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COURTESY OF MARK DAUBLE 
While I didn’t have the right camera equipment to capture the total solar eclipse its full glory, my friend Mark did. Here are his shots from the Nebraska field – two excellent eclipse photos, plus a shot of me under the big sky.
COURTESY OF MARK DAUBLE While I didn’t have the right camera equipment to capture the total solar eclipse its full glory, my friend Mark did. Here are his shots from the Nebraska field – two excellent eclipse photos, plus a shot of me under the big sky.
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Wednesday, September 20, 2017 7:51 PM

Well... WELL… WELL! . . . (Am I allowed to insert a super, wondrously amazed smilie emoji here?? Haha…)

I’d been talking about it since March . . . the TOTAL. ECLIPSE. OF. THE. SUN.

Yes, it deserved all caps to spell it out then – and certainly deserves them after the occurrence.

  • Well... WELL… WELL! . . . (Am I allowed to insert a super, wondrously amazed smilie emoji here?? Haha…)

    I’d been talking about it since March . . . the TOTAL. ECLIPSE. OF. THE. SUN.

    Yes, it deserved all caps to spell it out then – and certainly deserves them after the occurrence.

  • Using a combination of vegetables available from our gardens right now seems to make sense for a pasta salad. Cherry tomatoes are growing in abundance in my backyard, while parsley and chives grow prolifically in the front yard.

    Coupled with broccoli, summer squash, green pepper, and tri-color rotini pasta, a colorful combination is created. By adding cubes of fresh mozzarella cheese and a can of kidney beans, one can have a meal in a salad.

  • Loss of habitat has contributed to a 26 percent decline in Minnesota’s pheasant index compared to last year. The 2017 pheasant index is 32 percent below the 10-year average and 62 percent below the long-term average. Minnesota lost about 686,800 acres of Conservation Reserve Program acres statewide since 2007.
  • Wind Cave National Park – located around a dozen miles north of Hot Springs, S.D. – has long been one of my favorite parks. I recall the first time I visited, the rolling prairie hills with scattered pine trees just shouted to me, “This is the West you’ve expected!”
  • Road trip inspires great memories, lots of stories
    A just-completed trip west to see the total solar eclipse of Aug. 21 was set up to be “open-ended.” There were other sights – and sites, too! – that could be seen if both members of our traveling party so decided. The trip could be extended.
    And yes, it evolved into a full-fledged road trip, I’ve concluded, now home nearly three weeks later. I’m at once happy to be home, but also melancholy – missing the ground covered… the new experiences and the people met.
  • It's nice to know we're still nice in Minnesota
    A long time ago, I wrote about seeing everyday things through new eyes. At the time, I was writing about hosting guests from St. Petersburg, Russia, on their first trip outside of the Soviet Union. This past week, I was again hosting someone on her first trip to Minnesota.
  • Heart swells with arrival of great-niece

    I have fallen head over heels in love with our newest member of the family, Emily Claire Marlatt. My great-niece was born on Aug. 26, at 5:25 a.m. in Rota, Spain. Her parents are my niece, Katelyn, and her husband, Chris, who is currently stationed at the Naval base there. Miss Emily was 9 pounds, 7 ounces, when she was born and was 22 and 1/8 inches long.

    I learned of her arrival in the middle of the night, here in Minnesota, when Katelyn posted her little family’s first “selfie,” with Emily cradled between Chris and Katelyn, looking so beautiful. Her parents’ joy was evident by their smiles and expressions of complete adoration.

  • There is a stoplight on the corner by our new building in the big city. It is a fairly major street and also a busy corner. There is a post office on one of the corners, a small but very busy grocery store on another, a bank on the third and we are the fourth.
  • This past Wednesday I drove up to St. Paul for the 64th crowning of Princess Kay of the Milky Way. Abby Hopp of Chatfield made the 12 finalists and was vying for the crown. Unfortunately, she didn’t win, but she did an excellent job and was just gorgeous on stage. Her proud parents are Heather and Doug Hopp, also of Chatfield.
  • Fod for the Neighborhood: Beet stir fry another way to enjoy summer vegetables
    This week’s featured recipe was created kind of by accident. I had some yellow and Chioggia beets in my fridge, along with garden cauliflower and Caraflex cabbage, also taking up fridge space.
  • Last year when I spent a lot of time walking to and from town on the trail between the camper at the Old Barn and town, it was always good thinking time. At least as important, there was always a changing landscape to behold.
  • The fall sports seasons get underway on Monday, Aug. 14. It’s hard to imagine that summer vacation is over for another year. I swear that time is no longer handled by knuckleball pitchers, but instead is being taken over by the fastball pitchers. I just had to get a sports analogy in there for how fast time is flying by.
  • Journey vs. Destination: Help decide ‘10Best’ attractions in the Midwest for USA Today
    I bet there are a lot of readers out there who – just like me – get excited when they see a list of attractions to be seen. I especially like it when I see lists for the Midwest, since it’s easier to make a trip somewhat close to home. And you’ll find me looking at the list carefully to tally the attractions and locations I’ve visited, while making note of where I’d still like to go.
  • For the Birds: Church bulletins inspire acts of kindness
    I petted a nonaggressive bumblebee on a flower. It was a thrill for me. A minor annoyance to the bee.
  • A long time ago there was a photo in a newspaper of a bunch of diaper-clad babies crawling across a room to “the finish line.” Parents were on the sidelines, cheering and urging their particular little one to go faster, to win the race. I saved that and in the classes I taught about intercultural communication I used it as an illustration of how we, in our culture, learn to compete. We instill that individually competitive spirit at a very young age.
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