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Friday, August 31, 2012


Friday, 8:45 AM.  70 degrees F, wind WNW, moderate with very strong gusts.  the sky is cloudless, the humidity low and the barometer high.  It’s a great, but challenging day for sailing.  As I looked out on t he channel this morning I saw a sailboat making good progress tacking into the wind.  It takes knowledge,  experience and skill to tack into the wind, but with the right helmsman it can be done.  What America needs now is a captain and crew that can tack into the wind and still make progress.  Watching the Republican convention last night I saw the leaders who can do it if we put them in charge of our Ship of State. 
    All of which got me thinking about Longfellow’s famous poem.  Looking it up so that I could quote it exactly I came across several modern allusions to the idiom.  All are very apropos to our current plight.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State!
Sail on, O Union, strong and great!
Humanity with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
We know what Master laid thy keel,
What Workmen wrought thy ribs of steel,
Who made each mast, and sail, and rope,
What anvils rang, what hammers beat,
In what a forge and what a heat
Were shaped the anchors of thy hope!
Fear not each sudden sound and shock,
’Tis of the wave and not the rock;
’Tis but the flapping of the sail,
And not a rent made by the gale!
In spite of rock and tempest’s roar,
In spite of false lights on the shore,
Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea!
Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee.
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,
Our faith triumphant o’er our fears,
Are all with thee,—are all with thee!

Simon and Garfunkle

Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
Oh, but I’m alright, I’m alright
I’m just weary to my bones
Still, you don’t expect to be
Bright and bon vivant
So far a-way from home, so far away from home

I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
Or driven to its knees
Oh, but it’s alright, it’s alright
For we lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the
Road we’re traveling on
I wonder what’s gone wrong
I can’t help it, I wonder what’s gone wrong

And I dreamed I was dying
I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high up above my eyes could clearly see
The statue of liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying

We come on the ship they call the mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the ages most uncertain hours
And sing an American tune
Oh, and it’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
You can’t be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow’s going to be another working day
And I’m trying to get some rest
That’s all, I’m trying to get some rest

Leonard Cohen

It’s coming from the sorrow in the street,
the holy places where the races meet;
from the homicidal bitchin’
that goes down in every kitchen
to determine who will serve and who will eat.
From the wells of disappointment
where the women kneel to pray
for the grace of God in the desert here
and the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.

It’s coming to America first,
the cradle of the best and of the worst.
It’s here they got the range
and the machinery for change
and it’s here they got the spiritual thirst.
It’s here the family’s broken
and it’s here the lonely say
that the heart has got to open
in a fundamental way:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It’s coming from the women and the men.
O baby, we’ll be making love again.
We’ll be going down so deep
the river’s going to weep,
and the mountain’s going to shout Amen!
It’s coming like the tidal flood
beneath the lunar sway,
imperial, mysterious,
in amorous array:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It’s coming through a hole in the air,
from those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It’s coming from the feel
that this ain’t exactly real,
or it’s real, but it ain’t exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
from the fires of the homeless,
from the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
It’s coming through a crack in the wall;
on a visionary flood of alcohol;
from the staggering account
of the Sermon on the Mount
which I don’t pretend to understand at all.
It’s coming from the silence
on the dock of the bay,
from the brave, the bold, the battered
heart of Chevrolet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

And when we finally get that tailwind, we will fly before it as never before.  Keep the faith, it’s coming, it’s coming!


Thursday, August 30, 2012






Thursday, 8:00 AM.  73 degrees F, wind WSW, light with stronger gusts.  The sky is almost cloudless but there is a lot of haze, the humidity is 54% and the barometer predicts rain.  It looks like a front is moving in from the west, and it will probably be a rather hot, muggy day.
   I have a meeting regarding residents who want to cut city and other trees to improve their views of the lake.  This whole subject is a tar baby, and once broached everyone is stuck in the mess.  I'll keep you infomed.
   The red '06 Chevy pickup truck got traded in on a silver '08 Honda Ridgeline.  I need a truck, but the standard pickup was more truck than I needed.  The Ridgeline is smaller all the way around, has a more car-like ride and handling and is easier to get in and out of. It also has four doors, and some nice amenities for old folks, such as the dual acting tailgate that makes loading and unloading many things much easier.  We use the truck for all our traveling, and a better ride and improved gas mileage should be a boon.  Nothing wrong with the Chevy, though, it served us well.
   We watched the Republican Convention last evening and the speeches were by and large on target, and some quite inspiring.  Paul Ryan came across not as a policy wonk but as a well rounded and philosophically grounded candidate. Condolisa Rice was amazingly passionate in defense of our founding principles and the promise of America, and Susana Martinez, the Latina Governor of New Mexico, blew everyone away with her story and that of her family.  We are a nation of immigrants, a resourceful, upbeat, self-reliant people.  When we stray from what and who we are, we loose our way.  And we have been led badly astray!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012




