Search This Blog

Total Pageviews

Wednesday, September 12, 2012



Wednesday, 8:00 AM.  62 degrees F, wind WSW, light.  The sky is overcast with stationary rain clouds and we have had a few drops of the same, but the humidity is low and the barometer is up.  We will might get some rain this morning but it will probably clear up later this afternoon or evening.

Gasoline prices have doubled in the last four years.  Inflation is so high that I can’t afford to drive my car to work.
That’s not the fault of inflation. You should drive an environmentally friendly, no gasoline electric car.
I can’t afford one, they cost too much.
That’s your fault, you don’t earn enough money.
I haven’t had a raise in years, my company can’t afford it.
That’s because you don’t belong to a union.
How would belonging to a union give my company more money so that it can afford to give me a raise?
If you belonged to a union you could go on strike and that would force the company to raise its prices so that it could pay you enough to drive an electric car.
If I had the money to buy an electric car I would have enough money to buy gasoline for my present car and I wouldn’t need the electric car that I can’t afford.
You need to buy the electric car you can’t afford so that the electric car company can pay its workers a high enough wage so they can afford to buy one, because gasoline costs too much.
Let me try to understand this.  Gasoline costs too much so I should go on strike so that someone else can make enough money to drive an electric car.
Of course.
But the problem is inflated gasoline prices.
Inflation is not the cause of high gasoline prices.  Gas prices are too high because there isn’t enough gasoline.
Wait a minute.  We are sitting on enough oil and gas deposits in North America to provide us with transportation fuels for the next hundred years.
Of course.  But what will we do a hundred years from now when we run out, and the oceans have risen and the planet has dried up because there is no water,  and all that?  We have to think ahead and limit the production of gasoline.
But I can’t afford to drive my car to get to work.
I told you, you need to drive an environmentally friendly, no gasoline electric car.
O.K., O.K.! I’ll join a union, go on strike and not have to buy any gasoline to go to work. My troubles are over.
See, just as I told you, inflation is not the problem.
Wow! God Bless America!
Don't use the G word!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012



Tuesday, 7:45 AM.  66 degrees F, wind WSW, calm to light.  The sky is partly cloudy with high, thin white clouds and considerable haze.  The barometer predicts rain but the humidity is low.  May be this afternoon or evening.  In the meantime it is a pleasant, quiet morning.
We saw two rolly-polly  bear cubs, each perhaps forty pounds or so, crossing Washington Ave. on Cemetery Hill late yesterday afternoon.  I had the camera in hand but couldn't get a photo .
   The Azure Asters, A. azurius, in the composite family, are beautiful this year, these are along Ninth Street, just south of Washington Ave.
                          A CONVERSATION ABOUT EQUALITY
Say, I  have a question about how Obamacare is going to be paid for. 
    Don’t worry, you will be taken care of, along with everyone else.  We will all be equal.
 But I pay into Medicare, 1.5% of my salary, every paycheck.
     Don’t worry, we will all be taken care of, we will all be equal.
But I have paid into Medicare, 1.5% of my salary, for fifty years.
    Don’t you understand?We are all going to be equal.
But what will happen to all the money I have already paid in?
    Why worry about that, when we will all be equal?
Shouldn’t I get that money back, or at least interest  on the money I have paid in?
    Don’t you understand, we will all be equal!
Will I continue to pay for my health care, while others pay  nothing?
    Why should you care, you will receive what everyone else does, we will all be equal.
Wait a minute!  The situation is serious. My home is only worth a fraction of what it was, my lifetime investment is gone.
    You are very lucky, some of us never owned a home. But we shall all soon be equal!
My retirement savings are almost gone, and the dollars that are left aren't worth much.
    You were fortunate to have  had any savings, when so many others had  none.  So now we are all equal.
Inflation is so high my food and gasoline prices have doubled in the last four years!
    You can apply for food stamps, and if you qualify, be equal to everyone else.
But I am working two jobs to make ends meet.
    You are very lucky to have a job at all, and  you should be happy to pay more taxes.  We must spread the wealth around so that we all can be equal.
But I can hardly get by!
    Neither can anyone else; we are all equal now.
I keep wondering, what ever happened to The American Dream?
     Never mind that old fashioned idea.  Thank your government that  that we are all equal now. 

Monday, September 10, 2012


Monday, 8:00 AM.  50 degrees F, wind WSW, calm.  The sky is virtually blue with some haze in the east, but the barometer predicts rain.  Perhaps tonight, but this morning is gorgeous.
   Signs of fall are poping up everywhere now.  Yesterday I saw a large flock of turkeys on Peterson Road.  Sumac leaves are turning, as are red maples and some other trees and shrubs.  This morning a neighbor has a fire in the wood stove and Joan turned on the furnace yesterday tto be sure it is working OK.  Time to clean the chimney.



   Chicago teachers are on strike, forcing 400,000 children out of the classroom, and perhaps a million or more parents wondering how they can go to work with their kids at home alone (those lucky enough to have a job, anyway).  This is what happens when public unions hold sway and are a direct influence on politicians with their money and their votes.  As the old saying goes, be careful what you ask for, you may get it.

Saturday, September 8, 2012





Sunday, 8:30 AM.  55 degrees F, wind WSW, gusty.  The sky is mostly blue, the barometer is high and it will be a fine day.
    Summer and fall are when the Hydrangeas,  genus Hydrangea, in the family of the same name, are in bloom and most interesting.There are a number of species, with innumerable cultivars.  They are all woody plants of the northern hemisphere, and most  of the species are native to North America.  They are woody plants, mostly quite hardy, and the genus even includes a vine.  Like roses, Hydrangeas have great genetic malleability.  They are grown primarily for their large blossoms, which have a very long blooming time.  Hydrangeas are very sensitive to acidity and alkalinity, and flower colors of many varieties can range from white to blue to pink and everything in between, depending upon soil Ph. Many flower heads dry beautifully.  Unfortunately, they have no fragrance. The fruits are not decorative, but many plants have decent fall color.
        Decoctions of Hydrangea flowers, bark and roots have long been used in herbal medicine as a tonic and diuretic, and are very useful in the elimination of kidney stones.
    Probably the most iconic of the Hydrangeas is the old fashioned PG Hydrangea, H. Paniculata ‘Grandiflora’, sometimes referred to as the “mop head” Hydrangea.  It and many other Hydrangeas can be difficult to use in the landscape as they are so large in every respect, and may even be considered too coarse for general use.
    But, love them or hate them, they are an omnipresent, flamboyant lot that have a certain utility. and they even flip-flop, changing their colors with conditions. "I was pink before I was blue." Sounds like they would make good politicians.
    I will try to switch to the new Blogger interface tomorrow.  I hope I don't have trouble.



Saturday, 9:00 AM.  55 degrees F, wind just changed from NW fo SSW, light with moderate gusts.  The sky is pretty much overcast and the barometer predicts rain.  Coming home yesterday from Stevens Point we ran into intermittent rain the whole route.  I don't think we got any of it in Bayfield, although it has threatened.  I think the latest rain in the southern part of the state has been too late to help the corn crop but is certainly welcome nonetheless.  The Urban Forestry Council meeting at the University in Stevens Point was lively, but I am afraid I am at odds with some of the goals and methodologies being put in place at the federal and state levels of forestry administration.  Won't go into that at this point.
   We again saw lots of wild turkeys along Hwy 51 north of Wausau, usually in flocks of ten or more, which were probably family groups.  We were very pleased with the performance of our  new-old truck, the Honda Ridgeline.  It was much more comfortable than the Chevy and handled beautifully.  We got 23 miles per gallon average mileage on the road, a considerable improvement over 17, especially with gas at or over $4 per gallon.
   We did manage to watch the final two nights of the Democrat Convention.  The Vice President's speech we thought mostly empty  bluster.  The President's speech just plain empty. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012




Thursday, 8:00 AM.  60 degrees F, wind W, breezy.  the sky is partly filled with thin, stratosphere white clouds and the barometer is high.  It will be a fine day for a trip to the University at Stevens Point for a meeting of the Urban Forestry Council (so, no blog tomorrow).
    We have had gorgeous but somewhat unsettled weather the last few days, which has produced some awesome, classic thunderheads and a few drops of rain.

    Yesterday we saw what was to us an unusual sight; a bald eagle sitting on a floating log a considerable distance out in the lower Chequamegon Bay, drying its wings in the mid-day sun.
    In a good faith attempt to be politically fair and balanced, we have been watching a good bit of the Democrat Convention, where the rhetoric has, predictably, soared into the clouds.  Last night was President Clinton’s speech, and by the end of it he could have been nominated for a third term had that been constitutionally permissible.  He is certainly a spellbinder, but he didn’t actually say much about the current occupant of the White House. He is the quintessential  state fair snake oil salesman, and if he were selling GM stock we would all get our money back, that’s for sure.
    I went through a stage of curiosity early in my college days when I went to some religious revival meetings, the old-time traveling tent show, fire and brimstone, throw away the crutches kind. They don’t call Bill Clinton “Slick Willie” for nothing, and I am certain he could get up there with the best of those stump preachers  and heal the sick, maybe even raise the dead.  But I don’t think he can reelect Barack Obama.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012







Wednesday, 7:45 AM.  69 degrees, wind WNW, calm.  The sky is darkly overcast and the barometer predicts rain.  I would be pleased if it did.
    Yesterday at 12:30 PM we saw a yearling bear, probably about 150   pounds, dart across Hwy 13 just south of town.  He was in a hurry, but I doubt he was being hunted, as it was almost within the city limits.  Later we had a few showers, just enough to show that the barometer has been working.
    I met yesterday morning with Rex and Peg, volunteers for The Bayfield Regional Conservancy who head the committee to landscape the newly relocated east entrance to the heavily used Brownstone Trail, which is managed by the Conservancy.  It is a beautiful trail, which traverses a lot of otherwise private property right along the lake shore.  It is quite scenic, wending its way along brownstone cliffs and ridges.  I have been hired to create the plan, which will be comprised of native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses.  It  is at present really a bare canvass, and gives me the opportunity to put a lot of my personal and business resources to work to produce an ecologically sound, esthetically pleasing and economically feasible project. 
    The woody components will be red oak, white pine, white cedar and blueberries, the grasses big and little bluestem and Indiangrass, the wildflowers a representative mix of prairie and meadow species.  The plant list is subject to some change and expansion in the final plan.
    The photos and plan are perhaps of little or no interest except to Bayfield residents and visitors who use the trail, but they are evidence that I still put my boots on every morning and go to work (sort of).

Tuesday, September 4, 2012




Tuesday, 8;15 AM.  72 degrees F, wind W, calm.  The sky is an almost cloudless blue and the humidity is low, but there is still a weak front out there somewhere, as the barometer predicts rain.
    Yesterday, Labor Day, being truly the end of the tourist season  (except for some later leaf peepers and Applefest) we had a hard time finding  an open restaurant last evening and ended up again at The Snug, the little Irish-themed tavern in Washburn I critiqued once before.  Last night’s experience was equally good; a generous roast beef sandwich with a mountain of home made pub style potato chips, a deli pickle and a draft Guinness, $24 for two.
    But I guess we are really out of touch with today’s tavern scene, as we were once again amazed at the clientele lined up at the bar, virtually everyone with their laptop computer or I phone or blackberry, for the most part entertaining themselves, each alone in the crowd. 
    I can almost hear a whispered conversation between two guys that goes something like this: “Check out the blond with the fantastic Apple laptop.”  ‘Yeah, and look at the apps on that brunette’s Blackberry.”  And if things ever get really serious a gal and guy will have to determine whether their operating systems are compatible.

     I think the old days were much better, when a guy might put a nickel in the juke box and ask a girl to dance, or come up with a lame line such as, “Haven’t we met somewhere?”    Now its likely to be, “Haven’t I seen you on a facebook page somewhere?”

