December 8 - 20, 2010: North Dakota

Click on the thumbnail for a map during this time period

Happy Birthdays

We have had a lot of birthdays during our stay in North Dakota.   Barb's has already been mentioned here.   Some of the others were:

Cathy gets help w/ her cake/candles

Cathy and Barb and Cole's birthday party

Cole's magnificent birthday cake

Cole at his birthday party

Chuck eyes the "trick" candles

Returning to Roots

On Dec. 18 Barb and Mom and I drove to Jamestown, where Mom lived for so many years.   We left her in the able care of her friend Vivian and proceeded on to Barb's hometown of Carrington, where we visited briefly Barb's aunt Lorraine.   We also had a nostalgic stop at one of Carrington's two main restaurants:  The Chieftain.   No question about what to order: the best caramel rolls on either side of the Mississippi, right out of the nuke for faux-oven-freshness.   Oh lordy such goodness.

But the main reason for the trip, so far as Barb was concerned, was to visit with her brother Tim and nephews Preston and Austen.   We spent an afternoon driving around memory lanes, at one point braving the drifting snow to venture onto gravel roads to go see the farm where Barb grew up.  We also spent a considerable time indulging Chuck's wish to get a picture of a pheasant, since they turned out to be so much in evidence.   We found huge flocks near feedlots; a reasonable place to gather since they provide ample shelter and food supply.  We also saw a fox and a covey of partridges and several "herds" of deer.

We spent the night at Tim's house and then returned to Jamestown the next day in time to meet Mom and Vivian and Chuck's aunt Lona for Chinese buffet before returning (with Mom in tow) to Bismarck.

Barb clearing sidewalk at Mom's house in Jamestown (still for sale after a year)

Mr. Gimpy clearing another sidewalk at Mom's

Barb at the Big Chieftian ...

The Chief has been crying about the weather

Typical street in Carrington

Barb and her aunt Lorraine

Accumulated snow at the John Deere Farm Implement Dealership in Carrington

Another John Deere picture

Preston, Barb, and Tim

Tim's new home

Sign on Tim's shop

Drifting snow on the road to Barb's farm, visible in the distance

Barb's childhood home

Pheasant rooster

Pheasants in deep shade at a feed lot

Toasty pheasants under a shelter belt

We passed this hunter with his dog and pheasant and turned around and got this picture

Not ALL birds fly south for the winter -- these blackbirds seem to have settled in

Feed lot

Somewhat "augmented" sign on a road by a feedlot

Deer nice and cozy near a feedlot

Landscape between Bismarck and Jamestown

Looking down on Bismarck as we return "home".

Recuperation News

We talked Gold's Gym into providing us with a 30-day membership, so Barb and I have been exercising almost every day.   I had my last appointments with my doctors and therapists on Dec. 22, although they would all like to see me in 6 months.   Fat chance.

My therapist says I am ahead of schedule with the knee -- I now have over 120 degrees of flex and about 0 degrees of straightening.   The surgeon says that my new knee will max out at about 130 degrees, and the therapist says he is confident that I can achieve that, although my progress will now slow since I have passed the six-week mark.   In any case, it sounds like it will be about a year before the knee has "normalized".   And then there is the nerve and muscle damage below the knee.  The neurologist is reasonably confident that the damage will eventually repair itself, but there are no guarantees in terms of either time or degree of completeness.   Meanwhile,  I am still suffering a lot of pain in the foot.

Other News

While Barb was child-watching Cole and Katie in Zona's absence (who accompanied Mike to Rochester), she and the children made a gingerbread house.  Turned out rather well.  It got sent home with the kids, so we don't know if it was ever eaten.

We have had a new snow storm at the rate of about one a week.  What is remarkable is that the construction has continued unabated of the new bed/great/laundry/storage rooms in the area formerly occupied by the swimming pool.   It was even snowing on one of the days that the siding was installed.

Happy construction crew

Completed project

Carrying siding to be installed on the renovated addition

North Dakota carpenters are not deterred by a little cold and snow. (Or even a lot.)

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