Country Scribe : Eric Bergeson's Weblog

May 05, 2006

Princess Kay

The Princess Kay flowering plum blooms seemed to survive last night's twenty-eight degree temperature. Behind are red-twigged dogwood, just leafing out, and the lurid lime green poplar leaves.

Swan flight

Happened to be outside with the camera when a distant trumpeting heralded a possible arrival of the swans. Sure enough, they soon appeared over the woods.

Did some quick snapshots into the sunshine. Not ideal conditions for taking pictures, but it was fun to record a swan landing.

May 04, 2006


A lady came racing into the nursery yesterday pushing a walker on wheels. I said, you sure don't look like you need that, and she said she has dizzy spells so she has it just in case. That would be miserable. I get dizzy when I pop out of bed too fast, but I can't imagine feeling like that at random throughout the day.

I did get a little dizzy last night thinking about all the business that we have to do in the next month. I think we have over twenty people on payroll right now, and the thought occurred to me in the middle of the night: This had better work.

But the middle of the night is not a time when one is filled with courage. That is when I wake up and worry about all the oncoming cars I met the previous day. Good grief, I passed without five feet of certain destruction about five dozen times yesterday--and I wasn't even paying attention.

SPOKE TO a district meeting of postmasters yesterday noon in Crookston. They were a fun bunch. One lady asked in exasperation, "Have they developed a tulip yet with longer lasting blooms?"

Well, that got me going on a tangent which I am sure she didn't expect. I said things are beautiful to us because they are either rare or short-lived. Canadian geese used to be beautiful--now they are about as common as pigeons and we don't give them a second look. Speaking of pigeons, can you imagine how beautiful they'd be if they were rare and in the wild instead of ubiquitous and pooping on old buildings?

I mentioned that tulips have been bred for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. At one time, tulips were so popular in Holland that there was a futures market in them and single bulbs were selling for as high as half-a-million dollars. That was about five hundred years ago.

So, if they could've developed a longer-lasting tulip bloom, I suspect they would have by now.

Well, that response to a simple question was a little like killing a mosquito with a sledgehammer, but it sure was fun.

Sometimes I get myself in trouble attempting to be witty. It is inevitable. A woman emailed that a group of ladies was going to come to a seminar at the nursery and she wondered what they should wear. I replied that we request formal attire unless you plan to enter the mudwrestling contest.

I haven't heard back. Tonight is the seminar they were going to attend. We'll see if they show up.

May 03, 2006

Twins 6 Royals 1

Okay, it's just the Royals, but the Twins could have lost. Radke pitched well tonight, and the Twins acted like a good team.

The best part of the game was watching young Francisco Liriano make the Royals look absolutely foolish in relief of Radke in the eighth and ninth innings. The Twins coaches say Liriano has better stuff than Santana, and that's saying something. Santana was throwing 98 mph last night, as was Liriano tonight. But Liriano has a slider that just plain confuses batters.

Liriano is going to be a star.

May 02, 2006

Twins 5 Seattle 1

Notice I rarely write about the Twins when they lose. Tonight was a classic Santana win. Nine strikeouts. Seven innings. One run. Santana to Rincon to Nathan. Seems like two years ago.

This team's been asleep. Last night they were booting the ball all over the infield. This losing streak is clearly a psychological problem. In an attempt to fire up the team, Gardenhire got kicked out for kicking his hat, but that's old hat.

Tonight, they showed a little fire. If they put six wins together in a row, I'll start to believe they are snapping out of it.

Color in the greenhouse

After a winter of color deprivation, I almost forget that there is now plenty of it in the greenhouse. Above is the center of an osteospermum.

The pansies love the cool weather. We have had some problems with the pansies this spring. Yesterday, they really started looking sick. Joe did some research and found that they were being attacked by a fungus which only acts when the Ph is high. So, this morning he lowered the Ph and by afternoon, by gum, they looked almost recovered.

May 01, 2006

Dreary weekend

I was fortunate enough to be too busy to take in so much as one inning of the Twins this weekend. They were pounded by the Tigers--and scored only one run all weekend. Wow. It would be pretty tough to get much lower than the Twins are right now.

But baseball has a way of averaging out. I think the Twins are much better than how they have played so far. The pitching will likely come around. The summer won't be boring.

No complaints from this quarter about the rainy weekend. The rain came nice and slow. Many of the crops are in the ground. It is perfect weather for newly planted trees.

What's more, the winter seems to have been easy on some of the more tender items like roses. When the roses come back, life is easier for us the next spring. Even though we don't guarantee over winter, it is difficult to explain that to people who assume that we do. None of that this spring.

I am relishing the chance to be at the nursery after a steady three weeks of being on the road promoting. I think I put on over 3,000 miles in just a couple of weeks. The meetings were all well-attended, so one hopes it will pay off. Yesterday, somebody drove up from Perham who heard Joe speak there earlier this spring. This morning a lady called for directions from Underwood, where I spoke about a month ago. And on Sunday there were two new customers from Fargo who heard me speak at the Fargodome.

It is satisfying when promotion works. So much advertising is unmeasurable. Radio and print are pretty intangible. But when people come and say they talked to me in Fargo or whatever, I know something is working.

Stupid English!

Leo is getting a bit frustrated with our language. It makes no sense and it seems to have no rules.

This morning, I said "Well, I am going up to the nursery!"

Leo and I have gone over this. Why do you say "up" to the nursery? I figure it is because the nursery is north of my house. North is up on the map, so I go "up" to the nursery.

Well, Leo asked, when you come back to the house, are you going "down" to the house? No, I said, I go "out" to the house. Why is that? Leo wondered, and I couldn't explain. Perhaps it is because the house is remote. Or, perhaps we use "up" for north more than we use "down" for south.

I go "up" to Grand Forks, but I know that sometimes, because Grand Forks is just as much west of here as north of here, that I go "over" to Grand Forks. However, we always go "down" to Fargo. That's because Fargo is south. But so is my house, and I go "out" to it. I go "down" to Arizona, "out" to California, "into" Fertile, "over" to Bemidji.

So Leo threw up his hands and said, "Stupid English!"

Herald article

A week ago, the Grand Forks Herald published a nice article in their "At Home" section on the Swamp Castle. Anne Bailey wrote a good article, and Eric Hylden took his usual excellent photos. Some people have wondered how come I let a newspaper into my house to do a story, but I thought it was fun.

The article was too generous to me--it made it sound like I did the work! Not true, of course. Jeff and Dean Kronschnabel put the whole thing up themselves. That got left out of the article. I had typed up a little blurb on the Kronsch boys, including the correct spelling of their names, but things like that get left out in the interest of creating a snappy, compelling story. I know how it works--I write articles, too.

Jeff and Dean didn't just put up the house--they contributed to its design at every stage. We debated things back and forth, but I relied upon them to cough up ideas from which I chose. With the crow's nest in particular, I know they spent a lot of time at home trying to figure out what might work.

That is the fun of working with local carpenters. In the Cities, contractors won't let the future occupants of a home on the site during construction.

Plus, when your carpenters are creative and artistic, you end up with a house that is a bit more original.

So, someday I hope Jeff and Dean get a little publicity for their talents. I know I enjoy looking at their work every day, and will for the next forty years--until I move into the Fertile Hilton.