And the Storms Raged On Again: Cleanup, Day 2

With the prospect of another blistering hot day and storm cleanup ahead of us, we got ready to tackle the job, on 2 hours of sleep.
The rain started up again around midnight and continued until 5am in the morning. Neither of us could sleep, after the harrowing events of the day before. Every flash of lightning, every distant roll of thunder, our ears were attuned, ready for the sound of approaching winds, any warning of a repeat of the night before. When the dawn began to lighten up the early morning sky, we finally fell into a fitful sleep, before the days’ work was to begin.

When we went outside, I snapped some pictures of the damage. Most of the stuff in our yard was minimal, but we worked 6 hours straight to get most of it cleaned up.

The second picture shows part of the tree that fell from the neighbors’ yard, over into our area. Nat’s car was partially covered by branches, but was unscratched.

Four hours later, exhausted by the heat, we finished cleaning up the driveway. DH cleared away most of the branches of the tree that lay on the perimeter between us and our neighbors, clearing the way for the sun to once again shine on my poor battered herbs and rhubarb. All that remains for us now are the memories of the days and nights before. The mess next door is much worse, a reminder of the bigger job ahead for some lucky tree service.

And the Storms Raged On~

What a night.
We went out last night at 8pm to make a quick stop at the gas station, then on up Hwy H for some photos of storm clouds over Whitewater. The show was absolutely breath-taking, complete with a funnel cloud.

We had turned off at Green Lake Road, to get out of the way of a fast-approaching vehicle, but unfortunately, he was going our way as well. We pulled over to let him pass, then stopped at a clearing between some corn rows, to get some shots of the lightning show. It was all pretty impressive, and while we ooooo’ed and ahhhhh’ed, we also were aware that someone out there was in eminent danger.

Whitewater, WI storm clouds

Once we had our shots, we turned to get back in the truck when we noticed the sky behind us rapidly turning black. We jumped in the blazer and took off in an attempt to get ahead of the storm and home. I called DD19 on the cell phone and instructed her to get in the closet under the stairs, immediately. In a panic, we realized too late, the storm was heading straight for us, and in our haste, we got turned around in the Lauderdale Lakes area. We quickly found ourselves back out on Green Lake Rd. and heading straight into the storm.

It wasn’t long before  we could not see in front of us, so had to come to a complete stop in the middle of the road between two corn fields, and ride out the storm.
The rain came down so hard, we felt as if the wind shield would crack from the pelting. Then the truck began to rock to and fro from the gale-force winds that buffeted us mercilessly. We were helpless to do anything but sit tight and hope we did not become airborne.

After about 3 minutes, the rain seemed to let up a little, so we inched forward in an attempt to get out of harm’s way. Within seconds, we were pelted again as a second surge came at us full force. Again, we were forced to stop in the middle of the road, and hang on for dear life as the truck again began rocking. As I looked out the passenger window, we saw a lone tree bent over nearly double by the winds.

After what seemed like an eternity, we once again began our trek back toward the highway and  eventually HOME. DD19 was still under the stairs, nearly in a panic as a tree branch slammed into the front door above her. Once we got out on Hwy H, we could see the extent of the storm’s wrath, as we passed by and over the debris field left behind in the storm’s wake.
As we turned on Lost Nation Road, we came upon a vehicle that clearly had been blown off the road sideways by the force of the winds, into some trees that grew in an embankment near a ravine or “kettle” as we call them. We pulled over as a rescue vehicle and two other cars came up behind us and then stopped in front of us. DH got out to see if he could help locate a driver of the vehicle, but no one was found.

The gas station was totally dark as we passed by, and we wondered how many were affected. We learned today, 2034 customers were without power for over 14 hours.

When we got home, the driveway was a total disaster, branches everywhere. DH had to get out and clear the way just so we could get to the house. We wouldn’t be able to assess the damage until the next morning, at first light, but it was clear something had passed over us.

The next morning, we learned from the neighbors, a funnel had indeed been spotted over Whitewater and another coming toward our area at about the same time we spotted what we believed was a tornado forming.

The next door neighbors had damage to 6 of their trees; one was snapped off about 16′ up, and the rest lay in the path between our two houses.  Branches were tangled in the surrounding area, and one branch came to rest on top of DD19’s car hood, but did no damage. Luck was on her side, this time.

