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This work is not for the birds


Sun, Sep 24th, 2000
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Monday, September 4, 2000

I stand on the roof of our workshop holding the end of a rope. My husband has tied the opposite end around his waist so he doesn't slip as he hammers nails into our new metal roofing. Although I am alert to the danger Art faces, I don't have much to do and my attention wanders. I notice the wren my husband calls friend, carrying food to her nestlings. A Red-eyed Vireo jabs food down the gaping mouth of her offspring. A robin flies by with food in her mouth. We aren't the only ones workingup here close to the treetops.

This bird's eye view gives me a new perspective on the work necessary to support our lifestyle. It is hard to believe the two of us alone built this workshop, which measures 24 x 36 feet with a 56 x 36-foot overhanging roof. How did we manage to staple the insulation between the studs of that high open ceiling? How did we muscle the rafters up?

These thoughts take me back to the spring of 1978. We have learned that we are not the only idealistic members of the back-to-the-land movement here in Fillmore County. Mary Lewis and Phil Rutter live near us in a
self-built log cabin and are planting trees for their budding tree farm. They introduce us to Steve and Janene Roessler who live in a self-built combination workshop and house in the woods near Preston. They ask if we want to join them in thinning some Red Pines near Rushford. The trees we cut will be our payment. We agree to join the project. The pine logs will be perfect for the framing for our workshop. So, a summertime odyssey begins. The six of us will achieve the kind of intimacy, similar to that of the Amish, I think, that comes from sharing ideals and physical labor.

Steve and Janene volunteer their truck, which is large enough to haul wagonloads of logs. Their neighbors, who own the farm and cathedral of a barn that will eventually become the Old Barn Resort, will loan us a wagon.

Our days go something like this: We meet at the old barn and decide to do two loads of logs, the first going to Mary and Phil, the second to Steve and Janene. We have come prepared with chainsaws, crowbars, water and Mary's peanut-butter cookies. When we reach the pines, we decide which trees to cut and the direction we want them to fall. When a tree is down, the men cut off the branches and the women haul them away.

During a break, we sit on a log drinking water, eating cookies and talking about our decisions to move to the co .....
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In the Lands of the Pte Oyate

Sun, Sep 24th, 2000
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Monday, September 25, 2000

Sunlight shimmering, my wife Connie and I wrestle with the wind as we set up our campsite. Howling out of Nebraska, the stiffly blowing southern gale threatens to rip the ground cloth from our hands while we fumble w ..... 
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A walk in the woods

Sun, Sep 24th, 2000
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Monday, September 18, 2000

There’s always a welcome relief to a September. The kids are back in school, the humidity and temperature drop a point or two and even the pesky summer bugs are starting to disappear. It’s a perfect time for a walk i ..... 
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The Bat

Sun, Sep 24th, 2000
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Monday, September 25, 2000

There have been radio programs, comic books, and television shows featuring people who have, for reasons of their own, assumed some of the characteristics of the little brown bat. As far as I know, all these attempts ..... 
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Survivors

Sun, Sep 24th, 2000
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Monday, August 28, 2000

This is a story about survivors.

No, it is not about the gameshow/psychodrama that was recently portrayed on CBS, where neurosis is a developmental skill highly valued by artificially created tribal groups.
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Sam’s bath

Sun, Sep 24th, 2000
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Monday, September 18, 2000

It was a beautiful Saturday morning, a day that you might expect to enjoy in June rather than September. My dog, Sam and I took a walk through the woods while my wife was entertaining some of her friends out on the d ..... 
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Journal Profile # 79

Sun, Sep 24th, 2000
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Name: Jim Attwood
Home: Preston
Profession: Court Administrator for Fillmore County
Family: Wife Kathy, Daughters Jessica and Emily
Hobby: History, travel, ham radio, computers
Last Book Read: ..... 
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BLT Bites

Sun, Sep 24th, 2000
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16 to 20 Cherry tomatoes
1 pound bacon, cooked & crumbled
1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1/3 cup chopped green onions
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
• With a small sharp knife, cut th ..... 
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9/25/00

Sun, Sep 24th, 2000
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Max, Maxxximum, Madcap, Cartoon, Food for thought, Fud 4 thot
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