Where my summer went (2)

It’s officially fall in Minnesota — as I will show you soon. But first, here are a few more memories from my unintentional summer vacation.


June brings us the summer solstice — which in Minnesota means days that stretch from before 5 a.m. to well after 9 p.m. Although my photos don’t do it justice, the light is spectacular!

Marsh sunrise 1320407 BLOG

Rainbow 1320236 CL CT BLOG

Wheat sunrise 1320409 BLOG

June is also lady slipper season, so I make the annual trek to Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden to see my state’s official flower.

Lady slipper 1320133 BLOG

Lady slippers 1320089 BLOG

Lady slippers 1320183 BLOG

The cattails are already taller than I am, even when the elevated walkway gives me an extra six inches.

Butler reeds 1320139 BLOG

Butler path 1320122 BLOG

I continue my habit of forest-bathing, too — until a cloud of horseflies turns my strolls into involuntary interval workouts, with much sprinting and shouting and waving of the arms.

Forest bath 1310744 DK BLOG

Forest bathing 1310738 BLOG

June also heralds another beginning: a sneak preview of the new Bell Museum. I am thrilled to see the restored dioramas by Minnesota painter Francis Lee Jaques (and grateful to my friend Tom for teaching me about Jaques).
 Bell diorama 1310978 CL BLOG

But it’s a bit disconcerting to see other things still in storage, like these pheasants in a plastic bin.

Bell museum 1310969 BLOG


With much (well-deserved) fanfare, the Bell Museum opens to the public on July 14. I don’t know what it says that my favorite part of the big celebration is a poorly taxidermized squirrel.

Bell squirrel 1320975 CR BLOG

Plus the stunning building, of course! If the architects designed it to reflect its environment, they succeeded in spades.

Bell Museum 1340090 BLOG

Bell museum sunrise 1340068 CL BLOG

Bell sunrise 1320391 BLOG

July also takes me back to Frontenac for another visit with my friend Pam. It’s blistering-hot again, so we stick mostly to the woods.

Pam in Frontenac 1330302 BLOG

But I do manage to spot an elusive damselfly among the leaves, and a hummingbird moth in the neighbor’s garden.

Dragonfly 1330305 BLOG

Hummingbird moth 1330333 BLOG

During one of our strolls Esteban and I stop to admire our neighbor’s kids’ sidewalk art. (Note the sea turtles and starfishes. These are not native to Minnesota.)

Sidewalk art IMG_8771 BLOG

During another stroll, Esteban and I happen upon a juvenile hawk that seems to have an injured eye.

Juvenile hawk 1320705 BLOG

Juvenile hawk 1320709 BLOG

We consider taking it to the Raptor Center for evaluation, but realize it’s already quite sharp and pointy — and that one does not simply pick up a bird of prey.

Bird of prey meme BLOG

When we come back the next morning it is gone. I fear the worst … until I see it high up on its perch a few weeks later. It sees me, too. (Sorry for the crappy phone photo.)

Juvenile hawk IMG_9010 BLOG.jpg

During a visit with my friend and neighbor Mary, I note through her stained-glass window that the days are getting shorter already.

Mary stained glass IMG_9241 LIGHTER BLOG

And soon it will be August …


    • How wonderful, Michael! It’s great to have these seasonal rituals, isn’t it? I find them a beautiful way to maintain a connection with nature.

    • I can’t take any credit for the term (because the Japanese invented it, I believe) but I agree with you wholeheartedly that it’s a wonderful idea. I also love your interpretation of it as a means of purification … that is a beautiful way of looking at it. Thank you so much for stopping by!

      • The forest has always helped me remove unwanted layers of noise and dirt – I’m now living in an area which has thorny, scrub, rocky forests and am struggling a bit with the “image” of a forest in my mind and the actual forest I see around me, and I’m going to view here with the lens of forest bathing today! 🙂 To good accupressure! 🙂

        • You are so right that the quality of the forest can influence how pleasant the “bath” is! Well … I’m honored my photos were able to at least provide some calming imagery for you. To good acupressure! 🙂

  1. Beautiful photos, as always. I was surprised at first that the Bell Museum was not devoted to an amazing collection of bells. Oh well.