We took a ride out the DH’s folks house, to make sure there was no damage there. They were out of town and were concerned that there might be storm damage. Everything looked undisturbed,  except for a scarecrow that fell over and got soaked by the rains. Other than that, everything was fine.

The rest of today was spent cleaning up the mess, in 80+ degree weather, humidity and sun. We worked until we couldn’t lift another branch, twig, or leaf, and gave up for the day. We were surprised by how much we had accomplished; most of the debris in the front yard was gone, and all that was left were some larger limbs which we set off to the side for tomorrow.

I think I’ll just fix a bowl of garlic pasta and call it a day. Will post pictures as I get them- the cell phone went dead early this morning, and most of the first pics were taken at first light.

Zooom Cars R Us

OMY I almost forgot to add a thank you to Linda Godfrey in my last blog entry,  for giving us a copy of her latest book, Haunted Wisconsin

Haunted Wisconsin: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Badger  State
Thank you, Alienda, and I had a blast riding “shotgun” with you!!

Whoot! What a day!

I got up early this morning, planning on going for a walk. That was not the case, for as soon as I stepped outside onto the deck, a blast of muggy warmth told me today would not be a good day to do 3, 4 or even 5 miles…I thought about it for a few, then decided against it, in favor of working on Sharon’s Rose Parade Doily. I am near completion, and since her surgery was moved forward, I felt an urgency to get it finished.

I put on a pot of water for my morning tea, and took my crochet basket out to the patio table and began laying out the doily and 16 rose motifs that were to be attached.

Taking my time, I began attaching the first rose motif. It went on without a problem, and so I moved onto the next motif, following E. Hiddleson’s directions very carefully; second flower attached, I noticed a twist in the linked chains. DRAT! RIPPIT and started over. A second attempt came out the same as the first-RIPPIT again and started over. I went in and got a cup of tea, then came back out with a renewed  confidence that I would get it right this time.

But, after attaching 3 more rose motifs, I realized why I kept getting a twist in my chains. RIPPIT and started over, totally frustrated by this time. Now I had to get it right or the whole thing, ball and all,  was going to go flying off into the woods for the squirrels to play with.
I began attaching the rose motifs, this time from behind the motif. Perfecto!! Finally, 2 hours later, I had at least got 4 of the roses on the outer edge attached without twisting. Now, I could put the doily aside and get ready for work.

DH spent the better part of the day waxing his sister’s Mitsubishi 3000GT, which is one of his favorite pastimes.

After I got caught up on the day’s orders, I went outside to see what, if anything, needed to be done. The car was cleaned up and all that was needed was to vacuum it out and that’s where I came in.

After we got the car all clean and shiny, we took it to for a ride out to Palmyra to Rushing Waters Fisheries, to pick up some fresh fish for dinner.

DH cooked the salmon with a little olive oil in the skillet, got a nice caramelize going, then served it with Bookbinders cocktail sauce, yummm- YUM! I made a Greek Cucumber salad with yogurt, sliced cucumbers, minced garlic and a pinch of salt; it went along perfect with the fish.

Later, after dinner, we decided to go for a ride to the gas station to replace the 1/4 tank we used tooling around the countryside…Mike handed me the keys and said, “Let’s go!” GASP! I hadn’t drove a stick in over 25 years!!
I started out a little slow, but by the time we got out on the road, it wasn’t that difficult. We drove around a few back roads, then came up to the gas station, where lo and behold, our next door neighbors were parked at the same pump. When they saw us pull up, they were like, “When did you get THAT???” Then DD19 showed up, and we had to laugh at us all having a “neighborhood meetin’” at the gas station LOL!

