Local Homeowner Vanishes in Yard

A gang of unsupervised weeds made aggressive and dangerous by a three-day rain may be responsible for the sudden disappearance of a local man.

The man, whose name was withheld by police pending notification of his relatives, was last seen in the street in front of his overgrown property. He was headed toward the weeds with a pair of clippers.

“I don’t know what he thought he was going to do”, said a neighbor, Art Gardener. “You can’t deal with unruly mega-weeds on a unilateral basis. You need heavy artillery with plenty of back up. What did he have? Clippers?
Give me a break! They’ll eat you alive.”

People in the area say they have been complaining regularly about the out-of-control situation.

“Nothing official”, said Gardener. “Just the usual behind-the-back comments. Wondering how the lawn got so wild. I mean, we’ve all got green space here and we know it can get out of hand. This one was just so … outrageous. People were horrified and fascinated all at once. One guy said it was schadenfreude. But I think it was ordinary pigweed.”

Shortly after the man headed back into his “lawn”, Gardener and others in the area became alarmed when they saw bits of foliage flying into the air and heard sounds of a struggle. The man did not re-emerge. Police were called, but helicopter searches and sonar failed to find evidence of a body, living or dead.

Satellite imagery confirmed the existence of a house at the center of the thicket. Authorities assume the rest of the family is safely blockaded inside the structure, and authorities hope the man is with them.

“He got out of the house and all the way to the street at least once, so it’s possible that he made it back into the house.” said Sgt. Lisa Shears of the Metro P.D.. “We’ll know once we get back in there, possibly at daybreak depending on the weather. The plan is to drive right up to the front door with a tank we borrowed from the National Guard. We’ll map the path from the satellite photo and send in some rabbit-mounted cameras first to be sure he’s not lying there between the street and the stoop, and then we’ll go in with the heavy equipment and some Round-up and God knows what we’ll find.”

The family may have run out of food a few days ago, though experts say survival is possible.

“You can eat dandelions” said Gardener. “But if one of these big boys goes into puffball stage while it’s in your stomach, it’ll put you through some changes.”

Do you struggle against nature?

148 thoughts on “Local Homeowner Vanishes in Yard”

  1. This is weird because my nightmare last night was that I came home to a pristine stretch of sod behind my house. Apple tree, currants, peas, lettuce, raspberry bushes-gone!

    In the nightmare, the s&h informs me that a charitable group came during the day to “take care of” the yard.

    Really, if we don’t get a sunny weekend that some family member hasn’t booked up for us soon, I fear for our provisions.

    Do keep us posted, Dale.

    I sincerely hope they find the guy before outside forces intervene.

    Oh the Botany!

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  2. i try to work with Nature, but often i think She wonders what i was thinking. out here on the farm there is no neighbor pressure about weeds. no one sprays toxins (nearby anyway) on their lawns early in the morning and we don’t awake to that icky, sweet odor of lawn chemicals. nice.
    my struggles usually don’t have to do with weeds – – more critter related.
    sometimes Nature does some un-handy things. right now a Phoebe (so wish i could request that song, Dale) has a nest in the garage attached to the Girls’ pole barn. i like to close that garage door at night for more safety for the Girls, but then i worry that the phoebe won’t be able to get out when it wants to. so this morning, when i heard the first Phoebe calling (too darn early, even for a goat-farmer) i got up and went out to open the garage door. the Phoebe was waiting for me.

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  3. I’ve been trying for years to let nature do more of the heavy lifting. Slowly but surely over the years I am replacing lawn w/ shrubbery (ni, ni) and flowers. My eventual goal is to have only the backyard for the dogs and maybe a small strip in the front yard for the mail carrier to walk across.

    But I’m w/ Catherine… between the rain, the graduation open houses and the weddings, June is a rough month to squeeze in yardwork!

    (Bonus for the ni, ni reference….)

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      1. They are no longer the knights who say ni! They are now the knights who say ekki-ekki-ekki-pitang-zoom-boing!

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      2. True… but “ni” is so much easier to remember! Hi John from Maple Grove. It’s so good to know that there are other Python fans out there.

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  4. Good Morning to All,

    Parts of my lawn are close to defeating me with out of control weeds, but I do manage to hold off the weeds by mowing them. My nieghbors proably are not too happy with the dandelions that are scattered about because many of them spray their lawns to control them. I am a little worried when I see them spraying because I have seen some damage to my cultivated plants from their spray, but I haven’t seen that recently.

    Here, in Clarks Grove, you can get away with having some weeds as long as you mow. You won’t get away with not mowing because the city will mow lawns that get too tall and charge for doing it. In the vegetable garden I usually am able to keep the weeds from defeating me, but in the flower beds I have trouble because my flowers kind of look like weeds due to my tendency to let them spread in an uncontroled manner.

    Some day they might have to send a search party into the flower beds to find me if I don’t find a way to tame them.

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    1. jim, sounds perfect. i have the same problem with the flower gardens. i have tried a preen wanna be to keep the weeds from popping up after they have been pulled. it works pretty well.

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      1. Tim, I assume the preen wanna be is a herbicide which I wouldn’t use, but I don’t mind if others use some if they are careful. However, you never know if you can be careful enough with herbicides.

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      2. preen costs 20 bucks for a little jug. i bought a couple cans of concentrated garden weed preventer that is the same chemical for a fraction of the cost. i dilute it to a minimum potency and apply it more often as weed start to pop up again rather than going industrial strength and having a single application per year.

