All posts by Barbara in Rivertown

Juggling

Today’s post is from Barbara in Rivertown

I just made a list of activities for the next several days, and made a copy in case I lose track of it. We are preparing our friend – I’ll call him Will – to move from a 3-bedroom house (with full basement and 2-story studio out back) to a 1-bedroom apartment in downtown Winona. He has Parkinson’s disease which has progressed over the past year, so there is a core group of six friends who are helping with this project, and a son arriving on Saturday.

Having just moved ourselves over a year ago, we’ve at least had practice, and remember (most of) what needs to be done. Of course there are differences, and a few wrinkles, like a bed delivery, in addition to the usual phone connection transfers and truck rental. Since Will is pretty slow moving, there is still a lot of sorting to do before stuff can be packed. And once he’s in, we need to seriously get going on house selling. It feels like we are juggling a lot of balls in the air, and I just hope I don’t drop one.  I used to be able to juggle three balls, wonder if I can still do that.

When have you had a lot to juggle, either figuratively or literally?

What’s Up, Doc?

OK, so I missed International Rabbit Day by a few of Earth’s rotations. I discovered this when opening Saturday’s bing.com… Saturday’s bing.com  Who knew?

The following paragraph is from Wiki Wiki :  “Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, found in several parts of the world. There are eight different genera in the family classified as rabbits, including the European rabbit, cottontail rabbits, and the Amami rabbit. There are many other species of rabbit, and these, along with pikas and hares, make up the order Lagomorpha. The male is called a buck and the female is a doe; a young rabbit is a kitten or kit.”

I got curious about the long-eared jumpers when I lived on the California coast, next to a vacant bunny-populated lot… loved watching them chase each other and jump in the air. I read half of The Secret Life of Rabbits by R.M. Lockley in the mid-70s (before leaving it on a plane); collected rabbit tchotchkes for a while; and still receive occasional rabbit gifts, most recently some beautiful note cards.

Some of my favorite rabbits are from children’s books – Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit books, of course, and Dubose Heywood’s The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes. But even adult lit has come up with good rabbit tales – Watership Down lingo Watership Down lingo has stayed with me for decades – silflay, hruduru… and I loved the characters’ names – Bigwig, Fiver, Efrafa, Cowslip…

Take a gander at more of these rabbits in literature

Do you have any rabbit stories?

What’s your favorite literary animal?

Its Own Magazine

Turns out the Mississippi River has its own magazine. I have finally finished reading my latest issue of Big River, which covers news of the Mississippi River from Minneapolis, MN, down to Muscatine, Iowa. Its byline is “Covering the heart of the Driftless Area for 24 years,” although there is usually some news about the Twin Cities. (The Driftless area includes Hastings and Red Wing, as well as La Crosse and Prairie du Chien in Wisconsin, Dubuque and the Quad Cities in Iowa, Galena in Illinois.) It is published six times a year here in Winona.

I devour this magazine. First I read all the Big River News segments, which give updates on everything from the Gulf of Mexico’s Dead Zone to a new plastic pollution problem:  tiny plastic particles from people’s microfiber jackets. Besides environmental issues, these paragraphs cover items like a new bike rental system in Clinton, IA, and an expansion of the National Eagle Center in Wabasha. My favorite tells of a new happy hour in St. Paul – the Kellogg Park Craft Beer Overlook: 3 to 6 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays till mid-October. This September-October issue also has a special sidebar detailing and picturing which ditch weeds to NOT PICK because some part of them is poisonous (poison hemlock, giant hogweed, wild parsnip, and cow parsnip).

Feature articles range from “A Tale of Two Neighborhoods”, about North Mpls. and Northeast Mpls, to a short two-pager on kestrels. For the exploring traveler, an article details sights and places between La Crosse, WI to Winona, MN. Restaurant and book reviews are regular features, as are lots of glossy ads – I don’t mind because they are for things and places that interest me.

I just checked, and Big River is available at Minneapolis’ Central Library, but only for “in-house” use. I’ll bring some back copies next time I get to BBC (Blevins Book Club – see top left of this “page”, under Blogroll).

