Thursday, March 31, 2016


In spite of having a much larger venue than his opponent Hillary had the day before, I thought chances were slim to get into hear Bernie speak yesterday at the Omni Center.  You see even with RSVP's made we weren't going to be able to arrive until the 4pm door opening. (the on-line reservation stated it didn't hold us a spot) The lines had started forming in the morning although the speech would not be until 7pm. Parking would be limited and folks were asked to carpool. Varying reports circulated as to the ice hockey rink's 3400+ person capacity.

 A Disney like queue extending a couple blocks serpentined back and forth. BUT the line was moving when we arrived. Canvassers and button and tshirt sellers broke up the monotony of the stand still times. We were super fortunate the morning rains had ceased. It could have been really nasty.
Security was made clear early on in the line. Think airport- metal detectors,  no bags allowed, phones had to be on, no sharp objects, purses would be searched, etc... No e cigarettes? OK, not a prob. After clearing security,  we filed into the open arena space.

The space, well, was less than stellar as folks had to stand the entire time. That's right no bleachers nor chairs. Standing room only. Our group plopped to the cement floor and played some card Scrabble to pass the time. With an hour to go, we stood up achy from the cement floor. We were the elders as this crowd wasn't all white haired folks, it was much younger, a lot of college aged students. Noise and restlessness increased as the 7 pm time neared and passed. All 3300+ folks were ready. 

Cathy Van Maren
Welcomed by our loyal and local Sanders campaign chair and friend, Cathy Van Maren set the stage as to why we were there. Following Cathy, a young volunteer  spoke about her political involvement and the importance of getting friends to vote 'early' after which President Cleveland of the Ho Chunk nation greeted the crowd in his native tongue and addressed two very nasty anti Ho Chunk pieces of legislation recently submitted by Republicans. This land
Wilfrid Cleveland
 Ho Chunk Nation President
belonged to the HoChunk way before the settlers arrived and it is being destroyed for greed. We need politicians who will protect the land and its inhabitants. Transition to a  presidential candidate who will be a land steward, Bernie Sanders. 

  A giant ROAR from the crowd. 
First, Senator Sanders thanked us for coming and quickly surveyed us by a show of hands of how many had already voted. He emphasized this election can only be won if we get out the vote. 

 Then Mr. Sanders lit into a list of injustices of the people of the U.S. :

*broken treaties and the indigenous land ethic 
 *environmental issues against fracking, the quality of water
*moral obligation for our children vs short term profit
*erasing college debt, we bailed out Wall Street now it's time for Wall  Street to help out education
* alarming incarceration rates of minorities, prison system needs to be revamped, jail shouldn't be for profit
* youth unemployment college degree is what a high school degree once was and everyone's entitled to an education, should be able to refinance their school debt at lowest interest rate as going to school shouldn't be a debt sentence.
*pay equity for women  $.79/1.00 is not good enough, men should support women in achieving that too
* raising minimum wage to $15/hr
*every citizen being automatically registered to vote at age 18
*Healthcare reform, Medicare for all,  Health care is a right. Pharmaceutical prices are out of control
*campaign reform, amount of $ spent is incomprehensible
*legalization of marijuana and addiction treated as health issue
*immigration reform
*war policies,  he didn't vote for Iraq
*vet treatment, medical needs to be better including mental health care
*revitalizing unions 

 I'm sure I forgot some... The man was impressive.

The sheer number of people crammed into the space, TV lights and no air flow caused a couple of folks to need medical attention as they suffered from heat exhaustion and started dropping like flies. Bernie stopped his speech and waited for the Medics to assist.  

Sanders's a mensch and his genuineness was undeniable. He didn't just invent his platform, he has always fought for the issues. 

What's not to love about a candidate who is not about dividing and conquering but rather about uniting in coalition with others to win for an all inclusive America?

                                 Oh yeah, I felt the Bern.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Bask with the Pasque...

Right before the last snowfall dumped on the Coulee region, my first crocus had emerged. Natureman had seen it open but by the time I took a look it had already closed up for the night. 

The irony was that the first bloom was a white crocus of all things and the snow came shortly thereafter.

When the snow melted new blooms had joined the first one. They really outdid themselves this year.

 It reminded me since it was Easter weekend, we needed to make our annual ridge hike to see the small Pasque flower colony on the ridge's point. Perhaps it was a bit early since we hadn't seen the Bloodroot yet. BUT lo and behold a friend posted a Pasque flower colony photo found north of here on their FB page. So, they must be blooming since we are farther south. With another beautiful afternoon we completed our trek to the point and found some Pasque blooms. 

                       Here they are basking in the sunshine.

It always amazes me how something so delicate can grow in rock outcroppings. 

OK, it's official. Spring has sprung here in the End of the Rainbow Valley.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Have you ever gone to a presentation and expected one thing and within five minutes you were overwhelmed with more than you ever fathomed?  

You see, there had been a negative response to an opinion piece in the city newspaper regarding showing support for our Muslim neighbors. The response invited folks to come listen to Usama Dakdok this past Saturday on the topic: Revealing the Truth about the Jihad and Terrorism of Islam in a north side neighborhood community center. 

Although I double majored in Asian Studies and touched on eastern religions, there is plenty more I'd like to understand about the Qu'ran and its followers. Considering the person who responded was negative to community support of our Muslim community, of course there were expectations the talk would not to be exactly complimentary. But hearing different viewpoints is important, right? 

Upon entering the community meeting room, a flyer was handed out. Included were the speaker's background as Mr. Dakdok  broadcasts M-F at 12:30 CST on network VCY America and  online on Saturdays 9-11  Blogtalk Radio-Radio Jihad. Dakdok was born in Egypt to a Baptist pastor (in the South we always called them preachers) and moved to the U.S. in '92 with his western wife.

An entire paragraph followed about not having fear/prejudice towards fellow citizens of Muslims/ folks of Middle Eastern descent. Actions by ISIS should not affect our treatment of Muslims in our country, we should be friendly but aware. "What can we do?" asks the handout.  "Education awareness, civil dialogue, and sharing of ideas."OK, this is why and I assume others were there.

The following printed verses gave me hope as to what could be a good presentation.

Yet, the Straight Way of Grace Ministry's speaker started his presentation ranting/ ok, yelling about the evils of Mohammed and how Mohammed was no prophet but rather Satan. Can you imagine demonizing another religion's prophet to start a "dialogue"? 

Mr. Dakdok only apologized for speaking quickly in order to fit all he had to say in his 2.5 hour presentation.  What? This wasn't going to be an hour long talk?  The speed and volume appeared to be  techniques to not give the listener too much time to really reflect about the info being dispensed. The yelling touched something visceral in me. I don't know about you but I have never liked being yelled at as a kid nor as an adult.  

Granted Mr. Dakdok had a polished talk, firing rapid lines about Islam interspersed with 'incriminating' Qu'ran scriptures about infidels. And a repetition of lines to emphasis a point (a convincing speech strategy.) His repetition: Are we are just "stupid"? "Stupid" for trusting any Muslim. "Stupid" for believing Obama is not a follower of Islam, "stupid" for churches embracing Syrian immigrants, "stupid" for thinking we should build a wall along Mexico's border when where we need to build one is along the Canadian border since their liberal Prime Minister is accepting so many Syrians.  Americans are just "stupid."  

Every sentence out of this man's mouth was a jewel of hate. We shouldn't let Muslims teach our children, become citizens because they just lie. You get it, we Americans shouldn't trust Muslims. "Are we just STUPID?" "We will end up with having our grandchildren beheaded?" "Sharia (Islamic Law)" would destroy us all because of liberal lawmakers. 

So, what about the Jihad and terrorism? Weren't we supposed to be talking about Jihad? The name Jihad was never mentioned during the first hour I was there. 

