Activities, Earth

First blush of green

First blush of green: I suppose that’s a mixed metaphor or something. Surely blushing and the color of green aren’t generally associated together. But this time of year I can think of no better explanation for the very first glimpses of photosynthesis following winter’s dormancy and I get giddy whenever I see it.

I don’t have a good picture of brown grass with just a little green among all the brown so I decided to use this sketch of succulents in their pots instead. Call it artistic license. Or better yet, call it gardener’s license! 😃

We were out for a drive three days ago and we saw the first honest tinges of green in farmers’ fields and on their wide open lawns. Not much green yet. Just a speck here and a dollop there. But, it’s a start!

I don’t know how you are about colors and Spring, but it’s without a doubt my favorite time of year. It’s God fulfilling his promise of resurrection. No matter how glorious the colors of autumn and the beauty of mature plants, there is nothing as dear to my heart as the re-awakening of that which is to all outward evidence, dead.

I feel sorry for color blind folks. There is a special … almost chartreuse color … that we see here in the Midwest in the beginning of Spring and I never really notice it in plants later in the year. I eagerly await it’s appearance — along with those very first tinges of green — as a sort of the second announcement of Spring’s approach. Nature’s way of saying, “it’s not a joke, all these plants really are coming back to life!”

Some might think that my excitement over Spring is disproportionate. I don’t care. I find life is a lot happier if I’m excited about small things as well as large ones. And I’m happy a lot more because of it. Waiting for only big things to get excited and happy about is a terrible waste of living. Why not be happy when it costs nothing?

We have been in this apartment 2+ years now. When we moved the landlord told us that there are allotments that can be rented for $5.00 per season and because we were new we didn’t want to commit to taking care of a garden during our first summer. Then last year we bought our place at Wisconsin Dells and we didn’t have an “actual” garden, but we did plant some vegetation. It’s likely that our summers will be spent mostly at the Dells so we aren’t planning on acquiring an allotment this year either. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I have been thinking a little bit about what we might add to the plant life at our summer place.

Also, last year whilst watching an English gardening show we came across the idea of “bug hotels” and I kind of like the idea. We don’t feed birds where we are — in the woods there’s ample food for the birds and I don’t want to risk attracting too many squirrels or rodents. That said, I’m not bashful about attracting other critters. And a “bug hotel” appeals to me.

We actually have the beginnings of a bug hotel already. Our food pile is the perfect nesting place for a variety of bugs, but I’m thinking about whether or not to go further along that line and be open and above board about the idea. Maybe I can encourage other campers to do likewise!

I wonder how many of you may have special Spring traditions or Spring pleasures?

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I’ve been in a foul mood for a few day. A casual friend disappointed me and I’ve not wanted to write about anything. So, I decided to share a few photos till I get out of my funk.

I took this one in 2013 on a nature excursion cruise near Everglades City, FL. Mr. Egret in his white suit seemed just the right subject for this b&w treatment.

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Activities, Images, Old Diary, Travel

Egret in Monochrome

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Activities, Family, Images, Old Diary

Springtime Snowstorm

I’m writing this Saturday morning as the local newscasters are hyping the population up for another spring snowstorm.  It will be the second storm in April in two weeks.  That’s not actually all that unusual for Wisconsin.  Of the past 150 years we have had snow during 130 Aprils.  Some years we have had as much as 8 inches. Other years under 1 inch.

The Two of Us — from late ’17, just before we moved out of S. Texas

Peg must have been paying close attention to the weather forecast — but then she’s more of a worrier than I am and she pays closer attention to a variety of things I tend to ignore — but she wanted to make sure we get out to the grocery on Friday to stock up our as-yet-empty-pantry.  We haven’t been through a snowfall here at the Park yet.  Duh.  We haven’t been through much of anything here, yet.  And with forecasts for as much as 4″-8″ of snow for Saturday the idea of perhaps getting stuck out here with no food in the house seemed to bother her.  I don’t know why?

The good news is that I did my husbandly duty and we went shopping, loaded up the fridge a little, filled up a couple kitchen cabinets with boxed and canned goods, and checked the gauge on our propane tank. We’re set.

Now, let’s see how much snow we get….


It turns out that this storm wasn’t as bad as they forecast. fourcountiesmapWisconsin Dells sits at the juncture of four counties — might be the only town in Wisconsin to do that.  We (meaning the four county junction of Sauk/Columbia/Juneau/Adams) were on the edge of the storm and what we saw — in addition to 28º temps was a very light and fluffy spring dusting of flakes — followed by a light rain.  That meant that the trees and grass took on a lovely white, while the hard surfaces pretty much stayed their true color.  The beauty really only lasted about an hour.

One of our neighbors needed their water disconnected in case of frost, so I went next door to take care of that and made these three photos while I was out.  30 minutes later I looked out the window and the snow was pretty well gone!

One can’t be too upset about that kind of storm.  At least not if you don’t have to drive in it!  Transient, wonderful, rare beauty that disappears in the blink of an eye.  There are times when the wonders of nature ( or creation ) reach out and slap you upside the face! I often find myself amazed at the rare beauty that exists for such short moments in this world.

So, later today the temp will rise to 54º and it will be as if this late spring snowstorm never existed — at least here.

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Activities, Old Diary, Travel

Ice Fishing Anyone?

Brrrrrrr….. Thus far this winter we have been both colder and dryer than average here in Southeastern Wisconsin.  That hasn’t bothered me much.  I never spend a lot of time outdoors in winter.  (Well, not since I stopped flatbedding – cuz then I had to tarp most of my loads and that involved a couple hours in the cold no matter how warm or frigid it might be) We get out to do our chores; when the weather is into the 30’s and 40’s we’ll take a walk outdoors, but most of our walking happens at the mall or while we are running errands.

Not everyone in Wisconsin is like minded.  We did get over to Bong State Recreation Area some time ago and there are people ice fishing all over the lake.

You can’t see much from this shot but there are at least 30 holes in the ice out there!  I’m surprised there aren’t more tents/shelters too….

When I was younger and before my hands were badly frostbitten we did a lot more outdoors in the cold.  Milwaukee used to provide wonderful iced toboggan slides.  The accompanying photo of one at Whitnal Park — the place we most often went — will give you an idea.  Going downhill was always fun; climbing back uphill not quite so much; and standing in line waiting for your next turn could be absolutely ear-numbing!

I guess you have to like fishing a lot to want to go ice fishing.  I haven’t dunked a line in the lake since I was… maybe… 12.  At Mauthe Lake, on a clear summer’s day, with my dad back at the campsite waiting for my selection of panfish that he  hoped were going to be our lunch.

Some years ago while we were still RV’ing we saw some ice fishing trailers and were quite astonished.  I can’t imagine sitting in a cold tent, or a little portable shed, much less spending thousands and thousands of dollars to buy a specially constructed trailer that will raise up it’s wheels so the base sits directly on the ice, and pre-manufactured holes in the floor for your fishing line to go through — but people do.

The same day we saw the ice fishermen we also saw a guy with his (possibly brand new) quad  — taking pictures of it.  There’s not enough snow for snowmobiling, so I guess the next best thing is to roar around on a quad pretending that there’s a lot of snow.  It seems that modern day outdoorsmen can’t do anything without an expensive tool or equipment.

As for me, I’m happy with activities that I can do any time of year, and often indoors.  I may not be as physically active but I still have a good time and I don’t get frostbitten.

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