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Prairie Notes: Beyond the numbers


Fri, Aug 29th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Statistics confound me. Numbers, percentages, comparison charts showing past and projected statistics on earnings or accidents or deaths from HIV all make me long for more than 30-second sound bites or one-sentence captions. I pause near the radio or stare at the TV screen or hold the newspaper for an extra few seconds wondering what does it really mean, anyway?

Daily we receive reports of U.S. soldiers killed in post-combat. Now the death toll has risen higher than the number of soldiers killed during the war itself. Though the numbers themselves may astound me, I want Paul Harvey to come on with "The Rest of the Story." I seek a connection to know whose little girl or boy wont be coming home, or which gaps the family or community will have to try to patch.

Was this soldier the aunt who was in charge of games at the family reunions or did that soldiers car blare bass sounds from its open windows when he cruised the main drag that people actually missed the "DA-DA DA, DOO" when he left for Iraq? Surely the numbers of the dead are much more than mere numbers to communities both here and in Iraq.

Numbers also show us this years drought in comparison with past years. We can punch the numbers into our computer and compare temperature, humidity, rainfall, number of days without rain or any other odd weather trivia, then graph it to show others just how horrid 2003s summer has been.

But what does it really mean? At our farm, it means neither pond nor pasture functions for water or food for the cattle, adding at least an hours chores a day as well as depleting our stores of haywith little hope for a third crop this summer. Add another hour to the day for checking heated sows repeatedly and sprinkling them with water to cool them. Then add at least one hour of time wasted ranting over low corn and bean prices. The time the drought has added to my husbands workday means any romanticized notions I had of spending extra time with him before school begins are gone.

And that probably explains why I dislike the numbers: for any number to mean anything, I have to somehow place it within my realm of experience, understanding what it means to me. Sounds selfish, and it probably is selfish, sometimes. Isnt it true, though, that unless we recognize a deeper meaning in those numbers, for us or those we love, the numbers are no more important than a Jeopardy a .....
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Notes from a country kitchen

Fri, Aug 29th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Today is Labor Day and we all think of school starting and the State Fair ending, and how we wish for rain. To a lot of people Labor Day means our last vacation before we all settle in to our routine of our fall plans. I wasnt thinking of hard work ..... 
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Notes from a country kitchen

Fri, Aug 22nd, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Arent we lucky! In all this heat we werent in the black-out and we dont have to use or heat the the old cookstove to make dinner for threshers. When I write this I can almost feel the heat from mothers old cookstove and feel the hot kitchen while ..... 
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Township Roads: Good Dog, Kacie

Fri, Aug 22nd, 2003
Posted in Columnists

We had to have our Dalmatian, Kacie, put to sleep this last week. It was a hard decision, one that we had put off as long as we possibly could. She was a good dog and it was hard for all of us.

At just seven years, Kacie was sti ..... 
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Another one from Flaherty: Something for nothing

Fri, Aug 22nd, 2003
Posted in Columnists

From what I have read in some of the more progressive garden magazines, ground covers are just as good as having grass, and if you know what you are doing, they wont cost you a cent. A case in point; my old friend and mentor, Malcolm Mildew. Malcolm ..... 
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Notes from a country kitchen

Fri, Aug 15th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

I know we need rain but the weather has been great for outdoor activities. Saturday we went on our annual hayride party out to Vickie and Dennis. I helped Vickie paint the wagon a week ago and Dennis and her put in such comfortable seats and we had ..... 
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Of People, Places and Things: A look back to 1874

Fri, Aug 15th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

A friend of mine from Dexter named Dale pulled up in my driveway the other day and handed me a cardboard box that was 15 inches wide by 18 inches tall by 2 inches thick and rather heavy.

The article we ran about Fillmore County ..... 
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At Home in the Woods: In Everyones Backyard

Fri, Aug 15th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Urban sprawl is encroaching on the Big Woods with proposals for twelve-house and four-house subdivisions. Urban sprawl increases pollution and use of natural resources. Due to our growing population, some of this is unavoidable, but are the huge hous ..... 
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