Friday, March 20, 2009

Gone round the bend

Well it has happened. Happened in our heads anyway.

The locals keep gently (and of course slowly) telling us...

"You know. Winter is not quite over yet. Hay?"

What do we care about local lore, weather charts,
Doppler radars, and years of experience!

Heck, after all, the snow and that weird permafrost stuff is still melting quickly in the yard, and the sun is out. Based on that alone in our minds the long winter is over. It must be all this sunshine, this balmy 48.. um.. 42 degree weather, or maybe it is just this time of year...

Whatever it is, we have gone quite mad.

Mad as March Hares... Mad as Hatters.
Mad I tell ya Mad!

David took the plow off the truck, we set up the chop saw table on the patio downstairs to finally finish up the trim work inside the house, we asked some friends to pick up a huge bag of grass seed for us on their last trip into town. I dug out the my yard work tools, and we are talking gardens.
Well, we are talking... but I am dreaming.

As my ideas get bigger and bigger and David keeps reminding me we do not have a big enough well for the water we would need to support the type of gardens I keep imagining. He says we would have to get a pump and draw it directly out of the lake for the plans I have!

What do I care for wells, and pumps, and lake water.
My thoughts are with lush, green, sunny, bursting, verdant, dripping, blooming gardens!

Dreams are simply not enough. The other morning I even got online with High Mowing Organic Seeds to make sure and get my seed order in before all the seeds were gone!


You never know... there might be a run on the French Breakfast Radishes.

Forget that I will not even be able to put things in the ground until June...
that does not matter!

As David and I have been talking about gardens AND golf courses quite a bit lately, I have come to the conclusion that gardening is a lot like golfing in that once you have the bug you are hooked.

Like novice golfers, we novice gardeners think our skills are much better than they really are... we get all dressed up in the appropriate gear... buy all kinds of silly accessories we are sure will help...

and we are so proud of our little scraggly accomplishments.

Well... that last guy's accomplishments aren't so scraggly....

Anyway.... No one can dampen our spirits!

If bad weather rolls around... a bad growing season... a few bad rounds... lightning...
Well, just you never mind...

We just hang up our trowels and clubs when the season is over, and dream until we can try again the next year. Golfers and gardeners are gluttons for punishment. But it does not really matter. Either activity gets us outside, enjoying ourselves hopefully somewhere green, and we are striving to learn and master that which can never be mastered... even by Tiger.

This year for my garden I am thinking of trying the permaculture, food not lawn, vegetables as annual kinda thing. Our water IS limited, the hose length is limited, and so is the season. So to best take advantage of that I think I will be interspersing my veggies with my flowers.

Anyway.. it is sure fun planning it all. I doubt it will look anything like that photo
but it is fun to dream.

I wrote this post yesterday... the first day of spring... the Vernal Equinox...
You see I was planning on finalizing it today.
This morning I woke up to 3 inches of snow covering everything that was once brown. Sigh.

Mad I tell ya.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Shack Happy Parte Dos

Ya know how they say,
"It's not the heat… it’s the humidity."


Well up here one might change that saying to:

"It's not the cold, it’s the never ending length of time stretching into oblivion that the white blinding snow covers everything in sight. Snow that removes every trace of any other possible color in the palette that might exist other than white and gray. A colorless void that sucks the warmth out of the world and lasts for months and months on end."

Yeah yeah yeah... it's friggen beautiful.

Alright already.

I take back what I said about not being shack happy, I think we are there.
I must have been confused, irritable, and socially withdrawn.
(see below)

The above symptoms seem to apply to both of us… one little difference. David does not get cranky but he gets a bit blue and quiet. However, I don’t really get blue… I get cranky.

Imagine that.
I am sure anyone who knows me is very surprised by to hear that.
Poor David.

Artwork by Erin Smith @

We fought hard against it... I think we put up one heck of a battle. We are kind of a funny pair. I think neither of us wanted to admit it to ourselves or each other that we were starting to get a little loony... (like we did not notice it right?)

Anyway, when we went to the Snowmobile Club meeting the other night we heard plenty of gripes from the locals about their own shack happy lives so I think we felt much better. A bit of relief actually, we are not alone and we did pretty good for a couple Northern Californians.

What also helped was for a few days this week we got close to 40 degrees and look what I found on the way home from work one day!



How very lovely!

