Thursday, March 9 0 comments

The Cranes

We've had this adorable couple visiting us on a daily basis. I've seen them every day for the last few weeks. Jeff wishes they would go somewhere else but he won't actually chase them away. And I don't blame him for not wanting them here, they are tearing up the yard. They dig with their long beaks into the grass and yank up chunks as they dig. It's a little like having the lawn aerated. For now we will enjoy watching their grace as they walk around the yard and their beauty as their wing spans expand as they fly away.

Thursday, July 7 0 comments

Effigy Mounds National Monument

We decided to take an overnight trip to the west side of the state. The plan was to drive west until we were tired of driving although the hope was to get as far as Red Wing, Minnesota. We were taking the back roads all the way there so this was not going to be a quick drive across the state. We wanted scenery.

We stopped for lunch in Sauk City at a place called the Press Box. I thought it was a sports-themed bar however the only thing that really seemed sports related was the outside of the bar where there were busts of sports figures in uniforms that appeared as if they were in a press box at a baseball game. The inside of the place was just a bar. We sat at the bar and ordered beers and sandwiches. My husband ordered a jerk chicken sandwich and I had a smoked turkey sandwich. They were well prepared with fresh ingredients and the prices were downright cheap.

A few hours later we stopped at a quilt shop in Prairie du Chien called the Picket Fence. Inside there was a candy counter as well as lots of gorgeous fabrics. I spent lots of time walking the aisles, which was fine with my husband since it felt good to be standing up instead of riding. I purchased a variety of pretty fabrics while we were there and I wished I could have bought more, but I needed to have some budget constraint in place.

As we left the quilt shop we continued west. Just riding along the Mississippi River was plenty of scenery for me however we did run across a gorgeous National Monument in Harpers Ferry, Iowa. Effigy Mounds National Park is a gorgeous park with beautiful Indian burial grounds that are set on the shore of the Mississippi River. The mounds are the sacred burial grounds and have various animal shapes. They were built by the Indians about 1,400 years ago and it was a wonderful place to stop and reflect on our heritage.

In order to see the mounds, you must hike 2 and a half miles through some hilly paths. Unfortunately since this stop was not planned, we didn't pack any good shoes for hiking. So we walked the paths into the woods for a few blocks in order to see the first set of mounds. It was a quite a beautiful sight. We walked a little further realizing that going back down would be a little treacheros in flip-flops so we stopped. With the right footwear we could have continued on but since the temps were over 90 degrees, we chose to skip hiking any more. Between the heat and the flip-slops it was just not to be. Besides that, we had a plan to get as far as Red Wing and it was getting late in the day.

As we headed northwest, the sun was starting to set and the rain clouds were starting to appear up above. We decided to look for a hotel room in La Crosse. We got off the beaten path and headed to one of the main streets in La Crosse. The street was lined with hotels on both sides and as we passed a Quality Inn we decided that was the one we wanted. So we turned around, pulled into their portico and walked to the desk. They had a room available and we checked in, relaxed for a little while and chose a place for dinner.

We decided to try the HuHot Mongolian barbecue because the idea of stir-fried veggies sounded good and the many billboards we saw along the way was incentive enough. It wasn't horrible but it wasn't the greatest restaurant ever but we were satisfied with our choice and enjoyed eating a variety of vegetables instead of something heavier or boring like a salad.

After dinner we took a swim in the hotel pool then planned our return trip for the next day. We decided to skip going all the way to Red Wing, it was just a whim in the first place so it wasn't like any important destination.

We got home safely and rather quickly as we took the I90-94 route back in order to get some things done around the house. The lesson of this trip was a little like the saying from Ferris Bueller's Day Off: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
Tuesday, June 14 0 comments

Our New Daily Visitor

We have a fox who walks through our back yard every morning. I usually see his tail before I see the rest of him. He is a good sized fox which I took to mean he is well-fed. This morning I got to see first-hand just how well fed he is.

I saw a flash of his tail out of my kitchen window so I ran to the patio door to get a better gimpse. And there he was, standing right at the end of our deck staring back at me. He was literally 16 feet away. Lucky for me, there was the glass door between us otherwise I would not have been standing there so confidently.

Between his front paws lay his prey, a rabbit spread out on its back. I was mortified, a little sick to my stomach at the sight of the poor dead bunny, yet I was awestruck watching nature play out right in front of me.

I slowly backed away from the patio door to get my camera. Since I know the path of this familiar creature, he would go through my neighbor's back yard, then head southeast toward the field by the park near our house. So once I had my camera in hand, I had assumed correctly that he would already be gone from my back yard and heading towards the park.

I ran out the front door camera-ready. I think I startled him by running towards him so he headed east and crossed the street. I got this shot of him with his prey as he walked away from me.
During the course of the day I took inventory of the rabbits in my yard...Mama bunny - check. Baby bunny number 1 - check. Baby bunny number 2 - check. The rabbit family that lives under my deck is all still here. I think that means this fox will be returning again.
Monday, June 6 0 comments

Member Appreciation Night at the Zoo

My daughter is a Racine Zoo member which has some really nice perks. Tonight there was a member appreciation event with free dinner and many activities for kids.

We did everything with the girls from face painting to games to making animal masks. Avery had to have a "Frozen" themed crown painted on while Chloe had a bunny painted on her cheek.

One of the best things about these member nights is that the girls have the opportunity to touch the zoo animals and learn all about them.

They also love the free train rides around the property. Since the zoo is situated right on Lake Michigan, the views are incredible. We were so happy that the weather was perfect for this event.

Saturday, May 14 0 comments

A Drinking Induced Damaged Garage

Today we had a rummage sale at my daughter's place. She rents the lower half of a duplex owned by her ex's mother who lives in the upper of the duplex. My daughter always comments on the many empty boxes of wine that are taken to the garbage weekly and the many beer bottles in the recycling bin. I guess I sort of poo-pooed her comments thinking as long as she is not bothering anybody, oh well.

Then this happened.

She drove her car right into the side of the garage right up to the windshield. Then she backed it out and just left it right where it is sitting in the photo. I'm pretty sure there is structural damage since the corner of the garage is all ripped apart. The garage door is just hanging by one single cable. If it falls, someone could really get hurt.

So now I have nightmares of my grandchildren getting run over by her. Luckily, my daughter keeps them away from her when she is drunk. Which seems to be all the time. She gets in that car and drives off in that condition all the time. My daughter has decided that she is going to report it to the police next time she see her getting ready to drive off drunk. The results could be life or death. The problem is actually being there when she drives off. Usually she gets in the truck during the day while my daughter is at work so she doesn't witness it.

The woman definitely needs help.

Monday, April 25 0 comments

The Hail Storm

The weather was pretty wacky today. First the temperature was over 80, which was a first for this year. Then it got windy, cloudy and the temperature dropped 10 degrees.

Then it thundered for a while but never rained. When it finally started to rain, it hailed more than rained. And it was big hail. It was amazing to watch but a little scary to listen to.

I just had to photograph it coming down. I could not believe how large the ice chunks were. I did fear stepping out too far into the storm and having my glasses get hit. That could be serious.

I was worried about our little robin mama sitting on her nest outside my living room window. I hope she and her eggs are safe there. Luckily, the entire ordeal lasted less than a few minutes.

But I still think I will wait to check on robin mama in the morning.