Troutbirder II

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

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

Oops. Got the title wrong above...but there may be some similarities to what's
going on today.
On that score my wife Barb had a even simpler example in her explanation of the decline and fall….

She reminded me of her upbringing in a girls Catholic high school  Our Lady of Peace (a.k.a. Old Ladies Penitentiary).  In studying, Latin she and her classmates decided that “Latin is a dead language. As dead as it can be. First it killed the Romans. And now it’s killing me."
For my take on this subject click on Mark Twain for my review of Edward Gibbons The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Troutbirder Breaks The Law (Update from Fall 2010)

It all started innocently enough. As described in a previous post, a October bike ride along the Shooting Star Bike Trail had revealed some beautiful Asters & Stiff Goldenrod. I also noticed dozens of other prairie plants gone to seed. Although I had some Compass Plants growing (a type of native sunflower), I hoped to add a few other varieties to my small plot  of wildflowers.

A little foraging along the bike trail with an ice cream bucket and a few envelopes seemed like a good idea. It happened a few days later.
In the interest of complete disclosure, I did have several accomplices (Barb and Baron) We found
 some dried cup plants and several other seeds including rattlesnake master, milkweed and purple coneflowers. A few of each were gathered.
Some time later I was discussing prairie restoration with a local guru. It was then that I was informed that I had been in violation of state law. "But the bike trail is thirty miles long and there are zillions of these plants along the way. Plus I'm not digging anything up, and it wasn't in a State Park. " "Makes no difference. Removal of seeds from any state property, be it park, forest, trail or anything else is strictly illegal." I bowed my head looking properly chastened and humbly repentent. Unfortunately, the "lesson" continued unabated until I'd had enough. "Perhaps an anonymous suggestion to the anti-terrorism authorities that they give up their fruitless search for Osama Bin Laden and come after the Bike Trail seed robber would be in order. While your at it, mention the toilet papering tree defacers from the local high school during Homecoming week who made a mess in my yard twice last week."

Just to be on the safe side, me and the Mrs. will be heading on the lam to a hidden location in Ireland for the forseeable future. Wish us luck!

And so some years later as shown in several recent posts my little wildflower plots now bloom beautifully spring, summer and fall.  The neighbors stop by to admire what they can see from the adjacent road . I offer them seeds in the fall and slowly but surely our neighborhood will increasingly exhibit natures bounty of prairie wildflowers. And nobody has to break the law...:)


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Keelboat of Lewis and Clark

The last day of our solar eclipse & Lewis and Clark bus tour saw us heading up the Missouri River traversing across Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. We stopped at several museums and State Parks along the way with some very good ones in the Council Bluffs and Sioux City area.
At one we met some untethered and uncaged ferocious animals. Naturally, we didn't back off a bit. Mrs. T. took on one right away, headfirst.
Not to be out done, I managed to hold off a marauding Grizzly bear.

While visiting Lewis and Clark State Park, we took the opportunity to view the full-sized reproduction of Lewis and Clark's keelboat/barge, "Best Friend," which was constructed by Butch Bouvier of L&C Replicas. Imagine, if you can, the expedition winding its way up the Missouri River while sailing, pulling and poling the 55-foot boat.  Lewis and Clark State Park lies on the shores of Blue Lake, an "oxbow" formed by the meanderings of the picturesque Missouri River many years ago.
Here Butch Buovier, who researched, designed and built the first truly authentic replica of Lewis and Clarks keelboat/barge, enthralls his audience (including yours truly) with tales of his work and interactions with Ken Burns. Burns used his this boat in his documentary of the Corps of Discovery.
And finally for the dog lovers out there we met a  replica of Seaman, Clarks Newfoundland companion. To our great surprise, he was looking at a prairie dog in a little cage who suddenly squeaked causing Seaman to begin barking very loudly before he turned to look at us....:) 

What fun on the trail of Lewis and Clark.....


Saturday, October 7, 2017

On The Trail of Lewis and Clark

Kansas City World War I museum

Following our two day in the Kansas City area, where we saw the wonderful W.W. I museum and the childhood home of Amelia Earhart and a total solar eclipse, we headed up the Missouri River Valley on the Trail of Lewis and Clark.
Lewis, Seaman the Newfoundland dog, Clark and Mrs. T.
Highlights along the way were a number of great museums particularly at Council Bluff and Sioux City, Iowa.  Also above Council Bluff is an interesting memorial to the only member of the  Voyage of  Discovery who died during the expedition.
A view from the Sgt. Floyd memorial of the Missouri River and Council Bluff in the distance. It was here that the Captains made their first contact with native Americans. It was their task to make friends, develop trade and inform them of the authority of the "Great Father" (Thomas Jefferson) in Washington City.

Mrs. T. and Susan Rae at the memorial.
Next: Meet the man who built the exact replicas of Lewis and Clarks keelboats for Ken Burns documentary on The Voyage of Discovery.