Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
Click on Mark Twain to jump to Troutbirders book review blog

Friday, September 23, 2016

Salem Falls

Jodi Picoult writes in shades of gray and conflicting moral ambiguity. Take a look by clicking on Mark Twain above.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Restoring A Native Prairie

This guy Gary, A.K.A. Mr. Science is indeed a man for all seasons. Good friend, fellow teacher, photographer, phrenologist, fierce tennis rival, canoeing partner and not least of all my mentor in birding.

He also restored a prairie on his property.  From early spring to late fall this plot of ground harks back to the tall grass landscapes seen by the pioneers. Rarely seen now they have almost totally been replaced by crops. In our area of southern Minnesota that would be corn and soybeans. Gary has mowed trails here so Lily and I went for our morning walk. It was mid July. Let's take a look....
We see the leaves of a cup plant. Yes, after a rain, the leaves do collect water. This member of the sunflower family can grow quite tall.
Another member of the sunflower family is the compass plant. The leaves orient south and so you can find your way home.... The compass plant too stands tall above its neighbors.
The purple prairie coneflower, often seen in gardens is a true wildflower.
And a few more from Gary's own blog Nature Notes   Thanks Gary!
Panicle Astor
Many colors of aster brighten the prairie from August till November including these sky blue one and the dark purple New England ones still bright when the first snows come.
Narrow leaf sunflower.
Well that's all for today. Each month brings changes so I'll come back later to see what's blooming. In the meantime I'll check a compass plant to be sure I'm heading home in the right direction...:)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Historical Photography Quiz by

And all the King's horses and all the....
And here we have ?  Check you answer on Troutbirder II by clicking on Mark Twain above...:)

Monday, September 12, 2016


It was only a few weeks ago that Mrs. T and I were visiting our good and long time friends Don and Sandy. They live on a knoll high above the Maple River in South Central Minnesota. They call their place Kerkwood. I tend to think of it as Shangri-La.

  The setting is indeed, an almost mystical, verdant hidden valley,  surrounded by prairie flood plain, lush forested hills, ridges and the music of birds. A highlight of our visit was when Don's "Safari Service"
 took me on a jeep ride along the maze of trails throughout the extensive property . Your welcome to come along, though hang on tight,  as spots can be bumpy and we have to cross a few waterways...:)
We cross the floodplain prairie and head thru a wood then up to the ridge. There we catch a glimpse of the Maple River.
Hopping off the ranger, we approach the edge of a cliff well over a hundred feet straight down to the river. I like the view but don't get too close....
Some kayakers drift around a bend and slowly paddle downstream. The next days the ladies took a shopping excursion into Mankato and Don and I headed out to a local lake to try our luck. The fish weren't exactly jumping in the boat that day but we enjoyed the outing and relived some fond times when we taught together in the same high school.
 We  might be a bit older, but still know how to have fun!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


First a best seller... then a Tony Award winning play.  Click on Mark Twain above to jump to Troutbirder II and my review.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Historical Photography Quiz

And this construction project is....?  Take a guess and then check your answer by clicking on Mark Twain above to jump to Troutbirder II. All will be revealed...:)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Reluctant Admiral

An obscure but interesting biography of the man who advised his emperor and superiors "we cannot defeat America in war" but ultimately designed and led the attack on Pearl Harbor. Click on Mark Twain above to jump to  my review.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Riders on the Range

It seems the iconic American images of ranchers (cowboys) and farmers often involved riding horses and jobs like fixing fences or herding cattle.
Our good friend and farming neighbor Dick had a patch of sweet corn hidden away in a distant cornfield and offered some to Mrs. T and myself. The offer included a ride to the location.  Yes, horses aren't the preferred method or locomotion anymore..... Here he comes. I hopped aboard. Your welcome to ride along.
We headed off down a field road at a fairly breakneck speed ignoring the bumps and jolts. I hung on to the roll bar trying to look casual. All went well and I returned home with some supper sweet sweet corn. Yum! Then came the surprise. I was told "well when that's gone you'll have to borrow the 4 wheeler in the shed and go get your own."  Oh yah. So a few days later Mrs. T and I went over to the farm and into the shed....
Todays machinery is beyond gigantic and if you look closely there is Mrs. T in her cowgirl jeans underneath the combine checking out the chassis. A quick search soon revealed the horse.... I mean 4 wheeler and we were soon ready to head out in the fields.
We headed down a field road cautiously, even at a snail pace, when I was informed I was going way to fast and recklessly by my dear spouse.
Down the slope and then a sharp right turn into a field waterway which limits soil erosion. Then a series of twists and turns along several corn fields.

Let's keep a sharp eye now for the sweet corn. It's not always easy surrounded by field corn.
There it is up ahead on the left. El Dorado - Golden Sweet Corn!
 Oh yes, its sooooo good!