I just missed getting this into the Golden Globes!
Not trying to be a Negative Nelly here, but I thought maybe I could share some of what goes on during our real life as real humans! Bob and I hoped for so long that we would one day be able to step away from the workforce and be able to carry on for as long as possible doing the things we had put off doing. It seemed like such a pie-in-the-sky sort of lifestyle! What would we do? Would we be healthy? Would we even like retirement? What if one of us got sick? What if one of us was left alone? And on....
One of our most hoped-for goals was to have the time to go places for more than a week or 10 days at a time. We have never had high paying jobs and that's ok. We knew how to live within our means and carried on. We knew that retirement was not going to bring a big pot of money with it! So the only real way we could travel much was to do it on our terms, which means economically! That's what led to our choice to get ourselves a comfortable home on wheels and see what develops. And it's still developing, and we're having a good time. But in the interest of transparency, I'll clue you in that there are little bumps along the road, too! Things happen, and you change.
Just like this agave plant in Arizona, growing all happy in its spot until a wildfire comes along and changes things! Hopefully there will probably be some new growth on this guy, but only time will tell.
If you live in the American Southwest, you probably are so accustomed to the desert landscape that it sometimes just becomes the background to your life. Just like the prairies and lakes and forests of Minnesota can become so everyday that they are unappreciated. But, when this Minnesota person encounters the desert, the landscape is front and center in my mind. I've enjoyed taking some pictures along the way and I've created a collection to share with you. I especially like the curious vegetation and the sunsets over mountains, so you will see those. Some I can identify, but not always. And my identifications are not guaranteed to be correct, so bear that in mind! Several plant pictures still need to be identified, and I'm working on that!
Enjoy a visit to southern Arizona, especially my friends and family from the tundra back home! Wish you were here!
Hello! I'm back! And I have finally created a new project that was a challenge that has been waiting on the back burner for a good time to come to life. 2021 is the time!
I have admired the ability of people, other people, to create a different kind of art with textiles. I have been intrigued by the collage look in paper, mixed media and fabric. I'm now dabbling in some fabric collage, and after making one picture that isn't even done yet, I've learned a bunch! I thought it only appropriate to share this new vast knowledge with you!
I thought long and hard about this project before even getting any materials ready! It just had to percolate in my mind for a bit! I've done the majority of the work on this, but it is unfinished, so I will follow up on this in the future when it's all completed and framed. This will be a wallhanging for my home down the road - literally, down the road! I'm in Arizona for some warmer weather, and this might just get finished when I am back there and have some more of my quilting tools handy. Click "Read More" for the rest of the story!
I’ve had a chance to make a few changes to our Airstream, since it’s taking a break from the road, just like we are. The plain off-white stock curtains are perfectly good, and tailor made to fit the windows. There are little tabs attached to run in a track, both top and bottom. I didn’t really want to invest the time it would take to design and make entirely new curtains. I liked the fact that they blocked the light very well, except at the edges.
So, I put on my thinking cap, and came up with approach that turned out to successful. I just put a new front on the existing curtains. I did have to remove and reattach the Velcro fasteners to bring the sections together. But, I did not have to mess with the slider tabs at all.
I'm not sure how I got back on the sprout train, after about 39 years off the train! I think I can blame it on Facebook and one of those adds they send your way. Probably because I watched a YouTube video about growing microgreens. I wanted to know the difference between microgreens and sprouts. Turns out they are a lot of the same stuff, except microgreens are grown in dirt or "planting medium", a made up name for dirt! Sprouts, on the other hand, are grown just like I remember from 1979! Using a jar with ventilation, and fresh water rinses, sprouts can be grown easily indoors. I know, the question is WHY. Because they do taste good and are really tasty and pretty on a sandwich or salad, and I just like watching those little seeds develop!
I quickly became determined to grow sprouts again! I've made a slide show of the growth process. If you click the "See More" below, I've also included some sources for your convenience if you want to join my sprouting revolution!
I've been away from home, traveling due to necessity, during this time we all need to stay home. Now, I'm back home, and self-quarantining for 2 weeks, and reacquainting myself with the house and yard. It seems like we're living in our own little world. It's a glorious time of year here in central Minnesota. Everything is very green, we've had an average amount of rainfall, although the lawn is brown in some spots. We do not keep a manicured lawn! We have some "mowed green space" and we try to keep the surrounding trees and brush and weeds from encroaching. More than half of our lot is still wild. And we like it that way!
