Sunday, April 20, 2008
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Update -- a glorious spring in the Mohave Desert
When Sharon Paul Nault and I traveled around the California desert last month, we both got down on our hands and knees to photograph the lovely desert wildflowers in Joshua Tree National Park. But when it came to birds, I left my long lenses at home and carried binoculars instead, so Sharon shared her bird pictures.
We both admired the colorful American Kestrel, North America's smallest hawk, at The Living Desert, where it perched (and posed) on a falconer's glove worn by a willing volunteer. A few days later, in the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge on the Salton Sea, I noticed a robin sized bird on a powerline. Thinking it might be a Western Kingbird, I raised my binoculars for a closer look. It was an American Kestrel, the first I'd seen in the wild. We saw lots more, once we knew what to look for. The little falcons were hunting insects ... and any other prey that's small enough for them to manage.
The falcons I've watched the most are peregrines, Mariah and Kaver, at the Kodak Tower in Rochester, New York. Five webcams are trained on their nestbox day and night. I meant to include the link to the webcams in Miss Kitty's story last week, but I forgot, so here it is. Check out the information in the Imprints link to read more about these fascinating birds. There's an online discussion group, too, if you want even more.
The bird Sharon most wanted to see was a burrowing owl ... hard to spot as they nest in tiny burrows along the roadbanks. A naturalist at the bird reserve gave us some tips on places to look for them and with Sharon driving I soon spotted a pair. We stopped to watch how they spent the afternoon ... the male guarding the burrow and the female inside, tending the nest. We saw lots of beautiful birds that day, but these little burrowing owls were a "first" for both Sharon and me.
Family Update -- Justin and Melody Printz
We're still at Edgemont, South Dakota, working on a cattle ranch. We all love the lifestyle that comes with Justin's job, so we're glad that he continues to love working here! Besides all of the normal cattle work all year, Justin also enjoys trapping in the winter, occasionally doing leather work, beating his wife at cribbage, and being Daddy. He's really good at all of the above! :)
We're fortunate in that the kids -- Wade and Callie and Amy -- and I are able to go with him a lot when he's out and about -- fixing fence, fixing pipeline, moving cows, feeding cows, etc. Lots of good family time is spent in Daddy's work truck!
What to tell you that I do ... well, just all of the normal mommy and wife things! I do also love yardwork and gardening in the spring and summer. Justin installed an underground sprinkler system last fall, so I'm anxious to get it going this spring.
Right now it's calving time again, and so far this year it's all going well. We haven't had any need to administer chicken soup to the cows yet! :) All of the calving here on our side is done in the pasture. We've had to pull a few calves, due to the calves being backwards. That really has been the extent of the excitement thus far.
We had one really fun night recently, though; we all went and camped out in the vet area of the barn on the other side of the ranch. They calve out the heifers and we took a night shift so the guys on that side could get a full night of sleep. The kids slept through most of it, but we were hopping all night!
Soon it will be branding time, then convention time, fair time ... and soon school time! It's crazy how fast time flies, the older we get! :)
We're trying our hardest to enjoy these days, knowing that they will someday be our "good ol' days"!
Day to Day R
Jayce Goes For A Walk With Grandpa (and Grandma)
Jayce asked his Grandpa to go for another walk last Sunday afternoon. (He'd gone for a six mile walk on Saturday with Don, Patty and Grandpa.) It was such a nice day (well for us, that is) I decided to join them.
We walked on the path that was formerly the railroad line; it's now all tarred and makes for easy walking. Of course, Jayce brought along his scooter and stayed way ahead of us, allowing himself time to scramble up the hills on his little side adventures.
There's a picnic table down a ways, overlooking the lake, which will have much better views, once the ice is off. It makes for a very nice resting spot. Jayce spent the time throwing sticks over the edge, at one point wanting to go down a ways to get one he'd not thrown far enough. The edge has quite a drop, so the answer was a firm, no!
On our way to the path, we had a wild turkey running in front of us. Obviously not the brightest bulb on the tree, as he ran for a long ways before he finally flew over the fence and was on his way.
I'm very happy to report the snow is finally gone!
