Friday, June 30, 2017


FOTO FRIDAY this week is for the times you saw something and just had to turn around/back up to take that pic. This is another one of those times. 

Upon passing some transformers I caught sight of this balloon. It didn't just get tied up inside the fenced off area, it was intentionally placed there. Can you guess why?

 Take a closer look.

Now, can you guess why it was tethered in place?

I guess a lot of birds having been flying into the giant fans clogging things up so this owl face supposedly deters them.  Who invents these things?

Can you share a photo/memory of a stop the car moment?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

TBT: Le Coq de la Liberation

My first impression of the End of the Rainbow Valley many, many moons ago was the quiet. No city hum, no honking horns, no leaf blowers, no humanoids. But by the end of that first weekend visit I realized the noise was just different. Yes, there was stillness but inbetween all the nature noise was amplified. Today specifically one particular noise comes to mind and it was the rooster's. 

You see this city girl did not know roosters crow whenever they dang well please, not just that idyllic scene at dawn's break to welcome a new day. Translated 2 am, 3.. 4... whenever. And when you are staying in a house where all the windows are open because AC is non existent then it's like that rooster is in the next room.  Thank heavens for Natureman's youngest son being home for a visit where he just said that rooster has got to go. AND poof the rooster was taken on a ride and freed across the road from a chicken farm with a lot of both hens and roosters. Liberated to crow away impressing all those hens and compete with all the other roosters.

Now move forward to last year when the Milwaukee Museum of Art gifted tote bags to their patrons. There as its design was Picasso's 1944 Le Coq de la Liberation, (Rooster of the Liberation) in all its glory.  Magnificent colors and inspiration for the barn art I had secretly been harboring to create.

Last summer a great discarded pallet was calling my name in a business's trash area. It came home with me and by summer's end a sketch was in place. But silly me, the rough wood would not be forgiving if it wasn't primed first and all that sketch work had to be painted over. Ugh.  Well, as of this morning it has 3 coats of outdoor poly finish and will finally get hung. It won't get a barn wall due to its weight. Serious machinery would be needed to get it hung above the loft doors, hence it's getting a wall of the chicken coop so the girls, our hens, can also have some art. 

Natureman's statement upon seeing the final product was to the effect it had everything from the original painting but it was different. I retorted with a chuckle " Well, I'm no Picasso." 

And as you probably guessed, this is the closest a rooster is ever going to get to being in the End of the Rainbow Valley...

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Tonight was another first as Natureman and I were invited by the Muslim community to join them in their celebration for the end of Ramadan, Eid (pronounced eed). The sign above says Eid Mubarak, transliterated Celebration Blessed / in other words, Happy Holiday! 

Samei, a vermicelli pudding with cardamon

About a hundred folks attended the early scrumptious evening buffet meal in the Copeland Picnic pavilion by the Black River in La Crosse including Muslim families from surrounding areas and all the invited guests .

A brief explanation was given for us guests about the 30 day fast which really ended Sunday. Most religions have a fast. The fast of Ramadan includes no food, liquids, smoking nor sexual relations. According to Wikipedia "Muslims are also instructed to refrain from sinful behavior that may negate the reward of fasting, such as false speech (insulting, backbiting, cursing, lying, etc.) and fighting except in self-defense. Food and drinks are served daily, before dawn and after sunset. Spiritual rewards (thawab) for fasting are also believed to be multiplied within the month of Ramadan. Fasting for Muslims during Ramadan typically includes the increased offering of salat (prayers), recitation of the Quran and an increase of doing good deeds and charity."

Mayors Tim Kabat of La Crosse and Joe Chilsen of Onalaska and representatives from Ron Kind and Tammy Baldwin were present to show their support for our Muslim community members. La Crosse has been declared a safe zone for all immigrants.

Also present was the La Crosse Shoulder to Shoulder group which has been in existence since 2016 with a mission to combat xenophobia and encourage xenophilia. Their latest campaign is to encourage local businesses to place a HATE HAS NO BUSINESS HERE poster in their front windows welcoming all. 

Our media may want to portray our Muslim neighbors in a negative light but it is up to the rest of us to stand up for all our community.

Many of us went home with not only a full belly but  a better understanding of our Muslim neighbors and also a poster or two to place in our community storefronts. "If not now, when?"Hillel

Link NEWS 8000

* Special thank you to Michael Hessel Mial for the first two pics.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The "Honey Do" List

I don't know about you but for me the "Honey Do" list  holds mixed feelings...

As a newlywed my ex would leave me daily lists of things to do that day and when he returned would ask what I had done. Grrr... Let's just say, I did not take it well. 

When I taught, lesson plans were a necessary organizational skill to complete certain unit objectives but weren't lesson plans really 'honey do' lists?

I am a list maker and make lists to not forget certain tasks due to limited free time and even today since I don't live close to town, lists ensure making the most of my drive.

When my Dad comes to visit, he likes to keep busy fixing things. So before his visit, I create a list. Over the years I have had to revise my list as if I gave him the entire list, he completed it in the first 2 days. So now just a couple items will be given in intervals between fishing and other activities.

