PACKING FOR A PILGRIMAGE

_888

In the first prompted exercise in a recent writing workshop we were asked to jot down ten things we would take upon a pilgrimage. And then we were instructed to cross out three. Not so simple, as it turned out. The first three I eliminated were the first three I had written, and I reluctantly gave up my comfy down pillow, my sensible shoes, and my collection of New York Times crossword puzzles to keep me occupied during “down times.”

The next three rejects included (gulp!) my camera, and as I worked through the last of the list I surprised myself by surrendering my notebook and pen for the blessed security of a talisman. Or, more accurately, talis-men.

Let me explain. I once experienced a year that included three car accidents in succession. I hit two deer with one blow as they leapt into my path, ran over a fleeing coyote as he dashed across the road, and sent a pedestrian flying. The last incident was the most traumatic, of course, and while she was also responsible for entering my line of direction, and thankfully and amazingly only suffered cuts and bruises, the whole business of setting out on the paltriest of journeys, never mind searching for the Grail, became daunting after that.

And so, as I made up my pilgrimage packing list for the workshop and momentarily struggled over the last entry, I threw in with a certain sense of silliness, my old remedy and creative technique for calming my driving and journey fears those years ago. And just as the first entry became the first to go, the last was left, necessary and pre-eminent.

At the workshop, after all the unpacking and discarding, the reluctant letting-go of this and that and the panic of leaving my notebook behind, I called upon the ultimate necessity – my Driving Angels. I had named them Zepheriel and Mercuriel and decided they were “Angels in Training,” novices that could be sent to protect a newly Nervous Nelly like me.

I imagined them perched upon the hood of the car, ever excited, letting the sea wind blow through their hair, straining to look around the bend in the road. They would laugh with joy as they hung onto their newly earned halos. The more intense the weather, the better they liked it. The crazier the freeway traffic, the more thrilling the adventure.

And we had many. There was the magic day dolphins arched along the shore, seeming to race the car until they abruptly turned west and vanished from sight. There was a foggy night when a small dog appeared in the headlights, trotting rapidly ahead before dashing into the dark of a turnout, and we pulled over and called and whistled and pleaded until the frightened fellow came running and leapt into the back seat. There was the motorcyclist down by the side of the road and we raced to the nearest café to call 911.

When I fly I marvel at how flight supervisors on the landing strip must gape in amazement, can hardly believe their eyes at the awesome figures, each sitting astride a wing of the plane. And passengers waiting to board, looking through terminal windows, gasp at winged creatures flying a large golden ball coming in for a landing.

A real, in-the-flesh pilgrimage might be enlightening or scary, and most likely both. By its very nature a journey is meant to challenge and push beyond our comfort zones with a promise of something greater at the end. But I suspect the real enlightenment always occurs in the treading of the path.

I think I better understand the writing exercise now and the importance of recognizing what is most important for a pilgrimage. My angels have served me well over the years, calmed my fears, encouraged me to travel, and most importantly, fueled my imagination.

 

-Inspired by Karen Hering’s writing workshop – Pilgrimage into Creativity: seeing with pilgrim eyes. Her book,“Writing to Wake the Soul, opening the Sacred conversation within,” Simon and Schuster, available online at Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in favorite things, IMAGINATION, PILGRIMAGE, spirituality, writing | Leave a comment

MINNESOTA DIRECTIONS

_904

After reading James Liliks’ Sunday column in the Star Tribune, I had to chuckle because he aptly synced-in with a major observation of mine. In writing about why Minnesotans decide to leave this state, the first thing on his list was – “13 percent are transplants who can’t wait to leave because Minnesotans are a cold, clannish tribe whose outward politeness masks a bottomless well of Scandinavian gloom.”

Ouch! I could add that we transplants of only three winters felt satisfyingly superior about our ability to adapt until – well, until this winter. Gone is the glee about wafting snowflakes, the thrill of experiencing seasons, the novelty of it all. But that’s another story.

What Liliks (who also writes a blog appropriately named “The Bleat”) was referring to, was a strange, surprising, dirty little secret about the tribes in this prairie/lakes land. Given the well-known moniker about Minnesota Nice, it took us awhile to unearth the truth.

At first we wondered why the neighbors didn’t arrive post haste bearing kaffe-kage (coffee cake) and Spritz. And invite us to their cook-outs. To be honest, the neighbor across the street arrives after each snowfall to plow our long driveway and even apologized for not doing it the first winter of our arrival. He is an angel and I am beyond grateful. But in California, in all our many moves, we inevitably became “kitchen pals” and barbeque buddies.

