4 Books

I’ve finished four books in the last few weeks, what with my vacation and all. In addition to describing the four books here I have added them to my list of books read this year.  I will soon be creating a summary of the presidential biographies I have read and will add the Martin Van Buren biography to my list. Here are the 4 books:

a book of bees by Sue Hubbell

I was reading the Fabulouslorraine blog a few weeks ago and she recommended this book. Among other interesting topics Lorraine blogs about bee keeping. A book of bees by Sue Hubbell is a fascinating book and very well written. On the first page she says:

“I have had bees now for fifteen years, and my life is better for it. I operate a beekeeping and honey-producing farm in the Ozark Mountains of southern Missouri. I keep three hundred hives of bees”

From there she goes on to describe a year of bee keeping. It almost made me want to get some hives.

Different Seasons by Stephen King


I read Different Seasons by Stephen King while I was fishing in Canada. My secret of catching fish is reading while I fish 🙂  Different Seasons is a collection of four novellas. The first is the story that the movie Shawshank Redemption is based on. Shawshank Redemption is one of my all time favorite movies and the story is as good as the movie. I didn’t enjoy the second novella, Apt Pupil, as much, although it was thought provoking and disturbing. The third novella “The Body” was made into Rob Reiner’s movie Stand by Me. I enjoyed the fourth novella Breathing Lessons. It was a bit weird but still intriguing.

The Perfect Poison by Amanda Quick


The Perfect Poison is a mystery set “Late in the reign of Queen Victoria”  It was light and entertaining but didn’t want me make to want to read more of this series.

Martin Van Buren by Ted Widmer

I am working on reading at least one book about each American President. I just finished reading a short biography of Martin Van Buren, President number eight. It was interesting because a very large financial crisis, The Panic of 1837 hit right after Van Buren took office. The panic was one of the reasons that he was a one term president. Van Buren was also one of only two presidents with no college education or military service.

Van Buren deserves much of the credit for the creation of our two party system. I found the following quotes enlightening.

“evidence of opposition parties is one of the most important ways to measure the vital signs of an emerging democracy…………  Van Buren, while not a radical thinker, deserves full credit for realizing this truth ahead of his compatriots…..  Not only is the spirit of party not hostile to democract\y, it is essential to it…… there is a fundamental balance at its core – an internal gyroscope, based on brute competition – that has allowed this system to continue, with only a few modifications, from 1828 to the present. That gyroscope was built by Van Buren, and every time we ask another country to replicate it, we are paying silent homage to him.”

Ted Widmer’s Van Buren  biography was the first biography I have read from the American Presidents Series. At first I was really put off by how non academic it was. Widmer makes all sorts of contemporary references, to people like George Bush and Rush Limbaugh. But eventually I just decided to take it for what it was a light readable biography of Van Buren.

Road Trip – Fort Francis Ontario to Reno Nevada

I am home again in Reno, back from a road trip/fishing trip to northern Ontario. Duke and I drove a total of 4368 miles. On the trip home we left Fort Francis, Ontario last Wednesday and spent Wednesday night at the Spruce Lake Bed and Breakfast in Keewatin, Ontario. Thursday night was in Brandon, Manitoba. Friday night was at the Historic Reesor Ranch in south western Saskatchewan.


Saturday night was at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton National Park in Alberta.


Sunday night was at Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier Park Montana.

My Dad broke a hip and ended up in the hospital while we were gone. My sisters, daughters and good friend Linda all took care of him and now he is in rehab and doing surprisingly well after giving everyone a real scare.  So we cut our trip short and  Monday drove the 1000 miles home to Reno.

The pictures we took on the way home are on Flickr here along with the pictures from the first part of the road trip. I've included a couple more below.



Flying in Fishing trip to Granite Lake Ontario

Last Thursday Duke and I and Duke's brother and 4 other family members flew 175 miles north from St Francis, Ontario to Granite Lake in Wabakimi Provincial Park. We fished for 6 days and were completely out of touch with the rest of the world. Unfortunately when we landed back in Fort Francis on Wednesday I had a message to urgently call my sisters. They were both in Reno taking care of my Dad who had broken his hip and had several other problems. Luckily by Wednesday when I was able to call Reno he was recovering and it looks like he will move to rehab tomorrow. My sisters, my good friend Linda and my daughter did an awesome job. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful family and friends.

Our fishing trip was a lot of fun. The first fish caught was caught by the six year old  on his 3 foot long spider man fishing pole. It was a beautiful lake and we caught several fish every day. Here are a few of our pictures. If you would like to see all the pictures they are on Flickr here or here.







Road Trip / Fishing Trip – Billings Montana to International Falls, Minnesota

We have driven 1897 miles since we left home in Reno and are now in International Falls, Minnesota on the Canadian border.

On Monday we drove from Billings to Bismarck and made a couple of very interesting stops along the way. Pompeys Pillar is a sandstone formation overlooking the Yellowstone River east of Billings. When William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition stopped here he carved his name and the date (July 25, 1806) in the rock. We saw the signature and climbed the boardwalk to the top of the rock. This is the only physical evidence still in place of the Lewis and Clark expedition.


Walking up to the rock we saw a marmot. You can see him hiding in this tree. The top 2 pieces of grass point to his face

The second place we stopped was the Prairie County Museum and the Cameron Gallery in Terry, Montana. The museum was an old bank building stuffed full of memorabilia, everything from old medical equipment to an old knitting machine to old clothes. It was fascinating to explore. The Cameron Gallery  is a collection of pictures taken by Evelyn Cameron who moved to the area from England in 1889. She took lots of pictures which really give you a feel for Montana prairie life in the late 1800s.




In Bismarck we had a great dinner at Peacock Alley in the Patterson Hotel. Tuesday when we left it was pouring rain. We drove by the house I lived in in Bismarck before heading out of town. We drove for about 3 hours in the rain. Finally the sun came out as we headed north in Minnesota.


Now we are in International Falls. Our hotel looks out over the Rainy River which is the border between the U.S. and Canada. This morning we took a really cool tour of the paper plant here. They run night and day and ship tons of paper every day. They have a machine that creates a 30 foot wide roll of paper. The machine rollers run at 41 miles per hour. Each roll of paper from this machine is made into 8 million sheets of computer paper!


Tomorrow we fly in a float plane to a remote lake 175 miles north of here for a week of fishing. There will be no electricity, internet, cell phone or outside contact of any kind. We will have a cabin, beds, propane, and hot and cold running water. It should be fun!

If you would like to see my pictures from this trip they are on Flickr here.

Road Trip / Fishing Trip – Reno, Nevada – Rigby, Idaho – Billings, Montana

Duke and I are on a road trip / fishing trip. We are driving to Fort Francis, Ontario and then flying to  a remote lake for a week of fishing with some of Duke's family.

We left on July 4 and drove 660 miles from Reno to Rigby Idaho. We stayed in a wonderful Bed and Breakfast that we stayed in on our road trip last year. The Blue Heron Bed and Breakfast is right on the Snake River. We sat outside on the balcony and had wine and cheese and crackers for dinner.

On our drive on the fourth we stopped in Elko and caught the last of the Independence day parade.
Nevada, Montana and Idaho have had a lot of rain this year and everything is green.

On the 5th, Sunday, we drove from Rigby, Idaho to Billings, Montana. North of Rigby we saw the Tetons in the east and drove through the far western edge of Yellowstone National Park.


Today, July 6 we are driving from Billings to Bismarck, North Dakota.

I am uploading my trip pictures to Flickr here.