Sunday, September 10, 2023

My Favorite Photos - August 2023

Another month passed and it feels like the majority of it was spent at work. The good thing is that many of the activities were ones that made me happy. One of the first ones of the month was Dalapalooza. We had a therapy horse at that one. 

His name was Arvid and he is a Norwegian Fjord horse. 

He was there on lunch break during a Dala horse painting class. Sophia took the class. 

Olivia did too.

At the Washington County Fair, I saw this sunflower. 

Olivia entered about a half-dozen projects. The blue Diamond-Dotz project was one of her projects. 

The girls and I played Bingo at the fair. 

The first week of August, I coordinated the first-ever Sewing Camp at the museum. In addition to sewing for half the day, the girls did other projects - like making these suet log feeders for the birds.

The girls also learned about natural dyes that the pioneers would have used. After the lesson, they created tie-dye t-shirts. They all turned out really well.

The girls also learned about bees and made rolled beeswax candles. 

The main project was a sewing and embroidery project. They made a shoulder bag.

The following week at work, the children learned about cynotype printing. I taught my daughters how to do this when I homeschooled them so it was fun to do again with other children and see how excited they were with the photography process.

The children made stuffed tomtes and a couple other projects. 

The new building signs that I had been working on since February were installed. There was a small team of volunteers and I who worked with to upgrade the signs. 

The signs are in English and Swedish since Swedish immigrants settled in Scandia in the mid- to late-1800s.

The heritage vegetable garden is doing very well now. The Washington County Master Gardens have revitalized this garden and a cereal garden.

The summer intern repainted and/or created different wooden animals that would have been typical of an 1850s-1880s farm.

There was another big event at the museum - Spelmansstamman. Some of the children from the elementary school where I worked and the camp at the museum showed up which was fun. 

There were many musicians at the event - including this older gentleman who was tuning his violin under a tree.

I enjoyed seeing different generations of fiddlers performing together. 

The event in August had a dual focus - Swedish and Ojibwe culture and music. This is Julian who did drumming and short presentations about Ojibwe culture and music. 

I liked seeing children interact with the Dala horses that we repainted and/or touched up. 

My sister and nephew attended the event. They had never been to it and really enjoyed the experience. 

Towards the end of August, Olivia moved back to college. She has her own room again this year as part of her accommodations. It feels so much more spacious than last year's room, and she has set it up well. Sophia gave some input, too, about arranging the room and helped set it up. 

Another project at work was coordinating a Tomte Community Art Show. There are 43 artists who designed and painted 48 tomtes. The artists ranged in ages from 7 to over 80 years old. 

The tomtes are all so different from one another. It's fun to see what people came up with and how some even added additional features to the wood cut-out.

On August 30th, I helped the Lions serve a meal and lemonade to students at the local elementary school. One of the students who I worked with last year (who is now going to school at the middle school) showed up. "Ms. Ann!!" I heard. Seeing him truly brightened my day.

We served food to a lot of families that evening. 

I started growing dahlias this year. This is a new one that just started blooming. 

This dahlia has bloomed constantly now for a month. There have been so many blooms on this plant.

We're seeing a lot of yellows now in the yard and pastures. There's a lot of goldenrod which I'm not a huge fan of, but the bees like it. I prefer these type of yellow  flowers.

Even these yellow flowers I like, especially when I see they benefit bees and other pollinators. 

And that wraps up August. It's been a full month. 

Thursday, August 10, 2023

My Favorite Photos - July 2023

July seemed to fly by...most of spent working, though. So, I am happy to have had at least some quality time with family. The highlight of July was that my niece and her family moved back to Minnesota from North Carolina. 

We were able to have dinner, talk, and play games together in early July.

We've been having a lot of birds at our feeders. The grosbeaks love the seeds.

This is the male rose-breasted grosbeak. He's a lot more colorful than the female pictured above.

