Sunday, September 27, 2009

cheese and crackers

None of the facts were clear until Uncle Cal died. His obituary stated he was born in Wisconsin but later moved with his family to Idaho where his father, William Miller, had taken a job with Kraft Cheese. Esther and William had two boys, Willis and Calvin, when they packed up and moved west. My mother was born after the family had settled in a verdant valley named Rockland where they raised cows, as did the Millers and the Rosins they’d left behind. Watercress grew on the banks of the Snake River nearby. William had been a valued member of the team establishing the first dairy facility in southeastern Idaho for the Kraft Corporation in the 1930’s.
Growing up I heard the name Colby only as it referenced Aunts Emma, Anna and Hortense or cousin Minnie Mae. My mother’s jaw would tighten when she mentioned the Millers back in Wisconsin. William had disgraced them and ruthlessly altered the history of his wife and children by walking off the Rockland farm one day during the Depression. Decades later word trickled down that he had another family in California.

Even more decades have passed leaving only the famous orange cheese, made in Wisconsin since 1882, as a reminder of what might have been. I’ve kept an image of my grandfather wrapped in the cooler drawer of my heart. He’s in the field behind the plow pulled by his faithful mule when he stops to watch a flock of geese pass overhead. Then he drops the reins and follows them.

Visit Sunday Scribblings and read more stories prompted by 'cheese.'

Friday, September 25, 2009

Small birds flew

One of my favorite late summer occurrences is when the new sparrows have fledged and now travel in clusters of family and friends [am I anthropomorphising again?]. They are always eating on the ground or perched in trees in ten or twenty at a time. There is something so precious and communal about this ordinary behavior that gives me a certain feeling of security. That all's right with the world, even if it really isn't. Anyway, I caught these guys on a lovely bird bath recently. The photo is worth enlarging to see those down inside too.

More great creatures at Camera Critters.

Last night as I floated above the treetops
Clouds were forming to the north
Grace gazed at the river’s edge
Shaking out her skirt, small birds flew
And with their beaks wrote new chapters
From the ink the river spilled under the stars

Thursday, September 24, 2009

SkyWatch Friday all in one day

My sky views at sunrise, midday and sunset--same big Midwestern sky, different days in September.

Visit SkyWatch Friday for more unique sky views from all over the world.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Anything war can do, peace can do better.**

While you are proclaiming peace with your lips,
be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.
- St. Francis of Assisi

September 21, 2009
International Day of Peace

**title quote from Desmond Tutu & Mutts comic strip by Patrick McDonnell 9/21/09

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Camera Critters come alive

Aesop said: We would often be sorry if our wishes were granted. I wondered if this guy was wishing to be real. I spied this faux pelican deep in thought under a Norfork Isle Pine in the garden of the Smiling Pelican Bake Shop in Maiden Rock, Wisconsin. We were visiting on a stop during the annual Flood Run motorcycle ride so while the bikers hung together I walked around with my camera. Sadly this wonderful bakery closes down the weekend the bikers come to town which means NO PIE. But they have lovely gardens around their small building in which to stroll. And stroll I did.

These guys seemed happy enough to be real. Pie or not!

See more happy creatures at Camera Critters here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

There's something about my daily routine in the kitchen that brings certain people to mind. For instance without fail I remember Sandy who lost her battle with cancer a few months back, when I'm chopping veg on the counter. Maybe it is because she was a true, old fashioned home ec teacher; I'm not sure but I remember her skills and kindness most vividly then. On Wednesday I was cleaning the range top and as I swiped around the area, Mary Travers from Peter, Paul, & Mary came to mind. I blissfully thought, 'Wow, she must be doing great with her leukemia in remission and all.' The next day I saw that she had passed away the same day she randomly came to my mind.

The music of that trio was a big part of my tentative move into young adulthood. I first heard them on a hi-fi at a house down the street where I babysat. When everything was quiet I would sing along to 'If I Had a Hammer' and 'Blowing in the Wind.' Later on Mary's sweet voice in 'Leaving on a Jet Plane' became my anthem as Dave and I spend a lot of time apart.

