Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
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Sunday, November 14, 2021

Lightning Strike


I've ben on a mystery/thriller kick of late and often chose between Minnesota authors  John Sanford and William Kent Krueger. Nothing like being familiar with the scene of the crime for a Minnesota reader like me to relate :) Krueger gets the the nod this time with his 2021published novel Lightning Strike . 

In “Lightning Strike,” Krueger follows the  beautifully descriptive writing of his stand-alone books in a Cork O’Connor prequel that is both a series mystery and an independent book. Krueger begin with an authors note about the Indian relocation Act of l956. This law promising training and job to reservation Indians if they moved to urban areas. It was the final straw to the historical legacy of wars , broken treaties and promises, schools separating children from parents . Relocating to alien and unfriendly urban areas while closing and defunding reservation's helped destroy Indian communities and cultures. 

 With this background Lightning Strike is a beautifully told story, of a small town in the 1960s rocked by a mysterious death and culture clashes, and a boy’s coming of age. That small town is Aurora-Hoyt Lakes close unto one of my favorite  canoeing/fishing places in the world -Minnesota's fabled BWCAW the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness. This region  includes the Iron Range and Lake Superior .

book is set in July and August 1963. Twelve-year-old Cork is in the middle summer, vacation' Howev  when, he and a buddy canoeing in the wildernew discover  the body of Big John Manydeeds, a well-known personality in the town of Aurora and the Ojibwa reservation. They find the corpse hanging at Lightning Strike, an abandoned logging camp that is considered to be cursed. The discovery deeply affects Cork.. Big John was the uncle of one of Cork’s best friends, and he admired and learned much from the man. Liam O'Conner  Corks father is the sheriff. The O'Conner's are mostly Irish but not entirely with Liam's grandmother being Ojibwa . This is a wonderful coming of age story as well father and son facing the divide  that a clash of cultures can bring to a family.... Another great story by Kent Krueger. 

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@Barrie Summy

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

More time, More blogging, More help editing, less Facebook

Several years now since the passing of Mrs. T and later the social isolation caused by several phases of the pandemic I am expecting to return to a semblance of some aspects of my former life. This will be my renewed focus on the Internet through the means of blogging. My initial sense that Facebook and its immediate success and were not for me. That  kept me blog loyal to blogging. More recent concerns about Facebook and its other platforms have shone it to be a   cesspool of lies. divisiveness, conspiracy theories and even danger to our democratic form of government.

With time I intend to continue Troutbirder’s book reviews, nature travel stories and adventures plus photography . Also my new girlfriend I. E. Retired professor of English language Jean Marie is considering educating me on the appropriate use of commas and the general upscaling of my atrocious grammatical skills.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Lucky day

 it was indeed a lucky day when the retired North Dakota North Dakota English Professor and I encountered a seriously distracted left turning driver on Cedar Avenue in a Minneapolis suburb. Fortunately neither Jean Marie nor Ray due to seat belts ended up with nothing more than a bumps and bruises. On a similar note Tony returned to work after quarantine He had a “break thru case of covid” with minimal effects thanks to the vaccine. . This mess  due to a Queen Creeks retrograde

school board which provided little or no protective response for students of staff against the pandemic. 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Thursday, August 26, 2021

IWas Really Missing My Frogs Back In 2010

My frogs, you see, appeared unexpectedly last summer in the little goldenfish pond I created right in front of our porch. They hid quite well in the water plants and arriving guests noted them but I didn't really become aware of their presence till mid July. Then my son Tony (the biologist from Colorado) showed up and informed me that I actually had three different species living in the little pond. The ugly fence was due to a certain 9 month old puppy named Baron. He had a penchant for getting into things and utterly demolishing them.
Mr Biology (Tony) stated categorically that 2 of the 3 frogs in the pond were not native to Minnesota. This posed a rather interesting question. How did they get here? One apparently was native to Florida and the other was completely unknown. Florida or Central America seemed a little to far to have hopped so.... It was then that I remembered the fact that some of the tropical water plants in the pond had been purchased at a local pet store in Rochester. Mystery solved! They were clearly long distrance hitch-hikers.

