Code What?

Since I moved to North Dakota I have worked at two places: A hospital and a community mental health center.   Both had Code announcements over the loudspeaker system that let you know that there was trouble or alerted you to an issue. Code Blue, at the hospital, meant that someone was in cardiac arrest. Code Brown at both facilities meant that there is a tornado coming and you should take shelter. Code Black means there is a bomb threat.

My current agency is redoing its Codes to align with those of other State agencies. One of my coworkers suggested that we should have a Code S (sleep), which would mean that we should all take 20 minute naps. I suggested that we should have Code Orange, which means that 45 is coming for a photo op and that we should all hide.

Please come up with some creative Codes to alert people to things they should know about.

 

Turkey Trouble

I was surprised a couple of years ago when we were in Moorhead, MN for our daughter’s graduation from Concordia to see a flock of about 10 wild turkeys strutting past campus.  I, too, went to Concordia, and there was nary a wild turkey in Moorhead when I was there.

I follow the Fargo Forum newspaper online, and have read with interest the struggles that the city has with the turkeys.  There seem to be dozens of wild turkeys in town, hanging out in residential areas, terrorizing mail carriers, attacking people’s pets, pooping all over yards and sidewalks, ripping up gardens, playing chicken with cars in the middle of the street, and frightening children on the way to or from school bus stops.

People have been feeding them, which is the crux of the problem.  It keeps them nearby and increases their fecundity.  Several solutions were bandied about by the city council, including shooting them.  Thanks to the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks, there is a solution that will cost the city nothing.  South Dakota will pay for the whole thing.

After all the necessary permits are gathered, corn will be scattered in a specified place on the banks of the Red River in Moorhead.  Once the turkeys start to gather there en masse, SD Game and Fish personnel will fire off a cannon that will shoot out a huge net that will ensnare the turkeys so they can be humanely gathered and caged and transported to South Dakota. There they will be released into the wild to repopulate South Dakota’s wild turkey population.

They estimate there are at least 75 turkeys that can be caught and removed this way.  Good luck to them. I can imagine great success or hilarious failure. I am just glad they aren’t going to just shoot them. Getting Moorhead residents to stop feeding the remaining turkeys will be the real challenge, I fear.

Have you ever encountered a wild turkey?  What are your favorite birds to feed and watch? How would you go about relocating a flock of turkeys?

Rhapsody in Blue

Today is the anniversary of the 1924 premiere in New York City of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue by Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra. As a clarinet player, I always loved the opening clarinet slide, and was always so frustrated when I couldn’t replicate it.  I recently learned that Gershwin initially wrote the piece for two pianos, and it was orchestrated for Whiteman by Ferde Grofe, yes, he of the Grand Canon Suite.  Grofe was considered quite a jazz composer and arranger, which I also find surprising.

I love Gershwin’s music, especially his popular songs.  I wonder what would have happened if he hadn’t died so tragically young.

What is your favorite Gershwin music? What contemporaries of Gershwin do you like?

Rez Cars Explained

Last week was a very trying one for us, as Husband’s truck froze in the extreme cold up on the Indian reservation and wouldn’t start. It was -36  with -45 windchill Thursday  night.  He planned to come home Friday morning, but there was no way that truck would start in such cold.

Husband  works in the main town on the reservation, where Tribal headquarters and the biggest school and the  medical services are. There are two much larger towns, Minot and Williston, about 70 and 80 miles away respectively, which  are not on the reservation and offer all necessary services. Minot even has a  university.  There are also smaller,  non-reservation towns within 30-50 miles that also have a wide variety of services.

After unsuccessfully trying to get the truck started, and even putting in a new battery with the help of a friend who works in Tribal maintenance and who has a degree in car mechanics, Husband phoned the number for road side service affiliated with our car insurance.  The nice insurance person in Tennessee regretfully informed him that after phoning every tow service in the region, none would take the job.  No one wanted to drive to the reservation. There is no tow service in the reservation town.  There is no auto repair shop, either.

