Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Getting Lucky?

Yesterday I mentioned being involved in the castration process of goat kids but didn't mention why besides it 's tough for one person to hold the kid still and do the procedure at the same time. It ensures against aggressiveness if you catch my drift... ( This is a G-rated blog)

The female goat it so happens has a 18-21 day cycle. It's pretty obvious when a doe is ovulating due to flagging (tail wagging) and 'boisterous' behavior. They just don't shut up... I am not pulling your leg, it's true. 

You might recognize the guy and the animal in the picture below. Yep that's Natureman carrying Mancha because she is going on a ride... Do note he's taking his car, not mine. I just wanted to point that out.
  

She looks pretty complacent, doesn't she? Do you think she has any clue what's going to happen besides the car ride to our friend Donna's farm where she will stay a good month? 

Natureman adjusts that plastic floor covering for his passenger.  

Do you have an idea? 

You see Mancha will be introduced to Donna's buck, Hef, (short for Hugh Hefner, the playboy magnate) and in five months by the end of May/ early June there could be the sound of little hooves here in the End of the Rainbow Valley...

I am pretty sure I heard Mancha humming I'm in the Mood for Love as the car drove out of the valley.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Goat Balls?

Castrated Blanco
You have heard how this transplanted suburbanite has been involved here in the End of the Rainbow Valley in   castrating our new goat kids each year, but those 'Goat Balls' are not the ones I am referring to today...

We knew it would eventually happen - Blanco and Mancha, our kid goats, have stopped nursing so we have an abundance of goat's milk. I, like most folk, was raised on cow's milk and goat milk just has a 'distinct' taste. Natureman would argue that it's the cow's milk that tastes 'funky.'  Anyhow, he can only drink so much goat milk in his coffee, so what does one do when drinking goat milk is not your thing? Make cheese. You see it takes a lot of milk to make a batch of cheese and that is one product we do now have in the throes of winter.

So this past week I made a delicious manicotti as our homemade goat cheese is just the right texture for stuffing.  But as soon as I used up a batch of cheese, we had another.  What to do with this next batch?

Lo and behold arriving in my email while in quandry, my Arkansas Master Gardener mentor and friend, Janet, who also happens to be quite an adventuresome cook,  posted an appetizer recipe using goat cheese of all things. What perfect timing as the kids(human ones) were coming for lunch and we also had a potluck to attend the next day.

This recipe is super easy and there weren't any leftovers out of the 4 dozen grapes and 3 dozen olives. 
I have a feeling you will like this one. 

You'll need:
  
goat cheese  (about 12 oz)
cream cheese (4 oz )
cracked pepper
grapes/olives ( 3-4 dozen each)
pistachio nuts / pecans coursely chopped

As suggested, I blended some cream cheese with the goat cheese in the food processor, adding cracked pepper to taste. (cheese's already salty)



Place a tablespoon of cheese mixture on your hand, patting it down, top flattened cheese with grape/olive and blanket it. 



Roll in palms to cover entire grape/olive surface with cheese.
(OK I couldn't roll it and take the picture.)

Then roll cheese ball in chopped nuts to coat surface. I actually was able to shake it around in a shallow container.

After I had already made them, Janet added a note about waiting to roll them in the nuts until the day needed as the nuts might soften... Now she tells me. :)



Refrigerate. That's it.  

Since some people prefer salty and sweet (grapes) versus the just the salty (olives) I rolled the two in different nuts to distinguish them.


The pistachio covered grapes pictured here on the left were a bit more colorful than the olives in the walnuts.

You probably notice some missing... Well come on, doesn't the cook have to have a taste test? 

* The real appetizer name is Goat Truffles. Wink, wink.

Friday, December 27, 2013

FOTO FRIDAY


FOTO FRIDAY: The week's topic is 'mailboxes' because this is one time of the year  we really look forward to seeing what's inside. 

You can also share what's inside if you wish... 


Play along and submit a 'mailbox' photo. You can either message me on FB, attach it/ download it with this FB posting  /attach it on an email.



