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A life in the Big Woods


Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Features

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. Walden, Henry David Thoreau, 1854.

In one of the opening essays in her new book, At Home in the Big Woods, Nancy Overcott writes about meeting her grown daughter in 1985 for the first time. She had given her up for adoption many years earlier. Her daughter’s name was Martha and she was an aspiring writer. "We were strangers who were not strangers," Nancy writes. She was given the opportunity to read Martha’s journals and essays. Nancy took note of her daughter’s "sparse, clear writing style," and her "quirky sense of humor" that was not afraid to "confront the dark side of life." As the two women grew closer, learning of the unique similarities they shared, Nancy decided that if her daughter could write, maybe she could too.

"Most children take after their parents," Nancy told me the other day, "but in this case, I took after my daughter."

I had driven out to the Big Woods in the rolling forested terrain of eastern Fillmore County to visit Nancy, who lives in the house that she built with her husband, Art, back in the late 1970’s. It is a secluded spot and without a set of good directions I would have missed seeing the nearly hidden driveway that leads up to the hilltop clearing where the Overcotts have settled.

"That’s a brave thing to write about," I said to Nancy. "It must be difficult to reveal so much about yourself."

Nancy thought for a moment and then said, "Well, I decided that I couldn’t really tell the story of the Big Woods unless I told my story as well."

The Big Woods struck a chord with Nancy and Art the first time they visited the area on a cold January day in 1972. They’d been searching for a getaway from the Twin Cities, a place to call their own. They had the hippie-like notion which was prevalent of that era that they could live simply and support themselves "off-the land".

They had even toyed with the idea of joining a commune and visited one such settlement at Saum in extreme Northern Minnesota, where Nancy remembers that everybody was running around naked and that all the women looked to be pregnant. The group was living in tarpaper shacks and trying to grow food on the .....
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TJ Liquor

Sheriff’s Department reviews staffing at Commissioner's meeting

Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Features

"How are our deputies set up?" asked Chairman Bakke as Sheriff Jim Connolly prepared to give his report to the Fillmore County Board on Tuesday. Connolly said the press has interviewed him many times over the years and has given good coverage about h ..... 
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Fillmore County Board approves courthouse addition design

Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Features

Former Commissioner Robert Thompson addressed the County Board regarding the courthouse building project on Tuesday.   In a soft voice that commanded silence from a somewhat uncomfortable looking board, Thompson said, "It bot ..... 
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Radio Hour fantastic holiday offering

Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Features

One of the tastiest treats available in Fillmore County this holiday season is the Commonweal's final play of the year. The 1940's Radio Hour. In a formula oddly similar to the highly successful television show, Seinfeld, the new play, which opened N ..... 
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Rushford City Council: Liquor license fees questioned

Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Features

Liquor licensing was a hot topic in the citizens’ concerns and comments portion of the Rushford City Council meeting November 25th. Business owners Judy Christian of Stumpy’s and Jim Kitchens of Nordic Lanes and American Legion and VFW representative ..... 
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Auction benefits scholarships

Fri, Nov 22nd, 2002
Posted in Features

If the possessions we leave behind are any indicator of who we are as a person, then by all observations Mary Terry Love was a well-educated woman whose interests were as broad as her travels.

When the balance of her estate went ..... 
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Judge Fabian denies motion for mistrial in Tuchek arson case

Fri, Nov 22nd, 2002
Posted in Features

Caledonia - After reviewing legal briefs filed by the prosecution and defense, and listening to oral arguments in the case, Judge James Fabian denied John Tuchek’s request for a mistrial on Monday, November 18, in Houston County District Court.[Read the Rest]

Murder defendant asks court for public defender

Fri, Nov 22nd, 2002
Posted in Features

Joseph Allen Folkert, charged with second degree murder in the death of Clarence Paulson, appeared in Fillmore County District Court on Monday, November 18, for a Rule 8 hearing.

Paulson was found dead at his rural Pilot Mound f ..... 
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Maust addresses Preston City Council regarding Heartland

Fri, Nov 22nd, 2002
Posted in Features

Robert Maust, Heartland Energy and Recycling, LLC, brought the Preston City Council up to speed on his latest efforts to address some of the negative concerns raised over the the proposed electrical power generating facility that would use tire-deriv ..... 
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