NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Kenosha in a Snow Daze

Lake Geneva just had their snow sculpting competition this month, and apparently this is the 5th year that Kenosha has hosted a family event called Snow Daze which features ice sculpting.

Unlike the snow sculpting competition one group made all the ice sculptures for the event, and it was pretty obvious that the Olympics were the unifying theme.

Wayne has had the Olympics on our TV most of the time this past week.  I don't mind it, but after an hour or two it starts to get tiresome.  I need a story, watching people do stuff just isn't enough for me.

Though I did enjoy Shaun White's comeback gold medal performance, I will admit.

Years ago Katrina and I never missed the figure skating events, but since they changed the scoring system the sport has truly suffered in its artistry.  Again, I like a story, and figure skating used to be like going to the ballet but on ice.  Now they are so focused on the most difficult aspect of any turn or edge that most spins and footwork look slow and awkward.  It just took the fun out of it for me.

A few more ice sculptures were scattered around downtown, including in front of my favorite neon sign in Kenosha.

The ice sculpture was even a replica of the sign!

A mural pointing the way to Modern Apothecary attracted my attention.

And there were a few cool things inside, though not cool enough for me to bust out my credit card.  I did enjoy the icy rendering of the heart on the sidewalk outside.

And the store carries Cognitive Surplus notebooks, which I would buy in a heartbeat if I had anything to write down!  But I am a digital girl, living in a digital world so I just took a photo instead.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Feeling Light

I'm so busy these days with work I never even have time to get a haircut! It might have been November the last time I went to the salon in Kenosha...

Sculpture at dusk near access for North Pier Light in Kenosha

I felt so "light" after cutting off inches of hair that I headed out to the North Pier Light in Kenosha to enjoy the windless day.  Temps just under freezing?  No big deal with no wind, I'll take it!

Chin length for the first time in years, feels great!

We've had about a foot of snow here in southeastern Wisconsin over the past week, and with temps consistently below freezing for weeks there isn't much melting going on.

Ice forms along shoreline from wave action - beach actually quite a ways back

If you take the walkway out to the Light make sure to watch your step, a lot of ice built up on those windy days when the water sprays up over the walkway.

It's been a long time since I walked out to the light, and never in the winter.  Everything looked so clean and fresh.  The snow helped, but I noticed last summer that the Light had a pretty fresh looking paint job.

Complete with a little bird, not mention the "smile" sign to remind you that you are under observation.  Still, someone tagged the door with some grafitti unfortunately.

I could hear the ice groaning and moving since the air was so still, I don't think the video picked it up, but here's a short view of the ice moving in the harbor. Click to go to YouTube if you want to see it larger, though the quality isn't that good so really no need.

I saw more ice when I left the pier, I'll share it next post!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Ice Fishing?

It was snow sculpting time again in Lake Geneva.  I happened to be in town to pick up a prescription last weekend and got a quick look at some of the entries.

Life below the water seemed to be a big theme this year, with bird related sculptures coming in a close second.  The Octopus playing chess against the crab took first place.  It was a beautiful piece of whimsy, very deserving of its win.  Sculpting team was from Wisconsin, because we know all about snow and ice!

Either I failed to notice who got second place because I didn't appreciate the subject or it was located elsewhere, but the crabs fighting over what I assume to be a pearl got third place. The sculpting team was from Nebraska.

The school of fish winding around the coral involved some very tricky looking work with a lot of air in between fish that I thought probably increased the difficulty but it didn't place.  Another lovely piece from a Wisconsin team.

photo not taken by me, I stay away from frozen lakes

Speaking of ice and fish, here's how Wayne spent his weekend.  Um, I'll take doing laundry and watching HBO over that, thank you very much!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Clans of the Ho Chunk Nation Mosaic

This mural from Nekoosa was taken in warmer weather, though I did see it again a few weeks ago.  That means this was probably September. The Ho-chunk Nation, formerly called the Winnebago, are members of a Siouan-speaking tribe who were established in Wisconsin at the time of French contact in the 1630s. The oral traditions of the tribe, particularly the Thunderbird clan, state that the Ho-chunk originated at the Red Banks on Green Bay.  The 12 clans are:

Wakąja Hikikarac - Thunder Clan
Caxšep Hikikarac - Eagle Clan
Rucge Hikikarac - Pigeon Clan
Wonağire Wąkšik Hikikarac - Hawk/Warrior Clan
Hųc Hikikarac - Bear Clan
Šųkjąk Hikikarac - Wolf Clan
Cexjį Hikikarac - Buffalo Clan
Wakjexi Hikikarac - Water Spirit Clan
Hųwą Hikikarac - Elk Clan
Ca Hikikarac - Deer Clan
Waką Hikikarac - Snake Clan
Ho Hikikarac - Fish Clan

In contrast to their Wisconsin neighbors the Menominee and Potawatomi, the Ho-chunk of pre-European times relied more on agricultural products for subsistence. They planted large gardens and stored dried corn, beans, and other products in fiber bags and in pits dug in the ground for winter use. Using dugout canoes, they also travelled up the Fox and Wisconsin rivers to hunt, caching their canoes as far upriver as possible before proceeding on foot. The Ho-chunk also crossed the Mississippi to reach the prairies to hunt buffalo. Large and small game were also hunted closer to the villages. Nearby rivers and lakes were also extensively fished. Want to know more?  I got the information at this link.

