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Prairie Notes -The near-winter landscape


Fri, Nov 22nd, 2002
Posted in Columnists

Some seasons get all the breaks. Take spring, for example. Most of us look forward to the budding trees, the greening lawns, and even the yellowing dandelions. Summer, too, holds the promise of pinks and blues and purples in gardens and on bushes galore. In a good year, fall thrills us with orange, red, and gold up and down each bluff. Even winter takes a pretty picture when the distant sun causes icicles to sparkle on bare trees surrounded by a sea of white. But without that snowfall, November looks dismal.

In a vain attempt to create a colorful view this time of year, we force bittersweet and pumpkins to pretend to look natural on our doorsteps or near lamp posts, but we know the truth. November wears drab, and drab just doesnt merit an "ooh" or "aah" the way lavender does. Retailers know this, too. As early as November 1, customers can buy a myriad of holiday lights to deck their halls or windows or trees, but you will not find brown. Gold, definitely; amber, maybe; but brown, never.

But even our attempt to call everything brown is to look too quickly, to make hasty assumptions based on old habits. Were tired of mowing the lawn, so we hope for falls frosts to bring on the on those brilliant colors which mean harvest, then snow, then Christmas and New Years and a few months of ice before we see spring again. We get crops in bins, clip the iris leaves, and busy ourselves with last-minute-before-snowfall chores which cancel out any chance for us to linger awhile, looking at the earth in its barest state.

Possibly our lack of vocabulary prevents us from enjoying the view during this moment in the year. When we speak of holly green or apple red, others nod and imagine precisely the same sight. But which words describe this months colors? To speak of ditch drab or camouflage gray seems appropriate only in a setting for some dreary story of heartbreak or failure. So where do we find common names for the colors of after-fall.

Look once, and youll see what I mean. To call the remnants in the ditches "brown" means disregarding the majority of what sways in the wind or lies there. Tawny works, but only a bit. Dappled amid those grasses stand a few true brown twigs, but "bone" or "speckled egg" might describe some of the other plants whose names Ive never tried to learn. A spot of sunshine here and a shadow there add inflections of copper or gray. Beyond those ditches, .....
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Student Writing Project - Jacob Grant

Fri, Nov 15th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

What do you want out of life? Can you remember the last time someone asked you this intriguing question, or the last time you asked yourself? Quite possibly, its been years since this subject has arisen. The reason for this may be because you are mo ..... 
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Another One From Flaherty

Fri, Nov 15th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

I was reading one of my Spanish textbooks yesterday in an effort to restore my vocabulary when I realized that my Spanish texts are over fifty years old. If I am going to be able to speak in that language, I had better buy some new books or at least ..... 
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Township Roads - New tarpaper on the shack

Fri, Nov 15th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

We just completed another home improvement project. This is not the story of one of my usual do-it-yourself debacles. This time, we hired a local carpenter, a sheetrock taper, and a seamless gutter installer to do it right with a minimum of story-gen ..... 
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The Commute - Minnesota Nice

Fri, Nov 15th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

What exactly is Minnesota Nice? Ive heard it referred to quite often lately in the national media. The phrase brings with it a vision of crowds of people with normal bodies but big, yellow, smiley- face heads.

I grew up just ..... 
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Notes from a Country Kitchen

Fri, Nov 15th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

Seems like everybody goes for coffee breaks, and I wonder how much coffee some people drink in a day. I remember years ago how we made coffee especially at church doings or Ladies Aid suppers. We used those big coffee pots and we would add 1-2 eggs ( ..... 
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Notes from a country kitchen

Fri, Nov 8th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

Yes, we have had some cold weather for October and now into November, but I guess all of us older ones will never forget November 11, 1940, our terrible Armistice's Day storm. There is one thing in life that none of us, not one person can change and ..... 
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Journal Writing Project - Eric Leitzen

Fri, Nov 8th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

An excerpt from the diary of Corporal Peter Swenson, of Red Wing, Minnesota.

How much Longer will it last? Three days I have laid here in this dug out hole, this muddy, barbed wire studded bunker that has been my home for the p ..... 
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