Saturday, December 24, 2011

Attention Coyotes!

Maremma pup
We have decided on a Maremma to guard our flock and farm!  Yes, a Maremma!  So, the question is; What is a Maremma?  First the name its pronounced as is Mare Emma.  A Maremma is a Livestock Guard Dog (LGD) from the same ancestral blood line of the Great Pyrenees.   For centuries it was bred and used to guard sheep in Italy.  

Once we decided on looking for a LGD, the Pyrenees was the one that first came to mind.  However, hours of research later, I've learned that there are many breeds out there from different countries that all have the same ancestor; Great Pyrenees, Maremma, and the Akbash.  If you are interested in learning more about LGD, here is a good site; Livestock Guardian Dogs.  Then, it wasn't until I came across a breeder to the west of here about 125 miles, that I start reading more about the Maremma's.  The Maremma is a little smaller than the Pyrenees, but still near a 100lbs. They also doesn't seem to have the roaming tendencies of the Pyrenees. And will guard all critters that on the farm, including its humans.

So, on Jan 7th 2012, after traveling west towards Devil Lakes ND and returning home, I will announced to the local coyotes, coons, skunks and neighbors dogs that a Maremma is the new sheriff in town.  Sure, it will take months of growth and training to get the pup ready, but why wait to start spending the word.

And this is what the Coyote, Coon, Skunk, Dog or burglar is going to meeting if misdeeds are on their minds.

Both images are borrowed from the Maremma Sheepdog Club of America.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Looking for Alice

John Johnson, Alice and Margaret Russell
James Johnson
Alice was a bit of a wonder to me for some time now.  Well, actually  less than a year ago I came across the death certificate for a cousin; William Dingle Watters1 that stated his wife to be a Alice Russell. Keep in mind, I am just finding out about the Watters family branch, so I didn't know much about William or the rest of his family.  But, now I have conflicting information, for I thought William was married to Margaret Howard, of which I had information about.  So, the solving mystery of Alice had to be discovered and adding to the tree.

First a little about Alice. She is the twin daughter of Calder Russell and Margaret Kingan.  The Russells are from Scotland prior to relocating to Nova Scotia in the 1800's because of all the available mines and the lure of a better life.  Alice and her twin Margaret were born in the mining town of Drummond Mines now called Westville in Jan 1909.   The photograph is of the twins at the age of 26 and two men are brothers; John and James Johnson which was taken in 1935 at  Upper Stewiacke, Nova Scotia.  In 1933, Alice marries a Athol Stewart of Trenton, Nova Scotia. Then something happens to Athol, which I know not, for Alice remarries my cousin William Watters in 1939.  To the best of my knowledge to date, Alice had no children from either marriage.

In searching for more information about Alice, I've discovered a few records about her birth and made contact with Alice's first cousin Myrtle2.   The first document is Alice's birth certificate in which I found Calder's employment of great interest; a Stableman.  Also, the comment of Twin was very important latter in adding Margaret's passing to Alice's ancestry tree.  The second document is my discover was a sign declaration by John (brother) to Alice's birth and middle name; Savage.
I find these bits and piece very interesting, along with being very important in piecing family information back together some 80 or more latter.  Not to mention thousand of miles of separation and lack of initial family information in the first place.

With all this information in hand, I still didn't know what happened to Alice after William's death.  Somewhere along the line I found a tidbit of information that Alice may had died in the Winnipeg, but that turn out false.  Then, just this past week I came across an old post on one of the many genealogy forums which had some information about Alice.  The presented information wasn't much, but it was enough for me to try the associated email.  The post was dated 2007, so what is the possibility that the email was still be used.  I sent an email to the address and less than an hour, Myrtle replied.   Through our conversations, Myrtle confirmed that Alice passed away in Westville and is resting in the same plot with William; Brookside Cemetery, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, though the marker doesn't have Alice's passing3.  The headstone marking her passing is to be found in the Auburn Cemetery Westville, NS.
Alice S Russell
Jan 1909- Dec 1967
Wife of
William D Watters

1  William Dingle Watters parents were James L Watters and Margaret McNulty.  I mention this because there are more than one William Dingle Watters in the family tree.
2   Myrtle supplied the pictures of the four siblings, the headstone for Alice.
3  Myrtle will be, if not already, be adding Alice's passing to the Watters headstone in the Brookside Cemetery.

