Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Last weekend we went camping about an hour south of the cities at a state park called "Nerstrand Big Woods". We got there Friday evening and set up camp. We had a walk-in spot, so we weren't smack dab next to people and we weren't 2 miles away from ANYONE.

This was the walk from our site to the car:
walk to our jeep

The only problem was... the fact that we weren't two miles from everyone and when it was time for bed we could still hear the family next to us, with their two-three kids and two dogs, and the groups across the way that were up til 1am... making the first night a little hard to get some shut eye. Harpo (and us) are spoiled with silence the last few times we camped, so he was up "ruffing" most of the first night. And since we didn't spend the day hiking, we too weren't as tired to just zonk out when our heads hit the pillow. A little difficult to sleep on the hard ground when you're not really exhausted. But we made it through. And did our hiking the next day.

Saturday we woke up and began to get things ready to cook breakfast. We were glad to have a portable gas stove with us so we didn't have to make a fire in the morning... although mid-way through warming water for our coffee before we cooked our eggs, the little gas burner went out. Ooops, forgot to check that before we left. So we ended up having to make a fire anyway. We learn something EVERYTIME we go camping, it's great. I was telling Kyle, it happens this way so that when we have kids and a family we don't look like dummies to them because we have it all down to a T by that time, LOL.

We spent all day hiking the trails. And unlike our last experience, these trails were nice and wide:
nice wide path

We saw lots of fungi on our walk:
redish mushroom mushroom tree white fungus

It was a very beautiful wooded area:
tree ivy

We hiked all morning then right before lunch we made it to a hidden waterfall. The bridge was fun to cross:
stepping bridge

We sat near the waterfall for a while (waiting for the people to leave so I could get a good picture, hee hee):
hidden falls

We made our way back around, and stopped in at camp to have lunch. We rested our feet for a bit and tried to keep Harpo from resting - so he wouldn't keep us up all night again. Then we went and hiked the south side of the park. This park was more deserted. Well it all was (except for the falls area) it seems like no one really gets out and hikes all the trails like we do. The south area was also a lot muddier! Kyle had fun picking up acorns and separating the hats off and throwing them back into the woods.

We also came across our first obstacle!!! WATCH OUT!
first obstacle
LOL! Nothing like our last hiking extravaganza.

I had my new birthday present with me. Kyle got me a gorilla tri-pod so I was excited to use it while camping. I jimmied it up to the tree and set everything up to get a family photo....
Take 1:
take 1
Didn't make it in time.

I readjusted the setting so it'd give me more time to get in place. And as I stood next to Kyle waiting for the shutter to go off we both noticed the camera starting to tip down a little bit.. I said "is it moving?" Kyle says "yeah, I think so" LOL which gives us Take 2:
take 2
I laugh just thinking about this, priceless how we were able to bend down and still get parts of our faces in the camera, lol.

Alright, let's try this again! Take 3:
take 3
Good enough! lol

Since our feet were so muddy we decided to cut the south trail short and head back up across the road to where there was a boot cleaning off stand by the drive-in campground. On our way back to camp from there we saw more flowers and insects.
granddaddy long legs

We got back to camp and started dinner... on the campfire - which was okay because that was our plan anyway. Amazingly enough, Kyle got it started from the coals from that morning. Good thing because the ignitor we brought seemed to be going low as well.

We cooked dinner, played some card games, read our books, and went to bed early. Luckily a day of walking was all Harpo needed because he was out like a light!

The next morning, since we ran out of gas for our burner, we just decided to pack up camp early and head into the nearby Nerstrand town to get breakfast.

Turned out Nerstrand (population 233) didn't have much of anything, so we drove on over to Northfield. Where we learned lots of new stuff about that little town. But that's for another blog entry later.

Happy Summer!