The wrens raised a brood of little ones. They have since fledged. I miss seeing the constant traffic and singing of the wrens each day.

We had many orioles this year and went through bottles of grape jelly. This one is a much darker orange than what we typically see.

This is another type of oriole we saw. It is still beautiful, just not as dark-orange as the other one. 

This wren caught a spider to bring back to the babies. The mother and father wren are such hard - and successful - foragers.

 We have a variety of woodpeckers here. This one is about mid-size compared to the other ones we see.

One of my favorite things to see here are deer. These two fawns somehow got into our fenced-in backyard. We found out that even as young as these two were, that fawns can easily scale a four-foot fence. 

This one was more curious and alert of the two fawns.

This fawn liked to eat more than the other one.

The mother was on the other side of the fence and had an eye on her babies until she walked around the corner and then along the fence line. She jumped into the east pasture and later on her two fawns joined her by jumping over the fence. 

This is one of the sunflowers that grew from a seed that fell from the birdfeeder. The birds now - a month later - are eating the seeds from it.

This is one of the dahlias that I grew this year from a root. It has bloomed quite a bit which I've enjoyed.

These little flowers come up every year by the back door. I need to cut the plant back throughout the summer and fall, otherwise it would take over the garden. 

We celebrated Olivia's 20 1/2 birthday in July. We still celebrate half birthdays. I don't think that will stop. 

We scaled back on the number of gifts, though, compared to past years. Two of the gifts we gave her was a Dala horse from Sweden and a silver Dala horse necklace. She really liked both gifts.

During July, we had a Girls & Dolls Tea Party at work. This is one of the dolls in a collection - a Swedish Easter Witch. Girls dress up around Easter as witches and paint their cheeks pink and put a lot of dots on their faces to represent freckles. 

Also at work is a collection of Charlotte Weibull dolls. These are two of them wearing the folk outfits from different provinces in Sweden.

Olivia entered ten projects in the county fair for her final year in 4-H. She received all blue ribbons and one reserve champion ribbon on the nautilus pictured below. It's a Diamond Dotz painting that turned out beautifully. She paid for the matting and framing which complement it nicely. 

Although she won a trip to the State Fair with this project, she decided not to go because it would be the same project area (Crafts) and with a similar project that she did last year (also a Diamond Dotz, but with a different image).

After the last day of the County Fair, we went to Dairy Queen - our traditional meal. A bittersweet meal knowing this is the last 4-H year and the last County Fair as a 4-H family.

When we came home from the County Fair, the mother deer was hiding behind a tree. She finally came out from behind the tree along with her two fawns. I love knowing that she feels safe here. She and the babies didn't rush away when they saw us. They watched us for a while and then walked off slowly. They know we are not a threat. 

My sister went to an art museum in late-July. This is one of the glass pieces in the collection.

This was a two-dimensional painting that looks three-dimensional. 

I liked this glass and metal piece. The shades of blue were beautiful.

This is a glass and cement piece. The inner part is cement and outer part is glass.

This glass piece I thought was a tube - like the kind that were outside of the Minnesota Orchestra building decades ago. It isn't. It's a solid piece with a light color of glass in the middle. It is probably about three inches wide from the front to the back. Every few steps I took past this piece, it would have a different look to it. 

These pairs look like regular-size pears, but they're not. They are about three feet tall. The subtle color on the side is from sprinkling powdered glass on the sculpture. 

At work, we have ten bluebird houses. This nest was placed well because it attracted two bluebird families. So we had ten bluebirds born this year! 

Here are some baby bluebirds later in the month. They fledged by the end of the month.

One of the projects I'm especially pleased with at work was creating four sensory kits and a box of fidgets for people with autism and sensory issues. These are all the items we purchased.

This is an example of a sensory kit that someone can check out from the museum while they are visiting. They bring it back when they are ready to go home. 

That wraps up July. I'm hoping that as the summer winds down that there will be more balance between family/home and work. Right now, it's out of balance which is challenging.