Thursday, June 30, 2016

Looks like home

My feral friend Omaha, now has to deal with his shelter & food source going into lock down every night.  There is a raccoon who has decided to get up on the porch every night too.  
The raccoon does not respect the property of others 
and kept reaching into Omaha's shelter and pulling out the blanket & food bowl.  
e's too fat to get through the door, but was starting to do some damage to the styro liner.  
I guess he's thirsty too.

So, I cut a piece of plastic out of an old tote lid, and I slide that in between the outer tote and the inner styrofoam liner and the shelter goes into lock-down at about 9pm every night.

I pull the orange lock-down panel in the morning, but as you can see,
Omaha comes looking before I get out there.
I still don't see Omaha around, occasionally he'll come up on the front deck at night and drink out of the bird bath, but mostly he remains out of sight.
I guess he thinks this looks like home though.
Omaha resting on 'his' porch.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

My Deer

Well, it looks like a young buck and a nice sized doe are hanging out around the house now.
I quit mowing the area between my pine trees and the grasses grew thigh high this Spring, I could see something had been bedding down in those nice tall grasses, 
and now we have photos of who that was.
The little buck strolling across the backyard last evening.

Glad I sprayed the liquid fence heavily on my lily buds, these two could do some real munching damage.

The pair in the little forest where they have been bedding down.
I've seen the doe but not the little buck.
It is fun to know that they are around, I hope they stay off the road, they are part of my wild menagerie now.

Friday, June 24, 2016


I'm so glad that I planted hops a few years ago.
My most mature planting by the front door is very healthy and huge this year, 
it's even trying to get into the house now.
Third year hops, taking over.
About 4 years ago, I had some 12 foot pine trees planted, one didn't make it through the 2nd winter.
Everyone thought I should cut it down, as it was an eyesore, but I waited a whole year.  
Then, I saw a neighbor had a couple of dead trees and she had planted vines near them and what a great natural trellis they made.
So, in the end, I trimmed off the dead branches fairly close to the trunk and planted hops last year.
Three hops plants and they are starting to do quite well.
I don't give them as much attention as the front door hops, but looks like these vines have almost reached the top of the dead tree trellis.
Next year it will look even better.

I'm loving the hops tree.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Winter Wonderland

Wednesday night my friend, Carol, and I took a drive over to Winter Wisconsin to the fabulous greenhouse there.  Winter is a pretty small town, population about 250 I think, but the greenhouse is a big deal.  They advertised Girl's Night Out.   
We were to bring our own beverages of choice & an appetizer to share. 
The turn out sure surprised me.  I am guessing there were 80 - 100 women there and about that many different types of appetizers.  Some had really gone to a lot of work to create a masterpiece, like the cheese rolls lined up, rolled in chopped greens and then decorated to look like a big caterpiller.  Very clever and tasty.  We had plenty to eat, enjoyed a couple of beers while we listened and walked around and enjoyed the nice weather and lovely flowers.

Our night started with the food and our drinks, then we were shuttled off to a class on making a mini garden in a wine glass using succulent plants, sand and rock.  The class teacher was Arlena Schott who has a gardening program on WEAU TV 13  called Garden Wise Living  she is a high energy woman and she made the class fun, and speedy.  The Discover Wisconsin folks were there filming for a future segment.  They were friendly and nice (and I loved his movie camera gadget which attached to his iPhone!)

Clever use of old coffee pots by the instructor.
Yes, I thought it was fun.

Carol and I were quite pleased with our creations.
We both added some Fairy Garden embellishments to make them super cute.
Had to be a cardinal and a bird house in mine.

Elegant with flamingo resting in Carol's.
Once we were done with our 'gardens', the folks at the greenhouse took them to wrap them up for us for safe travel home.  Then we headed off to learn about herbs.  The speaker was funny and easy to listen too.  I have to admit I was not glued to her talk but I did appreciate her humor.

 I picked up a new rhubarb plant, I'm going to try a new location and a new root.

The selection of pots and trees and shrubs and plants is impressive.

The drive is about 75 miles each way, but we only saw about 6 deer coming home and no close calls, I call that a victory in Wisconsin, whether it is in winter or on the way back from Winter.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tasty snack?

Last year my friend Carolyne gave me these fun little plants that grow tall and produce a sunny, yellow flower.  I was out in the yard yesterday and snapped a few quick cellphone photos.

The blooms remind me of a wild rose.
The stems are tall, so the yellow flowers really show up.

And maybe, the blooms remind this doe of lunch.
Last night, I saw the motion detector light come on out back, went to look, and there stood a nice sized doe, snacking away on my yellow flowers.
From there she moved on to check out a few of my other flowers, she was in no big rush, I got a chance to stand and watch her.
I tried a photo, but I was in the dark house, she was outside, and this was the best I did.

