Thursday, October 27, 2016

TBT: 100,150 VIEWS AGO

This week was a monumental moment in this Blog as it surpassed the 100,000th viewing of Life in the End of the Rainbow Valley readers. Once, I thought I would rest after my1000th blog entry but that came and went without me noticing. So after missing that deadline, I decided the 100,000th viewing would be time for me to stop and smell the roses. Actually, to take time to go back and re-edit daily entries for the blog's entirety. I have no clue how long this endeavor will take, yet, it has to be done.  
Who knows I may be back sooner rather than later. In fact, this week I had written about a hike in Bluff State Park in Minnesota, having a special riverside dinner with Milwaukee friend Sally while she attended the art teachers conference in town , 

Nelson Denis

an interesting guest speaker, Nelson Denis who spoke about The War Against the Puerto Ricans , 

a Sushi cooking class at the Food Co-op, followed the same evening by the Happy Bookers's discussion of the Pulitzer Award Winner, The Sympathizer, 
and ending the week with Wisconsin Public Radio's Joy Cardin's program on Getting out the Vote. But they will have to wait in the wings while I take on polishing the blog. 

Thank you all for reading along and being part of the journey. Some of you have encouraged me since the beginning with Life in the End of the Rainbow Valley as it became part of your morning routine. I feel honored for those that made it their first thing to read in the morning/ to include in your days.  

Let us remember to make each day special because we never know how many days we have ... For today I'll leave you where I started, the very first blog entryWOOD RICH while the fire burns bright tonight here in our fireplace in the End of the Rainbow Valley and what a life it is!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Tuesday I had the opportunity to see someone in person I haven't seen for a couple of decades at UW-L's Cleary Alumni Center. Do we ever really know what paths life will take us on? Sometimes we have an inkling. Some know early on that everything is political and are destined to be involved.

Monica, County Board
For many of the people taking the stage late morning I wonder if they knew how much politics would consume their lives early on in life-  my book club friend Monica, local politicians UW-L alumni, WI State Senator Jennifer Shilling and Rep. Ron Kind. 

All spoke about the importance of Wisconsin getting out the vote, voting early and about changing the face of both our state and
Shilling & already voted sticker
federal congresses. 
Re-electing Shilling and putting WI's Russ Feingold back into the Senate. They also referenced the ugliness of this Presidential campaign and the opponent's tactics as we all have heard ad nauseum and will continue to hear for the next two weeks.  Of course there were quips too, i.e. Sen. Shilling's remark about noticing at her breakfast table that her carton of milk and Trump had something in common. They both expire on Nov. 8. Ba da boom.
Ron Kind Ba da boom. 

Rep. Kind did a terrific job of stalling long enough for whom we were all waiting to hear.

The police officer next to me commented that she had to probably nurse her daughter. It made me wonder if that was the case... 

When Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Bill and Hillary, took the stage, she was composed, poised and actually looked rested for a mom of a toddler son and a 
4 mo. old daughter. She wore a Hillary t-shirt and jeans. 

The last time I had seen Chelsea close up was when she was also wearing jeans in public middle school with one of her good friends, a babysitter of my kids, a couple of decades ago. If memory serves me well, she was wearing braces back then. The next time I saw Chelsea was from an office building window across from the Old State House in Little Rock, as we witnessed her Dad, Bill, and family on victory night which meant a move to D.C. for their family. 

Chelsea Clinton has been in politics all her life stuffing envelopes from early on and now serving as vice chair for the Clinton Foundation. Her Stanford education has served her well. She, as you probably have guessed, is one of her Mom Hillary's biggest supporters. Her comments were now not only as a proud daughter but those of what every parent wants for  their children. Universal early childhood & development programs, safe, drug free schools, access to healthcare including mental health.

In fielding questions after her speech she specifically mentioned her  Mom's platform for the expansion of Medicaid, insuring a public option, using tax credits, and negotiating directly with insurance companies for better prices. All of these will greatly impact our future. 
                      Chelsea, you do your parents proud.

So as Chelsea Clinton reminded us, it's time to cast our votes to vote for candidates that don't separate us based on race, ethnicity, gender nor socioeconomics but rather have us all working together. 
May WISCONSIN and our country be together and be stronger for it.