Here, the niceness syndrome is everywhere in evidence. It is a pleasure to make a business call on the phone in this town, where everyone goes out of their way to be accommodating and pleasant. Not a hint of L.A. impatience and snippiness. And passing others on the street inevitably rates a smile and usually a comforting, aren’t-we-just-in-this-together quip about the weather.

Was it us, we wondered?

A fellow RE-transplant gave me an answer. “It isn’t,” she explained, “that Minnesotans are made up of “Scandinavian gloom. They are just too polite for their own good and don’t ever want to seem too forward. Too pushy.” And furthermore, she added, “A Minnesotan is always happy to stop and give you directions, but never to his house.”

Her perspective helped to explain too, why locals sit primarily in the middle to back pews in a church. That practice bothered me whenever I went to our Shepard of the Prairie Lutheran Church with Aunt Lil. And when I queried her, she told me that, of course, no one wants to look like they’re “forward” or that they think they’re better than anyone else. Uff Da!

No wonder people looked uncomfortable and didn’t take us at our word whenever we proclaimed – “Stop on by anytime!” We’re gradually learning the proper lingo and mannerisms. And whether or not we actually adopt the traits of a native born, we are still happy in their midst. After all, the neighbor, bless his heart, is still plowing the driveway, and the clerk at Service Foods is cheery and accommodating, and the oil fuel delivery man is grateful to leave with cookies. Not to mention, most of our new good friends are part of the local Unitarian Church and they are natural rebels who don’t mind sitting in the front row.

So, I don’t entirely agree with James Liliks. At least about the gloom. But if Spring doesn’t arrive soon, I’m outta here!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in COMMUNITY, friendship, Immigration, introspection, minnesota life, MOVING, Norwegian, religion | Leave a comment

BOUND SHRINK

That’s what I called my journals throughout my younger years. My “bound shrink.” I scribbled with passion, if not always memorable prose. I poured out my heart and my thoughts, my faults and my foibles, my dreams and my deepest desires.

I’m certain if I opened those tomes and read them today, I would swoon with embarrassment. My good friend Melanie and I vowed once, many years ago, that whoever died first, the other would hightail it to their house and have one heck of a bonfire. We’re both still here. And the journals still sit upon my shelf like dear, old emotive and geeky friends.

It was just over three years, by a few months, that I began to write snowbirdredux. In the beginning I poured out my heart and my thoughts almost on a daily basis. It was my main fun in life. It “tickled” me to write with abandon. I had vowed, after all, to chronicle my musings, my fears and excitements, about the whole process of moving from California to Minnesota, and all that that entailed.

Everyday brought new concerns. How to leave the over 50 heirloom roses that I had planted and nourished and lovingly tended in my garden? The hammock under the pines? The lovely heavy smell of the ocean at the end of Morro Canyon? Who would feed and care for Button, the feral cat who pressed her nose against the window each day? Not to mention – how to justify leaving family behind? The children and the grandchildren.

There was so much to ponder.

Everyday I speculated about our new home. Would we fit in and feel part of the landscape and community? Would we master the art of manipulating ice and snow? Could we suffer through endless hot dishes and sliced meat on buns? Could mosquitoes ever become my “national bird?” Would the lakes and the prairies ever really feel like home?

I wrote and wrote. And readers came to know me. And commented if I neglected to report for a few days – “Are you all right?”

Then I joined a local writers group which, indeed, has become the highlight of each month, the inspiration and education of my literary life, not to mention – I love these guys! I have learned how to dissect my scribblings, edit and punctuate, cut out clichés, and above all – cut, cut, cut. And so much more. And now I write carefully, all the time analyzing the content for quality and publish-ability. And it has made me a much better writer I believe, but at the same time, I am now self-conscious and cautious before I share my thoughts.

To the extent that where snowbirdredux is concerned I have vowed and procrastinated and re-vowed again, to return to regular posts. To no avail. I even considered using what my husband calls my “whine” about all the volunteer jobs I have undertaken which overfill my days. And it is true that I am prone to practicing “Enthusiastic Hand Raise” whenever something needs to be done. “Oh, that would be fun.” “I can do that!” And before you know it I am running the Fergus Falls Farmers Market (now in two locations!), officer in Otter Tail County Master Gardeners (coffee chairman at Garden Day), directing the 1 Vegetable/ 1 Community Project (beets this year), conference committee for Lake Region Writers Network (that’s a major Uff DA!), programs for Underwood Unitarian Church, facilitator for Covenant Groups and – well, I’ll stop there before my whine raises in intensity to a shrill scream.

