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Greetings from what still feels to me like a foreign state, knowing it’s my second-to-last deadline at the paper. Since announcing my departure last week many readers have been offering well wishes, for which I’m very grateful. (Those who have nothing nice to say have said nothing at all, fo…

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It began for me a few weeks ago as a tickle in my throat, caused by sinus drainage. By the time I realized that my old friend ragweed had come to call, I was nursing a sore throat. After a full court press of allergy medicine, sinus rinsing, nasal spray and some vitamin C drops, I was no lon…

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Is there anything better after a long week than a hunk of delicious cheese and a glass of wine? I’m trying hard not to say, “I love cheese,” but I can’t help myself.

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That first pair of blue winged teal came in fast and low on the opening day of the early season. It took a moment to make that positive identification before we were able to shoot and that was all it took. Cutting in low and fast they were in and out before we could get off a good clean shot…

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September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. With the number of people dying by suicide increasing in Minnesota and across the country, it’s important to take time this month to raise awareness of this public health crisis and steps we can all take.

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When I started as editor of the Sun and Country Messenger I thought I might stay until I was very old. 

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Three weeks ago my brother Richard called to tell me his orioles had left. I noticed mine disappeared from the feeder August 21.  I’m experiencing much quieter mornings without the bird songs of summer.  Now it looks like the grosbeaks have flown the coop too, taking their song south! So, wh…

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I hope you had a great Labor Day holiday. I am left pondering where the summer went because it took so long to get here this year.

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My garden has gone nuts this year. I’ve got broccoli heads the size of basketballs and sweet corn higher than I can reach. Yellow beans, zukes, onions, greens and squash are fighting the annual battle of weeds vs. veggies and winning! I have a fight with weeds every year. I lost the last bat…

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The Kinnickinnic River, called the Kinni by those who know and love it, flows through gently rolling hills and farmlands of St. Croix County and the City of River Falls where two dams block the river’s flow. Once through the city the Kinni passes through a protected pristine river valley to …

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Have you heard of friendship bread? It’s a yummy bread that makes so much you have to share it. 

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The big rod doubled over, the drag screamed as the 10 year old’s arms strained against the power of fins and muscle. Without warning the big fish erupted from the water heading into the sky twisting and turning until reentry, vanishing into the deep. I could see Brady’s eyes enlarge when he …

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Are you soaking up what remains of summer? Every year, it seems, I find myself wondering in mid August how it’s all gone by so fast.

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The way we communicate with each other is constantly changing. With advances in technology, it seems as if our machines are somehow reading our minds and presenting advertisements for products or services that we have been thinking about.

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Last week, my brother and family visited. He has two adorable little boys. It was so fun having little ones around. They see the world in fresh new ways. Everything is fun. 

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They say to choose your battles wisely. The same could be said about fishing. I hear so many people say how they struggle catching fish this time of year and in most cases it’s true, but it needn’t be. The people who struggle in August do so because they fish now like they did in May. It cou…

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Growing up in the 1970s as part of a large family there were three times during the year when I could get candy: Easter, Christmas and Halloween.

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It starts in the spring when morel mushrooms and wild asparagus pop up for people who love the fresh flavor of tasty wild foods. About the same time spring fishing and turkey hunting come onboard. Add fresh fish and truly free-range turkey to make a meal fit for a king.

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Your op ed piece about Merle Haggard hit a note! It’s not that we should not criticize our leaders or policies it is our duty to do so. However the manner in which the criticism is delivered is a large part of the issue. The vitriolic, crude, vulgar manner used is not appropriate regardless …

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“It got so bad that I couldn’t drink a glass of water without spilling it all over myself.” 

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There’s a refrain that’s been circulating for the past week. The tune sounds about 50 years old, and it goes like this:

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We are navigating our way through deep summer, a time to enjoy the beauty and abundance of nature and generally try to slow down our self-imposed need to rush and obsess about things that are out of direct control.

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Recently, the Washington County sheriff sent out a notice about an increase in home burglaries in the metro area (not specific to these northern communities). The notice provided tips to prevent burglaries. It’s important to know that one of those tips — leaving exterior lights on at night —…

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I don’t know if I’ve been craving pasta or butter. Maybe both? Pasta is one of those miracle foods. So is butter. Pasta cooks up really fast, has a long storage life, pairs well with most vegetables and proteins, and feels good to eat. So does butter. 

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The historic Chippewa River flows through the heart of Wisconsin, its recorded presence dating back to the Ojibwa people who controlled most of the upper Chippewa. During the logging era it floated 34% of Wisconsin’s finest white pine forest that built most of today’s largest Midwestern citi…

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Last week’s article in the Country Messenger covering a recent community conversation regarding short-term rentals (STR) concluded that there was general support for the concept.  That was a reasonably accurate conclusion, but as they say: “the devil is in the details.” There is a wide range…

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It’s the season of front yard lemonade stands. Campfire s’mores and fireflies. My mom calls it “deep summer,” a name I love.

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If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it.

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The late spring with the cold and rain hung on too long, making late arriving summer come in through the bathroom window, thank you Beatles and Joe Cocker. Recent intense heat and humidity seemed comfortable for Floridians, but it confused sunfish that are still on the beds in July, a rarity…