While driving with the dogs I even rolled the window down and let the air blow through the car with the stereo up loud singing at the top of my lungs! What a nice afternoon it was! Well, actually a nice few days. We had a blizzard last night and.. well... a little one today.... but that does not count as it should be close to 30 again here in oh.... 72 - 96 hours or so. It's almost over I can feel it! The grass is just about to pop through that 4 feet of snow layer out in the yard any moment now! There are buds on the trees and shrubs! I can almost hear my daffodils gathering strength to pop up into the sun!

Speaking of boots.... (note the art piece by Erin Smith above)... one of my sisters and I were exchanging emails the other day when we realized we shared an odd appreciation.


I am talking about the BOOTS... geez.

I mean check these boots out!
These are a sly red pair... sly kinda like a mullet.
Business on the bottom party at the top!

and these! This gal is ROCKIN' those red boots!

I dunno what it is... they just look kinda fun. Sorry guys. Women and shoes. I just don't know how to explain it.

I have noticed however, that the my favorite red boots lean into the western cowboy boot kinda style... which to be honest is not normally my thing.

You see you have to be a little careful with red boots... the western ones are ok. They are fun and a bit spicy peeking out beneath a pair of faded jeans, but when you start looking at other styles you quickly start to lean over into the stripper or clown boot category.

Despite the fashion pitfalls I always wanted a pair. I nearly got some many years ago until I saw that chickie Lori Singer in Footloose wearing some and that was it...

Sorry. I could not find a picture of Lori with the boots. She kept turning sideways in front of the camera during the filming of the movie and would disappear. If you happen to have a copy of Footloose laying around I am talking about the red boots she wore particularly around the tractor chicken fight scene. Since I could not find any of Lori, you will just have to deal with a picture of Kevin Bacon dancing a jig instead.

Dang... Lori needed to eat a sandwich or nachos or something when Footloose was filmed. I guess they did not feed movie stars back in those days... and by the way... if you do have a copy of Footloose in your DVD collection, I have other questions for you that we will have to approach at another time.

Anyway, I was done. I did not want folks to think I took the whole red boot idea from her. Dang, it just took all the fun out of having them...

Well.. almost. I mean just look at this next pair.
THESE babies are Italian...
Dig on the turquoise stitching and piping on the sides!

The Italians were (and still are) always very stylish with their "western" anything.
"Strike a pose Clint and gimme a little pout...
Umm... Ok... then how about a grimace and squint!?
Ahhh, sì molto bello!"

Phew.... anyway...
I was glad to know I was not completely alone in my penchant for red leather boots.

One thing that has been kinda fun lately is that David and I have been selling off stuff we don't need anymore on eBay and many of our old unwanted books on three different sites. eBay takes a bit of work if you want to do it right but the books sites are great! You type in a list of the ISBN numbers and they tell you if they will buy them or not. You don't get a lot but it is better than a sharp stick in the eye. And they pay for shipping! So all you have to do is box them up and drop them off in the mail! We have sold books on,, and . My suggestion is to type up a list in your word processing program (word or whatever) and save it on your computer somewhere and then just copy and paste into the different sites if you have a bunch to sell. They don't take everything, and sometimes it just depends on their inventory on that particular day so check back frequently.

It was a fun diversion and we got rid of a bunch of books (three large boxes) that we loved but did not love enough to keep lugging around from home to home.

And now for a little comic relief. This article I scanned below was in a nearby Wisconsin newspaper. You see in this area the DNR (Dept. of Natural Resources) keeps telling people that there are NO mountain lions... cougars.. whatever you want to call them in this area. People who live here keep reporting sightings, hitting them with cars, shooting them in the yard but apparently according to the DNR there are NO Mountain Lions here. The articles below were in the paper the other day and each and every big and little headline made me crack up about the whole thing. I posted the article twice, once to see unaltered and the other with my notes. Click on them to see them up close and then hit 'back' button to return.

Ahhh.. ya just gotta love our government agencies.

And now for your moment of Zen:

Yes that is Mount Rainier in Washington.

Hmmm. I think I will go find my seed packets from last year and get to planning my garden.
After all spring is just around the corner!



Sunday, March 1, 2009

Living and learning

We have been tucked in all comfortably for the last few weeks making great efforts to appear like a pair of hermits... well, not really a pair as we have the beasts here with us. So I guess that technically makes us a quartet of hermits.

