Sculpture for my Dad

swanHappy April Fool’s Day!  You’ll never guess what this sculpture I built last week is for…

You see, last week was my dad’s birthday and so I spent some time sculpting something that he has been requesting for several months.  This January, my parents undertook a sorely needed renovation of the only bathroom in our farmhouse.  Since they started planning the renovation in spring/summer, my dad has been suggesting I build a sculpture to act as toilet paper dispenser and sit next to the toilet.  Though I wasn’t immediately excited about the prospect, I didn’t brush it off because my Dad doesn’t usually envision ways for my art to intersect with his life.   The upcoming firing of the wood-kiln at my alma-mater, U of MN Morris, compelled me to get something made to include in the firing.  I decided a long-necked swan anchored by a tucked-together body might dispense the toilet paper by sliding the roll over an elongated beak pointed as a slightly up-turned angle.  The piece is large: 30 inches tall when wet, so that the toilet paper is the appropriate height.  The piece appears to be some ultimate example of selling out, and I will admit, at first I cringed at this proposed debasement of a piece of my sculptural work.  Now I think it is rather an expression of my love for my parents, and a way to make them something they will use.  Crazy huh?

I hope it survives the firing.

Posted in Art and Craft | Leave a comment


treedownMy folks and I slept considerably more soundly last night after we dropped the top two-thirds of this rotten box-elder tree behind the house on Sunday.  We’ve been working on taking down three old box-elder trees in the backyard since last fall.  The portion we dropped yesterday posed the biggest threat of falling onto the house, but another tree we took down last fall was splitting right up through the middle as it leaned towards the ground.  We will take it down in two portions so as not to risk hitting any of the young trees my parents have planted in proximity to it.  It is sad to see these three trees disappear from the backyard and to lose their shade, but their time was clearly overdue and their presence had become quite dangerous.  Luckily, my parents are tree lovers and have been planting and nurturing burl
many young trees in the yard for the past several years, each casting more shade each year.  I am excited to see what some of them do with their new-found boon of sunshine.   Also,  on the up-side, there is a large burl  /\  on the tree we dropped yesterday that I think I would like to carve out into a large wooden bowl!


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Heavy snow



he first seeds sprang up even as the tree boughs sagged under heavy March snow.  Check out the voluptuous seed-pod growing on the amaryllis stalk in the lower right corner.  Something must have fertilized it.

Posted in Food and Gardening | Leave a comment

First seeds planted




ell, Minnesotans, I may you an apology… According to Murphy’s Law, it was probably my family who brought the big snow storm today by planting the first seeds for the garden this last weekend.   The plants that require the longest growing season went in:  lots of peppers (Marconi, Flavorburst, Sweet Gourmet and Jalapeno), eggplant, and brussel sprouts.

Posted in Food and Gardening | Leave a comment

Happy Pi Day

piHappy 3.14 !  Today I made a pie to celebrate: My mom’s pie crust recipe for a 9″ pie plate:

2 c. flour, 1 tsp. salt, 2/3 c. lard. 4 Tb cold water.

And for the filling I did:

1 red pear

2 cups frozen sliced apples (thawed)

2 cups frozen blueberries

3/4 c. white sugar

1/2 c. flour

1 teas cinnamon

1/2 teas cardamon

1 to 2 Tb Butter



Posted in Food and Gardening | Leave a comment

Friday’s Bouja Prep!






ast week was crazy leading up to our annual fundraiser Bouja for the Barn. We had so much good help with Bouja preparations Friday evening.

<My little friend Marcel helps his mom and my grandpa Dee peel carrots as his little sister takes everything in. (top right)

New bouja friends, Jenna and MJ, > IMGP1697help my cousin Chad chop carrots.




<The whole place stung with onions in the air.



Dom, at home in the Legion’s kitchen.

IMGP1711 Processing the meats>

My sister Missy in the back of the picture is due tomorrow! and still came out to help on Friday.



Me, constantly checking my All-Knowing-Red-Folder.

Dom and my brother-in-law, Dan, kneading the bread dough.  (Both potters, they make excellent kneaders.) \/IMGP1719

If you missed out on the fruit of these labors this weekend, be sure to stop by this next weekend at the American Legion in St Joe to taste our delicious Bouja and see the beautiful bowls we made this year from the farm.  We serve our homemade soup and bread all day (11:30 am to 6:30 pm) Saturday and Sunday.   It’s BOUJA TIME!!!

Pictures of the weekend’s festivities coming tomorrow….

Posted in Bouja for the Barn | Leave a comment

Paula’s Tree



hought I’d snap a picture of the beautiful tree beside the barn in it’s fall plumage.  My sister Paula, in fact, planted this tree into a styrofoam cup in kindergarden from a seed of the huge honey-locust tree standing outside our elementary school.  My dad then nurtured and trimmed it into this stately looking specimen that is now taller than the barn.  When I started working on the barn a few years ago, Paula, panic-stricken, asked if I was going to cut down her tree.  I said of course not.  The beauty of this tree lifts my spirits most every day.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment