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Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Wednesday, 8:15 AM. 42 degrees, wind NNW, very light. The channel is calm, the sky mostly cloudy and the barometer predicts sunshine.
About 10:00 PM last night I looked at the thermometer and it was 39 degrees. I went out on the back porch and the poor Hibiscus looked like it was shivering, so I brought it in, and decided the lemon tree, the fiddle leaf fig and the Cycad all would be grateful for a bit of warmth. The lemon tree is blooming profusely, and as the song says, “Lemon tree, very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet..,.,” and fills the room with its fragrance. The banana is tough and can stay out a few more nights. It probably got down to 37 degrees before dawn and that’s about the limit for the more tender tropicals.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Tuesday, 8:00 AM. 42 degrees, wind W, moderate. The channel is crawling, the sky overcast but the barometer predicts fair weather. There is another .65” of rain in the gage.
We hope the weather improves for Apple Fest, especially for the parade on Sunday. Eric is loaning me his trailer for the float so that problem is solved. The weather has turned a bit nasty but hopefully we will still have a nice fall, the colors having just started. A neighbor covered his tomato plants and it looks like Halloween, but it is too early for either frost or goblins.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Monday, 8:15 AM. 52 degrees, wind W, strong. The channel is rough, the sky is overcast and it has been raining hard. We have gotten .75” of rain so far. The barometer predicts partly cloudy skies.
Andy and Judy came to dinner last evening, they are trying to break camp in the wet and get back to Cedarburg Wednesday for a memorial service for a friend. They won’t be back until maple sugarin’ and we will miss them.
The flowers pictured are baskets and planters collected for a Bayfield In Bloom float for the Apple Fest parade. I also borrowed six bales of hay from Myron to stage them on, and he made me promise I wouldn’t get them wet. I haven’t decided as yet whether to use a borrowed trailer or simply take the top off the pickup bed and make the truck the float. Andy suggested I get a couple of gallons of ice cream and root beer and put them in my old milk can and it could be a “root beer float.” I added that we could pass out straws to the crowd and invite them to join in. Ah, great ideas from great minds! I haven't had a root beer float since high school.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Sunday, 8:30 AM. 57 degrees, wind W, light. The channel is crawling slightly, the sky is overcast and the barometer predicts rain, which we have had a trace of. It is very quiet, all God’s creatures sleeping in this morning.
The older needles of the white pines are beginning to turn to gold and will soon fall, creating a golden blanket beneath the trees and prompting many telephone calls asking what ails the pines, when nothing does. Needles usually remain green and on the tree for two years before they are shed.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Saturday, 8:15 AM. 57 degrees, wind SSW, calm. The channel is calm, the sky overcast and the barometer predicts rain.
It is hard to imagine a better apple harvest! Even the wild roadside trees are laden with fruit and have few blemishes. We stopped at Hauser’s Orchard yesterday afternoon and they had Wealthy, Macintosh, Dudley, Cortland, and Honey Crisp apples, as well as Kerr crabapples for jelly. The Honey Crisp is sweet and crunchy but my favorite is still the Mac for eating. The orchards will not sell out with Apple Fest, but will have apples at least through October. I well remember the old apple storage cellars, where one could go all winter and buy fresh local apples. They were half in the ground for insulation, and half above for ventilation. Carefully controlled, they would stay at 45 degrees all winter without energy cost and the keeping apples would remain fresh. Few of those are grown any more. The Spitzenberg was a favorite of mine, hard as a rock until after a hard frost and then lasting until spring in storage.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Friday, 8:15 AM. 60 degrees, wind WSW, moderate. The channel is dimpled, the sky is blue and the barometer predicts partly cloudy skies. A beautiful day awaits.
The purple New England Aster, A. angliae-novae, and the pink New Belgium Aster, A. novae-belgae, are in bloom. Both are tall, floriferous native plants. The mountain maple, Acer spicatum, is a beautiful rusty orange now in the woods on the corner of Ninth and Old Military .
The mottled pagoda dogwood leaves are also quite nice.
Apple Fest is next weekend, and we are all gearing up for the yearly extravaganza.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Thursday, 8:30 AM. 56 degrees, wind S, light. The channel is calm, the sky blue and the barometer predicts partly cloudy skies.
The Nelson job on north Third Street turned out nicely. We removed a lot of inappropriate volunteer trees and shrubs, and replanted with old-fashioned plants. Bridal wreath and gold flame Spirea were planted along the front foundation, and a setting of weeping flowering crab and spreading evergreens creates a focal point in the front yard. A planting of hardy white azaleas and an oak leaf Hydrangea creates beauty in a shady spot by the back deck, and a red oak and a mountain ash front the two city streets. The grove of young oaks was trimmed up. We created a landscape which is easy to maintain, is simple but rather elegant and respects the architecture and era of the home.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Wednesday, 7:30 AM. 53 degrees, wind W, light to moderate. The channel is crawling, the sky is clear, the barometer predicts sunshine, and there is .75” of rain in the rain gage.
We are on the road again, to Wausau, where we left our Saab at the dealer for repairs, and rented a car for a few days. It will be an all day trip, but will give us an opportunity to stop at Barnes and Noble and at Gander Mountain, anyway.
The two landscape jobs turned out perfectly, the photos are before and after of the Johnson job, the objective of which was to replace trees lost in a storm, reduce lawn mowing, and provide a proper setting for the residence as viewed from First Street. The major trees are native white spruce, tamarack, and river birch. The hedge is ninebark and the spreading evergreens are Siberian Microbiota.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Tuesday, 8:15 AM. 66 degrees, wind ENE, calm. The channel and Island are obscured by fog and it is raining quite hard, although the barometer predicts partly cloudy weather. The rain means I won’t have to be as concerned with watering the two landscape jobs, and I have put the porch baskets out in the rain.
The trip to the Peebles in Oconomowoc was a great success. We shot five geese and missed more, had lots of good food and conversation and went to a fun musical at the new performing arts center Saturday night. The geese flew well early on both Saturday and Sunday morning, but there was nothing flying early Monday. Lucky was in a terrible funk all weekend because we didn’t take him out with us and he had to stay with Joan (he wouldn’t be able to retrieve a goose). He wouldn’t speak to me until I bought him a hamburger on the way home. Bill’s Chesapeake retrieved for us, and we would have lost at least one bird without her. Bill just fillets out the goose breasts (that’s where most of the meat is) and leaves the rest for the coyotes, but Joan insisted I clean the whole birds so she could roast them for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. It took me about an hour to clean each bird, and they weighed 10 and 7.5 lbs. respectively, 7 and 5 lbs. cleaned. I hadn’t been goose hunting with Bill in almost forty years so it was a real treat.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