What Mr. Dakdok also didn't allude to was what it was like growing up in Egypt as a Christian Arab and minority. Most certainly his family like many Christian Arabs were ostracized and persecuted. BUT to spread fear and hatred and gross generalizations about Muslims negating any possibility of peaceful coexistence serves absolutely no purpose.  In case it's still not clear, he repeatedly called Americans "stupid" for not realizing the evil Muslims possess.  

The only thing  more "stupid" than the ugliness espoused by this man was me trying to last an hour listening to so much hate. I made it 50 minutes. Upon my departure, I noticed empty seats behind me. Others had not lasted as long. 

In the parking lot a fellow was pulling out of his space, stopped his car and opened his side window. He said, "I guess I wasn't the only one." I responded, "Oh no, in fact, it was way too much hate for me." He told me his church had included this talk invitation in their bulletin. He was glad none of his buddies were there or they would have shot the speaker. Whoa. 

When you preach hate, you can get hate in return... This talk is dangerous to our souls. 

Check out this link:What It's Like Being a Muslim in America

Monday, March 28, 2016


Only five are left now.  Squash that is as one was needed for Sunday's lunch for a new recipe, Spaghetti Squash & Quinoa  Fritters. As we only have Butternut Squash from last summer, the title will have to be changed to Squash & Quinoa Fritters.  

Touted in Pinterest's posting of 24 Low Carb Spaghetti Squash recipes, this one is from Kellysambitiouskitchen and what a treat, a fritter  that isn't fried. You get to use your  waffle iron to cook these fritters.  Pretty, aren't they? AND they taste good too. These were a big hit here in the End of the Rainbow Valley

Here are the ingredients you will need:

INGREDIENTS- makes 18-20 fritters
  • 2 eggs
  • c flour
  • 2 c spaghetti or butternut squash, cooked (about 50 min)  
  • 2 c quinoa, cooked
  • ½ c parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ c shredded italian blend cheese
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 6 dashes of favorite hot sauce
  • kosher salt + pepper to taste
  • lite sour cream to garnish


    1. Plug in waffle iron to get it super hot-n-ready.

    2. In mixer bowl, add eggs. 
      Beat, on high, for 2 min.

    3. Add flour + continue beating to combine. {about 1 min}

    4. Add squash, quinoa, cheeses, scallions &hot sauce to egg mixture.

    5. Beat on medium, until fully combined / uniform consistency has been achieved.

    6. Once waffle iron's ready, spray with non stick
       cooking spray.

    7. Use 1 T measuring spoon to portion out squash mixture.

    8. Drop one dollop of mixture/ per section onto waffle iron + close the waffle iron lid down! (my iron makes 2 at a time)

    9. I cooked a minutes more, (total 7 min)
      Cook 5 mins + raise lid. Fritters should be perfectly crisp around the edges, but add more time to suite your preferences/until golden brown!

      Use rubber spatula to easily lift fritters up  out of  waffle iron.

      Serve with garnish of sour cream + extra scallions, if desired.

      I do need to check  if the Butternut Squash is as low carb as the Spaghetti Squash, I bet the color would be different...

      Since there were just two of us and I had made an entire recipe, I made all up all of the batter and froze the leftovers. 


Friday, March 25, 2016


This FOTO FRIDAY's inspiration came from the sight of a car in the parking lot of my favorite coffee place Java Vino. There sat a car whose owner couldn't decide which bumper sticker was their favorite and decided to use their entire car as a bumper. 

Take a look...

Did you ever collect stickers and apply them in one central locale? To tell you the truth, I put my collection on the inside of my bedroom closet door during my teen years. 

Full time RV'ers Cheryl and Left Brain have been decorating their RV door with stickers from all the places they have been staying.
Thanks for sharing your new collection.

Last week's topic for St. Paddy's Day was What Was on YOUR Plate? Did you tell me?

