Friday, May 30, 2014


One thing my Mom always taught me was to make more food than you actually needed because you never wanted anyone to go away hungry/an extra guest just might show up at dinner time. That advice usually comes in pretty handy. We have had more than a couple extra mouths to feed lately. Some expected, some not.

This past Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the baby blue birds started hatching. There were five beautiful blue eggs with  unfortunately only 3 babies surviving the hatching process.  But I have a feeling they are eating like there are 5 of them. Mother Bluebird has been extremely busy.

Sometimes our animals eat things they shouldn't eat. Take for example Violeta's cat Ferris. She loves plants and this garlic plant might have not been such a good idea. Mixed reviews on whether garlic is good/not good for pets.

Jama's horse Vegas is also a rascal as he relates this story. "I whipped around, grabbed the trash can and took off. As I was making my way out of the barn I could hear Jama laughing and calling my name. I felt just a little bad so I stopped, put the trash can down and began pulling stuff out of it. 

That was SO much fun! 
As my pal Jama caught up with me, I thought she'd join in but she kept saying my name over and over with this smirk on her face. I decided to drop everything and see if she wanted to run with the trash can too. 
Nope, she didn't run with it. She just picked up all the trash that I'd worked so hard to throw around. Boring. I decided I'd just go back to the stall and munch on some hay."

Cheryl and husband Pete decided to treat us to Rocky's Wednesday hamburger special and of course I had to sample a batter fried cheese curd.  And of course Cheryl had to capture the moment of another mouth to feed... 

Victory having a mid morning snack
Our neighbors welcomed "Victory" to the barn as they now have a foal to add to their miniature horses. Victory was born at 15 lbs.  First time Mommy Silvy seems to know how to feed that extra mouth... 

For this week's FOTO FRIDAY challenge post a pic of any mouth/ food with an explanation. 

If you haven't checked on the additions to last week's challenge, click here:GROUPINGS

Thursday, May 29, 2014

'Carnivorous' Locavore

I could fib and say we went out tonight to celebrate my friend Kaye's 60 birthday but the truth is Kaye lives in Arkansas and I've already eaten her piece of No Bake Watermelon Cake to help her celebrate in absentia... And from the looks of the Birthday food photos on Facebook these last 2 weeks, I know she's not only full but feeling the love. Happy Birthday Kaye!

So anyway 5 miles west of the End of the Rainbow Valley in Stoddard is a local eatery, Rocky's, famous for its fried cheese curds. 

Rocky's has added a cute courtyard out back for dining with tables and nice plantings. It definitely beats being cooped up inside, at least until the mosquitoes show up. Sweet. 

For summertime, Rocky's has a Wednesday special, a 1/2 lb burger for  $3. Add a $1 bill for a nice overflowing basket of fries and you are going home really full. 

It takes two hands to handle this grilled burger. I learned my lesson last time and immediately cut my burger in half this visit to take the other half home.   

Let us know if you'd ever like to join us on a Wednesday for a burger...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

An Explosive Topic

The documentary "Above All Else" will be released in theaters in the not so distance future and will illustrate how one company, TransCanada, uses eminent domain and litigation to kick landowners off their property to build a pipe line in East Texas.  

"Accidental" Activists rise to the occasion like David Daniel who happens to live in the path of this greedy corporation that will rape and pollute his land.

Below is an informative commentary as to how this crude oil extraction takes place and its repercussions. It certainly paints a very clear picture.
"For those who have questions about development of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, I suggest an experiment.  You'll need: peanut butter, at least four straws, superglue, some bleach, chloric acid, some Liquid Plumr and a strong tire pump.

