Saturday, November 13, 2010

Snow Falls For the First Time in 2010

Today is Saturday, 13 November and the first snow is falling wet, big, and heavy.

The flakes stick to the screen on the windows and frames the big red barn like a picture out of Currier and Ives.

It is a nice day to stay in, and I am; until later tonight.

I am to attend a small party at "HH" Stables tonight. Should be fun.

The roads are now plowed, I will probably run to the local outfitter and get a new set of coveralls.

It is a great first snow here in Forest Lake, Washington County.
The white blanket has covered about a third of the state of Minnesota.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Post Election Party.

It is 6 November and I feel a need to write an election followup article.

My review of the Eight Congressional House Elections of 2010 in Minnesota led to the following...

I expect
the 1st to Randy Demmer. (thats a risky call but I'm making it)

the 2nd to John Kline

the 3rd to Eric Paulsen

the 4th to is 50/50 so it leans to B. Mccullom

the 5th to Kieth Ellison

the 6th to Michele Bachmann

the 7th to Colin Peterson

the 8th to Jim Oberstar

I predict the Governors race is won by Tom Emmer. "

The results were close with an odd difference in that, like bookends, the upset I predicted in the first actually appeared in the eighth.

That, and the Governors race is yet undetermined and is probably headed to the courts, although it may lean over enough during the recount for Emmer to concede.

But if you understand what I said you realize a momentous thing has happened.

Jim Oberstar lost the race in the eighth to Chip Cravaak.

That is something the people of the eight district of Minnesota really needed, some hope for change.

This is truly change, and it brings hope.
(tomorrow; the 7th, is my 48th birthday and that was the best present possible!)

Not only that, but the Minnesota House and Senate underwent a great sweeping... out went much of the driftwood from the 70's.

I do enjoy the notion of not having to listen to Senate Majority leader Lawrence Pogemiller, he can go to the back bench now.

Same with Nancy Pelosi in the U.S. House.

It is now post election and I am now concentrating efforts to other things.

I think I will be doing some work for the Forest Workers League of Minnesota.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Who Takes the Prize in the Eighth?

[you can read my review of the 8 Congressional Districts of Minnesota here]

In the eighth district you have what is turning out to be a lively race, where little or no challenge was expected.

The seat is held by Jim Oberstar. He was born in Chisolm got a B.A. from Saint Thomas and a masters degree in European Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges Belgium.

For twelve years Jim was the chief staff assistant to then 14 term Representative John Blatnic. When he decided to not run again he endorsed Jim and he won.

Jim has been re-elected sixteen times, and conventional wisdom says he is a runaway to win it again this year.

However things have changed a little since his last election.

These changing situations appear to Jim and the voters of the 8th district in the form of one Chip Cravaack.

Chip was born in Charlston West Virginia and received a Bachelor of Science degree from United States Naval Academy and a Masters Degree in Education from University of West Florida.

Chip is offering a real challenge to our longest sitting house member in Minnesota history.

Chip lives in Chisago City with his family.
Jim lives in Potomac Maryland and owns his boyhood home in Chisolm.

I'll put it bluntly.
Jim Oberstar is a rude, arrogant, entrenched, politician prone to berate and bully his way through any challenges he and his hard DFL positions may encounter.

I've dealt with him personally and I think he is a pompous ass.
He is very comfortable in his position.

The 8th district of Minnesota has always been a DFL stronghold.

Yet there has been a generational shift and the results of decades of more and more programs and agencies has not made the standard of living in the rugged north that much better.

The mines are having trouble with the agencies and the programs don't do anything productive.

The economy in the 8th is not good and hasn't been for a while.
Jim and his party are, for the first time in living memory, being asked serious questions.

Jim and his party typically respond with bluster and name calling and thats what we are getting from Jim Oberstar and the DFL party.

Jim and his abrasive ways do not play well live and in debate.

Chip is getting support and is a stand up guy.
I hope he win.

I really, really hope he wins.

The odds are against him because of the unique makeup of the 8th district and the inertia of such a long incumbency, even with a voting record like Jim's.

Yet the people are awake and today they vote.
In the sober light of the morning I think Jim will win by a nose. I give Jim 3 to 2 odds to win.

But if I am wrong and Chip wins, I may move back to the district of my birth.


There you have it.

I expect
the 1st to Randy Demmer. (thats a risky call but I'm making it)
the 2nd to John Kline
the 3rd to Eric Paulsen
the 4th to is 50/50 so it leans to B. Mccullom
the 5th to Kieth Ellison
the 6th to Michele Bachmann
the 7th to Colin Peterson
the 8th to Jim Oberstar

I predict the Governors race is won by Tom Emmer.


A Sure Thing in the Seventh?

[you can read my review of the 8 Congressional Districts of Minnesota here]

Collin Peterson is the incumbent House member from Minnesotas district 7.

He was born in Fargo and received a B.A. from MN State, Moorhead. He was a State Senator since 1977. He ran for the U.S. House seat three times and finally won, by 121 votes, defeating a seven term republican.

He nearly lost his re-election, the district being less receptive to a classic DFL agenda.

He fancies himself an agriculture man.

Collin has styled himself a "blue-dog" democrat. They say they feel collared by the leadership, or they would vote more the way the "blue-dogs would want.

That position has worked in the past....

He has a republican opponent for the seat, he is named Lee Byberg. Lee is also a nice man but I think he is way underfunded for such a large district.

Unless Collin; who is good at saying little, should say too much, I think he will hold his seat.

I predict Collin stretches out his lead and takes it by five lengths.

Solid in the Sixth

[you can read my review of the 8 Congressional Districts of Minnesota here]

The race for the U.S. House Seat in Minnesotas' District Six is one of the hottest and most watched nationwide.

Bets are being waged from coast to coast.

The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi has stated that she has targeted for defeat, the incumbent; republican Michele Bachmann.

She says she thinks it would be better if I were represented by the DFLer Tarryl Clark.

I think Nanci should mind her own bees wax. Better yet I think her constituents would be better represented by John Dennis.

Michele was born in Waterloo Iowa and moved to Anoka where she graduated high school. She then went to Winnona State and went on to receive a degree in tax law from the College of William and Mary's.

She was a U.S. Treasury Department Attorney in the U.S. Federal Tax Court in Saint Paul.
Her and her husband now own a business in Stillwater.

She first won elective office in a very dramatic fashion. In 2000, she defeated the 18 year incumbent Gary Laidig in their republican primary race for his State Senate seat, dist. 56.

Then she won the general election.

She had taken State Senate seat 56 from the DFLers, "Independents", and the seated weak Republican.

Then, the redistricting fiasco of 2002, [thank you Arne Carlson] forced her to vie for a newly drawn district (52) against a strong DFL'er named Jane Krentz.

She beat her too, and became the State Senator from the newly drawn district 52.

Then, when the U.S. House Dist 6. incumbent Mark Kennedy decided to run for Senate, and leave the seat open, Michele ran for the seat and won.
She took the office in January of 2007, and won re-election in 2008.

She now is facing a well funded opponent.

Tarryl Clark was born in Norfolk Virginia. She attended Drake and graduated with a B.A. in Sociology. She has a masters in education from Arizona state and a law degree from William MItchell in Saint Paul.

She was very involved in "community Action" and when the MN senate dist 15 dave Klies won the election for mayor of Saint Cloud, a special election was held.

Tarryl Clark ran and won. She was re-elected to a full 4 year term in 2006.

She now has supporters nationwide who, don't love her so much as they hate Michele. In so many ways they do.

I love that Michele bugs them so much, I see it as an enduring quality.

I know the State of Minnesota and I know the 6th district. Michele is safe and all that money coming from all over the nation is just wasted cash.

Michele voted very wisely lately; and the newly attentive, no longer silent majority, have noticed.

I give Six to one odds for Michele to keep her seat.
...and then we will watch her establish a caucus of freshmen to help keep their focus.

Garrison Keillor may consider going back to Europe, he said he felt more comfortable there than in Minnesota.

this is going to be good.

A Run Away in the Fifth

[you can read my review of the 8 Congressional Districts of Minnesota here]

Minnesotas' fifth Congressional District is relatively small, it has Minneapolis, our largest city.
One of the basic differences between Minneapolis and Saint Paul is that Saint Paul is a city of the east, Minneapolis is a western city.

Both of our large cities ( like most large cities in America today ) has been run by the DFL/Democrats.

The Fifth District seat has been held by the DFL since 1963.

