Friday, September 30, 2016


as a door nail, but what is it?.
Weird. I just went to take a bag out to the recycle bin, and laying on the driveway pavement, near the house was this dead bird. I am trying to ID it, was about 10-12 inches in length. I'll welcome your expert opinions. The tail feathers should help, but so far I am stumped.

The consensus on Facebook is that this is a Ruffed Grouse.

Where it came from, why it was laying on the driveway, we'll never know.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


I took a boat-load of photos on our visit to Lake Superior and the sights along the way.

Gooseberry State Park, Upper Falls

I love this area, the falls are amazing so I was disturbed to witness 3 young people up on the walkway who dropped large rocks and branches down into the river far below. Unfortunately, their deeds went unpunished. I wonder if someday they will think about it and realize that they were altering the natural course of the river and potentially causing damage and they were behaving like ill mannered children.

It is hard for Nature to stay natural with humans around.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Big Lake

By the shore of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
At the doorway of his wigwam,
In the pleasant Summer morning,
Hiawatha stood and waited.
All the air was full of freshness
(Hiawatha by Longfellow)
Much more to come...

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

More Volleyball

Because the opposing team does not have enough players for a JV and Varsity squad, the scheduled was adjusted Tuesday night and Emily & the Luck Cardinal JV team only played one game.  

I was there a little early because of the time change, but one of the kids at the concession stand talked me into a bag of popcorn out of the brand new popcorn machine 

and I ended up getting to have a nice visit with Angie's mother-in-law Chris.
I see Chris often, but usually in a crowd so I never get a chance to really chat.
It was a nice, unexpected, opportunity.

Emily played well, the Luck JV was victorious.
Great Niece Emily at the net

Emily with the 'over the net' save

Emily hits the ball, there might be a more professional description for this action in VB, I would not know.

Good sportsmanship after the game

Volleyball seems to be a tight knit team sport.
And you have to know how to braid hair.
Great nephew Gussie was enjoying a visit with his pal Noah.
Noah got Gussie dancing and making all kinds of fun faces and noises.

Final Score

This is one of the last volleyball games I'll see Emily play this year because of my Big Trip.
I'm starting to learn a little more, but I have lots to learn about Volleyball photography.
I think I'll get more chances.

Monday, September 19, 2016

getting on my nerves

This raccoon.
I thought he was done coming around, but Saturday night I caught him on the "Omaha Cam" trying to squeeze his fat butt into Omaha's shelter.  
Luckily I made the hole small.

So, I'll go back to locking down the Omaha House at night.

And, for something else to make me nervous, I haven't seen Omaha on the cam for at least a week.
So, I'm hoping he shows up soon.
He's a pal.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


Last night I drove to Eau Claire to my favorite theater, The State, to see 1964 A Tribute.
I went to pick up my ticket at Will Call and much to my surprise, they did not have a ticket for me.
As I was waiting while she checked her computer, I checked my email and could not find confirmation that I had purchased a ticket.  
I've done that before, I shop but don't buy, but then later think I bought.  
Anyway, lucky for me she had a box seat available and I was able to buy a ticket.

I'm a snob now about where I sit at The State.  
I only like to be in the balcony in the box seats.
It is the best view and most comfort.
Next Friday, Laila and I are seeing Garrison Keillor there, we have the box seats.

The drive home was a little foggy, but it was worth it.
Help, Paperback Writer, Twist and Shout, and many many more.
I think I'll have to have some Beatles music ready to listen to on my trip.
It was nice to be back in 1964 again, music was happy and the words were pretty simple.

Friday, September 16, 2016

this and that

Nothing major going on around here right now.  Next weekend will be busy with Laila here for a few days and we have plans to get up to Lake Superior and the North Shore.  But this week, I've been a little lazy.
It is funny how you have a routine and then it gets interrupted and it is like you never had that in your schedule.  I used to do the crossword puzzle out of the paper every morning, then I suppose that went by the wayside during some busy time.  This week, I finally got back to it.  I so enjoy it and look forward to getting the newspaper first thing in the morning and spending quiet time before I start listening to whatever news stories are developing for the day.
Wednesday's puzzle was quite challenging for me, 
today's was a bit better, but I still enjoy the challenge.

Our Senior Citizens group is evolving a bit.  I've been an officer for one year and I feel good about what we have done in that span of time.
Today I sponsored the first of a series of programs called Tech Time with a Teen.
A high school honor student is conducting this group as her National Honor Society project.
The idea is to have folks come with their mobile devices and learn more about what they can do and also have a place to ask questions or solve problems.
We had two folks come today (and me) and it was a good learning session for all of us.
We plan to have the group meet twice per month, I'm excited to see the interest grow.
It's a huge temptation for me to run the deal, so it is really good that I'll be gone for the next two.

I planted two new peony bushes today.
Both are from Fina Gardens.
The owners, Sam & Helen, are Bridge players and I have planted 4 or 5 other varieties from their farm.  All performed beautifully.

Both new ones are white with yellow / orange centers.

Cheddar Royal peony
Cheddar Royal
Two or three rows of white petals surround a rich center of deep gold staminoids.

Roy Pehrson's Best Yellow peony

I can't wait to see them in the Spring.

I think that's it for this Friday afternoon.
I'm ready to have a beer and some dinner.
Sunday night, the Packers play the Vikings in the new Viking Stadium.
I'll be glued to the set.

Life is Good. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Volleyball on the way to Crex

Great niece Alyxis had a volleyball tournament in Grantsburg on Saturday, which worked out so great as I had been trying to get to Crex Meadows for a look-see.

