Sunday, March 11, 2012

Oh Fer Cute

Long ago and far away,
when I was 13 and my
dad's job moved us from
the capitol of Oregon to
the Canadian border of
Northern Minnesota in a 
frosty November, my 
world turned 
upside down.

New {very small} town
New {old} house
New school
New friends
New climate {cold}
New customs
New language

Language, you ask?

No, they didn't speak
French, but there was
a certain dialect that
my whole family
quickly learned.

Hot dish meant

was used on particularly
chilly winter mornings.

Aboot for about.
I went out and aboot
in my boat {bohw-t}.

Going with = coming along.

Ya betcha! is
a happy affirmation.

Another phrase we
heard a lot was Oh fer....

Oh fer cute!
Oh fer sweet!
Oh fer fun!

It was all new, eh?

{Okay that one does 
have a distinctly
Canadian influence.}

I loved it all.  The whole
Mayberry-ness of seeing
folks we knew everywhere
 we went, being able to walk
 or bike nearly anywhere, 
the we are in this together 
philosophy of embracing the 
sub-zero temps and long winters;
the kindness with which
my family was welcomed
into the community.

Oh fer nice, it was!

After high school and
college, I lived away from
Minnesota for 15 years,
before my husband's job
brought us back to the
Land of 10,000 Lakes; this
time to the middle of the state.

When house-hunting with
our realtor, I would spot
different houses that I thought
were really sweet and point
them out.  Oh, that one's
a dumpling, she'd agree, 
nodding her head.

She explained that was her
term for small houses with
a lot of character.

Over the years since our
move back, I have collected
my own favorite dumplings
as I drive hither and yon.  
As I admire them, I hear
that familiar refrain pop 
into my mind.....

Oh fer cute!

Not sure why they have street
signs in their yard?
For the last month or so
I've been suffering from
eye strain, which definitely
is not oh fer cute.   Since
the prescription for that is
to minimize computer time
{and to order special glasses}
I took to the road, yesterday,
camera in hand, to resist the
lure of the computer and to
begin capturing some of my 
choice dumplings to share 
with you.

{Can a church be a dumpling?}
The ones you've seen 
in this post are just a few.

Oh fer cute, eh?

And here ya are,
and it's a beautiful day.
~ Marge Gunderson 

From the movie Fargo, which takes
place and was filmed in Minnesota.  



Shelly W. said...

Every single home is adorable. I would move in tomorrow (if they weren't all in MN--I've already promised my family that I live as far north as I'm ever going to go . . . and I'm still south of you!). So many of your cute Minnesota phrases reminded me of the movie "New In Town" which made me laugh so hard. Of course, "Fargo" is my hubby's favorite movie. I always tell him "I'll make you some eggs." :)

Cheryl said...

As soon as I saw the title of your post on Blogger Dashboard I knew it was you, the only Minnesotan(Minna-SOH-tun) I follow. There's just no place else like it, is there? Adorable, those dumplings. I'm very curious about the street signs too!

Laura @ 52 FLEA said...

Loved your Dumpling tour!
I would love to visit some summer...not so much in the winter!
...I enjoyed this post very surely have a way with words! :)

Blooming Rose Musings said...

Your post is Oh fer wonderful, as always. I love the houses and and church. Growing up in New England the phrase Ya betcha was used all the time and Dumpling was someone you dearly cared about, like your children. I recently used it to describe the precious little girl down the street and her parents looked at me with the strangest expression. I adore your part of the country and cherish all the "languages" of the area. XO

NanaDiana said...

Suzanne! Love this post. We are so close in Wisconsin that many of those little speech quirks are here, too...en so? It took me a while to adapt to it ..and I still don't add, en so? on the ends of my sentences. And how about youse guys? Love all your little dumplings! xo Diana

Joanna said...

Oh fer cute, indeed! That was a lovely tour of your neighbourhood, thank you.


Susan T said...

What a lovely word "Dumpling". I have a feeling that Dumplings over in the UK would be on a smaller scale. These houses are spectacular. No 5 will do nicely thank you.

The enchanted home said...

