When the cattle went on the lam, it was time to fire up the Arctic Cat!

Our livestock, our machines, ourselves

Happy Medium: “Subject: The Lone Ranger and Silver Saved the Day.


“For several years, I was a snowmobiler, and I loved every minute of it. I knew nothing about snowmobiles; fortunately, my brother kept my snowmobiles in optimum running condition. We snowmobiled on Wisconsin and Minnesota trails, and once each year we traveled to the beautiful West Yellowstone area.

“One year I stayed with Mom during my brother’s trip to West Yellowstone. Mom was the overseer of the dairy farm when he was away. A neighbor was hired to do the milking. Mom and I fed the calves and bedded the cows.

“All was going well until the day our neighbor informed us that our young cattle had broken through the fence and had ventured out on their own.

“What to do? The snow was too deep for us to chase the 20 marauders. There was only one solution. I would use my Jag Arctic Cat snowmobile to round up the cattle.

“I donned a warm jacket, heavy boots, gloves and helmet and ran to the shed, hoping against hope that I could start the snowmobile. I choked it a little, as I had been shown, and with one pull of the starter rope, it started like a charm.

“Mounting Jag, I glided across the snow-covered yard to the field where the guilty creatures stood watching. They shook their heads and snorted at the strange black thing coming at them. One kicked up her heels and tried to run, but stumbled and fell. Getting up, she headed toward the open fence where Mom and our neighbor were standing guard. Others decided that was a good idea, because they followed, getting away from that small black object gliding over the snow.

“Things were looking hopeful until two heifers decided to turn and plod back up the hill. I swung Jag around and got ahead of them. They stopped in their tracks, kicking at the snow, shaking their heads and snorting. I revved the motor and yelled strong Norwegian words, letting them know they should go no farther. We stared at each other for a while, with Jag rumbling. Finally they turned, flicked their tails in the air, and trotted toward the open fence, looking back to see if that black thing was still following.

“The rest is simple. The cattle shuffled through the fence, and Mom and our neighbor quickly pulled the broken gate in place. The cattle were secured once again. Together, we stabilized the fence so it would hold at least until my brother came home.

“I put the Arctic Cat in the shed and gave it a gentle pat for a job well done. For a brief time, we were the Lone Ranger and Silver gallantly saving the day.”

Now & Then
Our Living (and/or Dying) Language Division

Snackmeisterin of Altoona, Wisconsin: “Following up on  the recent post by Wayne Nelson of Forest Lake (Subject: ‘Lost words of the past.’)

“This week, I happened upon a 1943 yearbook from what was then called Eau Claire High School. It is a fascinating look into that time in our history. On the light side, I lost count of the number of times the book’s owner was called a ‘swell kid’ or ‘swell girl,’ and a few times a ‘drip’! Some signers referred to themselves that way! At points I felt like I was snooping in someone’s diary, reading about some of her after-school escapades and noting that one teacher wrote: ‘Good luck to a noisy student. You really can talk. You’ve been a good student, though, so it’s OK.’ And I wonder if she ever made it to South America, as she predicted to her friends.

“On a darker side, page after page referred to the war raging across the seas. A page honoring Teachers in Service thanks them for ‘teaching the Axis an object lesson in what an American actually means when he says, “All out for VICTORY!”‘ Ironically, on the facing page is a photo of four students with their right arms extended, each one’s hands with all four fingers pointing, in what looks very much like a ‘Heil, Hitler’ pose, although they are pointing at the American flag. The debate team discussed the topic ‘The establishment of a federal world union in the post-war world.’

“Noting that ‘If Hitler saw fit to kindle the flames of a bonfire back in 1933 which destroyed some 25,000 books representative of the best minds, he must have feared that books are undoubtedly arsenals of democracy,’ the school library was expanded by adding ‘countless volumes on our democratic way of life, . . . great American and European heroes, . . . the unfortunate experiences of people in occupied territories, and . . . the efforts of our present armed forces in the various war areas.’

“The war was addressed in almost every academic area:

“In Home Ec sewing classes, students were taught ‘an entirely new emphasis on thrift’ and the ‘importance of making every scrap count.’ In cooking classes students learned how to deal with the ‘threatened food shortage and the rationing of many food products.’