Our 'cool' mailbox in End of the Rainbow Valley is very special because it also swims. You can see it's been through a lot.  During both the 500 yr ('07) and 100 yr floods, it was  washed downstream in Coon Creek and both times found by neighbors. They just don't make them like they used to...

Jennifer adds her mailbox's story...


Our mailbox is mounted on a steel I-beam (by previous owner) and has survived being hit by the garbage truck and the snowplow!  The mailbox did not fare so well...



Colleen writes: We replaced our original mailbox this past summer, just couldn't toss it, so we gave it a new home for the birds.









To enjoy last week's submissions of an animal spotted, click on this link: Animals in My Life

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Puzzled?

Look what Natureman found on the game shelf... 


Oh boy, an unopened puzzle from who knows when. I think I was hiding it intentionally because it has 1,000 pieces. 
But it's open now and will probably keep us busy into the New Year.  Natureman even brought in an extra table to use for this wintertime endeavor.

Day 1 wasn't super productive as we flipped over all the pieces and separated out the border pieces and assembled them.

Day 1- 2 pieces hiding from the border?
Not a whole heck of a lot of progress made on day 2 either...

Sky is completed but not much else.

Doing puzzles brings back memories of 20 years of winter vacations in Ft. Myers, Florida where in between pool time and excursions, I'd walk over to the club house, bring back books to read and puzzles to do.  When Aunt Bert (now 98) would visit at the same time, I loved working on those puzzles with her. Her eyesight's failing now but she's still living in her own home and still as sharp as a tack.  'Puzzling' how  memories are sparked by just working on a puzzle some 20 years later in the End of the Rainbow Valley in the cold of winter...

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Vell, Vhat did you think Vee Did on Christmas?

There's nary a year that goes by that I am not asked what Jewish people do on Christmas. In fact, this year our Rabbi sent out an email saying that a local reporter wanted to interview congregants. She's writing a piece on what people do on Christmas and I guess didn't want to omit the Jews. I don't know what people think we are supposed to do...

You know I can't speak for every Jew but I can tell you what my family does and what a whole lot of other Jewish people do because I have seen them doing what we are doing.

Here have been my family's 3 Christmas possibilities throughout the years:

1. go to the movies
2. go eat Chinese
3. get together with other Jews.

I have included a link to why the Jews eat Chinese on Christmas besides the fact that Chinese restaurants are about the only places open, it's an interesting read from Tablet Magazine ...  Click on the link..

Why eating Chinese on Christmas is a Jewish American Tradition?

"The Hebrew year is 5774 and the Chinese year is 4710. That must mean, the joke goes, that against all odds the Jews went without Chinese food for 1,064 years."

This year Natureman and I went to the movies (Saving Mr. Banks) on Christmas Eve and will spend Christmas day with Jewish friends. I wonder if they'll serve Chinese???

I have to admit we Jews used to have the movie theaters and Chinese restaurants all to ourselves.  Now the times are a'changing and our Christian community is also there ...The parking lots were filled. 

I thought there was no place 'like home' for the Holidays. Hmm, maybe that's why that reporter was writing that article.

Oh VELL, Have a very Merry Christmas with those you love no matter what you are doing...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Old School Variety Show

In the old days before television, computers and DVDs , friends and family used to gather 'round and entertain each other with stories and music.  In that vein thanks to Michael Scott the Old School Variety Show lives again in La Crosse and also emulates the Radio Shows of yesteryear.

The  historic locale adds to the ambience as the show takes place in one of the cities 23 old brothels where in the old days $5 bought you a beer and a ... you know, it was a brothel. Well, the entertainment has changed but it is certainly worth the $15.00 ticket. Unrehearsed, the show begins at 8 has an intermission and lasts a good 2 hours.

