Monday, June 30, 2014

Weekend Update

This past weekend was a flurry of activity.
I'll post more later, but in the midst of all the family gathering and driving, 
I caught a couple of fun bird photos.
To say we have had a lot of rain, is quite the understatement.
Almost every parking lot has standing water, and the wildlife seem to appreciate these makeshift ponds.

A Killdeer who was enjoying a little wading and bathing.

This House Wren was feeding someone who is inside this gourd at Gus & Lois's.

The House Wren was deciding if he could trust me.
My drive from Luck to Rice Lake on Sunday was very pretty.
Some big clouds were forming and I stopped to take a few photos.
These clouds really were wanting to be something, but it skipped past Rice Lake.
While I was stopped to take photos of clouds, 
I got a bonus shot of a fawn following a doe across the road.  
Happily there was no traffic.

Silly little buggers, all legs.
That's it for now, I'll write more about the weekend late.
Dad and Ev are in Luck now, so it will be a busy week.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

More Bombing Around

Sunday, I went over to Luck to attend church at West Denmark with Dad & Ev, Aunt Johanne and Nancy and cousin Gary.  It was a beautiful day and as always, sitting in that church stirs up memories and emotions not felt elsewhere.
Coffee after church gave me a chance to visit with my Petersen cousins, always a pleasure.
I even talked Ronnie into cutting me some steel roofing to put on Ansgar's Lille Barn.
A new sign in my Danish garden directs you to the barn.
After the coffee, Dad and Ev and I took a drive down County Trunk N.  Dad was remembering who lived in each house and told many stories about the people who made up the West Denmark community back in his youth.  Should have had a tape recorder!
We ate lunch at The Lower Bar in Cushing, WI.
A greasy burger and a beer hit the spot.
We continued our drive on some of the town roads, found where my Uncle Chris had his farm before I can remember, along with many other relatives and friends.
I left Dad and Ev in the late afternoon to head back to Rice Lake.
As I was leaving the motel to head East, I noticed a makeshift puddle and a Killdeer enjoying the water.

Pretty bird with long legs.

A friend of mine told me that his granddaughter didn't know that water towers had any function,
she thought that towns just put them up so people would know the name of the town.
I bet most little kids share her opinion.

The clouds were gathering and the sky was really pretty all the way home.

As I was stopped on the side of the road, with camera aimed at the clouds, I noticed a doe and her fawn, making her way across Hwy 48.

I just barely caught this little fawn as it scampered across the road and on into the field.
Oh I wish they would stay off the road.
As it turned out, those clouds didn't gain enough momentum to rain on Rice Lake, but they made my drive home very interesting.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Bombing Around

On Saturday, 6/28, I attended the memorial service for my Dad's first cousin, Kristian Henriksen.  
There were many first cousins in the Henriksen family tree, 
and now it is down to just Johanne and Valdemar, siblings.
As most memorial services are, it was a gathering of old friends and relatives, many of whom I had not seen for many years and some I had seen fairly recently.
The stories told were many, and most touched me as I am quite sentimental about my West Denmark roots.
We walked around the cemetery a bit after Kris's internment.
These two started it all for me in West Denmark, 
my grandparents rest under a tree in the West Denmark cemetery.

After the service, coffee and more visiting at the hall gave me a chance to catch up with a second cousin, once removed, who was also my classmate in school at Luck.
In the evening, Gus and Lois hosted Dad & Ev, Glenn and Kathy, Aunt Johanne and daughter Nancy, cousin Gary and myself at their home for a summer meal.  It was nice to have that group together and hear the stories that each told.
Gus told a funny story about being at Kris and Doris's wedding and asking Mom about the tiered wedding cake.  He wondered if that whole thing was cake.  Mom's response was no, it was not all cake.  When Gus asked how it was done?  Her response was "That's the Baker's secret."  According to Gus, that drove him nuts trying to figure it out.

Glenn remembered working with Kris in the cities for a day, somewhere, he couldn't remember; doing something, he couldn't remember, but it was during the flooding season, but beyond that, he couldn't remember.

