Thursday, October 30, 2014

What was it?

Personal Note to my birdwatching expert Greg Johnson:
What just happened here?
I took Birdie outdoors at 9 a.m. for her morning constitutional and heard in the background the loudest squawking that sounded like a bluejay or something or maybe a blackbird, I don't know. I sort of ignored it as we walked down the street past the pond, then I looked up into a tree. There was a huge, perhaps 18 inches tall, dirty-breasted eagle-looking bird perched on a branch over the pond, presumably looking below for a goldfish or big minnow. 
The pond was absolutely still, just a few bubbles coming up from the methane produced by the rotting vegetation on its floor. The interloper was perched high on the big tree, the one reflected by the still water in the picture below. The screeching, squawking continued from a small black bird perched just a couple feet away from the huge whitish one, then the big bird saw me and flop, flopped away on its big wings.
The sentinel bird stayed put, but its obnoxious squawking ceased immediately.
No camera on me, of course, though this scene played out so fast I probably couldn't have caught it anyway. Birdie didn't notice anything, oblivious, she continued her sniffing around the more interesting mailbox footings. She has her priorities.
The noisy sentinel was apparently warning everyone that there was a bad bird visiting the neighborhood, right? Is that pretty ordinary? Do these big birds get hectored constantly wherever they go?
Do you think it could have been a small eagle with a huge breast? It was intent on fishing in my pond, I think. It was no heron or egret. Will a hawk fish? What kind? I doubt this was an owl. What kind typically would the sentinel be?
What just happened here?
 By Yathin S Krishnappa
(Wayne… you can weigh in on this too….)

Greg responds:
First thing I would check are hawks/osprey. Blackbirds/crows consistently hassle hawks – they’re always attacking them. Especially when they’re flying. They don’t want those big birds in their nesting territory.
Could be a red-tailed hawk, or an osprey. Google osprey, see if that’s it. Osprey will try to find fish in a lake. The red-tailed hawk will not. If it's not an osprey, try Googling red-tailed hawk.
Good luck.
Stan says:
Looked it up. Could have been an Osprey all right. Size is right. 20 inches tall on average. And those were blackbirds hassling it. Crows… we have them, are bigger than what I saw.
Nice to know.
Thanks, Greg.

(Two days ago, Kathleen had a "conversation" with a big Crow. He cawed. She cawed. He cawed. She cawed twice, He responded twice. This happened four times, she says, very excited and proud of her relationship with this very intelligent creature. )

Wayne writes…
You probably witnessed a bird warning others that a predator bird was hunting. Looks like an Osprey.
I made a trip to the shack just today to deliver a supply of water, gas etc. On the four miles of gravel road I noticed lots of ravens in the ditch jumping around. As I got closer I saw a golden eagle feeding on the carcass of a fisher, I think. The animal had been skinned and there were at least two other remains. The eagle was having a feast and the ravens seemed pissed and were harassing it. On my return trip a couple hours later it was still going on. By the way, trapping season on fisher isn't open yet.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The color is gone, time for reflection

We'll salvage a season finale today at Creeksbend, but it's pretty obvious, the color is gone and it will be half a year before it returns. We wished Snowbirds Greg and Phyllis all the best as they pulled their carload out of the driveway this morning, bound for a warm winter in Gold Canyon. Bill and Anne skeddadled toward Florida on Friday.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Maybe it was better this way. . .

Sad to hear second hand that the Gophers lost today. Sounds like it was an exciting end to the game. We wouldn't know. We came home to watch the fourth quarter, then spent the entire quarter trying to find the game on Comcast's Byzantine Cable lineup. We have hundreds of stations we don't want, found dozens of college football games we're not interested in, but no Gophers. The built-in Comcast on-screen Guide was bulky and of no help.
Went to the trusty paper newspaper and learned that it was being carried today on something called ESPN-U. Eventually we found that on Comcast channel 735 or was it 729, but though we pressed those numbers repeatedly it kept jumping back to the previous channel, so we assumed after a while that $1800 a year in cable charges just isn't enough for Comcast to deliver the Minnesota Gophers and all the commercials that go with it to our house today.
We did get the Wisconsin game on two or three channels. They seemed to be doing quite well. Good for them.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Upstairs 'loo