Last month we experienced wonderful entertainment with Michael Scott MC'ing comedy and
Terri

Ken
using famous voices in his story telling including Garrison Keillor and there was more great story telling by both the Visgers , Terri spinning family and folklore
Adam
while husband Ken shared the Armistice Day Storm story. It was ironic to hear Ken's version as earlier that very week my friend Diane had read my blog entry re: the storm and asked if I had ever heard Ken Visger tell the story. She was right, it sure was a treat. Then there was music of course. A band made up of a judge, lawyer, principal and retired teacher, The Wrecks, played in addition to a family friend Adam Palm and his 'infamous' rendition of Alice's Restaurant. University performing arts student  Colleen Schultz reenacted 2 of her powerful audition monologues.

This Satuday's December's show had a sold out performance with Michael  MC'ing, Rabbi Prombaum telling a story about matchmaking and another about a popular Madison professor,  2 members of the band 'Far Out' played some Rock n' Roll and the amazing harmonizing Mother-Daughter duo, Beth and Lexie Lakmann, sang seasonal and emotional selections. This month's UW-L theatre graduate was Jeff Sherin.
December night's line up...
'Can't wait til January 18th , next month's show. You should definitely put this one on your calendar.
Tickets will be available at the People's Co-op and McCaffrey's Coffee Shop. We definitely have a lot of talent in this city and I am certainly looking forward to experiencing it...

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Gift of Education

Some days you certainly can't expect the stories that will come your way and Thursday was one of those days. I spent  the day with my friend Jean, a retired UW-L History professor.  Don't worry Jean I won't divulge our private conversations... LOL.
Jean
Anyhow, we had a full day of running around- appointments, lunch, some shopping and as usual a lot of catching up...

Our last activity of the day was attending the University Foundation's Holiday Tea with me as Jean's guest.

Ms Frances Young ( far right) is 98 years young. 
What Jean neglected to mention was this event was for the Emeritus group and I was one of the few spring chickens there. I have to admit I felt a bit awkward not having put in the same time as these educators but was honored to be among such  UW-L treasures.

Chancellor Gow dropped in to thank the guests and also introduced one attendee with a 'very' special story. You see this gentleman's father-in-law, Ernest "Ernie" Hanson grew up literally dirt poor on a farm in Viroqua. Unable to find a job as a male teacher after graduating from Vernon County Normal School, one day in 1934 he hitchhiked  into La Crosse and walked into the UW-L's Main Hall, La Crosse State Teachers College at that time, asking to speak to the President. (no Chancellor in those days)  The young man spoke of his desire to attend university for two years and then go to Madison to finish, followed by Law School. The President impressed with his ambitiousness, asked him how much money he had. The young Mr. Hanson reached into his pocket and pulled out ...10 whole dollars. President Snodgrass accepted the money, informed his staff to do whatever necessary to help Mr. Hanson fulfill his dreams, enrolling him right then and there.  Mr. Hanson proceeded to wash windows, dishes/ do whatever odd jobs necessary to work off his education both in La Crosse and then Madison. 



After finishing law school in Madison, "Ernie" Hanson returned to La Crosse where  after a 6 mo. apprenticeship in a local firm, made partner and served 65 years.


The Hanson family  established the ERNEST O. AND GRACE W. HANSON SCHOLARSHIP FUND in 2012 to help other western Wisconsin rural youth with limited resources enroll in pre-law education. 

You've got to admit that's one great story...



Friday, December 20, 2013

Foto Friday:Animals in Your Life



This Foto Friday let's  see who'd like to post a photo of an animal you saw recently. Provide a caption for your entry.



Remember you just need to click on comments on FB and the camera icon to download your pic. I'll take it from there.

My pic is of Henrietta the Hen who has chosen to nest inside the house thanks to Natureman.


She has a way of lighting up a room even if she's relatively shy and quiet.  OK the truth is , she never says anything and she's our only chicken that hasn't molted.

From Florida snowbird Cheryl states these little guys are all over the place. Geckos rule.

Colleen added this bright eyed and bushy tailed creature from earlier this year. He does have a look of  "What are you looking at?"


Arkansas friend Jama spotted 2 mature Trumpeter Swans and a yearling the gray one with orange spotted beak...


Couchsurfer friend Pete from Ohio graces my FB each day with his beautiful photography. Here he's captured a feathered friend with a poignant caption.


"Sometimes the world looks new and unique if you see it from a different perspective."
                               Isn't that the truth?



