Welcome back, Winter!

(OK, I can’t take credit for the title, the StarTribune did it already in today’s paper)


For those of you not from around here and who enjoy seeing pictures of the snow, here is a little of what we got this weekend – it continues to snow several more inches after these pictures were taken.  We’ll certainly have a white Christmas now!


[dmalbum path=”/wp-content/uploads/dm-albums/snow2012/”/]

Construction at momma’s house

This is what we arrived to last night in Tallahassee. This footage was taken this morning. A remarkably efficient construction crew. It is all part of the road widening and holding pond project that is taking half of her two acres. I have quite a few mixed emotions of seeing half of my childhood yard ripped up and stripped of all life in order to build a dry holding pond to accomodate some federal drainage requirements that haven’t been necessary for more than 50 years. Well, anyway ….

Pictures from jelly making weekend

Once again, we headed to Lutsen over the Labor Day weekend. This is our designated annual jelly-making weekend and it was a good one. We found some really good fruit and this batch is, perhaps, the best batch of crabapple jelly we’ve ever made. We made two kinds. The first couple of batches we “plain” crabapple jelly made from a variety of apples. The second added hot peppers to the jelly. The first batch we made we used just the fiery hot cayenne peppers that Karin grew this year, but when the batch was done, we decided it was a little tame, even to the Scandinavian palate, and so in the next two batches we added some serrano chiles that Helen had brought up. They are a real favorite of mine and I love their flavor. They were a welcome addition to the jelly. So without further ado …

[album: http://www.fiberguy.com/wp-content/plugins/dm-albums/dm-albums.php?currdir=/wp-content/uploads/dm-albums/Lutsen September 2010/]

Catching up

Sometimes the best way to let people know what’s going on is just to give lots of little snippets …

1.  Friday morning came and I decided I didn’t have it in me to work another day.  I took a day off just for me.  I ended up calling Marsha, a fiber friend (read all about her here (http://tinyurl.com/dylso6) and went to the American Craft Council show in St. Paul.  On the way home, we stopped at Cosetta’s to do some Italian grocery shopping.

2.  I made a wonderful pasta dish on Friday night for dinner using Cosetta’s Italian sausage and tiny little meatballs.  It made for an excellent lunch on Saturday, too!

3.  On Saturday morning, I picked up my MIL and SIL and we went the Yarnover event sponsored by the Minnesota Knitter’s Guild.  I finally joined the guild.  Their monthly meetings don’t do much for me, but it will be good to be well-connected to an organization devoted to knitting.  I bought two socks books I’ve been wanting, some natural fawn colored yarn from a local woolen mill made from Minnesota sheep (enough to make a generous sweater for myself), a kit for a Bohus hat (I’ve been dying to do some Bohus work since seeing the exhibit a couple months ago at the American-Swedish Institute), various cool knit-knacks, and a book of traditional Scandinavian knitting patterns.  This was my one “splurge” I allowed myself after getting my tax refund.  Best of all, I discovered Black Water Abbey Yarns, based out of Aurora, CO.  They import the most marvelous dyed wool from Ireland.  All three of us ended up buying patterns, and getting their color cards for their whole line.  I woke up yesterday thinking about the men’s vest pattern I bought and how I wanted to make it.  Maybe I will buy the yarn soon.

4.  Saturday afternoon we spent opening up all the flower beds because they said it would rain Saturday night/Sunday morning.  We got all the work done, but I’ve been sore for two days.  Geez I am out of shape.  But I love looking out on the bed and seeing green things coming up and all the dead brown growth cleared away.  Right now we see tulips and hyacinth and daffodils coming up, along with peonies and hostas and lots of other stuff.  Spring is most welcome!  Oh, and the hawks seem particularly hungry this year, thinning our population of squirrels and rabbits, which is good, but we don’t like the evidence of the killings we keep coming across.

5.  Saturday night, we went out to eat with H’s parents and sister at Mort’s Deli.  We had fantastic food and good laughs with the staff.  We’ve been there enough they’ve all taken to greeting us when we walk in and treating us like really valued customers.  We like that.

6.  We went to the ACC show in St. Paul, since Harald was working Friday and couldn’t go then.  That was our Sunday morning worship – seeing all that glorious creation!  H bought a gorgeous glass object d’art for the living room.  And I bought a pottery wine coaster and a new clipboard (made of laminated colored wood) for my crosswords.

7.  I was in the mood to make Indian food last night.  I ended up cooking Rogan Josh (a northern Indian braised lamb dish – only I made it hot with chilies) and Aloo Gobi (potatoes and cauliflower) and a fruited rice made with cashews, raisins, cinnamon, ginger, garlic and coconut milk.  We ate like kings last night and enjoyed every bit of it.  I don’t cook Indian very often – it seems like it is as labor-intensive and time-consuming as Chinese food, but the results are so worth it.  We both agreed I need to develop a repertoire of Indian dishes since we both love it so much.  After dinner, we drove to the Edina Creamery for ice cream.

8.  We are both doing much, much better.  I sensed we both felt ready to face into the week this morning.  That is good.  We haven’t had any crying jags for days, and we are both feeling more positive and upbeat and our interests seem to be renewing in the areas of what we love.  It’s all good.  We are still bumping into neighbors and others who are extending their warm hearts to us, but it doesn’t sting to talk about it anymore.  Thank God.

9.  This week is employee appreciation week at the firm.  We get to wear blue jeans on Monday and Friday.  I’d be a new man if I could wear blue jeans to work every day!

Groundhog Day … yeah, right ….

Today, Punxsutawney Phil allegedly saw his shadow, thereby predicting another 6 weeks of winter.  Which led me to question, just how accurate is this  “immortal groundhog?”  Well, according to Stormfax, he is only about 39% accurate, which means he is 61% inaccurate.  Sorry, I’m going with Stormfax on this one.  Click here to read more about Groundhog Day than you probably ever wanted to know …

Baby, it’s cold outside!

Today is a day for warm oatmeal and hot cider for breakfast.  When I left the house this morning, it was -17 on the house thermometer and -18 on the car’s.  You know it’s cold when there is ice on the inside of the bus windows.  But, hey, we’re Minnesotans, right, and we knew it was coming.  Rather than wait until the end of the day, I will do my gratitudes early.

Today I am grateful for:

  • Thermal underwear
  • Smartwool socks
  • Lambswool sweaters
  • Engine block heaters
  • Furnaces that work

One thing’s for sure, temps like that will wake you up when you take the dog outside to piddle!

And now for a bit of warm fuzzy for a day like today …


Christmas in Lutsen

We had one spectacularly sunny day while on the North Shore recently, and I snapped this photo from inside the living room showing the view down the hill with Lake Superior in the background.

This was taken a little later the same afternoon – one of many deer that show up late to get the corn that is their special treat.

And the newest addition to the Hall family, little Kyli who was born December 1 – isn’t she adorable?