September 2010 Archives

My Hero

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Earnest catches a mouse

I've been composing an entry about "Life Among Animals" which is all heart warming about brown and black cows lying in clover and multicolored chickens chasing bugs across the green grass, but there's the others side- especially this time of year. The mice are looking for a warm winter home and our 100 year old farm house seems to be an easy target.

What luck that Earnest is nonplussed at picking up mice. He earned a solid 5 Battle Bug points for that one. Last night he was emptying out a cupboard (like a dog digging a hole) in search of the stinky dead mouse that we can't find in the kitchen. I know, I know... this is supposed to be a recruitment blog to get people to leave the city and move to rural places- like Big Stone County- so I shouldn't be talking about mouse invasions and the search for their rotting corpses. Truth in advertising.

Next entry: The Flies.

One Can't. Two Won't.

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We had a bonfire and backyard campout over the weekend. I found myself missing my Dad- not that we ever camped, but he could build a good fire. He always repeated this line about building a fire:

One can't. Two won't. Three might. Four will.

Dad's point- You need four logs to start a fire. So I was telling the boys the same line- and one of the little fellers yells to Alma, "get over here- we need one more person to start this fire. We need four of us." Guess I could have been a little clearer.

Then the four of us (Mike knew better) and the big yellow lab- crowded into the two-man tent to sleep. Originally, I thought we could pack out into the prairie a ways. But frankly, I was glad we were close to home as the coyotes started yipping and howling to the south and to the east of our yard. I'm not afraid of coyotes- but it is chilling to be outside with my little kids and be the grown-up/protector.

It reminded me of a camping trip I took with Val just a few weeks after we graduated from William Kelly HS in Silver Bay. First we got lost in the North Woods, then she had brought Pudding Pops for food (uhhhh... they melt!), then we FROZE overnight, and the Timber Wolves- serious wolves- were howling all around us. Through the night it sounded like they were circling us. We packed out the next day if I remember right.

The kids and I had a great campout. It was surprisingly comfortable, plenty warm, and dog barely smells of skunk anymore.

More than this?

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The Milky Way. Photo Credit: NASA

Local nonprofit, Clean up our River Environment (CURE), auctioned the talents of their board chair, Joe Hauger, to provide a first class astronomy "show" on our farm. Hey Joe- you put yourself up on the auction block next year and we'll bid you back to Big Stone County.

We are blessed with good neighbors and friends and the yard was filled with dozens of kids -- ages 3-13. Sloppy joes, bars, chips, kids, mosquitos, lawn chairs, blankets, and a night sky to enflame any heart.

Stargazing was off to a DRAMATIC start as the space station passed over us at 8:17- still twilight. It looked like a hugely bright star and passed over us in 3 minutes. I simply can't believe I've never seen this before. It was such a startling and huge night sky object.

The next space station siting for Big Stone County is September 30th at 6:41 pm to 6:46pm. Believe me, if you look up, you won't miss it. Click here to find out when the space station can be seen above you.

Then we looked through Joe's high powered telescope for a close up view of craters on the orange moon as it set in the west. Venus set in the West with the moon- how's that for love. And Jupiter rose bright in the east- boom! it was there. We could see the rings through the scope.

Then the stars began coming out by the thousands... Perfectly clear, crisp September night on the northern high plains. Believe you me... there is no light pollution on our little square of the prairie. No other yards lights and nighttime dark as dark as it gets.

The Milky Way emerge in the night sky and the kids asked what that was... it's our galaxy - the one we live in. A wide strip of cloudy looking stars that span across the night sky. The Milky Way seemed to be coming straight out of our silos and across the sky. No wonder it's so easy to feel like the center of the universe (or not).

Lay on a blanket- your child's head in your lap...Good people around you...The brightest stars ever seen in the sky. People for thousands of year have been laying on this prairie looking up at the night sky in awe. We joined their ranks. Even Joe was impressed with the stars in the sky on Saturday night and said as far as a dark night sky, our farm is "as good as it gets." Ain't it though?

Back to Big Stone County

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Glacier mountain meadow flower. Photo credit: Alma

We're back from our first family vacation since the boys were born- 6 years ago. It was the best vacation of my life.

Train to Glacier; drive/ferry to Holden Village high in the Cascade Mts in Washington; Seattle for Twin Game, zoo, and Ivers Fish bar; then, Washington's Pacific coast and back home. Two kids lost baby teeth. 4000 miles driven. Kids playing in the Best Western pool until they pile into the hotel room and faint in a pile like tired puppies- smelling of chlorine. Rinse and repeat.

I'm on a haiku kick- so here are a few vacation haikus starting in Holden:

Moutain breezes sing
Full moon setting over peaks
My soul longs for rest

Through the grass I see
My offspring play in the surf
Stomach on warm sand

Little boys like wild
Creatures. Stand close and still to
Hear their beach call/song

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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