Thursday, March 24, 2016


Through rain, sleet/snow yesterday it wasn't just the mail that made it to the End of the Rainbow Valley but also a carload of Happy Bookers. When you are a hostess with dinner and a book discussion, sometimes better sense says postpone the gathering when there are blizzard condition warnings. Two of the group had already RSVP'ed no, and a third was questionable as she still had to drive home from the other side of the state. So cancel/not? I took the wait and see approach...

Earlier in the day tax work had taken me into town and although rain sprinkles and a little sleet accompanied me along the river road, snowflakes greeted me in town. The car was snow covered  by the return trip but the roads were remarkably clear and there was less snowfall the closer to home I drove. 

OK, will the girls cancel? Warnings were the bulk of the storm would arrive later that evening. We were supposed to meet at 5 pm earlier than usual, and then the phone rang but not with a cancellation rather with an even better solution of the group coming earlier. Perfect. 

By 4 we were discussing  Saint Mazie, a legendary figure in the Bowery of New York with a reputation of helping the homeless. This Saint really existed as from her cashier booth at the Venice theater for 40 years she didn't just watch the world go but she helped those in need. She daily handed out nickels and dimes to the homeless and less fortunate. In the early days 40's/50's small change could buy a meal. 

Located under the train, the Venice Movie Theater, the theater provided a get away from inclement weather/ the real world with a movie and perhaps a handout. Mazie's donations would sometimes be used for its recepients  for not only food but perhaps warmer shelter/ a bath. Mazie also would walk the back streets at night and not only call but pay for ambulances for those in need. Normally these homeless were just ignored.

The book, Saint Mazie, was in diary form, actually Mazie Phillips's real diary. Full of the real life of a young girl becoming a woman filled with family and a world of people generally invisible to most, the reader becomes not only a voyeur to a working class family but the realization that within all of us there is the possibility of being a Saint. It was a good discussion.

Through rain/sleet/ and snow I was glad that the mail wasn't the only thing that arrived to the End of the Rainbow Valley. It was another terrific gathering of the Happy Bookers and perhaps one of the highest rated books we have read in a while. 

  If you want to know the significance of the green apples, just like in elementary school, you are going to have to read the book.  Go check out Saint Mazie. We liked it and we think you will too.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016


oops forgot to recharge battery
A full room at the library program had quite a treat listening to Ed Hill, past UW-L library's archivist, speak about his passion of preservation of our past through photographs.

Besides a really interesting photo history lesson about portrait photography was also the information of how to care and extend the life of our photos. 

I've always enjoyed taking photos but I certainly could have used some of these tips earlier in my life. It's never too late and gee with retirement this definitely could be added to the list of things to do. Perhaps you can use some of these tips too and won't wait until retirement. 

Storage: keep your photos in a dark, dry place. 
Previously dyes were used in making photo prints, now tints are used which fortunately last longer. Photos will fade. Humidity will ruin/soil prints with mildew/get stuck together.

We wouldn't have know this was "Billy the Kid" wo labeling

Label: Who, Where, When?

Nobody is going to know the importance of the photo unless info is written on back/in file.

Trash: Every 3 years go through photos and get rid of poor quality photos in addition to landscape photos without meaning. Save what is important.

Print: Take meaningful photos off of photo cards, sticks, memory and print them. Noone is going to sit down with a card and look through hundreds of photos for "Uncle Bob."

Album/Book: Put those printed photos into an album/ make the selected photos into a book. Don't ever use tape on photos, it will yellow/become brittle/ leave adhesives on print.

Today most albums are archival and have acid free paper. 
Move old photos into these type of albums. By all means do not use magnetic page type albums, prints will not only yellow but adhere permanently to these pages.

Backup Photos: Use an external drive to copy photos periodically in case something happens to original computer files/ prints. Scan favorite photos. 

Cloud storage: has drawbacks, now that storage may be free but eventually there will be a charge.  We take too many pictures, selfies, etc. weed out duplicates and print meaningful pics.

