Troutbirder II

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

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....