Mandan News

Dan Ulmer: Dateline 10/14/12 – how come?


So after a delightful Friday and Saturday at Lake Tschida I deadheaded home around 9-ish this morning. On my way in I passed a small herd of antelope by the butte – geez, they’re a pretty animal. And since it was day two of pheasant season I lost track of how many birds popped out of sunflower and corn fields fleeing for their lives as they flew across my path. Thankfully only two of ’em came close to becoming my hood ornament.

Pheasant season’s underway on the prairie, and it’s interesting to note that a pheasant is probably the most colorful bird we have out here on the prairie and so are the hunters… lotsa blaze orange things out there wandering around the prairie.

Anyway, I get home around 10-ish so I could catch up on yard work that has accumulated after spending every weekend from April thru October at Lake Tschida. (Anybody know of a support group that could help me with this malady?).

The day promises to be a nice one, cloudless sky, warm sun, forecast is upper 60s, and best of all no wind. So I get out of the truck and begin surveying the needs of my estate. First thing I noticed is that the day lily beds need cleaning. My dad gave me these day lilies 20 years ago and told me that Rudy Weinhandl had bred them and won a prize. They are amazing, they bloom from July into early August, they grow up to 6 feet tall in spots, and all you gotta do is remember to clean them out every fall, and it was time to tackle this project.

I went inside and 3 and 3/4-year-old Brock asked if he could help, and Grandpa Dan figured this ought to be fun, so he made a slide show and although he couldn’t figure out a way to post the pictures on these pages he thought the narrative might give you the gist of how this project went:

SLIDE ONE – A photo of yellow n brown pansies… the last blooms left in my yard. The prairie is bedding down for the winter… it took great mental strength to rip them out and stuff them in a plastic bag because it was an admission that fall has truly arrived.

SLIDE TWO – A photo of Brock sitting on Grandpa Dan’s John Deere riding mower. Brock runs the wheel with Grandpa Dan whispering directions in his ear. Grandpa Dan also runs the gas and yes both of ’em have a tendency to fall asleep at the wheel thus over correcting just makes the trip more interesting

SLIDE THREE – A photo of Brock riding in Grandpa Dan’ wheelbarrow. Had to switch to more primitive equipment, made error of giving him a ride last spring so now he hops in before Grandpa Dan can get it out of the shed… besides he ain’t heavy.

SLIDE FOUR – A photo of Brock stuffing flowers into a very tall plastic bag. He really did help until he found an apple, a ball, a box elder bug, and grandpa finally had to go round the house to see what he was up to. Of course, once Grandpa Dan got him back to working Brock immediately poked himself in the cheek with a stick then cried for a minute before deciding it would be a good time to lay down. Not yet though!

SLIDE 5 – Photo of Brock being dwarfed by mulch pile at the recycling bins behind the high school because we had to haul a pick up load to recycle bins. Bins were overflowing and Brock was overflowing with ‘how comes. How come they put leaves here? How come we gotta take the leaves out of the bag? How come there’s poop in the bottom of that bag? How come we’re gonna take the poop home? How come I can’t ride in the truck box like I do at the lake? How come? How come? How come? Grandpa Dan kept giving answers, which was probably his downfall, and he got “how comed” all the way back home. Then the how comes made it all the way to the brunch table where they ate honey roasted cheerios and peanut butter on toast before heading off to their respective napping locales.

So here’s hoping you enjoyed the slide show as well as everything else that’s going on in your life… and if you’re not enjoying life maybe some “how come?” is in order…

(By the way – it sure was nice to see the Schaafs at the Glenn Ullin Cenex station.)