The Matriarch Speaks W
A Visit from Don, Patty, and Hanna
Today is a first ... for one thing, we met Hanna for the first time and she is a lovely dog.
But more exciting yet: Don Anderson, Jr. gave Don Anderson, Sr. his first digital camera! What's more, Patty gave him a lesson in the operation of the new possession. First, she demonstrated all of the steps and then supervised as he did them ... in the meantime, writing instructions to remind him of the steps.
I can see that Don has acquired a new hobby. I am attaching the first two samples of his work. He took the pictures, entered them in his file, and then sent a copy to me. The first is a picture of Patty supervising his work ... and one of Patty, Don, and Hanna in their new car. (It is a hybrid, I know, but you will have to get more details from them.) And every bit of that snow all around them arrived yesterday and the evening before (April 10 and 11).
Lest you think I was left out -- they treated me to a birthday steak, with trimmings, and had the wait people sing to me. They also had invited Donna and Beaver to luncheon. It was such an enjoyable day!
Who Is This?
Let's Play a Guessing Game: Whenever it is handy to do so, we will run a picture of someone of the subscribers or staff members of our e-magazine. Tell us who you think it is -- we will let you know who was the first to guess it right -- and the correct guess -- in the following week's Bulletin.
How many can you identify?
Editors' Note: Correct guesses appear in bold face type and incorrect guesses in normal type ... generally in the order we receive them, so the first guess received is on top.
My guess for the pictures: on the left is Ardis Quick; on the right is Carol Printz!
Adriana Stahlecker Brown
I just read The Bulletin; on the mystery picture, is it Ardis (Quick) and Bill and Lois's oldest girl, Carol (Printz)? It's only a guess.
Editor's comment: (It certainly is!)
I think I will be correct on the guess picture on the right of today's Bulletin. Let's try and call her Carol Dake Printz. Had my brother Junior and I not taken a trip to Texas in March of 1957, I would not have come to recognize her.
Mavis Anderson Morgan
The pictures are of our cousin Ardis Quick and our sister/sister-in-law Carol Printz.
Earl and Kathleen Stahlecker
Those two little girls must be from the Dake clan, they are so cute. Of course I might be a little bit prejudiced, being the little dark haired one is my daughter Ardis, and the other is my brother Billy's daughter Carol!
Gert Dake Pettit
I can certainly make a guess on these two girls. The one is Ardis and the other one is Shari. Now, how right am I?
Betty Weiland Droel
My only experience with goats comes from early childhood, but the memories are unforgettable. Our first goat came to the farm as a result of Pa getting a stomach ulcer. Ulcers were thought to result from stress and nervousness. Reducing stress was one of the remedies, and another was drinking goat's milk. By the end of this whole experience, I rather doubt if Pa's consumption of goat's milk was near enough to counteract the stress of having the goats.
The first goat I remember was a gentle nanny. She arrived with a kid, and was milked to provide the ulcer remedy. I think she was quite well behaved, other than having a habit of getting out through fences and eating the bark off trees in the yard around the house.
Then Pa decided to get a billy goat. The billy was to live with the sheep flock, protecting the sheep from stray dogs and other predators. He was a big, bearded fellow, with very long horns.
Nothing was mentioned about wanting the nanny goat to have more kids, but in retrospect, I suppose that was part of the plan.
The first thing we noticed about the billy goat was that he smelled eye-watering terrible. If the wind was from him to you, the smell was nauseating, even at several hundred feet. On some windless winter days, the smell wafted over the entire farmyard, making outdoor chores less than pleasant. The smell got to be less of a problem when the sheep and the billy goat went to the pasture.
About midsummer, when the lambs got big enough to eat dry feed, we put out a creep feeder. The feeder looked like a little shed on wheels. It had a roof over the top, and a trough for lamb starter feed. The front gate was made of vertical rollers spaced 8 inches apart. The lambs could easily squeeze through between the rollers to get into the feeder, but the ewes were too big to get through.
All went well for a few of days, and then one day when Pa and I went out to check the sheep, the goat was in the creep feeder. He had apparently learned to turn his head sideways to get his long horns between the rollers, and the rest of his skinny goat carcass slipped right through.
