Free-Range Kaleidoscope

Today’s post comes from Clyde.

ThomasMy last guest blog was rather drab, don’t you think? Those photos of foggy Lake Superior were nearly monochromatic.

Beer Guy

However, we did have our moments of color tucked in here and there in our ten days of family celebration and travel. Sometimes, delightfully, in unexpected places.  For instance there was Thomas, when we did not even know he was in town.  And our local ballpark beer guy, who leads the crowd in his own cheer. Yes, the ball park is so small that it has only one beer guy.


And many more.

What is your color palette? 

Down in the Data Mine

Today’s post comes from tim

my dad told me that you could tell everything about a person by his watch. today a lot of people dont wear watches so if you wear a watch that tells something and then what you wear tells more.but i have noticed tht there is more than one way to tell a persons outlook on life.

shoes do it. you can tell exactly who a person is by their shoes.

shirt pants /outfit to a great degree this is true. the multi millionaire i coffee with freqently is a low low low key dresser but i am pretty certain when he goes to visit with his big customers and gives coprorate presentations he doesnt wear shorts and a t shirt.

your car. almost everything about a person is spoken in their choice of car. if you dont have a car that tells more than enough to tell what you need to know. as i get older i notice peoples choice in glasses, group affiliation.

as data mining has become a hot topic and how much you want people of entities to know about you it becomes how apparent and transparent you become once you start tracking/ observing/ charting for business related promotional based processes.

when i first got started in sales fingerhut was a pioneer in doing studies of who bought what. if you bought a blue set of sheets with teddy bears on them they were entered into the mega computer as blue and sheets and teddy bears and they would file that away and see if it made a difference if they sent blue or yellow or red to you on subsequent offers. then they would try teddy bears and see if they hit pay dirt and then sheets and towels and see if they could get a handle on you there. it was early test process that today has turned into the most sophisticated art form of predetermined market selection and focus where the demographics rule the beast instead of the other way around

it is a little disconcerting on your travels through life to realize that target can call out to you to inform you your brand of dog food or paper towels is on sale as you walk by them. its good to know when lyle lovett or bob dylan are coming on tour but my wife gets mad when the iphone calls out to me as we go by the trip joint. thats supposed to be a private guilty pleasure not one that gets broadcast.

custard birkenstocks autoparts record store food co op sporting goods organic tea how do you stop it once it starts its odd to realize that the next 5 things you do/ look at/ think about and act in any way on/ are in the loop forever more.

big brother was a scary unthinkable entity when i read orwells 1984 in 1969 qand thought about the fact that it was coming up pretty soon and certainly none of this stuff would be true.

wrong again buffalo breath. its all there with a variation on a theme. its interesting to look at the world though different sets of eyes. like who would buy that apple i watch anyway? and who doesnt do cable tv or texting? its a new world out there. think of what has changed in the last 40 30 20 years, and whats coming up…

i always thought 2020 was way out there. now 2050 is just around the corner.

whats coming soon at a theater near you?


Today’s post comes from Crystalbay

Coming from a perpetually remodeling or redecorating set of parents, I’ve always enjoyed changing up my own home, one room at a time throughout the years. That is, until I moved to the cottage. I had no deadline for selling the home I’d lived in for thirty years since we could move to the lake any time we were ready.

I spent months preparing the story and a half home for selling, doing things I’d always wanted done and never quite gotten to like painting the inside of cupboards and closets. There was a bare area in the backyard which never grew grass, so I tilled it, put a rabbit fence around it, and place a sign saying, “Future garden”. We made our own brochures, rented a sign, and sold it within and hour of the only open house.

Because my dad left us a healthy amount of life insurance money, I was able for the first time in my life to purchase anything I wanted for the cottage: furniture, new cedar shake roof, furnace, appliances, new countertops, etc. By the time we moved out here, everything was upgraded and downright perfect.

It’s been fifteen years, and I did such a good job renovating it that I haven’t change a single thing. Until two weeks ago, that is.

I’m extremely sedentary and, like most people, found my favorite “spot” in the cottage: my den. This den has my TV, stereo, books, Iphone, laptop – everything I need at my fingertips. I’ve spent most of my waking hours on the small couch and saw clients in the two comfy chairs on either side. At night, I’d go up to a bedroom overlooking the lake.

