"In the central portion of the great North American Continent there lies an arid and repulsive desert, which for many a long year served as a barrier against the advance of civilization. From the Sierra Nevada to Nebraska, and from the Yellowstone River in the north to the Colorado upon the south, is a region of desolation and silence." - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Winter is Coming!

We are expecting 5-8 inches of snow Friday.

Saturday's projected high is -3.

Four days after that, winter begins!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Thanksgiving (or any day) Poem

I like pie.

I like that pie is round.

I like that pie is tasty.

I like pie.

Originally written Pi Day 2009.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Already, Two Candidates for Governor in 2018

With almost two years to go before the election, but before changes in state campaign finance laws take effect, it looks like we already have two gubernatorial candidates.

From the Sioux Falls Argus Leader:
Rep. Kristi Noem will not seek a fifth term to the U.S. House in 2018, she announced Monday, and will instead make a bid to become the first female governor in South Dakota history.


Although she didn’t say it, Noem’s decision to run for governor was forced by a ballot issue that voters approved last week. Initiated Measure 22, which becomes law on Wednesday, contains a provision barring candidates for governor from collecting more than $4,000 a year from any person or political committee.

Once effective, the language would mean that Noem couldn’t transfer more than $4,000 from her congressional campaign account to an account for a governor’s run. Under current law, federal office holders can transfer all of their money into a state account.
From the AP, via the Mitchell Republic, South Dakota's Attorney General is making a similar move:
Attorney General Marty Jackley said Tuesday that he's forming a political committee with about $700,000 in the bank as he prepares to run for governor in 2018.


Jackley, who is barred by term limits from another stint as the state's top prosecutor, said that right now he's "focused on serving as attorney general and making South Dakota safe."

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Basil Harvest

Today was the great basil harvest:

The green basil was planted from seed while the purple basil was purchased from Walmart. Both survived the mid-summer onslaught of insects that wiped out the onion crop and threatened everything else (even the marigolds were temporarily reduced to unrecognizable nearly-bare stems).

Monday, September 5, 2016

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Chocolate Recall, Abridged

From IKEA:
All Best Before Dates Of CHOKLAND MÖRK and CHOKLAND MÖRK 70% are being recalled due to undeclared Milk, Hazelnuts and Almond.

The dark chocolate bars do carry an advisory statement, which identifies that the dark chocolate may contain milk and tree nuts.

Monday, March 7, 2016

County Seat Towns, in 1880

An excerpt from our family reading, Mr. Edwards visits the Ingalls family in The Long Winter (before the long winter becomes a looooong winter):
This here country, it's too settled up for me. The politicians are a-swarming in already, and ma'am if'n there's any worst pest than grasshoppers it surely is politicians. Why, they'll tax the lining out'n a man's pockets to keep up these here county-seat towns! I don't see nary a use for a county, nohow. We all got along happy and content without 'em.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Donald Rumsfeld's Presidential Campaign

I have to admit I wasn't following politics very closely in 1987, but I saw Donald Rumsfeld comment on his presidential campaign recently and I had to look it up. From the Chicago Tribune, this was refreshing (the business attitude, not the regulations):
After more than a year and a half of quiet and unofficial campaigning, Chicagoan Donald Rumsfeld announced Thursday that he will not seek the 1988 Republican nomination for president.

Rumsfeld, who acknowledged he had been a "dark horse" candidate in the GOP scramble for the nomination, attributed his surprise decision to the difficulties of coping with the rules on campaign financing.


Rumsfeld said he discussed the problem with, among others, Sen. John Glenn (D., Ohio) who is still stuck with a $2.7 million debt from his 1984 presidential campaign and is being sued both by former campaign staffers and the Federal Election Commission.

Rumsfeld said Glenn, a former Marine and astronaut, told him that "he went through two wars and the space program and never lost any sleep" but that he now lies awake nights agonizing about the debt. Rumsfeld said he and his wife have each sent Glenn $1,000 for his debt retirement fund.

"Deficit spending plagues this country," Rumsfeld said in the memo announcing his decision. "Having just spent 10 years in the world of business, meeting payrolls and being accountable to shareholders, I am unwilling to proceed on a deficit basis."

Monday, February 1, 2016

Snow Mountain Sunset

The snowdrifts in our road were cleared into what now looks like a range of snow mountains. Here's the sunset from Wednesday evening:

Monday, January 25, 2016


Just a few pictures from Saturday. We didn't have any new snowfall, but the wind shifted and gave us some big drifts--including nineteen inches in the previously-cleared driveway.

The snowdrift between the house and the future orchard measured 27 inches.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Senator Thune on Obama's Legacy

South Dakota's Senator John Thune, writing in the National Review, notes that "after losing large majorities in the House and Senate" President Obama came to rely on executive actions instead of compromise legislation to accomplish his goals. The result:
In short, most of the president’s legacy is paper-thin and may not outlast his final year in office. Even the president’s two actual legislative achievements may not long outlast his administration. Obamacare is already collapsing under its own weight, and parts of the president’s Dodd-Frank law are under scrutiny by Congress. Thanks to the president’s decision to bypass the people’s representatives in Congress, his real legacy may turn out to be that he doesn’t have one.
This is a good reminder for those who falsely claim that Congressional Republicans have given Obama everything he wanted--he has not had a legislative achievement since before Republicans took the House of Representatives in 2010.

Read the rest here.