Wednesday, June 07, 2023

The Big Meet up of Pets

There was quite the build up to Charlie and Twila meeting for the first time. We were not exactly sure what to expect.

When I pulled up to Eddie and Megan's house, Eddie and Twila were at the gate waiting for us.
Charlie sniffed through the gate and so did Twila. 

We opened the gate and let Charlie in. Charlie glanced at Twila and then ignored her.

The Big Meet was as exciting as watching paint dry.

Twila pictured below, was more interested in my toy tossing abilities. Charlie was more interested in exploring the yard. [He is the little black blob in the back].

We went to the Triple 4 so Eddie could show me around his land he'd purchased years ago. He and Megan plan to build their home on this land not too far from where they live now.

Here you can see Charlie's size compared to Miss Twila. 

The dogs became best buddies very quickly.

Charlie got to meet Aldo. He is one of Megan's cats. Around home, all the cats we see are feral cats.
Aldo doesn't seem to understand he is a cat at all. 

Charlie had no idea what to do. He just stood next to the cat that was taller than him and let Aldo sniff him. Twila was something he could deal with. Aldo? He had no idea.


Elenore hid from us most of the time, but I got to meet her finally on Sunday morning.

Perhaps Aldo told her about his early morning cuddle with Charlie and I. Ever have a cat come and sit on your chest to wake you up???

Maybe he told her that we weren't dangerous. I'm convinced that Aldo has no idea he is supposed to be a cat.

For a birthday present I got a Lego Minifigure! I was so happy! Now Acorn Guy...

can meet with ...

Acorn Girl!

My weekend was wonderful. I can be happy just watching the dogs play in the yard and reading a book on my son's deck. Or taking a walk along the lakefront ...

We took a guided night hike at Hawthorn Hollow, walked the beach, watched the Kit Festival, and took the dogs for a Sunday walk at a new favorite park called Poerio Park which I never knew existed. Kenosha has so many great places to go.

The puppers were worn out by the time I decided to head back home. 

Whew! It was in the 70's when we left. When I got home, it was 92 and stinkin' hot.

Charlie and I put one more K-town visit behind us. 

We will look forward to more adventures and chillin' on the patio watching Aldo in the Catio. [A cool outdoor cat patio!]

One more shot of Twila.

What a beauty!

Tuesday, June 06, 2023


 It seems like it takes at least a day or so to recover even from a mini trip of 48 hrs.

The drive across the state was pretty nice aside from the intense heat. I had mapped a route that would take me to Paradise Springs Natural Area. I planned on a picnic out of the back of my 'Ru with Charlie.

When we pulled up and parked in the small lot under a tree there was no one else around. I shared some PB&J with Charlie and he had a big drink of water.

I grabbed my back pack and thought we'd head into the little trail to see the spring building.

Another vehicle pulled up and two older guys stepped out into the heat. They asked if they could pet Charlie. Charlie loved the attention. When we walked around the corner from the parking lot there was a huge red sign:


I was crushed. I stood there. It was too hot to leave Charlie in the car. The guys looked at me and the one said: We won't say a thing. I doubt he will harm anything.

I tucked Charlie under my arm and headed down a paved trail. The last time I'd been to Paradise Springs, the trails were dirt. The area had suffered quite a bit of neglect. After the 2018 record floods groups got together and donated monies to fix this little beautiful place. New trails were laid down and paved. The pond was cleaned and benches along with a nice little deck for viewing was made.

The improvements were beautiful. The building was the same, but the area was much cleaner. 

The Spring Building from across the pond.
The water smelled bad because
of the lack of rain and fresh 

Inside the building looking out through 
the windows across the pond
back towards where
I had been standing.

The two older guys looking
for turtles.
One fella told me that he
'rescued' turtles by taking them off
the road and bringing them to 
this pond.
I saw no turtles and they didn't either.

There were quite a few nice benches along the paths with donor's names on them. I took a few shots with my IR camera and scurried back to the parking lot so as not to get in trouble. Charlie stayed tucked under my arm.