Migrate: Keep up with the times of using different storage techniques
-SlidesTransfer slides to CD discs. Remember Discs also have   limited shelf life and will delaminate, so copy onto newer products as their become available
-Videos: Tape begins to disintegrate. Transfer to CDs.
- Newpaper Clippings: paper is acidic, scan / photograph 

I am sure there is something I forgot but this sure gives me plenty to do and I bet I am not alone in this endeavor. A lot of purging pics to do here in the End of the Rainbow Valley, how about you?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


It was Stephen Spielberg's sister, Nancy, who decided to produce an untold true story which became the very first full length documentary about the heroic acts of its volunteer fly boys in the movie, Above and Beyond.

Our film group was fortunate enough to watch this film this past Thursday. This little known story imparted a very interesting piece of history. 

Special guest, Steve HonegsExecutive Director of the Jewish Relations Commission of MN&Dakotas, top row far right

You see, in spite of the U.S. Neutrality Act some WWII pilot vets voluntarily returned to the air in 1948  to help Israel gain its independence and form the beginnings of the Israeli air force. These volunteers were not all Americans nor jewish and for the most part pretty secular. "It wasn't their country but they made it their war." Their courageous involvement certainly changed not only their own lives but those of Israel's future citizens forever.

This M309 model was built by model hobbyist D. Hartman
who recently donated his aircraft model collection to our local
 American Legion Post where they are on display  

First and foremost their trek out of the U.S. had to be secretive. If found out, they would lose their citizenship. So their departure craft was disguised as a regular Panamanian airlines carrying the future fighter aircraft pieces inside. From Panama it was flown over to Italy while the men waited for orders. Ironically the craft to be flown to Israel was designed by the Germans called the Messerschmitt and these were reassembled in Czechoslovakia, the only European country to allow them to land. 

Unlike the 100's of hours these pilots had trained familiarizing themselves with their previous craft they only had one half hour to become acquainted with how to operate the Messerschmitt. Its engine was far inferior to anything they had ever flown but like David and Goliath this small band of pilots flying with the Star of David on their craft thwarted the encroaching Egyptian, Iraqi, Jordanian and Syrian armies. They were responsible for turning the tide of the War of Independence. 

Old film footage was also narrated by the pilots themselves as they spoke of their experiences including carousing in Italy as they awaited their mission.

     &                                                                        NOW....  one of the pilots  Lou Lenart

Steve Honegs, Executive Director of the Jewish Relations Commission of Minnesota and the Dakotas was our special guest as he shared the "a story behind the story." One of those 4 U.S. pilots who volunteered was Leon Frankel, a long time family friend in the Twin Cities. Mr. Frankel recently passed away but his important actions in the formation of Israel will now live on through this important military biographical documentary Above and Beyond.

You definitely should add this fascinating documentary to your Netflix queue.

Monday, March 21, 2016


My daily wardrobe has become pretty boring since I am not teaching anymore. There are just not very many reasons to not wear jeans. But I have always been one of those who is game to dress up especially if we are talking 'come in costume'.  So when an opportunity arises such as a holiday such as the festival of Purim which requires a costume, I welcome the challenge.

Folks tend to either like/not like to go through the motions of deciding on what to be and creating an outfit. It was my Dad that passed on this 'costume' love. Growing up in our household there were numerous costume parties. 

My Dad even taught us kids to use burned cork as black charcoal to create facial hair from beards/sideburns to heavy eye brows/ bigger eyes. Although I didn't need the makeup look for my outfit this past weekend I did wear my costume to the carnival. Only 5 others dressed up for the Purim carnival this year. Isn't that sad?

Here' my little friend Maya dressed up as a Bee and her brother the Doc.

Fortunately friend Jen caught  Maya's family friends as Dr Seuss characters.

AND me... See if you can figure out what my costume was.

First word clue. Yes, this is a two parter : What's round and you eat it?  No, not a donut. It's not a dessert. More info, you can put cream cheese on it. Got it?
Check out my necklace which has 2 of these
Second word clue: What do you need a key/ combination to open?
Well, I have 2 of these on my necklace if you look closely. Go ahead zoom in. Now make it plural. There are more than one.

