A road trip and a fuller freezer

Last weekend The Flirt and I went on a road trip to Fargo, and it was a much needed outing.

A few weekends before, The Flirt and his nephew went deer hunting, and he was able to fill his buck tag. Since we don’t have a garage, or anywhere else to process game, his nephew volunteered to process the deer. He, his girl friend, and best friend broke down the meat, ground it up, made sausage, and smoked it for us.

I am profoundly grateful as I have no idea how to do any of that.


I have plans to learn these skills this coming year, in hopes of being able to process a deer next year. I’m even toying with the idea of getting my hunter’s safety so that I can go hunting too.

So, now we have 25 pounds of extra meat in the freezer. It’s a just little freezer, and it’s not full yet, but that’s ok. It’s just the two of us here in this little house.

Not only did we bring home some really amazing deer sausage, but it was a great drive. The weather was good, and we got to go somewhere else. Due to COVID we haven’t gone on many road trips at all this year. The last time I was out of town was July. We are used to taking lots of small trips in the summer, and we missed them terribly.

We couldn’t have asked for a better start to this trip. The sunrise was so lovely, we had to take a few shots of it.

Here’s hoping that you all have, or make, opportunities to get out when and where you can. Get some fresh air, watch the sun rise, take a drive. Hang in there… better times are coming. Blessings all!

Strange and amazing weather

Today is December 10th, 2020. While 2020 has been an insane and awful year, I can’t complain about one thing for sure.

Can you spot what’s missing in the picture below?

If you said, “where’s all the snow?”, you’d be asking the right question.

It got up to almost 40 degrees today, and it hit 50 something yesterday. This good weather has been a blessing for sure. I can’t complain about being able to drive around with my windows open in December!

Things have been pretty stressful, given all that we have going on at work, as well as all the crap happening with the election and the virus. Sometimes you find unexpected blessings in odd ways that make life a little better, and this is one of them.

I know our amazing weather is about to come to an end, but I’m relishing every moment. I really love walking around without a jacket!

Here’s hoping that you all are finding odd blessings that make these stressful times a little easier. Blessings all!

Winter wonderland, and the best answer ever

The run up to Christmas is always so busy, and this year was no different. I am always so grateful when we get to Christmas Day when all that steam finally gets let out of the kettle, and then life slows down again.

This Christmas we ate at a local Chinese restaurant, just like we do every year. The food was great, and it was a relaxing time with The Flirt and what few family members I have left in the area.

Afterward the Flirt and I went for a drive around Lake Audubon, just to check out the ice and see if anyone is catching anything.

The drive down was lovely because fog had left hoar frost on everything, and of course I couldn’t help but take pictures.

I complain a lot about winter, but I can’t imagine not having a beautiful winter landscape this time of year. Christmas without snow would be too strange. This is the right amount of winter. Any more than what you see here is just overkill.

Speaking of ice fishing, the Flirt packed up the truck with all of the gear and went to scout out a local lake this morning. He tried to get me to go along, but as much as I like to ice fishing I just needed to sit in the quiet with a nice cup of tea for awhile. I wanted to read some blogs, and write as well. And, there’s always that pesky housework that needs doing. We will see how much housework gets done, but I definitely had to make time to blog. 😊

Anyway, I’m the way out the door, he was ticking off the few things he needed to pick up on the way to the lake. And he forgot something he definitely would need. When I said, “what’s the one thing you need to take with you?”, I was thinking to remind him to pick up bait but he said, “My girlfriend”. Best. Answer. Ever. ❤️

Well, as much as I loved that he wanted me to go along, I still needed some time alone. New Years Day is a definite yes for fishing.

Here’s wishing you all a very happy holiday season. Blessings all!

That last beautiful gasp of summer…

It feels like it’s still summer outside, even though the leaves are starting to really turn beautiful fall colors. At 8pm my snarky weather app tells me it feels like 61 degrees outside.

I’ll take it.

I took this picture on the way home tonight. I couldn’t help but pull over and take this picture, and how lovely to do that while standing outside on a warm, breezeless evening. The weather is perfect, and the sunset was some really lovely frosting on that cake.

When I look back at this picture, I will remember how the evening air felt on my arms, and how good the air smelled. I wish I could bottle that fall smell in the air…there is nothing quite like it.

Starting tomorrow, my beautiful High Plains will begin to be covered with snow. Quite a lot of snow, especially for my friends who live in the Red River Valley. Thank goodness it’s supposed to warm up next week again.

