St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pine Island Yard Ramblings

Although we spend much of the year at our lake cottage in Cushing, WI, we still keep our home in Pine Island, MN--25 miles NW of Rochester.  We built the house ourselves, not just contracting parts of it, but actually sawing some of the lumber and doing some of the building and all of the finishing.  We rather like how it turned out.  Now as we age we are reconsidering selling it and instead turning it into a B&B for folks headed to Mayo Clinic, and as it appears, for our own increasingly often visits!

Remember, click on the photo to make it bigger.
Our home built house in the distance is in need of a fresh coat of paint this summer. 

Finished rebuilding the old trailer this week.  Plan to pull it to
Wisconsin this Friday with a load of recycling to take to
the Restore Store in St Croix (electronics), Freiberg's Gone Green  in
Frederic (old hot water heater) and other items.  Polk County
provides much more free recycling than down here.   Frieberg's
actually pays for old appliances and any kind of metal--just drive
in and get weighed, have the big claw unload your trailer and
weigh out and visit with the two Frieberg ladies to get paid!

This week, while Margo was recovering from a urinary tract infection (for women, this is a big deal, for the spouse an even bigger one), and I am still having appointments for my newly diagnosed Myasthenia Gravis, I had some time to start some maintenance that was badly needed.  The biggest job is to paint the house again, something I haven't gotten ready to tackle yet with my new knee.

Campanula glomerata (clustered bellflower) tries to hold its own in the flowerbed.  We didn't know what it was, so posted a photo on facebook where a cousin and a WI DNR expert both gave us the name.  It is quite pretty!
Scott was out picking a few cherries this morning.  They are about as ripe
as they get before the robins, cedar waxwings clean the tree in a single day.
These are the meteor type I think, the tall bush sour ones that remind me
of my woods foraging days of youth eating pin cherries.  
Most of the green in the butterfly garden this year is from thistles, goldenrod and milkweed.  

The Russell Lupines are blooming in Margo's butterfly garden.  A few years
ago, it was a carefully manicured annual and perennial garden, then Scott bought
Margo a "butterfly garden" book that said milkweeds, goldenrod, and even thistles
were better for butterflies than geraniums, mums, asters etc.  So, one milkweek
plant was allowed to come from a fly-by seed,  and then it spread.  Scott got her
a bird book that said the yellow and black gold-finches which are so pretty at
the feeder, prefer native thistle seed to eat and down for their nests, so a single thistle
started in the flower bed.  Now, 5 years later, the golden rod, thistles and milkweeds
have taken over!   I did put down my foot and had Scott spray roundup on the
clump of nettles that had started.  A few purple coneflowers, joe-pye's and the
lupines still fight for space.   However, the birds and butterflies are in paradise!

In the background you can see Margo's greenhouse through the
naturalized garden weeds.

Well, I started the second med, prednisone, for myasthenia yesterday.  Have to go back in Thursday for another set of  tests to see if I am tolerating it OK, then am free from visits for a few weeks to see what happens.  The doc says my double vision should go away in a month or so if all goes OK, and in 6 months maybe I will be mostly normal except for the vicious side effects of the meds, which I may be able to tolerate more.  My theory of coping is to keep busy and 
complain a lot.  It has been real hard with Margo sick for a week too, so as she is now on the mend, I will feel obligated to start whining to her again.  It has been a difficult spring -- when I had my knee replaced, Margo rushed away just because her father in Westbend almost died from a heart attack and the ensuing bypass surgery, and didn't get back until I was pretty much back to normal.  Now, she gets sick--actually worse symptoms then mine, and I have to be nice to her while I am feeling the need to complain.  So, folks, you get the complaints directly from me!

  A few weeks at the cabin will restore my balance.  I have been thinking of letting all the lawns I mow there become naturalized for the butterflies and birds.  My neighbor, Ed Emerson, the Hermit of Four Corners, seems quite satisfied to do that--and he is a direct descendent of Ralph Waldo, who along with his buddy Henry David Thoreau, is one of my heroes.  

Friday, if all goes well, Margo will be at the Eureka Farmer's market and I will be at the local writers group with a proof copy of the 6th anthology of stories and poems from the group.  It is not nearly ready for sale, but actually showing a proof copy should get some of the slackers to submit their pieces!   Nothing like worrying about being left out to push folks along.