Panorama of Downs Lake

This was fun. A nine image panorama. I wis I would have done it a couple of weeks earlier when the leaves were still on the trees. It is the start of a seasonal set of panoramas. Click on the image to see a larger view.

Digital Darkroom

I am having a lot of fun getting back into photography. My latest adventure is recreating my old wet darkroom experiences to digital. Here is an example using HDR (high dynamic range) processing.

Kate’s 21st Birthday

It is hard to believe but Kate is 21 later this month. We were so happy that she was able to join us in Lake Elmo for a couple of days this weekend. Kate is about to enter her senior year at Belmont University as a business major. She dropped in for a couple of days on her way to stay at her Moms in Mankato for a few more.

We decided to hold a small party in honor of her upcoming 21st birthday. Mom and Bill, Bryan and Jaden, Bill and Lynn, and Kate’s friend Leah were able to join us. A couple of candids (and the requisite Feikema candle picture) follow.

Uncle Abben

This post has been a long time coming.

Last November, Mary and I were fortunate to be able to take a trip to Anaheim to visit my uncle, Abben Feikema. It was a great treat. He and I had stayed in touch on the phone and with frequent emails (normally inspirational ones from Abben).

While we were chatting one day in September, I vowed that we would visit soon. It finally worked out in mid-November. It was great. It was also timely as his health was declining.

We had a great time, playing dominoes, cards, talking at length, connecting. It was great for me to be able to get to know him even better. My Dad died twelve years ago, and since that time Abben had became a bit of a surrogate. He was a great father figure. Here is a shot of us at the kitchen table playing dominoes.

We had a great time. Abben seemed to too. He seemed to have an extra spurt of energy that weekend.

We also had a chance to go out to eat. We met near Knotts Berry Farm. Here are a couple of shots of the crew (thanks to Eliot Hansen).

I took a couple of snapshots of the garden.

And notably the adopted cats. They were quite a hoot. I am an early riser (as was Abben) and when I popped my head out in the morning they stood at attention. I am assuming that they thought that I was Abben, getting ready to feed them. Unfortunately they were mistaken.

Our trip was very important to us. It was certainly a great opportunity to celebrate life with Abben, to spend quality time with wonderful Marlene, and also to reconnect with cousins and their families.

It was also a time for me of reflection on a life well lived, a family well loved, and Abben, a great standard bearer.

Unfortunately, it was a short three weeks later when received a call from Ann Lynn. Abben was dying. My heart sank. I am so grateful that we were able to visit. He passed away shortly thereafter, having lived a wonderful life, loved by many, respected by most, and most importantly in love with his creator.

My cousin Coby LaVenture and I were privileged to be able to represent the Minnesota Feikema’s and go to Abben’s funeral in December. We met so many folks, old family friends, relatives, and reconnected. I know I can speak for us both when I say that we left with renewed friendships with family members too distant, and I know that I came away with a better feeling for what it means to be a Feikema and more importantly a friend of God like Abben was.

I look forward to continued (and more frequent) connections with my family.

I still miss Abben but I am happy that we ALL know exactly where he is today.

18th Anniversary

Last weekend, to celebrate our eighteenth anniversary we went to the Bayport Cookery. It was during their Morel Fest so we were in for a treat. A couple of sample images (not necessarily what we were served but a good indication):

Yowsa…it was great. Here is what we were in store for:

* ~ First ~
Alaskan Halibut
Pad Thai noodles and morel miso broth

* ~ Second ~
Sockeye Salmon
morels, jumbo lump crab and watercress salad

~ Third ~
Morel Mushroom Frittata
sweet corn, spinach and raw milk cheddar

* ~ Fourth ~
Charcoal Grilled Chicken
soft polenta and morel mushroom gravy

* ~ Fifth ~
Pork Tenderloin
eda mame, morels, and smoked applewood bacon

~ Sixth ~
Beef and Tuna
black & white risotto, port wine reduction, foie gras, and morels

~ Cheese ~
pate choux, morels and aged balsamic

~ Dessert ~
Strawberry Shortcake
morel maple mousse and rhubarb compote

* ~ Number 9 ~
Morel Mushroom Ice Cream
chocolate cake, almond tuile and red wine syrup

The Cookery also has an interesting tradition…a diary on the table, open to anyone to add their notes. We found our own note from our anniversary five years ago. What a treat!


Maybe I should switch my allegiance to ‘Vettes. Sweet!

Cool Studebaker

But this was the coolest…not exactly OEM.

Old Studebakers

I did find a couple of other Studes…

1951 Stude

I went in search of a 1951 Studebaker Landcruiser. This was as close as I got, a ’51 Champion. Needs some TLC. The ’51 I had was jet black and 35,000 miles (28,000 driven by my great Aunt Kathryn to church and back).

Lakeside Garden

It has been a very cold, wet spring. While it has restricted how much golf we’ve been able to play, it certainly has made the garden as lush as it has ever been. Several varieties of Hosta, lush Ferns (which seem to grow as well outside the garden as in it), Astilbe, and massive Bleeding Hearts have taken over this part of the garden.