“In Science, chemistry classes were taught ‘regarding the properties of poisonous gases and incendiaries used in warfare and what means one might employ as protection against them, should the enemy decide to use them as a means of attack.’ And: ‘Aware that in this present crisis air power is a highly determining factor in spelling the difference between victory and defeat, Mr. Thorngate has offered this year a class in pre-flight aviation to stimulate a knowledge of this great bulwark of our present warfare. Recognition is also noted of the great commercial and vocational opportunities aviation will offer in world activity in the post-war days.’

“There’s a lot more where that came from, but I think I’ll stop here for now. If you like, I will send more!”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: By all means! Please! Pictures, too, if you would.

Our theater of seasons

Mounds View Swede: “With Monday’s sunny and warm weather, I ventured out to Rice Creek Regional Park North with my camera to see how things were looking with the fall prairie. Due to other time-consuming commitments, I hadn’t been there for about four years, and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed walking amongst the trees and prairie there.

“I was seeing things I had never noticed before, and I do not know the names of these plants with unusual leaves or seed clusters, but I was excited to ‘discover’ them.


“This ‘fuzz’ looked very soft and comfortable.

“And this type of weed produced several clusters of these seedy things. I wish I knew more about these plants and what happens in its different stages.


“This thorny pod was the most unusual thing I found. There were several of these pods just in one area along the pathway. I have never seen anything like this.

“These little fuzz balls are about 1/2 inch in diameter.

“There were only a few of these ‘erupting’ pods.


“Again, these were totally new to me. If any Bulletin Board readers are familiar with these plants, please share information with us and give me a clue!”

Older Than Dirt
Or: The Permanent Motherly/Daughterly Record (responsorial)

The Other IGH Grandpa: “Subject: Older Than Dirt membership.

“I was prepared to chastise Cheesehead By Proxy for her submission about replacing her pincushion with the latest model.


“She was claiming Older Than Dirt status, and I was afraid that she would fail membership. It is a Rite of Passage to be Older Than Dirt, albeit a sad one, when you realize that you have to part with articles that have sentimental meaning to you but no one else and/or stop buying souvenirs on trips that will just gather dust. CBP ends up being OTD with flying colors when she realizes that even though it gives her pleasant mother memories, it has to go.

“My wife and I have recently reached that realization and are no longer buying anything not utilitarian (think T-shirts) on trips and are cleaning out the closets of those old relics. The kids will thank us someday.”


Cheesehead By Proxy, “back in Northern Minnesota”: “I love finding misplaced apostrophes. This back-page advertisement appeared in a glossy Twin Cities publication. The first real-estate listing in the ad was for a pricey Lowertown penthouse, listed in the mid-$800,000s.


“As you can see, it includes ‘Wall’s of glass,’ ‘Two level’s of urban sophistication,’ and will feature ‘Premier showing’s to pre approved Buyer’s only.’

“That was only the first listing. The whole advertisement was full of such ‘erro’s.'”

The highfalutin bemusements

Peggy T of Osceola, Wisconsin, reports: “I have a key fob to get into the fitness center here. Sometimes someone will ask me to let them in because they have forgotten their key. I always worry if I do this, because what if I let someone in who should not be there?

“On Sunday, after I had exercised, the doors would not open to let me out. I tried opening the doors a couple of times, without any results. I was wondering: How do I get out? Do I go out a side exit, which would set off an alarm? Do I call the police? There are bracelets there for you to do that.

“I aimed my fob at the source that opens the door. Nothing. Just as I was going to look for another solution, one door opened, so I was able to get out.

“Afterwards a couple of people asked me: ‘Did you push the Handicapped button?’ I never thought of that; it could have been so simple. I have never been locked in before!”


Today’s helpful hint

Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Subject: To distract kids.

“Wandering through stores, etc., I see bored siblings picking on each other out of boredom. Periodically I stop to teach them how to count to five in sign language for the deaf. Which, many times, distracts them enough so the parents can shop a little in peace.

“And, who knows? Maybe it will come in handy for those kids, someday.”

The Lowest Common Consumer

Gma Tom: “Subject: Live ‘n’ Learn.

“Got today’s lesson from reading the grocery-store ad. We now are able to purchase “microwaveable sweet potatoes and white potatoes.’ Will wonders never cease? Silly old me, I’ve been microwaving regular potatoes all of this time!”

