Saturday 5 comments

More Mysteries

The mystery blob is still floating near the edge of the beaver dam.  It’s way bigger than a basketball.  We still have no idea what it is, so I’m going to send a picture of it to my friend, whose husband Mike, may know. 

The other day when we were getting ready to go to town, this thing had climbed through the open window and was just laying there near the shifter.  No idea what kind of caterpillar it is or where it came from.  It was big, green and had strong suction cup feet.

Mystery caterpillar
Kinda looks like a little pickle, doesn't it?  That's Jim holding on to it.  I had to run the camera, that's why I didn't touch it.  Yup, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

And then there’s this thing.  I don’t know what the heck it is.  When it flies it looks like the outline of a star.  When it’s on a leaf or grass, it looks part dragonfly.   I’ve looked in my butterfly book and in my insect field guide and couldn’t find anything that looks like this.   Maybe I should send this picture to Mike too.


Want to see a tall flower?  This thing has got to be 8 feet tall.

Wednesday 8 comments

A Bunch of Stuff

We made a quick trip home and I do mean quick.  Arrived home around 4:00 and we both started on our chores.  He mowed and I started laundry.  I finished it in the morning,  did some grocery shopping and by 1:30 yesterday, we were back on the road heading north.  Had a nice trip until we were about 25 miles away and ran into the big storm that moved across the whole state.  We even pulled over for a few minutes because it was raining so hard. 

Anyway, we got here safe and sound.   We were sorry to see “The Old Tree” got snapped by the wind.  This is the tree that refused to die.  I took some pictures of it this spring, just in case it would be the year it stopped putting on leaves.  Well, it leafed out just like all the other years, but yesterday the wind caused it to finally  succumb to old age.  This tree was chewed on by beavers and who knows how many different woodpeckers pecked holes in it for food and used it for raising their little ones.   It’s really amazing how trees can survive so much abuse.

The tree that refused to die.

The wind did it in.The sapsucker nesting tree was another one that snapped yesterday.  Thank goodness it didn’t land on the outhouse.  It was close, but just missed it.

Today Jim noticed this mysterious blob floating right next to the damn.  We both remember seeing something like this some years ago, but never found out what it was.  He threw a glove on it to give a reference to the size of it.  Weird stuff, huh?  Got have any idea what it is? 

The blob.

And finally…drum roll please….It’s time for me to show off my 15 Minutes of Fame.  (Apologies to those that already saw this on my Facebook wall).  Last year I was involved in making some things for a book called Fa La La La Felt.  Yesterday right before we left, the UPS man stopped by and delivered my copy…with my stuff in it!  I’m still giddy about this.  

One pincushion is shown on the second page.  Fa La La La Felt-1

Two of them are on the back cover.
Fa La La La Felt

Three are on the inside with instructions on the next page.Fa La La La Felt-2

And 2 Christmas Stockings,Fa La La La Felt-3

with instructions too.

Fa La La La Felt-4
There are some other really cute things in this book.  If I hadn’t received a complimentary copy, I’m pretty sure I would have bought it myself.
Sunday 10 comments

It sure has gotten quite around here

Seems like it happened overnight.  The pretty song birds have stopped singing, the woodpeckers aren’t tapping on deadwood, no frogs croaking and we haven’t seen a bear, squirrel or beaver in weeks.  Every once in awhile we hear a Blue Jay scolding or the whip-poor-will, whip-poor-willing and the little hummingbirds are always right outside the windows doing their chirpy thing, but the rest of them have gone silent or disappeared. 

With the trail cams, we still see what’s lurking out there.  I’m not a big fan of raccoons, but this is one of the cutest pictures we’ve gotten of one of them.

July 23 Raccoon Standing TallLast night the big ol’ buck stopped by with the little buck we’re calling Junior.  Oh my gosh, he looks so tiny next to the big guy.  He must  think “when I grow up I want to look just like him”.  PICT0130The buck really is a beauty.  Here he is with one of the many bunnies that hang around here.  This buck will make some hunter very happy this fall.  But maybe he’ll survive another year.  We couldn’t believe he survived last winter.July 23 Buck & Bunny

Tomorrow we’re going home for a couple days .  I have a gallon of sugar water ready to  fill the hummingbird feeders and hope it will last them for 2-3 days.  Jim refills the big one everyday.   He’ll put out sunflower seeds for the birds and probably throw down a handful or two of corn for the little doe that comes by way too often.   It will be a quick trip home.  Pick up the mail, do laundry, mow the grass and then back on the road again.  We sure can’t complain about the kind of weather we’ve had up here lately.  So nice compare to the heat, humidity and storms so many of you are enduring.   You won’t hear one word of complaining out of me.