No selfie with Charlie to add to our collection of doggie photos. I was disappointed, but understood that sometimes people who don't make their pets behave ruin it for those that do.

I sat in the back of the 'Ru with my dog and we had some water while I plotted our next stop. Beula's Bog. 

In truth, it sounded way too hot and muggy to go to a Bog, but we'd head that way and check it out.

I followed the directions...until...

the connection between my smarty phone and my car stopped. I couldn't stop on the narrow back road safely to try and figure it out. So I just 'winged' it. I drove on one curvy road and to another unmarked black top and eventually came out in a town. I pulled into a parking lot and disconnected everything and restarted the phone.

I really regret not having a good ol' paper map in my car. I must have cleaned out the 'Ru and tossed it. 

By the time everything was set, I decided that it was too hot and nasty to go explore a bog with Charlie. I set my sights on Petrified Springs Park and decided to go there until it would be time to drop in on the 'kids'.

I was looking forward to cooler weather near Lake Michigan.

And so it went...

Friday, June 02, 2023

Road Trip

 I did it ... I did it!

I asked for help and I got it!
I get to get off the farm and get
some me time for a mini

The last time I actually had a 'day' off from being a Caregiver was in July 2021. But hey, who is counting, right?

692 days. But who is counting? 

Charlie and I are going to make this into mini road trip. I plan on stopping at a couple of SNA or State Natural Areas to do some exploring. The last time I was at Paradise Springs, it was April of 2017, just days before Rich's stroke.

Morris and I explored together and took a 'selfie' in the doorway of the Spring house. 👇

I think I want a do over with Charlie. I'm packing a lunch for Charlie and I to have on our drive. In reality, the drive across the state is not that terribly long.

But, I'll make it longer by taking a route for us to stop at a couple of places.

Morris and I used to do road trips often...he just loved riding in a car more than anything else in the world.

I'd often just take him in my old Jeep to a closed back road and let him 'hang out' the window while I idled down the road at about 5 mph. He thought he was king.

Charlie can't hang out the window and I made him a 'car seat' so he could at sort of see where we are going.

I've since added a sheet to the seat of the car as Charlie is often full of dirt and sand on his belly when we get back from hikes. This contraption  ended his motion sickness.

Now when I jingle the keys and ask if he wants to go for a ride, he runs to the passenger side of the Subaru and waits for me.

He is a pretty good travel companion but he whines a LOT more than any other dog I've ever had. He also has to comment each time I use a turn signal. 

Charlie will be meeting my son and his wife's new pup, Twila and the cats. If nothing else, it will be a fun animal fest.

This little trip and weekend is such a great birthday gift from my son and his wife as hosts and my friends who are going to care for hubby in my absence.

To say I am thankful is an understatement.


I'm unplugging for the weekend!

Thursday, June 01, 2023

The Early Hiker...

Gets wet feet...

Actually the early hiker avoids the heat and enjoys things that generally most others don't see on a regular day hike.


Fog wraps the morning
In a soft and silent hug
A gift from the skies

 I knew I'd get wet feet but it was only a 3 mile hike and part of it would be on an old road. Part of it would be mowed and part of it would be mostly dirt.

The sun came up just as Charlie and I hit bridge # 13. It is a historical bridge and it one of the few remaining original bridges through the valley.

Picture from 2022:

The view at sunrise....with mists coming off the water.

We made great time enjoying the cool air [50 degrees F!] and birdsong.

Charlie and I got to the first turn off at this Ho Chunk Bridge.

This trail was nicely mowed but my boots still got wet from the dew.

We turned before the second Ho Chunk bridge at Indian Creek and headed up into the pines.

The equine trail joined the all use trail and this coyote was out enjoying the trail also.

Multi use trail means we all share the trail! No, I wasn't afraid for Charlie at all. I yelled out good morning to the coyote and he/she took off to the west through the tall grass and into the forest.

We entered the last let of the trail which goes through a thick forest.
A beam of morning light lit up this geranium.

