November 8, 2014, NE South Dakota
The election is finally over and now we can move on in life. As days go, November 8, 2014 was a pretty good day. It is hard for me to admit this but there is more to life than birding….but I did go birding yesterday and although I saw no life birds…I saw three life state birds and saw species #486 (Rusty Blackbird) for 2014, but who is counting?
The NE South Dakota Biding group had an outing in Sand Lake NWR northeast of Aberdeen. My wife and daughter were going to learn chip carving at the Rural Art Center in Milan MN, so I needed something to do and well, it was a nice day for a two hour drive. The highlights were maybe 20,000 Snow geese, lots of ducks, pleasant company.
I took the scenic drive home, just 80 miles of dirt roads. First, I tracked down four Rusty Blackbirds which were backlit and too far for photos and then five miles farther I spotted a Northern Shrike trying to eat an American Tree Sparrow by a small creek.
This bad actor has just returned from the far north to spend winter terrorizing our song birds and this is the first of these I’ve ever seen in South Dakota but I saw one in March in Wisconsin. I tracked down three Rough-legged hawks including one feeding and was pretty happy with the bird tally in general.
While I was driving I got a strange call. A German voice was on the line. “Herrfeldt auction?” He only spoke English every other line. I wasn’t even sure exactly what I was bidding on. You see, I have another passion, art, and specifically pre WWII northern European artists and it fills my house. I made one bid. “Congratulations” he said. At home I looked up what I won
We now own eleven, I think Marcel Rene Herrfeldts, I have lost count which in itself is not a good thing. This one was probably painted in 1935 or so. I have published research articles on this artist and I would have preferred one of his Orientalism scenes, than his pinups, or beach scenes, but this large painting will find a home on a new section of wall we just made assuming I can figure out how to get it out of Germany and home.
I was feeling good and coming into Webster, SD I turned on the radio to look for the big football game. It was Minnesota versus Iowa and as I have a dipoloma from both institutions, it has a bit of a special meaning for me. The two schools play for a prized pig….Floyd of Rosedale…….as they say, there was Joy in MUDVILLE! The Gophers were crushing Iowa and while the second string goofs were playing the starters were stretching to get ready for the run to chase down their pig. I could hear the fans on the radio chant..”Pork…pork…PORK! for the last five minutes as the pig was brought into the stadium for the first time. The gun sounded the final score, 51-14 Minnesota and maroon and gold players stormed to the Iowa bench to reclaim the pig. Minnesota plays for more traveling trophies than any other college. If they beat Wisconsin, later, they will claim the Paul Bunyan Axe, use it to chop down the goal posts , and claim all four trophies for the first time ever…(They retain the Governor’s Victory Bell as they don’t play Penn State this year but won it last year and the captured the little brown jug from Michigan in October)…………you got to love college football. Where else would you fight over a hundred year old bronzed pig.
What would PETA say?
I stopped in the new convenience store in Webster and despite some issues in the bathroom….handicapped people with shy bladders…..just go dang it! I had a very tasty burrito at the new burrito bar.
I came home, enjoyed some wine, inspected the ladies of my household creations, and finished writing a novel “The Last Will and Testament” I don’t know what I’ll do with it, it is the story of a 1960 census worker that draws an assignment in Kansas which turns out is a rather odd place. I’ll decide if it is good or not later.
Most of you have never written a novel or anything of that length but it can either be a joyous thing like winning a pig, or a relief like going to the bathroom. The end of a very long day. I’m never sure what to think anymore. I started this work back in August. I had to learn Kansas state law and with all the birding, it is hard to focus.
Today they say, is a new day …hopefully one filled with new adventures….hopefully your day will be noteworthy, so enjoy it to the fullest. ..and remember Pork, the other white meat……..I’m going to go and fry myself some bacon…………