Ottertail Country

Ottertail Country
Ottertail South

September 27, 2007

Second installment, chimbly

O.K., so I couldn't wait for tomorrow, I finished this tonight! (see 1st installment in previous post. Double click those pix!) As soon as Ivan got here, we mixed mortar, got the old flashing off the roof and started in on the rebuild.

Ivan said, "Hey, take a picture of my butt...." Oddly enough, I listened. Ivan has a good handle on how to do this chimney stuff, as he used to do mason work for a living. I pretty much just did what he told me.

Like carry the mortar up, carry the chimney block up, carry the precast cap up, carry the flue up, go for nails, go for tar, etc., etc...... It was a steep climb up those ladders with a load on the shoulder.

Actually, Ivan would have carried it all up there himself if I hadn't insisted that I do it. Everyone should have as good a friend as him. I feel lucky.... Here the chimney is done, tarring the flashing.

I just climbed around on the ridge and took pictures and told Ivan how he should be doing things.... maybe that's why he is laughing?

Hey, it's done!! Down we go for the last time to sit on the deck and have a couple or four bevvies.

I spent the rest of the day checking deer stands in the woods and cleaning up the rest of the tools and scrap. It's all done......

_____________Hey, fly that aeroplane, would ya???_____________

First installment, chimbly.

You really need to enlarge these photos to appreciate them.....

We did the chimney!! Here are the ground assistants, without which we could not have gotten the job done.

The first flight of rungs was at the Northeast corner of the house, just beside the deck. When you reach the top, you can see the second set of rungs. These lay on the main section of the roof.

Once you get up that flight, you see the third flight of rungs. You'll notice the ropes tied to the ladders. On the second flight, the rope goes straight up the roof, over the ridge and straight back down, to get tied to the trailer hitch on the van.

The rope that is attached to the third flight of rungs goes over the ridge diagonally and down to the southeast corner of the roof, and tied to the Toyota....

Oh, yeah, there's the van down in the fron yard......

Here is a view of the way down from the roof. It was used many times on Wednesday by Ivan and I. We played hooky from work, put up a new chimney from just inside the roof and up.

I got going on the project before Ivan got there and this is what it looked like at that point. I'll finish this tomorrow.... have happy day.....

_____________Hey, fly that aeroplane, would ya???_____________

September 25, 2007

Post-birthday euphoria......

O.K., one day past my birthday and I got another present!! More about that later....
meanwhile, remember this sign? I've been driving past this sign for YEARS, and every fall they remind the public that the bear hunters can bring their animals there for processing. Innocent enough, but I've always wanted to rearrange the letters of the last word..... BEAR could change easily to something else..... (don't forget to double click photos)

So today I gave myself a birthday present.... I stopped in at Roscoe's and did a little work on his sign. Roscoe, if you find out who did this dastardly deed, please show some mercy on this long time aqaintance......

And, yes, I did both sides. What can I say, I'm an idiot!

To make the ride home a complete success, this guy came up the on ramp at 13 and 8 with this sticker on his back window..... YES!!!!

_____________Hey, fly that aeroplane, would ya???_____________

September 24, 2007

Happy birthday to you, happy bir............

Today is my birthday!! I'm glad it's near the end of September, as the weather is usually the best of the entire year. It's been a little hot and humid these last weeks, but it sounds like things will improve tomorrow. September is always an excellent time of year at The Lodge. Makes it hard to focus on the two-due list....

These leaves are on the big maple in the back yard. They are at eye level a couple of feet away from the deck. My favorite view.

The trees in the southwest corner of the yard are starting to kick in. This is the top of a younger hard maple. It always turns into a red-orange riot.

There's that back yard maple. Some of the top branches are bare, some bottom ones still green. Nice combination.

We had put sealer on the garage concrete in late August, and Saturday seemed like an excellent day to give it a second coat with the remaining sealer.

With that task done, I got going on finishing the refurbishing of an old snowmobile trailer that Peg has. I got the lights working and the safety chains put on. Ready to go.... On Sunday we went to Wausau Menards and got all the supplies for the siding on the garage. We also stopped at Rosie's apartment and picked up the remaining items of Bryn's to take back to Ogema. Bed frame, box spring, and a few small items. We also drove her car back to our place. She is getting by O.K. so far with bike and bus in Milwaukee.

Now it was time to make the dreaded climb to the top of the roof to see what the extent of the chimney repairs would be.....

Here is what I found. Looks like it will have to be rebuilt from the roof up, not just the top half..... hmmmm.... This blasted roof is STEEP! I had to come up with some way to deal with it. I got out the wooden extensions ladders, got a coil of big rope and started to put some walking assistants on the roof.

