Troutbirder II

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

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Winter Arrived Last Night

As I stepped outside, this somewhat cold and dreary morning, winter had arrived on Oak Hill overnight. Greetings winter! I'll let Baron outside to romp. My own snow romping days are over. But content, I'll start up the snow blower to clear the driveway. Go back inside for some hot chocolate. And watch the bird feeders from my easy chair while starting a new book. Each season to its own rhythms here in the northland.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Petrified Forest National Park - Arizona

We were a little ahead of schedule on our three day drive to visit the grandchildren in the Phoenix area. Thus, it was convenient to make an afternoon stop a the Petriefied Forest National Park, straddling I-40 in the northeastern part of the State. Here, 250 million years ago, a vast floodplain was crossed by many streams, surrounded by stately conifers, ferns and other plants and inhabited by crocodile-like reptiles, giants amphibians and the occasional dinosauer. Eventually, as the climate and continents changed and moved, a mix of silt, mud and volcanic ash buried logs, cut off oxygen and slowed the logs decay. Thru a complex "substitution" process, they were convered to silica and then quartz. They became logs of stone.

The history of the area was the typical story of discovery, amazement, exploitation, vandalism and eventual preservation of the remains. The rescue of parts of the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest began in 1906 with President Theodore Roosevelt and culminated in 1970 with Congresses approval of the National Park. We took an 18 mile "auto tour" through the Park. Come on along and take a look.....

Ace photographer Barb working The Painted Desert.

Stark, yet majestically beautiful in its own way, is what I thought.........

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wile E. Coyote

On our recent visit to my son and his family in Phoenix, Arizona, I had a flashback to the favorite cartoon of my misspent youth. It was The Roadrunner. Due to the kind generosity of Tony’s in-laws, Jack and Barb, we got to stay in their winter home in the Mesa area. Right on fairway number 2 as it were {Sunset view from the patio}

The day in question we had noted the neighborhood was overrun with long eared jack rabbits. They were everywhere. We had also visited a local arboretum with Tony, Kari and the grandchildren . There I managed to add a roadrunner to my "life list" of birds.
Exhausted, we slept in the next day and just as the sun was coming up, I heard a siren going by along with a series of loud howls and yips. This was a familiar scenario because at home my big GSD Baron does this whenever the fire engine goes by. Half awake I thought I was home until Mrs. T poked me in the ribs mumbling "what’s that?" Grabbing my camera I rushed outside on the patio to see a pack of coyotes emerge from between the house and the neighbors. They were headed out onto the golf course, presumably after the ever-present jackrabbits or maybe even an elusive roadrunner. Arizona. There’s some wild things going on down there!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

We're Back!

It's always good to come home but we had a wonderful three weeks visiting our son and his family in Arizona. They had moved from Colorado to new jobs (in education) in the Phoenix area. Specifically Scottsdale and Queen's Creek. On the way down we stopped at The Petrified Forest National Park. Going home it was a detour through the southern Ozarks in Arkansas. Once I get the tons of pictures sorted out......

The desert family from left to right: Kari, Ethan, Tensae, Gramma, Vanessa, Tony & Leonard.

Photo by Troutbirder

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hot Bikin Mama

I think, perhaps, tomorrow will be our last biking outing for the year. It's been wonderful. I went often this year. By myself, with friends, and most important with Barb (Mrs. T.) Back in the saddle after recent bouts with cancer, gall bladder, and knee replacement surgery. She's one tough cookie. :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Gophers R.I.P.