FOTO FRIDAY: WINTER WONDERLAND  Link to last week's  submissions

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bird Dung?

The best part of Holidays are the traditions we hand down through the years. The funny thing is many times we don't stop to consider their origins/why we do them. Since I used to teach second language learners, I used to learn a lot about cultural traditions which I in turn passed on to my students. 

Today I received more insight into the seasonal use of the 'infamous' mistletoe. To be perfectly honest I never saw my Mommy kissing Santa under the mistletoe but I will pass on this succinct article. Thanks to Martha Lou for sharing her find and Google for all the images.

You will be quite the conversationalist should the topic of mistletoe be broached this holiday season. Read on... 

8 Fun Facts About Mistletoe
 from the Humble Gardener.com 


"Mistletoe is a mysterious plant. It shows up once a year, in December, florists and nurseries selling it in bulk. We pick up a sprig, hang it above a doorway, and voilĂ -- instant Christmas romance! But what are the origins of this seasonal plant associated with smooching? When and why did the Christmas kissing tradition start?  Now that we think about it, there are a whole lot of unanswered questions when it comes to mistletoe. Curious gardeners, fear not! The Humble Gardener is demystifying mistletoe with a line-up of fun facts just in time for December 25.


1. Nature's gift to wildlife. Mistletoe berries provide a protein-rich meal to many kinds of animals. Bees flock to mistletoe for pollen and nectar, and birds stop by to nibble and collect nesting material. Just don't get tempted into tasting 
mistletoe yourself --
it's toxic to humans! 


2. So many varieties! There are more than 1,300 mistletoe species out there, but American mistletoe is the one we all associate with holiday cheer.

3. Thief of the tree. The scientific name for mistletoe is Phoradendron, which in Greek means "thief of the tree." Why is mistletoe blamed for stealing? Because it's known to mooch from host trees, sucking out nutrients and using them to kickstart photosynthesis. In some parts of the world mistletoe is even considered a sort of weed! It's strong enough to wipe out a host tree or bush by robbing it of all its vital nutrients. 

4. Icky name origins. Psst-- don't mention this to your sweetheart as you go in for the kiss. It turns out mistletoe get its name from bird dung. That's because a primary way this plant has proliferated is through bird droppings. The old Anglo-Saxon word "mistel" means dung, and "tan" means twig. Hence, dung twig!  

5. Climate conscious. Mistletoe mainly takes root in tropical and temperate zones. Of the 1,300 species, only two are 
native to the U.S.: American mistletoe and dwarf mistletoe.

6. Sacred plant. Celtic history tells us the Druids considered mistletoe precious. They coveted it for its supposed medicinal and supernatural powers. Throughout history mistletoe has also been prized as an aphrodisiac and fertility herb.

7. The story behind the smooching. We can trace the custom of kissing under mistletoe back to Norse mythology. Though the exact details of the story vary, the tale relates that the mistletoe plant was initially used as a weapon only to become a symbol of love. Similarly, an old Scandinavian tradition holds that two hunters meeting in the woods and standing under this plant must drop their weapons until the next day. Mistletoe, through the years, became a symbol of peace and eventually romantic love. 

8. Forgotten American traditions.  Writer Washington Irving recounts the custom of hanging mistletoe in Christmas Eve. He writes, "The mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and kitchens at Christmas, and the young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked the privilege ceases." If you want to get in touch with this antiquated tradition, try pulling off a berry for each kiss under your mistletoe. 
Or not-- mistletoe loses some of its beauty without 
that extra splash of color from its fruit!"

Anyhoo, maybe next time you hear a version of I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus, you'll conjure up an entirely different picture. Oooh bird dung...

The Jackson Five's Version of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

It's the Small Unexpected Gifts... Ho, Ho, Ho

Today I was the beneficiary of a really nice surprise. After running a couple of afternoon errands, I ended up at the  Starbucks drive thru since a warm drink seemed like a really good idea. I still had some credit on a gift card and it actually would be just enough for a Chai tea... 

