Major aside here:
So I'm not gonna sugar-coat this, folks. A lot has happened in the last five years. Five major moves; a family fractured; and again (because once wasn't traumatic enough); a lovely degenerative medical condition that makes typing a fun challenge; and time continuing on despite my protests.
But I digress.
So let us journey back to the summer of 2016...
where life finds us back at our usual stomping grounds; enjoying the usual scenery:

Angel Mushrooms:

a mushroom

A tree frog frolics among the forest foliage

a frog

My fungi fetish continued. Here's Dead Man's Fingers Mushrooms, which have the bonus quality of looking like a face:

fungi called Dead Man's Fingers

Mighty millipedes multiplying:


It seemed the more time we spent roaming the woods, the more tolerant the natives grew of us. The icing on that cake appeared one sunny June eve when we spotted something new just off the path:

Anna with a fawn

The kiddos were worried that it was alone or abandoned, but I assured them it appeared healthy and well fed and Mother was certainly nearby.

da fawn

Deep sighs at the tranquil lake

a view of the lake

and of course we stopped to appreciate the flowers

yarrow, maybe

Shadows take selfies, too.

Anna and Shannon's shadows long in the fading sun

The science nerd in me loves pointing out the efficiency of the golden ratio in something as simple as the flowers

notice the way the seeds in the center are placed in the most efficient way

Our local First Responders hosted a Bike Rodeo for the community's kids to have fun and learn the rules of the road while biking safely. Here's Anna, Rosa, and a nervous Ella signing up for their turn on the course:

the three girls posing together

The emergency helicopter was even brought in for a landing so the kids could see it up close. We had a friend who got a "free ride" in it a couple years ago when he had a heart attack. He proclaims it noisy but fast. Got him to the cities in record time. And his ticker was fixed up good as new.

the helicopter landing

The girls each had a go at sitting inside. I recommended that this be the only time they sit in an emergency copter. Here's Anna:

Anna in the chopper

Anna and Rosa:

Anna and Rosa in the helicopter

Ella's the pilot, natch.

Ella at the helm

Anna's turn:

Pilot Anna

Rosa has a go:

Rosa's turn as captain

Rodeo time! Ella completed the course and got her free safety helmet:

Ella with her helmet on

Anna aced it, too.

Anna on the course

We toured the ambulance: (fun side note: Shannon just cannot say that word correctly, so she refers to it as the paramedics. Sigh.)

the girls in back of a ambulance vehicle

How to get to the injured in the wilderness? Rural Minnesotans have their ways...

the girls in an ATV

The million dollar toys are more fun, though:

Ella in a fire truck

Anna's turn at the wheel:

Anna in the firetruck

It's all good here!

the girls giving peace symbols in the truck

Why are fire trucks so spendy? Just look at all the bells and whistles! Even the ladder can be run via remote control:

Ella controlling the ladder with the remote

Anna gives it a go:

Anna with the remote

Ella likes being in control. Can you tell?

Ella behind the wheel of an ATV

Human made stuff is cool, but nature is just in a whole league of it's own...
I mean, yeah, it's clover. Some say it's a weed... others a herb... rabbit's love the stuff, at any rate. We happen to think it's nifty as well.


I love flowers that come in pre-made bouquets, like the humble Clover. Or this vibrant Butterfly Weed.

the orange butterfly weed

Phlox isn't just pretty, it's fun to spell.


Here's some in white:

white phlox

And the pink again: Go ahead. Tell someone you saw some pink phlox. It's fun seeing the variety of reactions non-gardeners will give.

pink phlox

Those that know me know my humor. And my total obsession with Minions.

The town birds planted this Nightshade along our garage fence. I find it rather lovely.


My flowers have folded. I'm calling their bluff.

flowers with the petals folded over at the ends.

Life be like:


Mushrooms are my muse.

