Sunday, August 30, 2009


Last night we went to the Flank's for a birthday party for Davis, who is turning 16. We had a great time! Val made some really good pizza and wings, there was cake, and we had a bonfire that everyone ended up around since the temp got down in the 40's. Yep, in August. Oh Minnesota!

And in true Minn style, there were drinks of course. Now I would like to state for the record that I was no where near drunk/plowed/blitzed/whatever funny name you have for being 3 sheets to the wind. Stef and I decided to go inside for some cake, which was really good, and then head back to the fire. We walk outside onto the deck and I go "whoa it's dark. I'm probably going to fall flat on my face!" Stef says "oh it's ok, no one is watching" So we go down the 4 steps and what do you know, I roll my ankle coming off the last step (so yea, I basically fell on the ground) and tip over in slow motion. But my drink was in my hand! I had to save the drink!

So then I'm laying on the ground, and both Stef and I are cracking up at my clumsiness when my foot starts to scream at me. By the time we got home, it was a little puffy and this morning it's still puffy and it hurts. But I'm a tough Minnesota girl now! I can take it! Plus I don't have insurance right now, so there are my options.

I need to figure out how to walk on it without looking crazy because I have my second interview tomorrow with a private investment company. I'd really like the job too, it pays more that what I currently make, is closer and gas in Hibbing is way cheaper than Virginia. Like .20 cents cheaper. Virginia apparently laces their gas with gold. Whatever.

Travis helped his cousins Kara and Eric install windows in their house yesterday. Not to worry though, there were two professionals on the job as well. Trav and Eric were just muscle. So I got to see their new house before the housewarming party in Sept. because I'm special! It's really cute! 2 stories, probably about 100-150 years old (they're not sure), a newer kitchen, big bedrooms, 2 good sized bathrooms, plus a garage and a garden shed outside. And they got it for a song! Just one of the reasons why we moved up here. Anyway, I can't wait to see it again at their party.

So that's our crazy exciting life for now. We skipped church this morning (mostly because I woke up too late and am moving slow) so I need to go clean up - you know someone will come over to check on us!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Updates from the Iron Range

I'd like to say that I have lots of exciting stuff going on to update about, but lots of exciting stuff just doesn't happen in Bear River. So I'll update you on the little bit of exciting stuff we have going on!

Last week we got a box from my parents with some odds and ends in it, some t-shirts from their trip to the Keys, an afghan and some Christmas dish towels. My parents have also decided that the Northland needs an infusion of tacky, Floridian-retiree decorating so they also included two plastic pink flamingos. You know, they type that you put out on the lawn next to the garden gnome and your huge gazing ball. So after a week of deciding if we were really going to put them on the lawn or not, we came up with a happy medium:

Tada! They're out by our fire pit! Now we just need some tiki torches and we'll be good to go! Actually, the little buggers are kind of cute, and Trav's Dad already commented that he liked our "birds" out back. Maybe we'll start a new trend!

Travis had his final interview with Country Financial, and we heard back on Friday that he got the job! Hooray! He starts on Sept 17th, as that's the beginning of their 4th sales quarter. His boss didn't want to start him at the end of a quarter and then obviously have a tough time meeting his goal. In the mean time though, he's been helping his Dad with odd jobs, including haying one of his uncle's fields. He took some pictures while he was supposed to be "working" so I thought I'd share those too.

Here is the field he had to hay, and the big tractor.

Part of his photo shoot, pretending to be a farmer.

Here's a cool shot when he was finishing up

I also received another box from my parents this week with some Gator apparel in it. I can't forget my roots! And I think the UPS man is slowly starting to despise us - it's a long haul out here! Anyway, Friday was "College Day" at work, so I was able to wear one of my new sweaters. Here I am, sporting my alma mater, Gooooo Gators!!

Summertime up here is the season for growing, it seems like everyone's garden is crazy in bloom. You can even find berries growing along the side of the road if you're lucky! Saturday morning we went to Grandma Fran's house for some green beans, although I didn't know that this meant we would have to pick them. Oh well, I can be a farmer too! We picked some green beans, and they also had peas that were ripe for the picking so we took a bunch of those too. Fran came out just as we were finishing up and yelled at us for not taking enough, so we went back and picked a bunch more. She also has corn, carrots, beets, cabbage, spinach and some other stuff that I'm sure I'm leaving out. She also gave us a couple nice zucchini to take too, since she knows I like zucchini.

Having knocked off a couple of things from our grocery list, we decided to head into town to get the essentials. On the way, Travis mentioned he saw a good place for raspberry picking. So we swung by and holy raspberries! There was a ton! We didn't pick too many, but we got enough for a little snack. Of course we had the camera with us, so here are some picking pictures for your viewing pleasure!