We're going to create our own model of the pipeline.
First push some peanut butter into one end of a straw and attempt to blow it through the straw. Bitumen or tar san ds-- the product TransCanada wants to ship through the US -- is the consistency of peanut butter.
You'll notice it didn't move.
Now take the three remaining straws and superglue them together end to end. This will be our pipeline.
Take more peanut butter and mix it with the chemicals we listed to thin the consitency of the peanut butter to a more manageable liquid. This is what TransCanada will be doing with the bitumen, thinning it with corrosive chemicals to be able to move it through their pipeline.
Push some of this mixture into the end of the pipeline we created. It moves a little better, but we want to increase the movement so attach the tire pump to the straw and apply pressure.
What's that you say?
The pipeline ruptured at the joint? Not surprising.
Nor are all the small seam leaks, pinhole leaks or larger holes appearing along the length of the straws.
The pipe to be used by TransCanada is designed for pressure of 1,910 psi. However, TransCanada will be pushing the diluted bitumen through the line at 2,200 psi...
You can guess what effect the corosive chemicals will have on what experts have stated is substandard pipe.
Whistleblowers from within TransCanada's ranks have reported numerous issues which will be detrimental to the safe transport of bitumen tar sands through the US.
We all know what that means, or should, by looking at TransCanada's record in Canada.
TransCanada, and its associates, have experienced 1,047 incidents in the 12 years the pipeline has been in existance in Canada and the northeastern US.
The TransCanada line running from Oklahoma to Texas experienced 14 spills in one year. Another 21 leaks occurred on the Canadian side of the current pipeline and 25 repairs had to be made to preclude problems.
Those ruptures (we're not counting pump station failures, fires, explosions or fatalities -- all of which have taken place) have released anywhere from 126 litre ( approximately 40 gallons) to more than 96 million litres (approximately 21 million gallons) of tar sands.
A TransCanada leak in its current line through North Dakota left a plume 60 feet high near Ludden, ND; while families were driven from their homes in Mayflower, Ark, when one of TransCanada's partners, Exxon, had a rupture of their pipeline there.
TransCanada and two Calgary executives, pleaded guilty in 1996, to numerous violations of US environmental and safety laws in Syracuse, NY.
Another TransCanada project, the Bison pipeline in Wyoming, had to be shut down after a portion of it blew open.
Where repairs have been made, the topsoil hasn't recovered and erosion has become a secondary problem.
It's already an established fact TranCanada's claim of being able to create up to 49,500 jobs has been proven to be false. Even President Obama says no more than 2,000 jobs a year will be created during the two-year construction period... and only 35 permanent jobs will result.
Let us not forget none of the product being transferred through this pipeline will be sold in the US. It will have no effect on our current demands.
All of the final product will be shipped overseas from refineries in Foreign Trade Zones and will avoid paying US taxes.
For the life of me. I can't see how this product will be good for America's economy or environment.
Can you? " - Magic John

 To read more, click here:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Out of Control Celebrating

You know people can get carried away once they get a holiday weekend.

OOPS, one firetruck got stuck in the mud.
Heck, Mother Nature can get carried away too as a resident's "controlled burn" in Chaseburg this past Sunday became 'un'controlled when the wind picked up.  No, it wasn't us. But flames shooting high into the sky had neighboring counties's firetrucks arriving to put out the fire that expanded into the Chaseburg Nature Trail area.

Charred area on the other side of the pond
We had planned on a nice leisurely walk with friends and their Chicago guests to show off our "peaceful" little town's Nature Trail only to be greeted by 6 different fire vehicles and smoke.

Wild life had been smart enough to evacuate the area and it was only the human species that was lingering around the smoky enivirons. 

The highlight of our walk was not only finding our transportation not consumed by flames but the nearby dumpster adding a special touch to our Nature walk. I guess some people forget the township's dump has moved...

Chicago guests dumpster diving ... NOT

Hey, we really know how to show our guests a wild time in the old town especially when things get out of control on a Holiday weekend... 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Life after Death/ A Near Death Experience

Traditionally Memorial Day weekend many U.S.citizens spend time doing yard work/ home repair and the retailers bank on it, enticing customers with some great 'special' sales. 

Sales abound in home improvement stores and if lengthy checkout lanes are any indication of the country's economy, we're doing OK. 

In Garden Centers people talk to each other about their flower choices/ garden stories. It came as no surprise that the past winter was hard on a lot of plants especially those deemed  Zone 5 since we are really Zone 4.  Sometimes plants get on the wrong trucks/ are delivered for us dreamers who desperately want to grow a more Southern plant. And sometimes winter is just so severe we even lose our Zone 4 plants in southwestern Wisconsin.
Dead Akousa?

It came as no surprise that my Akousa Dogwood finally bit the dust this year (Zone 5/6)/ that I lost another Buddlea (Butterfly Bush).  Thank goodness there's a year warranty/exchange policy on the latter. But alas that butterfly attracting plant shipment hadn't come in yet. 

May 2013

The most difficult sight in our Valley was not seeing the Redbud bloom as its beauty usually excels all others. Unfortunately this late winter froze its flower buds and dried shriveled buds accented the tree. No flowering this spring. I feared the worst... Was it not able to survive the Winter of 2014?
 I knew the birds would still use the tree as a stopping zone despite its lack of foilage.  I was willing to let it be an architectural sculpture.  Lo and behold as I was bemoaning its demise, Natureman said he had seen green. Where?  Sure enough after intense scrutiny we found small leaves starting to emerge.   I have been checking daily. It's the end of May for heaven sakes.