Mushrooms on a log wrapped in ivy

These little guys are just so intricate and mysterious. Perhaps this dates the author here, but I was taught along these lines:

In antiquity, the two lineages of animals and plants were recognized. They were given the taxonomic rank of Kingdom by Linnaeus. Though he included the fungi with plants with some reservations, it was later realized that they are quite distinct and warrant a separate kingdom, the composition of which was not entirely clear until the 1980s. The various single-cell eukaryotes were originally placed with plants or animals when they became known.

That's right, folks. I'm so old that when I went to school they didn't know what the heck to even classify fungus as. Some years, I was taught plant. Others, animal. At least by high school they were teaching us they didn't have a clue. But by then I already had figured that one out. And not just regarding the proper placement of mushrooms.

those tiny mushrooms up close

Nature has my view of man-made boundaries:

a tree landed on a park boundary sign

Some would cheekily say that that tree had balls:

a tree with a ball shaped growth

Anyway, back to the fungus among us...

green mushrooms

These ones were tiny but no less impressive.

Little orange mushrooms

Forest coral:

Coral mushrooms

The secret of mushroom hunting in the woods: Find a stream. Wet forest foliage fosters fantastic fungi. Grammar teachers everywhere smile with appreciation. The rest of you are most likely cringing. My mission is complete.

a small stream

Always take time to smell the flowers. Just don't inhale the spiders.

a tiny spider on a flower

Kind of looks like someone left their brain behind. Or their cauliflower.

a mushroom shaped interestingly

Speaking of things left behind...
Let's hope this had a happy ending.

a broken robin's egg

My brain has scenes like this on loop to get me through the long winters. Tranquil deep sighs...

a creek with sunlight reflecting in the greenery

I treasure those rare times when one can detect no human presence. It's getting trickier and trickier to do with all the communication towers and such popping up in even the most rural of areas.

an open field of wild growth

Ugly or not, this bird has won my utmost respect.

a vulture

But this day's wander was all about the fungus among us...

snow like fungus

Another day, another outing. A picnic under the trees is always refreshing.

looking up at a tree

Ella loves it when we make some s'mores, but loves those toxic fruit snacks as well. Evidentially either one fuels her tree climbing body.

Ella climbing a tree

So we are into making desserts that look like they're not. So here's my "pizza." The crust is sugar cookie; the sauce frosting. The cheese is shaved white chocolate, with some dyed orange via food coloring. The toppings are fruit snacks.

the pizza

Ella wasn't so sure about it at first, but once she actually took a bite, she declared it delicious.

Ella trying a piece

There's something about s'mores that's so appealing to the pyro lurking inside of us all...

Anna and Nora at the campfire

Have no fear. We always make sure our fires are properly extinguished before moving on with our wandering.

Alex spitting water at the fire pit

Big brothers. They are just fountains of useful knowledge. Have you hugged your big brother today?

Anna spitting in the fire

And what a wondrous wander it was. Busy bees beautified blossoms:

a bee on a flower

Ripe raspberries radiated ruddy red:

wild raspberries


Cuddly cottontails calmly contemplated:

a rabbit

web weavers were wondrous:

webs among flowers

Advice: aview alleteration as advancing adoration.

a mouse-eared flower

What do we need more of?...

a mushroom

Well; fine!
Here! Bet you don't find many of these deep in your woods, do you? Ha!

a Spiderman balloon

And yes, for the record, that was put into my knapsack and properly disposed of. Humans. I tell ya. Such litterbugs.
Now here's a true sweetpea:

These are Red Bane. A half dozen will make you really ill. Good thing they taste awful. So listen to your mother, and not "reality" television. Don't eat the berries!

red berries

Ditto on the mushrooms. Leave that to the experts. Of one I am most definitely not. I don't pick. Just shoot and leave them. It's best for all involved.

a mushroom

This is as close to shooting a deer as you'll ever see me doing as well.

a fleeing deer

I think this is Sheep Sorrel. Lovely things, weeds. Really.

Sheep Sorrel

But sunset will always be my crème de la crème:

a sunset

We'll end our June 2016 with a bouquet of lush lilies:


And one mimicking the setting sun:

Next journey? July!

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