Today the seat is held by Kieth Ellison. He is from the State of my father, Michigan. His family all became doctors, lawyers, or preachers. He has a B.A in economics, he then came to Minnesota and got a law degree at the U of M. Afterwords he worked at a local law firm specializing in civil rights, employment and criminal defense. He was executive director of the not-for-profit Legal Rights Center defending the indigent. He was a local "public affairs" radio host and eventually elected to the MN House of Representatives in the mid-city district; 55B. He was re-elected and then ran for, and won, the U.S. House seat being vacated by the retiring Martin Olav Sabo (DFL), Dist 5.

The republican candidate is a man named Joel Demos. He is born to missionaries and was raised in greece, his grandmother was mayor of Roseville. He graduated college in California and always worked in finance, now working for TCF.

The DFL party of 1963 and Don Frasier is very different from the DFL party of 2010 and Kieth Ellison

Minneapolis has become, like the party that runs it, a hot bed of "activism".

Groups and organizations and non-profits and all kinds of blog writing and placard waiving "organizations" are out and about defending the disaffected or disrespected or enlightening the uneducated or raising "awareness" to/for/on? the unaware "people".

That is what Kieth is all about and he represents this voting block very well.

Joel is a very nice man who would be great in congress.
He will run a good race.

He will lose.
This is as close to a sure thing as you will get for a DFL'er in a race this year.

Kieth takes it in six lengths.

A Photo Finish in the Fourth

[you can read my review of the 8 Congressional Districts of Minnesota here]

First, I want all of my readers to understand I work a busy 7am to 4pm job trimming/dropping trees and working horse barn stuff. I just offloaded some hay after a days tree work.
I apologize for being tardy, we will fit it all in by Tuesday I promise.

This is truly a most dramatic election cycle after a long crescendo of years of being told that "this election matters more than most".

I think this one is a biggie.

I haven't done much to describe the electorate because if you are alive here today you know who is voting for whom and why. It is like when a cell divides and all of a sudden you see what was invisible just moments ago, the DNA separate and go to separate sides of the cell.

However, for those not here now, I hope to describe the electorate in Minnesotas' fourth district and by extension, the rest of the state in general.

The seat is now held by the DFL incumbent Betty McCollum. She won the seat after the death of leftist, and "environmental" champion, Bruce Vento.

Betty grew up in Minneapolis and was a high school social science teacher and sales manager. She served three terms on the Minneapolis City Council, then moved up to the Minnesota State House of Representatives where she held office for four terms.

She was a lock step DFL vote and represented the majority of State House District 55B well.

Then she was the DFLs candidate for the U.S. House Dist 4 seat being vacated by the ill Vento.
Minnesotas' District 4 , which includes the bureaucrats city; Saint Paul, has been a DFL held seat for decades.

She has had a safe seat and was relatively quiet and happy as a back-bencher, with hopes of moving up of course.

Betty is not the most dynamic or feisty of candidates. I think she does poorly face to face, at interviews or in debates. Honestly, I don't think she is very bright.

She now, as opposed to the last three elections cycles, has a real contender opposing her for what has been a sure thing.

She is being challenged by the Republican endorsed Teresa Collett. She is from out of state, had a business in Oklahoma, and has been for some time now a law professor at the University of Saint Thomas.

She represents a different kind of candidate than what has been offered by either party for generations. Teresa, like many first time candidates showing up in races all across the state and the nation, might be described as an: "enough is enough" candidate.

She and many other people are not pleased with the operations in Washington D.C. and more of the same is not what they are seeking in a representative. There are many new voters, and new candidates, and "new" ideas challenging the old.

The election is just around the corner. Unlike years in the past; today there is more than just a dissatisfied majority, grummblingly accepting the progressive march of the politically connected, and ever more expensive and intrusive machinery of government.

There is a new batch of people who've chosen to stand up and be heard, and the political class are more than a little shaken up at this turn of events.

All can see that they, the political class, are in fact a minority. But they and their organized, and amplified, efforts represent a strong voting block.

The unions, the non-independent farmers, most school workers, social workers, city and county workers. Non-profit corporation workers, government contractors.

Anyone employed by any government supported entity.
And with the budget amounts we are talking about that is a lot of entities.

The fourth district of Minnesota has a high percentage of these, what with the Capitol; Saint Paul and all its government workers, and organizations, and"Non-Governmental Units" NGO's. Now there's a euphemism for you.

But now the majority of people who have been quietly going about there daily lives; which by the way doesn't revolve around grants or bills or legislators, have seen there burden get bigger and there future prospects smaller.

And they see a direct relationship between the government burden and their future prospects.
The larger the former, the smaller the latter, for them and their children.
[and you and yours by the way.]

These day to day, normal working Minnesotans, are greatly dissatisfied with the direction the National and State governments have been going for years.

They do not see more of the same as a solution. As a matter of fact they see very much less of the same as the solution.

With the rapid budget growth and sweeping legislative mandates, the electorate has had the blinders removed. They now know what is the real subject of these elections.

And these have been itemized in easily digestible form to aid the newly, but greatly interested, voter.

And this year, the usual incumbent bonus is only available if they voted wisely. Betty did not vote wisely according to this new, and very active, voter block.

She voted for the "stimulus", and for the new "health care bill", and for the new "cap and trade" [or as I call it: tax and ration].

True to her nature and her DFL base constituency, but not wise in the gale of the new political winds blowing, Betty may fail to win this race.

Now I call the odds at 50/50. I hope Teresa wins.

So in three days we will see if the old entrenched, politically connected power-base can hold the line against a growing number of dissatisfied taxpayers, some of which will be voting for Teresa next Tuesday.

It is neck and neck as they come in to the finish line....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It Looks Like a Knock-Out in the Third

[you can read my review of the 8 Congressional Districts of Minnesota here]

In the third Congressional District of Minnesota you will find the incumbent is Erik Paulsen. He is a Republican first termer.

He won the open election in 2008 for the House seat that was vacated by the retiring Jim Ramstad [R]. He grew up in Minneapolis, graduated from Chaska High and Saint Olaf college, majoring in mathematics. Erik was in the Minnesota House of Representatives for some time, and became the House Minority Speaker after Tim Pawlenty left that post when he was elected Governor.

[Tim opened up the Governors race when he announced last year he was not seeking re-election.]

The DFL has chosen, in their primary race, a candidate named Jim Meffert. He grew up in Marshall graduating high school there, and also went to Saint Oaf college, majoring in political science. Jim is executive director of the Minnesota Optometric Association and the past president of the Minnesota Parent Teacher Association.

This race, like the one in the second district, also could have been more exciting.

Jim has all the typical issue statements you might expect.
For the economy Jim wants WPA type jobs, increased unemployment extensions and tax hikes.

Jims' energy plan calls for fighting global warming {read: phantom menace}, promoting green jobs[?], insuring greater government oversight in the energy industry, and a carbon-tax or, cap-and-trade; or both.

Jims' education plan calls for fighting the "teaching to tests", promoting energy efficient and retrofitted schools, and insuring much less government oversight in the education industry.

Jim says, concerning the recent health care bill; "...this bill is a first step towards achieving universal and affordable health care as a right, not a privilege."

These are all classic DFL positions, and you can see more lock-step DFL issue statements at his website.

For me Erik is way too willing to couch his positions to appease the sensibilities of the cynical leftists in the press.

However, he has voted wisely in the last Congress and therefor receives the incumbent bonus. He has said straight forward that we should repeal the recently passed "Health Care Bill".

This is a very hot, pivot point issue, during an extremely polarized election.

Here, as in other issues and most other races; there is a clear distinction that is easily understood by an increasingly attentive electorate.

Jim is for the new law and Erik is against it.

The new political blood that is reflected in the "tea party" movement has made it easier for the Republicans to sound more Constitutional in their discussions.

This can be witnessed in Erik.

He too can tell which way the wind is blowing.

I think that Erik has at least ten-to-one odds of holding his House seat against Jims' challenge.

For Erik however, this election may prove to be an easier battle than the one he will find himself in after the election.

It is difficult for a soft Republican, in a hail-storm of special interest groups fighting each and every budget cut, to remain strong.

The Democrats favorite Republican, [and one of my least favorites...] Teddy Roosevelt said; "Cowardice is the only unpardonable sin".

Bully For You.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Down to the Wire in District Two

[you can read my review of the 8 Congressional Districts of Minnesota here]

In the Second Congressional District of Minnesota you have one of the least exciting races. The incumbent John Kline [R] seems very likely to keep the seat from the DFL candidate; Shelley Madore.

John is a Retired Marine Colonel who after several runs finally won the seat from the incumbent on 2002. He maintained his third term in 2006 by defeating one of "Times" persons of the year FBI agent "Collen Rowley [DFL]".