The person in front of me was taking a really long time. But hey I'm retired, I've got time. When I finally arrived at the window and tried to hand the barrista my card, he wouldn't accept it. He said, "the lady in front paid the bill." "Seriously?" I exclaimed with doubt. He nodded adding that the person in front of her had paid for her sizable bill so she paid for the next three customers. Wow. My lucky day a free cup of Chai...

Transition: lead in for my mug story. You know coffee place, mug/cup of coffee/chai... Bear with me.

Anyhow did you ever realize you have collections of stuff even when you weren't even consciously collecting. Well, every day when I open up the kitchen cabinet that holds the coffee mugs, they threaten to jump out due to limited space. It's just a matter of time. OK so I decided today's the day-  Time to free up some shelf space. 

One of the sources of these numerous mugs is due to my membership to the Milwaukee Museum of Art who gifts their members an annual mug. They are beautiful nice size mugs.

Do you recognize these Masters's works? 

Starting at the top Munter's "Portrait of a Young Woman," Eastman Johnson's "The Old Stage Coach," Toulousse Lautrec's "At the Moulin Rouge," Lichtenstein's "Crying Girl," Paul Klee's "Hot Blooded Girl" and Abbott Handerson Thayer's "An Angel".

These 'like new' mugs are not chipped nor cracked but they need a new home. So would any you know anyone that could use any of these? 

If so, let me know because they could be yours. Much more fun knowing to whose home they are going... 

Yea, one task checked off that End of the Rainbow Valley 'to do' list... Hey don't forget to pass it on.

* Update: all of the mugs have found a new home... :)



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hot Chili Chocolate Ice Cream?

You know it's not just independent book stores that have a tough time surviving but farmers can suffer the same demise... 


Not long ago we were at the Mall and while Natureman was finalizing his eyeglass purchase, I ventured out into the Mall and noticed a new addition, a holiday kiosk for Nordic Creamery, a locally run business actually closer to us in the End of the Rainbow Valley than the city's northside Mall. Of course as long as I was in the Mall, I patronized them purchasing some feta, a 7 yr old cheddar and the infamous Wisconsin cheese curds. You know, buy local!

The friendly salesclerk told me that they also have a salesroom at the creamery. Aha...












Perfect field trip op to head westward to Westby, home of Nordic  Creamery, only some 20 minutes from home to learn more about the business and buy more cheese.

It turns out the Bekkum-Langaard family originally settled in this Norwegian area in the early 1900's. The fertile coulee guaranteed rich pastureland for their cows. 

In the creamery you can observe the process through a window besides purchasing award winning cheeses/butter and their grass fed beef in addition to other local products. (Amish supply the 'goat' milk bringing it in in metal milk cans no less. )

AND Nordic Creamery also has yummy homemade ice cream. I tried the "Hot Chili Chocolate". Talk about warming up on a snowy day!

At the time of our visit there were 3 on site employees, one in the salesroom and 2 in the creamery, one handling the machinery and the other busy hand packing butter. I included their you tube link under the butter pic I took...
Butter making link for Nordic Creamery
Nordic Creamery store is a relatively new addition to the family dairy business, approximately 2 years old, although the proprietor, Al Bekkum has been an award winning cheesemaker for about 25 years. Business is bustling this week especially with holiday orders and about 200 gift boxes of artisan cheeses and butter expected to be Fed Exed daily. It appears that the Bekkums will have a nice legacy as there is always the possibility of their 6 offspring wanting to go into the family business...


So when you need a special Wisconsin treat and you can't just stop in, I'd suggest you check out their website and order some artisan butter and cheeses. You won't be sorry... Keep our farmers in business...
Nordic Creamery's Website 

Monday, December 16, 2013

It's a Small, Small World...

Remember ' You've Got Mail' with Meg Ryan as a small book store owner competing with the big chain book store that certainly couldn't deliver the same charm and personal customer service? Well these little book stores are a dying breed although one still exists on Main Street in the small town of Viroqua. It's called Brambles Bookstore. It's cozy and inviting and does more than just selling books since it serves as a book club meeting place in addition to having guest authors... 

