Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Camp Uffda! Living history.

I'm only 1/4 Scandinavian. (Norwegian/Finnish) 

I'm 3/4 Irish,Scottish, English. (a paternal Grandma Scottish, paternal Grandpa Irish, a maternal Grandpa English.................but you just know somewhere in there was inter-marriage where one must have been combined to a point that one of those 3 is more than the other! LOL! Example- my sister says my Scottish Grandma did already have some Irish blood! Which she would have denied!- LOL!)

My maternal English Grandfather was from a prominent family in a northern city, where streets and parks are named after them. He married my maternal Scandinavian Grandmother. The daughter of a Finnish house maid (who died when she was 3) and a cranky old Norwegian who worked incredibly hard to make a living. Eventually he was able to buy a huge amount of acreage in a coveted location. But that was after his wife died, after he left his 5 children as orphans who were then farmed out as live in farm hands as they grew. A family wanted to adopt my Grandmother but he said no. The farm she worked at abused her.

And so my maternal Grandma hated Norwegians. Hated her father. My English Grandfather/her first husband was a drunk. Due to his abuse they had to divorce. And my Grandma with 2 daughters (ages 7 & 9) married a 2nd generation Norwegian from another northern city. They found each other in Mpls a city far from northern MN. He was graduating from the University of MN.  He was from a known family of good character, but none the less Norwegian. Speaking English as his second language. My mom (the younger daughter) hated him. I think Grandma married what she knew, he too was "cold" but her father was also.

But my Grandpa (I hate to call him "step" he was all I knew, my only living grandfather) and I loved each other, as much as a man who was never hugged by his mother could love a little girl/me. 
And that is the story behind my 19.25 acres we call Camp Uffda. Eight miles outside a town of 500. In Northern MN. My mother identifies nothing with her fathers English heritage. But everything with her mom and step-father's Scandinavian ways. Holidays there were always Lutefisk and Lefse. No alcohol. On Dad's side potatoes, garlic, lamb and cakes soaked in Brandy. Of course Scotch to wash it down- LOL!   

                                                                 Strong as a Bull! 
My Norwegian Grandfather took great pride in telling me that I was strong as a bull! My girls are strong too!
Our street sign.
(the intersecting sign says "the Ranch")

 Hmm. the new trailer should not be leaning. We had had that area "built up". But now it looks quite low.

 The gate from our "path" along the lake lots. Next year I'll clear this area some to walk back into a beautiful spot. It was once used for farm animals 30 years ago. Now it has completely grown over. It has a beautiful canopy of tree branches, with flowers and grasses. Reminds me of Thoreau's pond. It's almost wet enough. About 25 more feet away the wetlands start.

 The old trailer, 11 years old now. From life on the lake it has aged rapidly. The high humidity from the lake damages RVs faster. We are renovating it for MA & SP. They love it!! They are so excited and happy to have their very own little place! No more "bunkhouse".

 Where to place the outhouse took a lot of thought! LOL! Tom had put it where he thought best, which was the little brown patch of dead grass to the right of the bench. This is much better. 

We are "fencing" in the cement pad (left of the garage) as a play area for the boys. We bought rubber garage indoor/outdoor rubber mat flooring to put on it. Some of the boys cannot navigate uneven ground surfaces easily. So this area will not tire their little legs so much and they can still go in the yard too. 

 It is funny to see the new RV so close to the garage where we have our dryer, refrigerator and stove. At the lake it was a 300' walk from the RV to the garage that held those things. Now I tease the kids "Run to the garage and get me..." And they laugh because the garage here is 10' from the RV door!

The old outhouse. It was here when we bought in 1999. There was no hole?? Bats, birds, wildlife live in it. Underneath gophers are happy. Especially since Tom threw brush to the right of it as he last mowed!! ugh!

 This path leads 400' back to the neighbors 20 acres. He helps us mow and we let him pass through to get to his back 20. On his side/property it's too wet for him to get to the back that abuts our property.
The kids wear whistles when they walk back here.

 This swallow was very very tenacious in building this nest! Many tried, many nests fell, this was the only nest since 2003 (after the garage was built) that we have seen, that was successful!

                 Hard to tell but this is a huge paper wasp nest!

                                           The front of the old outhouse.

 The front yard. Fifty years ago they planted many different pines here. They took excellent care of them. Each one survived. A few were hard hit by the drought in the last 5 years. But they held strong. Even after we lost huge oaks at the lake from storms, these survived! We love them.