 We're not 'out of the woods' as there are only a few branches leafing and I 'm not giving up yet here in the End of the Rainbow Valley as stranger things have happened. In the meanwhile I sure hope that shipment of butterfly bushes arrive. The holes were they used to be are calling their names and the butterflies will really miss them too.

Friday, May 23, 2014


This week's photo challenge is to submit a photo of a grouping whether it's a colony,  pack, gaggle, kettle, herd, drove, flock or whatever you'd like to group.  Just send your pics my way and check back next week to see what folks have submitted...

My pic was taken Thursday a.m. at the pond by the mailbox between the creek and the highway. My grouping is a "rookery" of egrets no less. Essentially in our back yard...

Colleen adds in her grouping of magnets from past trips. 

Jennifer caught a gaggle of geese at Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation on the Big Island Hawaii.

Ginger's contribution is of the human grouping, "Hungry Christmas grouping ... in Mollie Worthen's home."

Christmas in Mollie Crease Peay Worthen in home 704 West 2nd Street --lived until 1944.
Watch your step!

And if that wasn't generous enough Ginger also sent this group shot of some Arkansas ducks. That's a 'hood!!! 

 Heidi being the seamstress she is has quite a grouping of thread. 

Have you checked out what was added to last week's 
FOTO FRIDAY:Moms 'n Children?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ruthless/Is that Rootless?

It's never been a secret that the best thing we grow here in the End of the Rainbow Valley is weed/ should I say weeds? 

You know a "weed" is any plant you don't want growing where it has decided to grow.  Burdock, Sour dock, Creeping Charlie, Honey Suckle, Buckthorn, Garlic Mustard, to mention major culprits... and the one all of us can recognize, the DANDELION.
But if you think about it you don't see dandelions growing in the woods. Not enough light. So where do they come from?(originally- England for food) When they go to seed, that seed is spread by the wind/ animals.

Given the fact that I was away from home for less than 2 weeks and had left before the trees had even leafed out, I returned to yellow everywhere. Yellow dandelions that is.

After Natureman and I finished spreading the 16 yards of screened one inch stone,  I self appointed myself on weed patrol for the front 3 flower garden beds. While Natureman roto-tilled the garden patches...
cuke section
one for cucumbers, 

Coop flowers- cosmos, batchelor buttons, zinnias, dahlias
the chicken coop area for flowers,

 I was still weeding.

tomatoes and peppers


then onto a section for  tomatoes & peppers and another for the corn he went.   

I weeded.

There's nettle left growing at the end of the garden bed...
Natureman even planted the tomatoes  in our new snazzy colored cages and also got in the pepper plants. 

I was still weeding... and he finished rototilling the bottom of the last section for beans, corn, and squash. 

 Then Natureman got out the riding lawnmower and mowed the apple orchard while I continued weeding. He even weed whacked  the stone steps to the coop as I continued filling the garbage can with those dang cheery dandelions.

I emptied five tall cans getting as much of their roots as possible. Why?

Well, we all know chances are great another dandelion will grow back if even part of its root is left behind and very rarely can one extract all of that root.  BUT it is something to strive for...  Ah, to be 'rootless.'  

So if you go out of town in the spring most likely you will return to weeds unless, of course, you spray poison. 

You might even need to buy a new weed digger / have an extra one on hand in case anybody else wants to come help you remove weeds . Nah/ it breaks as it did in my case. Yeah.  It's not easy not letting those boogers go to seed. Heck, it's just not easy being 'root'less. 


Beehive Collective

There are many advantages to having college campuses nearby when you live out in the boonies and for this 'retired' instructor the main one is 'campus programming.' 

Some events are definitely better advertised than others and we miss out on a lot now that I'm not on campus but a friend notified us re: a Beehive Collective presentation being given in Winona, followed the next evening on the UW-L campus, much closer to home.

The Beehive Collective is a volunteer grassroots arts collective which creates tools to share complex global stories which affect all of us. As the name implies the importance of 'Bees' in our lives. Specifically to understand what happens in South and Central American bees directly affects us in Biodevastation/BioJustice against genetic engineering (Monsanto).  Creating Art narratives that"warn of the dangers of biotechnology and monoculture in agriculture and in our society at large."
Artists created these visual tools of cross pollination art anonymously and collaboratively to tell the bee story. They first did listening projects in refugee camps in Latin America and then began their graphics. Purchases of this art in the form of posters and fabric wall murals allow more to be disseminated to other communities. Over 160,000 posters have been given away across the Western Hemisphere. 

