Saturday, October 13, 2007

Why tree stumps are good.

Shortly after we moved in, I started drilling a couple of holes in some old tree stumps in hopes to speed the rotting process, and thusly, the removal process. A neighbor commented on a chemical I could dump in the holes to further speed that process along. Now I wish I hadn't even drilled the holes. Look at this beautiful polypore that is taking up residence. Both stumps have them, and there are three other species growing on or between the stumps. What a great summer for fungi!
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Friday, October 12, 2007

Our Alley

No setback laws existed back in the early 1900s, but they do now. Any work you might want to do can only be repair work on these old buildings. New ones would have to go in at least fifteen feet from the alley, and, in our case, that would chew up most of our backyard. We had the inspector out, and he go a good chuckle out of the 1970s metal building attached to the 1907 wood garage behind, concrete floor in the old part (albeit heaving up and down) and dirt floor (with carpeting) in the front.
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Sunday, October 7, 2007

It's got the feeling of sub-par...

...written all over it. Something about the late heat, coupled with the huge winds and rain we've had, lead me to believe the colors will be somewhat mediocre this year. We have our fall photo shoot scheduled with our daughter next week. Here's hoping we can find the color.
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Friday, October 5, 2007

Friday Night Lights

Would the modern day UWRF football team be able to beat this group of toughs? Half the team looks like Jim Thorpe's brother and the other half looks like they just got done plowing. Of course the average weight then was probably 180 and today, about 260. Advantage: Now.
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Thursday, October 4, 2007

At least someone used it

Went out back to try to take a picture of the bugs swarming at the hummingbird feeder, but it was nearly impossible. I got stung twice by yellow jackets, and those stupid little Japanese beetles were biting me the entire time. Our hummingbird feeder was a flop this year. One early fall hanger-on came through for a couple of days, and that was it. Last year, after we moved in, we had dozens---rubies, emeralds, you name it we had it. This year, one little ruby and that was that. And, as to those Japanese beetles; I don't remember them when I was a kid. We had lady bugs, and they did not bite. Now you have to discriminate. Is it safe to let the little bugger crawl on you or not? I love lady bugs, but I hate them Japanese beetles.
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Since we're on the subject of tombstones

Another one to add to the great debate over whether or not stones in Cottage Grove and River Falls came from the same source. By highway, there's some distance between us, but going down the Kinni to the St. Croix and then up the pass through St. Croix Bluffs Park, we could darn near be sister cities. Going to head to the library today to do some digging. Doggone Slinger has got me all distracted now.
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Monday, October 1, 2007

Bonus-Cliff Mine

Perhaps one of the best places for true cemetery afficianados---the Cliff Mine Cemetery up in northern Michigan. No people around, a hike to get here, and, once done looking at the stones, rock piles to go hunt for native copper. Beautiful!
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Only the Good Die Young

I'm a big fan of graveyards. Besides the art of the stones, and the interest in the rocks that were used to make them, cemeteries are tremendously tranquil and a great telescope into the past. One of the saddest things about the olds stones is how many kids died young. We were at a cemetery in Utah, and there was a string of four stones, all kids from the same family who died within a year of five. It leads me to wonder the circumstances of their death. Disease? Starvation? Parents? Many sad tales at the graveyard.
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Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Trickle that Starts It All

Grey day here, so how about a picture of the headwaters of the Mississippi. So small you can walk across it.
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Friday, September 28, 2007


Once when I was a kid, and we had just got back from a trip to the Smoky Mountains, my dad showed slides from the trip. In among the March images was this crazy picture of a black bear sticking his snout out from behind some flowers. I was dumbfounded. "Where was I when you took that picture?" "Weren't you scared?" "Did you get any other pictures of the bear?" It was only years later that I realized the image was fake, one of those slides you buy in a gift store. It was the flowers that gave it away. We were there in March and there was nothing blossoming. This picture has that feel about it. Here we are, temperatures and leaves dropping, and here's this flower. It seems so out of place. Our dahlias, too, are gorgeous right now, but summer is done. They should be dead.
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Thursday, September 27, 2007

High Bridge-South Fork

This is the walking bridge at Glen Park, over the South Fork, right before it enters the Kinni. Beautiful park, bridge, and waterfalls, here. Tomorrow, a picture of a great turn-of-the-century plate with an image of this same area.
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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Grey Day