Thursday night was one such occasion. Milwaukee's first Poet Laureate has made the Coulee Region his second home. Why? He's a fisherman who built a seasonal home near Mt. Zion. As it has gotten too cold to fish it was time to close up this second abode and since he was en route to the Twin Cities he graciously offered a book reading/signing at Brambles to a full house. When the group was thanked for coming out on such a cold winter's night, someone jokingly called out that the store had 'heat.' They might not have been kidding as there are many alternative lifestyles in Viroqua and I bet not all include electric heat.

Anyhow the resident poet was none other than John Koethe.

 Below you'll find some of his illustrious accomplishments.   Maybe you have read some of his work... 

A philosopher by training this poet would be the last to say that his writing is philosophical nor intentionally political. He writes for himself/ so he says, not for an audience albeit he does have a piece called 'For an Audience.'  


For me selections read from rotc Kills spoke the loudest of a time when young college students received degrees graduating and entering the military as FNG(excuse the terminology- Fucking New Guy) with Second Lieutenant status and making very grownup decisions still wet behind the ears. We were at war in Viet Nam. Kids were being trained on our campuses.

Most of the work read was maudlin, whether it's Sally's Hair (link of author reading.)/ the lyrics of his poem of his Bean House,Coulee home:

"Diane christened it the Bean House,
Since everything in it came straight from an 
L.L. Bean Home catalog. It looks out upon two
Meadows separated by a stand of trees, and at night,
When the heat begins to dissipate and the stars
Become visible in the uncontaminated sky,
I like to sit here on the deck, listening to the music
Wafting from the inside through the sliding patio doors,
Listening to the music in my head. It's what I do:
The days go by, the days remain the same, dwindling
Down to a precious few as I try to write my name
In the book of passing days, the book of water. Some
Days I go fishing, usually unsuccessfully, casting
Gently across a small stream that flows along beneath
Some overhanging trees or through a field of cows.
Call it late bucolic: this morning I awoke to rain
And a late spring chill, with water dripping from the
Eaves, the apple trees, the pergola down the hill.
No fishing today, as I await the summation
Of my interrupted eclogue, waiting on the rain
And rhythms of the world for the music to resume,
As indeed it does: all things end eventually,
No matter how permanent they seem, no matter how
Desperately you want them to remain. And now the sun
Comes out once more, and life becomes sweet again,
Sweet and familiar, on the verge of summer."
-
In between the readings there was discussion and bio info as he referred to his undergrad training at Princeton and Ph.D at Harvard. The latter in '68 about the same time as a cousin - in-law of Natureman. Surely the 2 guys would know each other being in a program that maybe had 5 students. And  of course he remembered Ron, the cousin, and didn't know what became of him since they haven't touched base since the late 60's. Well ain't it a small world? Now that's poetry to the ear...

" Tell Ron to contact me through UW- Milwaukee, " said John.
It's a Small World click on link...

In 2011, Koethe received a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and 
Letters and his Ninety-fifth Street (Harper Perennial, 2009) won the 2010 Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets. He has published numerous books of poetry, including North Point North: New and Selected Poems (Harper Perennial, 2003), which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; The Constructor (Harper Perennial, 1999); Falling Water (Harper Perennial, 1997), which won the Kingsley Tufts Award; Domes (Columbia University Press, 1974), which won the Frank O'Hara Award for Poetry; and Blue Vents (Audit/Poetry, 1968).
    -

* By all means patronize Susan's Bramble Bookstore.                     bramblebooksellers@yahoo.com

Friday, December 13, 2013

FOTO FRIDAY

Wow already Foto Friday? 

Some weeks certainly seem to go very quickly.

I don't know about you but weather has been the main topic of conversation all week. Unusual sightings of snow no less were sent in last week from places like Arkansas and Texas.  We here in western Wisconsin have had highs of 0.  Not many places have been spared the frigid air except for Florida. Go ahead and gloat you snowbirds who managed to escape this cold.

