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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Sunday: Hazy and 64 Degrees!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

A little administration first: for those of you who check the blog every day, I will make a concerted effort to update more often - shorter, more frequent entries vs. the long "catch-up" entries like today's will be. And, you should be able to enlarge the picture previews on the site with a simple click on the image. That way, you can actually see the moose in that one picture! ;)

While I gave up my volunteer position at the local whole foods co-op as Newsletter Editor some time ago, I am now writing the interviews which appear in each issue (every other month). I only have two under my belt so far (April-May and the upcoming June-July), but, if you're interested, you can check it out at www.boreal.org/~foodcoop. Go to the Current Newsletter link and you'll be able to read it in Adobe Acrobat. So, that was Thursday's activity combined with finally getting the houseplans out for the in-floor heating to be designed.

Tom just got home last night from the week away. He'd left on Monday for work in the Cities, then on to southwestern MN to visit his Dad. He ended up spending an extra day with Ernie and made the long drive home - all the way across the state from the southwest to the northeast - yesterday. It sure is nice to have him home!

So, on Friday, Maisy and I took ourselves up to Thunder Bay for a full day of appointments and errands. I'd completely forgotten that it was the big holiday weekend when I breezed through customs at 8:00 a.m. On my return trip, however, I was awfully glad I wasn't in the endless line of fishermen and vacationers on their way up to Canada!

We do a lot of our business in Thunder Bay as the drive is a mere hour, door to door, vs. the nearest large city in the States at 2 1/2 hours away! And, the exchange rate (as bad as it is right now at 23 cents on the dollar) always helps a little bit. Anyway, Maisy had an appointment at the groomer's and then a vet appointment. She'd run into a branch earlier this week when I was throwing a ball and did, indeed, have a little round scratch on the eyeball. But, it seems to be healing itself, and all we need to do is keep an eye (no pun intended) on it. Meanwhile, while she was busy, I did my running around.

One thing we particularly like about Thunder Bay is, despite its blue-collar feel, how European it is . . . at least in comparison to Minnesota! In the States, all nationalities are encouraged (demanded?) to Americanize themselves and become just like everyone else . . . losing much of their culture and language in the process. In Canada the reverse is true. Immigrants are welcomed and encouraged to remain true to themselves.

We always make the stop at the rural (but always busy) cheese shop run at the farm of Danish immigrants from Holland. They produce only Gouda cheeses but every variety you can imagine. And, their shelves are filled with groceries and chocolate (m-m-good!) direct from Holland. Then, we make our stop at the Polish meat deli in the Polish section of town where their accent is so strong that it's hard for some people to do business! But, their pate is out of this world (and that's coming from a non meat lover!), and they also have shelves filled with authentic fare. The Italian restaurants are beyond description, and the Italian population is so strong that there are two (Italian) sides of town each with their own community centers and very separate group of Italian Canadians . . . and nary the two shall meet! Heaven forbid! :)

So, it was a full day in the land of the Canucks, but we got everything done we needed to. The stop at U.S. Customs on the way home went like this: WHERE ARE YOU FROM? Hovland. WHY WERE IN YOU CANADA? Dog to the vet, groomers, grocery shopping. BYE.

Yesterday was an exhausting day. Ugh! It was one of the only truly gorgeous days we've had all spring, and so, after getting the garage plans off to our Plan B carpenter before mail went out at noon (we'll now wait for the bid), I decided it was time to attack the spring cleaning of the chicken house. Yuck. I started at noon and, with only a very short break to throw the ball for Maisy who had been patiently watching me from the shade of the woodshed all day, finished at 6:30. 6 1/2 hours of grime, dust, chicken shit, and ammonia fumes. That's the down side of having animals. But, the 2nd and 3rd stages of the day (cleaning and then bringing in the fresh wood shavings and alfalfa hay) where MUCH more enjoyable than the mucking out. And, it both feels and looks so good now that it's done! I do this major cleaning once in the spring and fall, and I was a bit behind this spring due to the poor weather we've been having.

I think today will bring lawn mowing (the first of the season) - if the rain holds off - and rhubarb cutting (also the first of the year). Then, if the weather holds tomorrow, I suspect we'll head up to the property.

Enjoy the holiday weekend!

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