Sunday, March 25, 2012

Last Weekend Renting!

It was a very mellow weekend for us. Having less than 7 days to go before we own our new home, we thought it would be best to simply relax. Life is going to become very busy indeed, so a couple of days of doing nothing important made sense.

On Saturday we just went for walks around town, enjoyed a breakfast at Fink's, and took Freja to a playground. Teri went to a knitting class, making use of the birthday gifts I'd given her. She's been knitting a lot lately, it's so good to see her enjoying a hobby. Her previous job kept her so busy there was little time for her to do something just for herself.

Today, Sunday, the weather was simply PERFECT! Sunny and in the 70s! We can't believe it's March, my least favorite month of the year. Usually, at least back in PA, it's gloomy, cold, and damp. This year it's more like late April!

I packed up a picnic, strawberry spinach salad, and drove us to Aldo Leopold Nature Center. Today they had a special Maple Syrup fest. While Teri & I found it a little dull in comparison to other similar events we've seen, Freja really enjoyed herself. That, in itself, made it worthwhile. Afterward we enjoyed our picnic at Stewart Lake, near the new house. Before you know it, we'll be swimming here!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Early Warm Weather!

We had a really mellow weekend spent mainly around Mount Horeb. The weather has been unusually warm for days now, with at least one day reaching 82°F! It feels so much like summer already, it's making us excited. Before we know it, we'll be swimming at the lake near our house!

On Saturday we took a nice walk to a small restaurant called Fink's. It's right at the end of the street we're moving to. I'm happy to say that we enjoyed the food, and the "local feel" of the place. I have a feeling there will be at least one of two mornings/month spent there! On the walk back I dropped by the Grumpy Troll for our weekly growler of their Baltic Porter. When I walked up to the bar, I asked, "so you guys make this particular porter all year round?" I was told that no, it's a special brew that takes 6 months to make. As the bartender rang up my purchase, my growler under the tap, we saw something that almost brought me to tears. The LAST of the porter only filled my growler half way! He handed me back my money, the half full growler, and told me THAT WAS IT! I choked back sobs as I met Teri & Freja in the book store and told my wife the news! The real kick in the pants was by the time we walked home, the half full growler had made the beer go flat. Thank goodness I'd picked up some of Tommy's Porter made by Lake Louie the night before!

House Finch

The rest of that day was spent preparing food for the next day. I carefully prepared a leg of lamb, cubing it, and then marinating it in olive oil, garlic, fresh parsley, salt & pepper, etc. I also made a tabouleh salad, all for Sunday's dinner. As I worked I enjoyed my beer, and watched out the back door for the finches to show up. They'd arrived a few days ago with the warmer weather. I wanted to try to get a shot of them, and was rewarded for my patience. The male actually put on a display towards his mate, which I was able to capture.

Sunday I was able to go adventure on my own while Freja and Teri spent time together in town. About 20 minutes from where we live there are a series of small trout streams that meander through hilly terrain. I found an access parking area and enjoyed a nice, long stroll. While there were plenty of birds, I didn't get a shot at any of them. I then drove around a bit, finding other access points the streams, and natural areas. I even met a fly fisherman who shared some great information with me on the lay of the land. These are areas I plan on getting to know very well as time goes by. Instead of fishing these streams, I plan on wade/walking them in order to take photos of wildlife/nature.

I found a number of cool places for me to explore in the future, but I wasn't finding any wildlife to shoot. I could hear birds, frogs and insects all around me, but wasn't getting a chance to snap a photo. At one point I stopped on a dusty road to take the photo of the rock formation you see above. As I turned to get back in the jeep I spotted the eagle you see in the photo below! It was just sitting in a large tree, directly over the trout stream. This tells me this stream must have some nice fish in it for sure! I may just have to get my fly rod out of storage...

Bald Eagle

Speaking of storage; less than two weeks until we move into the new house!! Soon our storage pods will be arriving, and we'll be able to actually get to our stuff!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring is HERE!

It's been a great early spring weekend! Friday was a perfectly sunny day. It was still cold, but there was a spring feel to the crisp air. I wanted to go on a photo safari but I also had our weekend grocery shopping to do. Instead I took a long, rambling drive into the city. The terrain around our new home is not what I had expected before we came to Wisconsin. I'd thought it was all flat. The area we settled is on the edge of the Driftless Area. It feels a lot like Western PA.

After shopping I ran into Freja's preschool early. It was fun to spend some time there with her. She spent most of it showing off for me, riding a tricycle around and around. I never knew she could move so fast on one!

On Saturday the temperature climbed almost 30°! The winds were also too strong to spend a lot of time outside, so we just relaxed around our apartment. In the early afternoon we walked to our favorite place in town, The Grumpy Troll. We really love their Baltic Porter!

Today, Sunday, the weather was truly the first day we felt that winter is OVER! Warm sun, no need for jackets, and mostly dry ground to hike on. After a leisurely morning we went to nearby Pleasant Valley Conservancy. This is easily becoming a favorite place to go and just relax. Today we also met the land owners, and found out more about their organization. I'm tempted to volunteer there.

As we left the apartment, I outfitted my camera for shooting birds. I had a feeling this would be a good day for it. The very first thing we encountered was a pair of newly returned Sandhill Cranes! Then the owner of the conservancy alerted me that she'd seen a Red-headed Woodpecker. We have so many woodpeckers back in PA that I truly thought it was going to be a species I'd seen before. It was a great surprise to find out I hadn't.

Sandhill Crane
Red-headed Woodpecker


Monday, March 5, 2012

It's Been Busy...

It's been a busy time, so I haven't spent time updating this blog. We've been getting ready to move into the new house, dealing with our old house, and doing a lot of family stuff. The time is flying by! The funny thing is, I haven't felt like shooting much this month. Even a week long trip back to PA with Freja didn't stir me to shoot.

One of the things we've been doing is exploring the new home range, which I expect is something we'll do for years. We've discovered great places to enjoy a leisurely coffee on a Sunday morning, as well some of the local attractions. Teri and I have even had a day time date thanks to great sitter! I have to admit, we're also spending more time around the new house, walking the neighborhood and driving by to look at the house.

Another thing that had me busy was taking care of Freja. She had a minor bought with strep throat. Nothing serious as it was caught just as it started. She also had an infected, ingrown toe nail that was soar. First she was ill, and then I took her to the old house back in PA for over a week. Ten days of just the two of us was really nice.

Just a couple of weeks to go until we move!