Troutbirder II

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

Thursday, March 31, 2016


It would be absolutely accurate to say, that I have no artistic talent whatsoever. And my knowledge of art, its history and practice is sketchy at best. Still there is one basic, like most people, I really appreciate. Light. In all its manifestations.

"The older I become the more I realize of that I have to work very hard to reproduce what I search: the instantaneous. The influence of the atmosphere on the things and the light scattered throughout"    Claude Monet, 1891

"The climax of Impressionism". That's how the series of views of Rouen Cathedral painted by Claude Monet between 1892 and 1894 has been best described. The series - consisting of 31 canvases showing the facade of the Gothic Rouen Cathedral under different conditions of light and climate- caused an immediate admiration among the critics of his time.

It was on a  vacation to France  (celebrating Mrs. T.s retirement) that I stood on the plaza in front of that cathedral and remembered the PBS special on Monet and his studies of light. I was so enthralled I managed to get my billfold picked. Ooops, I digress...fortunately it was a decoy in my back pocket. The valuables were in a pouch hanging from my neck.

It was a somewhat overcast hazy morning when we arrived. Unfortunately, it was the same condition as when we had visited the cathedral in Chartes. I had advised Mrs. T there to look up at the stained glass windows and be prepared to see heaven. The blue at Chartes is stunning.
Mrs. T's photograph of the North Rose  window ensemble of Chartes Cathedral on a somewhat hazy day. Still magnificent. We stood in silent awe......


Friday, March 25, 2016

A Favorite Place

Click on the pictures for a closer view.

One of my favorite places is great for birding/photography. Lily and I love to go hiking there year around . The troutfishing can be fabulous. Have a horse? Bring it along. Cross country skiers have a ball. Like to explore a beautiful but "mysterious" cave? Come on in. A little history might be your interest? A 1898 store can be checked out. Yes, there are reenactors there as well. It's all in Forestville State Park near Spring Valley, Minnesota.
The Park  also has four modern campgrounds including the States largest horse camp with over a hundred sites And a young DNR Ranger  who leads some great birding hikes. The following series of short videos takes a look a Mystery Cave and some of the many activities available to visitors and campers Forestville State Park . It's a great place to visit.....:)

Monday, March 21, 2016

My Sisters Keeper

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Saturday, March 19, 2016


I got to ride along last spring as friend and neighbor Rick was planting soybeans. The field was big but so is the machinery and it's all very high tech. Would you like to see how it all works? Well then, hop aboard and come along for the ride. Its all a lot more crowded than the huge combine I rode last fall in the corn harvest but what the heck.

The Caterpillar tractor is pulling a sixteen row planter.

Inside the cab are numerous screens and controls, which give the scene a space age look. The tractor is guided by a GPS system which operates within a one inch tolerance. In the fall, the harvester will be guided within one inch of this springs planted rows. Thus Rick does not have to steer. He is watching the screens and controls very carefully. At the end of each row, as the tractor turns, the planter stops and restarts each row in sequence, so that there is no double planting of the "headlands." Whether seeds or chemicals, nothing is wasted which would add to costs and effect the bottom line.

An example of this attention to detail would be the "roller" which follows the plants. As the planter deposits and covers each individual seed, as small ridge is created on either side of the row. During the fall harvest this ridge could cause mechanical problems as dirt enters the equipment. Also, if the harvester is an inch or two higher than ground level at the plant, the bottom beans on the plant will be missed. Over hundreds of acres this could be the difference between profit and loss. The roller flattens the ridge.

A look out the back.  As this field is finished, Rick rotates the planter to align it vertically with the tractor, so he can travel down a county road to the next field.

Thanks Rick! Work for you. Fun for us.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Home Sweet Home

Ok, we love flowers even in Minnesota's winter....:)

Friday, March 11, 2016


Click on Mark Twain and Troutbirder to jump to the book review blog....

Monday, March 7, 2016

Cow Racing

I had biked through the cattle crossing culvert on one of my early morning rides. Lily doesn’t go with me because a crash and burn experience with Baron the GSD a few years back taught me against racing dogs, well trained or not. There were pastures on either side of the trail and as I came over a slight rise, there was a cow towards  my left. I zipped on by her, when she started running down the cow path alongside the bike trail.

I began to pedal furiously, never being one to back off from a race.
Sadly, I must report the cow beat me to the bottom of the grade. Just one more indication of how ancient I'm getting. Some days it gets downright humiliating. Maybe I should move to  Confucian oriented China. I hear they have a lot of respect for their aged ancestors.  Final Report:  Cow 1 Troutbirder 0


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Stone Cold

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