Talk about Pleasantville! I love the idea of referring to a charming house as a sweet is that! Beautiful, charmers here......and an equally charming story behind it:)

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

I was born and bred in LOS ANGELES, grew up as an adult in BOSTON where they would EAT YOU ALIVE if you said "POP" for "tonic" or "soda" or "Coke." But what Minnesota has done for and to me is priceless. It has shown me that there ARE people out there that do value THE DAY for what it is worth, no matter HOW COLD or tempestuous. What a place. I love is home.


Cindy said...

I love all your dumpling homes! I am partial to the craftmans styles!
Oh fer cute!
I hope your eye strain is better soon!

Mary Timmers said...

I'm familiar with the side of town you live on. Our son and his family live there. And yes, all you have to do is go for a walk or ride and see one cute/beautiful house after another! That area is chock full of ooohs and aaahs in houses. Thanks for the tour.

Farmgirl Paints said...

these are the little things i miss about MN...that area you were in was seeped in charm or fer cute as you put it;) i'll never forget our fun walk taking it all in.

Tricia said...

Oh, those are all so cute! I think I'm partial to the ones with shakes, but really, I'd take any of them. Is that church the one that overlooks Lake Minnetonka?

Elizabeth said...


I love this post and I love these cute homes, I would love to live in a little "Mayberry" neighborhood where you could walk for a coffee with friends, to a movie, or to church. These little places seem very cosy and comfortable and I could imagine myself in many of them.

I hope your eyes are feeling better. Take care, Elizabeth

Thank you for coming to visit!

Leslie said...


I just love this song and your post is such a pleasant read as I begin my day. The homes are so sweet - and I love your story line with all the little phrases.

Low Tide High Style said...

I'm sorry you are still having issues with your eyes! I love the variations in dialect as you cross the US, we have our own little colloquialisms here too. Love your photos, they are oh fer cute for sure!

Kat :)

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

I loved seeing all these dumplings in person with you, Suzanne! It was so fun getting a guided tour! I think your house was the most beautiful dumpling, too!! Hope that eye strain passes quickly...I know it is such a pain! XO

Palomasea said...

Suzanne, thank you for bringing such smiles this grey Monday morning!!
And I am so touched by Anita's words, because I believe that the "Minnesota nice" is something very positive. Thank you Anita!! Many residents who are originally from the coasts, or larger metro areas tend to make fun of the "slow, PC ways of Minnesota". Since when is kindness, consideration, and the desire to help the fellow human being a bad thing?? UFF DA! Ok, I am now off of my soapbox :)
(By the way, I am not a native Minnesotan)
What lovely and charming dumplings you share!
And I do hope your eyes will be better soon...
I want to thank you, dear Suzanne, for the very kind message you left for glad you liked the post ;)
Have a beautiful week, sweet friend!
- Irina

Stitchfork said...

Oh fer cute ya betcha! Can't pick just one as my favorite. I could live in that church even! Get those eyes feeling better!
xo Cathy

michele said...

i speak minnesooooootaahhhhhh speak too after my 6 years there! i honestly felt we had landed on another planet and was slow to thaw. (here's another one: rubber BINDER, not band and also the nails on a chalkboard: borrow me a dollar?)

i love that my minnesota friends insist they don't get 'fargo' at all! my life is so much richer for having moved there, and minnesotans are simply the best people on earth.


Alicia said...

those houses are ALLLLLL fer cute! i would live in any one of 'em! and yes...i totally get the whole dialect change. especially now, where i'm living in a foreign land: buggy=cart, bless your heart, darlin', hon...on and on. i love it though. i feel loved by all the check out's a good feeling :)

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Sweet friend,

Thank you for your lovely comment and OH YES, I HOPE YOUR EYES ARE BETTER! I have had eye issues off and on since January. Stys, redness, you name it! I am off to the Loft Center tonight to discuss the next poetry recital!!!!! Anita

pollydove said...

How adorable are all of these houses!!! And I would have to say Fer Sure a church that cute can be a dumpling! (Love that.) Utah folks used to say Fer Sure all the time too ... all those little familiar dialects make it "home" right? Looks like your home is a beautiful place to be!!

Jenny Schouten Short said...