Wednesday, 8:15 AM.  67 degrees, wind WSW, calm.  The sky is cloudless, the humidity 57%, and the barometer has begun to trend down.  There is the usual haze in the east.  It should be a seasonably warm but pleasant day.
    Buddy has a new companion, Peppermint Patty, Sherman and Jane’s beagle/springer mix.  They make a cute pair and run like the wind together.  The puppy has a hard time keeping up, but in another couple of months her legs will be as long as his and she will give him a run for his money.
    The first real manufacturing in America was that of guns; they were an absolute necessity for hunting, self-protection and warfare, and during Colonial times had to be imported from Europe.  That all changed with the Revolution, and it was the guns of the east that won the west.  Iconic names like Colt and Remington still are manufactured in New York and Massachusetts,
    That may change with impending legislation in those states that will mandate that identification marks specific to each firearm made be microscopically engraved on the firing pin.  This to ostensibly help identify guns used in crimes.  Whether this is important or not is doubtful, since this is not national, but state legislation.
    It seems more likely to me that it is merely a new facet of anti-gun and anti-gun owner legislation that is typical of many mostly eastern, ultra-liberal states of the Union.  The gun manufacturers are complaining loudly about this latest intrusion into their business, and are talking about moving to western states that do not have an anti-gun bias. 
    Firearms manufacturing, although highly skilled, does not employ a lot of people and New York and Massachusetts may well decide to force them out to placate their left-wing element.  But the issue is, I fear, emblematic of the anti-business, busybody, “you’ll do as the government says,” attitude of the liberal establishment. 
    In my lifetime I have seen all kinds and types of businesses move out of state, or even out of country, because of such harassment.  I am still wondering when Gibson Guitar Company will leave our shores because of the idiotic bullying of the Obama administration. 
    In any case, the guns that won the west may end up being made there.  "Go West, young gun!"

Tuesday, August 28, 2012





7:30 AM.  66 degrees F, wind SSW, calm.  The sky is cloudless with some haze in the east.  The humidity is  52% and the barometer is high.  Another terrific day ahead.
    There are spectacular marsh mallows Althea officianallis (in the Hibiscus family), available today (these are for gardens, not for roasting).  They are fairly hardy perennials and quite adaptable although they want adequate moisture.  I find their 8” flowers overpowering, rather like giant dahlias;  fine if one wants a tropical effect, or a very bold statement in the garden, but not otherwise very useful.  They are, however, quite beautiful.  Those pictured are in  the very nice garden at the entrance to the Bayfield boat launch.
    The marsh mallow plant is native to Europe and the Middle East and has been used as  both a wild and cultivated  food source (the roots are edible) and for medicinal purposes (sore throat and similar maladies, also kidney stones) since ancient Roman and Egyptian times.  In Europe extracts of the roots mixed with sugar and later egg whites became a popular confection that eventually evolved into the marshmallow we roast over the campfire, which, sadly, has none of the actual mallow extract in its recipe. Like many things in modern life, the marshmallow has been over-improved.

Monday, August 27, 2012



Monday, 8:30 AM.  70 degrees F, wind SW, calm at present but breezy a while ago.  The sky is cloudless with some haze in the east, the humidity is 40% and the barometer is up.  It will be a warm but pleasant late summer day.
    Chicory, Chicorium intybus, in the Composite family, is one of my favorite roadside weeds, as it is one of only a very few truly blue wildflowers of summer.  It thrives along sterile roadsides where little else will grow.  I don’t see as much of it north as further south.  It is of European origin, where it is (or at least was) much used as a winter salad, the roots dug up, potted and grown indoors and deprived of light, producing tender, blanched leaves.  The roasted and ground roots have long been added to coffee, both in Europe and in  the US South, and commercial mixtures of coffee and chicory are, I believe, still available.  It imparts a slightly bitter flavor to coffee but makes it less acid.  Chicory also had use in the treatment of tuberculosis in the past, before antibiotics.
    One of the biggest challenges for both political parties in the months before the Presidential election will be to formulate and articulate a coherent policy on how to deal with so-called entitlements, primarily Social Security and Medicare.  I have to inform the politicians and pundits that most of their worries are misguided. 
    The common approach to the present under-funding of these programs is to incorrectly assume that the present ascending cost curves are unending.  I have news for them;  mostly the straight lines on the graph represent nothing more than a temporary population blip (Baby Boomers) or perhaps a rise to a new plateau that will at worst level off and with the usual luck of human history fall drastically in the future due to the relentless actions of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (war, poverty, ignorance, disease).
    The first man to leave his footprints  on the moon, Neil Armstrong, died the other day at 82 years of age, despite having the very best of medical care.  My good friend Tom died  last week at the age of seventy-five, despite having lived with terrible health habits for much of his life. Not much difference between the two lifespans. Most of my contemporaries will see they have one foot in the grave, if they bother to take a realistic look downward.  So do I.  I  read the other day that the longest recorded human life was 122, and that out of billions of modern recorded deaths.
    Relax, folks.  All we have to do is figure out how to fund a passing population blip and a few extra statistical life-years. Not exactly rocket science, and your life-insurance agent should be able to figure it out.  Nature is going to take care of most of the problem.  To quote the bible, "The span of a man's life is three score years and ten." Our life span is predetermined in our genes, or as the Gypsy used to say, in the palm of your hand. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012