What it lacks in size it will make up in convenience. Little John will have a sliding barn door,
pedestal sink and toilet. You can see the newly-installed toilet flange by the hammer on the floor. The fan awaits
installation, at left. Behind the sink and the toilet is a deep counter… no mirror on a slanting ceiling.
Under the counter is sliding storage, accessed from a small door on the right side.
We roughed in a half bath on the upper level today in Jen's Old House. Got a bid on spray foam insulation between the rafters, (more expensive, but has some great advantages), drilled holes for the electrical, glued up some plumbing in the basement. Chad, Tasha, Jen and Stan formed the nucleus of today's action, with a special guest appearance by the legendary Billy Einstein. . . who will be here all day on Halloween, working some magic on the north wall.
Farmer's Almanac predicts an early, cold one. We're more optimistic. Have to be.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wood chipper, cherry picker, chain saw, power lines. What could go wrong?

Charlie and his partner keep the Excel power lines clear throughout this territory, but yesterday was special. They both live in Dundas, and they spent a beautiful October day in their hometown, bouncing in the sky bucket, trimming troublesome trees, grinding the branches. . . and chatting it up with the locals.
Sort of balances out the misery index. . . think ice storms, tornadoes and such.

They made a clean sweep down Jennifer's street yesterday, nipping away at overhanging branches. Jennifer took the opportunity to attempt a bit of sweet talk, as in "while you're up there anyway, if you could just reach over to my side yard tree, I have a few branches there that need trimming as well."

We're certainly not going to report publicly whether or not this industrious duo was able to oblige her by doing something outside company policy, suffice that Jennifer's stepdad can testify from personal experience that her gentle pleas can be quite effective in getting a volunteer to pitch in around her old house.

Please note the big new south-facing sliding door in Jen's house. Free heat.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Could be an otter, Wayne opines

File photo by Stan Rolfsrud
Woodsman Wayne checks in from a forest near International Falls. He writes:

Stan, your critter looks like a small otter. Pine Martens are a squirrel's worst enemy. And they have a cat-like face. If it is an otter your goldfish are in trouble. I have to lock my minnow bucket at the dock cuz those suckers can open the bucket and catch and eat every minnow.
I have had a couple pine martens in the yard but have only seen them in trees.

Click here to see a video that Wayne recommends:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pine Marten!

Moments after Stan tired of his fall pond raking duties and went back inside today, he looked out the window to admire his work and saw a furry creature climbing out of the water below him, just under the waterfall. Bigger than a weasel or a mink, its sleek wet brown coat blended nicely with the dead vegetation along the edge.
There's a bounty of fish in the pond, but we hope they're quick enough to avoid this casual predator, but whatever, it's nature's way. Have a snack. :)

The interloper worked its way along the east shore, perhaps seeking a mouse or some bugs, then slipped back into the water and glided toward the brilliant afternoon sun, disappearing into some cattails on the far shore, and leaving us with these photos taken from the living room window.
We think it's a pine marten. Anybody?

A dispatch from Greece

Our friend Laurie writes this morning:

It's Monday afternoon and we just arrived in downtown Athens.

Left Turkey Friday afternoon and boarded a cruise ship filled with loud Brazilians and half of Japan's population. For those of you who know me well, be assured that after spending 3 days on the cruise ship, my supply of anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer has been seriously depleted. I will not be eating at a buffet anytime in the near future.
Weekend HIGHlights: loved going to the islands of Patmos and Crete. Went to an ancient monastary and the Minoan Palace of Knossos built in 1900 BC.
LOWlight: Seas were very rough on Sunday and boat transfers to Santorini were delayed for hours. We opted not to go since we would have less than an hour on the island and transfers back would be in the dark.
Today's HIGHlights: Departed the ship and they found my lost luggage. Visited the port city of Corinth (pic). Our hotel is 5 minutes from the Plaka, which is the main shopping district in Athens, at the foot of the Acropolis. Our new guide is Elsa, who is both witty and very sarcastic.

LOWlight: Everyone in our group is afraid of Elsa (ha!)

Hope all is well. Will try to write again tomorrow.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A couple of blondes from Central High

He picked all the NFL noon kick-off winners last week in the Canterbury Park Perfect Pick contest, sharing the $3,000 pot with eight others. We got his good news over breakfast this morning.
Bob is Kathleen's classmate from St. Paul Central, didn't know him at the time, but now she sees this Racebook regular often, and trades old stories. . . and hopefully picks some winners on her own.
Congratulations Bob!
("Thank you, Vikings," Bob says. Kathleen hates to pick the Vikings to lose, something that apparently doesn't bother Bob one bit.)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Weekend window

This weekend's window in Jennifer's Old House is one for the kitchen. It is shorter than the previous one, allowing for a full sized counter top. Jerrod installed this one. Jennifer sanded on the 100 year old decorative pillar that will support the second floor while Stan worked on the cathedral ceiling, getting all the 2x4 blocking cut and screwed in place, ready for wiring, insulation and sheetrock.
This is the last replacement window. Winter's coming, the race is on!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Surprise! We're still here!

