Strange and Unrelated Things . . .

•August 9, 2014 • 7 Comments

Usually events in life or a photograph inspire me in someway to write a new blog post.  Lately, I seem to have lost or misplaced things that provide inspiration to write. (Maybe an expanded version of my black hole theory?). My days are currently filled with unrelated things and have me somewhat scattered-brained  (a slight case of ADD has developed). With school coming back into my life (feelings of dread in my stomach), working on my parents house, and trying to finish up all those summer projects that were easy to start in June and that I put off finishing in July I suppose it is understandable .. but still annoying.

I keep a thought list  for blogging ideas, however, it currently consists of strange and unrelated things.  They are so different and some are so weird that I am not  able to find any relationships to tie them together into a post … except their oddness.  So, I will just share two of my odd lists with you . . . and see what happens.  ;-)

 

butterflower

List #1 – Odd things from this past week:

~ Flower petals that fall and become like butterfly wings. (photo)

~ Morning radio show host being teased about his “whiskey laughs” and “nose whistles”  ;-)

~ Refrigerator filled with 6 quarts of fresh picked blueberries that prompt fattening thoughts of muffins, pancakes, pies, coffee cake, jam, smoothies, etc …

~ The dog developing a need for my moral support when chasing chipmunks and squirrels. He lies on the porch and keeps an eye on them until I tell him to “go get’em”. Just a month ago, he did his “yard patrols” chasing the critters out of the yard on his own. (maybe he is feeling defeated as he has not caught one all summer?)

~  Touch-Me-Nots (exploding pollen when touched) and Caterpillars making tents

 

touchnot

 

tent

 

List #2:  Taking the good with the bad . . . as they always seem to go together:

  • A spider on your chair (bad) … A dragonfly on your shoulder (good)
  • Finding new tires at a lower price (good) .. during installation finding worn out tie-rods and ball-joints, too (bad)
  • The raspberries are ripe (good) .. the dog has learned to pick and eat them, too (bad)
  • Warm humid days (bad) … cool, breezy nights great for sleeping (good)
  • Fewer mosquitoes (good) … a huge crop of biting flies (bad)

 

 (I posted pictures of  Fireweed at my photography Blog)


And, there is one last thing I would like to leave you with … (My 2009 post on Smokey Bear and his history can be found here HOT FOOT TEDDY)

Today, August 9th is Smokey Bears 70th Birthday.  Remember …

Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires!

 

Black Holes . . .

•July 26, 2014 • 14 Comments

stepholes

“In this world of change, nothing which comes stays, and nothing which goes is lost.”
~ Anne Sophie Swetchine

Do you believe in Black Holes? I’m not questioning the scientific ones found in space, unless there is a new controversy about them I am unaware of? The Black Holes I am asking about are a different variety closer to home … believe it or not, I think that I have a personal one that hovers around my house.

For the last month or so odd things have disappeared into a magical Black Hole at my house. The items have completely vanished. My very thorough and lengthy searches are never rewarded with finding it. The searches go on and on … I have discovered, however, that when I totally forget that it is missing this Black Hole decides to spit it out and give it back to me.  Like it is no longer interested in playing games with me … at least with that particular object.

holeinbarkForgetting it is missing is the hard part.  After I’ve searched everywhere for days and do not find it, the urge to look evaporates for a bit, but then is rekindled when something else reminds me of my lost item … so the process takes some time. As I gradually forget (give up, start believing it is hopeless and really gone), that is when the object magically reappears in a place I know I had searched many times in the past.

I have tried to trick my personal black hole by throwing up my hands and saying “I give up” and “it was not really that important anyway” and I might even slip in a .. “you can keep it, it is just ‘stuff’ “. However my looming black hole is smart and does not fall for that trick … it is all part of the game it plays with me. I absolutely must forget about it for a while, before it shows up again.

LeafyholeThis is not your typical, daily misplaced objects like car keys, a sock, or tv remote. No, these are more .. uncommon and not used very often objects that have a special place where they always are kept or are in a special out in the open place where I have put them because they need to be dealt with in some way.

“Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something”  ~  Proverb


 

woodchuckhome

Currently vanished into the black hole is a coffee mug. I have a set of 8 mugs that match my dishes and they are kept on a special cabinet shelf all to themselves .. I currently only have 7. I do not use these mugs very often (I have other daily favorites for my coffee), so I have no idea why it is not in the cabinet with the others any more.  I live alone so there is no one to blame and mugs can not run away .. thus, my black hole theory.

Another item that is missing is a book I borrowed from my physical therapist that I need to return.. I set it out, so that the next time I headed in that direction I could return it. Now it is gone and it was not mine for the black hole to take. I am trying hard to forget about it so that it will magically reappear and I can return it. However, since it was not mine and I feel responsible, that is extra difficult.

A friend suggested that I need to make a deal with my black hole and volunteer to trade something for the book … the problem is that the black hole does not take things on trade or things that do not matter to me (like a stained shirt, a dish with a crack in it, or that annoying singing reindeer head someone gave me for xmas).

I know .. this black hole theory sounds crazy, right?  But, what else could it be?

“Black holes are where God divided by zero” ~ Stephen Wright

(Sorry, the math teacher in me had to include that one.)    ;-)

Times Up for “New” Challenge . . .

•July 22, 2014 • 13 Comments

“Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence.” ~ Robert Fripp

(also the engraving on my iPod ;-))

 

It has been over a week … did you try or do something new to meet my blogging challenge?

wineryTo meet my own challenge of finding/doing something “new”, I became a backyard tourist for the day and visited The Forestedge Winery (link)  near Laporte Minnesota. It is about an hour and a half drive from my home in the woods to the winery in the woods.
(click here for a newspaper article about the winery)

This winery has been making wine for many years (20+), but this was my first visit. And, even though I also saw the wine in the store many times, it was also my first taste. What makes this winery unique is that their wine contains no grapes. Instead, it is made with locally grown fruits. The wine has its origins on a small farm at the winery where they grow rhubarb, lots of rhubarb (one of their most popular wines). They also buy locally grown fruits for their other wine varieties (ie:  blueberry, raspberry, plum, etc…). All the wine is made and bottled at this small woodsy winery.  When you visit, you can request a free tour and enjoy free wine tasting (yes, it is FREE). This truly is an all Northern Minnesota wine that will definitely surprise you with greatness.
(Below find a local news video about the winery and how they make their wine:)

My visit started with wine tasting. After a quick lesson on the proper way to taste wine, we got down to wine business. I happened to mention that I don’t like rhubarb, so my friendly wine tasting teacher made that one my first to taste (with a big grin on his face). Besides not liking rhubarb (the fruit) I don’t like sweet-fruity wines, so I was amazed at how much I enjoyed their wines. Believe it or not, the wines and not heavy and sweet … they are crisp and smell so very good, fruity and natural. The rhubarb wine was a terrific white wine that any Pinot Grigio lover would prefer. During our wine tasting we were privileged to try about 10 different wines. My favorites (and the ones I chose to bring home) were the white cranberry (a lot like riesling), red cranberry, black current (dark red and crisp), rhubarb and apple (sweetest and lightest).
After wine tasting and feeling a little giddy from all the wine tasting (do people still use that word?) we enjoyed our picnic lunch with a glass of rhubarb wine at a shady, woodsy table on the winery patio and then browsed through the locally made crafts they sell in a little shop off the patio.

Here is a little math equation for you about my “new” thing …. a trip to the local winery …

Sunny + Cool 70º + Slight Breeze + Great Company + Yummy Food + Locally Grown Wine = Perfect Afternoon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Drop me a comment or a link to your “new” blog post if you met my “new” challenge …
I am waiting to hear about your “new” thing!

What Gets Us Through . . .

•July 12, 2014 • 8 Comments

“There is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” ~ Winnie the Pooh (one of my favorite bears)

rainyleaves

 

The human race, in fact all living things, are amazing. Our ability to adapt, think, build, change, and find our way through life and all of its obstacles is phenomenal.

