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The last two summers have been full of weddings and travel — California, Georgia, Texas, even Hawaii. All the trips made for some great vacations and reunions with friends.
But this, this is the summer of staying close to home. No far-off weddings, no big fancy vacations. Just a lot of camping, gardening and exploring the awesomeness that is summer in Minnesota. So I’ve declared it to be the Prairie Home Summer. Hey Garrison Keillor, if you’re reading this … thanks. I like your show a lot.
To start it off, we had an epic five-year reunion with my college graduating class at St. Olaf. The two-day extravaganza included karaoke at Froggy’s, just like the old days, as well as dinner in the Caf, a reunion with my fellow a cappella group founders from Agnes, a brilliant lecture from a beloved prof, and a slideshow of embarrassing photos that someone pulled from Facebook (a reminder of exactly what we haven’t taken down since we posted them 8 or 9 years ago…)
June looked like a road trip to Rice Lake, Wisconsin for a colleague’s wedding, with a fun cheese shop stop on the way back …
… another road trip to the same part of Wisconsin for a cabin weekend on Spooner Lake with college buddies …
… and a four-day camping and canoeing expedition in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA), one of the most remote and beautiful wilderness parks left in the country.
No biggie. Just one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the entire world.
1. The obvious … as many farmers market trips and lake walks as possible.
2. At least one pizza farm visit (Stockholm or Northfield … choices this year, yo!)
3. Canning, jamming and pie-ing from the garden.
4. A visit to the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum in Walnut Grove, MN, where you can see the place where they made their sod house on the banks of Plum Creek (ever since I read about it a few weeks ago, I’ve been certifiably obsessed).
5. Significant landscaping and garden improvements (underway).
6. Reading in the hammock and the rocking chair, and not just a few times. A lot.
7. My first trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota, for a friend’s wedding.
8. Mini-golf at the Walker Sculpture Garden.
9. At least two golf outings and two waterskiing days.
10. Biking around the Chain of Lakes — Harriet, Calhoun and Isles (I’ve only biked two at a time, not all three at once).
11. Check out a few more local Mpls breweries and new restaurants.
12. Lots and lots of DQ Blizzards (have I mentioned there’s a DQ three blocks from my house?)
13. The Minnesota State Fair! There are 46 new foods this year … yes, really.
14. Camping in Detroit Lakes, MN (for a friend’s wedding … yes, really.)
15. My first trip to the Wisconsin Dells (for another friend’s birthday).
16. A family reunion out at Lake Minnetonka, including waterskiing, speedboating, dock-sitting, fishing and a dinner cruise from Al & Alma’s.
17. My first-ever concert at the famed First Avenue concert club in Mpls.
My parents are coming for a nice long visit this month, so they’ll be helping me check a few items off this list 🙂 And I’m taking about half of July off from work, which will be love-ly.
What’s on your summer to-do list? And who’s coming to MN to help me with mine?
Story of a Thursday evening:
1. I bought a new lawnmower (!) and tonight while I was mowing the backyard, I found this: http://instagram.com/p/azZ_eMSjrv/
If you’re too lazy to click on the link (even though it’s worth it…), I’ll tell you: a den of baby rabbits, in the middle of the lawn. And yes I mowed right over the spot just moments earlier.
They’re adorable. Don’t even have their eyes open yet. I probably ensured their demise by getting my human smell all over the rabbit fur that was covering them up. We shall see. I don’t love having rabbits in my garden, but I do have a serious soft spot for rabbits (ask my mom what happened to the rabbit I had as a kid, and ask BFF Alissa why she calls me “little rabbit.”) So for now this is fun, but it could turn traumatic soon.
Oh, and here are the older siblings of these little guys, spotted a few weeks back:
2. Watching the Spurs-Miami game — Go Spurs Go! — on my TV. But not in the basement. Upstairs! Never got around to blogging about this change because it wasn’t really intentional. I just brought the TV up to the living room back in January so that me and some girlfriends could watch Downton Abbey on Sunday nights, and I never took it back down. I kind of like having it in the corner of the living room, at least for now. I might do something different with it down the road, like hanging it on the wall or putting in a different entertainment center. And I don’t have cable, so it’s not like I use it very often (I still watch 95% of my shows on my iPad or Mac via Hulu, Netflix of Xfinity Player).
3. And then, I got this awesome picture from fellow-blogger-BFF Kelli and her new bird, Tiko:
I spent New Year’s weekend hanging out in my childhood neighborhood, and I was feeling nostalgic so here are a few of my favorite away-from-the-house moments from the last twelve months.
You’ve met Danica before, here on the blog. Usually in the context of crafts and projects, at which she is a creative genius. She is a full-time photographer, which I admire (and envy, just a little bit). I love her style, her eye for visual storytelling, and her kind soul. We’re bartering skills from our day jobs to help each other out, so she came over last week to snap a few shots of me around the house (I needed a new headshot for something coming up this spring). But I especially adore this one from the kitchen:
More of her lovely work here, on her blog.
Thanks, Danica 🙂
I have perceiv’d that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly round his or her neck for a moment, what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea.
These days when someone asks me “how is the house,” the answer is usually “I haven’t seen it in a while.” Not to mention working on house or garden projects. Since mid-May, I’ve:
- been to 10 weddings
- changed jobs (yeah, I probably forgot to mention that)
- traveled (for work or for weddings) to Omaha, Northern California, Atlanta, New York City (twice), North Carolina and Washington D.C.
Truth: Fun for me but not so fun for keeping up with this place.
October is turning out to be just as hectic as the summer was, but I’m finding more efficient ways to keep up with the cleaning and lawn care on the days in between trips. It’s a challenge, but I do like having this place to come home to … so I think I’ll keep it 🙂
In honor of a truly amazing summer, and to give you a glimpse of my life outside the house, here are some of my favorite moments from the last four months: