The Ugly Duckling

5509

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

5403

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

5305

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.

5211

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

5110

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

Elgin oldschoolhouse

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.

A Grandmother and the Peacock.

4901

This post is dedicated to my grandmother who left this world back in 2013, her smile and knowledge is missed to this day.

I have always admired my grandmother who raised 3 children on her own after losing her husband back in 1963.  A strong, intelligent woman who pushed through thick and thin with her head held high.

I remember the “candy drawer” and the excitement of pulling the drawer open the moment we would arrive at Grandmother’s house.   I remember the games played, the stories told, her quilting, and the smile she had on her face whenever family was around.  I do wish that I had learned the art of hand sewn quilting from the master :-)

Her knowledge and support throughout my childhood will remain part of me until the end of time.

It was a beautiful winter day, cold, but not too cold, and the sun was shining bright causing a vivid blue sky.  Dan was by my side as we made our way down to Lamberton, in the southwestern portion of Minnesota.  A drive that I had not made since my grandmother moved closer to my mother in early 2003.

We stopped in New Ulm, and toured the August Schell Brewing Company, a place full of history and beautiful old buildings; I would imagine that we will head back that way in the near future. We were surprised to see peacocks roaming the grounds and managed to photograph them.  I have always been drawn to the jewel toned colors that these amazing birds display.

Only after working through this album, and researching this magnificent bird, did I learn of the symbolism it represents.  I was shocked to find that in many cultures, this bird has played a significant role. I found this symbolism fitting not only for the situation, but also as a reminder of who my grandmother was.

  • In Christianity, the peacock represents resurrection, renewal, and immortality within its teachings.
  • In Buddhism they symbolize wisdom.
  • In Hinduism, the peacock is associated with Lakshmi who represents patience, kindness, and luck.

The following legend struck a cord was one of my favorites:
The peacock has been linked to Kuan Yin and it is this deity that is supposedly the creator of the beautiful colors of the peacock’s signature tail feathers.  The myth tells us Kuan Yin could have been immortal but stayed because she wished to aid humanity in their spiritual evolution.  Kuan Yin taught people, through her own compassionate spirit, to lie together as friends.  When she decided to go to the heavens, she appointed a guardian to keep the earth peaceful.  She called a bird, with dull brown feathers to her.  She rubbed her face and brushed her hands down the length of its feathers, which created a kaleidoscope of colors and beautiful eyes on the end of each long feather.  Therefore, the Peacock’s feathers remind us that Kuan Yin is compassionately watching over us.

I would like to thank my husband, Dan, for standing by my side. For the support (and the Kleenex) you gave me each time I needed it…  I love you dearly.


 In Memory of

Esther M Redman
Redman


Esther Marie (Lee) Redman was born on August 15, 1917 in Emmet County, Iowa. She was the daughter of George and Dena Lee. She graduated from Sanborn High School in 1937. She was united in marriage to Willis G. Redman on July 25, 1942 in Sanborn, MN. Esther attended and graduated from Mankato State University with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Elementary Education. She taught in one room country schools until 1960 when she began teaching in Lamberton and was employed there until her retirement in 1980. She was a member of the United Methodist Church in Lamberton, MN.

Esther died on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at Farmstead (Presbyterian Homes) in Andover, MN at the age of 95 years.
We miss you and know you are there still watching over us.

Please enjoy the images from that trip.