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Posts from the ‘Travel & Places I’ve been’ Category

A lovely hour or more walking in Village Creek State Park Texas

What a lovely day it is today….perfect temps for being outside doing just about anything. No rain—plants need rain but tonight would be fine….a very gentle breeze….and a paid up state park pass.

And it is close!

After breakfast of blueberry pie, we loaded up Toby and Dora and headed north. It is always a bit tricky to find the right turns to get to the park–but Tessie managed it just fine. She did tend to drive a bit faster over that bumpy pot-holed road than we liked.

I picked up a map in the ranger station–and noted there was a special thing to see—–a sapsucker tree. We studied the map, went walking down trails, and more trails, found the canoe landing with almost no water…so different from the last time we were there.

and here is another view

Toby and Dora were eager to go wading in the river.

It is a very marshy area filled with cypress and cypress knees. This pool was up to the level of the walkway over it last time.

I’d show you the cypress knees standing without any water anywhere close by-===but my SC card was full and this was the last photo I took.

We never found that sapsucker tree; there were a fair number of people all out enjoying the park and the lovely weather. We stopped at the Ida Reed Dog Park on our way back home—and now I get to edit photos and clean up that SD card before venturing out again for another adventure.

Another Learning Curve

Sometimes life tells you an update or change is needed.

And so now I have a new computer with Windows 11, a touchscreen that is immense.

Some of my passwords were saved; some were not; some were so old they expired and I had to start new.

But now I am working away at this new computer.

I’ve also enrolled in two on-line classes—struggling to keep up with intermittent internet access and a new computer where everything is in a different place.

Cousinmn Sheldon, his wife Mary and me

I’m still recovering from a respiratory infection I picked up somewhere with allergy season as well so I’m a bit late in posting all my photos and doings in Wisconsin.

This is my cousin Sheldon. His father was my dad’s younger brother—and the resemblance to my dad, his uncles, and some of my nephews is uncanny. He is several years older than I am and so remembered our Grand-Dad and grandmother–I got her curly hair. I was just six when he died; a married college student when she passed away.

And here is one of my favorite places—-the Kickapoo River Landing.

We canoed down this river several times; having to portage around dams and blocked trees. It has been cleared out considerably for canoers and also as flood control. My dad or one of my brothers would put us in upstream and then come collect us at the junction of the Kickapoo with the Wisconsin River.

Lots of mosquitoes but lots of gorgeous scenery and rock faces along the trip.

Weeding Around the Windmill

I may have conquered the raspberry patch. Two months ago, I pulled all the nettles and ragweed out, put down random scraps of drywall and topped them with heaps of corn fodder from the haymow.

No nettles this time!

And so it was time to turn my attention to the windmill. There is a large peony planted there, and some snow on the mountain greenery. AND lots of weeds—wild aster.

The fan from the windmll is behind the barn, having been scrunched up by tractors and farm equipment running into it. Unfortunately DNR insisted this well was ‘unsafe’ because the well head was only a few inches about the ground—as you can see it is the highest pont; no-run-off—-but ‘they knew better’ and so it was closed with bentonite; the plumber making an awful mess of it and the paperwork. Thanks DNR for keeping my safety in mind—AND spending my money uselessly.

On a brighter note, I had some tree work done. A large walnut tree was touching the garage and the cow lot was full of volunteer trees.

I”m hoping to turn it into a garden with a gazebo type structure on top of the old grainery.

That is a huge brushpile—the fire department suggested we burn it with about two inches of snow on the ground—-I doubt i will be there for that—but it will make for a great marshmallow roast.

Back to Wisconsin the Badger Way and Gain an Hour

The trip to Michigan from Mantowoc was in the afternoon. It was dusk when we arrived at 7PM;. We did not have a vehicle being not quite sure how they would handle an electric car….its get=up=and=go function is speedier than most people are accustomed and we could imagine it being driven into the back of someone else.

So we were on foot.

There were supposed to be taxis at the dock—but there weren’t.

