St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Local History Societies working together

Members of several local history societies got together to talk about doing things together this afternoon. 

After helping clean up and put away the museum setup, I headed home and mowed the cabin lawn.  Made a loop out in the woods trail and found another 30 morel mushrooms in the same place as I found the last ones.   I let these grow a little more and they are nice.  However, some ants and a few slugs were already chomping on them too.  One spot with 70 morels so far!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

LeRoy Hedberg

Visitation for LeRoy G. Hedberg will be Friday, May 31st 5 - 8 pm at Rowe Funeral Home, Luck, WI
Celebration of Life on Saturday, June 1st at First Lutheran in Cushing, WI at 11 am

Roller Skating   by Marlys Hedberg

    My earliest memories of The Hall above the Cushing Coop Store (later Vern's Country Market) building in Cushing goes back to the year 1947.  I lived at Alpha with my parents, Ernie and Florence Johnson, and my younger sister Virginia.  My two older sisters, Mevina and Vilet had moved away from home and had married.
    I learned how to roller-skate and found it to be SO MUCH FUN!   Louie Marek had purchased a  large supply of clamp-on steel wheel roller-skates.  He wanted to provide good entertainment for area people.  One night a week in the summer, Louie loaded his skates into a small trailer and pulled it with his car to the Grantsburg Fairgrounds. 
    The Fairhouse was large with a smooth hardwood floor which it still has.  It was there that so many young people skated to the soothing music of a phonograph and records. 
    For some, it was their very first time on skates.   I was one of those people who learned to skate in the Fairhouse.  Many a time I skated into the wall!  Skaters always went counter clockwise--probably because most people were right-footed.  To turn, you crossed your right foot over the left. 
    Louie Marek was my neighbor.  He lived east of Alpha and then south a half mile on County Road M.  Louie was married to Bernice Sazma, daughter of John and Josephine Sazma, who once owned "The Coach" a diner and store made from an old railroad car in Cushing (where Stop-a-Sec is now).  They also owned the West Sweden dance hall at one time too. 
    Since I lived only and an eighth of a mile north of the Alpha store, I could walk down to the store on Skate-Night and catch a ride with Louie.  There were others who rode with him too.   I remember one night I got there too late and missed my ride.  What a miserable evening that was!  I missed a night of skating!.
    Louie also hauled his skating equipment to the West Sweden Dance Hall one night a week.  On those nights I walked or rode my bike to Louie's place to catch my ride.  I had a headlight on my bike to help me on the trip home.  My Dad was good to me and always gave me 40 cents for skating; 25 cents for admission and skate rental, and 15 cents for pop and candy bar.
    The Grantsburg Fairhouse proved months of good entertainment, but eventually the weather became too cold to skate in the unheated building.  It was then that Louie hauled his load of skates down to Cushing every Sunday night.  The Hall above the grocery store was the best place in Cushing to hold roller-skating.  Those who lived in and around Cushing looked forward to going to The Hall on Sunday nights. 
    There was a long stairway to The Hall on the south side of the building opening on the west end.  Boxes of skates had to be carried up that long flight of stairs along with the phonograph and stacks of records.  A young man from Grantsburg, LeRoy Hedberg, drove down from Grantsburg to help Louie unload and setup for skating.  All of the skates were the kind that clamped on to your own shoes.  LeRoy's job was to rent out the skates and help the skaters get their skates adjusted and clamped onto their shoe.  There was a leather strap that went across the instep and fastened on the other side.  A skate key was used to adjust the clamp to the width of the shoe.
    We skated to the good music for about three hours, I think from 7 to 10 pm.  Now that seems to me to be a bit late, with school the next day for many of us, but no one complained.  We must have slept fast!  Halfway through the evening was the intermission.  We could buy our candy bar and pop then, or climb down the stairs and use the outhouse.  Sometimes we left our skates on and got gravel in the bearings on the trip.   LeRoy would remove the nut on the skate wheel and either put on a new wheel or replace the roller bearings in the old one.  He remembers getting about one dollar for his help each skating night. 
    With all of that skating, I believe every speck of dust was pounded out of that wood floor.  I know it left a layer of dust on my hair, but that didn't stop me from going back the next time. 
    LeRoy was the policer of the group.  He wouldn't rent skates to someone who had imbibed.  He enforced the no-smoking rule.   Once a night the skaters were allowed to "crack the whip, " forming a big chain of skaters and whipping the end ones around. 
    Roller-skating in Cushing was a lot of fun.  Many friendships were made between Cushing skaters and those from other areas.  Some Cushing skaters I remember include Kenneth and Bev Hanson, Vergil and Bernice Brenizer.  Toby Baker was a good skater!
   Some friendships even led to dating and then to marriage.   It was that way for me.   It was Christmas night, 1947, that LeRoy first took me home after roller-skating in Cushing.  We dated for a year and a half and then we married on July 2, 1947.   It was good, clean fun.  