Gus had another one.  When Dad & Kris were working together making church furniture.  Little Gussie was in the shop one day and asked what all the oddly shaped pieces of wood were that were hanging on the wall.  Kris replied that those were 'jigs'.  He explained that Valdemar is an expert at making jigs to make woodworking easier, faster and for replication of efforts.  Kris told Gus, that Valdemar was so good at making jigs, that if they ever landed a man on the moon, Valdemar would probably have to go there and make some jigs.  Now that impressed Gus.

It was so nice to see Aunt Johanne in Luck again.  Her husband Thorvald has been unable to travel for a while now, and she has had her own health issues, so it was a joy to have them there for the gathering.

As always, Gus and Lois were generous hosts and we all had plenty of wonderful food to eat and a special treat of rhubard dessert is always Dad's favorite.
Lois always sets the pretty buffet.
Glenn and Kathy had a long drive home and I headed off to Rice Lake.  The big rain storm followed us on our travels and we 3 were happy to make it to our Home Sweet Homes in good shape.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

My Danish Garden

I have known gardeners who have lovely gardens filled with a variety flowers and clever items in the style of an English Garden.  I've begun planting and working to have a nice spot next to the front door.  
I'm calling it my Danish Garden.
It's a work in process.
The barn door is from Grandpa Ansgar's barn, and the hops are growing on a bed headboard, also from Ansgar's barn.
My hops are climbing and are also busy covering the old bed headboard.
Tomatoes are in the rear on the right, and there are little tomatoes on the vine.
Now we need a little sunshine.
I found a Nisse today who fits right in.
He found a home under the Danish flag banner.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Medical Crappola

Well, this has been a year of medical expense for me.  Along with the usual annual visits, I added in genetic testing for a deleterious gene (negative, yay), removal of a mole (which turned out to be a crazy elaborate procedure, but also negative, yay) and now my ankle is really bothering me, go figure.
I had a consult with a podiatry specialist about a month ago.  He suggested that I have injections of a high density gel that is made from the combs of chickens.  So, I had the first of a series of 3 injections on Monday.  It's a week between each injection, 
so I'll be going to Eau Claire on Mondays for a couple more weeks. 

The doctor used a fluoroscope to locate where he wanted to make the injection, and then bombs away!
Every time the doctor looks at my ankle on the screen he says, 
"This poor ankle."  
And I agree.
The injection went really quick and was relatively painless.  
The needle wasn't actually in my ankle for this shot, he just took this as he was lining up where to insert the needle.
He printed me a copy for my 'scrapbook'.
And for the drive home, I thought it felt great.
But today, we are back to square one.
There may be a cumulative effect over the next 3 weeks, but I'm already planning the next step.
I'll be having my ankle fused, this will eliminate nearly all pain and since I already have almost no range of motion in this joint, I should not notice much difference in walking.
The hard part is the surgery aftermath.
4 weeks of no weight bearing, and 4 more weeks in a waling boot.
Since I'll need some help during this time, I've decided to get scheduled for September.
I can easier get around with the scooter if I'm not fighting snow and helpers can easier get here to assist me during nicer weather.
More to come on that,
but in the meantime, I'm trying to get stronger and lose a few pounds (like always).
After this year, I'm hoping for minimal medical crap.
Life is interesting, eh?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Time to dry out

No, I'm not going to stop enjoying a beer now and then.
But on Sunday, when the sun came out, this goldfinch sat down on the bird feeder and promptly spread his wings and tail, as if to dry them in the warm sunshine.
I guess even the birds are getting a little weary of the damp weather.
The goldfinch sat there for several minutes, basking in the sun.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Who goes there?

Last night, I attended at performance at The Northern Star Theater Company in Rice Lake.  
This year I have a season ticket so I'll be sure to see all of the plays offered.  
When I saw that Les Misérables was on the 2014 schedule, 
I was pretty impressed (and maybe a little skeptical) that a community theater could take on such a large story.  Leaving the theater, I was not disappointed by last night's performance, in fact, I was in awe.  The cast was huge, the set was ever so clever and believable, costuming simple yet fit the mood and the era, orchestra music amazing, and the acting & singing drew me right into the story of Jean Valjean's life.
I loved it so much, I hated for it to end.