The Hummers Have Hatched!

We’ve never been able to find the nests, but we always know when the little hummingbird babies have left them.  It happened yesterday.  All of a sudden they were swarming the feeder like big bugs and making all kinds of hummingbird noises.  Squeaky little chirps and the humming sound of their wings.   Look at this with two beaks in the same drinking hole.  


P1060997These pictures are from early this morning.  (Not the clearest, because of all the layers of glass.)  Right now, it’s around 8 hours later and the feeder is below half full.  I’ll be making sugar water for them until they leave in early to mid September.  I’ve got to remember to add sugar to my shopping list.  Lots of sugar!  

Friday 12 comments

What a Wildlife Moment!

We were driving long on a gravel road, came around the corner and down at the bottom of the hill we could see a doe and fawn.  So we stopped right there at the top of the hill to watch them.  Of course I’m taking pictures, through the somewhat clean windshield glass.
P1060893We expected them to stand around a few seconds and then take off running.  Well that’s what they did, but they started running right towards us, with the little one leading the way.
P1060915 The little one finally stops right in front of the truck and starts stomping her foot at us, just like a big deer.

We quietly sat, watching for their next move.  Mom must have given some kind of signal and they both turned and ran back down the road and disappeared into the brush along the side  Really cool.  


Now if you would back up a few hours.  This is what we saw when we got up this morning. 

P1060886When you look out and see both feeders tipped and the birdbath knocked over, we know who stopped to visit last night.  Yup, here’s the culprit.
PICT0057At least this one didn’t try to sit or climb on the birdbath like the other one did and ended up breaking it.  FYI…Super Glue Gel works really well in repairing plastic bird baths.
Wednesday 7 comments


This is the first summer since we retired in 2007 that there’s been regular rainfalls.  The past 3 summers were very dry.  So this year, we’re seeing how different things are while having average weather.  One thing I’ve noticed more this year than the past is the number of butterflies out there.   Before this summer, all I could ever identify were Monarchs and Swallowtails and a few moths.   Now I know lots of different kinds.

The other day we were driving to Molly’s favorite swimming hole and I saw a patch of bergamot with pretty orange butterflies flitting all over them.  We had to back up so I could get some pictures of them.  They were really into these sweet purple flowers.  I now know these are Aphrodite butterflies.

Aphrodite  butterfly on bergamot-1

Aphrodite  butterfly on bergamot 
Here’s a Red Admiral and a White Admiral.

red admiral butterfly  white admiralI’ve noticed how much earlier wildflowers are blooming because it’s not so dry.  Same for berries. Lots of blueberries, raspberries and hopefully blackberries too.  Rain really makes a difference.  It keeps Molly’s swimming holes full and fresh.
molly at the pitThis morning we had a big storm go through and while the wind was blowing and the rain pouring down, the only creatures stirring  were the tiniest of them all…the little hummingbirds.  Rain doesn’t bother them one single bit!


Monday 7 comments

On Second Thought…

After thinking about all the sweet, fragrant ingredients that go into the butterfly jam I think it would be a big mistake to put any of it outside the cabin.  Can you imagine how much the bears would like that stuff?  Sheesh, I’d have them coming in from all over the county.  I’ll stick with my little sand puddle I made for the butterflies and they’ll just have to get their sweetness from natural things.  

Jenny D thought it would attract a lot of ants and I’m sure she’s right about that.  We had a few ants around the sink both here and at home.  A few sprays of RAID took care of those little guys.

We picked more blueberries the other day and I made my annual Blueberry Pudding Cake using the berries in this picture.  Oh my, it’s so good! 

Blueberries We checked another favorite blueberry patch, but this year it’s almost under water.  It’s a for real blueberry bog.  Sphagnum moss and everything.  Maybe next year if things are drier than this year.

