Troutbirder II

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

Tuesday, December 31, 2019


This book is a fascinating true crime story with many diverse topics and connections. The reason I originally picked that up was that I thought it was about fly tying and trout/salmon fishing. Actually just for examples it includes information about the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the competition between Darwin and a rivalry over who developed the theory of evolution and the Rothschild families errant son who used his vast fortune to privately build a complementary Museum to the British Museum of Natural History etc………….

Edwin Rist is the feather thief. Was he a young man, too easily indulged by parents, and full of obsession? Was Edwin a detached manipulator? Was he autistic? Or did he fake autism to get out of prison? What we know of Edwin Rist is that he is a talented flautist. He is an expert fly tier. And, he’s a convicted thief, having ripped off the Tring Natural History Museum of 299 rare and valuable specimens. Edwin is also pretty remorseless about his crime.

Actually, a little of this and some of that adds up to a really fascinating story. I like that!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Tongue In Cheek

R.E previous post titled "Troutbirder's Favorite Recipes." I think I need to go back and reread the chapter in the manual "How To Write Blog Posts" titled "Tongue In Cheek Satire." Obviously, judging by the majority of kind and generous posts I'd received so far.... I missed the mark. Lets start with the facts. I do have that cookbook. The titles of the recipes are real. I did hunt deer, pheasants, ruffed grouse, ducks and geese. I do not hunt/fish nor eat carp, coots(mudhens), muskrats, crayfish, opposum, skunk, racoon, woodchuck, beaver, snipe, or anything akin. For certain, in the golden age of my youth, I had killed and brought home some squirrels. Skinned and proudly presented to my city raised bride, (who had already demonstrated a certain degree of skepticism toward any meat not approved by the Department of Agriculture and wrapped in plastic), Mrs. T asked "what are they?" After explaning to her the conclusion was "they look like rats and I refuse to cook them." Thus ended my career of bring home for table use anything exotic found in my South Dakota cookbook......

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Troutbirder's favorite recipes- a December 2015 retrospective

Faced with my own poor record in learning how to cook for myself and today being Christmas day   I decided to  attend the free community dinner at the Methodist Church. It was great. Later perusing the word recipes I found the following link to some of my favorites that were on my book review blog. You can take a look at them by double-clicking on Mark Twain and myself in the picture at the top of this page

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Christmas now and then


They say the first major holiday without your spouse is the most difficult. I wanted to be ready. Yesterday the last Saturday before this Christmas I drove down to small town Cherry Grove for a 7 o’clock church service at the Methodist Church. The service had a title it was called blue Christmas. This was for anyone who felt sad  during the season of joy to the world. The ministerial couple from

Faith Methodist in Spring Valley conducted the service. The two serve several outlying churches in their parish. The service was intended for anyone suffered a loss be it a job a job, their health, their faith and so on, but it was evident that most of the people there grieving the loss of a family member. That was me also. The church wasn’t packed perhaps about 30 people  of whom I initially recognized only two. Two….  The Bible readings and poems were all appropriate to the theme of the service. But for me as, you might expect it, was the music which touched my heart and brought tears. A young woman played an instrument which I had never seen before. It sounded like a guitar but it was plastic, large and she he held it in her lap and tucked under her chin while she sang the voice of an angel. And then there was the pianist who played both the organ and an old clunky looking piano which was perfectly tuned to a deep throbbing sound. She played wonderfully and though she was on the opposite side of the church eyes were drawn to to her as she played. Again she wasn’t at all familiar. As the service came to its conclusion there was an invitation for all to join together to socialize with coffee and treats as Methodists are wont to do. The pianist kept on playing and I decided to approach her and thank her for the beautiful Christmas music. As I approached her she gave me a quick glance and a smile inviting me to sit down next to her on the adjacent chair. Shortly thereafter as she concluded there was a winsome smile and she said “thanks for coming Ray” and  finally waking up and looking more closely I was able to reply”and thank you for playing so beautifully Luanne” a former student of mine who had graduated in 1974. After a few hugs we adjourned to socialize and catch up on decades of times past. It was a good start for the holidays.

