Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"Evansville, WI...."

Some may say it is a strange place to have a picnic lunch, but the cemetery outside of Evansville worked really well for us. Copper was able to be left off leash (although she stays close to us no matter where we are), there was a nice breeze, and of course, shade. When I walked around through the entry to take this photo, I saw the little box with the "rules for the cemetery" in it. Fortunately, I hadn't read it earlier.............. "dogs were not allowed".

The cemetery has some very old grave markers. Unfortunately, many had been broken, although it looked as though there had been some progress in restoring them to their original shapes.

I had to take a small detour around the construction, but Don was able to ride right on through. The entire Main Street was torn up and it looked as though some of the buildings were in the midst of being restored, too. Evansville had been one of Don's destinations last summer, while training for the ride to Traverse City, MI, but following the route took us basically straight through town and we didn't see a lot of the older residential area. With my having to detour a few blocks, I was able to see more of the beautiful historic homes of the town.

I took this photo just outside of the town. I thought it was a beautiful view, although I am sure the photo doesn't do it justice. I learned something yesterday about "blogger". Don showed me that if you click on a photo in the blog, it enlarges it in another window. This would be a good one to do that to. :) I went back to my last entry and clicked on the ones where Don was barely visible while coasting down hills, and he shows up in the enlarged version!!!! :)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

"The Merrimac Ferry...."

Don took a photograph of all his "techie" things on his recumbent. Notice his new GPS, which I think has almost given him as much pleasure checking on his position while walking to work or riding in the car, as while riding his bike! :) He is totally set up with his iPod and speakers, too. Has a car got anything on this setup (other than cover during rain)? It even has "air conditioning"! LOL
His ride yesterday (Saturday) was to the Merrimac Ferry, going through beautiful countryside along the way. He is that small dot in the distance on the road coming down the hill. :)

Here he is coasting down another hill (as if you can really see him in this size photo, eh?). He actually is almost dead center of the photo where the crops meet the darkness of the wooded area. I'm showing photos of him coasting down hills.....lest you all forget, there is the ride to get UP to the top of the hill, prior to the coasting down. Trust me......some very STEEP inclines!!! :)

Again, we have the "history" part of the blog. :) This was the destination of yesterday's ride.

And here is the Merrimac ferry loading up vehicles/passengers for the trip across the Wisconsin River. There is no charge for taking the ferry......nice, eh? :)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

"A Surprise" and "Sunday's Training Ride...."

First and foremost, I want to tell you of a very happy surprise that Don and I received on Tuesday night. Sara and Travis, our former neighbors, came by with their 2 greyhounds and wonderful news!!!!! They didn't even have to tell us because it was evident! :) Yes, Sara is pregnant! The baby (a boy) is due the end of August. We are so happy for them. This is such an exciting time in their lives, as many of us know/remember. We wish them all the best!

Now, back to our mundane life (totally untrue). :) As mentioned in yesterday's blog, Don went on another of his bike training rides Sunday. This time, he was able to do the full ride that he had intended to do the week before, riding to Lake Mills and back, via Cambridge. Copper and I, of course, met him at various places to give him refreshments, and to check on his progress. We had also packed a picnic and stopped just outside of Lake Mills, at the Aztalan State Park for lunch. More history that neither of us knew about, or I should say, that I didn't know about. Don might have been aware of it, but had never been there. As in yesterday's blog, I thought it would serve better to include the information sign, rather than just write about it.

Don, with one of the platform mounds in the background, prior to his ride home.

Don, at our picnic spot, with the park entrance in the far background group of trees. It is an extremely small state park (at least compared to others I have been in), although very nice. The picnic areas were well shaded, which made it a great spot for our picnic, since it was pretty warm that day.

Copper, in the car prior to our trip home. I try to make it as comfortable as possible for her when I haul her around on our jaunts, by bringing one of her beds, chew bones, and of course, PIGS EARS! I do let her out at some of the places we stop so that she can explore and "go", too. :)

Another of the platforms.......

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"Koshkonong Prairie Churches...."

