For as long as the Art Shanty Projects have been around, a few years now, I’ve vowed to go — yet have never made it — until Sunday.
Of course, 16-degree temperatures were no deterrent. After all, the sun was shinning. Plus, I have a warm hooded coat, terrific fur-lined boots and toasty leather gloves.
Armed with my sharp metal-pointed German walking stick to keep me safe on the ice and my iPhoneX to record the event, I made my way through a well-worn path in the snow to the “instant village” of art shanties that’s graced Lake Harriet near downtown Minneapolis since Jan. 20.
An array of whimsical, fun, artsy small structures were strategically placed not far out on the ice covered lake near the Bandshell. Many look like they might serve as actual fish houses in off season. But there were notable exceptions.
The photos speak for themselves. To learn more about the project — and perhaps bring this brilliant, fun and art-filled event to a lake near you — check out the official website to learn how they did it: http://www.artshantyprojects.org/about/overview
While Sunday was the last day, take heart. It will surely return next winter, hopefully at Lake Harriet, an ideal spot to take advantage of the popular park. Be sure to put it on your bucket list. And remember to bring the kids, grandkids and dog!
May 2: A mourning dove departs one of our feeders yesterday in a light rain in Bloomington, Minn. Most of the time, this bird feeds on the ground (if our squirrels permit). According to “Birds of Minnesota” by Stan Tekiela, the mourning dove is one of the few birds to drink without lifting its head. In a mild winter, it remains in the state, otherwise migrates. I especially like the whistling sound the wind makes as it rushes through the dove’s wing feathers during flight.
April 28: Oh, oh. Don’t tell Dorette, but there was a bunny in her backyard before dark tonight. Usually that means setting a live trap, and if successful, free transportation to a local park preserve.
April 23: Another welcome sign of spring. Dorette Kerian and I made our first walk around Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis. It’s part of one of the greatest urban park systems of America.
April 27: Dorette and I looked in today on the latest special exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, “At Home With Monsters.” It features the work of the Mexican film director, screenwriter, producer and novelist Guillermo Del Toro. The horror genre is one of his specialties. The exhibit includes film clips and other items such as “maquettes” (preliminary models) used to visualize movie characters. I’ll be surprised (and relieved) if this one, photographed with my iPhone, doesn’t appear in my dreams tonight.
April 22: When I want a fresh book to read, I need only go next door. This is Sheila Owen’s new “LITTLE FREE LIBRARY” in Bloomington, Minn.
April 21: Dorette Kerian and I had a great time with our friend, Louise Ambrosio Manno, this afternoon, watching Chanhassen defeat Eden Prarie in softball. These young women know how to play!
April 19: How squirrels stay dry (relatively) in the rain, as seen in our backyard today. Turns out their tail makes a handy umbrella.
April 11: Full moon over Bloomington, Minn.
April 6: Downtown Minneapolis photographed today with my iPhone. Many streets still are under reconstruction, but it was a nice day to wander around before attending a Minnesota Orchestra concert (especially Schubert’s Symphony in C major, “The Great”).
April 5: Teamwork at the bird feeder, in our back yard, Bloomington, Minn.
April 5: So Dave, you’re sure winter is over, right?
April 4: Moon early tonight over Bloomington, Minn. It will be full April 11.
April 3: A cool day in Bloomington, Minn. Our Shi-zhu, Pixie, decided to take her morning nap near a heat vent.
March 30: The state Capitol, photographed with my iPhone today from the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. Dorette Kerian and I were at the Center to see a new exhibit about the Penumbra Theatre. It was founded in 1996 to create a forum for African-American voices. One of those voices was that of August Wilson, 1945-2005. If you haven’t seen the recent movie “Fences” based on his play, by all means rent it from NetFlix. I had the privilege of meeting him at the 1998 University of North Dakota Writers Conference.
March 29: March 29: “Dammit, Dave Vorland has been feeding squirrels with stale French bread. But what about the bunnies who can’t get through this fence?” (Actually, they DO get in via another route when Dorette’s garden comes up. She live traps them and transports them free of charge to a nature preserve several miles away).
Bloomington, Minn., photographer Dave Vorland captured these images in the Twin Cities the past couple of months, ranging from wildlife to landscape and celestial sights.
August 22: Lots of wonderful and sometimes strange places to visit in Minnesota. This is Jim’s Apple Farm in Jordan, also the largest candy store in the state. We stopped yesterday on the way home from a wedding in Mankato, Minn. No credit cards allowed — cash only. It’s difficult to summarize what you can buy here besides apples and candy, meats, pickled “things,” small brand sodas, fruit preserves, jams and jellies, odd-ball souvenirs, etc. You name it, Jim’s probably got it.
August 18: A change in the weather, photographed through the windshield in central Minnesota the other day.
August 17: Minnesota’s state bird, the loon, photographed yesterday from the deck of the Chester Charles II on Lake Itasca. Highly recommend this cruise — great narration about the passing scene and sights like this you seldom see closeup from the shore.
August 15: Lake Itasca morning.
August 14: Whoa! First impression of Lake Itasca State Park today: major storm damage from earlier this summer. This is an iPhone shot from near Douglas Lodge. The huge ancient fallen tree may predate the birth of my father in 1911.
