Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"And Cars, too!"

There seemed to be many cars from the Soo Line, which I am "assuming" is from Upper Michigan. I have always loved cabooses. :) The brown car behind this caboose, is one type of snow removal car.......a snow blower.

A "cattle car"............

The Soo engine........

Another "snow removal car".....also from Michigan.

Remember these from the old movies? Too bad someone doesn't re-invent a light weight one that is easily removable for adventurous travel today, eh?

Friday, October 26, 2007

"Engines, Engines, Everywhere....."

There were quite a variety of engines, coaches, boxcars, and other types of railroad cars, both in buildings and outside on tracks for us to look at....and take photos, of course! :)

This one was HUGE! Obviously, it (and some others) had seen better days, but being rusty didn't take away from the awe inspiring feeling that one got by being next to it.

It is truly amazing to think of how trains helped settle our nation. The tracks that these trains are connected to, go through a mining town (La Rue, which is basically all gone, except for a bar) and to a rock quarry (no longer a working one)........all within a 30 minute train ride (not a fast one at that) from North Freedom.

This is the engine that took us on our ride to the rock quarry.

The "poster engine" for the story, "The Little Engine That Could'? :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"More from North Freedom...."

There were many older train engines/cars (literally) to look at before we boarded the train for our ride to the old rock quarry. I'm not sure if a coat of wax would help preserve this old car or not........I know I am not volunteering to find out. :)

This coach was in beautiful condition. We'd seen a couple of women climb up and in, so we followed, thinking "HOW COOL!" :) Well....we weren't supposed to be allowed in it. It was being worked on and the door was unknowingly left open. We got a few good photos of the interior before having to exit the coach. :)

A photo from the coach platform where Don was standing (the previous photo).

The interior of the coach where we "trespassed"........pretty plush, eh?

A photo of the opposite end in the same room of the coach.. There was even a small writing desk for the passengers on my left, just out of the photos range. We did make it a little further into the coach and saw a bathroom, with a connecting shower room, which then connected to a 2 bed suite. The beds were down and made up, but I think it was also the sitting area when the beds were in the "stored" position. Unfortunately, that was when the 2 women came back, along with the man who was working on the car, and we were told that we weren't supposed to be in there. :) Thankfully, he was nice about it. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"Loom Prep and North Freedom....."

I have another weaving project on my loom. I spent a few days in prepping the loom in order to make it easier for me to put a warp on it. Fortunately, the things that needed to be done, will be ready for the next project, so "in theory", the loom will be ready, and hopefully, will need only the usual or normal prepping next time. I haven't put a warp on a large loom in many I'm sure that the amount of time spent this time, also had something to do with that as well. :)

Getting the warp ready to wind onto the back beam..........

Don took this photo from our moving car on the outskirts of North Freedom. Could the sky be any bluer?

This truck was parked in the lot at the train station in North freedom. How could we pass up this photo? :)

The depot at North freedom. The preservation group seems to do a really good job with taking care of the grounds and the they decorate for the season! :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"A Mix of Last Weekend....."

The annual Food and Wine Show was held at the Alliant Energy Center again last weekend. We, of course, went. :) Here is Don "tasting" one vineyard's wine....there were many, many to choose from.

One of the cows from last years fund raiser for the children's hospital.

As you can see, Vince has made MAJOR progress on his garage. He is out there working on it everyday. His new garage door is due to be hung in a few weeks.....then he will breathe easier.

Michael, and his brother in law, Mitch, were at happy hour last Friday. They'd been deer hunting that day, as you can see from Mitch's attire......or wait!......maybe you can't see him because of the camouflage clothing? :)

Anna, and Travis, a friend of hers from DC, and myself, looking at Anna's newest knitting project. It is a pattern called "A Scarf Askew" that I used and gave to her to try. Looks good, eh? :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

"Photos from the Maniphone and Jonathan...."

Periodically, Maniphone and Jonathan will send photos of life in North Dakota. Here are a few that arrived recently........

"Who is this and what have they done with the Simon we know???" :) We do not ever see a sleeping Simon......he usually has the energy of "Super Boy". :)

"Arrrrrrrg.....Matey" this is the Simon we know. :) Jonathan sent this to show us the progress of the entertainment center he is making for their basement. According to him, this is a very simple piece to do, and compared to other pieces he has done (a chest of drawers for Maniphone, side tables), I suppose it is. Unfortunately, I didn't realize at the time that he sent me the photos of those, that I could use them on the and learn, eh?

Henry is becoming quite the little man, eh? I hadn't seen him do his "stand up" routine. :)

It won't be long before he is staying on without help and riding by himself.....of that I am sure!

Ready for bed in their "seasonal" gear. :)

Friday, October 19, 2007

"A Surprise Birthday Party For Andy......"

Angela was able to pull off a surprise birthday party for Andy, downtown at the "Crave". He was caught totally by surprise.
Angela had forgotten her camera, but luckily Don brought his, so in her hands, I'm sure many were caught unexpectedly and not necessarily to their "best" advantage. :) Here are Don, myself, Jeanan, and Rob, who seems to be caught unaware and wearing a sullen, "you gotta be kidding me" look. :)

Angela with "Her Man"! :)

Drew and Andy having a good laugh.

