Troutbirder II

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

Saturday, December 29, 2018


Dear Friends & Fellow Bloggers,
Sorry to report that Mrs. T (Barb) was transported from St. Mary's Hospital campus  in Rochester MN. to Cottage Wood memory care unit this week.  This has been five years coming but the wandering, memory loss and agitation had increased considerably this summer and fall with numerous 911 calls and stays in the secure unit or “prison" as she has  called it. Barb volunteered at  Mayos Abigail Van Bureans Alzheimer and Memory Loss Research Center .      Perhaps the last great frontier isn’t outer space but the human brain and it’s role in mental illness. Your thoughts and prayers now and in the future will be much appreciated. I intend to return to my blogging hobby and soon as I can get my act together here on the home front.
Ray and Barb

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Stuby The War Dog

The True Story of World War I's Bravest Dog. A National Geographic Kids Book for dog lovers and Kids of all Ages. Actually, Bausum wrote twin titles about the stray dog smuggled to Europe during World War I who returned to a hero’s welcome. Both books were published in 2014 by National Geographic: Sergeant Stubby (for adult readers) and Stubby the War Dog (for children). Though I remain devoted to another canine hero from The Great War (Rin Tin Tin) Stubby's  true story will leave you amazed....

Known for his keen instincts and fierce loyalty, Stubby is still recognized today as the most decorated canine in American history and the first promoted to the rank of Sergeant in the U.S. Army. Naturally an animated movie  followed......:)

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@Barrie Summy

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Burning Bush


No No. Of course it's not Moses though Mrs. T. standing in our front yard, has given me more than Ten Commandments to follow over the years.
The burning bush is an object described by the Book of Exodus as being located on Mount Horeb. ... In the biblical narrative, the burning bush is the location at which Moses was appointed by Adonai (God) to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into Canaan.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Harvest Time in Bluff Country

It's mid to late fall here in southeast Minnesota's Bluff Country and there's lots of corn and soybeans to be harvested. Our little acreage over looks the Spring Valley and in the distance the town of the same name. In between our back yard and the valley are some small fields including 14 acres of "beans."....  Take a look....
To the North, our woods, adjacent to the field.
Our friend and neighbor farmer Dick is probably scouting ahead the big machinery making sure everything else is ready to go....
View from our back yard...
From hopper to bin then off to the elevator....
Miss Lily comes out to check out the commotion but quickly decides she's seen it before and begins looking for the elusive chipmunk under our deck!!!!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Reporter: A Memoir by Seymour M. Hersh


In a time when their are  facts and something called "alternate facts" buttressed by screaming talk shows and so called guest "experts," what to think of the issues of the day becomes harder and harder.  So called reporters who only use "leaked" information from biased sources add to the fog. Compounding all of this is the fact that during the Vietnam era Seymour Hersh an a number of other young American reporters began telling what was really going on over there and the American people learned that their government was lying to them..... and still does.
Hersh  told what really happened in the Vietnamese village of My Lai. It was a mass murder of civilians by a company of American soldiers.  Later, he  went on to produce important  articles revealing the CIA’s  domestic spying on U.S. citizens, its abortive assassination plot against Fidel Castro, President Richard Nixon’s secret bombing of Cambodia and complicity in the overthrow and killing of Chilean President Salvador Allende, and, in more recent times, atrocities against Iraqi detainees by their American overseers at Abu Ghraib prison. Hersh’s reporting over the past half-century has constituted an alternative history of modern America.
For those of us readers who lived through the era of these past events this book is a worthwhile reminder of what happened. Some of the roots and causes were stemmed later by public outrage. For younger readers the lesson are well to learn and take into account.
Today, this country needs more investigative reporters like Seymour Hersh who speak the truth to power. As the headline on a Washington Post says Democracy Dies in Darkness.   Help shine the light and take time to read a good book........and get involved.

Oops! Well I put this book review on the nature blog rather than Troutbirder II.
 Think I'll just leave it here...:)  


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Summer Wildflowers

As spring passes into summer, the native woodland wildflowers fade into memory. Along the prairie hiking paths and the bike trails, following the old railroad right of ways, I begin to look to look for the wildflowers of summer. Here is a sampling of some of this years highlights.

Narrow leafed (Common)Sunflower

Gayflower (liatris)

Culver Weed
Golden Rod

Rattlesnake Master

Turkscap Lilies

Butterfly visits patch of purple coneflower.   How sweet it is.....:)

Monday, October 15, 2018


We're from I-O-way, I-O-way. State of all the landJoy on ev-'ry hand. We're from I-O-way, I-O-way.That's where the tall corn grows As the above picture and song indicates, Iowans , living in the heart of the corn belt are rightly proud of their states ability to grow tall and bountiful corn.

Not to be outdone, I, as a proud Minnesotan, hereby submit the following pictoral evidence of that States ability to grow tall plants as well. Both pictures were taken on a recent bike trip through the prairie.