Now he faces Shelley, the perfectly groomed DFL candidate from solid Boston stock with local non-profit training. She looks good, and speaks well that circular, platitude laden, double speak that is used to support "programs".

Unfortunately for her, she has little support. The DFL has been sending resources to other fronts. Sure, she gets the endorsements of the Mondales, and "news"papers. But the real Democrat money is going to other races, like the sixth for example. [were i think it is being unwisely spent.]

The reason she gets little help is because John is almost a shoe in. He is just about the picture perfect version of the quintessential republican.

He seems a little stiff to me, but I suppose that is really what we need, so I am all for him.

I feel a need to disclose that he, in his early campaigns, booked a table at the celebration of Freedom Day on May 1; I think in 1998, I was managing. So, I give him bonus points for that. Also, while he was carrying the nuclear "football" for Uncle Ronnie in the eighties I was playing "receiver" on the blue crew of the U.S.S.Nathan Hale.

John, with all that, and the incumbent bonus, [available this year only to those who voted wisely] is the odds on favorite

I think he will cross the finish line at least two lengths ahead of Shelly. I put the odds at five to one for John.

A Fight to the Finish in the First

[you can read my review of the 8 Congressional Districts of Minnesota here]

There is a hotly contested struggle in the First Congressional District of Minnesota. The campaign to maintain power, or gain it; is now at fever pitch.

The seat is now held by the second-termer; Representative Tim Waltz [DFL]. He was born in Nebraska and is the son of a school administrator and a community activist. He retired from the National Guard and received his doctorate in education at Saint Mary's in Winona. He is a teacher in Mankato, on the Blue Earth River.

He is challenged for the seat by Randy Demmer [R]. He is a lifelong resident of Hayfield and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A in Ag. Business Administration. He has built up and sold several business, including a software company and three NAPA stores.

I hope he beats the incumbent.

Tim Waltz is a nice man, and he is probably an excellent school teacher; but he is the last thing the 1st District needs now.

He entered the house when the chips were down for the opposing party, and Tim was enough of "someone else" without being off-putting by having political positions.

He is the latest version of what is called a "blue-dog" democrat. That phrase came from a painter whos' scenes sometimes centered around a blue dog that often had a collar and a leash.

The implication is that they are rogue democrats who are unfortunately leashed to their leaders, or they would be voting more to their liking. (and by implication yours, no matter what that means.)

I prefer the term "milquetoast".

Tim is the kind of candidate that gets the endorsement of ole Governor Arne Carlson [R], who also endorsed Barrack Obama for president, as well as "independent" candidate Tom Horner for Governor.

Arne is just another guy who wants the books to line up and sees no problem with another little tax hike. He also likes people to listen to him as if he has something wise to say, and he really likes to be on TV.

He is washed up and should sit down.

Arne, your political days are behind you, take up stamp collecting or something.

That wishy-washy, meaningless, mush-mouth talk is a great strategy; designed to please everyone without turning off anyone.

But these are different times, and I don't think it will work in today's educated, electric, and politically charged atmosphere.

It will probably work for Colin Peterson in the 7th, as it has for years... maybe, but that's about it.

Here in the first district, full of farm fields, farm towns and farmers; and dotted with some sizable towns with their special interests, like Mankato and Winona and their colleges, or Rochester with the Mayo Clinic; there is no more room, or patience for fence sitting.

The, "well... on the one hand we have this, but on the other we have that" kind of talk has lost its luster.

We cannot afford that kind of nonsense anymore Arne.

There seems to be a general desire for plain speaking.
For clear answers to basic questions.

Don't expect any clear answers from any Democrat candidate.

They know that their ideas are not popular. They will shade their answers, divert the conversation, or more likely do as they usually do; call the opponent names, or his/her friends names.

Unfortunately the only people who seem to ask these basic questions are constituents; the press seems too preoccupied with other things to ask these good questions.

Questions like... "you say you are for this or that, yet you keep voting to the contrary, or support leadership with strong opposing do your reconcile that to your constituents?"

Right now the polls have it a statistical tie, which makes me think it is leaning away from the incumbent. But we shall see.

The only poll that matters is in November.
Tim may hold on to his seat, but right now I see the odds are three-to-two agianst him.


PS: Saturday the President Of The United States [POTUS] was in town stumping for the DFL Governor candidate Mark Dayton. Dayton is a horrible candidate with no stage presence or speaking ability, or fresh ideas.

This makes him an excellent standard bearer for his party.

He looks like a goggle eyed loon.
You will not see much or hear much from him leading up to the election.

His handlers, the best Dayton money can buy, knows that every time he is seen he loses 300 votes and every time he is heard he loses 640 more votes. He looks and sounds like a Prozac loaded stiff.

If you ever want to see a DFL drone, drone...go to a Mark Dayton speech. If you make it to the end, you will need a double, I'll buy; you've earned it.

Tarryl Clark in the 6th district had Bill Clinton in town stumping to defeat Michelle Bachmann in the 6th. He was scheduled to speak at 7:30 he arrived at 11.

In any case, politically Bill Clinton is the kiss of death. Just look at his endorsement record. Tarryl Clark is just about done, I think.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Minnesota by District.

Minnesota is a large State geographically with a small population, half of which is concentrated in the Twin cities metropolitan region.

The congressional districts, of which we have eight, are apportioned around people and therefore are relatively small in the metropolitan region and quite large as you go out state.

The first congressional district covers extreme southern Minnesota, from Wisconsin to South Dakota.

The second is smaller and covers the southern part of the metropolitan area.

The third is smaller still and encompasses the suburban region south, west, and north of Minneapolis.

The fourth congressional district has one of the twins, the Capitol city; Saint Paul and with it most of Ramsey county.

The fifth is very small and covers the east half of Hennepin county, and the other twin, Minneapolis.

The sixth district (the one I live in now) is north of the Metro following the Mississippi north a piece and also stretches east to the Saint Croix River bordering Wisconsin.

The seventh is is the largest district and covers most of western Minnesota, from the Canadian border to Marshall south of the Minnesota river.

And the eight district, also very large, covers the north and northeastern region to the Canadian border and to lake superior.

I have ties and interests in all these districts, I have lived and voted in the sixth for decades and I have deep emotional bonds to the eighth.

Keep in mind Congressional Districts encompass people first and geography by necessity.
But the geography has greatly shaped the people.

The folks along the wide flat planes in south-west Minnesota are different than the people in the hustle and bustle of the fifth, or the rugged northern eighth.

Each of these districts are apportioned by population, and these people will elect it's representative to our Republic by democratic means.

This is to be done ten days from today, on November 2.

There are some long standing assumptions being questioned and many an old guard is more than a little nervous.

I intend to do a district by district break down soon.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rounding The Far Turn...

I have been busy working the tree end of things. I got to do another crane job in White Bear Lake. It went well, but with a little gutter work needed afterwords, nothing horrible though.

The tree biz is busy now, but it will slow some and I will probably slide back to the stables during winter time.

Which makes me think of horses, and races.

And things are more than warming up on the race for the votes.

The race to get the votes for Governor here in Minnesota is getting interesting. The primaries led to the unlikeliests taking the endorsement for both the Republicans and the DFL.

The DFL, surprisingly, did not chose to run the mare; Margaret Anderson Kelliher. Instead they went with the gelding; Mark Dayton who had a Dam and Sire with name, and came from a farm with money.

The Republicans, instead of running the winner of the last race, Tim Pawlanty, or the next groomed contender from the House stable; they picked a hot, dark horse named Tom Emmer. [hot to them, I think he's warm... on some days.]

Mark Dayton has paid much of his own money to fund many of his own races in the past. Eventually he won the race for the State Auditor in 1990 and then finally the race for the U.S. Senate in 2001.

As they round the bend and enter the home stretch, they are evening up. Although Dayton looks a little wobbly and Emmer has a good stride the end is where it matters.

The book makers are calling Dayton the favorite, but I smell an upset. I've seen Dayton race before and his record is not so good. Just because you can afford the entrance fee doesn't mean you can race.

But Emmer has yet to race past the crowd cramming the rail on the home stretch, many of whom have bet, and bet big against him. Things can happen.

Pay very close attention now; for it is in that last stretch, and in the photo booth, that "winners" are made.

I may be just a hard bitten old track writer, but I'll always have a soft spot for the underdog.
I think the dark horse has it in him, and can win too big to cheat it out of him.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Two Weeks To The Earthquake.

I initially started writing this journal primarily as a means to billboard my products.

My intent is to write professionally for a (most probably political) issue oriented organization.