10-15 members constitute the core group and there are many volunteer part timers as well. The group is mainly from eastern Maine which stewards and owns 4 historic buildings along with a cultural center and community arts space. There are also many local revitalization projects across the map.

Visits to different communities can be in the form of lectures, both formal and informal and workshops too re: numerous environmental and 'socioeconomic' issues.

The second large graphic completed had to do with NAFTA negotiations of  (Free Trade Area of the Americas)  "linked to specific social movements and campaigns."

Mesoamerica Resiste (2004)
The Mesoamérica Resiste, the final graphic of the trilogy took nine years and  documented resistance to the mega-infrastructure development plan "Project Mesoamerica" (previously known as Plan Puebla Panama). During this decade other projects included climate change, water privatization, G8 and coal mining and fracking.

Here are a couple recent article links re:  BEES in case you'd like to read more 
Bee killer


Monday, May 19, 2014

Working on the Chain Gang...

Not picking rock-
but shoveling and spreading rock. This rock pile was awaiting me upon my return from my Mother's Day Arkansas visit. 16 yards of rock to redo paths around the house from the parking area to the house to be exact.

Natureman was home Thursday when the large dump truck arrived ... and the stone was dumped. 

2-3" screened rock
The  only problem was what was dumped was this on the left.
desired 1" screened rock

And what was ordered was the rock on the right.

 Can you see the size difference?

Natureman made a telephone call re:the mistake and lo and behold, the next day the guys returned to remove the first load with a front loader and returned later in the day to replace it with what had been ordered.

The new pile 
Whew, was I happy for my one day of reprieve to recoup from my travels before starting on the 'chain gang.'

When we originally laid rock for paths when the house was finished, our friend George's Kubota tractor was a god send as it moved huge shovel fulls and dumped them around the perimeter of the house. Then we just raked it all into place. No such luck this time as the Kubota is sick. :(

Each wheelbarrow full must weigh 100's of pounds.  Although I helped with filling many of the loads and raking them out, it is Natureman who moves each and every barrowful around the house.  He'll either be very fit by the time this project is done/ not able to move.  

Phase I, the front path, was completed Friday and it looks so much better. My strategy was to not be short of rock if we started in the back. 
front path
side path

Phase II finished from the parking area to the westside of the house on Sunday.

Heck at this rate the final phase will be completed by sunset tomorrow and that pile will be all gone and then it'll be time for major weeding here in the End of the Rainbow Valley flower beds. Oh, I just can't wait, that is if I can still move.
the dwindling pile

If you were in the Valley you would have heard the shovels clinking making the sound  like on:Working on the Chain Gang. Natureman promised me music but I didn't realize this is what he had in mind. Ooh, ah...

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Meeting See-More and HaRVey

 This past Saturday we were lucky to be included at a picnic dinner get-together at Goose Island  at the RV camp grounds with 3 other couples.  You see 2 of those 3 couples are RV owners and we got to tour our friends's fabulous new digs.

See-More put on 8,000 miles this year
See-More is owned by full time RV'er's Cheryl and Pete who are now veterans after having been on the road a year now.  Goose Island completes their annual travel cycle.


Colleen and Eric were not on their maiden voyage but number 2 with HaRVey and chose to once again be neighbors with Cheryl and Pete like the old days when they lived on the same block in Onalaska. 

Colleen outdid herself serving up a Martha Stewart dinner picnic.

Coordinating linens and the hostess with the mostess... This impressive table and menu took some pre-planning.

If I had know the color theme I definitely would also have worn red/at least added a lot of paprika atop Natureman's potato salad.

Appetizers included cherries, hummus, chimichurri, guacamole and mango salsa with chips and of course wine. 

Half of the salmon already removed for the serving platter
Dinner was salmon grilled by Eric and could be doused with either a butter/ remoulade sauce, accompanied with sides of cole slaw and Natureman's infamous potato salad. 

Cheryl made a yummy apple crisp for dessert topped with whipped cream.

Have you ever noticed how food always tastes better out in the fresh air? 

Well, good conversation never hurts nor does the reunion of friends.  SO come on Mother Nature bring on the picnic weather and many more summer events with friends to celebrate!