Friday, February 28, 2014


It's been an icy week with a lot of different kinds of accidents so I'm calling this week's Foto Friday: Oopsies. Friends wiping out on ice. Some on foot, some in their vehicles. Ice can be very tricky. Some icy areas are more obvious than others. 

Our driveway hills for example look like someone turned on a hose and let it run while the temps plummeted. In fact, one morning I found the highway road that connects us to the next little town blocked by fire engines and was directed onto a small country road detour.  The fireman told me no one was hurt in the accident but the front end of the new big truck didn't look so good.  It couldn't be driven off, that's for sure. Any how I was not real excited by the detour as it would mean a less trafficked, icier road. I was told "to go slow." No kidding. I did go slowly along the curvy bumpy back roads and was glad to not meet anyone else along the way.  Clear sailing once I got to the main highway.

Anyhow upon my return, I checked out the accident's damage. The guard rail had prevented the truck from sliding right into Coon Creek. Thank heavens this guard rail did its job and no one was hurt. Some oopsies are bigger than others... 

Here's a huge oopsie Little Rock bud Kaye shared from KARK Channel 4. Freezing rain covered Little Rock like snow and 2 semis jackknifed leaving a big oopsie.

Another Arkansas caught sunrise of their ice storm day as he left home with 400 lbs of sand in his truck bed. WTG Mark!

Queen of the RV had a painful oopsie playing Pickle Ball in warmer Florida and did serious injury to her toe nail. Eegads that looks like ... never mind.  (warning: graphic image follows)

DO you have a photo of an oopsie you'd like to share? Send it my way and I'll add it.  Be safe. Winter's not over yet.

To see last week's additions click here :FOTO FRIDAY: S' NO EFFECTS

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bird's Eye and Not the Vegetables...

Two years ago in March we had unseasonably warm weather with 70 degree days which is not going to be the case this year. In fact, the sub below zero temps have returned with such a vengeance that we are remaining the frozen tundra not only here in the back of the End of the Rainbow Valley but also in town where wet snow on streets that didn't get removed fast enough also turned to ice and that thick ice layer is not going away anytime fast.

With the icy snow covered ground the poor birds are having quite a time finding food which makes it all the more important to keep feeders full, definitely a daily chore. I don't think I mentioned   we've probably gone through about 5 bags, about 250 pounds of sunflower seed and we can't even tell you how many pounds of suet. ( Maybe 10?) 

So it shouldn't come as any surprise that the larger birds of prey are also hungry. Our neighborhood's pair of eagles have been staying closer to the road. A cooper's hawk recently tried to pick off a smaller bird at one of our feeders scaring the bejeebies out of me as he brushed the window. 

Then on my return from town today as I was making the last turn of the 'driveway' before reaching the house, a red tail hawl came flying right at me. That wind span always leaves me in awe but as I continued rounding  the curve another red tail lifted off in the other direction.  There lying  on the road was their dinner/ the remains of what they had been feasting on, a squirrel. Another one bites the dust / should I say has been put on ice?  Hey, it's the law of survival of the fittest. I just hope there's still enough smaller critters so we humans don't start looking like tender morsels...

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Longevity ... One Can Only Hope

'Ya know how people always say how they don't make things like they used to ? They were telling the truth. 

Case in point: When an electric skillet bit the dust after 22 years,  (an appliance that I use a lot) I went out and purchased a new one.  That second one barely lasted 4 years, was replaced and the next one didn't even last that long.

Fortunately for me Natureman brought a "vintage" electric fry pan to the relationship and 12 years later, both are still working, the skillet and the relation-ship. Almost every time Natureman notices I'm using the skillet, he comments that it never got used so much. 

OK, so where's this going?

Well, there's also a saying that bad things happen in 3's and sure enough this past month 3 small appliances/ their parts decided they had lived long enough. 

First, it was the old Waring Blender glass container that cracked all the way down, then the 36 yr old Cuisinart lid's lip broke off, followed by the 38 yr old electric Sunbeam mixer's motor going up in smoke.  

