Thursday, June 30, 2016

We meet the Bluebird guy


Mr. Bluebird
On No. 9 today, we ran into one of the best friends Minnesota bluebirds have. He's Ben Bartusek Jr. of New Prague and he erects and maintains 80 pairs of bluebird boxes, only two other birders in the state can claim more bluebird housing. His rugged boxes on the ends of poles are 60 percent occupied this year.
A couple of his boxes are posted adjacent to No. 12 at Creeksbend Golf Course, where we encountered the kindly gentleman with a long walking stick today. Greg, a birder himself, quickly engaged Ben on his favorite topic, interrupting his round.
He puts out the houses in pairs... one for the bluebirds and one for the tree sparrows. We don't know why the sparrow accommodations. Maybe next time we see him we'll ask.

Greg inspects one of Ben's 80 pairs of bluebird/sparrow boxes. This one was occupied.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Group Lessons

Photos by Stan Rolfsrud

Duck Walk.
Our new family of mallards got a swimming lesson today, but first they had to walk to the pond. Mom showed them how to pause and look carefully both ways, then they strolled down the middle of the street.

At first we thought these were blue wing teal; not so, said Birder Greg Johnson who dropped by this afternoon.

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Surprise Day Off

Pat had a smile on his face all morning on his surprise day off.
Journey-man sheet-fed color press operator Pat Hunter got a nice surprise on his early shift . . . take the rest of the day off. He was happy to oblige on a gorgeous day like today and these two were soon taking a turn around the busy Creeksbend track. Tomorrow will be another nice day, but alas, Pat will be turning the press again. His partner has no plans.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sunset on the Borderland

Our friend Wayne Kasich posted this view from behind his Rainy Lake dock in Ranier, Minn., on one of the longest days of the year. That's Fort Frances, Canada on the horizon, the sun sets to the left. Nice shot, Wayne!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Sold! Hold the calls!

A nearby garage sale has inspired us to lighten up a bit. Here's an item we haven't used lately, we'll sacrifice it in return for the pleasurable feeling of down-sizing. It's in good shape, listed on Craigslist for $150. Special discount for readers of this blog. Act now.

Friday, June 24, 2016


Birthday Boy, center, his daughter, Patty, in the foreground in blue shirt.
The rest are neighbors who dropped by to sing and eat cake, some wiping off blue frosting in time for this photo.
Joe Daly's 86th Birthday drew a crowd for cake last night, celebrating our neighbor's big day in the midst of a big moving project. His daughter is here from Seattle for a time, his house is listed for sale; the widower will be returning to his native California to live near family there. We'll miss Joe's friendly presence as we fondly recall the years of gentle chit-chat. During his 15 years here, Joe adapted well to the Minnesota climate and adopted the Twins and perhaps even a bit of the accent. A gentleman always, the former boxer, grocer, merchant marine and union leader contributed much to the neighborhood. Today he and Patty are staging a garage sale as they reorganize for the big move.  Our best always.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Heading West!

Belle Plaine Or Bust. The big comfy lounger is still in great shape. Just big. Joe moved it here from
San Francisco, his patio door was a different size back then. Phillip borrowed some tools and before long
we had  squeezed the honker out of the basement. It didn't fit inside the hatchback as planned either,
so Plan B was implemented. Voila!
Joe's patio door had to be semi-disassembled and the original packing plans scrubbed, but Michelle and Phillip were determined to get the double-barcalounger home safe to their rural Belle Plaine home. And they did. Our neighbor Joe is having a moving sale, his daughter is here from Seattle to put it together and the double lounger is just one more detail out of the way.
Any sudden movement draws a crowd on
Abbey Point. 
There's a gigantic sale planned for Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week, please stop by Abbey Point for some great bargains.
Michelle and Phillip headed west with their rooftop treasure, taking the back roads through Marystown. On their way out they had spotted a chest freezer, the perfect size, and left a check. They'll be back for it soon.
Hurry, hurry! Stuff is going fast!
(Note to Abbey Pointers. Joe needs more tables for the sale. If you've got a folding table to loan, check with Patty.)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A grandchild graduates

The neighbor, the graduate, the grandmother, the neighbor.
When the portable basketball hoop appeared in the driveway across the way years ago, we thought it an unusual addition to our 55 and over community. But Grandpa Anderson knew what he was doing. Today we celebrated his granddaughter's graduation from Shakopee High --- and her basketball scholarship to Southwest Minnesota State University.
The cake had a Mustang on it. The Southwest
mascot, of course. Not true that Katie couldn't wait
and took a finger swipe at the frosting.
Caleigh Rodning was all smiles today as friends and family gathered at her father's Savage home for  traditional graduation festivities -- a beautiful, sunny day for the little shy girl we watched grow into a beautiful, confident woman with wide-open, blue sky on her horizon. That's not just because she's an accomplished athlete;  her achievements extend to the classroom as well, in a studied, balanced approach that will serve her through a lifetime.
Our long-time neighbors, Grandparents Wes and Shirley Anderson, are justly proud of the girl who showed promise as a golfer, but passed on that path after discovering she preferred the social, team aspect of a fast-paced basketball challenge.
We'll watch her career with interest and wish the best to the neighbor kid we'll always remember driving the baseline on our tarmac.