Funny how the roles have reversed with my kids. When I visited my daughter last year for her wedding prep she sent me a long to do project list ahead of time.  I have to admit panic as I was thinking, "Wait I am only coming for a week, not a month." Of course as Mom it's my pleasure to be able to help with whatever. Living so far away I have limited opportunities so those lists and her planning allow me to be part of her life.  
That's a lot of spindles and parts !

Two weeks ago the biggest project on her list for my pre baby visit this time was working on Baby Tater Tot's room. The soon-to-be parents had purchased a painted used large bureau to be used as a changing table and an end table besides inheriting a glider rocker with a footstool. 

My friend Nancy gave me a refinishing tutorial and advice of products before I left as the last time I refinished furniture was my antique dining room set in 1978. The Home Depot guy was also a gem and sent us home with all the necessary products and a lot of advice including keeping the expectant mother out of the process due to fumes. Good advice.
This move wore my son out...

It was great having a houseful of family to lend a hand in the process. The guys carried the furniture down to the garage.

 Even my son-in-law got some hand sanding in on the big piece...

And thanks to my daughter's mother-in-law and son's significant other, we prepped - sanded and primed and applied two coats of paint. Their help allowed me to be able to complete the second coat of finish before heading out on my return flight.  

Not only do the other pieces match the crib but we picked out a durable neutral fabric and  

VOILA!  Our coup de gras, the finished rocker and glider, ready for many hours of rocking. 

I can't deny it "Honey Do" lists really do help and there certainly is a great sense of satisfaction checking those completed items off the list. Don't you agree?

Monday, June 26, 2017


Strolling through the Riverside International Friendship Gardens of La Crosse is one of our favorite summer activities. Each visit there are new blooms and sights so I've included what's been blooming this June. A lot of unusual weather with very hot days early in the month and  expected rains, yet some whopper storms both with more rainfall than usual and wind, a lot of wind made for some early blooming and challenging gardening. 

Black squirrels are a common sight scurrying around looking for handouts and up for being included in photoshoots too.

There's also the artistic work of spiders...

 Be sure and visit your local public gardens. And if you happen to see the volunteers responsible for their upkeep, do thank them for such a wonderful public service that everyone can enjoy. The Bluff Country Master Gardeners do an amazing job keeping the Riverside International Friendship Gardens beautiful for all of us to enjoy here in the La Crosse area.
 And as always, do take time to smell the roses.

Past blog entries:
Cat Out of the Bag
New Addition
Down by the Riverside Skies

Friday, June 23, 2017


FOTO FRIDAY this week comes from something parents utter to their young children to prevent them from making an unbecoming face. "Be careful, it may freeze that way."

Look how I caught Jacqueline...

Not very becoming at all sticking out her tongue. Now, what if it froze that way?

Do you have any unbecoming faces you'd like to share?

To see last week's FOTO FRIDAY click on :CAUGHT RED HANDED

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


The Stoddard Methodist Church known as "the little white church with a big heart" on Main Street, may have moved to a new locale but its old doors have reopened on weekends and though historically still a church, folks are now climbing its front stairs perhaps praying for a special antique purchase.

Truth be told the new owners. Jim and Paula Dammon wanted to save this architectural building from becoming a duplex/apartments and maintain its integrity. In fact, you can read about the church's history recorded in a binder as you enter what once was the original church before it was moved on a train from La Crosse to Stoddard in the early 1900's.

The old Stoddard church now named ANTIQUE35 because upcyled antiques are for sale and 35 because it is located on Hwy 35 in Stoddard before you leave town heading south to Prairie du Chien. It's great to see another new business addition although seasonal to this little Mississippi River town.  

It was a pleasure Saturday visiting with Jim, the one responsible for the one of a kind industrial furniture. Once retired, Jim decided to combine his hobbies of welding and woodwork. Converting old wooden peach/wine boxes with some barn boards and welding into something different.  When he got to 30 pieces, a bit much for his household, he realized he needed a venue to sell them. Whether you are looking for a unique coffee/end/sofa table or foot stool, if you don't find exactly what you are looking for, it can be custom made. 
peach boxes are deep for books, cds/ games

Ammunition box coffee table
Wooden boxes / metal file cabinets can serve as storage for all sorts of things such as  games, magazines/ perhaps some of your wine collection.  
                  Who ever has enough storage? Right?

Jim, being a very smart man gives credit to his wife and 3 of her friends for ANTIQUE35. The 'upcycled' items bathing in the church stain glass window light are accessories to add charm to your/ your friends's homes. You can find an array of items priced from under $10 and up. 

You just never know what you'll find if you don't stop in and check it out on a regular basis.
 So, whether or not you've headed south of La Crosse lately take a river drive next weekend and stop in to all the places open for the season and treat yourself.

