Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Super Sweet Sights...

Rain was predicted throughout the day but the thunder and downpour seemed to be over the valley and the sun was beckoning us after we finished lunch.  Our annual Pasque flower walk didn't happen on Easter weekend due to the extremely cold weather. Nothing new was poking its head through the earth that weekend.

Today the sun was warm but I knew where we were heading would require long sleeves due to buckthorn and blackberry brambles. I would have to deal with the heat to protect the ole body...

Anyhow  I have mentioned that it's still pretty brown here. The upside of the color brown makes it easier to spot color. The moss was in its heyday due to the extra moisture.

The first uphill walk of the season is always tough and those leg muscles were already screaming. Why after all that exercise are there still muscles that seem unused?  Ibuprofen might be my bud before night time.


The new growth is a beautiful chartreuse. The baby maiden hair fern were trying their best to get a start as the moss had a growth spurt. Who knew that the woods's fallen logs and trunks are nature's chia pets. Some of the stumps looked as if they were draped in green velvet.


As my eyes tended to be down, a very unusual bird sound like it was in distress made me look up. This 'ginormous' pair of woodpeckers flew off overhead. The bird call must have been their warning sign as we were entering their territory. You'll just have to believe me and my only proof was  the tree we soon came upon that they must have been working on. Come to think of it after seeing their work maybe they flew into town to have their beaks sharpened.  Look at the size of those holes. I have seen one pileated at the house maybe a year ago but never a pair. Maybe there will be baby pileated around this summer!


The real show stopper was yet to come as we approached where the Pasque Flower colony has been for some 30 years according to Natureman. Would we be too late?   Had the deer/rabbits made a meal out of them leaving only their stalks/ had the rain and cold done a number on this tiny plant?

These crocus are pretty resilient as they somehow grow right out of the limestone.



Looks like more will be joining them this weekend.  Look at the growth next to the ones in the pic above.

A cold front is heading in so I am glad that we got to see those blooming ones today because who knows what will be left of these petals after the predicted  hail. 

Aren't they sweet?

Whether they are alone/ hanging with a bud/ buddies, I think they are just perfect with their striated petals.








The rocks are spectacular planters decorated with stunning lichen this year.

 Like 'em lichen?

It was an exceptional visit to see the Pasque Flower this year. Thank goodness we beat the other creatures that like to frequent this area. 




You bet we are tired. That walk can tire any 'body' out...


AND Let's call a hike a hike right here in the
End of the Rainbow Valley...

Monday, April 29, 2013

Cart it ...

Still not green but working on it... Can you see the house ?
Yeah, yeah I know most of you are almost done with spring but it is just beginning for us. The End of the Rainbow Valley hasn't even really greened up yet.  BUT it is time to start removing some of that boring brown now. Spring sprung for 2 days in a row.  70 degrees has felt sooooo terrific.  And who cares if it's a bit windy despite the fact now everything is covered with pollen/ dust? It's better than that fireplace dust!

It was invigorating to be able to be outside working in the front garden.  I turned on the boom box ( yes we still have ours ) and started removing all  that winter interest. ( alias dead plants) AND there was a lot of winter interest to fill the cart!

Some birds had also added to the plantings by dropping blackberry seed and those are killers to remove. No matter what gloves I wear those bramble stickers get through. I finished about 3/4 of the beds filling the cart to the brim. Enough for one day for me.

That very same garden cart gets a good work out as Natureman uses it also for helping him clear out the barn. After the long winter all that dropped hay by the goats has made a carpet about a good foot deep.  The old barn's head clearance isn't that high to begin with so when you subtract a foot or so even short people have trouble standing up.  Anyhow in addition to the hay there is also the remains of that hay, if you catch my drift.  It's a lot of shoveling sh**.  Natureman has always said he has his own exercise club. This workout consists of filling and refilling the cart with numerous trips back and forth transferring all that hay stuff 'up' to the vegetable garden. This is more than a one day workout. For right now piles of the old hay are dumped and lining the perimeter of the garden.  Once the garden has been roto-tilled a couple times, the hay will be strewn as mulch and those old goat pellets will be great fertilizer. See 'everything' has a use.

We will still experience more cold according to the weathermen but this was a sweet reprieve.  Rain and cold are in the forecast this week. BUT this weekend was a nice gift of hopefully more sunshiny Spring days to come before summer is upon us. We're tired but it's a good tired...


Friday, April 26, 2013

Blacklisted?

