Friday, May 30, 2014

Day lily freebies

My East Luck friends, Gary & Mary Erickson, have a huge garden of day lilies, more than 3000 I think.  They generously offer their gardens for viewing in July when all the flowers are at their peak, and they offer free lily roots to anyone willing to come and get them in the Spring.  
I transplanted 5 clumps of day lilies from their gardens about 4 years ago, and have enjoyed the beautiful blooms ever since.
On Thursday, I went back for more.
Gary and I dug up about 12 clumps of lily roots.  He is concerned about what colors I want, I could care less.  He says I should care about having a variety of colors, I say, free is fine, what color they are can be a surprise.  After we finished the digging, we took time for a couple of cold Coors Lights and a good chat while sitting in his yard admiring his many hundred annuals that he has already planted, and not ONE weed in sight.  It was a fun afternoon.
Friday, I delivered 4 clumps of those lilies to Glenn and Kathy at their Lake Cottage.
Vinny and Jake were there at the cottage too, both on the deck as I drove in.
Right when I got out of my car, Great great nephew Vinny held his hands up to his eyes like binocs and said, "I spy you with my little eye Wanda".  It made me laugh.
Vinny is 4, but he sounds and acts old, one of those 'old soul' little kids.
Legos are the deal.
Jake was holding up some kind of Lego mechanism, I'm sure he knew what it was.
 Great nephew Jake has an older brother, Jackson, who is a Lego guy too, so he knows the ropes.
I love that little kids will play with these toys and make up their own stories, mostly about battles and getting the bad guys, but creative play none the less.

Blurry pic of Vinny, but he did show me his Lego 'guy' and horse and told me the names, I've forgotten, but will add them later.
It was a bonus to see these little boys and have a visit with Glenn and Kathy.
It was a lovely day, and even though the pontoon boat was ready to go, they didn't want to stop their yard work to go for a ride.  Another time.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Planting and Mowing

Memorial Day weekend was spent planting annuals and a few perennials around the yard.  The weather was warm and sunny and it was a joy to be outside in shorts and tank top!
This year I bought some of my plants at an Amish greenhouse just West of Chetek, WI.
Mr. Miller's plants were reasonable and lovely, next year I'll get there soon after they open, as I can see that his greenhouse is popular and he sells the best quickly.
Just planted pots hanging on the deck rail contain mini-tunias (Mr. Miller calls them 'Callies').
Being at his greenhouse, which is near his farmhouse, and seeing his simple lifestyle, has stirred up my curiosity about the Amish and how they manage.  Several farms in the area are owned by Amish. 
One day, driving down the country road in that area, I saw two of the largest corn pickers I have ever seen in one field and in the adjacent field, a farmer was plowing with a team of horses.  The contrast was striking.  As usual, my first reaction was to grab the camera, but then remembering to be mindful of the Amish wishes, I put it down again.
Near Mr. Miller's greenhouse, I saw a young girl, with a reel mower, in the deep grass in the ditch, working away to cut some of the tall grass.  She was in traditional dress on a hot sunny day, and waved to me ever so cheerfully.
Laila and I have had some interesting chats as we Google about how the Amish live & manage their communities.  It's impossible to imagine a life without electricity, and to never have had it, not ever.
The Amish aim to be simple in their ways without any flair or attention bringing actions.
Basing their lives firmly on their religious beliefs, they manage to be craftsmen, farmers and gardeners with success.  They do not push their religion on others, I see no religious ornamentation in their places of business.  There was a sign on the wall of the greenouse that said "We will be closed on 5/29, Ascension Day, a holiday for us".  It seems to me that they mind their own business.  I'm not sure how they store their food, manage to water plants in the greenhouse, heat the greenhouse in the colder months, or accomplish all the other chores of living and it is intriguing.
The internet offers a lot of information about Amish, and TV has sensationalized some aspects of some Amish folks, but being in his greenhouse has opened my mind to want to understand more.
The day to day life must be challenging for all who live in the Amish lifestyle, but in some ways, they have it made.  Living with limited access to the news of the world might not be such a bad thing.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Big Dude

This morning I caught a glimpse of a pileated woodpecker in my backyard.  He acted like he wanted to drill on an old stump and I hope that he'll be back for another photo op.

