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Sonnenberg’s Hill


Sun, Dec 31st, 2000
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Monday, January 1, 2001

Snow is a necessary evil here in Minnesota, but it isn’t as evil as I was once led to believe. One of my earliest memories is of a snowfall. I recall running around outdoors in the late afternoon of a very gray, very chilly day. I caught the first giant snowflakes in my mouth as they floated like feathers from a sky that seemed to churn with zigzagging snowflakes on their downward journey. My success at devouring snowflakes was quite limited, but I was having a great time trying. Eventually, a well-meaning adult, or maybe a wicked older brother, came by and told me to quit eating snow because it was radioactive and I would get "fallout" and thereby perish from my snow-eating activity. Well, the fun was gone out of that. I was convinced that I had already eaten more snow than was good for me. I doubt that I could ever have eaten enough radioactive snow to do a dental x-ray on a chicken, but I worried about it for years.

Another dining activity brought about by snow, other than eating it directly in the form of snowflakes, snowballs, or snow by the handfuls, was the consumption of icicles. Massive icicles formed on many of our poorly insulated livestock buildings. It was common to break off an icicle as long as we were tall and use it as a pretend sword or spear. As brittle as they were, the swordplay was usually quite brief, but the unbroken hilts still worked well as clubs among my warmongering, yet loving brothers. Smaller icicles served as frozen treats once the big icicles were smashed to bits in mock warfare. The carrot-sized icicles were fun to melt in our mouths until, once again, a well-meaning adult, or vicious brother, pointed out that bird droppings off the roof were undoubtedly a major component of the icicles we were eating. If it wasn’t bird droppings, then radioactivity was certainly present and we would get "fallout" and thereby perish.

There seemed to be no safe way to enjoy the snow other than to keep it out of our mouths so we often went sledding, sliding, and skiing in it. Saturday afternoons, after cleaning the calf pens and chopping the firewood, my brothers and I would often go to the neighbor’s for an afternoon of sledding. It was a mile walk straight east up the township road to Sonnenberg’s Hill. The neighbor kids joined us there. It was the ultimate hill for a toboggan run. It was steep, long, and well grazed. There were no trees and just enough gopher mounds to make good jumps. Addin .....
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Hoffman Stables

Morning meditations

Sun, Dec 31st, 2000
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Monday, December 25, 2000

The windmill stands tall in the farm yard, the remnants of last year’s morning glories still clinging to its iron works

The windmill is the first thing I see when I leave the house in the morning. On some mor ..... 
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Sun, Dec 31st, 2000
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Sun, Dec 31st, 2000
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Sun, Dec 31st, 2000
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Sun, Dec 31st, 2000
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Monday, December 25, 2000

Sun, Dec 31st, 2000
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To the Editor,

Some weeks ago I wrote an article for your paper depicting an encounter one of our local citizens had with a Jackelope - along with a photo of the critter. Your naturalist writer, one John P. Levell, took me to task as ..... 
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Dorothy Willmarth

Sun, Dec 31st, 2000
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Dorothy Willmarth, 85, a retired Spring Valley High School custodian, died Tuesday, November 28, 2000, in Maple Manor Nursing Home.

Dorothy Denny was born December 1, 1914, in Minneapolis. She married Hugh Willmarth in Spring Valley on Novem ..... 
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Bruce A. Skarstad

Sun, Dec 31st, 2000
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Bruce Skarstad, 81, of Arleta, CA, formerly of Peterson, died at his home November 23, 2000.

He was born July 22, 1919, in Peterson, to Dr. N.A. and Bertha (Thompson) Skarstad. He was a Rushford High School graduate, a WW II U.S. Army veteran ..... 
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