Reflections, Resolutions, and Renewal v.2023-Part 2

Today’s post is 2380 words, 8 photos, a 9 minute read. Enjoy!

Hi everyone,

This is the beginning of the second full week of 2023. How did you do on your 2022 resolutions? Did you set any for 2023 and have you broken any of them? Continue reading to find out how I did on my 2022 resolutions and what I resolve for 2023.

Resolutions Results

Last year, I set a goal to walk 2,750,000 steps, take one or more writing classes, continue this blog, and take photos. I also pledged to reduce my social media time to no more that one hour per day not counting email and web searches.

I met my resolution to take at least one writing class, I took two. The blog continued with a post every Sunday. I made one addition to my blog posts, at the top of each post I display then word count, number of photos and estimated read time.

I met my resolution to take photos but I wouldn’t say I went overboard, I need to do more for 2023. I missed my step goal by a lot, logging 1,942,295 steps during the year. I have lots of excuses why I didn’t walk those other 800,000 steps but I won’t bore you with the details. I really bombed on my pledge to reduce my social media time to one hour per day. I did ok for a few weeks but then reverted to old habits. I’ll come back to this resolution in 2024 and hope I can do better.

Resolutions and Renewal for 2023

My new goal for my step count is 2,500,000. That’s about 6,850 steps per day. It’s much easier in the warm months when I’m out and about every day, harder in the winter when I spend more time inside. I’ll add another resolution to put on a 1000 miles on the e-bike my Traveling Partner gave me for Christmas. I picked it out the day after Thanksgiving, just before it snowed so didn’t get to ride it much in 2022.

I’m already signed up for a writing class this year but my resolution is to bring at least one self-published book to print. I’m writing a memoir of growing up on a farm in western North Dakota and another about my time in the Army. Both are in draft form but it takes a lot of time to get them to print. Fortunately, I’m working with an editor, Sarah White, who keeps me on task. I’ll keep you posted on if/when the book will be available.

We do plan to travel more in 2023 with trips to New Orleans and Toronto on the calendar. We hope to do at least one international trip this year. We’ll see what’s available with all the pent up demand for overseas travel. Regardless, more travel means more photos and more stories to share with you during the year.

More Reflections from 2022

Dane County Farmers Market

On an early April Saturday morning, we attended the first outdoor Farmers Market of the year. Sitting in front of the computer in the middle of winter, I can’t wait for the opening of the 2023 market. Here’s what I wrote as an introduction.

“This week I’m taking you to the opening weekend of the Dane County Farmers’ Market. This year marks the fiftieth season of this famous and well attended market. Join me as we make the walk around the Wisconsin State Capitol Square on a sunny but chilly Saturday morning in April. The temperature was a cool 36° F (2.2° C) as we made the drive to downtown Madison. We’ve been coming to the market almost every Saturday since we moved here thirty-five years ago in 1987. It’s one of the many reasons we stayed Madison, even now it would be hard to leave this unique Madison thing to do on a Saturday.”

Door County, Wisconsin

I published eight articles this year related to Door County. We did make three trips to this great vacation spot in northeast Wisconsin. We spent about six weeks of the year enjoying what this unique spot has to offer. You’ll see more of Door County in 2023 because we plan to visit at least twice, including a long weekend in the next month or two. Here’s the first of three snippets and photos from our Door County adventures.

“I’d be surprised if you haven’t heard about Door County Candle Company on the news. This small locally owned business has sold over 60,000 blue and yellow candles to support Razom, a charity created in the US in 2014 to support Ukraine. This company is owned by a young woman, Christina, a third generation Ukrainian. Her grandparents were born in Ukraine and emigrated to the US. When the current war began, she began making a special candle to raise money for Ukraine. She thought if she could sell three hundred it would be good. The local and national media picked up her story and the orders rolled in. Just a couple of days ago, they announced that the sale of candles has raised $525,000 for Ukrainian relief. Here’s a link to the story that appeared on ABC News just the other day. By the way, Door County Candle is located in the village of Carlsville about half way between Sturgeon Bay and Egg Harbor on Highway 42.

While phone orders are at least twelve weeks behind, candles are available at the store. We stopped twice to buy candles as gifts for friends and family. Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!”

In a follow-up to this story, my Traveling Partner, The Eldest, and I volunteered at Door County Candle for a half-day during July. We helped with preparing candles for shipping. To date, $800,000 has been raised through the sales of these candles to support the people of Ukraine. In a new initiative, Door County Candle is sending a tin candle to Ukraine for every Ukraine candle sold. These candles will help families light their homes in times of darkness and provide hope for brighter days to come. Support them if you can.

During our visits to Door County, we always make a stop or two at four of the five State Parks located in the county. Below is a narrative about one of our visits to Newport State Park.

“Newport State Park is near the tip of the Door peninsula. It’s so different than the big and busy Peninsula or the family friendly Potawatomi or the rugged Whitefish Dune State Parks. Newport is more of a wilderness experience. It has thirty miles of hiking trails, a very nice sandy beach, walk-in primitive camping, and is designated as a Dark Sky Park, one of only eighteen in the United States.

Our first visit during the July was to check out it’s Monarch Waystation. Unfortunately, this year there weren’t very many Monarchs around due to an unexplained collapse in the colony during migration. Apparently, there were significant numbers of Monarchs that overwintered in Mexico and began their journey north. Something happened along the way resulting in much smaller numbers in the northern US and Canada. This combined with decrease in their natural habitat and climate change, the Monarch was recently placed on the endangered species list. You can help by creating your own waysstation, planting milkweed (I know my agricultural friends will find this disturbing!), and other food sources. To learn more about preserving Monarch habitat check out Monarchwatch.org.”

