Monday, August 31, 2009

Horton Hears a Who

While in La Crosse a few weeks ago, there was a sand sculpture contest in Riverside Park open to local artists. The theme was "Going to the Movies." There were quite a few inspired entries, from the Wizard of Oz to Jaws to John Wayne westerns. But my favorite was this sweet rendition of Dr. Seuss' Horton.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Leading the Way

Meet our early morning alarm clock, Mr. Rooster. He lives at the farm across the road, past our back tree line, but his voice carries for miles. The bossy little fellow appears to be leading the way for an obedient sheep in this photo.

During the summer, from sunrise to mid-morning, he'll crow for hours. After a while you learn to tune it out. Or, thankfully, I get to go to work!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

You know you're in Wisconsin when... walk down State Street in Madison and see this shirt in a store window! And these others as well:

As you can tell, there is no love lost for Brett Favre around most of Wisconsin. This is now Mr. [Aaron] Rodgers' neighborhood.

FYI: Residents are sometimes referred to as 'Sconnies, hence the name of the shop.

[All photos via cell phone.]

Friday, August 28, 2009

SkyWatch Friday: Part 2 - End of the Rainbow

Because I technically posted my "SkyWatch Friday" entry on Thursday of this week (which is allowed) - I thought I'd continue with the SkyWatch theme for my official Friday posting. On the same drive home along Duplainville Road the rainclouds that had just opened up sported a rainbow that ended somewhere over the soybean fields. I wonder if there's a pot of gold in that old barn?

The image from the previous post and this one were taken only about a half mile and a few minutes apart.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

SkyWatch Friday: Clouds-a-Brewin'

On the way home from work earlier this week, the clouds seemed to grow to epic proportions at sunset. I had to lighten the foreground a bit so the farm shed would be visible, but the sky really was that opulent color.

See more Skywatch Friday posts here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Eagle Has Landed

This statue of a majestic eagle graces Riverside Park in downtown La Crosse, Wisconsin. We never saw eagles in that area while growing up in the 60's and 70's, but they started to make a come back in the late 80's. Now they can be seen soaring along the Mississippi River between the bluffs of both Wisconsin and Minnesota all times of the year. [Visit one of my earlier posts of an eagle doing some "ice" fishing...]

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Up the Lazy River

The La Crosse River meanders behind the International Friendship Gardens in La Crosse's Riverside Park and empties into the mighty Mississippi just around the bend (below.) That's an abandoned railroad trestle in the distance

You can almost imagine Huck Finn floating on raft under the canopy of these giant cottonwood trees, escaping the heat of the noon-day sun...

Monday, August 24, 2009

International Friendship Gardens: Waterlily

I took quite a few pictures while we were in La Crosse last weekend and so will try to post some here and there during the coming week. There is an international friendship garden right next to Riverside Park which includes several paths that meander around a variety of plants and garden styles, along with a pretty gazebo. This small pond was host to some waterlilies, cattails, and some very large koi (goldfish).

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Happy Birthday to You!

I don't normally post pictures of people in this blog, but I had to make an exception for my mom, Orvie. We celebrated her 93rd birthday last weekend up in La Crosse, WI. I think this photo captures the animation and excitement that she has carried with her throughout life.

Born on an isolated farm in rural western Wisconsin in 1916, she spoke only Norwegian until she entered first grade. The one room school she attended was luckily just down the road from her family's farm, so no 5 mile walks to school [uphill both ways] for her. Although, she loves to tell stories about skiing to school during the winter months with her 4 siblings. When she started high school in the nearby town of Westby, her older brother drove them in a horse-driven sleigh during the winter.

They grew corn and tobacco ( the kind used for rolling cigars) and raised livestock such as chickens, pigs and cows. The depression hit the farming community hard and when she was a sophomore in high school, her parents lost their farm. They moved to the city of La Crosse and her father was lucky to find work in a factory, while she became a nanny and housekeeper. She never was able to go back to school.
Eventually she found better work as a waitress and met my dad, a professional photographer. And the rest, as they say, is history :-)

My dad died in 1980 and she continued to live in the same house (mowing her lawn and shoveling her walk because she could never trust the people we arranged to do this work "to show up.") until just a few years ago when she broke her hip. One of our favorite memories of her is going sledding with the grandkids at the golf course when she was 77 years old -- hoisting the sled back up the hill each time.

