Published by

Eric Bergeson

Until selling the business to his brother and sister-in-law in January 2014, Eric Bergeson was the third-generation owner of Bergeson Nursery in Fertile, Minn., a business started by his grandfather in 1937. He wrote a weekly column for several newspapers in northwestern Minnesota for 15 years. He has published six books, including "Pirates on the Prairie," which the Minneapolis Tribune called "a Minnesota cultural and historical treasure," and his most recent "A Treasury of Old Souls," a collection of engaging stories about Eric's lifetime spent among a small town's aging population. Eric, who sought the DFL nomination for the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 1-B in Northwestern Minnesota in 2014, graduated from Fertile-Beltrami (Minn.) High School in 1982. He attended Northwestern College in Roseville, Minn., and received his bachelor's degree in history from the University of North Dakota in 1986. After completing a bachelor of science in social studies at Moorhead State University in 1988, he returned to UND, where he earned a master's degree in history. During college, Eric studied at Cambridge University in England, student taught in Wellington, New Zealand and studied in Warsaw, Poland. Over the years, Eric has been a frequent speaker and performer in northwestern Minnesota. When needed, Eric has taught American history courses at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. Eric recently finished a served five years as chairman of the board of the Northwest Minnesota Foundation. He is acting chairman of the Fertile-Beltrami Community Fund. In 2011, Eric was awarded a prestigious two-year Bush Fellowship to study eldercare. He lives in Fertile with his partner, Lance Thorn.

ERIC BERGESON: The Country Scribe — Successful Gardening

Finally, a gardening book for our area!

“Successful Gardening on the Northern Prairie” is on its way from the printer, and features 326 pages of information specifically for us.

  • Learn how our soils are different from most of the rest of the country’s and what you can do about it.
  • Learn about the only two fertilizers (very cheap) you will ever need.
  • Learn how to choose the right tree for your location and help it live a lifetime.
  • Learn how to prepare the prairie soil for trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials and vegetables.

Save money this spring, and make your garden flourish!

“Successful Gardening on the Northern Prairie” is available online exclusively at

Reserve your copy today, and it will be mailed as soon as the books arrive!

ERIC BERGESON: Photo Gallery — Desert In Bloom

Photographer Eric Bergeson recently made an 800-mile trip from Tucson, Ariz., west into California, with the intent of seeing the “superbloom” of the desert. A superbloom is a colloquial term used to define an explosion of wildflowers that exceeds typical spring blooms. Winter storms brought double the average rainfall to the area, including the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in southeastern California. The park, usually bare of flowers, has come alive with vibrant greenery, poppies, primroses and lilies because wildflower seeds that have been lying on the desert floor for years have germinated. Eric says the phenomenon is a bit overhyped, possibly due to the proximity of a major media center (Los Angeles) and about 28 million people. “It is worth doing once in a lifetime. But Minnesota residents should note that our road ditches in July have color that is more intense — we’re just so used to color by that time that we don’t notice.”



ERIC BERGESON: Photo Gallery — Arizona Outtakes

Photographer Eric Bergeson has been doing some sightseeing this past month while taking a winter break in Tucson, Ariz. These are just a few of shots that caught his eye, including blooming wildflowers at Catalina State Park, which have been boosted by timely rain.

ERIC BERGESON: The Country Scribe — Chopin’s ‘Waltz In C-Sharp Minor, Op. 64, No. 2’

Chopin’s “Waltz In C-Sharp Minor, Op. 64, No. 2” was etched into Eric Bergeson’s subconscious by his father, who learned it when Eric was 3 years old. Eric recalls his dD put masking tape on the keys to learn the last run.

ERIC BERGESON: The Country Scribe — Sabino Canyon

Sabino Canyon, located north of Tucson, Ariz., in the Santa Catalina Mountains, is a favorite walking, hiking and riding recreation area for residents and visitors to southern Arizona. Just minutes away from the desert, the canyon features large waterfalls along Sabino Creek with minor bridges constructed over them. Wildlife also is abundant in the canyon, including deer, javelina, skunks, tortoises, rattlesnakes and mountain lions. Stonework on the 3.70-mile trail through the canyon was done by Civilian Conservation Corps workers during the 1930s. Eric Bergeson recently hiked the canyon, and here is what he saw.

ERIC BERGESON: The Country Scribe — Gladiolus Rag

Are you up for some uplifting music this Christmas morn? How about a little “Gladiolus Rag,”a middle-period classic rag by Scott Joplin, considered by many to be his best. Here it is performed by The Country Scribe, Eric Bergeson.