Door County is known for it’s cherry orchards. Here’s a story about picking sweet cherries.

“July is cherry picking time in Door County. During our stay, we (my Traveling Partner, The Eldest, The Son-in-Law, and I) traveled to Sir Reginald’s Sweet Cherry Orchard near Brussels. This pick your own orchard is only open a couple of days during picking season, it’s a small operation run by Eric and Kari Carper. Our first decision was how many buckets to pick. We settled on three small pails at $15 per pail. Kari directed us into the orchard and suggested we head to the farthest end where there were more unpicked trees.”

There’s a lot more Door County stories and photos, check them out by clicking here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

My Home Town

In September, I wrote a story about my home town; Hazen, North Dakota. I grew up on a farm fifteen mile north of town where I attended country school through the fifth grade. When the country schools closed, we were bused to Hazen where I graduated from High School. I have mostly fond memories of Hazen. Here’s how I ended my post about my home town. Click here if you would like to read the full blog.

“It’s been over fifty years since I left Hazen for good but it’s still my home town. Main Street has changed. The Barber Shop, Standard Oil Service Station, the Kitchen Bar, and Rose Hardware are gone. But other’s have taken their place. With the abundance of nearby recreation at Lake Sakakawea, the Knife River Villages National Historic Site, the electrical power generating plants, and coal mines that provide jobs for local residents. There’s a lot to like about Hazen, for me it’s the memories from times past.”

Willmar, Minnesota

In September, my Traveling Partner and I spent two weeks in the Willmar area as volunteers for West Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity affiliate. Here’s a what I wrote about an interesting event that happened in Willmar. Click here, here, and here to read more.

“The story of the Willmar 8 is fascinating, to me at least. In 1977, eight female employees at the Citizens National Bank went on strike. They alleged sex discrimination over unequal pay and opportunities for promotion. At the time, men were paid $700 per month and women $400 per month for the same job. The 8 filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The Bank President was quoted as saying to the women: “You make plenty of money for a woman.” And this: “We are not all equal, you know.” The Willmar 8 had the backing of the local, state, and national chapters of the National Organization for Women (NOW). Plus, many labor unions supported their strike. The locals had mixed reactions but many bank customers refused to cross the picket lines.

The picket and strike began in mid-December on a day when the wind chill factor was -70°F. When the rulings came down in 1979, it was determined the bank did engage in unfair labor practices but those didn’t cause the strike, economic factors were the cause. The result was no back pay and no guarantee of rehire. Some of the workers did eventually go back to work at the bank.

A few years later, a documentary was made of the Willmar 8. Another outcome was that banks and other organizations in Minnesota and elsewhere began to make changes in there hiring and pay practices. It’s still a work in progress.”

Interesting People I Met This Year

In November, I published a story about the interesting people I encountered during travels near and far. Below is sample, click here to read more about the folks we met.

“During our month long stay in Door County, we made several trips around the county. One day when we found ourselves in Sister Bay, we parked near the Mill Road Gallery, home of artists Tom Seagard and his wife Brigitte Kozma. As I was browsing around the gallery, Tom came up to me and started talking. Our conversation went on for nearly a half hour, my Traveling Partner came looking for me or I’d might still be standing there talking with this interesting fella.

Tom has been an artist since age 19 when he was studying art and design at UW-Milwaukee. He told me he was injured as a young man, nearly crippled but he turned those injuries, particularly to his hands into opportunities. His current work is of Native Americans. The medium is brown paper, like a grocery bag, stretched over a piece of masonite. He uses traditional art materials as well as common items like bleach, coffee mixed with Windex, and food coloring in his work. Tom has quite a story to tell. Stop in and check out his work. I enjoyed my visit with him. Here’s a link to his gallery webpage.”

Trees

In December, I wrote two blog posts about trees after finishing the book “The Overstory” by Richard Powers. I vowed never to overlook a tree again. Here’s a little of what I posted in one of the articles. Click here and here to read more.

“I just finished reading the book “The Overstory” by Richard Powers. This novel, published in 2018 and winner of the 2019 Pulitzer for Fiction, details the lives of nine characters obsessed with trees and forests. After reading this book, I vow not to overlook the value, the strength, and importance of trees in our lives. They clean the air, store carbon, filter water, cool the environment, provide habitat for birds and other creatures, and perform many duties that we as humans don’t see and take for granted. Most trees, if left on their own, will vastly outlive humans. Did you know that the oldest living thing is a tree? A bristlecone pine, estimated to be over 5000 years old. These trees live in some of the harshest conditions known to man. And we take them for granted and hardly notice them as they quietly (mostly except on wind days) do their jobs for us.

I grew up on the Northern Great Plains in western North Dakota where the short grass prairies dominate. Trees were and are scarce. The trees that do grow naturally are nestled into coulees and draws protected from the hot winds of summer and cold and snow of winter. Or they are located along rivers, streams, and waterways. The early homesteaders would plant saplings in their farmyards for shade. They nurtured those small trees by carrying water and protecting the trees from the wind, heat, and snow. If luck was on their side, those trees took root, eventually thrived on their own, and provided some semblance of shade in 20-30 years. Now, that’s optimism!”

trees-7775
Tree along the road near where I grew up. Now gone.

Well readers, that’s enough reminisce. Stay tuned next week for a new story and photos from recent travels.

Remember, as we begin the new year, the future is bright. Live every day if it’s your last, build new relationships, create adventures, and love your family.

Until next week, happy travels!

Tom

 

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