Tuesday 13 comments

What’s that I smell?

I’m laying there in bed, not quite ready to get up and all of a sudden I notice a very unusual smell.  Hmmm, what is that?  It’s not coffee or the wood burner.  Could it be toast?  No, toast smells lots different than this.  It smells like something freshly baked, but who’s been in my kitchen baking before 6:00 am?  

Okay, so curiosity got the best of me, so I got up to investigate this new smell.  Hmmm, there’s no one in the house but me, but there sitting on the stove cooling off, is a pan of cornbread.  Newly trained baker Jim, decided as long as he was up and still hungry for cornbread, he’d make it all by himself.  While it was cooling, he took Molly for their morning walk.  When they got back we cut into the still warm cornbread.  And let me tell you it was awesome!  Fresh, hot cornbread with a little honey to go along with my morning coffee…life doesn’t get much better than that!

This afternoon, I’m going to teach him how to make split pea soup.  It’s really easy, but hey, if I can get someone else to do the cooking, I’m all for it.

We got just over 3” of snow last night, but at least it’s not as cold as it’s been recently.  Yesterday we did a neighborhood walk and the sidewalks are still a mess.  I can tolerate the cold and snow becomes a major inconvenience, but it’s the ice I really dislike.  The City has a website where you can report sidewalks that haven’t been cleared, but I’d be reporting half of the houses around here.  That’s the reason we like to take a drive out in the country and walk down some back road.  This is from a road we walked on last Saturday when it was still really cold.P1090515

I don’t know where they’re coming from, but we have more darned mourning doves around here than I’ve ever seen before.  Some days the feeder is so full of them, there’s no room for even a little chickadee to jump in for seed.  These were waiting their turn to get some free food. P1090521Time for the Pea Soup class to convene.  I know it’s going to be a delicious pot of soup.
Wednesday 6 comments

Time for an Update

Like so much of the country, we’re “enjoying” winter with lots of snow, ice and cold.  Yesterday Molly and I took a walk around the neighborhood and the sidewalks were very treacherous.  The storm that came through over the weekend started out as rain, then turned to snow so now the sidewalks have a layer of ice under the snow.  It’s been too cold for salt to work so the sidewalks are a mess.  We could really use a couple “warm” days so the ice melts and the sidewalks clear.  Right now, it’s like walking on egg shells, being so careful not to slip and fall flat on your face. 

We needed to get out of town, so this morning we took a walk out in the country along this back road.  It was still pretty cold and I’ve got to say, it was really pretty seeing the heavy frost and snow on all the trees and branches.  P1090493


P1090490And on the signs too.  

P1090486I don’t have anything against snow.  I just wish it didn’t stay around so long. 

Other news…I had my annual mammogram, got my teeth cleaned and we put up the Christmas.   It’s a real skinny, cheapo, fake tree, but once you plug it in and get all the ornaments (aka balls…for you Toodie) on it, it’s really quite pretty.  We went shopping, picked up all the gift cards and got all the Christmas cards mailed out.  I’m not going to bake any cookies, but will make a batch of Spicy Nuts to give to my old buddy Moose and his wife Laurie.  So all in all, I’m about ready for Christmas…not that I really had that much to do. 

This morning Jim decided he wanted to make a pan of jalapeño cornbread to go along with the pot of chili he’s going to make for supper.  I googled a recipe for him, gathered up all the ingredients and bowls and left him alone.  After awhile I went to check to see how things were going.  Well, he had a real confused look on his face and said, “I think I screwed up.”  Okay, what did you do?  He got the baking powder (2 tsp) mixed up with the baking soda (1/2 tsp) and asked if it mattered.  Oh yeah, it matters.  We tossed it out and he started over.  At least he hadn’t mixed in the eggs, milk and oil yet.  We sampled the finished product and it was really good.  So if you’re hungry for chili and corn bread, come on over around supper time for some good eats.

Tuesday 12 comments


Well we've got snow and most likely it's going to be here for awhile. The temps this week aren't supposed to get above freezing.  More snow is predicted for Thursday and again on the weekend.  Ah yes, this is Wisconsin and it's almost winter, so WYSIWYG!

