Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rolls in the Hay

"Rrroll, rrroll, rrroll in zee hay!" says Teri Garr in the movie "Young Frankenstein." Well, this view of a hay-roll is a little more mundane. Many of the farms in the area grow various types of hay and field grasses for cover and for livestock. With all the horses around here, someone has to feed them. :-) These "haystacks" always remind me of giant shredded wheat biscuits!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Good to Go

These little Vespa-like scooters are getting very popular with the advent of high gas prices and the trend to "go green." With warmer, dryer weather, I'm sure we'll see more of these around here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Robin's Nest

This robin's nest is located in one of the spruce trees in our yard, right about shoulder-high from the ground. It didn't appear to be a very safe spot, but still - three pretty blue eggs! A few days after I took this shot, I heard a squawking ruckus on the patio. A crow was circling the yard, being dive-bombed by mama robin. Later that same day another check on the nest showed all the eggs were gone. So goes nature.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Hog Fundraiser

One of the area's Harley-Davidson motorcycle clubs held a fundraiser for Waukesha County charities at a local shopping center last weekend. There were about 50 bikes parked in front of this section of the parking lot with most of the riders indoors participating in events. These few "guards" were out watching the bikes. [Reminds me of that scene from "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" - where he accidentally knocks them over like dominoes!]

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Staghorn Sumac

These hard, dry Sumac berries overwintered from last season. The medium sized shrubby trees produce multiple stalks of these pretty dusty red clusters. They are great for dried flower arrangements during the fall and winter. Sumac is sometimes used as a middle-east flavoring/herb. In early America, a pleasant, lemonade-type drink was made from the berries, although I don't know if I'd go through the effort to try this now!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bridging the Gap between Winter and Spring

Friday we had the first really warm, spring temperatures of the year. Summery, actually - sunny and 80! :-) Wanaki, one of our local golf courses, had a few duffers brushing up after a long winter of inactivity. This pretty little cart and footbridge spans a small creek that runs through the course. The photos below show the entrance and the creek rushing on the other side of Silver Spring Road.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Skywatch Friday: Moon Over Pewaukee

The Foundations Bank is located at the intersection of Hwy. 164 and Capitol Drive in the city of Pewaukee. It's one of a number of new buildings in that shopping area, many of which are vacant due to the economy. These shots were taken facing east during the last full moon rise. The setting sun is reflected in the mirrored windows.

See all SkyWatch Friday entries here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lions & Tigers & Bears, Oh MY!

Coming upon this behemoth of a building on Silver Spring Rd. in Menomonee Falls is kind of like sneaking up on the Wicked Witch's castle in the Wizard of Oz. Huge, dark, and foreboding... it's the Kohl's Department Store headquarters. It just seems so out of place in this suburban rural setting.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


"Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener. That is what I'd truly like to be-ee-ee. Cuz if I were an Oscar Mayer wiener, everyone would be in love with me!"

Imagine my surprise as I saw this vehicle pass us last fall on I-90/94 near Madison, Wisconsin - where the OM Wienermobile headquarters are located. Growing up as a kid in Wisconsin, you were issued a wiener whistle in grade school and toasted OM hotdogs on a stick at cook-outs and camp-outs. (Maybe you did where you live, too - as Oscar Mayer is a national brand.) The random sighting of the Wienermobile is icing on the cake -- or maybe the mustard on the dog! If you look closely at the larger version, you can see the license plate reads: YUMMY.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

California Dreamin'

After yet another dusting of snow, the cat looks out the patio window with disappointment. I feel her pain.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Get Out Your Cardboard 3-D Glasses

The I-94 freeway runs through Pewaukee, going east all the way through downtown Milwaukee (on the I-794 spur) to Lake Michigan. This weekend, I drove down to the east side to visit my daughter at her new apartment on Brady St. Yea! our basement finally is emptied of Kit's belongings and we can walk down there again. :-) On the way, this billboard loomed just past County Stadium. It's a giant 3-D tomato vine, winding up the pole of the billboard yielding two equally giant 3-D cans of "Red Gold" tomatoes.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Chase

During my walk down Lindsay Road yesterday, I came upon these bicyclists being pursued by the unmarked police squad car in the distance. Actually, the squad passed them by soon after I took this photo :-)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cleared for Landing

When driving by the Capitol Drive Aerofield last week I was lucky enough to catch a small plane coming in for a landing.

