Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
Click on Mark Twain to jump to Troutbirders book review blog

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Flower For Leontien

A wildflower for Leontien Vandelaar of Four Leaf Clover Dairy . She is a fellow blogger who has been putting up a courageous fight against cancer. Mrs. T has beaten back the Big C twice and now it's your turn Leontien. We send our best wishes and prayers.
Ray and Barb Troutbirder

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


 In an amazing series of coincidences over a two year period, I listed three "lifers" located in the margins of a tiny farm pond near Preston, Minnesota. Preston lies in Fillmore county which happens to be the only county in The Land of 10,000 Lakes ( actually over 14 thousand) without a lake. Last year there was a Glossy Ibis far from its home range in southern Florida. And a white winged scoter also out of range.

A week ago in the same spot it was a Say’s Phoebe well east of it western range.
Like other phoebes, the rusty-bellied Say's Phoebe is common around people, often nesting on buildings. A bird of open country, it is found from Alaska through Mexico.
Say's Phoeb
Small songbird; medium-sized flycatcher.
Upperparts pale brownish gray.
Belly and undertail cinnamon. Wags tail.
Description and last picture from Cornel University's world famous school of Ornithology.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spring Residents

After a two year absence, a pair of nesting bluebirds showed up here in Troutbirderland. Even more astonishing, a pair of Eastern Phoebes have built a nest on our front porch. The nest is on the ledge right above Baron. Things are looking up.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My First Computer

The following story is true. Only the names have been changed to protect both the guilty and the oblivious. The math department, under my classroom neighbor Creps, was the first to have a computer (an Apple) in the classroom. I soon borrowed the manual wanting to keep up with the times. It seems you had to "program" it yourself. Whatever that meant. I managed to accomplish the feat and showed some of my students how to use the machine. I plowed ahead requesting the second classroom computer to arrive in our high school. I reported that my senior economics students were making graphs to show the linkage between certain demographic data and levels of economic development. The situation cried out for a computer solution as a more efficient means of producing a correlation co-efficient. I thought I might finally get some use for the knowledge gained in my college "Statistical Analysis" class. I got the computer for classroom use and a leave to attend a two day "Computer In The Classroom" seminar in Rochester, Minnesota. Carrying the spanking new Apple II to the class, as required, I arrived at the site of the meeting early in the morning. It was the Holiday Inn. I knew where the meeting room was as we often had our regional union meetings there. Parking was a problem in the front , so I settled in on a residential street behind the motel.Rather than carry the computer all the way around to the front entrance, I opted to check a back door. Fortunately, it was unlocked and I entered a large very dimly lighted room. It was then that I saw a red exit sign across a large space.Pausing to look carefully about, it was then that I realized I was in the swimming pool area. Walking slowly, in the dim light, I proceeded to skirt the pool by a wide margin. And stepped blindly into an unnoticed kiddie pool, plunging head first, computer in hand, into about two feet of water. On my knees I lifted the computer out of the water and stood up. I was soaked from the knees down but otherwise remarkably dry. I then entered the hallway to the restaurant and found myself a bathroom. With about fifteen minutes to go, before the class was scheduled, the hand blow dryer was put to useon my pants and the dripping machine. "Mr Troutbirder?" I heard when I finally entered the meeting room. "Present", I said quietly, trying to be as unobtrusive as possible. I took the last empty chair available next to a fellow teacher, who appeared to be the motherly elementary school type. Setting the schools precious computer on the table in front of me, I mumbled something about hoping it would work. "Mine too," the kindly lady said smiling. "This computer business is totally new to me," she added. To that, I tried to nod as sagely as possible and pointed to myself. For some strange reason my computer failed to "boot up." Upon raising my hand for help from the instructor, he was unable to determine the cause of the malfuntion. We were all puzzled! It turned out that the third grade teacher was willing to share her computer with me. She caught on quickly to the mechanics of computer operations and nurtured me thru the entire class. Later, I did manage to complain to our high school principal Mr. Landover that he had saddled me with a faulty piece of equipment. A new and improved model arrived shortly thereafter in my classroom and thus I was well on my way to becoming the "computer guru" of the History Department. I've also been avoiding kiddie pools ever since....

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spring Fling

It was early spring a couple of years ago and I had made every effort to get my big puppy Baron to water retrieve. He wasn't at all keen about diving into fast running trout streams. A local deserted State Park with a nice sandy beach finally did the trick .... sort of. He made some nice retrieves till he got back to shore, whereupon he attacked the stick relentlessly. Pawing, biting and barking at it. As near as I could figure he must have thought it was a snake. GSD's are known for their intellignece. Sure!