To get through the heat we … invented air conditioning, ice boxes, fans, and silly beach things.
To get through the cold we … built fires, insulated houses, thermal clothing (even fuzzy hats with ear flaps)
To get through the rain/water we … made boats, bridges, umbrellas, yellow rain coats and boots
To get through an accident we … organized rescue units, safety procedures, trauma units, and trained caring people to handle disasters
To get through isolation we … connected phones, roads, mailboxes, and now blogging sites.
To get through physical pain we … developed pain killers, medical procedures, induced sleep and new methods to comfort each other

To get through grief … well, this is one area I’m sure that we haven’t developed a concrete method to help get us through. The problem with grief is that it is unique to everyone, can be a long process, and the healing needs to take place within us … other people can’t fix it for us. Counselors, friends, family, prayer, and for me music can help us .. but it is up to us to find a way to move past the pain, depression and even despair.

Jason Gray’s new CD (“Love Will Have The Final Word”) showed up in my mailbox when my mom first got sick and I played it over and over again during the hours and hours of driving I had to do during that 8 week period. The songs (not all sad because they are about love) and Jason’s deep understanding of life that he shares in the words of his songs got me through and are still helping me today. Unfortunately, it is one of those days when grief pops back up and takes me in reverse a bit, so I’m listening to Jason. Although every song on the CD is great and will open your heart and provide some healing, I thought I would share his song on grief with you … maybe it will help get you through if you are struggling, too … or help you help someone else who is grieving. The worse part of grief is feeling that you are alone in your suffering … and you are definitely not.

 

Here is a link to Jason’s WordPress post on grief and this song: http://jasongraymusic.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/not-right-now-the-story-behind-the-song/#comments

“You give yourself permission to grieve by recognizing the need for grieving. Grieving is the natural way of working through the loss of a love. Grieving is not weakness nor absence of faith. Grieving is as natural as crying when you are hurt, sleeping when you are tired or sneezing when your nose itches. It is nature’s way of healing a broken heart.” – Doug Manning

RainyWindow

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Grief is not always about death of a loved one … loss of a job, health issues, trauma, relationship break up, selling family home, loss of a friendship … many other things can make us experience grief.  Sometimes it is not about just one big loss, but the combination of many smaller losses … whatever the case, know that you are not alone in your struggles and seek help when needed.

More information on grief: (http://www.helpguide.org/mental/grief_loss.htm)
“Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experience, your faith, and the nature of the loss. The grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried—and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.”

Share Something New Challenge . . .

•July 4, 2014 • 11 Comments

InWoodLily

A great thought begins by seeing something differently, with a shift of the mind’s eye.”  ~  Albert Einstein

 

There is something special about “new” things that can raise your spirits, add excitement to your life, make memories, make you feel more alive and inspire you.  Think about how “new” feels …. the excitement of driving a new car (even if it is only for a test drive), meeting new people, attending a new event, a new coffee shop, a new hiking trail, a new haircut,  listening to new music, tasting a new kind of chocolate perhaps ;-) … or finding a new wild flower like this one, maybe?

woodlilyI have lived in Northern Minnesota for most of my life and if I ever saw this flower growing wild in the woods before, it never registered with me until this week.  I don’t remember ever seeing them.  I am known to stop for many things while I am driving down the country roads .. usually to take a photo, watch an animal, or even pick berries.  The brightness of these orange colored flowers caught my eye immediately and as soon as I slowed down enough to realize that they were not the common Indian Paintbrushes, I was stopped and down in the ditch with my camera (amidst the bugs) taking pictures in the wind (sorry for the blurs).  These are wood lilies (I looked them up when I got home).  Unlike the lady slippers in a recent post, these can be picked (I only took 3 home to enjoy ;-) ).