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  5. A city girl here so no struggles with nature. I just enjoy it. Walks by the Mississippi, the Farmers market, watching cars slipping through snowstorms from the warm skyway. Heaven for me after years of single parent suburban home ownership.

    (I always feel such a loss in the morning-I can’t get used to not hearing Dale. I wish it hadn’t happened.)

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      1. Haha, I read your previous post last night and replied, but I’ll repeat it here 🙂 He’s a Teddy Bear, which is a Shih Tzu/Bichon Frise mix. He’s almost 12 weeks old and will just make the 1 foot tall requirement, haha. Luckily, my landlady likes him, so even if he gets a bit taller, she won’t mind. Right now, he’s just a fuzzball.

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      2. Pippin will be 9 months old tomorrow. He’s a Teddy Bear too! (bichon/schi-tzu). He has dense, soft white hair with large black patches, black ears and mask and a white muzzle. He’s very playful, happy and loves to destroy squeaker toys. He likes to sit right on my feet. I’m glad to be his mom.

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  6. I think Mike Pengra is sending us a friendly message from Radio Heartland by playing Old Blevins, followed by Help Me Rhonda. Thanks for doing that, Mike.

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  7. schadenfreude
    dales word of the day. i remembered it form having to look it up once before, great word. its not the same as ordinary pigweed.
    i am in harmony with the yard. i allow it to do as it pleases and i just steer it in the direction i would like to see it choose. i have a spot where the only people who see it are invoted so i am not concerned about curb appeal. i have lots of space to work with and i have a lot of shade so i am big into hostas. when i bought the house 5 years ago there were hostas for trim work in the rock gardens along the garage and that was it for the garden. i have since spent many happy hours splitting collecting form others and hitting the plant sales in the spring an fall to get this show on the road. i have roses and raspberries in my sunny spot alongside the house but everywhere else is designated as “stick it in the ground and check back next year” gardening. the criteria is if i can’t kill it it can be here. my lawn mower gets used regularly my weed whacker almost never. the cup holder on the riding mower is poorly placed. i get grass clippings all over the drink of choice within minutes of contact. thats my major challenge in yard maintenance, where to set the beverage of choice. i guess we all needed the day off yesterday. clyde is off to branson without any filters. good trip clyde. sounds feel and smells be with you in a nurturing way

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  8. Unexpectedly, I am smiling after the 7 a.m. music on Radio Heartland – first the usual 7 o’clock rouser, then old Blevins and then Rhonda! Now if we could just have Dale back all would be right with the world.

    I never thought I would send a comment but just couldn’t resist.

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    1. i recognize the icon from an earlier listing. are you sure this is your first time?
      welcome regardless ceb. you lurkers are welcome as rain. cmon in

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  9. Curious as to why the Prairie Sun, Blevins and Rhonda tunes aren’t showing up in the Radio Heartland playlist….Mike, am I on the wrong website?

    I tend to garden and tend lawn the way of the aforementioned gardener lost in the weeds…but after a bout of Lyme disease last year, I am trying to be more mindful of mowing…and it’s time again, unless it rains again today.

    Happy Monday…I’m on vacation for a week, so it is indeed a happy Monday for me.

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    1. Cynthia,
      If I may, I think I can speak for Mike on this one.
      JASPER doesn’t “know” the songs “Prairie Sun”, “Blevins” and “Rhonda”.
      They aren’t part of the 24 hour rotation, so it appears Mike made a special effort to insert them. He can do that by circumventing certain procedures.
      He would have to go through another process to “teach” JASPER to report the names of the songs automatically. Clearly he went out of his way to give us a treat this morning. Thanks, Mike!

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      1. I have been suspecting that JASPER does not know much that is likely to make me laugh, although I did catch out of the corner of my ear the song about Mr. Jones sitting in his recliner and ending up with a lot of notes telling him not to forget to feed the cat.

        It gave me a bit of hope that he might someday get past this ennui he seems to suffer from-is he dating the computer over at the Current or listening to the news too much?

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  10. i am very impressed that mpr is allowing us all to go through the mourning process. us by checking back to hear the regular music without commentary and mike who is obviously lurking when he is not throwing his two cents in (just like old time huh mike? hey whats with those twins losing 2 out of 3 to the braves?!!!). putting the final blog day back up so we can access our sadness.

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  11. Greetings! I try not to struggle against nature too much — it’s usually too much work. Neither Jim nor I enjoy or even want to do yardwork, so it only gets done when absolutely necessary. Which means just before the yard turns into the neighborhood nuisance. We’re a houseful of computer nerds (not me so much), so going outside with the bugs and such is an unwelcome activity.

    I’m not much for gardening, either — but the Earth Boxes make it easy and simple. I’ve tried a little landscaping project, but if it takes more than an hour — forget it. And if I tried splitting hostas, I’d be terrified of killing them, as I generally am a brown thumb. I did move and replant the irises by the front flagpole, and after 2-3 years they’re finally flowering again. I’m just clueless on this stuff …

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      1. Whoever had the property before we bought it 12 yrs ago had planted flowers around — directly in grass. No “flower beds” or defined areas. So everything is creeping around and moving. In a fit of suburban mania a few summers ago, I bought the nice interlocking stones, some soil and actually dug up those irises and planted them in a regular flower bed. I asked at least 3 people how to do it before I even tried. I thought they were ruined, but they finally flowered again after a few years. Took a whole day or so — way too much. I’d rather spend my time in karate!

