Welcome to the Edge

Go no further. You’ve reached the edge – The Edge of the Bluff. You can get right to my posts on the menu either at the right or lower on the page, depending on what device you’re using.

My full name is Randall Juneau Johnson, which is helpful when your last name is Johnson, all too common in these parts. Juneau was my father’s name so became my nickname. I live in Red Wing, Minnesota with my wife Catherine. We were both born and raised here. We are in the beautiful bluff country along the Mississippi River southeast of Minneapolis/St. Paul. I’m retired now and want to do some writing. I have an English/Journalism double major but spent most of my career working in IT (where the money and jobs are).

Red Wing has a very prominent bluff right next to downtown. The Mdewakanton Dakota called it He Mni Can, which means “hill water wood”, referring to the bluff, river, and woods. Most of us know it as Barn Bluff. A bluff is a steeply sided hill or cliff created by water erosion. Archaeologists give a very detailed history of how it formed from the last glacier’s runoff as it receded 10,000 years ago. It is called Barn Bluff because French explorers thought it looked like a large barn (Mt. La Grange). Its summit is more than 300 feet above the river. Many buildings in town are made from limestone quarried from it and its sister bluff, Sorin’s Bluff. This limestone contains fossils of shellfish that lived in a shallow sea that covered much of this area eons ago. I grew up between the two bluffs and my childhood friends and I climbed them whenever out of sight of our parents. You can read more on my adventures on the bluffs in my posts.

I have two categories of posts – Between the Bluffs and View from the Edge. Between the Bluffs contains the columns I’m writing for the Red Wing Republican Eagle, the local newspaper. I use that title because I grew up between the sister bluffs – Sorin’s Bluff right behind my childhood house and Barn Bluff looking out its front window. Barn Bluff, the genesis for the domain name barnbluff.com, is shown in the header photo which was taken from another hill in Red Wing that overlooks downtown.

The other category of posts, View from the Edge, will include things I want to write about that are different in scope to my newspaper column. More to come there as I find time.

You’ll learn more about me as you read these. I welcome comments.


The Edge of the Bluff – Strive for the top but stay close to the edge.

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