I'm still trying to decide if I'm going to do any Christmas baking this year.  I always enjoyed making plates of cookies for my elderly relatives and taking a day to go visit them.  But now they're all gone.  I know I can still make them, but I really don't want to have cookies around here.  Mainly, because I LOVE cookies.  There's nothing I like more than rich, buttery, chocolaty, nutty, spicy, chewy, crunchy, gooey...well, you get the picture.  I have no will power when it comes to Christmas cookies.  Maybe I'll make a few pans of bars to divvy up amongst the neighbors.  I like bars too, but not as much as cookies.  Yum!
Thursday 11 comments

An Amazing Day

Today was one of those days that turned out to be way better than I expected.  Jim had pruned lots of branches on the big spruce in front of the house and had a pickup load of brush to get rid of.   We decided to take a drive up to our woods near the Dells to get rid of it and he needed to cover some wood piles before the snow comes this weekend.  So while he was doing that Molly and I took a walk down the road.  As soon as we got out of the truck, all we could hear was the sound of Sand Hill cranes.  As we got to the end of the road and looked out over the open field, I could see the sky was full of them.  At the time I thought they were flying away from me, but a few minutes later, they were right overhead.   P1090425And they kept coming and coming.  There were hundreds of them.  You may want to click on this to see a larger image.    P1090433But wait, there’s more!  As we were heading to Portage for some shopping, just a few miles down the road we saw the field where they landed.

Down the road a few miles more, we came to another spot where hundreds more were hanging out.  Some how they must know snow and cold weather is coming.  They’ll continue their migration south tomorrow and hopefully will be out of here before the 3-7” of snow starts on Friday.


The second amazing thing happened when we were at Walmart.  You know how you just never know who you’ll see when you’re at Walmart?  While walking down an aisle, I was behind an elderly woman and even from the back, I immediately knew she was my 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Millegan.  Weird huh?  I knew it was her just by seeing her hair.  She always wore her long hair up in a very nice style, with little ringlets at the side of her face.  The only difference now was her hair was a beautiful shade of white.  I stopped and told her who I was and she said, “yes, I would’ve have recognized you too”.  Now if that’s not amazing enough, here’s more.  She was in the same school class as my dad, so that makes her 91 years old!   Seeing her, really made my day.  She’s the only thing I remember about second grade and it was great that we both remembered each other.  I really wish I would’ve thought to have someone take a picture of us.  That would’ve been the icing on the cake!
Tuesday 9 comments

Home Again

Well, it’s been about a week since I’ve updated this so I guess it’s about time to fill you in on what we’ve been doing since we got back home.   It turned out to be a very good thing that we came home 6 days earlier than originally planned. 

When we got home last Wednesday, Jim went down in the basement to turn the water heater up and do the other things he does down there.  Near the bottom of the stairs, he noticed one of his Coleman lanterns was knocked off a table and the glass globe was shattered.  Hmmm…he thought, that’s weird.  Then he went into a room he uses to store our bird seed and discovered a bunch of sunflower seeds on the floor and on top of other things.  Okay, so he keeps looking around trying to figure what was/is down there and finds droppings here and there.  Bigger than mouse size droppings, but what the heck is it?  OMG, not a rat he hopes. 

Time for an emergency trip to Walmart for traps and sticky pads.  Now back to the basement and he sets up a trap area.  Seeds in the corner, surrounded by sticky pads.  By this time, he’s convinced it’s a squirrel, because he can hear it moving and making little squirrel noises up in the ceiling panels.   By now it’s getting evening and he figures little ol’ squirrel will be getting hungry and will get trapped on it’s way to the seeds.  He’ll check it in the morning.

Morning comes and squirrel is still up in the ceiling panels.  I’m not liking this at all, so I decide to Google it to see how to get this critter out of our house.  Seems this is a fairly common problem with an easy solution.  Open a window so the little guy can get the heck out of your house.  So that’s what we did.  We left the window open while we went off to have a great Thanksgiving day with my relatives.  When we returned we were very thankful to find our house squirrel-less.  In the meantime, Jim searched high and low trying to figure out how it got in.  Well, it chewed it’s way in through the wiring/piping for the central air.  It must have gotten quite a shock in the process, because there were bare wires out there.  He’s taken care of this problem so they can’t try to become house guests again.

So that was our wildlife moment right here at home.  We still like squirrels, just not in our house.

Other than that and Thanksgiving, we’ve been busy getting back into the swing of the city, putting things away and getting the house restocked.  I had a great Black Friday at my Etsy shop, so I’ve been busy making more items for all those great Etsy buyers. 

