By the light of the Silver Moon

I haven’t written here for a while, hope you missed me! Life on the other side of the paycheck is sure different. I’ve been sleeping a bit later, getting 21 years of “one of these days” jobs done and re-figuring where my life is going.

I’m on a quick road trip to Arizona with two friends, weather is great, Holiday decor looks very odd here in the valley of the sun.We stopped for the night in Santa Rosa NM after a fantastic sunset over the high country of NM. The buttes were alive with color, way cool.

I had never been through Kansas or Oklahoma….awesome sunsets and big sky. I really like Nebraska….yeah, I’m in the minority, but its very peaceful to me. So Kansas and Oklahoma are like……hmmmmm, super groovy big and flat. You can watch your dog run away for three days it is so flat.

The freeway lights of Albuquerque are very artsy. We dropped down via SNOWFLAKE ARIZONA, no snow, so we went through SUPRISE, guess what…. no suprises there?

My suggestions of the day, stop at the Route 66 museum in Elk City, and the sod museum in Oklahoma, stop and listen to a few wind turbines before you get mesmerized by them as you drive by. Wind energy is really making inroads here in the lower US.

Do not order the spicy chicken quesadilla at the Silver Moon on Route 66 in Santa Rosa NM. unless you need you entire sinus system cleared out.

Speaking of that, we watched some odd TV show about a brother and sister;  the sister had taken some kind of anti biotic that kills everything (including the bacteria in her colon). Things went bad for her and she was willing to try a new medical procedure called a fecal transplant to get some new bacteria into her gut area.  Her brother “donated” “”it”” and with in an hour her bowl problems were solved. They took a very light hearted approach to a very sensitive subject. It was two hours of road conversation!

Things I never needed to know. Hope it snows soon so I can focus on winter. peace —  out

So long farewell it’s time to say good bye

My last blog here……

I want to thank all the readers who took time to read my blog the last two years.  I never knew I could think of so many topics to cover! I was grateful I was given a chance to be a ”blogger”‘. The Hudson Star-Observer is shifting the base of operation to River Falls and my services are no longer needed, so home I go.  It will give me a chance to spread my wings in new and hopefully exciting directions.

My 21+ years I have worked for this company have been the best work experience a person could hope for. Most of the people I was lucky enough to work with have become lifetime friends, I found my place in the community here and it felt good.   The work was interesting, rewarding and fun. I can count on my hand the number of days I didn’t look forward to coming in to the office. If a person can say that about a job, you’re a lucky soul.

My fondest memories will be with the time I was able to spend with Willis Miller, he was such a great teacher and fostered my interest in Hudson’s rich history. I really came to love Hudson, even with all its quirky folks and stories, it’s home. Home to so many wonderful people who care about this town, have invested their money, hearts and lives in this town. Not just to sleep and buy groceries here, but make a life here. That’s the part of this job that was so good, we got to see how and why folks lived in Hudson. When we built our little log cabin east of town, I was determined to work locally. I was actually hired over the phone by Jay Griggs. I did that interview while I was ironing my clothes! He knew my dad (and still hired me!) and thought our family was upright and hard workers. I hope I have proved him true.

Our editor Doug Stohlberg, also a life long Hudsonite, shares this love of community and has devoted his life, like Willis, to sharing the news about Hudson. He will be sequestered up at 901 4th St and at the new location to the south. I will really miss the discussions we three Hudsonite’s have had over the years about families and events that occured here in our little town. They helped me make connections as to who was related to who and a few really juicy stories that will never see print!

So, to all my co-workers downtown friends and family, it’s been a great run, no regrets and yes, I took my blue Wizard of Oz bike home! Look me up on Facebook if you like, I ‘d love to hear from you. Another day over, so long.

Pumpkin envy

Pumpkin Envy

Pumpkin Envy

As a young girl apparently my lust for pumpkins had already begun. Look at this picture, I am eyeing up the artistic carvings done by fellow classmates, Ken Hayes and Larry Johannsen at St. Patrick School. We must have been in about 5-6 grade.  My Lucy Lu looking carving just wasn’t that great. I can’t believe the nuns let us loose with knives then.

 Fast forward 45 years and I am still eyeing up pumpkins, but in a different light. Several years ago, my partners and I decided to start a pumpkin patch. It’s been pretty fun and educational. I just never knew there were so many varieties to choose from; Mini Tom Thumb pumpkins to the mega giant contest size pumpkins. And every size and shape in between, thick skinned, thick stemmed, pie pumpkins, bumpy smooth, tall or round.