FATHER AND SON -- Duane Slaughter, Caleigh's mentor and swing coach, with his Dad, who drove up
from southern Minnesota to honor the grad.
 Hammerschlagen -- the object is to drive your nail into the stump first by taking turns with the wrong end of the hammer. Mostly you'll miss. It can be a drinking game --- but not today, of course. (Stan beat Katie by two strokes -- sober.)
Entertainment also included video of Caleigh's ball games, memorabilia, and introductions to a ton of relatives enjoying a huge spread, beverages and good company.
A disproportionate number of folks in the gathering have roots in the tiny town of Hanska, Minnesota. A road trip is planned to see what it's all about there.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


It wasn't that long ago that Kathleen helped Ruby stuff envelopes for the newspaper office subscription campaigns. Tens of thousands of envelopes were mailed by them and it provided an important job for a number of folks.
Those days are gone. That little box on the file cabinet does it all now, folding stuffing, sealing, everything.
Ruby and Kathleen got together the other day and had a chuckle over by-gone days.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Betsy Ross?

Happy Flag Day Dan!
Thirteen stripes, 50 stars, now get started.

She can make you cry

Congratulations to our Cousin Erika Rolfsrud. Erika just won the award for being the outstanding actress in a stage play in Connecticut during 2015.

Erika is currently in a 17 week gig at the major regional theatre in Cleveland, OH, where she's getting rave reviews. One critic noted that although the play, "Steel Magnolia" is loaded with biting wit between the six women in a beauty parlor down south with their Southern accents in full display, Erika as the mother of a daughter facing death has a fairly long bit on death which according to the critic brought everyone in the audience to tears.

For anyone who is interested, Erika played the head of the NRA in current TV season episodes of "House of Cards", available on Netflix. Just google "Erika Rolfsrud" and a bunch of information flows out, including three segments from House of Cards; one of those episodes shows all her scenes in the program.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Birthday blooms

Circumstances kept Laurie from celebrating Kathleen's birthday last May, so we regrouped today at Axel's Bonfire in Prior Lake and made up for it.
Later, in the parking lot, Laurie presented this plant to the birthday girl. Although Stan was able to suspend the plant with one arm and take this picture with the other, he neglected to get the name of the plant, so that detail will wait until some lovely reader updates this.
After, Laurie invited us back to the newspaper office to tape a greeting to longtime employee Lorris Thornton, who will be retiring soon. As retirees ourselves, we had plenty of time to do this and wished Lorris a happy happy into a video camera set up for that purpose.
(Whatever happened to Thank You notes?)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Pretty in Pink

Peonies are not here for long, but they're very showy when they are. Our Reds are already gone, shredded on a stormy night.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Side benefits

An errand to Matt's hobby farm this morning yielded this harvest of spears from his sunny garden. The fat one will get extra time in the water. Slightly al dente, just salt and pepper -- better than fresh corn on the cob. MMM.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Sosie's foxy video

You gotta see this. Sosie put together this little video of the little fox family in her Sunol, Ca yard.
Here's the description:
Three California Gray fox kits happily smash plants in a Sunol garden while Mother Fox attempts to pre-train them for hunting. They are too busy for school.

No rain, but westerlies prevailed

Which way did the wind blow? No need for these senior golfers to toss grass clippings in the air today. Stan would just glance at Greg's billowing platinum mane and get a pretty good indication of direction and speed.
If you've got a head of hair like Greg, you don't trap it under a cap.
Forecasters said it might rain, it usually does for Greg and Stan, but it didn't and they stayed dry today.

Sosie's foxes

Stan's sister Solveig writes from Sunol, CA,
Late this afternoon, I got video of the Fox family cavorting on our patio. I tried to tiptoe out onto the deck to get a cleaner view, but Mother Fox heard me from under the deck and would not have it. She screamed at me as she had yesterday. She's a good mother, but she is way rude to me. Her scream is like a high-pitched barking dog with a really sore throat.
Later, the family came back out and I got this snap (above).
Suddenly Mother Fox heard something and lightly jumped up the hill and onto Bill's stone wall for a look and listen. She waited and watched and the three kits went back under the deck, as though knowing they had lost her close protection.
Then she was off further up the hill and I thought she had joined Father Fox. But as I quietly approached the woods, I saw that the second animal was a young raccoon. Hmmmm. How do fox and raccoon socialize?
Tomorrow, we learn more tomorrow. Always more tomorrow.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Gary's back!

Gary the Green Heron has returned to the pond, had a brief visit to scout out the possibilities, and then was gone.
This morning a Great Blue Heron, (at right) harassed all the while by nesting Red-wing blackbirds, stabbed his big beak into the water a few times, but didn't come up with anything that we noticed. He departed as well. 
Good fishing requires patience, we're told.
There's plenty of breakfast, lunch and dinner just beneath the surface.