 Through the trees to the left is the County road. When we bought it was dirt. It often washed out. When motorists sped by it blew a cloud of dirt our way. Now it is tar. The kids are drawn to it, but it is dangerous, especially when logging trucks fly by at a ridiculously high speed.

 I would not recommend a Sp*ringd*ale RV for high humidity and cold freezing extremes. This trailer, as much as I love the layout, has not fared well. On the lake it seems 10 years is the life span of an RV set there.
Our new RV has a ton of upgrades that they claim increase the life of it??!!! We'll see. But it won't be on a lake. 

                                                                 More front yard.

                                      To the left, walking up the drive way.

Isaiah took the photos. We never tire of the view here. We never tire of walking around here. Compared to the lake where one neighbor is 200' away and the other is 20' away, the solitude here is pure JOY!
We can only say/pray Thank You God! Because we have done nothing to deserve such goodness.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Field trip for my helpers~

Just about everyone across the USA knows this is Paul Bunyon. Several states lay claim to him. Growing up I thought he belonged only to us! in MN! 
Well, do have the largest Paul Bunyon of anywhere in the USA standing in Bemidji, MN. This is one of many "Pauls" in Brainerd, the place we say he was born!

 Kitty and Isaiah took all of the pictures. We were at the Brainerd Rest Stop. They keep improving this Rest Stop! Paul is the newest addition.

We need a Babe statue next!

Inside the visitor's center/store they updated and decorated so woodsy! Makes you want to buy things! LOL! (no we didn't)

Brainerd is the un-official gateway to cabin country. But with over 12,000 lakes; over most of the state, there really is no gateway :o)

This display case has been updated since our last visit.

We searched for a tree this thick at Camp Uffda so we could make a bench this size! :o) Darn- our trees are not that big. Of course our land/acreage was previously logged many years ago for $$. Our trees are relatively young.

                                            "The beast".
It has been our main transportation since 2005. The years pass so quickly. We didn't fill it then. Now we JOYFULLY fill all 15 seats! It is rusting terribly now. Mileage closing in on 200,000.

Animal tracks in the cement sidewalk.

New historic information about Brainerd and MN.

                           The rest stop building in the back.

We always tease MA every time we see Paul! We tell her "Wave hi to your boyfriend!" or say ~"There's MA's boyfriend!" LOL! She used to respond with "He's not my boyfriend" 
But now she just cracks up laughing! We can't drive by any Paul Bunyon without saying "There's MA's boyfriend!!"

The kids didn't realize that these were just the pavers of the financial contributors. ;o)

                                           More history.

                           Isaiah's favorite, the painted turtle.

Next trip will be more of us. :o) This trip Grace babysat and needed big helpers.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

We've been busy!

This is a crinkle sack. It is faux sheep lined inside and between that and the outer fabric is plastic crinkly. Violet loves this sack! She sleeps in it, attacks it, and fights it!!!
And she loves the camera bag too! :o)

                             And Kitty loves Violet! :o)

 If you can't walk without stepping on your dress, just lay down and wait to be carried! :o)

 A new puzzle to keep everyone's mind off of missing Jacob while he was away for brain surgery.

 Don't mind the carpet "spots". Pauly had dinner dribble everywhere. He can't breathe out of his nose. A little carpet spray and the spots clean right up. (until tomorrow when Pauly dribbles again) The kids took pictures before I got to them. :o(
Violet and her new pink tulle dress!

This is an angel wing harness for cats. But Kitty put her collar (I bought for Violet when she's full grown) over it!!?? The kids are teaching Violet to walk on a leash. She is very good at it.
 Sweet Kitty working on her math. She brightens my every day!

 Here she says she was working "very hard" on her math! ;o)

 Isaiah with sweaty hair standing up! Love my sweet boy!

 Miss Elizabeth, our resident math scholar. She is a gift from God!

Faith Blessing, my right hand (wo)man! She helps from sun up to sun down. She gives the biggest hugs of anyone!

All four just love-love-love Violet. Every evening after school and brothers are in bed, Violet looks forward to entertaining the sillies out of them. 

Yesterday when Kitty was in trouble her punishment was to comb Snow. He is shedding like crazy.......... as usual. She was angry, she told the other 3 that she had to do farm chores with the farm animals- LOL!

Faith loves the dogs and never complains.

But I guess Violet is not a pet- she is a baby??!! LOL! So they don't consider her care (litter box emptying, feeding wet and dry food, washing her dishes) a chore at all!

I sleep with a smile on my face and thankful prayers to God on my lips.