I have lots of interests. Many seem to have attracted the attention of politicians whom seem to want to tell me how to go about my business.

In my ideal world I would live and work in outstate Minnesota, minding my own business. Making and doing things that are productive. I would not be spending much time or energy on things political.

It is not I who has gone out of my way to seek them out, rather it is the politician; and quite often the legislation they propose, that seeks out me.

Here I am, one man living in the State of his birth, Minnesota. I love my family, my friends, my work. I love Minnesota and Minnesotan's through and through.

[7 winters makes you a Minnesotan]

I could give tours of the State based on time, interests, money, health... I like the concept of the four corners tour. It would be way cool.

I am still working on the order. I think scheduling matters, season-wise. It is a big State, and touching all four corners of the State of Minnesota is no small thing.

I happen to live in one of the most political states in the union, in one of the most political counties, in one of the most political congressional district, in one of the most political elections in generations.

I live in Forest Lake, in Washington County, in Minnesotas' 6th district, with incumbent Republican Michelle Bachmann facing the Democrat Farmer Labor [DFL] candidate and present State Senator' Tarryl Clark.

They both have been in the Minnesota Senate. Tarryl now is in the MN Senate seat 15.

The Speaker of U.S The House of Representatives; Nancy Pelosi, has labeled that U.S. House seat now helb by Bachmann as a "top target".

There is much to be said past, present, and future; concerning this moment in human history.

I will comment on some of these things during the crescendo to the November 2 cataclysm.

For starts I will let you know my inclinations.

I like the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. [although I agree with the "redundancy" argument made at the time.]

I like the Minnesota Constitution, the fact it was signed on two documents because the differences at the time were hot.
{one blue and one pink, guess which was signed by the Democrats.}

I like the Minnesota Constitution with its' definition of property rights as being Allodial property rights.

I am in the wood business. I love Minnesota, and boats, and food, and people and animals and geography and power. Real power, the ability to do work.

Being an old submariner I like quiet power.

I do not like any ideas proposed by the DFL since I left the service in 1987.
In fact, I have watched that organization and its' products, go steadily downhill since they started rattling my cage, and brought my naive gaze on their operation decades ago.

I find it hard to imagine ever voting DFL.
That is not to say I am impressed by the Republicans long suffering courageous stand for freedom. (not)

I have been waiting for a long time for real change.

For power to return to its proper place.
Most of what the Feds do the States should be doing, or better yet the people. What the States now do, the counties should; what the counties are doing quite often the individuals should be doing.

The cost is often unseen, yet people are encumbered by hidden burdens.

There is a remote, foggy but pleasant dream; it has been offered by many, many, many over the eons.

"We will remove individual struggle by collectivization."
No one will go without. It can be done.

No, it cannot.
To try is to deny the human spirit.

To claw from the working all, to give to a supplicant some, by an anointment few; I find revolting.

I know Minnesota from its rivers, arts, industries, history, land, people, seasons and our way of life.

I've known many of the "tea Party" people here in Minnesota for years. I think they are great and offer a taste of what is needed in Washington and Saint Paul.

I believe that Michelle Bachmann is going to have greater leadership positions after her re-election this November.

I intend to have an especially festive birthday this November 7.
I hope to post nearly daily till then.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Vast Vibrant Vistas.

There was a two week stretch of chill weather that shocked the systems. The plants, animals, and people of Minnesota were given a reminder of where they live. The first hard frost has come and gone.

It has passed and now the days are into the 70's again. Work is hot. Yet you know it will not be that way for long. We feel fortunate for every warm day in October.

These are days to get things done. Winter is coming.

Last week was interesting; on Friday we left the in town stump-grinding grind and moved to a spot in Stillwater.

Some guy sold a successful business and purchased some rolling wooded acreage on the high ground.

He had already had his "garage" built, and we were there to clear trees from the drive and future house. We also where to do some cleaning up of the general area.

On Friday, day 1 of this multi-day adventure, Joe had brought in a crane.

It was a picture perfect autumn day on the uplands of Stillwater along the Saint Croix river valley.

We were taking out some big trees. We had a real climber, and me to help setting chokers.

The routine was for me to ride the ball of the crane up to the top of the oak or maple, set a choker or two around a strong enough limb to take a large weight. Then hook the choker onto the ball of the crane.

Then I rappel down to the ground and pull my line through the hook.

That's when the climber cuts it off, and the crane lifts the "Big Broccoli" up. It then turns to set it on the ground where it's bucked up and the brush separated from the logs.

It was a picture perfect day with a view clear to Wisconsin. The whole region was ablaze in the billowing autumn colors; of reds, yellows, orange, burgundies...

It was a stunning view seen in a spectacular way. I will probably never see it again, I am a very fortunate Minnesotan to have seen it at all.

The rest of the work on the site has been drop and buck. And I have been climbing and doing some trimming here and there.

There is at least another days work for five people.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

September Ends

The sun rose but couldn't be seen. These clouds are just part of a rainfall that has lasted for days. We only got grazed but the southern third of Minnesota has been inundated. The River Warren Valley again shows it's dominance over the region as it catches, and transports to the sea, this huge rainfall.

The political season is way past gearing up and is off and running. As are the deer, for it is autumn and hunting season has started; bow first, then gun. Many of my friends have taken one already, looks like it will be a good deer harvest; unlike down south were this new rainfall has saturated what was expected to be a record grain harvest.

I am preparing for my winter-over as is everyone else with a rational and responsible Minnesota mindset. Coat, hat, gloves, boots that sort of thing. I think I am going out and getting a boot dryer. Very handy in the winter, there is nothing like warm and dry boots in the morning.

I intend to update my membership to the MSOA Minnesota Stable Owners Association, and also the FWLM; Forest Workers League of Minnesota.

I like working at the Tree Service/Horse Stables in Stillwater.
I really want to run the bandsawmill at Lumberjack Days next year, but that has to be pushed. So I will be pushing that.

I have my storage space paid up, my license renewed, the truck runs and is fully insured. Now to tidy up the boats, I still hope to get a couple runs in but the season is soon over for boating.

I also had been hoping to set up a more comfortable living arrangement by winter with a little more space and no weekend chores. That may still happen, I would like to live closer to work.

I want to paint my portable stage before it gets too cold, I could straighten up my storage space at the same time.

That's probably what I'll do this week. Today I may run to Sartell, or Big Lake depending on a few phone calls.

I did the laundry and the dishes, if I go I better do so soon. I need to be back for Sunday morning chores for about 20 horses. I should be done by noon.

If it's nice, maybe I'll paint my stage Sunday afternoon.

Now, time to make some phone calls.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Autumn is Here and Winter Aproaches.

Today was a crisp morning with fog. We were geared up and getting underway by 7 at Haines Tree service in Stillwater.

We had the white Pick-up pulling the stump grinder ahead and going through the list provided by the City of Minneapolis. Following that was the one ton pulling a trailer to receive the grindings, and running along with it, was the Mac [Granite] loader to pick up the grindings and then fill the hole with the dirt carried in the back of the Mac.

It's pretty efficient and once up and running it is not uncommon for us to grind 1000 inches of stumps.

We headed into town and were approaching the first ground stump to clean up (Mike and I were in the Loader), the fog had burned off and it was a perfect blue autumn day.

We went about from site to site, chewing up stumps along the boulevards of Minneapolis like a bunch of rabbits bouncing from carrot to carrot in the garden.

We had a good day and tomorrow looks to be the same.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Long Span of Time

I have had a wonderful Minnesota Summer and have much to say and have been saying it, but not writing it.

I'll try to improve.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Quick... Find Five Billion, You Have Five Days.

The State of Minnesota Legislature has been in session since February 4, 2010.

For many years now the State of Minnesota has been dealing with the realities brought about by a STATE spending curve that has long ago past the "hockey stick" profile, and is now approaching the near vertical.

The State of Minnesota's outgo, has been exceeding its income, for a long time now.

And the future projections are staggering to those willing to look at them.

Yet the spending, and legislating, and mandating, and agency-creating, and taxing ways of the last two generations continues.

".....and the calliope crashed to the ground"

So here we are with five days remaining till the mandated end of this legislative session and very little to show for it.

At least to those with a sober and adult viewpoint to the progress.

And to add insult to injury, the Governor's budget balancing measures of last year (needed because the Legislature, like always, waited till the last minute to not address the spending problem); have been ruled unconstitutional by the MN Supreme Court, and therefore undone.

So now we face at least a five billion dollar deficit to the budget.

Minnesota has a Constitutional Mandate to run on a balanced budget and the opportunities to shuffle bags of money from here to there are about used up.

