American Flag

What a beautiful sight!   Guess it’s been around the world and back more than a few times. Thoughts of pride, our history and hopes for the future well up inside when the stars and stripes wave before our eyes.

God Bless America and those who serve in uniform, preserving the freedom we awake to every morning here in the Minnesota countryside and across our nation.  Grateful!SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC

Baltimore Oriole

Hurray!  One sure sign of spring flew through the Minnesota River Valley  today!  Bright, bold and whistling loudly, Lord Baltimore himself stopped  by.   Giddy with excitement that he picked my humble RedBarn backyard garden for his resting spot, I asked him to relax until I could locate the camera and complete his personal photo shoot.  He was really thirsty!

Why do you think he chose to drink from this sort of grungy bird bath over all of the great water sources(creek, pail by the hydrant, Big Stone Lake, horse water tank) that are nearby?

I’ve been lovin’ the vintage 60’s look on my outdoor photos lately.   Could it be because it goes against all the rules for good photography?   Rules?  Are there really rules?:)   Soften, let some pixels show, find the perfect crazy green or funky orange cast and you’re on the way to ‘vintage 60’s.

 

I just flew in from Florida and man, are my wings tired! (thoughts inspired by my lovable  brother-in-law Jerry's very old and very bad  jokes)
I just flew in from Florida and man  are my wings tired! (thoughts inspired by my lovable brother-in-law Jerry’s very old and very bad jokes)

 

Still early for a good caterpillar find, Lord Baltimore!
Still early for a good caterpillar find, Lord Baltimore!
A sunny day at the RedBarn.  Quiet here, no cats and only that same old-and-slow dog who can't hear much.
A sunny day at the RedBarn. Quiet here, no cats and only that same old-and-slow dog who can’t hear much.
Can't really blend in when you are this bright, buddy!
Can’t really blend in when you are this bright, buddy!
No where in our conversation did I say, "Go ahead and destroy one of my three red tulips." Hmmm.
No where in our conversation did I say, “Go ahead and destroy one of my three red tulips.” Hmmm.
We're almost done now.  That's right, sit still on the handle of my rusty-trusty lawn cart while we say 'good-bye'.
We’re almost done now.   That’s right, sit still on the handle of my rusty-trusty lawn cart while we say ‘good-bye’.   Stop at the RedBarn again next year, will you?

 

 

BeckyRedBarn Loves Farm Junk

A few months back I asked a friend if he minded that I walked around on his old ‘home place’ and shot a few photos of whatever wanted to have its picture taken.  He smiled and graciously gave me permission to ignore the ‘no trespassing’ signs he had set around among his dads last farm possessions.   On the first  sunny spring afternoon I wandered about the farm-yard and found myself in a state of constant smile.  The farm-gentleman who lived his years on this spot smiled often and I sensed that we were smiling  together, at that moment, about many of the same things.  You could say, we share the same roots.   I had me a little ah-hah moment while standing there; only the warmth of the sun and the cool spring breeze as my known companions.    I love to photograph children, animals, events, wildlife, flowers…….farm junk might be beckyredbarn’s  favorite subject!   Never met a cream can or an old car I didn’t like, have you?

Tools of the yesteryear trade of farming.  Such stories to tell.
Tools of the yesteryear trade of farming.   Days were long and  every farm kid had ‘muscles’.
One special auto collection.  A chapter or two in the country life.
One special auto collection.    A few exciting rides and stories in each to be sure.
Enjoying the elements of line and design found among the precious farm remnants of siding, fencing, old cans and the galvanized tin of the grain bin.
Enjoying the elements of line and design found among the precious farm remnants of siding, fencing, old cans and the galvanized tin of the grain bin.
One dutiful,rusty hook to steal my junker heart.  A last glance shot of the proud and busy barn...now at rest.   Thank you, John!
One dutiful,rusty hook to steal my junker heart.    A last glance shot of the proud and busy barn…now at rest. Thank you, John!

Real Girls DO Fish!

What’s the one  thing that makes all of my  girls happy?   It’s fishing on Big Stone Lake!

A friend of mine, with a serious look on her face, said that she needed to purchase a  ‘fishing lesson’.     After I recovered from my doubled-over- laughing-attack  I quickly offered to give her one for free.   Her look said, “Why would I listen to you when there are many experts on the subject of fishing?”