It was pretty neat walking through the deep forest with the morning light shining through in places. The leaves look fresh and happy with the sunlight...

I felt fresh and happy.

I always stop at this Maple Tree when I hike this trail. I have tried time after time to get a shot of it. The tree is simply stunning and will stop a person in their tracks...if they appreciate trees.

I think this may be the winner. It looks magnificent with the morning light coming through the forest at an angle.

Charlie and I headed down the slope and hiked back along Cty P to where I'd parked.

Section # 10 and Section # 33 could now be marked off from the map.

3. 29 mile in 1 hr 36 minutes. We didn't hurry and we stopped for a snack. We enjoyed the hike as it was still cool when we got back to the car.

I do really love summer mornings!

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Goal Review with Coach Josh

I've really had a hard time staying motivated for going to the gym lately. I need those workouts to keep my mobility and strength in good form.

There have been a few mornings that I haven't felt so great and others where I just decided I had too much going on. I feel guilty sometimes leaving Rich home to watch out the window and nap. I feel guilty on planning a short trip to see my son. 

Josh asked me pointedly "How does Rich feel about it?"

My answer enlightened me. "Unconcerned. He tells me to have fun."

What are my goals for this summer? 
Me: Do the KVR Trail Challenge again be the first to do it back to back. Take time to visit my son. Another goal was to camp out one night at KVR.

A goal next year was to hire someone to keep and eye Rich while I take a 4 day backpack/hiking luxury vacation in Arizona or perhaps the Pacific Northwest. Another goal was to do more photography for the local track team [I enjoyed IT that much!]

How does that have anything to do with being at the gym? 
Well, in my mind it has a lot to do with it.

Without  consistent workouts, I can lose the ability to do so many things I do around the farm. 
Like shoveling manure, pounding fence posts, or doing the easy things we don't even worry about. Like picking something up off the floor without the fear of falling.
Getting up from sitting on the ground without help.
Standing up from a chair without having to use the table for assistance.


Bone Strengthening.
The social aspect is incredible also. Working out with others makes for a great social gathering.
We sweat and laugh together.

So for the summer, I hope to be going to the gym for classes mostly at 6am. I'm up so early anyway. Why not beat the heat and go and get my day started.

That still leaves time for exploring KVR and gardening, caregiving, cattle rustling, mule riding, . ..

Coach Josh asked if I'd be at the Murph which is a CrossFit challenge done each Memorial Day as a fund raiser. You can read about it here: About the Murph 

The Murph

A word about the Murph. It can be scaled back so everyone can do some form of it. Our gym has this each Memorial Day along with a cookout in which the gym members and their families show up and bring a dish to pass. 

Josh asked if I was coming and I told him about my out of town company. He challenged me to make my action figures do a Murph. I laughed at that silly suggestion. ...

Well. Okay!

 Lil' Bear decided he'd have one for all of his friends just like one at the gym.

These guys chose to run 
through the gardens!

Air Squats on 
the porch.

Group push ups.

Post Murph pot luck dinner
with family and friends.

I plan on doing this next year with the modifications of course. 

After all, my action figures didn't seem to have a problem with it!

The money raised also goes to a great cause.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Do you wanna go out for coffee?

 ~~ and see an incredible sunrise?

Olive replied ~~ Coffee? Sunrise? I'm down with that!

I picked her up at 4 am and drove  through thick fog.  I parked on a dead end gravel road.

We snapped on our headlamps and I led the way. We chatted and hiked up and up and up the steep trail. When we got to another section, I turned through some trees. I found the footpath and said to Olive, "there you go, we just did the easy part."

She laughed.

15 minutes later, the sky had a predawn glow to it and we walked out on the bluff.

Behind me, Olive gasped. 

Yes. I do too, each time I go to this place.

You can't help it.

The sun began to come over the horizon and we watched a sun pillar. It remained in the sky for a long time.


we sat and had coffee and just listened to the Barred Owls calling and the birds awakening in the foggy forest below us.