August 6: Great time last night with Dorette Kerian and her granddaughter, Avery, watching the Saint Paul Saints lose to the Fargo Red Hawks at CHS Field. Old-fashioned minor league professional baseball on steroids. Even a post-game fireworks display. Snapshot taken with a Canon SX710 pocket camera.
August 4: View of Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountain Range northwest of Ketchum, photographed July 31 with a Canon Mark III DSLR and a 24-105mm lens. Smoke from forest fires was often visible but less noticeable by using a circular polarizer filter.
August 3: Photographed with my iPhone, a Hemingway display in Ketchum Idaho’s visitor center.
July 31: The view today near the top of the main mountain at Sun Valley Ski Resort in Ketchum, Idaho. I had thought about retiring from the sport, but this gives me pause.
July 30: Ernest Hemingway’s grave in Ketchum, Idaho, photographed with my iPhone near sundown today. Visitors still leave flowers and mementos (including on this day pebbles, coins, a shot glass and champagne cork). Also buried here are Hemingway’s wife, Mary, and son, Jack. The cemetery was still outside town in 1961. Today, there are more trees than in photos taken at the time of the burial, and the area has become surrounded by commercial development. But aficionados like me still sense Hemingway’s spirit here, just as we do in his books.
Photographer Dave Vorland shares these images taken this past month from near his home in Bloomington, Minn., to Itasca State Park to Ketchum, Idaho, where author Ernest Hemingway is buried.
On a rare day in which neither of us had calendars full of commitments, my husband and I went for a spontaneous bike ride today taking advantage of the brilliant sunshine and mild breeze.
A native of Minneapolis who spends more time than me on his bike, Arnie would have been fine biking from our Edina condo. Me, not so much.
After we each packed a quick picnic lunch, he loaded our bikes on the back of his car and we drove the eight miles to Lake Nokomis with plans to bike to nearby Minnehaha Falls after going around the lake.
Thankfully, after more than 10 years of marriage, Arnie is used to me making frequent stops for photo ops. It was a fun trip around the lake and by the time I found the perfect spot for our picnic with a comfortable place to sit and a fabulous water view, we had actually cycled the entire 2.7 miles around Lake Nokomis.
We enjoyed a healthy lunch and conversation with a young Minnesota man who was spending quality time with his adorable 18-month-old daughter while his wife was at the hairdresser. His British Virgin Island T-shirt had got my attention. He said he was originally from Minnesota but had lived the past 18 years in the BVI.
I shared that I had lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands where I edited a newspaper 45 years ago. When he said he has a sterling silver jewelry business [islandgemcreations.com] that led to a conversation about various local art fairs. I encouraged him to check out Edina’s Fall Into the Arts and the Uptown Art Fair.
With our picnic finished, we hopped back on our bikes and headed to Minnehaha Falls. After about 20 minutes, I started running out of steam. The temperature had risen to over 80, and a weather front was moving in so we decided to head back to the car.
Minnehaha Falls will have to wait for another day.
I’m not too sure if this is a legal water vehicle … it was two canoes with two boards connecting the them, a small electric motor, a lawn chair, umbrellas and a small grill on the front. The two guys sure seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Found this little bronze sculpture along the bike path but no title nor artist available — yet.
April 30: The Empire State Building, looking toward lower Manhattan, photographed from Rockefeller Center on Thursday, with a Canon 5D Mark III and 50mm lens.
April 29: The subway train last night to JFK airport, on our way home from New York City. Four great days ― my iPhone app says we walked 44.10 miles. The photos I’ve posted so far were shot with the phone; in coming days, I’ll put up a few taken with my digital DSLR.
April 28: We didn’t have the opportunity in NYC to see the musical “Hamilton” but did pay our respects yesterday at the grave of the actual Alexander Hamilton in the cemetery of Trinity Church in lower Manhattan.
April 27: Manhattan, seen today from the Staten Island ferry. The boats are larger and faster than in the old days, and cheaper, too. On my first visit to NYC in 1964, one paid 10 cents for a token allowing you on the boat; today the voyage is free. Still a great view.
April 26: A great second day in New York City despite a bit of rain in the afternoon. More than 12 miles of strolling according to my iPhone, two art museums and tonight a play, “An American in Paris.”
April 25: I first visited New York City as a college kid. Although I’ve returned many times on business or vacation, today was the first time in eight years. It’s a different place now, and I will need a while to sort it all out. This afternoon, after gorging ourselves at the Carnegie Deli, we spent much of our time in Central Park. There I had a “Proustian” moment remembering my strong reaction to The Lake and its model sailing boats when I first saw them back in 1964: “Hey, that’s where Dick and Jane played in those stories I read in the first grade back in North Dakota!”
April 24: Checking out the Walker Art Gallery yesterday in Minneapolis. We’ve been having a GREAT time with my daughter, Kristi, who, unlike us is not retired and must report to work in Grand Forks tomorrow.
