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At Home in the Woods: I found a fossil!


Fri, Jul 18th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

I worried about entertaining my 11 year-old great nephew for the weekend. I expected he would no longer be interested, as he once was, in making up adventures and running through the woods with a stick for a sword.

My plan for this year was something new--a fossil hunt. My husband and I picked Kevin up at his grandparent's house in Lanesboro. We hadn't seen each other for a while and I knew we would feel shy at first. We had a little trouble making conversation on our way to the Houston Nature Center, the meeting place for the fossil hunt.

We arrived early at the Nature Center so we could look at the specimens there--bones, woodpecker tongues, turtle shells, a video of Alice the Great Horned Owl and fossils, including a mastodon tooth. Fossil finding fanatic Sue Kittleson, who would be our leader, brought out some of her own fossils, including a large and impressive cephalopod, and an illustrated list of fossils for us to study before leaving for the hunt. We would be going to a quarry near Spring Grove where we could explore exposed rock that formed during the Ordovician period about 400 to 500 million years ago when our area was covered with shallow seas in which sediments were deposited as layers of sand, clay, calcium-like oozes and skeletal remains. These layers eventually cemented into layers of rock that are now rich in fossils.

The pouring rain that fell on our way to the quarry stopped just as we arrived. The puddles and wet sticky gravel posed no problem for Kevin or any of the other kids, who shot out of cars as though released from prison and fanned out all over the quarry. Kevin ran up one side of a huge pile of gravel and slid down the other.

While Art and I wandered around, not feeling confident of our fossil finding skills, Kevin, with his quick intelligence, had immediately grasped what to look for and had already memorized the names of fossils we expected to find, such as bryozoans, corals, crinoids, brachiopods, gastropods and cephalopods.

Sue had given us ice cream pails to hold our fossils. Kevin quickly filled his pail with brachiopods, corals and crinoids. Then he disappeared. Before we had a chance to worry about him, we heard him calling, "I found a fossil! I found a fossil!" Soon he proudly appeared with a large cephalopod. Other participants, noticing his excitement, gathered to look at his prize.

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Little Wedding on the Prairie

Fri, Jul 18th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Editors note: On July 12, my neice Megan and her husband-to-be Chris were married on our farm. I presided at the ceremony with Doris Grindland, a Special Appointed Court Commissioner to perform civil wedding ceremonies, officiating.  &nb ..... 
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Township Roads: Going Home

Fri, Jul 11th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

My family and I have moved from one quiet spot in the country to what we hope is another quiet spot in the country. We have left our acreage in LeRoy and moved just over fifty miles north and east. Our "new" place is six miles southwest of Elgin.[Read the Rest]

The Commute: The Pastor finds relief

Fri, Jul 11th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Ive just returned from another week at the original "Chautauqua" in New York, with a familiar dilemma: I have a real urge to talk about it, but find the whole place oddly indescribable.

Once again I spent the week with my dear ..... 
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Ramblings: From taxes to corked bats to ardent citizenship

Thu, Jul 3rd, 2003
Posted in Columnists

All of those Pawlenty taxes went into effect on Tuesday, July 1. No Taxes Tim cut funding to local government, slashed human services, took money from the tobacco endowment, and borrowed money to build roads to balance the state budget. But he did ..... 
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Township Roads: The Train to Minot

Fri, Jun 27th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

My wife, Deb, and I took the train from Red Wing, Minnesota to Minot, North Dakota for a recent conference. Flying was expensive, as apparently only one airline wants to take an airplane out of service every day to fly it to Minot. Driving was practi ..... 
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