Coming Soon: Free Book

Coming Soon: Free Book
Planning to give away a book or two!

Monday, October 31, 2016

A couple of firsts

For my birthday, I purchased a new set of pans.  Dale has friends which have these pans and they rave about them. There is a deep sided frying pan.
New non-stick frying pan
There is also a square roasting pan that can be used in the oven or on top.  I used that pan for the first time today. I cooked up one of our ducks that was hit on the road last week.
Cooked Duck
The recipe that I found online was a simple rub of salt, pepper and paprika. After cooking it for an hour, the instructions say to pour 1/4 cup of melted butter over the top and cook for another 45 minutes. Then another 1/4 cup of butter and another 15 minutes. As decadent as that sounds, it also sounds like a pain to clean up the pan. Not! it wipes right out.
Duck with a side salad
I made us simple salads to go with out roast duck. I don't use salad dressing. Instead I use a small scoop of cottage cheese. 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

My first thought ...

... was "at least they remembered to take the child out of the vehicle.
I walked out of Sam's Club and the car next to mine had the back door wide open.  My imagination had the mother lifting the child out and juggling an oversized purse.

I had just finished loading groceries into my car when a woman came out of the Sam's Club liquor store with a 4 or 5 year old. I had already closed the door to her vehicle so that 
I wouldn't hit it. 

I mentioned it to her. As it turned out, her young son let himself out of the vehicle and took off without closing the door . 

Friday, October 28, 2016

55 not 75 MPH

We had to butcher this poor duck tonight.  It looked like he had been hit by a car.  The ducks and chickens are free range. Evidently the duck thought the grass was greener on the other side of the road.  It is obvious that many people come by our place closer to 75 MPH than the posted 55 MPH.  We also lost at least one cat to wild drivers this past week.
Duckie's last meal
Edit:  A few days after the original post I walked down the road to where I thought the cat was hit only to find out that it was a different duck that had been hit.  It looked like an eagle came over and picked it up after it was hit.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Lunch and learn

My sister came by today to begin reworking my Web page and in exchange I taught her how to knit.  She is making a hat for a play that she is in.  She was about 10 rows into it when we realized that we had twisted it when we attached the end of the first row to the beginning of the second row.  Ooops.  I guess we call that practice!
Teaching knitting on my lunch hour

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Who is playing chicken?

We have one Rooster that is an alpha rooster. he was hatched this spring and he is very colorful .
Alpha Rooster
He has no problem showing his attitude ...
....and strutting his stuff!
Strut your stuff!
I'm sure you've heard the saying "Don't get your feathers riled up." I can't help but wonder if the people who  adequate that up had a type A rooster.
Puff that chest ...
I got my nephew to hold his hand like he has a pretend ball that he was showing to the rooster. That is all it takes to make him ruffle his feathers . 
Ruffle your feathers
If you don't get the hint then he starts Kung Foo fighting . 
let's go Kung Foo fighting!
(No harm was done to this rooster during the photography shoot. At the end of the shoot he thought that he was the winner and fought us off.) And he isn't he just SO handsome?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Hunting the illusive Aurora Borialus

The Northern Lights are amazing to watch when you can see them.  The first time that I saw the Aurora dance, I lived in Wisconsin. Last fall I moved out into the country. My door faces North. I had dreams of being able to see the Northern Lights from my living room window. Instead, I put my camera on the tripod out on my doorstep to take test shots.  When I see lively activity, I go to the North side of the sheds where the yard light is blocked. 
Test Shot #1 9:45 p.m.
Last night at 9:45 p.m. I took a test shot after hearing reports that the chances for Northern Lights was high. All that I got to see were yard lights "light noise" reflecting off the clouds. It still made for a pretty shot.
Test shot #2 11:29 p.m.
At 11:29 PM I took another test shot. The clouds were starting to part. But I still wasn't seeing any green. I was just seeing light noise. I decided to set my alarm for 2:15. That has been a good time for me to see the lights in the past.
Test shot #3 just after 2:15 a.m.
When I woke up at 2:15 a.m. I took a couple of test shots. There were still a fair amount of clouds. But this time I was seeing the Northern Lights shining through the clouds.  I took a few shots but all that I got was a basic band which was not visible to the naked eye.  I knew that I had to be up in a few hours for work.  I checked the activity on the internet and it looked like Northern Minnesota had a beautiful show about an hour before and it was slowing down.  I took my chance but I set the clock for the wrong time.  

I guess it is like a deer hunter seeing the white tail of the deer as it dashes back into the corn field.  My hunt will continue as I fight the overcast days.  We are in a stretch that is forecast to be good for Northern lights.  Instead, we are getting rain.  If you want to see the 30 minute and 3-day Aurora forecast, one website that I use is  Good luck and good hunting

Monday, October 24, 2016


The fall birds have arrived. It is so exciting!  Last year we didn't have bird feeders up so we missed seeing what birds are here during the fall season. 
Blue Jay
I have seen two Blue Jays on the feeder at the same time; a male and a female. That means we have at least one couple. 
Blue Jay
Our bird here year round is the sparrow. They are such a hardy bird!
The Nuthatch is common year round near deciduous trees.  It is so tiny that it's difficult for me to comprehend this bird making it through our cold winter. 
The Downy Woodpecker often shows up two at a time.  They are patient and appear to be so polite.
Downy Woodpecker
The Red-bellied Woodpecker is not common around here. I thought that this was a Red-headed Woodpecker but the photos in the books shoe significantly different markings.
Red-bellied Woodpecker
This big guy is very shy. It can hear my camera snapping through the glass and it will fly away. I can't wait to see if these are just the fall birds or if they winter over.
Red-bellied Woodpecker

