Monday, December 10, 2018

Walking Out and About

Moving my body is one of my great passions.  Walking, biking, dancing, paddling and seeing the world in a new way.  I took a walk the other day across the bridge heading out of Winona across the Mississippi River to Aghaming Park, John Latsch Preserve.

The ice bubbles that these rocks formed are quite wonderful.
Here the ice  is breaking up.

The river is still open.

 I was going to explore that little spit of land.

Boathouses on the other bank.

Then I saw two pick up trucks driving fast and had a thought, "I wonder if it is hunting season?"        I decided to get moving out of the park in case I was mistaken for a purple deer.


Monday, December 3, 2018

Life of Miracles along the Yangtze and Mississippi with Wang Ping

I had the great honor of meeting and listening to Wang Ping, poet, novelist and multi-media artist share stories of her life and read from her book, "Life of Miracles Along the Yangtze and Mississippi." Afterward she lead us in  Prayer Flag making to bless more rivers in her travels.

She teaches at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

People gathering supplies to create their own prayer flag. They added leaves from around Winona and drew and painted on cloth.

Wang Ping used a brayer to add paint to the leaves to print on the cloth.

My art student, Ana joined in the fun as her Dad watched.  He was a bit shy to make one himself.  You can barely see the bill of his cap as he looked over her shoulder.  She was happy to make one for him.  She decided to keep with the Ridgeway Community School theme of creating Kindness.

Many people creating.

Mary Lee, Ana, Ping

Thanks to the Winona Public Library, Great River Review, River Art Alliance and more for sponsoring and hosting this wonderful event.  You can purchase Wang Ping's book "Life of Miracles Along the Yangtze and Mississippi" and at local booksellers.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Tundra Swans on the Mississippi River

We took a drive down the river to Brownsville, Minnesota to see the Tundras Swans in late November.

We were not sure, if we'd see them.  Along the shore nearer to home, the water was frozen.  The cold came early in our area this year.  As we got closer to Brownsville and the lookout, we could hear them.  If you look in the distance of this photo, you can see stripes of white.  There are thousands of birds closer to the center of the water.

In 2011, we went down earlier in November nearer to sundown and the area was in a pink haze from sunset. Check out those pictures on Amazing Beauty on the Backwaters of the Mississippi.
That post gives some interesting facts about the marvel of their flight and the distances that they travel.

To learn more about the Tundras Swans and find the observation deck, see  Brownsville, Minnesota.

There is a short video about the swans and shows the large amount present that you may be able to see.  The wind noise in the video detracts from the amazing sounds that they all make.  The website gives some good information about the size of the swans and their nesting habits and habitat needs.

Next November, make a trip to see them!  It is worth your time.

Friday, November 23, 2018

All Minnesota State Parks Free on the Day After Thanksgiving

After lots of delicious food on Thanksgiving, we like to get outside and hike the trails at a state park just down river from us.

This year the weather was mild but a bit overcast.  I think that kept some outdoor enthusiasts away this year.  Last year the weather was warm and sunny and lovely and we saw lots of people.

We hiked the trail out to Kings Bluff.

Bob and I played with taking photos.

Bob changing lenses for a wider photo view.

The Mississippi River

A sneak selfie of Bob and I

The planted evergreens.  The wind blowing through their branches sounds like the trees are singing.

A real selfie and we're both smiling!

Finishing up our hike with a picnic lunch.  Food always tastes better outside.  Gratitude for trees and land, and air and good food and loving people around me.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Rally to Get Out and Vote for All of Our Safety

Two groups in Winona, Winona Youth Actions for Gun Sense in America and Mom's Demand Action for Gun Sense in American brought the community together in a peaceful dialogue about creating a safe Winona. 

Heart felt students spoke on the need to feel safe in our schools and our community.  High School students spoke of their fear for going to school and not coming home to see loved ones.  Several talked of having escape plans and making plans with younger siblings to get out, if a violent intruder comes to their school.

Mary Hoffman and McCarthy Leaf lead the Youth Action group.  High School students with a mission to make schools and our community safe.  They invited the community to get out and vote for leaders who would help.  These students are not anti-guns. They are a non-partisan group. They invited the community to share their thoughts.

This official encouraged anyone who hears about someone threatening violence to speak up.  He said that students and staff in our school may hear things before police are ever notified.  It could mean saving lives.

Students shared their fears and concerns asking for adults help through making educated choices in their choice to vote.

Youth Action are desiring gun sense in legislation. For example having background checks for anyone wanting to purchase a weapon.

They want legislators to support Red Flag Laws.  This law would give a judge the right to issue an order for law enforcement to remove weapons from someone who was reported as dangerous or pose as a risk to themselves or others.

A quote from article in Mother Jones, "Red flag laws, sometimes called extreme risk protection order laws, allow a judge to issue an order that enables law enforcement to confiscate guns from individuals deemed a risk to themselves or others. Since the Parkland shooting, at least two dozen states have considered enacting similar laws in their states. In Vermont, a red flag law has already passed the both the Senate and House."

 Julie Chiassen talks about her group, Mom's Demand Action for Gun Sense.  

At the rally, they shared how to register to vote.  And who supports gun sense.  If you'd like to learn more,  please go to

Also to see how your legislators feel about gun sense go to:

They shared hot drinks and pizza for all who came out to the rally.  To see and hear young people speaking up is a refreshing and hopeful look at the future of our community and country.

Voting day is Tuesday, November 6, 2018.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Autumn in Southeast Minnesota

The colors on the deciduous trees are changing in Southeastern Minnesota.  Lots of rain has forced the leaves to the ground very quickly.  It's not been the dry clear sky autumn of times past.  But we're enjoying the days as we can.

The monarch butterflies love the New England Aster in my yard.

The Mississippi River a few blocks from my house.  I walk to see it as often as I can.

A bald eagle outside my window from my Art classroom at Ridgeway Community School stops by on the day that my 4th and 5th grade students are creating eagles. 

Welcome to the neighborhood, national bird.

How's the view from your neighborhood?


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