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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
Anyone who knows Eric knows that he writes about a little bit of everything, whether it's taking a trip down memory lane, or praising and/or criticizing something or someone.
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About this blog
By Eric Bergeson
Since 1997, Eric has owned and operated Bergeson Nursery, rural Fertile, MN, a business his grandfather started in 1937. With the active participation of his parents, who owned the business for the previous twenty five years, and his younger brother ...
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Eric Bergeson's The Country Scribe
Since 1997, Eric has owned and operated Bergeson Nursery, rural Fertile, MN, a business his grandfather started in 1937. With the active participation of his parents, who owned the business for the previous twenty five years, and his younger brother Joe, who is now president of the company, the business has nearly tripled in size during Eric’s ownership tenure. The holder of a Master of Arts in History from the University of North Dakota, Eric has taught courses in history and political science at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. He is also an adjunct lecturer in history for Hamline University, St. Paul, MN. Eric’s hobbies include Minnesota Twins baseball, Bach organ music, bookstores, hiking, photography, singing old country music with his brother Joe, and watching the wildlife on the swamp in front of his house eight miles outside of Fertile, Minn.
Recent Posts
July 26, 2014 12:01 a.m.
July 18, 2014 12:01 a.m.
July 17, 2014 12:01 a.m.
July 14, 2014 5:15 p.m.
July 13, 2014 12:01 a.m.
Nov. 10, 2013 11:21 a.m.



balooon 1.jpg 

Almost every morning this week, this has been the scene through the back windows. There must be a balloon staging area behind the mountain. 

Last night, a party at the neighbors celebrating their participation in the Studio Tour. The music? A bagpiper who studied piping for three years in Glasgow, Scotland. His partner on guitar is from Bulgaria, and specializes in the haunting rhythms and minor keys of that region. His website is here

No shortage of conversation. Also present: A jazz pianist originally from Minnesota and his wife, who spent her childhood in Hallock, MN and is now an authority on pottery finishing. The architect of the house I am renting arrived, as did his architectural partner. The two quickly fell into a discussion of various glues used to bind metal. There is a tape made by 3M, I found out, which is so strong that it is used as a substitute for welding. 

Over ambled a chemist, who contributed his knowledge of interlocking crystalline structures to the glue discussion. Then came a sculptor of old metal, the hostess, whose interest in glues took the conversation in another direction. 

Enter a delicate young woman, looking all of 17, who works in the Sudan as an archaeolgist. She is attempting to solve the puzzle of several massive mounds of slag, evidence of the production of iron, in the Sudanese desert. The mounds, which so far have been dated from 400-800 BCE ("which does us no good at all," she declared) are so high you have to take trails to the top. Because the chemistry of the diggings changes immediately upon exposure to sunlight and air, she does her digging at night and stuffs her samples in PVC pipe to be shipped back to the University of Arizona for analysis when she returns. 

The biggest hurdle? Getting the samples through customs. Things stuffed into PVC pipe tend to alert US border agents. No matter how many letters she has written and politicians she has appealed to, there still remains the possibility that her samples will be ruined by opening at the border, in which case, she has to go back to Sudan and find some more. 

The piles of slag were generated by a civilization which was not Egyptian, but clearly was attempting to imitate the more famous civilization to the north. Their pyramids are tiny, and most of them were destroyed by gold-seeking Italians in the 19th century. 

Nobody knows where all the iron produced went. The unbelievable masses of firewood needed for the smelting must have come from somewhere--one theory states that the smelting of that iron might have deforested the area and turned it into the desert it is today.

Enter the chemist. "Well, couldn't you isolate the isotopes..." with a suggestion for dating the material. "Oh, we tried that," the young woman replied. 

 

 

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