ERIC BERGESON: The Country Scribe — ‘Stopping By Woods On Snowy Evening’

Eric Bergeson, The Country Scribe, offers his take on the classic Robert Frost poem, “Stopping By Woods On Snowy Evening.” Imagery, personification and repetition are prominent in the work, written in 1922 and published in 1923, by one of the most celebrated poets in America.

ERIC BERGESON: The Country Scribe — The Lefse Song

You don’t have to tell anyone from the Northland what lefse is. For the uninformed, lefse is a traditional soft Norwegian flatbread that is made with potatoes, flour, butter and milk or cream. It is cooked on a large, flat griddle using special tools, including long wooden turning sticks and special rolling pins with deep grooves. Of course, lefse is no stranger to The Country Scribe, Eric Bergeson. During this holiday season, Eric is getting in the spirit with a new  take on The Lefse Song.


ERIC BERGESON: The Country Scribe — Electoral College Is Here To Stay

The Electoral College is with us forever. Barbara Boxer can introduce bills to abolish it until the cows come home, but ending it requires a constitutional amendment, which would require 37 state legislatures to approve it. At least 12 of those state legislatures would have to volunteer to reduce their impact in the presidential election by more than 50 percent.

It isn’t going to happen.

Second, not a single elector is going to change their vote, millions of signatures on petitions nonwithstanding. When we voted in Minnesota, we voted, not for Trump or Clinton, but for one of two sets of 10 electors. Those electors are party hacks selected for the honor in return for years of service stuffing envelopes. The most they would ever do would be, in the case of a president elect developing debilitating health problem, to withhold their vote and send the election to the House of Representatives.

But switching a vote to the other party’s candidate? Never going to happen. Not even once.

What interests me the most: The Constitution’s “emoluments” clause, which prevents a president from gaining financial or any other personal favors from a foreign government, is about to move from obscurity to fame. No president thus far has risked running afoul of this clause, even down to gifts of whiskey or cigars.

The emoluments clause represented a big break from traditional diplomacy by the Founding Fathers. Eighteenth-century diplomats were accustomed to bribes, and it was the size of those bribes that determined foreign policy more than the interests of a diplomat’s home country.

Although it was mocked by European powers, the emoluments clause stuck and was soon copied by other countries.

Technically, Donald Trump can’t violate the clause until he takes the oath of office. But if, once he takes office, one of his hotels were to host a diplomatic reception promoting the use of their services to foreign diplomats as a way to curry favor with the president, as his hotel in D. C. did this week, that would be, without question, an impeachable offense.

The Wall Street Journal has urged Trump to divest all of his business holdings before he takes office. That may seem extreme, but the WSJ is right. Trump is going to have to take some major steps in that direction to avoid violating the Constitution within days of taking office. His hotels would have to turn down all business from foreign diplomats and officials, among other even bigger problems— like his massive debt to Chinese and German banks, which he might be tempted to renegotiate from his position of increased prominence.

We live in interesting times.

ERIC BERGESON: The Country Scribe — A Salute To Veterans

I think of the local combat veterans I know and know of with particular gratitude:

Ken Helm, Keith Bolstad (and his buddies I have met), Pumper Christianson, Jon Hovde, Harding Vidden, Bernie Lieder, the late Victor Ness, late neighbor Norris Jacobson, a nursery employee named Gullickson who committed suicide after World War II due to PSTD, neighbor Krogstad whose landing craft apparently flipped on top of him, making him one of the first casualties of D-Day, Uncle Orville’s brother who died in Korea, (I don’t have the list of all the first names, sorry), the Jagol boys, the five Gredvig brothers, the late Gus Haugen, Truman Opheim, Marvin Nelson (saw bad combat in Korea), our phy-ed teacher (still living) John Vorachek, who saw action in Vietnam as I recall; the late Chuck Erickson; a local whose name I don’t have access to right now who was killed minutes before the cease-fire in Europe, my history professor at UND, Playford Thorson, who parachuted behind the lines in France, (“frankly, I don’t think we accomplished a whole hell of a lot,” he said of the sabotage efforts of paratroopers) …

The list goes on, and this one is incomplete, but there are stories we should all hear. I am thankful that Veterans Day is celebrated with greater fervor than in past decades, for we all — not just the kids — need to know.

And one more: Great Fertile, Minn., town-team pitcher Gus Isaacson, plagued by terrible ghosts, calm only when he was on the mound, who eventually walked into the Pacific Ocean while serving and was never found …