Farewell My Fair Lady

Best Buddies

A tribute to a faithful little girl; you will be missed greatly.

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Dan and I do not have children or at least the 2-legged kind. Our children are furry, have 4 legs, and may bark on occasion; their names are Tindra and Audrey. The two are inseparable, like peas in a pod. Many times they help each other get into things they should not get into; co-conspirators they are, but mostly you can find them laying together in a yin and yang position.

We lost Audrey unexpectedly this weekend. What a terrible loss and sad time for all that knew this little girl. I would like to give tribute to “My Fair Lady” (Audrey), but first I would like to tell her story.

The story of Audrey-

Audrey came into the clinic that I used to work for at a time when my family needed her most, fate definitely played a part in this chance meeting. It was a time when Tindra had recently lost her mom and dad, she had become depressed and needed something to fill that void. Audrey was the key to mending Tindra’s broken heart.

Audrey was taken away from the family that had her since she was a puppy due to neglect. I remember walking into the exam room where representatives from the local Human Society and the city police had brought her for her initial exam; seeing this emaciated gentle soul for the first time broke my heart. Audrey stayed with the clinic for a short period of time so that we may start giving her nutrients to increase her weight. The first time I looked into her eyes I knew she would become part of my family. After a few months of fostering, I was able to adopt her through the Humane Society and legally welcome her into our home. Tindra and Audrey became inseparable shortly after meeting each other and Audrey was welcomed with open arms into our family.

A cuddly and happy little munchkin, “Have blanket, will come” was her motto. Like a typical Dachshund, they are stubborn and extreme opportunists but they are also full of life and love. This breed certainly does keep you on your toes! Her little quirks will be missed by all.  Her famous head-butt, her insatiable need for a belly rubs, her need to protect the yard from varmints (namely her archenemy “Chippy”), her need to follow her human mommy, the way she was able to get to food that was out of her reach, all those kayak rides (which she absolutely loved) and the way she lead and took care of Tindra. With Tindra starting to suffer from seizures recently, Audrey has become increasingly important to Tindra’s daily life.

Thank you Audrey, for you have added much to our lives. You have filled everyday with laughter, happiness, and unconditional love.   We were truly blessed to have you come into our lives as you have taught us much. This gentle soul is gone from this earth but not from our hearts. I know we will see her again one day. Until then, we will miss the pitter patter of your little feet and those sweet golden brown eyes.  Farewell little girl.

 

The Ugly Duckling

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Watching an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, “The Ugly Duckling” as a child, I would scold the animated animals for making fun of how different this little one looked. In today’s words, the duckling was a victim of bullying. This little one suffered verbal abuse from all the other animals because it appeared differently.

The story takes a turn when the “ugly duckling” matures into a beautiful swan. A story of personal transformation some say. Even as a child, I noticed that treating anyone differently just because they may not resemble others, was wrong. I am glad that the story told gave way to a happy ending, showing an example that with perseverance, anyone can evolve into a creature of beauty.

If ever in Minnesota in February or March:

There is a public area to observe the swans  – Monticello Swan Park.  Please consider making a donation to carry on what Sheila Lawrence stared.

Enjoy

Winter Wonderland

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According to Wikipedia,

The song, Winter Wonderland, was originally written in 1934 by Felix Bernard (music) and Richard B. Smith (lyrics). Throughout the years, it has been recorded by over 150 different artist!

When it snows, ain’t it thrillin’?
Tho’ your nose, gets a chillin’
We’ll frolic and play, the Eskimo way,
Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland.

Please enjoy some of the frolicking we have done in our little Winter Wonderland.

A Family Affair

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This particular day, we were itching to get out of the house and so were the girls. We forget sometimes that the furry little ones go stir crazy in the winter as well when they can’t go outside to chase “Chippy” or “Bun-Bun”. They will often sit on the bed and look out the window searching the woods for four-legged vermin.   As we were packing the car with the camera gear, the girls were bouncing off the walls. Take me, Take me, TAKE ME!

With their cute little faces, they win every time. We decided to travel around close to home and drove into the Hay Creek area; a small town just south of Red Wing on Hwy 58.   A campground, an old western saloon, the Goodhue Pioneer State Trail, Hay Creek Stables, 15 miles of equestrian trails, and a blue ribbon trout stream. The beautiful valley’s that make up the Hay Creek day-use area is beautiful in every season.

