Sunday, August 29, 2010

Minnesota State Fair

We have only been to the Minnesota State Fair twice in our 31 years in Minnesota and then only because two of our grandsons have performed in the talent competition. First it was Zeke and now this year Gunnar. The fair is only two hours away but it is always hot and crowded so we have stayed away. This year was not as bad as Zeke's year temperature wise as there was a stong wind and little humidity. Of course those better conditions increased the size of the crowd and it was so noisy we couldn't hear our cellphone (not just me) to find each other. We arrived a little before 11 AM and pulled into a parking lot for $15 and just after we paid they raised the price to $20. After a very long hot day we collapsed into seats for the talent show about 6PM eating our fair food dinner and waiting for the show to start at 7PM. It is fun to see the may talented kids age 8 to 18 from the various county fairs. Gunnar did great even though my video quality does not prove me right. We are very proud grandparents. For those that don't know Gunnar is our oldest grandchild at 16.

The two food shots are typical of fair food. Amanda is holding a SPAM Curd she was enjoying. Yes we are still proud supports of Hormel Foods and still eat SPAM.

The picture that is somewhat out of place is actually an interesting addition to the fair. A lady sat down on the concrete walk between the seating which is set on reclaimed rubber scraps and during the show she took the two colors of rubber scraps and produced the picture you see. I asked her if she was an artist and she said no but she had just been in the fine art exhibit hall and as she was sitting watching the show she just started putting the picture together with what was there.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mower County Talent Contest

Today we enjoyed watching two of our grandsons perform in the Mower County Talent Show. Two years ago Zeke won first place in the preteen division which gave him the opportunity to perform at the Minnesota State Fair. This year Zeke did not win even though he is a fantastic pianist and we always enjoy the opportunity to hear him perform. Gunnar did win first place in the teen division so we will go to the State Fair near the end of August to hear him again. He sang and his voice has been become so powerful and it is such a joy to hear him sing. As you can tell by the pictures there is not a lot of concern for stage presence. Zeke is in the pink shirt in the large group shot and Gunnar is the tall green shirt in the small group photo. It has been just too hot and humid for much concern - the judges did however comment on Gunnar's sheet that the shirt was too green. I guess they had to have something for him to work on.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

YEA! We Are Home

Before leaving Kristi's, Zeke had a new experience chopping wood for Karl. Zeke was so proud of himself and how well he did splitting the wood.

We left Kristi's Monday morning and drove to Palmyra. We toured the Grandin Printing Building where the Book of Mormon was first published and then the Joseph Smith farm and Sacred Grove. We all enjoyed the Spirit that emanates from these sacred locations. We drove on until 9 PM stopping just outside Kirtland OH. Tuesday morning we headed to the John Johnson farm where Joseph Smith spent a year and received many sacred revelations. We next stopped at the Kirtland Temple and at noon headed to Austin. We arrived home just before midnight after driving through some of the most spectacular lighting storms I have even seen and some of the worst rain I have ever had to drive through.

We are just happy to be home for awhile. Amanda decided to move into Steven and Micah's house until it is sold. So Wednesday morning she borrowed David's truck and three loads later we had her out of her storage unit. It was a blessing she decided to move as her storage unit had leaked and all of the items on the raised wooden slats were wet and all the cardboard boxes which were stored higher were starting to giveway from the humidity. Many items where starting to mold so she had lots of clean up to do before she could even move in.

Then Wednesday afternoon I picked Paige up at the airport on her return from her summer internship in Alaska. She will spend a few days with us before going back to her last year of law school.

I think since we arrive home in March we have not actually been home more than about 5 weeks so this period home will be longer than our total time home so far. Then it is off to Utah, Oregon, California and Arizona again.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Wrapping Up Our PEI Adventure

We had 3 great full days on Prince Edward Island. It was fun to see where my grandfather Bremner came from even though I never knew him. Friday, Eileen and I continued on the family history portion of our trip while everyone else toured a lighthouse and enjoyed the beaches once again. We first went to the home of Dave Hunter who runs the "Island" where we have learned much about our family. While we were in Iceland, Eileen bought a book from Dave and asked him to hold it as we were going to visit PEI. We have been planning this trip for years so we included a stop to see Dave and pick up the book. He also showed us his telephone museum which is quite amazing with the earliest telephones to the most modern including a complete telephone booth, old switchboards, switching equipment and even teletype machines. After leaving his home we headed to the various areas of the island where many of our ancestors lived - looking for whoever we could find in cemeteries along the way.

We all came back together at the motel to go for our final dinner in PEI. We looked on the internet for a place to go and saw Canada's oldest family operated Inn and PEI's oldest business - the Shaw Hotel. Shaw is a family name and the menu looked fantastic. It was only about 20 minutes from us so we decided to give it a try. It looks just like the picture but the menu had been changed and I was really disappointed with the offerings. I had to have scallops again as there was no other seafood offerings. They were delicious though. Kristi was brave and had the scallops and loved them. Zeke had shrimp linguine which he really enjoyed. The rest had good food just no seafood or fish. The view from the dining room was very beautiful just doesn't show in my picture.

