Sunday, April 30, 2023

LaCrosse, Mississippi, and flooding


The above photo is from Riverside Park in LaCrosse WI. This little statue of the kids and the puppy waving to the boats on the river is something I always stop and admire when walking along here. This photo was taken in August of 2021 when I was getting new tires on my 'Ru.

There is a platform that goes right to the Mississippi's edge here below that statues.

Well not this week!

I shot this with the long lens because they had barricades up around the park. The 'Ru needed new brakes. Charlie and I went for a nice long walk while they were working on it.

People were going around the barricades to look at the water up close and personal...Not me!

After all that water had trees in it, and other gunk. It was swirling so hard that even the lone duck that was there had a hard time keeping afloat.

The bench I usually stop and sit at to people watch down in front of me? Well...

The damage isn't bad at the park at all, after all, the park is used to high water. However the neighborhoods near the river are/were getting their homes flooded. Below is a photo of Cass Street Bridge.

Those are river houses and boats out by Pettibone or Simmons Island. I have no idea how they stay in place.

This is a shot of the building at Pettibone Park across the way. I've never been here yet, but it is on my list of places to explore.

On my way back to the dealership with Charlie, I had to stop and read another funny saying on the sidewalk.  I don't know why these are in LaCrosse but they are! Silly sayings here and there!

It says:

The turtles in the trees
say please sing louder.
Swimming eagles eating cheese
curds and watch the sky for flying
cows driven by cats licking
ice cream. Ants line up at the libraries.

A child tells an adult.
The concrete beneath my feet
is alive with wild ideas
begging my shoes for a ride.

~Matt Cashion

I leave you with that to interpret any way you want. But I love this little ditty. It speaks volumes to me.
Don't ever lose sight of your imagination!

LaCrosse re did several sidewalks and embedded poetry and dance step instructions! What a fun way to celebrate walking through their city!

Saturday, April 29, 2023

That Hurt!

In December we had a heavy wet snowfall that dropped a huge section of a Boxelder across part of the summer pasture electric fence. 
I have my woodland pastures fenced off in rotating sections so I needed to get most of the wood off the fence or at least cut so I could fence around it.

First, I put up a temporary hot wire to keep my critters from wandering down into the area I haven't pulled burdock from. It would drive my hubby crazy to see how I made the zig zag fence through the upper woods. He is a straight line fencing type of guy. Not me!

Crappy photo of a small portion of upper fencing. I had to go around some multiflora rose bushes I intend to cut down yet and some of last year's burdock.
The red line is my one line hot wire.
Thankfully, the mules are very cautious about the hot wire and will not go near it.

There is a perimeter fence way down in the woods, so if they did go through this, they'd still remain within our fenced land.

I also need to replace a lot of insulators way back in the woods. Over the winter, the deer are pretty hard on them. 
Once upon a time, our old pony mule would scoot under any hot wire fence and go where he wanted to. He also went to the line fence and jump the 4 strand barbed wire to graze on the neighbor's land. When he was satisfied, he'd jump back over to our side and join his buddies.

Here is an example of Opal who was our other champion jumping mule taking a short cut from our neighbor's land over our line fence. This was in 2007. She was State Champion Jumping Mule for mules under 14 hands in 2002.

She was an incredible animal.

Annnyyywaayyyy, back to my self induced painful wreck. I take full credit for it.

This large section of tree was down on the fence. So I took my machete and my reciprocating saw and got to work on clearing the small branches and piling them. 
I did a great job and eventually I was down to the large pieces.

I cut a V shape into the largest limb and thought I should leave it for another day. However it was just one piece. If I tugged on it this way and that, surely it would crack and break.

So I set to tugging. In the back of my head, I thought: If this lets go with all the pressure I have on it...

It didn't, so I gave it another go and really pulled backwards with my teeth gritted and a cuss word on my lips. I didn't want to walk away without the job done.


And suddenly I realized that I was going backwards down a small incline. I guess I really figured it out when the world suddenly went upside down. I guess I tucked and rolled. 

After I landed, I didn't move. 

Hmmm. Since no one was looking I decided to assess the damages. The appendages moved without pain. So I considered how stupid my move was for a few moments. I stood up and picked up the offending limb and tossed it on the brush pile.

By the time I walked back to the house with my tools, my upper back ached and I was getting a very light headache. 

I learned a lesson. Next time, barter for some chainsaw work from one of the neighbors.
However...the fence is now free of branches!

Friday was a day of NO hand sawing and no hard labor. 

PS- I checked out okay.

Friday, April 28, 2023

The 9 - 10 Trail Deep Dive.


