29 March 2011


machete needed

Texwisgirl shares with us so much beauty and wildlife surrounding her pond, that I thought I would share our pond view with you. Only problem is, you would need a machete to actually see who's hanging out down there! Our property ends right where the grass does. (I'm using "grass" loosely. "Brown stuff" is currently a better description.) Beyond, a path heads down into these woods frequented by creatures like opossum, deer and Kensington. (I encourage her to poop down there.)

Taking a few steps down into the woods I found these remains at the base of a tree. Confirming that if you do make it down to the pond, don't drink the water. ;o)


28 March 2011

creativity at it's cleanest!

creativity at it's cleanest!

Collective shot of everyone's efforts. Thanks to each of you who joined us for our annual soiree, and for your part in making this truly, the "worst schwaklakk ever"! You guys never disappoint.

View everyone posing with their work here.

25 March 2011



Finally! A little sunshine around here! These guys are ready to get out and do some riding.

HEY! If any of you reading this will be in the Madison area tomorrow (Stoughton, actually), we're having our annual soap carving party, Schwaklakk! Our 16th year of "Good, Clean Fun!" as we like to say. (I'm sure someone already has that copyrighted.) Here are a few photos from Schwaklakks of days gone by. I haven't decided what I'm going to carve yet this year. I'm sure, like last year, something will just appear in front of me.

23 March 2011

albino deer


albino w/lens flare

white and brown

I'm going to finish off "game week" here with more shots from my parents' hunting land.

Do not adjust your color, folks. This guy's albino. The first shot is a bit older then the next two. Note the antlers in the latter. He must've found this a safe location as he returned the following year. Although, Dad hasn't sent me an image from this year, so he's probably either moved on or some ignoramus shot him. Nature should've made him fluorescent orange instead.

This final image made me snicker. It appears the flash couldn't handle that bright coat and just knocked him clear out of the picture!

cut out

22 March 2011

yum, frosting

yum, frosting

Since my bear photos were such a huge hit yesterday, (a-hem), I thought I'd post a few more that my parents have sent over the years. (You can click the image to go to my flickr stream.) This is one of my favorites showing that Dad grows frosting trees on his land. Which bears love almost as much as doughnut bushes.

I believe this is the same bear that Dad encountered out on his ATV one day. The bear was in front of him on the trail and Dad couldn't back up, so he stood on the seat, waving his arms, yelling like a madman. (Dad, not the bear.) The bear retreated. Should you encounter a bear yourself, you now know the secret to scaring them away. Make yourself appear bigger and badder then they are. Do not, however, attempt this with a mother bear with cub(s) in tow, as chances are very good she will not give a shit, and in the end, you will be minus one face.

Instead, offer her a doughnut.

21 March 2011

get up! breakfast is on!

mama leaving the den
"woah, it's spring!"

waking the kids
"get up, you lazy lima beans."

two cubs follow
"spring? looks pretty wintery yet to me!" "i'm going back to bed."

My folks sent these photos, taken by their trail camera that's set up on their hunting land. This winter they came across a den with a mother bear and two cubs quietly sleeping away the winter, so they set up the camera to capture their exit. Dad has been spending the last week making maple syrup too, so there's been a concern that these three would come lumbering out when they smelled the possibility of pancakes. I had really hoped to get back up there and take more photos (and help tote a few jugs, of course), but I was back on dog walking duty again while friends were on vacation.

In addition, another friend has put me to work painting houses now that we are reaching some warmer temperatures. My Mom was a house painter so I spent a handful of summers in my teens and twenties working with her painting apartments and banks around the state. We've currently been getting quite a bit of rain, but today's looking to be warm and dry, so I'm heading out shortly.

Better listen to those bears and grab some breakfast...

20 March 2011

moon landing, upper left

luna 4

luna 3

luna 2

luna 1

During last night's full, "super" moon, we had too much cloud cover. I had the good sense to bring out the camera a night earlier though. I've also have my son's old telescope set up since the patio's been clear of snow. I'm guessing that if we owned a more powerful and expensive telescope, I could capture a better focus, but no matter how meticulously I focus the telescope and camera separately, once I line them up, they just don't want to play nice together.

If you click "moon" or "telescope" below, you'll see I tried this in 2006 too. I was using our older Rebel then.

17 March 2011

now you see them. now you don't!

giraffe pre-

giraffe post-

Texwisgirl kindly awarded me a Versatile Blogger Award! Pretty sweet! Once I read I was required to hand out the award to five more bloggers however, I was a bit concerned, as I don't particularly have five regular followers. Some of the folks who got me involved in blogging in the first place have sort of fallen by the wayside. (That wayside being Facebook or Twitter.) So, considering versatility, one person I know who blogs, is on fb, AND tweets comes to mind, Dan! So, Dan if you read this, come pick up your award! (Nevermind, I'll stop by and tell you otherwise there's only a 25% chance you'll find it.)