What happened, I begin to wonder, to the pleasure I had in simply sitting down at my desk and “riffing” without self-consciousness, the tale of my day? Yes, it’s true I have multiple volunteer tasks to fulfill. But also, I realize, my writing has been compromised at the same time it has been enhanced by my new found ability to critique. No longer do I sit, as I once did with my bound shrinks, pouring out my heart and enthusiasms.

I have taken on the habit of letting my husband do the first edit before sharing with the writers group and then, after a few rewrites, possibly proclaimed it good enough to post. Is it any wonder that my pages have been scarce and mainly non-existent?

Dear reader, if you want to comment and critique, I welcome your edits and suggestions and now pronounce you my extended writers group. I can use all the help I can get. I promise to post about passions and pitfalls, foibles and folly and as I would with my bound shrink, not fret about perfection or lack of.

Whoops. Did I just end a sentence with a preposition?

I love you guys. – Signed, Snowbirdredux

DSCN4109

 

 

 

 

Posted in favorite things, IMAGINATION, introspection, writing | 1 Comment

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?

A well-meaning friend of my mother asked me the question many years ago and I had to think about it. In those days, if you were a boy, the common accepted answer would have been fireman or policeman. More often than not, little girls, being put on the spot, responded with social correctness by choosing nurse, teacher, mommy, or if they were dreaming big, ballerina.

When I was a little older I might have secretly confided that I would like International Film Star or World Famous Explorer added to my resume. But this was a time when I had only seen the movie, Dumbo, and I hadn’t yet read “I Married Adventure” by Osa Johnson (and wanted to be her).

I never coddled my dollies, drilled them on their numbers, or pretended to burp them.

But I did regularly prop them around in a semi-circle, Melsina and Marcella, the large baby dolls, in the choice rocker in the middle.Teddy and Jocko, the Australian koala bear, snuggled at their feet. Nurse Jane had to be propped on the side of the chair because her legs didn’t bend. Leilani, in her green grass skirt, and Elizabeth, the very proper English girl, sat together because they were unlikely but bosom chums. Beloved Belindy completed the grouping with the Raggedys, of course, sprawled in front.

When they were quietly assembled, I sat on a small stool and opened a book. I hadn’t learned to read yet, so I turned the wondrous pages and told the stories of what I saw – tales of being bundled in bed with a stuffy nose, kept company by miniature creatures who trounced among the covers and burrowed about the pillows; the adventures of a golden haired maiden who rode in a chariot pulled by sweet tabby cats, up and over the rainbow; a winter world of icicles ruled over by a beautiful but scary queen.

Eventually I learned to read and write and proudly shared my stories, written painstakingly in pencil on lined notepaper, and as the years passed I filled up many notebooks and read my tales to others beyond my little group.

All these years later, in retirement and after many different jobs and wearing a multitude of hats, I find myself in our upstairs office/all-purpose room, where whatever doesn’t fit in another part of the house is deposited.

To my left sits Melsina and Marcella in a child’s rocking chair, Nurse Jane and Leilani and Elizabeth are propped about, Teddy and Jocko are on the bookshelf and the Raggedys are nearby.

I sit in the middle, typing away on my computer keyboard, telling tales.

     I know just what I want to be when I grow up.

DSCN4220

Posted in enchantment, Favorites Books, IMAGINATION, memories, playtime, STORY TELLING, writing | Leave a comment

HERITAGE – A TRIBUTE

_698

My Fergus Falls Writers Group (of which I am the noted and most highly enthusiastic groupie) is for people who are writing for profit as well as passion, and the gathering serves as a combination editing, critique team/cheering section. I also belong to Writing as a Spiritual Practice at the Unitarian Church in Underwood. Minnesota, which is all about connecting with the inner self and one another.

Our statement of intent affirms – “We write to break through clichés, to challenge old assumptions, and to step beyond our anxieties and discover what we really want to say. Sometimes it is difficult to uncover the authentic, the true, the spiritual. Other times it is a transcendent rush to find new insights for ourselves and with others.”

This past month the group decided to conduct a church Sunday service and, following the theme presented by the church’s 125th anniversary, wrote about and then presented thoughts on Heritage and Legacy. I was thrilled to see the amazing array of diversity, everyone following their own focus, genre, understanding, and path of discovery. Our writings encompassed everything from a remembrance of immigrant grandparents, a discussion on the provenance of values, poetry about forgotten family farms and towns, personal tales of boyhood, philosophical context, to a humorous fictional yarn about an elderly couple who take “…a long strange trip, worth remembering, but neither will.”