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Marabilito Murder

The Marabilito Murder Case

  Sometime in the early evening of June 25th, 1917, at Evansville an Italian coal miner was brutally murdered as he sat with his head down and asleep at his kitchen table.  The perpetrator of this brutal crime were the wife of the victim and her lover.
  The victim, Peter Marabilito1, and his wife had come to Stellarton, where he obtained work as a coal miner.  Being new Canadians they were unable to speak English very well and kept to themselves.  The were able to obtain a Company house at Evansville.  When another Italian by the name of Natali Salvatori Carrari arrived in Stellarton and went to work in the cola mines, it was natural for he and the Marabilito's to become  friends.  It wasn't long before Carrari left his boarding house to lodge with his new friends.
  This arrangement worked well for awhile, but before long Mrs Marabilito and Carrari found themselves alone in the house when he and Mr. Marabilito were on opposite shifts.  It wasn't long before an adulterous relationship developed between the two.  As this relationship progressed the lovers began to plot the demise of Mr. Marabilito, whom they now viewed as an obstacle to their future plans.
  On the afternoon of his death, Peter, who had worked the day shift returned to his home and found his wife and Carrari waiting for him with a couple of bottles.  They all sat down and had supper and then finished off the two bottles of wine.  Through a combination of a hard day's work, the meal and the wine, Peter fell asleep at the table.  At this point Carrari picked up a meat cleaver and struck Peter in the head, he struck several blows ensuring that the deed was done.  It was still light outside and the lovers' plan had been to dispose of the body in a pit hole at the rear of the property, in the woods.
  They were not able to move the body until after dark so they moved it to a cubbyhole under the stairway.  This cubbyhole had a small trap door in the floor and was used by the Marabilito;s to kill and clean chickens.  The viscera and feathers would be allowed to fall into the cellar where it would be consumed by rats.
 When darkness came the two removed Peter's body from its hiding place and started to carry it to the pit hole.  They were startled by the sounds of a house in a nearby pasture and believing that someone was coming they dropped the body and fled to the house.  For some unknown reason they never returned to complete the job of hiding the body.
  The following morning, June 26th, a passerby discovered the body where it had been dropped and Chief of Police James L Watters was summoned.  Upon being told that a body had been found and it appeared that a murder had been committed Chief Watters sent word to the Sheriff J. S. Harris at Pictou and asked him to meet him at Evansville.
  Together the two officer went to the scene.  It was immediately obvious to them that the victim had been murdered and that the murder had taken place somewhere other than where the body was now laying.  The officers upon examining the body more closely found what appeared to be small white chicken feathers adhering to his clothing.  They made notes of everything that they had found and after the was identified by a neighbour, they went to the Marabilito homto deliver the sad news to Mrs Marabilito.
  When Mrs. Marabilito answered their knock and they delivered the news of her husband's death, the officers were struck with her extreme nervousness and apparent lack of emotion at receiving such disturbing news.  The officers did not linger long at the house and left after a short time telling her that hey would be back later.
  Chief Watters and Sheriff Harris returned to the location where the body had been found and began to examine the area more closely.  They soon found a trail of small white feathers leading away from the scene.  Their suspicions aroused, they followed this trail of feathers carefully and it led them right to the back door of the Marabilito house.  The offices conferred briefly and then entered the house for the second time and confronted Ms. Marabilito and Natali Carrari who was also present this time.  The two were separated and short time Mrs Marabilito broke down and confessed to murdering her husband with Carrari.  A short time after being informed of Mrs. Marabilito's confession, Carrari also confessed.  The two were arrested and taken to the Lock-up where they were incarcerated.  They were eventually taken before the Magistrate who remanded them into the custody to await a trail in Supreme Court at Pictou.
  It was discovered later that Mrs. Marabilito was pregnant and she died in her cell in the Pictou jail from complications of the pregnancy.
  At dawn on January 30th, 1918, Natali Salvatori Carrari was taken from his cell in the County jail to an enclosed court yard where the gallows had been prepared.  He was met on the gallows by "John Ellis" a pseudonym used by all the official hangmen in Canada, the rope was placed round his neck and the trap was sprung.  Natali Salvatori Carrari had paid with this life for the murder of his fellow countryman "Peter Marabilito."