 

“See any detour as an opportunity to experience new things.”  ~  H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

woodlily2New out of the ordinary and off the beaten path shops were also a part of my week.  A craft shop with locally made things (where I found a New little star candle holder and battery operated wax candle to put in it – not that I needed more “stuff”), a very small coffee shop with a “mom’s” lunch menu (3 special items for the day) and homemade pies (the wild rice quiche was heavenly), and an antique shop with sidewalk cafe (Italian sodas and homemade goodies) … These places were all in a small city/town that I visit all the time.  However, they are places I don’t usually see as I am too busy running errands and don’t take the time to explore the little corners of the town, the little shops and try new things.

 

“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions.   All life is an experiment.”  ~  Ralph Waldo Emerson 

 

New things … newness … can inspire you in a variety of ways.  This week’s newness has inspired me to slowdown and explore the unknown more.  I am looking more closely at the details, I am looking in unseen corners of my little world and I would like to challenge you to do the same.

A challenge post:

I challenge you to look around this week for something “new”.  Take some time to slow down and look around your world more closely.  Venture into an out-of-the-way place in an area you are familiar with but never visit, look more closely at something you pass by every day but never really “see”,  try something new, do something new … and in a “new” post, share your new thing with us and tell us how it made you feel.  How did this  “new” thing put a little life into your life this week!

Simply provide a link to your post in your comment and we will all come and visit your newly found “new” thing …

 

“To see a world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower; to hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour–is inspiration.”  ~   William Blake

 


 

If you would like to see more of Minnesota’s Wildflowers that growing this first week of July, check out my recent posts at BEAR IN SIGHT (my photography blog):

 

The Whimsy Challenge . . .

•June 29, 2014 • 8 Comments

I believe one of Murphy’s Laws is that when you are truly looking for something, it is no where to be found.  When it comes to photo challenges, I take them seriously in meaning that I have to find something new, dipping into my photo history seems like cheating to me.  However, when it comes to  Karma’s topic for her latest photo hunt  “Whimsy”, I am going to have to dip into them this time.  Seems the more I looked for ‘new” pictures of whimsy this month, the less whimsy I saw.  The gray rainy days made finding playful, humorous, odd, fanciful sights really tough … everything I was seeing this month seemed to0 serious or just plain normal … (or maybe it was just my own personal rainy day/month attitude stomping out Whimsy?)

When I first heard the topic was Whimsy, the picture that came immediately to mind was from one of my first years in my new house .. years before I started blogging, so I have not posted the picture of my scarecrow (I don’t think).  Here it is, now … Some fawns were checking out and  playing with my scarecrow … Murphy laws visited again as the purpose was to keep the deer out of the bird feeders, not provide a playmate for them.

The squirrels also enjoyed playing with my scarecrow … this poor scarecrow was not scary to any critters even though he could swing around and move in the wind.  Instead, he became on object to tug on, climb, hide in, sit on and gradually he disintegrated as bits and pieces were torn off for bedding/nesting materials or just for fun.

scaredeer

Squirrels and chipmunks entertain me quite often, but I can not always catch them in the act with my camera.  Here is the typical Squirrel acting whimsical by teasing the dog/staring him down and an up-close and personal smile at the camera when caught in the bird feeder.

 

squirrelsmile
staredown
Anything having to do with “butts” will make a middle-schooler giggle … so, how about some Swan butts?Not the usual end we get to see.  With those long necks, they must be able to reach down at least 3 feet when they are upside-down.A whimsical sight on the river in the Spring time.
swanbutts
And, last butt ;-), not least the most whimsical critters I know and love … black bears, particularly the cubs. Whimsical sleeping positions (you knew the bears would be in my post somewhere, didn’t you?):
sleepybear2sleepybear1

Now, that I have finally posted my “whimsy” hunt using old photos, I am sure I will find some new whimsy in the woods … especially when I stop looking for it.  And, I am looking forward to it popping up in my life…. we all need and want whimsy in our life to make us smile.

 

A Whimsical Note … turns out this was my 200th post at Bear In Mind.  Imagine that!  I can’t.

What was a whimsical fluke to start a blog in the first place turned into 200 posts here and a second blog of photos (Bear In Sight) …

Who knew?

 

Trapped, Send Help . . .

