It’s April. It’s Minnesota. Is that how T.S. Eliot came up with that nonsense about “the cruelest month”?

Our theater of seasons
Photography Division

Wayne Nelson of Forest Lake: “I woke up this morning after our big snowfall and looked out the window. The sun was shining brightly, and I had to capture the new fresh snow on the trees with all the shadows in the snow.”

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Mounds View Swede: “Now that the sun rises due east as it makes its way north, I saw something today that I have not seen before. The snow on our deck railing was backlit, as you can tell by the white edge along the top. That light area below that line is sun shinning through the snow.

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“That last photo demonstrates this more clearly. I’d like to think that nature saved the best for last, if only this would be the last.”

Lola: “These geese are probably rethinking their decision to be here early.”

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BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: Are those . . . snow geese?

Accidents of mirth (responsorial)

Writes The Mambo King: “While I appreciate the offer by Rusty of St Paul to take responsibility for the snow we’ve been having lately, I must admit that in reality, it is all my fault. With appalling hubris, I publicly proclaimed in the March 5 edition of BB that the golf courses would be open and the weather would be great the first week of April. What arrogance! What an invitation to a jinx!

“All I can do is ask for the forgiveness of the BB community. Mea maxima culpa!”

Our theater of seasons
And: Keeping your ears open

The Farm Boy of St. Paul reports: “Subject: Spring snow.

“I noticed something different about an April snow. When I shut off the snowblower, rather than hearing the icy silence of a winter day, I was greeted by a chorus of bird songs.”

Our birds, our friends, ourselves
Including: Come again?

Cheesehead By Proxy, “back in Northern Minnesota — but currently on a trip through Iowa”: “My husband and I decided to take a couple of birding trips to break up the long winter/so-called-spring.

“Our first trip was to Wabasha, in order to see the bald eagles that hang out at the river down there. And we wanted check out the National Eagle Center, which is downtown. It was a great trip, and both destinations proved to be well worth the beautiful drive down the river valley.

“Before we left our Northern Minnesota home, I mentioned to a friend that we were headed to Wabasha to see the eagles.

“He replied: ‘Wow! The Eagles are playing in Wabasha?!’

“Fast-forward one week. This morning we are in Des Moines, Iowa, on a road trip down to see the amazing sandhill-crane migration that takes place annually in Nebraska. Our destination is the Audubon Center near Kearney.

“I sent a photo taken enroute yesterday to my Eagles fan friend, noting: ‘We just spotted our first crane!’

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“On a more serious note, here’s a blog about the crane migration that our son forwarded to us. Actually, an essay by the late Paul Gruchow (‘What Cranes Say’) is what inspired us to make this trek to Nebraska.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Coincidentally, we were the Editor — of Minnesota Monthly, way back when — who had the enormous privilege of editing Paul’s “Back Roads” essays month after month, including “What Cranes Say.” We have cited it, ever since, as the best piece of writing we’ve yet edited — though there have been numerous contenders for that honor, including a number of pieces written by you Bulletin Boarders.

What a loss to us all when Paul couldn’t see his way forward.

Gee, our old La Salle ran great?
Including: The Permanent Maternal Record (responsorial)

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Aggie Girl: “Seeing the ad for the ‘Coal King’ reminds me of stories my mom tells of her childhood.

“She grew up in Ohio — not quite Minnesota winters, but cold enough. They had a coal furnace in their basement. Her dad was afraid of fires and refused to let it run overnight, instead letting it die down every evening. She had the upstairs bedroom on the north side of the house, and thus greatly regretted this lack of overnight heat. She likes to tell of waking up in the morning and scraping the frost off the Bible on the nightstand. Her job, as one of the earliest risers, was, after piling on as many layers as possible, to go down to the basement and re-stoke the fire in the furnace. Once done, she’d turn on the stove for breakfast (also adding heat to the room) and stand on the register to get dressed.

“Having long since relocated to Texas, to this day she refuses to visit the Midwest in the winter; she says she is not willing to be ‘that cold’ again. I have tried to explain the wonders of central heating, to no avail.

“P.S. Though our lovely home state has refused to get the notice about spring, the walking trail was spotted with goose droppings today. That MUST be a sign of spring, right?”

The little treasures

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The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “This snapshot was taken in South Minneapolis in the summer of 1935. Isn’t this a happy group of children?

