Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fall, continued: Seattle

Hi Nancy!

You beat me to it - I, too, have been taking pictures of leaves. I've also started my yearly pick-up and placing of leaves into my telephone book collection. First, I took out all the leaves I'd collected in Minneapolis last year - most with holes in them from the brutal hailstorm in the spring. I haven't had much luck collecting leaves here, because it got really cold and snowed, and the leaves froze before they turned color. So most of them are brown.

But in Seattle...I went to meet Brian as he got off the ship. Here is the ship he spent the last (nearly) four months on:

I drove for two hours through Seattle after I "deplaned" and when I got to the ship, I called Brian and found he was at the airport. Holy God! He was trying to make things easy for me so I wouldn't have to drive through the traffic. Anyway, I went back to the airport, and after that he drove and everything was fine. You know what a good driver he is; he can drive a car full of Drews all yelling out the wrong direction.

We went to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Gardens. We do this almost every time we are in Seattle together. Brian likes to watch boats and ships pass through, and I like to be there with him. First thing, we saw the most interesting blooms on a tree:

I didn't check to see what kind it was, but what fascinating blooms - they looked like plastic flowers. They had plump petals.

Enough of that - about the leaves:

Here is the walk alongside the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. That's a drawbridge up ahead, that opens up when a big ship has to come through. The trees were gorgeous everywhere. Then we got closer.

and closer:

It was too much. I actually had to give up picking up leaves because I would have needed a dump truck. I was stunned. I was awestruck. It was amazing. And this was just one leaf experience out of several in Seattle this weekend.

Leaf experiences are fleeting. I think that is part of their charm. They will be gone in an instant, a few hours, a day or two. I had a stack of leaves, but for lack of a phone book (no, I don't lug phone books around on weekends...yet) they dried up into curls. I managed to get a few home in a paper bag. Next year I'll dig them out of the phone book and be delighted once again.

Autumn Leaves

One of the things I always loved about growing up in Minneapolis were the leaves in the fall. All colors, big and bright would fall into our yard. Now, living in North Dakota I don't have that abundance of color in the fall. I have planted some trees in the yard, Paul, helped me, years ago. But they are trees that are suited for our climate, and although they are Maples, they are Silver Maples or crossed with Silver Maples and I get yellow brown leaves. At least I finally get some leaves anyway.

I don't know what it is about the leaves that I love. The crunch underfoot maybe? I do know I love the colors. And I know that this year the leaves are littering my yard in a handsome manner and I keep peeking out the windows to look at them even though most of them are not a very pretty color.
This is my 'cat' fence, with leaves.

What brought me out with the camera was the view from the back door onto my new porch. The leaves of the Amur Maples are dropping onto it and looking quite colorful.

All of us have noticed it. Some of us escaped into the yard to look at it more closely. Abbie from the inside.

Yes, Alice is out. She is such a sneak.

In the back near the new deck are two Amur Maples I planted years ago. These are small trees, sometimes grown as shrubs with lovely fall color.

At least for North Dakota this is about as good as it gets.
I appreciate every little bit of color there is on these two trees. These were the ones with lots of branches down last week after the heavy wet snow. The trees themselves are now very twisted and broken looking with large empty spots where branches used to be. The leaves though are still beautiful.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Slivers everywhere

Hi Mary and Jeni,
Slivers of wood that is. This is a quiz.
What does this say and where does it say it?

Do 'ya give?

All right, here is the answer.
"Never again will I put a sliver in Maggie's finger." And it is signed "X"
Yes, you got it right. I knew you both would. It is the old front door.
Lots of history on that door. Decades of history, including the saying written with magic marker on the bottom inside. I have seen many people stare at the door for a while and then look around at us. WTF?
But the stuff on the outside of the door is the most historic.
A history of Mom and Dad's political views over the years.
1984, Twenty five years ago. Who was running for president then? Jim says Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro against Reagan.
A sign from 1990... almost twenty years ago.
Jim says he didn't put this one up, but Monroe Crossing is a bluegrass band. They have even played here in Clifford, North Dakota! I notice it is right next to an American Farmland Trust sticker.
This is one of Mom's.
I enjoy this one alot.
The reason I am profiling the door is that the parents have told me they are getting new windows in their bedroom and a new front door. Probably before we get back for the winter. It will sure be different.
Then when we got back to the farm we found that we had missed a snow storm that had put lots of heavy snow on our trees. The result was two tree limbs down in the road. We could just barely drive around them.
When we came into the yard we had limbs down on our trees next to the (beautiful) new deck and also two down on the crabapple tree. Lots of work for tomorrow.
So, slivers everywhere.

Our Brothers' Birthdays

Dear Nancy,

They are not so young as they once were, our brothers. But really, have they changed all that much?

Jon - I remember him showing me how to draw stick figures the night before kindergarten because I was afraid the other kids would laugh at me for not knowing how to draw people. That was unusual though. He was more likely to make a horrendous face so I would laugh and squirt food at the dinner table when Dad demanded Peace and Quiet.

Chris - Kit then - I have an indelible memory of him, hunched over a textbook at a desk in his room, black glasses practically steaming up from thinking so hard, kleenex screwed into his nostrils because of a dripping nose from allergies, and out of the silence a sudden, loud, frustated utterance......"Suck a HOT NUT!" Then nothing more, while he continued his furious work. He must have been doing calculus. And who could forget the Dog Dance?