What to do?  Does one chuck the entire appliance / replace the part since they just don't make them like they used to ? Well in today's world one can go to the internet, do some research,  price replacements and comparison shop. 

Shopping on line is especially convenient since we live in the End of the Rainbow Valley, an hour away from Sears, Target/ any other mall department store.  

In the case of the mixer, I had always coveted the Kitchen Aid mixer so this was a chance to replace my old Sunbeam and as for the other appliance parts, some cost more than buying a brand new appliance. BUT wait, their motors still worked and one mustn't forget e-bay. . . AND there on e-bay, I found everything. I lucked out as some vendors even had free shipping so within a week all the new parts and a super duper mixer have arrived.

Look, I'm not the only one ecstatic, even the kitchen fairy's happy.
 Kitchenaid Mixmaster replaces old Sunbeam mixer

 That's one monster of a mixer, I can only hope she lasts as long as the one she's replacing... Long live the KitchenAid.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Roll On...

I'm not referring to deodorant with the phrase "Roll On."  Reality is that constituents have been organizing and decided to be a presence at the site of yet another private meeting. This meeting was between a Minnesota congressman on the Transportation committee, local mayors and HAZMAT (First Responders)  and perhaps railroad people across the river in Winona, Minnesota's City Hall. The conversation was assumed to discuss both safety and possible oil spills/explosions. There has been a recent uproar regarding rail accidents this past year. 

poster made by yours truly...
Concern reigns due to the impropriety of an elected official meeting privately rather than in a public forum to discuss community public safety.  Representatives of different organizations met with local media to give voice to the importance of transparency of  public officials.  Natureman was there representing a grassroots organization C.A.R.S.( Citizens Acting for Rail Safety) and was interviewed.

An open letter to the Minnesota Representative will appear in the Winona News asking for a joint listening session with the Wisconsin Representative as environmental issues cross political boundaries of the Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge. Demands will include reduction of rural rail speed to 40mph for Bakken crude oil, 30mph in urban areas and adjacent waterway tracks, a 40 car maximum vs their present 100 and phasing out of unsafe DOT-111 tank cars replacing with new safer models, monies needed from benefitted private sector to train personnel and provide equipment to combat possible accidents and lastly, an increase of federal and state rail line inspectors.

Ya see, even back here in the End of the Rainbow Valley we are politically and socially engaged. The trains will continue to roll on but we can all be agents of change as to how they are rolling...

Monday, February 24, 2014

Have I Got a Story for You...

This past Saturday morning I participated in something I haven't really done since elementary school, "Show and Tell." 

It was a delightful 2 hours spent in a coffee shop seated with a table of strangers brought together by my friend Sue, a historian, who obviously knows everybody has a story. 
 This group of retired teachers, writers, librarian, school secretary and archivist  shared mostly family stories sometimes accompanied by a personal memento. Items that evoked memories included a bottle opener, rosary, doll, glasses,rotary dial telephone,  gourd pot, mandolin, gold Coca Cola bottle, bandana, Arabia dishware and of course photos. With each touching story we learned a little bit about its owner and by the end of the 2 hours we really weren't strangers anymore.

Show and Tell's success insured it becoming a monthly event. It was so well received that both the Historic Society and the Storyteller Guild might both like to make recordings of individual stories. Sue's even going to be busy applying for a grant to record people's personal stories in this same format at the upcoming Storyteller's Festival.

*Without permission I didn't think it proper to share any individual's story.  But here's a link to a song that a 6 yr old shared the last time at a Show and Tell at school, almost  sixty years later we all agreed who shouldn't have been sent home for singing this ditty... Admiral's Daughter by Ruth Wallis. What do you think?

Friday, February 21, 2014


FOTO FRIDAY can be anything you'd like to share.  I am very enthralled with snow sliding off metal roofs. Our barn has a metal roof and sometimes you can hear a really loud noise as an entire snowy section cascades off. Add an unusual warm up and that motion can change like this week. 

Remember I posted the scalloped effect of my neighbor's snowy garage roof back in January? 

Well I just happened to pass at the right moment this week and look how the roof snow looked as I turned the bend.

By the time I returned later in the day and the temps had reached an unbelievable 42 degrees, it had all slipped off.  