Now the Kindergarten kids from St. Patrick’s come out for a field trip and we take them out to the patch for a pick their own adventure. They are so excited to be out here, we have animals for them to feed and its pretty fun to see them enjoying a day in the country.

This year the patch is right next to my house, so I can slip out for an evening walk through the patch and pretend I am Charlie Brown! It’s been a long hot summer but the pumpies seemed to love it, we got just enough rain at the right time.  I did an experiment with a few and as they got bigger I set them in a square wooden frame I had made, now I have a few pumpkins that have a decidedly square shape to them. Next year I am going to grow more that way!

We have started making various dishes using pumpkin. Muffins, bread, pie and sinful desserts are a given. But making a pumpkin risotto, pumpkin soup or our newest effort,  pumpkin pancakes, take a bit more effort. One way to utilize your pumpkin is to cook it down in a pumpkin butter. Use a crock pot and it’s a yummy aroma wafting through the house for a few days. Get creative and you can add pumpkin to lots of recipes.

If you haven’t gotten your seasonal orange gourd yet, we still have more at our Fall Family Fun Pumpkin Patch!

Pumpkin Envy

Flat Stanley is baaaaack!

Flat Stanley getting some 'tube time' with Badlands Barbie

Flat Stanley getting some ‘tube time’ with Badlands Barbie


Flat Stanley heading to the dike for a walk.

Flat Stanley heading to the dike for a walk.


Flat Stanley hitching a ride on a wagon full of gourds and squash

Flat Stanley hitching a ride on a wagon full of gourds and squash


It’s that time of year when youngsters around the country are sending Flat Stanley on vacation. Oh, were it so easy to travel! 

 Flat Stanley is the paper version of a small lad who got squished by a blackboard, I think,  and can now travel via U.S. Mail.

My sister’s grandson, Jayden, sent his from North Platte, Neb. (where everything is flat so he fits right in!)

 My husband and I took Stanley around town for a photo op and had a great time posing him in various locations. This is about my 5th visit from ‘Stanley’ and each time it gets us out and about to see the sites. He happened to be visiting during the Fall Art Fair in the park, he really liked the ‘flat’ work there. Here are a few Flat Stanley photos to enjoy.

And, oh, man, is it nice out, fall is soooo my favorite time of year, hope you can enjoy the weather early this week, change is coming, and not just from Obama!

Today, Sept. 25, is National Voter Registration Day

Are you registered to vote? Why not? Well, you may have multiple reasons, but if you really care about your future, you need to register to vote and then actually go vote. If you are reading this, you have internet access, so here is a link to open where you can start the application process.

You  can also go to your polling place to get registered. Not all offices are open all the time, so call ahead to make sure that when you go, they will be open. I would recommend NOT trying to register on election day this year, I’m guessing the lines will be crazy long, which is a good thing.
Today is the day to get yourself and others in your family or household to get registered at your current voting location. The rule around our house is, if you don’t vote you don’t get to bitch. If you did vote, but don’t like the way it’s going, talk away, and the person you are talking to/at  can join in the discussion, IF they voted!
For full disclosure, I copied this info from the web site to help you with any questions. It gives information better than I could ever do. Remember, even if you will be gone, can’t get off of work or are away at school and want to vote at your home address (pick one or the other not both!). You need to make sure you are eligible to vote on Nov. 6, ahead of time.

The National Mail Voter Registration Form consists of four parts:
• The Application
• The General Instructions
• The Application Instructions
• The State Instructions

Any U.S. citizen residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia may use this form, with the following exceptions: North Dakota, Wyoming and U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Guam) do not accept this form. New Hampshire accepts the form only as a request for an absentee ballot.
Uniformed service members and overseas voters should not use this form to register to vote. Instead, they should fill out the Federal Post Card Application, available at

If you are voting for the first time in your state and are registering by mail, Federal law may require you to show proof of identification the first time you vote. This proof of identification includes the following (or if voting by mail, a COPY of the following):
• A current and valid photo identification; OR
• A current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or government document that shows your name and address.
Federal law does not require you to show proof of identification at the polling place or when voting by mail if (1) you provided COPIES of the above with your National Mail Voter Registration Form; (2) your voter registration form has been verified by an election official; or (3) you are entitled by federal law to vote by absentee ballot. Please note that individual states may have additional voter identification requirements.

If you feel your registration form was unjustly rejected, contact your local election official. You may also contact the voting section of the Department of Justice at (800) 253-3931, or your state.s Attorney General.s office.

Make sure you fill in all information requested in the form completely, accurately and legibly. Place it in an envelope, and affix the proper amount of postage to it.

