October 25, 2020

A Blizzard Already? Thanks, 2020!

 

A Blizzard Already?   Thanks, 2020!

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for October 25, 2020


This week brought us about 7 inches of snow.  We've never seen snow this heavy, this early in October in 140 years.  The leaves are still on the trees!  Thanks, 2020.  You are the gift that just keeps on giving.


Miss Sheri made a couple of mini snow people to celebrate the occasion.  My brother in law insisted she represent snowmen and snow women equally.  I think she did a pretty good job.


Blue is already hating winter and the excuses we now use for not taking him for his daily walks.  We try to explain to him that it's not as much fun when it's so cold outside, but he just looks at us like he doesn't understand what we are saying.


I've been going a little stir crazy lately working from home and trying to stay as isolated as possible.  To help me deal with the loneliness, my buddies Krazy Kory and Ron "Sugarman" Myers like sending me pictures when they get together with the tagline "We're Having Fun".    I'm not sure it helps.


I did get the chance to have dinner with our good friends, Dan & Jen Walters.  I said it sure would be nice if we could do Karaoke again one of these days so instead we sang a couple of songs at our table.  It was fun even if the other people in the restaurant didn't seem to enjoy it all that much.


This Week's Tik Tok Videos

Minnesota is a Winter Wonderland! ##snow ##winter# ##wonderland ##cold

♬ Winter Wonderland - Michael Bublé
@toddswank

Every Golden I’ve Ever Had Has Zero Fear of Cold Water. ##dog ##golden ##coldwater ##shrinkage ##cute

♬ Lovely Day - Bill Withers
@toddswank

Please throw me a ball, daddy! ##golden ##fetch ##minnesota ##dogs

♬ Send Me on My Way - Guy Meets Girl

October 18, 2020

Como Zoo & Conservatory

 

Como Zoo & Conservatory
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for October 18, 2020


We had our first snow in Minnesota this week and the weather dipped down into the thirties.  We thought it would be a good time to start using the hot tub again even though it's never quite as fun when we don't have other people to join us.  Another great reason for this whole Covid stuff to be over.

To celebrate the first snow, I made a new video on TikTok:

 

I did get the chance to hang out with my buddy, Orlando Mazzolini, on Saturday morning.  We bumped into another buddy, Jimi Gilbertson, literally while standing in the street.  He was kind enough to pull over to chit chat and get a quick picture.  We gotta meet up like this more often.


Miss Sheri and I continued our mission to discover places we can visit safely on the weekend during a pandemic.  This week we went to Como Zoo & Conservatory in St. Paul, Minnesota.  We had to secure tickets in advance and they only let in a very limited number.  We were able to walk through the whole place while encountering very few people and a bunch of really cool animals.


This guy seemed pretty sad that more people weren't stopping by to visit.  I tried to explain to him what was happening, but he just acted like he didn't understand.  Kind of sad.


We were hoping the zebras would come up to the fence to let us pet them, but they weren't having it.


As a matter of fact, they kept walking away from us every time we'd get near them.  Kind of stuck up I guess.


The lions looked in good spirits.  


I don't remember seeing the Arctic Foxes at Como Zoo before so maybe they're new.  They sure are cute.  I gotta get me one of these.


We asked the reindeer if he was excited for Christmas.  Totally gave us attitude that I wasn't expecting.  Time to call Santa.


Maybe it's time to get the sheep to pull Santa's sleigh.  They seemed to be much happier than the rest of them.


The Japanese Gardens were as beautiful as always.


I really love sitting and watching the waterfall.  Those Japanese people sure are lucky to have these in their gardens.


October 11, 2020

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

 

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for October 11, 2020


For the most part, we've been staying at home but every now and then we just have to get out and socialize.  Like we did on Wednesday night when we met up with our good friends, Sue & Ron Korkowski, at McCoy's Copper Pint in Shakopee, Minnesota.  It's a great restaurant and bar with an open roof for outdoor dining which we really enjoy.  I can't wait until we get back to normal, but this is a pretty cool activity in the meantime. 


We had an absolutely beautiful weekend hitting 70 degrees which is pretty unheard of in Minnesota in October.  Blue took advantage by forcing me to take him swimming.  He's kind of bossy that way.


I saw some swans in a nearby pond so I stalked them for a bit.  Guessing they're just passing through on their way south for the winter.  Or maybe there's some kind of swan party happening I'm not aware of.


On Saturday, Miss Sheri and I set out to visit the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington, Minnesota.  It's a 14,000 acre refuge that borders the Minnesota River. 

The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge ##minnesota ##river ##nature ##wildlife ##autumn



 Miss Sheri keeps trying to get me lost in the woods, but lucky for me I'm able to keep up with her before she can get too far away.  I'm pretty sure she's just playing around and not seriously trying to lose me.


There's a lot of pretty things to see in nature.  A bunch of ugly stuff also.


I found this huge field of weeds fascinating.  Somebody really oughta fertilize out here to get rid of those.


We spent some time trying to figure out what this tree tumor was.  We settled on it being a really big wasp's nest, but I'm sure one of you nature geniuses will tell us we're wrong.