When I first pondered the theme, the first thing that came to mind was the tale of my grandfather who came across the sea from an island off the coast of northern Norway, at age eight with his seven year old brother and Uncle Simon. Simon, who had promised once he had secured good, fertile land, and the boys had helped him reap a crop, that he would send money back for the parents and three sister’s passage. But Simon didn’t keep his promise because he died upon arriving at the Red River of the North and the little boys were left virtual orphans, stranded in a strange land, and were never to see their parents and any of their family again.

A chilling tale with a lot more drama to come and so it began to feel more suited to a novel (there’s an idea) than a short church presentation.

DSCN3006

I thought of my other grandfather who, after a storm dashed his little fishing boat to smithereens on the rocky shore (again in Norway), picked up what boards and pieces of wood were not too shattered and built a small chest in which he stowed his few possessions. He then, too, sailed off to the new land, settling along that same Red River, digging out a crude enclosure into the bank in which to sleep and huddle against the elements, at times skiing or skating over a hundred miles to Alexandria for supplies.

DSCN2976

But that could easily be the tale of almost everyone in our little church.

I certainly inherited my two grandfather’s wayfaring genes, having gypsied up and down the Pacific coast throughout my lifetime, moving every year or so. And then, instead of settling down for my retirement years in my home state, decided to journey again, far across the country to Minnesota, settling not far from that same Red River of the North. Grandfather Jorgen arrived with a handmade chest and a cow and two oxen. I came with a small moving van and a husband and a cat.

_695

I have told my familial tales many times over. The heritage is ingrained in my DNA and perhaps, my persona. But my contribution to the program that Sunday at the Unitarian Church, I realized, had to be centered on a more present reality, the “who” and the “why” of my being, and it was directly related to the two women who raised me.

DSCN4216

My Grammy Marie sang softly to herself throughout the day, in a sweet Scandinavian soprano, whether she was taking a swipe at some dusty shelf as she passed by, making me cocoa with marshmallows on top, or working her magic in the garden. Our little, white-picket-fenced cottage was crowned with climbing roses on arbors, around the entry walk and clustered about the front door. Each spring daffodils encircled the yard, interspersed by sparaxis and irises and lilies. I played under her giant blue hydrangeas and fashioned ballerinas and Dancing Girls of the Old West, by pulling out all but two of the stamens from the fuchsias. My love and obsession of the garden comes from her. My understanding of sweetness and goodness all stems from her.

DSCN3856

And from my mother. Mom was fond of telling the tale of how she came to California from Minnesota as a young bride and “saw the palm trees and the mountains and the ocean” and thought “she’d died and gone to heaven.”

_1156

But she also liked to reminisce about teaching in a little schoolhouse in Rustad, Minnesota in the early 1930’s and “making $65 a month and buying a fur coat and going to the World’s Fair in Chicago.” Imagine that! She also described the coat as having a Fitch Collar. All those years I knew that she didn’t actually own a full-length mink, and that she must have had a stylish but perfectly nice wool coat with a fur collar. And Fitch, I believed, must have been a style of the times, named after a place or person – like Eton collar or Nehru jacket. Imagine my surprise when I googled “fitch” to discover that it referred to polecat! Yes, polecat – which indeed, was the lower priced popular fur of the early 20th century, and so just perfect for the young teacher who makes $65 a month and goes on a road trip with her chums to the World’s Fair.

My mother was always the Fashionista. Well into her 90’s, whenever the J. Jill catalogue would arrive in the mail, she would say to me – “Look in here and see if there is anything that would look cute on me.” She prided herself on her vast collection of sweaters and earrings.

But she was so much more. I was certain that Mom would make it to 100 and get the congratulatory letter from the president. She almost did. When she died she had no illnesses, took no medication, and looked to be many years younger than 99. It’s true she was way ahead of the crowd when it came to healthy meals and natural supplements and at eighty she was still reveling in daily two mile brisk walks.

She advised my young friends about vitamins and minerals and how to eat for health when Adele Davis was the main and lonely proponent. And she understood ecology and the importance of saving our Mother Earth long before Rachel Carson had written “Silent Spring.”

