We are so sorry to have to break this to you all, but there is a new creepy, crawly, wriggling, thrashing invasive species that you should know about.
It is an unpleasant message to share, but we just don't want anyone freaking out if they happen to encounter these crazy worms in the garden unexpectedly. Be careful so you don't inadvertently introduce jumping worms to your garden from purchased or shared plants and be especially watchful for hidden hitchhikers if you are tempted to take plants up north to the cabin.
Last summer the garden club went on an aquatic adventure. A three hour tour, if you will. And we even got lunch! No coconut was on the menu.
We boarded a paddleboat on the St. Croix River for an educational cruise around and under the construction of the to-be-completed in 2017 St. Croix Crossing that will replace the Stillwater Lift Bridge.
Speakers from the DOT and DNR were on board to narrate what we were seeing.
For starters we learned that the bridge is an extradosed design which is a hybrid design of a box girder and a stay cable bridge (just as we suspected, but it was good to have that confirmed).
This is not usually the kind of thing NDL gets excited about, but this is a truly amazing project with some very impressive stats and a cool end product. And it was a good excuse to be on a boat on the river on a beautiful day.
The biggest red crane you see here (which certainly has some kind of official name that we don't know) is one of only three this big in the U.S. and it is on loan (I suspect there is a little rental fee) for this project.
Each of these bridge sections that the crane is lifting in this photo weighs 180 tons and there are 988 of them. Total concrete in the bridge will be 563.8 million pounds.
For bit of perspective see the concrete mixer on the barge. The lineup of Porta-Johns up on the bridge deck was impressively large, but tiny compared to the bridge too.
The length of the visible stay cables totals 5.2 miles (about 400 miles of cable strand).
Within the bridge is 1,969 miles of cable strands.
The length of the bridge is nearly one mile. The width about 100 feet.
Segments between piers is 600 feet. That is the length of two football fields.
Part of the St. Croix Crossing plan that was of interest to the garden club and other outdoor and nature enthusiasts is the planned 4.7 mile Loop Trail.
The trail will connect to existing trails in MN and WI and uses both the new St. Croix Crossing and the existing Stillwater Lift Bridge, which will be converted to a bicycle/pedestrian bridge in 2018-19.
The new bridge will have a designated bicycle/pedestrian lane.
Of particular interest to the Garden Club cruisers were the well thought out plans for sustainable plantings in the many, some very large, areas around the long lead up to the bridge on either side of the river. These spaces include paths, parking lots, roundabouts, restrooms, informational kiosks, and viewing areas. It seems the crossing will be both a bridge to a destination and a destination itself.
We got to go here. Motawi Tileworks factory and outlet store in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Motawi makes beautiful tile and has rights to make the wonderful images of Charley Harper into ceramic art pieces. His work is perfect for reproduction in the lovely colors and finishes of kiln-fired glazes.
When I look at a wildlife or nature subject, I don’t see the feathers in the wings, I just count the wings. I see exciting shapes, color combinations, patterns, textures, fascinating behavior and endless possibilities for making interesting pictures. I regard the picture as an ecosystem in which all the elements are interrelated, interdependent, perfectly balanced, without trimming or unutilized parts; and herein lies the lure of painting; in a world of chaos, the picture is one small rectangle in which the artist can create an ordered universe. - Charley Harper
It is possible one or two made it back to Wisconsin.
Another Motawi tile theme is arts and crafts/mission-style designs. You can see a few here and many more at their website.
Speaking of Mission....
Here at NDL we are going to adapt and adopt the Motawi company Values and Mission Statement.
Bout time we had some direction around here!
Values and Mission Statement
What do we do?
We make distinctive stuff and do things in a (relatively) healthy way. We share our story.
And we have fun.
We believe we can make the world a better place by making beautiful (or at least cute) things for everyday places and model healthy(ish) neighborhood and family practices.
How do we do this?
We make things that are valued for their design and quality (or their quirkiness, or because they amuse us, or because they help us reduce, reuse, or recycle stuff).
We cultivate an intentional (home) workplace culture that fosters (almost) constant improvement, positivity (mostly through the wit and wisdom of Mary Englebreit and Calvin and Hobbes, greeting card slogans, or signs we see on our travels) and consistently high (as possible) performance all while drinking lots of coffee.
Somehow we just happened to notice that this post would be the 1,000th for NDL.
We deliberated about whether that called for something significant to mark the milestone.
And then we thought, "nah", let's just carry on as we would have.
So here is what was next in the queue of drafts. It is a photo taken last spring of a jumble sale sign from the UK village of Temple Guiting.
Make that an Extraordinary Jumble Sale sign!
Back in the 80's we read several books by Barbara Pym*.
Mostly what we remember about them is that the characters were perpetually preparing for church jumble sales while having tea and talking with or about the vicar.
So imagine our delight to spot the jumble sale sign outside this lovely church yard,
across from a sunny tea room,
in a charming English village
on a beautiful day in the middle of a long ramble through the countryside.
The only thing missing really was a vicar sighting.
Sometimes we feel apologetic about the number of times we have traveled to the same country when there are so many other places under the sun that we have not seen. Days like this, however are why we return again and again. Every visit holds in store a new delight.
*Very coincidentally Wikipedia tells us that Barbara Pym died on this very date in 1980. It also tells us that " A superficial reading gives the impression that they are sketches of village or suburban life, and comedies of manners, studying the social activities connected with the Anglican church. Her works are deeper than that, however. She closely examines many aspects of women's and men's relations, including unrequited feelings of women for men, based on her own experience.The dialogue is often deeply ironic. A tragic undercurrent runs through some of the later novels."
Looks like we will be putting Barbara Pym back on our book list to see what 35 additional years of life experience brings to a rereading.
Blog - short for web log. Now a verb. "I am going to blog about day to day life and neighborhood happenings."
We're not in this for fame or fortune. Just to keep a record of things we see and do and like, but so far not the things that drive us crazy. We have tried harder than you may know to avoid "the rant" and keep this a positive place; a place of magical thinking you might even say. One day we may unleash some feelings about a few things (do not get us started on TV actors "drinking" and handling supposed hot, full cups of coffee), but that day is not today.
This month we are going back to 2016 to post some things seen (that are not sheep although we cannot promise there won't be any more sheep) with more, but probably less narrative.
Let's start with....
Ed's Feed Service. We walked past this building in Bloomer, Wisconsin and were quite taken with it's ghostly grayness rising out of the gray day. So we took a phone photo that doesn't really do justice to its rural skyscraper architecture and history of being a place instrumental in helping Chippewa County farmers feed a lot of people and animals for a very long time.
There is a story that involves the railroad tracks that run alongside Ed's Feed Service that is legend in a certain family, and probably all of the watering holes in Bloomer that may or may not have happened on exactly the piece of track that runs through the adjacent intersection, but is worth telling anyhow.
A man, let's call him Stan, drove up to the tracks just as a train was coming. As he stopped to wait for the train to pass he heard his father's voice from the past saying that it is not a good idea to put your car in Park while waiting for a train even if it looks to be a long one. Just at that moment a braking school bus coming up behind Stan's car slid on some ice and bumped it right onto the tracks as the train was bearing down. Because he had heeded his father's voice the car was still in Drive and he was able to take his foot off the brake, accelerate and clear the tracks just in the nick of time. The poor bus driver had to wait until the entire train had moved through the intersection before he could see what had happened to Stan. He was safe and sound on the other side. Whew! Small town tragedy averted.
Thank goodness for the voices in our heads. Most of them anyway.
Add this one to your collection if it is not already there and listen to it often.