        I have some nice hostas in BACK by the house. I keep thinking I should move them to the front somewhere, but there’s more sun in front yard, so I’m not sure.

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      2. thats the beauty of hostas, they are ok in the sun and ok in the shade. when you dig them up dig up the hole plant, pop it out and have a big butcher knife to cut them up. i like to end up with a salad bowl sized plant with 4 – 7 stalks of plant and stick that in an area of choice. you can tell now how big they are and how much room to leave between plants. they fill in in two years. (they will look tough this year but thats part of the deal.) then in two years if you want you can cut each up into 4 again. it is a great multiplacation process. 4 turns into 200 in about 5 years( the first time you split them you should get 6-8 palnts each then 4 out of each of those every two years. or leave it alone and watch them get real thick.(wish money worked the same way)

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      3. Tim – if I work up the nerve to actually dig up my big hostas, but they die in the southern exposure in front yard, will you give me some of yours? Right now they are in permanent shade on north side right next to house. When we had house re-sided a couple years ago, the guys trampled them, but they’ve mostly recovered now

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  12. When I was a kid in the 1950s, I grew to hate lawn mowers and the lawn mowing mentality. You could say it was just laziness as I hated mowing our big lawn with the dull push mower we had, but I was convinced that fighting nature by clipping it and making it look neat was uptight and anti-natural. I associated crisp, evenly mowed lawns with the Marine buzz haircuts of the time and couldn’t wait until I had my own lawn to let it be wild and funky.

    Now my neighbor to the West thinks I have a heart condition that makes mowing hazardous for me. Jeff is afraid he will look out his window to see me dead, collapsed over my mower. This is not true, and I never meant to mislead him, but he decided he’d rather deal with my high grass than my corpse. He’s a robust, muscular guy who can mow both of our lawns in just a few minutes more than it takes to do his own.

    Have I talked to Jeff to correct his misunderstanding about my heart? Go back and re-read the first paragraph. I’ll repay his kindness with pecan pies or by taking care of his neurotic dogs when he’s traveling.

    Happy Monday, former Heartlanders! I have high expectations for this week. I hope you all do as well this week as I hope to.

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  13. Ahhhh! Eva Cassidy singing ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing’. This cloudy day just turned sunny for me.

    My strategy is ‘dig and spot spray’ for weeds. Dig up those dandelions, or crabgrass, or whatever, then spray some herbicide down the hole onto what’s left of the root. I wish I didn’t have to use even that much chemical, but I am all too aware that the condition of one’s lawn can have a large effect on the property’s value (if and when the time comes to sell).

    It’s been 10 years since we moved to this house. Had an empty lot south of ours for years until it got built, and mostly farmland or empty lots waiting to be built upon across the county road, so got a lot of blow in weeds. The first few years were a never ending struggle against native vegetation.That has mitigated in the last 5 or so years, and I’m actually making headway.

    All my neighbors use a lawn care company, so my lawn is the lightest shade of green known to man compared to their lawns. But it’s presentable. I don’t water either (okay maybe once a year!), and have not had the problems some of my neighbors have had with disease, fungus, etc. I also hate mowing, and keep my lawn much longer than the others. I mulch my clippings into the soil, and have used fertilizer once in 10 years, I think.

    MY ideal summer would be only needing to mow the grass once per month. I got close last year, maybe had to mow 12 times in 7 months. Spring is always tough. Weather like this, once a week is almost a necessity. But in hot dry Julys & Augusts, I get pretty close to that once per month ratio.

    Lawns are like people–well, children, to be precise. You can love them to death, spoil them rotten, but when you’re gone, they’re incapable of taking care of themselves and collapse at the first sign of hardship. I guess that puts me in the ‘tough love’ camp of lawn care and dealing with Mother Nature. You can’t fight her, but you can respect her and learn to live by her rules.

    Chris in Owatonna

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  14. Good Morning Babooners:

    I slept in this morning — a rare event — so I missed Mike Pengra’s subtle humor. I’ll listen later on today when it repeats so that I know it is Monday and that I am awake.

    I am descended from generations of pioneer farmers who fought nature as a way of life–I haven’t broken the pattern much. My suburban yard is full of flowers that are regularly swallowed by weed. I don’t care much for the grass–leave that to my husband who does care about it. It has surprized me that I’ve turned into Farmer McGregor, though, hunting down all the baby Peter Rabbits who want to dine on my carefully planted, organically grown beets, lettuce and radishes. Bumper crop of bunnies this year. BAH

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    1. We have bunnies, too – lots of them. I’m all for letting them nibble on the clover in the yard, but Husband likes to chase them off as he is afraid that the clover is only a gateway plant and they will move on to the hostas and other things…

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      1. We have a striped crusader named Finnian-an orange, declawed, polydachtyl feline, who lives across the street and polices the area, filling up his yard with the remains of bunnies and moles (even without claws!), thereby making our world safe for tender vegitation.

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      2. I also have bunny patrol in my backyard – my two dogs. The bunnies seem to know that the yard belongs to the dogs as I rarely see bunnies in our yard, but see plenty of them in our neighbors north and south. And busy traffic on our street tends to keep the front yard plants spared!

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      3. We have a large (24 lb) rat terrier who loves to chase and catch the bunnies. A few years ago my twenty-something son found her, post – bunny meal, covered with blood and GORGED. He had to carry her home because she was too gorged to even walk. 4 weeks later, tape worm (the egg lays in the intenstine of the flea on the bunny fur. I did not want to know that) DISGUSTING part of nature. So I don’t let her eat the bunnies any more. We put up a fence around the veggies. Fewer vet bills that way.

