Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Lake Ice is Gone!

Today we took a walk with Molly and Sophie. As soon as we went near the lake, Sophie jumped in. The ice barely went out two days ago, so you can imagine the temperature of the water! Crazy Girl! It was so nice to see the blue water. The pelicans and cormorants were gathering on the lake out in the middle.

Settle's cabin early 1900's

I found this photo archived through the Minnesota history center online. It's Settle's cabin from the very early 1900's. They will tear it down this spring. But what a great summer cabin it's been for nearly 100 years.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Beaver Pond

We went for our daily walk. We have two routes, one takes us on the south end of the lake, down to the Lake Charley creek, which was pouring over the dam and quite high. There have been carp, suckers and walleyes in the creek.
The other route is to the north, to the end of Bedman Drive and then through the path to Oakridge Road. It passes a beaver pond and today it was a great place to stop and look and listen. The neighborhood wild turkeys were busy talking to each other. The beavers have really been thriving in the wetlands that run along the west side of this part of Lake Ida, and have cut down whatever is a soft wood, birch, poplar, willows. Oaks they don't seem to touch, so that explains why we have all these wonderful oak trees in the neighborhood and not too much else. Many decades of beavers choosing their food. There were still fresh signs of trees that had been cut down during the winter - newly gnawed wood, and the sap rising in the stumps today. The beaver lodge is on the left of the photo.

Black Ice and Morning Birdsong

I always marvel at how quiet it is here, how many birds I can hear at once. Out raking yesterday we heard the mourning doves, a killdeer, geese, and lots of redwing blackbirds. "Pick me! Pick me!"

I found these great websites to use with my class, that with just a click, pick the birdsong you want to hear.

The bigger lakes are still frozen, and in town on Lake Winona, which is open, the pelicans and loons are gathered together. But if you look at this Lake Ida ice, by next weekend we'll be looking at BLUE WATER! FINALLY! And those birds that eat fish can get down to business.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday night commute, longer days and deer

It was so nice to get to Lake Ida tonight and have it still be light out. There were 2 deer who had been eating the green grass very close to the road, and they stood there and watched us, silhouetted in the sunset, as we turned into the driveway. Where are they? My camera was in the trunk, of course, so by the time I took this photo, they are back in the line of trees there, laughing at me.

Spring, Raptors and other signs of life

The osprey pair are back on their nest this week, which at work is a sure sign of spring.
We went out to look at them, and just as we did, a bald eagle with a fish in its talons landed on the top of the next telephone pole. A nature center presentation on raptors at school added to the info. Add to that a good link from our local energy company where we can watch the peregrine falcon nest by Elk River, and raptors are the bird of the week!
Here's the link, right to the female is sitting on four eggs. We saw them when she was turning them, (or laying one, we weren't sure) and briefly when she left the nest.

They are the fastest animal, going 200 mph when diving from above to hunt other birds. (Pigeon being a favorite in cities.)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Valances for the Living Room

Using the boat/lake motif, we ordered galvanized steel cleats, spray painted them to match the oil rubbed bronz accents (lighting, cupboard pulls), and mounted them by the windows.
Here's the finished product. I'm not sure I like the valances, although I made them myself. They remind me of my hairdo when I was a little kid. (Stitch Witchery is a great product - it went so fast to make 7 valances!)

Window boxes

Fun, but a little tacky, I put some spring color in my window boxes. My neighbor pointed out that the fall leaves needed to go.

The ground is still quite cold, and some snow remains on the north side of the house. I have some perennials that need to be divided, or moved, or removed, but that's a job for early May.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lake Ida fishermen and an early morning fox

We got up at sunrise, and there were some die-hard ice fisherman out on south Lake Ida. The nights have been below freezing, but warmer in the daytime. I went out on the deck to take this picture, and the only noise I could hear was a robin singing, "Yes, it's spring!" and a Canada goose honking somewhere in the distance.
Then I got a whiff of skunky smell, which is also a sign of spring, when they come out of hibernation with warmer weather. And immediately get hit by a car. What a bummer. But this time it wasn't a skunk. Trotting along the near edge of the farm field across the road was a scruffy, little red fox, hunting for something to eat. They also have a skunky, musky smell. Chipmunks were already out, looking for food today.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Settle's Cabin on Lake Ida

Settle's cabin has been there since the 1920's, a great era for Alexandria fishing, when people from states south of Minnesota (Missouri in this case) built fishing cabins for the summer. Air-conditioning hadn't been invented, and the mom and kids could get out of the sweltering heat farther south for a beautiful Minnesota summer. These places stayed cold and empty all winter, and the elements really took a toll. It's 14 feet from the lake, and the frost heaves during the winter ice expansion have also changed the slope of the floor on the screen porch. Lake Ida's lake level was raised sometime in the 1970's with the addition of a dam at the creek down on the south end, so erosion was also a threat.
Now Settle's cabin has been sold, and soon torn down, to be replaced with a house. It will be interesting to see what goes up, and to watch the progress. In the center of the photo in the distance is Pilgrim's Point. I wonder when the ice will be out. It will be so nice to see the blue water again!

The Wrestling Room

The Wrestling Room has been transformed into a room where "Stop raising dust!" is now the battle cry. With furniture and froo-froo (as Chuck calls vases full of dried stuff) it looks like we live here now, sort of. And the cat is now willing to begin her work in earnest. She was just sharpening her pretend claws on the ottoman, then finished up with a cheek and tail rub to leave her scent on it. It's her ottoman now, she thinks.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Glad Påsk - Happy Easter!

In Sweden there is an interesting Eastertime tradition. On Thursday of Holy Week, little kids dress up like Easter Witches, draw pictures for their family, relatives, neighbors, and then go ring the doorbell. In exchange for the picture, they get godis (candy). Here is Haylie this year and last year, in her Påskkärring outfits. Then at midnight, legend has it that the witches fly off to Blåkulla (Blue Mountain).

Sunday, April 5, 2009


When we came out of the movie last night, it was raining, and it was a hairy drive home in the dark on rainy roads through that south Minneapolis freeway construction at 62 and 35W. Uffda.

When we woke up today, this is the view out the back door. It was between church services.

Swedish film "Everlasting Moments" (Eviga ögonblick)

We went to a movie in Edina yesterday - the little theater there at 50th and France sometimes has foreign films with English subtitles. We've gone to a couple of them there. Almost all worth it. We saw Maria Larssons Eviga ögonblick - Everlasting Moments in English. There was some gazing out of rainy windows, like Ingmar Bergman's films. You'll have to google it if you want a review. I liked it. It was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars. Sweden early 1900's is the setting. The Everlasting Moments refers to images captured on film. There is so much in the movie to compare and contrast to how things are today, it will keep you thinking about it. Even the value of photographs, images of people you love, then compared to now. One precious photo, compared to today. Kids have hundreds and hundreds of photos taken of them today even before they reach 1 year old. Plus hours of video.

Here is the first photo Maria took of her children (in the movie):

Frankie's car seat

We've been making the weekend trips to Lake Ida and of course we bring Frankie. Once in the car, she rides quietly in her carrier, about halfway there. Then she wants out, and sits like glue on my lap, never leaving it. When it's time to leave the lake, she hides and then yowls and cries when we finally find her. Her hiding places have been a challenge: Under beds, behind the washer and dryer, top of the bookcase behind a basket. Chuck keeps threatening to do the same thing, hide and cry. He doesn't want to leave either.