“Hope” is the thing with feathers, That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops ... at all - Emily Dickenson

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Albert Lea Audubon Park

For local hikers, go to the south end of Madison, turn left on Oregon for one block to the dead end ... and find the hidden park. :-)  And be alone for awhile.

Sign with MY STICK, a reclaimed shovel handle which spent 30 years as a curtain rod in our basement before being reborn a third time. It just feels right in my hand. It was just waiting for all those years.

No bikes!

Lorna with HER  store-bought sticks.

Accidental art.


Very dry. Normally this is a marsh.

Wild asparagus.

Walnuts. You could fill a large pickup box with black
walnuts this year.

Markers. Somebody's pets? Or unfortunate pioneers?

Teak (!) chair at the rest stop.

Yard art. Bird feeders, chairs and benches - places to sit and think and  rest your feet.


Oldfool said...

I like your stick. I have several sticks and all have a story. your sticks story is good.
Thanks for the photos. Makes me want to be there, at least momentarily.

Gunnar Berg said...

What I really like about this park is ... IT IS IN TOWN! 80 acres, maybe more, tucked up against the south side, between Commercial St and Ninth St. We're surrounded by little pieces of ignored wildness.

reverend dick said...

Those signs are hard to read. I'm not sure they say what you think they say.

George A said...

Is this stick thing gonna turn out like the time Lorna had decent hiking boots and you persisted with smooth soled mocs (out of some misplaced admiration for the traditions of long dead native Americans) OR, will this contest be an example of simple, home-made equipage triumphing over an unnecessarily up-scale (and over priced) factory made equivalent that we didn't know we needed until being told so by a smart marketing dept? I'm waiting with baited breath for the results to come in!

Gunnar Berg said...

Sticks? She has two pair (for different occasions?), but she uses them every day. I have one I sometimes use if I'm hiking on uneven ground. I'm getting a little older and I'm not as sure-footed as I once was; three legs seem to work better than two.

Silk Hope said...

What is it with the no bike gig. We have the samething with Aliso and Woods canyon. Are we the bad guys or what?

I have my stick too, Off a dead tree from Yosemite. In the process of decorating it.

Gunnar Berg said...

I'm not certain I could add any appropriate decoration to an old shovel handle. I think on it. I've tried commercial staffs, not enough weight at the bottom for me. I didn't look at my stick as a hiking staff. I just picked it up from a dusty corner where it had migrated to and thought, "Damn, this really feels good in my hand". So it became a staff instead of a shovel handle.

Silk Hope said...

Works for me. I'll get back to you on the "Walk'in stick" decoratation thang.

It Might include Twine, Cloth bar tape, shellac, and some stuff from my Daughters "Indian Princesses" stash. More to come.

George A said...

Gunnar: Your stick could(should)be decorated with some bicycle head badges. Leave a gap in the badges for your hand. That way you could symbolically take "bikes" into that park whether "they" like it or not.

Gunnar Berg said...

1. Soak twine in combustible liquid.
2. Wrap stick with twine, either random or pattern.
3. Set on fire, slowly rotating stick.
4. Extinguish flames (sooner than you think you should).
5. Lightly sand, stain and seal stick.

(Been there, done that.)

Oldfool said...

Even though I have these fancy oak walking sticks I made I still keep my shovel handle over by the door. There is something about a plain Arkansas ash shovel handle that feels right.
The dogs that have come within range have not made a mark on it.

Silk Hope said...

Oh!!!! this is out the bike realm. This should be good. Stick Decoration. Either it will be a new hobby or our wives will cancel the deal right away because it comes the moniker of collection. 3 sticks = a collection. Beware.

George A said...

Ya know, my mother-in-law, Siv, has some of those special walking sticks like your bride. So do her sisters Ing-britt (better known as aunt Ninny) and Ann. Must be a Scandahoovian thing...

Getting around to Silk's last comment, every man needs a good, stout stick. I remember coming back to live on the farm right after I got out of the service. Ma had a new dog named Ralph. People moving off their farms into town tended to give my mother their dogs when they discovered they couldn't take them with them. Anyway, I got home after 4 years away at sea and Ma says, "George this is Ralph." Ralph was a big hairy English sheep dog--the kind you're never quite sure which end to pat. I said "Hi Ralph". Ralphy-boy takes one look at me and I must have reminded him of somebody who beat him bad as a pup because without any hostile gesture on my part he bares his teeth, lowers his head and comes my way at full tilt. I got the hell off the summer kitchen porch and into the house before any flesh was damaged but from that point on Ralph and I were enemies.

Now Ma was a thrifty woman and never left the porch light on when I would come home late from the bar in those days. Ralph had mostly black fur on his carcass and so was hard to see on a dark night. I took to keeping a long handled shovel in my Jeep and while fumbling for the back door key with one hand I was beating Ralph over the head with that shovel with the other. I doubt if Ma got much sleep what with all the cussing and snarling going on right under her bed (she slept in the bedroom right over the porch) but she never would leave that porch light on, and I suppose she always knew when I got home! Good thing the nearest neighbor's farm was a good quarter mile off. So, to bring this story full circle, my "stick" in those days still had some steel on the business end and that's how Ralph and I liked it.

Gunnar Berg said...

Nice story.

George A said...

That story's the gospel truth--every word. Just ask Ralph.

Mimbres Man said...

Great story George!

Gunnar Berg said...

I didn't mean to imply any other thing. I do think it's shame to let facts get in the way of truth or a good story.

But you mean you want us to believe you can channel the thoughts of a dead dog?

George A said...

Dear Doubting Gunnar, I can confirm with absolute certainty that Ralph the dog is no longer with us, but if he was, he'd confirm my story. Either that or he'd bite your leg.

Now the one thing that Ralph was afraid of was Ma's flock of geese. Those geese were the true bullies of the farm. When the old gander wanted to go from one side of the barnyard to the other he'd sneak up on ol' Ralph and nip him on the tail. Ralph would let out a yelp and start running. When the dog got up to speed, the gander would spread his wings and while holding on to the "tow" dog's tail with his beak, he'd glide to the point where he wanted to get to and then let go.

Ma kept the geese for a spell because they were better watchmen than old Ralph. Nothing much moved on that farm after dark that the geese didn't know about and loudly discuss. The down side was that on a hot summer night when we had all the windows up in the hopes of a breath of air, the geese would wonder down in the meadow and pick loud quarrels with each other. You'd be just drifting off to a fitful sleep when the quaking would start. They'd do this night after night.

I went away for a spell to work at a temporary job and when I got back to the farm the first thing I noticed on the very first night was the absence of geese having their usual after hours loud arguments. The next morning I asked Ma where they were and she motioned to the big chest freezer out in the old summer kitchen and said "I got sick and tired of 'em."

Now one day after we'd had goose for dinner for a good long time and were sick of it, Ma surprised my brother and me with roast pheasant. She'd clipped him as he was running for the side of the road with the front bumper of her old Pontiac station wagon and didn't even have to go too far into the ditch to bag him. Her comment as we did the dishes was "ain't nothin' stupider than a cock pheasant during mating season." One assumes similar incidences in other farm families gave rise to the old saying "don't lose your head over a little piece of tail".

Gunnar Berg said...

This is pretty serious blog material. Start another one to tell your stories. Soon, before you spend them all.

We live on a lake. Mid-summer mallards can be pretty noisy too.

Silk Hope said...


Gunnar Berg said...

Yeah, ain't he WOW?