I’m happy to be home again, especially when I look out the window and see grass and not snow.  You will notice my new theme here has quite the winter look.  I just couldn’t find anything I liked that I could use with 3 columns, so that’s why I went with this plain and simple winter look.

Hungry Hairy Woodpecker 

Monday 10 comments

Turkey Week

P1090213 I saw these guys or girls a couple weeks ago before the big snow.  They were just picking their way through the woods.   I’m pretty sure they won’t be on anyone’s Thanksgiving table this year. 

The time has come for us to get things put away, packed up and say good bye to all our furry, feathered and northern friends.   The snow from a week ago is still on the ground, yesterday we had freezing rain/drizzle and now there’s a thin layer of ice on everything.  Tonight and into tomorrow more snow is predicted.  We planned on returning home next week, but with all this snow and cold coming, we’re going to take advantage of the clear weather on Wednesday and go home…and just in time for Thanksgiving with all my family.

We’ll miss all the wildlife around here and I know they’ll miss us too.  Just last week we had a new visitor…a gray fox.  Every night around 6:30 it arrives to eat some corn or sunflower seeds.  We’re baffled that the trail cam doesn’t get a picture of it, but I took this one last night through the window.  It’s not the best, but it’s typical of what you get at night when shooting through 3 panes of glass.  It’s really a small animal.  Just a little bit bigger than a cat, but it has a beautiful silvery, red fur coat.

Gray Fox-1

Gray Fox 

I know I won’t be updating this again until after Thanksgiving, so I’ll leave you with this Thanksgiving greeting.
 Vintage Thanksgiving Postcard - Flickr - Photo Sharing! 


May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!



Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday 8 comments

Didn’t Go Postal

Yesterday Molly and I came back home and left the Great White Hunter to fend for himself.  Tomorrow is the official start of deer hunting in Wisconsin.  It’s the one weekend I do not like being at the cabin.  I like coming back home and going to the Christmas craft shows and spending the day with my friend Connie.

Anyway, yesterday I stopped at the Post Office to pick up the mail that was being held and there with all the bills, catalogs and other junk mail was a Return to Sender package.  It was a set of pins for one of my Etsy buyers.  So I contacted her, told her what happened and asked for her correct address.  She answers back saying it happens all the time.  Her address and the one I used is 101 University Drive.  She said the Postal carriers try to deliver it to 1001 or 4001 University Drivem addresses that don’t even exist.  So to avoid the risk of this happening again, she gave me the address of her aunt & uncle in an entirely different state and asked me to send it there.

So I put the package in another envelope, with a new address label and go to the Post Office to mail it out again.  I told the whole story to the Postal lady, saying I didn’t think I should have to pay again, when my original package had a valid address on it.  She agreed and the USPS paid to resend my package.   Small victory for me!  

I guess I haven’t undated this since the big snow last Saturday.  Man, did it ever come down!  It started out as rain, then turned to slush and finally heavy snow that got pasted onto everything in it’s path.  Here’s before and after pictures of the pond.  Yeah, I know “it’s so pretty”!

This one has some frost on the edges and a thin layer of ice.


This one has lots of snow on everything, the layer of ice is gone, but there was still more snow coming.   Total for this storm was 6-8 inches.


Four days later the snow was still hanging.  Lots of branches broke from the weight of the snow.  Even whole trees snapped and fell onto the road.  It was a mess!


It was nice to see green grass when I got back home.


The Heat is On

We burn wood for heat at home and at the cabin.  Last week when we went home for my uncle’s funeral, we started up the little wall furnace so the cabin wouldn’t get too cold while we were gone.  We got back just before dark and as soon as we opened the door, the smell of propane just about knocked us over.   Jim looked around and couldn’t see any obvious problem and decided to call in a professional.  We knew this was nothing to mess around with.  Didn’t want to risk the place blowing up or all of us getting carbon monoxide poisoning.

Long story short, the repair man arrived at exactly the scheduled time, cleaned this, blew out that, looked at the propane tank, looked at the venting, ran the furnace, shut it off, ran it again and finally said he should put a big red X on it and say to never run it again.  He said it could be used to heat up the place if we were to leave while that was happening.  It would also kill any mice in the process.  First of all, we don’t have mice and secondly, we don’t want to risk anything by using this ancient little furnace.

