Troutbirder II

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

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Gateway Inn Redux etc.

It's a small town cafe. On Saturday morning the breakfast crowd is mostly divided. The men sit at tables pushed together on the north end. The talk is of the weather, farming and the Twins and Vikings. The women are by the window on the west end. I'm not sure what they talk about but their is much laughting. The Troutbirders and their friends, John and Joanne sit together at a middle table. This passes for "gender integration"  in a small town in the Upper Midwest. The conversation is pleasant and often boisterous. The service is friendly. Sometimes, due to the rush, people jump up, get their own coffee and fill the cups of others at nearby tables. Life goes on....
But things change too.
The decades long owners sell their business and invite their regular  customers to a "thank you picnic" at their dairy farm.  There the farm wife, who with her sisters and nieces ran the inn,  served a buffet dinner with steak sandwiches and all the trimmings to a crowd of hundreds.  A country western band played in the background. We meet old friends and neighbors we haven't seen for a while.

The next night it's a summer concert in the park along Spring Valley Creek.  There is a new gazebo to be checked out and a couple whose name I didn't catch filled the air with more "country."  We're comfortable in our lawn chairs and Mrs. T. shares
her bag of candy and some pop from the cooler. It's a very pleasant evening.  Life is good......

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Yellow Brick Road - One Year Later

Well, it wasn't actually a brick  road but it was definitely yellow. A year ago at this time I was hiking a path along the Upper Iowa River in Lake Louise State Park. It was late August and there was yellow all along the trail.
 It was mostly different types of   sunflowers with other varieties of prairie plants tossed in for good measure. We hadn't hiked in the park much that summer as Mrs. T and I were sadly missing our "Big Guy" Baron the GSD. 

So today with Barb visiting a friend in the Twin Cities, Lily ( our newly adopted GSD) and I decided to head over to Lake Louise and check out The Yellow  Brick Road....
Come Lily Come.    Good Girl

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


"Lexophile" is a word used to describe those that have a love for words, such as "you can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish", or "to write with a broken pencil is pointless." A competition to see who can come up with the best lexophiles is held every year in an  undisclosed location.

.. When fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate.

.. A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

.. When the smog lifts in Los Angeles U.C.L.A.

.. The batteries were given out free of charge.
.. A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and  nail.

.. A will is a dead giveaway.

.. With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.

.. A boiled egg is hard to beat.

.. Police were called to a day care Center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

.. Did you hear about the fellow whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.
.. A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.

.. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

.. The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine is now fully recovered.

.. He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
.. When she saw her first strands of grey hair she thought she'd dye.

.. Acupuncture is a jab well done. That's the point of it.

  And the cream of the wretched crop:
.. Those who get too big for their pants will be exposed in the end.


Thats All Folks.....:)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Shooting Star Bike Trail

We live on the edge of "Bluff Country," that unglaciated corner of southeastern Minnesota, which borders the mighty Mississippi. A limestone region carved into hills and valley's by small but beautiful trout streams. Just a few miles to the west, the land levels out into flat farmland and ultimately ranches, stretching a thousand miles to the Rocky Mountains. Once, going back a little more than one hundred and fifty years ago, it was a vast prairie grassland. There native Americans made their living surrounded by millions of buffalo. It was, according to its first explorers, Lewis and Clark, a veritable paradise.

I take the very short drive to Lake Louise State Park. On my bike, camera in hand, I headed west on the Shooting Star Trail. Emerging from the woods, in my minds eye, I could imagine  antelope, vast herds of bison  and a sea of Big Bluestem grass. Actually, here the trail corridor was mostly only a hundred yards wide. It was on an abandoned railroad right of way. Now surrounded by soybean, cornfields   and pastures, I took the narrow view, focusing on the mid-summer wildflowers along the trail. Come on along and take a look.
Butterfly Weed

 The Prairie or Wood Lily, is extremely rare in Minnesota. I was lucky to spot several.
Pale Coneflowers
Prairie Larkspur
Purple Prairie Clover
Rough Blazing Star
It was a twenty mile round trip bike ride with lots of stops for photography  and one stop to stretch out and have a "prairie smoke" break. And what a rare and beautiful find they were.....:)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

WW II - A New History

At the conclusion of WW II Winston Churchill was asked how he expected to be treated by the future historians of that war.  His answer was very well for the reason that he intended to write it himself. Which he did in several well written volumes, all of which I read.  And hundreds of other books on the subject ranging from overall histories, to specific battles, individual units, nations, weapons, memoirs,  biographies and on and on ad infinitum.  And now there is a recent book with a fresh and new appeal.   The book is English author Andrew Roberts The Storm of War.