The legal execution marked the last time that anyone was to pay with their life for a crime in Pictou County.

1. Name correction; Marablito, Pietro

The information presented here is from the book; The Stellarton Police Department 1889-1989, One Hundred Years of Service and Protection.  By George Megeney

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Police Chief

by George Megeney
Chief James L. Watters son of James Watters and Sarah J. Dingle Watters, started his police career in Westville Nova Scotia as an officer in the early 1900's Then he was promoted to the office of Police Chief in Westville.  Around 1915, Chief Watters was offered the Chief of Police position in Stellarton, in which he accepted.  In the early 1920's moves onto the city on Mahone Bay NS, where he held the office of Chief of Police  for about a year.
The following is extracted from the book in the image to the left.   In 1915 Mayor W.C. MacDonald was again conducting the town's business.  He and the Council  appointed the Mr. M.A. Patterson to be Stipendiary Magistrate.   The census that year showed the town's population was 4,970.  In April of the year the Council located an experienced Police Office who was willing to accept the position of Chief of Police.  He was the James L. Watters, a former Chief of Police in Westville.  Chief Edward Fraser willingly submitted his resignation and stated that he was relieved.  He said that his nature was not that of a policeman and he had found it difficult to carry out some duties that were required from time to time. He was thanked by the Mayor and Council for his efforts and loyalty during his short tenure.

James L. Watters was born in Westville in 18591. He went to school there and married Margaret McNulty.  They had five children, one daughter and four sons2.  He started his police career in his native Westville where he became Chief of Police.  In 1915 when an opportunity came up for a police job in Stellarton he readily accepted and moved his family to Stellarton.  He remained in Stellarton as Chief of Police for many years until accepting an offer from the Town of Mahone Bay, to become their Chief of Police.

  In May of 1922, James renders his resignation to the Stipendiary Magistrate in Stellarton and takes the Chief of Police position in Mahone Bay, a fair distance away.  He remained in Mahone Bay for near a year, where he decide to moves his family back Stellarton..  Upon returned home and secured employment in the Acadia Coal company's machine shop, where he remained until retirement.  He maintained a life long interest in Police work but after leaving Mahone bay was never tempted to get actively involved again.  However, succeeding Chiefs of Police called upon him for advice up until the time of his death at age 74.  Chief Watters had been involved in many interesting cases during his career, however the most widely reported case which was jointly investigated by him and Sheriff J. S. Harris was the Marabilito murder case3.

The Stipendiary Magistrate expressed regret at the resignation of Chief Watters, stating that the Court had lost the service of a very capable Officer, who was well versed in the law.  He also praised Mrs Watters for having rendered a valuable for having rendered a valuable service as matron of the lock-up and noted that her kindness, tender sympathy and strong personality would be missed.

1.  The birth registry for James states his birth was Goldenville NS and the year was 1869.
2.  The children were;  Ellen R Watters, James G Watters, William D Watters, Harry T Watters, Hugh M Watters.
3. The Marabilito Murder will be told in a separate post.

The information presented here is from the book; The Stellarton Police Department 1889-1989, One Hundred Years of Service and Protection.  By George Megeney

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lost in Battle

War Cenotaph
This family has had many members that served their country's military over the years; Reynolds, Herricks, Watters and others.  But none that I knew of, until now, lost their life in combat.  Today, I found a small record stating the loss of Warren A Watters, the son of William Dingle Watters and Margaret Howard Watters of Stellarton Nova Scotia.  The battle or the place where Warren fell is unknown, but that's not important now.  Warren serviced prior to the 1945 defending his country.  However, he wasn't alone.  Warren's two brothers; James H Watters and William D Watters also served during the same period of time and both were wounded.

