January 31, 2021

Ice Fishing on Spring Lake


Ice Fishing on Spring Lake
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for January 31, 2021

My buddy, Dan Walters, told me he was going to be out on Spring Lake ice fishing on Saturday morning and invited me to stop by for a visit.  I jumped at the chance!

No matter how many times I do it or how thick the ice may be, I still always get a little freaked out driving on it.  I can't imagine what it would be like to go through the ice and be surrounded by water.  You'd then have to figure out how to get out of the car and swim to the surface in near freezing water.  That doesn't sound very pleasant to me.

Dan had the holes all drilled by the time I arrived and all we had to do was drop our minnows down there to catch a big one.  Or not.  We didn't have much luck during the time I was out there.

Blue was so excited to finally get out of the house with me and go for an adventure outside.  He was less excited when he discovered we were going to be sitting inside a much smaller house.  

Eventually Jen arrived and the good times just kept getting better.  Then I had to leave.

Of course, right after I left they started slaying the monsters!

I had to leave to join Miss Sheri for our major activity of the weekend which was buying her a new vehicle.  It was off to Walser Nissan in Burnsville to hook up with our new buddy, Nelson.

Now we have a new vehicle to go driving on the ice with and look for the thin spots.  This one has a sunroof though so it will be easy to get out the top and swim to the surface.  I can't wait.

  Minnesota opened restaurants again a few weeks ago, but we hadn't ventured into one yet.  That is until our good friends, Tom & Kellie Wolf, invited us to join them at Teresa's in Savage on Saturday night.  It was great to get out and do something normal again.

January 24, 2021

Oh, Goody! More Snow...


Oh, Goody!  More Snow...
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for January 24, 2021

We have had a pretty uneventful week.  Between staying relatively quarantined with the virus and the temperatures dropping close to zero, we've been staying inside for the most part.  

 The highlight of the week was when Grandma Linda stopped by for a visit.  We all still wear masks when she comes over, but that doesn't stop Blue from breaking the rules.  I swear that dog is just begging to catch the Covid.

We did stop by and see our buddies, Jen and Dan, for a spell.  They have a nice pole-barn which is as close as we can get to outdoor socializing in Minnesota this time of year.  It was so good to be around other human beings again even if it was for only a short time.  

This Weeks TikTok Video


Sink me in the river at dawn! ##river ##brokenbow ##peace

♬ If I Die Young (Glee Cast Version) - Glee Cast

January 17, 2021

Battling The Winter Blahs


Battling The Winter Blahs

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for January 17, 2021

Luke and Avery have gone back to college but before they left we had our 6 month visit to the Mayo Clinic with Luke.  We're pleased to say we had a very positive checkup with no new surprises.  That's always a great way to start a new year!

The albino squirrel has seemed frustrated this week searching around the snow.  Guessing he's missing some nuts, but that isn't confirmed.  It could be some completely different reason that I don't even know.  I wish we could communicate better so I know where his mind is at.

It's been snowy and crappy all week.  Couple that with the fact that we are still doing our best to isolate as much as possible because of the silly virus and it sets up a battle against the winter blahs!

We thought it might be fun for the weekend to venture out onto frozen Prior Lake to see if life was somehow more exciting out there.

There's lots of places to wander, but they all look pretty similar to one another.

I like to walk by the ice houses and imagine what they are like inside.  I get tempted to knock on the door and ask the people if the fish are biting.  I usually decide against it because it's probably not a best practice in a social distance type of situation.

Some people fish without a big house standing over them.  We don't talk to them either primarily because we're not very friendly people.  However, I'm still very curious if the fish were biting.

Sometimes I explore their old holes to see if they might have left any fish behind but no luck this weekend.

We saw these people whizzing around being pulled by some contraption called the "Snowdog".  It kind of gave me the impression that someone has a lot of time on their hands.  That being said, I also really wanted a ride.

Blue is a funny dog.  Unlike other Goldens we've had before, he really struggles with leaving our sides even when we let him off the leash.  He's quite timid to go off and explore on his own even when we encourage him to do so.  I guess he knows when he has a good thing going.