Roberts, a biographer as well as a historian, is a great writer story teller in the more recent style of commercially successful historians.  We get the details old and newly discovered but not too many to make it boring or tedious. All this by telling the story in terms of great and/or  interesting  personalities and high drama. I might also add the book is “only” six hundred pages long which is amazing considering that it's complete and coherent. It is hard to imagine a better-told military history of World War II.
If you don’t know as much about World War II as you think you ought to, or if you want a good, clear picture of how and why it took place as it did and want it in a single book, The Storm of War is as good as it gets.  Roberts’ chapter on the Holocaust, for example, is brilliant and harrowing, he leaves nothing out, but he manages to get it all into 30 pages: a miracle. I definitely recommend it. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ole Olson

  A  Minnesota farmer named Ole had a car accident.  He was hit  by a truck owned by the Eversweet Company.

In  court, the Eversweet Company's hot-shot attorney questioned him  thus: 'Didn't you say to the state trooper at the scene of the  accident, 'I'm fine?"

Olie  responded: 'vell, I'lla tell you vat happened dere.

I'd  yust loaded my fav'rit cow, Bessie, into da...

'I  didn't ask for any details', the lawyer interrupted.  'Just  answer the question. Did you not say, at the scene of the accident,  'I'm fine!'?'

Olie  said, 'vell, I'd yust got Bessie into da trailer and I vas drivin'  down da road.... '

The  lawyer interrupted again and said, 'Your Honor, I am trying to  establish the fact that, at the scene of the accident, this man told  the police on the scene that he was fine.  Now several weeks  after the accident, he is trying to sue my client.  I believe he  is a fraud.  Please tell him to simply answer the question.  '

By  this time, the Judge was fairly interested in Olie's answer and said  to the attorney: 'I'd like to hear what he has to say about his  favorite cow, Bessie'.

Olie  said: 'Tank you' and proceeded.  'Vell as I vas saying, I had  yust loaded Bessie, my fav'rit cow, into de trailer and was drivin'  her down de road vin dis huge Eversweet truck and trailer came  tundering tru a stop sign and hit me trailer right in da side by  golly.  I was trown into one ditch and Bessie was trown into da  udder ditch.  By yimminy yahosaphat I vas hurt, purty durn  bad, and didn't want to move.  An even vurse dan dat, I could  hear old Bessie a moanin' and a groanin'.  I knew she vas in  terrible pain yust by her groans.

Shortly  after da accident, a policeman on a motorbike turned up.  He  could hear Bessie a moanin' and a groanin' too, so he vent over to  her.  After he looked at her, and saw her condition, he took out  his gun and shot her right between the eyes.

Den  da policeman came across de road, gun still in hand, looked at me, and  said, 'How are you feelin'?'

'Now  wot da fock vud YOU say?'

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mystery Cave

With the summer visit of son Tony and the Grands (Ethan, Tensae and Leonard) we took in numerous museums, a zoo, nature outings, went fishing on Lake Zumbro and deep underground in Forestville State Parks Mystery Cave. 
My little point and shoot wasn't quite up to the half dark and eerie lighting of the cave but it was definitely an fun and enlightening experience for the kids. 
Our ranger tour guide in the cave was a former English student of Mrs. T.  So the kids got to hear a little bit about their Gramma in a different vein.  What fun!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Indian Affairs

On our recent trip to North Dakota, Mrs. T. took the opportunity to check out a possible vacation rental property.  Unfortunately, it lacked certain amenities which she said she "required."

On a more somber note we visited the original gravesite of the great Sioux chieftain,   Tatanka  Iyotake  (Sitting Bull) on the Standing Rock reservation.

Later, we toured Fort Lincoln on the Missouri River.   This was George Armstrong Custer's
last post before he and the 7th Cavalry headed west to the valley of the Little Big Horn river.
Here a flock of tourists prepare to visit Custer's residence on the post. 
My residential preference though leaned towards The Maltese Cross, Theodore Roosevelt's first ranch in the Badlands.....:)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Medora Musical

Our friends and traveling companions John and Joann say "howdy."
On our first night in the North Dakota Badlands we took in the Medora Musical. Set on the southern edge of Theodore Roosevelt National Park  this restored old time frontier town, for fifty years now has been the site of The Burning Hills Theater and what I  call a musical review in the form of cowboy/cowgirl entertainers. Toss in a few horses, comedians and lots of great singers and dancers and you have quite the show. We loved it.
The venue is  an amphitheater set on a hillside looking down at the stage.  In the background are the beautiful Badlands.  What a view that is!
    Follow Mrs. T down the escalator to your seats.
We're a bit early so there plenty of seats. Later it was packed. 
The Mistress of Ceremonies was Emily Walter "Queen of the West."
Yup pardner.  That were quite the show