Tag Archives: small town living

The Project

It’s been over two months since I lasted posted on the blog.  Life happens, especially in Minnesota in the summer.  It seems that everyone tries to cram everything into the twelve weeks of summer.  We have been busy with life, work and “The Project”   Throw in a few weddings, birthday parties, reunions and we are already back to shortened days and cooler temperatures much sooner than expected.  My to do list still has too many items left on it.

Below are some before and after pictures from our project.  It has been fun seeing it take shape.  There is still much to do both inside and out.  There have been a few bumps in the road and distractions along the way so progress on our part as been slow.  The carpenters working on the project have been awesome.


I hope to get back to posting more often.  I had to put the camera down for a few months after breaking my collar-bone the end of June after tipping my motorcycle.  It has slowed me down a bit but I am finally back to having some strength back in my right arm.  The good news is my left arm is getting so much stronger since I’ve had to use it instead of the right.

Hope summer is treating all of you well. Jeanne


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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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Upsala Cardinal Basketball Season Comes to An End

The 2010-2011 Upsala Cardinal Season came to an end this afternoon at Williams Arena in Minneapolis, Minnesota but not without playing a great game for all those who attended.

The game started as all games do with the same beginning score.

The players from Upsala and those from Springfield gave it their all in front of their hometown fans. The marched from end to end and basket to basket with Upsala trailing by only three points at the half. 

At one point the officials had to call a time out to clear their desk of spilled liquids after one of the players landed on their desk. Several players took falls off of the basketball court and  landed on the floor below. Williams Area has a moat of sorts all around the basketball court. No water just hard cement to land on.

The high school band was there to cheer the team on along with four busloads of fans and many alumni. It was a high school reunion of sorts for my husband, 1977 graduate of Upsala.

The final score was Springfield 63, Upsala 53 but our team will always be winners for giving it their all at the Minnesota State Boys Basketball Tournament and representing Upsala well.

Thanks for a season to remember!


Posted by on March 25, 2011 in "Small Town Living", Life Happens


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Upsala Off to the State Boys BB Tournament


Upsala High School Boys BasketballSection 5A Champions!
BBB 5A Champions
The Upsala Boys Basketball Team won the Section game 

against McGregor in Crosby Friday night 92-54. 

It’s an exciting week in our small town of 400. Our boys basketball team won the section game on Friday evening which will send our team to the Minnesota High School Basketball State Tournament in the Twin Cities on Thursday, March 24, 2011 for the first time ever in boys basketball for our school.

I’ve taught a lot of the boys on the team in my nine years of  teaching in Upsala. Some of the boys I had as kindergarten students.  It’s so fun to see the fine young men that they have grown into since those early days in school.

There is nothing that swells the hearts with pride in a small town than to have one of our teams or students succeed beyond the boundaries of our local area. We love our kids here!

If your drive through our little town this week you will see the business windows painted with well wishes for the team and the coaches. The busses will be decorated for their departure to the tournaments and the filled with special treats for the team. Cars traveling to the tournaments will be decorated with well wishes too.

An action shot from an earlier game

There will be no school on Thursday so they can use the school busses to carry the fans from the area to the tournaments, it’s a two hour drive to the Twin Cities. The big game will be at 5 pm on Thursday. The joke in town is whoever is the last to leave to the tournaments don’t forget to turn the lights out.

Good Luck Upsala Boys Basketball Team and Coach Capelle at State!


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Small Town Living

Small town living isn’t for everyone but it suits me.  I love the charm of the old buildings.  Little Falls, Minnesota is the nearest larger town to where I live.  It’s about 20 miles from my home.  The estimated population in 2009 was 8067.  The population of the even smaller town where we live is 425.

This past week I took some pictures of some of my favorite places in Little Falls.  At some point in time they hired someone to paint some murals in some of the old buildings in town.  This is one of my favorite murals.


This past week I did a post on roman numerals on clock faces.  One of my favorite things in Little Falls is the clock on the old courthouse.