ComfortZone_Infrared_Heater_1500PWe heard so many good things about infrared heaters that we decided to get one for our backup heat source.  Great decision, in my opinion.  It’s small, quiet and economical to run.  We don’t have to rewire, revent or remove the old one.   Just plug it in, set the temperature and let it do it’s thing.

A couple other good things happened this week. 
1. We didn’t get any phone calls about having to go back home for a funeral. 
2. A new cell tower was activated and we’re right on the end of it’s service range.  It won’t be long and another one that’s about 5 miles closer will be activated.  Now to decide what kind of cell phone to buy.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.
3. We had some super weather this week and got out and enjoyed it.  Yesterday was sunny and windy.  Today is cool and cloudy.  Tomorrow & Sunday could bring that dreaded 4 letter word that starts with S, ends with W and has NO in the middle.
And again, I want to thank everyone for all you kind words about my Uncle Wally.  He was a real treasure.

Monday 13 comments

Quiet Time in the Northland

Like the title says, it’s getting very quiet around here.   About the only wildlife we’re seeing now are deer and eagles.  This little doe was standing along the edge of a dirt road when I spotted her.  Jim backed up and she just stood there while I took her picture .  She was turning her ears from side to side listening for sounds of danger.  I really like this picture of her in a totally natural setting.  P1090154The eagles have been feasting on road kill and deer carcasses.  It’s not unusual to see  eagles every day.P1090169 And then there’s the mysterious stuff.  Just when I thought all the bears are in dens, I see this track frozen in some mud.P1090172 The day after Halloween, I saw this skeleton looking image in a pool of water.  Aliens perhaps?P1090145 And this morning on our walk we saw some confused willows.  It’s been nice, but I didn’t think it was warm enough for pussy willows to bud out.P1090185 

I want to thank everyone again for all the kind words, thoughts and prayers you sent me on the recent passing of my aunt and uncle.  Uncle Wally’s funeral was on Saturday and I want to share this with all of you.  This is the back side of the little memory card that was handed out.  He was a character and a real Honey.Uncle Wally

Tuesday 10 comments

And then there were none….

Last Tuesday we got the news our last living Aunt had passed away.  She was 87 years old and lived a full, happy life.  We were at her funeral last Saturday along with all my other cousins and family.  I was so happy to see my last living Uncle there too.  He looked very frail as his health hasn’t been the best in the past years either.   I gave him a kiss, held his hand and teased him about his new crop of whiskers.  Last night we learned he passed away also.  Just 6 days after his sister’s death.   Uncle Wally, Aunt Marie and DadSo now that family is all together again.  Uncle Wally and Aunt Gerry, Aunt Marie and Uncle Hilly and of course Mom and Dad.Uncle Wally & Aunt Gerry
Taken in 1951. Celebration of Grandpa Wimann's 70th birthday. In picture...Wally Wimann, Grandpa, Gerry Wimann, Marie Wimann Raimer and Hilly Raimer.
Fred and Esther WimannSo now all my lovely aunts and uncles from both sides of our family are gone.  I never thought this day would come.  I mean I thought they’d always be with me, but that’s just not possible.  I loved them all and miss them so much.  But now my brothers, cousins and myself are the old people in our family.   Saturday will be another family reunion .  We’ll gather together to celebrate Uncle Wally’s wonderful life.  He was a character and will be missed by all who knew him.

Thursday 8 comments

Sooner or Later…

It had to happen.  Yes, we saw our first snowflakes of the season on Wednesday.  Nothing serious, compared to the wind and rain that pounded the country this week.  It’s been ugly here for days.  Today is the first day since Saturday that it hasn’t rained.  It’s cool and windy, but at least that may help dry things out a bit. 
Yesterday we took a drive down our road and in a 9 mile stretch, there was high water running over the road in 5 different spots.   The wind caused lots of trees to snap and of course some landed on the road.  P1090024 The first one Jim was able to drag off, but the next one was reason enough to turn around and take a different route.P1090025This bridge got wiped out by high water a few years ago.  If it hadn’t blown out then, it probably would’ve happened in this storm.P1090037The dam down by the pond is still holding, but there’s lots of water going over the top.    P1090073I took this picture of the pond this morning and I thought I’d go back and compare it to one I took in April.  Oh ya, the pond is lots bigger now.
October 2010P1090079  April 2010P1040408 The deer didn’t wait for the cover of darkness to come in for a snack yesterday.  They’ve had a rough couple of days too.PICT0119
Saturday 10 comments

Road Trip!