Well I don't know how many have tried to get on my blog since my blog entry on our 'Latest Addition' but either FB / somebody spotted the word the usage of the word porn like when I was referring to 'tractor porn' on the computer and decided that entry must be NASTY.

Tractors do get nasty when they have been working in mud but I guess that is just part of their job. Natureman has been grading a bit and the drive is better coming in to the End of the Rainbow Valley. We had had lots of rain and some good river lets down the dirt drive.

I am supposed to get some tractor lessons. Now that should be pretty good entertainment for the weekend.

So if you want a tractor ride, you know where to come... We are just REAL exciting people.



Thursday, April 25, 2013

Advice of an Elder...

A wise 90 year gave this advice... Can you add to it?

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short – enjoy it.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye, but don't worry, God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative of dying                            young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you need.

42. The best is yet to come.

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sofa Time...

Last night I konked out on the sofa after dinner and the rest is history. I guess I was tired after little to no sleep the previous night. Apparently I wasn't alone Monday night as when I went on my computer to do some school work, a lot of you were also up at ungodly wee hours of the morning. I wonder what was in the air the night before last. Where is that moon in its cycle? Some people say it's old age and everybody's sleep pattern is changing... I may not sleep as much as Natureman but I still need sleep.

Anyhow I have lots of paperwork to edit and submit today besides an early observation. This work just gets in the way sometimes of being retired.  Hopefully we can all have some time to catch up on some sleep on our sofas.

Have a great day wherever you end up spending it...


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A New Addition ...

There's a new addition to the End of the Rainbow Valley...  It has to do with Natureman's addiction...  I have mentioned it before.  He's addicted to a specific kind of porn... for those that don't remember/ know,  I catch him  on line looking at pictures of  'tractors. '  Yes sirree Bob, tractors.



For as long as I have known him he has been searching Craig's List for a tractor.  If we lived on flat land I would say we would get our money's worth out of owning a tractor.  I'd also want to buy a new one that would cause us little to no maintenance issues. Well, that wasn't going to happen as Natureman  has been fixated on a Ford 9N for a long while. According to him 9 N parts are easily available and it's a very simple machine.  I also learned that Ford 9N's were the first tractor to use a 3 pt. hitch. This allowed farmers to easily use many attachments.

So  a week ago we went on a field trip to look at 2  9N Ford tractors that had been totally redone. Chains and a grader were included. The lights needed to be connected but the boys made a deal.

AND look at our newest End of the Rainbow Valley member...
                      

      Its birthday year is 1939 and will last FOREVER according to you know who.

Since everything has to have a purpose if it lives here, this tractor's jobs will include grading the road, gathering wood and pushing some snow around.

                      I think  a name is needed.   Any suggestions?                                

Monday, April 22, 2013

Color Brightening

You know how they put  brighteners in the tooth paste? Well I think Mother Nature does the same thing with birds at this time of year...


Mr. Cardinal's feather color seems to pop ...


 Their friends the gold finches have changed from their muddy tan into a vibrant yellow...and the chickadee's neutrals even appear starker. Ah, now I get it - Maybe the reason for all these grey skies is to insure we notice just how spectacular their color really is.


Have a great week my little chick a dees from the End of the Rainbow Valley...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Peepers...

 Earlier this month  I was perusing our home calendar's month's activities and  I came upon this curious entry in Natureman's handwriting...



It might be a bit difficult to decipher but it says " Spring peepers out or else!" I had to laugh because we tend to depend on Nature signals. 

Peepers for those that may have forgotten from previous spring posts are pond frogs whose distinctive croaking  fills spring nights out here in the End of the Rainbow Valley.

 Natureman hasn't had Mother Nature on his side lately but last night  as Natureman brought in another load of firewood to stoke the fire since we are expecting more cold and in between the blustery wind and chime noises there was the faint sound that almost sounded like crickets... Yes, it was the peepers. Little did they know that snow might be their welcome. 

I am still wondering about Natureman's or else?  I guess it's a good thing those peepers arrived in the same week of the prediction... Whew.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mud Season

You have heard me mention the sixth season here in Wisconsin. You know, Mud Season.  Wednesday it rained and I'll say poured most of the day for me as I travelled to the south of the state to observe a student intern. That's a lot of water. I noticed some mudslides along the route and I was leery of overflowing creeks as there have been flood warnings all week. Last week I showed you how high our creek bed was even though it subsided the next day.  After this rainfall I can assure you, the waters will  be up again...