What river, anywhere in the world, would you like to explore?

Name That Carrot

Husband is now able to put some weight on his right foot, by using one crutch and his walking cast. Yesterday he was able to do some garden harvest; he came up with some lovely carrots and potatoes, and of course thousands of cherry tomatoes.

In past years we have unearthed some wonderful carrots – here is one we called Carrot Man from 2014…

And today I can’t resist taking a couple of pictures of one special (set of) carrot. I had a caption ready for it/them, but thought it would be fun to let the baboons come up with a caption

Do you have a special vegetable memory in your past?

Name That Carrot.

Moonrise/Sunset

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Rivertown.

[I figured we should have a little astronomy before Monday.]

Just a few blocks from our house in Winona, there is a spit of land beyond the levee that juts out into the Mississippi. Boat trailers can be driven down to put in (and pull out) their boats. Even farther out are chunks of concrete that you can climb over, and once you get all the way out there, you feel like you’re right in the river. It’s a great place to watch ducks and other water birds, and the barges being pushed by the (ironically-named) tugboats.

During the warmer months, on the evenings of the full moon, we go there at sunset, climb out and look West until the sun goes down behind (in this case) the hills in an island in the river. Then we turn ourselves 180 degrees to the East, and wait for the moon to come up. It’s tricky to predict exactly where it will rise * – and the orb is hard to see because it’s still quite light out. But finally it appears:  a big golden- orange roundness edging up into the sky, and it’s thrilling each time we do this.

Before I met Husband, he lived in the country up on the ridge, where he was able to see lots of sunsets. Because of the tilt of Earth’s axis and its rotation, each night the sun goes down (* and the moon comes up) at a little different spot on the horizon. These photos were taken on the July 9 full moon by my friend Angela. In August the sun went down considerably to the left of that hill you see, and the moon also came up left of what’s pictured.

Tell about a memorable solar, lunar, or stellar event in your past.

Any baboons traveling to see the solar eclipse?

 

National Zucchini Day

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Rivertown

Last week after our t’ai chi class, one intrepid soul brought out her garden bag, to see if anyone would like some… what else?… ZUCCHINI. She was able to shed a couple of them, and proceeded to tell us that August 8 is “sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor’s porch” day.  I thought perhaps she’d made that up, but a little research shows that, indeed, Tuesday August 8 is National Zucchini Day, known in some circles as Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch DayThis site states that “Desperate times call for desperate measures. It’s time to sneak over, under the cover of darkness, to your neighbor’s porch, and unload some zucchini…”

Those of you with veggie gardens know what I’m talking about. This year I have given zukes to half a dozen people so far; I think I’m caught up with our four plants at the moment, but more are on the way. I thought I was doing well when I discovered, on the ground back by the fence, a real “baseball bat”. I decided to leave it on the neighbor’s back stoop, with a note saying “Just kidding, I’ll come back for it”, because they have their own plants, and I want to keep them as friends.

Here are some fun facts about zucchini for the curious, found at

  • Zucchinis are 95 percent water, with just 33 calories in a medium-size squash.
  • One zucchini has more potassium than a banana, supplying more than 10 percent of your daily need.
  • Summer squash is rich in carotenoids, powerful cancer-fighting antioxidants that are mostly found in its skin. So be sure not to peel your squash. And buy organic to avoid pesticide residues.

I just checked the garden, and found a good sized green torpedo hiding on the ground… next year I’m campaigning for yellow squash – tastes the same in my book, and you can actually see them!

When have you sneaked around after dark, for any reason?

Crutches!

A week ago Friday, Husband went, able-bodied, to play volleyball at the Y. He returned hobbling on a right leg that had sustained, as it turned out, the rupture of its Achilles tendon. One Urgent Care and three visits to Winona Health later, his leg is wrapped and he has been on crutches all week. Luckily the location of the tear means that he will not need surgery… just three months of not walking on said leg as it heals. SIGH.

As I prepare to mow our (admittedly miniscule) lawn, I recall the days (just a week ago) when I had only my tasks on my plate. (Poor me.)

Have you ever had to get around on crutches?

If you were on crutches, what activities would you have to give up?