Our friend helped Husband get an electric magnetic heater, like a heating pad but really hot, to place under the hood.  They plugged it into an outside outlet where  Husband stays.  Husband got some nasty frostbite on his pointer fingers while getting it all set up. The heater sat on the engine block all day. I drove up to the reservation later in the afternoon on Friday. It was after I arrived that Husband and friend  discovered that the outlet on the outside of Husband’s place didn’t work, so the heater hadn’t heated up at all.  Once they switched it to another outlet it started working.

Since we weren’t sure that the heater would work and unfreeze the engine, and since it was evening, Husband and I drove the 90 miles back home through oil field traffic.   A few hours later our friend and his wife phoned to say the truck started. They drove it to their place and got up at intervals in the night to start it and their vehicles as well.  We drove back to the reservation on Saturday morning and retrieved the truck and drove home again, this time through snow.

I always wondered why the Native Americans  we know have so many vehicles in various states of disrepair.  Now I know. When you have no auto repair shop, you have to fix them yourself, and when you find one that works and is easy to fix, you keep driving it, no matter how junky it looks.  You also rely on friends and family to help with rides or loan you a vehicle that works. If you can’t fix your vehicles you leave them where they are since no one will come and tow them away.  We are eternally grateful to our maintenance friends, and offered to till their garden in the Spring with our big tiller.  They accepted the offer. It is all a part of helping each other out.

What have you learned about lately? What are some mysteries you would like solved?

Garden Dreams

It is so cold here this week, and there are so many disasters galore regarding my husband’s frozen-up pick up on the rez, that it has been a real relief to receive garden seeds in the mail.  We will start tomatoes and peppers in the next week or so.

What are your garden dreams? What are your hopes for the next year?

The Six-Tripper

You saw what happened to my studio a couple of weeks ago. I got advice from a construction buddy of mine about how to re-hang the shelves so they would be sturdy, to hopefully avoid ever having them fall down again.  As you can see from the above photo, everything is back in order, but it’s a good thing I like the folks at my local hardware store.  It was an epic number of times stopping by before I was done.

  • Trip #1: Bought the new shelf brackets and toggle screws
  • Trip #2: Bought the correct drill bit since I apparently didn’t have that size after all
  • Trip #3: Bought the little washers when it turned out the screws were a teeny bit too small for the holes in the brackets.
  • Trip #4: Bought longer screws when it turned out the first screws weren’t long enough to push the toggles all the way through the plaster and wood
  • Trip #5: Bought 3 more toggle screws to replace the ones that fell down behind the wall when I put the first bracket on upside down.
  • Trip #6: Bought the spackle to fill in the spots where the old shelves had been attached.

I’ve never had a 6-trips-to-the-hardware-store project before. I’ve had lots of 2-trippers and a few 3-trippers, but never more than that.  The worst part of this 6-trip debacle is that each and every step was a different day;  I was working on this at night and every time I realized I needed to go back to the hardware store, they were closed for the night!

If you’ve seen photos of my studio before, it probably doesn’t look any different to you but it feels different to me – all put back together as well as nice and clean now. And I doubt anything will bring those shelves down again – fingers crossed!

When have you had a frustrating project?

MMR

There was a small blurb  in our local paper yesterday about an outbreak of mumps in our city’s middle school. The city Facebook page has a number of antivac and provac responses to this crisis, as crisis it is, as there are several immune compromised students who cannot go to school because they are at risk for terrible infection.

I remember having Rubella, Mumps, Roseaola, and Chicken Pox. Husband had all those and Scarlet Fever as well.  Both our children had the Chicken Pox.  There are many individuals receiving Developmental Disability services in our region because they had mumps or measles or some other childhood illness in the 1950’s that resulted in intellectual disabilities.   Our grandson is now recovering from RSV, and I am thankful his parents are confirmed vaccinators.

What memories do you have about childhood illnesses?  How do you feel about vaccinations?

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