All that water makes for some mighty soggy ground.  Unlike their English neighbors with their big ole heavy tractors, the Amish will be able to tackle their fields with their horse drawn hand plows a lot sooner .  
   


 And the fields are tired of being fallow. I hear them calling out, 'Where are our crops?'
The reality is that it's going to a while. Tractors are  heavy to say the least and for those that try to haul  soaking wet hay bales are probably going to suffer the same demise as Mr. Swanson's Oliver. Farmer Swanson said he is just going to have to leave the Oliver where it is and let Mother Nature do some drying  out...

Yep, Oliver might be there a while.


                                          What do you think?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Sunsets of Our Lives

River is open. People are fishing. People are riding bikes.  People are doing their spring cleaning. The garage  in the End of the Rainbow was cleaned. Rototiller, lawnmover, Miata all were started.  OK we are ready for spring, a time of renewal.

                            We took a late afternoon ride to enjoy the sunshine.




We never know how many sunsets we have left so we'd better enjoy each one...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Let There Be Peace on Earth...

For the senseless actions that ruined so many lives yesterday in Boston-
Rabbi Joe Black 's beautiful prayer:

A Prayer in the Aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombing

Our God who dwells in the highest heights and in the souls of our feet:
We find You in the passion of those who delight in testing and celebrating the power of their bodies:
·    The runners who push themselves to find new challenges in the rhythm of the road and the camaraderie of the race;
·    The doctors, medics, police, fire fighters and bystanders whose dedication to humanity drives them to run into the fray - towards the bruised and bloodied bodies in the streets.
On this day of destruction, we need to remember that the race is not for the swift[i]; there is no finish line for those who seek a better world.
Neither bombs, nor blood, not death, nor destruction can deter us from running, O God.
We run to You.
We run towards a vision of perfection that is always in our sights.
We run determined to never allow hatred to obscure Your presence.
We run to build a better world.
Be with those who have lost loved ones on this tragic day.
Send comfort and healing to the injured and the maimed.
Heal them – heal us all – body and soul – as we strive to find You.
Give us hope.
Help us to use our arms, our legs, our breath, our determination to unite in a common purpose.
In our grief may we find the strength to keep on running.

AMEN

...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPH4LRASWbo

And we shall pray and by our daily actions promote peace...

Monday, April 15, 2013

What's wrong with this picture?

Remember the game where you have to look at the picture and find what's wrong with it?

    OK, What's wrong with this picture of our driveway walk to the mailbox?




It's all right if you say nothing.  It's just we are tired of this cold beauty and yearn to see green because it is mid April.  Mother Nature is really pulling our leg.  Our daffodils and tulip leaves should have doubled in size by now.

                       OK now guess what color our dwarf Princess Spirea  is?

                                                 

Did you guess white?    


Actually if you answered white. You are right because it was this weekend 
but it's usually budding green by now and its summer blooms will be pink.

And what color is this Miscanthus grass's plumes?



Did  you guess white ?


YOU did, well you are right.  BUT all we can say is there's been way too much white this winter in the End of the Rainbow Valley.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Take a Walk or Maybe I do mean Hike...

Goose Island trail 
Funny how optimistic I was a week ago as we took our walk on Goose Island marvelling at how quickly the snow was melting and anticipating the ground becoming firmer beneath our feet within the week.

And speaking of feet, I always get the "Are those the shoes you're wearing?" from Natureman. AND I always respond, "Well  yeah, we are just walking, right? You asked me if I wanted to go on a walk, NOT a hike." OK people this is just to walk down our mile driveway to get the mail/ some fresh air.

But when I go for a walk elsewhere and especially at this time of the year, I don't like ruining good shoes and yet I hate pulling on the major hiking boots and lugging around more weight. I already have extra Winter Weight if you know what I mean. So I got me some new walking shoes. We don't go to the Mall often but the shoe store was pulling me in after a great lunch at Hu Hut that needed to be walked off. Lo and behold there was a sale pile of shoes with a pair of sturdy walking shoes calling me in my size no less and get this, they were Earth shoes.  OMG the last time I bought a pair of  Earth shoes I was in my 20's.  Of course they had to come home with me.  They got broken in last Friday.

On the left my comfy New  EARTH walking shoes  
It was a bit squishy in certain very shady areas but overall the ground was firm. And when we got to the area where we can look out at all the birds, look at what we found. Yep, this Mississippi backwater area which is usually a feeding spot for the many different birds was still frozen solid and not a bird to be seen. Those birds were smart, they were all on the other side of the island where there were moving waters.