FB friend Laurie posted this and humor might be our best tool to survive this winter.

Laura a friend from high school, an accomplished artist and photographer posted an"Anemone decacapelis," common name Wind Flower, blooming at present in Texas just a bit bigger than her  thumbnail. .We won't see color for another a good two months unless we go to a green house.

Pine Island

Cheryl's RV is still parked in Ft Myers but Cheryl and hubby have been giving their bikes a work out. This pic is from their Pine Island jaunt. Quite picturesque I'd say... 

As they used to say a definite Kodak moment... Send me some of yours. You know the drill, just attach it in an email/message on FB. 

Happy Friday!  I think we'll be stuck here in the End of the Rainbow Valley a while as that sleety snow rain yesterday made a sheet of ice on the drive. Yep, it's certainly a crazy winter. 

Last week's FOTO FRIDAY:Sweetheart Link

Thursday, February 20, 2014

You Know it's Bad When...

No kidding... this is how bad this storm is expected to be... 

Special weather statement for Thursday Feb. 20: Campus to close at noon

Feb. 19, 2014
Dear students and colleagues:
Due to forecasts for heavy snow beginning Thursday, Feb. 20, in the early afternoon we are closing our campus at noon. All afternoon and evening classes are cancelled and business offices will be closed. The University will continue to provide essential services such as police, facilities and dining. Please note that all classes and regular operations will be held before noon, and classes that are scheduled to run past 12 p.m. should end at noon.
Please take care during this dangerous storm. We plan to be back to normal operations and classes on Friday.
Joe Gow, Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

A campus rarely closes. This is what's expected to force a campus to close: a really bad blizzard.  Starting Thursday am:  Snow (6-9") intermixed with sleet, thunderstorms during the afternoon and more snow predicted in addition to 45mph winds in the next 24 hours. By the time it's all over Friday, a whole foot of snow could have been dumped. OK recap snow, ice, rain on top, more snow and wind. Translated:A real mess.

We shall see.  But I guarantee you one thing we will be staying put back here in the End of the Rainbow Valley until this blizzard has passed.

In case you need some reading for the day here are links to 2  entries from this past week that barely got viewed... Was it the pictures/ the title that didn't intrigue you?
Jump Baby, Jump

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

1 Can of Soup =1 Yacht

Netflix afforded us the opportunity to view a film that hasn't made it to our area by Robert Reich, a man short in stature but with very big ideas regarding inequality.
Reich's documentary certainly poised a passionate argument for the middle class in "Inequality for All."

Here's one fact listed on this film's site:


"That’s literally true. For every one dollar of assets owned by the typical single black or Hispanic woman, a member of the Forbes 400 has over forty million dollars.
Minority families once had substantial equity in their homes, but after Wall Street caused the housing crash, median wealth fell 66% for Hispanic households and 53% for black households. Now the average single black or Hispanic woman has about $100 in net worth. "

No matter what political bend you are, we are all in this country together and seeing this flick helps to understand what is going on economically and why. Invite your friends see it with you.  I never studied economics but it doesn't take an economist to figure out that something has gone terribly wrong in the middle class family's bank account. 

Reich takes us through the semester course he teaches at Stanford University with his standing room lecture hall, packed chock-full of our future generation of leaders, businessmen and community members. I sure hope they were listening all semester so they can help us back on the path to become the best middle class in the world. 

Thumbs up for a very important flick.

Here's a link for the trailer: Inequality for All

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


There were many one room school houses throughout rural areas and the Chaseburg area was no different. That stone school building in upper Chaseburg, posted in another entry, wasn't the only school. 

Tree planted by Jimmy and Della's Dad as a student at ValleyView
 I've come to learn there was a school just down the road from us (maybe a mile and a half from the End of the Rainbow Valley) In fact, it was our neighbor Jimmy's parents who purchased the Valley View school house along with its outhouse in 1960.  In fact, Jimmy's father, Gary, went to that very one room school house himself and sometimes would 'catch a ride on the back of Angeline Dummer's bike. As a student he helped plant the big pine that still stands in front of it today. The building sits on the corner of the Old Stoddard Road and 162 where Jimmy and his bride now reside in the family home. In the 9th grade Gary went to Westby for high school as his children followed suit and as do high school kids still do.  