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  15. We are out in the countryside in Zim – no association dues or expectations here. I did grow roses and other flowers for a number of years. (I recall the spring when I came into the house crying; dear husband says “What’s wrong?” I say “Honor is dead!” He says “We all know that!” I say, “NO, my all white, long stemmed, beautiful tea rose didn’t make it through the winter – that Honor is dead!” “Oh,” says DH.)
    The physical labor associated with keeping a garden ended up taking a toll, so I had to switch to low maintenance shrubs and a few potted and hanging plants. The grasslands fall under the jurisdiction of the Lawn Ranger and his mighty steed, ‘Simplicity’. They are ever vigilant, making predictable rounds on the 2.5 acre piece of land under their protection. Peace reigns.
    Off topic: Dale – I am also in withdrawal from the lack of hearing our voice. Does MPR have legal stipulations restricting your air time on competing radio stations? I see that another personality who is associated with public television, Red Green, has struck out on his own recently. I follow him on Twitter and found it fascinating to watch this process: Red connected with a broad fan base very quickly through Twitter (a perfect venue for one-liners) and then began setting up a tour to various cities by asking for help from his tweeple. Red is now going to several cities big and small with a one man show. Definitely a grass roots venture. Does that inspire you? My ears wait patently.

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    1. I, too, keep waiting to hear Dale pop up on the radio this morning while listening to RH. After a couple songs go by, I’ll stop what I’m doing and come into living room where my computer is to wait and hear Dale’s next comment or song introduction. Then I remember …

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    2. Teri-we have Honor in our yard! It’s a great rose and we have had to transplant it several times due to construction projects and it always comes back. I wish I could give you some roots.

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  16. Morning everyone–
    Kids are out of school here so I wasn’t up at 7:00 and now I’m sorry to have missed that list of songs…
    Way to go Mike!
    I have to chuckle at all the comments; I see myself in a lot of them. I plant a small garden every year; sweet corn, maybe radishes, sometimes peas or beans, Kohlrabi, pumpkins or cucumbers… and then they’re on their own– see you in 75 to 80 days. I get some radishes, last year I got one ear of corn and it was very very good.
    I’m a busy person… gimme a break with the weeding. 🙂
    A lot of lawn out here on the farm; when I got my ‘real’ job (I mean besides farming) I had a list of three things I was going to buy including a new lawn mower. So that’s nice… except yeah; it needs to stop raining long enough to use it… our lawn is like the garden; here you go, see you later…. biggest critics are the chickens and ducks pecking through it.
    Have great days everyone!

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  17. We only struggle with the nature we have brought into our yard ourselves. We are digging up half of our front yard this fall for a vegetable garden. Why mow? We have a shameful excess of flowers and shrubs including peonies, roses, grape and hop vines for shading the deck, asparagus, strawberries, and raspberries, irises, dahlias, hydrangeas, lilies, numerous other perennials, ferns and shade plants, various vegetables, and I’m trying to figure out where I can plant 100 tulip bulbs this fall. Our yard isn’t very big, but it sure keeps us busy. I bought an electric hedge trimmer yesterday, and that helped a lot. Our neighbors don’t like to weed, so they have lots of lawn (which they water and fertilize too much, I think) with few flower beds and no vegetables, so our yard looks like a flower shop in the desert.

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  18. Two weeks ago, a large part of a tree in our side yard came down. Part of it was on our roof, part was tangled in the surrounding trees. We decided to tackle it yesterday. Armed with a new, sharp, 16″ handsaw, I started into cutting off branches while balancing on my extension ladder. Two hours of hacking, grunting, and swearing later, we threw the last of it in the dead wood pile. Remarkably, I only hacked my hand once (this would be why a power saw was not my first option). Oh yes, I struggle against nature…my own as well as the environmental kind…

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  19. I forgot to mention that my husband went through the master gardener program through the NDSU extension, so I have a great resource for the yard and garden right across the dinner table. He’s the vegetable gardener in the family.

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  20. I’m in the Mac-Groveland neighborhood of Saint Paul, and my particular block is fanatical about lawn care. The commercial lawn operations used to do a good business here. Happily, most folks have had second thoughts about lawn care that results in lots of little flags telling you that kids and pets shouldn’t walk on the chemicals they just sprayed.

    My neighbors are interesting. The guy to the east is the nicest man in Saint Paul, but he is lawn-obsessed. He says he is a Catholic but I think his real church is Our Lady of Ascending Property Values, the branch of it devoted to that part of the Bible where God tells the Israelites that “cleanliness is next to holiness, and both fall below the virtues of a perfect lawn.”

    Happily for me, the guy to the west of me has never figured out his lawn. His dogs and children beat the “lawn” flat until no grass grows at all in the back. It is–gasp!–bare soil back there. His front lawn is kept mowed, but it is also a sort of experimental plot for new exotic strains of dandelions. I fall to my knees and pray with gratitude, for his is the one lawn in this whole region of town that could make mine look good by comparison.

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  21. Renee, does Dickinson qualify as a desert by the geographers definition as does Bowman County?
    I always thought the country in Bowman and Slope Counties would make good landscape paintings, even though they do not photograph very well. So I finally got around to it; painted a picture of the landscape along Hwy 85 right at the border of Bowman and Slope Counties. I pushed the colors and adjusted the elevation of parts of the scene, especially a butte. Came out well, that is, well for me.

