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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.

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The pace of change in our society never ceases to amaze me. Driven by technologies that seem to accelerate at an exponential rate, items that seem to be universally understood by a person like me, born in the second half of the last century, now require lengthy explanations.

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Okay, Summer, it’s time to pack your bags and move on. We in the Midwest have four seasons: baking (winter), eating green (spring), grilling (summer), cooking (fall).

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I want to share concerns about the sudden and inexplicable closing of the Warner Nature Center at the end of this year that was recently announced by the Lee and Rose Warner Foundation that has funded WNC for its entire 52 year existence. As the retired Vice President for Education at the Sc…

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How can you help monarch butterflies get from Wisconsin to Mexico to winter so monarchs return in the spring? I asked Jill Stephens, an ordinary person who takes extraordinary measures to help monarchs succeed. This is her story.

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Since I started this job, the weeks have made a habit of flying by. Deadlines will do that to a person’s sense of perception. And with each passing year the time between deadlines seems to have gotten shorter. 

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I’m ready for the National Football League’s season to be over. Three weeks in and I’m done. 

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Brady was about as excited as I’ve ever seen him after he dropped that first dove. After last year’s mentored deer hunt when the deer came up close and personal, but got away, made dropping that dove a good memory to replace the disappointment of last year’s youth deer hunt. Brady, now 11, w…

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I am trying to understand why the Manitou Fund has decided to stop funding Warner Nature Center (“Warner Nature Center announces closure,” Country Messenger, Wed., 9/11/19).  As a volunteer at Warner Nature Center (WNC), I have regularly seen the excitement of children as they strap on snows…

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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.