For more info visit their website  ANTIQUE35.COM/call 608790-6050 at 134 South Main, Stoddard, WI 54658

Links to Relatively 'New' Stoddard Businesses include:

Sunday, June 18, 2017


One annual road trip we enjoy is along the Mississippi River over to the quaint river town of Alma, WI, home of the WPR award winning Big River Radio Wave show. 

If you've never been to a 'live' taping, it's participatory as a mic hangs over the audience to capture a pre-practiced chant. Ours was a rowdy "Hey, Wisconsin"for the first show of the season with a rip roaring applause and a few unsolicited cheers. The same show is taped at 6 and repeated at 8. This variety show will be spliced for its airing and will be the lead in for the Prairie Home Companion. Pretty cool, huh?

Once again we were present for the taping of their July 4th week end broadcast. The stage was definitely more crowded as the show's band, Section 8, has grown to 10 members with a larger horn section. Mac Cherry's still the lead male vocalist. 

Also returning was comedian Tim Harmston from the Twin Cities.  There was no shortage of political material and the show's audience did not need any warming up to his humor. 

Dick Stahl who lives in Davenport, Iowa who served as the first poet laureate (01-03) of the Quad Cities shared some of his poetry from his new publication Bluffing inspired by his many hikes with his wife to many of the Mississippi bluff overlooks. 

Another guest on the show was Billy X Curmano, adventurer/artist who swam the length of the Mississippi to bring attention to pollution. He also spoke of poisoning water in fracking referring to the Dakotas and the pipeline's damage to the environment. In April he had an installation called Hidden & Collected Waters along with performances. As a vet he also uses his art to protest war with other Viet Nam vets. 

There are a lot of interesting folk to meet...

Remember, you too can be part of a live taping.  For $ 12/ticket you can have a great time  on the Big River Radio Show/ we can all just see each other on the radio. Check FB for their schedule.

Here's a link to a past blog entry:
2016 Big River Wave Radio

* Of course we made our stop for plants in Alma at 333 S. Main St. and my favorite Fiesta de Sol variety at Alma Garden Gate. Big clearance sale going on now for all you gardeners.

Friday, June 16, 2017


FOTO FRIDAY: The entire idea and fun of some senseless teenage pranks is to not get caught. These 2 culprits are much older and may have lost their touch because they got caught. 

Two of my four babysitting charges helped themselves to a roll of TP (toilet paper) from inside the house. 

As I drove up to their driveway there on the lawn was something white, a lone roll of toilet paper -

surrounding it was Tyson (alias Rat Boy) and Buster. As I asked what was going on, Buster put his head down in shame for being caught in the act.

Ratboy swears it was the cats Jasper and Felix who did this. 
Do you have any pics of catching someone in the act? 
If so, please do share.

One story came in with a wish there were critter cams back in the day when this couple had their first Shep, Edgar. While they were gone, he figured out how to get to a roast sitting way back on the stove top. Only remnants were left. They had not doubt who their culprit was:)

Last week's FOTO FRIDAY was:PILE LOAD OF...

Thursday, June 15, 2017


'Tater Tot'  had quite a party this past weekend in the Atlanta suburb of Decatur  thanks to some wonderful friends and family...

The expectant couple

You know a lot of things have changed between generations and one of these is the addition of the Couple's Baby Shower. It's not just the girls getting together to celebrate the impending arrival of the new bouncing bundle of joy but has become a co-ed event. 

Family and friends travelled from California, D.C., Florida, New York, Tennessee, Texas and yours truly from Wisconsin to attend the event in Georgia. Not only did these Southern hosts do their garden party up big with a tent, enough seating for the 50+ to enjoy the amazing southern bar b que seated, it was even bigger than the wedding party they had thrown for my daughter and son-in-law less than two years ago. These are very generous friends. Perhaps now that many couples are marrying and having children later in life, it is a bigger deal.

It's great to have creative friends and you knew you had a full evening ahead as a welcome door of photos and list of games greeted the guests. 

Family members were given handmade name tags too.

Yes, of course, there were still games and prizes for guessing the correct number of baby pins,

stealing baby dolls if folks left theirs unattended, 
each guest could also decorate a piece of quilt which will be assembled into a baby quilt,

         bobbing for nipples, bottle nipples. Where are your minds? 

Personalized corn throw board  with diaper sand bags and a Plinko for 'chance'  guesses of the baby's arrival date hopefully not beyond that August 28th due date.

And a photo booth op 
for all the guests with  
pacifiers, rattles, yellow duck eye eyeglasses and signs as props.

Other special touches included
cupcakes with edible butterflies, a non edible diaper cake, gorgeous flowers on all the tables and a beautiful garden setting...

The bartender was kept plenty busy as the special drink requests kept coming for the "All Nighter," "Pacifier" and "Pretty in Pink" altho' big tubs of iced alcoholic and non were available too. There were 3 pregnant women that we know of present and they had choices too. There was something for everyone but...

Nobody could forget the reason we all were there was to celebrate the arrival of Tater Tot. She will be one lucky gal - not only with all her new gear but to have a lot of folks who care about her and her folks...

XOXO to all her friends for making this occasion so special!