After you’ve submitted your registration form, you should receive a confirmation that you are registered within a few weeks. If you do not receive a confirmation, call your local election office before the registration deadline approaches to confirm you are registered.

Friday Sept. 21 is National Tradesmen Day

Or to be PC, National Tradesperson Day. This day is to honor the folks out there who actually make stuff, make stuff work, fix stuff and literally keep the lights on for us. I took a peak on their Facebook page and saw it was kind of a union supportive site, which makes sense I guess, though I know a lot of talented non-union tradesmen-tradeswomen.
Locally we have some great tradesmen who deserve a shout out on this day dedicated to them. My first mention will be a nice young man named Jeremiah who works at Hilltop Auto Center. My 2000 Jeep had an AC failure early this summer. I had gone to another local repair shop and gotten an estimate for about $1200, and a lovely lobby to sit in with fancy coffee to sip on while I waited. The law of diminishing returns prompted me to decide that for the ‘few days’ all summer I really needed AC I could live without it. Who knew it would be the hottest summer in a while, dang global warming and all.
Fast forward to early Sept. and the first chilly morning, my defrost blower didn’t work. Knowing I can’t live without that I called the good folks up at Hilltop to see if they could take a look at it. Two hours later, I get in and get it looked at, get a free loaner car, get a good estimate and go home. Two more hours later, my new BFF Jeremiah calls me and tells me it’s ready, for only around $450. So I brought him a fresh loaf of zuchinni bread!
SNAP…. That is service! Plus it only needed a blower motor, not a complete AIR system like the other folks wanted to do. He got the heat and AC going, looked at my tires, fluids, etc etc., and gave it the once over for anything else. He told me that it should be good for another 100,000 miles as everything else looked good. He seemed like a quiet kind of guy that loves and knows his auto repair skills and really seemed to care about his customers. He had grease under his finger nails, a true test of a working man.
When I was at Hilltop Auto Center, even the owner, Howie, came by to make sure I was satisified. Perhaps it’s because on the computers service records we had 7 other vehicles listed that had been serviced by them over the last 20 years. But it was mostly just because these tradesmen care about their chosen craft and profession.
The second tradesman I want to mention is Dennis Severson. He has been a good neighbor and an excellent person to turn to when your furnace is not working. I can’t even count how many times someone I know has called him at all hours of the day and he comes out to look at the furnace etc.
He has kept our home heating furnace running for 25 years now. Though he would love to just sell me a new one, he has the knowledge and experience to know when and what to fix to keep me toasty warm all winter. So when the time comes, I will turn to a trusted tradesman like Dennis to buy a new furnace.
So if you run into a guy, or gal, with dirty fingernails, ignore the dirt and let them know you appreciate the skills their hands are able to perform.

Happy moments to live for

Awesomely lovely jars of tomatoes and granny's jar grabber

My latest batch of tomatoes and my fav jar lifter under the guard of a chicken.

When life hands you lemons they say to make lemonade. When you have 7 buckets of tomatoes you need lots of ‘ade’. The crop is finally coming in after this unusually hot summer and my tomatoes look divine. I really mulched well around all of them and this year I didn’t’ have any leaf mold issues, the weed battle was won by me this year and now I am reaping the rewards.
So far we’ve enjoyed BLT’s, bruschetta, salsa, tomato and ham sandwiches, raw tomatoes in every form and even the little yellow pear shaped tomatoes I tucked into the flower bed are ready to be enjoyed.
This year I made spaghetti sauce for the first time. I added garlic, onions, poblano peppers, green peppers, tomato paste, basil and other spices. I did it in the crock pot so the aroma wafted through the whole house for a few days. The plus side is, it uses a LOT of tomatoes up. The extra juice will be used in soup stock or possibly Bloody Marys!
Each year when I start the canning season I pull out the supplies, canner, jars, lids etc.; but my most treasured part is the jar lifter that was my grandmothers. Its old wooden handle has extracted thousands of canning jars from hot water baths. I was lucky enough to go with my mother when they were clearing out her kitchen and no one else wanted the lifter so it came home with me.
My Grandma O’Connell always had a huge garden and I can still see her pulling her little red wagon full of produce to the house, waiting to be preserved or used immediately. So each time I get to use the can lifter, I feel her presence and hope she guides me through a successful season.
I took this photo of my latest batch of lovely canned tomatoes; look at how awesomely red they are and the specs of poblano really make the jars look tasty. That is the can lifter in front and a funky wooden chicken guarding the jars! I can’t wait until the snow flies and we have a nice pot of chili bubbling away, made with the hubby’s venison and my canned tomatoes, sending a spicy aroma through our little log house. Life is gonna be good.