Anyhow Jimmy's sister, Della, knows her folks remodelled once they moved in and even remembers floor holes left by the removal of the bolted down desks. It makes one wonder why they had to bolt them down!?  Anyhow, old desks and other school stuff could be found behind their home in the old ditch. 

Chaseburg Elementary School.
Busing began in 1962 as the new Chaseburg Elementary school building was built on the village outskirts after consolidating the village school with five rural schools; Cliffside, Clawson, Linrud, Lepke and Valley View into the Westby School District. The new school housed preschool through eighth grade with an enrollment of 149 students. 

Della tells of  her brother and her riding their bikes in warm weather to attend this elementary school. In ninth grade, students would then take the hour bus trip to Westby for high school.  

Natureman's boys both also attended elementary school here with his eldest having the same10 classmates throughout his entire schooling through 8th grade. Eventually this building became a middle school (5-8) with the elementary school aged children bused to Coon Valley until before its closing when it was changed to grades 3-6.  

There had always been talk of moving the school closer to the heart of the district but it was budgetary issues, specifically the cost of busing  which ultimately forced the school's bittersweet permanent closing after 34 years. 

Della adds, " We were lucky to have had wonderful teachers (and bus drivers) that always put the kids best interest first! "

In June 2006 a reunion picnic took place as area residents visited Chaseburg's School for the last time. The building was sold to the city for a $1 and put back on the market for $425,000 when it was sold in 2010 to CROPP- Corporate Regions of Organic Producers Pools- You've heard of Organic Valley, right? In 2011 the property and grounds were then annexed to the Village of Chaseburg. 

And so goes the demise of rural schools... it's just very expensive to bus.  It wasn't just the trains that couldn't continue to exist through towns like Chaseburg...

Did you miss the rural route train 
entry :Choo Choo

Monday, February 17, 2014

Jump Baby, Jump

Now there's one winter activity that Natureman and I have yet to see and that activity takes place in rural Westby about half an hour from the End of the Rainbow Valley

Dregne's window display...
And what pray tell is this activity?  It's the Timber Coulee Snowflake Ski Jumping Tournament where many Olympic hopefuls come to compete. 

 I would have forgotten all about the Ski Jump weekend except when we were en route to Viroqua, there on Main Street Westby in the Norwegian gift shop's window display was a miniature replica of the infamous ski jump.   
Side view of the replica

Had we missed it?  I googled it and sure enough we had. But I learned that it just recently became a coed sport. There was a recording of a ski jumping family where the father had been ski jumping for 40 years and his sons had continued the love of the sport.
His daughter was not going to be left out and in order to compete would tuck her hair under a cap so no one knew she was a girl. Now she doesn't have to...

Well any how 150 participants partook in jumping the five jumps in the Timber Coulee of 10, 20, 40 and 60 and its 118 meter Olympic sized hill. The competition annually takes place the last weekend in January and has the best ski jumpers both nationally and internationally. 

Usually large crowds are in attendance and this year's extreme cold couldn't keep the spectators away for its 91st Annual Tournament.  Hey, this is Wisconsin,  Wisconsinites can handle the frozen tundra and aficionados abound. A friend's daughter tells how she climbed the stairway to the top of the jump and by the time she arrived, her beer was frozen. That's cold.

This year the top of the hill was icy which made for faster conditions which the jumpers prefer. No matter what condition of the natural snowfall, volunteers  spend countless hours preparing and grooming the hills. They can always use volunteers if you're interested/ maybe ski jumping is on your bucket list. Not me, I 'll stick to spectator status.

If you'd like to see a snippet click here for this year's event :West Ski Jump 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

FOTO FRIDAY: Sweetheart

Valentine Friday what a perfect opportunity for you to submit a Valentine photo...

This one grew in our vegetable garden last summer.  I should have expected it as Natureman puts his heart into it. 

What a sweet heart! 
A Sweet Heart?