I'll never know why, but I think Mary flew by St. Paul on Wednesday as she left for a better gig.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

blue highways

I took this photo from the back of the motorcycle this summer on a Sunday afternoon near St. Francis, can see the top of the windshield in the bottom right. Roads are my favorite subject, next to the sky, to photograph and this one has both, as well as visual proof of how hard the winters are on the roads around here! See more sky views at Sky Watch Friday.

Speaking of rough winter months, I noticed this specimen near the apartment grounds where I live. This bench is never covered and is visited by all manner of weather and, except for some splinters, it appears to be nicely weathered and sturdy. You'll find more benches on Rune's site Visual Norway where he posts his Bench of the Week and gladly accepts others' photos of benches they've seen recently. That makes Friday even more fun!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

siftin' sand

The letter I is the letter of the week for Round 5 of ABC Wednesday. For me it stands for the illusive nature of the sand and rocks that are washed up on the beach. And my wild imaginings of where they came from and just how old they might be.

These are a few of the rocks I found while walking on the Lake Michigan shore. I always look for heart shaped rocks and wasn't disappointed this time. As you will recall from Geology 101 [which I barely passed with a C] these are predominately igneous rocks [the others being your metamorphic and sedimentary types]. Below are some good examples of the variety of 'wash up' I found, including two pieces of sea glass...most likely old beer wonderful little shells and fragments of shells.

All day, all night, Marianne
Down by the seaside siftin’ sand
Even little children love Marianne
Down by the seaside siftin’ sand
from the 1950's song 'Marianne' by Terry Gilkyson, Frank Miller and Richard Dehr

Monday, September 14, 2009

fun times

This weekend was bustling with activity in the Twin Cities [a visit from Pres. Obama, opening game of the Vikings and the U of M Gophers] and not the least of which a small 'fall festival' at a local church near our apartment. This usually means that the car collectors cruise around and park where they can be seen during the festivities. Thus the gorgeous blue Chrysler sporting a reflection of the red Barracuda next to it. Groovy, I thought.What's Ruby Tuesday without some red flowers? I snapped these variegated blooms in this garden at Loyola University in Chicago. I've never seen anything quite like them.

Visit Ruby Tuesday here for more gorgeous red to rock your world!

Happy Monday!

Visit Today's Flowers for a virtual bouquet to start your week in the best possible way!
I planted this light pink mini fuchsia plant at the end of the greenhouse season [read: half price sales] knowing it would thrive as the earth tilted toward August and September. Its been a beautiful addition and has just now come into its prime while the other annuals are suffering heat exhaustion.

Parasols twirling
Flowing scarves pink and breathless
September arrives

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Grand-Cats on CameraCritters

Meet my very own grand-cats making their debut on Camera Critters. Above is Baby [aka Baby Phat, Fatima, Fatsa, etc.] who belongs to Erica and lives in cat luxury in Washington, D.C. She's a rescue cat who had lived on the street for a time resulting in some residual, umm, weirdness. We think she is a black variety Korat Cat, all black with a tiny white star on her chest--even black whiskers!
This is a Maine Coon Cat who owns Audrey and also lives in the lap of luxury in Chicago. Before she came to Audrey, she had a neglected past, and was later rescued by someone who named her Squirrel. Dave and I especially like playing volley ball with her--she sits, we throw a sparkly ball which she spikes across the room, we go get it. . .and so on.

More beautiful creatures here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

red sky at morning

Early morning sky over Lake Michigan at the beginning of September--late summer or early, early fall?

Click here for more skies

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Chicago critters

I was visiting Audrey in Chicago last week where I was able to go to the Lake Michigan shore every day because her apartment is only two blocks away! Joining these shorebirds I found my own bits of delight as we all poked around the sand together.

Visit Camera Critters for more feathered and furry friends.

for whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea
e.e. cummings