National S’mores Day

Fire pit

Full moon

This morning on the Today Show, I learned that it is National S’mores Day. Hurrah!! I think. I am now wondering if it is also National Fire Pit night because to celebrate and to have S’mores you certainly need a fire pit or a bonfire or something with fire. Of course the news show this morning showed lots of ways to eat the graham cracker/chocolate/melted marshmallow mess in all sorts of ways including in your kitchen with the marshmallows melted over candles. I would not recommend that unless you have the fire department and your insurance on speed dial, and then I might not confess what caused the trouble. They also showed examples of how some fancy restaurants are now creating desserts with those flavors in mind.

Well here in our town just south of the North Dakota/South Dakota border we tend to eat them outside huddled around a fir pit of some sort. We sit on lawn chairs, drink pop (no soda around here) or coffee or even some have a beer now and then. We put our marshmallows on long forks with wooden handles that we bought at some large department store, and we compare our preferred methods of cooking them. Some of us let the buggers start on fire and peel off the charcoal and eat the goo. Others toast it carefully until it is just a bubbly brown, and a few throw the burned up mess in the fire and start over. We watch the moon rise over the dike and comment on the breeze that often blows the smoke in our face. We notice things like the bats flying overhead eating up the mosquitos as they go. We listen for the sound of the owls hooting in the dusk, and we complain about the cars and pickup trucks that speed past the intersection with mufflers that would have gotten them pulled over in the middle 1970’s when we were teenagers.

That is life in our small town. Some days I want to run away to a bigger city to live close to the grandchildren. Sometimes I want to blare the Simon and Garfunkel song: “Nothing but the dead and dying back in my little town” out the window. And sometimes I want to ask the people who appoint themselves in charge of this and that exactly from where do they get their ideas. And I realize that if you want to win the war you have to be very strategic about picking your battles. I believe I have chosen mine, now I just need to get to work on it, and when I am finished, I will share it with you here, but until that time, I will keep it to myself, and just sit in my yard, especially today on National Day of celebrating S’Mores, and I will enjoy what is right here in front of me at this time. Enjoy your day!!

Fire fun evening to working morning

Looking north on Herreid's Main Street on a misty morning in August, 2013.

Looking north on Herreid’s Main Street on a misty morning in August, 2013.

It wasn't quite dark enough to see the fountain in the dark, but it was a bit easier to photograph.

It wasn’t quite dark enough to see the fountain in the dark, but it was a bit easier to photograph.

Last night we had a fire pit. We started it before dark so that we could end early. It was a fun time sitting around and talking.

Last night we had a fire pit. We started it before dark so that we could end early. It was a fun time sitting around and talking.

I took a shot in the dark. Some of the lights are the solar lights and others are, well I am not sure what those other spots are.

I took a shot in the dark. Some of the lights are the solar lights and others are, well I am not sure what those other spots are.

Last night we had a fire pit. It was fun sitting around and talking. We haven’t done this enough this year. We didn’t want to go any later because most everyone needed to go to work on Friday and I was doing Farmers’ Market. So next picture is my view north on Main Street from my spot at the FM. Another misty day in Herreid. It was pretty cold too. Oh well, Have a good one.

The geese are starting to return…spring is nearly here!

Today was a day on the road. First off, was sent on an errand to transfer, literally, money from a savings account in one bank to the checking account in another. I was headed straight for the bank, but ended up taking a side track when I got into Herreid. The deputy sheriff of Campbell County was at the state line when I crossed the border, and he followed me all the way into town. I thought there was a rule about following only two miles at a time. That trip was seven miles. By the time we hit town, I was sick of seeing him in the rear view mirror, so I turned off at the first street and went to my house there. This man has harassed me a few times. I won’t go into details, but it feels creepy.

I should actually erase that first paragraph. I don’t understand why I go the places that I go sometimes, but I guess it is there, so it will just stay there. While at the house checking how things were doing, I took a look around to see if there were any of the things available that I have been making lists of using in the garden and in a reuse, recycle way. Instead of explaining all of the things that I looked at and thought about. I will leave a few photos to explain what I have been thinking of.

