Saturday, October 1, 2022

My Favorite Photos - September 2022

This month has been a challenging one as I've returned to the workforce after homeschooling my daughters since 2003...over 19 years. It literally was the best and most rewarding position I have ever held in my life. I was truly privileged to have such wonderful daughters who loved to learn, challenged themselves, and wanted to be leaders - especially in 4-H and the community. 

So, as I now have almost the first month of being a special education paraprofessional under my belt, I am so grateful that I took these photos throughout the month of things that sustain me, bring joy to my life, and provide the much-needed balance to working in a public school where the majority of the students are making me question if I made the right job decision. Time will tell. Right now, I am still reflecting on whether this position is right for me.

At any rate, here are the photos that are my favorite ones from the month. On September 1st, I coordinated a pontoon boat ride for the Lions club I'm a member of, and we saw this eagle fly right by our boat.

We continued to see more eagles on the boat ride on the St. Croix River. Here's another one.

This is a section of a bridge that spans from Minnesota to Wisconsin. The posts are open because people were wanting as much of the view of the river to be open and not blocked by the bridge.

This is an osprey that was flying rather low along the St. Croix River. 

I was seeing so many monarchs in our backyard, with 10-15 of them being on a single plant. At night, they would rest in the trees, especially the ash tree near one of the flower gardens, and then spend time in the morning eating and fueling up for the next part of their journey south to Mexico. 

Interestingly, I have not seen a monarch since the middle of the month. Yet, when I was writing this, I took a break and looked out the window. Within a short time, a monarch flew by, heading south. 

The hummingbirds also were migrating south. By mid-month, we no longer were seeing them.

Olivia competed at the state level for 4-H. This year she entered her Self-Determined project about painting The Girl with the Pearl Earring. It was a semester-long study she did for her Art Appreciation PSEO course she did in 2021-22.

While at the State Fair, I saw this quilt that had a fabric 3D frog. There also were 3D lilies on lilypads on this same quilt. 

Olivia was a good sport at the State Fair and sat on this chair filled with $1.7 million of shredded bills.

She especially liked the Harry Potter display in the Ag-Hort Building at the State Fair.

One of my favorite parts of the building is the floral kaleidoscope which is planted with colorful flowers in a base.

When you spin the base and look through the kaleidoscope, different arrangements are formed, like this one below.

Olivia and I also went to the Fine Arts building. This was a stained glass and paper display.

There was a painting of a cat which I thought was the background was in one of my favorite colors.

This was an unusual art piece. It was a piggy bank.

Olivia has settled into life at college and enjoys her private room. It is on the small side, but she is fine with it. The most important thing is that it is her own room.

On Labor Day, we visited Sophia and Olivia who are both attending the same college. We brought Aspen and Danny to visit them since they are the two dogs who are having the most difficult time with both the girls gone now. We had a nice time spending part of the day together.

The sun is setting earlier. I like how it highlights the clumps of native grasses in Olivia's garden.

Something unusual that I saw at the hummingbird feeder was an Antlered Flutter Fly. It's not a great photo, but this insect is rare - although widespread throughout the United States. In Minnesota, it can be found in a handful of counties. So, I feel lucky that I saw it.

The hostas still have blooms on them. The hummingbirds like these flowers, so I'm happy to see that there are still some blooming as they are migrating south.

The asters are now in full bloom and a few roses are still blooming. We have a variety of types of both, so it's nice to see them adding color to the gardens and yard.


Even the Mallow is still blooming. This plant has taken over half of one of my gardens. I need to figure out what to do about it next year.

During early-September, there was a trio of Great Northern Owls. This is one of the trio who landed on our garage room. It's not a great picture, but I like the memory of it there and around our farm. The owls called out to one another which I enjoy hearing.

On NextDoor, a woman was giving away perennials. By the time she was done going through her gardens, she had filled the entire back part of my car, One of the more unusual native plants she gave me was this cactus. Who knew that cacti could grow in Minnesota? 

During the second weekend of September, there's a local festival that our Lions club coordinates. I'm in charge of the vendors - businesses, non-profits, crafters, artists, farmers, and food trucks. Sophia and one of her roommates, Nessa, came up for the weekend which was fun. Enjoyed having them at the event again this year. 

There's a firefighters' waterball competition that is fun to watch.