    And that stuffed squirrel is just creepy.

    • You are so funny, JP — but you make an excellent point. Now you have me thinking of writing a Yelp review decrying the misnomer and lamenting the utter lack of bells. Ha ha!

      And isn’t that poor squirrel a riot? It was in the “see and touch” section of the museum, where kids are invited to play with the specimens, but I couldn’t help wondering whether it would give most kids nightmares.

    • Thank you for the kind compliment! I’m (probably too) picky about my photos … but you’re right that the phone photo still gives you an idea of how the bird looked a few weeks later. I was just relieved to see it had survived!

    • It was busy indeed (as you know from your front-row seats, ha ha). But in hindsight it’s good to see how much time I did spend outside, enjoying the outdoors. Any summer spent outdoors is a summer well-spent, in my book. 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by, and for your kind words!

    • Summer passes WAY too quickly for my liking too, V.J. — and it seems to be speeding up as I get older! (What’s up with that?!!) But isn’t the idea of “forest bathing” lovely? The Japanese came up with the concept a few years ago, and it does seem they’re on to something.

      Well … now that I’m done posting, it’s time to visit YOUR blog and see what you’ve been up to. Hope all is well in your world! And thank you, as always, for stopping by.

  2. So many beautiful shots captured in there! Thank you for a view of Minnesota summer through your eyes and experiences, Heide “) I love the virtual travel. The light is so interesting to me – it really is so wonderfully different in every area of the world and can “feel” that you are somewhere else because of it. Exquisite subtleties. Looking forward to some Minnesota fall pics, if you do!

  3. long may we bath in forests oceans and all that mother nature shares with us! Thank you for sharing your wash cycle 😉

  4. Somehow, I see myself reflected in that squirrel: hesitant, a little fearful, more given to flight than fight. The moment I saw your photograph I felt empathy with him. Then I found out he was totally stuffed and the connection was complete. But I love your sunsets and I feel inspired to see the Bell Museum for myself. Thank you for the tour.

    • OMG … you are HILARIOUS! (“Then I found out he was totally stuffed and the connection was complete.”) Who would have thought that your spirit animal was a stuffed squirrel, eh? I’m going to be laughing about that one for a while, thank you. And thank you too for the kind words! If you ever do find yourself out this way, I will give you a real-life, in-person tour of the Bell Museum. It really is quite beautiful. Thank you again for making my day!

  5. Again these pictures are stunning! While I am sure the sunsets were even better in person, your pictures are frame worthy! And that poor squirrel! :p I find that funny too! I am glad you had such an amazing summer! ❤

    • Thank you, thank you, thank you! You sure know how to make a gal’s day with your kind words. But we’re not done with summer just yet! We still have the Renaissance Festival and the State Fair to get through … and *then* comes the fall color. 😉 Thank you so much for stopping by! xx

  6. Nothing says bad day like a big, gross bottle fly parked leisurely atop your head. Where do your raptors overwinter?

    That’s a cool hummingbird moth! They are so loud. I was on a long walk a few years ago, down a remote country road and just daydreaming to myself, when one of these came zooming out of a patch of flowers in the ditch. That just about startled me out of my gosh darn shoes!

    • Oh, these flies don’t just park casually on your head — no, siree. Instead they land on any exposed flesh, use their plier-shaped mouths to pinch-bite open a little wound, and then lap up the blood as you scramble through the woods like a deranged person. Having five or six of those in pursuit is the stuff of nightmares.

      As for the raptors: Their wintering habits depend on the species, I’m told. We actually drove past one of the primary migration corridors on our way home from the North Shore on Sunday but didn’t have time to stop. Lots of info here, though: https://www.hawkridge.org/

      And how cool that you’ve spotted a hummingbird moth also! I must confess I didn’t notice the sound, but that’s probably because my friend Pam and I were jabbering away with such excitement at the sight of it. 🙂

      Thank you so much for (virtually) tagging along with us!