She now has her own apartment in an assisted living community and
despite some hearing issues, is in fairly good health for her age. The only medication she needs is Atenolol for her heart rate. She attributes her longevity to hard work and "never feeling sorry for myself as there is always someone else who has it worse." Grandma will NOT be attending your pity-party.The occasional glass of wine helps, too.

Blow out the candle and make a wish, Grandma O! :-)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Are You Feeling Lucky?

While hiking the Ryan Road trails with Nik the other day, we came across this old rusty horseshoe someone had hung up on a pine tree. I wonder how long ago it fell off it's owner. I think it needs to be the other way around (ends pointing upward) for luck.

Some people believe that to hang it with the ends pointing upwards is good luck as it acts as a storage container of sorts for any good luck that happens to be floating by, whereas to hang it with the ends pointing down, is bad luck as all the good luck will fall out. Others believe that no matter which way you hang the horseshoe, good luck will come. Let's go for that one!

[Sorry about the blurry shot ... 'twas taken with my cell phone.]

Friday, August 21, 2009

SkyWatch Friday: Shades of Mark Twain

It looks as if these puffy clouds are being blown from the stacks of the La Crosse Queen, an old-fashioned paddleboat. Docked at Riverside Park in La Crosse, Wisconsin, she offers leisurely scenic tours up and down the Mississippi River during the summer months.

See all SkyWatch Friday entries here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Garden Sculpture

This monolithic sculpture graces a garden at a house that borders the downtown park on Pewaukee Lake. I showed another view of this place earlier this year.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


A winding gravel drive leads to a barn-style storage shed along Swan Road.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Popcorn, Peanuts and Crackerjack

This old-fashioned popcorn wagon is parked over by Pewaukee Lake. It sits idle during the week, but on special evenings, weekends and holidays, it's a popular place to get a snack.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tattoo You

Anyone wanting to "get ink done" or have their belly button pierced in Pewaukee will need to visit Lakeside Tattoo over by the lake. A little bit scary, walking down that dark stairway to the shop, but chances are you have already decided to live a little bit dangerously if you're here in the first place...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Day at the Beach

Another example of the painted benches at the Pewaukee Lake beachfront.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Honey, I'm Home

A long-distance semi driver is home for a few days and parks his rig in the front yard at his house on Swan Road.

Friday, August 14, 2009

SkyWatch Friday: Hazy Days of Summer

A recent sunset over the woods alongside Lindsay Road elicits the warm, lazy, hazy days of summer. We'll enjoy them as long as we can.

Be sure to view all SkyWatch Friday entries here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Man's Home is His Castle...

Or as my mother would say this is just "sinful and wrong."

I've shown several images of the "Broken Hill' subdivision near us before, but never of the houses. Most are big, true - but no bigger than most of the "McMansions" in the area. This one, however, takes the cake. We had to back track to ride by it again. It is seriously the size of 4 houses together. (Check the alternate view below.) A little bit of overkill, don't you think?

Not that I'm an expert in building and architecture, & it certainly is a "nice" house - but if you want to build a behemoth like this - shouldn't you have a "back forty" and a mote? A subdivision where you are 20 yards from the next house (one either side) doesn't seem the best place for it.

Of course, that's just my opinion & I'm entitled to it :-)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

In the Shadow of Wally-World

A tractor with a hay-baler is parked in a grassy field across from the ubiquitous Wal-Mart on Hwy 164 & Capitol Drive. Sort of a city-meets-country view.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Wile E. Indeed

Another graffiti train shot at the Duplainville Road railroad crossing. A rather evil looking Wile E. Coyote is scrawled on this blue box car.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Garden Fireworks

The growing season seems to come and go so quickly in Wisconsin that I just have to marvel at the beauty within our own garden when it's in bloom. For example, this simple dill flower is a volunteer in our vegetable garden, but we'll dry the feathery leaves and use them all year long in dips, dressings and sauces. The dramatic head will yield seeds that can be ground and added to chili, stews and potato salad.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

"Don't know why, there's no sun up in the sky...

