Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Road Trip sort of

I had to go to LaCrosse for an checkup on our Subaru. I generally take a quick little side trip while I am there.

Yesterday I went over to Goose Island. It is a nice county park with little roads going to different parts of the island. I think there are something like 8 or more picnic shelters that can be reserved and several playgrounds. All along the river access are picnic tables and some trees for shade. There is a campground for tents and a grounds for RV's.

It is on a slough to the Mississippi River and between LaCrosse and Stoddard Wisconsin. It is beautifully maintained and the county road GI is well maintained with wide shoulders to pull off on.

I try to get there a couple of times a year just to enjoy driving around the place and seeing if I can find something to photograph. I'm always on a time crunch as the other half is keeping tabs on my time. I called him to let him know I was taking a drive through the park. 

Time to test more with that long lens!

Here is Chippy! A seven striped Chipmunk. I was tickled that he just sat there while I took his photo. I stayed in my car as not to spook him.

I saw this doe along the slough, so I parked the 'Ru and walked slowly back up the side of the road.
I was able to take 3 shots of her before she took off, bounding through the low lands.

Along WigWam Slough, I found these turtles. I've cropped this but if you can look at it full sized it looks like the turtle on the right is 'snarling' at the one on the left. 
So do you suppose turtles fight?
Ninja Turtles!

A view of the bluff on the other side of highway 35. In regular color and then in Infrared. Wink...wink. You know I couldn't help myself!

The shots were taken in different spots on the county road.

It was warm and the sky was amazing. The clouds kept changing and developing beautiful Cumulus clouds. 

I'll be headed back to get new tires next week. I'll grab my gear and walk to downtown LaCrosse and visit the Riverside Park while I wait for the car to be fitted with new rubber.

Perhaps I will be lucky enough to see one of the Steamboats go by while I am there.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Blogger and Cell phones

Blogger sent me a message that I was in error or the blog was not working well... and they wanted me to change it in order to be device friendly.

Blogger has been nagging me for a while. Apparently my content of the written word was too wide for mobile devices and people would have to turn their phones sideways to read it better. So I kept getting nice casual messages like: Mobile Usability issues detected. A small list was included saying the text was too small.

My text is 'too' small of a size. Hmmm? People would have to pinch and expand their screens.

OHHHH Horrors what a terrible hellish thing is this?

So this is Medium Text and I could change the text in the advanced setting to larger than 15px. I just am not sure about it.

This is normal text. I can read it on my phone but it does appear a bit small. But not so small that I need a magnifying glass or to pinch and expand and twist my smartphone around. 

I suppose less and less people are using laptops or desktops to do their internet reading. 

Next up? Yeah. My smartphone is something I have not mastered yet.

Well I can use the google maps and MapMyWalk and other nifty things, but my first smartphone was set up by my Grand daughter Lily and this one ... well, I'm pretty much hopeless as far as certain things go.

When I told my son I didn't have much memory in my phone he sort of snorted a laugh and asked me what my Phone Storage was. Um. Storage. Not much. 
What kind of cheap ass phone do you have? He asked [or some such words]. Well, I have a cheap assed phone that only cost me 50 bucks but I never added an SD card for more 'memory' ... storage, or whatever because ... truth be told....

I have no idea what I am doing.
But at the same time I'm not out a lot of money if I totally screw things up and wreck the phone, right?

Yep, I am behind the times.
I can recall the days when my Grandpa used to pick up his phone and listen in on the party line at his home. Phones with a dial. 
The newness of push button phones. 
The awesome new phones that had NO cord! 

And my wonderful smartphone that 50% of the time has no service inside my home. No service at all in the valley. It even goes Ding to warn me: NO SERVICE! 

The whole reason for the discussion on cell phones and storage was my upcoming mini trip and traffic/construction reroutes. My son asked me to use an app on my phone to assist me in getting around the construction and I replied ...

there is no room on my phone for that.....

How about those glory days of driving without GPS, air conditioning, electric windows, smart phones, and using something called paper maps?

Yeah, those days are gone.

I still carry a paper map in my car. 
But I did update my blogger view supposedly to make things easier for others to read. 
Not that anyone really wants to.

When I take my mini trip I think I'm just going to leave from home early and wander some of the back roads with Pandora blaring music out from my speakers. Of course THAT is really what makes that smartphone priceless!

One very cool feature I do have on my Subaru is a button I can push that says SOS. It also alerts Starlink if I've been in a crash. So there is that. No laying in a ditch out of sight for hours. A Blue Button for help and a Red Button for emergencies. Something that is comforting while transporting a person with health issues.

