Yard work | October 20, 2021

My ten-year-old and his buddy spent thirty minutes raking leaves a few weeks ago and henceforth decided to turn their newfound skill into a leaf-raking business.  This was the conversation we had on the ride to school the next morning:

TEN’S BUDDY, stopping raking leaves in his own yard to get in the car: Hey, can I use the thing later? [note: “The thing” is Kyle’s leafblower, which also reverses and acts like a vacuum]

TEN: Yeah.  I think we need to get some really big garbage cans.

ME: Oh, for your leaf-raking business.


ME: What about those pumpkin garbage bags?

TEN: No, we need garbage cans because we’re dumping the leaves on our trampoline.

ME: What?

BUDDY: We can draw a pumpkin face on the garbage cans.

TEN, seeing a neighbor’s yard with a smattering of leaves on the grass: That yard is worth about one-fifty each.

ME: Maybe you should make a flier.

TEN: We can put our faces on some buff bods.

[Both boys break out in peals of laughter]

BUDDY, seeing another yard with a considerable number of leaves: That yard is worth about five-hundred.

ME, realizing they meant $150 earlier, and not $1.50: I think it’s more like $5.

TEN: No, five hundred.  We’ll make about a million dollars this week.

ME: Strong goal.

BUDDY: I don’t really need a million dollars.  I have [thinks for a moment] $91 in my bank.

TEN: Whoa.  You could buy [thinks for a moment] like, 100 things with that.

Either the $91/100 items situation was more than enough to sate the dreams of two ten-year-olds or the boys were banking on a big payout from their respective parents (good luck) because all of their raking/leafblowing efforts over the following days were focused solely on their own two yards – specifically, on gathering up 25% of the leaves on the ground and dumping them on our trampoline.  Our ten-year-old missed a day of leaf raking and his buddy came over the next morning and said, “I dumped a HUGE can of leaves on your trampoline yesterday,” and Ten said, “Thank goodness,” so they were obviously working on some kind of goal beyond the million dollars.

Whatever the intention, after enough leaves had been sufficiently piled up they took to jumping on said trampoline while throwing handfuls of foliage at one another.  Our six-year-old joined in on the action, coming in a few minutes later covered from head to toe in miniscule leaf shrapnel.  We shook him off the best we could, plunked him in the bath, and then skimmed off a river’s worth of missed vegetation that had been hidden in…his…let’s say… cracks.  Ten came in a while later and clogged up the shower drain with his own leaf bits.

Twenty-four hours later they were back at it again – pile-driving into a leaf extravaganza, and then tracking the remnants of their fun all through the house and plumbing.

Meanwhile, my husband was standing at the window.

“It’s going to rain this week,” he said to the sill and (maybe) to me.

“Yeah, it looks like it,” I said, flipping through my weather app.

“Those leaves are going to get all wet,” he said.

“Presumably,” I said.

“And heavy,” he said.

“I suppose,” I said.

He nodded.

The next day a few greyish clouds casually scooched in between a crowd of fluffy white ones.

“It’s going to rain tonight,” Kyle said when I got home from work.

“Yeah, it looks like it,” I said, turning my head to the sky.

“Those leaves are going to get all wet,” he said.

Kyle glanced at the boys.  Ten switched his rake to his non-dominant hand and waved.

“I’d assume so,” I said.

He nodded.

The sun was setting when I got a text from Kyle, who had taken Six to football practice.

“It’s going to rain,” it said.

Ten pulled up on his bike.

“I think Dad wants us to move the leaves,” I said.

It took those boys hours upon hours to pile those leaves on the trampoline, but only about ten minutes (including a few breaks to jump in them) to shovel them into a couple of garbage cans.  With every scoop, Ten repeated, “We need to save these so we can use them later.”  We put them in the garage.

It rained the entire week.  At the first break of sunshine, I asked Ten,

“Do you want some help re-piling your leaves?”

“Oh, no,” he said.  “Those are old.  We’re going to get new ones.”

Last night they were at it again – raking, piling, jumping.  It’s supposed to rain again later this week, so they decided to forgo the trampoline and just keep the leaves stored on the ground (where they can be as heavy as the Earth’s core can stand).  Ninety-nine-percent of the leaves have ended up back sprawled across the lawn, but they are definitely earning their millions of dollars (or a trip to Dairy Queen) for effort.

Speaking of millions of dollars – the photo today has absolutely nothing to do with the story but I won $20 the other day at bingo and I wanted you all to know.

This week’s news has a farewell parade, a DinoMummy, and the best-tasting water in North Dakota.  Read on.

My dad wrote a story last week about a very important topic: odometers.  Read it here.

When Buxton’s Milo Simonson neared the very end of his cancer fight, the community – led by Milo’s grandson, Chance and with the town’s mayor, Travis Soderberg – said goodbye with a 30-vehicle classic car parade. (Hillsboro Banner)

Katie and John Fugle had my husband’s ultimate wedding: on the ice at the H.A. Thompson & Son’s Arena in Fargo. (KVRR)

Together, the Minot Lions and Dr. Darin Johnson have been providing free screenings and eyeglasses to community members for over 15 years. (Minot Daily News)

Every year, the Dickinson Fire Department gives out hot chocolate and truck rides. (Dickinson Press)

The best-tasting water in North Dakota can be found in McVille. (KX Net)

North Dakota is the sixth-best state in the country in which to have a baby. (KVRR)

The North Dakota Heritage Center has its “DinoMummy” exhibit back with a replica of a teenage dinosaur that was found in North Dakota with its skin intact. (KX Net)

The Minot Hardees has gone viral for its one-word sign advertising “Burger.” (KFYR TV)

On Special Days | December 31, 2020

There used to be a bakery across the street from my office that offered a rotating savory menu in addition to a case full of sweets.  Kyle and I went over at noontime one day and got in line behind a seven-year-old boy and his grandfather.

