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A grey squirrel peaks from a hole in a tree stump. © 2021 Randy Runtsch.

Squirrels, Animals, Nature, and Humor

Gray squirrels test my mettle as they eat the food intended for birds

“This town is infested with squirrels, have you noticed?”

“I’d rather say it’s rich with squirrels.”

― Elizabeth McKenzie, The Portable Veblen

Idelight in the sight of gray squirrels that scamper through and around my backyard. Sometimes, four of five of the critters chase each other in circles and figure…

Money, Personal Finance, and Saving

On November 1, 2021, the composite interest rate for bonds doubled to 7.12%

Woman holding US currency.
Woman holding US currency. Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash.

“Do not save what is left after spending; instead spend what is left after saving.” — Warren Buffett

In August 2021, I published the article How to Buy Series I US Savings Bonds. At that time, the US Treasury paid an interest rate of 3.54% on Series I bonds (commonly…

Northern Cardinal male.
Northern Cardinal male. © 2021 Randy Runtsch.

Birds, Fall, Winter, and Photography

Most birds have departed Minnesota for the winter, but those who stay add color to every day

As I hiked into Essex Park this morning, I crossed the pedestrian bridge on the way to the park’s brush pile, frequently filled with birds as they hunt for seeds and insects. But today, it was empty of birds. So, I walked into the meadow and took a path other…

Birds, Wildlife, and Bird Photography

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick.” For bird photography, I say, “Walk Softly and Carry a Big Lens”

Lincoln’s Sparrow photographed in Rochester, Minnesota, USA.
Lincoln’s Sparrow photographed in Rochester, Minnesota, USA. © 2021 Randy Runtsch.

Most birds are sensitive creatures who will fly away at the sight of a human or when humans approach too closely for their comfort. …

Music, Musicals, Entertainment

Musicals entertain, but sometimes they teach, inspire, and reveal lessons of life, too

The musical Hamilton is featured on the marquee of Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway in New York City.
The musical Hamilton is featured on the marquee of Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway in New York City. Photo by Sudan Ouyang on Unsplash.

“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”―Albert Einstein

I enjoy listening to many styles and genres of music. But in recent years, the soundtracks of musicals…

Gratitude, Thanks, Thanksgiving, Friends, and Family

Every day is a good day to express thanks for what I am and what I have

Grateful.
Grateful. Photo by Kit Ishimatsu on Unsplash.

“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite — only a sense of existence.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Being Thankful

Best wishes to you and yours for a Happy Thanksgiving Day wherever you may be in…

Music, Rock, and the Sixties

John Fogerty and CCR produced hit after hit between 1968 and 1972. Like the ’60s, its legacy lives on.

Creedence Clearwater Revival. From left to right, Tom Fogerty, Doug Clifford, Stu Cook, and John Fogerty. By Fantasy Records, Public Domain.

“Sometimes I think life is just a rodeo. The trick is to ride and make it to the bell.” — John Fogerty

A look back to my first decade reveals a tumultuous and violent period in America. An early memory is an image on television of two-year-old John F. Kennedy…

Hiking, Wilderness, Travel, and Weather

A life lived in the wind could not prepare me for nearly being blown from a mountain in Ireland’s Connemara National Park

View to the west from the summit of Diamond Hill in Connemara National Park in the West of Ireland.
View to the west from the summit of Diamond Hill in Connemara National Park in the West of Ireland. © 2021 Randy Runtsch.

“The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.”-Bob Dylan in “Blowin’ in the Wind”

Southeastern Minnesota, where I grew up and still live, is located in the northern reaches of the United States Midwest region, known for its violent weather and gusty winds. As an avid cyclist from a…

Farming, Entertainment, and Television

On “Clarkson’s Farm,” Jeremy Clarkson exudes confidence, joy, and playfulness when farming, even when his plans backfire

Two sheep in a England, UK.
Two sheep in a England, UK. © 2021 Randy Runtsch.

My wife and I do not binge-watch. We never have. But some programs, especially several from the United Kingdom, have tempted us to adopt the reportedly unhealthy practice. For instance, take Luther, Poldark, and The Crown. Their acting, production qualities, and magnetism (especially the conniving nature of George Warleggan in…

Randy Runtsch

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