Growing up I watched and absorbed the lessons of a mother who was often glued to C-SPAN, following a senate hearing, noting the number of each bill, citing the politicians and knowing who voted for or against, and following through by phoning her representatives and taking petitions around the neighborhood. And never with ardent stridency or a sense of harsh indictment, but colored by her Libran nature, perhaps, and with a heavy dash of her mother’s sweetness.

In spite of being widowed at a very young age, and having to struggle financially for a time, she was inherently happy and positive, had more fun and enjoyed life – truly so from the depths of her being – more so, than anyone I have ever encountered.

I had a mother who would teach herself reflexology at eighty, continue to make the best Swedish meatballs, stand up for her principals, truly believe in angles, revel in everything Christmas or Easter, and always enjoy a nice glass of wine.

When I looked back at the Writing as a Spiritual Practice statement of intent, I actually felt a “transcendent rush of insight.” Lucky, blessed me. It was not difficult, nor did I have to go very far, I realized, to “uncover the authentic, the true, and the spiritual.”

 _636

 Harriet Sylvia Pederson Johnson – with Fitch Collar

 

 

Posted in Family, favorite things, HEALTH, Immigration, In Memorium, memories, minnesota life, Norwegian, spirituality, writing | 1 Comment

HOW THE PALEO DIET SAVED OUR SON

DSCN3183

(NOTE: When my good friend, Beth Rose, who is a writer and reflexologist living and working in Central Minnesota, shared the following story with me, I couldn’t help but think of the trauma I endured a number of years ago when my daughter developed “projectile vomiting.” She was just a baby at the time and her only nourishment was from milk. But as it turned out, she was lactose intolerant and we immediately switched to a soy product. These days she is able to indulge in a bit of whipped cream on our Christmas brandy spice pie, and nibble on cheese and crackers. But she selects carefully and pays the price for overindulgence.

Beth’s story in an important one. It seems that more and more children are developing food allergies, and whether that ties into my favorite rant about the overuse of herbicides and pesticides in Big Ag or validates the fact of the many additives that we subject ourselves to on a daily basis, it is crucial to our children that we arm ourselves with knowledge. Thank you Beth.

                         How The Paleo Diet Saved Our Son

                                        By Beth Rose

     The change in our household food habits began when my eleven-year-old son, Vincent, started having trouble with gas. It wasn’t just ordinary little Poofs! and then it was gone. No, this noxious odor caused people to express their frustration at the dinner table when it happened, or we rolled down the car windows in any kind of weather. We joked that we could offer him to the government as a secret war weapon, but deep inside my husband and I were frustrated that we didn’t know how to help him.

     An adult would find problem gas disconcerting enough, but to an eleven-year-old boy, the embarrassment is overwhelming. In school, he prayed no one would figure out the owner of the smell that wafted over the classroom. He sunk lower in his seat when he rode the bus, hoping no one realized that he was the reason for the, “Oh my God, do you smell that?” Sometimes the students did figure out who had caused the stink, and he was further alienated in a school where he already felt like an outsider.

     Fortunately, a client of mine mentioned that she had found a local homeopathic physician’s assistant who helped her with a variety of health issues. Encouraged by the possibilities, I called and made an appointment.

     The homeopath, Kelly, worked with private clients from her own office. The problem, she explained, had to do with gluten. “We’ll put him on a Paleo diet,” she said. For thirty days, no sugar, corn, white potatoes, or wheat products. Vincent looked at her skeptically. “It’s just for a short time,” she added. “After that, you can add one thing at a time back into your diet and see what agrees with you and what doesn’t.”

     Vincent was the only child I had who loved potatoes, and bread was always on his plate. How on earth could we take away so many of his favorite foods?

     To his credit, Vincent was a trouper. He and I diligently looked at labels in the store, went through the pantry and discussed which food had gluten, plus he sought out various recipes to make his culinary experience on par with the rest of us. We filled out the proper paperwork, and met with the head cook at his school to help her figure out what he could eat for lunch.

     “I feel so bad for him,” the cook confided to me two weeks into the diet. “I try to give him an extra piece of meat, and of course, he has a salad almost every day. But he never complains.”

     “Does he ask for more?” I asked. She shook her head. “Then I would bet he’s fine.”

     That’s not to say that we didn’t make mistakes in this culinary adventure. For example, we forgot to take corn out of his diet the first month. Fortunately, his physical issues began to go away. After two weeks, the two of us got together and assessed how he was doing.

     “I feel better!” he said. My intestines don’t hurt anymore.”

     “And the gas?”

     He shook his head. Nothing more at school.”

