Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
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Monday, August 24, 2009

Happy Hosta Heaven

It dawned on me fairly quickly. That is that I wouldn't be able to successfully grow roses anymore. The new house in the woods was surrounded by oak trees and, of course, lots of shade. The next spring we made our annual trip to Dubuque Iowa. There at their beautiful arboreteum, I was surrounded by thousands of hostas. Mrs T informed me that she loved them all. History was made....
Let's follow Baron as he wanders thru the various garden plots around our home on the hill. Maybe I should have called it Happy Hosta Heaven!

Being of the rather organized and meticulous German heritage that I am, it sort of surprises that I didn't keep any records of these beautiful plants. Seeing a new or an empty spot, I would fill it with a hosta. No plan. No strategy. No name. Just like the garden and landscaping books DON'T recommend. Oh well..... I must admit it, I like the limestone walls which showcase the hostas.
"What kind is it?" some visitors ask. "Pretty isn't it," I usually respond. Maybe they think that's the name?
There are more right around the bend.

I think Baron has spotted someone.St. Francis! He helps keep an eye on things in the garden.

The bleeding hearts surround Mr. Hosta. They are both so care free.
This small hosta will be a giant someday, four ft. high and across. It was given me by neighbor Angie. Trading garden plants is such fun!

In the evening, sometimes we get the haunted hosta look.

Well, I see I have some spent bloom stalks to cut off. A hosta gardeners work is never done. :) Just kidding. You can see though, troutbirder does love his hostas.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cool Biker (The Shadow)

It's been hot and humid here lately. So sticky, in fact, that I've decided to move my biking time up to 7 a.m. Come on along. The Shadow knows the way. Always on the lookout for criminal activity, The Shadow might spot some illicit motor vehicles. More likely to see some cows and birds though.

What's that? A herd of cowbirds The trail seems pretty deserted this morning. Oh Oh. There's a suspicious looking character.

Definitely not a motorized suspect. Nor are the geese flying overhead.
Well, the coast is definitely clear. No troubled water under this bridge

Let's just enjoy the ride and the scenery. I promise I won't go to fast on the downhills! The corn crop looks good for the middle of August.
And there are wildflowers all along the trail.

And the birds are hard to identify as I go zipping by. The Shadow knows, but maybe not everthing. Any idea on this bird?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Black River State Forest

Some days the wanderlust just overcomes me. Yesterday was such a day. I got out my maps and looked for parks, rivers, forests, anyplace I've never been before, within a days drive. Persuaded Mrs T to "go for a ride." Let's go!

Two hours northeast, on the Wisconsin road map, was a large area labeled Black River State Forest. Just north of east west Interstate 90 near, naturally enough, Black River Falls, Wisconsin. We stopped for Sunday dinner at the smallest small town cafe I could find in the area. Hot roast beef sandwiches, with mashed potatoes and gravy, along lemon pie. All of this for eleven dollars. There were about twenty people eating after church dinner there, smiling at us and wondering, "who in the heck are those strangers and where did they come from?"

The forest was immense with many campgrounds and trails for different uses. As a matter of fact, the Wisconsin DNR says the forest is managed for "multi-use." This means selective timber cutting, conservation of soil and water as well as recreational usage. We spent 5 hours getting acquainted with the forest, its roads and trails.

Some highlights:
A 350 foot deep former iron mine pit which today is Wisconsins most popular scuba diving venue.
Some very nice campgrounds.
Many hiking trails, which I am sure will be great for birding during the spring and fall migration.
Many ATV trails. I am not a big fan of these ugly and noisy machines, ripping up the countryside. Still, the ATV's were restricted to their own trails
The uglyMr. In The Velvet. One of the biggest bucks I've seen in some time, along with several does and fawns.

Mr. Velvet
Cranberry bogs throughout. These would be quite a site to revisit in the fall, when the fields are flooded and the red berries float to the surface to be harvested. We stopped by the water filled ditches surrounding the bogs and watched dozens, perhaps more than a hundred, cedar waxwings catching insects.

Some great sights here. They even have a tower to view from.

Black River Forest. We enjoyed getting acquainted.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Into The Wild Blue Yonder

Yes, Troutbirder recently went soaring with the eagles! All of this was courtesy of neighbor Dick. The last time Dick had called to see if I wanted to go for a plane ride, I passed on the opportunity. That week I had experienced two emergency room visits due to a bike crash and an embedded fishing hook in my finger.

In addition, I had banged my knee into the trailer hitch on the pickup truck. "No thanks,' I had said. It just didn't seem to be my lucky week. This time, though, I jumped at the opportunity feeling a whole lot better about my prospects in general.

We soon headed off to the county airport where the flying club keeps it plane.

The pre-flight check list looked pretty detailed and intense. I kept a low profile thinking that something forgotten or faulty would be a lot more serious than when riding in a car. Another plane was practicing "touch and goes" as I waited.

Dick notified for take off, the runway was soon clear and we were heading into the setting sun. I felt the surge of power... then lift off.

"How fast are we going?" I asked. "A little over a hundred," is the reply. Hey... I knew I wasn’t riding with "Top Gun" Tom Cruise in the movie. We were high enough and going fast enough to suit my taste.

"Where would you like to like go? Maybe the river?" Dick asked. Looking at my watch and the angle of the sun, I changed the subject. "Er, well, ah.... flown much at night have you?" I queried. "Once or twice. It’s no problem," he replied quickly . He is a big kidder. "I’m working on expanding my boundaries," he added. I suggested some nearby sights.
We headed off to take a look at the newly completed bike trail.

Later we turned south and headed toward Cherry Grove. Passing over the Goethite Wildlife Management area, I recognized some of my favorite birding trails and Barons swimming holes.

Then it was over the "Big Woods" north of Mabel-Canton. I had recently gotten lost driving in that area. It didn't look so imposing from a thousand feet. Finally, we headed home into a beautiful sunset.

"Can you spot the airport yet?" I was asked. Hoping we weren't lost, I had to admit for most of the flight I didn't have a clue. I didn't even recognize the towns. From a birds eye view it all looks so different. "Oh there it is" he said, as he turned on the runway lights. Smooth as silk, we landed without hardly a bump. What fun. Tom Cruise. Who needs him???