Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Wisconsin Press
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In September 2007 my son Steve and I were canoe-camping in the Boundary Waters Wilderness of northern Minnesota. It is here where . . .
1. Fred and Oscar
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Oscar . . . Oscar . . . I’ve hooked a big one . . . hooked a big one. Oscar,
you hearin’ me? I need help,” Fred Russo yelled.
Fred, Oscar Anderson’s lifelong friend . . .
2. Lost Job
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Ben Wesley hadn’t seen it coming; he should have, but he didn’t. When the news came, it felt like somebody kicked him in the stomach. The University of Wisconsin . . .
3. Beth Wesley
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Ben Wesley quickly decided the worst part of losing his job was telling his wife. He and Beth had been married for twenty-one years. They had two kids: Liz, a . . .
4. Local Agent Out
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The following article appeared in the Ames County Argus, the local newspaper, on June . . .
5. Shotgun Slogum
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When the word got around that the legislature was closing all agricultural agent offices in the state, the phone calls began pouring into Ben Wesley’s office. One . . .
6. Visiting Shotgun
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Shotgun, now in his late seventies, invited Ben out to his place for a talk; he didn’t say what about. Not everyone got along with Shotgun Slogum; as he got older, he . . .
7. Fred and Oscar
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This ain’t much of a boat,” said Fred Russo. He and Oscar Anderson were fishing in Round Lake, south of . . .
8. Phone Call
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Good morning, Ames County Agent’s Office, this is Delores. How can I help you?” From his office, Ben heard the phone ring and his secretary . . .
9. Dr. Sara Phillips
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The following Tuesday, Ben arrived at the Lone Pine restaurant about ten of twelve, wondering what Dr. Sara Phillips from Osborne University had on her mind. . . .
10. New Job?
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How’d your lunch meeting go?” Beth Wesley asked when Ben returned
home that afternoon.
“Okay,” Ben said. He tossed his cap on the chair by the door. . . .
11. Beth and Osborne University
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Beth Wesley simply could not understand her husband, even after twenty-one years of marriage. Just when she thought she knew what interested . . .
12. Shotgun’s Advice
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Ben Wesley valued Shotgun Slogum’s advice; he always did. Shotgun was one of those fellows who gave you his opinion whether you wanted it or . . .
13. Conversation with Lars
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When Ben got home that night he called his old friend Lars Olson. “Lars, you got time for coffee tomorrow morning? I need to talk . . .
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A couple of days later Ben Wesley sat in his courthouse office looking out the window, a view he had enjoyed for twenty years. He had but a few more days left . . .
15. Cranberry Red
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Today, scientists at Ira Osborne University, a for-profit educational and research institution with headquarters in Oshkosh, announced the development of a new . . .
16. Fred and Oscar
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What you got there, Fred?” asked Oscar Anderson. Oscar sat in a rocking chair on . . .
17. Brittani Stone
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Brittani Stone got the news late Friday afternoon when she checked her e-mail before leaving her Oshkosh . . .
18. The Osborne Dream
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Congratulations on the new job,” Dr. Sara Phillips said when Ben appeared at her office door on Wednesday afternoon, his first day on the job. She stood . . .
19. Business Office
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So, how’d it go yesterday?” Brittani asked when Ben arrived at his office on Thursday. It was . . .
20. Fourth of July
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Ben liked to sleep in on Saturday mornings. Except this particular Saturday
happened also to be the Fourth of July.
“Ben, you up yet?” Beth called . . .
21. Gunnar Godson
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The third and last day of Ben’s orientation involved learning about the activities of Osborne’s research station, located on the Tamarack River on the western edge . . .
22. Farm Visit
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The first visit Brittani scheduled for Ben on Tuesday morning was with Joe and Julie Evans. Brittani took special care to write down their names, their address, including . . .
23. Business of the Year
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The Office of Community Relations at Osborne University submitted the following news item to the . . .
24. Ben and Brittani
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All that July, Ben Wesley struggled to keep up with the schedule that Brittani Stone laid out for him each day. She was the picture of . . .
25. Fred and Oscar
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July in central Wisconsin had been hot and humid. In the early part of the month, farmers complained that their hay just wasn’t drying well, that it took an extra . . .
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A new Wisconsin youth organization officially began this week. The organization will be called the Wisconsin . . .
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Ben Wesley was not aware of the fiery e-mail Brittani Stone sent off to Sara Phillips in Oshkosh, in which she asked for a transfer and suggested she could not . . .
28. Promoting RFD
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The several hundred former 4-H members in Ames County, their parents, and the volunteer leaders hadn’t yet fully understood the elimination of the . . .
29. RFD News
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Just a week after the RFD informational meeting, a variety of letters were printed in the . . .
30. Celebration Planning
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After making sure he notified Dr. Phillips at Osborne headquarters in Oshkosh, Ben Wesley set up the first planning meeting for the 150-year celebration . . .
31. Ames County Fair
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Of all the various activities Ben Wesley had been involved in when he was county agricultural agent, the Ames County Fair stood high on the list of those . . .
32. Cranberry Red Meeting
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It was the Monday after the Ames County Fair had ended, and Ben was looking over the schedule of appointments that he and Brittani had gotten from . . .
33. The Day After
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Back in the Willow River office the following day, Brittani and Ben met to discuss Ben’s upcoming . . .
34. Office Problems
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Ben wasn’t one to notice such things, but he couldn’t miss the big, new, lighted sign that greeted him when he turned into the parking lot. “Osborne University . . .