This is another photo that shows the Airport sign in it’s original location at the drive-in.  The quality of the picture isn’t the best because it is a picture of a picture.

This is a picture of the illuminated airport sign in the Black and White Cafe.

This is a picture of the Little Falls train station.  When I was young my Mom, brother and my two younger sisters road a train from the Twin Cities to Little Falls.  It was my first train ride and my Grandma met us at the train and drove us to her home about 30 miles from Little Falls.  My mom’s hometown was Little Falls.

The train bridge is still one of my favorite sites.

After taking the pictures of the bridge a couple of weeks ago I was talking to a customer of ours from Little Falls and he asked me if I knew that one half of the bridge was replaced.  He said that at one point the bridge was damaged and one half was replaced.  The height difference from the west end of the bridge to the east side is about five feet.  I had never noticed the difference before he mentioned it but the next time I was in town and looked at the bridge and sure enough the height changes on the bridge half way across the bridge.  I love when I find out a piece of history that I never knew before. 

I like the familar sites in a small town.  Things remain the same for many years never seeming to change. When I think back to some of the first trips to Little Falls compared to recent ones I know that there have been changes in town but they seem to have happened very slowly and almost unnoticable unlike in the big cities where buildings seem to appear overnight.


Posted by on February 11, 2011 in Photography, Reflections


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My New Morning Coffee Klatsch

Read the rest of this entry »


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Day in the Life of a Car Lot after a Snowstorm

Most people look forward to sleeping in on Saturdays for a change in routine from their work week.  We work most Saturdays because we are part owners in a Used Car Sales and Service business. 

Saturdays are usually busy at the shop but the morning after a snow storm,  busy takes on a whole different meaning.  This morning our car lot looked like this when we arrived at work.

My tools for cleaning up the car lot are few but essential.  I dress in warm clothes with boots, jacket, hat and several warm pairs of gloves.  I also need a snow brush for sweeping the cars off before moving them to plow, a jump pack to start any cars that may have a dead battery, and lots of coffee.  And no, we don’t have a McDonald’s in our small town of 400.  I just recycle the cups when I buy coffee so my good cups can stay at home where they belong.

One of the things I like most about cleaning up the lot is the level of activity around town.  Everyone is busy cleaning up, homes and businesses alike.  This morning as I was clearing the lot I heard my first snowmobile in town.  When we get a lot of snow it is not unusual to see large groups of snowmobiles drive through town on the snowmobile trails. 

After I sweep off all the snow off the cars I retrieve all the keys for the cars and start each one and move them so I can remove the snow.  No one likes to tramp through the snow to look at a vehicle covered in snow when they are shopping cars and we don’t have an inside showroom for our cars.

This is what the lot looks like after I’ve moved all the cars.  Today wasn’t bad only two cars that wouldn’t start before moving them. 

I move all the snow from the south end of the lot to the north end where we pile it up for the season.  Sometimes we get too much snow and have to haul some away so we have enough room for more snow if we get some.  After the lot is clear then I move all the cars back to their locations and put all their keys away and the bobcat away as well. 

This morning it wasn’t too bad for working outside because the wind wasn’t blowing and I dressed warm enough.  My work started at 8:00 this morning and it took until 1:15 to finish up.  As I finished up and was getting ready to head home my husband said that we needed to go out on a tow call.   This is what the lot looked like when I finished this morning.

We locked everything up at the shop and backed out the tow truck.  It seems we needed to rescue a sheriff who had driven a rear wheel drive squad car down a very steep hill in the snow and got stuck at the bottom.  We had the winch the car up the hill backwards to get it out.  I don’t know what the sheriff was thinking driving down that hill.  It wasn’t an emergency call,  just follow-up on an investigation.

This is where the picture of the sheriff’s car being towed up the hill belongs but the sheriff didn’t take too kindly to me for wanting to take a picture of the event so you will have to settle for a picture of my favorite watering can outside my front door.   