William's middle initial is not J, but rather D. 
These images can be seen at the War Cenotaph and on a link for Warren Watters that follows the monuments engravings. 

After I starting writing this post I was able to find the final resting place of Warren Watters.  He rests in a cemetery in Italy; Montecchio War Cemetery.

Sgt James H Watters, Sgt Warren A Watters and Private William D Watters!  All members of the West Nova Scotia Regiment RCIC.  I stand at attention and salute you for your service and life while protecting Canada and its allies. 


Update:  Received today, 3/7/2015 an image for Warren's Headstone

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Could it be?

Chas. Newbury; James G. Watters; Malcolm McGregor (Trainer);
Wm. E. Fraser; Howard McIntosh; Neil McLean;
and Alf. Hughes
 This picture is of the Rescue Team at the reopening of the Allan Shaft after the explosion of December 20th, 1914. The Reopening commenced March 31st, 1915 and finished April 18th, 1915.  I understand that two miners were lost in the explosion.  The type of mining that was going on here was Coal, dark dirty stuff.

Take note of the second individual on the left side.. James G Watters.  We have a James G Watters our tree, but I don't think this is he, for in 1915 James G would be only 22. And this man looks older than that.  There is a James L Watters that is 45 year in our tree, could it be he.  After all, James L was a miner in Stellarton.  I really don't know, but thought it interesting enough to share.  Trish you should like this picture of its steampunk qualities of this picture.

Picture is from the Stellarton Mining Museum and used with permission.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Watters are Gathering

The Watters line of my tree continues to grow.  Today, I found Margaret Louisa Watters in Lowell Massachusetts.  While doing some generic searching for any Watters records with a mother of Dingle, I am came across Maggie L Waters getting married in 1894, January 17th to be exact in the town of Stoneham MA.  So, upon looking closer at the record I found a young woman at the age of 20, born in Nova Scotia and her parents are James Watters and Sarah J Dingle.  So, that was enough for me to believe this young woman was my great aunt Margaret.  Now, If know this story, you know that Maggie's sister; Elizabeth Anna Watters Reynolds was living in Woburn MA at this same time.  By the 1910 US Census, Maggie and Elizabeth are both living in Lowell and only a mile away from each other.

OK, I hear you asking. And if you are not asking, you should be!!  Who did Margaret marry?  Well, that would be a John F Osborn of Rockland Maine and he be an Irish lad.  John and Maggie had a number of child and like many families, a few don't make it past birth.  In the 1910 US Census, the family includes; John and Maggie, Anna Jane, George Raymond, Norman Goldsworth, John J Osborn.  Looking at the names of Maggie's child there are a few repeating names here.  For example; Anna Jane Osborn, I would be willing to bet, she was named after her aunt Elizabeth Anna Watters and her grandmother Sarah Jane Dingle. Just a guess mind ya!  Also, Norman Goldsworth has an uncle that carries the Goldsworth middle name.  Where Goldsworth stem, I do not know.  I'll have too look into it sometime.

Now, we have our family in 1894 and 1910, where are they in 1900.  Nothing is popping up, so back to the generic search of using just last names of Watter and Osborn and place Massachusetts.  Bang! A hit on a record with the surname recorded as Orsborn. Yes, another error!   Looking into this record, the given names were all correct with what I have and the place is of Stoneham, also Maggie was of Nova Scotia.  OK, this is them.. Oh wait look what else I find, but a brother of Maggie's staying in the house as a boarder.  This would be John Watters, which was a mystery to me, other than a birth date.  I wasn't sure he lived past his childhood, but here he is living in Stoneham and working as a steam shovel operator. 

By the time Maggie's family reach 1910, two more children were born, but didn't make it passed age one; Margaret and Howard C Osborn.  I mention them here to bring the family back together again and in one place.  Instead of the bits and piece of data that are just waiting for a family to belong to once again.  Chuid eile i síocháin

Saturday, October 22, 2011

New night time visitor!

Coyote visiting the yard at 1:30am
At 1:30am this morning, the security camera captured a blurred of an image of an animal moving quickly in front of the chicken coop. After a closer's a Coyote!  This is the first time, that I know of, a Coyote has been in our yard.  Time will tell if it continues to visit.  I am looking forward to what else this sec camera captures.