Marlys and LeRoy Hedberg

Rowe Funeral Home - Luck, Frederic

LeRoy G. Hedberg
(October 23, 1927 - May 27, 2013)
LeRoy G. Hedberg, 85, resident of Cushing, WI, died Monday, May 27, 2013 at the Burnett Medical Center.
He is survived by his wife, Marlys; 8 children, Rayna (Paul) Delaney, Romey (Rick) Nelson, Renell Pagel (special friend Tom Sjoquist), RoAnn (Ken) Goor, Ronald Hedberg, Rachel Hedberg, Robyn (James) Austin, Raylene (Steve) Swanson; 11 grandchildren, Eric Nelson, Matthew, Caryn and Beth Chalstrom, Timothy and Travis Goor, David Hedberg, Zachary Hedberg, Carter Austin, Tony Soderquist, Ashley Swanson; 4 great-grandchildren, Anthony Singleton, Tyler and Tyson Goor, Nash Chalstrom; sister, Gwen Olson; brothers, Hartley (Alice) Hedberg, Ray (Barbara) Hedberg, Charles (Sally) Hedberg; many step-grand and great-grandchildren.
A Celebration of Life will be held at First Lutheran Church in Cushing, WI on Saturday, June 1 at 11:00 a.m.  Visitation will be held at the Rowe Funeral Home in Luck on Friday, May 31 from 5 to 8 p.m.
Online condolences may be left at  or  Please refer to these websites for updated information or call Bruce Rowe at 715-472-2444 or 715-825-5550.
Rowe Funeral Home of Luck and the Northwest Wisconsin Cremation Center in Milltown have been entrusted with funeral arrangements.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

40 Morel Mushrooms

Last Wednesday, morels were just nubbins. 

Last Wednesday I found a few small morel mushrooms in the woods at the base of a few small dead elms. They were too small to pick, so I have been letting them grow a little.

Margo, feeling pretty good with only 2 weeks of radiation before she is all done with cancer treatment drove up to the cabin for the 3-day weekend.  After being  beaten down, tired and pretty quiet for most of the past year, she is getting back to being sassy and independent again.   

I figured maybe this afternoon some of the morels might be big enough to pick to have a few with scrambled eggs for breakfast and a few to share with Mom (who loves them too), but most should wait another few days or even a week.  

Well, we headed back to the spot where I had found them and warning Margo to step carefully as there were many small ones around, and insisting she only pick the "big" ones, she began to pick them while I wandered off to another dead elm patch to look.  
Margo picks small morels even though I told her to leave them for me to pick next week. 
When I got back, she had picked 40--including the itsy bitsy ones too!     But, I suppose as she is only here for the weekend, she wanted to get her share.  Maybe a bought with cancer makes a person have the short term outlook.

  We looked all around the rest of the 50 acres of woods, and the only ones we found were that one group.   Usually we find at least a few different spots.   Lots of prickly ash to wade through; lots of wood ticks, but a fun couple of hours searching the woods.  

 The wild apples are blooming prolifically this year.  I counted 10 different apple trees spread here and there through the 50 acres.  These are not thorn apples, but actual big apples (at least some of them) seeded by the birds or deer and growing here and there in the woods.  

Last year, being out of commission with Myasthenia Gravis, I didn't spray the tame apples in the orchard, and they were extremely wormy.  I managed to get all the apples I wanted in the fall from a few of these wild trees.   Scattered in the woods, away from the established orchards, some manage to be wormfree.   

They grow tall, above the reach of the deer.  If the blooms are an indicator, both our orchard and the wild trees will have apples this year. 