Anyway, we have been (forever) painting, and have even been selling stuff on the computer. Sporting equipment, old coins etc., through eBay and used books through Powell's. Shhh.. don't tell but I probably purchase used books through Amazon and Powell's as fast as we sell them so there appears to be no change in the size of our library nor in the profit involved in this activity... much like the stock market lately.
I digress.

Anyway, yesterday we planned to break out of our routine and attended the
First Annual Snowmobile Drag races here in town at the airport.
Very Exciting!

It was a fundraiser put on by the local snowmobile club for Habitat for Humanity. Some folks had their house burn to the ground and Habitat was helping to raise funds to replace it. There was a pretty good turn out when you take into account that this is the first time for this event.

A couple of the snowmobile club members groomed the airport

and several teams and individuals responded.
Local folks participated and then also guys/gals who are more into racing joined in as well.

I say guys/gals because unlike this groovy swingin' couple
you could not tell man from women in the outfits I saw the other day...

Unless I suppose you turn people upside down but we're not goona go there. I hope it went well enough to make it an annual event. The airport is the perfect place for drag races and with a little more organization it could really take off nicely. A handful of folks worked very hard to get the race together and I bet they will have lots of ideas on what to do next year if they are going to do it again. The first year is always a trial run for these kind of things.

I had to work on Saturday for a couple hours so our participation took a little planning. We had to make sure that we brought extra clothes for me to wear to the airport as it turns out that Saturday was the coldest day we have had so far this winter. We woke up to -25 degree weather (wind chill -34) here at the lake, and a little bit later in town it was -35 in some spots. There was one day where the temperature was not as low but the wind chill dropped the temp lower than it was on saturday. However, this -35 below business was the actual temperature... thank goodness there was not much wind to speak of. Let me tell ya it kind of put an interesting twist on watching the snowmobile races.

David and Delta came to get me and I added layers of clothing at work and we went down to the air field. Cosmo stayed at home... it was wayyyyy too cold for him and his little furry toes. We parked at David's uncle's house and wobbled over to watch for awhile. As I mentioned above it is kind of funny because you don't really recognize people until you get up pretty close to them. Everyone looks like the Michelin man and we all "walk" like weebles in the snow. If you fall over, you are lost. Poof.

The racing was actually pretty fun. Some people were riding regular snowmobiles and others were riding "souped up" machines that looked like rockets. They had so much power when they started the drag race the front end would come up off the ground!! On the souped up machines the riders would lay down low on the machine like they do on racing motorcycles. We did not stay until the end but it was fun while we were there.

One thing I think you should know though... ya know all the groovy photos of snowmobiles you have been looking at? They are not mine. Not a single one of them.

Joe and Mr. Rockford are very disappointed.

You see, I forgot to bring one very important thing to the
First Annual Snowmobile Drag Race.


It has been a new experience getting used to the cold here. I really am glad we are here... I think the folks who live here full time for years on end are pretty hardy folks. We came for a year or so for some adventure, to build the house, visit with David's Dad and family members, and for a bit of a break. Turns out it has been a great choice. For me, learning to live in this cold weather has been interesting. Really. You definitely learn to dress etc and how to treat your vehicle as well as what to carry inside your vehicle around this time of year. (A shovel and etc clothes are very important). I warm the car up in plenty of time to get me to work and sometimes that means it is sitting out in the driveway idling for 10-15 minutes. I have to tell you though... it is STILL cold when you get inside so the whole car dancing phenomena takes on new meaning as well.

Ummm.... ok. Whatever.
Don't even try to act like you don't know what car dancing is...

Align Center

You know you have all done it at one point either for fun with friends,

Or out of sheer joy in hearing an old favorite song on the radio while you are alone. I know you have seen people on the highway doing it...

You have even probably seen the ultimate car dance in movies...

but I am betting money that you yourself have done it at least once. It's like singing at the top of your lungs in the car or in the shower... how can you not?!!

Anyway, like I said, car dancing takes on a whole new meaning up here in da' U.P.
It is a great way to stay warm in the car. I must give you the disclaimer however. Whatever you do though don't try to check your performance in the mirror when you get home.
I did that once and was scarred for life.
I thought I was all coordinated and graceful and stuff... thought I had THE MOVES...
Good Grief...
ever see Elaine dance on Seinfeld?


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