We've enhanced this image to bring out the contrast, but they were easy to see with the naked eye today.
When we bought dozens of tiny goldfish last June, the big ones were about the size of your pinky finger, but most were fingernail size. We slid them into the pond and almost never saw them again. Until today.
There's mist over the pond these mornings, the water is giving up its heat and becoming very clear. We think that is what it took to get the goldfish to rise from the deep and for us to be able to notice. And rise they did. We could see the school from the house and were delighted to get a closeup view of the entire group. We counted more than 40, mostly gold, some a nice white and gold mix.
We have no idea what the total is, but we noticed
two distinct schools of about 20 each.
Gary the Green Heron apparently didn't get them, just the ordinary bait fish.
We were stunned by their magnificent size. Looked to be about six inches long now and nice and chubby. They eat algae, perhaps some of the tiny fry as well. It's good they're fat because it won't be long and they will be hibernating during a long Minnesota winter. They'll head to the bottom of the pond where the warmer water will be. Right now the warm water stays on the top and they were certainly enjoying it today, as we snapped pictures and excitedly pointed our fingers at them.
We're reading up on the biology of koi and goldfish right now. Seasonal changes are taking place. They will be going into a state of "torpor" very soon, sluggishly drifting about, not eating, not moving much, on the bottom of the pond. Quiet time.
As long as there is enough oxygen and the water doesn't get below 34 degrees, we should have plenty of survivors next spring. We've been running the waterfall day and night to aerate and have been raking rotting debris, pulling weeds and releasing the methane and sulpher gases off the bottom. Will our oxygenation efforts pay off? Time will tell.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October Dandy

Kathleen, on the far bank in front of the house, steering the duck along the shore. 
It was the best day of October. The Autumn air was just right, cool and crackly dry, but warm enough to make neighbors tarry as they walked to the mailbox or out back to pull some weeds or find some other excuse to loiter.
Kathleen slipped Piper into the pond, she's mastering the mechanics of the complicated remote control joystick. We're also having a hard time overcoming a nasty list to the right side, which makes Piper the plastic mallard duck tend to turn in tight circles. Kathleen got the duck to swim out to the island, but it wasn't easy. We're making adjustments.
Earlier in the day Stan was delighted to see that the bait fish have spawned and he estimates about a thousand little fry are now swimming with the fingerlings. We hope they'll survive the winter. The water is now eight feet deep so there's a good chance they will.
If he doesn't straighten up, we'll start calling him
Franz Liszt
Our pond expert, Bob Suel, was here for a beer last night; his Koi are in his basement in the stock tank for the winter. He doesn't have an opinion about the survivability of our school; it doesn't help to have a   green heron lunching out there every day, he says.

No worries, if today's number makes it through the freeze up.  If our census is accurate, Gary will be able to fish all he wants next year.
Back indoors we were happy to learn the stock market got back into better shape after a wild ride and our Kansas City Royals were making a sweep of it.
It's been a good day.

Safe in Turkey

Laurie saw the original rod recorded in this 1871 painting of Moses. The rod was used to part the Red Sea.  Above, Hur and Aaron keep Moses' hands up, which is why the Israelites were able to defeat the Amalekites.
Our good friend and former colleague Laurie reports that all is well on her trip to Turkey. This part of the world might not be our choice these days, but no matter, Laurie writes "Doing fine, seeing amazing new things, visited Sultan's Palace (where I saw the staff of Moses), Hagia Sofia (now second-most important mosque in world). We left Istanbul this morning, just crossed over into Asia and will soon go on a large ferry that will take us across the Dardannelles Strait."
Moses is mentioned more than anyone else in the Koran.
The staff Laurie saw was used to part the Red Sea. It once changed into a snake to intimidate a Pharaoh and was used to produce water from a rock. Water didn't gush immediately from the rock, so an impatient Moses used the staff to strike the rock again. Because this implied a lack of faith, God didn't allow Moses to enter the Promised Land. Scholars aren't sure, but it may be the same rod that was used by Aaron, Moses' heir. If that is the case, the staff Laurie saw was used to turn the Nile blood red and initiate several plagues as well.
The museum also contains a tooth and the footprint of the Prophet Muhammed.
We're glad Laurie is safe and enjoying her journey through this ancient land, filled with history and relics. We've advised her to keep a sharp lookout for Noah's ark.

