Visitors

It was a beautiful day, and many visitors came to the gardens. I was on retail patrol today since nobody else was around.

The first group was eight eighth graders from Ada. Every fall, a teacher in Ada requires that the eighth graders collect and identify a certain number of tree and shrub leaves. Every fall, parents bring their eighth graders over to have us help them collect and identify leaves.

This year's Ada eighth grade mothers were a step ahead: They organized a trip for a group, which will probably make things a lot easier. I decided that since I was going to be busy, I would make up a checklist of leaves which were in our yard. Of course, I missed about a half-dozen, but by the end of the morning, they had dozens of Zip-loc bags filled with leaves.

I wonder how much the kids actually learn with these projects. Looked like the Moms were doing most of the work. But whatever, maybe they picked up something.

Then, a big bus drove in the yard from Bemidji. It was a senior women's group. Most of them had never been to the nursery, so that's good PR. One woman asked, "So, how do you fund this place, do you get grants?" I replied that we con you into coming back next spring to get your plants. Oh, she'll be back, she promised. But she still insisted that we should charge admission.

Well, we considered it once. We even announced it in our catalog that we were going to charge something like $4 per visitor. By the time summer rolled around, it became apparent that charging admission would take all the fun out of the gardens. If we charged, we would be obligated to keep it persnickety neat all the time, whereas now, if we have something else urgent to do, like put new plastic on the greenhouses, we can let the gardens go a bit, especially in September.

Next was a group of non-senior women from Bemidji. Just after they left, a Red Hat group from Bemidji drove in the yard.

Later in the day, a group of Baptists arrived from Calvary Baptist in Fargo. My mother was raised at Calvary, and my parents were married there. Later, my Dad often preached there as a substitute. So, lots of familiar faces.

So, it wasn't so bad sitting waiting for customers because there were people to entertain all day.

In between, the battle with the bacteria in the Cat fuel tank continued. Ken and Shannon drained the tank and used the power washer to rinse out all kinds of slime. Then they used fuel to wash out the water. Then they got it going again and called me in to test it in the swamp, which is the acid test. It bogged down again, a sign that there were still some obstructions in the fuel line somewhere.

This has been going on for quite a while. Tomorrow morning, we are going to put on a new fuel pump to see if that gets things rolling, as the present fuel pump seemed a bit anemic.

While trying the Cat out in the swamp, where I am removing reed canary grass in hopes for some open water in front of the house when the rains return, I fell in some sort of mudhole and had to be pulled out for the umpteenth time this year. Shannon, the mechanic who makes house calls quite often to our place, was dumbfounded that something with tracks could get stuck like that, but I assured him that I was talented at doing just that.

And to top the day off, a Twins win over Cleveland. And, an arrest in the JonBonet Ramsey case! Just when the tabloids were running out of juicy stuff...

Other news items: The Alfonso Rodriguez trail has finally started. He killed UND student Dru Sjodin three years ago in a most brutal fashion. The only question is whether he gets life in prison or the death penalty. The guy deserves to be slowly tortured to death, of course, but governments should not have that right--ever. Neither should governments have the right to kill their own citizens except in immediate defense of the public. So, I am hoping they lock him up for good.

British law enforcement officials are having trouble pinning down specific charges on the perpetrators of last week's alleged plot to blow up ten airliners over the Atlantic. Turns out, the evidence of the plot was quite possibly revealed during torture of suspected terrorists in Pakistan. Intelligence produced by torture is rarely any good. Wouldn't you cough up some whoppers if you had live battery cables hooked to your nipples? Look for this story to evaporate very gently into the night. The people arrested were probably up to no good, but the plot was apparently far less advanced than first thought. The alleged perpatrators were going to make a "dry run," but apparently most of the suspects lack the travel documents necessary to get on the plane for even that.