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Journal Writing Project


Fri, Oct 11th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

Over 1000 years ago, on a cold, windy day (all days are cold and windy on the North Atlantic) a lone wooden ship landed on the coast of North America, probably somewhere on Newfoundland. The men who disembarked were expert sailors and explorers led by a man named Leif Ericsson. Leif the Lucky, as he was also known, was the first reliably documented explorer to reach North America. In his homeland of Norway and the United States, October 9 is celebrated as Leif Ericsson Day in recognition of his achievement. As many people in SE Minnesota have Scandinavian, British, or Irish blood, and as I am half Norwegian myself, I chose to write this first column about a subject of interest to us all: the many good achievements of our Viking ancestors.First of all, the Vikings were not just bloodthirsty warriors in horned hats who pillaged monasteries and small, defenseless towns. The horned hats are just a fiction created by Hollywood, and while the Vikings did loot and pillage many monasteries and towns, they had another side. The Vikings, or Norsemen as they often were called, were the penultimate explorers and traders of their day.During the Viking heyday, from the 790’s to the early 1000’s, Norse longships carried trade goods all across Europe. From Denmark, Vikings traded with the French, English, and Irish, and turned the North Sea into a highway. They raided France and the British Isles, and controlled most of England for many years. Because of this, it is likely that anyone who has Irish or English ancestors also has at least one Viking somewhere in the family tree. The Vikings also sailed throughout the Mediterranean Sea and traded in Spain, along France’s southern coast, and in North Africa. From Norway, Viking explorers discovered and settled Iceland. Eric the Red, after being banished from Iceland, led the first colonists to Greenland, which he named “Green Land” in order to encourage more settlers. His son Leif then used Greenland as the starting point for his expeditions to North America. From Sweden, the Vikings sailed across the Baltic to Russia. From there they went up the rivers, hauling their long, narrow, and shallow ships from one river to another, eventually reaching the Black Sea and Constantinople. The impressive trading influence of the Vikings did not last. By AD 1070, the Norsemen were no longer a major force in European affairs. However, their brief period of power has had a great impact on the mo .....
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Of People, Places and Things- The Journal's Birthday

Fri, Oct 11th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

Overheard at Wheelers Bar & Grill in Harmony a few weeks ago:  Two older men are having lunch. One of the men asks another man who has just come into the restaurant what he has been doing all morning.  [Read the Rest]

Notes from a Country Kitchen

Fri, Oct 4th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

Today my column is dedicated to the gentle man whose body was found Saturday evening Sept. 21st in a ditch just north or Prosper. Isn't it terrible we wait till someone is dead before we can say something good about them. Kris Olson director of Sunri ..... 
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The Commute

Fri, Oct 4th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

When I was a child, we had portraits in our home of the Pope, former president John F. Kennedy, Harmon Killebrew and Tony Oliva of the Minnesota Twins. So it should be no surprise that I hold baseball players in high esteem.

Th ..... 
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Township Roads

Fri, Oct 4th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

I have noticed that a lot of people I know are married. My wife and I are married. Her parents are married. So are mine. Most of our aunts and uncles are married. Most of our friends are married. People we know who were married quite a while ago and ..... 
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Another One From Flaherty

Fri, Oct 4th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

Just about everyone knows what Columbus did in 1492, but almost no one knows what Heathcliff Hammarschlagg did in the year 845. What he did was, he discovered America is what he did. Both North and South and with only one ship, the Torsk, Heathcliff ..... 
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At Home in the Woods

Fri, Sep 27th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

It's a relief that 9/11 has come and gone with no additional terrorist attacks. But, it seems that there is still a lot to worry about--impending war with Iraq, more attacks, West Nile and other exotic viruses, the lagging economy and climate change. ..... 
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Prairie Notes-For Richer and Poorer

Fri, Sep 27th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

It’s been raining wedding invitations lately at our house. There’d been a drought for a few years—just long enough for this guest to gain a few years in age, if not in wisdom. I’m not much on ceremony, but weddings interest me. Like many people, I’ve ..... 
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Does It Matter?

Fri, Sep 27th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

I don’t normally write about national politics, but I have been troubled by recent events in Washington, in particular the move by the Bush Administration to seek Congressional approval for the President to take military action against Iraq. & ..... 
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