Angela with Chad, her other man.......

"Island Buddies"....Andy and Rob.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

"Otter Creek Organic Farm and Heading Home..."

We also toured an organic farm which produces milk, meat, and cheese. These products are not produced directly at the farm, but processed in the local area. Behind the listeners are Wisconsin "Happy Cows". :)

Don at the farm with the calf housing behind him (and many, many cats, too!).

The last stop of our tour was in Spring Green at a store which stocks products from the local vicinity. Meat, milk, cheeses, produce, jams, syrup, woven items......if it can be done locally, it can be found at this store, whose name, I unfortunately, do not remember.
Sarah, Barb's sister, Geoff, Barb, and myself........

Our ride home.........Don and Geoff.

Boarding the train and waving goodbye to Barb's sister, Sarah, who lives in Spring Green and took this photo.

In most cases the ride home wouldn't be worth mentioning.....this is not one of those. True, most of the ride home was uneventful.....actually slower, we think, than the trip up to Spring Green, but what makes the trip worth mentioning, is when we arrived in Madison, and were fairly close to where we would disembark, the train came to an absolute standstill. The reason......"someone" from the Wisconsin Badgers Football Game (it is unknown if they be "Fan" or "Foe"), PARKED on the train tracks!!!! The train was stuck in place until the police arrived, who in turn, called a tow truck to remove the SUV (or do I mean SOB?) from the tracks. At last, it was removed and we were soon on our way home to let Copper out, who'd not been outside since 7 AM that morning. We arrived home at 8:45 PM that night. Poor girl probably was pacing the floor worrying about us since we were supposed to be home by 7 PM (or was that because she "needed" to go out?). All things considered, we had a very nice day. It was nice to spend the day seeing the area where we live in a new light, and being able to spend more time than usual with Barb and Geoff.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"Eco Tour....Taliesin Hillside School...."

One of our stops on the Eco Tour was at Taliesin Hillside School, where Frank Lloyd Wright taught architecture classes. It is still used 6 months of the year for classes, with the other 6 held at Taliesin West, in Arizona. The building behind Don is the Assembly Hall (left), which is connected to the structure on the right via an enclosed archway, where the work studio, living quarters, classroom, and museum room, are located.

This is a replica of the Romeo and Juliet Windmill Tower, that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for his aunts when they ran their school on the property, prior to his making it an architectural school.
A fountain outside of the studio/living quarters shows an example of some of the neglect and deterioration that the property is experiencing. Even though there is an existing school and tours are given daily, the money just doesn't stretch far enough to keep the school in top condition. The preservation society does what it can with what it has.........

This section of building behind Don is the theater. Although not large, it is designed so that each seat has a great view of the stage area and the acoustics are excellent.

I am standing in front of the Assembly Hall. It has a large area for assembly on the 1st floor, in which the center of the ceiling is open to the 2nd floor where the library is located. It was innovative in its approach with regards to it's "load bearing" design, using 4 corner pillars to support the 2nd floor, with it's open center, allowing the natural light from the 2nd floor windows to help illuminate the interior of the 1st floor. This photo shows how each window is one continuous piece of glass, stretching from the 1st to the 2nd floor. This design is not only a good one for bringing natural light into the space, but also allows solar heating to easily take place. Of course, heat retention would be much better served if the windows were double glazed, but since double glazing came later in the century, and Taliesin Hillside School is being preserved in it's original form, double glazing doesn't seem to be an option. :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"The Sustain Dane Train....."

A few weeks ago, Don and I went on a day trip/tour sponsored by "Sustain Dane", an organization which promotes Dane and surrounding counties local agriculture....basically the motto is "buy local".
The "Eco Tour", as it was called, was a train ride from Madison to Spring Green, WI, where we would then board buses to tour 4 local businesses. It is 37 miles from Madison to Spring Green, and due to the condition of the railroad tracks (and an inforced speed limit), the trip took us 2 1/2 hours. Although long, the trip was pleasant. It was interesting to see the city/surrounding area from this point of view.....MUCH different than from a car. We also saw wildlife (deer and flocks of cranes), plus Don, Mr. Shyness himself, saw many people he knew, so was able to "catch up". :)
To our delight, we saw Barb and Geoff while standing in line to board the train. We had no idea that they, too, had decided to take the Eco Tour. To make things even better, they were assigned to the same bus that we had been. :) Here is Barb, making her social rounds........
Here are Don and Barb inside the greenhouse at Cedar Grove Cheese Factory. In a very simple and unscientific explanation, the facility has created a water purification system, which takes the water from cleaning the trucks and cheese making equipment, pumps it into the "vats" in the greenhouse, where plant roots and micro organisms pull the nutrients from the waste water. This is done in stages, circulating the water from vat #1, then into #2, etc. until the water from the last vat, which is now clean and pure, is allowed to be drained out onto an adjoining field. Simple, yet complicated, eh? :)
A cheese factory with a sense of humor, eh? :)
Snack time for Barb and Geoff. The cheese factory had samples of cheese and also sold bricks/bags of cheese. Although Geoff longed for a cup of coffee, he had to "settle" for cheese.......