Lori's Valentine's Day

Daughter Lori shared a Valentine pic with us from her celebratory weekend. There were also heart shaped pancakes... 
Paige's roses
Jazzerbuddy Paige received a surprise with some roses delivered by her hubby. 

To see last week's entries which you will enjoy...
Click here:Unusual Sight

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Creek Tragedies Do Happen...

The most recent snowfall had stopped and Natureman had decided to go snowshoeing to go get the mail and our dog Romeo had accompanied him. 

Either the creek trail was a bit too deep in snow for Romeo/ he had just picked up a scent, our dog opted to go down a steep bank to run on the frozen creek.  He was out of sight when Natureman heard pitiful whimpering.  Romeo must have hit a spot where apparently a fast current ran under the ice and had fallen through. He was frantically trying to hold on to the edge of the opening with his front paws, only to have more ice break away.  Natureman got down the embankment as fast as his snowshoes would allow and then inched his way towards a floundering Romeo, distributing his weight while moving towards the hole so as to not join Romeo in the freezing water.  All that was out of the opening was Romeo's head and front paws so Natureman grabbed one paw first to get a hold and then the other as he pulled Romeo onto the ice.

The dog was so petrified that instead of following Natureman back up the bank, he scurried back along his previous creek tracks as Natureman yelled after him to come back.  Eventually, a shaken Romeo rejoined him on the path.

It was about this time I drove down our road and saw the boys.  Romeo ran up to greet me at the car door and as I patted him, I noticed his wet coat with ice forming on it. It was then that Natureman related the heroic rescue.

I immediately opened the back car door for Romeo to jump in and put the heat on high. He looked so distressed.  Heck I was distressed and I wasn't even there...  

Fortunately today a tragedy was averted thanks to Natureman and there was a happy ending, thank G-d.  A snow covered frozen creek that looks so beautiful can be so treacherous. The reality is I could have lost both of them. This was one of those days when there was just way too much excitement in the End of the Rainbow Valley...

Romeo warming himself by the wood stove

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Choo Choo

Now you are probably thinking that I am going to write about those terrible oil tankers but actually this is another glimpse into Chaseburg's 'past' specifically the railroad and its importance to small towns as they needed better access to La Crosse, the city in order to not only buy supplies but also market their goods...

One of my neighbors, Della, whose family land borders ours remembers her grandparents talking about the train that came through Chaseburg. "Grandma and Grandpa would tell us stories about the "Hobos" that would stop at their farm and offer to do odd jobs in exchange for a meal (Grandma was a good cook) or to sleep in the barn/ hay loft. It must have brought a lot interesting characters through the area!" As a kid Della discovered the train bed along the creek. 

Originally there were two different railroads servicing the area, the Burlington route through Stoddard and the Milwaukee Road that came  through Viroqua and Westby and then Chaseburg.  People complained of lousy scheduling which would require an overnight in La Crosse besides high tariffs for businesses.

Chaseburg's wood frame depot
The La Crosse Board of Trade was convinced by a C. J. Smith, in 1902 of the Vernon County agricultural prosperity (Chaseburg's tobacco crop,  daily 2,000 lbs of freight ) and the supply and demand of these neighboring towns and the advantageousness of an electric railroad connecting these consumers. La Crosse businessmen filed incorporation papers and the small towns were anxious to grant the necessary franchises. Elevators were proposed, Chaseburg's was   the only one built. 
1906 Chaseburg
Eventually the La Crosse and Southeastern Railroad answered the needs to connect La Crosse and these smaller towns in 1905 with 2 trips daily; a  morning schedule of leaving Viroqua at 5am, Westby 5:40, Coon Valley, 6:40 Chaseburg at 7, Stoddard at 7:20 connecting with Chicago, Burlington and Quincy train at 7:41 arriving La Crosse at 8:09.  The two lines competed heavily with each other in having the fastest freight service. South Eastern lost the postal route.

 A new turntable was installed since Chaseburg ended up being the end of the line with connections to Westby 2-3x/wk.

After WWII trains were erratic and the electric rail service lasted until 1933.   Goodbye to the Rail service through many small towns... In 1945 the Chaseburg depot was removed.