Have a Monday.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Night Out!


So my good friends/neighbors had an opportunity for a planned night of celebration out and an overnight in another city. Situations changed and the Grandma that was scheduled wasn't able to come and stay with the kids.

Lauren ran an idea past me and I jumped at the chance of hanging out with the kids. Their 12 yr old has been vaccinated and the other two have been following the standard Covid precautions. Lauren teaches children in Wuhan China English as a Second Language. To say that she has insight on Covid 19, is an understatement. 

Okay. I will leave the Covid issue out of it from here on in.

The result was that I agreed to come up and spend the evening and sleep over while they were gone. Having a responsible adult around? A must in our minds. And besides, Rich goes to bed early and sleeps until about 8 or 9 anyway. 

Lauren will be the one watching after Rich in a couple of weeks when I go see my son Eddie. 

First thing Allie asked was 'Can we go buggin'? I jumped at the chance and we went up the road peering at different plants looking for crab spiders, moths, and various insects.
We didn't get far before the rains came. But we did find a few insects. 
Not the best shots, but fun anyway. Always more fun with a sharp eyed youngster along.

The brown marmorated Stink Bug is below. I have no idea why it liked the bird poop. 

This was a Little Sulfur according to the common name. The scientific name is Eurema Lisa. I think that is a really cute name. It wouldn't stay still and moved a lot as the raindrops hit it. I tried to get its face which appears to be green with tiny black eyes?
It sure was a challenge.

I can imagine it having something to say in the above photo.

I brought an adult coloring book that I'd found in my MIL's belongings and the two youngest kids sat down at the counter and we proceeded to chat and to color.

The Tween wasn't into that and politely excused himself to do other things in his room. 

Eventually it stopped raining and the kids asked to go out to their playground and play. They showed me how to use Alexa to play music and I colored while they did their thing. It felt strange asking Alexa to play songs for me, eventually I just opened Pandora and let the music flow while I colored.

I viewed Allie's Bug/Insect collection and admired it. She really does love insects and hopes to become an entomologist. 

The youngest treated me to some of his practice songs on his piano. 

The pups needed more attention from me than the kids. I gave out many belly rubs and Stella was even kind enough to snooze with me on the couch.

About 4 am the storms rolled in and dumped inches of rain in a very short time. Thunder rolled and rumbled. Stella moved closer to me. My smart phone said that 4 to 6 inches was expected out of this downpour and to watch for water over the road. 

I got up and finished coloring my picture and then as the storm subsided I went back to sleep with Stella.

By 8, all the kids were up and had something to eat. The oldest handed me some Kringle and said I should take some to Rich. I texted mom and dad to let them know things were all good and was it okay for me to go down the driveway?

I'd called and talked with Rich, he was fine. But I was dying for a cup of coffee. 

The folks said I was good to go and they were on their way home.

My big night out.

I really did have a good time!


...and Basil...

Total rainfall in our was 2 3/4. It rained lightly on and off the rest of the day which was exactly what we needed.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Valley Fog


Sometimes I just wake up so darned early. I checked the forecast and saw a little car icon where it looked like the car was disappearing into fog. The first time I saw that icon I thought it meant "Disappearing cars".
I wish I had the icon to show you, it is pretty funny.

The sun was beginning to rise so I hopped in the 'Ru to take a drive to the ridge and see if we had fog on the ridge or in the valley.

The fog would be in the river valley from the looks of things. So I headed to the highway that follows the Kickapoo. Highway 131 is a twisted curvy road that is in the valley. During floods parts of the highway generally have water over it. On the ridges the sun would be shining, but in the bottom, it would be fog.

There are very few safe places to pull off on this road. But there is one spot that is wide because the road has been repaired so many times. They put a black top coating on the side of the curve so the water wouldn't wash the shoulder gravel away when it overflowed from the backwaters.

I have always wanted to stop and 'shoot' this particular spot in Infrared during the day and also during the fog times or as the fog was dissipating. 

And there I was.

So...yeah, I really dig this old tree that lays on its side!

...and it was amazing.

The Sandhill Cranes were just casually walking about looking for food.

I pulled out my Infrared Camera and decided to try a few shots.

The cranes walked around and into the frame!

The peace and quiet in the fog was fantastic. The only thing I heard was the occasional vehicle on the highway. 
I suppose they glanced at me and just shook their heads. I noted a gravel road not far off that I could park in next time.