Well it was disappointing not to see any feathered friends but it was a great day for an early spring walk especially since this Friday, can you guess?
               
                                                     Yes, it is snowing again.


Minnesota got it worse but we won't be heading to see the Art in Bloom in Milwaukee today.  How disappointing.  Sleet besides slushy snow is predicted and some treacherous driving conditions. Saturday is supposed to be decent.  Winter why don't you just take a HIKE?

                                                         Come on SPRING!


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Can I get out?

Some days are more difficult than others to leave home. You have heard me say that before.  Yesterday I had allowed an extra half an hour in case the roads were a bit rough whether that would be water/mud after an evening of thunder storms and hail.  Round the first bend of the drive was a downed elm. Not a branch but the tree. I really didn't have time to go back and get Natureman with the chainsaw.


So out I had to go in my school clothes and flats, tugging and pulling... heave ho - to move it out of the car's path. Even the broken chunks wouldn't be good to run over. There would be time later on  to make a call once I was closer to town to say, "CHAINSAW" emergency.

As I neared the creek the waters had risen and were overflowing. More rain and snow are anticipated and the cold may mean treacherous roads. Minor flooding is predicted in certain areas tomorrow but future rains may bring serious flooding. OY Mother Nature.


Icy weather's expected  as winter won't let go.  84 inches of snow has stressed our county's highway budget this year.  Luckily there's enough salt to get us through this storm but then early next winter may be a different story financially.

Well, I may need to stay put and not leave the End of the Rainbow Valley any time soon ...
 we shall see.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sweet Tooth...

YUM... microwave ONE chocolate chip cookie in a cup. This was so easy that I had to share it.

ONLY 8 STEPS

So this is what you will need. ( BTW I used a custard cup.)

1.  Melt    1 T butter in a cup.
2.  Add    1 T sugar and 2 T brown sugar, dash salt
3.  Stir in 3 drops vanilla,
4.  1 egg yolk,
5.  1/4 c flour &
6. 2 T chocolate chips
7. Bake in microwave 40-60 seconds.
8. Then make all gone.


Natureman was a very happy camper indeed right here in the End of the Rainbow Valley...

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Class Based...

                                                                                                                                                            There's one big addition to this Valley since Natureman's kids grew up here and that's the air presence of  cable  TV.  Last night this TV brought us a PBS documentary  THe House I live In...  Even though we are secluded here in the Valley we cannot escape the fact that we are part of  a society that has an enemy that is poor and racialized. We blame them for the immiseration we created and the social  pathologies of poverty.

Ironically this week around the world we commemorate the Holocaust, a dark time when Germany chose their 'enemies' as the Jews. Our Catholic University, Viterbo, will hold their annual Teaching the Holocaust Workshop for Educators and in conjunction, there will be a free and open to the public presentation sponsored also by the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics on Thursday, April 11 in the Fine Arts Center Main Theatre at 7pm. We will be there because we must remember. ZAHOR. We all need to remember...

"LA CROSSE, Wis. – Sam Harris, a child survivor of the Holocaust, will share his incredible story.
Harris was born Szlamek Rzeznik in Deblin, Poland. He was four years old when World War II began with the German invasion of his native country in 1939. Soon overcrowding, lack of food and medicine, and disease in the Deblin ghetto caused men, women, and children to die in the streets.
In 1942, Harris and his family were selected for deportation. During the chaos of the round up, Harris’ father pushed him out of line and told him to run and hide. Harris watched his family march to the railcars. He never saw them again.
The Deblin ghetto was converted to a concentration camp where Harris miraculously survived. Too young to work, he hid from the guards in the darkness of the barracks. 
In 1944, as the war approached, the Nazis moved the Jewish workers to the Czestochowa concentration camp. Upon arrival in the main camp, Sammy was lifted up, kissed and hugged, and passed overhead from hand to hand by each prisoner. The prisoners, many of whom had lost their own children, were overjoyed at seeing a child. 
Harris was liberated by the Russian army on Jan. 16, 1945. He eventually made his way to the United States and lived in a foster home in Chicago. He was adopted by Dr. Ellis and Harriett Harris in Northbrook, Ill. in 1948.
Today, Sam serves as president of the Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois and is leading the efforts to build a new Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. He continues to speak extensively on the local and state level about the lessons of the Holocaust and his experiences, which he described in his memoir Sammy: A Child Survivor of the Holocaust.