  7. Great shots. I love the lady slippers. We didn’t see any this summer. It looks like the Bell has been moved off campus?? I remember the old one. But OMG, that squirrel. I agree with others. Nightmare worthy. 🙂

    • What a shame you didn’t see any lady slippers, Marie … though you certainly saw everything else in Minnesota! 🙂 Yes, the Bell Museum has moved — to the St. Paul campus. I do miss the musty old building for the memories it always evoked, but must admit the new site is stunning. Much easier to park there, too!

      Sorry about that squirrel, btw. Hopefully the nightmares won’t persist after the first night or two. 😀

  8. Oh my! I’m sure being there was even more spectacular, but you’ve got some fantastic sunset photos. As for the squirrel (my favorite of your museum series) 😂…is this part of a natural history exhibit?

    • Thank you for your kind words! Though I always give Mother Nature 100% credit for spectacular sunsets. And yes indeed, the squirrel is part of the “touch and see” exhibit for kids. The entire Bell Museum is devoted to natural history, in fact, so there are about 1,000 more stuffed animals to see … but none quite so grotesquely charming as the squirrel. 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by!

        • Isn’t it funny how much of science is fascinating — but also deeply unsettling? Thinking too much about how quickly viruses propagate, or the fragility of our heart valves can make for many a sleepless night. Fortunately the process of preserving and stuffing a squirrel is not among my repertoire of nightmares, lol.

  9. A lovely review of your Summer, with understatement and humour. Yes, I wouldn’t be going anywhere near the raptor. It looks like it is feeding quite nicely, thank you.

    • Yes indeed … my husband eased my worries about the raptor somewhat by pointing out that there were three rabbits within walking distance, ha ha. It was still a huge relief to see it a few weeks later, though.

      Thank you so much for stopping by, and especially for your kind comment, Mr. Draco!

  10. Ha, what a GREAT wonderful glorious and surprising post. You packed in everything you could, although the stuffed squirrel scared the living daylights out of me 😉
    It’s ‘funny’ (not ha ha funny, just funny!) to start with the first snow pics and then go back in time and season to your summer. Love that Bell Museum but did expect something with Bells….. 🙂 Then, of course, when I lived in Troooono (Toronto), I had a landlady who worked for BELL at the time and no bells were involved either.
    So much to enjoy, forest baths (yeah, heard and read about that before too), sundowns, weather playing games, and so much more. Thank you for sharing and courage for the time to come!

    • Thank YOU so much for stopping by, Kiki — it’s really wonderful to hear from you again (as I really love reading your reactions and memories). I am dreadfully sorry about that squirrel, though; it seems to have upset a lot of readers. Perhaps the Bell Museum should reconsider having it in the children’s section … and exchange it for an actual bell, perhaps? Ha ha. Funny too that your landlady in Trooooono worked for the *other* Bell company. Sounds like you have some fond memories of your time there. Just as I do of my summer! So delighted that you came along (at least virtually).

      • i was kidding about the squirrel – grew to hate them in both Canada and England. They were so bold …. they (the grey ones) can all get stuffed, as far as I’m concerned. And yes, the word stuffed is used in its full range of definitions 😉

        • Ha! I love your multi-meaning squirrel pun, Kiki. And I’m glad to know you were joking too, because I really was worried I’d traumatized a couple of people there. I’m quite fond of squirrels myself, but I’ve never had one get in the house or chew the wires. Then I might be joining you in telling them all to get stuffed! 🙂

  11. ‘One does not simply pick up a bird of prey’! Ha! Looks like you made the right decision there. Stunning photos, reminds me to absorb nature a bit more. I’m sat outside (freezing), but determined to make the most of some fresh air rather than be cooped up indoors. There is every type of cloud going on and I can’t stop looking at the sky ;). That squirrel looks like he was stuffed just as he was about to say ‘I don’t feel so good’. 😉