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  22. hi, all, it’s kay impersonating donna again today….
    i’m enjoying the stark contrast between utah and south dakota this weekend/week….came from 100-degree harsh sunny days to this moist, gray weekend…out in utah, many residents deal with their yards by razing them down to the red dirt and then leaving it that way…yep, just dirt. never did get used to the aesthetic of that. apparently they don’t like the way natural vegetation encourages rodents, when then encourage snakes…but oh, what a dusty mess those dirt yards make in the house when you open the windows for a breeze…lawn there, of course, is silly, given how much one has to water to make it grow in an unnatural place.

    when i have a new house, i plan to re-hosta the yard, as i did in my old place. LOVE all the varieties, and how EASY it is to just chop them in half or quarters and replant. they are like sturdy pioneers.

    see you tomorrow, barb and goats and kids!!!

    kay in limbo

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    1. Kay I left my cell phone at home today and can’t call you back as the number is on it. Can you call me at 612.874.3737 at work? Thanks!

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    2. welcome back kay, hosta soulmate.
      i had never thought about the fact that the wyomingites have to chop down stuff to achieve dirt. i suppose sagebrush does leave something to be desired but i think it is a cultural choice as much as a practical one.
      i’ll donate some cuttings to get you started when the time comes

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  23. Steve, Erma Bombeck has a column about a father who is trying to grow the perfect lawn but his kids keep doing things to it which kills the grass: jungle gyms, camp outs, games, basketball hoop. He complains to his wife that all he asks for is a decent lawn and he can’t have it. Every time the father complains about the killed grass, the wife says “Don’t worry; it will come back.” The kids grown up and leave home. The father stands looking lonesome in the middle of his beautiful lawn; his wife says “Don’t worry; they will come back.”

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      1. someone told me a couple years ago that when someone dies its like they go on a bookshelf and they wait for someone to read your story. some people never have anyone think of them and their book stays there forever. some are remembered all the time and they are the “to kill a mockingbirds” and the jfk’s that get referenced often vs the normal folks like you and me that may have our kids think of us for a year then once every three or for years on your birthday or fathers day. erma is one who i don’t think of often but when i do i can see the beehive the big teeth and the laugh during her presentation.. i sure enjoyed her .

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  24. Wow, everyone is posting reams today! Will have to read more later, but to answer:
    I now call our back yard a meadow instead of a yard. Husband intentionally mows AROUND the daisies and hawkweek while they’re in bloom. And he’s gradually turning the front yard into paths of grass between flower and berry and veggie plots. Last count I have 13 flower beds, but some of them are WILDflower beds. 🙂

    Good luck to Gardener, and all of us!

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  25. Years ago there was a guy in my home town who was trying to get a newly sodded lawn going, and was rather disturbed to find that the neighbor kids were lifting the sod up at night to find night crawlers. Clyde, I know were considered semi-arid. I wish I could see your painting. It is beautiful here, but you are right, it doesn’t photograph well. I also forgot to say that I planted a shade plant this spring called Goat’s Beard. It’s really pretty, lacy leaves with white flowers.

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  26. From “Duck Soup”
    Rufus T. Firefly: “Maybe you can suggest something. As a matter of fact, you do suggest something. To me you suggest a baboon.”
    Ambassador Trentino: What?
    Rufus T. Firefly: “I, uh, I’m sorry I said that; it isn’t fair to the rest of the baboons.”

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  27. Nature is in charge; I think our best choice is to go with it…

    I have almost an acre, in a rural town, on a steep, shady slope. I don’t use herbicides or pesticides. I have three mature black walnut trees. They produce a toxin called juglone which kills many plants that grow under or near them. I’m stubborn enough to try tomatoes every year and every year they fail to thrive. The thin grass underneath the largest and oldest walnut tree finally died and some woodland sedges came in, so I left them. They’re spreading. They don’t need mowing until after they’ve bloomed (now). I tried to establish a native plant restoration near the bottom of the slope, but my neighbor loves lawn and despises trees and flowering plants. I caught his lawn care company hosing down part of my restoration with herbicide and I had to run them off. Needless the say, the restoration failed in large part and I haven’t replanted. Creeping Charlie reigns down there, but a few hearty coneflowers, spiderwort, bergamot and butterfly weeds survived the nuking and I just mow around them from time to time.

    It’s hard to push a mower on a slope at any age, but I have to say it gives me strength and endurance training. It also builds character. To minimize mowing, I’ve been adding more and more native shrubs. Dogwoods are easy to get going. Red osier dogwood is a nice red contrast in winter and spring. Pagoda dogwoods have a very graceful form, especially if they’re not pruned. High-bush cranberries have the loveliest fall color which lasts into winter.

    I’ve turned to container gardening on the deck for vegetables and herbs instead of fighting with the hill and the walnut trees. I get a good basil crop this way and plenty of peppers. I’d like more tomatoes, potatoes, corn and beans but they don’t do very well in my garden. I support local agriculture and go to the Farmers Market for produce during the growing season.

    Had a 7 a.m. staff meeting (every Monday a.m. in the summer months) and missed the Prairie Sun, Blevins and Rhonda… what a nice show of support from Mike!

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    1. Krista – nice to hear about how your garden grows. I’ll say it again — Earth Boxes are the way to go for gardening, especially if you have crappy soil. They’re way better than ordinary container gardening. Earth Boxes are very simple — as they say, “set it and forget it.” Plus, they’re extremely productive even though they need need less water than in ground gardens, and you can grow just about anything — even corn. Check it out at http://www.earthbox.com

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      1. Thanks! I’ve considered Earthboxes before and I’m considering them again. I didn’t realize they use less water or that they could grow corn.

