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The Funnel, Deer Mountain, Bear Claw, Wolf Valley, The Lake and now The Foothills are names we have given the places where we deer hunt. It’s usually the first guy who harvests a deer at that spot who gives the place its name or the person who found it. Naming a place makes it a subject for …

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I vividly remember those nights in Rockton after a heavy snowfall. From as far back as I can remember, my Dad would gear up, step out in to the dark and start his monstrous red snow blower. Well, it seemed monstrous to me anyway. 

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After Thanksgiving, I’m ready for crunchy food after an abundance of soft, mushy food.  Let me explain. First, Thanksgiving is a much-anticipated meal. Who doesn’t love mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, stuffing, corn soufflé, green bean casserole, and warm baked rolls? They all mak…

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Deer season, pheasant season, duck season and now ice fishing is knocking on the door. But how safe is the ice and how can you know what’s safe and what’s unsafe. To get all the answers, techniques and methods of checking ice I had to contact the Fish Whisperer, Jon McCorkle, and here is 70 …

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Today I had the opportunity to hike the trails at Warner Nature Center for the last time.  The trails were open on certain days for volunteers before the Center closes at the end of this year.  I usually had a trail of happy kids following me. Their excited and joyful voices usually overwhel…

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Sometimes, I think that certain ailments are like a “hard reset” of sorts for the human body. It always seems that stressful situations build up causing my brain to “reboot” in the form of a migraine. When I do get one, they’re bad - really bad. So bad, in fact, that I’m incapable of doing a…

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A Happy Thanksgiving to you. I hope you get to enjoy the company of friends and family over a meal and drama free conversation.

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I try not to mess with my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. We make the same things every year: slow-roasted turkey with Grandpa’s famous stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes, sweet baked yams, my mom’s green bean casserole, and my corn soufflé. If I tried to change anything my family would fire me,…

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The Deer Shack is no more. Our residence for the Wisconsin deer season, an old mobile home in the woods with no water or electricity, was sold by the owner right before the deer opener. We are now a homeless bunch of deer hunters and the deer season is just around the corner. We are definite…

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In the next few months, Stillwater residents are going to lose the only independent pharmacy in Stillwater. Lakeview Community Pharmacy is located within Stillwater Medical Group Clinic. The last day of operation is January 20, 2020. No one imagined the community pharmacy would close when La…

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I believe there is a fine line between complaining and constructive criticism. In any profession, people make mistakes, miss the mark, or otherwise fail to reach certain subset standards according to the company, the customer, or whoever it may be. It’s how those shortcomings are addressed t…

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Old dogs and old men can surprise you. Don’t mistake snow on the roof, Grey Hair, because if there is a fire burning in the fireplace or in the heart, that old man and old dog could leave you speechless. That’s what happened on our last trip to North Dakota.  Nala is the old dog in this scen…

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Just the other day, I saw something that I never thought I would be excited to see. I was driving past Horse Lake and saw a complete, thin sheet of ice covered in a dusting of snow and my face turned into an eager smile. Ice fishing is nearly upon us.

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For those whose remember spending hours in classrooms working on the flourish of your letter “l” and getting the curve of the lower case “g” just right, a trend in recent legislation may make your efforts relevant once again.

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My main household duties for the last three decades were chief grocery shopper, chef, and “magician of all things food.”  Well, that ended abruptly.  Our kids have flown the nest and it’s just my husband and me. Apparently, we don’t eat very much.

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Birds are all around us. We watch them migrate; we sit for hours at windows and observe them at bird feeders. We look up when spring and fall flights pass overhead and sound off in large flocks. We observe them through an early evening sky, feasting on insects while diving and soaring throug…

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As Veterans Day nears, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our active and retired military personnel for their service to our country. At a time when many of our young men and women are protecting our interests overseas, we sometimes lose sight of the duty and sacrifices of the m…

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One of my first issues that needed addressing in my writing when I started as an editor was opinionated voice. I didn’t dip my toes into the waters of journalism; I dove in headfirst. So, in my first few stories I had no idea that opinion in the media is a no-no and wrote mine in a sentence …

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Well, Halloween and fall are over, Christmas and winter are coming up soon. Oh, and there’s that slight detour for Thanksgiving to deal with. 

