Herald Journal Columns
July 21, 2003 Herald Journal
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Elvis released into the South Dakota wild . . .


Somewhere in a creek is Elvis the Minnow, so named by my kids during our vacation in South Dakota recently.

There were several other minnows, but I can't remember all the names. They were released back into the wild shortly after capture, although two didn't make it (Snuffy and Rudy).

Mind you, camping in a tent is not for the meek and you can't get squeamish because there's grass clippings on your plate.

Or bugs. They add protein to your diet, my husband says.

We only ended up at Bernice's place (my mother in law) one night, when the wind got too strong during a thunderstorm.

We never did make S'mores because the chocolate kept getting eaten before we'd toast it. Then I'd buy more chocolate and the same thing would happen: someone would reach into the cooler and pull out an empty bag with one bar left.

Next year, I'm going to skip the graham crackers and buy twice as much chocolate.

Highlights of the trip:

- I taught my daughter to play 500 Rummy and she's been killing me at cards ever since.

At first I went easy on her, but it was darn unnerving when she'd whip my butt no matter how much effort I put in.

- Awesome South Dakota fireworks! Of course, rockets and that kind of thing ARE dangerous, even though we were so careful.

Two near misses happened: a missile launcher tipped over and shot eight exploding balls very close to a cabin, and one rocket went up and ricocheted off a tree, coming back down to the ground with a flash and explosion; thankfully not close enough to anyone.

Before then, we shot off about 1,000 bottle rockets and every kind of thing you can imagine.

- Metal detecting on the beach, although our dreams of wealth and leisure were not realized.

We have two detectors. My husband found four quarters and rubbed it in like crazy.

I found two pennies, lots of soda pop pull tabs, nails, a paper clip, and an old toe ring. But it was fun!

- The relaxation and rest.

- The toilet breath thing. If you didn't read last week's column, you're out of luck.

God of Wonders

I am continually amazed at how everything works according to God's will and purpose, despite evil.

Yes, rain falls on both the righteous and wicked, but Christians have that fifth dimension of God's presence to reinforce their lives.

An awesome poem

I came across the most awesome poem the other day.

Here it is (reprinted with permission):

A Softer Place to Land

She once fell in a briar patch

not looking where she flittered.

She tore her favorite dress and

left the branches brightly glittered.

An older, wiser Flitterbye®

then took her by the hand,

And flew with her, to help her find

a softer place to land . . .

They saw some pretty cactus

by the tree that shades the lake;

But she warned her that to settle

there would be a big mistake.

Then there was the sticker bush

a little to the west;

They carefully avoided it,

although she needed rest.

And just when it seemed hopeless

And she thought they'd search

all day,

They spied some roses by a house

where human children play.

The moment that she landed there

she knew it was her spot . . .

The others call her Rosie now

­ the nickname that she got.

She always stops to rest there;

it's so soft you understand.

'Cuz roses are her favorite

­ a softer place to land!

Written by Cindy Purett, © 2000 Kathleen Francour/all rights reserved. www.kfrancour.com.

My roses are doing alright, but two died over the winter despite the best pre-winter care.

I encircled seven of the eight roses with wire cylinders filled with hay; but the best rose was uncovered and not tended to at all.

This method is called the "I Don't Give a Rat's Behind" style of gardening.

It's a successful formula that I've tripped on after trying to grow certain kinds of flowers with zero luck.

Honestly, I've almost killed daylilies and iris ­ the two toughest flowers in Minnesota ­ with bad luck and over care.

Last year, I threw my hands up during my FOURTH year of trying to grow bi-colored iris and forgot newly purchased rhizomes in the garage.

Come October, I stumbled on the very dead looking iris, and looking at the price I paid in the corner of the package, decided to stick them in the ground for the heck of it.

Wonder of wonders, they all came back with vigor. I didn't lose one of the six.

This method also appears to work with certain plants that don't like to be overly fertilized or planted in pure compost.

So, I highly recommend other gardeners to grow flowers like They Don't Give a Rat's Behind. It works.

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