Category Archives: News

Remembrance

I came of age in the sixties, when it was all the rage to be un-patriotic. It felt like blinders had come off for the first time; we didn’t want to accept the perfect glowing images we had grown up with but were seeing America in all its stark reality.  This got ugly fast, of course.  Vietnam vets got the brutal end of this, as if risking life and limb wasn’t enough, but you had to put up with immature folks back home ridiculing you for your service.

Then the pendulum swung back after 911. In shoring up our solidarity we reverted back to flags and flag decals everywhere, freedom fries in the congressional cafeteria and presidents decried if they didn’t have their flag pin in their lapel every time they stepped out.

I feel smack in the middle of this spectrum. Having traveled quite a bit, I feel quite strongly that there are few places where I would prefer to live.  Religious struggles, authoritarian regimes, overly controlling policies (think.. it’s a crime to spit out your gum), racism/sexism practically built into the system – all of these things make me think I’ll just stay here, thank you very much.  On the other side of this fence is my feeling of disquiet about our current political crisis; it’s embarrassing when I travel.  (Except when I go to London, as their problems are pretty overwhelming right now as well so they’re not as quick to judge.)

But in general, I’m glad to be an American and will fly my big flag this weekend and stick my little flags out in the front garden. No picnics or parades, but a quiet weekend of gardening and weeding and thinking of those who have fallen for me.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Crunching the Numbers

Two years ago this month we hit 5,000 followers on the Trail. So I thought I do some stat updates:

Followers: 7,892
Total # of views: 858,848
Total # of comments: 146,681
Most active recent day: March 22, 2019 (That Ole Devil Moon – VS)
Most active day and time: Tuesday, 8 a.m.
Most viewed post:   R.I.P. Tom Keith – November 1, 2011
Most commented posts:
Chores & the Great Depression (182) – Jacque’s
Finding the Back Roads (180) – BiR’s
Banished Words (180) – also BiR’s
Top recent commenters: PJ, BiR, tim, Renee, VS, Linda, Steve
Today we have folks viewing from: US, India, Netherlands, UK, UAE, Canada, Kenya, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

Nothing earthshaking, I just thought this was all very interesting.

Anybody have a question to go with our stats?

Big Fish

The fish in the header photo was caught in the Missouri River in ND  about a month ago. It set the record for walleye in ND, weighing in at 16 lbs and some oz.  Its title for biggest walleye was revoked last week when the  Game and Fish department discerned, somehow, that the fish had not been hooked but had been caught by the gills with the fish line, sort of like being lassoed.  The fisherman was understandably disappointed, and insists that he hooked it by the lip. Game and Fish is standing firm, though.  What a let down.

What have been some big let downs for you?  What would you like to go fishing for?

Weeds Can Help Control Climate Change?

Photo credit: Bru-nO

As someone with a garden, I’ve railed in the past again weeds, especially Creeping Charlie. So when I saw the above headline on the BBC last week, I got a little excited.

The story turned out to be about a farmer in Australia who has been advocating “natural sequence farming” which at its core seems to be allowing nature do more of what nature does when we don’t interfere. It’s about a system to hang onto water and also about letting weeds be in some places so they can soak up carbon dioxide.  I’m seriously simplifying this.

It doesn’t look like “natural sequence farming” will work at my house which means unfortunately I don’t think I can use climate change as a reason to let weeds take over my garden. Rats.

What do you have too much of that you wish could help combat evil?

If You’re Going to Blow it, Blow it BIG!

Photo Credit: Reserve Bank of Australia

As part of my job, I send out communications to travelers all the time. Most of our communications are proofed by four or five people, more if the client actually reads the copy.  Every now and then we find a typo after something has gone to print and we tend to say the same thing “How can so many people look at something and not see the error?”

Well now the Reserve Bank of Australia is asking this same thing. Their new £50 note with Edith Cohen (first woman member of the Australian parliament) has a typo.  In teeny tiny letters, as part of the background, the note says repeatedly “It is a great responsibilty to be the only woman here and I want to emphasize the necessity which exists for other women being here.”  Missing an “I” in the word responsibility.  46 MILLION of these notes are now in use around the country.  Wow – when I mess up, it usually only has an impact on 100 folks or so.

Australia says they won’t recall the notes but will correct the mistake when they print the next batch of £50 notes. This makes me wonder if folks will hang onto the notes as a curiosity that won’t be repeated, like that rare Beanie Baby or Geordi Laforge action figure without a visor.

Do you collect anything?

If I Be Waspish, Beware My Sting

Now that it’s about time to start big works in the garden and yard, it’s time to start worrying about bees, wasps and mosquitos.

Just this morning I read that according to a new study that just came out, they’ve determined that wasps can use a form of logical reasoning to figure out unknown relationships from known relationships. What this means is that wasps can determine that if X is greater than Y, and Y is greater than Z, X is greater than Z. For most of history we have thought this was something unique to humans. In just the past 30 years, scientists have discovered that some vertebrate animals (monkeys, birds, fish) can reason like this, but wasps are the first invertebrate that shows this ability.

This news means I am really hoping not to have to spray any wasp nests this summer.

How do you co-exist with all the little critters?

Cruel April

I just read the NOAA weather map for later this week. Oh my! Minnesota Baboons may get a lot of snow! Son and DIL could get 20 inches in Brookings.

It has warmed up sufficiently here that people are jumping into yard work, cleaning flower beds and mowing lawns (which they oughtn’t do yet as it is too early).  Husband and I are waiting to do any yard work until we return from a trip next Sunday.  We first plan to prepare the garden for pea, lettuce, and spinach seeds, which we will plant later in April.  Husband tilled last fall, so we won’t need to do that now. The tomato and pepper seedlings are coming along under the grow lights, Tulips are up and crocuses are blooming.  We have pruning and flower bed cleaning to do, too.

I always find April a chancy month to garden. One April many years ago I was awaiting the first blooming of some tulips I had planted in the fall, when, on April 28, we got 18 inches of heavy wet snow. The tulips had flower buds just ready to open, and there they were, frozen solid just above the snow line. I had to wait another year to see them bloom.   April is the cruelest month. Sometimes March is just as bad, though.

What are your favorite and least favorite months? Any favorite T.S. Elliot poems?