Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Field Trip #74 - Underwater Adventure

We studied sharks at Underwater Adventure yesterday at the Mall of America. They had a shark cage for the kids to check out.

This photo makes me think it needs a Far Side type caption . . .

"It was all fun and games, until the sharks showed up."

I like this one:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chicks dig them, fish fear them. Maybe.

Ryan (Larry and Melanie's son), Chuck and Tom laughed at winter today - Ha! Ha! - and were out on Lake Louise crappie fishing right around sunset. They caught about 8 or 9, so it's fish for lunch tomorrow. Tom's cooking. Back in the cabin, Tom reached in his pocket for his waxworms container, and came out with just the empty container. The cover had come off. Eeeww. So maybe it's "Fish dig me, chicks fear me."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Thank Heavens for Honchos in Pickup Trucks

Chuck was driving. Let me clarify that. We went out by Lake Le Homme Dieu to take a look at the big fishing contest today. It was amazing to see a huge parking lot full of cars out on the ice. He did a u-turn on the road to turn around, but even though the shoulder looked flat, it was an optical illusion. The SNOW was plowed flat. The ground under it dropped off. We ended up with our front wheel in the ditch, and couldn't get out.
But the best place to go in the ditch is right by where a whole lot of guys in pickup trucks and SUV's are congregating for an ice fishing contest. Immediately two vehicles stopped, one with an offer of a shovel, and one with a tow strap and a truck. We were out and on our way in 2 minutes. Whew.
(I had my camera with me, but didn't get a photo - it happened too quick. This photo is from the internet.)

Man of Lake Ida - Chuck Quixote

Like Don Quixote, tilting at windmills, there was something quixotic about Chuck today, out in the middle of all that white, a man against the elements - just he and his trusty snowblower.

(It was probably a celebration of his snowblower repair skills. We got to Lake Ida last night to a driveway drifted over with snow, and a snowblower without the auger working. Two broken shear pins.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Augustus Gloop

I feel like Augustus Gloop today from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" - swimming in chocolate - we started out with treats in the lounge at 8:00 - fruit and chocolate fondue. And all those little Oompa-Loompa's Valentine treats kept coming in to their teacher - me.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Old Photos Of Lester (Dad)

Lester Nelson (dad) in their wooden fishing boat on Lake Darling in Alexandria. One of my favorite photos.
Lester and his mom Rose, about 1923. (He was born in 1919, so I figured he looks about 4?) Lester's dad Enoch Nelson is on the right. This was taken in Alexandria. It must have been after 1916, since Enoch was wearing a cowboy hat after he and Rose had tried their luck with cattle ranching in Texas. They came back to Alexandria by 1919, when Lester was born. Too bad they didn't keep the oil rights!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Two Sides to the Story in 1862 - Myron Coloney's Lake Ida homestead burned.

(photo: a Minnesota log cabin)Myron Coloney wrote: "Manomin : a rhythmical romance of Minnesota, the great rebellion, and the Minnesota massacres"
It is dedicated to Andreas Darling, early settler in Alexandria, Douglas County, on the shores of Lake Darling. He was murdered in Missouri after the Civil War. The intro to the book explains what happened, from Myron Coloney's point of view.
The rest of the book is an epic poem, written in the style of Longfellow, popular at the time, about life on Lake Ida and in Douglas County. It of course has a hero, and a beautiful Indian maiden. Proceeds from the book were to go for Andreas Darlings body to be shipped back to Alexandria for burial. A Darling descendant and family researcher, Jean Tomlinson, believes that he is still buried at Rolla, Missouri, the location of the Union Farm, as it was renamed by Myron Coloney. (Hamilton Lennox Plantation)

The full text of the book Manomin (meaning wild rice) is found here:

As for the burning of his home on Lake Ida, Myron Coloney writes that while he was away from his homestead on Lake Ida, and in Chicago during 1862:

"When the Sioux massacres commenced I was fortunately away from home. My wife had gone to Chicago to visit her parents, and I was travelling through Indiana purchasing sheep. My house and its contents were burned and several of the neighbors, living higher up the road, were killed."