Sunday's training ride took us through the Koshkonong Prairie area. Did I know about this area before reading the sign? No, but both Don and I found it a very pleasant place to stop. :) I always have our 2 folding chairs in the back of the car, along with cold water for him, and sort of "set up camp" and used it as a rest stop.
We had come through this area the weekend before, on basically the same ride as planned for Sunday, but Don had some technical problems with his recumbent. He cut his ride short that day because his chain's derailer malfunctioned and he had no low gears. Luckily, he was able to make it to Cambridge and take the Glacier Drumlin Trail back, which isn't too hilly.

Rather than write about this area and it's 2 churches, I figured it would be easier (and certainly more accurate!), if I just included the sign which is located outside of one of the churches.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"A Quick Stop in Saugatuck, MI......."

On our way home from Grand Rapids Saturday morning, before getting to Benton Harbor to see my Dad and pick up Copper, we took a slight side trip into the Saugatuck/Douglas resort area, stopping at the park next to the "Chain Ferry". There happened to be an organized bicycle ride going on that day. We found that out because of "Mr. Shy" (Don) going up to these cyclists waiting for the Chain Ferry to return to our side of the Kalamazoo River. The ride incorporated the ferry into it's route (a nice money making deal for the village of Saugatuck, eh?), although the cost is minimal....$1 for adults and 50 cents for children.

This is the "Chain Ferry" en route to the opposite shore of the Kalamazoo River. As you can see, the passenger load of bicyclists was not evenly positioned. :)

Saugatuck and Douglas are small resort villages, and both are known for their artist communities. Their downtown shops abound with art galleries. The artwork even overflows to decorating/painting the restroom facilities, with George Seurat's "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte" :)

Don, "Pato", with the Kalamazoo River and Chain Ferry in the background.......

Me..... :)

Monday, July 23, 2007

"Grand Rapids, MI....."

Don and I went on a whirlwind road trip last weekend, leaving Madison early Friday morning, driving to Grand Rapids, MI, for the night, and coming home the next day. The reason, you ask? Don has a cousin, Christine, who plays violin in the Grand Rapids Symphony. The symphony was playing one of their summer "Pops" concerts, and The Kingston Trio (for those of you old enough to know of them) were performing with them. Don's Des Moines, Iowa, family has a connection to the Kingston Trio. George Grove (in the lower photo) from the Kingston Trio, is Don's mother's, late brother's wife's, current husband's, daughter's partner. Got that? :) Anyway....some of his family (Christine's mother, Jodie, step father, Roy, and sister, Sherry, all from Des Moines, and Elizabeth, who lives in Chicago), drove up to see the concert and spend a few days exploring the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, staying outside of Saugatuck, MI, which is an easy drive to Grand Rapids.

Nathan (one of Christine and Jonathan's twin sons), myself, and George.

Cindy (George's partner and Roy's daughter), Don, and Christine.

George, Cindy, and Don.

Yours truly, with the crowd on the slopes of the Cannonsburg Ski Area. :)

Sam and Paula (Jonathan's parents/Christine's in laws), Roy and Jodie (Christine/Sherry/and Elizabeth's Mom and step Dad), and Christine.

It was a quick trip, in which we packed a lot. We had dropped Copper off at my Dad's to spend the night with him, so we were "dog free" for the night. We stopped on the way home to pick her up and spent some time with Dad and Sandy, catching up on current happenings with their health and Mom's settling in at the adult foster care home (so far, it going well). We got home late afternoon Saturday and Don planned his ride for the next day, which will be a subject in a blog soon. :)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

"More Neighborhood Construction...."

As I have mentioned before, there has been a lot of construction going on in the neighborhood. Rob has been working in his basement, creating a small studio apartment. This first photo is the new full sized bathroom and the second is of the main room. Construction has been going on since last winter. Slowly, but surely, he is getting it done. The results are looking really good, too.

Because of codes, he had to install larger windows. At first, he thought he only needed 1 legal egress window, but the new Madison code says there has to be a certain amount of "natural light" per square foot, so he had to add another large window (seen behind him). It makes a really nice effect in the room.

As things progress, I will add more photos.......

Saturday, July 21, 2007

"A Photo from North Dakota...."

