Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

March is going out like a lion around these parts - damp, cold, and windy. But since the sun was making a valiant effort to peek through the clouds this afternoon, we decided to take a drive down by Pewaukee Lake. We had barely walked the dogs the length of the beach before the northwest wind swirled around us like something from the the Wizard of Oz, so we headed back. On the way home we drove past this house with some inflatable Easter critters in the yard. Hope they were tied down tightly!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

End of the Leash

Pewaukee's very own pet supply shop - "End of the Leash" - is located down by the lakefront, across from the beach.  It has everything from soup to nuts for your furry friend, including toys, beds, collars and leashes, food, treats, and much more. As much of it as possible is green-friendly, sustainable, organic, and local.

But my favorite part is the bakery section. For Easter they were offering holiday dog cookies shaped like carrots, eggs, and bunnies, so I got Nik a special treat.  Looks good enough for me to eat, too - if I didn't know better!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Colorful Heron

I posted a picture of this heron a few years back, but here is another view of the "Pump House Heron" statue at the International Friendship Gardens in La Crosse.  I really like the painted promise of colorful summertime flowers contrasted against the bare and chilly spring background.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Known locally as "The Big Indian" - this statue of the Native American, Hiawatha, towers over Riverside Park in La Crosse, Wisconsin.  As the sign below says, it was created by a middle school art teacher, Anthony Zimmerhakl (everyone called him Zim) back in 1962, and has been a landmark ever since for those boating up and down the Mississippi River.

Be sure to click on the statue image to see a larger version.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Thatched Roof

An ornamental thatched roof gazebo with a goat weathervane at the International Gardens in La Crosse.  I'll have to come back in the summer to take another photo when the grass is green and the flowers are in bloom. You can see more of the real thing here.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sedona Sinkhole

With all the recent talk of sinkholes swallowing people in Florida, I thought I'd share one of our discoveries during our last Arizona visit. At the end of Soldier's Pass in western Sedona, beneath what appears to be a red rock Sphinx, there is a giant sinkhole sometimes referred to as the Devil's Kitchen.  It has an opening of approximately 150 x 90 feet and is about 70 feet deep. The hole itself has been around for awhile, but the chunk of rock broken off in this photo is called the "piano" since it has a similar shape to a baby grand. Apparently shortly after the 1989 earthquake in San Francisco, Sedona residents heard a rumbling and saw a giant cloud of red smoke and dust rising into the air in the horizon and this was the result!  Below is a view of the deep chasm in front of the piano shelf.

You can learn more about Sedona sinkholes and their causes here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

When I'm Calling You....

During our recent visit to Arizona, we spent 3 days in chilly, but gorgeous Sedona. While taking a short hike around our hotel, we heard some gurgling and cooing and looked up to see this pitch-black raven bobbing and weaving, making a very unusual noise.  I know that ravens and crows can make dozens of different sounds, and they are notorious for mimicking other birds and animals as well, but I had never heard this variation before. It's sort of a cross between a mourning dove and a sand hill crane. Could it be a mating call of sorts? He kept it up for several minutes before flying off. I've also posted a video below which includes a short burst of it.  (Hope it works for you.)

UPDATE:  I think I've come close on this one... it almost sounds like he is mimicking the call of the Sand Hill Crane, which is making a very strong come-back around the US once again.  When they fly high over-head, their regular call is quite muted and is similar to this raven's 'churl'.  

Monday, March 18, 2013

Garden Arch

The welcoming entrance arch to the "International Friendship Gardens" in La Crosse's Riverside Park.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Norwegian Leprechaun?

We are visiting relatives in La Crosse this weekend and during our morning walk down by the river we wandered through the "Friendship Gardens."  With the long winter coming to an end, it's still quite stark and gray this time of year - very different from the bright flowers and blue skies of summer.  This part of Wisconsin has a prominent Scandinavian heritage, and tucked among the evergreen shrubs and bare branches are several Norwegian "trolls" guarding the grounds. It's the closest I can get to an Irish Leprechaun. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Compact Kitchen Remodel

After 6 weeks and a few 'snafus', we're finally done with our little remodeling project!  While I wish we could have afforded a major overhaul by gutting the existing tiny kitchen and revamping the design to create a more open and user-friendly layout, it just wasn't in the cards.  

We had to keep the existing oak cabinets and white appliances, but by painting the cabinets and adding a new sink & faucet, redoing the backsplash with field and accent tiles, and replacing the worn white formica with updated quartz counter-tops, I think we've brightened up the place a little. Not shown is the the eat-in dinette cafe table which seats 4, located behind the counter stool area, and we kept that "as-is." It's a great place to have breakfast and morning coffee as we enjoy the east-facing view of the back yard out the bright patio doors. (Nik's favorite spot, too!)

The best part of the whole project is that we finally got rid of our old, tinny electric stove and replaced it with a sleek gas range. 

(For some reason, I can't seem to find my "before" photos - but if/when I do, I will add them.)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Romp in the Park

Winter can't keep Nik down.  She loves the snow and loves to hike, so off to Balmer Park we go! Beyond the playground are the woods and bare cornfields, where her nose will be on the trail of deer and rabbits, and other critters.