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At Home in the Woods: For the birds


Fri, Feb 28th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

One morning in early February, I saw a sharp-shinned hawk perched on one of our bird feeders. The sharp-shinned is a small agile woodland hawk whose favorite food is small birds. The feeder birds immediately disappeared into the nearby bushes.

I was just about to leave for Rushford to meet my friend Carol for a birding expedition, something we often do. Rushford is midway between her house in Winona and my house in the Big Woods. When I started out, the sun was shining and hundreds of horned larks were active along the roadsides. Horned larks begin to migrate through our area in February, a certain early sign of spring.

As I drove, a strong wind blew snow across the roads, but driving conditions were generally good. I was nervous because it was my first solo trip with our new (used) car. I was also remembering a snowy trip to Winona with my husband the previous Wednesday to give a talk about my book "At Home in the Big Woods" to the Hiawatha Valley Audubon Society.

The talk went well. Everyone was friendly and interested and I sold many books. But, the warm welcome I received stayed with me only until I went back outside into a heavy fall of snow with three or four inches already on the ground. The weatherman had said the snow would be light, but it was blinding and the roads were slippery. We drove cautiously in our new car. We were both remembering a trip I had taken to Winona the week before in similar snowy conditions.

I had gone to Winona to sell some books. It was snowing, but the weatherman had promised it would soon stop. When I walked into the two bird supply stores in Winona, the owners greeted me with enthusiasm. They eagerly bought books for their stores; they already had signs posted about the talk I was going to give the next week. I started home feeling good about my success.

It was still snowing, however, and the roads were becoming slippery. When I finally reached our township road only three miles from home, I began to relax, but not for long. At the bottom of our last steep hill, my car slid sideways off the road into the ditch, rolled onto its side and turned upside down. A rock went through the roof, just missing my head. I didn't see any blood and I could move my legs and arms, so I turned off the car, crawled out and walked home. As I walked, I called "Help!" into a silent white universe.

When I rea .....
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The Commute: Katieís Swim

Fri, Feb 21st, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Like so many people, Iím grappling with a certain amount of anxiety these days about the world situation. By the time this is published, our country could be at war. More locally, we worry about a state budget over four billion dollars in the red. Wh ..... 
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Township Roads: Go ahead! Wreck my day!

Fri, Feb 21st, 2003
Posted in Columnists

I try to look on the bright side of things. Thereís a silver lining to every cloud and all that. I may be unreasonably optimistic. Thatís why I donít usually allow little things to disrupt my day.

Maybe this is from having live ..... 
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Prairie Notes: What will they do?

Fri, Feb 21st, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Lately, conversations with friends revolve around the same economic thread. What will happen now that gas prices fluctuate by ten cents in a day? What will happen to retirement accounts that had seemed such a good investment two years ago? What will ..... 
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Journal Writing Project: Kyle Anderson

Fri, Feb 21st, 2003
Posted in Columnists

From moles to millionaires, and survivors to idols, television is becoming a reality show slugfest. Networks and producers are cooking up shows for America to fall head over heels for. The question is, when and where will they draw the line? < ..... 
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Journal Writing Project: Matt Ruen

Fri, Feb 14th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Iraq, and the question of war there, has dominated the news lately. Weíve seen speeches, heard the inspectors report, and watched thousands of American soldiers deploy to the Middle East. In all probability, war will begin within the next month. I ha ..... 
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