The Permanent Family Record

“A Family Recipe” from The Middle Daughter: “Another Thanksgiving come and gone.

“With my folks in their 80s, the meal preparation has finally fallen to me. My turkey was a little dry, and my stuffing came from a box, but I do a gourmet-quality cranberry sauce . . . and I’ve finally mastered my mother’s baked-corn recipe: One buttered casserole dish, two cans of creamed corn, one sleeve of Saltine crackers crushed in the sleeve (= a job for the grandkids, if you’ve got one handy), salt and pepper, and a little half-and-half. Stir together, and bake at 400 degrees for 23 minutes. You wouldn’t think it would take this long to get the recipe right, but sometimes the simple things are the hardest.

“(What was The Oldest Daughter doing during Thanksgiving? She cleverly caught a cold. ‘Just sit on the couch!’ everyone yelled. ‘Don’t go near the food!’ Easiest Thanksgiving ever, she says.)”

Our “holidays,” ourselves

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Something for the rest of you.

“I was doing a little garage stall cleaning and came across this old Festivus pole.


“I don’t remember where the stand is.

“We’re not decorating again this year, so I’m offering it free to anyone willing to pick it up.”

It happens every fall (responsorial)

TRANSPLANTED (“formerly The Man From Milaca, and Always Minnesotan in heart): “The post from the 27th, which mentioned Christmas-light gremlins as probable suspects in suddenly inoperative lights, is quite the hypothesis.

“Here, in Florida’s horse country, it must be different!

“I had a string that went out last year. I plugged them in this year, and like last year, they are only half working. But I have lots of other strings. Each one tested out fine. And I’ve set up the tree, even though it is not entirely decked out.

“But out in the shed, I saw some old Christmas lights. And I mean OLD! They go back to before the time my sister was married, all the way back to 1965. The string seems to be in pretty good shape, and the lights are unbroken. These lights haven’t been used since the 1973 energy crisis. They were taken down, and never used again.

“Curiosity got the better of me. Do they still work? Fifty-two years old, or more, and not even used in over 40 years. They been boxed up, had stuff dropped on them, been through extremes of temperature ( everywhere from minus-30 to over 100) and dropped numerous times. Are these lights destined for the landfill? Or is there a chance?

“Take a look at the pictures.



“Does THAT answer your question?

“The Christmas-light gremlins, I guess, haven’t found these lights.

“These bulbs get VERY HOT. Unfortunately, my string is short none bulbs. And I’m pretty sure they don’t make ’em anymore. Anyone got some they can ship?”

Keeping your eyes open

Grandma Paula writes: “I just couldn’t resist photographing the beautiful sunrise and sunset that we had over the last weekend. Saturday night and Sunday morning, the skies were on fire!

“Standing outside Saturday night, I captured the reflection of the fiery colors on the south windows of my house . . .


“. . . and turning the camera to the south, I captured the beauty of the southern sky at sunset.


“Sunday morning the eastern sky was just as spectacular!”


Asked and answered
Or: Then & Now (responsorial)


Aggie Girl: “I am a bit behind in reading, so just ran into Always a Swifty‘s theory that Grosset & Dunlap did not sell their various series to libraries, in hopes of selling books directly to readers instead.

“Based on my experience, this seems unlikely. Our library in little old Kingsville, Texas, had all of these series: Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, Bobbsey Twins. I read all of them, mostly in the summer between second and third grade. I doubt they had the entire series, but they had the large majority of them — unlike Trixie Belden, of which they had only a couple of books. Thus the Trixie Belden books were on my Christmas list for a number of years.”

Ask Bulletin Board
Or: Come again?

Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “I was reading the Pioneer Press when I heard this line from a TV commercial: ‘When your V-neck looks more like a eunuch.’

“Do you think it’s possible that I didn’t hear it correctly?”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Perhaps . . . but we hope not. Sounds like an interesting commercial.

And: The Permanent Sonly Record

The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “When you are the fifth kid in the family, you wear a lot of hand-me-downs.

“Our youngest son was 4-1/2 when we took him to the store and bought him a pair of tennis shoes. He was amazed. He didn’t know that is where shoes came from, and he made sure that no one was going to make off with them while he slept.”


Band Name of the Day: The Bored Siblings

Website of the Day: Trixie Belden


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