Fortunately the cruise director offered us a ride to our motel–it was two blocks away from her home.

I wont say anything about that motel other than it was a long walk in the dark the next morning in wet grass to get back to the ship and we won’t be staying there again.

The trip back was uneventful, the seas===lake–calm.

Here are a few photos

The casting off procedure was interesting—two large ropes attached by large hooks to a big post on the dock. The ship loosened the ropes and the person on the dock unhooked the ropes, then the ropes were hauled back in—-really loud and noisy.

I spent most of the trip back sleeping in the museum; our stateroom was icy cold with only two thin blankets the kind you get in the hospital.

Off=loading the ship was interesting and this time I took photos of the process.

If you had a motorcycle, you drove it off yourself. All the other vehicles were driven off by the porter—who ran back into the ship.

We drove off with our first charging in Madison East Town Mall….where we encountered two pan-handlers. It was a bit of a shock–we are accustomed to them here but not in Wisconsin.

All Aboard the SS Badger

The SS Badger is a National Landmark and operates between Manitowoc Wisconsin and Ludington Michigan as a coal fired steamship.

It was originally one of many car-rail ferries between Wisconsin and Michigan designed to avoid the traffic snarls created by going around Lake Michigan through Chicago.

The Badger was one of three ships built in Sturgeon Bay and was christened by Mrs. Kohler, the wife of the Kohler plumbing fixture owner. It was launched sideways and created such a splash, it knocked over three rail cars stationed in front of the mechanic shops in the harbor with lake water flowing through the shops and flooding the streets.

The season of sailing is short due to winter weather with the last sailing the middle of October. The trip each way takes about four hours but there is a time difference as Michigan is on Eastern Time and Wisconsin on Central Time.

For those of you who have taken the Galveston Ferry from Bolivar Peninsula to Galveston, this was very much the same but on a much grander scale. The cars and trucks and RV’s were driven on and off by porters who seemed to have only one speed on land–full-out run!. The large vehicles were backed in while the cars were driven in frontwards and somehow turned around to drive out forwards.

The interior of the shop had several hot food dining options, an interesting museum filled with information and a video about the Badger.

Interestingly, I discovered some photographs my grandmother had taken in 1954 when she went to Manitowoc to see the ferry. I don’t think she traveled on it as there are no Lake photos or any labeled as Michigan.

And here are two of my grandmother’s photos. There was much speculation at the Badger office regarding which ship it was and when the alterations to the ship had been made. However, my grandmother carefully noted on the back that this ship was the City of Midland.

inscripton on back reads ferry approaching August 1954

notation on back reads City of Midland August 1954Acccor

According to the Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay there were over 17 car ferry ships built along with multiple other ships as part of the War Effort in the 1940’s. Most of the transport was rail cars loaded with steel, produce and other goods.

Don’t Feed the Ducks

Last weekend we spent several days in Houston. I had two doctor appointments—clinics were kind enough to schedule on same day and with enough time between so as to make just ONE trip rather than two. Then Glen was lucky enough to get his Pulmonary Function test done while I was at my appointments. Finally I had a CT scan that the imaging department moved up so we had an afternoon free.

I like to park at Herman Park Zoo parking lot and walk through Herman Park to get to appointments at the medical center. It is a relaxing walk through trees and I can see turtles and various sorts of water fowl ranging from swans to assorted ducks not native to the area.

Unfortunately that part of the park is blocked due to construction of some sort–a new water garden and probably a parking garage.

But we had a picnic lunch and sat at a table under some live oak trees.

It wasn’t long before a young squirrel approached us. Glen tossed chex mix piece by piece. it was very shy and would quickly grab a piece and run back to safety. Ten minutes passed by before that squirrel was joined by others–at last count there were five. And then a grackle appeared also interested in a snack.

While I am not fond of squirrels near my house—they chew electric wires and torment the dogs, these are in a public park far away from electrical wires.

And they were definitely not ducks.