Monday, September 3, 2012



Monday, 7:00 AM. 60 degrees F, wind W, calm.  The sky is somewhat overcast and quite hazy.  The barometer predicts rain, which we had a few sprinkles of about 3:30 AM when a weak front with a lot of mostly silent lightening blew on through.  It looks like it will be a hot, hazy day, a final tribute to summer.
    Today is Labor Day, and there is no denying the powerful ancient imagery of the Labor Movement; defiant strikers of old marching against the evil Robber Barons of yesterday.  There have been times in my life when I have bought into the imagery, the rhetoric, even many of the historic elements of Labor Day.  After all, life is conflict, from birth to death, and all of us, if we live long enough, are likely to find ourselves on a side of an issue or in a political or philosophical camp that we had not envisioned ourselves ever to be on or in.  So I can embrace free enterprise and capitalism fully, while acknowledging its excesses and its tumultuous past, and unions as well.  So, Hooray for Labor Day!
    Except (you knew an exception was coming) I object to the incompleteness of its name.  Change it to Organized Labor Day and I will give it at least a modicum of acceptance.  Unfortunately the holiday as presently, and incorrectly named,  leaves out about eighty percent of the nation’s workers.  People like myself who labored in a profession, or own a business, or work at home for the family; do we not also labor?  Where is our day of respect and adulation?  Organized Labor has had its day, and yet it wants desperately to hang on, pretending to represent and speak for a vast majority of people that it has no interest in and is often antagonistic towards.
    I am not anti-union.  In fact I have in the past belonged to the Construction Laborer’s union, the United Electrical Workers union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union.  I was forced to join them all, but I didn’t protest overly much and paid my dues, as I saw each as a passing phase in my life.  I am not anti-union, I just have little interest in the cause of workers who are paid outrageous sums to put together automobiles that I can’t afford to buy.
    So here’s to the movement that drove the breweries from Milwaukee and the auto industry from Detroit; hey, there’s still beer enough left, and autos still ply the freeways.  I’ll burn a burger and quaff a brew for you today, for you’re a determined lot, I’ll grant you that, as you’ve managed to close the Post Office today as well as everything else. So, Organized Labor, go on, have your day!

Sunday, September 2, 2012







Sunday, 8:00 AM.  63 degrees, wind W, calm.  The sky is mostly clear with a few high, thin white clouds.  There is more haze in the atmosphere this morning, and although the barometer predicts rain the humidity is still low.  It will be a little warmer today, with a weak front approaching.  It should still be a nice weekend.  The evenings have been beautiful, filled with the light of  a "blue moon"( the second full moon in a month) that occurs so rarely.
    Bayfield has a few buckeye and  hybrid buckeye street trees, which are very decorative smaller to medium sized trees.  They all bloom nicely.  The hybrids for the most part bear little or no fruit. Pictured is the Ohio buckeye, Aesculus octandra (in the Hippocastanceae, the horsechestnut family).  Inside the ovoid, golf ball sized fruit is the round, shiny “buckeye” (not yet ripe).  The buckeye nut is mildly poisonous but I have never heard of anyone being sickened by one, despite probably millions of little (and not so little) boys carrying one or more in their pockets for luck, or for throwing at each other.  I always kept one in my jacket pocket when we lived in Ohio.
    I did a serious double-take yesterday when I saw this ancient yellow bus driving down the street.  More so because it was inscribed with the words “Huntington City Bus Lines” and its route sign bore the destination, “Surf City-USA.” Turns out it belongs to a car aficionado, Mick Anderson (I hope I have the name right), who owns several car dealerships in northern Wisconsin and is starting an auto museum in Bayfield.  All we need now are The Beach Boys, and I half expect them to show up in town over the weekend.

Saturday, September 1, 2012



Saturday, 8:30 AM.  57 degrees, wind W, calm.  the sky is cloudless with little haze, some of the Penoke range visible beyond Madeline Island.  The humidity is low and the barometer predicts partly cloudy skies.  The morning is a fine start to the weekend.
   The birch trees on Myers-Olsen Road have now lost most of their leaves, which have shriveled and dried and are now blown into the roadside ditch.  It is time now to water birch trees and conifers, at least, and other trees,  shrubs and garden perennials if you can, before the ground freezes.  The effects of drought are subtle and long lasting, the worst symptoms often appearing the second season of growth after a real drought.  Trees weakened by drought are far more susceptible to damage by insects and diseases.  Soak the ground around the drip line of trees and beyond and see that the soil remains moist before it freezes.  Conifers photosynthesize and transpire water whenever winter days are are above freezing,so soil moisture and snow cover are most important to them.  Paper birch are native to northern climes with cool moist soil, so they need adequate water as well as mulch or vegetation to protect their roots.