Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge and Haircut

Well folks, we went to the refuge. I suppose we expected something different. The drought we have had here in Minnesota has really done a number on it. In most places where there was a sign for a memorial pool, there was nothing but mud or nothing but dirt. Those of you who know about cattails, they were even drying up and brown. That is the first time I ever saw that. We did see a few ducks, a crane(we think), and some geese. The highlight of the trip was an eagle's nest, complete with eagle. We were quite far away from it, but old baldy sat right there for pictures. We had to park where they said. The refuge was about 30 miles away, and we were pretty disappointed that there wasn't more to see. We also took some pictures of the prairie that was seeded in 1993 and 94. It is growing naturally, and looks like it did in the days of the covered wagons. They haven't messed up the area with a bunch of buildings and roads. There are hiking trails and one dirt road to drive around the loop. On the way home we stopped and got some sweet corn and little red potatoes. That was a good end of the day.
We have had rain for the last 3 days. The grass is turning green again, and the trees look a little better. It is quite a bit cooler, also. Over the week-end we even had the furnace on. Today is a bit warmer, and the sun comes and goes. We even got the shorts back on today. Right now (7:00 pm) it is overcast again, and we have a few sprinkles. Now at 7:15 it seems to be clearing, and the sun is back out.
OK, I know you are saying 15 minutes between sentences. I am watching the the Mets beat the Padres. It is the 4th inning , and they are ahead 4-1.
Today I took a big step!!! I went to town and got a haircut. It was not easy. You ladies reading will understand. Diane has cut my hair for 35 years. Where do I go in Minnesota for a haircut? The other work campers where not much help. They go to relatives or friends. We saw a place the other day not to far from the campground. I went in to make an appointment, and she said they take walk-ins. Just come in any time. Today was the time. The outcome was terrific. I have a great cut from a really nice girl named Lynn. It was only 12 bucks, plus the tip I gave her. She was fast and good. I'll go back and get it done again before we leave for Texas. I was very pleased.
Tom has the pictures ready to post along with this entry. We'll attach and publish. One more day off, and we start the rotation again. Such a hard life. http://picasaweb.google.com/tnank101/SherburneNWR

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Big Storm and Clean-up

The other night while Tom and I were on duty, people kept coming into the office to check the weather on the TV. I don't usually have it on, but folks were worried about a storm coming. I guess they had reason to be. It wasn't long before the sheriff called to warn us that a strong storm was coming, and to be sure the campground was prepared. They asked if they should come out to assist. I told them "No we can handle it." I no more than hung up, and a deputy drove in. I knew it was serious. Boy did we start moving! I called some of the other work campers, and they got busy, too. We got everyone notified, and they were told to go to the bath house, as it is the only cement block building we have. Some opted not to. The awnings all were put up, and slide-outs put in. Of course, some of the folks where out of the campground. Those units where also taken care of. Everyone helped everyone else.
We were lucky that the main storm went south of us, but the second one hit us. The thunder was the weirdest that I have ever heard. The lightning was terrible. It rained really hard. What a mess it made. Everyone was fine, and went home to bed.
The next day, was clean-up day. Cris got the roads back in shape, Tom had to pick up debris, and residue from the run off. He found some of our wood 2 sites from ours. There are piles of the dead grass from the drought left all over the place. It looks like fuzz. They say they are on fuzz patrol when they are supposed to clean it up. All the acorns are falling, also. Because of the lack of rain, the leaves are also falling. The time they save not cutting the grass, they use raking up all of the junk.
Tom got some really nice pictures of the humming birds. He will post them when I am done with this entry. (http://picasaweb.google.com/tnank101/TheElusiveHummingbirds). Let us know what you think. We may go to a wildlife refuge tomorrow. We'll probably take pictures. We always do. Finally the temp will be lower that 90. We will have a couple of days of lower humidity. We can get out and do something fun. It's just been too hot to do things like walking trails. We'll enjoy the day.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Updates and Itasca State Park

I know it's been a while since I've posted anything in the blog. It has been so hot here that we mostly sit inside with the air on. We have sun most of the day and it gets like an oven inside Emily. The heat reflects off the concrete pad, and makes it even hotter. We did manage to rouse ourselves to do a couple of things.
Last week was the Benton County fair. It was your typical little 4-H fair, with goats, pigs, etc. We were looking for something different to eat, but we couldn't find anything that caught our eye that we don't have at home. Tom had a meatball sandwich and I had an Italian chicken sandwich. Then, of course, we each had a funnel cake. Rain threatened, and then blew away. Still no rain here.
We had a few days off, so we decided to go to Itasca State Park. Lake Itasca is the headwaters for the Mississippi River. We stayed at the state park campgrounds there. You could tell they have had more rain than here. The grass is green and needs to be mowed. It is a good 3 and 1/2 hours from St. Cloud. The drive was really very nice. Lots of small touristy (is that a word?) towns. There is a reason they call Minnesota the Land of 10,000 Lakes. They are everywhere. I have to tell you, the trip was well worth it. The history of the area is documented by signs and photos as you walk along the different paths, and stop at the spots of interest. The headwaters is the busiest.
Years ago at the point where the lake starts to form the river, they have made a little dam of rocks. Everyone wants to step in the water. You will see what I mean by the pictures that we will post. http://picasaweb.google.com/tnank101/MississippiRiverHeadwaters We did not take off our shoes, there were so many folks there, we just took some photos and watched for a while. It is so neat to see how The Mighty Mississippi starts out as such a small creek. We picked up a couple of little stones, one for Connor's rock collection, and one for ourselves. With a stop at the gift shop and a couple of little purchases we were on the the rest of the park.
Two of the attractions are the Big White Pine Tree, and The Big Red Pine Tree. The White was amazing. It stood so big over the area like it was guarding the place. The Red pine was another story. The top had been blown off by a high winds just last month. It was sad to see what was once a mighty Champion (it was tied for the largest in U.S.) now dying. The white was around 300 years old. I wanted to touch it, like touching a living piece of history, but they have a wooden fence around it so no one abuses it. Sad to say, some folks just do stuff like that.
We came back to more hot and dry weather, and were grateful for the short time away from all the heat. Back to work, and on we go. We can't believe we have been here almost 2 months. We must be having fun because the time is flying.