Pa grumbled a little about the goat eating expensive lamb starter and crawled into the feeder. He managed to get the goat's horns steered between a couple of rollers and gave the goat a swat on the rump to get him to keep going. It didn't work. The goat was so full of lamb starter feed that his belly was way too big to fit between the rollers. As the rollers squeezed his distended belly, he stopped with a piteous groan, eyes bulging. So Pa had to get a crescent wrench from the pickup and take the front gate apart to let him out.
The next day, the goat was still out with the sheep where he belonged. The second day, he was back in the creep feeder. This time he had eaten his fill, gotten his horns between the rollers to go out, and once again been stopped by his full belly. He couldn't go through to get out, but now he couldn't figure out how to turn his horns to back up and go back into the covered feeder, either.
Pa gave some thought to leaving him there until he digested enough feed to get out on his own, but decided that leaving him that long in the sun without water would be cruel. And who would be protecting the sheep from stray dogs while the goat was waiting for his belly to shrink enough to fit between the rollers? Once again, the feeder came apart.
This went on for some time, every couple of days, until Pa got sick of his guard goat spending most of his time in the creep feeder. Pretty soon there were no goats (or ulcers) at our farm.
Once out the gate, the lambs renewed their playful antics.
We'd be there still, if not for the trickle of ewes that came galloping back to retrieve their babies; they claimed their own and returned -- with others in tow.
When Checker and I crested the hill with the tail of the flock, the head was at least a mile away -- and still running! Between head and tail, the giant, undulating body stretched across the valley.
Within minutes, the racing head was separating from the body and the body was separating from the tail.
The tail consisted of the limpers (think foot rot), the weak, and a few ewes tending newborns. Checker and I attempted to regroup them and hurry them along to catch up with the middle, but this was a losing battle. The three parts were spreading left and right in search of untouched sward. Very soon, I was unable to see all of the sheep from one vantage point.
Running forward along the right flank, I encouraged Checker: "Way around! Wa-a-ay around," gesturing with my hand. As we ran up the flank, we turned the sheep in on themselves. I shouted and whistled and Checker nipped and tucked. He'd run forward until he lost eye contact with me, then he'd come running back. His expression, like -- Are you coming?
I'd gesture again, say, "Wa-a-y around," and off he'd go. But never far enough to stop the runaway sheep. Lacking the confidence of an experienced dog, he had to keep coming back to check in with me. At the rate things were going, hundreds and hundreds of sheep and lambs would soon be lost in these coyote infested hills.
Weaving through sagebrush and around cedar trees, I ran as far and as fast as I could. And then I ran some more; I didn't dare to stop to catch my breath.
Photo © Weston Johnson
Weston at Twins spring training game, Hammond Stadium.
Where In The World Is Weston? S
Spring Training In Florida
During the last week in March, I spent a few days vacationing in Fort Myers, Florida. I flew down early on Wednesday morning and was picked up by my friend Jim, who had flown in from St. Louis the night before. My flight arrived at 11:30 a.m., and we had tickets to the Twins' spring training game with a scheduled start time of 1 p.m. There was no time to lose!
We drove straight to Hammond Stadium, found a parking spot and arrived in our seats in plenty of time to see the first pitch. We were disappointed to find that our seats were in an area of the stands that was shaded by the press box, but in retrospect it probably saved me from acquiring a sunburn within my first few hours in the Florida heat.
It was fun to see the Twins for the first time since last September, like catching up with old friends I hadn't seen in a while. I also got my first look at some of the new Twins players for 2008. This included Livan Hernandez, who was the starting pitcher that afternoon and provided the highlight of the game when, rather than fielding a slow ground ball near first base, he kicked it, soccer-style, to the first baseman for an out. I've seen a lot of baseball, but had never seen a play quite like that!
After the game, we returned to the airport to pick up the third and final member of our entourage: Jim's friend Scott, who had flown in from Colorado. We then headed across the bridge from Fort Myers to Cape Coral, where we would be staying in the home of Jim's friend Geoff.