Okay, there was no diving at all. Just some more in depth exploring at one of the spots that interested me last year when Bill and I hiked this short trail.

I wanted to go and see if the field of Bluebells was blooming yet. I found them last year.


They were up and there were hundreds of them in several patches, but the blossoms were still closed tightly. Last year they were in full bloom by May 14th. [I checked when I got home.]

I was slightly disappointed, but took the opportunity to follow a faint trail along the river. 

I wanted to see some places I didn't have time to explore last year. The beauty of doing the trail challenge is to see all the trails and then go back and admire the parts you like best.
Since the flowers weren't showing off, I decided to enjoy the river and its bluffs in that area.

I like this bluff, it is typical of the bluffs along the river but this one is easily assessable by a deer trail in the spring and fall. One has to dodge the spikes of prickly ash, but it isn't a hard hike.

I had to take photos of it in color and in Infrared B&W because it is so stunning.
The IR B&W reads anything green or with chlorophyll as white. The rocks and water remain dark as they are not reflecting the IR spectrum back to the camera.

I made my way to the top of the bluff and enjoyed the view.

I decided to follow another steep trail off the bluff and head down into the lowlands. If I skirted the marshy area, I could stay close to the bluff and stay dry.

Below the bluff on the other side:
Video 12 seconds ~

The marshy area behind me:
25 seconds with peepers!
If you hear a tiny bell, that is Charlie who wears a cat bell with his tags.

The marshy area was chock full of Bluebell plants and Skunk Cabbage sprouting up everywhere. In the distance the geese were raising their voices. 

The other side of the bluff in color and then in IR:

Charlie and I spent most of our time exploring this spot. 

We then headed back up on the trail and finished it off.

On our way back to the parking area, we stopped and skirted another low land marshy area.

Back at Landing 10, we stopped and sat on the canoe ramp for a bit relishing the river noises.

Along the Kickapoo in IR 665nm.

that was
the end of our little/big adventure.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Duck Egg

 Wait ~ Whut??

What is a Duck Egg?
Silly, it is an Equestrian and Hiking County Park in Vernon County!

Photo from Vernon County Website

There is a lower Duck Egg and and Upper Duck Egg. It is a 707 acre piece of property with a flood control dam for the Springville Branch of the Bad Axe River. More reading about it at our Vernon County Land and Water Conservation Site ~ here: Duck Egg.

Our county has a few parks like this which makes our area pretty unique. We love our streams and rivers [trout fisherman like them too]. The streams and rivers over many years have caused floods and dams were built to lessen the risk.

Our parks are free and have trails that are beautiful to enjoy. Generally I visit Duck Egg in the spring and the fall. In the spring, the lower Duck Egg trail presents with so many of the first spring flowers. They are right alongside the trail and are easy to find.

I have ridden all the equestrian trails back in the day and would like to explore hiking them in the future. Here are some shots from a previous post in 2020 where I recap our history of riding and exploring Duck Egg.

The equine trails are kept up by riding clubs which I find amazing. The lower trail must have once been a road as it is wide and mostly flat with some places where it is muddy. 

Recently a group of volunteers added hand rails to the foot bridges over the Bad Axe. I think it was a nice touch even though the lack of hand rails never bothered me.

The equine trail through a the river on the side of the bridge. The crossings are solid with no surprises.

Charlie and I just went for a walk from the parking area to the pond and back. I wanted to see what was blooming after our crazy weather last week.

We were not disappointed.

Blood Root

Dutchman's Breeches



I am always so surprised and pleased to see this one spot of wood anemones that literally blankets the forest floor. It is simply stunning.

I'll have to make a trip back this weekend if the weather is good as the area with Virginia Bluebells had plants just emerging.

Charlie and I crossed the second footbridge and walked to the pond. 

We went out to the Bad Axe and climbed out to the large rock that resides in the middle of the fast flowing water. 

A few years ago, a friend of mine brought their young dog who jumped off the bridge into the fast flowing stream. The dog was swept away in the current but made it safely to the bank about 50 feet downstream after both the dog and owner panicked.

Charlie won't jump into the stream. He is old enough now to know better and he has an aversion to deep water anyway.

We scouted out a deer trail and went up along the river to a spot I hadn't explored before.

One of the signs along Lower Duck Egg. It always makes me laugh and tilt my head. I think they are working on replacing it. It used to have a map showing where the Loggers Trail met up with the Duck Egg Trail. 

Charlie and I followed the path worn down by trout fisher-persons along the Springville/Bad Axe branch back to the parking area after we crossed the bridge.