After photographing some enthralling horses in the Hay Creek area, we then moved on to Bay City Wisconsin; a small town east of Red Wing on the shores of Lake Pepin. If ever in the area, I highly recommend stopping in for a bite to eat at “The Chef Shack” a delightful restaurant with the best service ever and mouth-watering food! We decided to drive out onto Lake Pepin (that felt weird) to gain a different perspective of the landscape. Maneuvering around the ice heaves and listening to the ice crack was unnerving and we didn’t travel too far onto the frozen lake… Call me chicken :-)

All in all, the Traun Family enjoyed our time together.  Please enjoy the images from this little, close-to-home adventure.

 

A Sticky Situation, but no Earth Day Reoccurrence.

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This trip brought us through the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest which is located in Southeastern Minnesota.  The Zumbro River twists and turns as it flows through the lower Zumbro River Valley and right through this beautiful state forest..

When it comes to backroading, we have come across some “sticky” situations- The first that comes to mind is a trip we took that celebrated Earth Day literally, or take a peak at Dan’s post on our “Sticky” situation that one Earth Day as we made a Mud Pie. That, truly was a “sticky” situation that really got us stuck!

This day we were not stuck per say, it was the hope that the car keeps moving in the direction we wanted it to.  Driving through the beautiful area of Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest  and the Zumbro River bottoms after a winter ice storm may not have been the best idea ever, but we were enjoying the day.  We stopped at the information area to view a map so that we may actually travel on a paved road.  The shortest route was the path we chose, the road was flat and our Chevy Equinox was plowing through the fresh ice and snow perfectly.  Well, the road (or one lane path) started heading up the side of a bluff.  With no way to turn around, we had to move forward and finish our trek.  One quick look out my passenger window and I noticed the step drop off, which caused a slight whimper noise to escape out of my mouth.  We both knew that if we stopped, we were in some deep doo-doo.  We look at each other and saw the worry in each other’s eyes.  “I think we might be using up a ninth life right now”, said Dan.  We held our breath and eventually made it to the top… WE MADE IT!   With steamy windows we moved on down a safer path, giving thanks to both of our guardian angels.

Please enjoy the images from this particular trip in and around the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest in Winter.

Winter Bliss

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With our chilly winters and unreliable weather here in Southeastern MN and Southwestern WI, I still am proud to call this place my home.  I have been known to call my mother as the burning, frigid air passes through my nostrils while I am cleaning off my car after a fresh snow and ask, “Why would you raise a family in this state with this kind of weather?”   Truth be told, I love the four seasons.  I love the angle of the light in Winter, the green tip of the Tulip as at it pushes through the winter residue in Spring, the green, green, greenness of this land in Summer, and the beautiful array of color that Autumn can bring.  All seasons inspire me and continue to keep me here.

Sometimes the cold can force the body indoors and push you towards hibernation, just ask any Grizzly bear in the Northern Hemisphere.  However, Dan and I will still venture out and capture what we see in this amazing state.  Winter can add a spotlight to an item that is otherwise obscured in the thickness of the forest.  Please enjoy the images from this unseasonably warm Winter day as we traveled through rolling hills and farmland into the area of Augusta, WI.

When the School Bell Rang

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The first time seeing this one room schoolhouse along side a country road near the small town of Elgin, in southern Minnesota, was exciting to say the least.  As we got out of the car and walked closer to the shell of this former schoolhouse, I could almost hear the chalk as it slid across the black board or the children that used to learn under her roof.  The images in this post are from the two times we have visited this little gem at two very different times of the year.

This old schoolhouse reminded me not only of the children that walked through the door, but also of the teachers that encouraged these students daily to learn and grow.

I would like to take the time to thank every teacher I have had the privilege of learning from.  My fourth grade math teacher that pushed me to apply myself to the schoolwork when I didn’t want to because he knew that I could… and I did.  To my Chemistry teacher in college that made learning the subject so fun that I completely understood, without even trying.  Math and Science is now one of my strong points, Thank you.

To all the teachers out there, I thank you for your time and dedication you put forth on a day-to-day basis…  Keep believing in all of your students and they will believe in themselves.