 Had brunch with Mom and Everett this morning.  Everett spilled his water which led us to a cleaning binge.   Mom, at 91.5 is having vision problems and achy joints and so on and is not as able to keep up with things, so Margo, Ev and I did a little helping out.  Then we tilled the garden --peas, lettuce, spinach and radishes are up and started.  Got the lawn mowed on Thursday and did some more work on the new flower beds in front of the house.  

We put two potted tomatoes on stands near the mail box where Mom can pick them as she gets her mail each day.  The mail carrier comes into the yard and makes the loop with the mailbox near the sidewalk end, so Mom doesn't need to walk down the driveway--quite dangerous in the winter.  A cherry tomato and a yellow one already blooming in big pots at chest level.  

Mom found out that her already poor vision in one eye was even worse with glaucoma taking its toll.  She has another appointment with the eye specialist this week.  One eye is still OK, and the doctor wants to make sure it doesn't get bad too.    Getting to be older has its problems.   However, Mom is still pretty sharp and was commenting that Tiger Woods has a new girl friend.  He is her favorite on Sunday afternoon TV golf.  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tiny Morel Mushrooms!

Took a short walk tonight (4-woodtick walk) to my prime morel mushroom location from last year.   Five tiny ones --many an inch tall and the size of my little finger.   
   Have to wait and see how fast they grow.  Not worth picking yet.   Tried to find out how fast they grow and the references said anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to get large.   Just have to beat the bears to them!
  Car troubles -- new CV joints needed in the Hyundai. 

   Margo is headed up to the cabin tomorrow afternoon for a 3 day weekend!   Have to spend tomorrow getting things better organized so she doesn't think I am so messy!


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Morale lowering hunt

Trying to find morel mushrooms yesterday was a bust--must be too early yet.  However, when I went to bed, I found two of the deer ticks (the tiny lymes type) stuck into me.  One in the arm and one in the belly.  

They are hard to remove--so small and the arm one has a scab this morning and is red.  I am waiting to see the bullseye or it to disappear.   Many years ago I had the lymes disease vaccine-- before they discontinued it for humans.  I am hopeful that it gives me some protection. 

The rackety rainstorm this evening surely will sprout the morels this week.  

My Cub cadet, rolled back on its feet and left to settle for a day started right up and ran as if it hadn't tried to crush my foot Friday.  I headed to the laundromat at Cushing to wash all the maple syrup filters and towels and so on to get that out of the way and picked up two cans of $4.19 gas to fill the Cub and Ford.  

Disked the sand garden and the cabin gardens to get them ready for planting.  I have been stalling as I try to figure out what row spacing I want.  Had planned to buy a used cultivator for the Ford -- 2-row three point one but didn't find one so probably will use the Cub with its scratchy rear cultivator.  Takes about 3 passes to get one quack plant uprooted. 

I spend Monday afternoons at the Luck Museum helping folks with genealogy.  This time, I may be helping set up the shelving for the new addition for family history research funded by the Ravenholt Family, Luck old timers.  The addition is complete, just the furnishing left to setup and then to occupy it.  It is a mixture of storage room and working room--which we share with the Luck library.  

Margo plans to come to the cabin next weekend for a visit--she is 2 weeks out of 5 completed of her radiation for breast cancer.  It is going well and she has a 3-day weekend coming.  

We plan to make the rounds of the cemeteries on Sunday and plant a geranium in each of our pots where relatives are buried.  Many are in the Barron WI area -- great grandparents.  It is a nice trip. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Ready for spring morel hunting!

With the nice rain last night, it is time to think about morel hunting this spring.  Last year was a great year--although it began about the first week of May.  The bushes in the woods are blooming so although it is supposed to be the best hunting when the lilacs are blooming, it isn't too early to check the woods out.  

You can see last year's finds earlier in this blog at 
Video of 2012 morel hunting at the cabin

Morel photos

Friday, May 17, 2013

Mower repairs

Expecting to bottle the last 8 gallons of maple syrup this morning, I had big plans to get the garden ready as well as the lawn mower.  

I put the last of the syrup on the stove--two big canners full, and started them cooking. The smaller one came to a boil and after 10 minutes was at 217 degrees F, seven degrees above the 210 that water boiled at this morning and so I took it off and dumped it in the filter; let it run through and back on the stove to bring it to a boil.  As it had less syrup in it and was on the big burner, it was well ahead of canner 2.  