I'm also required to tell you seven facts about myself. (Here's where you take that well-deserved nap.)

1. I'm pretty good with PotatoChop. (Um, see giraffe.) Been using it since ver. 2.5. Pre-layers and one un-do! booyah! (whatever, photo-nerd.) My old boss referred to me as the PhotoShop Guru. (This, however, does not guarantee you will not be laid off.)

2. I often burst into song without warning

3. Would travel the world if money were no object

4. My dream job would be travel photographer or muppet operator (wakka, wakka!)

5. Love to cook, bake and make candy, but mainly kitchens are for dancing in

6. I've volunteered at the Wisconsin Film Fest for (I think) seven years now. This year you'll find me working the theatre at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. woohoo!! An indoor gig!

7. I'm a seventh generation Wisconsinite, and you can find a good portion of those folks listed right here. (whatever, genealogy-nerd.)

So, that's that! Thanks again, to my old chum, Tex, who probably knows all these things already. :o)

15 March 2011

a story in 9 parts. ahem....

distant farmscape
distant farmscape

woah, what's going on?
woah, what's going on?

what's she up to?
what's she up to?

i'm going in
i'm going in

she seems safe
she seems safe

she's offering food!
she's offering food!

i need closer inspection
i need closer inspection

wait, you're not leaving, are you?
wait, you're not leaving, are you?

of course, we've herd of cows! ...doh, gets me every time.
of course, we've herd of cows! ...doh, gets me every time.

14 March 2011

11 March 2011

surveying his kingdom

surveying his kingdom

I wrapped Cam in his bed to take him to the vet Wednesday, so when we returned I just set him down in the porch hoping he might stroll out to relieve himself. Instead, after a few minutes, he decided he was cold and headed towards his insulted, outdoor cat house. But I took him back in and placed him in the sun. He hasn't wandered far from that spot in two days.

In the morning, I take him out and set him in some loose leaves on the sunny side of the house. He might walk a few yards, but then sits down to rest. Later in the day, I take him down in the basement to the litter box, but he hobbles out, uninterested.

I think Cam's finished with life.

This morning the vet called with his test results. It's cancer. According to where it's located, he's under the impression it traveled there, so it's most likely elsewhere in his body. He presented the option of amputating his rear leg and doing some explorating to find the source, but I think he already knew what we decided if the news was bad.

So, we have one final vet trip for the old guy.

Seventeen years is a pretty good run.

09 March 2011

yesterday, today...

i'm not a fan of king cake

Yesterday, between visits to "vet" hospitals (one veterinary, one veteran) I made some Mardi Gras inspired cupcakes. Wasn't sure I'd get around to it with everything going on, but father-in-law is doing very well, so no worries there. And Kensi needs to go back in next week for a better assessment since the blood behind her eye is making it hard for them to judge the damage. So, no need to fill that time with worry in the meantime.

winter's not done with us yet

We received a few more inches of snow last night. Hoping it comes to an end soon, although it was beautiful while it lasted. Even though the sun still hasn't shown it's face, the temps rose enough for clumps of snow to come crashing down all morning long. Now, mid-day, this tree is back to it's bare, pre-spring nudity.

I got up early (for me anyway) because I had to call the vet back about what to do next with Cam. Turns out, a small lump was overlooked on the first set of x-rays so he wanted him to return for a another look. I dropped him off, and they called after several hours with the bad news. It appears to be cancer. They gave him a shot for pain that will last until Friday, which is when they expect to get back the test results.

Cam is going on 17. I'm not sure what options they've going to give us, but we have no intentions of extending his life. We want his last days to be as pain-free as possible, and if he was maybe 7 years younger, we'd certainly consider surgery or other costly procedures. We did everything we could for Nigel, but he was just 8. So, even if a pile of money fell in our lap tomorrow, we don't think there's much point in prolonging the inevitable.

My posts sure have grown in length lately. I kind of look forward to when I can go back to calling this a photo-blog...

08 March 2011

before the craziness ensued...

 showing his age

how you feeling, pal?

pug butt

It's been a dramatic (traumatic) 24 hours at our house. My father-in-law went in yesterday for heart surgery to repair a valve. All went well, thankfully! We head up tonight to visit.

I also took Cam in to the vet yesterday as in the last 4-5 days he's been showing less and less strength in his back leg. He's eating less too and has probably lost a pound this week (which is only a tenth of his weight). They took x-rays and did some blood work, but seeing he's 16 1/2 years old, in all honesty, I was hoping they would just be sending us home with some pain pills to make his final days more comfortable. The thought of spending a grand on surgery isn't really in the cards.