Monday, October 13, 2014

An Autumn round with Brother Steve

Snowbirds go thatta way.
Stephen drove through some light rain to get here, but the golf course stayed dry. Despite morose predictions that kept the pessimists away from Creeksbend, the Fall weather was surprisingly compliant, no wind and a quite decent temperature for the season. Sand grit danced off balls rolled on the recently-aerated greens, so excuses for bad putts were handy, and needed. Stan enjoyed a chatty midday with his brother on an otherwise silent, overcast landscape.
Steve will be grandparented again soon, we don't yet know the sex of the child, but that will be officially announced pre-birth, as information becomes available.
Today may be the last time out in Minnesota for the twosome, but plans are forming for a round or two in sunny Tucson, where Steve and Nancy keep a winter home.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Remembering his Uncle Paul: "That's Why They Called Him Roy"

John with Sophie turning the pages to "That's Why They Called Him Roy."
Paul's sister,  Jean (John's mother) is standing, in white.
Poetry, rap, verse or doggerel, whatever you call it, the late Paul Strandberg was a master. Weddings, reunions, graduations and other special events were incomplete without a reading of Paul's latest comic work, delivered to a crowd that would alternately laugh and groan at our laureate's words.
Today's special event, a Memorial to Paul at his brother's Alexandria farmhouse, naturally included a re-reading of one of Paul's classics. Paul's talents live on, we learned today, when his nephew, John, served up his own creation in the true spirit of his departed Uncle Paul, and did him one better by accompanying himself on the guitar. The poetry is in fun, but remarkably, it is quite historically correct, a fine retelling  of many parts of this endearing man's life, who left us too soon, but is fondly remembered by so many.

 That’s Why They Called Him Roy

Mary Jane and Ron. Ron led a short program.
Paul was born in Nelson, Minnesota.
He was the youngest of the Strandberg clan,
John, Jean and Bill,
You’d of thought Evelyn had her fill,
Especially before they invented the minivan.

Growing up on a farm in the country,
Paul had it rough as the baby brother,
He was the youngest and the smallest,
And definitely the Paul-est,
With tough siblings and a stoic mother.

Paul has always been a unique king among men,
The unlikeliest MP that there ever has been
A kind, sardonic smarty-pants and cheap as can be,
Got the British crossword in a minute or three.

About 75 really nice people gathered.
From when he was in government,
Back to when he was a boy,
That's why they called him Roy

As soon as Paul, learned how to read,
He learned a troubling thing.
His given name of Paul,
Unfortunately meant small
Instead, he chose Roy -- cuz it meant King.

As he got older Paul came into his own.
Engaged in his own brand of nonsense.
His sister’s dolls he hung,
Rowed into the lake and sung,
Both Jean and the Bible camp, they took offense.

Paul has always been a unique king among men,
The unlikeliest MP that there ever has been
A kind, sardonic smarty-pants and cheap as can be,
Got the British crossword in a minute or three,

From when he was in government,
Back to when he was a boy,
That's why they called him Roy.

Family tradition took him down to Carleton,
He was smart, but not so focused scholarly.
Softball was where it was at,
Played and lorded over Rottblatt,
Still managed to leave with his degree.
Paul's classmates, Mike, Stan and Mary Jane.

This drinking, smoking, hippie-music listener,
Was drafted, ended up in basic training,
A most unlikely of MPs,
Tracking down AWOL escapees
Found military values weren’t ingraining.

After he escaped the Army, he found he tested well,
Got the highest LSATs in the state,
Had choices of where to go,
Went on down to Chicago,
3 years later he was a law graduate.

Paul has always been a unique king among men,
The unlikeliest MP that there ever has been
A kind, sardonic smarty-pants and cheap as can be,
Got the British crossword in a minute or three.
Elizabeth reread Paul's poem -- delivered originally
at the 95th birthday party for his grandmother Edna.
Back to when he was a boy,
That's why they called him Roy

After his time in the Windy City,
Paul came back to Minnesota
Began his work in government,
An employer he never forewent,
Focused between Wisconsin and the Dakotas,

As a grownup, he took his Lutheran thrift to heart,
He watched his pennies, nickels and dimes,
Who knew that a rusty Honda civic’s
Odometer had seven digits,
Miserliness was among Paul’s crimes.