The party in power has suggested adding another income tax bracket on the top end setting it at about %9.1+.

This would not come anywhere near closing the gap, but it feels good to the party in power.

Minnesota has an income tax, sales tax, property tax, electrical generation tax, Liquor tax, tobacco tax, state Lotteries, gas tax, mining tax, vehicle tax, and many more taxes. Not to mention all the fees for activities.

And the outgo still greatly exceeds this huge income stream.

This is also the start of the election cycle for all State House Members and and it is going to be very interesting and I think one of the hottest election in my lifetime so far.

Many people, agencies, and organizations, dependent on the STATES growth curve will be heard from.

And anyone in their way will...we'll I don't know what, but judging by past actions and tactics, it may be more than interesting as we approach the only poll that matters, the one in November.

But as of today, the STATE of MINNESOTA has five days to find five billion dollars.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday May 07, 2010

It is an early spring in Minnesota. It is electric and magic.

The buds on the trees are bursting the grasses are passing the standing brown stalks of last fall.

The ice is long gone and the geese are setting up shop on shorelines. The songbirds are singing loud and long and flitting about declaring territories.

The fruit trees are in flower and each have a strong fragrant aura all their own.

The bees are out.

But today a cold front is approaching and has been dumping heavy wet snow over half the state.

Since I have been alive I have heard of the old wise folks saying...

"do not plant you're tomatoes yet, nor your flowers unless you are ready to cover them; for it may be pleasant and shirtsleeve warm today, the winter is not quite through with Minnesota yet."

And so it is in early May in Minnesota. Fantastic.

Get the boats ready!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April and a Half.

It is the middle of April and this is a very busy, stressful and intense month for me.

Tomorrow, April 15th I will be at the Capitol in Saint Paul with several thousand of my friends suggesting that we Americans and Minnesotans are over taxed now, thank you very much.

I hope to see you there.

Prior to the 5pm event I will be working the second day taking down a MONSTER cottonwood tree in Saint Paul.

Busy but doable.

Gotta keep on moving.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Freedom Day, May 1 at the Minnesota State Capitol


May 1; Freedom Day, a day set aside to celebrate Freedom and Individual Liberty.

This will again be celebrated at the Capitol Mall in St. Paul by the liberty loving people of Minnesota, with support from the Freedom Day Foundation.

This will be the 15th commemoration of Freedom Day that the Freedom Day Foundation [FDF] has assisted the people of Minnesota in properly marking.

As in years past, this year’s celebration will again be punctuated with half hourly salutes to Freedom and Individual Liberty from two black powder cannon. One arrives from the New Ulm Battery, and the other from the Princeton irregulars.

We are offering six opportunities to pull the lanyard to fire a salute to Freedom to those 18 years or older for $100.
They are expected to go fast, first come first served. Reserve yours now before they are gone.

All are welcome to this family friendly celebration of these most American values. Pack a lunch, a jacket and the kids and come to the Capitol for an enjoyable day basking in the warmth of Freedom in Minnesota.


There is also a Freedom Day event page on “Facebook” sponsored by The Freedom Day Foundation.!/event.php?eid=219674240678

Any group, organization or individual who would like to help or participate can contact me at, facebook, or call me directly at 651-434-8664.

I can also be contacted for interview by any media by the same means.

Thank you,
Forrest C. Wilkinson
President of the Freedom Day Foundation [FDF]

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Double Time March .

March is near an end, it has been warm and dry. Most of the snow is gone.

It is chilly in the morning and you still need a hat when putting out the hay.
I think I have about the best drive to work possible. Except the "no drive" work situation is still always the best, I think.

I take the back roads from Forest Lake to Stillwater. It is scenic and rolling and you always see deer, turkey, pheasant, happy cows, hawks, raccoon or something.

I work at a horse barn that happens to have a tree service attached to it.
I feel I can fit in to a place like this.

Today I helped the morning chores. Richard put out the hay before I got there so I just started putting them out.

Every barn is different. One of the unique things here is the topography. We are adjacent to a creek falling into the Saint Croix River.

The grounds are essentially three tiers.

The lower one, south and east (towards the St. Croix) is three large paddocks.

When you leave the barn out the back; if you go right, and after passing six medium paddocks, you go down about fifteen feet to the lower big three paddocks.

The Barn is laid out in an "L" shape on the second tier. The older barn is the short leg of the "L".

If you go out the door of the old barn and take a left; you go up about twenty feet to the upper tier. There are three medium paddocks, then three more and then in the way back is a huge paddock for the herd and even more wooded rolling ground for trail riding.

If instead of going up the hill, you exit the old barn and go forward you get to a large pole barn housing a tree service.

Putting out and bringing in the horses is a fair amount of leg work. Not just is it way over there, it's also up there; or down there.

I am comfortable in both buildings and work in both on a regular basis.

Today for example, I put out the horses, cleaned the stalls, swept the barn then went for lunch.

Then I came back, grabbed my climbing spurs and jumped in the truck into Stillwater to climb and drop some small Norway Pines.

We were in a nice old ladies backyard and we didn't want to damage any of the other standing trees nearby.

Mike and I got there no problem. I got out and was immediately greeted by a fierce little rag-hound with a bandanna and a yap that didn't quit.

It was the funniest thing, he meant business, and was fast on those little feet.

I just ignored him.

She boxed him up. I climbed and Mike worked the rope. The pines were dead, but two needed to be topped to prevent damage to the other trees. The other one we just notched and dropped, with a line for control.

The sun was out but it was chilly, I even wore my barn coat climbing up the tree.

We packed up and came back home, her son was going to do the clean-up.
I filled out my time card and left the barn/tree service for home by three pm.

Tomorrow is Friday, payday.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Waterloo Two?

I am an amateur student of the lessons to be learn from conflicts. The attempt to impose ones will upon another.

Big or little.
Strategy and tactics.

I think we would all benefit if we would take to heart some of the most basic facts so painfully learned and relearned.

Here in America we have a special thing. The way we have established this Union, established on the notion that people aught to be free.

We have States, the laboratories of Democracy. We resolve our differences peacefully, by the vote.

We vote to elect our representatives, our representatives vote to enact laws.

All at the consent of the governed.

We have had armed conflict. The Civil War, the War between the States, the War for Succession; what ever you call it, this long, grizzly, tragic and destructive rending of the American fabric was about Freedom.

"As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy." Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. President.

He also said: "Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally. "

We should be very thankful for those who kept the union whole, and that we will never see that horror again.

The ballot, not the bullet, is the American way.

Today in congress we have a great debate raging, but nothing like in 1860.

Our President has demonstrated strong support for a bill passed by the Senate, but not passed yet by the House of Representatives.

The House of Representatives, like the Senate, is lead by the party of the President, but has not passed the bill.

They say they are ready for a vote and it will pass very soon. They have been saying this for about four months now.

The conflict resides in the fact that a very large portion of American Citizens have demonstrated, and continue to do so, their dislike for the Bill in question.

The 44th President has a lot at stake, this is a major issue he was elected on two years ago and he continues to strongly push the issue.

He has a Congress of the same party, yet the approaching November elections are on the minds of all members of the House and a third of the Senate.

They have heard from, and continue to hear from, many of their constituents strongly opposed to the bill.

Many people have said that if the President does not achieve his goal that it would be his "Waterloo".

What does this mean? What do they mean?
Here is some of what I think is meant here.

First the back background.
Across the ocean in the old country....

France was undergoing great turmoil in an attempt to move past the Monarchy of ages past.

In 1795, nearing the end of terrible social upheaval, royalists from Paris declared open revolt on the new National Convention assembling in the Tuileries Palace in Paris.

The Royalists were not listed in the directory. They were being shut out against their will.

They were well connected to the Monarch and were loosing power and position. They prepared to attack.

Someone knew that the trained and proven, yet delisted artillery commander; Napoleon Bonaparte was within reach to prepare a defense of the embryonic new government.

He assembled and defended the palace, the royalists were denied there will, for a while anyway.

Napoleon was a sudden national hero and star. He was almost immediately assigned the title "Commander of the Interior" and given control of the Army of Italy by the grateful newly created, Directory of France.

Two years later, in mid-1797, the Royalists won a lot of elections and there was concern about them going back to the old ways.

Napoleon had been leading the Army of Italy on a very successful and popular campaign through northern Italy and up to Austria.

Although he was even more popular and politically powerful, the Royalists beat him up in the press for being too harsh with the Austrians and letting his army loot Italy. (Both true from what I can tell.)

In August 1799 he was in Egypt and not doing well, with the desert on one face and the English navy on the other.