A few weeks ago, my daughter and best friend talked me into remaking the den into my master bedroom. They voiced their concern that I’d fall down the steps, break my hip, and then die. The result, after weeks of shopping, cleaning out, hanging curtains, and painting is a room every woman could only dream of.

I’ve been in it now for a few days and have encountered a few problems, not the least of which is that using a bed for a couch makes me feel like I’m in bed all day, which makes me feel even older and more feeble than I felt before. I’ve actually felt guilty about not using the view-to-die-for bedroom upstairs. My cats are unhappy, too. Peanut’s had the same routine up there every night for 12 years.

I’ve discovered that not leaving just one room all day long is oppressive and maybe even emotionally unhealthy. I know that I could sleep upstairs and hear the lake lapping up on the shoreline as well as see the silhouette of the lake any time I choose, but feel beholden to use my new bedroom. Oddly, this is the only room in my place that doesn’t have a lake view. I rationalized that I only went up there in the dark and came downstairs right away. So why miss it?

Oddly, it never occurred to me that I could still sleep upstairs until a friend pointed this out. I resisted this for about four nights, then being in the new room began to feel entrapping. Being literally in the same spot almost every waking hour, no matter how inviting, wasn’t working for me, so last night, I trekked upstairs and slept in my old bed. I’d never truly appreciated this spot with the lake breezes and nature’s beauty just outside the window like I did last night.

I now realize that breaking up a pattern by using different rooms, not just one, is important. I’ve decided to sleep in the old bedroom at least through the summer and maybe even the rest of my life. I owe it to the cats and not feeling bed-ridden.

Do you have a spot in your home that feels like your own sanctuary?

Cleaning for Nonny

Today’s post comes from Sherrilee.

Nonny is coming on Monday. Those of you who know me, know that I have “a list”. And it’s a long list; I did it on the computer, complete with pictures of Nonny across the top, three columns and a multi-colored font (fall colors, since those are Nonny’s favorites). It’s gone onto a second page at this point.

Of course my list has a title… “Cleaning for Nonny”, since much of the list has to do with cleaning. Nonny says she doesn’t care if my house is clean or not and I believe her; my sister has a house that could make the cut for one of those hoarding shows and Nonny still goes over there. But I let things go during the winter due to how busy I am at work and then I kept letting things go as we got to spring and summer, since my energies tend to go to the yard. I just can’t stand to have her see it quite this messy.

I started to rename my list a couple of times because for some reason “Cleaning for Nonny” keeps reminding me of Bowling for Columbine; ultimately I left the title be. I haven’t even printed this list since it is quite long, but I am highlighting the finished items each night before I go to bed. I don’t really need to worry that I’ve named my list, right? Nobody on the planet even knows that I have a list, or that I’ve named the list – except you guys. You won’t tell will you?

Do you make lists? Do you give them titles?

Raspberries Take Over the World

Today’s guest post comes from Edith.

A few years ago, VS had a guest blog post  on her wildly successful straw bale garden. I was inspired by that to try my hand at growing a few vegetables in straw bales this summer.

I have tried growing vegetables before, but have been defeated by monster weeds and various city woes. The book about straw bale gardening that I read assured me that all my previous problems would be nonexistent with straw bale gardening and I would be overwhelmed with a huge vegetable harvest.

In one respect the book was correct. All my previous problems were nonexistent but I ended up with some different problems instead. I had chosen what I thought was a good spot for the bales: a wide strip of land bordered by a fence on one side and the raspberry patch on the other side. From my experience with raspberries, I was pretty sure that the canes would not spread as far as the straw bales until next year and that this was a good way to use what would otherwise be a weed patch, not only keeping the weeds down until the raspberries took over that spot next year, but also providing me with homegrown veggies. I followed the directions for prepping the bales and everything looked like it would work just like the book said it would. I planted some seeds and a few plants and started waiting for the harvest.

Well, the raspberries took one look at the straw bales and declared war. While they don’t seem to have moved much at all in the other direction, they have grown up right next to the straw bales, and hard rains have beaten them down until they are falling down every which way. The straw bales, aided by the heavy rains, took one look at the raspberries and literally fell apart. The seeds I planted did not germinate very well and the plants are growing sideways because what was the top of the bale is now the side. Lovely. I think I’ll just stick to berries and herbs next year.
When have your grandiose plans crashed down around you?