        I have a 55-gallon rain barrel. It fills up quickly, but I can go through 55 gallons of water very fast when it’s dry. Trouble is, it only works with gravity. The garden is well downhill, so I use the rain barrel for that. I use dehumidifier water for the container plants on the deck, which is too high for water from the rain barrel. I just have to lug water all the way up there – oh well! More character!

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    2. I have to know, do you harvest the black walnuts? Sure, they are a pain and mess to shell, but they taste like nothing else I know of. Our neighborhood source was cut down years ago, but the squirrels must have a source because every year brings a fresh crop of seedlings.

      Sadly, too much shrubbery too close together on my “estate” (it’s a 40′ lot, but it’s ours, so it is the estate) or I would let one of them grow (although the squirrels seem to always plant near the foundations-makes me wonder if they are trying to get rid of US.

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      1. I’ve considered harvesting the walnuts and shelling them but I’m usually too busy at the time of year when they drop (August). They are a huge pain. I know the shelled nuts are quite good though, and with a lot of work and the right tools they could be sold to food co-ops and farmers markets. I have some friends who come and pick them up from my yard in two pick-up truckloads. They’ve sold them to the DNR in the past but I don’t know if the Forestry program has money for buying them anymore.

        If I had a choice, I would not plant walnut trees in my yard. They’re great in a rural woodlot but they’ll kill many plants in your yard. They’re also responsible for allergic symptoms when they’re pollinating (right now).

        Squirrels are really industrious, aren’t they? I find little walnut trees everywhere in my yard. If you dig them up, you can get the nut, root and baby tree all in one! I’ve potted these babies and sold them for $1 each at a garage sale. I’ve done the same with pagoda dogwood seedlings. They’re super easy to transplant and will grow really fast.

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    3. Krista – the Earthbox has a large reservoir at bottom with a tube to the top for easy watering. The top of Earthbox is covered with a sort of shower cap so there’s no weeding and it keeps water from evaporating. You just cut X’s in the shower cap for your plants to grow and thrive through! Be sure to buy the stake system with it — 4-8 ft tall, heavily loaded tomato plants are the norm for me. The auto-watering system is expensive but might be worth it if you don’t want to lug water up to your deck!

      I know I sound like an Earthbox commercial — but these things are pure genius for gardeners and non-gardeners like me.

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      1. If you cut Xs in your cap, do you have to buy a replacement cap next year? Will the same Xs work? It sounds really good. You should do a product endorsement!

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      2. You could use the shower cap cover again if you wanted — only a couple times, though. They get ripped up easily. But they’re cheap enough to replace, especially if you buy a bunch at once. I think you get 2 covers with each Earthbox to start. And be sure to use potting MIX, not potting soil. My big mistake, but everything still grows well, and I didn’t feel like replacing everything.

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      3. You cut the X’s according to what you’re planting. Two tomato plants in a box, or 6 peppers, or 8 pea/beans, etc. So if you’re careful and plant the same type of thing next year, you could use covers again. There’s complete instructions and diagrams with the kit or on web site. There’s also a forum on web site with experts to help you with anything or answer questions. They’re all Earthbox fanatics!

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      1. If you want a picture of me with my Earth Box, go back to Trial Balloon on June 1, I think. I’ll send in another picture when they’re big and dripping with heirloom tomatoes.

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  28. We bought our house during the winter and it appeared then that the back yard was a lovely landscaped oasis. Then spring came and we discovered that while this may have been the case at some point in recent history, it had become grown over and was mostly weeds, grapevine (which grows like kudzu if you let it), and white violets. We have been trying to beat that back ever since. Current theory: put in enough “kid equipment” (built a 30′ long swing set/monkey bars/slide thing for one side of the yard, added a trampoline this year, small swimming pools come in and out…) that it kills everything green off…

    Front yard is slightly more presentable, but currently includes a stump of our former maple tree that succumbed to some sort of rot. That will come out as the rain garden gets constructed in its place…(which will also cut down our postage-sized bit of front mowing to even less).

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  29. We have a very small back and side yard fenced with 6′ wooden fences and decided years ago on a no-grass solution along with 2 small decks and a brick patio. The ground covers and lilies and such I’ve planted are now in a battle of the survival of the fittest. Everything is on it’s own except for the occasional thistle. Low maintenance for me and a private jungle for Petunia the calico small game hunter.

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  30. Just to let everyone know that I will be gone Wednesday to Sunday and not sure how much I will be on here today and tomorrow.

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    1. Thanks for letting us know, Clyde.
      I too will be intermittent at end of week — family reunion in Sioux City IA.

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  31. Mark my words, it was neither schadenfreude nor ordinary pigweed, but an overgrown schwanzstucker that was the yardman’s undoing.

    Super bonus points for recognizing the reference AND this poster’s identity.

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    1. Inga (played by Teri Garr) in Young Frankenstein. During discussion at the dinner table of the size of the monster’s various body parts! Too many regular players to try to guess who……

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      1. A classic! Can rattle off lines from that like Monty Python & Holy Grail. Just ordered Mel Brooks’ High Anxiety for a friend’s birthday.