I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, June 24, 2021


I've always enjoyed the birds. My grandmother was one of those who could ID a bird by their song.
We'd be picking berries and she'd cock her head and say "Bluebird" and nonchalantly continue to pick.
I'd look around to spot what she'd heard and sometimes she'd point the bird out to me.

Grandma had a pet Robin. Nope, I am not kidding. She had found a robin fledgling and raised it successfully. The Robin would perch on her shoulder and hang out with her any time she was outside. Eventually the Robin flew off and we wondered if it would return in the Spring.

She called the Robin Hubert.

And Hubert did return the next year. 
I thought my Grandmother Pearl was the most amazing person on earth. She knew so much Stuff. Now I am beginning to understand how she got to know stuff. 
She observed. She also kept detailed notes every day on the weather, what birds she saw and anything else that Nature provided. She was a Naturalist, a Master One at that.

Over the past year or so, I've found myself becoming an Observer myself. I've had more time on my hands due to the Pandemic and being a Caregiver. 

Last night found me outside late observing the Catbird. I think this is the first year that they have come to our yard or it is the first year that I've taken time to notice.

Her color is not something that makes you go Wow, but she is so interesting. She/he find grubs and arthropods in the yard. So I would say they are pretty helpful birds and good to have around. I enjoy 'her' calls and watching her. 
Last night she followed me around the yard as I was checking on my shade garden.

I am pretty sure that she wasn't actually following me, but looking for her fledglings to feed. And, it could have been a He as they both share the duties of caring for their young.

I've grown quite fond of the Catbird. I didn't know it was related to the Mockingbird and Thrasher families until I did some digging. My dad's favorite bird to listen to while he was living in Virginia was the Mockingbird. Try as I could, I never got a decent photo of one for him. We did enjoy standing on the Commons Trail and listening to their songs though.

I do enjoy Orioles and after the Dog Attack [previous post] Charlie and I spotted a nest along the road. I had to drive by there this morning to go get milk, so I parked and watched for the Oriole. 
I stayed in the car and shot out the window so as not to disturb them too much.
Most of the shots were the common bird shot. 

I was pleased to snatch a shot of the Oriole scolding me!

I'm still going to blame Aurora for directing my observation powers in a new direction this year.
The used lens is not super easy in dim light. 
However, I did get the not quite full moon before the clouds obscured it. Handheld shot...so okay...
happy dance!

I think I'll take it out tonight for the rise of the Strawberry Moon?

I could not get this doe for the life of me...

On my way back to the house I stopped to take a look at the milkweed on the corner of two roads...

So. I can get a fair close up of insects with the lens, I can get a nice shot of the moon, but running deer at dawn? Nope.

Oh crap. IF you are still reading this I have one last observation to give up.

The bird that leaves BIG holes in trees. Here it is in action.

Pileated Woodpecker. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Bad Bad DOG! by Charlie

 NO, not me. I am a delightful dog. A loyal dog. 

I believe in "Make Naps/Not War!"

Cookies and Laps! Not growlies and bities!

Mom took me for an afternoon walk. She said we would go look for bugs and icky things like that. I sometimes like bugs to smell and see if they taste good. She said we'd go on the road and not the deep woods. 
I was happy and carried my rope up the hill. I was all in!

When we got down past the place where the people and kids live in a cabin, mom waved to the Mom that had little children. Their dog Kettle was next to their car and had on a cone thingy and its whole body was all wrapped up. 

Mom said 'Hi' and we kept walking. 

Kettle dog must have been in a very nasty and surly mood. She came out snarling and growling with her teeth gnashing. Before mom could pick me up out of harm's way the Kettle came at me with fire and ugly in her eyes. 
I lay on the gravel road and started screaming in terror.

The Kettle dog kept raising her voice and getting nastier. I crawled between mom's legs to hide and the Kettle dog pushed the cone into the back of my mom's calves. I think I peed myself and I think mom wanted to pee herself.

She said very calmly to the other Mom that she would NOT reach around or move until other Mom had control of her dog. The Kettle dog's teeth were clashing and making noises. I thought mom's legs were getting torn to shreds as Kettle dog was pushing the cone against her legs and trying to reach me. 

I kept screaming and squeaking. I couldn't help it. I was so afraid.

The other Mom's Man Person starting Yelling too at the Mom person. It was a mess. The only one not yelling was my mom who stood absolutely statue still. 

The Kettle dog was retrieved and my mom said nothing. She picked me up and walked down the road. She was thinking.

She had never had trouble with the Kettle dog before but I could tell this really troubled her a lot. She checked me all over. I was clinging with my paws to her forearms. 