9/17/09 LOOKIN' GOOD

Thursday, 7:30 AM. 58 degrees, wind SSE, light. The sky is overcast, the channel wrinkled. The barometer predicts rain.
The Johnson job got planted and it looks great. Tomorrow I will work with the crew for a couple of hours, then Joan and I head for the Peebles and goose hunting.


Wednesday, 7:30 AM. 56 degrees, wind W, calm. The channel is wrinkled, the sky partly overcast and the barometer predicts sunny skies
We have two planting jobs going, hope to prep them today and plant tomorrow. The “before” photo is of the Johnson job on 1st St.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Monday, 8:00 AM. 64 degrees, Wind W, calm. The channel is foggy. The barometer predicts rain, but I do not.
The native plum, Prunus americana, in the rose family, is a brushy shrub or small tree which ranges throughout the upper Midwest. It is at its northern reaches here, and then is replaced by the Canada plum, a somewhat different species. The fruit when ripe is orange to deep red, and quite tasty but thick skin and large pit make it better for preserves and baking than eating out of hand. It is an important wildlife food, and was much used fresh and dried for food by Native Americans. The bark has medicinal properties, and was used for the treatment of upper respiratory ailments. These were collected up the street. We have been waiting for the plums at the Larsen’s camp to ripen, but the bears will probably get them first. Last year they demolished all the bushes, tearing them to pieces to get the fruit. The blooms of the native plum are pretty, and the plants can be used to good effect in large naturalized landscapes.
I will be busy this week installing two landscapes I have designed so the blog may suffer.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Sunday, 8:00 AM. 64 degrees, wind W, light, the channel and Island are obscured by heavy fog, and the sky is overcast. The barometer predicts rain, but I think not.
Mike, owner of the Seagull Bay Motel down the road, reports a huge black bear patrolling the Brownstone Trail all the way into downtown, and that the cops had to shoo him back into the woods the other day.
I appreciate mushrooms for their beauty more than anything else. The one pictured, from the woods path, I believe to be Russula rugulosa, in the Agaricus family. Note that it has no bulbus base, nor ring on the stem beneath the cap. Very pretty, and listed as edible, but not by me!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Saturday, 65 degrees, wind ESE, calm. The channel is glassy, the sky mostly blue. The barometer predicts partly cloudy skies.
I haven’t been on the woods path all summer and took it this morning, and to my delight there were several colonies of mushrooms along it, even though we haven’t had recent rain. The white mushroom is the destroying angel, Amanita virosa, as deadly as it is pretty. It has a faint, sickly sweet smell, and a large bulb at the base of the stem and a ring on the stem beneath the cap. Except for the bulb, it can easily be taken for the common edible field mushroom or champignon. The yellow mushroom is Amanita flavorescens, also with bulb and ring. It is not listed as poisonous but the Amanitas are all best avoided.