He picked up and left Egypt, leaving a whole bedraggled army behind him, and went back to Paris, just as the Directory was weak and broke, and the military had several setbacks on the continent. Unknown to him the Directory had called for him to return.

The people loved him, but not the Directory.
One of the Directors concerned about the Royalists return to power, suggested to Napoleon, a coup to overthrow the French Constitution of 1795.

He agreed, his brother was also involved in these plans.

In 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte took control of that Coup D'etat by craft and guile.

The old Directory was replaced with the French Consulate and Napoleon Bonaparte was installed as First Council of France.

France and her military accepted him totally, hopeful for stability after several military failures and civil unrest at home. They would gladly accept some loss of liberties for security.

He had Parliamentary and Military control of all France. For fifteen years he directed the path of France.

He had those who helped him to power that would not accept his total control of the republic deported to French Guiana.

He centralized power into the Senate.

After yet another botched conspiracy against him, Napoleon Bonaparte was extremely popular with the French people. He took advantage of this, and on 18 May 1804 he had the Senate bestow upon him the title of Emperor. A public referendum, that oddly enough passed the title on to his heirs just like any other monarchy, passed on the same day.

The French Consulate was abolished and the period of the Napoleonic Empire had arrived.

Through the Napoleonic wars 1803-1805, he and his Napoleonic Empire had "Satellite States"; ruled by relatives, enforcing his "codes", from Spain to Norway, from Germany to the Turkish border. Plus his Navy threatened many of the British interests.

The Empire of the French, the 1st French Empire or the Napoleonic Empire lasted from 1804 to 1814.

However, by the winter of 1812 he had reached too far. He was in burned out and abandoned Moscow with a frozen and starving army when he was called back to Paris, his power was greatly in peril.

Politically, and more importantly, militarily weakened; a new alliance formed up with Prussia, Great Britain, Russia, Spain, Portugal and Sweden against Napoleon.

They surrounded him as he, and his control, retreated. British from the south and the Germans from the north. He won some early victories, but was way out numbered. He came to a point were he felt compelled to order a march on Paris.

But this was too much to ask of the loyal French army, the generals quietly mutinied. To stop the allies, they convinced him to abdicate. He did - to his son, however that didn't sit well with the allies.

In 1814 the Allies made him sign total abdication for him and his heirs, and then he was removed from the continent to exile on the little island off Italy called Elba.

Thus ended the Napoleonic Empire. Or did it?

On Elba, off Tuscany, he was given total control, a guard of 600 men, and retained the title of Emperor.

And the British continually kept ships patrolling round the little island.

The Austrians had his wife, and he was not getting his allowance. And there was talk that he was going to be moved to a very remote island in the Atlantic.

Napoleon Bonaparte got a small boat and escaped Elba with a small guard.

He landed on the French mainland two days after he left his island prison. It was 28 February, 1815. He had been on Elba for 300 days.

The 5th regiment was sent to capture him.

They met; Napoleon dismounted, approached and said; "Here I am, kill you're Emperor if you wish."

Now you understand that the Army, under Napoleon Bonaparte, had been through many, many successful, glorious and lucrative ventures; while now they were broke, hungry and discontent.

They responded "Vive L'Empereur", and joined him in his march to Paris, the Capitol of France.

When this was learned, he was declared an outlaw and armies were immediately assembled throughout Europe to end his assent to power.

Napoleon arrived in Paris, now with a huge following, on March 20th.

Thus began Napoleons famous Hundred Days. The Emperor was back in power.

He had over 200,000 soldiers and chose to go on the offensive, to attack individually, the mobilizing allies before they could coalesce into a single large, and unbeatable, force.

He would drive a wedge between the Prussian army and the British Army. The French Army of the North advanced into present day Belgium.

On Sunday 18 June 1815 the Imperial Army met an Anglo-allied army lead by the Duke of Wellington and also a Prussian army lead by Gebhard Von Blucher near a small town called Waterloo.

A lot has been said about the battle of Waterloo, how it was managed.

Had Napoleon defeated the Duke of Wellington before Blucher arrived, he could have met and defeated him as well, as planned.

The history of the world would have been very different, had he.

The fact is the Duke absorbed his attacks long enough for his allies, the Prussians, to arrive and roll through Napoleons right flank.

Napoleon Bonaparte; Emperor of France, King of Italy, Protectorate of the Confederation of the Rhine, political and military genius, and scourge to many was finally, completely and undeniable stopped.

He made it to an Atlantic seaport and considered escape to America, but eventually demanded political asylum from the British.

Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to the small remote island of Saint Helena, over a thousand miles off Africa in the southern Atlantic.

There was no doubt that his rule was over.

Because of Waterloo.

Today the struggle is between the President and his Party Generals; against the opposing party, with support from a large and growing number of citizens strongly opposed to the bill.

To some citizens, our elected servants appear to be slipping from Representatives to legislators, to lawmakers, to rulers.

Alone, the party of opposition to the Party of the President does not have the votes to stop the bill.

The will of the President, with the Speaker of the House and Majority leader of the Senate; opposed to the will of well over half of the People of the United States of America.

This week there is a strong offensive push for a resolution to the problem being experienced by the bill in the house. He appears to be attempting to drive a wedge between the elected representatives and the voting populous.

Like Napoleon, the President wants to win the House fight before the flank is rolled up by the crowing crowds of discontent citizens marching onto the battle field like Blucher and the Prussian army.

The coming November elections are causing many a sleepless night in Congress.

The Battle of Waterloo was undecided up until the very end. It could have gone either way. The Duke of Wellington called it "the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life".

And our present conflict of wills appears to be a near-run too.

The President and his friends have invested about all the political weapons in their arsenal. They, like Napoleon, are down to the most loyal guard.

If they succeed, the bill will pass and the President will sign it into law. It will immediately be challenged in court.

But his will would be forced on those greatly opposed to it. And though he may lose his allies in November, like Napoleon did after the coup that began his climb to power, he will continue forwarding his "codes" for all to follow.

But if he fails, he could become executive of a greatly weakened presidency. He, and his agenda to reshape America, may end up in virtual exile in the rose garden of the White House, while the Congress and States go about the business of governing.

The Battle of Waterloo was not so much lost by Napoleon, it was won by the strong will of the Allies of the Seventh Coalition.

Not just the next Congressional election will be effected by the outcome of this modern day political "Battle of Waterloo".

The outcome of this very important battle being waged today will have long lasting effects on the United States of America for generations to come.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Flooding Minnesota

It is Sunday March 12 and the sky is lead gray and heavy with moisture. Here at the barn the ground is saturated from two days rain, and the melting snow combined with the rainwater is filling all the low spots.

The ground is still frozen and the water pools, then drains as best it can. Often the grade is shallow and the water has to rise to find an outlet from these little isolated and "perched" basins.

This water can be thought of as potential energy, energy awaiting release. In this case, as an elevated weight.

The water eventually rises in these pools. The rising water eventually crests the lowest spot in the basin's, ridge-line divide, that rings the drainage basin, and separates it from the neighboring basins.

In this way little puddles merge on the farm. They spread out as the volume of water increases. Lateral movement begins to become more apparent, water always flows downhill.

Little streams get organized and gently wend back and forth as they connect the low-spot "Dots" on the relatively flat terrain.

Eventually these streams reach a more dramatic drop and the water accelerates. The streams here are faster and more competent; and much straighter. Unlike the situation with a gentle slope, water is not meandering to drop an inch and is not bending, it is straight and fast.

Depending on the soil profile; this faster water, and the kinetic energy it releases in the drop, will scour the bed of the stream, and in so doing incise itself into the terrain.

Often the stream will hit a harder object than the base material it is embedded in. Like a large field stone in the dirt. A stream seeks its own level and also takes the course of least resistance.

A stream may come to a hard spot like our stone, and flow alongside it, removing more erodible material along its side as the stream continues its fall and flow.

In this way the water gathers, flows, falls and drains away. Eventually the rain stops, the sun shines.

The excess water is gone, the creek is back in its normal stream bed. The fields and pastures begin to show green grass shoots. The soft earth firms up and the young green grass grows fast.

Much like on the farm, Minnesota is experiencing the same thing. With unique situations and conditions to the many varied regions found in the great State of Minnesota, the same principles apply.

For example on the north west border, between Minnesota and North Dakota is the famous Red River of the North. It is located on the bottom of the glacial Lake Agassiz. It is flat, and experiences the same situations described above on the flat ground on the farm.

The Red is a gentle river, usually in a small trench meandering along the billiard-table flat ground of rich black loam. However, places like Grand Forks (fork = rivers joining) find themselves in trouble if the spring waters rise too fast. The water quickly fills the trench, overtops their natural levies and spreads out over the broad flat farmland.