Here Piggie Piggie

Last Friday, on our way south to a state park for a weekend of camping (that blog coming up) we were driving down the highway when we passed a pig truck!!!!! Of course when I looked over to see this:
piggies 3

I hollard at Kyle "slow down slow down, I need to take some pictures!!! They are SOOOO CUTE!"
piggies 2

And they were just the cutests little things ever!!!! One of them would make such good friends with Harpo!
piggies 4

This is my FAVORITE! Isn't he darling!
piggie 1

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Work Swans

I take a four lane highway to work, and all spring I watched this mamma swan sitting on her nest in the middle of a swampy lake by the highway. I've always wanted to stop and get a picture of them, but just never did. Well all summer I watched them wading around their next in the water.

Last week I finally pulled on the shoulder, put my hazard lights on, hopped in my passenger seat, put the window down and snapped a few photos of these guys.

This was as close as I could get with 200mm, they were pretty tucked in there. But at least I can document this family I watched for the past few months.
work swans

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fun with Photography

Harpo in all four seasons!

all together

I recently purchased an Action set for Photoshop from lbobi (little blog of big ideas), called: "Seasonal lbobi Actions". So I wanted to play around with some of the actions. An action is basically a short cut, you click the title of the action, hit the play button, and viola! it adds fun effects to your photos!!!!

Isn't Harpo such a cutie batootie!!!!!

So what's your favorite??

Here are the effects with their correlating names:
all together w text

Happy Summer!

Final Week

WOW! My Project 365 has come to an end!!!! I think I only missed 2 days out of the whole year! It's weird not having to remember to take a photo each day... I hope that doesn't cause me to not take as many pictures. Kyle and I have been brainstorming a new project... which I'm not sure if I want to start now or January.... I'll let ya know.

So since this is the last week, there are 8 photos instead of the normal 7. I had to revamp my little collage to fit in the extra guy.
Week 52 blogsize

#358: Beautiful Canoeing Day: Sunday we went canoeing with two other couples. It was a beautiful day!! Although we didn't completely escape the rain, it came to visit us as we were grilling out at the park for dinner.

#359: Last Minute Picture: I was almost asleep when I remembered I didn't take a picture for the day, for some reason Mondays and Tuesdays are the hardest days to remember to take a picture. I grabbed my phone and snapped a picture of cuddly little Harpo :-)

#360: Dinner: I made a cream sauce and roasted our CSA cauliflower. Kyle grilled out chicken and we put it all over pasta, yum yum. It would have been even better if the cauliflower wasn't quite so roasted :-P

#361: Grasshopper: I saw this guy resting on our front storm door, so of course I had to grab my camera and get some pictures of him!!

#362: Harpo: Harpo is so photogenic!!

#363: CSA box 5: We picked up our 5th CSA box the night before. We didn't have time to unload it Thursday night so we did it before work on Friday. That is one crazy looking eggplant!! My goal this week is to eat it ALL!!!! *gasp* yes we have yet to actually eat everything in our box. It ends up going bad before we can eat it. The hardest thing: collard greens... really? what am I suppose to do with those?

#364: Uptown Breakfast: Saturday we had breakfast at our new favorite spot: Uptown Cafeteria. I like it because there is seating on the roof! It was such a gorgeous weekend, I wanted to be outside as much as possible!

And the final picture of my project:
#365: Target Field: What better way to end my Project 365 than a picture of the new Target Field! We went to our first game on Sunday and it was another gorgeous day!!

Happy Summer!

Bday Weekend: Sunday Game Day

Sunday we went to our first Twins game at Target Field!!!
target field

We had gone to one other Twins game when we first moved to Minneapolis. It was actually the second day we lived here, but it was in the dome and not very fun watching baseball INSIDE - so we vowed never to go to a game again... that is until they built the outside stadium!!! It was such a gorgeous day!
365 Target Field

This game, and almost all the remainder of the games are sold out. But we found these tickets on craigslist. A season pass holder was unable to go to this game due to his brother's wedding - so he was selling the tickets. Since he was a season pass holder, the tickets granted us access to this Metropolitan eating area. You still have to pay to buy food or drinks there (which we didn't because they are marked up) but we wanted to go check it out since we could. Leading up to the 'members only area' was a hallway of baseball memorabilia. I liked the wall of stadiums:
wall of fields

After walking around we made it to our seats and enjoyed the game.