When Jim and I made the trip to Florida a year ago, we had spent the better part of two days fishing on Geoff's boat. This year, Geoff was back at his other home in Minnesota. While he told us we were welcome to use his boat again, none of us felt comfortable driving a borrowed boat in unfamiliar waters.
Fortunately, on Wednesday evening Jim struck up a conversation with Geoff's neighbor Ray, who generously offered to take us out on his boat. We ended up spending most of Thursday fishing among the small islands between Cape Coral and Sanibel Island. The fishing was slow, and most of what we did manage to haul in were too small to keep. But somehow it was hard to complain as I soaked up the sun while thinking of my friends back home in their office cubicles.
On Friday, we returned to Hammond Stadium for another Twins game. Jim and I just HATED to go to another game, but we didn't want Scott to feel left out after missing Wednesday's game, so we let him drag us there. We arrived at the spring training complex early and spent some time checking out the minor league games taking place on the ancillary fields. The fans are allowed to get very close to the action. It's like watching a Little League game from right behind the backstop -- except the players are pro prospects, instead of kids who aren't sure whether to run to first or third base after hitting the ball.
Eventually, we made our way to the actual Twins game. I think the Twins lost, but it's not really important. What is important is it was 80 degrees and, once again, I was watching baseball instead of sitting in an office!
When the game ended, we determined that we had not quite gotten enough sun yet, so we headed to Fort Myers Beach to relax away the rest of the afternoon. The Beach was packed on Friday afternoon, an interesting mix of college students on spring break, families with young children, and retirees enjoying one of the perks of their winter residence. We spent the rest of the day alternating between soaking up the sun and jumping in the Gulf to cool off. Did I mention this beat being back at work in Minnesota?
As evening neared, we enjoyed a meal at an outdoor restaurant near the beach. At the table behind us was a couple having dinner with their pet parrot perched on the back of one of the chairs. While his owners ate their meals, the bird enjoyed his own treats -- peanuts, sunflower seeds and spaghetti noodles.
It was fun to watch him eat peanuts. If the shell only contained one nut, he would use one foot to place the whole thing in his mouth; then he'd chomp a few times to break and discard the shell before devouring the nut. If the shell had two nuts, he'd hold one half in his foot, bite off the top half and eat the first peanut while continuing to hold the other half in his foot. Then he'd repeat the process with the second nut. Soon, he had drawn a crowd of people who were taking pictures and asking questions of his owners, who didn't seem to mind the interruptions. I suppose if you bring your parrot out to dinner, you expect some extra attention!
Scott had to catch a flight back to Colorado on Saturday morning, reducing the size of our entourage back to two, which I don't believe even qualifies as an entourage. That afternoon, Jim and I drove to Captiva Island, where we rented kayaks and explored the islands and shorelines. The kayak rental outfit was located in a cove that was home to a manatee cow and her young. We occasionally saw their noses poke out of the water, but were warned to keep our distance from them. Floridians are very protective of these endangered animals and did not want tourists disturbing a mother and her nursing young.
While Jim is a somewhat experienced kayaker, I had never tried it before. It offered some unique views of the water and the shoreline and several close encounters with sea birds and leaping fish. While it was a lot of fun, I have to admit it got a little exhausting by the end, and I felt effects of the effort in my shoulders for the next couple of days.
Sunday was my last day in Florida, but I didn't have to fly out until evening. Jim and I considered various options to pass the afternoon, but decided it would be really hard to beat another afternoon at the beach. After a few more hours of precious sunshine, it was time for me to catch my flight back to Minnesota. I arrived late on Sunday night to temperatures in the 40's, and was greeted the next day by a nasty snowstorm. Welcome back to Minnesota!
$ A Long Time Ago !
Appalachian Trail Trek: Week Four, April 1973
We'd read about problems other hikers had encountered with hungry black bears waking up in the spring in the Great Smoky Mountains. We had hoped that with our early start we'd miss the bears. We missed the bears but instead we encountered winter weather and temperatures in the teens along the mountain crests, long after spring had warmed and greened the valleys far below.
"Jerri looked outside and saw good news all around: clear blue sky and unbroken snow, bushes and tree branches bristling with frosty filigree, rhododendron leaves curled tight and traced with delicate lacy white.