Taking it off and beginning to bottle it, I heard a bubbling sound and looked over and sure enough, canner two had not only come to a boil, but boiled over the top and onto the stove top.  Almost every year, I do that at least one time.  I had been congratulating myself for having finished 30 gallons with no accidents, and then on the last batch it ran over.  

I pulled it onto a cold burner and it went back down. Finishing bottling the other canner, I got it out of the way and brought the boiled over one and ran it through the filter.  About a quart had run on top of the stove and down through the burner holes onto the pan above the oven.  Well, I ignored it and finished the syrup bottling and then, all done with that, turned to cleaning the stove.  

Remove all the burners and then take wet towels and wash rags and soak up and clean out the syrup through the burner holes--in the 2 inch area between stove top and oven top.   Got it done and while I was at it did the whole stove so it looked like it was only 20 years old instead of 40. 

Well, that set me back until noon.  Still wanting to get out and do some gardening, I took the 1972 Cub cadet and picked a small load of rocks in the trailer and backed it up to the steep driveway down to the lake to unload it in the washout that I try to fill each year.   Shut off the Cub and set the brake.  

Had just about got it unloaded when it all started to slowly roll backwards down the steep hill--trailer going first.   I jumped on (it is like a riding lawnmower in size only much heavier built frame).  Oh *@$# -- brake wasn't working.  The engine was off, and suddenly the tractor was coasting backwards down the hill fast.  Of course the trailer --a big one--immediately turned to the side jacknifing the tractor and before I could do anything we had rolled over on the our side with the tractor pinning my foot under it.   

Taking inventory, it didn't look like I was very much injured; the tractor looked OK except it was on its side and gas dripping from the tank, and I had a foot pinned.   Couldn't budget the tractor, so managed to slip my foot out of the shoe and get free. 

My back was already sore; my foot felt sore too, but nothing seemed broken and nothing was dripping out of me, so I went and got on another pair of shoes, took some pain killers and got the Ford 2N and 3 tow ropes and a chain so I could tip it upright without taking the Ford and its poor brakes down the hill.  Then I pulled it up on the flat and let it sit -- let the oil drain back into the base and so on. It is sitting where I left it waiting for tomorrow for a test. 

While it was on it's side, I was able to see underneath that the brakes needed adjustment--it has disk brakes on the rear wheels, and they aren't taking effect.   Also studied the underneath which looked quite bright yellow and in good shape.    Sadly, I was so into the moment, I didn't get any photos of the roll over and I didn't take advantage of the position to adjust the brakes.  

Well, the lawn is getting a little green, so decided as long as I could still get around and had the Ford out, I should get the 3-point King Kutter finishing mower on and grease it up and try it out.  Got it on and greased, but one of the small wheels had a flat tire. 

Took off the wheel and unbolted the split rim (breaking off only 1 of the four studs), and found a tube inside.  When the manufacturer had put the wheel together, the tube got pinched between the two part rim and over winter had finally (after 4 years) gotten 3 holes along the rim--big ones. 

No replacement tubes at Tractor Supply in St Croix Falls where I bought it, so I am attempting to patch the tube in 3 places.   Just scraped, spread the glue and stuck the patches on and will wait until tomorrow to see if it holds air.  

By now, my right leg just above the ankle is swollen some, my back is groaning, and so I am parked for the day with the pain killers near by.   It is a good thing Margo wasn't here as she gets too bothered when I tip over tractors and stuff like that. 

 She has finished her 2nd week of 5 weeks of radiation and is feeling so good that she and Scott headed to Sears to buy a rototiller down there to turn the bird and butterfly garden into lawn.  The old one just wore out and has been sitting for two years resting.  

The B&B garden was originally a beautiful perennial garden.  But, then one spring Margo let a milkweed grow.  Next year there were a few hundred milkweeds "but the monarchs like them so much..."  Then a thistle came in "the gold finches like it so much.." and then a few hundred thistles.  A tame blackberry plant gone wild, and suddenly the perennials were overwhelmed and it turned it into a brier patch that 5 br'er rabbits could live in without worrying about br'er fox.   Margo says it goes into lawn this time.

So, although the maple syrup is bottled here at the cabin, the gardens need to be planted, the lawns mowed, and the Cub Cadet brakes fixed and it needs to be checked out to see if it will start after the rollover.  I can't see any damage on it, but I suppose tomorrow it might have some black and blue spots where my foot hit it.  