As of late, I have been hearing a single Coyote howling at sunset in the fields just to the east.  Now, its in the yard and as long as it behaves, I am not going out of my way to remove it, but once it starts after our patience will end.

However, this time it behaved itself by leaving our cats and the geese, which are in a pen (off camera) just to the right of the coyote, alone.  Don't try my patience mister coyote, cause it will be your doom.  I know! I know! This well behaved coyote will need to move on, cause after all who can resist a goose dinner when its negative 30 below.

A little information about Coyote can be found many places about the web.  This link is to the Minnesota DNR site about Coyotes.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Encounter after dark....a short story!

As the sun sets, a feeling of worry and fear creeps down the middle of your back. A coyote howls and then a scream! The night becomes silent and you're on full alert, feeling and listen to every movement. A branch snaps in the not too far off distance...another snap and then another! ...its getting closer.

The sounds of each foot step is now noticable, but still a fair piece off. You have time to sneak away, but no! No, you want to see what made the coyote scream and silent the night, so you slipping under a bush to watch the darkness and to listen! ...its getting closer.

The sky is now dark and you can't see much past a few feet in any direction! A grunt!  SNAP! Another branch breaks! You quickly get out of the bush and stand quietly on the small path you had been walking. You want to run, but you can't stop wanting to know. Again, the grunting started, and again and again.. Then silence! Nothing is moving! Another grunt and now drumming of somekind comes to your attention. As you listen, the hair on the back of you neck stands straight up! ...its getting closer!

The grunting and soft drumming continues. Suddenly, you remember that you have a flashlight in your pack. You quickly gain access to the light only to find it low on battery power. After a few minutes of cussing, you get the light to work, but the beam isn't strong enough to cut through the darkness that has swallowed the landscape around you.'s getting closer!

You are froze in place and dare not move as the grunting and drumming continues to move closer. You shine the dim light right and left to no avail for you can only see but few feet at best. Is it a bear? You've heard plenty of them before moving about. They are mostly quiet but some can grunt plenty. The hairs that were standing on the back of you neck is now joined by the hairs on your arm and back!'s getting closer!

You've talked yourself into the fact that this thing that moves in the dark is a know can't out run or climb this animal, so standing your ground is the only option. Your mind begins to wander about all the bears you have encountered in your travels through the woods... most give ground if the option is there, some just don't care and charge. You attention is brought back by another grunt. The drumming has started again, but its hard to hear. ...its coming!

Grunt, grunt, grunt, and more soft drumming.... this is no bear, none that you are familiar with anyways. Why is it still there? Why hasn't it charged or backed down. A thought comes to you from a memory of a situation you once had!  You start looking hard up into the trees, but can't see but a few feet due the failing batteries. And since you hadn't heard any whining or bawling, the thought of cubs near by fades. Again you start wondering what else this could be if not a bear. A few more grunts come to your ears, there different this time. A bit of impatiences is heard in the grunting!  ...its coming!

You heard the grunt again and realized that sound wasn't coming from afar but rather at you feet. A hard lump has formed in your throat and you try as you might, you can't get it to go down. Slowly you scan you dim flash light on the ground in front of you, not knowing what you will find. At first you don't see a thing, but as you stretch your arm down in front of you, the shape of a large round animal appears right in front of your boots. What the hell! A....a... porkerpine is grunting at your boots and patting his feet on the ground. It was like he was telling you to get out of the way! So you do just that!  Stepping off the trail, the porker waddles slowly down the trail into the darkness with not as much as a look or even a knod of the head to say thanks or good night!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Michigan Ave

1918 Birth Certificate
My cousin Laura asked about a recent post; Where was our grand/greatgrand mother, Grace Whitfield Herrick,  living at the time of her fathers death in 1919?  Well, at the time my best guess was plain ole Illinois, which was based off of census reports for the family.  But, now I have a solid answer for Laura......