Later this evening, DH was writing a friend and sent him this email:

My Zoom car that quickly became Sandra’s Zoom car…
120 pounds of pure evil!
My life’s in jeopardy
Murdered in cold blood is what I’m gonna be
I ain’t been home since Friday night
And now my wife is coming after me
Give me police protection
Gonna buy a gun so
I can look after number one
Give me a bodyguard
A black belt Judo expert with a machine gun
Gonna buy a tank and an airplane
When she catches up with me
Won’t be no time to explain
She thinks I’ve been with another woman
And that’s enough to send her half insane
Gonna buy a fast car
Put on my lead boots
And take a long, long drive
I may end up spending all my money
But I’ll still be alive

All I did was have a bit too much to drink
And I picked the wrong precinct
Got picked up by the law
And now I ain’t got time to think

Gonna buy a tank and an aeroplane
When she catches up with me
Won’t be no time to explain
She thinks I’ve been with another woman
And that’s enough to send her half insane
Gonna buy a fast car
Put on my lead boots
And take a long, long drive
I may end up spending all my money
But I’ll still be alive

And I’m oh so tired of running
Gonna lay down on the floor
I gotta rest some time so
I can get to run some more

She’s comin’!
She’s comin’!

He’s such a kidder ~

Night of the Fireflies

I just got back from a most interesting adventure with neighbor/good friend/author Linda Godfrey.
Linda called this afternoon to see if DH and I were up for a Bigfoot area tour, with herself the Guide to the Strange in Wisconsin. She was feeling down and wanted to get out and take a ride but said she felt a nap-attack coming on, and would call when she was more rested. I told her absolutely, call if and when she still felt like taking a ride, after her nap.

Linda is a local legend here in Wisconsin. She is an artist with a degree in art education, taught part time while working as a journalist for a local paper in Delavan, when she happened upon some files labeled “Manwolf” in an archive in the Police Dept. Of course, her interest was piqued and she had to ask about the reports. She researched the many reports, interviewed local residents, and began what was to become her life’s journey in search of the weird and elusive. She became known as the Bray Road Beast expert, for her extensive research into local folklore.

After dinner, DH dropped me off at Linda’s house, and we gathered our atlas and cameras for the trip. We headed out to some pre-determined locations to check out some area “hot spots” to get a feel for just what might attract a Bigfoot-type creature. Driving along some of the many windy roads that interlace the Kettle Moraine State Forest, we found some of the most alluring marshes, woods, and prairies, and imagined how perfect this area could be for such an elusive creature to inhabit. We drove for miles without a single car passing us by, and saw some beautiful barns along the way, while watching a most spectacular sunset unfold before us.

As the sun set and it grew dark, we were blessed with the most beautiful display of fireflies in the bean fields and corn rows, and in the road ahead of us as we drove. It was a veritable faerie fantasy with millions of tiny strobes rising up to greet the night sky. We truly knew this night was intended to be all that it was-a spectacular festival of lights.

Although we didn’t spot anything big and hairy, I did get to see a local cemetery near Milton, said to be the spot where an axe murderer was captured while trying to flee the authorities, sometime back in the early 1950’s. The story is in Linda’s Strange Wisconsin book, a definite must-read.

When we got near to our starting point, I called DH to have him come pick me up. He was more than happy for a chance to take his sister’s Mitsubishi 3000GT, we call it the Zoom Car, out for a spin, and arrived within minutes. But when it was time to leave, he somehow inadvertently hit a button on one of the two levers on the steering column, setting off the windshield wipers. He tried for nearly 10 minutes to figure out how to turn them off, and eventually resigned himself to having to drive back with them flapping all the way home. Once we were in the garage and could see what we were doing, DH found the wiper on-off switch and the car was back to normal.

The Haunted Zoom Car…

And you were wondering why we are called “Weird Wisconsin”? Wait until I find out more about the kangaroo that chased cars, Al, the Bighorn sheep over in Tibbets, just around the corner from us, and many more strange creatures. I won’t give too much away; you’ll have to read the books~!

Is there a Bigfoot roaming the woods and marshes in our area? We know there are strange things being discovered every day.

As for us here in Wisconsin, you can bet your bottom dollar, if it’s out there, Linda will find it, no matter what…

Eagle, Wisconsin Tornado Aftermath

Our neighbor and good friend Linda, came over and we took a ride over to Eagle, WI, to survey the damage from last week’s tornado.

We were not prepared for what lay ahead. Literally.

The photos will tell the story.