Trust me!  I catch fish!  I really do!  All of us RedBarn girls do!  I can give you lessons. It’s not as hard as they(experts, TV shows, product packaging)want you to think it is.”  Although a bit skeptical, she did pretend to be taking mental note of what I shared with her.  ” Stop at Artie’s(bait shop in Ortonville)and order one large scoop of ‘fat heads'(minnows).  He will put them in a really cool bag full of water and tie it in a knot.   You will need a minnow bucket so they can ‘live’ in the lake water when you get home.  Talk to Artie about how to put the minnow on the hook so it stays on.  He’s very sweet about showing you little tips like that.  Find an old rod and reel or buy a new one at the bait shop  if you must and sweet Artie might even help you get it ready to go.     Don’t worry much about what size or color of hook.   The fish aren’t as fussy about that this time of year.   Watch the wind.  Pick a night with a soft little breeze out of the west and find a dock or a big rock along shore( on second thought) up the lake a ways.    Pretend you are flicking water off of a hairbrush as you cast your line out.  You’ll catch on after a few tries.   Call if you need anything else.  Oh, don’t forget to buy a  fishing license when you are at Artie’s.”

That seemed like enough to get her started.  She will probably watch one of those darn fishing shows anyway.   I hope she  catches a big walleye.  At that moment she will be the happiest girl on Big Stone Lake.  Trust me…..I know the feeling.

Yours truly with the first catch of spring 2014.
Yours truly with the first catch of spring 2014.
"Nice one" say the college girls to each other as they totally declare fishing to be the most fun sport ever!
“Nice one” say the college girls to each other as they totally declare fishing to be the most fun sport ever!
This is how a super-model connects with her big fishy:)
This is how a super-model connects with her big fishy:)
Once in awhile we celebrate with the boys too!
Once in awhile we celebrate with the boys too!
Real girls DO bait their own hook, right?
Real girls DO bait their own hook, right?
It's a Grandpa's favorite task; helping you learn to love fishing on Big Stone Lake!  We do!
It’s a Grandpa’s favorite task; helping you learn to fish on Big Stone Lake!    Happy times!

 

 

 

My RedBarn Followers Love Pound Cake!

Many of you asked me for my cake recipe!   I love you friends who share my passion for the really important things in life.  Like CAKE!!!   Every single ‘food group’ comes together in pound cake. . .not a dietary worry in the world:)

This recipe is from the kitchens of Land O Lakes.  Now wouldn’t that be a dream job?  Baking and testing the day away!                                    http://www.landolakes.com/recipe/543/glazed-lemon-pound-cake

There it is. . . .the last little piece of Lemon Pound Cake.     Gulp!
There it is. . . .the last little piece of Lemon Pound Cake. Gulp!
It's so much fun having college kids home for holidays .  Mine has gotten so smart(wink).  As I'm exclaiming about spotting the first spring fly in the house he reminded me NOT to swat it.  Could be a drone on assignment.  Sounds like a real good reason to swat it.
It was so much fun having my college kid home for Easter.  In four years of classes he’s gotten so smart(wink).   As I was exclaiming about  the first spring fly in the house he reminded me NOT to swat it.  Could be a drone on assignment.  Sounds like a real good reason to swat it.
Another delightful spring recipe from my Land O Lakes spring cookbook.  I'm totally making these.  Who wants to come over for coffee?
Another delightful spring recipe from my Land O Lakes spring cookbook. I’m totally making these. Who wants to come over for coffee?

Easter, Sunshine and Big Stone Lake Is Wide Open

It’s really a perfect weather April Easter Sunday in Minnesota!  So why am I inside instead of out raking the flower gardens or at least sunbathing?   I won’t be for long.  Doing a little  ‘rejoicing’ over the joy that Easter brings to me.  No big family gathering this year(yes, I miss each one of you kidlings so don’t make it a habit) but off to gather this evening with friends at the lake. . . .ice all gone and ours to enjoy for the whole awesome summer time ahead.   It’s a potluck and I’m  excited to bring my homemade lemon pound cake.    Pound cake always reminds me of the one ‘cruise’ I went on years ago with some girlfriends.  Trays of pound cake around every corner. . . .by the pool and in the exercise room.  That only makes sense on vacation.

