March 6, 2014 - Cranes in Nebraska

I got back from my annual pilgrimage to Kearney, Nebraska on March 1st. Sandhill cranes had been arriving along the Platte River since Valentine's Day and there were masses of cranes in localized places. By masses I mean thousands. In places they were a gray carpet on the fields. In other places they were come and going in chaotic swirls and all they time exuberantly calling back and forth to each other. It was 38 degrees and sunny when I was out there. Other birds were singing too. Meadowlarks where arriving in loose flocks and gigantic migratory flocks of red-winged black birds swarmed the fields with standing corn (Think Alfred Hitchcock's movie, "The Birds"). It was terrific weather for bird watching and I was out there before the real tourist crush starts, so I had the back roads pretty much to myself and could pull over and take photos and not be in anyone's way. So with spring in my heart, I returned home on Saturday. Saturday was the day the bottom fell out of the thermometer in Nebraska. It was 8 degrees when I left and never got any higher as I made time down I-80. The weather forecaster had promised I-80 would be unaffected by snow and he was right. But as soon as the car started heading north towards Wisconsin the snow started falling. Those last miles from the Amana Colonies, up Highway 151 to home were very long and my hands were cramped from holding the steering wheel so tightly. And now it's back to the deep freeze. Spring is out there - a little bit more so in Nebraska than here were highs on Wednesday are forecast to be back in the 50s - but until it decides to visit Wisconsin we have some good books for you to read. Cast your eyes down the page to see what's new. Enjoy!

  • cover art Pioneer girl : a novel / by Bich Minh Nguyen. Discovering a family heirloom that her mother may have received from Laura Ingalls Wilder, PhD, graduate Lee Lien explores the tenuous connection between her ancestors and the famous pioneer author only to discover a trail of clues that lead to fateful encounters.
  • cover art Somerset / by Leila Meacham. Follows the lives of two antebellum southerners, Silas Toliver and his best friend Jeremy Warwick, as they head into a new territory known as "Texas" in search of black gold in this prequel to the best-selling novel "Roses".
  • cover art Twisted sisters / by Jen Lancaster. Struggling in her younger sister's shadow in spite of her professional achievements as a television psychologist, Reagan Bishop accepts unconventional advice from a New Age healer only to have her successes backfire when she uses her newfound abilities for revenge.
  • cover art An unnecessary woman / by Rabih Alameddine. An obsessive introvert in Beirut, eschewed by her family and neighbors for her divorced status and lack of religious reverence, quietly translates favorite books into Arabic while struggling with her aging body until an unthinkable disaster threatens what little life remains to her.
  • cover art The daring ladies of Lowell / by Kate Alcott. Moving to the mill city of Lowell in 1832 to escape farm life, young Alice is disillusioned by the local factory's harsh working conditions and struggles to advocate on their behalf while recklessly falling in love with the mill owner's son, a situation that is complicated by a murder and sensational trial.
  • cover art The amazing Harvey : a mystery / by Don Passman. Wrongly accused of a brutal murder, a talented magician uses his skills in illusion to prove his innocence and find the real killer. By the author of the best-selling "All You Need to Know About the Music Business".
  • cover art Blackberry pie murder / by Joanne Fluke. Hannah Swensen thinks she killed a former high school football hero with her car, until an autopsy reveals the victim was dead before Hannah even hit him, his shirt covered in stains from a blackberry pie.