When you leave the playhouse at NSTC, the cast always lines up to shake hands and thank the audience for coming.  Sometimes this feels a little awkward but last night it was crazy fun.  
The cast was huge, lining both sides of the long hallway.  It was really fun to greet each of the actors and actresses, and there were many little children as well, and thank them for all the work that must have gone on to result in such a fine evening at the theater.
My life is pretty darn good, and not at all Misérable.

Often times when I get home from an evening at the theater, it's not easy to fall right into bed.  I'm a night-owl anyway, so last night was one of those times when I didn't head for bed for a couple of hours after arriving home.
As I was headed for bed, I noticed the motion detector light on the garage had come on, so I quickly went to the back window to see who was there.
A medium sized black bear was strolling around, sniffing at bird feeders and flower baskets.
I was hoping for a better photo of him, I guess I'll move the trail cam today and see if we can do better capturing images of who wanders the backyard at night (and during the day).

Towards morning, on the day of the Summer Solstice, a doe was also seen in the backyard.
Nearly daylight at 5:00 a.m...
sometimes is seems hard to remember what time the sun came up during the long winter.
Rest assured it was nowhere near 5:00 a.m.
I haven't noticed any nibble damage to any of my hosta or other plants, but clearly, deer are here.

In all my planning to move to Wisconsin, it never occurred to me that I would share my yard with so many of Mother Nature's amazing creatures.
Life is Good.

Friday, June 20, 2014


So much rain and mild temps and my yard looks wonderful.
This is the greenest that my yard has been since I moved in.
The 'woods' at the back edge of back yard is growing up and getting thicker.
These panorama photos are fun because they twist around and skew some areas (like the driveway).

Street view

Front yard

Front door
Click on photos to see larger.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Old photos

One of the kids who grew up in the West Denmark community has been scanning and sharing many old photos that his Mom and grandparents had.
This one is particularly fun to see, as my Dad was just a little boy.
Since the message on the back of the photo was written in Danish, we asked Aunt Johanne to help discover who was in the photo.
My uncles on the left in the hats; Halvdan in the back and Christian in the front.
My Aunt Ane Marie on the right, always a tall girl.
My Dad on the ground on the right, and Aunt Johanne on the ground on the left.
The rest of the kids were Henriksen kids, so all these kids were first cousins.

This is what Aunt Johanne had to say: 
"All of us,
Halvdan, Elin, Ane Marie back row 
Chris, Selma, Anna, second row. 
Me on the ground, Kris H. in wagon and Wally on the ground. 
That was the summer after Uncle's (Niels Henrik Henriksen) wife had died and Mother stayed down in the house with alll us kids while Uncle went to Denmark for an extended visit. I think Uncle Henrik Utoft paid for Uncle's trip to try to get over the loss of his wife. I am not sure but I think Dad was working in Minneapolis at that time. I suppose Halvdan, Ane Marie and Elin were old enough to help with us little ones but it sure was a gutsy thing for Mother to do. 
All this is what I have been told. 
I used to have that picture so it must be somewhere."

It must have been quite something for Uncle Niels Henrik to lose his wife so young with such a big family.  It's a real testament to that extended family that these children all grew up to be such kind and caring members of the West Denmark community.

Here is a translation of the Danish provided by a Facebook friend: 
"Greetings from all the children to Holger Koch. 
The little boy in the "wagon" and the three girls is Niels Henriksen's.  
It is Valdemar looking like a colored ( means he is black) and little Johanne from the other side and Christian and Halvdan."
I'm amused to see that the writer described Dad as looking like a colored.  
He always did and still does get a great dark tan.
There are pictures of Glenn as a youngster and he really looks so much like this photo of Dad.
Fun stuff.
Life is Good.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A little chute

Dad suggested that I add the little chute that was between Ansgar's barn and silo.  This is how the silage was moved down to the animals from the silo.  I never saw inside it, I'm not sure if it was just a chute but I suppose it was quite simple but functional.
So, now Ansgar's Little Barn has a chute between silo & barn.