As some of you know, I correspond via email with Jonathan and Maniphone Haug, who moved from our neighborhood (after Jonathan finished his residency), to Jonathan's hometown in North Dakota. On occasion, we get to see them (YEA!) when they come to Madison, which I'm told, will happen again in September. :)

I received an email from Jonathan today and found the attached photograph of the dresser he is making (from scratch!!!) for Maniphone. He truly is a gifted wood worker.........don't all of you agree? :) I finally decided, after seeing this photo, that I had to try to include some of the photos I receive from them, and with Don's help, I now know how to do that. :) Please feel free to comment on his work. :)

Friday, July 20, 2007

"The Finished Bed......"

Here is the completed planting. After tearing out all of the plants in the old bed, the soil........ using the term "soil" loosely, was in a word, terrible. I certainly understand now the persons reason for adding the cement paver's to build up the bed in order to add improved soil to plant into. I re-dug it the best I could, replanting some of the original plants, added a Hosta from the side of the house, and some of the impatiens, which I started from seed in the greenhouse this spring. Hopefully with the help of the cedar mulch, everything will grow and thrive again. Some Miracle Grow fertilizer will help as well, until I can get some more organic matter into the soil/bed.

We moved the lamp post and attached to to the step railing. It isn't the final solution, but it will do for now. With the old iron fencing taken down when the deck was built, and now the lamp post moved to a higher place, the space has really opened up. We are both happy with the results.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"Waiting for Storms...."

The Weather Channel shows thunderstorms for us for the day.....all day, but then when are they ever totally correct, eh? :) So far, Copper shows no signs of anything yet to come, so perhaps they will miss us as they did yesterday.

Unfortunately, I do not have any new photos, nor is anything "exciting" happening today to write about, so this will be a very short post.

Monday, July 16, 2007

"A Funny Guy....."

Ahhhhh Rob..........he IS a funny guy. As I mentioned in my last post, Andy partially redid the bathroom of the new rental house that he had bought. This is the "throne" which was moved out of the way while some of the work was being done in the room. If you know either Rob or Don, you'll also know this was a setting/scenario they couldn't pass up. :)

Don and I went to the "Art Fair on the Square" yesterday. It is the annual art fair that is held on Capitol's square. It is a huge event and is attended by thousands each year. We went specifically to look for a potter from whom we had bought mugs last year. They have become our "weekend" mugs and wanted 2 more to make life simpler. Luckily, we found him again and were able to make our purchase. This time we also took one of his business cards in case we want some other pieces of his work. Although he is not a local potter (we would like to support local artists, if possible), coming all the way from Sarasota, FL, we find his work to fit our hands comfortably, and think his pieces are functional but beautifully shaped as well. (I can't tell you how many mugs we have "tried out" in our time together....)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

"Andy's refurbishing/remodeling........"

Andy bought another house (basically in our neighborhood, but down 1 street) that will become a rental unit (actually tomorrow!), but had work to do in/on it before his renters moved into it. He, along with Rob and some others, completely painted the interior, added new light fixtures, redid the stairwell (so that one wouldn't hit their head each time they ascended/descended), partially redid the bathroom, is in the process of reflooring the front porch, and eventually plans to add a laundry room/bathroom into the breezeway area, between the house and 2 car garage. Nice color, eh? :)

I like the house very much. I affectionately call it "The Grandma House".

They also took out a lot of the overgrown vegetation around it as well, including 2 huge Spruce trees that had taken over the sidewalk leading to the street. I hope that the new renters are amiable people and become a part of our impromptu "gatherings".

Friday, July 13, 2007

"Nice Surprise!"

We had a very nice surprise last night after dinner. I had gone out to put away the hose and was on the side of the house when I heard Don talking to someone out front. He called for me to come up there and to my delighted surprise, Amy and Tim were here with the twins, Sam and Lilly! It seems I am usually in Michigan when they make a surprise visit......... fortunately, I wasn't this time! It was so good to see all of them. Both twins are very sociable and not afraid of being held by others. Lilly is a petite little girl, while Sam is becoming quite robust and growing faster. It is hard to believe they were born almost a year ago! Tim and Amy both look great, too. They seem like very laid back parents, which I think is the way to go. :) I did scare Amy when she handed me Sam and he tilted sideways like he was about to fall, but he was in good hands (even if I do say so myself). :)

Tim with Lilly........gorgeous big, blue eyes, eh? :)

Amy in the background holding Sam (Check out all that red hair!), with Mary, holding Lilly, and Made, neighbors from across the street. They shared a lot line with Tim and Amy before they moved to the "burbs". We're hoping that they also make a move back to the neighborhood. If we could only get Andy to sell that empty lot........... ;)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

"Gardening and Roofing...."