Somewhere around the 5th inning we decided to get up and walk around. We walked over to the other side of the stadium to get a city view. You can see the section we were sitting in over on the right of this picture:
city view

There was a blanket of little metal squares that hung to cover the parking garage. These were really cool because they moved with the wind and created waves of silver color - very fun to watch while the pitcher and catcher played catch. :-)
moving designs

Twins ended up winning!!! And we slowly made our way out of the stadium and out of the parking ramp.

Happy Summer!

Bday Weekend: Saturday

Last weekend we celebrated my birthday. Since it fell on a Monday we decided to do the fun stuff Saturday and Sunday.

364 uptown cafeteria breakfast
We went out for breakfast at our new favorite breakfast spot: Uptown Cafeteria up on their rooftop seating.

roof view 1 roof view 3 roof view 2
When we pulled up in front we thought maybe the rooftop seating was closed since we didn't see anyone in there. It was still early and all the hungover uptowners weren't out yet, lol. But when we went in to ask about sitting up there she informed us we were welcome to - but that the elevator wasn't working and we'd have to take the back stairs. This did not stop us since the whole point of us going there for breakfast was to sit on the roof! And actually we even got a little behind the scenes tour, surprised that they don't have public stairs - you'd think it'd be a fire hazard or something. Anyway we were the first ones up there, but eventually people started making their way up.

These are both HORRIBLE pictures of us, but I'd thought I'd share them anyway :-P
kyle breakfast

At least Kyle put sunglasses on, my face just looks ridiculous because I'm squinting so much, lol.
daisy breakfast

After breakfast we had to drive over to the State Fair Grounds to pick up my rejected piece of art, lol. While we were over in the St. Paul area I also wanted to find these two peanuts that I had on my list of ones to find. After much driving around... we FINALLY found them!!!
remember, restore, rejoice charlie brown bound to be linus

Then we headed back home, changed clothes and headed over to the beach at lake calhoun. We laid out on the beach and swam a little in the lake before heading over to a tent sale at national camera exchange :-)

For dinner we went out to Crave and had some superb sushi! My favorite, then we meet some friends at Bar Abilene for some drinks and dancing :-)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Canoeing Sunday, August 8th

beautiful day
Last weekend we went canoeing with two couples from our newly married group. We were suppose to do this back in June, but it got pushed out a bit. It was a gorgeous day
canoe trip

This was Kyle and I's first time canoeing in Minnesota. MN canoeing is much different than Missouri canoeing. If you were to canoe in MO you prepare for getting wet, because it's inevitable that you will tip and most likely lose something - like your most favorite pair of pink shorts that i lost when I was like 10... I'll never forget that, I was crushed. Or sunglasses, I lost my fair share of those on MO canoe trips.

But in MN, it's really just canoeing down a wide river and no fear of tipping. This was also Harpo's FIRST time ever in a canoe! He was very excited
excited harpo

He did not know what was in store for him!!! His girlfriend Ruby was also along for the day
Enoch and Ruby

At first Harpo just stood around acting like he was scared to move since the canoe moved when he moved.
harpo canoeing

He'd say hi to Ruby
saying hello

Then he relaxed enough to take nap
harpo napping

And by the end of the day he was king of the world!
brave harpo

The river was 17 miles long. After we crossed under the train tracks, we pulled over to dip in the water.

We took turns jumping off the bank (right after Michelle witnessed a snake slithering under a tree)
jumping in

And of course we made Harpo swim. He does NOT like the water, but it was a hot day and I knew it would make him feel better.
wet harpo

It was a nice relaxing day
canoeing down the river

Once we made it down to where we had our car parked, we grilled out for dinner. It ended up raining, so we moved in under a pavilion - luckily the rain held off until we were out of the canoes.

Happy Summer!
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