I've got so many good memories of hiking this very trail with Mr. Morris over the years hunting spring flowers and fall colors. I can't help but think of that each time I go. This park is also the place that hubby and I rode frequently on our mules during the last years we rode together.

I don't know why it is called Duck Egg. I've done a search on it and never got an answer. The park is reviewed over and over by fly fishermen and trout fisherpersons as a wonderful place to go.

Me? I just like it for a nice easy walk on the lower portion. If I want a strenuous hike I do the 4 mile loop that gives you and ascent of 709 feet from the dam to the top of the ridge. Duck Egg valley is steep!

Duck Egg and I have been friends for many years...

Morris on the foot bridge in 2014:

Sunday, April 23, 2023

To the Big Spring and Back


Friday's first order of business was to clear out some Iris plants and make sure the Mini Split that will be installed later is not crowded out by flowers and leaves.

These I'll take up to Olive's house. I think it will be the third time I've split up Iris plants and spread them out to other folks.

The morning was cold but there was sunshine. I jetted out the door with Charlie at 10AM to enjoy the morning sunlight. The winds were howling on the ridge so we headed down to the valley and followed the creek.

I wanted to see if any more Marshmarigolds had opened up. The only place I knew that they grew in all of the 600+ acres of woods was this one large warm spring.

I did find Virginia Beauties with their flowers still closed tight, but they had sprung back up after the heavy snow.

It is a 20 minute hike to the Big Springs if you hurry. There is no trail other than places where deer and other forest creatures have gone. Sometimes we just walk in the stream. I was pleased to see the bright yellow of the Cowslips when I came around to the spring.

There weren't as many of them as I was hoping for. I suppose that is due to the cold temps after the heat wave. Nights are near freezing and days have been chilly. Most of the time the moisture comes in a mix of sleet and rain.
But for the morning we had sunshine and we took advantage of it.

You know I had to bring something fun
A Dinosaur !

This little character is Grogu
from the Mandalorian series.

We headed back towards home as I promised to make a nice lunch of some sort. I couldn't help but stop and take a shot of how the Skunk Cabbage had changed.
They were opening their large leaves.

Maypoles were appearing in inconspicuous places. Once the leaves open and spread out they are obvious.

By the time we got back to where I first spotted the Virginia Pinks, they had opened their petals to the sunlight.

Charlie was so patient with me. He has become such a great Photography Assistant. 

The photo that pleased me the most on our quest for Marshmarigolds? This one, with the sparkles coming off the spring's water. Everything worked out just right on this shot.

As soon as we got home, the clouds moved in and it alternated once again with sleety snowy rain and bone chilling temperatures.

I sure hope Spring eventually comes.

I spent all day Saturday fencing in more snow, sleet, and bursts of sunshine. But I have a new pen up for Lil' Richard to enjoy. 

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Rainy day fun with Still Life


Teddy Bear Garden Club

With two days of darkness and dreariness filled with rain and well, gloom...I decided to mess around with --- toys of all things! Surprise!

I had to be quiet because the other half was Mr. Sleepy Head. I did chores of course along with transplanting Bee Balm plants that were emerging. They are so hardy and tough. I knew with the rain, it might be a good time to move things [in between showers].

I decided to clean up my old camera and hired a crew to do that while I swept the house for Charlie hair.

Kidding of course. I decided to take advantage of the low light coming in from the east and south windows. It wasn't harsh, but perfect for Still Life.

You don't need much room to 'make' a scene.

Clean up Crew

What it looked like before I put up a tea towel...

"Oh no Chuck, we need some eye drops! Can
you get the top off?"

These are HO Scale pieces and they don't like to stand up on their own very well. Viola! Some Elmer's Glue works very well. This wipes off easily and works wonders! It goes on purple and fades to clear.

It is amazing what happens to a creative person when she gets bored from being quiet around the house. 

I got out the kid blocks and a little light and set them up on my 'play' table.  For special effects I put the camera on a timer and simply used a face mister for fog and water in a spray bottle for rain.

With almost no edits, I got these photos of this little Lego figure:


Upped the blacks and....decreased
the color...

I even tried making Frank the Trooper float, and that failed miserably. I used a fishing line to suspend him and tried the following. He kept swinging around and nothing worked out for me.

I went back to what worked before and added a filter to the light.



I added some contrast and a used brush that comes with ON1. It is supposed to be a comet, but I thought it looked like a blast from a blast. The 'rain' is from the spritzer.

Friday morning we had sunlight! It was cold and windy...but Charlie and I adventured down into the valley to the Big Spring.

More about that...

Today it is snowing again.