•June 25, 2014 • 6 Comments

“We are all sentenced to solitary confinement inside our own skins, for life”.  ~ Tennessee Williams

raingrass

Confine: restrain or forbid someone from leaving (a place). solitary confinement: imprisonment, internment, incarceration, custody, captivity, detention, restraint; house arrest. the confinement of an animal: caging, enclosure; quarantine.


 

Remember those old OFF bug spray commercials where the man put his arm in a container of thousands of hungry mosquitoes? (If not, you can see it for the first time here at YouTube). Those mosquitoes swarmed every inch of his arm and started biting immediately (and even after the spray I can see some on his skin). It makes my skin twitch to watch.

Life in the woods is the opposite of that commercial today. I am the one trapped in a box (my house) and billions of mosquitoes swarm my entire body if I step out the door (OFF is not working – I think they are hybrid mosquitoes that have become immune to our deterrents of the chemical kind).

  • Mosquitoes are not picky … they swarm and bite eyes, nose, face, neck, feet, hands, ears, etc .. any part of the body is fair game.
  • They are tough … they can bite through two layers of clothing – no problem.
  • They are sneaky and clingy … they hangout by the doors and windows, camouflage themselves in your clothing and hair just to get inside the house with you.
  • They are the enemy. I have been captured and am being held hostage in my own house.

When the mosquitoes are this abundant, there is not a lot you can do about it except stay indoors, pray for some heat and the dragonflies to return to work. The can of powerful bug spray is outside the door so that you can spray quickly and enter through the door without too many hitchhikers and stealthy sneakers getting into the house to torture you with their buzzing. One buzzing mosquito in a quiet room can drive anyone crazy, especially at night. Part of the emotional trauma they inflict happens after you have been bitten a few times. “Mosquito Syndrome”  develops shortly after a mosquito encounter, it is an affliction where you constantly feel phantom bites and swat invisible mosquitoes.

My escape attempt this morning was a failure. I knew it would be, I could tell from my window reconnaissance that I did not have a chance .. but, I had to try. The mail was waiting for me in the mailbox and the rain (which is never going to end this summer) was sitting on everything like jewels and I really wanted to get a few pictures. Yes, I knew they would outnumber me and attack on sight, but I knew I had a good supply of hydrocortisone cream for any itches I would suffer.  Bundled in long sleeves,  pants, socks, and hooded jacket (with hood on and tied tight) I ventured out the front door with my camera for a brisk walk to the mail box (normally less than 5 minutes). The enemy was on me before the door closed. The walk was mostly a brisk run with arms swinging, flailing and sometimes swatting mosquitoes. Stops for pictures were extremely quick, because that is when they piled on to tackle me down.  I was not prepared for the difficulty of breathing without inhaling a mosquito or two.  It was not pretty, but I survived for about 2 minutes and even clicked a few photos .. Take that mosquitoes!

strawberryjewels

They are definitely not my best pictures, because they were taken in the midst of battle .. mosquitoes biting legs, hands, face … blocking my eye sight .  However, I feel successful because I got some pictures … They might be a bit blurry and out of frame, but I got some … and you can not even mosquitoes in them (because they were all on me).

strawberryjewels2

Honestly, I have never ever seen mosquitoes this bad in the 30 years I have been in the Minnesota woods. Our cool weather and unending bouts of rain for the entire month have made the woods a mosquito heaven. Our only hope of freedom is some hot weather to dry things up and a return of the dragonflies that normally keep the population under control. Trapped in the house because of the cold/wet weather and hordes of mosquitoes .. it is a summer like this that makes you ask yourself “why do I live here?” … then you see something like this and find your answer.

rainyberries

“Protect your vision.
Prevail over adversity.
Persevere in the midst of turmoil.
Passionately act upon your convictions.
Purposely walk into the day.”
– Mary Anne Radmacher


UPDATE:  Woo Hoo … having a short dry spell (thursday/friday) … It is still cloudy, gray, and thunderstorms are predicted for tonight and most of the weekend … BUT, I got out and took some wild flower pictures (they are here:  Wild Flower Pictures)

 
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