Their history after Europeans came to Wisconsin is a tale unfortunately similar to other tribal histories with much loss due to wars and disease, but with some unexpected information such as they fought against the Americans in the Colonial War and the War of 1812.  In the 1870's "many had bought land so they could become citizens and stay in Wisconsin, but the army rounded up almost 900 Ho-chunk, both landed and landless. Still, about 250 managed to evade the army, and most of those the army removed to Nebraska simply came back to Wisconsin within a year."  The story is similar to a book I am almost done reading called Thirteen Moons (which is a historical novel about an orphan boy who finds his home in the Cherokee Nation just before their removal)

In 1934 the government passed the Indian Reorganization Act which allowed tribes such as the Wisconsin Ho-chunk to gain federal recognition and tribal sovereignty. Twelve years later the government passed the Indian Claims Commission Act, which sought to compensate Indian tribes for claims they had against the United States government. If the name Ho-Chunk sounds familiar that is because the Nation owns and operates several casinos (Ho-Chunk Gaming) in Black River Falls, Baraboo, Madison, Nekoosa, Tomah, and Wittenberg.

linking up to Monday Mural at its new home

Saturday, February 10, 2018

All Tuckered Out

Everyone with a cat has played this game, right?

It's coming to get you...

I am fierce, I am ferocious, I will eat you up...

Attack!  Grrrr!

And guess who fell asleep on the floor after this bit of play?

Wayne admits it himself, he either needs to get back to work or retire for real and hit the road.  When you're snowed in and playing with the cats wears you out it's time for a change!  He's been "on hold" with work since his minor back surgery last summer, they haven't decided what to do with him since he has been told his prior job was too physically demanding for his back now.  Until they decide what to do with him he is not allowed to travel or he forfeits his disability pay, so he is spending his days ice fishing and on kitty patrol.  When the snow melts they better get to deciding because you know us, we got places to go!

Friday, February 9, 2018

10 Degrees at Timms Hill

Don't believe me when I say I went hiking when it was only 10F the day before yesterday?  I don't blame you, so here's a little proof of the kind of weather I've been dealing with as I go on my sales calls.

Right? Ridiculous!  Anyone in Tacoma or Gatlinburg or Saint George who is complaining this winter should be ashamed of themselves.  I make a vow right now that if I ever get to winter in one of those places that I will be grateful for whatever the weather gods throw at me.  Yesterday morning when I woke up in the town of Phillips it was -18F.

And that was NOT the wind chill, that was the AIR TEMPERATURE.  I couldn't believe my car started, to be honest.

But the afternoon before that it was a balmy 10F and there was sunshine and no wind so I donned my snowpants and my ski gloves and went for a half hour walk at Timms Hill.  If you notice on the sign above it was only a little over 9 miles to the junction of the Ice Age Trail.  So funny!

Am I smiling?  No one will ever know.

Having to walk uphill kept me warm and I needed the exercise after too many hours to count driving around northern Wisconsin. It was getting later in the day so the light was quite beautiful.  My pictures look like Colorado instead of Wisconsin!  We don't get much sunshine up here in the winter for some reason, so I was grateful for the sun.

Timms Hill is the highest natural elevation point in Wisconsin at an elevation of 1,951.5 feet.  I hear you Westerners laughing out there.  I hope you didn't spit out your coffee or anything when you read that.  We're about hills here, not mountains.  Glacial topography and all that jazz.

It was my first visit to the County Park, and everything was closed including the entrance with who knows how many feet of plowed snow in front of it as well.  So I parked on the side of the road.  Notice all the salt on my car, that is pretty much how it has looked since December began.  It's warmed up enough a few times to wash it but it just looks the same again within 24 hours.  Right now you can't even read my license plate it is whited out with salt so heavily.

The main roads in Wisconsin are plowed and salted, the less important roads "out in the county" get a cursory plowing and they toss some sand at the intersections for traction.  Just a tip I had to share with my sales partner who is originally from Illinois and until she took this job had only ventured a few miles above the state line.  In Illinois it all gets salted for the most part, of course it's all town and mad traffic so there is a trade-off.  I'll take the snow packed county roads I guess.

Near Timms Hill I spotted this montrous deer, I can only imagine the antics folks have gotten up to as they've left the restaurant or bar with a few beers in them.


My sincerest apologies to the photographer who shot the photo above. I found it at this link on Popular Science.  Why am I including it here?  I swear I saw this guy's twin on the side of the road not far from Timm's Hill the next day.  My first wolf sighting and it was Wisconsin, you could have knocked me over with a feather!  I was driving away, it had crossed the road not long before and was looking back over its shoulder as it paused a moment before going into the woods.  It was probably a little older than the young wolf pictured above but definitely a juvenile.  I hope he or she makes it through the winter, they don't tend to live long lives battling the cold and having a hard time to find something to eat.  Not to mention getting picked off by folks with guns.  FYI, a total of 232 wolf packs were estimated last year in Wisconsin for a total of over 900 wolves.  Wow!

Read the article provided by the link, it's a good 'un! I thought it was pretty funny to point out that vultures kill more livestock than wolves, not to mention that respiratory problems and digestive problems kill way more than all predators combined.  I know when we attempted to raise cows (3 calves total) not one of them made it.  The first died before it was even off the bottle, the second died of some mysterious ailment the neighbor farmer said was probably "twisted bowl" and the third was the one we thought would make it was almost ready to take to market when it ate some poisonous weeds.  Stupid creatures!  How our ancestors survived raising cows I have no idea - have a good weekend!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Nashville Murals

This is a flashback post from my trip in January 2017 with Katrina

Another forgotten post that I blew the dust off and brought out to see the light of day a year late.  When we parked in Nashville last year and walked to see the Capitol we saw a few murals as well.

I can't tell you anything about them, but this one below was definitely my favorite.

Linking up to Monday Mural at its new home this week!