Saturday morning we headed back to New Hampshire taking a different route than the one up which meant getting off the freeways. We went south along the New Brunswick coast which was beautiful and then as we crossed the border into Maine we headed west through Maine and New Hampshire into Vermont where we headed south to Kristi's. The drive was a very beautiful scenic drive on two lane roads through many towns. Kristi was very frustrated with drivers who did not even drive the speed limit but we got home just about as quickly as the less interesting freeway route so she enjoyed the drive too. The architecture and the rural New England atmosphere was very fun to see. Many of the beautiful old homes have been turned into Bed and Breakfast or Inns. Families must have been very big when those houses were built as they are very large. Many of them look the size of the modern mansions being built today.

Today we enjoyed Church with Kristi's family and tomorrow it is off to Palmyra, Kirtland and home - yea home!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Searching For The Family & Appropriate Food

Thursday we all started out together by touring Charlottetown and Founding Hall. We toured the time capsule where we learned why Prince Edward Island is considered the home of the founding of the Confederation of Canada. A nice history lesson for all of us. After that Eileen and I went to the PEI Archives for family research and everyone else went to the beach. We found some interesting records but could not find anything new on William Bremner. We have been trying to find where he lived before coming to PEI which was our main goal for coming here. We had hoped by seeing the original records of his marriage in 1805 we might find where he came from but there were no indications on the original Church records. We did see the Custom House on our tour where George Bremner was a Customs Officer. The picture of the sketch of the inside of the Bremner Brothers bookstore was my great-great grandfathers and his brothers business.

The beach group had a great time on one of the warm beaches of the island. They finished up their time with Cow's Ice Cream which is rated #1 in the world by a travel company. I understand it was quiet delicious with 16% butter fat.

To continue our quest for authentic island food Kristi, Zeke and I went to the world famous Fisherman's Wharf Lobster Suppers restaurant. We started with seafood chowder, mussels, 60 foot salad bar. They then brought us our lobsters. By the time we finished the lobster we were full but that didn't stop us from sampling the pies - 4 different ones. Everyone else went for pizza - not very adventuresome when it comes to food.

We ended the day with a walk on the beach.

Prince Edward Island

We arrived Tuesday evening after a little over an 11 hour drive. The drive to Cavendish was very rural until we arrive in Cavendish which is a definite tourist destination. Cavendish is the setting for the Anne of Green Gables books and from that attraction many other tourist attractions have developed. For dinner I enjoyed mussels and bacon wrapped scallops which Zeke and Kristi also sampled.

Wednesday we enjoyed Avonlea - a great little recreation of the Anne of Green Gable book. They have three restored building from the area that were apart of the author Maude Montgomery's life along with additional building to represent those of Anne's life. It was like a living history site with little shows throughout the day from the book. We all enjoyed a fun day. For dinner I enjoyed Atlantic salmon and Zeke had a lobster burger. The day ended with swimming for the kids as it was too cold for the adults.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Picking Up Amanda

The next phase of our trip to Prince Edward Island included picking up Amanda at the Boston Airport Monday. Zeke gets car sick but he made it all the way from Austin to New Hampshire plus all our side trips here without any medication so we didn't even think about it when we left to pick Amanda up. About an hour into our trip he was sick so we stopped at a rest stop so he could walk around for a few minutes - which didn't seem to help. We continued on until we found a store and bought him Sea-Bands and Dramamine. As much as he did not want to take the Dramamine he did and felt much better. We lost 1/2 hour the exact amount of time we were late to pick up Amanda.

From there we drove to the USS Constitution Museum. I had printed out a yahoo map to get us from the airport to the museum which started out fine and then the instruction got us off on the wrong road. My iPhone came to the rescue as I had downloaded the map of the area before we left so when I turned it on it showed us immediately where we were and I could read the street names and saw the one we were supposed to be on and we quickly made the change in direction arriving at the museum without any difficulty.

The USS Constitution ship is closed on Mondays but we enjoyed the museum and all the history about Old Ironsides. Amazing the things you can learn. From the museum we walked up to Bunker Hill and then toured the Bunker Hill Museum. We left Boston at 4:30 sure we would be stuck in terrible traffic and considered finding a place for dinner. Two thing worked to our advantage - the traffic was actually moving better than stop and go and there are no roadside signs for restaurants. Kristi knew of places in Manchester so we continued on. It was good we did because if we had eaten in Boston we probably would have been in worse traffic and there was quite a heavy downpour all the way from Boston to New Hampshire which we missed as we ate dinner.