It’s quite a High Plains thing to want to get out and clip your grass short right before the snow comes, and God forbid you have and leaves on your lawn! Our leaves haven’t fallen yet, so I expect that they will come off in huge, still green clumps after the storm goes through. How sad to not make it all the way through fall before the snow arrives.

That’s ok… there’s always next year for leaf raking.

Here’s hoping you can make the time to stop and take that picture you know you want to take. Just a few moments is all you need. Just a few… and they might be the few moments you needed today.

Blessings all!

Little things mean so much

So much has happened in the last few weeks…

Younger Son was home on leave for two weeks, and it was nice to have all my chicks in the nest again. So much changes, but then again not. My world-traveling baby is still his same self, but so grown up.

We managed to go away for a weekend to visit my brother’s family, and that was good. Older Nephew is going into his senior year and, this time around, I have to make sure to make it to some of his hockey games. Younger Nephew is only four years behind him, and I have missed out on so much with both of them. I did find out that Older Nephew will be attending my alma mater next year, which makes my heart soar!

Today I discovered I was gifted with a blogger award! Wow! I will be passing that one on to some of my favorite bloggers shortly, but I have some revamping of my page to do first, so more on that to come.

I’ve been a bit under the emotional weather lately, and I am not sure why. There seems to be something under the surface bugging me, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Perhaps there has just been too much going on, and I haven’t been able to catch my breath. Whatever it is, it seems only to be cured by the simplest things.

Tonight my Flirt, his Giant Dog, and I went for a walk out in the country. It was just what the doctor ordered. There is nothing quite like the rolling prairies of the High Plains. It’s so beautiful, no matter what season it is. Right now, though, is when it’s at its most beautiful – Harvest Season!

In the pictures above, Giant Dog is shown walking ahead. He knows hunting season is around the corner and was so happy to get out and run around the dusty road, and all in the weeds. He even managed to get in the water and go for a swim.

It aggravates me to no end when out-of-staters complain that there isn’t anything to look at in North Dakota. I beg to differ, and I have come to believe that some people are so used to being handed “pretty” scenery on a platter that when something different comes along, something that’s a little more plain, it is written off without a second look.

North Dakota is full of all kinds of wild life, and beautiful scenery. Today, I was able to capture a lovely sunset, and several interesting plants. Above you can see the wild sunflowers. Below is a picture of some plants I was so pleased to be able to find: wild Echinacea and chamomile! If I’d been thinking, I’d have dug some up and transplanted it into my yard. It’s a good excuse to go for another walk later this week. 🙂

Echinacea and Chamomile

All one needs to do is look a little closer, and you will see so much. I suspect that is the way it is with everything in life. Little things mean a lot.

Here’s hoping you find some interesting things in places you wouldn’t suspect you’d find anything. Look closely…there are beautiful little miracles everywhere, if you pay attention.

Family night at the State Fair

Last night my family and my brother’s family all went out to the Fair so the kids could go on the rides. My boys took Older Favorite Nephew on the rides while my brother, his wife and Younger Favorite Nephew walked around some of the exhibit buildings. It was nice just to wander around and catch up on stuff.

What mini donuts really look like. OMG they were good!

Last night was a nice mellow night, and the weather was beautiful There wasn’t too many people around, and there was no fighting for parking, or standing in line too long for the boys to get on the rides.

I finally got my mini donuts…HHHHHMMMM Good!

I’m looking forward to the Sugarland concert next weekend, but I think I am more looking forward to just hanging out with my friend who’s coming down from Canada. It’s going to be a good time!

What a beautiful day in the park…

Rental for a picnic shelter at the park for a day: $30

Chips, dips and beverages: $20

Availability of sunshine and nice breezes: Spot on!

Cost of good times with old friends, and new, on a lovely Sunday afternoon: PRICELESS!

Today, I met my friends at Oak Park, and some great new people joined in. It was a fabulous afternoon with lots of sunshine, bubble blowing, foot ball throwing, joke telling, and food eating. It’s been so long since I’ve had a nice day like that, I’d forgotten what it’s like to just get away for a while and forget about everything else. I feel so relaxed right now, I could just noodle out and go to sleep. In fact, I was so relaxed, I left completely forgetting to take my stuff with me! (thanks for grabbing my stuff for me Brea!)

Ah, but it’s back to reality time. I managed to get a little housework done before I left today, so now it’s time to get some more laundry rolling and get the rest of the housework done. Before I know it, Monday will have dawned and it’s back to the grind again. Oh, but it was a lovely time while it lasted!