Here's the top foot and a half of chimney. The bricks were falling apart and falling off the chimney. News to you, eh Lucy??? Anyway, one section of ladder starts at the edge of the roof and is laying on the roof. It reaches part way up the roof, a rope is tied to it and the rope goes over the roof and is tied to the Festiva. Another ladder is laying on the next section of roof and reaches to the chimney base. It is held on the roof by a rope tied to it, which then goes over the top of the roof and is tied to the tractor.... I'll take some pix of this set-up next time I'm out with the camera.

Now if you were a chimney, or lightning rod... this is what you would see if you were gazing toward the west, mostly woods that way.

If you looked to the north, you would see the fields and Johnson's tree farm.

East is mostly woods after the field. The backyard maple is a little taller than the house.

The view to the south is of the... well the trees to the south. These views are a little different than I'm used to seeing. It is actually quite nice up there, once you get up those drastic slopes......

See youse guys later, I'm gonna birthday a little now.....

_____________Hey, fly that aeroplane, would ya???_____________

September 21, 2007

Late September at the Ottertail

These pictures are from a couple of weeks ago. Chuck was down here hauling in the pulp and sawbolts, I was down in the woods cutting more poplar trees.

I found quite a few nice trees that will yield some saw bolts and quite a bit of pulp wood. Take note of the trees in the background....

This photo is from a couple of days ago of the same trees, and as you can see, the coloration of the leave is progressing quite nicely.

Lots of color along the south side of the house. The yellow daisies are quite prolific, and the lanterns contrast nicely.

Wallpaper quality daisies........

These things are cool.

Remember the story of the ready-made lawn on the west side of the garage? It took hold well and flourished. I even went over it once with the lawn mower in late August.

The old maple by the deck is starting in with it's great colors. It's looking a little worse in the top every year. Wonder how long it will last?

_____________Hey, fly that aeroplane, would ya???_____________

September 20, 2007

The Brazilian connection.......

And now for the final installment of our Brazilian report, provided by our Brazilian correspondant, Rosalita..... Check out some of her photos here.


Dear Family and Friends!!!!
Sorry it's taken me this long, since getting back from Brazil I've had to work like crazy and have been incredibly busy with school! I think I'll write excerpts from my journal and then include a link to an online photo site for the pictures.

......Monday, July 9th 2007
My first glimpse of Brazil was a red dawn followed by endless rugged country that didn't look like it was inhabited, some white areas (salt maybe?) and one or two shimmering rivers snaking through the hills/mountains. Now it's given way to what look like circles of different colors and fields with some small towns scattered about. The plane's almost to Sao Paulo and I have to fill out immigration forms.......
I got to Sao Paulo at 8:30am and stood in line for 45 minutes for my connecting flight only to find out that I needed to go to another airport! That would have been nice to know beforehand......After waiting in line for the bus for about 20 minutes I realized this meant I probably needed to have gotten my checked bags!! So I went in search of my bags grateful that my other flight didn't leave until 12:19pm. Note to self: LEARN THE LANGUAGE BETTER NEXT TIME!!!! Finally made it on the bus with all my bags (they were in lost and found) only to be informed that the bus ride was going was going to be an hour long! I spent the ride calming myself down since I would still have about 20 minutes. After running around like a madwomen, I made it to the gate on time and was told that the flight time had been changed and the plane left an hour earlier. The told me to exchange the ticket at some other counter for a later flight. No one after that spoke a single word of English and the only way I could get on another flight was to pay $150. I was in tears by then, I have never felt so alone and helpless!!! I put it on my credit card and went in search of a bank to exchange money because I had to call the person picking me up in Londrina and tell her my new flight time. The exchange bank was closed ('cuz it's Monday?!?!) and no one of place would take US dollars, credit cards or traveler's checks. I seriously thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown!! I finally found someone who realized what my problem was and that I needed a phone card and she sold me Brazilian money and helped me buy a phone card. I ended up getting ahold of Marisa who was waiting in Londrina for me..... my next flight took me to some city, Curitiba, and I'm waiting for my last plane and hoping/praying that my bags are going to be on it and Marisa there when I arrive! I have now been traveling for over 24 hours and I have to say that even my desire for adventure has been quite dampened!! On the last fight we had drinks offered to us and I enjoyed a nice glass of water since that's the only thing I know how to order in Portuguese! I really hope this isn't a sign for the rest of my trip!!! :-( Back to the beginning of my entry, what's that saying?....."Red sky at night, sailor's delight....Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning".....hmmmmm It's the strangest feeling to be clutching a piece of paper (my boarding pass) and that's my only link to getting where I need to be!
1:00am I'm finally going to bed. It's only 2 hours ahead of WI here. I love my host family!! It was so nice to finally get here and the daughter, Luciana, is 24 and very friendly. The mom, can't get her name quite yet, talked my ear off at a shout in Portuguese!! :-) Both of the parents don't speak English so this should be interesting!!!! Lu, (short for Luciana) speaks some and her boyfriend speaks it well so hopefully it will be ok. They loved the gifts I brought and seem happy to have me. They have a very nice place on the 22nd floor of a condo type building. They don't have any screens 'cuz they apparently don't have bugs nice! I just opened my suitcase and found that my bottle of shampoo broke in half (does the airline use the luggage to go bowling or something?!?!) and my whole suitcase is drenched in shampoo. *sigh* I find out tomorrow whether I"ll be at the Orphanage the whole time or maybe at a hospital for part of the time.....Boa Noite~