He is not invited to drill on my live trees though.
If you've ever seen the damage these guys can do, you understand.
I'm really worried about one of my balsam fir trees.
This winter was really hard on pines in this area, many are looking like this tree.
3rd year balsam fir, will it live?
A conversation with the landscaper who planted the tree gave me a few tips.  I've already pounded in the tree fertilizer stakes, and if it gets dry, I'll be sure to keep this tree watered well.

All that said, I'm really worried about this tree, there are not many green needles, but there are some.
Mother Nature will decide, I'll do what I can do to help, but this is some of the fallout of the wicked winter we had this year.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I ordered rain, and Mother Nature delivered in a big way

After planting on both Saturday and Sunday, I was hoping we would get a little rain.  Mother Nature does the best job of watering everything.  I really got my wish!  I woke up to light rain this morning, it stopped long enough that I went out and pulled some weeds out of the peony garden, and then it really got with the program.  I just saw that several roads in our area are flooded.  My plans to make a run to the grocery are on hold until tomorrow, I don't need to add to the traffic and problems that high water can cause.
A few birds have been dropping in between rain drops.
This female grosbeak just stopped by for a snack in the pouring rain.

A chickadee found a good spot to sit it out.

The Orchard Oriole male is still hanging around and even though he is wet, he wanted some jelly.
Photos through windows and pouring rain aren't stellar, but you get the idea.

We've had a soaker most of the day,  I emptied 2 tenths our this morning, and just now another 1.5 inches, so nearly 2 inches today, and it is still raining.  I noticed a lot of mosquitoes when I went out just now, I suppose it is time for 'the hatch'.
I am happy we got the rain, it can slow down now.
Life is Good.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Warm weather arrives

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, warm weather has arrived in Northern Wisconsin.
The song bird migration is all but over, I have just a one or two orioles hanging around eating jelly.
This rose breasted grosbeak might stay for a while yet, I hope.
It was such a fun migration with so many birds in the yard.

A robin has nested in my blue spruce tree in the backyard, and she is very bothered whenever I am in the yard.  She lets me know her displeasure and scolds me loudly.
I'm trying to stay out of her way.
Robin sitting on eggs in backyard
The warmer weather helped the trilliums really pop too.
I've only had one trillium until this year when a second one popped up in a different location.
I'm hopeful for even more next year.
New trillium this year

Trillium with little bee

The wild plums are also blooming, it looks like a good year for these trees.
I spent Saturday visiting greenhouses and collecting bedding plants and a few perennials to add to my yard this season.  On my way to one greenhouse, I checked out the eagle's nest again.
I'm hoping to get lucky and stop in when the little birds decided to start taking flight.
The mother eagle looked warm, no shade up there on a hot day, she was panting through her open beak.  She also kept looking down and took one stretch and moved around, so I am just guessing that there are little eaglets in the nest.  I'll be checking in again soon.
I took a new route home and ran across this old barn, it's a shame to see them going to rack & ruin.

I spent Sunday planting all the flowers I had purchased and now I am hoping for a little rain tonight to get all the new plants a good start.  It's nice to see the pretty flowers again after the long winter.
Ruby begonia
The weather is great, the sky is blue, what more can we ask for.

I hope you had a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day.
It's good to take time to remember.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

So, do you like bright colors?

What a sight at the feeders this week!
I had the trail cam pointed at the bird feeders for a couple of days.
I got thousands of pictures of finch and then, surprise, here is the Pileated Woodpecker.

Orchard Oriole

Orchard Oriole

Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanager

My trillium has begun to open.
Just a handful of the 200 tulips I planted in 2009 have come up this year.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday Drive

I took a drive over to Glenn & Kathy's lake cottage this afternoon.  I needed to get out in the fresh air after a couple of days on the sickbed with a rotten cold & cough.  On the way there, I stopped off to check an eagle's nest just West of Chetek.
I tried a technique of holding my cellphone camera lens up to the eyepiece of my binoculars.
I could see an eagle in the nest, but after about 10 minutes of watching, I didn't see a mate and I didn't see any little eagle heads popping up.  I'll check it again soon and see if I can see if there are babies.  It would be a treat to see them fledge off this nest if there are.

This nest is huge.
 On my way to the nest, I saw this old barn, and when I got to the backside, I decided to pull over and take a few pictures.  Then I saw that it is a beer barn.
This is a Leinie's ad just waiting to happen.