....stormy weather, ooo - oooooh." [With apologies to Lena Horne.]

This morning we were greeted with stormy skies, thunder and several inches of rain! True - the garden and the lawn needed the bath, but the red and gold sunflower above may be as close as we get to the sun today. The image below shows the full view looking past our garden into the neighbor's yard.

Friday, August 7, 2009

SkyWatch Friday: Time for Lunch

We met our daughter for lunch last Friday in the Village of Wauwatosa. Tosa is a large and fairly diverse community in the western part of Milwaukee County. When we lived in Wauwatosa, we were only about 8 blocks from the Village and used to walk there often. The Menomonee River runs through it paralleled by railroad tracks, and a little red station house is still there as an historic marker. The facades have changed and the old fashioned pancake house and "Drew's Variety Store" have been replaced by upscale restaurants, shops, and boutiques. The old Ace hardware store is still there, though - wooden floors and all, as is the good old Baskin-Robbins.

On this day we dined alfresco at Cafe Hollander, and just a few weeks ago we met friends for dinner at Firefly. This newer building (above) houses offices, indoor parking and a Noodles Restaurant, and features a clock tower showing that it was, indeed, time for lunch.

Be sure to view all SkyWatch Friday entries here.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

On Your Honor

One of the farms on Swan Road has a little market stand at the end of their driveway each year. First come the zucchini, a few cucumbers, some beets and green beans - and finally the sweet corn and tomatoes. We still have a little ways to go before the corn is ready (see the sign.)

It's always the best, very crisp, sweet and juicy - eaten the day it's picked. Now that's fresh!

The stand is unattended. Trusting Midwest souls that they are, the money bucket is left out to collect payment, "on your honor." And I don't think they would continue doing this year after year if there were any problems.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Oh, Deer

This sweet itty-bitty baby fawn froze in his tracks right in the middle of Lindsay Road when he saw me approach on my bicycle. I stopped as soon as I saw him to get a photo before he bolted. I waited a bit to see if his mother was any where to be seen, but no such luck.

In our area, because it's rural and the roads are mostly dark and unlit at night, deer hits are common. While the surroundings appear to be peaceful, the image is a bit deceiving because the road behind him (Redford Rd./Hwy F) is actually a busy 4-lane highway that has lots of truck traffic. So, it's possible his mama was a recent victim.

As I rode up to the area where he had been, I looked down into the grassy culvert bordering the road and could see the tall grass rustle over his head as he walked towards the woods. Maybe his mama was waiting for him, hidden in the distance. If not, I wonder if - or how long - he will survive...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

August Flowers

I couldn't resist taking a close-up of these gorgeous orange trumpet vine and magenta clematis flowers from our neighbor's fence line hedge. The bright colors against the deep green leaves truly remind me of summer.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Waukesha Gun Club

The Waukesha Gun Club is actually located in the city of Pewaukee. Even though it's about 3 miles or so from our house, we can sometimes hear them practice from our yard.

While driving by last weekend, we noticed the signs, trucks, and campers and saw they were having a regional tournament. We're not big gun fans, but we decided to stop and just watch for a few minutes.

There is a large practice range with shooting stations, very much like a driving range for golf. The two men below were competing for "Top Gun" in the skeet shoot. There is a large portable crane-like rig that launches clay "pigeons" or "skeet" & the shooters clip them off in mid-air using shot guns. Very impressive.

Learn more about skeet shooting here.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Another Farm Down the Road

This quaint old farmstead is one of at least a half-dozen on Swan Road. The red barns are right up against the road, and the little garden cabin is next to their house.

Notice the satellite dish on the cabin roof and someone's recovered hub-cap leaning against the barn below. Signs of the 21st century are everywhere.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

August Theme Day: Night

The Japanese Maple by our front door has such arching, graceful branches. This "flash" shot really illuminates the pretty red & gold color of the leaves against the night-time sky.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants of August theme day.