Friday, August 31, 2018

Outdoor Mom's Journal - August 2018

During our outdoor time this week we went....around town a bit. Saw Sandhill Cranes in pastures. They are around - even if we don't see them. Their sound is peculiar and memorable.

We spent time outdoors at the local farmers market. Sophia was asked to play her harp there on August 8th, so she spent a few hours there. I was at the market for about an hour or so, brought Olivia back home, and then returned to the market when Sophia was done.

We enjoyed watching a lot of geese cross the road on August 17th.

On August 21st, Sophia and I took Olivia to target practice. She used my dad's .22 rifle that my brother inherited and let us borrow.

Target practice was held in a mine that no longer is being used. Although the weather was nice, there were a lot of gnats. Thankfully, we had bug spray with DEET...the only spray that repelled these annoying insects away from our faces and heads.

I spent time outside on August 21st checking out the garage that is being built to replace the hobby shed that burned on May 5th.

The clouds on August 21st were beautiful.

The sunset was breathtaking too as it set. The newly-paved roads were slick and wet from the recent rain.

There was a rainbow in the east - a full one. Wish the power lines weren't in the photo, but that's the view from the front of the house.

Another view of the sky shows the southern part of the rainbow and some unusual and colorful clouds under it.

I enjoyed seeing the colorful clouds and their shapes. 

What was particularly interesting for me was seeing clouds that were flat on one side - it is like someone took an eraser and erased the bottom portion of them. 

At the August 22nd farmers market, we spent time outdoors collecting donations for various non-profit organizations as well as making shoes for children in Uganda that used jeans that people no longer wanted.

We traced and cut pieces out of the jeans.

 On August 28th, we spent the evening at the Minnesota State Fair. We walked around outside as well as spent time inside in some of the buildings. Olivia was being judged for her photograph in the 4-H photography project area.

We returned to the Minnesota State Fair on Wednesday, August 29th. Outside the Eco-Education building are face cutouts by plants they represent.

Both the girls were good sports and stood by them.

Olivia and I watched a parade at the State Fair while Sophia was being judged for her illustrated presentation.

Afterwards, we found some new sculptures. This one was by one of the historical buildings.

I really like this photo of Olivia by the cow.

While we were waiting for Sophia's judging session to start for the craft project area in the 4-H building, we all tried our hands at target practice. Olivia had the top score, then Sophia, and then me.

When we were done, we went on the giant Ferris wheel. The timing was perfect with the setting sun.

We had an amazing view from the top.

By  the time we were done, the lights on the Ferris wheel were more visible.

The most inspiring thing we experienced was...seeing the hibiscus tree blooming. There are three different plants that are braided together, so the tree is colorful and beautiful in full bloom.

The blooms last about a day...two if we're lucky. Yet, there seems to always be at least one flower on the tree. 

We were a bit concerned early on when the leaves kept yellowing and falling off. It looked rather dismal with few leaves; and we questioned whether it would survive.

So, we bought a moisture reader and found out that we were overwatering the plant. It needs to be within a 1-2 reading. When we have the soil in that range, the plant does very well.

Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)…how wildfires and the smoke in the west and north can affect the way the sun looks in Minnesota. 

It amazes me that the entire sky and sun can be completely changed by the smoke several states away (or even in another country).

In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting...
we are getting some tomatoes and herbs from our garden. I'm thinking that the raised beds - or perhaps my growing skills - are resulting in meager harvests in terms of produce. I may not go through the trouble next year of planting vegetables.

The flowers are doing well, however. This is one of the blooms on the hibiscus tree.

This is a pink rose that is very fragrant.

I added nature journal pages about...nothing yet for August. However, I do want to learn more about hail. We had a hail storm here on Sunday, August 26th. There were dime- and quarter-size hail that pummeled everything for quite a while.

The hail made almost musical sounds as it hit the propane tank. The size of the hail and force that it the tank made the sounds different.