The Red River also has another kicker. Because as it falls it flows north, it often melts in the southern headwaters, flows, and then meets an ice dam and frozen river downstream near the Canadian border.

This can really cause things to backup. History is full of examples of the Red River flooding and covering huge areas of flat land on both the Dakota and Minnesota side.

If the tributary streams had a little more control these high water events could be moderated. Also we wouldn't have the summer water shortages that lead to even-odd watering restrictions as we work on discarding sandbags from last springs flood.

"Wetlands", no matter what you may have been told, do not prevent flooding or erosion.

The State of Minnesota has a three continental divide. Water flows to Hudson Bay via the Red River.

The muddy Mississippi; father of waters, gathers tributary streams and flows to the Gulf of Mexico.

Along the North East or the Arrow-head region of Minnesota; from Duluth northward along the rugged lake Superior coastline, these spectacular creeks and rivers carve into the hard basalt and fall into the lake, eventually draining into the Atlantic ocean.

The namesake river of the state, the Minnesota, goes from west to east in a large gash across the southern third of the state and meets the Mississippi in Saint Paul.

It is very geologically unique. The Minnesota River is an under fit stream and drains about a quarter of the State. It meanders on the bottom of a large valley about two miles wide, flat bottomed and lying about 200 feet below the surrounding countryside. The Minnesota River's tributary streams fall from the high ground into this channel that the ancient glacial River Warren carved when Lake Agassiz was larger than all the Great Lakes and needed an outlet stream the size of the Amazon.

The many tributary streams are bedded in highly erodible glacial till and during high water events these lateral ravines are scoured. The sides also slump in great sand and gravel scallops, and these tributary river beds are incising into the soil with the energy of water dropping two hundred feet in less than a mile as it falls to meet the Minnesota on the bottom of the valley.

Minnesota means turbid or cloudy water. One Indian described the term Minnesota by putting some drops of milk into a glass of water.

You can learn more about the Minnesota River and more specifically the Glacial River Warren at the River Warren Research Committee website here. (I am an RWRC founding member and I wrote the newsletters found on the website, check them out.)

The Minnesota and its tributary is prone to wild fluctuations in elevation, from trickle to torrent. The Minnesota River is a sediment laden under fit stream.

Here too, some controls could be used for flood "flattening" as well as hydroelectric generation. The control of the wild energy would also secure the high ground from the growing threat of the inland devouring of the tributary streams.

You could also end up with some very nice fishing lakes and lots of happy farmers would retire with lakefront property.

And again, we could do away with the ridiculous water restrictions the land of lakes seems to experience every summer of late.

We could also use a bunch more water towers.

To experience a real good flood you need about five things.

One is a wet fall that fills the low spots and saturates the ground. Last fall was damp but not a total soaker.

Two is a hard deep freeze before deep snow. This locks the water in the ground and low spots and makes for a wet thawing with no ground saturation of spring rains. Our freeze came before the snow.

Number three is a lot of snow in the winter. We had a good snow this winter.

Four is a quick warm-up that melts the deep snowpack. We've had a four day period of 40+ degrees.

Fifth is a wet rainy period during the snow melt. We had two days of moderate rain during the warm weather.

Although they have been present in greater force in the past, these five conditions exist to some degree or another throughout Minnesota and we are expecting flooding along many of these rivers.

There are ways to prevent flooding, as well as ensuring we have a reliable source of freshwater for the benefit of all.

Setting aside so called "wetlands" is not one of them.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

February Has Marched Out.

The longest shortest month of the year has past and we are now into March. February 2010 was a month of great and deep change and adjustments. It was like a fault line that shifted with a long jarring rumbling. Followed by everything is quiet, back to normal, with just a little disorder evident, easily picked or swept up.

Yet a little unease remains with the memory.

March is here and the sun is shinning and the snow is melting and it is fantastic!

I do believe that with this new spring comes the need for a new (to me) vehicle. I have been driving a little red scooter and it's about done.

I also think I have a lead on someone with an industrial sewing machine, it may make repair of the sail economical feasible.

A couple of weekends ago I hit the Friday meat raffle at the Blacksmith and gave my portable stove the final acid test. A full roast (from Grundhoffers meats in Hugo).

O yes, she passed with flying onions and carrots.

I have been playing e-mail tag with a couple friends from school and I intend to touch base with them. Definitely.

Things are tight, at least with everybody I make contact with. Minnesotans can take care of themselves if allowed to.

Personally, I think we're going to do what we do, no matter what anybody says or thinks.

I am not going to wait for someone to tell me what kind of job I should be doing or not doing.

I, like most everybody else, do not need some program to "incentive-ize" me.

I've got plenty of incentive thank you.

What we really need is to remove lots of these expensive, burdensome, and time consuming artificial barriers that just smothers the warm fires in the hearts of the naturally incentive-ized individuals of Minnesota.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

...Had a Great Fall.

In preparation for a Halloween party some six years ago I fell from the rafters of a pole barn.

I was using my throwline from my climbing gear and it snagged on a gusset plate. I was just like I always am, and said; "heck I can just climb up there and hang the witch, free the line and then shimmy down, no problem".

Rafter climbing is a pain in the ass. Its all narrow and cramped and the gusset plates are sharp edged and right where you want to put your hands or feet.

I climbed up the big truck that was parked inside on the sand ring for a stage. I made it no problem to the snagged line. I had used the heavier throwbag and it was hung up tight in the bight right where the metal plate meets the wood of the rafter.

I got the line out and then used it to raise the witch, then I looked back at the trip through the rafters I had to make to get down.

The long, dusty, tight, and ever tightening, fight back to the truck over by the eve of the building looked like a hassle. I could, instead of walking in the rafters, just arm over arm it, hanging from the rafters some twenty feet up. I would monkey over to the truck.

Well, it had been a long dusty day at the farm there just outside Savage Minnesota, and I hadn't timed my swings right to meet the first(sharp)gusset plate that I had to pass and I stopped.

I thought I could just do the hang, drop and roll but the guys didn't like that idea so Bubba went to to get the tall ladder.

My hands were slick from the long dusty day and my fingertips on the dusty two-by-four were just not up to holding long enough.

I came down as the ladder was being set up. I tried to land on two of the top steps.

It would have been real cool. The ladder would stomp down on its feet as I stomped down on the top steps. The dust would just be settling as I come stepping down from above, triumphant.

Well,the timing of things didn't quite work out so well and I kinda missed a step.

I didn't get the benefit of the drop and roll. What I did get was a pitch sideways from the teetering ladder.

I fell about eighteen feet and landed hard on my left side. My left wrist hurt like the dickens and my left leg was flopping around like it never really did before.

And just like after my drowning some twenty years earlier, my first response was to try to get up. Steve said he didn't think that was a good idea.

So I stayed there on my back with my left arm across my chest.

Colin, my brother called the ambulance, and Steve helped by putting my left leg up to my right and duct taping the two together.

I had smashed the left wrist totally and the left pelvis had snapped at the socket.

After a long month in the hospital I was allowed to leave. I was weak, sore, had a no weight restriction on the leg, and the wrist was in a cast.

Both were full of screws and wire.
I was driving a walker in winter. I first roomed with Drew in Rockford then Buck and Cathy in Avon.

My nephew Johnny gave me the nickname "Jabberwalky", I suppose you could understand why. Cathy and John helped get me moving and I threw away the pain pills, even though the pain was hot and constant.

Now its just constant, and only periodically hot; usually after a long days work.

After about five months I was told to go ahead and put weight on the pelvis.

I know lots of people have gone through a lot worse, heck Kip broke his neck and was in a "halo" and full body brace, and Eric; well we almost lost him in the same accident that broke kips neck.

However, I had a lot of hard, painful work ahead of me. I still do. I need to work the leg more, that's one of the reasons I do the work I do.

After wintering in Avon, I hobbled over to Sartell and Dad's house right across the street from the high school I graduated from.

What a long circle I had taken, but here I was again. Weak, sore, crippled, and dejected. I was not happy.

Nobody wants to live in the basement of their folks house as an adult.

I was not really ready, but I had to move out. I just had to.

I had no money, and very few options.

I am many things, one of which is a qualified U.S. Submarine Sailor. I went to submarine school in Groton Connecticut, Sonar training in San Diego and sailed the Atlantic and Mediterranean on two submarines out of Charleston S.C. and Norfolk VA.

To be a submarine sailor is to be a space man, and the (constant)training reflects that fact.