The rest of the summer, we sat on the front porch bird and goat watching, and as the light dimmed in the evening, there was the melodious song of frogs. Friendly visitors from afar. RIBBT. RIBBIT. CROAK CROAK CROAK.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Moms Cactus

I'm sure many gardeners have a special plant or two which conveys meaning and fond memories. One of those plants for me are the descendents of a cactus my mom gave me  many years ago. She brought it from Arizona where a winter retreat helped her deal with her asthma. I have no idea what it is named  but remember fondly from whom and whence it came. Offshoots have been given away but I always keep a few to sit in the sunny spot in front of  our small front porch and next to the  tiny fish pond. The blooms open for one night only so I wait patiently for them to appear.  And think of her....
P.S.  After several emails concerning my lack of recent posts suggesting perhaps ill health, I can report Excellent results  on my recent anual physical. Finding a girlfriend in the Twin Cities area also added to my positivity and energy. 😂💗

Friday, June 25, 2021


A almost-80 year-old man is having a drink in Racks bar and Grill.Suddenly a gorgeous girl enters and sits down a few seats away.The girl is so attractive that he just can't take his eyes off her.

After a short while, the girl notices him staring, and approaches him.Before the man has time to apologies, the girl looks him deep in the eyes and says to him in a sultry tone: "I'll do anything you'd like. Anything you can imagine in your wildest dreams, it doesn't matter how extreme or unusual it is, I'm game. I want $400, and there's another condition.”
Completely stunned by the sudden turn of events, the man asks her what her condition is.
"You have to tell me what you want me to do in just three words.
The man takes a moment to consider the offer from the beautiful woman.
He whips out his wallet and puts $400 dollars into her hand.
He then looks her square in the eyes, and says slowly and clearly: 
"Paint my house.”

Our needs change as we get older, and we tend to look for bargains!

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Trust Your Dog

Long ago and not so far away I was an upland game and waterfowl hunter.  Before, that is, my     knee  went bad and I switched to hunting birds with a camera and a notebook, it was a sport I thoroughly enjoyed. I owned a series of highly trained hunting dogs long before Baron, my GSD, arrived on the scene. Chessie was the name of our second dog. She was a full-blooded Chesapeake Bay retriever. Stockier and more broad-chested than Labs and Goldens, she had short, curly and somewhat oily hair. Chessie absolutely love being in the water. Cold didn't faze her at all. In other words, Chessapeakes are the perfect waterfowl retrieving machines.

This morning, as Baron lay beside me and I looked out the window on a cold and dreary day my thoughts drifted back to the times when wonderful hunting dog companions led me through the fields, sloughs and around farm ponds. Come on along with me….
Picture of Chessie as a puppy.

On one  particular day though, I was pheasant hunting. Chess   was   about eighteen months old and   in her first year of hunting. She  had already proven herself ready, willing, and able to retrieve ducks. Pheasants though would, perhaps, be another matter. That game bird required steely nerves and a good nose. I left school as quickly as I could getting out the back door that late afternoon. It was less than 2 miles to one of my favorite sloughs.There was a little creek running through about 30 acres of grassland and cover. Chessie started sniffing the ground right away. We had walked in for about 5 minutes when the first rooster flushed. It was a tough crossing shot. BANG!
Hey... sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. The bird dropped into the grass about forty yards away. Chessie was right after it. I followed on the run. I watched    her    circle a bit and then head off to the creek. She went right in the water. "Well what can you expect from a water dog," I thought. At that point, I decided it was up to me to find the bird. I searched for ten minutes. Then I called the dog. She came reluctantly. I got down on all fours and putting my nose to the ground showed her the proper technique. No interest on her part whatsoever. Maybe a little amused smile though. Then she raced back to the creek The stream was about two feet wide there. It had a bank of about the same height, where it had cut through the meadow. Still in the water, Chess seemed particularly interested in this one spot. I thought, "do you suppose" and bent over to look down into the water. Nothing. Then, I lay on my stomach for a closer look. Reaching down, I parted the grass hanging over the bank and there it was..... a large hole in the bank. Mmmmm. The dog, now emboldened, began a low growl and put her head closer for a look. It was obviously some kind of den. Maybe a beaver? Or what?

Now, at this point, one must consider common sense. Reaching into a den without knowing what one might encounter there raises some serious questions. To put into perspective what happened next, one must also take in account  several factors. The age of the hunter for one thing. How young, foolish and determined is he? How much faith does he have in a puppy who has never tracked a bird before? Well, as my uncle Walt often said, "Ve gets too soon alt unt too late schmart." The answer, dear reader, is that I reached into the dark, hoping to find feathers and not sharp teeth! My lucky day, it was feathers. Live and kicking feathers on a very smart pheasant. After doing what you have to do, I gave the bird to Chess to carry a bit . Then we began hunting again till dark sent us back home For the next ten years Chessie proved to be a wonderful hunter-companion. She was the best! I had learned on that first day in the field to trust her judgement implicitly. Here she is with a late season pheasant in the snow.