Inch by Inch, Row by Row

We (me, my boys, my Dad and my two nephews) just came back from a concert in our Oak Park, where we listened to Dennis Warner sing. He was absolutely wonderful, and I think my favorite song that he sang is called The Garden Song. I couldn’t find Mr. Warner’s version on You Tube, but I found a good version of it by John Denver, and wouldn’t you know it but he’s singing on The Muppet Show:

As much as I love John Denver’s music, I have to say that Dennis Warner did it better. He has a You Tube Channel, and I urge you to go out and give his songs a listen. His music is really worth taking the time:

I think the nicest thing about his concert tonight is that he had us all singing together, and it was a such a beautiful evening. I’m so glad we advantage of the opportunity to go hear some great music and enjoy a nice evening outside. Mr. Warner has published eight albums as well as a children’s book titled Beads on One String which is now being used in elementary school education programs.

The garden is in, and an early Fathers Day

The weather was gorgeous today, and so we went out right away this morning to finally put the garden in. Now, most of you are probably thinking to yourself, “shouldn’t the garden have been planted a loooong time ago?” Yes, it should have, but events conspired so that it just wasn’t possible to get the garden in before now.  No biggie. It’s better than no garden at all.

Older son helped me plant, starting with the onions. Younger planted the pumpkins, watermelons and cucumbers earlier, and they made it through the recent prairie hurricane that blew through (thanks for that, Brea. It’s an apt term given all the wind and water that came our way!) . We’re not quite done, though…the herbs and flowers, and two packs of peppers still need to be planted.

Here’s a quick list of what we have so far:

  • onions (Walla Walla)
  • garlic (left over from some a friend gave me from their garden last year. Hopefully they will take root!)
  • six kinds of  hot peppers (Jalapeno, Hungarian Yellow Wax, Anaheim, and I can’t remember exactly the other three at the moment)
  • three kids of tomatoes (Amish Paste, Sweet Cherry and Manitoba)
  • cucumbers
  • watermelon
  • pumpkins

I have more space to dig up, and I want to plant zucchini and spaghetti squash. I know it’s late in the season, but I’m hopeful that we’ll get at least a few squash by the middle of September.

Well,  we are off in a few minutes to go celebrate father’s day early with my Dad, since the kids are going with their father tomorrow. Oh…I forgot about what I got my Dad for Father’s Day…and I got some for myself too! When I was picking up the other vegetables, I ran across some Yellow Husk Ground Cherries. I have heard that they are very delicious and easy to grow.  I’m hoping that the seeds can be saved to make some more next year too! Here click HERE to read more about these interesting plants.

I’d post a picture of the garden, but the yard’s a big mess, and we’re not quite done yet. I’ll post one after we get it all done and cleaned up.

Oh well…off I go to order the pizza and get dressed for the day. It’s going to be a nice day at Mom and Dad’s with the boys.

Nothing like a bonfire and good company

I was invited to spend the evening at a friend’s house in the country last night. In this particular housing area every home sits on no less than two acres of beautiful North Dakota rolling prairie…gorgeous wide open spaces!

We stood outside trying to get the bonfire going, but then a storm rolled in and we had to go inside. That was ok, because we all had a good time just chatting, no matter where we were standing or sitting. There was a lot of good food and good company, and I was able to catch up with some old friends, which was fabulous.  Eventually, the skies cleared and we all piled back around the bonfire (which burned brightly through the storm).

It may sound a little silly, but it seems to me that there’s something very primal and essential about the activity of standing around a fire with other people. Yes, I said essential, and I used that word very purposefully. Sitting around a fire with others is something I used to take for granted when I was growing up, as we spent a lot of Summer weekends at a cabin and always had a fire burning.  I love the smell of wood smoke, and the sight and sounds of the embers burning and the sparks popping off the logs. I love the heat of it and how the luminescence of the flames lights up people’s faces. I love sharing a fire with others, whether we’re talking or not. For me a campfire is a total mind/body experience, and I thirst for it. I didn’t realize how badly I missed it until last night.  It’s been many years too long without.

So, I stayed until about 1am and drank in all the fire and good companion ship I could.  Being able to sit around with other adults in a non-work setting was a complete balm on my soul, and the fire was the big fat icing on the cake. I hear from my friends that they are planning to have a bonfire once a month, and I’m invited back.

I just can’t wait!

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