Rejoicing in the real Easter story.  It’s a long story; some sad, quite beautiful and goes on forever(eternal).   At the same time it can be very short and to the point; the life, death and sacrifice of Jesus.   A big item to fill up our thoughts along with the colored eggs, large ham dinners and. . . .ah, pound cake.   Happy Easter to all!

 

Holidays are made for getting a little sentimental; my mom's old white cake plate and the sweet chocolate bunnies gifted to me by Aunt Cari.
Holidays are made for getting a little sentimental; my mom’s old white cake plate and the sweet chocolate bunnies gifted to me by Aunt Cari.

 

I'm showing off.  Finally talked the glaze into staying ON the cake.
I’m showing off. Finally talked the glaze into staying ON the cake.
A note card on my bulletin board.
A note card on my bulletin board.
A verse fit for the beauty of this perfect Easter Sunday.
A verse fit for the beauty of this perfect Easter Sunday.

I Can’t. . .

Early morning  wake up time with a large mug of French Vanilla steaming from a cup in my left hand and a magazine of ‘happy thoughts’ half rolled in my right.   The kids are grown.  My lumber-guy is up and out early on a mission to put  another dent in his work truck.  That man!  There’s this morning feeling that’s become a part of my life.  I’d say it’s a desire for a bit of direction or inspiration along with the need to breathe deep and prepare my inner most self for the next  24 hour journey.    Some of us wake up slower than others.

Today’s morning interlude set my eyes upon just the right saying to put me straight.              “I can’t do this but I’m doing it anyway.”   Words wide open for meaning,  words that bring on a  smile and give off some sassy  country-girl confidence if that’s what is needed.  What  incredible power these seven, nothing very special, words take on when they tag along after ‘I can’t’.    Starting the day with a little ‘brave’ in my heart.

I know the world is full with people who have had to jump into situations and say these words under their breath.   Sometimes serious. . . .sometimes creative. . . .often  yucky.   I’m sure I said these words when they passed out the specimen trays and instruments in high school biology.    Sorry kids, I’m sure I said it while holding my breath over diapers.  Speaking in front of a large group and shaking in my high heels?   Leading a jumpy 1200 pound horse for the first time!  Cleaning the chicken coop!  Driving a car?

I promised my girlfriend Kathy I’d bring two dozen sweet rolls, fit for public consumption, to an Easter breakfast.   I didn’t have the heart to tell her that my last yeast bread attempt. . . .kneading, rising, baking to perfection.   Didn’t quite turn out that way.   I can’t make yeast breads. . . .but  now I’m doin’ it anyway.

Better practice!  Love that great little saying in the morning happy magazine and guess what?  It works!

Notes to self: slow down, hold back on the flour, buy fresh yeast, don’t kill the yeast with too hot of liquid like you most likely did last time, cover half way through the baking time, doubling the recipe works well.

Not perfect, but they look like you want one, right?
Not perfect, but they look like you want one, right?  I ate one and sent the rest  of the practice run along to work with my man.  No will power in this RedBarn kitchen with rolls on the counter!

Spring Is Emerging Along the Minnesota

Winter keeps dipping in and out of our lives here in Minnesota.  A few nice days and then another blast of snow and wind.  Uhfta! (In honor of my mama, grandma and sister. . . who still says this word daily:)   Traveling home from Mankato, on the very last day of March, I was blessed to live the perfect spring day.   Sun-shine, snow melt, sun-roof-open, happy husband with hands on the wheel, my eyes gawking and searching the neutral tones of the passing landscape.

Never sorry when you boldly turn the wheel and follow the signs which designate the fantastic river road along the Minnesota River Scenic Byway!    The dips and turns of the river, new homes popping up along the bluffs, small farming operations, bridges, campgrounds, foliage of tree and plant still quiet and colorless from winter rest.

Thinking aloud, “Wouldn’t it be fun to send 10 friends down this same stretch of road on the same day and ask them each to take 6 photos?”    Loving Minnesota!