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      2. Bonus points Sherrilee!
        Super bonus points reward — if ANYONE out there has a hunch or remotely cares or doesn’t give a monkey’s behind about who this mystery poster (from out of town) is, she will treat all babooners who can make it to Liberty Custard tonight at 8:30. Seriously! Today’s Flavors of the Day are Coconut and Death by Chocolate.

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      3. Close enough Joanne! See you all later at Liberty, where the blogger’s identity will be revealed to you. If it’s Donna, the custard offer will stand. If it’s Kay, you’ll be lucky if she coughs up enough for the sprinkles.

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      4. As much as I would love to get more Liberty Custard, I can’t make it, Donna. That’s a long drive and I have a date almost every night with karate class (my instructor is young and cute at least!).

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      1. OK, what do you get when you pour hot water down a rabbit hole? (0h-oh, did I already post this?)

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  32. oh man – you folks are great. so much fun reading.
    a couple days ago when we were discussing Blevins and little Rhonda, some of you were thinking Blevins would not be a good Father. just now, seeing him with Rhonda on his back i’m thinking he’s doing great. and a couple days ago i lost our internet d/t the weather, but i wanted to say that Blevins sings a new song now.
    Rhonda helped me! Rhon-Rhonda helped me!
    they will be fine.
    Sherrilee, how do you train your memory? it’s amazing. many of you have such minds for details.
    good rest of the day.

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  33. Barb — I agree. I think Blevins will be a great dad. He seems to have a lot of good role models in our crowd.

    I don’t train my memory, but I do think about Albert Einstein alot. He apparently didn’t know his own phone number because, as he said, why clutter up his mind w/ something he could just look up? So, think of me as Albert Einstein’s opposite… lots and lots of clutter upstairs!

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  34. True story: I live in a small rural “development” with no rules, which means that I can let our yard do whatever the heck it wants to do. Our neighbors up the hill have acres (literally) of manicured lawn, cared for by an army of Lawn Care Professionals. One day, one of them stopped and asked if he could come and wander around in our yard, because he liked it so well…. Would that our neighbors shared his taste…. I’m pretty sure they think that we actually ARE hiding bodies amidst the bergamot and purple coneflower….

    RH Irony: I am in Maine, where I have internet and thus can hear RH with ease, as opposed to the situation I face in Minnesota, where I have no internet at home, and where my HD radio consents to pick up 91.1 about one day in four… Furthermore, the good stuff happens an hour later, which should mean that I am even more able to hear it. So, explain why I missed the whole dang string of songs this morning? Thanks anyway, Mikey (and congrats belatedly to your son).

    And now, can one of you tell me the name of the folks who sang the song about the woman who disguised herself as a man and went to see “for the love of her Willy-oh?”

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      1. Lisa There are several such songs, and the maiden might have different names or might not even be named. I’ve seen “Nancy” and “Caroline.”

        Check out a web site called Mudcat Cafe for discussions about this. There is a fairly modern song written by Steve Sellors that has the line you quote. Willy, when he has a last name, is often Willy Taylor, and a silly Willy he turns out to be. The cross-dressing warrior maiden spies him walking with another woman, so she blazes away at them with pistols.

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    1. Hey, Lisa, what are you doing in Maine? I lived there for a couple of years on Oars Island, are you near the ocean?

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  35. Am I the only one here who is surprised to find Trail Baboon so lusty and active? Without the music to give a center to things, the blog community itself seems to have found a new home. It doesn’t hurt, I guess, that Mike Pengra has managed to channel so much of Dale’s spirit as he selects music.

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    1. I think maybe the music drew us together to start — but we discovered along the way that we have more in common than just the music. And, of course, now our shared grief has drawn us a little closer!

      Like

    2. I was always reluctant to participate on the Trial Balloon, because I had been getting ready to sponsor in the name of my business and did not want to be “unprofessional” on a blog. Now, I’m free to be me because there is no money involved and I am a private citizen on this blog. However, I followed the TB a lot as I did the Morning Show all the way back to GK. I certainly am enjoying this participation a lot.

      My new dilemma: THE STATE FAIR. I’ve gone to the State Fair show since it began and it is/was a tradition. WhadamIgonnado about that? I’ll be lost.

      Can we all meet somewhere on the fairgrounds at 6:00am and sing or something?

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      1. we can meet at the biergarten at noon. dale has no professional handcuffs any more. lets get ann reed to bring a guitar and sit under a tree at noon on the first saturday

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  36. Dear Barbara in R – I also won’t let my husband mow the wild daisies and pinks that are growing in our backyard. He does mow a path but defers to my request to leave the prairie. There is no lawn that can come close to a three year old granddaughter gathering bouquets of daisies for mommy or grandma. Of course, when taking her to others homes you do have to keep an eye on the manicured flower beds. Three year olds don’t distinquish well between wild daisies and the flower bed variety.

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    1. I’m laughing, Laurie. Yep, I like it too, and besides the daisies there’s the clover and the violets and the plantain… He mows it all down later on, after blooming, and then from afar it looks like a lawn.

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  37. Boy, I learned a lot here today! So many resourceful gardeners.

    Krista – my grandpa used to get rid of the outer husk on his walnuts by laying ’em out on the driveway and garage floor and drive over them, back and forth… Then he had a special walnut sheller that looked like a mini apple press… I’ll never forget how they tasted.

    Wish I could get to Liberty Custard, for the Death by Chocolate if nothing else. Will see…

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    1. OK, Krista, I can sleep knowing those walnuts are going someplace where they might be appreciated.