I just located the birth certificate for Grace Francis Herrick, first born of Grace and George Herrick.  The address listed for Grace Whitfield Herrick was 6732 Michigan Ave, the same as her father, Frank Whitfield at death.  So, Grace Whitfield Herrick was living with her parents at the time of death or shortly before.

Now that I got you attention, a few things to note from the certificate.  George was not at home at the time of Grace Herricks birth.  He was at  Fisk University, Nashville Tennessee.  He is a Lieutenant, which I am guessing was while he was in the Army.  However, none of his military records that reflects a duty station in Tennessee.  Also, note that his birth place is reported as Port Arthur Washington.  For whatever the reason, he listed a few different places of birth in Washington, but we know he was born in Illinois, and more than likely his mother's birth place of Freeport.  In the 1900 US Census, its reported that George was 8 and born in Illinois.  George's middle name was Francis, like his dad, not Frank.  But, I can see why one would say Frank instead. 

I am only guess here, but I bet these are photo's of the 6732 Michigan Ave houses backyard;  Backyard, Hanging on for dear life, and Give Daddy a kiss.  Now, as I reread these post and consider what I just learned on the Grace's birth certificate,  the Kiss for Daddy is because daddy (George) is away with the Army.

Please see my other post about George Herrick and Frank Whitfield.  And by all means consider following this blog by clicking JOIN THIS SITE to the right and please do leave a comment.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What's in a name?

Another name puzzle has shown up in an ancestral document.  Is it Whitfield or Whitefield?  From the time I started search family history my grandmother surname was known to me as Whitfield.  which includes all the records I have discovered; marriage certificates, census report, etc....,  Now, a question pops up on this recently discovered document for Frank E. Whitfield.  First, notice that the document didn't record a full name, but the state of Illinois has this document recorded against Frank.  Also, the date of death, first name of the parents, the physical address and the first name and middle initial of his wife are all correct.  The question is the recorded last name of Whitefield! So, is it Whitfield or Whitefield?  I am sure it is Whitfield and this is just a record error by Registrar!  I have seen many errors such as this, so it really doesn't surprise me at all.  But, it may explain why I haven't been able to find anything concrete for Elisie Minnie Grothmann Whitfield after 1919.  Oh by the way, Elise's last name was record on the marriage certificate as Grotman, where it should have been Grothmann.  Errors are very common!
Suburbanite Economist Notice
Who is Frank E Whitfield?  He is my great grandfather on my mother side.  You can see more about Frank at his page;  Frank Whitfield  .  The notice to the right can be found at
the page for the newspaper Suburbanite Economist, Englewood Times.

This is an update to Frank's blog record as his resting place has been found in the Oak Wood Cemetery, Chicago Illinois lying next for Frank is Elsie's second husband, Orrin P Talley.  Frank Whitfield lived an died in Illinois.  His parent's John and Elizabeth are from England and are still a mystery at this point.

Please find in this blog other posts of the Whitfield family.

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Loco Wiper

page 1
 This is a display of a railroad employment record for William Dingle Watters.  William lived his life in the Stellarton and Westville area of Nova Scotia.  The record contain the wages, the layoffs, the merits and demerits that Watters experienced while with the Cape Breton and Nova Scotia Railway, CBNS.  Now, I would like to draw your attention to the top right of page #1 of the record.  Notice the wages!  Can you image working for such a way.  Oh, Yes you can click the image to enlargen.

Also found on this record was valuable genealogy data, pretaining to his birth date, the name of second wife; Alice and the reason of his death.

page 2
Take a moment to read down through the second page of the record, where you will find some interesting entries such as; falsify a report, damaging an engine, and valuable assistance giving on righting an engine.

On the final page of the record we learn that William held many positions with the railroad, from Loco Wiper which is a starting position with the duties of wiping down the engine, to Enginmeer.  On the page we  find that William died of a heart attack in 1954. William worked for the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway, CBNS, most of his short life.

page 3

William is a second cousin through Elizabeth A Watters Reynolds.

William Dingle Watters
4 Oct 1894
Westville, Nova Scotia
13 Jan 1954
Stellarton, Nova Scotia

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My 911 memory!

