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Category Archives: “Small Town Living”

It’s Only Twelve Weeks Long…

Here in Minnesota we celebrate summer after the long winter.  The problem is how to pack as much as you can into the summer.  It was a few years ago when our kids were graduating from high school that we came to the realization that the summer is only 12 weeks long and everyone tries to pack everything into those 12 weekends.

It starts with Memorial Day weekend with the parades and local remembrance services and directly into the graduation parties for the recent graduates.  Now in a small town of 400 no one wants to miss each others parties so the last of the parties may well be into July.  Spring and summer are traditionally wedding seasons here as the brides hope for the perfect spring or summer day.

July brings the Fourth of July activities with parades and local town celebrations.  We are surrounded by several other small towns each having their own celebration and then our town celebration of Heritage Days is the second weekend of August each summer.  This year is the biggie, 100 years since our town was incorporated.

Summer is the traditional time for vacations and camping when the kids are out of school so those of us who don’t have kids in school or our kids are grown work while others take their vacation with their kids.  Its okay with me because I prefer to duck out of town in the middle of winter for a little warm weather elsewhere.

Before we know it the back to school shopping season is upon us and Labor Day.  The boats are off the lakes and put away and everyone wonders what happened to summer.

My response lately is that summer is only 12 weeks long.

That being said we have already packed so much into the spring/summer season already it feels like it should be done but I am delighted to realize that we are not half way through yet.

We’ve been up north to Two Harbors to work on my brother’s new land he purchased to develop into a rustic retreat.  We’ve been to San Francisco to celebrate our nephew’s wedding.  We’ve attended several graduation parties and helped host a family reunion for my mom’s family from all over the United States.

Our most exciting news is welcoming our first granddaughter to the family.  We’ve welcomed two more grandsons to the mix since I last blogged and will be adding a daughter-in-law to the family in January.  Life is good…but short…celebrate accordingly.

 

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Moonlight Al Fresco

This evening I was a bit disappointed that I got back from town so late.  I wanted to take some pictures of the progress at the house.  It was already past sunset.  I decided to stop anyway and try to take a couple of shots because there was a very bright moon tonight.

I found my way in the dark to the door and walked in the dark up the stairs to take this shot.  The upstairs is basically gone except for a short wall on the east and the west and some larger walls left on the north and the south.

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If the mosquitoes weren’t so bad this evening I might have considered getting a couple of sleeping bags and sleeping out under the stars tonight.

Here are a couple of shots of the guys removing the rafters today.

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Tomorrow should be an exciting day as we see the roof lines starting to take shape.

 

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What Would You Choose?

This week is decision time. As you can tell this house needs some help. We will be replacing the shingles, soffit, and fascia. The entire home will be repainted and we will wrap the cement chimney to give it more character.

When I first looked at this home I knew I wanted to do something different with the colors. The starkness of the white with the cedar color is just not very inviting especially when you see the white on the garage as well.

My first choice would be a medium gray with white trim and a black roof. To me it says neat and maybe a little stately. The problem with this choice is that the home just to the left is painted exactly this way. You can see just a bit of it in the photo above.

My second choice would be something green tones with cream trim and dark roof. The only problem with the greens are on either side of the home two doors down in either direction are green homes, different greens. Adding a third green to the mix might just be too much.

My third choice is maintaining the front color of the house and painting the rest of it to match the front color with almond accents and a black roof. It would tie all of the house together and we wouldn’t have to worry about the fascia or soffit fading over time if it were painted almond. I think is would still have a stately look to it.

So many of the homes on Main Street are painted white, light gray or almond that I want to stay away from those colors. There are also two different blue homes in the near vicinity so I don’t think blues are in the running either.

So many choices… so little time. Am I putting way too much thought in to this? We need to pick out colors this week. Open for suggestions.

 

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Leave Me Out of the Obituaries and Facebook

For the past week my morning routine has been disrupted. I usually wake up to an alarm at 6:00 am each morning. It’s not a pleasant sounding alarm but it gets me out of bed.

Last week when Daylight Savings Time ended I somehow changed my alarm settings on my radio and I now wake up to a local radio station. It’s a change but I’m not sure for the better.

Each morning this past week when I woke up to the radio station it has been a depressing way to start the day. At 6:00 am on this particular station they read the obituary notices for the deaths that occurred since yesterday and the upcoming funeral arrangements in our area.

I suppose I’m looking at this all wrong. I shouldn’t be depressed because I am here living on this earth another day. Starting the day with the obituaries just isn’t the way I would choose to begin my day. Maybe tonight before I crawl into bed I will remember to reset my clock to wake to the alarm instead of the radio.

As I lay in bed listening to the obituaries being read I keep a mental tally of the ages of all those who have died and quickly average the ages by the number of those who have died. I breathe a brief sigh of relief as I calculate that I am younger than the average age of all those who have died recently. There is always hope for a few more good years, that should be a positive thought but there is a negative thought lurking in the back of my mind at the same time.

