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What a great week!  I have now embarked on my 49th year and it was sure a sweet birthday.  I got lots of calls, including the official Birthday Song call from Mom and Tom and a lovely call from my brother Rob. 3-24-17 Birthday FB was full of happy wishes and it’s so nice to see all the wonderful people thinking of me, people I think of often as I see their posts on social media.  It’s amazing how big the Social Media world can be and while I’ve probably wasted more time than I should on Candy Crush, I really appreciate being able to connect with so many people all over the world.  And I got some nice cards (a handmade from Momma Chris – she’s the bestest!) and a few gifts too – 5 books (they know me!), some cash (always come in handy) and a couple adorable family photos.  I am feeling so loved.

I also began Knitting!  Mom brought me an afghan a couple months back that was in need of repair – she was sure that Char and I could fix it back to good.  It’s a beautiful melba peach color and I would love to have it whole again as it’s really pretty.  I actually ended up working on it with Bernis at Knitting Club, first taking off the ruined part back to one level, and now adding back a finishing edge.  It’s tough but I’m getting used to the process.  It will take some time but I can soon add Knitting to my list of crafts.  I will admit to trying to impress Dan Saturday evening and realizing I just could not be sure about how to start that next row… so the impressing will have to wait!  I’m sure with the strong encouragement from the Knitting Ladies, I’ll be getting the hang of it soon.

And I joined the Garden Club.  Got started with these folks at their March Seed Swap – another early birthday gift?  I will say YES.  I scored dozens of seeds and look forward to getting them planted as we start our gardens here at the Harn.  Met some really great folks here, including Jeff and Angie from Split Oak Farm who have invited me to come over and see their “kids” (baby goats!).  I plan to stop there often when I’m heading to Bagley as they are expecting baby pigs any time now as well.  Everyone was friendly and it was a fun way to spend an evening talking about plants and phenology.  What’s Phenology?  It is the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life.  There were a bunch of great reports: lots of swan sightings (including Trumpeters); pussywillow, rhubarb sprout and crocus sightings; and my favorite first hearing and sighting of Sandhill Cranes.  My neighbor Connie (new Garden Club friend) and I both heard them – she is around the corner but her back yard and mine are closer than our driveways.  I got a lovely offer for some lily starts which I will surely be taking her up on this spring.  Oh, plus I met a Death Doula (Lorrie).  How cool is that!?!?  Can’t wait to spend some time with her.

I share this birthday week with some friends and Dan and I were able to gift one of them with a present on her big day.  The other I had gifted with her present weeks earlier but I will from now on be sure to give her a gift on or super close to her actual birthday as it’s really special to have the specific day recognized.  This year having so many wishes truly made my day special.

Dan and I are keeping busy with helping friends in the neighborhood and getting to know more of the locals.  It’s really feeling like “our town” the longer we’re here.  Only a few more days until he’s here for good!  I am enjoying getting settled and look forward to lots of fun the more people and plants we get to know.  We had the neighbor from around the corner stop by… his wife had said to him, “That driveway has been getting lots of use!” So he came by to introduce himself which made me happy, happy, happy as I’ve been meaning (for months) to take a walk over to their place.  It will be an easier decision to head their way now that I have a standing invite to visit.  They are home bodies like us.

I spent most of a day with Anne to look at possible cabins and that was a bunch of fun.  We hit every resale shop along the way and I scored BIG finding not only a couple good books I have wanted (Mists of Avalon, Lee! And Cutting for Stone, KP!) but also a new set of 8 ohm speakers for Dan ($3) and a replacement crock for my crock pot ($2.50).  I also scored a nice pair of new house shoes for Dan ($3) and some ribbons and fabric (of course).  Anne took me to her favorite place in Grand Rapids for lunch, Sammy’s.  https://sammyspizzagrandrapids.com/ and I took her to my favorite place (which she LOVED)… Aldi’s! https://www.aldi.us/  They have a brand new store in GR and it’s the biggest Aldi’s I’ve ever seen – yes, I think it’s even bigger than the St. Cloud one which was the biggest in the state.  Now if they will just get one put up here in Bemidji…  I truly see them as life savers because they bring affordable and quality food to the area.  I was talking with a couple in front of us in line who have been astounded at their food bill reduction, which really helps having 5 kids.

I will say, the best part of the trip with Anne was probably Nigig running from the house with her arms spread wide.  I thought she was so happy to see Gramma home and I was smiling big as we watched her approach. But at the last minute, she came to me!  I got the first Big Hug!!  Just made my heart burst!  I think to her I’m this lady that shows up unexpectedly but it tickles me that she’s so happy to see me when I visit!  Later I taught her how to swing herself on the porch swing and told her she is powerful.  I think that’s a pretty good trade.

We had a visitor from Mann Lake Bees [They’re having a big sale but it ends soon! https://www.mannlakeltd.com/]. Our friend Patrick showed us a couple good places for bees.  It was great walking the land with the warm sunshine!   We will need to put up an electric fence for the bears but I think we’re gonna start with bees this year. This will be a good fit as we don’t have anyone close by doing honey.  We have egg people, meat people, yarn people, and flower and veggie people, but no one we know for honey.  This will make a great product that we use a LOT and give us something to give for gifts.  I have friended a couple bee people here locally online and hope to learn a lot from everyone.  Patrick was interested in the Rocket Mass Heater so we gave him an explanation of them and had a fire and some conversation.

The highlight of my birthday week was Sunday evening.  I did a writing workshop with Jamie Lee (not Jamie Lee Curtis as I reported to Anne the day before…) at Farm by the Lake (https://www.facebook.com/farmbythelake/).  You can find out more about Jamie Lee here:

I was full of writing ideas by the time we wrapped up and I’ll have lots to practice as I continue to pursue my writing.  I may yet publish a book as Mom foresaw when I was young.

I was also able to get in a visit to new friends Jeff and Angie at Split Oak Farm in Bagley on the way home.  They gave me a tour of their sustainable farm with pigs, goats, chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese.  Oh, and cows (who we didn’t visit… next time!). Their goose eggs are HUGE!  And they just had baby goats so I got to hold the little girl and she was so soft and sweet.  I’m really looking forward to their little piglets which should be here any day! https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009080365262&hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf  They’re super fun and we had a great time chatting.  The only thing that would have made it better is if Dan was able to join us.  But that will happen soon, I’m sure.  He moves up here this week!!!

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