Many years later a bike route was proposed to use those old railroad beds which unfortunately Chaseburg opted not to be pursue due to expense. That bike trail would have indeed brought some tourism into Chaseburg.  We could have picked it up right here from End of the Rainbow Valley but that was just not in the cards...  

* credit for photos and info gathered by Sharon K Twinde in her publication of the History of Chaseburg 2013

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sweet little Buttercup... oh I mean Butternut

You know what we need when it's so cold out?  We need a food that 's going to warm our bones and SOUP will certainly do the trick. It warmed us here in the frozen tundra of the End of the Rainbow Valley and I am sure it will warm you too.

As you can see we had  a bumper crop of Butternut Squash this year -


One  Butternut Squash Soup a la Mediterranean coming up...    

You'll need:

2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 med onion, chopped
1 med carrot, peeled and sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces (7-8 c) 
6 c vegetarian stock
1-15 oz chickpeas drained and rinsed / Northern beans
1 t cumin
½ t turmeric
¼ t cinnamon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne if you like a kick
2-3 c  spinach leaves
¼ c parsley

1/2 baguette, sliced diagonally  1/2-inch thick slices
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
2 T chopped fresh sage leaves
1 c (2 ounces) grated fontina cheese
Kosher salt

In 8-quart stockpot, add butter and oil, melting  over medium-high heat.
Add onion & carrot, cook, stirring occasionally, until onion’s soft, 5 min. 
Stir in garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 sec.
Add squash and stock.
Bring mixture to boil add beans/chick peas
Add spices - cumin, turmeric and cinnamon
Continue to boil until vegetables are tender, about 20 min.
Add spinach stir 2 min to wilt

 Turn down heat but keep soup warm over low heat.

For the crostini: Put oven rack in center of oven.
 Preheat oven to 400  F. 
Arrange bread slices on baking sheet.
 Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sage. 
Sprinkle  cheese on top and season with salt, to taste. 
Bake until cheese melted and bread is light golden, about 6 to 8 min.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls
 Garnish with cheese crostini and sprinkle with parsley.

You should feel warmer.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Reflections of Ebony

Reflections of Ebony guest speaker Civil Rights activist, Dr. Sonnie Hereford III, had been left sitting all by himself at his dinner table so I joined him until the evening's festivities would begin and his table of organizers would return.  I wasn't sure if maybe he was relishing a couple of quiet minutes ... but what ensued was perhaps 'serendipity.' 

 I introduced myself and initiated the conversation regarding his schedule. Mayo was next on his speaking engagements and then home to Huntsville, Alabama.  He brought up the weather as he had never been anywhere colder than 5 degrees in his 83 years. I laughed and shared I would never get used to the cold as I was raised in the South. Dr. Hereford inquired as to where and I spoke of my childhood home in Little Rock, Arkansas and my brothers going to Central High School (infamous landmark of 1957 desegregation). I spoke of the beautiful Visitor Center of Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site  and what a treasure it was. What he stated next gave me purpose as he said he really would really like the opportunity to go to Little Rock and speak at Central High School.  Hence I will be very busy in the next week, contacting the necessary bodies to insure this can happen... 

(L)Dr. Sonnie Hereford III and Thomas Harris
You see, what Dr. Hereford is doing is "bearing witness." Through his retelling of what he, his family and many other communities lived through during the Civil Rights era makes listeners witness of a witness. These personal stories are of a tumultuous times of racism. He was, born the son of a share-cropper and Baptist minister, one of the few black community physicians ('56) and the father of the first African American admitted to an all white elementary school in Huntsville, Alabama. 

Dr. Hereford lived through times of daily 'less than equal' occurrences which he spoke of within the educational and hospital system, voter registration, wages, TV portrayal of African Americans. He spoke of sit-ins, protest marches and walk-outs. AND he also spoke of change... He mentioned his surprise to me of an incident while he was out of Alabama in 1954, passed a football field and saw for the first time white and black boys playing football together. He couldn't believe his eyes.    

