Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
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Friday, November 29, 2019

The pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West

Pulitzer Prize–winning historian David McCullough rediscovers an important and dramatic chapter in the American story—the settling of the Northwest Territory by dauntless pioneers who overcame incredible hardships to build a community based on ideals that would come to define our country.

As part of the Treaty of Paris, in which Great Britain recognized the new United States of America, Britain ceded the land that comprised the immense Northwest Territory, a wilderness empire northwest of the Ohio River containing the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. A Massachusetts minister named Manasseh Cutler was instrumental in opening this vast territory to veterans of the Revolutionary War and their families for settlement. Included in the Northwest Ordinance were three remarkable conditions: freedom of religion, free universal education, and most importantly, the prohibition of slavery. In 1788 the first band of pioneers set out from New England for the Northwest Territory under the leadership of Revolutionary War veteran General Rufus Putnam. They settled in what is now Marietta on the banks of the Ohio etc. etc. river

McCullough chose a small number of people who provided the leadership in this vast settlement of the Northwest Territories. They might not be so well known in the broader scope of American history but as he wrote the communities that evolved were based on the ideals that would come to define our country. For example those who lobbied the Congress of the United States then based at the very beginning in New York City that slavery not be allowed in the new territories and states. Or that public education schools and universities following the New England model would be nurtured and supported by land grants based on federal. As people flooded by the thousands into the Ohio River Valley and also came from overseas a new world was being created for settlement and trade. Trade up and down the river and even worldwide with new technologies changing transportation dramatically like steam engines and so on. It was mostly all new to me and as McCullough often does he made it personal and very interesting I definitely recommend it.






Thursday, November 28, 2019

Pilgrim Grandchildren on Thanksgiving

She, Tensae, had arrived from Ethiopia only a couple of years before. Her older brother Ethan was explaining about the Pilgrims here is part of the lesson. Today all five of my grandchildren live far away in the desert of Arizona.Tensae is a sophomore in high school. Ethan is a Freshman in college. She is an honors student and he is on a full ride scholarship. How time flies........

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Thanksgiving Tradition remembered again

It was only a few years after our marriage that my young bride, ever the bold one, decided to invite my parents and siblings from the Twin Cities to our rural home in the hinterland for Thanksgiving dinner. Her holiday culinary experience was quite lacking at the time. I must add that back in the day turkeys arrived at the supermarket with their necks still attached and the key organs still to be found inside to add to the stuffing.  While busily peeling potatoes I was asked by the lady in charge "which end do I stuff?" Dumfounded, I discovered there was an opening next to the neck. "Call your best friend Mary Ann" I suggested. And she did. Even standing some distance away I could hear gales of laughter over the telephone.  Thus, a Thanksgiving tradition was born. For decades thereafter the phone  would ring early on Thanksgiving morning with a reminder from Mary Ann as to which end to stuff the Turkey....
                                                Mrs. T on our honeymoon to the Maritimes

Monday, November 18, 2019


Over the years as a upland game hunter and waterfowl as well I had some great retrievers, there was Max the wonder dog, part golden retriever and part German shorthair. He could do it all including teach me how to hunt.
Next came Ben. He was a gentle giant who I could've easily saddled up. Of unknown origin he was very good  at flushing pheasants. He  could locate a scent and then  track the birds down. Which meant he was usually about a quarter of a mile ahead of me and well out of range.
Then came Chessie. She was a Chesapeake Bay retriever. Of course that meant I had added duck and goose hunting to my repertoire. She never missed returning a duck or goose to me out of the water. Pheasants were another thing though she could locate them flush or find them in a cornfield. Bringing them back though apparently wasn't in her contract. She would locate and then guard them till I arrived to pick  the bird up. All I can say on that point is it was easier to locate a dog than a dead bird in a corn field.
Her successor was Muffy, who was excellent in all phases of the hunting dogs duties. She was also a purebred Chesapeake Bay retriever. Why she was named after a cat I have no idea because Barb and our two boys assigned that job to themselves. And last but not least when I gave up hunting due to a bad knee we settled for a house dog. His name was Baron and the big guy was followed by our rescue dog Lily. They were both German shepherds a. K. A. Also known by Barb as German shedding dog's. They both were multi-purpose......................