We spent about an hour just watching the fog move and reflect the currents of air over the river and through the forests.

And here is a shot of the two of us...yeah, I look like a dork. But who cares???

I feel very odd without my signature baseball cap...

We parked at 900 feet according to the topo map. We had coffee at 1200 feet.

I asked Olive if it was worth getting up at that time.

Her answer: Totally.

Beware if I ever ask you to go 'out' for coffee to watch a sunrise!

We were back home before anyone in either of our households were awake!

Friday, May 26, 2023

Brrr! And happy Friday...

Brrrr on this Thursday morning! We have a heavy frost in the low lying areas. I'm happy that I didn't plant everything early and have all those poor little seedlings get frosted. 

But that is weather in Wisconsin!

It is the big summer kickoff weekend. People are putting out flowers at cemeteries. Campers are filling the highways. Detours are everywhere.

Generally we stay home for this weekend. In years past, we had Rich's mom and his daughter's family out for a cookout that was super simple. Roasted hotdogs and beans with chips on the side. 

We put out the old picnic table and I put a fitted sheet on it as a table cloth. I used to fill it with bowls of peonies and mason jars of iris flowers for decorations. The kids would roast wieners over a tiny fire and we'd all eat at the table.
Afterward the kids and Grandpa would do S'mores or Marshmallows. 

Since Rich's folks are no longer with us, that no longer happens. Time moves on doesn't it?

Speaking of campers and such...

It looks like Mickey and Minnie are setting off on a camping trip!

It sure doesn't look like a good road Mickey!

Uh Oh! Turn around, don't try it!

Well, they found a spot finally. looks like they have some friends that joined them to roast marshmallows.

We shall see what the weekend brings!

I know it will include climbing a bluff in the predawn and coffee overlooking a valley 100 feet below.


because I was feeling somewhat like a super hero all week, I had some fun with the gal who trims my hair....

All I need is a cape. But my Mickey Mouse jacket will do for the time being.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Spring Madness and fun

Nothing like feeling like a 'One Armed Wallpaper Hanger' in a rush to do a room!
That quote was something my Grandfather said when he felt busy and overwhelmed. Well, actually, he added a lot of cuss words to go along with that saying. I won't include any direct quotes here though.

Spring has been raging through the woods and it is fall in reverse. I try and find the trees leafing out and the blossoms that appear and disappear along with the urge to try and 'see' every ephemeral flower before it disappears.

Whew. The faster I go? The further behind-er I get?

Jacob's Ladder 
5 17 2023

Devil's Urn aka: 
5 18 2023

Charlie with 'Wish Sticks'
aka Dandelion Seeds on him.
5 20 2023

Morning Dew
Garden Phlox
5 19 2023

 Wild Geraniums
5 20 2023

Sweet Cicely
5 20 2023

5 20 2023

Trillium with Pink!
5 20 2023

Ajuga which gets such an ugly common
5 22 2023

I fenced off my meadow to try some rotational grazing. It may work or be an exercise in futility. However leaving the girls in one section at a time has so far made each section look a bit nicer. The draw back is that I have to walk them into the area and then late in the afternoon, bring them back to the front pasture for their minerals and water.

[That walk is about a quarter of a mile through some woods and gates to the meadow. But the girls understand this routine and follow until they hit the meadow.]

So far it is working. I get a lot of running, kicking, and farting from the girls in the morning as I lead them to their spot for the day.

But they quickly get down to business.

I had to make a list of to do's for each day this week as I have 'so' much going on. Don't laugh Miss Merry, you have a crazy busy life!
I crossed out the most of the work for Wednesday so Charlie and I can take a break and head out to KVR in the early morning to walk a trail known for its woodland flowers.

I have to be nice and sociable sometime this weekend too. So I need my down time. 
Apparently, so do the girls.

Update: :(
I have to put off the hike. Seems like once you make plans and look forward to them, things get messed up. Though it is no one's fault. I'll just go I 'hope' on Saturday??? 

Have a wonderful day...