Use your imagination!
My flowers all look so nice right now, must look like a candy store to this forest beauty.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Garden Stones

My friend Carol and I took a class at Luck Community Ed on making a mosaic garden stone.  The teacher was a friend from my LHS days and we had a blast.
The process is clever and we ended up with a nice stone at the end of the day.
I didn't take very many photos because I was busy being creative, but here are a few.

Carol's S after contact paper is applied to design and then the design is pulled off and set aside.

My Danish heart after it is set in the thin set.

Carol's S in thin set cement.

Starting the grouting process.

Working the grout in.

Waiting for the grout to dry a bit.

Carol's S under grout.

Grout wiped off.

Grout wiped off.

Ta Da

Ta Da

Carol's finished S

My finished Danish Heart Basket

 Now it takes a spot in the hall of fame between Dad's VJ cement block that he made as a teen-ager and The Johansen Cement Block Mfg. Co block made at that same time.

 It was a fun class.
We already signed up for the next class, we'll be smarter, 
and it will be fun to see what we do next.
Loving the stones.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Our Castle

I took a little trip up to our cabin a week ago.  It was time to see how things were looking, drop off a few items and to get Up North.
We have been lucky over the past 3-4 years to have a group of researchers from the  Department of Natural Resources spending springtime at The Sandcastle studying the sharp-tail grouse living in the sand barrens.

They have been great security for our cabin during a part of the year that usually it sits unused.
The DNR folks always leave the cabin very tidy, usually some $$ for propane and this year they left a few other gifts as well.

 A nice note to the owners.

A great addition to our cabin library, I'll need a week or two up there to read it.

Nice, eh?

I didn't want this to go to waste, so I took it home.
Thank you partners.

Perfect for Up North hunting cabin cooking.
I feel bad about this note, I'm sure this quilt was already torn.
We don't exactly keep our best or favorite linen at the cabin.

One of the reasons I went up to do a wellness check was that the DNR folks had let us know that the stovepipe elbow had rusted through, this means the stove pipe is down.
I don't think we can salvage this elbow, it has served its purpose and is all done.

So, although there is a cap on this pipe on the roof, I'm not sure what might want to come in.
I made a temporary cover and tried to duct tape it to the pipe.

It probably won't block bugs, but perhaps winged and footed will be kept out, 
it would not be good to have a cabin full of birds or squirrels.

The picnic table bench needs a new plank.
I took some measurements and will go on the hunt for a new board,
maybe the Habitat for Humanity Restore will have something to reclaim.

The section to our South East was logged about 4 years ago, you sure can't tell now.

Things were really nice and green at the cabin, and our young man who mows is doing a great job.

I checked the propane and decided it was time for a refill.
Now, how can we keep the wasps from building their nests on the inside of the propane tank cover?

 We have a Lady Slipper that blooms in the Spring, it is located about 20 paces from the deck,
along the edge of the woods, just off the driveway.
A member of the orchid family, the numbers of these flowers are reduced as the root is deemed to have medicinal value and the plants have been collected from the wild.
And the seeds need help from a fungus to survive and grow, so having one at our cabin is a real treat.
Pink lady’s slipper takes many years to go from seed to mature plants.  Seed-bearing harvest of wild lady's slipper root is not considered sustainable.
Pink lady's slippers can live to be twenty years old or more.
This little beauty is well camouflaged, I had to search for it.

A few projects are on the to-do list for the cabin.
I'll pick up a little bit of PVC pipe for this project.
Our kitchen drain pipe needs to be replaced.

The dormer end of the back of the cabin needs stain, but notice how tidy it is.
I used some Round Up on the weeds and small trees last fall,
it worked.  Now we can see what is stored under the cabin.
 Since this is not the first time the elbow has rusted out on the stove pipe,
I took some photos of the stove pipe at the roof.
Maybe my partners will get some idea of what needs to be fixed for this to not happen again,
or at least as often.

Exciting right?  Well, this post is really just an update for my partners.

When I opened the outhouse door, two little tree frogs fell from on top of the door.
That started my heart!

Why is this deer skeleton laying next to the outhouse?
Did some wild animal leave it there?
Or the DNR folks?
Well, I'll let it be, someone else can decide what to do with that little gem.

Some chainsaw work is also on the to-do list.
A fairly large tree fell near the back of the cabin, it will make for good firewood after
some work with a chainsaw.
I'll leave that to others.

It's always nice to see the cabin looking so tidy, the new darker stain is a big change for the good.

On my way back to Rice Lake, I was lucky to see a complete & double rainbow.

 Not much better than a trip to the Castle with a full rainbow ending.


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