> SAVE YOUR SETTINGS!  Then you are done:)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wistful Wednesday: Then and Now

A long time ago a little village nearby was a hub of activity.  There were five beer joints and two hotels..Becky Henry’s on the corner and Mrs. John Schmaus place across the street, there were several gas stations and garages, a creamery, a bank, two or three was the JW Nunn store and one was a candy store, a movie theatre, a bank, a sawmill, a dance hall and a church..maybe two, and if you count the Catholic Church a mile north then it was three churches. 

This is what Far Guys Mom wrote years ago:

“ I remember the large J W Nunn store and my mother( Meady) bringing several cases of eggs to the store every week to buy groceries.  Those were during my childhood years.  Also riding to Sunday school by horse and wagon to the Baptist Church in Ponsford.”

“ As a girl my best friend ( Nellie’s) father had a confectionary store with candy galore, so I was always treated when I went to her house.  His name was Bob McDougal.”

“We always looked forward to July 4th as the Indians had a big “powwow” celebration and people came from miles around to see them dance.”

Ponsford_Main_Street2 A 4th of July Parade unknown year

“Ponsford was a thriving village back in the 20’s and had very neat buildings.”

Ponsford_Main_Street1 These old photos came from the Nunn and Crandall families via my friend Shirley.  Thank you for sharing!

Today, you would never know that Ponsford was a destination at one time.

I stood in the middle of the highway and took these photos last week.


Down by the second utility pole in the photo above would have been a Hotel owned by Becky Henry on the corner. See those shrubs off to the right..that is where the bank was.


The old creamery was in the north east part of town someplace on the left of this photo.   Nowadays  Ponsford has a Fire Hall and a Post Office and two churches, three if you count the Catholic Church a mile north..only two churches are being used and a number of houses..some occupied some vacant. IMG_1013 This is the church that is not being used.  I believe this is the same spot that the Baptist Church was located that Far Guys Mom talked about.  It has probably been rebuilt a couple of times since the 1920’s.  The Schmaus Hotel would have been right next door where the big pines are.

I found it curious that both hotels were run by women..I guess it was probably a good business for a woman back then..cook and clean..repeat when necessary:) 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chance : Too Many Balls

It has been reported that I have been getting out way too many balls.  There were four of them in the kitchen yesterday..Far Guy said “Chance, one day someone is going to step on two of your balls at once.”

Far Side has stepped on one..she cussed out loud. Wonder what she will say when she steps on two?


This is my treat ball, it keeps me busy.  Far Side fills it with kibble and since I am a working dog, I bat it around and kibble falls out the small hole and I can reward myself.


It keeps me busy in the kitchen for about five minutes, sometimes longer.  Five minutes is a long time for a Border Collie to entertain himself.

IMG_0971 Border Collies like to work, work work..all the time..all day long.  If you don’t have cattle or sheep..then you should be prepared to play ball many times during the day inside and outside.

As The State of Confusion Address is tonight..Far Side says “ If Border Collies were in charge at least their eye would be on one of the balls.” :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Roses

Years ago Far Guy built me a garden structure which we used as an entrance into the gardens from the parking lot. He used some pine timbers that were really thick and wide.  I had this idea to mount some old implement wheels to the sides and have my climbing roses climb up.  We went by my cousin Danny’s place, he had some old wheels that were perfect, they used to belong to my Uncle Ervin. 

IMG_0896 Oh..that looks too cold and snowy..


Lets just fast forward to summer! There it is in the wild gardens!


The roses have been there a long time, they are Canadian Climbers, ‘William Baffin’ roses.  They do not like the warmth of the steel wheels..the ones on the east side to the left do the best.  The canes die back some each winter and must be trimmed every spring..if I were more diligent about pruning and forcing the canes to go in the right direction ..perhaps they would look better.

The flowers are only slightly fragrant.  These roses bloom from July till frost.


I love the roses and buds before they have opened.


Then they unfurl, they are a wonderful from their own root rose (not a grafted rose) hardy for our area where it gets 30 some below zero every winter.  Deer also love to nibble away at these roses..they must be tasty too:)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Penalty Box

Yesterday I wrote about “The Echo Ring”  where supposedly you can stand in the center and whisper and it can be heard all around the ring..should you have people standing there to hear your whisper. it turns out the photo I showed you is a old stone bandstand.  The real echo ring which I assumed was a campfire ring because it had the remnants of a campfire in the up the stone steps and on the south edge of the park.  Of course it is all covered with snow right now, but when spring comes I will go and take a photo of the real echo ring.  So all of you that said it looked like a bandstand were entirely correct and I was entirely wrong.  This is proof positive that I am not perfect, and that things are not always as they seem.  Perhaps I should spend some time in the penalty box.

