Country Scribe : Eric Bergeson's Weblog

March 30, 2007

Talk, talk, talk

This week has been busy with speaking engagements. Went to Detroit Lakes on Tuesday to speak to the Friends of the Library group. The Detroit Lakes library occupies a beautiful building. When they added to the old Carnegie library, they kept the same style. Big oak doors, tall ceilings. Very nice.

The ladies at the meeting served angel food cake with a nice strawberry topping. Very good.

Yesterday noon, I spoke to the Fosston Rotary. That meant a nice noon meal of a loaded baked potato, smothered in chili. Then last night, I taught a community ed class in Mahnomen to about ten ladies, almost all of them teachers at the school. No food to report there.

Today, I go to Grand Forks to set up a booth at the Home Show at the Alerus Center. Tomorrow, I man the booth until a little after noon, and then head to Moorhead to talk to the Clay County Master Gardeners garden day at the Hjemkomst Center. Dad has graciously agreed to take over the PR duties at the booth in Grand Forks, while brother Joe is speaking in Thief River Falls at their home show.

This rain has been great. It looks to be soaking in nicely. I would rather it all ran off into my swamp, but the ground needs the moisture, too. It is starting up again now, so I am hoping for five inches.

TWINS: I feel like a little kid this time every spring. I can barely contain my excitement. Monday night is Opening Night. Santana will be on the mound. The Twins season will be underway, and most every evening, I will be able to come home, park myself in front of the television, and forget the world.

Yesterday, Carlos Silva threw five shutout innings. Those innings are just as meaningless as the disasterous innings he has registered previously this spring, so we'll just have to wait and see if he can pull it off during the regular season.

March 28, 2007


Yesterday I had a fascinating phone interview with a Mr. Roger Williamson, the center for the Thief River Falls basketball team in 1952. Williamson was the star of that team, which was expected to go to state, but which was upset by tiny Halstad in the region final.

It was gracious of Mr. Williamson to give me an interview about one of the lowest points in his life. "That game changed our lives," he said.

That sentiment might routine from a person who spent the next 55 years draped over a barstool. But Mr. Williamson went on to West Point, rose to the rank of full colonel in the Air Force, worked as a military attache in several countries, then retired and became a successful money manager.

And even so, the loss to Halstad ranks as one of the most difficult moments in his life. The entire town of Thief River Falls was devastated. One of the players disappeared into the Beltrami forest for 10 days.

Basketball was a big deal back then.

TWINS: Okay, I won't rail against Carlos Silva. Other bloggers and the entire sports-writing staff of the Star Tribune are riding Gardenhire to get rid of Silva and start Garza. I think Silva's on a short rope now, so it is a matter of time.

Twins beat the Yankees yesterday, but it is pre-season so it doesn't matter.

March 27, 2007


Yesterday on my way to Mahnomen, I drove past Norman Church four miles from the nursery. You could see it across the field from my yard. It was foggy, and I was tempted to take a picture of the church in the mist.

I should have, for when I drove past today, this is what I saw:

The church was dilapitated. It closed years ago. The remaining members were sort of at a loss as to what to do with the building. I looked into moving it to the nursery, but the cost was too high.

So, another country church is gone forever.

March 26, 2007

Hitting on all cylinders

Today, it felt like the nursery was fully functioning. It was a beautiful day, so everybody was upbeat.

A summary: With Mom overseeing the greenhouse activity, Orpha and Lyla transplanted seedlings in the shop. Sharon potted the canna bulbs, which wintered particularly well this year, while Dale divided grasses clumps and potted up the resulting plugs.

Ken worked furiously on getting the next greenhouse ready to open. That means fixing the holes in the plastic and getting another furnace cranked up. Shannon worked on fixing the greenhouse vent fans, which were unexpectedly needed due to the balmy weather yesterday. Renato, a Brazilian on his first day of work, moved trays of plants into the newly opened greenhouse.

In the office, Dot worked on getting the gift shop ready. Cindy worked on the books. Joe answered the phone and worked on ordering more trees and shrubs. And Donna worked all day seeding the next trays of annuals and vegetables.

In the bare root, Dad trimmed and labeled apple trees. Once school let out, he was joined by Cory and Tim.

I think that is everybody. It is good to have the yard full of cars.

I ran errands. One of the fan motors needed to go to Mahnomen for fixing, so I timed the trip so I could eat the noon meal at the Red Apple Cafe, always a treat. I took the camera along, since a big fog rolled in about 11 a.m., but no compelling scenes appeared.

To offset the expenditure, we had $48.17 of income. That came when the county seed inspector came and purchased some packets of garden seeds to be sent in for testing. Hardly a legitimate customer. For that, we wait a few more weeks.

THIS TIME OF year, our diets take a turn for the freezer. The Schwan man showed up at the nursery today, and he did big business. I was just arriving back from town when I met him pulling out of the drive. I waved at him, but he drove around me. I turned on a dime and honked. I drove on the grass and pulled up beside him at the top of the drive. And still he wouldn't stop. Finally, I did a maneuver from a cop chase scene and got him to stop in the middle of highway.

Turns out, he had already gotten a big order of what Joe thought I might like. He read it off to me. I said it sounded fine, and let him go.

Schwan must have trouble keeping guys on these rural routes. We get a new driver every couple of weeks. I guess the coveted routes are those in the suburbs where there is a house every few feet. Those guys make big bucks. But out here in the country, you have long drives and then the people might not be home when you finally do find a home to visit.

March 25, 2007

Geese tourists

Lots of geese flying through. Some stop and have a look around. Might as well see the sights while you're at it.

The fogs of March

Beautiful, foggy, warm day today. Where there were snowbanks or fields of ice on the lakes, fog steamed up. I got out to take pictures of the bridge across the Red River south of Grand Forks.

I can't decide whether I like the wide view or the narrow view.

Later on, I drove over to friend Garth and Colleen's place. On the way, I passed one of Garth's grass fields. The dead grass contrasted nicely with the willow and the bruise-colored sky.

Here a couple of geese walk on the ice on a pond along the Fertile-Winger road. Fog rises from the ice in the background.

Closer to home, I found a scene which to me exemplified March bleakness.

Finally, I talked below about fourth-grader friend Cynthia's fondness for Joe Mauer. I didn't realize she had the full garb and is practicing hard as a catcher for her brother Grant. Here she signals a curve. Grant, 7, prefers to throw fastballs, and he has a good one, so if Cynthia calls curves and Grant objects, she has to go out to the mound for a very serious visit.