Sunday, May 29, 2011


During our recent quest for the elusive morels up on the Ryan Road trails, we came across a handful of other beautiful specimens of fungi (but never did find any morels this year.) These are mostly "shelf mushrooms" which usually grow on dead trees or fallen timbers. The top image is called a "Pheasant's Back." I'm not sure of the identification of the ones below.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


While searching for morel mushrooms recently, we came up empty handed. Instead, we came across this lovely patch of watercress in a local stream. It added to a healthy, crispy, & delicious salad!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Skywatch: Pewaukee Farm

This is one of my favorite vistas on the Ryan Road hiking trails. Such a pleasant, quiet refuge - far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Looking westward, it's a great place to watch the cloud formations and weather move in.

You can see more SkyWatch Friday photos here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Little Disconcerting...

I drive under this Capitol Drive bridge overpass almost every day on my way to work. If you look closely at the image below, you'll see a large crack with missing pieces of cement that are outlined in neon red paint. My guess is that it is on the county road crew's docket for repair, but it's been like this for months. I can't even imagine what other near-disasters are causing such a delay of the repair. It's getting to the point where I say a little "Hail Mary" while driving under it, and I'm not even Catholic! ;-)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hickory Blossom

These amazing "blooms" are often overlooked because most people aren't aware that the hickory tree "leaf fronds" blossom out in such a beautiful manner.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bill and Coo

We have a pair of mourning doves frequenting our yard this year. They especially like Bill's garden now that he's tilled it because the worms and little bugs are easier to get at. They are so sweet and each morning we can hear the familiar 'hoo-hoo-hooooo' as they sit on the perimeter of the garden.
As the song goes: "Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me..."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Virginia Bluebells

We have a small patch of Virginia Bluebells back in our tree line that come up every spring. They are finally in bloom! Bluebells (also called the Virginia Cowslip) are a perennial plant native to North America.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Loud Mouth!

Every spring the Robins build several nests around our yard. For the past few years they have decided to set up shop on the lower branches of a tall spruce near our patio. Noticing the Mama Robin's busy flight to and fro, we suspected the eggs had hatched. Yep! This little baby is hungry. Another photo below shows them just before the "squeaky wheel" opened her mouth!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Squall Line

The clouds show a distinct squall line as a thunderstorm moves into our neighborhood from the Northwest.

See more images at SkyWatch Friday.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Fill'er Up

Happy's Garage is a long-time fixture on the south side of La Crosse. Located next to the railroad tracks behind the Village Shopping Center, many an auto has been repaired or sold here. A few years back, when a huge tree out front died, they cut most of it away, but some creative person crafted this old-time gas pump with the "remains."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Nose to the wind!

Harriet, our daughter's 2-year old 'CockaPoo,' enjoys a car ride to the local dog park. You can't quite tell from this photo, but her eyes are squeezed shut as she enjoys the brisk breeze (with all its wonderful spring smells!) in her face.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


On Mother's Day we took my mom on a drive around the city of La Crosse, to places we hadn't been for years. This barn and silo is at the east end of Cass Street, which turns into Ebner Coulee Road and meanders up behind Granddad's Bluff. From this angle, you can barely see the sign that says '1908' at the top of the roof...this farmstead was established over a century ago! Below is a back view of the barn from the next street over where you can better see how it is nestled at the bottom of the bluff.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Nanking Cherry

Our old neighbors back in Wauwatosa gave us a little Nanking cherry tree seedling (Prunus Tomentosa) a year after we moved out to Pewaukee. I dutifully planted it back in our tree line and tended to it for the first few years, only to see it mown over by the subdivision groundskeepers. Heartbroken, I nursed the little stalk - which still had a few leaves - back to life, and put a small barrier of chicken wire around it. Surely that would deter the mowers. Nope! The next year we found the wire bent and twisted in the tree line and the little tree was completely gone! We sadly admitted defeat and soon forgot about it.

Last summer while cleaning out some brush in the tree line, I noticed a small bush near the edge that was overgrown with tall grass. A closer peak revealed that it was covered in tiny cherries. The Nanking had survived after all! Apparently over the past few years, the mowers had changed their boundaries just enough for the little tree to come back to life, yet still be hidden by other wild plants. We cleared it out a bit and put another, larger protection barrier around the slim trunk, and this year it's flowering beautifully. Can hardly wait for the cherries of summer!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Pewaukee River Watershed

The creeks and marshes in the lowlands of Pewaukee converge near the Simmons Woods Wetlands. From here the water flows into the Pewaukee River, which in turn empties into the Fox River to the south. We recently took a hike in Simmons Woods Park and took the above shot. The trees are barely leafing out, but it is still a place of pristine, natural beauty. This view looks east towards a heron rookery (see image below) where the Great Blue Herons make their nests in tall bare trees within the safety of the marsh.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Sky is Alive

In early April we spent 5 days in Savannah, Georgia. The historic district boasts amazing classic architecture and dozens of beautiful park squares. One of the most dramatic sites in the area are the huge "live oak" trees, hanging with wispy Spanish moss. This tree sprawled nearly across the whole park.

An aside: We are still waiting for our trees to bud out here....[Impatiently folding arms & tapping foot!]

Monday, May 2, 2011

Spring has Sprung!

It's been a chilly season this year in Pewaukee. We've only had one day in the 70's so far & that was way back on April 10th. We did have a lovely, sunny day last Friday (4/29 - the same day as the Royal Wedding!) and during my morning walk, I discovered this pretty little patch of wildflowers blooming on the north side of Lindsay Road. I've noticed them in this same shady spot each spring for the past few years, but have never seen them anywhere else. I have some "feelers" out to my botanist friends, so I hope to discover their official name soon.