Archive - 2006

January 26th


One year ago, I wrote a column on owning a snowblower. Neighbor Vernon owns one, so when things get a little thick in our driveways, Dad gives him a call. Here are Dad, left, and Vernon, in the red hat, discussing snowblowing issues yesterday afternoon.

January 25th

Spanish Flu

An eighty-four-year-old gentleman named Paul wrote me a nice letter concerning a column I wrote a while back about the 1918 flu. It included the following story:

Feeding finches

A busy morning for the finches. They are attacking the thistle feeder with a vengeance. Those at the top of the food chain go right up to the feeder, while those a ways down in the pecking order feed off the fallen thistle on the ground.

Frowsty morn

Couldn't resist running up the driveway a little this morning to try to catch the orange of the rising sun in the frost on the branches of the trees. It is a very still morning, and the air echoed with birds chirping and woodpeckers knocking on old trees.

I turned on the microphone on the bird feeder at sunrise. On cue, about two dozen finches started to fight over the pegs on the thistle-seed feeder.

January 24th

Ribbons of grass

Quick trip

Took a trip down to Minneapolis. Drove the parents of high school friend Roger down to the swearing-in ceremony for new Minnesota Chief Justice Russell Anderson. Anderson was judge in Crookston for many years, and Roger's dad Bob was a public defender.

January 22nd


While surfing the web, I found this portrait of a boy by one of my favorite painters, John Singer Sargent. Sargent had a touch like no other. Soft, yet defined.


Took a walk late this afternoon to experiment with the new telephoto lens. Here is the Morton building in some shadows from oak trees. The telephoto flattens out the picture which can allow one to highlight abstract patterns more easily, I think.

Birds are back

I didn't have anybody fill the bird feeders while I was gone, so the birds had moved on. However, it only took two days for the finches, chickadees, nuthatches and woodpeckers to rediscover the full feeders.

A healthy thump on the window this morning let me know they were back.

This is also the first shot with my new telephoto lens, which I took out of the box this morning.

January 21st


I sometimes debate with myself when I would be alive besides now, if I could. When chosing such a date, I assume good health and strong teeth.

Several times, I have landed upon 1915. Although World War I was underway, we weren't yet involved. The innocence of the 19th century had not yet been entirely shattered by the unbelievable slaughters which were about to begin.