    • I have to remind myself every single day to slow down and absorb nature a bit more too — but it’s always worth the effort when I succeed. I’m curious about the clouds you’re witnessing, though! Is it about to storm, or by “every type of cloud” do you mean interesting shapes? Do tell! As for that poor squirrel … I do feel bad for the indignity of being preserved in that state for all eternity. Can you imagine?! I’m half-tempted to throw out my old bathrobe, just to make sure there’s no chance anyone will ever see me in it, LOL.

      • Well, I don’t know all the intricate technical terms, despite being a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society (true story), but there was alot of cumulonimbus going on, lovely big fat fluffy clouds, possibly my favourite. Then up high was really strong long mares tails, cirrus, which I think means it’s really windy on high. Lots of contrails mixed in too. My garden was as still as anything and it was sunny with blue sky. Seems like a very busy day for clouds!

        • You’re a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society?! I’ve never heard of such a thing — but I love it instantly. And my goodness, it does sound like you have a busy sky there indeed. How lovely that it’s still and sunny for you down near the ground, though. xx

  12. Oh please do ask your friend to record the sprinting, shouting and arm waving through nature! LOL 😀 Nothing like a calm walk through nature. Unless you ARE nature, and awake to the screams 😀 Well the photo’s are quite brilliant.
    I’m actually admiring the parking lot at Bell Museum ! Up here, City council moved our provincial museum downtown. Into a bright shiny new building and allocated 0…yes zero parking spaces. Everyone is to take transit. I guess they forgot, this is a winter city. No one takes their kids to a bus stop when it’s 20 below, bundled to an inch of their lives and waits for a bus. It used to be located in a beautiful historic district, ton’s of parking and a beautiful park to picnic in. I swear, I would be hated on that council, voting a big fat NO on 95% of their ridiculous hair brain ideas. They spend money like a bunch of drunken sailors. Sooooo, got that off my chest…LOL
    Back to the little squirrel. I’m no expert, but maybe someone could slip a peanut in his little paws, perhaps that would help the presentation. Poor thing.
    So you had an awesome summer by the looks of things. I’m glad. July was stinkin’ hot here and August was all about smoke filled days. The smoke came by way of wild forest fires in British Columbia. I can’t believe there’d be a single tree left there. Fires burned for weeks. We couldn’t be outside.
    But as Alys said in her current post, referring to her garden, “there’s always next year”.
    Is this message as long as your post….so sorry. I’ve missed you 😀 xo K

    • I’m sure I have ruined many critters’ days over the years with the way I come crashing through the woods. Gosh … I wonder if that’s why I seldom see any wildlife? LOL.

      What a huge disappointment about your provincial museum, though. What could that council possibly have been thinking? I’m all for promoting public transportation, but it also shouldn’t be the ONLY option. Gadzooks. Well … if you do decide to join that council let me know because I’ll join it with you and then we can at least be hated together! Seriously. What happened to common sense?!

      You did make me literally laugh out loud with your idea for giving that squirrel a little makeover, though — because you’re right that a peanut (or bulbous acorn) would improve the presentation. Hmmm. You really have my wheels turning! I’ll see what can be done. 🙂

      As for those forest fires in British Columbia … how heartbreaking. The loss of habitat, the air quality, all of it. We can only take comfort in the fact that nature abhors a vacuum and will soon reclaim that land. VERY glad you weren’t in harm’s way, though. <——(enormous understatement.)

      Well … I can't thank you enough for coming back, and for making MY WEEK with your kind words and sweet comments. I've missed you too and am so happy to be back in touch.


      • Oh I do like the idea of a take-over at our City Council of Clowns, LOL ! They’d not see it coming (cause their heads are so far…yadda yadda)…wee bit naughty there:D
        Do let me know if our squirrelly friend gets a make-over…he-he xok

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