We figured this is the place where the sacrifices take place.  We waited around awhile to see if anyone would come and do one, but got bored and left.  I wish they'd put up a sign with showtimes or something.


We walked about 3 miles round trip.  We would have walked longer, but I'm getting kind of old.


Miss Sheri is nice enough to let me stop and rest from time to time.  Wish I would have brought my fishin' pole.


We finally reached the destination we were seeking.  There wasn't a clear path to the Minnesota River, so we went off the trail and tromped through the woods to find it.  It was a pleasant discovery when we arrived.


We were hopeful to see bald eagles at the river and were pleased to see a pair of them right when we walked up.  They're way more common than they used to be, but I'm still fascinated by them every time we encounter one.  Majestic grace.

October 4, 2020

Boiling Springs in Savage, Minnesota

 

Boiling Springs in Savage, Minnesota

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for October 4, 2020


Avery came home from college for one night this week to do some errands.  It was a short visit, but very nice to see him none the less.  Although it's a bit sad that he comes in the house for the first time in weeks and immediately hugs the dog rather than his father.

Work has been getting busier lately, although I really miss getting to go see customers in person.  I probably will have to re-think my wardrobe choices when that happens, though.


Our good friends, Jen & Dan Walters, came over for a campfire on Friday night.  We've been remaining pretty isolated lately so it was very nice to see some actual human beings for a few hours.


We had to call it an early night when the full moon hovered directly over our heads.  I have a tendency to get a little freaky when that happens.


I like the corn.


I was telling Jen that we were looking to do some exploring this weekend and she asked if I had ever seen the Boiling Springs in Savage, Minnesota before.  I told her I had never even heard of them, but it sounded like something that may be interesting to see.


Miss Sheri had her stitches in her knee removed this week, so she was anxious to get out and start exploring again.  So we set Google Maps towards Boiling Springs in Savage to see what it was all about.

Despite the fact that we've lived in the area for more than 20 years, we had never heard of the "Boiling Springs" that are near our home.  Here's Wikipedia's Description of What It Is:  Maka Yusota (Boiling Springs) is a sacred site revered by the Dakota people, located in Savage, Minnesota. The location features a pool of water over an artesian well that remains liquid year-round. A thick layer of fine sand sits on the bottom of the pool, which traps the spring water and releases it in bursts, creating an illusion of boiling water.


After we left the Boiling Springs, we thought it would be fun to go to the apple orchard. We figured it would be really quiet because of the pandemic.


Holy cow, were we wrong. It was crazy busy. We had planned on getting a piece of apple pie but said forget it because the line extended from one side of the store to the other.


We decided to just stay outside and go wander through the apple orchard. There were a lot of people milling about, but we were able to find some places where we could socially distance from the crowd.


Miss Sheri likes getting lost in the woods. She insists she can read the stars to find her way home which is kind of fun to watch in the middle of the day.


We thought this old apple truck looked pretty with the colorful autumn leaves nestled behind it. Boy, it's just kind of sad what gets us excited during the pandemic.

September 27, 2020

Discovering the True Meaning of Fall

 


Discovering the True Meaning of Fall
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for September 27, 2020


Last week I spent some time belly-aching about the changing colors on the trees.  It's a mixed bag for me because although I think the leaves are quite beautiful, it's hard to not look at them and recognize the inevitable.  Winter is coming.  This week, though, we had the opportunity to discover the true meaning of fall.


And by Fall, I mean this silly changing of the season caused Miss Sheri to have a nasty Fall which required a trip to the emergency room and 6 stitches in her kneecap.  Let me explain.


 Since April, we have been taking a 2 mile walk nearly every day.  For the most part, we follow the same path through our neighborhood including this quiet little cemetery that sits nestled next to Prior Lake.  We were walking the dog down this path, deep in conversation, and not really paying attention to the walk that we've done many, many times before.


But Fall is here and with those leaves changing colors, also comes an incredible number of acorns and sticks that fall to the ground.  We believe she stepped on a group of acorns just right that then acted like marbles and shot her right foot up into the air.  Her momentum brought her entire weight down onto her left knee onto the cement.   On top of that cement was a stick which I think pierced her kneecap.  When she showed it to me, I was surprised to see that her kneecap was split wide open, but not bleeding.  I could see a bunch of white stuff in there I didn't recognize which I'm assuming is some kind of cartilage.  Just gross.  So now she’s laying on the path and can’t move. And we are 1 mile into our walk.  I contemplated calling 911, but it wasn’t bleeding so I’m going to get the car.  I try to run. I get maybe 500 yards before I’m like screw that.  So I start fast walking the dog home, dragging his butt because now that I’m in a weakened state from the running he wants to stop and smell things.  Anyways, I eventually get the car, pick her up, go to the ER and she gets 6 stitches in her knee.  Other than that, it's been a pretty mellow week at the Swank house.


We have a new albino squirrel in our yard who has been visiting us quite often.  I think we've seen him every day this week.  We like to think of these guys as our guardian angels.  Although one could argue that it was unfortunate that Miss Sheri had a fall like she did, we prefer to think of it as a blessing.  Because ultimately it could have been much worse.  It doesn't appear she will have any long term damage to her knee, so we are certainly thankful for that.  We hope you all have a great week as well!