Leave no stone unturned
Fallen Giant
for size perspective…
Iron fortress in ruin
The cemetery association did not have insurance. Families are relying on help from various town disaster relief groups, so they can begin the process of repairing the damage to individual plots and stones. So many have volunteered to help with cleanup, the town had to reluctantly turn people away.
I was moved by the whole experience, the loss of such magnificent mature hemlocks and spruce, the likes of which won’t be seen again for decades. I have a picture in my mind of how it looked at one time, the many times we drove by and admired the beauty of the park. We would say, “what a beautiful final resting place….”
Rest in pieces…

By Jove, I think she’s got it!!

The thread for my Blue Girl rose motifs arrived, a day early!! WHOOT!
I quick-worked one up, and I think I have the color combo I was after:

Blue Girl rose motif

The inspiration:

Now I can finish Sharon’s Rose Parade doily!

We took a short drive up the road for a photo shoot, and learned more about some local long-horn cattle on Hwy A. There was a sign out front posted, and it told us of the Ankole-Watusi Cattle, of South Africa.

There were two new calves this time, which were immediately surrounded by the “auntie” cows, while a formidable bull herded another female away from the group. What was so amazing were the horns-they were massive, one fellow’s rack spanning nearly 5 feet and thick as trees at the skull.

IMG_2763 Originally uploaded by msgrfx

I also got some new photos of some local barns and silos. One tile silo gleamed in the fading sunlight, looking as brand new as the day it was erected.

All in all, it was a glorious day.

Of Cloudless Climes and Starry Skies

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;

Lord Byron

A dear friend sent me this lovely poem, it really sums up the essence of Woman.
I had a beautiful day today-nevermind that it was my birthday, but I did get lot’s of  birthday wishes today, WOWSER! 3 of my 4 kids called to wish me a Happy Birthday.  Nat called as she was leaving work, and I got to see her 10 minutes later, silly girl~LOL!
I got a surprise this morning, from my oldest daughter, CJ. It arrived just minutes before we headed out the door.

Birthday Iris and Tulips

Yesterday, a package arrived from my California Sis, Susie. She sent me a lovely lavender blanket, big enough for a Queen-size bed, and of course, Igor thought it should be his. I had to beat him and Nats off before they absconded with it, Blanket Thieves. Susie also included a nice set of cutting boards, dishwasher-safe!
We got our showers out of the way, and got on the road, didn’t want to waste a single minute of the day. Our first stop was the Post Office to drop off the mail, then on to Sandy’s Country Pickins in Delavan, to pick out a Yard Gargoyle statue.
We found the perfect little guy for our Zen Garden. A Plurk friend named him and it stuck.

Al Gore-goyle

We spent the rest of the day at the office, business as usual. The weather was mild, but a little chilly for a walk, so Igor and I will wait another day.
Soon it will be time to put out the Hummingbird Feeders and await My Girl’s return. I look forward to their antics in the summer as I look out the office window behind my monitor.

Summer Visitor, 2009

Soon, we’ll have a pile of wood chip mulch to pad the perennial beds with, a fresh carpet to keep the weeds down. I have seen our truck pass by many times already, and expect they have many loads, as the last winters’ storms left many a tree badly damaged and limbs broken, in it’s wake.  Saturday, a neighbor came over and felled a very large dead oak in our back woods. He took most of the wood, and we kept a few pieces for camp fires this summer and fall. There were quite a few limbs and small trees that toppled under the weight of the snow last Dec. but we’ll leave much of it alone to provide shelter for smaller critters until it’s gone back to Mother Earth.
Time to give thanks for another day, and say good night~
Hinááh bee atiingóó éí naashá
On the Trail of Life, I walk in beauty
Nizhóní naashá
In Harmony I exist, I walk in beauty