Monday, April 8, 2013

Signs...

My favorite sign just appeared on the street corners ' in town'  and then I saw a posting on FB.  It was time...

It was time for the:

 La Crosse Area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association (HMAA) and Hmong Cultural and Community Center (HCCC)  Eggroll  SALE.  AND that's not something you want to miss!




Natureman referred to it as the equivalent to the synagogue's corned beef sandwich sale.  The only difference is at least 50 some volunteers make thousands of eggrolls in for a two day sale 9 am - 6:30 pm at $1.50/eggroll / $15.00/ dozen.

As soon as I received the reminder I forwarded the info to a lot of my in town friends. You not only are getting a treat but helping fund some of their cultural center's programs.  You can pre-order and have your order awaiting your pick up / you can wait as your order is assembled.

You have a choice of either pork or vegetarian eggrolls which come with a hot/sweet 'n sour sauce. The best is to get yours when they are still warm like we did their last sale. We had our lunch of fresh eggrolls right there. How could you wait? This time we arrived after lunch and unfortunately they had run out of sweet sauce. BUMMER.   I do have to admit that the hot sauce had a good kick to it. Ay chihuahua it gave me Angelina Jolie's lips for the rest of the afternoon...

The other thing I can tell you is that they are so good that I awoke the next day craving more eggrolls. I am so glad that we have some stock piled right here in the End of the Rainbow Valley's freezer...

Friday, April 5, 2013

It's Tough...

As soon as things warm up the littlest bit, everyone wants to be outside.  And I mean everyone.. All the girls are enjoying the extra daylight as it's almost 7 pm.


Yep that white stuff is still snow on the ground. With 50 degree temps and rain as we had mid day, most of it should be melted by Monday. Of course there will still be some remains of the big snow piles .

The chickens are so happy to be free range and not all cooped up and they are enjoying foraging through the old garden beds.

For some reason they are comfortable sharing space with Romeo, our dog, which is another example of their trusting nature. First they let us pet them and then let the dog mingle among them. Go figure.


Anyhow, they are happy as clams and laying a lot of really nice sized eggs.

The cat Fluffy has been sunning herself and is changing her coat like the dog...



The goats are so happy to be able to be more social with the nicer surroundings and not have to deal with icy snow patches. Two of the goats are getting big as they are expecting in May so it won't be long until we will have 'kids' jumping around again in  the valley.



The happiest camper of all is Natureman. Who can be unhappy with sunshine, warmer temps and an afternoon cold bottle of beer on the front porch swing?
                                   It's been a long winter here in the End of Rainbow Valley.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Excuse me?

We were in the Twin Cities for a funeral yesterday and en route to the cemetery we passed this sign at a gun store. Why do you think Women is highlighted in RED?  It makes one wonder...



                                                                    Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Gimme Some Sugar..

The snow is melting and the sap is a'flowing.
The spring peepers will be out in 2 two weeks - BUT there is another sign of spring and it is the tapping of the maple trees...

In order for the trees to be tapped they have to go through a hard freeze. There was no problem this year for that to happen and the weather has cooperated staying  in the 40's,  The sap will flow between 3 and 4 weeks as long as the daytime temps are above freezing and the evenings are below freezing. The sap surprisingly looks like water. I assumed it would be yellowish like pine sap. 


When we were beginning our walk in lower Chaseburg the other day we noticed all these tapped trees and saw the sap being collected by 2 folks on an ATV as they poured the day's sap into a large plastic containers on the back of their vehicle .


Every day the buckets's contents are collected. I read somewhere that a tree is not supposed to have more that 3 taps.

The harvested sap has to be boiled down within a week to make the Maple syrup we know to put on our hot cakes. Some people cook it on an open pit, an outdoor grill, an indoor wood stove in long shallow pans or even in a fryer . While it's cooking down a lot of steam is produced.

It is a long arduous procedure. It will take 40-50 gallons to be boiled down to make one gallon of maple syrup. No wonder real maple syrup's  cost is so exorbitant.

Have you noticed that there are different colors of Maple Syrup?

Here's what I discovered.

Fancy Grade:  This syrup is the lightest in color with a mild delicate flavor. It is usually produced first in the spring when the temperatures are the coldest.


 Grade A Medium Amber: This is a great all purpose syrup and is generally the most popular. The flavor is slightly stronger than Fancy and the color a warm golden hue.