Today’s guest post comes from Sherrilee

As some of you may know I am a straw bale gardener. I got interested in straw bales after I had determined that I really wanted to grow tomatoes on my own every summer – after someone on the Trail recommended the expose Tomatoland by Barry Estabrook.

I’ve had varying results over the last few years but this summer the tomatoes are doing quite well and have taken over the corner of my yard that is dedicated to my bales. I’m harvesting enough that the occasional tomato that I’m losing to the squirrels is not driving me too crazy and I’m starting to think about ways to preserve them since they are coming off the vines faster than we can eat them.

Yesterday I pulled a whooper off the vine – I’m calling it Tomato-zilla. Unfortunately I don’t know what kind of tomato it is because I didn’t write down what kind of plants I planted and the little stakes have all gone missing.

But here are a couple of dishes we’ve made recently. These are Verily Sherrilee creations, not out of a cookbook, using what was on hand!

Tomato Corn Bean Salad

4 ears of corn from the farmer’s market, kernels cut from cobs

1 can of black beans, rinsed

20 cherry tomatoes, cut in half (we actually have Santa tomatoes in our garden, which are shaped like little tears)

Handful of basil, chopped (basil also from our garden)

About ½ tsp cumin

Salt / pepper

  • Mix all the items together.  You can add more cumin (or less) to taste.

Roasted Tomato Pasta

4 large leeks from farmer’s market, chopped

1 large clove of garlic, chopped or minced (depends on how you like it)

Handful of basil, chopped

3-4 T. olive oil

4-5 tomatoes, chopped

Olives, pitted & chopped (this is optional)

Cooked pasta of your choice (I used spaghetti)

Parmesan cheese (also optional)

  • Sauté the leeks, garlic and basil until the oil is absorbed.  Then add tomatoes and let them roast a bit.  Add cooked pasta and stir.  If you’re going w/ olives and parmesan, you can add them at this point or put them on the table and let folks add themselves to their own dish!

Do you have a favorite summer recipe?

recipe for a successful blog

Today’s guest post comes from tim

i remember seeing an article in a business study where they said that as companies were going through growth and trying to solve growth issues and deal with the ways to work best, they always broke down into manageable groups. 15 or 20 people is what they came up with as the right sized group.

more or less is possible but 15 to 20 is optimal.
i thought when i typed in “recipe for a successful blog” that i would get a lot of peoples ideas on how to do it.
it appears many people try to get a big blog with lots of followers to sell stuff or create big numbers for analytic wowsers but no one is doing it to have a group that works like a social entity.
we seem to have created an odd confab here on the trail.
the test came this summer when the idea of if we could create out own little self sustaining model was made part of the recipe equation. clyde in the midst of ailments and pain, has turned out post after post that amaze and impress. we have a cole porter of the blog venue we all visit daily. an o henry of the internet, a picasso of the world wide web. sherrilee has shined, renee is making opera in grand forks an awaited revue, linda and plain jane jom and edith will throw one in. jacque from her hotel room, steve from way the hell over there, cynthia from the past and joanne from near extinction have returned to make us smile. wessew came out of nowhere, the guy in the hat occasionally caroline , lisa are you really retired? bill thanks for explaining clydes punchlines.
(bill we need a guest blog) ben and dale have been known to make a contribution from time to time. mig and bir are all over the place and show us its ok to write guest blogs and ok not to also.
music, food, theatre, art, poetry, animals, family, the 60’s the 70’s the space program, reading suggestions, gardening tips, advice and philosophy,
i guess when i stop to think about it there is no wonder there is not a recipe for a successful blog on the google and safari search lists. its like the right pie crust if its not there you dont bother and if it is you take another bite and another and swish the succulence around in your mouth for a minute to savor the moment and then hit that invisible tick mark to remember that this is the place to come to get pie.
charels kerault retired and then died, charle osgood took over and is getting old and will leave the cbs sunday morning family to another helmsman in the next little while, cbs knows what their show is and it is now apparent that the show will shape the voice as much as the other way around.
we’ve got this damn blog thing down, does anyone have a good pie crust recipe? one for apple and one for quiche please

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