Friend and fellow biker Gary, pointing to the top of a Canadian thistle... one of Minnesota's tall growing native plants.

Next, Troutbirder posing in front of a tall growing prarie wildflower. The narrow leafed Sunflower, which had to be about 18 feet tall.

"Minnesota hats off to thee. To our colors, true we shall ever be. Firm and strong united are we. So Rah Rah Rah for Skie U Mah. Rah Rah Fah Rah for the U. Of M......"

Now lets row the boat boys and crush those hawkeyes !

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Heading Off To Mexico

I'd posted, just a couple of  years, ago how Mrs. T. and I had seen a huge gathering of 4th generation Monarch butterflies preparing to head off to winter in the Mountains of Mexico.  Now, a recent visit to our public library, gave us the opportunity to participate in this wondrous event.
Gathering and getting ready to launch at Lake Louise State Park in Minnesota....
Waiting to be born in the Spring Valley, Minnesota library.   Ms. Jenny is Director.
Mrs. Troutbirder and husband launch the Monarchs on their long trip to winter in Mexico....

What fun!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Hundred Miles to Nowhere

I really enjoyed this memoir . Click on Mark
Twain above to find out why on
Troutbirder II

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Keep On Truckin......

So it's been some  few weeks now since a book review or our vacation or nature wanderings being posted. . Other kinds of wandering have involved 911 calls and stays at Mayo's St.Mary's hospital in Rochester in the  meantime.  The excitement of the "Golden Years" as they say. Our motto remains the same. "We're a Team and We keep on Trukin".....   

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Elephants Ears

A friend who is a gardener, not a big game hunter in Africa, gave me a bag of them this spring. They were small dehydrated looking tubers that looked more dead than alive. I threw them in the retired plot in front of the porch hoping one or two survived so I could see what they looked like.
A couple made an appearance in late May and then some more and more and we had some heavy rains. And they grew and grew.....
and grew some more...

I think this project may have gotten a bit out of hand....:)

Thursday, August 23, 2018


I think the squirrels should be doing well this coming winter as it appears we will  have a world record acorn crop this year. Daily sweeping of the deck has already produced bucketfulls of the fruit. I've slipped on them several times.   And the ricochet shots off the roof in the middle of the night were more than a little annoying. Still we love our white and burr oak trees. Almost as much as our beloved butternut..... The Juglans cinerea.  It produces drooping clusters of sweet nuts which are used in baking. The oval kernel is tender with sweet, oily, buttery flavor. The butternut or white walnut is one of the hardiest nut trees. A North American native, the nut has a rich, buttery flavor used in baking, confections, and eating fresh. The attractive, light golden wood is used for paneling and furniture. Its nuts are also valuable as food for deer, squirrels, and birds.  A few years ago   early that fall I raked together the fallen nuts and placed them on the sun deck to air and dry. A few weeks later they were placed in a basket and left on the deck for further airing. My intention was to shell them around Thanksgiving time. Imagine my surprise when I checked on them later to find that every single one had disappeared! Who would sink so low as to take such an item from a person who had carefully gathered the harvest for the winter? I was appalled. I figured that the perpetrators had brought a box and dumped my treasure into it, leaving the basket as a sick reminder of their crime. To say I was ticked would be somewhat of an understatement. Reporting the loss of my nuts to the police or the insurance company didn’t seem to be the way I wanted to go either (he chuckles to himself). So life goes on and their were many other fall chores to finish. One task was to cut down a dead quaking aspen which loomed over my garden. Chain saw in hand I headed out into the woods. The tree was about 60 feet tall. Now aspen is a very soft wood but after I notched it and made the final base cut, it went down very quickly. Rather too quickly, I thought, until I realized the tree was hollow. And there to my huge surprise was the mother load of butternuts. All safely stored away for the winter. How sweet it was! I’m not a revengeful person at heart but property rights must be respected and these nuts were mine!
Well, as they say, "all’s well that ends well." I used the vise in my workshop to crack open the nuts. They were so sweet. Not holding a grudge, I made sure the squirrels were well fed that winter with corn and sunflower seeds. Hmmm. Maybe I should go back and read the Count of Monte Cristo. Is revenge really a dish best served cold..?

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Who waz dat?

It was late August in 2010 and our little cuddly puppy had grown in two years to a gentle giant. He had free range in our 3 acre wooded plot.   Who was that in my wildflower garden?
Oh! Its you. By far the biggest GSD any had ever seen.
Baron! The canine gardener and my best buddy.
Actually, he is in charge of the organic fertilization department.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

My first "Designer Dog"

In the days before Designer Dog" became the rage and very expensive they were known as "Mutts" and not so pricey.  My grandchildren have several Labradoodles...  Our first dog back in the mid sixties was a cross between a Golden Retriever and a German Shorthaired Pointer. His name was Max.
Max flushed, retrieved, point and pretty much taught me how to successfully hunt pheasants and  grouse. He did it all.