  I noticed the 2N Ford was leaking gas around the sediment bowl--couldn't tighten it enough to stop the leak.  With gas at $4.19 out at Cushing, I don't want to lose even one drop.  Normally I shut the gas off on all my tractors when I am not using them.  

   I think there is a frog living in the gas tank, because all spring, once or twice a day when hauling sap, I had to take off the sediment bowl and use a plastic tube to blow up into the gas tank to get him off the tank opening.   That seems to have gotten the gasket worn out--but somewhere in the garage I am pretty sure that I have a replacement one.  I think I put it away in a drawer so it would be handy....

    So, did I learn something today?   Yeah--fix the brakes on tractors if you are going to use them on hills.  I suppose that goes for the Ford too.

 I am celebrating a little.  Exactly 1 year ago, May 17, I was mowing Mom's lawn out in the orchard and started having double vision.  I had to shut one eye to see and that didn't work very good with all the branches to dodge.  Had to give it up.  By next week my left eyelid had quit working and so I went to Mayo and found out I have Myasthenia Gravis.  After being pretty weak and sick for many months and a year of treatment, I am doing pretty good--in remission right now and not on any medicine waiting to see if MG comes back or stays away.   If I stay out from under tractors, I might still have a few good years to share with Margo left!

Hope your brakes work good. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Johnson and Smith Novelties

“The boys are wasting their allowance,” I overheard Mom telling Dad one evening back in the late 1950s, “they don’t seem to understand how hard money is to earn.” 

Was that the end of our income?  Maybe that squirting flower from Johnson and Smith for 50 cents I bought, and Ev’s 75 cent whoopee cushion were wasteful, but didn’t they remember we each bought a gun too?

My three brothers and I didn’t get much spending money when we were young.  We worked hard on the farm, especially in the summer when school was out.  If we wanted something, we had to ask Mom or Dad for the money—and rarely was it forthcoming.  

Then in 1955, in recognition that we did work hard, Mom and Dad decided to give us each a heifer calf.  In three years, when it had a calf of its own and started producing milk, we would get a share of the milk produced.  

Prior to the allowance, we earned money by picking pickles for Gedneys and string beans for Stokelys.  Of course, we never saw any of it as it was saved for school clothes—3 pairs of pants, 3 shirts, five underwear and socks, coat, hat and boots. 

Back in the 1950s, with Ezra Taft Benson keeping farm prices low, milk averaged about $3 per hundred pounds.  Our Guernsey’s produced about 10,000 lbs of milk per year, so doing the math a cow should earn $300 per year, an allowance of about $6 per week, a vast sum of money for us three older boys ranging from 10-13 years old.  And by 1957, our calves were mothers and in production with the money rolling in!

My first buy was a single shot 22, Western Field from Montgomery Wards.  It was not quite the cheapest 22 you could buy, but I liked it.  Brother Everett, at age 11, the magic age for owning a 22 in our family, got his for $12, a J.C. Higgins model.    
Some of our money went for clothes, some for junk food, and even a little for the church collection plate. One month we saved up and Ev and I put in $25 each and Dad the other $25 to buy a Sears Jon boat.  No motor, just oars, but a boat of our own.  It is still in use here at the cabin.

I can’t remember what Marv, the oldest, spent his money on.  I do remember he was always getting postage stamps “on approval” for his stamp albums.  He bought a 16 gauge shotgun with an adjustable choke from Wards—I think that was almost a half year of savings. As an older man of 14, his money didn’t burn a hole in his pocket so quickly as Ev and me. 

I got into radios and electronics and spent money on magnet wire, double cotton covered copper wire and crystals to make my own radio sets.  I bought a Slinky, a gyroscope, a drinking duck, a crooks radiometer, items that matched my interest in science.

What caused our downfall, and eventually dried up the allowances was the Johnson and Smith catalog, promising 3000 novelty items.  

We loved to read the Johnson and Smith catalog.  It had everything in the order of magic tricks, whoopee cushions, chattering false teeth and x-ray glasses to see through clothes. Nearly each allowance we ordered something new from the catalog.  What came in the mail rarely met our heightened expectations from reading the catalog.  The wonderful tame “seahorses” turned out to be microscopic shrimp.  We bought all sorts of items; toy steam boats, and finally some magic tricks and the whoopee cushion and squirting flower. Rarely did we receive items that were as good as promised, but our optimism was unbounded for the next order.