Out and about

Friday was my Mom’s birthday; she’s 82 and still going strong, amen! Being the good daguther that I am!!, we celebrated by following her suggestion and going to the theatre in New Richmond to see Fiddler on the Roof by the Willow River Players. Our longtime friend, Cindy Brown Bauer and her new hubby were in the play so we thought it would be fun to see them on stage together. (It was!)
The play was held at the New Richmond High School. The auditorium was fabulous and lovely, I guess that’s what you get when you spend about $57 million. The whole campus looked great and very welcoming. Hudson is only dreaming about getting such a building.
The play was quite good, and then at intermission time we wandered out to the lobby for a break. I saw folks from all over Hudson and beyond. Old co-workers, our HSO mailman (who was there to watch his niece), neighbors, the owner of Carbone’s in Roberts, Liz, and a lot of cultural arts enthusiasts. It sure was nice to see the support the Willow River Players receive from the area.
The play was an affordable night out, Mom enjoyed it and we were home by 10 p.m. So hats off to the WRP for another great production.

Ladies, this day is for us

These ladies got it going on……

August 26 of each year is designated in the United States as Women’s Equality Day. Instituted by Rep. Bella Abzug and first established in 1971, the date commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, the Woman Suffrage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave U.S. women full voting rights in 1920. Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan were the first states to ratify the 19th amendment on June 10, 1919.
The amendment was first introduced in 1878 by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton. Forty-one years later it became part of the U.S. Constitution and reads as follows:

Amendment XIX

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Bella Abzug was born in 1920, to Russian Jewish immigrants living in the Bronx area of New York. She attended Hunter College, where she was student body president, to Columbia University Law School, where she was an editor of The Law Review. She served as a New York U. S. Congresswoman from 1971-77.
Known for her hats, she was also an outspoken advocate for women’s rights. She was a co-sponsor of the women’s equal rights amendment in 1972, that to this day has still not been fully ratified by Oklahoma, Nevada, Missouri, Louisiana, Illinois, Florida, North and South Carolina,
Most young women today cannot imagine not being able to walk in and cast a ballot in an election, hold certain jobs and expect equal pay for equal work. Well, OK, that last one is still a work in progress…
My Grandmother Kinney was among the Suffragette supporters, women who in the 1900-20 era rallied support for the 19th amendment. I will raise a toast to her and all the women, who after WWI decided it was their time to become part of the American political process. My niece, Molly, will be able to cast her first vote for President this fall. I hope she gives a nod to her great-grandmother when she is in the polling booth, which is in the same location (but new building) as where her Great-grandmother would have first voted, some 92 years ago.

On Sunday, August 26, pause for a second and think about all the brave women who have gone before us, and the work that needs to yet be done. Please, no matter which rainbow you are living under, go vote, no matter what your beliefs are, no matter who you support. It is a hard earned right that many women around the world do not have… yet.

How I spent my summer vacation, by Maggie Hall

During my rare summer vacation this year I had big plans to go to Green Bay, that golden city across the state, home of that football team everyone talks about. Then on to Door County, for a fish boil, cherries and whatever else is the big draw there. Having never been over to da east side, I was looking forward to it.
Instead we got too lazy and stayed home. But I did more fun stuff in a week than I had planned. The farthest I ventured was to the Minn. Zoo with a herd of kids to see the dinosaur exhibit, the other zoo residents and a concert by Mary Chapin Carpenter. Hot, fun, hot and then an electric storm to delay the concert by 20 minutes or so.

We stay-cationed here and took in the following local attractions: First a busy day at Badlands helping with the Goliath Challenge 5K, then blueberry picking at Blue Ridge Growers, steam train ride in St. Croix Cove, water tubing from Rivers Edge (not quite as fun as winter tubing, but nice and cool) in Somerset, Concerts in the park to hear Ms. Richards, caught the Ditch Lilies in River Falls at Veterans Park, took kids to see the new Ice Age movie, showed two kids how to fish at Lakefront Park, (one caught a small sunny and I thought the world was ending!), was able to share my niece’s tooth loss event, the tooth fairy only brought 63 cents!

Had a few bonfires at home, went swimming at my sisters pool, a bike ride, read a most interesting book about President James Garfield’s life; he was the 20th president and was kind of murdered, but not how you might think.

I had a camp out in the yard for kids the night of the electric storm, the tenting lasted 2 hours before we had to go inside.
I even cleaned the bathroom from top to bottom, we got estimates on getting our driveway sealed and a few personal matters taken care of. I had plenty of time in the hammock and am now glad to be back at work so I can rest up!