I ended up spending time at both places and it was perfect because my host dad is a surgeon at the hospital I"ll be at!

.......Thursday, 12th of July 2007
Today at the cancer hospital I made a friend, Jean, who is 3 years old and so cute!! He has bone cancer and I don't know how to ask how he's doing. Everyone at the hospital speaks only Portuguese so I've been using my dictionary as best I can! The one little girl that's going to have her leg amputated is running around like crazy today and I can't keep from being super sad inside thinking about her upcoming surgery. My new little friend jabbered at me in Portuguese non-stop for over an hour about planes, trucks, telling me what stickers to use and countless other things I obviously didn't understand! He's so much fun! He put a sticker on my hand and pretended to poke it with a needle like his IV. I got a tour of the hospital, it's unbelievable. Everything pretty much has open doors and is very simple. The ICU is 7 beds (flat, hard ones with plastic covers) and looks NOTHING like ours! The nurses are wonderful, they just don't have much to work with!

.......Monday, 16th of July 2007
Today was very emotional at the hospital. Loisy (17) has been there for 6 months and now has had her left leg amputated above the knee. :-( She got to be in her sister's wedding before she lost her leg and she showed me pictures where her hair was still long and in her dress and she looked gorgeous!! Part of me was so sad for her and yet part of me admires her so much and she's inspiring! She made the main point be the fact that now that her leg's gone, the cancer is gone and she's very happy about that! She also showed me pictures of her friend at the hospital, probably her age, and told me that he had died a couple months ago. There is a another little girl that had surgery on Friday and she was crying all morning and it broke my heart. I think I'll be watching Toni (host father) do a Total Laryngectomy on Friday.......Yikes!
Ok, so Toni and I were supposed to meet outside the hospital at 2pm to drive back home and I came out 10 minutes early and the truck is gone! Apparently whatever he said in Portuguese along with the time to meet must have been important! Well, guess I'll wait and see what happens....not really any other options! :-)

p.s. Toni came and picked me up, :-)

.......Monday, 23rd of July 2007
Oh my god!!! I don't know if I never want to leave the Orphanage or if I can't handle it! How could so many beautiful children have no homes??? Or, how can it be that some people have so much and others so little that they can't take care of their children?? There's a baby there that's 4 months old and one of the teachers put her in my arms all wrapped up in a bundle of blanket and my heart melted. I honestly want to adopt her! She has blue eyes and the perfect mouth and she stared at me the whole time I fed her and rocked her. She fit perfectly in my arms and kept puckering her lips in the cutest way!!! I think I fell in love. I spent today with the 2 year olds, 9 of them, and I can hardly stand that they're there and yet they make me smile at the same time. Within 2 minutes of me being in the room I had 3 of them clinging to my hands and smiling up at me with most innocent eyes and eager smiles. One little girl was crying at one point and I picked her up and she clung to me like her life depended on it! I was told I had to put her down (I guess I can kinda understand that they just don't have enough people to be holding them whenever they cry) and it almost killed me! I could hug and hold them all day!!!

........Wednesday, 25th of July 2007
I'm sitting next to a sound asleep 2 year old. We got all but 1 of 10 of them to sleep and now I have a minute or two to write. There are 3 kids here that I especially want to take home with me! The baby, and then Kawe and Maria Fernanda, both 2 years old. Kawe is like a little devil with an angel's heart. :-) He always has a mischievous twinkle in his eyes and is the smallest one and makes up for it with a gigantic personality. At lunch he eats very nicely while you're watching and then when I look away for a second he puts his little hand in the food and slaps his face very purposefully and then looks at me with such a grin I have the worst time scolding him!! :-) He also loves to lay on my belly and play peek-a-boo. I love him! And Maria Fernanda is totally different. I'm drawn to her because she seems so fragile and in need of love. She clings to me the whole time I"m here and calls me Mai (mother) which breaks my heart. Getting her to smile is a good feeling! She is African-Brazilian and has two little pig-tails and earrings and right now is curled up next to my legs sucking one hand and holding my fingers with the other. (She's sleeping.) Kawe is on the other side of me and looks like the most angelic boy ever when he's sleeping! He has perfect eyelashes and a little button nose. Yesterday I was with the 1 year olds and will be again tomorrow. I wish I could be in with both groups at once! With the 1 year olds you can hold them which is really nice and with the 2 year olds you can do more with them. It is seriously cold in here! It's only in the 40s outside and there's no heat in buildings here and all the floors are tile. Brrrrrrr.......