After I process the average ages in my mind contented briefly I then move on to my next train of thought which is how many years do I have until I reach the average age? There are not nearly enough years between now and then to carry out all that I had hoped to before I die.

Some people choose to read the obituaries in the paper each day and others discuss them over lunch at work. In our small town we used to know when someone died without reading the obituaries by just driving past the funeral home. If the outside light was on then someone had died and the conversations would start with “Who died?” or “Who is in the funeral home?” or “I saw so and so’s car at the funeral home so it must be someone related to them”.

Most families around here now opt to have the wake at the church instead of the funeral home the evening before the funeral so then the conversation switches to “What’s going on at the church?”, “I wonder if someone died?” I live in a small town of 400 so a death in the community is usually someone I know, some more than others. Hearing about the death of a family member or friend over the radio seems so impersonal.

I’d love to leave instructions for my funeral that my death not be announced over the radio like the local sports scores from the night before but passed by word of mouth among friends and family and definitely not as a Facebook status. Status:Dead …. How cold!

 
 

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The Bicycle Gang and Childhood Destinations

This morning as I was looking for another photo I ran across this one. I took it a couple of weeks ago on a Saturday morning out my office window. At first it was only the two boys on the far right and they were quickly joined by the other five. They waited patiently as the one boy added air to his tire and then they were off as quickly as they came.

I was transported back to the 70’s when as a girl of 11 my friends and I would gather at one of my friends homes or mine just as the boys had done that Saturday morning.

We had important things to do. A trip to the mall was our destination. Now you may think that a trip to the mall was no big deal but it was. There weren’t many malls back then. In fact in our area of Minneapolis, this was the first. The mall was a mile and a half from our homes. We headed off with instructions from our Moms and Dads about safety along the busy roads with our bikes. There was no talk about being wary of strangers, it was a different time for sure.

We would head out first thing in the morning. The mall would open at 10 am. This was a whole day adventure. We didn’t plan on buying much, mostly looking but lunch was definitely part of the deal. Each of us would bring our hard-earned babysitting money or allowance if we got one. Saturday morning chores were done before we could go.

I still remember the wind blowing through my hair as we pedaled our bikes down the road. I loved then and still do now looking at all the different types of homes along the way and how the yards were landscaped. Once at the mall all the displays caught my eye which of course they were meant to do. As I look back now perhaps there was a different occupation other than teaching that I should have pursued, architecture or some type of design.

There is no mall for the boys to explore in our small town of 400. I imagine there are places just as exciting for a boy’s bicycle gang to explore in Tom Sawyer fashion with a small river and lakes nearby.

 

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Sticks and Stones

Tonight after work I was outside taking clothes in off the line when my daughter and grandson got home. He stayed outside with me while she unloaded her car. While we were outside he found a stick and walked around in the yard poking the ground and everything with his stick until he broke it in two.

No tears were shed when he broke it. He just picked up the other half and walked around to the side of the yard where the steps come down off the porch. He started using his sticks like drumsticks on the bottom step.

After drumming for a while he put his sticks down and headed to my garden. When he got there he was distracted by something up above.

When I looked up to see what he was pointing at I saw a flock of birds flying overhead. I’m not sure what kind they are but this was just a small portion of what flew overhead.

After the birds passed by Jack picked up some small stones from my garden and promptly trotted down to the lake. When he got to the shore he threw one stone in and then the other. He turned around and headed straight back to my garden for a second and later a third set of stones to throw in the lake until the mosquitoes drove us inside for the rest of the evening.

Who needs fancy store-bought toys when you’ve got sticks and stones?

 

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Abundance: Present and Future

This past weekend marked the beginning of the graduation party season in our small town. Graduation was held on Saturday of Memorial Day with my hubby(chairman of the school board) reading names of the graduates at the ceremony. Afterwards, someone told him he was being too serious when he read the names. He said he thought that graduation was supposed to be a solemn event.

We attended our first of many graduation parties for the graduates on Sunday. Each party is usually an Open House with family, friends and neighbors in attendance. The food is abundant and unique to each family usually with the graduates helping choose the menu.

My oldest son wanted a pig roast for his party, my second son was more interested in going racing right after his party was finished that he wasn’t too concerned about what was on the menu. My daughter had her favorite requests like Hot roast beef sandwiches, BBQ meatballs, fresh fruit and lots of salads. My youngest daughter had pretty much the same menu as her older sister but wanted to make sure I made my chicken salad for the party.

We have been to graduation parties with taco in a bag, pig roasts, picnic style foods,  smoked turkeys and some with very ethnic foods. One thing is constant at all the parties and that is the inclusion of plenty of sweets usually in the form of bars(lots of varieties) and cake.

At the first graduation party we went to this year there was an abundance of food as expected and then I found the unexpected in this photo which speaks of future abundance in the form of grapes.

I leave you with this quote today..

Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.
by Wayne Dyer
 
 

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