Roger. Over and out.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Thunderstorm Sunset

This week has been so hectic with work and family issues, that I haven't had time to do much photography, so I'm posting an interesting photo I took last summer right here in our neighborhood. The sun was setting directly behind an evening thunderstorm and the visual effect was quite dramatic.

See all SkyWatch Friday entries here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mr. Roboto

Another photo of graffiti on a passing train at the Duplaineville Rd. crossing from last summer. This stylized robot seems to be followed by his Mini-me's (see below.) Always more interesting than the usual letters and random words that these "artists" normally scrawl.

Click the graffiti tag below to see others in this series.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


It was so cold on Monday night that the snow began flying again. I was able to get a picture of our windchimes ringing in the howling wind, with snowflakes swirling around. The chimes are about 8 years old, and the stained glass wind catcher has Frank Lloyd Wright-style design. I'm amazed it's not broken. (Knock on wood.) Sigh. The wait for spring continues.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Best Fish-Fry in Town

The Midwest, especially up here in Wisconsin, is famous for the Friday night fish-fry at local restaurants. Our favorite is the "5 O'Clock Club" on Pewaukee Lake (where it's always 5 o'clock!) It's one of those old-fashioned supper clubs that's been around forever - beginning way back in the early 20th century when Lake Country in Waukesha County was considered a "northern get-away" for worldly Chicagoans.

The decor is rustic & casual with a
Northwoods feel. It's always hopping with locals on Friday nights -- sometimes the wait for a table is over an hour during the summer. The shelf above the bar is filled with vintage beer and sports memorabilia. Note the Robin Yount bobblehead on the left? (Baseball fans will remember him as the pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers back in the 1980's.) And the "Cubsuck" sticker? Definitely a Wisconsin thing related to the Brewers-Cubs rivalry. My favorite is that little butler with the carved wooden-cup head. See the close-up below.

Monday, April 13, 2009


With all the talk of pirates in the news this past week, I thought it might be an appropriate time to post good ol' Cap'n Morgan. He was guarding the front door of our local "Brews, Wine and Spirits" shop in one of the village's strip malls on Capitol Drive. Note the ever-present Green Bay Packers helmet in window. Packer paraphernalia is considered acceptable decor everywhere all times of the year in Wisconsin. Of course, in the sign below, they also wish the Milwaukee Brewers good luck this season. [Be sure to click images for larger view.]

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Sunrise at our Redeemer Lutheran Church, in La Crosse, Wisconsin - where I grew up. Lots of great memories there. It's where I was baptized, went to church, Sunday school, confirmation classes, and of course, every holiday service during the year. It's also where we were married, back in March of 1978. Some sad ones, too - it's where my father's funeral service was held.

As kids, we used to sneak in and run through the church during hot summer days because it was always dark and cool inside. Especially the basement, where they had an old fashioned "pop" machine, with those small curvy Coke bottles that you could pull out for a nickel. We'd play hide-n-seek in the education wing, library, nursery, and meeting hall. Skinny old Pastor Nelson would eventually hear us, find us and scare the beejesus out of us with a long-winded lecture about the sanctity of God's house. :-)

Built in the mid-1960's, this Lannon stone building has rough cut stained glass designs inside each of the front louvers. This was taken while walking past on a recent visit back home.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


A large papery hornet's nest, built by the bald-faced hornet, attached to a white pine tree up on the Ryan Road trails. The first photo shows the intact nest late last summer. The one below show how it looks now. Not sure if it was an animal or the wicked Wisconsin winter winds that tore it apart. Both scary and amazing at the same time.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Skywatch Friday - Pussy Willows

The silvery buds of the American Pussy Willow tree are a sure sign of spring in the upper Midwest. Give them a few (relatively) warm sunny days and the branches begin to blossom out like the photo above. A nice contrast against a clear blue sky. Yay! I think spring might finally be here.... :-)

See all SkyWatch Friday entries here.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

On Wisconsin

That's the Wisconsin state flag flying next to Old Glory over the Pewaukee Library. Obviously it was quite a windy day (as evidenced by the fact they are standing straight out like this.) The flag's shield represents the history and culture of Wisconsin.