Definitely Oh fer cute!. I had the same feeling when I went to Tennessee and Arkansas last month. I love the old houses with such character...dumplings. xo Jenny

SuzyMcQ said...

Suzanne, That eyebrow window is just too fer cute! Is that right? So sweet and charming and gosh, gee everything about this post is happy and kind and loving....hmmmm wonder where that comes from?

I had to send the video to my daughter who is trying to learn the ukelele. What an inspiration this young woman is.

I have to also mention Fargo, which is my favorite movie of all time. Love my girl Frances McDormand to pieces! She's a dumpling of an actress.

Hope you are taking good, good care of your peepers...that's what we call eyes here in PA!


Beautiful dumplings, for sure!

Such culture shock ... Oregon to Minnesota. It is fun that you are back there again.

I pray your eyes are healing as you rest.


Hindsfeet said...

I *loved* every bit of this dumpling of a post, Girley.....

*oh fer sweet!*

; )

Marie said...

What beautiful homes Suzanne. I would love to own my own home, but sadly at this point in my life I have come to the conclusion that I never will. Time to give up on that dream! I have lived in a lot of different places in my lifetime, each one a joy and a pleasure. Life is what you make of it! xxoo

Simple Daisy said...

Oh my...I LOVE every single one of those homes:)
Sure hope your eyes get better quickly!!

lisaroyhandbags said...

Love these little dumplings! These are my kind of homes - so charming and cozy. I actually have never heard "oh fer cute" - the closest I've come to that are the french Canadians up in Northern Ontario who will say "ah, c'est cute!". xo

koralee said...

Adorable post....some of those phrases are ones used by us everyday! I love all your "dumplings"...hope you can rest your eyes a little my friend.
Sending you oooodles of love. xoxox

Jill said...

Just stopping by to visit a friend and hear a familiar phrase.....Hoping all is good in your little corner of the world.

patty said...

i always enjoy your posts so. sorry it's been way too long. a little crazy here at the moment. not fer cute, either... ;)


Vintage Home said...

Oh my such beautiful homes & the church!...stunning!
I hope your eyes got their rest!
Your photography is wonderful.
I live near Vancouver B.C., grew up here (well except for small stint in the UK) graduated here, then 6 months after grad moved to Minnesota!
Delano, worked in Wayzata! (Is that how its spelt?)
On Lake Minnetonka as a nanny!
I loved it there so many wonderful spots & lakes!
Your banner is wonderful, those Calico dishes are my favorite & I use mine everyday!
Thanks for sharing!...Colleen
p.s. Koralee lives 5 minutes form me...small world all around!

Lili said...

Suzanne the homes have so many elements of architecture that I adore...the eyebrow windows, cedar shakes, porches and touches of stone. Here it seems like all the Episcopal churches have the best architecture and I was wondering if that was the same there. So sorry to hear about your eyes giving you cause for concern. Glad you are nipping it in the bud before it gets worse! It's so interesting to learn how you came to return to MN too. xoxo ~Lili

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

Oooh, these are so lovely! Thank you for sharing them.

And the language difference between the UK and over the pond is something I've loved about blogging so I know exactly what you mean!


Days at Buttermilk Cottage said...

I can imagine living in any of your pictured houses. They are all dumplings, but I notice they all look "solid" too. Perfect homes.

T's Daily Treasures said...

There are days when I have eye strain and get major migraines. Problem is, every single bit of the work I do at school is on the computer so I can't stay away from it. We've had dust all week so that doesn't help with the eyes either. All the houses you photographed are so pretty. I grew up in the south so just visiting my cousins up north in Michigan and OH was interesting when it came to the phrases used. Hope your week is a good one. Tammy

Lisa Scibilia said...

A dumpling!! I call the kids that from time to time but never used it in the context of a house - love it! Oh fer cute. So fun to read about your the scope of your world was widened by living someplace different!


I loved that movie Fargo!!! One of my all time favs. So sorry about your eye strain.....have not heard of that. That church with the turquoise paint is off the chart......beautiful!

Jeanie said...

Well, I love it when you take for anywhere with your camera -- and those are all fer cute! As one from Michigan and close enough to Canada to pick up some of those expressions -- I know exactly what (most) of them are and I love 'em, too!