A week prior to 911, I was scheduled to fly to New Jersey through the Dulles IAP on Sunday 9/09/01 and returning on either 9/11/01 or 9/12/01. Instead, my client in New Jersey had to reschedule.  My client was one of our many sales staff and I was responsible to setting up their home offices with a broadband connection. Since, I wasn't able to setup this office up I contacted another sales staff who lived in the mountains above Reno.  She was ready for my visit and so I reroute my flight to Reno Nevada for the same dates and then a follow onto LA California on 9/14/01. So, my schedule was short stay in Reno, come home to Duluth for a few day and then off to LA for a few days.That Tuesday, 911, morning I was working on setting up a satellite internet connection for one of our regional sales folks. I had just got it up and running when I received a frantic phone call from home and was instructed to turn on the TV. I did so in time to see the second plane collide. We were all numb watching the TV and listening to the new release. The job done and I needed to get back to Duluth but all the airports was closed and the skies were empty of any private planes. So, I am now stranded in the mountains above Reno trying to figure out how I was going to get home. I wasn't going to make it back to Duluth, so the plan was to drive to LA  from Reno. The drive took two days to get to LA from the mountain home above Reno. What a pretty drive through Rockies. I arrived in LA in time to start help move the sales office to its new location. My job was to breakdown the computers and network and then get them up and running in the new office. With the job done, it was now time to get home.. the planes were flying again and caught my return flight through the John Wayne IAP LA. I remember I had to repack my carry-on bag and put my tools into my check luggage instead. I was able to get home by 9/21/01.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Night Camera

This morning as I was browsing through the images that were captured over night on the security camera.  Not the best image, one can tell that I have a pig visiting the yard.  This image was captured at 12:16am 8/27/2011.  I've checked with the neighbors and no one is missing a pig.  So, if the little porker continues visiting, one might have to commit the pig to the freezer.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Short Story!

This is a bird that visits our feeding station daily.  He is an adult Rose-breasted Grosbeak!  Today, he wants to tell us a story!

Dude! We have a problem!

I'll show you!


Monday, July 4, 2011

Downy Woodpecker

Waiting for Mom!
We have Downy Woodpeckers here year round at My Prairie Home.  Along with the Black Capped Chickadee are many times the only visitors to our feeders in the deep winters of Minnesota. Now, this spring as mating season was in full swing,  I noticed for the first time ever a male Downy drinking from a Hummerbird feeder.  Like I said, I've not noticed the behavior before in all the years I have been watching birds.  The female Downy that was with male won't drink from the hummingbird feeder but followed the male up to the feed to eat black oiled sunflower seeds.  It wasn't  until later in the spring that I noticed the female was also drinking from the hummingbird feeder.  I am assuming this was a learned behavor from the male and is not normal.  I will have research this a little.  Now, the female drinks from the hummingbird feeder on a regular basis.  For the past for days, the female has brought her offspring with her to the feeding station just out side our bay window.  They start off with a little sugar water drink, where the female would bring the water to the chick which  was waiting on the post below the feeding tray.  After a few drinks, up to the feeder to eat sunflower seeds.  The female would crack open the seed hull and feed the seed to the patiently wait youngster.  Today, they allow a few quick photos of them feeding on a small post that is next to and above the feeding tray.

You can see more wild bird photos at Prairie Home Images.

Try it, You'll like it!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Up high in the rafters!

Mother hen and 13 chicks!
Tonight, after herding the geese back to their corral, I went into the coop to get a head count which I do every night prior to closing all the doors.  This evening as I looked up into the roosting rafters I was to find a pleasant surprised.  Mother hen and her clutch of thirteen chicks, which are only a few weeks old, are on the roosting rafters too.  So surprised, I ran back into the house to get the camera.  Ok! Ok!  But, I did walk with a purpose.  So, here sits the hen and her chicks on a  rafter that's at least 7.5 feet off the ground and at least 3.5 feet away from another rafter. Would have loved to see how they got there, maybe tomorrow night.  Normally, the hen has a corner on the floor she likes to nest in for the night and all the chicks disappear under her wings.  But, not tonight!  They roost with the flock up high in the rafters.