The state motto "Forward" is at the top of the shield. Below it is a badger, the state animal; and a sailor and a miner show that people work on water and land. The four sections in the center represent the state's main industries: agriculture, mining, manufacturing and navigation. The cornucopia and pile of lead represent farm products (dairy!) and minerals. 1848 is the year Wisconsin was admitted to the union. It may not appear so because of the angle, but the state flag is flying lower than the US flag, as dictated by tradition.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wake Me When Dinner's Ready

No need for sleep-aids for this dog. When Nik's out, she's OUT like a light! Although her little dog bed is comfy, she prefers to curl up on the sofa now and then & I don't have the heart to disturb her. She could probably sleep through an earthquake. However, if she hears the faint rustle from a bag of chips, she's out to the kitchen like a shot!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What Am I?

These vines are found along the road side in our area. Very non-descript in summer, but when the leaves are gone, the seed pods (round balls of berries) really stand out. There are usually around 5 to 7 balls on a given plant, each a little larger than a golf ball, but smaller than a tennis ball. The hard, purplish-black berries that make up the balls have their own little stalk fixed in the center. Birds don't seem to pay them any attention, but they are wonderful for dried flower arrangements - long lasting and they give such a great texture to the display. I've done some research and can't seem to find an ID for these anywhere. I'd love to know what they are...

Thanks to Linda K., I think we've found an answer. It's called smilax herbacea (aka carrion vine.) And apparently birds do like them.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Dairy Farm

Finally - a dairy farm! Schultz's is another one of the area's long-established farmsteads. But - in this case, I believe it is no longer an active producer, so no cows out today. Still, a beautiful and increasingly rare sight around here.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Bicycles by the Lake

Looking in the window of the bike shop on Wisconsin Avenue, you can see the reflection of Pewaukee Lake across the street. This store offers high-end touring and customized racing cycles and related equipment. Below is a close up of the little old-fashioned tricycle sculpture.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Yellow: Redux

In keeping with April's theme of "yellow," I'm sharing this close-up of some flowering lichens growing on the trunk of our crabapple tree. The white patches are a foliose-type lichen, commonly found on the bark of many of the trees around here (see photo below.) Apparently, the deer tend to find it delicious, and when eating it, damage the bark. The golden yellow specimen is some type of fruticose (shrubby) lichen. However, I've never looked closely enough at it to see these unusually pretty details.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Skywatch Friday: It's a dangerous job...

...but someone has to do it. These men were earning their living by keeping the view clean for all the office workers in this glass bank tower on Hwy 45 & Good Hope Rd. (See below.) It also has a matching twin tower not visible in these photos. The towers reflect the changing moods of the sky and blend into their surroundings. They're technically located in the northwest corner of Milwaukee (right next to Waukesha County) but I work in one of the buildings behind them & couldn't resist.

See all SkyWatch Friday entries here.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Nice Weather if You're a Duck...

Last week week it was raining pretty hard when I snapped this picture out our kitchen window. The rain, along with the melting snow, created a large puddle along the tree line in our backyard where this sweet pair of Mallard ducks (below) decided to take a swim. The female really blends in, doesn't she?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Theme Day: Yellow - Healing Body and Mind

This sunny yellow display is located in the Chiropractic and Holistic Wellness Clinic on Wisconsin Avenue. It's one of the quaint storefront shops (see photo below) across from Pewaukee Lake. In addition to taking care of physical needs, they also offer spiritually inspired artwork by local artisans.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants for April's Theme Day.