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We have one of the world’s largest mines

I’ve been to the Hull Rust Mine a few times, but I had no idea that it was listed among the top 10 largest mines in the world.  This is really kind of cool.

Hull-Rust-Mahoning Mine

What began as an underground mine has transformed into one of the biggest open-pit mines in the world. Nicknamed the “Grand Canyon of the North,” the Hull-Rust-Mahoning Mine in Minnesota, US measures a whopping eight kilometers long, 3.2 kilometers wide and 180 meters deep.

In 1919, after two years and at a cost of $16,000,000, nearly 200 houses and 20 business were moved – large buildings had to be cut in half before they could be transported. At peak production, between World War I and World war II, the Mahoning mine supplied one-fourth of all the iron ore produced from the United States. Today, after 100 years of resource extraction, the mine is still in use by the Hibbing Taconite company.

Since 1895, the mine has shipped more than 800 million tons of iron and removed more than 1.4 billion tons of earth and 2,000 acres of land. The mine is so gigantic that it has become a national monument for Minnesota.

The size of this place is absolutely mind boggling!  On a boring Sunday afternoon, one of my co-workers got the wild idea to drive all the way down to the bottom of the pit.  Believe me, this is nothing like driving on the highway.  It was actually a lot trickier than I thought it would be.  It was roll, slip, and slide all the way to the bottom, but we made it in one piece.

It’s definitely something that I don’t plan on doing again anytime soon.

Ducks at Bailey Lake

Yesterday I shot 283 pictures and this 5 minute video.  The sound isn’t great.  I need to start mounting the external microphone which gives me beautiful sound, but the mic is big and bulky.

In any case, enjoy…


Just Another Rainy Day

Well, Johnny is taking advantage of the day since all it has been doing is raining since I woke up.  Since he is sleeping, I figured I would go through some of the pictures that I took yesterday down by the lake.

The ducks definitely know how to read, no doubt about it.  They moved on down the lake shore to another spot where the city hasn’t put up signs saying not to feed the waterfowl.

Yes, it’s popcorn.  I have a thing about following rules that I don’t totally agree with.  I don’t give them bread or caramel corn like some people do.  I know those things aren’t good for them.

Two years ago, there was a big open field at the end of the park where you could see hundreds of geese practically any time you went down there.  Of course, the city in their efforts to turn Virginia into a real arts and crafts community, is planting community gardens everywhere.  So now the geese are coming up into the park.  They chase everything.  They chase the ducks, and they chase any people who just happen to be walking by.

The ducks don’t seem to be too bothered by the geese.

Nor do they bother this little guy.

Or this little guy who wasn’t going to leave until he got some popcorn.  This little fella was just about 2 feet away from me when I took the picture.

Then there was the one picture that I missed, and I will probably never see again.  As I was sitting on the bench, I saw a gorgeous red-tailed hawk.  You see them out in the country, but very rarely do you ever see them in town.  He flew right over me and landed on the top of the fence that was behind the bench.

Then, about a second or two later, I saw an eagle.  The eagle came right over my head and scared the hawk away.  He then landed on the fence right where the hawk was sitting.  I grabbed my camera and lined up what I thought was going to be the perfect once in a lifetime shot.  The eagle spread his wings and I was getting excited.  This was going to be a beautiful shot.

Just as I went to snap the picture I heard a beep and my camera completely shut down.  Damn!  It as at that moment that the batteries decided to go dead.  I tried to power up the camera again but it was no go.  I lost the shot!

Oh well, maybe next time…  I hope…


Old man in tears hugs beloved cat as his house burns down

The residents of Ordular village in western Turkey’s Mudurnu district were saddened Wednesday after witnessing the tragedy of an old man and his beloved cat, who helplessly watched their home burn down.

83-year-old Ali Mese accidentally started the fire himself, while trying to light his heating stove with gasoline.

His efforts to light a fire, however, went wrong and led to an explosion in the living room, after which the single-story wooden house burned to the ground.

Neighbors who noticed the fire immediately informed the fire brigade, who were able to save the old man, his wife, son and cat just in time.

The shocked owner of the house was seen hugging his frightened cat, mourning over the loss of his hens.

“13 of the 14 hens in the basement died during the fire,” Mese said.

The local authorities reached out to Mese, his wife and two sons who were left homeless when a fire gutted their house. Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin tweeted that he contacted the governor of Bolu province where Mese lives and the governorate told him that they would address the “needs of uncle Ali.”

“Let’s keep him and his cat warm,” Kalin tweeted. Social media users also organized a campaign to help Mese.

It’s always been my thought that if I lost everything in a fire, as long as I saved my kids, everything would be fine.




So Much Cuteness!!!

Ready for a little super cuteness overload???


What are banks for anyway???

Sometimes I think the world is going crazy, and then I realize that I’m in Virginia, MN where nothing makes any sense.  I just went over to the bank kitty corner from the apartment building to break bill.  I’ve been breaking bills and cashing checks there for almost 10 years.