I hope you enjoy the picture of the family roosting together this night, high above the floor!

My glimpse of the family roosting!

Another view of Mother hen and family!

Mother hen and family Jun 8th!

A different group of chicks, just a week older!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lady Slipper

Greater Yellow Lady Slipper
I knew of one Small Yellow Lady Slipper growing under the giant Elm at the end of the driveway.  It bloomed last and this year in the same place.  I don't recall any other sightings of any lady slipper at My Prairie Home.  This year, along with the Small Yellow Lady Slipper, but growing along the woods edge is the Greater Lady Slipper, numbering about 40-50 blossums. The difference between the two Yellow Lady Slipper is main the size of the plant, blossum and number of blossums per plant.  Neither of the two Yellow Lady Slipper are the state flower, that is the Showy Lady Slipper.  We don't have the Showy here on My Prairie Home, but they are growing in ditches but a mile or two  away.  Did you know that Minnesota hosts some 43 different orchid in the wild.

Thus far I have photographed the Small Yellow Lady Slipper, the Greater Yellow Lady Slipper, the Showy Lady Slipper and the Pink Lady Slipper.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mother hen

Mother and chicks
 This past Sunday I was looking in on our brooding hen.  She greeted me with her normal growling and a peck to the hand.  I was looking for chicks and sure enough I found them hiding under her wing and other just coming out of their shells.  I told the hen she was OK and I left her.  Naturally, I have checked on her each day since and the number of chicks are growing.  We are up to ten and about six eggs yet to hatch.  This morning, three days after hatching started, I moved the clutch and hen to a room in the coop all to their own.   I did this mainly to allow the chicks a few day of growth without other members of the flock bothering them.  The hen wasn't too happy with the move this morning or with me handling her, but quickly settled down and nested into a corner of her choosing.   Look close and you can see a chick borrowing in under the mother hens right wing.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ugly Duckling

Two day old Keets
We have all heard the story of the Ugly Duckling turning into a Swan,  but here we have the opposite happening.   These little Guinea chicks, which are called Keets in the Guinea world, are so cute.   Then, to only imagine when grown they take on a totally different appearance.  The proper name is not Guinea hen but Guinea fowl and they are of the same family as the pheasant.  We have noticed a bit of insect decease here on My Prairie Home of which it would have been more noticable if the Owls didn't dine so well this past winter.   The watchdog part of there behavior has not surfaced yet, but they can make a great deal of racket just calling to one another.  Can you imagine... "Where are you?"  And the reply; "We are over here!"  And the reply; "Where are you?"  And the reply; "We are over here!"  This will sometimes goes on for several minutes with no resolution.  Neither group would find the other.  Silly birds!!!
Year old Guinea on a nest

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Guinea Keets
On May 5th, I decided to hatch about eight guinea eggs, but I wasn't confident we had a male servicing the hens.No matter, I thought I would try.  Ten days in I candled and discarded those that didn't show any development, which left me with five eggs.   Last night as I checked on the progress of the eggs, I noticed a few cracks on a couple of eggs.  This morning we have three chicks that have hatched, which seem to be a little camera shy.  The other two eggs haven't start showing signs of hatching yet.

After I gathered the eggs for hatching, a male guineas stepped forward a let his presences be known.   He was spotted mounting the hens and terrorizing Rudy the Rooster by chancing him around the yard.  So much for the rooster ruling the roost.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Indigo Bunting
An Indigo Bunting visited our feeder this morning. I first spotted him in the yard out back where I was hunting Morel mushrooms. I have never seen a IB before, so off I went to get the camera. Once inside the house I noticed he was now at the feeder.  The feeder is located just outside our bay window, which I have setup for photo ops of birds.  The IB was bouncing around the feeder, pausing on each post that are positioned as props.. it was like he was waiting for his photo to be taken.... Luck had it that Trish was able to enjoy viewing this little guy before he departed.   It's been about an hour now and I have not seen this little blue bird again...  What a handsome fellow he is!!

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


The third photo in the series of aunt Grace in 1919 Chicago.  However, this one included my grandmother Grace.  Again I will let the photo and the handwritten note on the backside tell the story.