Saturday, June 30, 2018

My Favorite Photos of the Month - June 2018

During June, there were many photos that stood out for me...not because they are high-quality photos, but rather because they remind me of something fun or meaningful that we did; or were examples of beauty in chaos.

We are still recovering from the fire at our farm that happened on May 5th. In fact, there wasn't too much done with that project except the fill that was brought in to build up the area where the garage will be.

Just when we thought we had enough challenges this year, our walls leading to the cellar began to cave in more and let mud slide in and fill the drain tiling in one spot. Needless to say, that project had to be undertaken in order to protect our drain tiling and provide a safe entrance to the cellar. More on that later.

The month started out well. On June 1st, the girls and I went to Osceola, Wisconsin, for the annual Rhubarb Days picnic at the local bank. Afterwards, we stopped at Dairy Queen and got a treat, and then went for a walk to Cascade Falls. There's over 100 steps down and then back up to reach the waterfall.

On June 7th, I went around the farm to see what was blooming. The chives were doing well. They come up each year.

The bearded irises that were from my mom and dad's home bloomed this year! I'm so happy that I dug them up and transplanted them here after they died and we had to sell the house. The new owners wouldn't have appreciated their meaning as much as we do.

On June 8th, Sophia played the harp at the humane society. There were two puppies that we all had a great time playing with while Sophia was playing music and afterwards.

On June 13th, Sophia and I packaged up five boxes of items we collected through her organization, Give Life...Give Hope; and shipped them to Pine Ridge Reservation. The items will be given to the foster care system there for children who have been removed from their homes and are living with foster families.

On June 15th, the hibiscus tree that Olivia and I got at an Amish greenhouse was blooming again. Almost every day there is at least one, if not multiple, flowers of different colors.

On June 16th, the girls and I went to St. Cloud to see a quilt show. While we were there, we went to the rose gardens. Below is a rose that stood out among the other roses. It's name is Fruity Petals.

It was raining while we walked around the rose garden. Sophia carried an umbrella and we held it over the head of whoever was taking photos so the camera wouldn't get wet.

We spent two days looking at the quilts at the quilt show. Sophia entered her quilt in the youth category and received a big, colorful ribbon. Both the girls want to enter quilts in next year's show.

On June 18th, work on the garage began. Fourteen dump trucks brought in fill that built up the area where the garage will be. It's packed down now and is waiting for concrete to be poured.

On June 20th, while Sophia was at First Step Institute at St. Kate's, Olivia and I did a mini-One Stop Donation Drop at the farmers market. Below, she and Mary are looking at a broad-winged hawk from the Wildlife Science Center. We collected a variety of items to donate to organizations and people around town; throughout Minnesota and the U.S.; and globally.

On June 21st, we attended the graduation ceremony for the First Step Institute. All the girls are in 10th or 11th grade, interested in attending college, and are young women of color. It was clearly an empowering and fun week for the young ladies.

On June 28th, both Sophia and Olivia gave presentations through 4-H. The county is doing the demonstrations, informational presentations, and performing arts presentations a few weeks before the county fair. In that way, youth don't have to bring instruments and computers to the fair and have them sit outdoors in the heat and humidity.

Both the girls did very well with their presentation; enjoyed meeting with the judge; and received a blue ribbon. That means that they both get to take their informational presentation to the State Fair in late-August.

On June 29th, my 52nd birthday, my sister brought over a slide projector and many slides that my parents took. We set up a little area to watch the slides and projected them on the wall.

I saw photos that I don't ever remember seeing. The photo below shows my mom (in the pink dress) and dad (in the white shirt) with my godmother and godfather on my baptism day.

We saw photos of my mom and me by a rose bush that I ate roses from when we visited my grandparents. Actually, it may have been just my grandpa at the time because my grandma had died six weeks after I was born and I don't think he remarried quite yet when this photo was taken.

There's my dad and grandpa with me. My dad is holding a rose and my grandpa is holding a painted wooden duck. They knew what I liked - or helped shape what I liked - flowers, nature, and wildlife!

There were photos from past Christmases. The stocking I'm holding is one that my grandma (who died) had made for me even before I was born.

The fire at our farm destroyed the stocking. I didn't know if a photo had ever been taken of the stocking. Sure enough, there was! It was a bittersweet birthday gift; and I am so grateful that there is at least a photo of it.

On June 30th, the work commenced on the steps and walls leading to the cellar. This is the view from kitchen....Olivia is looking out the window as the excavator was breaking the concrete and destroying the steps. He took the concrete and dirt and piled it up to the side of the excavator. It looks like we have a miniature volcano in the backyard.

Also on the 30th, Sophia's half birthday, she donated platelets through the American Red Cross. She done that now five times.

In the afternoon, we visited Paige's stepfather and had dinner at the restaurant at his assisted living facility. Needless to say, it's a rather upscale facility. The food is phenomenal and changes every couple of weeks.

We had a nice conversation before, during, and after dinner. We learned that he was the one who did the research on the logo for Minnegasco many decades ago. This was before the internet, so he had to search in other ways to make sure that the logo infringe on any other logos throughout the United States.

The month closed out with a trip to a local greenhouse that was having a 50% sale on perennials. I bought quite a few to plant in our backyard in a garden that has been neglected for many years. I have wanted to get it back to the way it used to be in the early 2000s when I had a farm and art camp right here at our farm.

The camp counselors and volunteers would come in and do the weeding, garden maintenance, and mow the lawn. It looked beautiful then. When the camp ended, I wasn't able to maintain everything - it was just too much. Weeds took over.

This year, is the second-to-the-last summer that Sophia will be here before she heads off to college. I want the yard and home to look the way it once did...though even better. Some of the flowers I'm picking have special significance - like the purple lupines pictured above.

When we used to take the girls up north to Grand Marais we would see colorful lupines in the ditches along the road. They were so beautiful! Then, we found a book called Miss Rumphius that told the story of a lady who traveled the world, and wherever she traveled she spread lupine seeds. The seeds would grow into beautiful flowers that changed the landscape thanks to Miss Rumphius.

Anyway...I found a Pasque flower - a unique and rare wildflower that grows in Minnesota. This is a flower we studied about when doing the 4-H Wildlife Project Bowl. There was Yarrow, which was a favorite plant of Paige's mother; and Blue Phlox that was something that my grandma grew in her backyard.

So, in some ways, I'm creating a memory garden with flowers that represent people we have loved - and love - in our life.

There were quite a few photos this month that were my favorites. It's too difficult for me to choose just one since there are memories and experiences I want to remember by doing this monthly posts.

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