Sunday 9 comments

Butterfly Jam

This recipe was in a recent issue of Wisconsin Outdoor News.  I haven’t tired it yet, but when I get some rotten fruit, I will.

Butterfly Jam
12 oz. beer
1 lb. brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
Some rotten fruit (bananas, plums, pears, peaches, grapes)

Blend together until thick enough to spread.  Let ferment, uncovered on the counter, overnight.  Spread on a plate or rocks and watch for butterfly visitors.  Refrigerate any remaining mix.


Here’s an unusual capture by the trail cam of a pretty monarch butterfly passing by.  Ignore the temperature on the picture.  Obviously the sun was beating right down on the camera.

July 10 Monarch Butterfly
Friday 12 comments


They were big and they were really hungry!  They’ve always been bad in Madison, but on our recent trip home, they were awful.  Jim has a high tolerance for bugs and when he complains about them, you know it’s bad.  Because of them we were home long enough to get the grass mowed, I did a ton of laundry and we both got our hair cut.  Oh and the weather was icky compared to what it was in the Northland.  So that means, we’re back in the Northland after a quick 2 day trip home.

I’m sure the weather has changed down there so it’s much nicer, but it’s just perfect up here today.  Temps in the 70’s, low humidity, a nice breeze and hardly any mosquitoes! 

Just a few pictures to share from last night and when we were gone.  The little bear passed through last night.
Bear July 8Little Doe was here many times, looking for some snacks.
PICT0095Even our next door neighbor was here  cutting hay.  There were lots of pictures of him and his tractor.  Note:  The date is incorrect on this cam.  I was too lazy to correct it after we discovered it’s off one day.
SUNP0139 Little Doe came out too check on his work.  I think he got her approval.
It’s so good to be back up here.  We’re enjoying the nice weather, peace and quiet and seeing all the birds and critters again.  But mostly, it’s so good to go outside without being carried away by those blood sucking mosquitoes!


Babies, Babies and More Babies

There’s a tree behind the outhouse that’s home to a sapsucker family.  The little ones have been very vocal for about a week now.  Mom and Dad have been busy flying around getting good eats for the brood.  This one looks like it’s about ready to fly off on it’s own.
Baby Sapsucker
Then while I was getting dressed for the day I looked out the window and here comes a Mallard duck family.  Today was the first time we’ve seen this group.  Nine little ones all in a row.  Cute, huh?
Mother Mallard & 9 DucklingsThis morning we did our morning walk on the same road where I had the badger hiss at me.   We’re walking along, into the wind and I see a doe out ahead of us.  We call Molly back and surprisingly she actually came!  See the doe out there on the right?   Molly with doe in the background
I start taking more pictures and I see a little one with her. 
Doe and Fawn
No, make that two little ones.
Doe and 2 fawns
She sees us and off  they go. 
They're off and running!

See why they’re called Whitetails?Around the corner from the badger hole.
Still waiting for the bluebirds to hatch.  Mrs. Blue kept a close eye on me as I took her picture.
Mrs Blue giving me the eye.
Right next to their bird house is a house full of tree swallows.  It won’t be long and this one will be flying around on it’s own and eating lots of bugs.Hungry Tree SwallowIt’s no wonder I like it up here so much.  There’s never a dull moment. 
Thursday 5 comments

June 30 Visitors

The first visitor I saw was when I was walking on the path to the east of the cabin.  I’m heading one way and this big ol’ painted turtle was coming the other way.  I thought it was pretty cool that it was using the path too.  I think it was heading back to the pond.
Besides the birds, squirrels and chipmunks that are around here most of the day, we had a visit from a small bear last night.  While it was cleaning out the bird feeder, a deer came by to have a little evening snack.  She didn’t see the bear right away, but took off like a flash when it moved in her direction.  This blurry picture is taken from inside. 

P1060545The bear hung around until I decided it was time to scare it away.  But that was after we got a close up picture of it on the trail cam.
PICT0050 Here’s some of the other evening visitors.
PICT0042 PICT0114
PICT0144And another visit  from the bear.  This was after he dug up an ant hill on our lawn.  Sheesh!  Jim had to scare him away and hopefully he’ll go out and find some blueberries, raspberries or other natural bear food out there in the big woods.PICT0155