About a year ago, they quit cashing checks for me because I don’t have an account there.  I don’t trust banks one little bit.  When they had the big scandal with Wells Fargo Bank about them reopening old accounts, I was one of the victims.  Every time I turned around I was getting overdraft notices for an account that had been closed for nearly 2 years.  It took me almost a year to get everything straightened out, and I swore that I would never have another bank account.

This morning, the bank across from the building refused to break a $100 bill for me.  I asked them what brought this around.  I mean, it’s not like I’m cashing a check that might be bad.  They told me that they recently decided that they don’t do anything for anybody that doesn’t have an account with them.  No exceptions to the rule!

So, I did the next worst thing and walked down to Wells Fargo on the next block.  This was a ball!  Just as I go to step in line, some guy jumps right in front of me and practically shoves me against the column behind me.  He turned to me and said “That’s okay; I’ll just be a minute.”  I thought “no problem A*****E”.

The guy got up to the counter, and what I saw practically floored me.  He was carrying a backpack out of which he produced two gigantic zip lock freezer bags full of change.  I think I even heard the teller gasp when he pulled out the first bag.

As it turned out, there was at least $450 in both bags.  When she went to her drawer to get bills for him, he said that he wanted to deposit it all in his checking account.  I thought “okay, he close to being done”.  Not quite.  Once she handed him the deposit slip, he told her that he wanted to withdraw $250.  The teller went through the whole process and gave him his $250 which he wanted all in $10 bills.  Then he handed her back $100 which he wanted as 2 rolls of quarters and the rest in $1 bills.  By this time I could tell that the guy that was 3 people behind me was contemplating murder.

Then the guy finally asked the teller if it would be alright if he grabbed a cup of coffee.  I was about ready to take the guy by the arm, pour him a cup of coffee, and give him a swift kick out the door.  To this point it took him 28 minutes before he was ready to leave the window.

Then something else happened.

Trevor, the guy who was working at a station right behind the teller had a Buick for sale and this guy wanted to hear all about it.  He wanted every freakin’ detail, in detail.  He leaned forward into the teller’s window and started talking to Trevor.  After 39 minutes, the guy that was contemplating murder had already convinced the guy in front of him and the woman right behind into joining him in a massive conspiracy to do this guy in.

I finally got up to the window.  All I needed to do was break a hundred dollar bill.  As soon as I told her what I wanted, she asked me if I had an account.  I told her that I did not.  She told me to step aside and she would have their new accounts representative talk to me.

I said “Look, I just want to break a hundred dollar bill!  I don’t want to open an account!  Been through that twice and it was a bad experience both times.”  They too don’t cater to anyone who doesn’t have an account.

Finally, I did what I should have done in the first place.  I went down to the liquor store at the end of block.  I entered the door, and I saw that the owner’s son was at the counter.  I asked him if he could break a big bill if I bought a bottle.  He looked at me and smiled saying “I’ll bet you just came from the bank.”  I almost busted out laughing as I said yes.  He told me that he would break it, and I didn’t have to buy anything.

I can’t imagine what it is with these banks.  I all the time I’ve lived over here, I’ve never had problems cashing a check, and breaking a bill was never a problem until now.  I always thought that this was one of the things that banks did pretty regularly throughout the day.  I guess not, or at least not anymore.

Just as I was leaving the liquor store, a girl came in and asked if they could break a $50 bill for her.  The store owner, his son, and I all broke out with great big smiles.

Later, while I was sitting out in front of the building having a smoke, a delivery guy from one of the local pizza places came to make a delivery to the building.  Just out of curiosity, if I ordered a breakfast pizza and had it delivered, could you break a hundred dollar bill.  The kid looked at me and said “HELL YEAH!”

Now here’s the funny part of this whole story…

If Wells Fargo had broken the bill for me, the first place I would have stopped on my way home was at the pizza place for my egg, bacon, Canadian bacon, 3 cheese, and peppers breakfast pizza which I usually pick up sometime during my morning walk every Thursday morning.

After the delivery driver drove off, I walked down to the pizza place and ordered my pizza.  When I got in line there were only 3 people ahead of me.  One ordered a full breakfast pizza only an 18” instead of the normal 10” that they are served them in.  He paid for the pizza with a $100 bill.  The next two people were ordering the 10” breakfast pizza.  One paid with a $50 bill and the other paid with a $100 bill.

When it was my turn to order, I dug into my wallet and pulled out the $11 for the pizza.  I told him about all of the hassles I went through to break the hundred dollar bill.  I thought I was going to have to pick him up off the floor, he started laughing so hard.

When he could finally talk again he said “You’ve come in here every Thursday morning for the last 7 years for a breakfast pizza without fail.  If you had a thousand dollar bill I’d cash it for you.”  I was happy to know that somebody really appreciated my business.

Next time I won’t have to go around to break a bill.

Or maybe I could just call Wells Fargo, take out a $50 loan, tell them what I want on my pizza and have them deliver it.  If they want to know why it’s $50, I’ll just tell them that I’m a big tipper.  😁😁

I Wonder if that would work ? ? ?  😁😁


Creative Gardening



The top picture is one of my own shots.  I have no idea who took the other shots below, but I would love to have both of those in my back yard.  Well, that is if I had a back yard.  I’m quite sure my manager would have a fit if I had these in my living room.




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