This is another version of the story, published locally:

from "Alexandria Post News" © Thursday, August 19, 1897 Page 1

"Editor Post News -- Our old settlers will remember the first piano brought into Douglas county. It was the property of Mrs. Myron Colony and was brought from Chicago in 1860. It was a source of delight to the young Alexandrians of those days, as was also Mr. Colony's fine library. Both piano and library went up in smoke on the shore of lake Ida while the family was absent in Chicago. J. F. Dicken was "batching it" (that was before he found a Darling) and looking after the place. One morning on going out to the hay field he took the trouble to change his best boots for a pair decidedly the worse for wear, and coming back toward evening found that a timber fire had run in and burned up house, boots and all. We believe Jim mourns for those boots yet."

It was common at that time, when logging, to cut off all the branches and brush, and leave them in the woods. This dry tinder fueled timber fires quite readily.

The actual cause of the fire is not noted.

Lake Ida History - Myron Coloney, 1858

It can't be a blog about Lake Ida without a bit of Lake Ida history. This goes back to 1858 and into the 1860's.

Myron Coloney was one of the first settlers of Lake Ida - with his wife and family. The book "How the Lakes Were Named" by Lorraine Larson claims that Lake Ida is named by Myron Coloney, after an old girlfriend back east. I find that claim highly unlikely, given the fact that his wife was here too. Like that would happen. But after reading the book he wrote, it seems possible that Ida was a sister, daughter or some female relative who had died back east.

Myron Coloney and family came to Douglas County before statehood in 1858. Their early neighbors that are mentioned were the Bedmans and the Darlings, neighbors a term for anyone settling between Alexandria and Lake Ida.

Pilgrim Point, Lake Ida, Douglas County, MN

Myron Coloney was a Yankee settler in Minnesota, having come from "back east".

Scrolling down to Chapter 12 on this website gives information on Myron Coloney and his partner Dr. J. H. McLean, and their development of the early machine gun designs. The website includes information from a 200 page pamphlet written by and about the two men:

"Myron Coloney was born in St. Lawrence County, N. Y., on the 24th of April 1832, and when still quite young, exhibited great constructive skill and mechanical ability in building boyish sawmills, apple-paring machines, animal traps & etc., of curious and novel workmanship. Amongst those rich traits of character with which he was endowed, there was also a deep love for literature. This desire grew almost into a passion, and determined the young lad to enter a printing office, rather than follow his father's more successful trade.&nbbsp;. . .

Myron Coloney

He also applied his mechanical talents to this 1880 patented water bike, possibly inspired by his time in Alexandria. (Lakes are more fun with lake toys!)
Another invention/creation was a map of the Mississippi River he developed, long and thin, called a Ribbon Map, following the river.

"1866 Coloney and Fairchild Ribbon Map of the Mississippi River
At ten feet in length and just less than three inches in width, the 1866 Colony and Fairchild ribbon map of the Mississippi River is one of the most unusual items in the Western History & Genealogy Map Collection.
The Colony and Fairchild ribbon map is highly detailed and includes mile markers, ports and river towns. States are denoted along the sides of the map's length."

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Winter Pheasant

Seriously, there aren't that many different winter scenes, but this was from my classroom window. I saw a pheasant at the edge of the trees by the playground, sitting on a log for a couple of hours in the early morning, in the snow.

H2O for Life Project

Co-workers Julie, Bob and I in our H2O for Life t-shirts.
Every year at school we do a service project, in addition to collecting for the food shelf. We're a small school with an attendance area that has been hard hit by the economy, but still the families are on board for helping others, both locally and in the world. Our fundraising activities were t-shirt sales, and a coin drive.

This year's project was to collect $2000 to dig a well for Chepkemel school in the town of Kericho, Kenya, Africa. Yesterday we achieved that goal plus!
The well helps to ensure that children have a safe source of drinking water, and the location of the well at their school is intentional. Many children have to spend a large part of their day walking quite far to fetch water from various sources - pools, rivers, streams. So they don't always have time to attend school. The well at the school helps them combine both activities. The middle school participated last year, and Mark Domschot, Alexandria native, traveled to Africa last summer to the site of their well project.