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"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Friday, July 29th, 2016
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A View From the Woods - Enduring trees


By Loni Kemp

Mon, Feb 16th, 2015
Posted in All Columnists

The view out my windows is all about trees. This morning bare branches wave and tall trunks sway in he frigid wind. For a brief few moments at sunrise, the sky glows pink behind the black tracery of living wood. Yesterday’s snow clings to horizontal branches of apple trees in the orchard, protected by a stand of towering pines planted long ago.

From here I observe most of the hardwood species present in our region. Our basic forest is sugar maple, basswood, red and white oak. Interspersed are walnut, butternut, bitternut hickory, elm, ash, black cherry, aspen, cottonwood, hackberry, box elder, ironwood and dogwood. It has taken years for me to be able to recognize individual species in winter, by their bark and overall shape. I still want to learn what kinds of ash, elm and aspen we have, as there are more than one variety of each.

Fillmore County was reported to be 12 percent wooded by an early survey in the 1850s. Today it is estimated that 35-40 percent of the land is wooded. This is surprising, since agriculture has continued to be the leading economic activity of this area. But local private forester Mitch Gilbert, speaking at a recent Harmony Garden Club meeting, explained that the natural landscape encountered by early white settlers was a product of fire. Both lightning and fires intentionally set by the Indians served to periodically burn off the young trees and grass, which provided better habitat for game and hunting. As the county was quickly settled, fires were suppressed. While active cropping and grazing keep out trees, much unfarmed marginal land, particularly in the eastern half of the county. has gradually turned to forest.

In the early days, every farm needed some wood for heating, cooking and making fenceposts. If a homestead didn’t have any woods, many farmers would buy small piece of woodland nearby, and cut their wood there. Several areas of Fillmore County are broken into numerous five-acre woodlots today, a remnant of those times. Our own land was a tangle of eight different plots that my husband, as a newly minted lawyer, had to clear titles to before we could buy it.

Gilbert also gave a vivid explanation of what trees really need to grow well. The vast majority of what trees use comes from the sun, the air (nitrogen and oxygen) and precipitation. The miracle of photosynthesis creates energy and sugars which are gradually built up into the roots, trunk, branches and lea .....
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A little of this, A little of that. 2-2-15

By Kathy Little

Mon, Feb 2nd, 2015
Posted in All Columnists

I love Minnesota in the spring. I love Minnesota in the summer. I love Minnesota in the fall. I do not love Minnesota in the winter At all! Blizzards, ice storms, wind chills, and slippery roads are not my definition of fun. Getting up at ..... 
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Becky's Food Tales - Have a bran-tastic day

By Becky Hoff

Mon, Jan 26th, 2015
Posted in All Columnists

Those who know me may be aware of the fact that I am not a morning person. Perhaps it is a holdover from years of working night shifts; I do not know. If you call my house before nine a.m., prepare to leave a message. I may be awake, but I am not ..... 
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Sue's Muse 1.4.16

By Sue Ommen

Sun, Jan 4th, 2015
Posted in All Columnists

Gilbert, the food addict Gilbert is a food addict. I thought this comment a comical assessment, as all dogs seem to be obsessed by food. An image comes to mind of my childhood black lab, Scout, gobbling the grilled hamburgers resting on a plate on ..... 
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Working Mom - 12.15.14

By Tammy Danielson

Mon, Dec 15th, 2014
Posted in All Columnists

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year Who remembers getting apples, nuts, and hard candy in a brown bag after their Sunday School Christmas program? I do and am not sure why, but my parents never seemed to be worried about me choking on the ..... 
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A little of this, A little of that.

By Kathy Little

Mon, Dec 8th, 2014
Posted in All Columnists

Once upon a time long, long ago in the small village of Preston; brothers Marshall and Herman Ebert owned a hardware store on the corner across the street from the Park Hotel. It stocked manly man stuff like shovels, hoes, rakes, lawn mowers and whe ..... 
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A View From the Woods

By Loni Kemp

Mon, Nov 24th, 2014
Posted in All Columnists

Climate Chaos We shivered through November days colder than ever before in Minnesota. Last spring was extremely wet. Summer was extraordinarily cool and pleasant. I recall the summer before was excruciatingly hot and humid. Rainfalls seem to com ..... 
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Becky's Food Tales

Mon, Nov 10th, 2014
Posted in All Columnists

By: Becky Hoff The Plight of the Pumpkin My friends, this is not a good time of year to be a pumpkin. In truth, it’s not a good time to be any sort of squash, but the round orange guys really get it this time of year. In October the frenzy bega ..... 
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The Working Mom

By Tammy Danielson

Mon, Nov 3rd, 2014
Posted in All Columnists

Minnesota Women and Flip-Flops Do you ever wonder if anyone loves flip-flops as much as Minnesota women love them? My husband does not understand my obsession so will continually ask me if I “really need so many pairs.” (Like they are taking u ..... 
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