Happy Birthday Chris, Oct. 9
Happy Birthday Jon, Oct. 16

Love, Mary

Sunday, October 11, 2009

First freeze at the garden

Hi there Mary,
I wondered if you were ever going to post that. It really doesn't seem so bad although I don't know if that is years of reading trashy novels causing me to lose all perspective on 'that' word.
The first real frost of the season was Friday the 9th of October. I had a few minutes in the garden before I had to start on my long day of organizing the quilt show set up. It looked interesting all frozen, although not as frozen as it will look later. Our 'normal' first frost date is September the 21st. That changed till much later last year (early November) and is still about 3 weeks late this year.
(Yes the quilt show was wonderful and no you didn't win the raffle quilt.) Neither did Dad although he was one of the ten finalists. If not for my amazing sense of drama he would be the winner as his was the first of the ten 'final' tickets drawn. However it was not to be, and Lois who is the long-arm quilter up at Faye's Henhouse won the prize. She quilted your bed quilt, Dad's too for that matter. I don't know how to break it to Dad. Maybe you could call him.

All the rest of this post is going to be frosty photo's in order to make up for the last post. Also you know we have to keep Skeeter happy.
Here is a lone survivor. I don't know how I missed it. The rest of the tomatos are littering the kitchen. They have to wait until I recover from the quilt show.

Englemann's Ivy


Strawberries and some California poppies.

Ohhh, a Heavenly Blue Morning Glory that will never open.

Garlic Chives seed heads.
Jim says these are aliens, swimming in the ozone, but I prefer to think of them as jellyfish.


And that is all,

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The exciting life I lead....

Hello Nancy,

As you know, my husband goes to sea.  He is not only a sailor now, he is a Mate.  As in "matey."  I keep forgetting to ask him if he goes about saying, "Aye, aye, Cap'n."  Why two ayes?  Isn't one enough?
At any rate, we email each other, to keep each other company and keep abreast of all the fascinating happenings that make up our lives.  I'd like to share with you a portion of an email he sent the other day.  I will warn all our delicate readers: this excerpt has a word in it, or maybe it's a subject, but anyway, if you're easily offended, stop reading now.  (I know you are not easily offended, Nancy, hee hee.)  FYI: "MMOs" refers to Marine Mammal Observers.  Okay, here's the excerpt:
"I also forgot to tell you about the whale carcass we saw yesterday. It was old and definitely a male. I am going to get some pictures of it from the MMO's. I was busy driving and not running into it. The reason we knew it was a male was because it was floating belly up and its penis was hanging out. You'll see when I send a picture."

Oh boy.  My husband is sending me a picture of a male whale.  This must be a very fascinating item for him to go to so much trouble.  I'm not sure whether to be excited or disgusted.  Poor whale. 

Note: I wrote this awhile ago and waited for the picture of the whale to show up.  When it did, it was so far away that it lost all power to amaze (if it ever had that power.)  It just looked rather sad.  So - a pictureless post.  I will make up for it next time.
Love, Mary

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Vintage Sewing Machines and Quilts

Hello there Mary and Jeni,
I am busy getting ready for the Quilt show this weekend. We have done lots of organizing and I hope we don't have any problems. It will be exciting to see who wins the raffle quilt, shown above. I sold a lot of tickets. Of course if Dad hadn't bought 5o I would have only sold 60 tickets. However he did buy 50 and so I think there is a good chance that someone I sold a ticket to will win the quilt.
We do sell a lot of tickets but I have about a 15% chance of being the seller of the winning ticket.
The other thing I have been doing is getting Faye's beautiful vintage sewing machines up and running. She is going to have a vintage sewing machine display to coincide with the Quilt show and we need to spiff them up. I have been working there all week and it is a lot of fun. I hope to get some of mine up to the quilt show too.
Other than that we are just watching baseball and watching the rain. We have had about a week of gloomy weather. However it is supposed to get down around 32 degrees tonight so we might have a clear sky and that may very well mean we have frost and that will be the end of the flowers in the garden. It has already been cold enough to stop the morning glories.
I have just finished Potshot on the Spenser series. He is getting better as he ages. I don't know how much longer he can keep this up though. Spenser must be getting really old.
I have started reading an occasional Sunny Randall story as it comes up in order. I am up to 2001 now because they talk about 9/11. I am glad you encouraged me to read them. Parker is a lot of fun.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Quilt Show Window

Hi there Mary,
It has been raining here, confounding the farmers who are trying to harvest beans. We had 2.8 inches Wednesday and Thursday which is the most we have had at one time all season. More is expected on Monday. So the fields are wet and the farmers are in town catching up on their gossip and eating pie at Paula's restaurant.
Jim and I are waiting to see if the Minnesota Twins can pull it off and make it into the playoffs, or if the Detroit Tigers can blow their lead in the last two games of the season. Either way works for us.
One thing I did recently was decorate a window in Mayville to highlight our quilt club's upcoming quilt show. One of the other club members, Eldra Forsgren, and I have done this for two years now. This year my friend Anne came up from the cities and helped us out. We had a good time and finished it in about 2 hours. It took us very little time this year because we had done it once before.
All the quilt club members are asked to donate quilts and the window stays up about a month. It faces North so we don't worry about the sun fading the quilts. The members in Hillsboro, N.D. have to change their window after two weeks because it faces the east and gets lots more sun.
Anyway these are some pictures of the window. As you can see the pictures from outside the window give you an interesting view of the North side of Main Street with an nice look at Soholt's bakery, the Traill County Tribune offices and the Corner Cafe.
So I had to take pictures from the inside of the window to get a good look. The angle isn't the best but it gives you the feeling. We tried to make it look like a sewing room and the owner just stepped out for a moment but she would be
The vintage New Home machine is one that was given to Faye at the Henhouse because the owner was downsizing and she knew Faye collects the old machines. Was I jealous? Yes! It is a little beauty.
Hope school is starting OK for you this semester.