Looking from the yard towards the house.

Looking from the yard towards the house.

In the yard looking south.

In the yard looking south.

I show these edges because I am thinking of how to edge these flower gardens so that we can add dirt and build them up to the same level as the concrete. By the way sister Adrienne move on to another post and ignore this one. For those of you who don’t know my family, my sister works in the assessors office, and I don’t want my taxes changing because of this concrete. Sort of the family joke. Anyway, I have been trying to figure out how to improve this flower garden area, and ultimately put up a structure to encourage vine plants so that it becomes a natural privacy fence. The main reason it isn’t finished already is that I am trying to do it without spending anything, basically using recycled or repurposed items. So, I spent a little time today searching the shops and sheds. No luck so far.

A few other projects around the area for early this spring include steps on the east door. Next is the flower plot on the northeast corner of the house. This one, I finally have figured out, it is just a matter of making myself do it. I can use newspaper in place of purchasing a roll of weed blocker. I am excited about that money saver.

Current steps at the east door. We do NOT allow non family to use them.

Current steps at the east door. We do NOT allow non family to use them.

Northeast corner flower garden.

Northeast corner flower garden.

The big improvements are what Adrienne would like to do on the joint property. My father once had a great fire pit area that was more like a place you would see in an old-fashioned park area. It was made of concrete blocks and cemented together with a grill cemented right into it, and it even had a chimney. We used to cook all sorts of things on that, but mainly hot dogs. We still have the old picnic table that we ate at for those family picnics. Here are two photos of possible spots to put in an updated version of a patio fire pit area.

Here is where the original fire pit was.

Here is where the original fire pit was.

Another possible spot.

Another possible spot.

Old steps.

Old steps.

Some family want to toss these old steps. I think if we turned them a different direction and filled them with dirt, we would have a cute flower bed. Hopefully I can get this done before someone else tosses them.

While I was in Herreid, I heard the honking of Canadian Geese. It is a wonderful sound at this time of year even if it is a bit premature, we know that when the geese start returning, spring really isn’t all that far away. I tried to find evidence of what I heard in Herreid, but it wasn’t until I was in North Dakota passing Rice Lake that I was able to get a photo of any geese. They didn’t even move when I pulled over and rolled down the window to snap their photo. Knowing they are coming back makes me more hopeful.

Geese on Rice Lake.

Geese on Rice Lake.

Oh my as lovely as that last photo and last thought is, and I should end it there, I can’t. My trip to Herreid was the shortest and least important of my trips on Thursday. My real trip was to Sterling to meet Victoria and Jaxon. Jaxon gets to have a Grandparents weekend. Right now as I am writing to you, he is coughing up a storm in the spare bedroom. Victoria promised him that Grandma would make him feel better, and we are trying. I rubbed him with Watkins salve after his shower, and gave him his cough medicine. Tomorrow, we will be cooking up a pot of chicken soup. I think from the sounds of it, I might be doing that sooner than later.

Empty Nest, almost…

Check out my clematis. Amazing what plants do when you leave them alone.

So, I am wondering why there is such a big noise about the empty nest. James and I are starting to get the idea of what life is like for just the two of us again. I realize today (written on Saturday, but also true for Monday) was just one day and Paulina will return tonight when her shift at the pool ends, but…. There was a weekend this past spring when she was gone for the state FBLA convention, and it was pretty interesting. Time to ourselves. The girls would be amazed.

Now don’t get any funny ideas that we are sitting on the couch holding hands. That was never part of the deal. Instead, we spent the day working together. To start off, we were in the garden. James was weeding the onions, and I was working on the vine plants. I had two things going at once, as per usual. I had a pail to put the rocks in and a bag to put the creeping jenny in. Glenda stopped by and helped me figure out where some of the vine plants had actually survived that frost thing.