Last evening even though it was –18 F or –28 C  we attended a Girls 12 and Under Hockey Game in Detroit Lakes.  Maddie and Paige were both playing.  Maddie had some skate issues..blisters and feet hurt for her.  Paige was being Paige and wore two different socks…

IMG_1022  she must have lost a sock someplace..but it was easier to keep track of her on the ice.

IMG_1039 Here is Miss Paige in the penalty box..she didn’t feel that she was hooking..but the ref said she she spent her time in the penalty box.  These little girls had two hockey games this Grandma’s opinion one Hockey game a day is plenty.  They lost again..3 to 1..I wish they would win just one game this season.


Hockey..and the penalty box..the sport where if you break the rules..your teammates must carry on without you.  The sport where you go in from the cold to sit in the cold:)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Curiosity: Echo Ring

I am a curious person.  Are you?

Today I want to show you an interesting structure has been in this park as long as I can remember.

IMG_2220 The Echo Ring in Deane Park located near Park Rapids, Minnesota.

It is built totally out of rocks/stones.

IMG_2217 It is falling into disrepair.  Many of the stones are loose.

What was it’s purpose?  Are you supposed to stand in the center and holler something..or are you suppose to stand at the edge and holler toward the center?  What are the rules to follow?

HPIM0988  August 06, 2008  I took a photo of the Grand boys..they almost look the same height..because I told them where to stand on the rock columns of the ring.  It makes for a great optical illusion. It makes Adam look taller than Noah. We were in the park that day searching for a Geo Cache. Everyone else was wandering around in the poison ivy.

When I took this photo I had no idea it was an Echo Ring.  The next summer my curiosity was stirred up by a mention of what the repair costs would be for the Echo was only then that I put 2 and 2 together…and figured out what was being talked about.  ( I do not remember what the dollar amount was exactly..but it was an obnoxiously huge sum.)

Have you ever seen an Echo Ring/Echo Circle before?  If so where?  Please share!

It was only –18F last is warming up!  For those of you that thought it was actually 50 degrees in our house..that is right next to the window.. that sensor in order to read the  sender that is on the garage must have a clear path to pick up the frequency..hence it’s placement in the kitchen window.  Elsewhere in the house it is a balmy 74 degrees, sometimes warmer than that, with outdoor wood heat we can keep the house very comfortable:)

Update: This is not an Echo Ring is a bandstand.  If you go up those far steps in the last photo you will run right into the real echo ring.  I thought that ring was just a campfire ring because it had the remnants of a campfire in the center.  Next spring I will go back and take another photo.  I apologize for any confusion that this has caused.

Friday, January 21, 2011

How cold is too cold?

We hit the cold wall..we watched the thermometer drop all evening.  How low would it go?


This was at 11PM.  This sensor sit in the kitchen window, we used to use it to monitor temperatures in the greenhouse.  Now it just monitors the temperatures outside and the temperature at the window indoors. 


This was just about midnight.  Yes, it is a little cool next to this window inside.  IMG_0991

This was 1:47 AM..Far Guy took this one..I was asleep. This would be –36 C for my Canadian and Foreign friends.

According the the local newspaper..Park Rapids was –40 F this morning.

Now what was that malarkey about global warming:)  

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Leftovers in the fridge..sometimes leftovers are a good thing.  I get out of cooking..and so does Far Guy. I got super organized the other day and made menus for 18 days and then went to the grocery store and got everything that we needed to make that happen.  I also made a list and put it on the IF I am napping the list is right there and supper can be accomplished  even while I am sleeping.  Chance is the only consideration..he likes to be fed just about 6 o’clock..that must be the time that his tummy alarm goes off, which just so happens to coincide with the time of the Fire Department pager test, which more often than not rouses me from my afternoon nap. 