Grandpa: Get whatever you want for lunch, bud.

Kid: …Anything?

Grandpa: Anything.

And so that kid got a piece of chocolate cake the size of his head, and he, and his grandfather, and Kyle, and I were all happy.

Tomorrow is the start of 2021.  I love New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day for the same reason that I love birthdays and cake-for-lunch days and our annual trip with my parents to the Renaissance Faire: because they are special.

Earlier this month, after a particularly wild day of working and distance learning and holding barrels full of monkeys over our heads while treading weedy water, Kyle and I flopped on the couch to discuss what to have for dinner.  He suggested pizza.

“We had pizza on Tuesday,” I said.

“Did we?” He asked.  “Sorry, everything has just blurred together lately.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about that since he said it.  Because, while Kyle and I are very fortunate to have a lot of special days every year, we spend our normal day-to-days just pushing through so that we can go to bed and repeat it all over again.  Meaning we’re just wasting a whole bunch of perfectly good days doing regular things when we could have been eating cake for lunch.

And so today, New Year’s Eve – a special day that we use waiting for it to end – I’ve decided that in 2021 to add a whole bunch of new days to the Kosior Family Calendar; special (albeit easy/low-pressure) days that will give us something to look forward to and to remember as we plan for the next one – like:

  • Build a Sweet Fort Day.
  • Try Something New Day.
  • Sleep on Fresh, Clean Sheets Day. (I feel compelled to note that we do, in fact, change our sheets regularly now)
  • Take a Nap Day.
  • Run Down a Hill Day.
  • Say “I Think You Are Awesome” to Someone Day.
  • Eat Whatever You Want for Lunch Day. (Of course.)
  • Do Something Weird Day.
  • Make a List of Days Day.

If you have any ideas for me to add to our special days, please send them on.

I was going to post a horizon picture today because North Dakota sunsets are always special, but instead I picked a photo of S’mores Day during a daylong skate on Kyle’s rink. 

Speaking of special things, this week’s news is about a teenage gymnast, a soccer coach, and some lost-and-found Christmas presents.  I wish you a million good things in 2021 – Happy New Year!

This is a story every parent wants to hear: a Watford City teenager was worried his friends would tease him for liking gymnastics, so the community sent him hundreds of encouraging messages, and the local gymnastics club reached out to get him back into training. (KX Net)

The Seaks Family of Dickinson has been celebrating their own “25 Days of Giving” for nearly a decade, and this year 10 other families joined them to prepare 30 Christmas meals. (Dickinson Press)

Tommy Nienhaus, Jamestown’s winningest head men’s soccer coach, received an enthusiastic homecoming after recovering from COVID-19. (Jamestown Sun)

Buxton’s Craig and Carla Swanson have put out a shining display of 75 lit Christmas decorations for passersby to enjoy. (Grand Forks Herald)

Fargo’s Jim Puppe has published a book entitled “Dakota Attitude,” in which he tells the story of residents with “human spirit, optimism, good morals, values, and integrity” in every town in North Dakota. (MSN)

Des Lacs’ Madison Sundsbak was “regifted” her family’s Christmas presents after losing them somewhere on I-29. (Valley News Live)

Little voices were heard across the country thanks to Bowman County School District’s virtual winter concert. (Bowman Extra)

(Like Amanda Silverman Kosior and/or North Dakota Nice?  Check out last week’s Tale of The Farmer Hello or this story about Silverman’s.)

Nice news of the day – October 9, 2018

Three North Dakota schools added to national blue-ribbon list (KVRR)

Every year, the U.S. Department of Education honors schools in which students achieve high marks, or dramatically improve moderate marks, for learning, based on a measure of philosophy, instruction, curriculum, motivation, testing, support, and environment. This year, Central Valley School in Buxton, Freedom Elementary in West Fargo, and Richland Elementary in Abercrombie were recognized as a part of a group of 300 schools nationwide.  Freedom Elementary celebrated with a game show-style school program and blue treats.

Volunteers help with fall clean-up at Roosevelt Park Zoo (KFYR TV)

With fall in the air (and on the ground), volunteers are helping to tidy up the Roosevelt Park Zoo before the snow flies.  On Saturday, October 6, the local Air Force JROTC and a group of helpful individuals raked, shoveled, painted, and swept the nearly 100-year old zoo.  There is another clean up day scheduled for Saturday, October 13 for anyone who missed out.

Story update: 89 veterans participate in Honor Flight (Wahpeton Daily News)

As you may recall, Don Roberts and his fellow volunteers were recently looking for veterans and donations for the Honor Flight program, which sends vets and related volunteers (doctors, nurses, and others to assist on the trip) to Washington D.C.’s historical sites, including Arlington National Ceremony.  On October 1, 2018, 89 veterans who served after 1959 returned to Fargo after a two-day trip to our nation’s capital.  Each flight costs $150,000, and the trip was sponsored by TV station WDAY.  Donations for future flights can be sent to Veterans Honor Flight of North Dakota/Minnesota, P.O. Box 644, West Fargo, ND 58078.

photo by Mark Basarab