Moose Nursery

October 8, 2009 | My Jottings

When you think of your front yard, what phrase comes to mind? Postage Stamp? Tricycle Parking Lot? Leaf Graveyard? Gardens of Versailles?

Just in my neighborhood alone, the different front yards could have titles like, “Neighborhood Bus Stop,” “Garden Oasis,” “Piney Grove,” “Squirrel Haven,” and “Maple Park.”

A friend sent me these photos yesterday and they made me grin from ear to ear. There are only a few states in which a citizen could wake up in the morning to find that their front lawn had become a moose nursery during the night — Alaska, Maine, and Montana are three of those states. And my beautiful state, Minnesota, is another.

Recently a front yard a few miles north of us could have been dubbed, “Moose Nursery.”


Tell me this photo didn't make you smile or say "oooohhh."


Above, mama moose is vibing out her power and intimidation to the photographer. Moose are known for their poor eyesight, but it’s dangerous to get close to them. Postnatal moose have stomped people to death before.


Time for a nap in this Minnesota Moose Nursery


Ode to October

October 5, 2009 | My Jottings

Autumn has always been my favorite season of the year, and if I had to narrow down a favorite month, it’s a toss-up between September and October. No other season elicits the renewed energy, yearning and musing as much as a Minnesota fall does for me.

austinpod0911c1smOctober means breathtaking colors in the trees….fierce winds that make you stare at the leaves blowing around outside while it feels safe and quiet inside….turtlenecks and SmartWool socks….simmering soups and warm crusty bread….school buses with tiny cap-covered heads in the windows….a chilly house in the morning and the sound of the furnace clicking on at 6:00 a.m….tangy Bayfield apple cider in thick mugs….the smell of woodsmoke in the air….increased squirrel activity as winter food is gathered and hidden….perusing the cooking sites for new bread recipes to make at home….storing the hammock….getting up in the morning when it’s still pitch black outside….having the furnace cleaned and serviced….making sure we have bags of salt and plenty of shovels….stocking up on gloves and mittens for the grandbabies….dry, brisk, invigorating air….needing lotion for dry hands….lower in the sky, more golden light glowing in the windows….apple crisp with double the crumbly topping….lots of daydreaming about the Highlands of Scotland….picking numbers for Christmas shopping….wondering if I should have a women’s Christmas luncheon this year….the comfort of a pile of books always waiting nearby….weekly attendance at Community Bible Study….a hike to Carlton Peak….migrating birds….the heightened awareness of life and death, darkness and light, and the quiet pondering of what is temporal versus what is eternal.

Notice I did not write anything about eagerly anticipating winter and snow and bitter cold and ice and heating bills that are half a thousand dollars each month. 🙂

Now it’s your turn to share, and I will be so pleased if you do. A winner will be selected from all who leave a comment, and that person will win a nice bloggy prize.

What does October mean to you?

The Leaning Barn of Twig

October 2, 2009 | My Jottings

Recently our dear friends Bob and Linda asked us if we’d like to get together for breakfast at an establishment I’d never heard of – The Swamp Sisters. Apparently this diner/cafe in Twig, MN is a pretty popular eatery, and you have to be intentional about visiting because it’s only open on Fridays and Saturdays, May through October.

The four of us rode together to The Swamp Sisters, a place run by a group of sisters (duh) on their old swampy farmstead. They raise and sell bison, and some of their recipes have bison meat in them.

When we arrived the parking lot was full and we had to park around back, but we were able to get a table right away. It was like taking a welcome step back in time. Simple paper menus, vinyl checked tablecloths, friendly, apron-clad waitresses, and simple and hearty fare about as far removed from nouvelle cuisine as you can get.

IMG_0263All four of us ordered the special egg/bison sausage/potato/green peppers and onion/melted cheese skillet with a side of salsa and toast, and it was unique, delicious and filling.

It was such a treat catching up with Bob and Linda, who have been our friends for twenty-five years. We talked about our jobs and our children and our blogs (here’s Bob’s blog) and our families, and fell into that easy and comfortable conversation that always happens when we’re with them.

So after our meal and visiting, which passed as quickly as our very lives have these past two decades (whoosh!) we moseyed on out to the car for the drive home. There were a couple of huge chickens strolling around the tall grasses on the property and Michael knelt down and tried to bond with one but she wasn’t having any of it. She gave him that jerky and suspicious sideways glance that chickens are famous for and went off into the brush.

Aside from the always-satisfying experience of being with Bob and Linda, the morning’s best surprise was a dilapidated and leaning barn behind The Swamp Sisters cafe. I was so glad Bob and Linda had a camera with them.


Here they are, looking quite marvelous and upright in front of The Leaning Barn of Twig, MN.

Sometimes old things are just better. I like old songs, the kind Perry Como and Jo Stafford sing. I like old books, the kind that Jane Austen and George MacDonald wrote. I like old barns that whisper of stories I wish I knew. And I also like old-fashioned food that doesn’t have the words aioli, ganache, infusion or gastrique in their descriptions. (Although to be honest, I enjoy those kinds of foods too.)

And I like old friends. I like the memories we have that no one can take from us. I like how even when we don’t see each other as often as we’d prefer, we still slip right back into that companionable conversation, that trust, that love, that never goes away.

This morning as I get ready to tackle the things on my to-do list, I’m thinking of The Swamp Sisters bison breakfasts, I’m picturing The Leaning Barn of Twig, and I’m smiling as I think of our wonderful friends Bob and Linda.