A couple weeks ago our neighborhood held its annual fall wiener roast, the last gathering before many of our neighbors take off to warmer parts. Karen and I have always had very good friends in all the neighborhoods we’ve lived in, however we have commented often on the large number of people living in our little 51-townhome association who are friends.  The layout of our neighborhood was designed to encourage people to interact with each other—I’d say it’s working.

Last Tuesday was sunny and warm so Gus, Harper, Karen and I headed across the street to Axdahl’s Garden Farm. Harper rode her trike to and from the farm and asked me as we left the garage if I wanted to ride my bike.  I thought: I can keep up with a little girl on her trike for goodness sake.  I should have ridden my bike.  We stopped behind the barn to say hi to the horses and goats.  Harper taught me the proper way to approach a horse.  J  Karen said Gus, with his frog boots, had a blast kicking up dust clouds in the barnyard (we had to throw his clothes straightaway into the wash when we got home). And Gus and Harper took to tractor driving like they’d been on one all their lives.

On most days when I pick the kids up at Eric’s work H&G ask to go the way of the “fields,” i.e., taking the country road that goes through the heart of Grant Township.  This route is several miles long with lots to see: cows, sheep, horses and all kinds of crops.  Then I pull the car into the fenced area at Axdahls where the sheep and small horses are.  I put the windows down and the kids call to the animals.  When the horses hear Harper’s voice they look up and almost always trot over to the fence and look at the kids.  If the animals are not out of the barn then H&G speculate why they’re not out. Possibilities range from it being too cold, to the farmer has just fed them. It’s such a privilege to eavesdrop on these conversations.

E&Z&H&G took off for North Carolina to visit friends, so Karen and I headed to Grand Marais for one more indulgence in the Worlds Best Donuts before they close for winter. Wednesday’s weather was perfect and the colors at their peak for our drive up. That afternoon, cocktail in hand, we sat by the lake and took in the beautiful lake and color of the surrounding hills. Thursday and Friday were cold and the wind fierce (gusts up to 49 mph)—we even saw a few snowflakes on Friday. But even this was fun as the high winds created 25 to 30 feet high splashes as the waves hit the harbor walls. Many people were taking pictures of this spectacle. I found a great place for a late breakfast up the Gunflint Trail, a place Eric and I had eaten at a few years ago after a boundary waters trip. I just have to say the walleye I had was the best I’ve had in years.

On Sunday Karen took her chili for 36 and we went out to Kris and Blair’s in Cokato for the day.  All the kids and grandkids were there so it was great fun to see everyone and get updated on what is going on. Paul and I continued our pie-in-the-sky plans for our family retreat center in Maui after one of us wins the lottery.  However Paul’s brother David has been having a string of good luck lately so we decided we should bring him into the partnership. Which he doesn’t know yet.

All for now.


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