      I would never plant one of those in a yard either-my dad had them (already there when they bought the place) and each year, the garden got a bit smaller as the walnut trees grew.

      Given the mystery poster’s take on the respective generosity of the possible candidates, I think it must be Donna-wish we could come too, but too far from St Paul on “school” night.

      Like

    2. I tried the walnut thing on the gravel driveway. I had the most difficulty actually hitting the walnuts. They kept shooting out from under the tires.

      Wasted a lot of gas that way.

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    3. They’d make the driveway black! A great and simple natural dye can be made from black walnuts and water. Just mix them together and strain off the husks. The water will be black. If you have ever made a basket you can use this to dye it. It’s natural and effective. It WILL stain you too. I don’t think proportions even matter.

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  38. Barbara in R – She loves clover. And dandelions. And the other one I hesitate to mention is the Creeping Charlie (I think it is pretty and smells good). I tired to insert a picture of her in the daisy patch but alas it didin’t work. Why do we lose that sense of wonder and beauty in the “wildflowers” that grow in our yards?

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  39. Laurie, I’m glad you brought up my constant yard companion, Mr. Creeping Charlie (sounds like a neighborhood offender, which I guess some would consider him to be). I mowed about the same time as Dale I think, on a buggy Sunday evening. I have a manual push mower (new) that I really like. And though I know Charlie is invasive, it smells really good when it’s cut. Every summer I say I’m going to turn more of my weedy yard into garden. After reading all of your good advice I’m determined to do it this summer.

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  40. Sherrilee and others considering Liberty,
    Goat pin is a good idea — I don’t have mine with. I’ll be wearing navy MN Twins t-shirt and front zip gray hooded sweatshirt. Is 8:30 too late?

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    1. Donna, how was graduation at my almost alma mater, “The City Gray”? And where do they hold it now?

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      1. Hi Clyde,

        The law school graduation was at Rockefeller Chapel. It was a beautiful setting and thrilling to attend. My son was one of two students to win a particular scholar award for having a reputation for integrity. SEE why I want to treat people to custard tonight??

        Hope you’re having a nice time this week.

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      2. Congratulations indeed. Tough law school to get into, and a beautiful building, or was 45 years ago, assuming they haven’t torn it down and built a new one. Much of the campus has not changed. Only big change is tearing down the fb field and building a library. Got to love a school that does that, even though I played football there. Undergrad graduation used to be on the fb field, a place with a fame of its own of course. The neighborhood has not changed much. Rockefeller is one of my very favorite churches, despite its name and its size, which belies the term chapel.

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  41. Renee-click on my name and then open the post Slope County, ND and tell me if you see the picture, if you would. Still trying to figure this out.

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    1. Clyde, the painting is beautiful-The butte is wonderful- the whole composition reminds me of the Killdeer Mountains and the Medicine Hole- have you ever been to the Dvirnak’s place by the Killdeer Mountain Battle field? They have been wonderful caretakers of a fragile site. It’s an official Civil War battle in ND. They have walnut and oak trees there when they don’t really grow anywhere else. It’s an oasis. Thank you so much!

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      1. This is just south of the highest point in ND. BTW, did you see the CBS Sunday Morning feature about the loss of agriculture in Slope County (chosen because it has about the least populated county in US). The feature opened and closed with my daughter doing a church service in Amidon.
        Have not been to Killdeer; wanted to go but too far out of the way. My favorite battle site out there is Slim Buttes, about 120 miles south of Bowman. It was a minor battle after Little Bighorn. Bet they feel similar.

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      1. Oh, and thank you all for the compliments.
        Distracted. On top of everything else, my wife’s sister in in critical condition. We are still going to Branson. Very loooooooooooooooooooooong story.

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  42. Thanks, Steve. It is the distinctive landscape near Renee, well near by ND standards, 80 miles away. As Renee and I agreed earlier today, hard to photograph it and capture its beauty. It needs filtering to get the colors right and the right lens to not flatten out the elevations over distance.
    But I do not understand modern medicine. Was reading some stuff for a medical procedure I am having next week. I must be dumb:
    1. The procedure, the literature makes very clear, has nothing to do with the condition for which I am being examined.
    2. It is very important, highlighted twice in yellow, that I not eat or drink after midnight. But it is very important, printed twice in bold, that I have a good soft food breakfast.
    3. I am not to bring any valuables, such as a purse or wallet, but I am to bring my driver’s license.
    4. I am not to take any sleeping medication but I must be sure to get a good night’s sleep. (Well, that one I will give them.)

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    1. The Battle of the Killdeer Mountains was a pretty sorry incident in the treatment of the US Military of American Indians, and very closely related to the “Great Sioux Uprising” in Minnesota. I believe it was General Sully who chased the Sioux remnants of the uprising from Minnesota to North Dakota and pretty well decimated them near Killdeer, ND. The Dvirnak family homesteaded the land that the battle had been fought on and preserved both Indian and Army artifacts while tending lovingly to the land itself. Its a beautiful and wild place.

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      1. my people are like the japanese in thsat instead of holding resentment toward their conquerers they figured they must have an answer. my great grandfather was a chippewa from the aiken reservation in 1880’s he went off to carlisle indian school and tried to prove to the white men that indians are worthy of an opportunity to prove they are worth something. he achieved all he set out for in his quiet way and helped the red lake folk as much as anyone could in the 60’s and 70’s

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  43. tim–the current native college is in Lawrence, KS, right by where our southern office used to be. Cool group of students there.

    Like

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