If we had been able to curb our enthusiasm in squirting every adult in the neighborhood and having every visitor sit on the whoopee cushion it is likely our allowance would have continued beyond the one year trial.  But, life is harsh and lessons too often are learned the hard way.  

Friday, May 10, 2013

Memorial Day -- Pvt James K. Rutsch

Each year I help the Sterling Eureka and Laketown Historical Society headquartered in Cushing, WI, remember a veteran at the Wolf Creek Cemetery Memorial Day program.  

It started when we listened to the list of 100 or more veterans names being read each year, wondering who all of these folks were.  Growing up in the area I knew some of them, but many were just names.  

I decided, with the help of SELHS, to pick a veteran each year to recognize with more than just a name.   We research a veteran with the help of the family and create a booklet to hand out at the program.  When the reader of the list gets to the selected name, a paragraph about the person is read.  

This year, an old childhood friend of mine, a Vietnam veteran who died from cancer 10 years ago (Agent Orange casualty), James Kermit Rutsch has been selected.  

You can read about Jimmie (as I knew him) at this link.

Jim Rutsch

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Two Wood Tick Walk in the Woods

Back at the cabin after a few days of getting Margo started with radiation at Mayo.  She is doing fine, three treatments done and only 22 left!

This evening a quiet gentle rain freshened the air and gave promise of sprouting some spring plants.  After getting the water system running and actually having hot water at the cabin again, I took the Ford 2N with the backblade on through the sap gathering trails to smooth them down after the season.  Ruts in the low areas need to be flattened so I can mow the trails.  

I took the camera along. 

Can this birch tree be saved?

Blood Roots

Sunday, May 5, 2013

On the Farm

When Dad decided to retire from farming in 1986, I took a series of photos of farming as it was done in the old days by an old-timer. Dad was 71 at the time, and although he didn't know it, he had started to have Parkinsons symptoms.   He said it was all he could do to drag himself through the day with all the farm work to do. He had cut back from 24 cows to a dozen by that time.  

Barn Swallows

If a cow had to be persuaded, taking their mind off the milker by holding their tail up kept them from kicking!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Margo's Radiation Begins

Yesterday, Margo had her radiation treatment setup for the final phase of breast cancer treatment.   She starts the treatment on Monday afternoon and continues 5 days per week until June 10th.  

Margo is getting along pretty good.  Her father was up to visit early in the week to make sure she is OK.  Her father turns 88 in mid June.  He just traded his last year's model Ford Focus for a new a Ford Fusion.   He and Scott spent a while trying to figure out how to turn off the emergency blinkers.  There are few knobs or buttons--most things are controlled from a touch screen computer.  

The Polk County Fair book is available online and probably in local banks.  You can find it at  Entries are due June 12th for the Fair beginning July 24th (entry day).  Entry cost is $6 and you can enter from 1 to 23 items for that $6.  Plus it allows you free entry to the fairgrounds for the whole 4 days of the fair!  Not only that, you may win some ribbons and money.  Margo and I always enter a bunch of things and more than make back our $6.  

This year, the Sterling Laketown and Eureka Historical Society hosts the Red School House on the fairgrounds for the Polk Co History Society.   We are hoping to get each of the local history societies to participate with an exhibit and some time in the school house.  It is a great place to rest up as the only air conditioned area at the fair with free ice water and cookies and a chance to visit an 1850s school house!

Down here in Pine Island for a few days, to make sure Margo gets into radiation smoothly, I am taking it easy and waiting for next week's warmup to head back to the cabin and bottle 30-40 gallons of syrup waiting for me.  We ran out of wood slabs for cooking sap, so have to remember to order another load this spring.   

I have been off of medications for Myasthenia Gravis for a month now waiting to find out if I am in true remission or if MG will come back.  I was taking prednisone to stop the immune system from making the bad antibodies that attack my nerve-to-muscle connection and make me weak.  So far the MG has not come back, but the withdrawal from prednisone has been difficult, as my muscles and joints ache and are sore so without ibuprofen or other pain killers, I walk around like a much older man than I really am.  Supposedly, my adrenal glands have been shut off by the prednisone I took for 10 months to stop the MG, and they have to get started again to produce the normal cortisol that will again let me feel only the normal 66 year old aches and pains rather than what I have right now.  I am waiting for that to happen and also waiting to see if MG returns.  Another month or two and something will happen--just uncertain what.  In the meantime if you see me creaking around, offer me a couple of aspirin.  