Sunday, 7:30 AM.  70 degrees F, wind W, calm o very  light.  The sky is overcast, the humidity is 70% and it feels like rain, but the barometer predicts sunny weather.  I predict a few morning showers. We will see.
    Early turning of leaves can be a sign of drought, or of unseasonably warm weather, or it can be a sign of stress from disease or environmental pollutants such as, characteristically, road salt. Maples and conifers are particularly sensitive to salt, and can show damage just from drifted salt spray quite a ways downwind of a heavily traveled road.
    There is a sugar maple in Fountain Garden Park that has been in decline for several years.  Branches are dying from the top of the tree down, leaves turning red and falling throughout the summer.  This is obviously not early fall coloration.  This condition and appearance is characteristic of maple wilt (Verticillium), a bacterial disease usually fatal to all species of maple, as well as some other species and genera of plants.  The disease affects the conductive tissues pf the plant just under the bark, and a pretty certain diagnosis can be made by cutting a cross section of a young branch, which will display an olive colored ring just under the bark.  I have not done this as yet but I am certain the tree has maple wilt. Occasionally a tree might be saved by applying high doses of nitrogen fertilizer to stimulate growth, but that can kill the tree also.  The disease spreads by root grafts and contamination of healthy trees by pruning tools that have been used on infected trees.  It is a good idea to always sterilize pruning tools with alcohol or bleach after each cut when pruning any diseased tree or shrub.  Keeping a tree healthy through proper fertilizing, watering and pruning is the best way to prevent infection.
    When a plant has succumbed to a disease, the same species should never be planted in its place, as most diseases are specific to a particular host.  If replanting in the same spot that a maple has succumbed to maple wilt, be sure to get the latest information on what other species can be planted that are not susceptible to Verticillium wilt.
    Buddy is by nature a wide-ranging pointer, who loves to run like the wind in tall grass.  Probably more adapted to pheasants and quail than grouse. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012








Saturday, 8:45 AM.  74 degrees F, wind WSW, calm at ground level.  The sky is partly cloudy with high, thin white clouds.  The humidity is 46% and the barometer is rising.  It will be a warm late summer day, and worthy of an evening convertible ride.
    Signs of fall are beginning to be evident, perhaps a week or so early (as will be the apple crop).  A lone highbush cranberry on 10th  and Manypenny is outrageously colorful.  Sumac leaves are turning. American chestnuts are ripening.  Birch trees on Myers-Olsen Road are yellowing, as are sensitive ferns in the roadside ditches. Last evening there were turkeys along Hwy 13, and the deer were so active  I drove under fifty all the way to Cornucopia and back. Several day s ago there was a huge raft of Canada geese on lower Chequamegon Bay. Fall is on its way.