If for CLUE 1 you guessed Bagel and for 2 Locks.  Put them together. YEP  that's right, I was 'Bagel & Locks.' 

Hey, you're never too old to dress up. Have a great week.

Friday, March 18, 2016


FOTO FRIDAY this week has me wondering if your household has a special meal on St. Paddy's Day/ if maybe you go out for something special? Since we  had an early movie night 
(a special guest speaker), we did miss hearing Celtic music but we didn't have to miss a traditional celebration dinner, we just ate a big lunch.

I had thrown in a corned beef the day before in anticipation of the changed schedule. We still ate a later than usual lunch (about 2pm) with all the fixings: corned beef with spicy mustard, potatoes topped with sauerkraut, green beans for some color and a nice thick piece of bread. Natureman even had a beer. 

If you see something purple , those are some of our purple taters
I am definitely looking forward to using the left over corned beef for Reuben sandwiches. So what was on your plate yesterday? Do share.

Cafe 315 went out and enjoyed house brined corn beef Reuben Sandwich by HAM in Hillcrest in Little Rock. "Oh my," is spot on.

Jennifer and her kids went to their favorite neighborhood restaurant, Schmidty's, at the foot of Hedgehog Bluff in La Crosse,WI. Jennifer had the Jameson Whiskey Chicken and the kids started the meal with their favorite reason to go to Schmidty's - Wisconsin Cheese Curds!

Since St. Patrick's Day fell on a Thursday, fellow Chaseburgian, Della and her family usually get together with her brother and fam, so they will celebrate all things Irish next Friday with Reubens and potato salad. Coincidentally, they will be decorating Easter Eggs too! 

In case you missed it, here's last week's FOTO FRIDAY SWEETNESS IN A TREE

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Remember how important it was when we were young to wear to some green on St. Patrick's Day because if you didn't, you were sure to get pinched?  Some folks pinched really hard. I really never had any green in my wardrobe. Now that I think of it my Mom didn't either. Interesting.

Anyhow this pinching custom reminded me of those colored undies sets. Each day of the week was monogramed on a different pair of panties. I wonder if they still make those... Hmmm? Anyhow for whatever reason the Thursday panty was always the color 'green.'  Well, guess what? Yeah, today's Thursday and if it was in the old days I would be safe wearing my Thursday green undies and if somebody pinched me, I could pinch them back. Is that really being safe/ vindictive? Who made up this custom?

I decided to Google it and here are some responses you pick your favorite:
WikiAnswers users share their ideas on the origin:
  • Many years ago, playful Irish children began the tradition of pinching people who forgot to wear green on St. Patrick's Day and the tradition is still practiced today. 
  • You get pinched because you're a nonconformist.
  • Pinching gives you a bruise so you can have some green on you.
  • The act of pinching on St. Patrick's day began in America with Irish settlers who tried to get their kids to behave by telling them that fairies would come pinch them 
 Christian Science Monitor :
Pinching began in this country in the 1700's. It was believed the wearing of green made you invisible to the mischievous leprechauns, fairy creatures who would pinch you if you were not wearing green. People began pinching those without the color green to remind them of the leprechauns who would pinch them for being green abstainers. 

Well,  whichever reason you choose, there's a guy in the End of the Rainbow Valley who's been decked out for a while awaiting this holiday.  No matter what, he's not getting pinched.

the Sentry Soldier, 
won't have to worry about anybody pinching him. 
Notice his tie's  reversible...

May you have a very Happy St. Paddy's Day as you keep this song on your minds today :When Irish Eyes are Smiling with Bing Crosby (1939) 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


 When you saw the word choices, you didn't think I was talking   about candidates, did you? No, no, no. I told you the other day we are being bombarded by enough political propaganda without my two cents worth. No,  like any good gardener in early spring, I am referring to plant choices.
Last Saturday's key note speaker at Spring into Gardening, Ed Lyon, transplanted Madisonian, now director of Iowa's Reiman Gardens and author of the book "Growing the Midwest Garden," imparted some good gems no matter where you live.  It wouldn't be nice of me not to share, would it?