The dill with lots of weeds, still. You can also see the onions a bit, too.

Later when James started mowing, I pulled weeds out of the dill and threw them over the fence into the area that he was mowing so they could get chopped up. It was a great time. He didn’t fuss about me throwing the weeds in his way, and I didn’t complain about how he mowed. We even took a phone picture of Raja sitting on his lap on the mower to show it to Jessica. We didn’t tell her that the mower wasn’t moving at the time, and that the dog hated the noise.

Here is a shot of the potato plants. The peppers are on the right edge.

As for Raja, she is really sad when she has to sit on the porch with me and two of the cats. She would much rather be sitting in the house with James. Trick is that James left to go find a TV so he could check how some golf thing was doing. I like sports well enough, but there are way too many professional sports for me to try to keep up with any of them. Give me a good high school game any day. Boys or girls, summer, winter, spring or fall.

Here is the work I had planned. Glenda stopped for a bit. I didn’t get as much finished as I had hoped.

I also tried to get a few of the planters filled with something pretty. Guess who didn’t spend any money on flower seeds or flower plants this year. Yes, i’ twas me. I did buy a pack of white petunias, but there are only two left. I ended up cutting up my geraniums and potting a few cuttings hoping for some new growth. According to the little tab that comes with the geraniums when you buy them this is an illegal thing to do, so now that I have confessed, I am expecting to be sent away. Maybe James will bail me out.

Here is where I had to replant the corn. I suspect it was eaten from below by a slug. Needs a little weeding.


When we were all finished, we sat on the porch eating a bowl of berries and drinking (I would love to say a great sangria, but again not something we would do.) a sprite (James) and a glass of ice tea (me). I was reading up on the Interpreters Bible version of the verses in Mark for when I preach in Wishek, and James was adjusting the ice on his ankle. He turned it when he tripped over the boards laying in the big shop when he was trying to move the fire pit. Always something.

One other thing about the two old fogies that are home without children today, we moved the swing set into a new spot with complete cooperation. No yelling, screaming or disagreements, a feat if I do say so myself. It is also in a spot that I am not sure we will be moving it to mow. I think it is time to mow around it and get a trimmer. I just hope Jaxon enjoys using it when he comes.

The swing set in its new location. This was purchased when Jess and Vic were quite small.

Just a piece of information on the swing set. We bought that when we lived just outside of Jamestown. It might have been the summer of 1988. We bought it at SEARS in Bismarck and tied it to the roof of the Dodge Caravan that we owned. It was all in one long box. I would guess we still have the rope that we had to buy to tie it down. What a trip that was. The real fun part was putting it together when we got it home. It has moved a few times both in miles and in feet, but it is still in fairly good shape.

As for the Jaxon story, his mother has just landed a job. I am sooooo excited for her. Even if it comes with just a few hours to start, it will be a foot in the door. Besides most of my best jobs started off just the same way she got this one. YAYAYAYA. She called James today asking if we could watch Jaxon on a Wednesday night and a Saturday when she works and Nate works. Oh, hurt us really.

Actually, I thought that we should go and pick him up on Monday and we will bring him back at the end of the summer. Isn’t that how it works, don’t children often spend summers with grandparents? Think of it as a sort of summer boarding school without the cost.

Well, since I didn’t go in search of any internet to post this on Saturday or Sunday, I am at the library today (Monday) to get this finished. I sure wish that I had taken out my camera last night to share the beautiful evening we had. Kathy was over, Glenda came and so did Steve and Adie. We sat around on the grass for a time then we moved to the patio and drug out the fire pit. We roasted marshmallows making the traditional smores and a mess. After we were all pretty tired of being sticky, James went into the house and grabbed a pack of hot dogs which we promptly roasted and ate. We had a few burned fingers, but for the most part it was a great time.

Enough for now. I will go back to the Linton house and see what I can do there today. Raja is sad that she has to stay inside today. So are the cats, but they are happy that they can live dog free for a day. Ha!


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