Updated: Dec 6, 2019
The April and part of May news comes to you from Bethel where a mild winter changed into a cool spring with an unusual break-up. For the first time that anyone can remember the river officially broke up and refroze. The earliest break up on record thus comes with an asterisk. That cool weather put the rest of the spring back on more of a normal cycle, with trees just started to leaf out in mid-May.
Spring activities at the farm included the annual field trial for dogs, which resulted in about 300 pheasants escaping the dogs and shooters, and creating a circus for Jack who wore himself out flushing the escapees. It also created an opportunity for predators which quickly catch on to the bonanza and patrol the area. Its hard to see the ground predators but it is the rare day when a person doesn’t see many birds of prey circling the farm, sometimes in large numbers.
After the trials, a controlled burn was conducted on part of the prairie grass, which is a process to enhance the prairie in a natural way. All of the prairie plants evolved with fire caused by lightning, and an occasional fire makes the grass thrive. But the immediate aftermath of a fire is not so pleasant.
One highlight of the spring was a trip to watch the Twins at Target field. A friend often supplies seats right behind the Twins dugout which were the first four season tickets sold to Wheelock Whitney when the team moved into Metropolitan Stadium in 1961. Andy captured this shot off the TV of a couple of fans cheering a player completing his home run trot by high-fiving his teammates. Notice the exceptional hat on that one fan.
Shortly after that home run a relative texted asking if any players had tossed baseballs into that area. While typing a negative response which noted that a screen right behind the dugout made that hard to do, a baseball landed in the lap of the typist. It seems between innings the ball boy was trying to toss a ball over the screen to a friend in the fourth row, but he missed and it landed in the front row. The recipient never saw it coming. Here’s the happy fan.
The time at the farm caused a bit of reflection on early life on the farm. Sister Harriet was a top performer in 4H, and won numerous grand championships at the County fair and some at the State Fair. Among her skills was grooming and showing livestock. It seemed natural
that her much younger brother, who actually spent more time with the farm animals, should try showing livestock. At age 8 or 9, it was a perhaps a little early, but hey, the little guy was eager. The process involved a farm tour by the entire 4H club where fair exhibits were previewed by the members and by the Count Extension Agent, of which there were two. One was E.E. Bjuege, a shy 50 year old bachelor who came by the farm occasionally to help identify invasive plants and provide advice to skeptical farmers. The other was Ella Kringlund, an ornery grey haired lady who was in charge of the country 4H program. Most of the 4H kids were afraid of her. She was strict and fussy.
When the group arrived at the Angstman farm, the abundant garden was the first stop where several prize specimens were identified for display at the fair. That went well. Harriet then retrieved her steer, and led it around the yard to considerable praise from Ella and the spectators. Next it was little Myron. The steer had been trained a bit and was very comfortable with the little guy who fed him and rubbed him up every day. But he had never seen a crowd of people in his life, and moments after leaving the barn he kicked up his heels, broke free and raced around the yard for several minutes before he could be caught and dragged back to the barn. Needless to say Ms. Kringlund was not amused. A stern tongue lashing followed, which ended the career of a budding animal trainer. Ended at least until November of 1976 when a short trip across Hangar lake with four dogs and a sled suggested there were other ways to train animals.
A case reported earlier here has had some new developments. Two additional victims of a teacher in the Matsu Valley have emerged, and an amended complaint was filed. That resulted in this news story on an Anchorage TV station. This is obviously a case of major significance in Alaska. The reported number of victims is large, and the suspected number of victims is immense. In addition to ALO there are several other lawyers involved. Stay tuned to this one.
The month’s mandatory moose shows that even moose like to have a little fun once in a while.
Lamont Albertson must have a big book of cartoons over at his house. Here’s a good one from April.
Mark Schwantes travels around Wood Tikchik State Park near the Angstman cabin a lot in the spring, and posted this wonderful photo from one of those trips.
This shot of the Bethel sky came from Greg Lincoln.
A neighbor on Long Pond Robin Kaun Suhsen posted this video of the swans flying by upon their return in April. Be sure to check Facebook for any other news you might have missed.
Finally, this article appeared in the Washington Post describing life in a nearby village dealing with climate change. Humans on earth have never experienced the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that now is present. Our current administration consistently allows greater pollution of the air, water and soil as if it doesn’t matter. It’s a precarious situation for most of earth’s living things, including humans. Some very knowledgeable scientists believe it may already be too late to turn the tide on global warming. Others prefer to watch Fox News. But even on that network there are folks sounding the alarm. Meanwhile one of Trump’s recent appointees said global warming is a good thing because it opens up new shipping options in the Arctic. One of many fools in charge of our government.