Light was horrible, and I know there are people who devote their whole life to catblogging, so here's Crombus, the gentle cat of the house.
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Monday, September 24, 2007


Nice collection of greens from an area Scientific Natural Area.
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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Won't be long now

Gorgeous fall day today, but there was wind moving the early dead off of trees. Time for us northerners to stock up on furnace filters, ice melt, and Hershey bars (for roadside emergency kits (to be eaten when there are no sweets in the house (leaving an unsuspecting spouse to perish of starvation in a ditch during some sort of superstorm))). Our days are numbered, and the squirrels know it. They are working extra hard, building up stores of walnuts and fat.
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Friday, September 21, 2007

Looks are deceiving

It sure looks like a nice fall day for golf, doesn't it? Yeah, sure, if you like hurricane winds. Had one shot, fifty yards right of the pin, land pin high after the wind worked it's magic. But, like they say, "A bad day golfing is better than a good day working." True'dat!
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Thursday, September 20, 2007


The power plant near Glen Park where the Kinni meets the South Fork.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The St. Croix

So, the Kinnickinnic flows to the St. Croix. This is the St. Croix right below where the Kinni flows into it. Ten miles below this, the St. Croix connects up with the mighty Mississippi. Lots of water recreation takes place on this stretch of water, and then, suddenly, to the north, it becomes a jagged nightmare of rocks and shallows. Just before that area, there are some really neat pontoon port-a-potties. No need to pee in the water or drag the boat ashore, just pull up, climb off, and away you go.
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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Another St. Croix River

This one, the Willow River flows into the St. Croix north of here near the town of Hudson. It is another gorgeous river with a state park on it. Unlike the Kinnickinnic, which has the Kinnickinnic State Park on it, you can camp at Willow River. The hike to the water fall is worth it, but for purity of experience, the trail on the north side of the river is the best.
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Monday, September 17, 2007

Circa 1910

This puts the age of our house in perspective. This postcard image dates to three years after our house was built. The wide streets, so that horses could turn around with a cart behind, provided the space for the cool center island that runs the length of Main. Accidental aesthetics are the best.
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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Bonus Shot

What the heck. There's nothing wrong with two in one day. I like the waters flowing over some water vegetation here. Kinnickinnic northeast of town in the middle of a short stretch of knuckle-busting shallow water. My hands still hurt from this kayak trip.
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Four Hours Away

I tend to bad mouth the upper Midwest. Not because it is a bad place, but rather because there are no bits of greatness to it, no Grand Canyon, no ocean, no jaw-dropping beauty. I like to use the "Four Hour Rule" as my basis for griping. Take San Francisco. A four hour radius gets you to the Sierra Nevadas, Oregon, LA, Yosemite, etc. Four hours from us, gets you to the Wisconsin Dells and South Dakota. Whooooo-hoooo! The Boundary Waters sits right at the upper limit of the "Four Hour Rule," and while it is not the most incredible thing you will ever see, it has to be near the most peaceful. You will never get quiet like you get in the BWCA. When I took this picture, my daughter and I were alone at the edge of the lake. A slight ruffle alerted us to a deer, about two hundred yards away, standing in the water. It was so quiet we could hear the deer from two football fields away simply standing in the water. Incredible!
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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Crystal Cave

Just down the road in Spring Valley is the largest show cave in Wisconsin. What you see here is pretty much what you get. Great soda straws and a neat history, but not a lot of huge color, crystallization, or variety of minerals. There are some fossils, and the terrain outside the cave is truly beautiful. Worth a visit if you end up in the area.
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Friday, September 14, 2007

Wabi Sabi

There is little to recommend the back side of most main streets. No exception to the rule on the east side of our Main. The west has the river and some effort to spruce up the waterfront. Don't get me wrong. It ain't no San Antonio; but, an effort is at least being made. The east side, though, is just plain ugly. The history has been vanquished, and what remains is little more than junk from the age when no one cared what downtowns looked like. Good luck finding the beauty in this picture (and don't just blame it on my camera (or me)).
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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thrift Store

The G.T. Smith Building from 1916 now houses Treasures from the Heart, a great thrift store that benefits the local hospice program.
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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Early 20s Lull

Hit the wall early, and have to resort to a picture of a beat-up and worthless front yard planter for today's photo. Damn that work and all the other things that suck up valuable time!
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