Still this year for the first time in many years I will be spending much of the holiday season alone at home in Minnesota. It is a time of many wonderful family memories, particularly of our two sons Ted and Tony growing up.

 It is also fraught with sadness as well, for during this special time of the year,  our eldest son Ted departed this earth from the pernicious effects of bi-polar disease. This fall,  as many of you know my dear wife Barb ended her ten year long struggle against  dementia.  

Our widowed daughter in law Deanne was a steadfast pillar of love and support in our son Teds life.  And now  as well.  Standing with grace and courage in spite of the travails life has cast upon her, she brings hope and joy to all                                                                                                                                                                                And so to all our friends out there in blog land:  I wish you  the joys of the season to each and every one.  May there be peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind.....




Monday, December 16, 2019

Those Were The Days

You can tell by the vintage of the school bus that the people in this picture must be pretty old by now. This is second grade, Mounds Park Elementary school, St. Paul, Minnesota. That's Troutbirder in the front row, right hand corner, with the little beanie cap on.... jeez mom how could you? My cousin Terry had sent me a notice of an Elementary School reunion and I guess it sent my brain cells off on a jog through memory lane....

Next picture below is Miss Amblers Kindergarten class down by the old wishing rock. My 1st cousin Prudy is front row far left and I'm back row center with the the suspenders. Obviously my mother was a fashion maven. Of course, I was first born so according to the psychologists got all the good stuff. Miss Ambler had been my fathers kindergarten teacher. Other names I remember were Miss Heim, Miss Susan Holmen, Miss Searle, Miss Ahlstrom, and  Mrs. Dahlquist. Plainly female teachers were not allowed to marry in those days. Yes, I walked six blocks to school, uphill both ways.. Those were the days my friends, we thought they'd never end....

Here's a few more fashionista pictures from the "40's."               

Below right with first cousin Prudence Mary

Monday, December 9, 2019

Trout fishing in the desert

One might think that Arizona noted for its desert land might not be the best place to expect to go trout fishing.  Well not exactly. My son and grandson do it quite often. They just have to had north of the Phoenix area into the mountain ranges where melting snow can provide water. It's often tough hiking as the  terrain becomes steeper and more rugged but there are trout to be found. Take a look.
Son Tony and grandson Leonard camping in the Arizona mountains.
The Valley of the sun. Phoenix Desert and South to the Mexican border. North to Flagstaff and skiing Grand Canyon, mountains and Colorado.
 Ray with the Minnesota trout. A. K. A.
Pike trout. No mountains here though.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

At the Guthrie

As the Christmas season grew ever closer my beautiful daughter-in-law Deanne and I chose to join Historic Adventure and Travels tours  for a holiday bus trip to the Twin Cities..

The trip from Rochester  began with a stop at the Como Park Conservatory in St. Paul for their annual holiday flower show. Every section adjacent to the great dome had a different set of flowers highlighted. Deannes smiles showed we were enjoying them all. After that it was on to a very nice  restaurant whose name and location I can't repeat. Truth to tell the city a of my birth and youth is mostly a puzzle to me now. Then it was on across the Mississippi to the Guthrie theater for a "Christmas Carol ."

Called "a 21st century dream factory" by Time Magazine,  Guthrie boasts three stages, a full-service restaurant, pre-show dining, numerous bars and some of the best views of Minneapolis to be found in the city.



  We saw an expanded and somewhat more light hearted version of Dickens A Christmas Carol. Then the one you might have seen on TV We are all blown away at the set, the staging, the acting.... the whole production. Actually Barb and I had seen another version at the Guthrie when it first opened some years ago now. It was all good

Upon leaving the theater for the bus ride home, we all decided, it had been a wonderful beginning  to the joys of the Christmas season. What fun!