I am reading...
I finished reading all the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazines. It's nice to get caught up with reading them. Each issue is packed with beautiful photographs and interesting information.

I am dreaming about…
a time when I can go outside and not have to deal with gnats, mosquitoes, or horseflies. 

A photo I would like to share...
these flowers have a pretty combination of orange and pink.

They are growing next to moss roses which have equally as pretty and delicate colors. 

Thank you to Barb the Outdoor Hour Challenge for the idea of doing an Outdoor Mom's Journal.

My Favorite Photos - August 2018

As I look back on August, here are some of my favorite photos. None are artistic shots, rather they represent things I did with others or memories of experiences that stand out for me.

On August 1st, Sophia, Olivia, and I - along with two senior friends, Mary and Art - went to the local county fair. We all did well on the projects we entered. Olivia was especially happy to receive a Grand Champion award for an etching she did and have her work featured in the display box in the creative arts area.

On August 3rd, Sophia and I went on the quilt shop hop bus tour. We visited eight shops in the metro area - each having a specially-designed pattern using Minnesota-theme fabrics. We are standing by the quilt that features all the patterns that were designed by the participating quilt shops throughout Minnesota.

On August 10th, Sophia and I spent time at the humane society doing music and one-on-one therapy with three dogs waiting to be adopted.

The next day, we went to the Minneapolis Farmers Market and got a lot of produce to can and preserve. A quick stop at Wal-Mart to get a few canning supplies, showed us some new animal heads that people could purchase - including this panda head that Olivia put on.

The girls asked to make pickles so we bought a bushel of pickling cucumbers. They washed, scrubbed, and sliced the cucumbers; and put the garlic and slices in the jars.  They put the hot pickling solution in the jars; and I handled the sealing of them as well as transferring them to and from the hot water bath.

By mid-August, the hibiscus flowers were in full bloom. This is a tri-braided hibiscus tree that has yellow, red, and orange flowers. It's beautiful.

One of the rose bushes was doing well and had about a half dozen roses on it.

On August 21st, I took Olivia to target practice for 4-H Shooting Sports. This is the first year that she participated in trap shooting and target practice with a .22 rifle.

The rifle belonged to my dad and my brother inherited it. He let Olivia use it which made the photo below even more meaningful knowing that my dad - at one time - had used the rifle. He never hunted, so I'm not sure why he had the gun.

Building on the garage began during the third week of August. In only a few days, the structure was up which was amazing. There's still a lot of work left to be done on it, but it's coming along.

There was a beautiful rainbow on the night that we came home from Olivia's target practice. This is the view on the road in front of our home.

Looking the other way (to the west), the sun was setting.

The next day, August 22nd, the flowers looked so bright and colorful.

Olivia and I took a pottery class together at a local arts center. During August, she made six bowls and two vases.

I made four bowls, the bread basket (shown below), and started work on four slab bowls or plates.

On August 28th, we went to the State Fair. This year, the girls humored me and stood behind several of the face cut-out displays. The one below is my favorite one.

Olivia did very well with her photograph in the Photography project area in 4-H. She also won a blue ribbon on her presentation about caves and cave exploration.

Sophia gave her presentation on bunions and their surgical removal. She included rather graphic photos of what a bunionectomy looks like. Surprisingly, the more graphic the presentation got, the more people gathered around. I guess people like to look at surgical photos.

 The girls continued to humor me at the State Fair by standing by various sculptures. This one was one that we hadn't seen before. We noticed that the cow and Olivia kind of matched.

We also are starting a special project for Sophia's graduation that will be in May 2019. Olivia is taking photos of Sophia each month and will put them together in a book that both celebrates her senior year and will highlight special things from each month.

One of the highlights of the fair this year was going on the giant Ferris wheel.

Something like 17 semi-trucks come in with the parts to this ride.

They assemble it at the fair.

It's an impressive structure and the views were outstanding - especially when the sun is setting.

So, those were my favorite photos from August. It was a month filled with lots of activities and good memories. It was a great way to wrap up the summer!