The garden industry's most overemphasized classification for plants by 'zone' can be very misleading. The problem is within a zone there are many variables that will affect a plant and these include: the region and its climate i.e. for us in Wisconsin we encompass zones 3-6 with varying temps, extreme cold in the winter, warmer spring days interspersed with cold, extreme amounts of rainfall,varying amounts of humidity, soil acidity with ph's of 6 to 8.5  different micro climates/geographical considerations between rural (plowed/fertilized land) and altered urban areas (amount of asphalt/cement).  'Climate change' where even if we have been able to get away with a different zone plant, a true winter, for example, will zap that plant. We never really know nowadays as weather conditions pingpong.

Seriously, Wisconsin is considered woodlands but when folks go to big box garden centers, their plant choices may be marked with the correct zone but not necessarily what's going to survive, and they aren't  just woodland plants. Planting natives helps but doesn't always ensure success. 

Gardening also has trends. 

 You've probably seen failed 'Prairie' attempts. Touted as low maintenance, prairie gardens are anything but low maintenance. Aggressive plants take over unless thinned besides the important fact, prairies  need a lot of space to thrive. Not many urban homes have that kind of space. 

Prairie upkeep also include burns.  Last week we had a couple of little /no wind days and it was a perfect time for planned burns to rejuvenate prairie gardens. What an endeavor to say the least! 

And the very popular butterfly gardening to attract butterflies where homeowners plant for example, milkweed. Big OOPS, as one plant reseeds itself many times over and everything else gets choked out unless the homeowner is diligent with constant thinning. 

When selecting plants, which are more sustainable? 

Overplanting of any tree species will result in one disease wiping them all out at once. Take for example our recent mass execution and removal of hundreds of  diseased Dutch Elm. Diversification is very important. 

Another consideration is where you plant. Is there shelter from the wind? Is it a plant that likes wet feet? How much sun does it receive? Some plants will just not survive/ last more than a couple years nor look the way they looked when you first planted them. So many variables of a plant that is marked with your 'zone.' 

What can help us in plant selections? Buying from local growers with tried varieties is going to guarantee better results in hardiness. Do talk to other gardeners to see what works best for them.  And if a plant is not thriving where you plant it, try it in a different locale in your landscaping. Remember to think of a plant as having wheels. And most important of all enjoy whatever you plant. 

Cone flowers  are very hardy.
We shouldnt be shocked' "Oh my, how did this grow here?
SORRY, I have no clue how that slipped in here!  Weeds are only weeds if we don't want them growing there... I personally have never liked yellow.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


My book was due and while dropping it off at the city public library, I saw some of this year's rain barrel collection decorated by area citizens.  Each year I am amazed at the creativity that inspires artists of all ages to not just compete for the $100 people's choice award but also help our community and the planet.

This Saturday, March 19 at the Washburn Garden Expo at La Crosse's Lincoln Middle School there will be some serious bidding going on for these amazing rain barrels.  

Take a look at more of the ingenious collection this year with ecological interpretations. 

If you stop between 11-3 to this free public event you can not only vote for your favorite rain barrel/bid on one but also enjoy the  exhibitors, a lite lunch, healthy cooking demos by Mayo Executive Chef Mike Tangen (11:30/12:30), opportunity to speak with Master Gardeners and arborists regarding your gardening concerns besides learning more about recreation and neighborhood revitalization.  At 2pm there will be talk about Straw Bale Gardening by author and gardener Joel Karsten. 

We are just wetting our appetites before we can get out in the garden as here in the End of the Rainbow Valley spring is just beginning. I had my first sighting of sand hill cranes and just heard the first of the spring peepers...