The chute is done.

Now the silo has better support and also we can move the silage.

The back of the barn has a broken out window.
 I'm really pleased with the result.  
I'm working on making a little barn wood sign for it.

Another item I brought home from Ansgar's barn at Paul & Maggie's, was an external door.
This door was on the side of the barn, close to where the chute attached.
I decided to use that door as a backdrop to my hops garden.
It looks better in person, I think.
Ansgar's Little Barn has been a fun project.
I hope it stands for a very long time as a memorial to my Grandparents Ansgar and Frederikke.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Five is special

After a long winter of not getting too far from Rice Lake, it's really nice to have a chance to get out and see some of the family.  Kaija invited me to join in the celebration of Wynni's 5th birthday, taco salad and cake at their place on Saturday evening.   The drive to Spring Valley was beautiful, we've had so much rain that the landscape is lush and green and really pretty.

The weather didn't look like it was going to cooperate.  
Big, dark clouds were building and the temperature was dropping, but it all worked out.  Kaija and Mike have big garage and had it set with the tables and buffet.  I did wish I had worn socks and shoes instead of sandals, the weather almost felt like late fall.

Wynni is a cute little girl and Kaija had made a darling cake.
The Vanasse and Johansen and Loyas families were all there to celebrate, 
only Aunt Krista was missing because of work.

There were lots of little Vanasse cousins there who I don't know or can't remember names.  All the kids were having a blast together, & I only saw a couple of tears or mad faces the whole day.
Kids and adults love cupcakes.
Happy Birthday Wynni!
These girls and their serious looks...sigh

Wynni and cousins, brother Bryce on the far left.
Wynni being Wynni
Cupcakes gone, kids gone off to play.
It was cloudy and looked like a storm, but the rain held off for the party.
This Vanasse cousin was enjoying his cake and ice cream.
Talk about blue eyes!

Bryce explaining something to his cousin.  Future Farmers?
Bryce was really having run on his tractor.
Vinny seemed to really have fun with all the kids and grownups too.
Balloons were lots of fun, then it turned to balloon fights and then the balloons had to take a rest.
Cordell has a bad cold so snuggling with Grandma was a good thing.
Charli watching the 'little kids'
Cousins Jackson and Jake, doing who knows what
Jake enjoying his 'no frosting please' cupcake
Grandma Sheryl Vanasse and Grandma Kathy Johansen
Grandpa Vern Vanasse and Grandpa Glenn Johansen
Glenn and his cake and silliness
Niece Jordyn helping her Aunt Kaija dish up the cake and ice cream
Jordyn has the magic touch with babies.
Kaija and her nieces.
They managed to convince me to watch Dumb and Dumber when I got home.
Vanasse Generations:  Mike and Mitch, Grandpa Irvan, Dad Vern and Grandma Evey 
 Exciting day for me as it was my first sighting of Alaina.
She's a real cutie and let me hold her for a long time and then fell asleep in my arms.
Alaina and her mommy, Payton
Aunt Linsey with Alaina
Daddy Rusty and Alaina, she loves the dolphin swing!
Dana, I missed getting a photo of Erin (that's not like me, oops)
I'm not sure how the gift thing works, looks like each of the kids helps with the opening of Wynni's presents.
Alaina and her happy mommy Payton

Payton has a great smile.
 Alyxis took the camera for a bit, she got a few close ups.

Milli opening a card, the cousins watching.

Andy holding his nephew Cordell and having a 'conversation' with his daughter Alyxis.

There was a moment of sadness for the birthday girl
But you can't eat push ups and cry, so, no more crying.
Alyxis took this 'artsy' photo of Wynni.
Lots of kids, lots of things with wheels = lots of fun
Kaija was busy with kids and entertaining, but at least I got one quick photo of her.
Charli and a big smile!  Love smiling kids!
Andy having 'a conversation' with his Dad 
 Party people

What a nice gathering of family to celebrate Wynni's birthday!
Being 5 is special.


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