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11/09 REMEMBER

Friday, 8:00 AM. 66 degrees, wind S, calm to light. The channel and Island are again obscured by fog. The sky is mostly clear, and the barometer predicts the same.
Joe Pye weed, also known as queen of the meadow and gravel root, Eupatorium maclatum, in the Composite family, has been blooming for several weeks. There is a lot of it in roadside ditches and wet meadows. It is a tall, handsome plant and should be used more in the garden. It has a long tradition in both Native American and Western herbal medicine as a diuretic, in the treatment of kidney ailments, gout, rheumatism and respiratory complaints.
It is named after an American Indian healer, Joe Pye.
The hummingbirds will be leaving within a week. The pileated woodpeckers seem to be all over the neighborhood again this morning.
This is the eighth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 911. Remember the Alamo, Remember the Main, Remember Pearl Harbor, and Remember 911.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

9/10/09 WHERE'S THE BUS?

Thursday, 8:00AM. 65 degrees, wind S, calm. The channel is mostly obscured by fog. The sky is partly cloudy and the barometer predicts sunny skies.
It is another very quiet morning, and I realize at last that another reason for it is that the school bus no longer visits our neighborhood. The few kids that had ridden the bus have graduated, transferred to Washburn or other public and parochial schools, or have moved away. The declining population of school age children in our small Northern Wisconsin communities has negatively affected all the districts, reducing state aid, making each school district more expensive, less effective and more isolated. As real estate taxes necessarily rise, more families leave, and as curriculums shrink more kids are transferred out. Everyone is reluctant to address the root causes of the decline, and so the school bus no longer visits our neighborhood.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Wednesday, 8:00 AM. 56 degrees, wind S, calm. The channel is calm, the sky mostly overcast. The barometer predicts partly cloudy weather but it looks and feels like rain is on its way.
Signs of fall are popping up everywhere now, as evidenced by the quiet early morning, the exodus of tourists and many summer residents being right on schedule. Sugar maples are beginning to turn their rusty golden yellow and some of the red maples crimson. The Virginia creeper vines and some of the sumac leaves are turning blood red.
Fall begins with Labor Day in the Northland, you can count on it.
No photos as I am unable to upload them for some reason.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Tuesday, 8:00 AM. 59 degrees, wind S, calm. The channel is calm and there is a light fog over water and Island. The sky is cloudless, but the barometer predicts rain. It could not have been a nicer holiday weekend.
We cooked out at the Larsen’s yesterday evening: fire-roasted corn and chicken, fresh melon with wild raspberries, and an apple crisp baked in a Dutch oven over hot coals. A gourmet meal! Afterwards we drove down one of the Rez roads to watch the sun set over Sand Island and the harvest moon rise opposite it.
The only downside to the holiday was that J.D., the Larsen’s dog, had absconded earlier with a plastic bag full of rising bread dough, so we were deprived of Andy’s baked bread, and J.D. spent the evening quietly, with a rather doleful, pained look in his big brown eyes.