Monday, October 24, 2016


Cal, a 5 year old Terrier mix
We shared a new experience here in the End of the Rainbow Valley this weekend fostering Cal, a sweet little terrier mix, labelled "farm dog" who had spent most, if not all of his time outside, and whose owners 3 weeks ago had to go into assisted living and a nursing home. Our hearts went out to the this 35 pounds of love needing a 'forever' home.

On paper Cal seemed like a good fit as we really are used to an outside dog. You see, Romeo, our rescue dog of 11 years, loves the out of doors and although he is now deaf at 13 years old, he gives out an occasional bark for unwanted visitors. Well, at 91 he doesn't even hear the nearby coyotes to know to scare them away with his booming bark and Romeo's definitely not interested in chasing squirrels nor deer any more. 

Maybe a new buddy could help? Would a younger dog reinvigorate Romeo and help him with some of his jobs? 

We introduced Cal to the lay of our immediate property. He checked out the chickens and goats but wasn't too interested in either. That's good.  Cal, unfortunately, didn't know the word "NO" and unfortunately did get a zap from the electric fence near the barn in spite of my repeated usage of the word "NO". Poor guy got a nice shock. After letting out a yelp, he bee lined back to the house. He would learn if not immediately, soon.

Cal with those sad eyes, more than loved being petted, receiving attention and, get this, being inside the house much to our surprise. Part due to separation anxiety and would follow me everywhere and jump up on me a lot. I corrected this behavior with a firm no, pushing him down repeatedly and then giving him a pet and treat for good behavior. This would need time and work. Doable, I would think at 5 years old? 

We ate lunch outside so we could keep an eye on the dogs. Cal just plopped down near us. Great. Staying close. This was reassuring.

A dog that splays onto the floor...
When inside he would not just lie down like melt onto the cement flooring. He seemed to prefer its coolness over area rugs/ a towel. His eyes were always following me.  If Romeo came up for a pet, Cal, of course, was also right there too. Both would receive petting. There was enough love for 2.

Initially, we worried Cal didn't bark as he was soooo quiet but during a walk down our road, he took off after something. As he treed whatever, he barked alright.  So we knew he could bark. But when he saw deer in the apple orchard, not a peep. Interesting, selective barking.

Due to colder weather both dogs spent the night inside. Cal went to sleep and I didn't hear a thing from him all night. The dogs took different rooms. OK, that works. And when I let Romeo out in the early am, Cal wasn't interested in going out, until much later. A dog that sleeps in.Wow. And Cal didn't 'territoralize'(alleviate himself) inside of the house. A very good thing. 

Now comes the human factor. What to do about our our weekend plans?  I needed to go into town to finish errands and Natureman wanted to leave before my return. I suggested if he couldn't wait for my return to leave Cal in the garage.

You probably can imagine, Natureman couldn't wait and I arrived 15-20 minutes after his departure not to find Cal in the garage. I opened the house door from the garage and there stood Cal. Wet beard, heavily panting... 
Lined up screendamage for Natureman to see

Behind him overturned flowerpots and downed ripped window screens. You probably can guess that the quiet complacent dog had seen something out the windows and wanted out. We have glass doors but he assumed he could go through the window screens. If one didn't work, maybe the others would. Three screens down. 2 can be rescreened but the third frame was bent and have to be replaced. 
One window's sashing was all scratched up but its screen survived. 

Okay it's not the dog's fault exactly, it was mostly human error. Things can be fixed and replaced. The issue was the dog can not be left alone in the house. Oh dear, this would be a bigger problem.

The foster papers Natureman had signed said dog must be crated/ supervised at all times. Ruh roh. I hadn't seen those and I'm with a guy (retired therapist) who always thinks the best of everybody and everything and assumed he understood Cal.

 We had a birthday party to go to that afternoon. My thought was to not go, especially during this adjustment time. Natureman insisted the dogs would be ok if left outside. What could be destroyed? Roll of the eyes. We drove to our neighbors (1/2 mile down our drive) first to see if Cal would follow. Of course, he did. Our neighbors lent us cable to rig up a run line. We took Cal back home, added the line, and left with a promise from Natureman we wouldn't stay long.

