July 15, 2015 – Squirrel Mischief

We’ve had a mysterious clothesline change of location. After returning home from vacation, a line that goes from the tree to the clothesline pole was snapped, and the end of the line was about 15 feet up on the opposite side of the tree. Couldn’t quite figure out how it got there – if it snapped, it couldn’t weave its way through the branches up the opposite side of the tree. I tied it back and a few days later saw a squirrel chewing on the rope.

Again, it happened – the line usually goes between the pole and tree.

The line up in the tree, presumably dragged up by the squirrel – for fun or nesting material?

March 28, 2014 – Thank You Mr. Badger

Not the Wisconsin Badgers, mind you, but the badger who evidently lives a few miles down the road and is an awesome digger! Guess the soil is now unfrozen for this critter to dig out such an impressive pile of dirt.

badger hole

As I needed some black dirt to reinforce some raised beds, this beats digging myself or driving to town to buy some in plastic bags. No lumps. just fine, black topsoil.

September 8, 2013 – Trampled By Turtles in Town

It’s not often that bands from my hometown make it this far south – but this weekend Duluth’s Trampled by Turtles found their way to town.

They brought their brand of whatever it is (Ralph Stanley meets Nirvana?) to an outdoor street concert.

Best of all, we are still not lame enough for our daughter not to attend with us!

Here’s a taste…

Trampled by Turtles – Victory

Fast Tube by Casper

August 23, 2013 – Nail Challenge

Martin is at it again offering up this challenge.  Can you balance 16 nails on the head of one nail?  You can affix the nail that the other nails balance on to a board or some other device, but other support is allowed.  Think about it, or try it and scroll below to see the solution…

















Elevation from above.

Elevation from below.

August 13, 2013 – Vulture Amusement

There is a pair of vultures that like to hang out near my cube at work.

They’ll sit for a while with their wings extended.

Sometimes they’ll sit side-by side and keep a look out.  With the turkey vultures looking into us trapped on the inside on a beautiful day, I wonder if we offer the same amusement to them as we get when we go to the zoo to watch all the confined animals!

July 18, 2013 – Mystery Hiding Spot

One of Martin’s Grandmothers gave him this popular children’s series bound in one volume she found at a rummage sale.

Martin opened it up and found that a previous owner had cut out the inside of some pages, presumably to hide something. We’re trying to guess what it might have contained. It’s not big enough for a pack of cigarettes, not big enough for a stack of bills. Martin is convinced it held some sort of illicit substance. I thought perhaps the place in the book may be of significance.

Anybody have an idea what might have been hidden? Bonus if you know what the name of the book series is from the bottom few sentences!

January 26, 2013 – Indoor Winter-time Fun

It’s winter, it’s cold and it’s not fun to get outside the house, unless its to a college basketball game!  And we are lucky enough to live close enough to one of the best venues in the country.  We have season tickets to the women’s team and they have the third highest attendance in the nation and play pretty good ball.

This game was a win against #14 Oklahoma.  The  next game was not so good against #1 Baylor, but in a moral victory of sorts, we held them to their lowest point total of the season, and lost by 15.

Today it was the #11 Kansas State men finding out how hard it is to play in Ames with another top 15 team going down.

January 12, 2013 – Magically Miraculous Chalice!

You never know when the universe will reveal a miracle. Like the image of Jesus in a piece of toast, now Unitarians have their own foodstuff symbol – this image of a chalice made of Lucky Charm marshmallows! (chalice history here)

UU chalice, chalice, marshmallow chalice

Since Linda was off at seminary all last week for classes, we had the “opportunity” to bring Lucky Charms into the house. While Lucky Charms are not expressly forbidden in the house, other breakfast options are highly encouraged.

When the chalice appeared in Emma’s cereal bowl, we faced a serious corundum – do we share the miraculous discovery of the chalice with Linda, thus exposing our food choices in her absence, or do we destroy the chalice and not say a word of it? We thought it most honorable to share the miracle with her and now with the world. We interpret finding the chalice as Universal blessing on our occasional consumption of Lucky Charms!

January 5, 2013 – Accordionpallooza!

It took 51 years before I enjoyed a rendition of Happy Birthday with accordion accompaniment! Today was it.

We (actually Martin) were invited to an Accordionpallooza of sorts. Ten accordions gathered in one room for instruction by one of Ames’ finest accordionists, and a former fellow grad student at Iowa State (so many years ago). Following is a short 30 second intro to his playing.


He even took apart an accordion to show us the inner workings.  These are the bass reed blocks, with the wood sealed with a concoction of beeswax, resins, and oils.  The inside of the bellows and more reed blocks are visible in the lower right.  I neglected to get photos of the complicated bass mechanics and levers.

Following are some of the photos of the participants, young and old alike…

January 1, 2013 – Most Forgettable Moments of 2012

I know I’m a bit late in this “best of 2012″ but without further ado, here are the most forgettable moments of 2012.

January – Claire went back to school and forgot some items at home. I had to find a box, find some tape, and drive to the Post Office to send them.

February – I shoveled the ice and snow off the sidewalk. Then the wind blew and filled it back up again and I had to do it all over.

March – I wanted to go cut up some branches that fell down over the winter. But I didn’t keep any oil and gas mixture for the chainsaw over the winter. So I had to remember to get some the next time I went to town, but forgot the next three times I went to town for something or another.

April – A story on the news broke that really pissed me off.

May – I was working outside and almost forgot to pick Martin up after school to bring him to piano lessons. I didn’t have time to grab a book, so I just sat and listened to his lessons and pretended to read the magazines scattered about the house that I really wasn’t interested in reading.

June – I was fishing off a dock in Northern Minnesota and a wave temporarily hid my bobber and I couldn’t find it for a split-second and thought I had a bite.

July – After the 4th of July fireworks display we had to sit in the car a long time waiting for all the people to leave.

August – I was working on something with tools and ripped off a small part of the edge of a fingernail. It hurt for a long time and I wondered if it would get infected or not, but a week later it was better.

September – I went down to the basement to retrieve something, but then started straightening up some disheveled items and went back upstairs and realized I forgot to retrieve what I originally went down to get.

October – I went out to prune some blackberries, but then walked by the low-hanging branches of an old Mulberry tree that I didn’t really care much for. Rather than sawing off the branch 10 feet above the ground, I thought it would be easier to just knock it down with the tractor loader. It didn’t really snap off that well and it took much longer than had I just cut it. Then, the blackberry canes took a lot longer to prune than I figured.

November – I spent a lot of time deciding the right building to store and buch of things in and ended up having to clean a space out and never actually moved the items.

December – I was trying to fill out some financial aid forms, tried to log onto a web site, but I forgot my password, so I had to have them resend it. But my mail provider changed smtp mail servers and I couldn’t get any mail, so couldn’t reset the passwords. It was late and had to wait until the next day. Then they spent and hour and a half the next day and could only get incoming mail to work.