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Forensic ornithology is an interesting science

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I made a new friend last weekend at the annual Berkeley Springs (W.Va.) Fall Birding Festival. Marcy Heacker and I spoke to the group on Saturday evening. Marcy works at the Smithsonian Institution’s Division of Birds where she identifies feather fragments as a forensic ornithologist at the Feather Identification Laboratory. Usually her work involves bird […]

The history of the Nixon & Co. of Alliance, Ohio

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The other day my friend, Ed Brenner, asked if I knew anything about a Nixon Co. from Alliance, Ohio. I confessed that I didn’t and Ed told me that he’d recently viewed a large collection of cast iron implement seats, among which was one with “Nixon & Co.” and “Alliance, Ohio,” cast into it. Not […]

Looking to ‘lots of good years ahead…’

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Such a dear letter in response to my column about being temporarily “out of order” and finally back on schedule feeling much better than before. The handwriting was exquisite. The name was not familiar, as the writer was from Kent, and I’ll not use her name since I don’t have her permission. But she certainly […]

Things that nag in the night

Thursday, October 7, 2010

As we head into the heart of the haunting season, I have a confession to make. As if my life weren’t colorful enough, I live in a haunted house. I know you’re jealous. Our house is 106 years old. Everyone knows that any building more than 100 years old is required, by after-life law, to […]

The old gray mare has loped

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be. You know the one — she galloped in and got you all excited about how fast she was, then ran out of steam. No, she looks like a nag you were a fool to bet the farm on. She looked like Secretariat’s great-granddaughter, but […]

On the road to France, where buckets of butter and veal fill their stomachs

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

When the lovely Catherine and I travel, we often follow a plan that is purposely vague. Sure, we know where we’re going, but the route we drive, fly or canoe to reach it often could be described as “north out of Des Moines” or “turn right at Amarillo.” This year’s big adventure, however, defied footloose: […]

Goldenrod unfairly fingered as allergy culprit

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Though most wildflowers have faded by late September, goldenrod is just taking center stage. More than 100 species of goldenrod (genus Solidago) brighten North American meadows in late summer and early fall. They are the bright yellow flowers that turn open fields into seas of gold. My hayfield came into full bloom about a week […]

Too much of a good thing?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

One of the prides of my life is being complimented with the opinion that I take really great photos. I credit this to a few things. I have loved photography since forever. Not the technical aspect of it so much because ugh, math, work, pass. I have just always loved the aspect of capturing a […]

This is the real farmer’s daughter

Thursday, September 30, 2010

“I was haulin’ hay, I was feedin’ the hogs and that summer sun had me sweatin’ like a dog. So I cooled off in the creek, then it was back to work in the dad-gum heat. I was cussin’ out loud, thinkin’ bout quittin’. Lookin’ back now I’m sure glad I didn’t. Cause just when […]

Phosphorus market: Gravest, strategic U.S. issue you’ve never heard of

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Before anyone smiles too broadly about the grain prices, they might want to take a peek at fertilizer prices. If so, they’ll discover, as DTN reporter Russ Quinn recently did, the only price rising faster than either corn or wheat is fertilizer. “Six fertilizers have seen double-digit increases in price compared to one year earlier,” […]

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