Upon our return we found Cal's collar at the end of the line but no Cal. Cal's an escape artist. We called and called all to no avail. Romeo just looked at us. He wasn't talking. I checked for messages to see if Cal had ended up at the neighbor's and sure enough a computer message. Cal was over chill in' on their front porch with them, their dogs and cat. He actually got along better with their pets than Romeo.

You see, I'm afraid as much as Cal wanted to please both Natureman and myself, it wasn't in the cards for Romeo. The two dogs coexisted but there was no play/ banter except for an occasional growl regarding food/ taking the other's space. Cal would go submissive turning his back on Romeo. He must have had practice with the other large dog at his former home.  Romeo wasn't interested in Cal. Romeo moped around. 

The writing was really on the wall when Natureman didn't want to cancel our next day's plans to go on a hike with another couple. This wouldn't be just an hour away. OK, adopting a pet has to be a two person endeavor in my book. 

We learned a lot with fostering Cal for the weekend and I wish we could have been his 'forever' home. Perhaps more important than the difficulty of the pet being retrained, humans can be much more difficult... :(  

Friday, October 21, 2016


FOTO FRIDAY this week was actually inspired a while back but this featured photo is actually from a home wedding last Sunday when my friend Karol, the bride and grandma, was escorted down a magnificent stairway by two of her grandsons.  

Hold tight, I got 'cha.
From another wedding day there all sorts of unwanted hands. Look carefully to find the unexpected hands in these photos? 

The following 3 photos were submitted by friend Margaret.

Below friend Judi's granddaughter Emily, holding onto her dad's hands, and something he wrote to us the New Year's Eve    beforeshe was born. Emily's uncle Rusty took the photo.

Kaye came home with the one wrist accessory we really don't want,  meaning she had to go in to the hospital. Sorry, but hope that knee mends quickly and you will be back to bike rides ASAP.
Kevin loves his food but I bet on the other side .... it looks like whoever he was making pizza dough with has left some handprints...

Do you have any photos to add of wanted/ unwanted hands that have shown up  in your pics?

Last week's FOTO FRIDAY was CHILLIN', you can check it out if you missed it / want to add your idea of chill in'.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Obviously I am not talking politics as tonight's dinner was a  medley of two past favorites combined.

You'll need just a couple main ingredients.

1 butternut squash ( you know we have oodles)
1 bunch of MiChiLi (the leafy Chinese Cabbage)

Now I had roasted squash at a restaurant recently that wasn't cooked enough so I opted not to peel and cube squash first to roast. Continue...

Preheat oven to 400 degrees to cook squash.
Cut squash in half.
Scoop out seeds.
Oil and salt the 2 halves and place facedown on cooking sheet.
(I know most recipes say flesh up)
Place sheet of parchment on cookie sheet for easier cleanup.
Cook about  30-45 minutes til fork goes in. No need to overcook 
Let squash cool but leave oven on.
Once cooled, peel off skin then cut into bite size chunks drizzling with oil and salt and pepper.
Return to oven to brown.

As it's browning,  heat large skillet with olive oil.
 Rinse MiChiLi.
Pat dry with paper towel.
Chop into bite size pieces.
Throw in rib pieces first, wait a minute or two then leafy part.
Sprinkle with salt and sugar, two times around around.
Place lid on top for 2 minutes.

Remove browned squash cubes from oven, remove skillet lid, stir MiChiLi and add squash.

Isn't it pretty?

Natureman loved it. We added a small dollop of lite sour cream with a splash /two of Sriracha sauce. YUM. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


It's been a couple weeks since the frost warnings began and 3x  we've awoken to frost.  We've even had 4 fires in the fireplace so far this October. So Mother Nature had been warning us to either move the annuals inside/ big them farewell. Each year I prolong the decision making of which should remain outside and which should have a chance at survival. 

The one day I decide they can't wait one more day, I return home to discover that Natureman had beat me to the punch by moving the majority of the lot of  potted plants already inside. Big OOPS as I usually not only spray them off with the garden hose but also give them a pretty severe hair cut before they ever come in. Well, the majority had to be pruned inside since my helper bee had done all that work.

For those of you who try to salvage annuals, you know what the future looks like. It will be a mess as plants adjust, need repotting/ consolidating to not have four pots deep to their light source.