Paul and Michael Jordan both loved playing basketball,
And they have something that they shared.
When jumping through the air,
Paul's eldest, Mark, with fiance Kate. She's
an Illustrator, he's an attorney. They live in Portland.
They stuck their tongues out to there,
But Paul’s self-bite required - emergency repair.

If you ask Paul’s friends that if he just had one wish,
They all could chime in for him
It was a lead pipe cinch
A vertical jump, just one more inch,
To get him that much closer to the rim

His sporting extended to the fantasy world,
And his beloved Boca Chica league,
In the few weeks the Clips were winning,
Paul’s gloating and his grinning,
Gave the other owners a fair dose of fatigue,

Paul also traveled to some far off places,
The government decided he was just the man,
They weren’t just content
To fix agriculture on this continent,
Paul had to join Borat in Kazakhstan
A brunch was catered to the neat, classic
farmhouse near Lake Geneva, home to Paul's brother
and sister-in-law.
That trip was not his only foreign adventure
His taste for travel was not deprived,
He accompanied son Mark,
On a mad Korean lark,
Got lost, ate crazy food, but still survived.

The farm was always a happy refuge for Paul,
He loved to drive up for weekends there,
Quietly placing spite and malice
While drinking coffee by the chalice
He and Evelyn made a contented pair.

Paul has always been a unique - king among men,
The unlikeliest MP that there  - ever has been
A sardonic smarty-pants and cheap as can be,
Could get the British crossword done in a minute or three,

From when he was in government,
Back to when he was a boy,
That's why they called him Roy

Friday, October 10, 2014

Big slider

Chad and Stan opened the wall by 10 a.m.
We assembled and installed an eight-foot sliding glass door under the big header in Jennifer's south wall, just the right spot for a nice view and big solar gain.
That solar heat won't stay if the house isn't insulated, so that's the next big thing. Jennifer and Chad calculated the square footage and soon they'll be stuffing pink stuff everywhere.
Inside her new room.


A gnarly old nasty weed tree has been choking and stunting a beautiful Norwegian Pine beside our pond for years now. Relentless grapevine tendrils have used it to reach and then strangle the limbs of the innocent pine, which has duly recoiled to avoid this unruly, selfish neighbor.
Yesterday we appealed again to the good graces of the golf course superintendent, asking him to step up and destroy this threat to Norwegian pride. This time, he sprang into immediate action, ordering a truck and a chainsaw operator to make quick work of this public nuisance.
The offensive weed tree has been removed from the premises and the horizon made safe for the righteous Norwegian pine.
All a good day's work, we'd have to say.
Thanks, Duane.
Cleared and free, the Norwegian pine will expand into the new space, as today's hero picks up the sticks
and removes all traces of the miscreant.

Like Father, Son

Same mountain top, same bug on the lens. Look to the left of the gentlemen in both shots. 
Our nephew Zachary and his father Bill are presently in South America, apparently doing what must be done when you go to South America. Zach's mother forwarded these cool father/son pictures from the California homestead where Stay-Home Sosie's domestic chores include gardening with drought and rebuilding a failing redwood deck.
She found time to write:

It was a full day in South America and Sunol, and per the blog, in Shakopee too. Perhaps a big day for a twosome in Texas? Or are my dates off ?
As told below, Bill and Zach have checked out the real estate in Machu Pichu, as well as other sites per their itinerary. They have more sights to go, such as Lake Titicaca, before their return October 16. Zach will celebrate his birthday in Peru, hoping to dine on guinea pig, the national dish.
Meanwhile, the crowbar and Sawzall are busy uncovering and demolishing more, more, and more rot here at home in Sunol. Aw, the work of rain, shade, more rain, time, and bugs. Best get it all out before Bill comes home so we can spare him the angst. In my mind, it is not all bad. When we finally level things to "below rot," behold, we have a blank slate, upon which we can draw new designs more to our (well, mine, anyway) liking. A new curtained hammock area, wider kitchen decking, and open copper stair railing are on their way!
We are having way-too-warm weather for October, but hope for a second rain next week. The Shearer household has done marvelously well in reducing water consumption, getting a 50 percent reduction where only a 25 percent reduction was required. Sure we have a lot of dead plants, but mostly we owe our success to our secret weapon: Taking showers in Minnesota and Ohio. Thank you for your help in our endeavors!
Read on for greetings from Peru....