 Grade A Dark Amber: This syrup is darker than medium amber and has a full-bodied maple flavor. This can be used for cooking and to sweeten foods naturally.  Many enjoy this grade for a stronger maple flavor on pancakes, waffles, and ice cream.


We actually buy our syrup from the Amish up on the ridge. I will admit it doesn't taste at all like Aunt Jemima's and I am finally acquiring the taste of the 'REAL' stuff.  It's just another wonderful benefit of living out here in the End of the Rainbow Valley...



Tuesday, April 2, 2013

They're Back...

The Sand Hill Cranes are back and their calls can be heard echoing through the valley.   A group had gathered on my neighbor's frozen pond and I pulled over to catch them on film.  I don't think they expected to still have ice awaiting their return. Watching them closely were a pair of eagles who have returned to their nest across the field.


I didn't want to scare them so I didn't try to get too close.  Sandhill Cranes are the most abundant of the cranes with 8 subspecies so  there is variation in height and weight. This is the species that hang out in our coulee region. The immature birds are more brown and then they will molt and become more gray.

Height:  3-5 ft
Weight:  6.5-14 lbs
Wingspan: 5-6 ft.
Population: ~650,000

If you were here, you would hear these 3 calls:
contact call
unison call
guard call

We have a pair of cranes that return yearly to our section of the creek to do their mating dance. Here's what that dance will look like:

Crane's Mating Dance

I expect things will be hopping here in the End of the Rainbow Valley this spring as things heat up ... I sure hope that they never find themselves covered in oil like their feathered friends in Arkansas. They'd say NO to the Keystone pipeline... and for that matter they 'd say NO to Capstone X2020 too to protect our environment...

Monday, April 1, 2013

Let Go Old Man Winter...

Winter is letting go of its grip and we Northerners appreciate the arrival of Spring even more... It will take another good week  until the frost comes out of the ground but projected rains will help. In the meanwhile we will enjoy the transformation and the warmer temps to be outside as the Mud season begins...

One such winter beauty are the frozen waters behind our favorite local eatery and microbrewery, the Hideaway in Lower Chaseburg. The ice takes on a bluish hue with certain sunlight and is awesome.
 Some smart person rigged up lighting to illuminate these bluffs at night and it is spectacular. Someday I will have to have my camera with me to try capture this night spectacle. But meanwhile you can appreciate its daylight magnificence as Natureman admires it as it is starting to melt. You can hear the ice creaking ...









The Chaseburg snowmobile trail leads to the Hideaway and other  watering holes in addition to traversing the town's nature path. There are years where there isn't enough snow for the annual snowmobile days but it appears the path got more use this this year...

This Friday's outing included a meandering of Chaseburg's nature path. (I don't walk fast.) For such a small town we have a great walking path. Kudos to those that made that happen!

Its asphalt path beckons walkers, runners and dogs with their owners.  There are rules that dogs be leashed and picked up after. There are even trash receptacles along with plastic bags to clean up after pets. Somebody thought of everything just like the big city.

Anyhow the path runs behind the City Community building where there is presently a very wet baseball field, (it looks more like a wading pool),  a new pavilion and playground, winding by some prairie spaces which will be attracting lots of birds, butterflies and obviously bats with all the new bat houses.
bat house additions
There are bird houses placed on trees near the path for blue birds, owls and whoever else decides to take up residence. There was an immature eagle hanging out during our last visit.


Melting snow adding to Coon Creek
The path also runs alongside  Coon Creek which at present is swelling and running fast as the melting snow from adjoining fields adds to its waters.  As mesmerizing and impressive the rush of the runoff is, this means added pollution since field chemicals and manure waste is amidst that runoff. YUCKOLA.

Huge boulder rocks have been recently dumped in various locales to restabilize the banks to keep the creek in its place. Rock work still remains to be done this spring.

We passed a group of high school guys watching their buddy throwing in his fishing line. The young fisherman claimed 7  fish but since it's still catch and release time, they had all been thrown back. He felt really good about his day's luck.

There are benches sprinkled along the way to sit, rest and admire the surroundings. This particular recycled plastic bench was donated in memory of Cactus, the town's long time 'police' (town constable) for 30 years and his wife. When he retired, his police car was parked at the edge of town to get passerbys to slow down. It worked too. Every time I spotted it as I entered town, I would check my speedometer.  Cactus even lived on a street named after him...


So the sights are changing as the remaining brown vestiges from last fall will be replaced by lush green and we that live in this part of the world and especially in the End of Rainbow Valley can't wait...

Last year's Cattails