So I went back to my training. I assessed my situation, inventoried my resources, identified a goal, created a plan and put it in to action.

Submariners do not whine. We also are prone to very hard language with short factual phrases that often upset people, but we do not care much about feelings.

I have been trying to work on improving that, although I am starting to think there is no advantage to changing.

Recently someone said I, "sounded like a woman".

When I stop and assess my situation, with all the inconveniences I put up with and the whiners I listen to; well, lets just say that no one will think this man sounds like a woman again.

The way I left the basement in Sartell was to ask someone I know in the horse business if there was a barn looking for help, but it had to have room for me to move into.

She did, and so I did.

It was probably way to early for me to take on the job.
Afternoon chores and weekend morning chores at a barn in Forest Lake. Horse stable work; hay out, lead horses out, clean the barn, bed the stalls, clean water buckets, and sweep and such.

What should have taken two hours was taking me three and it hurt like hell. But I did it.

Things have changed since then, but it has been a hard painful struggle, not just to get on my feet. I am now back to working horse and tree. I even climb now and again.

I remember passing a fellow early in my recovery as I "walkered" my way into therapy one winter day. He said it gets better, just you have to keep working, but it does get better.

I have always had little patience for lazy people. Especially when they expect things from others, things they could get or do for themselves.

I do not mind helping people as long as they help themselves.

But as soon as they start whining or bitching about a little pain, some discomfort, and slight inconvenience that is usually way smaller than any I have, or am now dealing with, I quickly loose interest in helping or being polite.

Grow up people.
I tire of being diplomatic to protect inflated egos and fragile emotions.
I am trying to get things done, productive things, and I no longer have time to be delicate.

So, all of you in Minnesota are on notice.

I am returning to my normal, rough, gruff, tree climbing, submarine sonar, stablehand way of straight line, no muss, no fuss, bald face, fact based, communicating.

It may be hard on you, but it's much easier on me; and as far as I am concerned, that's what really matters.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

We live in a Republic. (if we can keep it)

We live in a Republic.
With a Federal Government of few and enumerated powers vested to it by the people. [Not the other way around]

States have other more broad powers [and individual Americans even more]. That is, if we think the U.S. Constitution actually is to be taken seriously.

You do understand that the House of Representatives is based on Population and the Senate on a 2 per State ratio for a reason. (Read the Federalist Papers) This is to prevent high population States from walking all over the low population States. I think that is as "fair" as you could hope. Why have two bodies based on population like here in MN. You might as well just go one body, like Nebraska.

We don't think you need to be an American Citizen to vote. We don't think property is managed properly unless owned by the State; private property is run by greed you say.

We think "Health Care", and lots of other things, should be managed and provided by the Federal Government. (As if it could!)

We think the Feds should tax and subsidies things to influence individual peoples behavior. {Raise gas tax to discourage driving for example}

We do not believe in the "Blessings of Liberty"; that our standard of living is one of those blessings. No, we think the blessings come from some government agency and their forms we can fill out with the appropriate fees.

D.C. was carved out to prevent the gov. workers undue influence in Congress. But we don't like that, we don't like the electoral college, we don't like the idea of States running themselves, and certainly not individual people....basically we want to change everything about the United States.

We don't like freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of religion, security in our papers and property...basically we don't like freedom.

Actually we FEAR freedom. The ignorant just think it is "freedom to fail" or some such nonsense.

And then we wonder why everything changed, why we are all poorer and have less independence and influence over our own lives.

And then we look to the Government to provide a "solution".

Land of the Free? Home of the Brave?
Ya, right.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Minnesota Stable Owners Association

I’ve always loved working outdoors and being a stable hand in Minnesota is a job suited to independent, industrious individuals like me.

You have to show up most every day, and early in the morning at that, but you get to see the days arrive and the seasons change.

It can be a hard job with constant demands on mind and body. You will be putting feed out in the morning, snow or rain. The animals have to be led to paddocks, tractors have to be warmed and maintained, fencing and stalls need to be mended and hay fields have to be worked.

As in all agricultural endeavors, the boarding of equine livestock is very much attuned to the seasons.

Spring brings greening pastures and hay fields, and the hassles of dealing with new foals. Oh sure they’re cute and everything; unless your the guy who’s got to lead mom and the youngster out to paddock. Or that new yearling alone for that matter, she’s all legs and coiled like a spring, gamboling to the pen. You better know what you are doing or you will get schooled.

But you get to see the song birds returning, every day a new arrival shows with the morning sun when you’re putting out the hay.

Barns are mended and fence lines repaired after the long winter. Maybe a new door is installed on the hay barn or the tack room is insulated for next year…

Many projects are started, all while the daily routine continues. Feed the horses, and then out to the pastures they go, clean the stalls, spread the manure on the field, add bedding to the stalls, bring down enough hay bales and prepare for the evening feed.

Order of operations and timing is important and needs to be considered at all times. You might as will not sweep the aisle until the bedding is in, or you can sweep twice, it’s your choice.

Summer is hot and hay is harvested. After working in the field bailing it, you get to put it up in the loft, heated from the mid day sun. Or, if you can park the hay wagons somewhere they won’t get wet, we can put it up tomorrow before morning chores, when it’s cooler, if you are willing to come in an hour early.

Fencing posts and boards are bought and installed, then painted. I have painted many length of white, two, three and four board fence line. Electrical fencing is put up or repaired and the water tanks fixed, or replaced and kept filled.

The sun is shinning and you should be making hay. Bailing hay is a hot, dusty, miserable job, unless everything goes just right, which it never does. Trucks break down, tires go flat, bales get stuck, and rain falls when you wish it didn’t….Then you have to get it back to the barn and up into the loft or in the hay shed.

Autumn is crisp and sometimes wet and windy. The horses are goofy with the autumn winds. Something is on the air, signals in the scents. They are all eyes and ears and sometimes a prancing and snorting.

Hopefully you have gotten in a third cutting of hay before the hard cold of November hits. It is time to button up the barn, shut the windows and staple some plastic over them and any unused doors on the old barn.

Park, lube and stow the summer equipment for the winter, it’s just around the corner. I like to walk the ground and give a shot of WD-40 to every hinge, bolt or snap-hook to prevent freezing in the winter. Very little is more frustrating than a frozen snaphook on a leadline with a hungry horse on the other end wanting release to get his morning hay.

Winter is the big test. Do you have enough hay and grain supplied? Is your water system up to the chilling challenge? Are you?

In and out with the horses in the winter is a bother. You must keep the doors and gates clear of snow and ice. On the brilliant white days with the bright sun you may have to stop at the door to adjust their eyes. Minnesota winters, with windy, cold hard days, test the metal, but are good for horse constitution, if you ask me.

Breaking frozen water buckets is time consuming and finger numbing, and must be done correctly or you will certainly be breaking buckets at about twenty dollars a pop.

Everything takes longer in the winter, and if you wear glasses they will fog up every time you come in from the cold. I just put mine on the shelf until all the livestock that is going outside is outside, then I can bring in the tractor and manure spreader, shut out the cold and get to cleaning stalls.

Year in and year out, as has been done for countless generations before me; I, along with many other Minnesota stablehands, continue the traditions created and maintained only by the hand on, day-to-day chores of a horse stable.

We do the same things that have been done since the harness was first put on the horse some six thousand years ago.

I have worked as a stable hand at many horse barns throughout Minnesota.
I hope that I can look forward to a fruitful future of gainful employment in my home state of Minnesota, as well as an opportunity to continue this legacy and train the next generation of Minnesota stable hands.

Although I am not a Stable Owner, I am glad to join the Minnesota Stable Owners Association as an associate. You can join too if you go to the link, here.

I have great expectations for our future good works on behalf of the horse livestock business specifically and Minnesota’s agricultural heritage in general.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

January 2010.

Christmas was white and the new year has arrived bright and cold. It is now half way into the first month of 2010.

I have been busy. Working daily at "HH" stables. And making basic preparations for this years celebration of Freedom Day.

I have also joined a new organization. The Minnesota Stable Owners Association. It is a new 501 (c)6 Business League.

It is a non profit that can lobby but its receipts are not tax deductible to those making donations.

I don't own. Heck I'm just a stable hand, but they are the latest bunch organizing to fight the ever increasing tax burden.

In this case, it's a massive property tax, and other things, due to people not understanding the agricultural nature of horse management.

I can tell you it is not just another business. I work with livestock, tractors, feed, fences, bailing hay and all kinds of other things agricultural.

A horse stable is an agricultural operation no matter what some government entity would like to say in order to make some financial charts and graphs match up.

Legality and reality are often very different.