To Go To Troutbirders Nature Blog (click on above picture)

Saturday, January 12, 2019

New Post.

Dear Friends,
I'm dipping my toe in the water with a return to blogging. Click on the picture above of the guy in the pink shirt.

Saturday, December 29, 2018


Dear Friends & Fellow Bloggers,
Sorry to report that Mrs. T (Barb) was transported from St. Mary's Hospital campus  in Rochester MN. to Cottage Wood memory care unit this week.  This has been five years coming but the wandering, memory loss and agitation had increased considerably this summer and fall with numerous 911 calls and stays in the secure unit or “prison" as she has  called it. Barb volunteered at  Mayos Abigail Van Bureans Alzheimer and Memory Loss Research Center .      Perhaps the last great frontier isn’t outer space but the human brain and it’s role in mental illness. Your thoughts
now and in the future will be much appreciated. I intend to return to my blogging hobby and soon as I can get my act together here on the home front

Monday, December 10, 2018

Stubby the War Dog or Sergeant Subby (your choice)

The True Story of World War I's Bravest Dog. A National Geographic Kids Book for dog lovers and Kids of all Ages. Actually, Bausum wrote twin titles about the stray dog smuggled to Europe during World War I who returned to a hero’s welcome. Both books were published in 2014 by National Geographic: Sergeant Stubby (for adult readers) and Stubby the War Dog (for children). Though I remain devoted to another canine hero from The Great War (Rin Tin Tin) Stubby's  true story will leave you amazed....

Known for his keen instincts and fierce loyalty, Stubby is still recognized today as the most decorated canine in American history and the first promoted to the rank of Sergeant in the U.S. Army. Naturally an animated movie  followed......:)

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@Barrie Summy

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Harvest Time in Bluff Country

It's mid to late fall here in southeast Minnesota's Bluff Country and there's lots of corn and soybeans to be harvested. Our little acreage over looks the Spring Valley in the distance the town of the same name. In between our back yard and the valley some small field including 14 acres of "beans."....  Take a look....
To the North, our woods, adjacent to the field.
Our friend and neighbor farmer Dick is probably scouting ahead the big machinery making sure everything else is ready to go....
View from our back yard...
From hopper to bin then off to the elevator....
Miss Lily comes out to check out the excitement but she's seen it all before and chasing the chipmunk who lives under the deck is much more exciting.   


Friday, November 2, 2018

Reporter: A Memoir by Seymour M. Hersh

Half awake when I published my recent review of this book I put it on my  Troutbirder "nature" blog. So rather than start over and find out what I though about this book you have to click on the picture at the top of me standing next to my favorite Montana trout stream.  Sorry about the extra work....:)

Friday, September 28, 2018

Hundred Miles to Nowhere


Author/singer Elisa Korenne   tells a wonderful story in her memoir Hundred Miles To Nowhere. It’s the story of the New York City girl who meets a small town Minnesota guy. Being of the later type, I was naturally enthralled.  Elisa gets accepted to an artist residency in New York Mills, MN, and sees it as an opportunity to broaden her songwriting horizons. Looking for true to life Minnesota (fly over country Hicksville) experiences she starts by scheduling a wilderness canoe camping trip with  a local outdoorsy insurance man.  The fun part,   reading about their romance, is the contrasts of their two very different  worlds, how their relationship developed and was challenged by such different communities.

After her one month residency was up Elisa and Chris carried on with a mutual  cross-country romance and finally it was  Elisa who gave up subways, theater, City Bakery cookies, and her Brooklyn apartment to become the 1,153rd resident of New York Mills, a rural town ninety miles from the nearest metropolitan area, Fargo, North Dakota.  A few highlight/lowlights were the gossips who knew her weekend plans before she did. The postmaster who set up gigs for her behind her back. Chris expected her to eat roadkill for dinner. The the uproar when the Finnish Lutherans in town learned she was Jewish.  And the furnace dying at twenty-six below.  Regardless, Elisa moved to Minnesota and married Chris anyway.

I loved this book. It’s insightful, funny and draws you right into the predicament of being a transplant in different world.   My own experience growing up in the Twin Cities and spending my adult working life in rural Minnesota was not quite as dramatic but still I could relate. The old and new blend into  an evolving you.  Unafraid  you can meet the challenges and I believe see both the past and present circumstance of you, your life and surroundings much more clearly… I highly recommend this book…..