Perhaps those that don't, will understand saving herbs for cooking  but most of you will be rolling your eyes re: the common annuals. Seriously, that's why they are called annuals, right?

 But as I have commiserated each year, they do add color during future dreary fall, winter and spring days besides providing a challenge to keep alive. Truthfully there is nothing cheerier than seeing future blooming.
Consoladation will continue... 

Yet, many like the lantana suffer shock coming inside and there is a major leaf drop and constant sweeping for other plants too as they transition. I often question as to why I am making more work for myself.???

For some plants the move will be too much and 
they will not be happy at all. There will be attrition but, some will make a comeback/ like the cypress vine will send up new shoots/ maybe it's another plants quest to survive. Surprises may even occur. Yep the cypress vine was climbing up the bird feeder post so those sprouts are many new sunflowers. Time to thin!  

Meanwhile we will have the greenhouse look. Obviously, we think it's worth the effort. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Dr. Jonathan Borja from UW-L's Department of Music moderated the showing of the documentary “We Like It Like That”: The Story of Latin Boogaloo (2015), one of the programs offered during Hispanic Heritage month on campus.                                                        

Every generation needs its own music and Spanish Harlem, the barrio, and the Bronx lent its soul to mixing Afro Cuban melodies, rhythms and R&B with the help of Latino greats such as Joe Bataan, Johnny Colon and Pete Rodriguez.

*Internet images of Latin Legends

Johnny Colon

The music called the Boogaloo was blind to the barriers of poverty and racism. This funky beat took over the streets. The other side of town might have had the twist but this beat had a totally different hip movement. 

I don't know about you but my first memory of latin music was probably Ricky Riccardo's bongos and band's colorful music which came into our living room in black and white. His rendition of Babaloo introduced me to the big band sound of latin rhythm.

And yes, during this documentary of interviews it was difficult to sit still listening to the energetic music recordings and live concerts. Interviews gave insight to what served as inspiration. Where does one fit in if the community you live is not just one identity but a mixture of many different ethnic backgrounds? These latino-afro neighborhoods gave the music world a new beat. Soldiers returning from a war, the times were a' changing. Civil Rights, unrest had a need for the passionate music and identities were never more in crisis. Breaking from tradition and wanting music different than one's parents has always been a key ingredient for change in the music world. 

Thank goodness because nothing gets a dance floor hot like a mambo, cha cha, tango, meringue and, of course, salsa for those of us who like dancing spicy and hot. Although media controls what and how much we hear of different music genres, we can all have an appreciation of the gifts of our cultural diversity.

* For your listening pleasure click on 
Joe Rodriguez's  YOUTUBE's: I Like It Like That

Monday, October 17, 2016


We took the long way home going between our Sunday activities yesterday to be able to enjoy the fabulous Fall we have this year. The cooler weather has blown in and out, sprinkled on us and rained during this past week leaving the majesty of Fall.

So here's a bit of Fall for those of you in the South awaiting its arrival.

Leaving 'town' (La Crosse) after a lovely late morning, early afternoon  home wedding of new friends.

 Heading up to the Ridge.

And back down to Chaseburg ...

and home to the place we call

End of the Rainbow Valley.

We just had a couple hours home before it was time to head to a SALON, in house concert,
'in town.' 

Sometimes it's really difficult to leave home. I think you can see why...

Friday, October 14, 2016


FOTO FRIDAY's CHILLIN'  finds a master and his companion enjoying a gorgeous Fall day in the small river town of Stockholm where we stopped for the FRESH ART FALL ART TOUR 2016  last weekend. Sometimes you just plop down where you are at and just chill...

'Wanna share a pic of you doing the same? 

Last week's FOTO FRIDAY was about ASS SIZE.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


Sunday's day trip took us westward along the River Road an hour and a half to the Lake Pepin area for part of a studio tour called FRESH ART FALL TOUR 2016.  Bear Paw paperwork/ fiber artists had posted on FB about their participation at Pepin Farm Pottery in Maiden Rock. I have been lusting for a piece of their wool felt artwork. Unfortunately, they don't tend to come as far South as our neck of the woods.  SOooo this was the perfect opportunity for another Miata ride with another gorgeous fall day!