Here I am picking raspberries. They went up the hill behind me too. Crazy!

Here they are on the bush.

And here I am with our little pile of raspberries. We would have stayed longer, but there were a few threatening bees hanging around. We all know how I feel about bugs!

So that's our exciting life for now. I hope this finds you all healthy and well!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The 98th Annual Bear River Fair

The fair - be there! Oh boy, were we there all right. My first Bear River fair, and I think we got to experience everything. Rain and all. Despite the intermitant downpours, everyone managed to have a good time. Let's see, there was karoke, softball, face painting, a bounce house, food, t-shirts and sweatshirts, mini golf, bingo, chicken sh*t bingo (I'll describe later), a flea market, and exhibits from local residents. Not too shabby!

We started off by watching some softball games. Zach played for the Side Lake Store team, and Jesse and Brett Anderson were playing for Zup's grocery store. I'm pretty sure that the guys were drinking a bit in between at bats, their playing got worse with every inning! There was a party Sat night though, so I think the guys that were planning on going to that didn't want to continue on in the tournament and have to play early on Sunday morning. Makes sense!

Then we decided to check out the bingo table. Apparently, I'm a bingo wiz and I take no prisoners! Out of 3 games, I won two. My prize? Two liters of soda. Not so bad for $1.50! It's .25 cents for 3 bingo boards, and Travis and I both played three times with three boards each. So I think my math is right there. Then on Sunday we played again and Travis won some more soda. Nice! They had other prizes, but clearly soda trumps toy cars in our case!

Here are some pictures of our great bingo playing skills. That's Aunt Carol, Grandma Fran, Danica and our cousin Jenny playing with us.

So I'm sure you're wondering what Chicken Sh*t Bingo is now, right? Well, the basics are this: you put in a dollar for a number, anywhere from 1 to 60. So then they put a chicken in a cage over a board that has all the numbers. If the chicken poops on your number, you win a portion of the money! Supposedly some guys were buying half the board at a time though and monopolizing the game. I don't think there are printed rules for this type of thing though, so whatever!

I was really impressed with all the exhibits. We have some great farmers around here! Here's a sample of some of the entries:
Different types of hay

Potatoes. We think there was a bit of a red potato scandal. The pretty, huge ones on the end (closes to the camera) got third and the ugly, little ones in the middle won first. Who's judging this thing?

More produce

Some of the beautiful flowers entered

Me, hard at work writing the results for my newspaper article! The photography entered was all really great!

Here is a great picture of Travis and Zach from a fair when they were little. So cute! They had a memory lane wall of past fair years.

There was a moment of drama at the end of the day on Saturday. The rain had just started in earnest and the winds picked up a bit. A man selling fresh corn had his tent blown over by the wind, and it ended up in the softball field! Luckily no one was playing, and there were no injuries. It's always exciting here in Bear River!

Well, that's it for now folks. Hopefully next year will be just as fun!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Today in the news...

is me! My second article came out in the Cook News Herald. Not to exciting, but it's fun to see my name in print :o) Although I'm a little miffed because they changed my title from "Bear River Beat" to "Bear River Area News". Boring! Mine was way cuter and had personality.

Work is going well so far. I've been doing a lot of online training though, so that's a little taxing. By the end of the day, my brain feels like mush. We have a really big staff, which is fun! It's like my old Wachovia days. Lots of different people to talk to and get to know. Can't wait to get behind the teller line!

It seems that we're having a bit of a heat wave this week. Highs in the upper 80's for the most part. You may laugh, but when you don't have A/C - that's pretty warm! The weatherman says that it won't last very long though. Ahhh summer, see you next year!

Monday, August 10, 2009

First day of work

Went as well as could be expected. Filled out some paperwork, did an online orientation thing. The usual. I didn't get to meet everyone because they were pretty busy today but I did get an hour lunch. All right! So I ate at a deli down the street that had an outdoor patio and walked around downtown Virginia a bit. They have a lot of bars, a candy store, a used book store, a theater, a teen center, and some other stuff that I didn't really get to check out.

The highlight of my day: finding out that insurance would only cost me $20 per pay check! I was paying $66 when I left about crazy. Dental is an additional $5, and vision is about that too. Adding Travis would double it, but still - then we're talking about $60 per paycheck for both of us? Still saving $6!!

Also, we went grocery shopping the other day and spent a whopping $75 for a week and 1/2 worth of food. No sales tax! We even bought some junky stuff like chips and beer. It's good that this is all so cheap though, since I'll be making quite a good deal less than before. But I think it will all work out for us in the end.

Having something to actually go and do today has completely wiped me out. Until next time my friends!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my Mom's birthday, yay!! She's the most amazing woman I know, so I'm dedicating this post to her. She also bought us rugs for the house, and wanted to see what they looked like. So these are for you Mom!