....Saturday, 28th of July 2007
We're (host mother and father and their 8 yr old grandson and I) are at the Falls de Iguassa which is the most amazing thing I've ever seen!! They are a collection of around 200 waterfalls on the borders of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. It's both fun and exhausting to have Toni show me around! He'll say everything in Portuguese first, then put a few random English words together very loudly and forcefully! Then if I happen to understand he gets excited and repeats it several times! And after he got a little wine in him at dinner tonight it seemed to inspire him to teach me the entire history of everything we saw all day in Portuguese!!! I think he just keeps hoping I"ll suddenly understand! :-)

..Tuesday, 31st of July 2007
So I've learned the secret to selling books if you're a bad writer! Just sell them at an airport to people like me who have 5 books in English to choose from and NOTHING else to do for 15 hours!!!!! I just finished 400 pages of the worst book ever!! I had to take a bus from Londrina to Sao Paulo rather than fly because of the massive plane problems due to the horrible crash that happened down here. As a result, I'm stuck in the airport for 15 hours before my flight for the U.S. leaves!! I spent most of the 9 hour bus ride in tears from having to say goodbye to all of the children and my wonderful host family.... :-(

Over all, this trip was the most amazing thing I've ever done and I can't wait to be able to do something like this again!!!!! I hope I haven't bored you with all of this, but I wanted all of you to know some of what it was like down there and how much your help in making it possible means to me!!!!!!!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Sincerely, Rosie

_____________Hey, fly that aeroplane, would ya???_____________

September 9, 2007

We went on ANOTHER trip to the big city....

Don't forget to double click those photos...... and it has been brought to my attention that some people are actually viewing this blog, I just don't know it because they don't comment!!! I mean in adddition to the regular commenters. It's easy to do folks, just tickle those keys for a few minutes and say "howdy".....

This weekly trip to Milwaukee gig has to come to an end! This time we started by going to Wausau and packing the van FULL of Bryn's stuff. I didn't know just how much stuff you could fit in one of these things...

And here is Bryn, leaving her apartment for the last time, leaving Rosie to fend for herself. Sounds like Rosie has another girlfriend lined up to share the apartment, so that worked out all right.

And voilá! Here we are at the new digs in Milwaukee. Pay no attention to the fire trucks in the background, it's just a minor disruption in the community..... this was occuring two doors down the street.

We saw all sorts of guys in fire suits, a couple of trucks, sirens going off, but we did not see any fire or smoke or anything else. The trucks left after a few minutes???? Hmmm...

Anyway, here is the house where Bryn and Ruth are living. I was told it was a first floor apartment, but with all the steps up and the porch, well, you get the idea. It's a nice old house that has been recently fixed up.

Another view of the porch area. You can see the shadows on the sidewalk from a maple tree along the street. There are alot of trees in the neighborhood, which makes the city living a little easier (I'm guessing...)

Here's the view from the front porch. Bryn and Ruth rely on the city bus for transportation, and there is a stop a block up the street. They get bus passes from the university. Sounds like they have bicycled to the lakefront area (maybe a mile or so east of their apartment).

Here is the living room,looking into the kitchen. The floors are hardwood and everything looks nice and fresh inside from the remodeling.

A nice big kitchen area, plenty of cabinets, washer and dryer in the basement that they can use without charge.

Everything has been hauled in and sort of placed. Bryn and Peggy finish putting the casters back on the chest of drawers and that about finishes the work part. After a while, Ruth went to work and the rest of us headed over to Lucy's apartment. We visited there a while, then took Lucy over to see Bryn's place.

We thought about going out for supper and I recalled seeing this place. A family-run establishment in a turn-of-the-century building, this eclectic restaurant is a minor landmark in a historic neighborhood. The building was once one of the Schlitz Brewing Company's taverns,

and the Schlitz globe and emblem still crown the spire over the entrance. Surrounded by mature trees and older homes, the imposing brick exterior is in stark contrast to the simple Formica tables inside. Well that's what the website said, and it was a pretty cool place.

Looks like these two were having a good time! Kate joined us a little late, as she had been shopping with Jenny and Piera. The food was really great and the menu had lots of different things, mostly Serbian and German style dishes.

They had two imported beers from Europe. One was calle Golden Pheasant, which was O.K., but a little two sweet for my tastes. The other was Kruśovice and it was really good. I bought a bottle to take home with us.......

_____________Hey, fly that aeroplane, would ya???_____________