35. Fish Survey
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Gus Caldwell slowly backed the lime green Department of Natural Resources truck down the public boat landing on the Tamarack River. Gus, a . . .
36. Fishing with Lars
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The weather had been pleasantly warm for late September in Wisconsin. The trees had begun turning color: brilliant red maples, bright yellow aspens. The sweet . . .
37. Family Cookout
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When Ben arrived home with the fish, his daughter, Liz, met him at the
“Hi, Daddy,” she said. Liz was now a junior at the University of Wisconsin–Madison . . .
38. Celebration News
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The committee planning the 150-year celebration of cranberr y growing in Wisconsin met this . . .
39. Fred and Oscar
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Every week or so Fred and Oscar met at the Lone Pine restaurant for coffee. They didn’t belong to the regular coffee group that met there every day, six days . . .
40. Harvest at Shotgun’s
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October in central Wisconsin is the most beautiful time of the year, at least to Ben Wesley’s way of thinking. The trees—maples, aspen, birch, tamarack, . . .
41. Gunnar’s Discovery
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Gunnar Godson had come to the United States from Sweden when he was a teenager. His family settled in New Jersey, where he grew up attending public . . .
42. Budget Shortfall
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Ben was back in his office the Monday following the field day at Shotgun Slogum’s cranberry bog. He whistled a little tune as he came though the office door . . .
43. Paul and Gloria Mayer
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That evening Ben was home alone because Beth had a hospital meeting. He was busy reading his latest edition of Horticulture Magazine, trying his best to keep up . . .
44. Research Problem
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Before Gunnar Godson called Osborne’s vice president for research at the headquarters in Oshkosh, he captured four of the giant night crawlers, put . . .
45. RFD Collapses
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Harry Hopkins, executive director of the new Wisconsin RFD youth program, this week announced the program’s suspension. The program became . . .
46. Ben and Dr. Phillips
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How does my schedule look today?” Ben asked when he arrived at his office and greeted Brittani. Over the past several weeks, Ben and Brittani had reached . . .
47. Healthy Always Cranberries
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Ben Wesley always liked October. But this year he was not enjoying the month at all. Each evening he arrived home from work exhausted. He had no . . .
48. County Fair Eliminated
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On November 5, less than a month after the RFD program was suspended, the Ames County Argus published the following . . .
49. Beth Wins Osborne Award
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After the initial hullabaloo about the Cranberry Red–treated cranberries, Ben’s office returned to some degree of normalcy, although Ben had yet . . .
50. Fred and Oscar
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Since their confrontation with the big, mean fish back in the spring, Fred Russo and Oscar Anderson had avoided fishing the Tamarack River. That summer . . .
51. Phillips and the Outreach Office
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Ben enjoyed Christmas week. It was his first vacation since taking his new job back in July, and he appreciated not having to deal with a constant . . .
52. Chris Martin
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Ben noticed several changes in Brittani since the meeting with Phillips on the first working day of the new year. Once or twice a week she arrived late, . . .
53. Secret Meeting
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What was that fellow’s name?” Brittani asked after the tall, dark, and ramrod straight visitor left the . . .
54. Teaching Strategies
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The next evening Ben called Shotgun. Ben told him that he would be more than happy to set up some sessions for the co-op members and would conduct . . .
55. Gunnar’s Research
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Ben Wesley wasn’t the only Osborne employee doing things without the university’s knowledge. As a scientist, Gunnar Godson couldn’t forget about . . .
56. Brittani and Chris
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The seasons can change abruptly in central Wisconsin. One day it’s winter, the next day spring comes out of the closet and announces itself with . . .
57. Two Faces of Osborne
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No question about it, May was one of Ben Wesley’s favorite months of the year, along with October. By May winter gave up the battle once and for all . . .
58. Fred and Oscar
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At Fred Russo’s suggestion, he and Oscar Anderson opened the annual fishing season on the Willow River Millpond, a small body of water created . . .
59. Queen Selection
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The Cranberry Queen selection committee consisted of Brittani Stone; Jeff Johnson; Mable Derleth, another cranberry grower, in her sixties, quiet, . . .
60. Ups and Downs
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The early days of summer sped by. Ben met on four successiveWednesday evenings with members of the Ames County Fruit and Vegetable Growers . . .
61. Cranberry One-Fifty
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Ben worked furiously the final days before the Cranberry One-Fifty celebration in August. He . . .
62. Celebration Continues
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Willow River’s volunteer fire department swept clean and washed down Main Street and decorated it from one end to the other. Volunteers hung a huge . . .
63. Anonymous Letter
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Ben arrived home that Sunday evening, exhausted but pleased that the Cranberry One-Fifty celebration had come off so well, even though some people . . .
64. Gus and the Tamarack River
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Gus Caldwell remembered well that a year ago he and intern Kirsten Leary conducted a fish count on the Tamarack River and turned up a gigantic . . .
65. Ben and Shotgun Slogum
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What’s your problem, Ben?” Beth asked the next day at the breakfast table. “You’re moping around like you lost your best . . .
66. Ira Osborne Commemorative Park
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Fred Russo and Oscar Anderson arrived early for the ceremony at the park. They knew that parking was always a problem at events like this, and they . . .
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Two weeks after the aborted park dedication and Ben’s subsequent firing from his job with Osborne University, a letter arrived, again in a plain envelope . . .
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After the Osborne park incident, word quickly spread about the dangerous side effects of Cranberry Red, forcing Osborne University and its partner, . . .
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Readers of my other Ames County novels—The Travels of Increase Joseph, In a Pickle, and Blue Shadows Farm—often ask the location of Ames County . . .
Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2010