Brute’s Bleat August 26th, 2015

Never in my born days did I think I’d have something good to say about Bull Thistles. That’s because I was raised on a dairy farm that also had hogs and chickens and grain (oats, barley, and wheat) was part of their diets. This was before combines and farmers cut their small grain crops with a machine called a grain binder which cut the standing grain and tied it neatly in a bundle. One of my jobs during harvest was to stand one bundle against another with six or eight in a shock. If you wanted to get fancy you’d take a single bundle and place it lengthwise on the top of upright bundles. I only did this if it was a wheat crop. This was in the late forties and even though the crops were spot-sprayed to kill the weeds, it seems there were always some thistles on parts of the field. I got along pretty well with Canadian and sow-thistles, but those bull thistles didn’t show any mercy! Working with the bundles early in the morning while there was still dew took some of the pain away when you’d have a bundle under each arm. Thank God for combines!
Actually, when I took the photo above of some bull thistle blossoms in Ney Park I noticed the bumble-bees like to hang around them and load up on nectar. That’s to say there is something good about a weed that I despised and I’ll have to admit the fuchsia blossom adds an attractive color along the park trails I’ve been hiking on with Vanna. I guess the saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” fits this situation even though the bull thistle is a noxious weed!
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Ken Hennen and I took in three close state tournament baseball games Saturday at Watkins and watched Lamberton edge Shakopee 2-1. At 1:30 p.m. Delano’s Jake Gleason held the Sleepy Eye nine in check with first baseman Toby Hanson providing a solo home run in the seventh inning which gave the Athletics a two-run lead. Trevor Jaunich picked up a three-inning save behind some outstanding defensive efforts at short and second base. They will play New London-Spicer at 5 p.m. Saturday at Watkins. Rain threatening skies opened up between the Delano game and the Kimball game (5:00 p.m.) and believe me the grounds crew didn’t need to wet down the infield after that. Kimball won 3-2 over Nimrod in another close game which was delayed briefly by rain. With the game tied 2-2 going into the ninth, Kimball went ahead 3-2 on Ben Johnson’s homer and in the bottom of the inning first baseman, Kyle Winter, caught a line-drive shot for the third out and subsequent win. Adam Beyer also had a round-tripper. They will play Ada Sunday at 11 a.m. in Watkins. Ken and I stayed for about three innings of the Roseau-Cannon Falls game. Roseau was ahead 1-0, but lost 6-2. Cannon Falls goes on to play Bertha who has a former Laker pitcher, John Riewer, on the line-up along with four other Riewers. Region champ Howard Lake will play Lastrup at 7:30 p.m. at Cold Spring Saturday. Lastrup defeated Fairmont 5-4 on Sunday. Going to the Watkins games for Hennen was just like an old-home week as he was born and raised on a farm in that area and still knows a lot of the people living there, including relatives. Watkins residents can take pride in the work they did to get their Clipper baseball park ready for the tournament. It took a lot of hard work and cooperation and it shows in the finished product. They re-built their grandstand, installed former Viking seats and added a concession stand and souvenir store along with a first-class scoreboard to complement the diamond and outfield. It reminded me of Iowa’s “field of dreams” with corn fields circling the outfield. They have fan porches, one elevated, on both sides.