A right of Spring; the first Eagle who sits still and poses for your photo!
A right of Spring; the first Eagle who sits still and poses for your photo!
I have a little love affair with the 'farmhouse and her porch'.
I’m having a little love affair with this farm house and porch.
My new friends!  Once I have your photo you're my friend forever!
Meet my latest new friends!  Once I have your photo you’re my friend forever!
Heart strings, linger for a few extra moments, think on the love, the hard times and the excitement of building a home and barn in the valley all those years ago.
Heart strings, linger for a few extra moments, think on the love, the hard work and the excitement of building a home and barn in the Minnesota River Valley. . . .a few years ago.
Not that long ago,1868.  Our country trying to settle back in after the Civil War.  Much to ponder.
Not that long ago,1868. Our country trying to settle back in after the Civil War. Much to ponder.
Does anyone know more about this family or the barn?
Does anyone know more about this family or the barn?

 

 

 

 

 

House on the Corner

Thought for the day from playwright, Tennessee Williams,” Make voyages!   Attempt them! There’s nothing else.”

These words jingled around in my head on the 10 minute sunny-day drive from the RedBarn into nearby Ortonville.  Friend Edie has invited me to drop by her newly fixed and furnished delight of a vacation rental house on the corner by the lake!  Even better, Pioneer Public TV is coming to town to film this sweet project(filled with art and beds, a full kitchen, a claw foot tub, local history) for an upcoming segment on their show we all love called, ‘Postcards.’

The morning energy was high and good in that adorable little house on the corner.  In fact, I could feel the power of ‘voyages’ being made and attempted all around me.   The dear turn-of-the-century home, with the whole bunch of love poured into her these past few months,  seemed ready to embark.    We artists?  Hoist the sails!  We were born for moments of voyage, journey and attempt.  (Big talk. . . .I’m a little nervous when the mike gets clipped to my collar.)  So very proud to have Edie showing off our works as they decorate and serve to welcome guests  of the Big Stone Lake area.   The friendly and busy Pioneer crew clicked and gathered to create some worthy on-air minutes of interest ….. really special to have them choosing to cover our area art happenings!

Lucky little all-spruced-up vacation rental house on the corner!
Lucky little all-spruced-up vacation rental house on the corner!
Corriana(artist)Edie(proprietor)Dana(Pioneer executive producer)
Corrina(artist)Edie(proprietor)Dana(Pioneer executive producer)and some  pops of local art in the background.
Edie has the magic. . . .everything she touches gets a hint of beauty!
Edie has the magic. . . .everything she touches gets a hint of beauty!
Andrea(producer) puts you right at ease in an interview.  Ben, the camera man, and Neva whose art is shared within.
Andrea(producer) puts you right at ease in an interview. Ben, the slick camera man, and Neva whose art is shared within.
Young, on task and brilliant. . . .the Pioneer Postcards crew!
Young, on task and brilliant. . . .the Pioneer Postcards crew!
Ride with pride!  Thanks for your stop in Ortonville.
Ride with pride! Thanks for your stop in Ortonville.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Thoughts

I’ve been thinking, I like the word l-o-v-e.   Yet the word love is common, over-used, kind of cheap and easy and even silly when you reflect on how it is used.     Oh, I LOVE  your  shoes!   I LOVE your house!   Oh,oh,oh, I LOVE your dog!   Really?  I have tremendous kids and you  love my dog?  What sort of a nut are you?     At times I’ve  seen and felt  love without even the utterance  or hearing of the darn little word.  It’s easy to get confused on this topic.

I’m going out for dinner tonight, with some friends that I simply love!  Adding water to the pink roses that just came in the door from the  guy who loves me out here at the RedBarn, then on to feed the dog. . . .yes, I really do love the dog.   

Many of us are fortunate to know the real kind of love among our family and friends.   We might agree on this sunny, winter Valentines Day 2014 that the  world could certainly  use more of that real  sort of love; in the far corners and in the house down the street.   You’re on your own to decide what real love looks, sounds and feels  like.     When you do. . . .go ahead and spread it around.      Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Each bear on the window seat got fluffed, tagged and ready for his new home in hopes of finding a bit of love.
Each bear on the window seat got fluffed, tagged and ready for his new home in hopes of finding a bit of love.