So, I watched 2 sets of volleyball, took a few photos.

Alyxis with a successful block.

Serving it up.
Alyxis is a freshman who is starting on the Spring Valley Varsity squad.
She holds her own, and I can only imagine how much better she will get as she plays through her high school years.

Then, with a broken butt from the bleachers, I left for a drive around Crex Meadows.

I hadn't seen much of anything, met one car, but then came around a corner to find a flock of Sandhill Cranes having a meeting.
I crept up slowly but eventually they decided I was a problem.

 Only the smaller committee stayed longer, but eventually they also thought I was too close for comfort and they moved on.

Later I found a group of birds together.
Canada Geese, Sandhill Cranes, Swans, ducks, all were hanging around together.
Gotta love diversity.

Cranes in flight

A little dance by the Sandhill Cranes.

Sandhill flyover

They are something to see in flight.
It was a beautiful day in the wildlife area.
I am lucky to have these protected areas so close to home.
I am also lucky to have a great nieces and nephews who like to have me in the bleachers for their games.  It is a good life. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Lunch and Hunting

On Friday, I met 2 friends, Jeri & Mary Jo, for lunch at The Roost.  An off the beaten path restaurant that serves up a delicious plate of food, a good cup of hot coffee and a tasty cold drink.  We had a good visit and enjoyed our lunches.  Facebook reminded me that we had lunch last year on September 9th too, funny how schedules work out.

After I left the restaurant I decided to take the scenic route home.  
Soon, I decided that would include at stop at Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary.  
I had been there one time, but it was spring time with muddy roads, 
so I didn't get out of the car on that day.  
This day was much better, so I did a little looking around.

The trail map is a work of art.
Can you see the photographer? Ha.

I started at the You Are Here and took the Prairie walk.
I'm not exactly sure where I was on this map, I'll bring it with me next time.
I did see the Prairie Platform.

 I walked for about 30 minutes is all.
The trails are mowed grass in the Prairie area, very easy walking and quite a delight.
It was so peaceful and the prairie grasses shoulder high.
I can see this would be quite beautiful in Spring and early Summer.

My return trail was closer to the woods and I could see the water below.
But still a nice walk surface for sure.

Near the trailhead.
I'm wondering if this is just for demonstration or if it is a diverse living situation.

I saw a few birds, none that I could identify, but I loved this silhouette.

The Bumbles were really busy.

I love this prairie grass.  I hope my own 'wild area' will return to this next year.

My first Monarch Butterfly of the year.
I am not sure if I wasn't out in the yard enough or what, but I haven't seen a single Monarch in my yard.
The White Sled
It was a good visit to Hunt Hill.
I'll be back, walking that peaceful path appeals to me.
I came home and found their website so I could join.
This kind of wild habitat is high on my list of important keepsakes.

Next time I'll spend more time hunting with my camera.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Little gardeners

The chipmunks and squirrels have planted seeds in almost every flower pot in my whole yard.  The sunflowers are growing, some better than others as often they plant about 20 seeds together.  It is no wonder I have to buy so much bird seed!
This morning I noticed one of the little sunflowers has bloomed in a pot of petunias near the front door.  I have to admit, it is very cheery when most of the flowers are winding down.
So maybe the little four legged gardeners really do know what they are doing.
Well done little rodents.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Labor Day

This year, the Johansen family took the holiday literally.  Lois needed to sell Gus's huge collection of 'everything under the sun'.  At first she thought she might let the auction folks handle it, but then, the kids agreed to hold the garage sale of all garage sales, and the deal was done.
Gus was famous for having multiples of many things.  I thought of him so many times over the weekend, wondering why he had this item or that.  Or why he had about a dozen gas cans.  What about that 11 foot stairway bannister, where was that going?  How many scopes for guns does one guy need?  Where did you find that adding machine from the '50s.  Where did the 20+ fishing poles come from?  Did you know you had that much fishing tackle?  Did we sell any true treasures?

The family helped Lois get ready on Saturday night after a fun birthday party was held for Anders, Stella, Jens and Ruby.  

Ruby and Anders are special pals with birthdays just about 10 days apart.
Both were born in 2008, just around the time I moved to Wisconsin.

Owen, Ivan, Ruby, Stella, Jude, Anders and Jens
Owen was pooped, he wanted to go home so badly, I'm sorry to show his sad face, he's usually happier.
I was there for the party but then I headed for home, but headed back over on Sunday to help with the sale.

This does not even come close to showing how much stuff was for sale to start with.
The buyers came steady all Sunday afternoon and again on Monday morning.

Ruby and Anders just before Anders left for home.

Jude got real serious about pretend mowing, but happily ,the mower sold.

Finally, the end of the sale and time to load up everything that was left for the auction house to sell.
If you play the game Tetris, it helps you figure out how to wedge a recliner into a full trailer.

I spent some time with little Jude.
It was hot, humid and windy.
 Anders was up for sale as Jack two wheeled him around the sale.
Lucky, no buyers.

I'm sure Gus was with us in spirit today.  Many Gus stories were told.
The sale was a huge success, Lois now has empty sheds and garage, and a few bucks in her pocket.
Gus's many collections have found new homes and I know some little kids who have a new tackle box filled with lures will not soon forget their purchase today.

I'm home and tired but it was a fun day with family, and I brought home a couple of Gus's items too.
An 11 foot piece of handrail will become part of my hops growing setup and a scope meant for a 22 will be used to shoot photos with my cell phone.
More on those two items later, but it will be fun to think of Gus as I put them into use.

We sure miss Gus, it would have been much more fun to have him there today.


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