When we heard Charlene the Weather Lady say that Friday was going to be the last nice day we’d be having for awhile, Jim decided we should take a road trip.  So off we go over to Minnesota to check out a town we’ve seen on the news and on some other regional shows.   After arriving there we both were trying to remember just exactly why we thought this would be an interesting town to visit.  We drove around town, up and down the main street, all the time looking for something…anything interesting.   Nothing there, but on the other side of the highway was this big ski jump.  So we’re thinking, maybe that’s what all the hoopla was about.  P1090005But that wasn’t enough.  We thought there had to be more around here than a ski jump and a bunch of empty buildings.  So back to the highway and right there on the other side of the road was another town called Bovey.  On the main drag was an antique store/cafe.  Okay, this is starting to look much better, just the type of businesses we like.  The antique store had nice stuff and decent prices.  PA220004The cafe was wonderful.  It’s a mom and pop place with real homemade food.  Jim had the special of the day, a dish called Sarma, which is Serbian cabbage rolls.  He loved it.  I had a chicken teriyaki salad.  Both came with warm, homemade, whole wheat rolls that were excellent.
As we were getting back in the truck, we noticed a big marker in front of the Village Hall.  Always love reading about small towns claim to fame.  Well, low and behold, Bovey is the home of a very famous photograph.   Who hasn’t seen this picture?  My parents had it over our dining room table and it’s seen everywhere.  GraceWell, the photographer and the man were from Bovey.  Here’s the story of it if you’re interested in learning the history of this famous picture called Grace.
It was another good road trip through some very interesting areas of Minnesota.  On our way to Bovey, Highway 2  went through miles and miles of spruce and tamarack swamp.  On the loop back, the road went through the Iron Ore Range and past Hibbing, the home of Bob Dylan and finally to the top of Duluth, before going across the Blatnick Bridge and back to Wisconsin.P1090012
Sunday 9 comments

Lodge Cam Update – The Finale

Today Jim rowed out and brought back the Lodge Cam.  We got a few more pictures of the busy beavers, but that’s enough for this year.  Next year we’ll put it back out there but first we’ll need to do some modifications so it doesn’t get too much bird poop on it.  Since last Friday there were only a few pictures worth keeping.  (Again, ignore the time and date on these pictures.)


SUNP0004These busy beavers do most of their work at night and sleep during the day.  We see them cruising around just before dark and for about an hour in the morning. 

MissBeth asked me what happens when the water freezes.  I’ll try to explain how these beavers will survive during the winter.  They build the lodge in fairly shallow water and build a food bank of sticks around the outside.  The ends of the sticks will hang below the ice so they’ll be able to munch on them during the long winter.  The lodge sits above the ice and they’re able to swim around under it and cuddle up inside so they’re not always in the water.  I think they also move around outside the lodge if the snow isn’t too deep.  This is the first year since we’ve had the cabin that beavers will be living out there all winter.  P1080969 

The nice sunny weather last week brought out some not so nice critters.  This is a deer tick…the kind that can cause Lyme’s Disease.  They really are small and easy to overlook.PA140007 
This is just a harmless garter snake, but still, snakes make me stop in my tracks.  P1080958

Last night while watching the Badgers play Ohio State we saw a real badger cross the lawn.  Too bad the trail cam didn’t get a picture of it and really too bad my camera was sitting out in the truck!  Darn it all anyway!

Thursday 11 comments

Lodge Cam Update Pt. 3

Today we decided to go down by the dam and prune the alder branches that block our view of the pond.  I stacked them in the path and Jim decided to load them up in the boat and take them out for the beavers.  It also gave him a chance to see if we got any good pictures yesterday.   We were optimistic because last night,  just before dark we saw 2 beavers cruising around and then get up on the little bog.   

After checking the pictures, we could tell we had some minor technical problems.  So please ignore the time and date on these.  It’s hard enough changing the SD card while in a boat and it would be darn near impossible to reprogram  it. 

Here we are going back to shore after repositioning it yesterday.  We would’ve waved if we knew we were getting our pictures taken.SUNP0009If you click on this to enlarge it you’ll see 3 beavers out on the little island.   Cool huh? SUNP0018

There were other pictures of the beavers chewing on the branch and swimming around, but this one was by far the best.