I worked outside along the driveway yesterday . The garden bed between the driveway's cement wall and the concrete steps needed some attention. The side along the driveway had been built up in order to put more soil into this area, using 6"x 12" concrete "paver's". They hardly showed anymore because of the Pachysandra and ferns growth, and because of all that good growth, the roots were pushing the paver's out. I decided that it was an accident waiting to happen and took matters into my own hands by removing the paver's, along with some of the soil, in order to redo the area. It is a very steep slope but I am hoping that when the area is completely planted again and mulched, it will hold and not become an erosion problem.

I also removed the pole lamp (which was not held in place by anything other than soil), which Don and I attached to the lower post at the bottom of the deck stairs. After completing the planting and mulching of the area, I will post a "finished" photograph.

Work began on Bridgett's house yesterday, too. She is having her roof replaced. So much is going on in the neighborhood! :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sunday.....THE HOT ONE!"

Don and I were on our way down Briar Hill to check out the work being done at Andy's newly purchased rental, when we stopped to see Anna, who was out in her side yard. She had just purchased a yarn "ball winder" from eBay and was trying it out. Smart, thrifty, and environmentally conscious that she is, she buys super soft sweaters inexpensively and then takes them apart for the wool so that she can knit the yarn into something else. In this photo, you can see the ball winder on the table, along with some yarn already in ball form.

She and Don are sitting on hammocks that are a recent addition to their yard as well. The posts are cedar logs that they had gotten when taking down some trees from Anna's parents farm outside of La Crosse, WI. They also used some of the cedar logs for their raised garden along the back of the garage. Talk about recycling, eh? :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

"Copper and Vince...."

The photo frenzy continued with Copper having to suffer the indignity of having her picture taken with the cowboy hat on as well (with a little help of course!). I re-felted the hat last night, working with it, stretching and blocking it some more. After washing it again, it has become less fuzzy and more firm, too. It seems there might be hope for it yet. :) (photos soon to follow....)

The work on Vince's garage foundation continued with the removal of the forms so that the concrete could "breathe" and cure.

Of course, it took more than Don to inspect the progress. (What! No beer in hand?)

Monday, July 9, 2007

"The Felted Cowboy Hat...."

To say that I was a little disappointed in the cowboy hat after felting it, would be an understatement. The yarn I used was Lamb's Pride, which I liked working with , but I do not like it for felting. It comes out of the washer VERY fuzzy, and in this case, making the hat look like a "pimp" hat. Don and I, of course, must have models for it, so that it is shown in it's best light? LOL Angela was the first "victim".
Followed by Andy........
And then by Anna.........
My plan is to re-felt it to tighten up the form and hopefully thin it afterwards by stretching it. Right now, it seems too bulky and loose. I think I would have been more pleased with the hat if I had used Cascade 220 yarn for it, rather than the Lamb's Pride. I have used Cascade many times and like the look of it much better.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

"The Ride and More...."

Don's latest training ride took us to New Glarus, WI, home of New Glarus Brewing Company, who makes Spotted Cow Beer, along with various other brews. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, New Glarus did not allow dogs in their city park. I got there early to check out the park and found that I had to keep on looking in order to find us a spot where we could enjoy our picnic lunch. I backtracked along the route (Highway O) that Don would be taking into town and found a seemingly little used park not far from downtown. We had it all to ourselves and found it to be the perfect place for us, with a shady spot under a tree, a refreshing breeze, a good view of the countryside, and being there, allowed Copper to remain off leash.

There also was a large barn on the property that was in the process of being renovated. In the center of the park, it had what looked like a small stage, although it also seemed like it had not been used in a fairly long time.

Back on Gregory Street, work continued on Vince's garage. The building crew came back that morning, constructed the forms that would be filled later that same day with concrete, forming the walls of his garage.

That mornings "supervisors" ( Dave-man, Rob, and Bill) leaving the construction site. :)