Let me assure you all these artists have very incredible unique studio spaces/galleries and art. We made 5 stops and they were each unique and in stunning locales. The journey was definitely worth it.

First stop: Adobe Gallery & Design in Stockholm,WI where you'll find many fine works of local and regional artists all year round.  Remember this little town holds a major art fair every summer. My book group, the Happy Bookers, even frequented it a couple of years ago. On this studio tour stop the featured artist was woodworker Lars Stromayer's gorgeous inlay work in furniture, game boards and cutting boards.

After strolling through the gallery and finding a FRESH ART pamphlet with the list of studio stops, artists, mediums and addresses besides a map, we were off. There would be 4 more stops.

Stop 2. The first name Black Cat Farmstead caught my attention and I am glad it did because it actually was two stops in one. myklebust + SEARS I'm assuming are a wife (Andrea) and husband (Stan) combo as she is the fiber artist and he sculpts wood and stone. The large studio workshop next door to the old house had huge stone pieces and wood outside with future project pieces for large installations inside. We are talking HUGE. This big studio is where Stan Sears works. Stan's son also works with him while his daughter's knitting patterns give him inspiration.  Stan's job is not only in design but figuring out how to achieve the concept. I wish my photos did this carving and finishes justice both in scale and color. 
Actually patina painted wooden rope 4 ft 

Some tools of the trade
Perhaps 3 feet in diameter?


mini prototypes for future
 large scale projects

Artist  father & son, daughter's knitting design in wood

I see topography in this one, don't you?

Below's a pic of one of Stan's finished sculptures that resides now in Charlotte, N.C.  Amazing, right? If I knew who was in charge of art in UW-L's new student union, I'd definitely send them his way... 

All this large sculptor work is happening next door while sheep are grazing in the pasture whose wool will become hand spun yarn for the knitted goods in the historic cabin that used to be Laura Ingalls Wilder's grandparents home and was moved to this locale. This is where Andrea works spins her art.
(R) Andrea Myklebust

If you're interested in spun wool, an antique spinning wheel/ loom/ original fiber art, you need to come take a look. Andrea's woolen creations are so beautiful.

Stop 3. Gail Pommerening's country studio is perfectly situated behind her home between apple trees and a lovely fountain. Her drawings include landscapes, wildlife especially birds and butterflies. 

One of her favorite birds, the golden finch, won her a wine label design contest on 'Summer Dew' for Danziger Vineyards. 

Gail with her winning eagle 
Two years later Gail once again won their label contest this time with her eagle soaring over the little Mississippi town of Alma where the vineyards are atop the bluff. The wine is not ready yet but will bear the eagle label when it is. I will definitely watch for it!

Leah Werner with one her dog mutts in progress
Pottery was at our fourth stop  in a one room country building workspace.  Leah Werner's ceramic work has a definite whimsy to it. Her animal figures each seem to have their own personalities. I loved all of her creations...

It was difficult making up my mind which flowerpot bird could come home with me.  So I just had to buy two, one as a gift and one for me.

Also at this stop Featured artist Darrel (Chopper) Bowman (r) demonstrated thrown pottery on a foot powered wheel before it becomes his beautiful reduction fired stoneware.

And at stop number we got the million dollar view of the Mississippi. A modern house with river views, a garage summer kitchen besides 2 out buildings as studio work spaces. Here we found Peter and Mary Deneen and Martha Winter's handmade pottery, a salt kiln and gallery, pottery studio, woodland trails and bluff top views.

Guest artist was Morris Pottery.

Featured artists here were Peder Heglund wheel thrown and hand built stoneware painted, incised and textured with wood ash and stoneware glazes.

And last by not least Bear Paw Paperworks/Fiber by Bill and Linda Sumner .Their needle felt wool dimensional nature related wall art is just so full of life. And do you think I went home with one of their nature scenes? Nope, one of the Sumners new abstracts went home with us, go figure. For those of you who know me you won't be surprised by this choice.  Mission complete.

I wish we could have visited all 16 stops but the sampling we did have with our five reflect the beauty of the area we call home and you can see where surroundings give inspiration to creative souls...
FRESH ART indeed.