Country Scribe : Eric Bergeson's Weblog

June 24, 2004


I am heading down to the Cities to catch some Twins games for the weekend. I have decided not to take my laptop--that's part of a vacation, being away from being connected--so, I will not be blogging this weekend. Enjoy the great weather!

Third rate burglary

Joe called me at home from the nursery last night. He had just gotten home from the Cities and had walked into the office to find things strewn about. A backpack with some of his sound equipment was gone. A few rolls of coins were gone from the drawer under the till. The change box where people make their own change when they buy pop was moved, and empty. And one of the idle tills was sitting in the middle of the office floor with a hammer next to it. Stuck in the drawer was a big hook, normally used to hang hanging baskets of flowers, but in this instance used as a tool to pry open the till drawer. It didn't work. The till drawer was empty, so slim pickins there.

The sheriff's deputy came. Took pictures. By now it was 12:30 am. I discovered that my digital camera was missing. I knew just where I had put it, so was pretty sure of that. Then, I thought of the .22 behind my office door, and sure enough that was gone. Looked in the drawer for the clip, and that was gone, too. I had just shot a woodchuck with the gun yesterday, and remember distinctly putting it back, so I don't think it will turn up someplace else. They left my laptop, even though they dug through the drawers right under it.

Must have been some kids. There have been a rash of burglaries around here, according to the deputy. I hadn't known that.

So, this morning I called the insurance company to file a claim. We'll see what they come up with. Am too tired to make any broad philosophical statements about feeling violated or any of that. It's more an annoyance than anything.

June 23, 2004

Disease season

June is when spots show up on leaves. They usually do no harm, but blemishes on plants alarm people and make them want to spray something to cure it. So, the phone rings all day with various complaints. Some of the questions are obvious enough, but many of the problems have no cure, and no need for a cure. In fact, one gardening expert extimated that 99.5% of the spraying gardeners do is wasted.

I agree with that assessment, and am always trying to get people to just ignore the little blemishes and spots which appear on leaves. There is a tendency to see them as cancerous--something that will spread and kill the entire plant. Instead, they are usually like acne, an annoyance which will go away with time.

June is also the time when new plants are susceptible to damage from too much moisture. Where there has been heavy rain, there are always reports of plants turning yellow, especially in heavy soil where the water doesn't drain away right away. There is no cure for this problem but to wait it out. If the plant dies of too much water, it probably was the wrong plant for that spot, anyway.

So seldom does human intervention do any good for plants that one is tempted just to tell people to leave them alone.

June 22, 2004


Tim the backhoe man came today and removed all the stumps at the house site. I thought it would take him two days. He got there at 1:30 and was gone by supper. It was like he was cutting through bread.

Tim makes watching the backhoe a spectator sport. He takes after his Dad Butch in this regard. It is like they have nerves running through the entire backhoe.

So, the big stumps are buried. Now it is to get the area up to grade. The scraper man is coming later this week to start on that project.

So far, this has been fun. It is a delight to work through the grapevine to find people like Russ, the man who is building the road--these are good small-town craftsmen who take pride in their work and go out of their way to do things right. You know you aren't going to get ripped off--because it is a small town and the word gets around so fast. People are wary.

LONGEST DAY OF THE YEAR--You'd think it would be depressing to have the days getting shorter, but I have to admit that they are a little too long right now. I mean, if you get out of bed at 7 am, it feels as if it is already mid-morning. And it is still dusk at 10:30. There is too much daylight to enjoy!

The cool weather is keeping the flowers and the crops from taking off. The soybeans and corn are slow. It is great working weather, of course, but 43 degrees in the a.m. in June is a little odd.

June 21, 2004

Clearing project

Finished the unpleasant task of sawing down trees for where my house is going to be today. My arms are tired from four solid days of chain-sawing. The unpleasantness comes from the guilt of sawing down old oak. I managed to save the grandest ones, but some pretty nice ones had to go.

I then pounded down some stakes and put ribbon around the perimeter of where the house will stand. The project is taking shape. Later this week, the backhoe is going to come to remove the stumps.

The basis for procrastination on all projects is the justified fear that one's dreams will have to be altered as the project proceeds. That has been as true with this house thing as with anything else.

As we cleared land, it became evident that my original site was impractical. So, it was moved. As we cleared land there, it became evident that more oak would have to go than I had hoped. At each stage, I had to set aside the urge to procrastinate and just move forward.

Well, I did procrastinate. For a couple of hours. That's when good employees like Ken push me on by saying, "Well, should we go out in the woods and clear some more brush?" Oh, okay. I was going to put it off, but since we have the time today, we'd better go do it.

Another basis for procrastination is the fear of spending money. But--what has to be done has to get done, so I can't sit around waiting for things to get cheaper. They won't.

WENT TO THE UNION STATION RESTAURANT in Bemidji Friday night. It was scrumptious. Their spinach salad with hot bacon dressing is worth the drive. The price wasn't bad, either. And the atmosphere is palatial. I had prime rib with the real horseradish. Wow. That'll clean out your sinuses in a hurry.