We both have spent quite a few hours outdoors the last few days, as we are preparing for the construction of a detached 2 car garage. Bob has done a lot of heavy lifting, hauling, tossing, demolishing, chain sawing and burning. Sounds like a real rough and ready guy, don't you think?! I've been involved in most of that, although I don't want to take on the chain saw! I've also been pulling lots of weeds, both out in the newly cleared area, plus in our flower beds. I guess when I'm gone, those weeds think they can just take over! Bob did keep the garden really cleaned up, thank goodness, during the times when he was home.
Bob and I are diving into a new project at home. Since we don't have any extensive road trips planned, other than to visit some MN State Parks, we are tackling some stay-at-home projects.
As you have seen in previous pages, we have a great little travel trailer that we love. It has weathered 2 winters of snow and cold and ice. We are going to give it a better home by constructing a detached double garage with enough height for the trailer. "We" are not going to do the constructing ourselves, but we are getting some estimates to do all the stuff that it takes to safely put this building together.
Step 1 in the preparation, clearing the site, is something we can almost do all for ourselves. There are about 15 trees and an old woodshed that will be effected. We started on the woodshed and that is plenty for right this week. It was getting decrepit, but it was something that Bob had built without a plan about 30 years ago. We did burn a lot of wood for about 20 of those years, using our woodburning stove as an excellent heat source for the house. So the shed has served its purpose, keeping a roof over some of the wood. More wood was stacked outside. Now, we are tearing down the shed and moving all the stacked wood to a nearby spot. A bunch of that wood has become very wet, and as I remove logs, I have come upon some picturesque gardens of fungus of various kinds. I'm not going to name them for you, but if you know what they are, I wouldn't mind knowing.
Also uncovered a mouse nest yesterday with babies that didn't even have eyes open. We left them alone for a bit, and the momma moved them to a new spot. Unfortunately, I came across that spot today, and scared her so badly that she jumped onto the chunk of wood in my hand and ran right up my arm! She quickly realized that this was the wrong direction and leaped to the ground. Again, we found some babies, just 2 this time, so we left her alone and she gathered them up and hid them somewhere else. Where will we find them next?!
Bob will be able to chainsaw a number of the trees that aren't oaks and aren't huge. We are in an area hit by oak wilt, a tree killer that spreads when the tree is cut or trimmed. We have already lost many (30-40) trees to oak wilt. So I think we will have to wait until September, possibly, to disturb the red and white oaks. There is one very large red oak, one of the tallest trees on our land, that might have to go. We had a tree guy come take a look at it, and told us it would be $2400 to remove that one tree! So we may be able to come up with a plan that will protect it by sliding the new building and driveway over a few more feet.
Oh - if anybody needs some firewood, we have some to share!
I stepped out for an easy walk this morning before breakfast. Actually, there are not many walks here at 7000' elevation that are easy for flatlander lungs of a certain age! Yesterday, I set off on an "easy" bike ride around a neighborhood loop. "There's just one big hill", says Brita. I got to that hill, and just barely got maybe 1/4 of the way up, and stopped, gasping, at the side of the road! Uff da! And it wasn't just the lungs that were complaining, it was those under-used leg muscles, too! We live our lives in East Bethel at about 900' elevation. Our favorite trips are to visit our 2 "kids". We visit our son in Whitefish, MT, at 3000'. And continuing on, we visit our daughter and son-in-law in Truckee at 7000'! That's a big mountain to climb.
The flora and fauna at 7000' are so distinctly different than back at home. Here, it's all about survival. The Donner party, which wasn't really a party at all, found that out the hard way. The flowering plants have adapted over time to find the best ways to grow, and eke a bit of life from the rocks and sandy soil. They are, in general, petite blossoms. I took pictures of some of them along the power line trail, just steps from the Burke house. The powerline cuts a large swath through the landscape, where trees have been removed and a small service road/trail remains for walkers, bikers, runners, etc.
This picture says "old world" to me. And it is old, by American standards! You might see something similar in a village in France, but this is Charleston, SC, in the city center. We were there in early March, pre-coronavirus. It was a grey day, threatening rain, so these photos do not do justice to the views. I was very thrilled that we were able to get on a morning walking tour on the only day that we could be there. I had a teaser for the beauty of this historic city a couple years ago when we stayed at Folly Beach, just to the south of the city. But it was raining and cold the day that we took a driving tour, and we had 3 little kids along, so it wasn't a great idea to get out and see much. But I was fascinated by the beautiful old houses and buildings, all very well preserved. I promised myself then that I would return some day when I could take the time to see the area on foot.
Hi! I'm Pam! Join me on this journey through the next steps of life!