"So throw away those Lamentations,
We both know them all too well.
If there's a Book of Jubilations,
We'll have to write it for ourselves.."

-Josh Ritter

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Last August, Nora and her daddy went to the Minnesota State Fair. For $6, they bought a caterpillar in a plastic house. They were told that it would spin a cocoon and then overwinter before hatching. It did spin its cocoon and Nora talked about the sleeping caterpillar all winter.

When April rolled around, I began to have my doubts as to whether it would ever actually become the luna moth that had been predicted. I brought a lot of cocoons inside as a kid, none of which ever amounted to anything (probably because I had found them on the ground...).

Eric and Nora never lost faith and moved the moth house into our kitchen so that they wouldn't miss seeing their friend emerge. This morning, I heard a shriek from the kitchen and, you guessed it, the moth had hatched. We watched him hang upside down in his house, drying off his wings for about 45 minutes. Then, Eric moved him outside to acclimate.

A few hours later, we released him. But not before checking him out thoroughly. Nora decided that his name is Karist and that he is her new friend.

Here she is getting a closer look.

Guess what she thinks of her dad for orchestrating this whole experience.
Yeah, we'll do that again next winter.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Springtime in Paris

There's a saying up this way that Duluth is the Paris of the North. If you ask me, it's probably because the weather in both places is worse than you expect it to be. This spring has certainly put the lie to that. It hasn't snowed in months, the weather has hit the sixties a couple of times and my neighbor even has crocuses in his yard. He waxed philosophical over wine this weekend that he hasn't actually gotten to see crocuses for many years. Usually, the deer eat them the first day they bloom. This spring, there's more food, so the crocuses got a call from the governor.

I'm starting to see the provinciality of the area. It has been made clear to me that I'll never be "from here." For example, before the winter, everyone I met would say, "Oh, you like it here? Well, you haven't been through the winter yet." Now, that line has been taken away and replaced with, "Oh, you like it here? Well, you haven't been through a REAL winter yet."


Nora is enjoying the warmer weather. We've been logging a lot of time on her tricycle, walking and playing at parks. This weekend, I asked her what she wanted to do. She thought for a minute and answered "I want to go to the pond and feed the ducks. Then, I want to go to the other pond and feed the ducks. Then, I want to go to the Big Lake and look at boats." So, we did.

It turns out that there are only two ducks that have returned so far this spring. When they got tired of being harassed and flew away from the first pond, we went to the second pond. I'm pretty sure that the two ducks we found there were the same two. And they were really tired of stale hamburger buns.
What has returned are the "salties." That's what they call the massive ocean-going tankers that ship iron ore from our harbor through the Great Lakes to the St. Lawrence and the Atlantic. We got to see one of these maneuver through the canal, under the aerial lift bridge and into the harbor. This thing was about three stories tall and actually longer than the length of the canal. We were right on the edge of the canal when it came through and a woman from the Visitor Center was on the loud speaker giving information about the ship, cargo, captain, etc. Eric said it was the coolest thing he had seen for a long time. Nora was beside herself.
Here is an incredibly tiny picture of what we saw from the Army Corps of Engineers website. (Sorry. My options were apparently tiny or enormous.) I have to say that I would highly recommend that outing to anyone with, say, pre-school or school-age children interested in fun mechanical things. Not that I'm hinting that people should come visit us in Duluth. Not at all.
But we do have a very nice guest bedroom.