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Around this time last year, my wife and I decided to go see one of our favorite bands, Blue October. They were set to play at First Avenue in Minneapolis and we were more than excited to go. “Alternative rock” is really the only genre you can try to squeeze them into, but they range from lou…

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I was recalling some of the Halloweens of my youth and remembered an incident that occurred in the fall and scared the Dickens out of me. I’m not sure what category this falls into: horror, comedy or adolescent stupidity, but here is my tale of the night my friends and I knocked on the door …

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Most nights when I get home from work, the last thing I feel like doing is cooking. My new job is labor intensive. When I get home, the couch and take-out look like paradise.  I know other people feel the same way I do, because I see them at the same restaurants I go for take-out or at the l…

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We just had six puppies on the porch. It was Briar’s first litter, albeit unplanned. In 1976 I had my first litter, also unplanned.  That’s two mistakes in nearly 50 years of owning, raising and breeding dogs. Science claims dogs were not originally a mistake. There is archaeological evidenc…

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Going through my many, many emails one day, I noticed I had a press release from NASA Night Sky Network. The title of that article reads, “The Messenger crosses the Sun: Mercury transit 2019.” 

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“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

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Last week, I enjoyed meeting the president of Spy House Coffee in Minneapolis. We hit it off immediately and started talking about all things food. We kept circling back to seasonal foods and eating them at their peak, especially maple syrup, blueberries, and pumpkin. 

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Put your Smartphone away, don’t believe the weatherman and do not check anything online if you’re wondering what kind of winter we’re going to have. You’d get more precise information after walking through some oaks, husking corn and looking at a few bugs. That’s what the Farmer’s Almanac do…

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My wife always finds it funny when I react with some disdain to the weather in this area. “Yep, that’s what happens up here. You’re just going to have to get used to it,” she likes to say. Last year was especially comical to her when this area had one of the snowiest, and one of the coldest …

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In 1992, Bruce Springsteen came out with a song called 57 Channels (Nothin’ On). The protagonist in the song keeps trying to find viewing enjoyment, but ends up shooting his television and going to jail.

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Located along Lake Michigan on the east side of Wisconsin, Door County is home to more than 12 orchards. For many years, Door County produced 10 percent of all cherries grown in the United States. In addition to cherries, they're well known for apples, too. It’s a beautiful place. 

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Everyone ages 7 to 70 was sitting around a roaring campfire, telling stories, reliving memories of the past and creating new ones the night before the Wisconsin Waterfowl opener.  All were a part of what Paul Smith, outdoor editor of The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel, called the oldest duck cam…

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When my children were young, they attended summer classes at Lee and Rose Warner Nature Center near our home in Scandia, Minnesota. More than once while dropping them off, I heard comments from kids who had ridden the bus from St. Paul.

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Our publisher once told me, “Matt, life is a series of plane crashes. You can either sit in the dirt and cry, or you can dust yourself off and get on the next flight.” Gee, thanks, Tom!

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There’s been an ongoing war at my house between the native population and my family.

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Being the cook in the family has the advantage of getting to choose what I feel like cooking or baking. I cook, I choose. Simple. Family members can always make requests, but I get to decide, ultimately. 

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My wife Nancee’ and I were asleep when I heard Kova, a dog I was boarding, bark an angry bark from his travel crate on the porch. A second later we heard scratching just below our bedroom window that scared Nancee.  BEAR!!! Simultaneously, I realized I forgot to let our 2 house dogs back int…

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Growing up near Rockford, Illinois, I always had dreams of moving south when I grew up. Palm Trees, oceans, and hot weather – not a snowflake in sight all year. Needless to say, sitting here in Osceola writing my first column for The Sun and Country Messenger means those plans must have changed.