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Skyler all tucked in

The other day Skyler was pouting in a way that only a puppy can. The other dogs were covered up so I decided to cover him up. He grabbed  the corner and pulled it tight around his head. (The picture was dark but you can see it in his mouth.)
Skyler grabs the corner of the blanket
It was only a few minutes later that Skyler was sound asleep.  He is so adorable,  isn't he?
Snug as a bug in a rug!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Sloppy Joe's

My mother used to make a similar sloppy Joe every year for a booth at the McLeod County fair.
Best ever sloppy joe's
Begin by sautéing onions and garlic in a touch of oil. 
Onions and garlic ready to be sauteed
Add 3 pounds of hamburger and brown. 
I added salt and pepper here.
Browned hamburger with sauteed onions and garlic
Then I added 1 can tomato soup, 1 can beef barley soup, ketchup and mustard. 
Adding the next layers of flavors
Mix it all together and taste.  Add more salt, pepper, ketchup or mustard to taste. Cook it in a slow cooker until hot. Enjoy!!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Who has a computer?

I looked up from my desk in the living room today and I had to take a photo.
Dad and Pat taking a break from their computers
Dad and Pat had both pulled out their computers and they were working on them. Skyler is sitting at Grandpa George's elbow. You can see that he just dropped a bone in his lap. "Hold this for me Papa!"
Skyler waiting for Grandpa George to hold his bone

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Still a touch of fall

The trees in the yard are maples.  For some reason ours change colors later than the others around here.  That is nice. It makes the gall stretch a little bit later.
Autumn colors
I intended to take pictures before I left for California. Time got away from me and it didn't get done. 
Autumn colors
Sugar maples are an amazing tree to watch change colors. At times you can see all of the colors on one branch at the same time. 
Autumn colors
Even the sunset this evening shone with the amazing colors of autumn! 
Autumn colors in the sky

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Birthday celebration

My sister and I are in California to celebrate my birthday. We had a fabulous day going out on the ocean from Marina Del Rey. We went whale watching and dolphin seeing.
Tabatha took these first 3 pictures. I have been to the ocean several times.  This was her first time to see the ocean. The weather was perfect! 
Tabatha and Trisha at Malibu State Beach
As we walked along Malibu beach we saw what looked like purple rocks along the ocean floor. I recommended that Tabatha pick one up. She suddenly jumped and said, "They are crabs! "  We both had a good laugh. 
Purple rocks aka crabs!
We continued driving up Pacific Coast Highway 1 until it got close to sunset. We found a parking spot by this elevated lookout.  Surfers were catching the waves below and people gathered to enjoy the beautiful sunset. 
Sunset from Pacific Coast Highway, California
God is good! He provided a beautiful day for my birthday!    :^)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A special blessing

I was blessed today to see this eagle hunting in the field across from my place. When it was done hunting it turned and flew straight over my place. To the Native Americans this means that you have received a special blessing.
It always seems like my good camera is at the other side of the house every time I need it.
Blessing of Eagle over the house

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Long days and short nights

As a software consultant there are times that we work long days for the client. I have had several long days recently. But my client is happy and I won't need to take vacation for Friday. Sorry I couldn't find the time too write a message. Hopefully the next week will make up for that  "California here I come!"

Monday, October 10, 2016

The feeling of fall

It has felt a lot like fall.  But that is only reasonable because the leaves are falling more each day. It is fall and I can't avoid the fact that winter is just around the corner.
Cocoa, Buddy, Creamer and Gizem
The lambs and sheep are enjoying the weather. Although Buddy the ram has been particularly rambunctious! He got into a fight overnight. The vet will check him out tomorrow. 
Buddy's bad eye
We don't see many woodpeckers at the feeder in the summer. I'm not sure why. Dale picked up this new seed block and tray over the weekend.
Changing the bird feeders for winter
While inside the house,  baby Skyler is curled up with his toy.  I guess when you have your favorite toy, everything is right with the world. Nap time becomes safe.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Draco Meteor Shower

We caught a meteor despite the bright moon. It isn't very bright and it is in the middle of the picture.  It happened to fly in the most common area for meteors in this annual shower.
Meteor (in center of photo)

I downloaded the app "Star Walk 2" in order to find the constellation, Draco the Dragon.  I took a snapshot of my photo and drew the main points of the constellation. 

Draco the Dragon (see meteor by the eye?)

One of the web pages that I checked out to understand where to watch for the Draconid meteor shower is shown below:

YES! that was exactly where we saw the meteor!  Now, have you found it on my first picture?  You most likely will need to zoom in or expand the picture to the full size of your computer screen.  I have learned so much this year about night photography.  But as with everything, the more I learn the more I realize that there is so much more to learn!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Helping hands

About 3 weeks ago, I tore a tendon in my right  shoulder. Every day it get a little more soar.  I am scheduled for surgery on October 18th.  
Farm Chores
Dale had picked up some of the tasks that I normally do.  My nephews and their friends have come over to help with some of Dale's chores.

Boys ~ what are you doing?
In an attempt to keep the animals out of the way, we put a bale of hay in the pasture.  It looks like they played with their food more than they ate it.
Treat time! 
The boys were all into making a fort.  I recommended they just clean out the second level of this shed and play in here. 
Do a funny pose in the new "fort"
Last spring the county took down a lot of trees. We sold the wood 4 times, theoretically. No one ever committed and paid for it. It is finally getting cut up and moved.
Making wood
The cooler weather made a perfect day to the final group of people to "make wood".  The term we used to use for cutting up down trees for fire wood.