Thursday, August 23, 2012




Friday, 7:45 AM.  68 degrees F, wind W, calm.  The sky  is partly cloudy with high, thin gray clouds.  The humidity is 55%, the and the barometer predicts rain.  We had a torrential downpour with thunder and lightning last night between 2:00 and 3:00 AM that left  us an inch of rain and a lot of fallen leaves and spruce cones.
    Tom, my oldest and closest friend, died yesterday.  I guess that is still the proper term to use when they take you off life support.  Maybe they should say, “died for good,” or something to indicate that you were already, technically, dead.  Tom had a good run at life, but you can’t beat the odds for ever, and he had been doing so for a number of years.
    I haven’t begun to grieve as yet, since I had pretty well figured his luck had run out this time.  But, Tom was a fighter, and one could never count him out.  I prayed that he would beat the odds one more time, but I can’t fault God for claiming one of his own at last.
    I figure Tom will visit me in my dreams from time to time just as Larry, a mutual friend of our youth, often does.  In my dream I  will be on the job (Larry and I worked together for years) and Larry will ask me to climb down into the ditch with him, or go get a beer with him, and I  will say, “Larry, I can’t come with you, you’re dead!” and then wake up.  Tommy will probably ask me to get in the fishing boat with him, and one day I probably will.
    Our culture makes a distinction between life and death, dream time and waking, but, and strange as it seems to us, many other cultures see these different states as a continuum, or as alternative states of existence.  Those are probably truer views of time and reality than our own.
      As one ages one lives as much in the past as in the present, and that is perhaps why I  have not begun yet  to grieve for Tommy, since he still lives strongly in my past.  I didn't say memory; the past is more than that.  The past is tangible, we can grasp it if we wish.  And if we wish hard enough we can grasp the future as well.  See you then, old friend.




Thursday, 9:00 AM.  68 degrees F, wind WSW, very light.  The sky is overcast with rain clouds, and we got about .5” of rain last night, so I won’t have to water today.  The barometer predicts partly cloudy skies so we may may not get  more.
    We are slowly getting back to normal after the grueling trip to the airport on Monday, but now Buddy is bored!  It is very obvious he misses being poked, pulled and prodded by a four year old little girl.  I know he also  misses those morning walks with three people to run around and check in with. Maybe he could do he vacuuming.  Dogs can’t speak but they can communicate non-verbally quite well.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012





Wednesday, 8:30 AM.  66 degrees F, wind W, calm.  The sky  has a few high, thin white clouds, the humidity is 45% and the barometer is trending down.  It is a beautiful morning.
    Signs of fall are beginning to be evident now, the earliest apples are ripe and there are fallen apples on the ground in neighborhood yards.  On our Monday trip to Minneapolis sumac and red maples were turning here and there.  The daisy-fleabane, Erigeron annuus, in the composite family (looks somewhat like a fall aster) is a summer annual and is beginning to show its age.  I think it will be an earlier than usual fall.  I hope we get adequate rain as we are still short on moisture from the drought earlier.
    The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has chastised retired military who are criticizing President Obama, stating that the military should remain "apolitical."  That is true for active duty personnel, but not for retirees.  Retired military (which once included almost every male citizen ) has not only a right, but a duty to comment on politics, and participate actively if so moved.  We have had generals as President (Washington Jackson, Grant, Eisenhower).  Should they not have served? I don't know what the others would have done if they had been told they couldn't  participate in politics, but Jackson would have knifed someone.  The Chairman is himself being "political" in trying to muzzle a major group of citizens.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012




Tuesday, 7:30 AM.  66 degrees F, wind W, light with moderate gusts.  The humidity is low, the barometer high, and the sky is partly cloudy with high, thin white clouds.  A weak font may be moving in.
    It was a long trip to the airport and back, and Allison chattered all the way there.  By the time we drove home on Hwy. 63 and stopped for dinner at the Chinese restaurant in Hayward, Leslie and Allison were back home in Texas.  It sure is quiet this morning.

Monday, August 20, 2012





Monday, 7:30 AM.  60 degrees F, wind W, light.  The sky is partly cloudy with mixed white and gray clouds.  The barometer is trending down but the humidity is low.  I imagine we may get a shower or two sometime today.
    Leslie and Allison are flying back to Texas today and we are leaving shortly to take them to the Minneapolis airport.  We have had a great time, but everyone has to get back to their routines.  Yesterday Alison played quite a bit with Gabe and Cooper, the boys next door, and after dinner we all roasted marshmallows. It was a nice, relaxed visit and we are so happy they could come.  Buddy will miss his little playmate and her mom, as will Grandma and Grandpa.

Sunday, August 19, 2012




    Leslie and Allison are flying back to Texas today and we are leaving shortly to take them to the Minneapolis airport.  We have had a great time, but everyone has to get back to their routines.  Yesterday Alison played quite a bit with Gabe and  , the boys next door, and after dinner we all roasted marshmallows. It was a nice, relaxed visit and we are so happy they could come.




