Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Where is Omaha?

Well, I've been having some trail cam problems, 
seems the unit won't take photos without battery power, duh.  

So, I've been seeing the cat food disappear and was hoping it was still Omaha coming to eat and find shelter and not some of the other critters who are out and about as Spring comes to my house.

This morning I was delighted to see that it was Omaha coming during the afternoon 
Yes, those are Christmas lights still on the deck spindles, but they are not turned on, even though they look like it.

& also a visit during the night.

It looks like he went in for a snack, stayed a bit and then slipped out without the camera catching him leaving.
I have not been able to decide when to put this shelter away.  There are still cold nights and he still comes to eat, so I think I'll wait a bit yet.  I'd love to leave it out year round but of course I could be asking for trouble, like squirrels or skunks.  
So, I'm weighing the pros and cons.

For now, I'm too soft hearted to stop feeding him.

And the correct answer was not Nebraska.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Red Tailed

Today I saw a couple of red tailed animals, one I love and one not so much.

The Red Squirrel showed up at the bird feeder this morning.  They are pretty to look at but too destructive for my liking.  I'm sure later on this spring I'll hear the munching of that squirrel chewing on something under the house, sigh.

I went into town to buy cat food this afternoon, bad planning on my part to run completely out by the way, and on the way saw my favorite bird, the Red Tailed Hawk. This hawk perches on an old dead tree along the county road, and I see him almost every time I drive by.  Today I went prepared and pulled into try to take his photograph, but he didn't like it that I was on his turf.  So, I got a quick picture of him departing and then searching out another perch with no human interlopers.

Flying off to a safer perch.

Snubbing me

Time to find a new spot to hunt
What an amazing bird!

Sunday, March 27, 2016


I added a new cat bed to the living room about 3 weeks ago.
For 2 weeks the cats would lay close enough to almost touch it, occasionally reaching out a paw and pressing on the side, but neither cat actually set foot on the bed.
Finally, Barley was brave and tried out the new bed, shortly after, Hops did too.
Hops catching a nap

The weather change has been trending towards being Springlike, cold at night and warm during the day, this is key to good maple sap runs.  I can see the sap running down the trees in my yard and I'm reading about good sapping on social media.  I guess the birds figured it out too.

 Common Redpoll slurping up some of the maple sap.
No pancakes in sight.

All that sugar probably makes a bird sleepy and thirsty, so is good the bird bath is close by.

The season is changing, it's a good time of year.
The kitties are embracing the new bed.
Life is Good.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

5 years

5 years ago today I slipped on a little patch of ice hidden under a skim of snow, I landed on the driveway with a fractured left wrist.  
It was not a fun day and started 8 weeks of misery in a cast while the bones healed.  

One good part of that injury was that I ordered Kindle (because I could not hold a book with one hand) and I still use that Kindle for reading.  

Another good part was that several weeks into my healing I wandered into an ice cream/music store to treat myself to some ice cream and saw a sign on the door that said "piano lessons given here".  That started my adventure in taking up piano again.  I started lessons as soon as I was able to move my wrist after the cast was removed and I am still enjoying the lessons today.  

Some weeks more than others.

So, a little silver lining to a plaster cast.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Little drive

I took a little drive today.  I wanted to see if the eagle's next SW of Barron was active.
I compared this photo to one taken in 2014, and the nest hasn't changed much.

I heard vocalizing, 
but the only eagle I saw was an immature chomping on a dear carcass, always lovely to see.
I only got a blurred image of him flying overhead.
So, I'll come back another day and see if I can catch any activity in the nest, 
it might be too early.

From the nest, I drove to Rice Lake.
The ice is going away and the birds are arriving.
Such a mix of ice and open water, must be confusing for the birds.

Out of my zoom range were two immature American Eagles on the edge of open water, watching for lunch I suppose.

Interesting scenery with the ice and water making patterns in the lake.

This American Crow was coming in for an ice landing.

His buddy was searching the edge of the ice for a treat.

A couple of swans were resting on the ice as Canada geese swam nearby.
I'm assuming trumpeter, but could not really see them well enough to make a firm ID.

I suppose the ice makes for a good nap spot, but seems cold to me.

Gulls are everywhere, I'm not up on my gull identification, so we will just call this a gull.
As I was leaving, I noticed the flags of the Veteran's Memorial were catching the breeze.

And tomorrow the forecast is snow, so it might be good that I took my little drive today.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Tour Through Europe

Friday night I attended a concert by The Luck Area String Ensemble.
My great niece Milena is playing violin and was part of this musician group.

I was guessing which chair / violin would be Milena's.
Third from the right.

This Photo from Director Josh Pedraja's Facebook page.
Milena is 3rd from the right.
Milena with Dad's violin

Milena played 2nd violin in this concert.
You'll see several other Johansen musicians listed, but they are not related to me.
Two Johansen families lived a couple of miles apart when I was growing up.
The two families were not related, but both families have deep roots in that community.
Now, the Johansen offspring from both families play their stringed instruments together in this ensemble.