Of course, when it rains, it pours. In the afternoon, I went next door to watch the neighbor girls after school. They got a rescue dog for Christmas. Half lab and half greyhound, I believe. Kensi came along which she's done in the past, but I should've known better as this dog has already shown some signs of "playing" too aggressively. We had to break them off each other once before when D stomped on Kensi and K must've got hurt because she barked angrily before hell broke loose. This time, K ran up and grabbed D's rope. D retaliated by grabbing K by the skull, her tooth nailing K in the eye. I grabbed D and poor C, who's ten, was in charge of prying Kensi out of her mouth! And the thing with K is, when she's attacked, she fights back! Luckily, no human was bit, but K had to see a ophthalmologist today because the vet wasn't 100% comfortable making the call. We have to go back next week because the blood and bruising in the back of the eye is making it hard to see what's going on. But K appears to be doing ok for now. On several meds for inflammation, infection and whatnot.

The neighbors are dear friends and just heartbroken. This could be the final straw for D, as K is not her only enemy. She has also attacked our other neighbor's wiener dog when it broke loose one day, a few dogs at the park and doggie daycare, and their very own cat, who has been confined to the basement since D's arrival. I expressed concern to D's Mom about her girls, and she said D has snarled at L, who's just 7. The situation makes me nervous. Animals can bounce back but a child bit by a dog can be a little more scarred emotionally.

I hope they can get some help for poor D. She's a good girl around adults. Hopefully she can learn some manners around submissive-types. Until then, we'll go potty in the front yard when she's in the back.

05 March 2011

ending the night on a "high" note


Nicole Atkins in concert. A rich and powerful voice. I love attending concerts in intimate venues where their voice just surrounds you and it has nothing to do with the speakers. She wouldn't even need any since the Frequency is no bigger than our house. I got a feeling after she plays SXSW this year, the venues will get bigger. Well, one would hope.

Of course, I also favor women who sing in my key. But if I had that kind of strength to my voice, I wouldn't be sitting here blogging.

Here's one of my favorite songs.

04 March 2011

zoo beasts

gentle giants


Since the giraffes were indoors due to cold weather, all the photos taken were shot through their prison bars. But they seemed pretty content in their surroundings, so no escape plans were made. They showed a bit of excitement when a caretaker came in and hung several buckets of leaves to the top of their cage.

Otters, on the hand, are in desperate need of some Ritalin. It was nearly impossible shooting through the glass without glare, and they simply moved too fast to focus on. My pal, TLC, doesn't have any photos posted yet, but we used the buddy system of shooting. One of us would stand still with the camera transfixed on one spot, and the other would call out, "get readyyyyyyy, NOW!"

Makes you appreciate the efforts (and patience) of nature photographers.

03 March 2011

you've got to be joking.

you've got to be joking.

I had a superb birthday yesterday! A friend took me to lunch, then we went on a mini African safari at the zoo. Madison's version was only 25ยบ however, so many of the animals stayed indoors. Proving they're smarter than we were. This guy seemed pretty content to be outdoors though.

There are a few more photos on flickr, which you can click the bengal to find. Tomorrow is giraffe day, so stay tuned for that bit of excitement...

This will turn out to be a three day post as that evening was full of surprises too! My husband invited several other couples to join us for dinner which was ridiculously fun since the bar/restaurant was having trivia night. We played no part in it, but that didn't keep us from knowing all the answers. Liquor can do that.

Afterward, hubby and I hit a concert! I know, right!? But I'll save the details until I have photos to go along with it.


I don't need to leave the house again now until May...

01 March 2011

accidents will happen

accidents will happen

'Tis the season for icy sidewalks!

Although, I'm not 100% sure ice is the reason behind Kensi coming back from our walk with one fewer toenail, I'm just going to put the blame on an inanimate object. The vet said the toenail may have already been split, so it could have happened at any time. Luckily, we were just a few houses down from our own when she pooped out and stopped in her tracks. She gave me no indication she was in pain, she just stopped and sat. My first thought was she could have some road salt between her toes, so I picked her up and saw a small pool of blood had already formed beneath one foot.

At home, I ran water on it for awhile but it kept bleeding, so I put her down and called the vet. She really didn't act like anything was wrong which explains the reason she walked around every inch of the house while I was on the phone! ha!

By the time we got back and she had her little foot wrapped in blue, she was exhausted from her hectic afternoon! A walk and the vet?! Come on! Of course, I had to document everything before I took to mopping and she took to a nap on the couch.

The bandage is already off now. All remaining drama has been placed on hold awaiting the return of our mailman.

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fly over country, United States
this blog is my "live" photo album of sorts. occasionally, i'll throw in some art i've done or some work of my husband's as he's an artist as well. we have a nice yard in a quiet neighborhood with two pugs and a cat, all black. which most of my photos will attest too. ;) i'd love to hear from you, but happy for you to just browse. hope you find something to make you smile. b.