Sunday, 8:00 AM.  62 degrees F, wind W, light.  The sky is virtually cloudless, the humidity 45% and the barometer high.  It looks like a "perfect ten" day.  Yesterday afternoon and evening we had a few brief showers that left only some puddles in the driveway, but were welcome just the same.
    Yesterday morning we were dismayed to see garbage strewn from one end of our block on Tenth St. to the other, a truly disgusting mess.  A young man who shall remain anonymous had left his old pickup truck packed with garbage on the street overnight (Why? Who’s was it? Where was he taking it? How long had it been there?  Who knows?). And our resourceful bear opened the back of  the truck, got in and pulled it all out and ate any and all of the good stuff.  Now, I admit that this is an annoying bear, but it is also very smart, as he had to turn a handle and lift the back window to get inside.  The word is out that he graduated top in his class in bite school ( Old BU, Bruin University), where he majored in Dumpster Diving.  He was  an accomplished athlete, and set the state record in the Garbage Toss.
     I also think it is a Republican bear and can read, as the old truck sports Obama stickers and various left wing manifestos.  I hasten to say that I disapprove of campaign tactics of this sort, no matter whether from the left or the right.
     So I will denounce the bear as not a true Republican, but a member of some radical fringe element, such as the Trash Party.
    On the other hand, if he were a candidate for office one could be assured that he would aggressively pursue his agenda. Perhaps he should be a write in candidate for Senator. I don’t know how he would handle a news conference; probably any way he wanted to. 

Friday, August 17, 2012


Saturday, 7:30 AM.  60 degrees F, wind changeable at ground level, but with dark rain clouds moving slowly in from the North.  The barometer predicts partly cloudy weather and the humidity is only 40%, but it has begun to rain a bit and it looks like a gale may blow in from the lake.
        I have always known that friend and neighbor Eric Fredenberg grew up as a “military brat,” but nothing more.  His father, Major William R. Fredenberg, recently died at the age of eighty-nine in Inverness, Florida, and his obituary in our local paper fills in the blanks, and gives me ample information for this small tribute to a mighty warrior.
        Major Fredenberg was a proud member of the Wisconsin Menominee Indian Tribe and also a highly decorated veteran of the United States Air Force.
    Joining the Air Force in 1942, he was shot down over France in 1944 on his 37th mission as a dive bomber pilot, and was captured by the Nazis.  He then led an escape from a prisoner train, and fought with the Free French resistance until the Liberation.  He received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Clusters for his bravery.  In his continuing Air Force career, he became a flight instructor and then once again fought in combat in Vietnam as a gun ship pilot and received another Distinguished Flying Cross for his “courage, skill and resolute determination.”  He retired from active duty in 1969.  His funeral is being held this morning at Keshena on the Menomonee Indian Reservation.
    We seldom really know the "story" of our friends and neighbors, or that of their family.  The story of Major Fredenberg, who grew up on an obscure Wisconsin Indian Reservation and rose to high military rank and honor in the service of his country, is one worth knowing.   America has become a more and more divisive place of late, and his was a life that honors and unites us all.






Friday, 7;45 AM.  60 degrees F, wind W, calm.  The sky is blue, the humidity is 50%, and the barometer predicts partly cloudy skies.  It will be a fine day.
        Yesterday we drove down to the Delta Diner for lunch.  It is always fun and they have a rather eclectic menu, so we all ate our fill of whatever turned us on, to the point that we only wanted a light supper.  It was, as usual, a nice drive back on the National Forest road 240, from Hwy 2 to Hwy C .  Plans have changed, so Leslie and Allison are flying back to Texas on Monday (from Minneapolis).  We are glad to have them a few more days.
        The bear got into the neighbor’s garbage again, stepped in paint or something similar and left a trail back to the woods.  Big bear.  Keep the garage door closed.
    I have a nodding Trillium in the front yard (Trillium cernuum, in the Lily family) that has borne fruit; its characteristic, ridged red berry.  Some sources say it is edible, some say it is not.  It evidently had some feminine uses in American Indian herbal medicine.  It is a nice looking berry, probably seldom seen because it is hidden under the leaves; the fruit encloses several small seeds, and the fleshy pulp resembles that of a ripe plum and does not have an objectionable taste, but I do not suggest eating it.

Thursday, August 16, 2012







Thursday, 7:45 AM.  65 degrees F, wind NW, breezy, with dark storm clouds swirling around and over Bayfield.  The humidity is 60%, the barometer is down and we got about a quarter of an inch of rain last night.  It is a mixed morning but will probably clear up.
        Yesterday we saw a beautiful great blue heron in the backwaters of the Sioux River, right near the Hwy. 13 bridge.  It could have been a Monet painting, if Monet had painted birds.
        Yesterday evening we had camp dinner at Andy and Judy’s place. Grilled paprika chicken, sweet corn, sides, and watermelon. Allison had a fine time in Andy’s apple-tree house.  The first level is just enough adventure for a four year old.  Judy says the upper level is for five-and-up.