Keep warm, toasty and your cars on the road . 

I don’t feel like a tow call out in the cold this evening. 

I am finally warmed up and settled in with a good book! 


Posted by on December 4, 2010 in Business Matters, Life Happens, Nature


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Walter’s Car

Last night  my husband and I had a special delivery to make.  It’s a delivery that Walter has been waiting for nearly 35 years.  Our delivery was a 1968 Chevy Camaro Z28.  Walter bought the Camaro brand new on August 30, 1968.  In the mid 70’s Walter was married man with a family to support and sold the Camaro to pay bills.  It has been in my husband’s possession ever since.  He and his Dad painted the Camaro and it was my husband’s car while he was in high school.  He parked it in his Grandma’s old garage when he left for college in 1977.  There it has remained except for one brief outing in the 90’s when we took it out to show our kids their Dad’s old car.

Last week my husband made the comment to me that he thought it was time.  I said “Time for what?”  “Time to talk to Walter to see if he would like to buy his old Camaro back.  Neither one of us are getting any younger.”  Walter is 61  and my husband is 51.  He continued, “I always told him that if I was ever ready to sell the old Camaro that I would give him first chance to buy it back.”  Later that evening he called Walter’s wife and asked for Walter’s cell phone number to call him.  She gave him the number and he got Walter on the phone.  They talked and I listened to one side of the conversation.  Walter is an over the road truck driver and said that when he got back in town he would stop by to talk.

Walter and his wife showed up at our shop yesterday afternoon.  They had been out to the garage to check the car out.  Noted that it had one flat tire, was dirty but in overall good shape.  My husband and Walter got down to the business of negotiating a price.  I sat down with Walter and his wife to begin the paperwork for the sale while my husband drove out to the garage to retrieve the mileage off the Camaro.  It was 92787 actual miles. 

It was fun to hear both my husband and Walter reminisce about their time with the Camaro.   My husband talked about how the window really shook when they got it up to 140 mph.  Walter said he thought the fastest he drove it was 150 mph.  They commented on the fact that it more amazing that both of them were still around rather than the Camaro due to their driving habits.  Walter talked about picking up his future wife for their first date and how she was wearing white go-go boots when they went out that evening.

Walter talked about stopping by the dealership to see if they had the original invoice from his purchase in 1968.  He said the dealership is still in business.  He talked about how he would have to call his friend who was with him the day he picked up his Camaro the day he bought it to tell him he had it back again.  He told us how they had Nehru jackets to wear while they drove the Camaro.  One was green and one was blue.  Nehru jackets became popular when the Beatles and the Monkeys wore them during performances. 

After we finished up with Walter and his wife we told them we would bring the car out later that evening after we finished up with our other customers for the day.  Walter had to hit the road at 10:00am the next morning.  It took us longer than planned but finally we headed out to the garage with the air tank, flashlight, and flatbed to retrieve the Camaro and deliver it to Walter. 

The anticipation of delivering it was like waiting for someone to open a special Christmas present that you know they will be excited about.  We worked together to carefully load the Camaro on the flatbed and drove to our shop to air up one tire that wouldn’t hold air and to give the Camaro a quick bath before we delivered it.  It’s last one was in the mid 90’s.  It needed it.

Getting a Quick Wash


We drove slowly the mile or so from the shop to Walter’s home.  When we drove into the yard the sound of the diesel truck and headlights brought them out of the house for the unloading.  After we unloaded it my husband got in the car to show Walter the old eight track tapes he found inside.  There were a couple of Beach Boys and a few others.  Then he opened the glove box to see if the owner’s manual was still in the car.  It was and a few other items.  As he paged through the owner’s manual neatly tucked within its pages was Walter’s original purchase invoice for the Camaro.  He wouldn’t need to make a trip back to the dealership after all. 

At the end of the day some things just feel right like the Camaro back home with Walter.  Sleep tight!


Posted by on November 2, 2010 in Life Happens, Reflections, Uncategorized


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