Taking Flight

Taking FlightTravelling toward Forman the other day, there was a large white rock mound that I was not familiar with on the South side of the road.  Just like last season, a flock of snow geese had settled in to a low area.  As the car slowed and I retrieved my camera, the flock took flight in swirling white.

The snows have been flying around Rutland for several weeks and more flocks are arriving.  Typically, they start coming in this area and then move further Northwest depending on the weather.  Our weather has really been fluctuating so it appears they are enjoying their stay.  A few gunshots can be heard as local and visiting hunters take aim at the birds.

Fact for the Day:  Until recently the blue geese were considered another species but are now considered a dark form or morph of the snow geese.

Welcome to the Windy City

We may not be in Chicago but Rutland sure can give that city some competition. The winds are blowing across the plains today and gusting heavily to who knows how fast (45 mph was predicted).  I know it is extremely windy when the corn chaff blows off the field and piles up around the shelter belt; when the cats outdoor ‘kennel’ tucked by the house surrounded by a shrub, steps and a large storage container blows 100+ yards away and is in pieces in the shelter belt to the North and other parts headed South; when kids toys and trucks, once stacked neatly under the play set, are out to the road;  and when the basketball hoop, with a base heavily loaded with sand and rocks, rolls down the driveway (one that takes two+ people to move from its place).  Thankfully, this windy March day, is void of snow or no one would be venturing out.

“Owl: This is just a mild spring zephyr compared to the big wind of ’67. Or was it, uh, ’76? Oh, well, no matter. Oh, I remember the big blow well.”  Winnie the Pooh and The Blustery Day. 1968.

It’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

The birds are chirping and nesting. The day lily greenery is well through the black dirt.  The cats have ticks.  It’s summertime in Rutland.  Oh, wait, this is March?  This was the winter that the Farmer’s Almanac predicted above average snowfall and warmer-than-usual  temperature in the Midwest.  Well, we’ve gotten the warmer temperatures.   Last year, we still had several inches of snow on the ground and a blizzard was looming.  We have a break from the waters rising which are lower this year than they have been in a decade and this is getting the farmers breaking ground and starting planting.  I’m itching to get the garden planted but will keep the plants indoors for a while. In the meantime, I am planning to bask in the sun.  Enjoy our early spring.  Who knows how we will all feel when July comes around?  What are your predictions for the coming summer?

Marketing Grant Award

The North Dakota Department of Tourism recently announced the sixteen recipients of the event or marketing grants and, yes, Rutland got a portion.  The  Coteau des Prairies Lodge, Rutland, received a matching grant award for marketing of the new guest lodge currently under construction.  You can follow the construction progress at the Coteau des Prairies Lodge website. (And while there, check out the great video from Rutland’s Uffda Day 2011 celebration!)

The Events Grant Program and Marketing Grant Program provide a maximum of $5,000 in matching funds for promotion of regional events and for specific tourism marketing plans. A total of $69,100 was awarded between the two programs. For more information on tourism grants, contact Dean Ihla with North Dakota Tourism at 701-328-3505 or dihla@nd.gov.

Garden Auction

I was one of thirty-three individuals who attended The Friendly Garden Club auction in Rutland on Monday and I must say it was another great event. We dined on great salads, sandwiches, fruit and desserts to garner the energy for the auction that followed our meal. The auctioneer, Ann Erickson, kept the bids lively and her silly sidekick, Delores Lysne, provided comic relief for the evening. Auctioned items included plants fresh from member gardens such as daylilies, maple tree shoots, hostas, and other outdoor plantings, new plants from nearby nurseries, and garden stakes, gloves, and garden decorations and several indoor plants. The lovely table decorations were raffled off during breaks in the competitive auction action. Most attendees went home with one or two auction items and for those who purchased outdoor plants, I hope you have a dry spot in your yard ’cause I know mine is too wet unless I use the outdoor pots — and those seem to have a lot of standing water these days. It was a great time and “hats off” to the cooks and hosts of the annual event. Next year, I’ll have to remember to split the daylilies to share at the auction. I’m running out of room to plant them!!

Under Water!

Today it was time for sandbagging at the Sargent Central School. Water has flooded the football field and is getting closer to the school’s air ventilation system. Thanks to several Good Samaritans another row of sandbags was added to the pile which should help for a while — but we’re expecting rain. There are lots of areas that are already under water and the Sargent County Emergency Management has issued a road report that includes today’s road conditions. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. Drive safely out there and stay home if possible. If you venture out, watch carefully ’cause not even the County Highways are safe. Check out today’s closings here.