Sent from my iPhone

From: Zachary Shearer
Date: October 9, 2014 at 7:04:25 PM PDT
To: The Shearers
Subject: Made it...

And now we are completely exhausted. It was a very long day!

Tried looking this place up on Zillow. No info. But I can tell you it's a big spread, lots of curb appeal, and the nasty neighbors are long gone. What the hell I'll put in an offer...apparently the asking price is three coca leaves (I may have misunderstood the guides lecture).

Thursday, October 09, 2014

A lesson from an old friend

Deadeye Dick -- wearing the Lucky Gopher Hat he borrowed from his former boss.
Dick Crawford has been working so hard for the newspaper company it's only the second time he's golfed with Stan this year. He made the very most of it today, humbling his former boss by shooting a smooth 81 -- despite being handicapped by freshly-aerated and sanded greens. Dick had his entire bag of tools working today, getting off the tee huge and following with accurate chips and deadly putts. Dick's an accomplished writer, publisher, manager, but you never know, this may be something to fall back on.
A glorious, cool and breezy day, the yellow flags snapped and the trees paraded by in an ostentatious array. The twosome had its stories to tell, of course. Dick and Cindy sponsor two in college, have lots of challenges at work, and plans afoot. Stan, not so much going on, but hey, there's a new sliding door to install in Dundas tomorrow and then a journey to Alexandria on Saturday.
Did we mention that Dick shot an 81?

Wayne from IFalls writes:
It ain't fair. Those of us who play the game regularly should be rewarded with an occasional 81.To show up twice in a season and shoot an 81 just ain't fair.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

And then we fell asleep again. . .

You'll have to get your photos of the blood moon elsewhere. As a Cancer, Stan is a moon child and so responded with some excitement to the very bright moonlight about 4 a.m. Then he fell asleep during the eclipse, right after he got this interesting image, which may look like an eclipse, but isn't. It was made by shooting the moon through a dual pane window. Sort of a faux eclipse.
Kathleen went out on the porch in her robe at about 6 a.m. and got a look at the actual full monty through the trees, then retreated back indoors without showing a lot of enthusiasm.
"It's an eclipse," she remarked to her mate, and got back under the covers.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Bill Maher in Northfield tonight, Jennifer checks him in

Jennifer checked out Bill Maher while she checked him in.

Bill Maher checked in to the Archer House in Northfield tonight, on his way to a campaign appearance on behalf of a congressional candidate. Running the front desk was our daughter, Jennifer.
She writes: "I just never know who I am going to meet while working at the best hotel in town. I didn't get to go see him speak because I was working, but because I was working, I got to meet him."

From the Startribune:

Comedian Bill Maher will visit Northfield on Tuesday to launch his campaign to kick Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline out of Congress.

The host of HBO's "Real Time" and political satirist will lead a panel discussion at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Grand Event Center.

The panel includes Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, former Minnesota House Speaker Steve Sviggum and John Rouleau, executive director of the Minnesota Jobs Coalition are among the panelists.

Maher announced Kline as the winner of his “Flip A District” contest in September after he ended up as the "winning loser" in contest to determine the incumbent that most viewers wanted to vote out of office.

During his visit, Maher plans to discuss student loan debt, an issue that’s likely to resonate in Northfield, home to St. Olaf and Carleton colleges.

Kline, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, is seeking a seventh term in Congress representing the Second District, which covers suburbs and exurbs south of the Twin Cities. He’ll face Democrat Mike Obermueller and Independence Party candidate Paula Overby in November.

Home soon

The neighbors will be home soon. Then we'll bid Adieu to our courageous friend Laurie, who, during all the Ebola hubbub at airports, departs for a holiday in Turkey. 

Below is the neighbor's note. At right is a photo of the Mainz fountain that Sandy sent along earlier as an inspiration for an upgrade to our back yard pond aeration system.

Sandy writes:

Left Paris this morning. After a short walking tour of Rouen, France, we headed to Caen and the Memorial Museum for Peace with its great exhibits and films of the Battle of Normandy. 

Hoping all is well on Abbey Point.

Sandy & Tom, Mary & John

Just for the Record. . .

Cousin Erika's credit on Tuesday night's "Forever" Episode, posted here for historical purposes.