Troutbirder II

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

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.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Deer Attack

With my supervisors permission I was finally able to retire from my duties  as the family Christmas Letter writer.  The ending of that duty had its genesis in the following post I wrote way back in 2009. Progress comes  slowly here on Oak Hill.  The letter was replaced this year by a photograph/card featuring the Grandchildren. Photography is Mrs. T's department....


I’m sure most drivers, at one time or another, have had to fill out a car accident report for the insurance company. In the division of labor at the Troutbirder home, writing Christmas letters, filling out reports and questionnaires is my job. Here is part of an accident report (which included a diagram I had to draw)  I was asked to fill out for Mrs T. These are her words.

"I was driving at the legal speed, east on Highway 16 in the early evening. I noticed a deer emerging from the woods and running to cross the road in front of me. Slamming on my brakes I came to a full stop. Unfortunately, the deer did the same thing, right in front of me. Whereupon, the deer turned to face my car, lowered it’s antlers and charged right into the grill  and left headlight causing all the damage. The deer then fled the scene of the attack back into the woods."

 Somewhat of a skeptic by nature, I barely managed not to question the veracity of this eye witness account. Here are a few similar accounts from  from car insurance files.

 "I parked beside a hedge in a local country lane to go fishing, but when I returned to my car I found that two horses had chewed it causing considerable damage"

 "I was waiting at the traffic lights when a wasp went down my right trouser leg. It made me put my foot on the accelerator and smash into the car in front"

 "I couldn’t put my foot on the brake because my credit cards were wedged under it."

 "My car was hit by a sofa when I was driving home last night"

 "A cow fell off the cliff and crashed right onto the top of our van, which was on the highway"

 "The gentleman behind me struck me on the backside. He then went to rest in a bush with just his rear end showing."

 "I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law and headed over the embankment."

 "In an attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole."

"The light pole was approaching. I was attempting to swerve out of the way when it struck the front end."
Yes, the last example also belongs to Mrs. T.  I was there when the accident  occurred.       Unfortunately, I was asleep on the passenger side and didn't witness the actual attack.       We had made    a   stop at  Wal-Mart off the I-90 freeway in southwestern  Minnesota.
I think I've got to make a serious attempt to get out of my family writing role. " I don't  do fiction very well !!!!

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. 

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Shooting Stars

Actually our little point and shoot cameras don't work well for taking  nighttime photos of fast moving targets like meteors.  During the daytime, out on the prairie, the wildflower paparazzi (Mrs. T.) can point and shoot lots of shooting stars. Take a look....
One very large GSD (Baron) and thousands of small Shooting Stars on the virgin Hayden prairie near the Iowa - Minnesota border....




Friday, July 27, 2018

Someone Very Special

It was my birthday, July 16th. A gorgeous day and we decided to go for a hike.  Mrs. T and Lily led the way as we followed the local bike trail though a prairie like park in our town. On the way we ran across an unexpected sight. Several Turks cap lilies. They are a native wildflower which because of mowed ditches in our rural areas have become quite rare.
And so we had several "lilies" in the same area..... A week later with the arrival of our daughter in law Deanne from the Twin Cities, we all all decided to go for a prairie wildflower ride in search of  Turks Cap lilies a rare flower and any other types we could find.
And there they were as we found several patches along an old abandoned railway right of way.
 Later, we visited a nearby State Park and located some more midsummer prairie flowers.
Pale Coneflowers
Her name is Deanne and she is indeed someone very special to Mrs. T. and myself.  
Our daughter in law she was a steadfast pillar of love and support in our son Ted too short  life.  And now ours as well.  Standing with grace and courage in spite of the travails life has cast upon her, she brings hope and joy to all who know her.
 She visits us regularly in our "golden years".   And and then there is love and laughter and smiles……