Saturday, September 28, 2013


This morning Susie went to town watch Memphis play soccer and then on to St. Donatus  with Joanie for the sorghum fest.  My morning work out included hulling a truck load of wood out of the timber.  A pair of red elm trees had fallen and several other fallen trees were down in the area.  So, back and forth to the truck I went.  I prefer to block up these fallen trees there relatively easy to block up and most of the bark is gone.  Plus it cleans things up.

Hard to believe, but trees can actually provide more habitats for wildlife dead than when they are alive. Standing dead and dying trees, called “snags”, are important for wildlife in both natural and landscaped settings, occurring as a result of disease, lightning, fire, animal damage, too much shade, drought, root competition, as well as old age.
Birds, small mammals, and other wildlife use snags for nests, nurseries, storage areas, foraging, roosting, and perching. Live trees with snag-like features, such as hollow trunks, excavated cavities, and dead branches can provide similar wildlife value.  Dead branches are often used as perches; snags that lack limbs are often more decayed and, may have more and larger cavities for shelter and nesting. Snags enhance local natural areas by attracting wildlife species that may not otherwise be found there.
 My reward after unloading the truck was several frosty mugs of ice cold apple cider that I pressed out last weekend.
Speaking of pressing, Susie picked up some fresh pressed sorghum.

 My neighbor just uprooted and took down this old maple snag just the other day.  The wheels are already in motion.  I've made the arrangements for Ryan to pick it up and hull it out to Rolli World.

What would you do with this great old snag?

Thursday, September 26, 2013


 Sunny skies, light winds and highs in the mid-80s makes for a beautiful fall day.  So why wouldn't I stop along the trout stream to wet a line?

The limestone lined bluff the overhanging trees provide plenty of shade and obsticles to snag while trying to hook a trout along this unstocked streatch of North Eastern Iowa cool water stream.  But if I relied on catching fish to make outting enjoyable  I would hit a farm pond rather than this spot.
I truly enjoy exploring the natural history of this driftless region.

The limestone speckeled with loads of brachiopod fossils provides clues to the regions past.are among the most common fossils found in Iowa. Brachiopods lived inside the protective cover of two hinged shells, attached to the floor of warm, shallow seas that once covered the state about 375 million years ago when Iowa was covered by a warm shallow sea. 

 While walking through the pasture I check out the abundance of insects that swarm on these warm fall days.  My Advanced Biology students would be wise to get out while they can.  Their insect collection is due in just a few short weeks.
 I note the small minnows, frogs and crawdads as I wade through the stream.  I'm sad to say that those are my Keens in my hand casting the shadow not a stringer of fish.
 Plucking a sprig of mint along the stream to enjoy the smell and taste.

A trout on the line breaks the water as I fumble for my camera.  Fish on!  But not for long.  A few casts later another Trout strike and a miss.

Later on I manage to set the hook on .....  Well you tell me.
Fish Identification time.  it's not a trout.

Emergence of Spirit

 Sunday evening Susie and I went back up North to DBQ to the  "Hair Show".

Emergence of Spirit hits the runway for its third year. We've traversed from the inner self [in year One], through the struggle between man & machine [year Two] and now we explore with you the depths of the faerie realm.   

It sure beats sitting on the couch on a Sunday night!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Autumn Equinox

Autumn Equinox, or Mabon, is the second harvest festival in the Wheel of the Year. 

 I've been working on my own little wheel or ring.  The base for a future "Moon Hawk" sculpture is one step closer to being completed. 
Rituals at this time of year celebrate the abundance with offerings of nature's bounty, expressing gratitude for the fruitfulness of the summer season.                                                                       After working on the base I harvested three five - gallon buckets of grapes.   I must say it's been a wonderful year for the grapes.  They're just perfect no blemishes, sweet and juicy.  

 Next up, apple picking.  The apples on the other hand did not fair so well.  But, for pressing for cider they'll do the trick.  The four we have now are Red Delicious, a McIntosh, a Wolf River and my favorite the Jonagold Apple.  

In the afternoon after Susie finished making flat bread and french bread, we took some time to get out and enjoy the riverFollowed by coffee and grape cleaning by the fire as the Harvest moon rises  to mark the beginning of fall.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013



Voices is a month-long art exhibit and cultural event located in a re-purposed 15,000 square foot gallery space within Dubuque’s Historic Millwork District.  Voices began as a way for the artist’s voice to be heard, and quickly gathered support from the Dubuque community now in its ninth year. 



Last Saturday night was opening night.



18 different artists displayed work for this years show 






The artwork is as varied as the artists who created it.  It speaks to big issues in a variety of ways. And, just as important, it holds up in the warehouse space, with its patched-up floor and huge, battered pillars.


 Our friend Stephanie created an installation of four beautifully tiled pillars.












Music was provided by the Dubuque symphony orchestra and a huge  table provided hors d'oeuvers for the over 1000 attendants.

I did my part as one of the guest bartenders along with our friend Shane.

At the bar we did over $9.000.00 worth of business and a little quality control work too.

All photos were taken by our firend

Peter Fraterdeus

Shared publicly  -  Sep 9, 2013
A lovely, sweltering, time was had by all.
More photos of the art to come! #voicesgallery   #dubuque 

Monday, September 2, 2013

2013 Roly Rally

 We've had a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

Festivities kicked off Friday afternoon.

After a week of temperatures in the mid to upper 90*F, school once again let out early because of the heat and the teachers got to cut out an hour early.

A dip in the pond and a cool refreshing beverage or two later found us with friends and family.

Most of the regular suspects were present along with a few special guests.  Beau has been gearing up for his relocation trip to Denver.  Joan and Marts boy JJ was back from Denver and our Gladstone buddy Steve came up for the weekend from KC.

Friday nights entertainment  was brought to us by "The Matriachs"

Sunday was the ROLY RALLY
a fundraiser for the use of this special place.  Thanks Steve & Peg

It was tougher than a TOUGH MUDDER and more colorful than a COLOR RUN.

The event was scheduled to start at high noon and many participants were well hydrated.

With a blast on the air horn the race was started.

First, a run to the top of the World to retrieve a three gallon jug of water.

Bob Playtex and I led the masses across the trout stream, past Chappy land and up the old logging road.

So, the old man was first to the top and made the turn back to the check in station by the swimming pond.

Second event, string up an old fishing pole and catch fish...  Right in my wheel house.  It wasn't long before I caught what I believe to be a state record size blue gill.   Verification of the catch, kiss the fish and Susie and I discover we've got an added challenge of locating the names of the 5 Spice Girls in a concentration game.  Susie made quick work of it and it was on to the long pond for kayaking.

A sprint down to the other end of the pond and we're still in the lead as Jojo and KC put there yak in the pond.

On to the cabin to assemble a kids puzzle then we were on to brush clearing with a slight lead.

On our way to the kitchen event we discover that we've lost a puzzle piece.  So, as Susie drew the melon slicing card I retraced our steps looking for a bambi puzzle piece. With no luck!

Back at the kitchen Coco is at it slicing tators.  When Bob Playtex and Mary show up with a switch places card.

Now, we've got to go back and clear more brush but, thankfully on our return trip Susie found bambi flipped face down in the dirt.  Task completed.

On the the last event. The egg sprint.
With my arms duct taped to my side Cowboy Curtas and I took off to get the eggs while Susie and Lisa went to the tree house for red solo cups.

Curt and Lisa took the lead on the return trip  and into the clubhouse  turn...

But kicking on the after burners Susie and I beat them out at the tape to secure Third Place.

By the way where did Mike and Audrey come from any way???????

Here's a shot to the winning team.  Way to go!