A transplanted Southern Californian living in North Dakota, with some insights on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Crazy Spring Weather in North Dakota

Spring weather here in North Dakota has some wild swings.  Thunderstorms, hot days, sudden cold snaps, you name it, it can and does happen.  Two weeks ago it was 80 degrees and we were in the midst of a drought, everyone was talking about how little precipitation the area had received.  Farmers were able to get out into the fields and start planting, some a month or more ahead of schedule.

Then over the last week, we've gotten multiple inches of rain, almost 2 inches on Sunday alone.  The rain front passed through and now we're getting booming cold North winds and even a little bit of snow.  Yes snow, in Mid May.  The white blurry spots on the picture below are snowflakes.  It wasn't a blizzard or anything, but off and on snow showers most of the day. 

The final oddity was temperatures down to 27 degrees last night, a hard frost.  I had to scramble and cover the few annuals that I'd already planted so they didn't get frost bitten.  The good news is that the rest of the week is forecast for sunny and pleasant, and then we're nearing the time of year (late-May) where it would be REALLY strange to get a frost. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Blast from the past: Graduation Time

The other day my mom brought me something that I guess has been hiding in a closet for the past 19 years. It was a poster of the U.S. that I made using the return addresses of all the schools that recruited me during high school. Nearly all of the schools contacted me for track, though a few were for general academics. I was called to our high school's administration office on a regular basis to pick up these letters - some schools sent me multiple letters (note that athletic recruiting is very different now with email and social media, none of which was around in 1996). I tried to count the schools and I came up with 92, but it's possible that I miscounted.
While it was fun to see the poster, I'm not quite sure what to do with it now. I felt that a blog post might be the best way to send it on its way. John thinks that since we spent the time to laminate it, I should keep it, but I'm not sold on the idea yet. Any suggestions?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mississippi River Recreation Area - Part 2

The continuation of our tour through Minneapolis in April.  You can read Mississippi River Recreation Area - Part 1 if you happened to miss the first installment of this exciting series. 

On Saturday we made our way to the actual Mississippi River Recreation Area, which is a huge series of parks along both sides of the river throughout the city.  We specifically wanted to find the couple of places where we I could find a Passport Stamp, because well that's the most important thing in the world!!
This particular wildlife station had an impressive collection of stuffed creatures on display and a pretty cool exhibit for kids.
It was a beautiful day though, and we wanted to stretch our legs on the walking path along the Mississippi River.  The river level was low and exposed sandy beaches in many spots. 
The website description for the Recreation Area said that there was a Great Blue Heron nesting site along the walking path.  But after a discussion with the Ranger on duty it turned out that high water had washed away the favorite nesting site a few years ago and the Great Blue Herons had relocated several miles South to a treed island in the middle of the river. 
The nesting site was located in a park in a slightly sketchy part of town, on the river and next to a power plant.  Not terribly scenic. 
All of those dark blotches in the trees are Great Blue Heron nests.  It was a pretty impressive number of nests, and there were several birds hovering around for most of the time we were there. 
Lots of Great Blue Herons. 
John seemed particularly nervous about the area.  Something about the sketchy neighborhood, remnants of campfires in the sand, and beer cans made him concerned.  But how often would we get to see a Great Blue Heron nesting site?  
That's the tour.  We'll return to our regularly scheduled programming of gardening, deaf dogs, and gluten free antics in our next post (maybe). 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mississippi River Recreation Area - Part 1

These are the last two posts about our weekend trip to Minneapolis.  Minneapolis is a 5+ hour drive away, and even though we've lived in North Dakota for almost 6 years, there's still a ton of touristy stuff in the big city that we haven't seen.
The Stone Arch Bridge in downtown Minneapolis, spanning the Mississippi River. 
This is the Mill Ruins Park and consist of the ruins of the old riverbank and dock structures.  Loading and unloading from ships to the Gold Medal Flour Mill happened here. 
This is Saint Anthony Falls, the only natural major waterfall on the Mississippi River. It was dammed in the mid 1800's and used to make Minneapolis the "Flour Milling Capital of the World" from the 1880's until the 1930's. 
The concrete spillway was created after a partial collapse of the falls in 1869.  The locks on the left  and a series of dams (including one for hydroelectric power) were created in the 1950's and 1960's.
This is the inside of the Gold Medal Flour Mill.  It was shut down in 1965 and then a huge fire gutted the abandoned building in 1991.  It was made a National Historic Landmark in 1983, and was restored and reopened as the Mill City Museum in 2003.  Here's the Mill City Museum Website
The brand new museum was built in/around the old factory and it made for a striking combination of old and new construction.  New glass and steel on the left, old bricks on the right. 
The original mill stone from the flour grinding mill. 

We took too many pictures, so we'll have to continue this in Part 2...