Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Art Cars 2013

Last year we were out of town for the parade, but this year we were back again. Seems to me that there were less cars than usual this year, but we still enjoyed it. Seemed like there was a flower child theme this year, but maybe all art car owners are flower children.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Of Beards And Men

Last September I took Harriet to the Minneapolis farmers market on a super chilly morning. We ate mini donuts and shopped.

I hadn't showered and I believe I was wearing some bright yellow plastic sunglasses I found in the car. As we passed a vendor booth a farmer said, "hey, nice beard. you should call this photographer." He then handed me a postcard with a phone number/email and a brief explanation about a local photographer putting together a project about beards. Of course upon returning home and telling Christina, who is always looking for a fun story/adventure, she had me reply.

Fast forward a few weeks and I was at Joseph Daniel Robert OLeary's home studio out in Forest Lake. He asked everyone he shot to bring a prop so I came with one of our hens for a photo shoot.

Harriet and Christina came with and Joe was nice enough to take a few shots of Harriet and me. He sent me this gem a couple months later.

After a long winter I got an email that the project was well over 100+ bearded men and I was needed for a reshoot because the artistic direction had changed as the scope of the project grew. The sampling of photos I saw of the other participants was awesome (and kind of humbling) so I knew it was worth the extra time. See for yourself at Joe's website for a sneak peak at his project. Unfortunately the bantam hen I took with last fall had not lived through the winter so I confirmed another chicken was okay and made another trip to the studio for new photos in April.

Joe started a Kickstarter campaign today to fund the publishing of the book that will include close to 150 beards. Christina and I just became "backers" of the project and (assuming the Kickstarter campaign is successful) we're excited to get the finished book in a few months. Please check out the OF BEARDS AND MEN campaign at Kickstarter.

The book will include the below photo along with a brief intro accompaniment.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Friday marked Harriet's 3rd birthday. She was VERY excited for it and has been anticipating it for months. It seemed to live up to her expectations. She got to have cupcakes at daycare, Steve came to pick her up early and they went on a bike ride around the lakes and then to a couple parks and then a party with family and friends at night. 

I made her this Daniel Tiger cake, the character from her favorite (and only) show, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood on PBS. She seemed rather unimpressed when I brought it out, but since then it is all she can talk about.

I cut her a piece, turned my head for one second and then this happened.

These balloons from Becky were a huge hit. She is still dragging those things around the house 3 days later....

Her friend Lauren came to the party and after Harrriet opened the present from Lauren they hugged for about 5 minutes. It was almost too long, awkward long.

We had a great day celebrating and then a packed weekend of tons of activities. Ahhhh summer....

Sunday, July 07, 2013


Since I had over 3 tons of leftover Chilton stone I decided to go ahead and make a pondless water feature. After searching different designs and examples, I found that building a wall of stone, with a waterfall spillway somewhere in the middle, would be the best approach.

A friend gave me an old water feature kit that included liners, a pump, filter and tubing so I started with that. I ended up only using the liner because the pump wasn't strong enough to push the water up 3 feet of the wall. I used a 2' Colorfalls spillway that I ordered online as well as a 3700 gallon per hour submersible pump. A filter isn't needed because the water passes through several inches of rock. 

The installation was pretty straight forward, but quite labor intensive.
I dug a 4' wide x 3' long x 2.5' deep hole. Of course nothing is easy and I had to slope the depth of the hole a bit because conduit for the garage electricity ran just under it. 

I then lined the hole with landscaping fabric, followed by an old blanket and finally the rubber pond liner. I used old crates to take up some of the space, and make room for the pump housing.

Above the crates I dumped 4-6" river rock, the 4-6" Mexican blue pebbles, then several more bags of 2-4" Mexican blue pebbles. The pebbles had to be smooth because sharp rock could puncture the liner. I had a little  neighbor helper assist me with cleaning off the stones before putting in.

The rock wall wasn't too hard since I had just honed my craft building the raised beds. I did end up purchasing new stone for the top row because I wanted chilton stone pavers. At around 3" thick they're much lighter and I figured I'd need access to the electricity and plumbing behind the wall itself. In the above picture, I was testing to see if the pump worked before putting in the spillway.

Just before completion, I realized I could buy a wifi enabled switch to turn the waterfall pump and included LED lights on and off (of set a timer) via my iPhone/iPad. The Belkin WeMo switch is a tad pricey, but so far pretty awesome. 

We also purchased some mosquito donuts that sit in the water to be sure all larva die. 

Maintenance during the warm months should be minimal. Just the occasional garden hose needed to raise the water level when evaporation or splashing drops the reservoir.  Here is the access I have to the pump in the winter, I will have to remove the pump, the water and take the spillway out of the rock wall.

A neighbor purchased all the leftover stone when I was done. So short of the 6 to 7 large pieces I stashed on the side of the house, I'm done with stone projects for the time being.


Saturday, July 06, 2013

Fun Fourth

 We really enjoyed our packed July 4th this year. We started out the day watching the Edina parade with Harriet's buddy Lauren and her parents. The girls had a lot of fun together and seemed to love the parade. In general, this year's parade was much more enjoyable weatherwise, than last year.

In the afternoon we headed over to my mom's pool for a dip and then decided to go over to Wirth Park to the Eloise Bulter Wildfower Garden for a hike around. We just happened to show up when there was a tour from a naturalist so we got our own private hike with him. The hike also provided a good opportunity to try out my new camera lens.

 Possibly an elderberry flower? Nannyberry.
 Oyster mushrooms.
 A foxglove-ish type flower.

In the evening we got home and made a delicious dinner of roasted sweet corn and roasted turnip and swiss chard (from our CSA) with quinoa, topping it off with freezies on the front steps. A pretty great day had by all.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Duluth wedding weekend

Last weekend we headed up on Friday to Duluth for our friends Matt and Jessica's wedding. It was a chilly 55 degree up there on a late June day, but it felt refreshing to me. The wedding was at Clyde Ironworks, a former steel mill turned restaurant and event venue. We don't have the best picture of Matt and Jessica, but here they are with their very professional dance moves.

 Lots of kids seemed to enjoy all the leftover industrial things including this scale (note there is another kid playing on it in background of the next picture).

There was also this giant chess board that provided some entertainment.

 The next day we took a walk and got to see the lift bridge in action.

We also went to a rhubarb festival, met Rhubarbara and enjoyed a rhubarb lemonade. Steve attempted to get a rhubarb brat, but it was quite a popular item and the line was over 30 mins. So, pass. 

So instead we met some of our friends at Fitgers Brewery for a late lunch before we headed home.