John Wetrosky, Columnist
In the days before the machine applied herbicides, we farm kids did a little thing this time of year called "walking the corn" and "walking the beans." Usually this happened when the Iowa temps hovered in the 90s in the afternoon with humidity to match. For some reason, weeds tended to like this kind of weather and without any chemical way to rid our fields of sunflowers, cockle burrs, button weeds and wild hemp, we had no choice but to do battle hand to hand.
One of the dreams my dad had working on that Iowa farm since his youth was being able to visit and maybe even to live in northern Minnesota. He had served his time in India during World War II, and I think the heat got to him. So it was after farming all his life that his farmer's back forced a decision to find a new occupation while he could still walk. He and my mother sold the farm and bought a small, "mom and pop" resort in northern Minnesota. Feeling some affinity to his home state, they named it Hawkeye Resort.
I must have irked someone in the Minnesota Twins organization with my once-a-year prognostication. They have a winning record. Far off from my dire prediction in April. My depressing forecast did give the Twins a better record than they had last year, but it was still a losing season. I really wanted to be optimistic, but after eating my hat and shirt last year and being the target of jeers at the morning coffee table, I decided not to use my rose-colored glasses this year and try to be more realistic. Bad choice.
We're getting ready to take our annual fishing excursion to our neighbor to the north, Canada. I've checked out the boat, readied our rods and reels, checked the air in the trailer tires and charged the boat battery. All looks good.
Memorial Day weekend is upon us. It opens the door to real summer, although we in the Northland know that it can still snow on Memorial Day weekend. We have seen it happen. But, perhaps the weather gods will smile on us this year and picnics will happen, parades will parade and we as a collective people will remember those who have gone before, sacrificed and all the other things this great country has provided.
The young girl did two backward flips and a triple somersault right in front of my window last week. I didn't realize a human body could do that. Well, at least not mine anymore. Our town had a "fun run/walk" last week. The run was a memorial event for a young boy who was tragically killed in a school bus accident a number of years ago. The event had great turnout on a stellar Minnesota Saturday morning.
I've got to be careful when I start bragging about how good the upcoming Minnesota fishing opener might be. A few years ago I wrote in this very column how exceptional that year's fishing opener was going to be. I wrote that it would probably be the omega, acme, pinnacle, out-of-this-world fishing experience.
I'm high in phosphorus. The numbers are off the charts. My nitrogen and potash are within limits, but my phosphorus is a concern. No, I'm not talking about my last trip to see my doctor. I'm talking, as most of you may have guessed by now, about our garden. I sent a soil sample to the University of Minnesota a few weeks ago and just got the results back last week. It cost me $17, but that's a small price to insure a basket of sun-ripened tomatoes.
I was grinding coffee beans early one morning last week. I'd opened a new bag of beans and that sweet aroma rose up to my nostrils. That smell keyed a part of my memory cells as to how this drink has followed me from the farm kitchen table to Canadian lakes to farm fields to my deer stand in the north country woods. Coffee has been a constant part of my life, and the puff of coffee bean scent got me thinking about this column, which is dedicated to the drink.
Anyone who knows me knows that I like to fish. The sport is embedded in my chromosomes. If I didn't know better, if there is a thing such as reincarnation, I think I might have at one time been a fish. The open water season is upon us. The border waters between Minnesota and South Dakota open shortly. The ice is gone. Minnesota's governor will be making his appearance during the annual Governor's Opener happening at St. Cloud on May 13.