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Tundra Swans

A small relapse found me once again using a cane after my knee surgery. Taking pity on me my good friend Mr. science, Gary, a former teaching colleague offered to take me down to Mississippi River to see the annual migration of the tundra Swan's. It was really cold that morning and dressing for arctic conditions I forgot my camera so some of the pictures here will reflect past visits on the same occasion.
At an overlook  in Minnesota, near the Iowa border, south of Brownsville we see some tundras and a late-season barge on the river. Across the Father Of Waters, clouded in mist, lay Wisconsin.
As   we parked along the highway,  we heard a rather loud and strange sound emanating from the river.  It was a kind of  of excited yet friendly conversation among some visitors from the tundra far to the north.
Here, we were to witness a world class event in the world of natural  wonders. Coming from the arctic , in  their thousands, tundra swans had stopped to refuel and rest, before continuing their journey to Chesapeake Bay, far to the southeast.

With the construction of the lock and dam system on the river in the 1930's, many of the natural aspects of the river have changed. One of these is the wave action of the increased open spaces. Many islands have disappeared. Because of this, many of the plants and tubers the swans fed on also disappeared. Now man is undoing the damage and helping the birds, by using dredge material from the main channel to rebuild these islands. The artificial islands providing a resting place and shelter from the wind and renewed food supplies. It’s not entirely safe for the ducks and swans who gather here though as hundreds of bald eagles cruise overhead  along the river as well.  They are always on the lookout for an easy lunch.

The  overlook provides a safe place for people to turn out to see and photograph the swans.   Previously people would park along the shoulder endangering themselves and passing vehicles. Way to go DNR and Army Corps of Engineers. We make an annual trip along the river to see this amazing sight. It never grows old.  Thanks Mother Nature!

And Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Flying Swans from Mr. Sciences "Nature Notes."

Sunday, November 3, 2019

The British are coming - the war for America by Rick Atkinson

The British are coming war for America, Lexington to Princeton,1775-1777
Abraham Lincoln said "a house divided against itself cannot stand" he was correct though it stood just barely, leaving a trail of divided families, many dead or wounded along with mass destruction and the heritage of racism. Today, we may be facing the potential of something  similar in a  more modern world of sophisticated media and other technologies, as well as unsophisticated so-called "alternate facts."
None of the above has solely been created by the con artist, liar and dictator lover in the White House but he has enhanced, used and personally benefited from many of them. For many of us this has posed a real dilemma. It began  from the start of Trump's administration. I remember thinking his words and claims were untrue, even un presidential and couldn't get worse. It has of course, even to the point of abuse of office and selling out his countries safety, security and the Constitution of the United States for his personal and political benefit. Back in the day he would be identified as  a traitor.
What to do? I'd heard enough from the so-called panel experts on cable TV. It was time to go back to the first house divided. That is to say the American Revolution and the founding fathers, many of whom survived that colonial/Civil War for independence to write the blueprint for a new nation. It's    called the Constitution of the United States of America. As the impeachment process continues in the days ahead will be hearing much of the words and meaning of that document.
As luck would have it I had just noted one of my favorite American historians Rick Atkinson had just  published the first book in  a trilogy on the American Revolution. His writing is right up there at the very top of his profession. Think of authors like Stephen Ambrose, David McCullough, Doris Kearns Goodwin and. Bruce Catton ......

.......... Rick Atkinson is an American historian who began his writing career as a highly successful newspaper reporter who later turned to writing mostly military history. . For those of you that slept through those boring history textbooks and lectures in high school the British Are Coming will bring it all to life as s only Atkinson can. For those of you that know the story because you liked history to begin with   this will not be the story that you thought you knew. I doesn't have the romantic of all those paintings and legends. For those of you that love historical fiction please be careful because this book feels like historical fiction but it isn't. It's based on  well documented research which you can check in the back of the book. All your senses will come alive as you read what really happened. The smell, sound  and scenes will come alive as you read and yes the emotions's as well.

Many historians guess that the American colonists were divided into about three equal groups You'll meet those who just wanted no part of this awful Civil War, and the Patriots will put everything on the line to create their own Republic, and the Tories who remained loyal to the king and Empire
This was indeed our first house divided. More people as a percentage of the total population died in this war than any other with the exception of the one Pres. Lincoln feared.
In summing up the this wonderful book I'm having a hard time choosing   appropriate  descriptions.  Perhaps masterpiece, classic, poetic, cinematic and God forbid prophetic. This divided people long ago in spite of almost impossible odds created a new nation based upon their acceptance of common goals and  a structure of government which divided power into three equal branches, to make sure that no single group or person  could be all powerful nor subservient to foreign interference and bribery. From The very beginning that Atkinson wrote so poignantly about, generations  kept the promise. Now it's our turn. To disagree without being disagreeable nor demeaning each other. Focus on our common goals which should allow us to do something we seem to have forgotten. Compromise. King George III might had tried that with better results.....

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@Barrie Summy