Bumps in the Road

Boy, what a day!
Nats had to go in at 7am for a store meeting, lasted an hour. On the way home, a dumptruck deposited a HUGE rock in the middle of the road-and yep, you guessed it-BAM! instant FLAT. It was on a busy highway, no time to swerve and miss it without taking life into one’s own hands…so she called, upset-my first thought was OGOD what happened!!!
We hurried up and got over to where she was, arrived 15-20 minutes later-a local police officer had spotted her and had stopped to assist. She said one truck driver saw it happen and stopped to see if she needed help. He even asked if she had a spare, but she didn’t know about her donut under the trunk panel and told him , “no?” DOH! So anyway, the officer is there when we arrived, and Nats is shaking like a leaf, nerves shot.
After taking down Nats’ information, the officer followed us to gas station 100 yards away,  so we could get safely off the highway and not get killed by passing motorists. Then Harry, the gas station owner, saw us and came running out to help Mike remove the flat and put on the donut…what a guy!
Thankfully, Pete’s Tires is another 1/8th mile down the road so Mike and Nats followed me as I hobbled her car over to the Tire place. She was needing new tires this spring anyway, so we had them replace both fronts, they said the 2 backs were still in great shape-no sense hitting her for more bucks at this point…
After installing both tires, they test-dragged her car around the shop a couple times and found out one of the struts didn’t have a strut mount in place, bumpitybumpitybumpbumpbump when it hit a bump…no biggie, they said they can fix it later for $189. It’s not a major part, just an annoyance and Nats said she actually got used to it, chalked it up as an Older Car thing~
Later when we got home, I got on the phone and called the company.  I got routed to the person in charge, left a very polite if not slightly urgent message on his Voice Mail stating that I was going to be needing to speak with him regarding a “road incident with a dump truck, a rock and a cop…”and would he please return my call as soon as possible.
Then I had Nats go back and get the tire back from Pete’s, and she also got a picture of the rock while she was out. The thing must have weighted 60 lbs, the truck driver who stopped had moved it off to the side of the road so nobody else would hit it. Coincidentally, he was hauling a load of rock identical to the one found in the road. He wasn’t the driver of the truck in question, but as we were fixing her tire, we watched a similar truck pass the gas station heading north to the Rock company where they dump their loads for grinding. They have been traveling up and down the highway for days, we’ll never know which truck lost it’s rocks, but we can only surmise it was from the same company. That huge rock didn’t fall from the sky….

The front passenger tire was shredded and the hub cap was broken in two. I called the local Junk yard and they might have 4 Cavalier wheel covers that she can use. We’re waiting to hear back.

Oyes, I will be contacting the Rock company again tomorrow. I have a shredded tire and pictures.

Despite it all, Nats still loves her cute little zoom car! It’s worth it.

Vancouver Olympics 2010 | Tragedy over Triumph

Nodar Kumaritashvili , a Georgian luger, has suffered what sounds like one of the most horrible accidents imaginable just hours before the official start of the Olympics. According to the Associated Press, Kumaritashvili lost control of his sled, went over a wall, and slammed into a metal pole. » Full Story on

We watched in awe at the spectacle that was the Vancouver Opening Ceremonies. The show was awesome, digital technology at it’s finest. It was a beautiful celebration of the pride of Vancouver and all of Canada. We were captured by the displays; I can only imagine the high that each participant felt at just being there, in the glory of the moment;  what a feeling that must have been!!!


Tonight we got a phone call from one of our neighbors, learning of a near tragic accident that took place in our neck’o the woods last night at approximately 2:00am.  I was up and down having a restless night, but I saw nothing out of the ordinary.

Apparently one of our own, the drummer for Carry Nation Band was out on a snowmobile with a group for an evening of snowmobiling around the local area. They had stopped at the Blue Overall for a bit of warming-up and snacks,  before heading back out again. As everyone left, Jim headed toward home-just across the highway and through the woods, past Wandawega, and he’s there, right? not last night….

Somewhere in the darkness, his sled hit (something)a bump in the trail, causing the sudden impact to catapult him over the top of his sled and into a tree.  After laying there for 30 minutes or more, he was able to call out for help on his cellphone, and after several failed attempts, was able to reach a neighbor down the street. He said he was in trouble, had wrecked and wasn’t doing so well. By the time the neighbors got to the scene, other snowmobilers had arrived and were in rescue mode, covering him to prevent shock. His boots were knocked off his feet during the impact, so they put his boots back on in an attempt to protect his already frozen feet from the cold.

Two people from the rescue party brought him back home on a sled, but by the time they got back, it was evident  that he was in worse shape than they first believed, so an ambulance was called for. He was later taken by Lifeline helicopter to Froedert Hospital Milwaukee,  where he was placed in CCU. He was  conscious and heard to say, “just stupid”.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jim and his family during the days and weeks ahead, and for his swift recovery. We’re there for you, dude.