Here are a few photos from the day;

Just one grackle.

Just some pretty flowers

Wisconsin summers are always abundant with flowers and things that grow magically overnight—including the weeds.

Here is the corner of my friend’s house.

that tall green thing behind the purple flowers was a tree sapling—and I nipped it off with some big clippers.

These flowers had a delicate scent–a few bees buzzing around.

Take a few moments to just enjoy.

Pickles and Paper Wasps

In our very early married years, we did not have a lot of money–in fact we had almost none. Someone gave us a book by Euel Gibbons featuring things to do with foraging for food on the roadsides instead of grocery stores or dumpsters.

One delicious adventure was to try lightly steamed day lily buds as a vegetable—they were abundant along roadsides, and then to try pickling them.

Day-lilies of this variety are not in southeast Texas and our previous trips had not coincided with blooms.

This year I was determined to make some—if buds were to be had.

And in case you don’t remember–here are the flowers…..

I made seven jars of these putting fresh dill in each jar. The pickling process is simple…pour a mixture of hot vinegar, salt and some water over buds placed in jars, add the dill, and cap.

However, one morning when I went out the screen door, I was stung by a wasp. It had been caught between the screen door and the regular door earlier in the night and showed its displeasure at its captivity by stinging me on the wrist. I’ll spare you the view of my swollen hand, wrist and forearm—I did have to take Benadryl, Tylenonl, and a Prednisone. But I”m sure you want to see that nest.

It was about five or six inches across–I had sprayed it with hornet spray during early morning hours to ensure they were all ‘home’ for the occasion.

Now to wait for the pickling process on those pickles to be complete and enjoy with broiled or baked fish.

Cornfields and Chicory

Tradition and farmer’s wisdom or perhaps optimism always noted that corn must be knee-high by the Fourth of July for a successful crop. My Dad always made a habit of walking out to one of his fields and measuring the corn. I always wondered whose knees were the appropriate measure–mine–being not as tall as his Six foot something frame?

For years after buying that farm to support my parents in their senior years, I have returned to Wisconsin for the Fourth of July—the parade, the brats made by my second cousin–or maybe a more distant relationship–but still one of the many in the county….and for a photo of myself standing in the cornfield. Rarely has it ever been lesss than shoulder high and sometimes I must put my hand up to be seen over the top of the tassels.

I missed this year due to some health issue scheduling canceled at the last minute—but I managed a trip in the last part of July and took a few photos.

Here is a storm coming our way with high winds and lots of rain—lots here being about two inches…not the six inches I am accustomed to in southeast Texas.

And there was the chicory in full bloom.

Chicory is a fascinating plant. The blooms are a lovely blue but fold up at night and if you dare pick some for a bouquet immediately close up. I always wondered what part of them was used for coffee but was never quite impelled to dig up the roots and try—chicory blended coffee comes in cans on the grocery shelves here in this part of Texas.

And because I know you want a closer look at those pretty blue flowers…..

Mississippi Meandering

A trip to Wisconsin always includes a view of the Mississippi.

My farm is not far from Prairie du Chien….although we shortened it to Praiire. There are other Prairie du somethings in Wisconsin reflecting the French fur trader influence of the late 1700s and early 1800s.

There are two channels and further south in Potosi it is a mile wide. Flooding is an annual springtime event with businesses on Main Street preparing with sand-bags.

I spent a morning walking around the gardens on St. Feriole Island. There was a light rain and I had it to myself.

Wisconsin has an abundant summer…flowers flourish—but then the winters are long and dreary with a muddy spring accompanied by floods.

East channel with a huge ditch between me and that railroad track and then a large bank down to the river

I stopped near Lynxville to try my hand at some water color painting. I use a water-brush and was able to use water from a nearby puddle for my work.

A large information sign described the logging/rafting occurring on the river–with the largest raft in 1896 that was 270 feet wide and 1550 feet long. The last lumber raft was in 1915.

It was a welcome break from cleaning and weeding at the farm.