Then I sensed mom got very angry. She doesn't get angry very often or very fast. 

She put me down and told me how much she loved me and how she was so sorry and she had been scared too as she'd been bitten more than once in her life by a dog on the back of her legs. She said she was thankful for the cone on the nasty dog's head.

She fingered her pepper spray and smiled a very nasty smile. Kettle would learn NOT to approach us ever ever again.

See? I am a happy dog. A lover and snuggler. I have never even growled except at lightening bugs.

I do NOT like Bad Bad Dogs.

Monday, June 21, 2021

It is all his fault!

My Father that is. He was creative and had a playful mind.

One of the biggest regrets is that I don't have many photos of him. And I realize why. When he first picked up a camera, there was NO such thing as selfies. 

I don't know when this photo was taken or who took it. But there he is with a Brownie reading a light meter. I remember him with a Pentax film camera. He had one lens and it was a long lens. He used to let me hold it and pretend to take photos. Other times he'd have me make a box with my fingers and hands to make a 'frame'.
It was a game we played. I could frame a photo with my hands and we would go over what his light meter said.

I can't imagine the challenges that he had when taking photos of us kids doing activities. The winter photo could be around 1965 when we had a huge snowstorm. We took turns leaping off the piled up snow into the yard. 
The one leaping is me.

I seemed to leap a lot...

I am a bit less carefree about leaping now. 

I often wonder how things would be different had my father been able to learn and own a digital camera. Considering that he had to manually focus and meter most of his photos, he did quite well. 

We all loved and hated it when he'd walk around with that long lens of his. I think I was in trouble for something here and had a time out to think. Dad must have gone into another room and captured this through the doorway. 

The shot below is from one of the times we rented a house in Puako on the Big Island.
I fell deeply in love with this dog and it followed me everywhere for the month we stayed. I recall crying like a baby when we had to leave. 
I think we called him Hero.

Hero even showed up in a portrait my father did of all the women that had gone on the trip. This included mom, sis, me & Hero, my mom's friend, and my cousin.

See? It is my dad's fault that I love photography so much. 

Probably my dad's fault that I'd like to go back to the Big Island again. So many happy and wonderful memories were created over the years there.

So this past Father's Day had me thinking about Dad and all the cool stuff he enabled us to do with his crazy ideas.
The first time we went to Hawaii, Dad had asked to rent a friend's house he'd seen a photo of.
The friend said sure.
Dad wanted to rent the house for a family vacation. Dad thought it was in Florida.

It wasn't. 
But somehow my parents actually made it happen. And we went each summer from 1965-1974.

It was all Dad's Fault.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Father's Day

I don't normally celebrate much on Father's Day. I lost both my Father and Father in law withing months of each other in 2005. 

Here is my father the year before he died. I had to walk away and take this shot with a long lens so he couldn't hear the camera click. He did not like photos of himself as 'aged'. 

From our trip in 2001 to Hawai'i. What I didn't realize at the time is that I only had a few years left with him. He was my charge on that trip. It was two weeks of sometimes Utter Frustration or unexpected wonderful fun.
I look back now and think of what fantastic memories I have of that trip.

My Father in Law, Lonnie was also a hoot. He hated having any pictures taken of him also. I imagine it was because he had to wear oxygen in the last few years of his life.

He loved fishing and we would take him as often as he would go.

He adored his great grandkids. This photo was a sneak shot while he was occupied with Ariel.

Father ~ Daughter Time. This is my husband with his daughter sitting on a lakeside pier on a summer afternoon. They were watching the kids play in the shallow water.

A photo of my youngest son with his son Sterling right after he was born.

Here is to the dad's the good ones, the bad ones, the so-so ones. The ones who are Dad's to pets instead of children. Those dads who have adopted, those dads who love their charges.

...and those dads we miss.

I make a special note of this today because a have a close friend who's father is now in the hospital with Covid. He told his daughter that Covid was a not real, it was fake, he wouldn't get it. He complied with her request regarding masks. He refused the vaccination. It was a hoax after all and no big deal.

Her mom did get the vaccine. The mom took care of the dad while he deteriorated and DID not get Covid-19. To me? This says, get the damn vaccine. I don't care what you think but this became super personal to me last night. I know this man and adore his funny quirks and have missed visiting with him over the past year and a half. 
As my close friend said: Please, please, please get the vaccination. 

I do not mean for this to be a commentary on Covid or politics. Only a tough revelation that struck close to my heart.

This did not have to be. A family suddenly stricken with illness on a day they would be celebrating together.