Our fuzzy, tan runners

The pretty braided rugs in the living room. The smaller one fills that empty space nicely, in my opinion.

And our mudroom. No rugs were supplied for this room, I just haven't posted pics of it yet. Mom, you'll notice that the bench you bought us for our old apartment fits perfectly in here! It's good for shoe storage, and everyone knows that when they come inside that this is where they leave their shoes.

My Mom and Dad are in the Keys right now, so they won't be able to read this until they get back. Tough life, eh? Happy Birthday!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Into the wild

As you may have guessed by now, we live in the middle of nowhere. Maybe even the capital of nowhere. So there are lots of trees and animals and plants (oh my!) around our house. Since I've been taking a short vacation before I start my new job, I decided to go explore the woods behind our house.

What I discovered - I'm no Christopher Columbus. It was a very short lived expedition trip, since the bugs ran me out of there in about 5 minutes flat. And I have the bite marks to prove it! I decided that I didn't want to get West Nile, or a Minnesota variation of it (North Nile perhaps?) so I stuck to the backyard. It's pretty big, so there was plenty of exploring to do anyway. Take that, nasty bugs! Here are some pictures of my discoveries:

We have lots of pretty flowers. You can also see some of the bugs I had to deal with on the yellow flower. Maybe that's a weed? I don't know so I'll have to find my green thumb soon.

Artsy log in the firepit.

Cool mushroom on a log. This was as far into the woods as I got before heading home with my tail between my legs.

And some ferns. I've been told that normally the blueberry bushes intermingle with the ferns. You can drive down the road any day during the summer, at any time and see someone picking blueberries on the side of the road. I looked in our ferns but didn't see any blueberries. Just more bugs.

And that concludes our lovely field trip into the woods. I start work on Monday, thank goodness!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Great Outdoors

I'm going to post some of our outside pictures. Hang on to your seats, there's a bunch of them!
Our Garage

The view from our front porch. Yep, we can see the church. God is always watching us!

Travis, showing off his yard skills by raking up the dead grass. Then we boxed it up and fed it to the cows at Dave & Leslie's house.

Here's a view up and down our street. Not a whole lot going on in Bear River!

Our firepit

And the backyard!

Nothing too exciting to report right at the moment. I'm just enjoying my little vacation before I start back to work! Although it would be nicer if it were a tad bit warmer. The temp is 64 degrees now at noon, with a high of 70 and a low tonight of 44. Yowza!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Country living at its finest

In my last update I left you with the cliff hanger that we were about to embark on our trip to the dump. Well I couldn't leave you hanging! I was actually very surprised and impressed at this whole dump business. First you have to buy a card that looks like this:
Please note that this is not legal tender. The card allows you up to five bags of garbage. Lucky me, I went with a local (Travis) and he knew this, so we combined our smaller white bags into large black bags. Sneaky! So anyway, you buy this card at the Side Lake Store, and then you go down the road to the dump. We went to the wrong dump, as they have moved it since Travis lived up here, so our trip was made a little longer. With our trash in the trunk. Lovely.

When you get to the dump, you're greeted by a sign like this:
Our dump is in French Township, part of St. Louis County - ahah! And you thought we really moved far away! Apparently the dump is only open on Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday. Lucky us again, we went on Sunday and will now know in the future to make this a Sunday chore.

I was pretty impressed with the set up. I was imagining great heaping mounds of trash and a foul odor. Nope! They have bins for all different types of trash, including recyclables, and a huge compactor for general trash. Here's a picture of one:
See? Not so bad. Ahhh, gotta love living in the country!

After our dumpy outing, we went over to Grandma Fran's for lunch. Trav's Uncle Al and Aunt Diane, and their boys Jonathan and Justin are in town for the week so they were there too. We had a great time visiting and laughed a lot as usual. We were discussing a relative that was in the prayer bulletin at church, and has been for quite some time now. Fran said that she's been very sick, and "maybe if they took her out of the bulletin then she'd just die already!" Take it as you will, but Fran is always keeping us on our toes!

Sunday, August 2, 2009


I knew I was in for some colder weather, but this is a little ridiculous! Today we had to turn on the heat in the house as it's only 57 degrees. Supposedly it's going to top out at 70, but I don't see that happening. And I've had to dive into all my sweaters and such. Hello August!

We went to church this morning and were one of 15 people there including the Pastor. But it was really nice! The church is super cute, small and comfortable. Show up in jeans and a fleece jacket? Eh, who cares! We're just glad you came! Certainly a nice refresher. Here's a picture of our little Bear River Lutheran Church. This view is from our driveway. I can see the church from my bedroom even!

Today is our first trip to the dump as well. This should be interesting! I think I'm going to take the camera along just to document our country living at its finest. More to come!