Sometimes it’s something necessary. For instance, I had to drive to Duluth on Monday for a team meeting regarding Javid’s care and future planning. I love visiting with Javid but not so much for meetings. It seems they always have these great ideas but nothing much ever comes of it. It’s been that way for decades so you’d think I’d get used to it — but no. Of course when you have a handicapped family member, you do have to “go with the flow” and just be there and hope for the best.

One of the birds we did see was this cute Downy Woodpecker.

I was kind of down after all that but then my sister, Sue, who lives near Duluth thought it’d be a good idea if she and I took a trip to look for birds at the Sax-Zim Bog the next day. So again, bright and early I got up, did my chores and hopped in the car and headed out to meet her. We had to laugh — the day before we saw many more birds right at her bird feeders next to her driveway than we did sitting an hour at the visitor center! After only spotting a couple birds, which were common — chickadees, Downy Woodpeckers and a blue jay — we drove around, hoping to see an owl, for which the bog is famous country-wide. There are several species which live and travel there. No dice. No owls. But we did get to see a Bald Eagle and a magpie, which Sue has been trying to get photos of for a long time. She did get a great eagle photo but when she went to take pictures of the magpie, she hadn’t turned her camera to “on”and the bird flew away before she could get a shot. Oh well, we did have a nice visit and lunch at the Wilbert Cafe in Cotton where they have great, homemade food.

Frost was so pretty on the trees this morning.

This morning, the fog froze on the trees and it was so magical, just going down our driveway to the mailbox! We love the woods. — Jackie


  1. We absolutely love it here. In spite of winter, snow and cold. It is important to get a day off, here and there, to visit with friends and family. Yep, those chores are still home waiting for us to return. But we do feel refreshed.

  2. Next time I come up to Sax-Zim-Bog I’ll take you down there. There is a trick to finding the Great Gray and the Northern Hawk Owls, but the fact is, you have such wonderful habitat, you probably could set up your own birding paradise. BUT then you would have birders crawling all over your place begging to look around SO best keep mum on the subject. You guys are such wonderful role models for all of us and I look forward to reading each new blog! Maggie

    • Thanks Maggie. I’m sure there is a trick. We do see Great Grays from time to time right here, as well as Barred and Great Horned owls. but I’ve never seen a Hawk Owl. Ever.
      Aw, we wouldn’t mind birders hanging around here at all. We’re such NICE people…. lol

  3. Unfortunately, our health care system is not up to par in many areas. I have a lovely friend in the nursing home and my step-father in one as well. They have care plan meetings to discuss problems that need to be addressed. So far, our problems have not been solved and this has been going on for 4 years now. The friend pays 5,000 a month and my step-father pays 10,000 a month-kid you not! My step-fathers care is so bad it makes me want to cry. We have tried everything except remove him, which is not possible at this time. Whatever happened to caring and compassion?

    • Yeah, I hear you. We went that way with not only Javid for the past 35 years but Mom as well. It cost $6,000 a month to keep her in the local nursing home, in a 12’x10′ shared room. She barely had enough left when she passed away to pay for her burial, after selling the home she and Dad had lived in, in Michigan. That’s a crying shame.

  4. A bald eagle crossed in front of my house and landed in my neighbors tree. It was there about 15 minutes. Of course I took pics on my cell but what I would have given to have a good camera! It was magnificent!
    Your frosted trees are magical.

    • We’ve got a pair of Bald Eagles who nest across the creek in the woods. I’d love to get some photos but am scared I might frighten them away if I went close.

  5. Photo op!!! You are welcome to come visit my property and take all the magpie photos you want. In fact you can take all the magpies you want. I’ll help box them up. I have trees full of them. In spring there are so many they hide the branches. They are destructive, obnoxious, nasty, poop all over everything and the poop is difficult to remove, attack and harass other more useful birds and people (nothing is a better start to the day than an encounter with a magpie that dive bombs you and pecks your head) and carry and spread West Nile virus. The combination of mosquitoes and magpies creates a reservoir of disease.

    • Hey now Zelda, I DIDN’T SAY I liked them! After all, we lived in Montana where they were all too common. But here, they’re rare and we don’t have any PHOTOS of them, seeing them only occasionally. So, yes, we wanted photos but don’t really want a dozen arriving in a box anytime soon.

  6. Several years ago there were wild fires burning in the mountains of Mexico. Birds I had never seen before flew over the river to our side. I have not seen them since. Over the years we have had everything from a stork to an american duck stop by. We have no water on our property other than the ones we put out for our poultry. Migratory birds like to stop off and steal food and water from my poultry. I think we are on the tourist stop itinerary.

    • I think it’s interesting how birds come and go with the weather, available food and stresses in other areas. Some years we get lots of Snowy Owls down from Canada due to a lack of voles and other winter prey. This year, many of our migratory birds aren’t showing up, supposedly due to the abundance of seeds and pine nuts in Canada.

  7. I also have handicapped son-just very thankful he is better than even as a child(mentally ill) thanks to a once a month shot. With him in Calif and me in Iowa, pretty hard to do all by phone! Glad you enjoyed your sister visit!

    • It is hard when they’re a long way off. When Javid lived in Montana, it was hard to keep on top of what was going on with him. Here it’s a lot easier although still challenging.

  8. It’s lovely to see you taking a day off to enjoy a visit with your sister and the birds! Winter is a good time for visiting in spite of the many chores that are still waiting for us all at home. The trees look so beautiful covered in frost! You live in such a lovely spot!

  9. Sister time, bird or no bird, is something very special. Glad you had a good time. Hope everything continues to go well with Javid. Thank you for the blog and your vast experience in many different categories.

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