How can a person live through this and not be angry? This Civil rights activist 'wants to live now without vengeance, without anger.'  Sights of black faces alongside whites in professions of policemen, firemen, lawyers are comforting although there is still work to be done.

The Doctor's  prescription: handing off the baton to others to continue on the path to liberty and equality.

The soul food dinner was delish -
but it was the program of 'Fight of Our Lives and the Joy of Perseverance' that really fed  my soul...

"A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true." MLK

Friday, February 7, 2014

FOTO FRIDAY: Unusual Sighting...

This week our topic will be "Unusual Sighting" as my inspiration came to me at a stop light in downtown La Crosse today. 

There sitting across the street atop an electrical box was this item... So random!

How 'bout coming up with a caption for this pic in addition to sending me one of your unusual sightings?

Cheryl says there's a lot of unusual in Florida. Perhaps if any of her modes of transportation fail she can always go by horse.

Arkansan Kaye posted this pic from her work window onto the parking lot before the next snow/ice storm hits. It looks like some of the Polar Vortex is leaking into the South...
Laying in wait... Be prepared .

 Marti saw this strange sight walking down the street. She worried whether I would post it.   Wow, it must really be cold in Vegas too. He's wearing gloves and boots.  Captions welcome for all entries...

To see last week's  FOTO FRIDAY home front pics click :
 On the Home Front

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Honor the Earth... It's the Only One We Got

Some people have important messages to impart and Winona La Duke, an American Indian  activist is one of those. Schooled at Harvard as an economist, she also was on the Green Party ticket as Vice President with Ralph Nader.  

Ms LaDuke of Anishinaabe descent chose to move back to live on her people's land in White Earth, Minnesota and is now the director of Honor the Earth and White Earth Land Recovery Project.  UW-L's Campus Climate invited this environmentalist and economist to speak to us about what we as a Nation are doing to our land and what we can do about it, Agency.  It is us who controls the future as to whether we have contaminated water, food and home security. 

“One of our people in the Native community said the difference between white people and Indians is that Indian people know they are oppressed but don’t feel powerless. White people don’t feel oppressed, but feel powerless. Deconstruct that disempowerment. Part of the mythology that they’ve been teaching you is that you have no power. Power is not brute force and money; power is in your spirit. Power is in your soul. It is what your ancestors, your old people gave you. Power is in the earth; it is in your relationship to the earth.” 
― Winona LaDuke 

Ms LaDuke spent this fall making an important video  which is truly worth 7 minutes of your time. Here's the link. 

Horse riders follow the Keystone Pipeline routing through major wild ricing areas and eventually a 600 mile route to Superior, Wisconsin.

The reality of this oil is not based on need, but on greed. For example, Venezuela has offered us a fair oil price and the amount of oil in the Tar Sands can only last us 6 months worth and then that air, land and water are all contaminated. This  also doesn't take into account what happens when there are accidents with pipe breakage, train derailment/ just accidents of human error.

Climate change is real but we can do something to keep the carbon rate from rising above 2%. The melting of the glaciers, the storms that have wreaked havoc with natural disasters and the acidity in the international waters from where our seafood comes are all realities. And there is no  distinguishing  between race and classes. It's just those with the means can recuperate while those without can't.  Equity?

“The essence of the problem is about consumption, recognizing that a society that consumes one-third of the world's resources is unsustainable. This level of consumption requires constant intervention into other people's lands. That's what's going on.” 
We consume way too much and Ms LaDuke used the terminology
'Extreme Energy. '  The extraction of fossil fuel 120 ft below sea level and sand mine fracking are not good for the Earth. We can plug in less, buy locally, not let the Government lease our land and our water. We are the ones who absorb the increasing cost of transporting and  very real public safety hazard possibilities.

We need to stop importing our food, have our own gardens/ at  least support those growers in our communities. Use heritage seeds due to proven success and eliminate absorbitant transportation costs.

It all makes sense and hopefully her powerful words and statistics  lit more than a couple of fires in those university students sitting there listening.  Maybe they will not sit idly by as most of us have with regard to the future of our land... the power does lie within us.

If you'd like to hear more from Winona LaDuke here are 2 links.

LaDuke with Colbert