Archive - Feb 2007

February 27th


Got off the main roads in the Red River Valley today and looked for some striking windbreaks. There was a low fog hanging like angel hair through some of the trees, but it simply did not turn up on the camera. 

February 26th

New bird

Last week, I shot a bunch of pictures of what I figured was a gray jay only to find out that the memory card wasn't in the camera. This morning, I heard a completely new bird call while I was trying to fire up my wood stove (after I used up all the newspaper to start the wet wood without success, I found a couple of rolls of Christmas gift wrap--boy did that work) and figured perhaps the gray jay was back.

I ran inside and put the telephoto on, and sure enough, he showed up at the feeder, and eventually flew onto a nearby branch for a modeling session.

February 25th

Hairy ride

Of course, the one day this year we have bad roads due to snow and ice, I am struggling to get home from Fargo.

At the Home Show, the guy in the next booth totalled his pickup this morning when he was hit by somebody who lost control. Another woman went in the ditch twice on the way to Fargo. A third person did several 360s on an exit ramp while his little daughter said, "Wheee!"

So, I knew something was funny out there.

February 24th

You guys

Just ate breakfast at the hotel restaurant. A dignified elderly couple sat near me at a table with a linen tablecloth and linen napkins.

And then the waitress came over and asked, "How are things going with you guys?"

You guys. How are things going. Ugh. There are some times when a little formality would be nice. "Folks" would be a good substitute for "you guys." And a mere perceptive glance at the table from about ten feet away would be a good substitute for an intrusive, self-congratulatory, unhelpful "How are things going?"


Enjoyed the first day of the Home and Garden Show. After several months of no contact with people who are interested in plants, it was good to visit about horticulture again.

In between visits, there is good people-watching to be done. Most of my comments on the passers-by are best kept to myself, I guess. I do enjoy speculating about people's entire existence based on the ten seconds I see them walk by my booth.


There are no fewer than seventy-eight squirt hockey teams in Fargo this weekend. They come from all over the nation--in fact, several of them are from overseas.

The kids I saw ranged in age from 8 to 11.

I talked to one mother. She said that some of the teams have an entry fee for each child of up to $3500. That covers coaching and ice time, not equipment.

One team from South Carolina had their equipment shipped to Seattle by the airline. They went to Play-it-Again sports in Fargo and bought up what they had on hand.

February 22nd

Back on the road

It has been a few months since I have done any speaking or singing. Today, I went to the Lutheran Memorial Home in Halstad to sing and play.

Most of the people in the audience were familiar, including one woman who is 102 years old and fully with it. Another is 97, and made it darn clear that she wasn't in the nursing home. She's in assisted living next door. And she had worked all morning, she had me know. Another visitor from the outside ambled in, and when we got to talking age, she announced proudly that she's 91. For all I could tell, she was in her early 70s.

February 21st

Frosty morn

Yesterday brought hoar frost over everything, including this cast iron bench in the gardens. 

Old Pictures

Visited Aunt Olla at the Fertile Hilton today. We went through some old pictures. She has stacks and stacks. We have to set a limit. I love old pictures, and she knows the names and stories of the people pictured, so there is some urgency to getting as much written on the backs of the pictures as possible.

A picture is worth 1,000 words. At least. And each picture suggests as many words--at least--to Aunt Olla. To explain the person, you need to hear how they met, where they came from, and where they are now.

February 19th

China update

There are celebrations going on in China for the lunar New Year. Unfortunately, some of the manifestations are gross beyond belief. Only look at this if you aren't squeamish. This is a performer at a temple.