Thoughts from the back of a motorcycle

Tonight we went on a motorcycle ride along with some other folks.

My Flirt’s new bike (new to him, 2012 Harley CVO) doesn’t have a radio, so there’s not much to keep your mind busy other than your own thoughts. That’s ok…it’s a nice chance to let things filter through. It’s no wonder he rides for hours when he’s had a bad day, or just needs the space to work things out on this head.

We had a nice trip from Minot to Kramer, and then through Dunseith, down through Rugby, and back to Minot. Several thoughts rolled through my head during this trip:

  1. I love North Dakota. So many people come through here and whine because it’s too flat, not enough of what they want to do, not enough people, blah, blah, blah. It’s beautiful year round, and bursting full of nice people, and there is ALWAYS something to do. It’s a good place to live, and a great place to explore on a motorcycle.
  2. My backside just wasn’t built to ride all day. His either, it turns out. We were both hurting by the time we got back home. I’m not a “ride or die” chick, I’m a short trip gal, and that’s ok.
  3. I really love this time of year. Everything is ripening, and farmers are already starting to get harvest under way. My favorites are blue flax and sunflower fields. Yellow flowered Canola fields are beautiful too, but wow do they stink. Pew!
  4. Something no biker, or rider, likes to see is storm clouds. Riding in rain is no fun. We’ve been caught in heavy rain and hail, and that sucked badly. We kept an eye on the radar, and were able to make it home without getting wet this time. Whew!
  5. The Flirt is always telling me how great it would be if I got a bike too. Could I ride my own? Sure, I could learn how and get a license. Do I want the debt from buying a motorcycle? No. I don’t even have a garage to put one in.
  6. We meet a lot of interesting people while out on a ride. When stopped to take a break in Rugby, we met this elderly guy who told us everything about him but his name. He was quite a storyteller, and I was glad to have crossed paths with him.
  7. I love to take pictures from the back seat. Tonight’s clouds were beautiful. The storms missed us, and the setting sun glowing on the back side of the storm clouds was stunning. My crappy iPhone camera just can’t do it justice.
  8. Pro tip: wear your helmet. Better yet, spend the money on a good one with a visor. The bugs are hard and juicy all at the same time, and you don’t want that on your face. I made the mistake of leaving my visor up, and took a hard bug to the nose. That hurt, but thank goodness I didn’t get it in my eye. Regular bugs are one thing, but bees and dragon flies are a whole other level of pain. Seriously, just wear a helmet. If not to save your face from the bugs, then at least to save your brain if you have an accident.

Here’s hoping you all have the opportunity to go for a drive in the country, whether driving a car, a motorcycle, or bike. It’s peaceful, and relaxing. Blessings all!

Lazy Sunday thoughts from the High Plains.

We’ve had rain on and off for the last week, which is a good thing. Today, we had enough sunshine that it was a good time to get out and mow. I’m mostly mowing whatever weeds were strong enough to grow during our earlier drought, but at least the yard looks less like a jungle than it did after a week of rain.

Sometimes I find things I wasn’t expecting, and that’s all the reason to spend more time in my yard.

My Stella D’Oro lilies finally started to bloom. There aren’t a lot of blooms coming yet, but there were two, which I actually found last night. I’m going to be redoing my rock beds this fall, and this one is going to have to get moved. I might even split it up as it’s gotten so big.

In the back yard, I noticed that the rain has really helped my horse radish explode in size. This poor thing accidentally got weed whacked this spring, but really has made a great come back.

I’ve got so many things to do in the yard, but it’s hot now, so it will have to wait until after supper. I just can’t take prolonged direct sun exposure like I used to.

Time now to get the laundry folded, and swap some loads between the washer and dryer.

Hmmm… maybe some more tea before I do. After all, the laundry isn’t going to get up and run away if I don’t do it right this minute. I’m ok with a slow lazy Sunday. Sometimes that’s just what’s needed.

Here’s hoping you all make time to take a deep breath, and just take a few minutes for yourself between chores. Life’s too short not to. Blessings all!

Day 27 -Spring Fever, it’s really a thing

Having had my walk and fixed up my favorite, non-weird, chocolate blueberry smoothie, I sit here and contemplate what I want to write. My thoughts keep turning to the seeds and the dirt that I bought yesterday. My favorite thing to do right now would be to plant those seeds, and spend some time in the sunshine fussing over them. That’s something I will be doing tonight. I have the pots, the dirt, and the seeds. I just need the time to plant them.

Yeah, I’ve got Spring Fever pretty badly. I’m really tired of all of the darkness and cold. I would really love to sit in the sunshine and soak up some heat and light.

Yesterday, I shut off my furnace and opened several windows. It’s so nice to get the stale winter air out, and I don’t care if it was only 8 degrees yesterday. At work, I am fortunate to have a working window. It faces North, so I don’t get any sunshine, but I do get fresh air if I need it.

Funny thing about my window at work – the pigeons like it too. One day I came back from lunch to discover that Bob the Pigeon had ducked into my slightly open window while I was gone. I was able to get him out again but, lesson learned, I always make sure the window is only open a crack now.

Here’s hoping you have lots of sunshine and fresh air where ever you are, and that your pigeons are less curious than Bob. Blessings all!

Garden update – only two months and producing!

My camera was out of batteries for a while, so I couldn’t take any pictures of the garden. Now I’ve got it all juiced up and have been documenting its progress again. I didn’t get to put my garden in until almost the end of June due to all the stuff that was going on with having to move the shed and getting the tree chopped down. Truthfully, I despaired that I would have planted in vain…not so! I am pleasantly surprised to report that I’ve already been eating grape tomatoes every day…they don’t even make it in the house. That’s my favorite snack while I’m outside.  Here are the latest pictures:

First day after planting, June 19th

As you can see, it looked pretty sparse the first day of planting, but the garden really has taken off, even though it didn’t get near enough water as it should have.

I took this today, almost two months later, August 15th

Something that was nice to see is that I have quite a few volunteers. The tall thing to the right of the bird bath is a sunflower that just sprouted by itself. The tomatoes, on the left, have really suffered and aren’t as big as they should be, but as long as there are tomatoes coming from them, I don’t mind.

The big bushy stuff in the back is all the volunteer tomatoes that grew in my compost heap! Younger Son came in from checking his pumpkins one day and let me know that there were two tomato plants growing  in the compost heap, and I just let them keep growing. They’ve got tomatoes on them, and I see no reason to get rid of them, even though

I love these grape tomatoes...they are like garden candy!

they are siphoning nutrients out of my compost. There will be time enough to build the compost heap up in the future.

Younger son so badly wanted to grow his own pumpkins, and didn’t have very good luck with it last year. This year, he’s had much better luck, though the leaves seem to have some kind of powdery mold on them that causes them to turn white and die off the vine. The main trunk of the vine seems to be ok, and now he has at least one pumpkin on the way, and a couple of others that

Younger's pumpkins have started to take over the yard, and they are flowering like crazy!

appear to be developing.

I only lost two pepper plants, which leaves me with 20 plants left, of varying types, all of which are producing!  Not only do I have some peppers that are almost ready to be picked, but the plants are flowering like there’s no tomorrow. As long as it stays warm, I’ll have a really good crop of peppers.

My one big regret is that the herb garden Older Son and I had planned never did get planted. Next year I’ll be able to get my garden in on time and we will have more time to putz with the gardening. I can’t wait to see how the harvest is going this time next year!

These are cherry peppers. I can't wait to try them!

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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