I stopped at a little roadside called Quaddary Creek to see if I might see any warblers.  I did see a yellow rumped warbler but nobody else.  It's a nice little spot not far from home.  Next time, I'll bring my lawn chair.
Do you see him?
First road trip for the new sled.
We're both getting used to each other.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sad to say goodbye

Well, after 11 years, today, I said goodbye to my Red Sled.  It was time, driving a stick shift had become a problem as I continue to have a nagging problem with my left ankle.  So, I upgraded to an automatic transmission and the new used car is 6 years newer as well.
So, a fond farewell to the Red Sled, who was a grand travel companion all these years...Welcome home to the white sled, and I'm looking forward to many miles in this little baby.
Haven't decided what to do about the license plates yet, but many people thought it meant 'road sled' anyway, so maybe it's just fine.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Big Day

Maybe you saw the movie, The Big Day, where crazy bird watchers raced around the world trying to see the most variety of birds on record in a year's time.  
I don't usually track the birds I see, but yesterday, I started a list.

It was crazy at the bird feeders, get this:  goldfinch, indigo bunting, orioles, cardinal, downy woodpecker, rose breasted grosbeak, common grackle, chickadee, hummingbird, house sparrow, chipping sparrow, yellow rumped warbler, nuthatch, robins, white throated sparrows, mourning doves.  The day before I had a scarlet Tananger.  
Lots of migration going on.  
Here are a few snaps of my visitors

Scarlet Tanager

Female Oriole

Gray Catbird, even with his 'whiskers'

Catbird in the jelly bowl


Indigo Bunting

Oriole missing her tail feathers, yikes!

Robin, letting me know I was on his turf.

Rose Breasted Grosbeak

Rump of Yellow Rumped Warbler

Yellow Rumped Warbler
Late this afternoon, I saw this Orchard Oriole, first time ever for me!

Crazy fun "Big Day" but in didn't get much done yesterday!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Medical Stuff

A little over a year ago, I had a falling out with a local Dermatologist, the end result of which was that I needed to follow up with another doctor.  I found a very nice Dermatology Specialist in Eau Claire and was happy with my appointment with him.  He recommended a procedure to remove the remnant of a questionable mole which meant seeing an ENT surgeon.  So, not to make a short story long, but I was scheduled for a visit to Eau Claire to remove this mole.  When I arrived, I was pretty surprised to find myself being admitted to a pre-op room in the ambulatory surgery department.  This included the starting of an IV, & stripping down to a hospital gown.  
I usually ask plenty of questions ahead of time, but this elaborate prep caught me totally by surprise.  
Not only was I going to have the mole removed, but it was going to happen in the operating room, even though it was just a local shot of anesthetic.
I probably was the annoying patient as I questioned each and everything the admissions nurse had on her to do list.  I commented that I wish that they would fix my ankle while was was in the OR.  That comment led us into a chat about what was wrong with my ankle - chronic pain, no cartilage, all left over from ski accident at age 17.  She asked if I had seen the ankle specialist in Eau Claire and then wrote down his name for me.  
As it turns out, getting that name was worth the hassle (overkill?) of the mole removal.
Stitches out
It all went fine and the pathology report came back as normal tissue, so it's all good.
And, I've already had a consultation with the ankle specialist and now I have a treatment plan.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Two concerts and one play

My friends, the Kramers, and I  had a busy May with two concerts in Eau Claire and one play in Rice Lake. 
The Chippewa Valley Jazz Orchestra concert was based on music by Jazz legend, Stan Kenton.  The crowd was small but the music was fantastic.  It was prom, graduation, and Mother's Day weekend, so I suppose people had other commitments, but I'm glad I didn't miss this great concert at The Historic State Theater in downtown Eau Claire.

The following weekend was the season finale concert of the Chippewa Valley Symphonic Orchestra.
The music chosen was the last written by the composers of note.
We so enjoy the conductor, Nabuyoshi Yasuda.  He was especially chatty this night as he shared the story behind the music & the composers.  His sense of humor is quite delightful.
The first half of the program was enjoyable, but the Strauss and Bartok music was my favorite.
The guest soprano is a woman we have heard before, she is on staff at UWEC, and she has a beautiful voice.  I also loved reading the translation of the Strauss words.
I think this might have been my favorite concert of the 2013-14 season.
We also attended the first play of the 2014-15 season at Northern Star Theater in Rice Lake.
The play was Barefoot in the Park.
I enjoyed it and the small cast did a great job.
I am so thankful for community theater and all the work that goes on to present such a professional performance for such a small ticket price.
Our next play at NSTC is Les Miserables, which I am very much looking forward to.


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