"Leaving snow angels, spent snowballs, and fox-and-goose circles behind, we struck off for nearby peaks. Only a few inches of snow had fallen, but breaking trail through drifts two and three feet deep slowed us down. Sightseeing slowed us even more, as did stops to identify tracks that crossed and followed the trail. Rounding one bend, Jerri stopped us with a sudden hush. A wild pig snuffled in the bushes just ahead, then trotted up the trail.
"We'd walked two miles by noon. Scant progress, I thought, but the view from Thunderhead Mountain brought us to a stop again. Eight hundred square miles of national park spread out below. We looked around at thick forest: spruce on the highest snowy summits: fir, oak, and slowly greening birch on slopes; a host of others turning valleys springtime green. Flowering dogwood, mountain laurel, and rhododendron filled in lower growth.
"Looking backward, we saw Fontana Lake and Stekoah peaks we'd climbed the week before. Ahead stood more snowy mountains, waiting for the trail of footprints that traced a narrow path. Jerri photographed the near and far and Kyra built a snowman." --from Walking North, by Mic Lowther.
Celebrations & Observances
This Week's Birthdays
More April Birthdays
April Special Days
Miss Hetty's Mailbox:
Keep Us Posted!
Please drop Miss Hetty a line and tell us who, and what, we've missed. And how about a report (photos welcome) of YOUR special celebration?
+ LETTERS TO THE EDITORS?
Thank you, editors and writers and photographers; it means a lot to us to receive The Bulletin with its news and photos and stories each week. This was an extra special issue with all the stories and links.
You look like you might have gotten a year younger instead of a year older, Dorothy. May you have a wonderful year!
What a great week for armchair travel! I loved going to Paris with Frans de Been and family, through the article and the web gallery link. A memorable way to celebrate an anniversary.
It's always so good to see stories from home and family, both old and new. We're glad Larry is continuing to share the sheep ranch adventures. So much easier to be reading about the work than to be experiencing it firsthand.
Kathlyn Johnson Anderson
So she made a fantastic travel story about us (de Been family) to Paris, Miss Jerrianne. I do hope a lot of people enjoy this little (hahaha) foto shoot of this immense town. Give the best regards to her from me and tell her it is fantastic story. She has done it again!
Frans de Been
A wonderful story, Frans, and a memorable anniversary. Many happy returns! --Jerrianne
Last Week's Bulletin Review JKL
I can hardly get past the first picture. It is such a beautiful tribute and memorial for "Uncle Tom's" Lou, and I am sure he would be very impressed with such a meaningful "In Memory of" his dearest friend and wife, who was taken so suddenly from his side. The thoughts of The Bulletin subscribers and family will be with him as he makes the difficult adjustments to life without Lou.
That would have been a wonderful few days to look forward to, when the Morgans from London came to visit the Morgans from Florida. I'm sure you noted similarities and family resemblances in Frank. That would have been a week neither of you would forget. The Bulletin always includes the pictures that tell the story and large enough so they are easily seen. Thanks, Photo Editor, for your expertise in knowing just how to present a story.
I felt a pang of nostalgia seeing the pictures of the 4-wheelers at Ashby. I remember that view of Pelican Lake and the gravel pits and the hilly farm.
Thank you for another introduction. This time it is a sweet little girl, and the story of her likes and dislikes. Amy Elaine. Is that for Amy and Elaine? Amy sounds like an interesting little person, intelligent beyond her 3 years.
Thank you, Miss Kitty, for letting us in on just what Mr. Squid really looks like. I love the accounts that Miss Kitty can dream up of the grandkitties, and the pictures show how fast they are growing. I made sure to click on the links in the Update. The one of Jim Scott was so interesting. I need more time to read it thoroughly. It's endless, the information available through the links.
We were so glad to get in on the birthday celebration -- 82 does not seem as old as it used to seem before I was this close to it. I wonder just what was in that huge sack? Maybe that new jacket. It looks just like your colors, too.
We have been hoping the April snowstorm will be the last one of the season now. Our snow has almost all melted, but Minnesota is unpredictable. We did move the snow shovel from by the back steps back into the garage today.