Leftover embroidery floss..I used to cross stitch and have lots of leftover floss. Once a year I use some..I finished my quilt square for the cousins quilt that will be given away next August at the family picnic.  This years theme was Patriotic.  I did plain embroidery this time.. It took me a few days to complete. It was both good and bad for my thumb..good exercise..but bad because it was frustrating.  One should not cuss and embroider at the same time. My cousin Diana will take all the squares and put them together into a quilt top..then we will quilt it.


Leftover Christmas Cards..I set aside some of the more beautiful Christmas Cards..I made gift tags..

IMG_0978 IMG_0979


I have a bone folder..but I couldn’t find works to just use a pen to crease the fold flat.  You can punch a hole and add a string or you can just tape these to next years packages.

Leftover junk..I cleaned out the junk drawers in the kitchen..there are two of them..the extra junk that was weeded out must go to it’s proper place. Not just in a bag on my desk..where it is now.   Everything has a place and everything in it’s place..and lots of “stuff” went into the garbage.

Left over projects, I have  just a few, projects started and never completed. I hope to get a few of them completed during these below zero days. It was –6F this morning, that is –21C:(

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wistful Wednesday: A Long Time Ago

In 1889 Far Guys Maternal Grandpa Curt Abbott was one year old, he and his family lived in Wellington County Ontario, Canada.  His parents were unhappy living in Canada ( they did not like the crowns taxes).  They decided to move to Minnesota.

Their next door neighbors in Canada were the Nunns.  They had a young boy, JW Nunn who was sickly.  The Doctors in Canada told them that he wouldn’t live long in the Canadian climate.  When they heard that the Abbotts were coming to Minnesota..they decided to go too.  They all ended up in Lake Eunice Township over by Detroit, which later became known as Detroit Lakes.

Exactly what year they homesteaded in Carsonville Township is in my records someplace..for now I will just say in the mid 1890’s .

ponsford_logging_shack Logging Camp Near Ponsford, Minnesota unknown year.


Back to JW Nunn and his story as told to me by his Grandson Jim : My Grandpa JW was so little all his life, even as an adult he never weighed more than 100 pounds.  One winter he went into a logging camp with a tote team, you had to make your own bed from spruce boughs, he borrowed a blanket.  He felt better after sleeping on those boughs.  He felt so much better that he went back and asked for a job at the logging camp.  The boss said “Well what can you do here?  You don’t even weigh a hundred pounds?”  JW replied, “I can keep a good set of books.”  The boss gave him two weeks to prove himself, the team would be back in two weeks.  He felt stronger than he had in his whole life.  He said the the Spruce and Pine Trees saved his life.  He did see a Doctor again..just two weeks before he died, when he was 96 years and six months old.


I am reminded again that this area that we live in now was big timber before it became farm land.  A friend of mine shared a few old photos that she got from the Nunn family..thanks Shirley!

Ponsford_logging_pic Ponsford Minnesota Logging Photo unknown year.

** Note this is just one interesting story that was shared with us recently  during a visit with Jim and Irene.  Neighbors that were born and raised in this area:) 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chance: Just Ducky

Hi!  It is I the most handsome Border Collie in Minnesota.  Here to entertain you.  Far Side says that I have cabin fever just like her. 

She and Far Guy were in the hardware store one day..she didn’t need anything but Far Guy had a she wandered around.  There was a display of slingshot animals.  She hollered at the cashier who wasn’t busy “ How do these things work?”  Well from that point on she was sold..of course she had to try them all out in the aisle..frogs, cows, monkeys and they all made noises as they hit the floor and skidded to a stop.  Far Guy found her there pondering which one I would like best.  The duck sling shot is a little has one spot for your finger..under the little ducks chin.  It flew across the store quite a ways and quack quacked when it hit the floor! Far Side was sold.   Seven dollars worth of winter entertainment.

IMG_0909 She should have taken a photo of it before it got all slobbery.  I cannot have it all the lives on top of the refrigerator..because someone said “Perhaps we should not let him chew it to smithereens in just one day.”

Chance and His duck Me and my duck.

Chance eating his duck The ducks quacks..and quacks..

Chance modeling a duck

After awhile..I just want to lay down and chew on it to stop the what does Far Side do? 

Chance and the duck closeup Who is the cute one here?

IMG_0941 I think I liked him better on my head..

IMG_0943 Oh Far Guy..could you come into the kitchen and save me..

After a bit, she put the duck and the camera away.  She brushed me..every square inch of my body..I am even more handsome now:)