We walked by the island and I was surprised to see these two still hanging around on the edge of it.  We haven't seen them since we were on our boat at the end of last summer.  They were still here and seemed just as happy as ever.  I wish I could maintain a good attitude like that.  They're pretty inspirational.

January 10, 2021

Spending Christmas in Texas and Oklahoma

Spending Christmas in Texas and Oklahoma

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for January 10, 2021

The isolation became too overwhelming so we decided to hop in the car and head south to visit my sisters in Texas.  We were just in time to escape a pretty big blizzard that hit Minnesota and Iowa right after we left.  So we had that going for us.

The drive was about 14 hours to Flower Mound, Texas.  It went really well with the exception of a gas station stop right outside of Kansas City.  Somebody told Miss Sheri that we should get the Blank out of there, because we were in a bad neighborhood.  Of course she didn't tell me this until we were driving away which kind of made me sad.  It seems like I missed out on an opportunity to work on my karate skills.

We arrived at my sister Tracy's house at 2am.  This photo was taken the next night.  They weren't nearly this excited to see us at 2am.

There was much family drama discussing if it was safe to get together.  We decided to all get Covid tested and isolate before traveling which seemed to have worked. None of us were stricken by the virus before, during, or after our trip.

Our old golden retriever, Sunny, used to love coming with us to Texas to swim in my sister's pool.  Blue is not quite that lucky.  He absolutely loves to swim, but had a traumatic experience as a puppy where he fell off a dock and has been afraid to jump in the water ever since.  So he spent a lot of time walking around the water, but never was able to overcome his fears and actually jump in.  Silly dog.

We weren't nearly as afraid to get in the water.  At least the hot tub that is.  The pool was way too cold for swimming.

Even though these 4 have spent pretty much every other Christmas morning together for the past 20 years, they still always seem excited to get up and do it again.

Our primary activity other than staying in the house was going on hikes.  Pretty much the same as we do at home.

We dressed up a bit for Christmas dinner.  I put on some of my fancier shorts.

My sisters made an awesome dinner and we had some wonderful family bonding time.  Family is what the holidays are all about!

 The day after Christmas we had the pleasure of visiting Uncle Cliff and his family who were in town visiting my nieces for the holidays.  It was great spending a couple hours with them even if it had to be with the required 6 feet of social distancing.

Another day and another hike.  This time at some park in Flower Mound.

 There was a lake there which was nice.  I like standing next to water.

We ventured into Grapevine, Texas which bills itself as the Christmas capital of Texas.   They even had restaurants which were allowed to be open for business which was unusual for us Minnesotans.  We did opt to eat outside, though, because we need to ease back into normalcy.

We took a picture in front of their Christmas tree which is a bit of a tradition for us.  This was the first time we did it with masks dangling from people's ears, though.

We traveled to Broken Bow, Oklahoma to mix things up a bit.  We went to Beavers Bend State Park because we felt like we hadn't done our share of hiking for this vacation.

We walked over a bridge which was not that unique of an experience.  It felt just like walking over a bridge in Minnesota although admittedly we were warmer while doing it.

We rode a log which I thought was going to be more fun than it was, but honestly it was a bit of a letdown.  We didn't even go anywhere.

All in all, the woods reminded me a lot of the woods we hike at home.  However these were way better because we had my family walking through them with us.  That makes it way more fun.

We did see a neat hawk in a tree but he had no interest in letting us pet him.

We walked over a bunch of hills until finally we arrived at our destination.  It was a beautiful river with water flowing through it and everything.  Well worth the effort to see!

I was too tired to join Miss Sheri on her adventure out on the rocks.  Although I was very happy for her that she made the journey.

We had a campfire on our last night in Oklahoma and made S'mores with my niece's kids.  It was a lot of fun and a great way to end a fantastic family vacation!

This Week's TikTokVideos

Beaver Bend State Park ##waterfall ##beaverbend ##brokenbow

♬ Waterfalls - TLC

We are having too much fun on Christmas Eve! Merry Christmas!! ##fyp ##christmas2020 ##drinkinggames ##merrychristmas

♬ Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer - Elmo & Patsy