I shouldn't take up valuable Bulletin space with this silly comment, but when I saw the picture of "Frosted Flakes," I first thought it was Dorothy's birthday cake. The chocolate cake with the white coconut frosting. WRONG! I still don't know what it really was supposed to be.
Good for Weston to finally sit down at his keyboard long enough to type out such a great story about another game that he can't seem to get enough of. Opening Day would find Weston right there, as close as he can get. I know nothing about the games, but I'm learning.
LTD Storybrooke gave us a real life description of the ewes and lambs. He writes his stories as though it happened yesterday, rather than many years ago. Well, after you read it, you know why it wasn't something you'd forget! Checker was better than the best hired man, it sounds like. I am wondering if we'll find out what happened to Checker when Larry and Sherry moved on. (I think we already did ... in To Be Free: A Shepherd's Journey ... in the LTD Storybrooke collected stories. --Ed.)
We knew it would come sooner or later, but we are sorry that this was the end of the Travelogue by Kjirsten at this time. Casablanca is a famous name, and one can see why, with the magnificent tower of artisan work. Casablanca city center was a fabulously huge city by the picture on the web. Thank you for all you went through to see so many interesting things and share them with us. Not too easy to buckle down to medical school again without doing a lot of daydreaming after a trip like that. The satellite view of the Sahara looked like a lot of nothing. Hoping your next trip will reveal that it was spectacular. We got an all-gone feeling to see the big black letters: THE END.
After 30 years, the Frans de Beens returning to Paris would find a lot of changes, I'm sure. Maybe not in some of the basic tourist attractions, but even in the people. So nice the family could go along on this trip. Rian looks pretty young for having a 30th anniversary. I was trying to imagine what the Eiffel Tower looked like at night all lit up. The bulbs needing to be replaced would be a major, risky task. I found it very interesting to look at the web gallery. The hamburger is the one thing I recognized. All the rest were a part of the world I can only try to view in my mind after seeing so many views of Paris.
I was so thankful there was another chapter for us of the Appalachian Trail Trek. Just long enough to be captivating and short enough for us to hardly be able to wait for the following chapters. The names for the flowers would have been accurate, but how would we know? Good thing there was something cheery in that dreary scene before you along the trail. I plan to read the book from cover to cover when it arrives in the mailbox.
Fun to see the letter Dorothy wrote to Miss Hetty about her birthday. Even though Dorothy doesn't appreciate being the center of attention, she does deserve it at least once a year. Especially when she's reached 82 years old. Thanks for letting us all get in on your cards and flowers and balloons with the picture of them all lined up, Dorothy.
Is Greg the one who went to China? Could he be thinking about the plate of food that had been set before him over there? Whatever he is thinking is vital, that is for sure.
Experience being the most valuable thing you have to offer is a good Quotation for the day. If we could only transfer our experience to a younger person, it would make a world of difference in a lot of lives, but we all need our own experiences to learn by. That's just the way we're made.
Thank you for another valuable Bulletin. Sorry, Editors, you have us already waiting anxiously for next Saturday morning.
To search a name in Who's Who or Who's Where: click on the link to open the page, then use CONTROL F on a PC or COMMAND F on a Mac. To search for a second occurrence of the name, use CONTROL G on a PC or COMMAND G on a Mac. (This works on ANY web page with text, unless the text is converted to an image. Chances are, it works in your e-mail, too.) HINT: Search by first name only, as most entries list the family name once but do not repeat the last name for each family member. In Who's Where you can search on state or city names, too.
Quotation for the day: It is human nature to think wisely and act in an absurd fashion. --Anatole France
EDITOR'S POLICY: If you wish to subscribe to The Bulletin, simply send me a statement of that fact. If you wish to keep receiving it I hope you will contribute to one of the columns that are running in this family epistle (at least occasionally!). My e-mail address is email@example.com
This Bulletin is copyright Dorothy M. Anderson; the contents are also copyrighted by the authors and photographers and used with their permission, and the contents are not to be used for any commercial purposes without the explicit consent of the creators.