 The concert was a delightful mix of tempo and style.
I so enjoyed the music and the evening.
I'll be sure to be there for recitals in May.

Great niece Milena with Dad's violin.

 This violin has history and looks to have a long life ahead.
Dad's violin in case, before restoration.

I found this advertisement in a 1909 Sears catolog.
This may not be the exact model, but it is very close.
 I can only imagine how truly happy Dad would have been to have heard his violin make such lovely music in the hands of his great granddaughter Milena.

Friday, March 18, 2016

And he's back

I was delighted to catch a glimpse of this annual visitor this morning.
The Tufted Titmouse is not common this far north, so I appreciate him stopping by.
Such a pretty little song bird.
Last year the tufted titmouse showed up 3/20/215.
Early this year.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The world in black and white

I went into Rice Lake this afternoon to the Post Office and then decided to drive past the lake.
I had noticed open water on Sunday, so I had my camera along and was hoping to see a few birds.
What I saw, was the lake in black and white.
So, I decided to take some black and white photos of the foggy lake.
The ice is melting and the fog was rolling around, out near the open water the fog was very thick and looked like a boiling kettle of steam.
Here are a few photos from my day.
The lake in black and white and fog

Ghost-like Canada geese

With a mix of open water and ice, this couple looked to be hunting for a good nesting spot.

Canada goose flies into the abyss.
Down low, a Red Winged Black Bird photobombs.

A Canada goose that walks on water.
The forecast is for rain, I don't think the ice will last much longer.

Lake effect fog

The Rice Lake leaner

Stroller-ing through the fog

Friday, March 11, 2016

What a season, what a heart break ending!

I found a lucky penny on the ground today.
Laila had a good feeling.
Stella and Ruby were dressed to kill, Janice looked great too.

Noah won the jump, always a good sign.

But it was not to be.
A game that had numerous lead changes and many great plays.
Our boys stayed out of foul trouble, and played a good game.
But it was not to be.

Even with 2.4 seconds left, our boys got the ball in bounds and Nick had a look and took the shot.
It hit the rim, it nearly went in.

So, Washburn moves on in the tournament by 1 point and our Cardinal hearts are broken.

What a fantastic and exciting season our Cardinals provided! 
I'm so proud of all the teams, boys & girls, Varsity and JV. 
Well done all! 
I'm already looking forward to what next year brings.

Cardinal Pride!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

It might be Spring

I drove to Luck on Tuesday to pre-purchase our tickets for tonight's Sectional Tournament game at Superior.  The Luck Cardinals will play the Washburn Castle Guards.
From Luck, I headed Northeast to Shell Lake.  I had not done any cross country dinging around for a while, so took the vowels and consonants to get there.  
North on I, then E, then H, then B, or something like that.

I was escorted for a bit by 2 swans looking for their nesting spot.
I saw 3 American Eagles and numbers of Canada Geese.

I remember going to Shell Lake as a kid to visit my Mom's Aunt Elvira and Uncle Ernie, but they lived on a farm out in the country, my friend Jeri lives on Shell Lake and it was the first time I have driven along the lake.

I enjoyed lunch and a relaxed visit with Jeri before heading back home.
I'm looking forward to more time out looking around with my camera riding shotgun.

But first, this afternoon we head to Superior to watch our Cardinals play ball.

 Go Cardinals!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Even sweeter the next morning

Looking at last night's photos seems surreal in a way.  It was so thrilling, nerve wracking, scary, exciting, tense, elating, anxious, wild, loud and fun!

Look at the joy on the faces of all, as Jens, held by his father Kyle, high fives with his cousin Noah.

Love how sweet this is.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Regional Champs!

What a fun night for Cardinal Fans!

Jessica, Noah's Mom, clapping at the end of the game.

Jessica's hands on the right.
Proud parents.

Gary Mortel, Janice Olson, Jessica Mortel, Noah Mortel, Jens Johansen, Kyle Johansen, Jack Johansen, Heather Johansen, Kenny Olson, Lois Johansen, Gage Johansen
Jack and Noah with lots of relatives and the REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY!

More photos coming tomorrow, I snapped over 800 tonight, that will take some editing time.
Life is Good1

And we won

It was an exciting night in the gymnasium at Luck High School last night.
The semi final game of Regional Boys Basketball Tournament was played between the Luck Cardinals and the Drummond Lumberjacks.  It had been a number of years since the Cardinals prevailed against the Lumberjacks, so we are all smiling today!
A few photos from the game.
Cardinals are still wearing the green socks in memory of Jim Delany.

Noah jumps

Cardinal defense

The crowd was into it

Of course #5 is my favorite, but this is a good team.

Noah and Nick get some air

Jack on defense

Jack pushes it

Jack on the run

Jack with the pass

Noah to the hoop

Jack and Noah, cousins

Noah rebounds



Jack and Noah

Final Score
We are headed to Hayward to see the game tonight.
The Luck Cardinals take on the Solon Springs Eagles in the Regional Championship Game.
I'm taking along more camera gear for trophy photography.


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