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@Barrie Summy

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Destiny of the Republic

He was born in poverty, in a log cabin, on the American frontier. Through hard work, and a wonderful ability to educate himself, courage and an expansive personality he rose to be President of the United States. No. No. It wasn’t Abe. His name was James Garfield. He was from Ohio and was our second president to be assassinated.
Candace Millard has written a wonderful description of an aspect of the age which saw the transition from the end of Reconstruction to modern America. Her book Destiny of the Republic - A Story of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President tells the story of a little known President, cut off like John Kennedy, in the prime of his life. It was a time of great corruption in government, "robber barons" and the solidification of segregation as part of southern institutions and thinking.
The most interesting part of the book is the story of how a man shot in the back with what should have been non mortal wounds was basically killed by his doctors.
Over a period of about 11 weeks the President was repeatedly probed into his wounds with unsterilized fingers and instruments as the doctors tried to find the bullet lodged in his body. This all at a time when the world famous French doctor, Joseph Lister, had been demonstrating for years how his theories on the prevention of infection could save lives and limbs. The famous American inventor, Alexander Graham Bell also worked furiously to develop a machine which could locate the bullet. All to no avail.
Millard, whose previous book The River of Doubt was about Theodore Roosevelt’s near-fatal journey of exploration in South America, is again perfect in bring these people and events to life. This book of narrative history ranks right up there with others like The Devil in the White City as a classic of its type. I highly recommend it.

Friday, June 29, 2018

History Redux

You might be surprised to learn that this fine stone home, overlooking the Missouri River near St. Charles, Mo. belonged to Daniel Boone. A few summers back we stopped to visit on our way to the Ozarks. I liked to imagine Boone sitting on the verdana as Lewis and Clarks's Corps of Discovery passed by at the botton of the hill. Historic homes can inspire the imagination and put you in a different era. I had those feelings in Springfield Ill. where Lincoln lived, Washington's Mt. Vernon and , of course, Montecello, Jeffersons home. And yet..... so many bedrooms and kitchens eventually made my eyes glaze over. Enough is enough.

That was pretty much my attitude when, along with Mrs. T and our friends Gary and Rosie, a trip was being planned to visit Great Smoky National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Two days were included to visit America's premier colonial city - Williamsburg in Virginia. Hundreds of original building and homes. Endless kitchens, bedrooms and dining sets. Oh my!

Standing in the garden of the Governors Palace in Colonial Williamsburg, I heard a loud voice haranguing a small crowd on a street corner just outside the garden. As I approached, I heard the speaker advising his listeners that with "the Colonel" leading the colonial troops surrounding the British army in Boston, success was bound to follow. One member of the audience asked if their was no room for compromise. Disdainfully waving his hand aside, the speaker spoke of liberty and death. I looked quizzically at the man standing next to me. "It's Mr. Henry you know. He is quite the rabblerouser." Emboldened, I turned and asked Mr Henry if he felt Colonel Washington was "sufficiently qualified, given his lack of successful military experience, to undertake such a grave task?" Taken aback, Henry immediately attacked me for even casting the slightest aspersion upon such a "fine and upstanding Virginian." The crowd definitely agreed with that. "Where are you from," I was asked, as if that would explain my ignorance. "The Land of Sky Blue Waters, far to the northwest."

Properly chastened I followed my companions across the street to "tour" another house. We were welcomed by a tall elderly gentlemen who invited us to sit down and visit in the parlor. He said his name was Wyeth. He had the air of a professor or teacher about him. He was actually both and a lawyer as well.
Upon finding out we were all teachers and from " far to the West," he wondered if we were Papists. Satisfied on that point, we talked about students. Among his law students had been the aforemention Patrick Henry and a Thomas Jefferson. I couldn't resist asking him how they compared as students. He laughed and said both had attained the bar but " Jefferson was easily the most brilliant student I had ever taught. Henry, on the other hand, well lets just say, I'm sure he talked his way into it."

Later, we attended a session of the House of Burgesses, met Mrs. Washington who was speaking to a group of Girl Scouts in a home she was visiting. She also graciously answered some of our questions. We met some regular people going about their business. All in all what this all amounts to is part history lesson and part Disney-style razzmatazz. The museum focuses on events in the town during the painful divorce from Britain, via re-enactments of some of the key incidents. Thus you get to see the 'local people' gathering at the Governors Palace to hear a reading of the Declaration Of Independence, congregating outside the Raleigh Tavern to hear news of the war, or conducting recruitment drives (among the paying visitors) for Washington's army. I loved it. This was living history....the best kind.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Cold Mountain

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

On the theory of “better late than never” having just read and reviewed Frazier’s Verona and duly impressed with his writing skillsm I checked our local library to see what else he had written.  Thus, I came upon Cold Mountain. I recognized the title from an Academy Award winning movie I had missed seeing…..
 Published twenty some years ago, this now widely read debut novel was at the top of best seller lists for over a year. It also won many literary awards.
 Badly wounded and disillusioned finally realizing the war was mainly to preserve slavery for the rich, a Confederate soldier named Inman decides to walk back to his home in the Blue Ridge Mountains to Ada, the woman he loves. His trek across the disintegrating South brings him into intimate and sometimes lethal converse with slaves and marauders, bounty hunters and eccentrics some helpful and others dangerous.  At the same time, highly educated for the times Ada is trying to revive her father’s derelict farm and learning to survive in a changing  world she is ill prepare to deal with.  Alternating chapters connect their stories.  The lyrical descriptions of the Appalachians set the scenes as the author gives us  a powerful story of real life circumstances. It might not be too far of a stretch to say that Ulysses and Penelope came to mind as I was drawn into this wonderful book. I highly recommend it.....

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@Barrie Summy