Minnesota Armored Combat also was there and they had "fights" with different swords and axes. It was quite the show.

The Boy Scouts serve thousands of tacos at the event each year. This is the first year that Sophia had tacos there. 

The last event of the day is a parade. Many of the people on the floats and in vehicles toss candy to those watching the parade. Nessa and Sophia enjoyed that.

The next day, my sister and I went to another parade. This parade - in Osceola (WI) was about 90 minutes and, by far, is the best parade I've ever been to year after year. One of the floats had a Mexican theme. Even the dog got in the spirit of the day!

One of the parade units (a local church) gave free hotdogs to people watching the parade. Between that, popsicles and pop - in addition to the candy and other freebies - people leave happy after having a meal and treats!

Although this wasn't a favorite part of the month, I do like the flowers on my step-father-in-law's casket. He died on September 6th...the first day that I started my new job. I was going to visit him that day after work. Unfortunately, he died in the morning and missed that opportunity to see him and spend time with him before he died. The funeral home encouraged people to take some flowers. Olivia took some to bring back to her dorm room.


After our time at Fort Snelling (where he is buried), we went out to eat as a family.

On a more positive note, one of the things we inherited from him was this piece by Simon Bull. It's one of 450 pieces in the Brushstrokes series. The image is printed on canvas and then the artist hand-painted over it to enhance it. The majority of the canvas is covered with paint, so he put some time into this one.

The apples on the tree by the driveway are prolific this year...the best year yet.

The deer have been loving our front yard now that the pears and apples are ripe. Almost every night (and sometimes during the day), one or more deer walk through our front yard. This one is eating pears that have dropped from the tree.


On September 17th, my sister and I went to a fall festival that a local arts organization coordinated. They had sheep herding there.

The local history museum was there and showed some shoes that were worn in the past. 

I also watched how caning is done. 

Afterward, we went back to my home and we talked for a long time. It was good to get caught up. 

On the 18th, we went to our church's 150th anniversary. After the service, they provided fried chicken and the congregation brought salads, baked beans, and lots of desserts. There was even an opportunity to paint a piece of pottery which was fun. As we left, these autumnal flowers in a neighbor's yard captured my eye.


With the weather cooling down in September, the dogs and I have gone on some walks. Saw this Leopard Frog on one of our walks. It jumped across the road.

At my job, one of the boys likes nature, so we went on a walk by the school one day and saw this orange hawkweed. It's a pretty flower, but not native to the area. 

Towards the end of the month, someone in a neighboring community was offering a free dog pillow since none of her dogs liked it. I was the first one to respond, so now Danny has a new pillow to rest on. He loves it!

I have taken the dogs into the west pasture which is fenced so they can run and explore. Aspen is resting after running around quite a bit.

A variety of bees are visiting the fall flowers. The bumblebees seem to be slowing down, but are still out there even on cold days.

The pods of the swamp milkweed are dried and opening now. I take some of the pods and open them, letting the seeds travel and land where they want. Hopefully, there will be more swamp milkweed plants next year.


I have loved seeing the deer using our farm for a safe place to spend time and eat. This deer was eating grass and leaves along the driveway.

On September 24th, we went to the NAMI walk in Minneapolis. We could only stay for a bit to accept the scholarship Olivia won because we had to get a photo for the church directory on hour away. We enjoyed meeting the family who offered the scholarship in memory of their son. The mother is holding the puppy and the father is to the right of her in the photo. Their daughter is to the far left.  

Sophia and Danny spent some time together before the church directory photo session. 

As the month came to a close, it seemed like I was noticing more sunrises and sunsets. On the left, is a sunrise and, on the right, is a sunset.

Same thing with these two photos...the sunrise is on the left and sunset is on the right.


On September 30th at 1:40 a.m., there were two black bears that walked through our front yard, onto our driveway, and then went over the woven-wire fence (breaking it and pushing it down on their way over). On the left, is the first bear who walked onto our front doorstep; and, on the right, is the second bear - most likely a sibling - who followed along.


This is one shot of them from our Ring camera video. We don't typically see black bears in our front yard or driveway, so this was pretty exciting!

That wraps up the month. As I look back on the photos, I realize that family, nature, pets, and art sustain me. I just need to make sure that these elements are always a central part of my life. 

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