We had another 2 inches of snow this morning on top of the 16 inches yesterday.  Quite a few broken off branches to clean up and still light snow coming down.  We set a record here in the Rochester area for most snow ever in May.  The snow doesn't really bother us too much, but yesterday, having the electricity off from 5 am until noon showed us how unprepared we are for losing the juice.  Our only heat is a propane furnace that requires electricity; our rural well requires electricity; we found a couple of scented candles and flashlights with the batteries already haven eaten out the metal, so need to make a trip to the local hardware and stock up.  Probably a generator would be the most useful--although we would have to put outlets and plugs for the furnace and well.   Luckily, in a few days we will forget all about it and be just as unprepared next time. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

16 inches of snow at Pine Island

I left Luck at 3:30 pm on Wednesday headed for Pine Island to see about Margo's beginning radiation next Monday. It was snowing a little in Luck, but nothing staying on the road.   By the time I got to Hastings MN, the ground was white, but the road OK.  After Cannon Falls to Pine Island, it was slow going with slushy and slippery roads and heavy snow.  Pulled in to our Pine Island home about 6:30 just ahead of a night of snow.

This morning, at 5:00 am, the electricity went off.  I woke immediately as I use one of those breathing machines for people who have sleep apnea--and it stopped and I had to take it off.   It was a little light out the window and I could see the snow coming down heavily--everything was dark and white.  I hunted around for a match to light a candle downstairs. Margo woke up with me stumbling around, and helped me find a couple of flashlights, and since nothing could be done about the lack of electricity, we went back to bed.

At about 6:30, I got up. The snow was still coming down, but lightly.   Outside everything was covered with a lot of snow.   Branches bent way over; some snapped off; and deep wet snow.   A challenge!

I got out the snowblower, and spent an hour slowly clearing our long driveway, and was about to take a break, when Scot came out and took over, clearing the front of the garage turn-around area and the walkway to the house.  The road was covered deeply with snow. Neighbor Chris, who works at Mayo, slowly drove his big SUV out his driveway and honked as he plowed through the deep unplowed highway headed to work.  Snow wadded up in front of him--so deep that the SUV wallowed, but chugged along.   The plow didn't come through until about 10 am.

The house is super-insulated, and although it was 32 in the morning, rising to 34 by noon, the house cooled only from 64 to 59 at 12:05 pm when the electricity came on; blinking on a minute, then off, and back on for good.

Scott took Margo in to get her preparation session for radiation in the afternoon.  They made a brace that will hold her head and arm up away from the area of radiation and gave her a simulated treatment.  She comes in, waits to be called, changes and goes in for a 10 minute session and is done.  Her first couple of weeks are at 3:00 pm each week day.  It is over on June 10th.  She is ready to get this last phase over!

We had just finished an early supper when our neighbor, Nancy called.  "My daughter is stuck in the yard--do you think you could come over and give her a push?"   So Scott and I drove over with the 91 Olds that has a trailer hitch.  I figured we might have to pull.

Sure enough, the Volkswagen car was stuck in the slushy plowed yard -- daughter had driven up close to the house to give her mom a short walk.  The front drive wheels were spinning in little icy ruts.  Pushing didn't help.  We hooked the Olds with a tow strap and a long chain--the Olds also off the driveway in a questionably muddy area.  The Volkswagen had to be pulled backwards with the strap wrapped around the rear axle.   Several "pops" where the Olds gave a little jerk that stretched and popped the VW out of its hole worked.  Then just barely getting the Olds through the next mud hole, I managed to get the VW turned around --with a couple of pushes and made a run through the mud puddle successfully but getting stuck again just before the gravel.  Another set of "pops" and it was on the gravel and after an hour of work everyone was free again!  Quite lucky we didn't bury the Olds too!

We measured the snow on top of the camper and got 16 inches.  Officially around the area was about 13-15 inches, lots of powerlines down because of trees falling on them, and most places closed for the morning.  By evening the trees had lost all their snow; the roads were bare, and the yard starting to settle a little.   Wet, sloppy at the bottom and still a foot of snow left.  

Saw the first rose breasted grosbeak at the feeder today.  The birds were thick around the feeder and the areas we cleared with the snow blower.  Probably a shock to them too!