It was a couple of years ago now that I drove down to LaCrescent, Minnesota to attend a fall birding expedition along the Mississippi. It was free, led by a famous birder, and on a Sunday morning. Seemed perfect. Arriving to the meeting place in a Kwik Trip parking lot, I saw about a dozen people standing around. "Morning folks" was my opening remark. "Morning. Beautiful day for birding" was the friendly reply.
A little chit chat soon revealed they were ALL from LaCrosse, Wisconsin, across the river from where we stood. I was already feeling a little outnumbered when one gentlemen wearing Wisconsin Badger outfitting and looking at my Gopher hat and jacket asked "so how did the Gophers do yesterday." Surely they all knew that the Badgers had crushed the Gophers once again in the final game of the Big Ten season. This question, of course, was a set up so I just sadly shook my head. Another "birder" then asked "when was the last time your team was in the Rose Bowl". Taking my hat off to reveal a seriously graying head, placing it over my heart, I owned up to the fact that I had been a freshmen at the University when it last happened. They began to shake their heads in faux amazement until I boldly added it was time to go birding.
Thus it was, last Sunday, after the Michigan Wolverines had handed my Gophers a 58 to 0 shellacking (their worst Big Ten loss ever), that I found myself shovel in hand, calling for Mrs. T to join me in the garden. "Will you sing a Church Song," I asked her while handing over my Gopher hat and jacket. This line harkens back to the time, when during a burial ceremony for our first pet dog, our four year old had made a similar request of his mother. Smirking broadly, she headed off in another direction my hat and jacket still in hand.
Patience is a virtue they say. I’m not feeling very virtuous these days, although my empathy for the long suffering Chicago Cubs fans has grown immeasurably over the years.
The "Little Brown Jug" symbolic of one of college football oldest rivalries going back to the late 1800's. The Gophers have lost 27 of the last 30 games against Michigan. Ouch!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Biking For Bugs

A few weeks back our friends Gary and Rosie visited for a biking weekend. One of the highlights was doing the beautiful Harmony to Preston section of the Root River Trail. Come on along and take a look! Initially, the paved trail follows a section of rolling hills, with patches of prairie, corn fields and wood lots. As we headed off down the trail there were still some native wildflowers to be seen. Sunflowers of several types were blooming. About half way down the 12 mile trail, we stopped to rest at the top of a steep grade, before plunging into the beautiful valley of Camp Creek. It's one of Bluff Countries best "spring creek" troutstreams. During the rest stop the intrepid bikers spotted a strange insect on the trail. Gary identified it but I've forgotten the name. It's apparent nowadays that many of your outdoor types have gone beyond hiking, biking and birding to new challenges. Identifying butterflies and other "bugs" seem to be among them. I haven't gone down that trail yet. In any case, the next day we headed over to the "Shooting Star" trail. This one cuts through the flat land of corn fields and remnant patches of native priarie along former railroad tracks. There we'll see prairie wildflowers in all their glory. I'll save that story for another post.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dear God

Dear God:When we get to heaven, can we sit on your couch? Or is it still the same old story?More meatballs, less spaghetti, please. Dear God: Let me give you a list of just some of the things I must remember to be a good Dog.
1. I will not eat the cats' food before they eat it or after they throw it up
2. I will not roll on dead deer, fish, birds, etc., just because I like the way they smell.
3. The Litter Box is not a cookie jar.
4. The sofa is not a 'face towel'.
5. The garbage collector is not stealing our stuff.
6. I will not play tug-of-war with Dad's underwear when he's on the toilet.
7. Sticking my nose into someone's crotch is an unacceptable way of saying 'hello'.
8. I don't need to suddenly stand straight up when I'm under the coffee table .
9. I must shake the rainwater out of my fur before entering the house - not after.
10. I will not come in from outside and immediately drag my butt.
11. I will not sit in the middle of the living room and lick my crotch.
12. The cat is not a 'squeaky toy' so when I play with him and he makes that noise, it's usually not a good thingP.S. When I get to Heaven may I have my testicles back?


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Early Morning Hike

We had headed over to Minneopa State Park for a couple of days camping in early summer. It was a great spot but the results left a little to be desired as it rained for two days steady. On the final day, I didn't hear any rain so Baron and I were up at the crack of dawn for a hike. The roads and trails were deserted so we had it all to ourselves. Take a look.....While the landscape was mostly restored prairie, there were occasional clumps of trees and even a few woods. We followed a trail into one looking for eary morning owls. Instead Baron scurried a family of racoons up a dead tree. If it moves he will chase it.... and no he is not a "coon" dog.

Unlike the "North Shore" along Lake Superior, southern Minnesota isn't noted for waterfalls. Minneopa has one though and with all the rain it was quite impressive.
Not quite sure what this structure was all about. By the time we got back to the campground the sun had come out. It was time for breakfast and then the long ride home .