     I noticed he hardly ever blew us out of the car or the room anymore either. But the total surprise was that a mild psoriasis around his body had disappeared completely.

     It wasn’t a surprise to Kelly. “When the skin develops psoriasis like that,” she said, “it’s often a sign of some kind of food intolerance.” She was pleased to hear of Vincent’s progress and scheduled a follow-up in six months.

     And what a change in those months! Vincent grew three inches and lost all of his baby fat around the middle of his waist. Family and friends often mentioned how tall and thin he was getting. In fact, he hadn’t lost a pound from the first day of his diet.

     What changed was that we determined what he should not eat. White potatoes made his intestines so sore that he had no trouble eliminating them from his diet. Corn, he discovered, was still fine, as was oatmeal and barley. He could eat pizza one day for a special occasion, but the next several days needed to be gluten free entirely. While the rest of us continued to use our usual food, we added gluten-free products into our pantry such as pastas and bread. We were very pleased to find gluten-free Chex cereal. Since we had always eaten fresh, the rest of our diet didn’t have to change much.

     Now Vincent is a happy and healthy thirteen-year-old. All of us are grateful that his gas in gone, and that he feels better. We hope his story can spark other people to consider how food intolerances might be affecting their lives, and perhaps even how a Paleo diet can help them feel better.

Posted in education, Family, food, HEALTH, Paleo Diet | 1 Comment

THE WINTER OF MY DISCONTENT

DSCN3216

 

In the past I’ve written about “the wonder of wafting flakes, the cushy clumps of white upon the evergreens, the comfort of saying the word, “brrrr” as I peek outside, simultaneously rubbing my hands together as I smell the bouquet of baking ginger cookies.” And I have referenced the Snow Queen, surveying her wintry domain, here on her/my hill, looking out at crystals and icicles. All the Minnesota novelties to a California girl.

DSCN3259 

Silly me. It’s our third winter here on Mt. Faith. And it is no longer thrilling, definitely not poetic, absolutely over-the-top ridiculous, are you-kidding-me absurd, what were we thinking, and frankly – I never knew Midgard, our mother Earth could be such a bitch. Sorry.

 DSCN4185

It has been weeks with below zero temperatures (read that 40 plus below with the wind chill) and not much hope in sight. As I write these words the blizzard is in full force, the Frost Giants hurling the storm with a vengeance. And I can only ask myself – how did my darling Grammy Marie and Grandma Pauline and Great Grandma Elin survive in this land?

If I am inside with central fuel oil heating, and no need to regularly traverse the frozen slopes to the designated outside “bathroom,” and not dependent on long, arduous ski runs, over a hundred miles away, to Alexandria for basic supplies, then how indeed can I complain and whine?

How did they do it? How ever, these ancestors of ours on the upper plains, did they live in log cabins and holes dug into the ground until they could construct a proper structure? How was it possible to stay warm and sane when all hell broke loose and the Gods reigned havoc upon this land?

I can’t even get down my driveway (actually, not back UP again) and it is making me crazy. My calendar is loaded with appointments – meetings for planning 1 Vegetable/1 Community (beets this year), Lake Region Writers Network task force for conferences, Master Gardener information booth at the mall, Unitarian group facilitators meeting, fiber day potluck, book launch party, garden club program, Someplace Safe benefit tea. And that’s all in the first two weeks of February.

DSCN3248 

And no. We’re not contemplating moving back to California. But we have new respect for our fellow Minnesotans who manage to go on with life and laugh about their homeland and say “Uff Da” a lot. It must have been bred-in by the likes of Grammies Marie and Pauline and Elin, and if that’s the case I guess I need to practice dredging up my inner Norwegian.

For one, I’ve made a promise to myself to begin to sort through seed catalogues (note: ONLY those on the Monsanto-Free list!) and plot out the new garden that I pre-prepared last fall, focusing on bee and butterfly friendlies – monarda and asclepias, sunflower and cosmos and goldenrod, Joe Pye weed and salvias.

DSCN3935DSCN3519 

And whenever I look out the window, instead of cursing and focusing on the dreaded driveway, I must envision all the promises of the spring to come. Especially the peonies which we separated from the Clara and Hemnes cemeteries and the old home at Hickson, and that represent my personal heritage, thanks to Marie and Pauline and Elin. 

 DSCN3530

And last – T.M. must order new snow tires. 

Posted in bees, Claustrophobia, COMMUNITY, Gardening, minnesota life, mythology, Norwegian, SNOW, storm, WEATHER | 3 Comments