April 23: Early spring has arrived at the University of Minnesota’s Landscape Arboretum near Chaska. As we do most times she visits us in Bloomington, my daughter, Kristi, and I made a stop there yesterday. Traffic in the area was very heavy because many people were paying their respects at the nearby home of the late musician Prince.
April 22: The light of the full moon woke me at about 5:30 a.m. this morning. I hope our neighbors in Bloomington, Minn., didn’t see me on the driveway in my pajamas, shooting this picture.
April 20: This time of year I think of what of T.S. Eliot wrote: “April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.” Of course, his poem, “The Waste Land,” is not actually about the weather. For me, January is the cruelest month. I LOVE April (October ain’t bad, either). This photo was shot in Bloomington, Minn., after spring rain had stirred the dull roots of the oak tree in our front yard.
April 20: Give me a minute, Dave. I need to check some messages.
April 19: Foolish me, but I look forward to seeing dandelions in the spring. In my neighborhood in Bloomington, Minn., they don’t last long, victims of herbicides and upper-middle class home owners seeking the perfect lawn. But the prejudice is worldwide. The French refer informally to dandelions as “jaune pisse” (jaune = yellow and pisse = the same word as in English without the “e”).
April 15: White squirrel, photographed near the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, Minn. It was our first opportunity to hear the Chamber Orchestra’s “artistic partner,” violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja. We both loved the Bach, me not so much the Von Biber, Dorette not so much the Ernesco. But hey, all better than, say, watching the Minnesota Twins lose.
April 14: The moon over Bloomington, Minn., last night. First quarter — it will be full a week from tonight.
April 8: Guess who got her summer hair cut yesterday? Pixie did!
Here are some nice shots from Dave Vorland, taken this past month in the Twin Cities and New York City.
My husband, Arnie Bigbee and I went downtown today — my first trip on light rail — it felt like being on vacation in a different city seeing the sights from the train.
Then, we went to the amazing new Star Tribune offices with Chihuly glass bowls behind glass cases to take in the discussion about the dining scene with our favorite food critic, the newly revealed Rick Nelson, Food Editor Lee Svitak Dean and two local popular chefs chefs Carrie Summer, co-owner of Chef Shack and Gavin Kaysen, owner of the Spoon and Stable, all totally engaging. The Star Tribune’s Vineeta Sawkar was host and emcee.
Everyone received a Rick Nelson-on-a-Stick to be used when you go to your favorite Twin Cities restaurant and take a selfie with it. Winner of the contest will get to have dinner with Rick, which I can tell you from personal >experience is a real treat. No desert needed.
Since we were early, I went up to the 13th floor and Tom Sweeney, Star Trib photo editor, was gracious enough to stop what he was doing and give me a great tour of the editorial offices. In my 50-plus years as a photojournalist, I never had it so good.
Later, Arnie and I went to the food trucks, got pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwiches — not overly impressed — and walked over to enjoy the flair of Government Plaza. There’s lots to look at the most interesting of which are the people — women selling plants, a university classroom on the steps complete with notebooks, business meetings, lovers meetings and the sculpture Phoenix Rising made from melted down guns. I spotted two window washers about 40 stories up hanging by ropes cleaning the glass covered high rise. Lordy. The green roofed City Hall looked European and stately with a backdrop of sky blue and puffy clouds.
Then, it happened. Again. Fourth time in four years. Looking up for photos, not paying attention to where I was going, and blam! Splat! Scrape! A shout out — SHIT! And I fell on my knees, rolled over on my back in pain, saw black for a few seconds and then Arnie — who had been getting our light rail tickets 20 feet away — rushed back to me along with an angel — Chérie A. Penn, assistant chief of administration and PIO with the Minneapolis Fire Department. She called her station and within minutes had an ice pack for my knees and stayed with us for 10 minutes until I assured her I didn’t need an ambulance.
We got back on the Blue Line on our way home. Trying not to think about the increasing pain in my knees, shin and chest, I kept my eye on what we were passing. I was impressed, despite not being a football fan, at the enormity of the new stadium as we sped by. The video I took of it lasted more than a minute.
We settled in our seats sitting near a couple of young black men and engaged in a conversation. When they got off, another young black man with a T-Shirt “North Side or No Side” sat near us. I asked him if he lived on the north side of Minneapolis and he said “Yes.” Then I asked him what he was doing to make the North Side better? He said he’s going to college for a degree in business.
I congratulated him and asked if he knew of Don and Sondra Samuels, well-known black leaders in North Minneapolis. He didn’t. I encouraged him to find out who they are as two strong leaders who make a difference. Arnie shared his business card and asked him to email him so we could connect him to the Samuels. We wished him luck as he got off to continue to class.
Only two stops left to the Mall of America station, where we’d parked our car for the day’s adventures. Once we got home, I put ice packs on my knees, shin and chest where I had received the most impact in my fall. Only a few minutes later, we had an email from Officer Penn inquiring how I was doing.
How great is that?
Minneapolis has my vote for most helpful and caring city. My only regret: I didn’t get Officer Penn’s photo. I obviously wasn’t thinking. And tomorrow? Well, I’ll be stiff for sure. Still, it was a great adventure and hope to do it again. Next time with my eyes on the ground — at least while I’m walking!