It's this 'cold' that makes this week's FOTO FRIDAY pic from the End of the Rainbow Valley

The Tractor
WHY?  Natureman as you know finally got his 'dream' tractor named appropriately 'The Tractor' which he insisted would be the answer for hauling wood, grading the road and snow removal.  It did haul wood this summer and graded rain drenched road gulleys but how was this 1939 tractor going to perform in extreme and I mean extreme cold. He parked his Baby next to the garage reasoning that it would be super difficult to navigate it out of the old barn doors with snow in front of them. I could just envision 'The Tractor' being a permanent winter sculpture stuck in this house parking spot. I was not happy.

Well, we got our first substantial snow Sunday and Monday came with its minus temps and sure enough as promised Natureman bundled up to tackle chores. (Who knew he even had long underwear ?!)  The sound of a very 'weak' engine trying to start could be heard from my kitchen window washing spot. A good 10 minutes worth of trying. The man was going to freeze sitting out there on that metal seat. It was all I could do to keep from sticking my head out and saying 'I told you so.'  But hey, it was too cold to even lose house heat to open the door. Then there was quiet. Dead silence followed by the sound of the garage door opening and shutting and opening again. Natureman reappeared with  an orange extension cord in hand, plugging it into The Tractor's side. Before you knew it, she was recharged, purring and both were on their way.  

Hmm, it's not often I have to eat 'unsaid' words, oh me of little faith.

From the Middle East come the first pic...
 My high school buddy Karan sent this pic from Egypt...

Egyptian Streets sent by High School friend Karan who commented on 'sleet' today.For the first time in recent history, it has snowed in Cairo! With freezing temperatures across Egypt, New Cairo, Alexandria, and parts of the Sinai all witnessed snow fall this morning and yesterday. [Photo from Madinaty, New Cairo via @i3atf)

This come in from nephew Avi-Natan who's in Israel.

Friend Pinque from Colorado let me choose my favorite cold picture of hers this week which is not an easy task bc I like all of her daily photography... I feel cold when I look at this one, how bout you? And it's just the beginning of Winter.




Here's a link to last week's additions...
last FOTO FRIDAY

 Looking forward to see what the Net brings our blog way.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Healing Arts

You know how you can be in the right place at the right time sometimes? Well that happened to me again at one of our hospitals, Gundersen Lutheran where I was going in for an appointment.  They have a program in their main waiting area on the first floor that has this sign.


One entire wall of the space consists of windows so the light is really spectacular. There is a grand player piano that usually entertains those passing through / enjoying a sweet from the coffee shop at one end with tables although there are numerous seating possibilities.

The last event I happened upon was an art show showcasing items entered by employees. One usually never knows people's hidden talents and hobbies. Well I was fortunate to see all the wonderful craftmanship. Viewers could place a vote for their favorite piece. Below are a couple of my favorites...



The gorgeous workmanship of both was breathtaking.

I am pretty sure the 17 foot kayak made of cedar, basswood, cherry and ash crafted by a gentleman in Enviromental Services won the People's Choice Award.

It was a treat. Well this time when I was walking through there setting up were 3 harpists. I was a tad early for my appointment so I stopped to listen and this a little of what I heard is in a link below at the end of the entry.  I needed to leave for my appointment but it was nice to see aides rolling patients down to listen to the holiday music. Then upon my return stroll, I heard singing coming from the area and there was the UW-L  Choral Union with 4 familiar faces from different parts of my life in La Crosse, my former head of department and her husband, a fellow congregant and someone I know from Dance Club.


 The Chorale sounded great and their audience had grown since the harpists.

I did a bit of investigating to discover the 'Healing Arts' program has been in existence for 5 years and is spear-headed by Service Excellance which concerns itself with the total patient experience. Community volunteers provide a variety of entertainment especially during the entire month of December from school performing arts,  brass  and wind ensembles, to even programming for the Hospital employees Childcare group. Patients/ their guests don't stay long but I am sure they appreciate the arts coming to them.

 I am happy to know the hospital provides this possibility for both their employees and their patients and hey that I was able to enjoy it too. It just goes to show timing is everything...

Here's the link I promised: Healing Arts Harpists