“My dad was notorious for always ‘taking just one more shot.’ From the grumpy looks on the faces of these birthday-party kids, the ice cream must have been melting as my dad was attempting to get us all lined up by age and behaving ourselves — with the exception of the two ostrich posers in the center of the picture. My sister Nora is one of the ‘ostriches’ (the dorky kid with the crumpled socks on the right side), my sister Edith is second on the right, and I am the waif on the far left.

“The only thing I remember about this party is wearing a crepe-paper hat and posing for the picture.”

Vanity, thy name is . . . (responsorial)

No Handle of Woodbury: “I’m guessing that the owner of the license plate ‘P WAGON’ chose that because ‘POWER W’ and ‘PWR WGN’ were taken by other Ram Power Wagon owners. But ‘P WAGON’ is a more entertaining name.”

The Permanent Family Record

Gardengoddess writes: “Subject: Easter Egg and Beer Can Hunt . . .

“. . . or Why Should The Kids Have All The Fun?

“These were the words of our son as he announced the First Annual Easter Beer Can Hunt at our family gathering this past Sunday. He and his wife volunteered to host the gathering, as they had recently moved from their townhouse to a larger domicile. Having hosted most holiday meals for many, many years, Mr. Gardengoddess and I were more than happy to relinquish that responsibility to the more youthful and energetic members of our family.

“As the weather did not permit an outside hunt, the eggs and beer cans were hidden in the lower-level family room, and both children and adults scrambled about, overturning cushions, shrieking with excitement and delight when scoring a ‘find.’ If a kid found a can, it was given to the parent; parents gave eggs to their children. The cat, which had hissed vociferously at the first unfamiliar faces arriving earlier in the day, was sequestered behind closed doors in the laundry room for safety — both its own and that of the hunt participants.

“Our son’s creativity was remarkably expressed by the enhancements he added to the beer cans. Little crosses, chicks, rabbits and ‘Happy Easter’ stickers were plastered above, below and around the larger brand-name labels. By far the most impressive was his creative usage of the traditional Paschal Greeting and response: ‘Christ is Risen! . . . He is Risen Indeed!’ The three words that begin the response were written in big black magic marker right above a can of INDEED B-side Pilsner with a big exclamation point after the INDEED!

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“Hey, thinking . . . thinking . . . what could we do with a can of COORS LIGHT? Maybe ‘I am the LIGHT of the world’?”

Our community of strangers
And: Know thyself!

Fudge Brownie: “I am one of the BB readers who haven’t contributed in a while, but I’ve just been so busy with my refrigerator magnets. I have many, but I think my favorite one is the one that says ‘People who are organized are just too lazy to look for things.’

“I guess I would be one of the lazy ones.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Yes, perhaps, but you have your virtues. To name just one:

You are one of the rare people who handle the grammar correctly in that “one of the plural-noun who/that plural-verb” construction.

The workshop chronicles (responsorial)

Ramblin’ Rose: “Subject: Just Catching Up.

“Bravo!

Dragonslayer of Oakdale is obviously a very talented wood carver. His depiction of the Swedish tomte, or nisse, is wonderful (BB, March 9, 2018).

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“A word of caution, though. The Swedish proprietor of the shop where I purchased mine warned that the tomte can be quite mischievous. I know this to be true. As soon as our tomte were consigned to storage after Christmas, we had a a bit of an enigma here. Folding the laundry revealed that one of my winter-themed socks had lost its mate. A thorough search of the washer, dryer, laundry room, and every other place I could think of proved fruitless. I don’t believe in coincidence, but until now, we’ve never had orphaned socks, so . . .

Dragonslayer, if one of these turns up at your house, please let me know.

“P.S. I echo the call to see more of Dragonslayer‘s wood carvings.”

The workshop chronicles (responsorial) (responsorial)
Or: Requested — and Supplied!

Dragonslayer of Oakdale: “Dragonslayer of Oakdale responds to Dave the Tape Guy of Shoreview’s request for photos.

“I have a hard time deciding which pictures best show my carvings. Many people ask followup questions, such as how big is it? I probably should have put a dollar bill next to the carving to give a scale reference, but then people would want to know if that’s how much it costs. Or the government officialdom would arrest me for photographing currency.

“Anyway, I will try to fill your request.

“Relief carvings are carved into the face of a board. I have several examples, as well as full-bodied examples.

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“The hamburger with eyes was a result of my desire to eat hamburgers and an Internet search for pictures of hamburgers.

“The African mask may find its way to the State Fair this summer.

“The cup was carved from a tree branch in my front yard. The tree has since been removed, so the cup is the memento.”

Band Name of the Day: Mea Maxima Culpa

Website of the Day, from Double Bogey Mike:

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