A Photo Review of 2015 – July

July always start for us with a big Potjie Dag at Mark Sampson’s house.  We cook, talk (Afrikaans a lot without translation and regard for non-Afrikaans speakers – it is the one day we just go with Afrikaans), swim and relax a lot.

July’s hiking weather was just perfect – good memories to last through the cold barefoot-unfriendly winters.

It also became clear that the house needed a new roof – luckily only the tiles needed to be replaced and the rest of the roof structure was still very good.


A Photo Review of 2015 – June

Summer makes for beautiful walks next to the Mississippi river – this was taken off an old bridge – half of which was left intact when the rest was demolished.

Another school field trip took me to an old museum in Mendota Village.  It was right next to the train track and it is not every day that you get to take this sort of photo!

Summer and kayaking! The sun is just so welcome.  And we have to soak up all we can before the days get shorter!  This was Fish Lake in Eagan.

This was a first:  a really very very heavy rainstorm trapped me at home in my car!  Believe me – this photo is deceiving.  It was worse that what you see here.   After about ten minutes I dashed to the house.

Another barefoot walk next to the Mississippi river – this time where it flows through (or just south of) downtown St Paul.  I was on Raspberry Island to take this photograph.

Our church had a float in the local city parade (South St Paul Days Parade) with our church band playing live – you can see them here as they just passed us.

And with that we reached the midpoint of the year!

A Photo Review of 2015 – May

By May the weather was nice enough to join the Dalldorfs in burning their old Christmas tree from 2014.  Few things feel as nice as the green grass after a cold winter.

We did a long nine month course at church and it was a huge privilege to have Jacques there too.  Here he is talking to the group.

With the improved weather, the barefoot hiking group started the monthly hikes again!

Towards the end of the school year I had to take the high school band to a parade – only the second time I had to tow a trailer with a school bus.  All good.

I accompanied Wilhelm to Kansas City, where we had a booth at the fantasy art convention, Spectrum.  I had a lot of fun talking to people and demonstrating how leatherwork is done.

Wilhelm finally became a US citizen.  He was too old to become a citizen with me or Gina and had to do the deed on his own.

I found myself more and more taking photos of Chippie – it was very clear that his time was limited on this earth.

Mississippi High Water

Usually the Mississippi floods earlier in the year when all the snow melts in its catchment area.  This year we had a slower warm up and slow snow melt, so no flooding.  And then June hit with a few drops less rain than our all-time record.

Living so close to the river, means that we see it often and we like going down to its banks for walks.

Here the river flooded a huge park and recreation area – the red steel structure on the right is a sound stage for music performances.  And through the trees you can see the river boats (as in Showboat).

Further south and closer to where we live, a major highway crosses the Mississippi with a brand new bridge built about five years ago.  There is public water access here, so the road you see going into the water here, is used by boaters to get their trailers into the water so that the can put their boats in the water or take them out.

Those little dots you see sticking out of the water, are “No Parking” signs  Look at subsequent photos where the water has subsided some and you will see how very high the water actually is.

After a few days the water started going down and here you can see more of those road signs already.

The park just south of downtown St Paul started drying up as well.

Last week the benches where you can sit, appeared again – still not at normal levels, but the river has been opened up to barge traffic as well.

You can see more photos on my Google+ album.

Fall Hike

Beautiful fall (autumn) weather had me out with the Barefoot Hikers of Minnesota this afternoon.   It was such a shame that we did not see hundreds of people outside to enjoy the close-to-perfect weather.    We are not going to have many more days like this until a few months into next year!

As usual in Minnesota, we were not too far from the nearest lake.

Although the time for the best fall colors were past, we could still feast our eyes of the splendour around us.  The views of nature that invaded our senses made for a good reset of the mind.

We walked past a Lama farm …. (I wonder what the horse did there?)

We came across a few small snakes that were no doubt making the best of the last bit of heat of this time of year too.

Can’t see it ….?   Here:

And there were others too:

Here is the map my phone made for me of the 2.64mile hike:

Last of the warm weather?

I went for a very nice walk next to the Mississippi River tonight.  It was perfect weather and I just HAD to get out.  Our temperature is said to drop by 30 degrees Fahrenheit tomorrow.

Of course I did it barefoot – and I dread having to become a bit more shod for colder weather!  

The river was very low – typical for this time of year.

I had some fun with my little camera too!

I used MyTracks on my phone to see how far I walked – 

Total Time: 00:27:28 Moving Time: 00:23:36 Distance: 1.14 mi Average Speed: 2.89

The satelite link seemed to die just before I reached my car again.

Almost No Ice

I travelled to a clinic to give a belt making workshop and on the way back, I stopped at Lake Independance – it just looked like a nice photo op.   The boat launch was closed (this is also used to drive onto the ice with cars to go ice fishing.   With the warm winter we have had, this is not a good idea right now.   

At first I just took a few pictures of the frozen lake …  [see the ice fishing houses on the lake]

 ….  and then I did notice that it was not totally frozen any more.  There was a huge open spot of water in the middle of it.   I would NOT put my fish house out there if I had one.

That is why there was this sign:

Going back from the lake, my Scion looked so good that I took a picture.  Little did I know that I would just drive it for two more days!

Minnesota, JUST before winter …

I am on a week’s hiatus near Breezy Point, Minnesota.     My first three days made me think that God was speaking to my through my body and just telling me to “Stop!”  I had been boasting that I have not had a cold for at least two years – and Saturday evening the mother of all colds hit me.  

No amount of Wellness Formula helped this time – I was struck down and for three days I simply had to do nothing and rest.   I did play around a bit on my son’s IMac computer that I brought with bacause of it’s total lack of the ball of spaghetti wiring in a normal PC.  And I did read a bit of a book I am currently studying in a group:  “Speaking Christian”.

Today I felt much better!  And midday I decided to go explore Brainerd and the lakes in the area.  It was a perfect day for photography and here are the results.   Just before returning I went on a small hike in the forrest to an old fire tower and the video of that is at the end.

Kayak Plus Hike

After church on Sunday, Jacques and myself took the kayaks and went to explore Thomas Lake in Eagan.

The lake had a lot of Duckweed, but it was easy to paddle through.  For the rest the lake was nothing spectacular.   Maybe in the spring when the water is cleaner ….?

We then grabbed a quick bite to eat so that we could join the Barefoot Hikers of Minnesota on a two hour hike through Lebanon Hills Regional Park.

Along the way we saw many mushrooms, but these tiny ones that seem to grow on the moss, caught my eye:

As I am sitting here, thirty hours later, my calf muscles know that I did a two hour hike without shoes.  But I feel so alive and my feet feel so good, that I am ready to do it again.  It makes me dread that summer is almost over and the cold will creep into Minnesota and curb most of my outdoor barefoot activities!