Thursday, August 29, 2013

Labor Day Weekend

Feels like the end of summer with Labor Day weekend here.

Perrot State Park is full of campers and it's time for the LTE's (Limited Term Employees), who help out at the park from May to September, take their leave and migrate back to school. So many young energetic minds following their career paths to ultimately help the environment. Oh to be young again. 

The best of luck and hope to see them again. The celebration included a "Fire Ring" cake, made to taste like a S'More.

This Labor Day weekend is full of things to do at the park. Join the fun and come to Perrot.

On Saturday there's Fun with Fish from 2-4. Bring your own tee shirt and make a fish print at the Nature Center. Then take a hike through the Black Walnut Trail by torch light. Experience the woodlands and rock formations and listen for the echoes of Perrot's past. Begins at 8 til 9:30 at the trailhead.

On Sunday from 4-5 Feed the Frogs. Catch grasshoppers and watch the frogs eat. Then it's time for their release from the Nature Center displays.

Next don't miss the S'Mores Extravaganza at 6:30 pm  a traditional end of summer event with more topping choices then you can imagine. The event is free but donations gladly accepted.  The night wraps up with learning how to make a Living Bug Zapper and a Frog Hike from 8-9:30pm, both of these events meet at the Nature Center.

All the events are sponsored by the Friends of Perrot.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bloom Blog Report-Late Summer

They just keep coming. In my attempt to learn about all the flowers in Perrot State Park I never realized the vastness of blooms around. Many of these are still in bloom and they just keep coming.

Gray-Headed Cone Flower-ratibida
Cones dry to light gray and smells
of spice when crushed.

The Prairie plants are really coming into there own and of course with this the butterflies. So many plants are the host for larvae, some for nectar and of course there's the birds and the bees. But we won't go into that right now.

Purple Cone Flower-Echinacea angustifolia
Irresistible to butterflies and American
Gold Finch. Popular as an herbal remedy.

Rough blazing Star-Liatris aspers
Shown before bloom. Love the texture.

Prairie Blazing Star-Liatris pycnostachya
Showy tall prairie plant, Loved by deer,
cattle and butterflies.

Common Yarrow-Achillea millefolium
Named from the legend that it could treat
bleeding wounds, often used as a
medicinal herb. 

Common Milkweed-Asclepias syriaca
Exclusive host plant for Monarch butterflies.
The sap the caterpillars ingest make them
toxic to birds.

Lead Plant-Amorpha canescenscan
Woody shrub that can live for centuries.
Used for folk medicine and teas.
Thought to grow over lead ore deposits. 

Evening Primrose-Oenothera biennis
A biennial of the Prairie, Flowers
open in the evening until noon next day.
Pollinated by the Sphinx moth.

Wild Bergamot-Monarda fistulosa
Attracts many insects.
Used for teas and ailments.

Hoary Alyssum-Berteroa incana
Host plant for Cabbage Butterfly

Purple Prairie Clover-Petalostemum purpurem
My new favorite. Grows in big clumps
 of ferny foliage thimble like flowers.
Host plant for dogface butterflies.

White Prairie Clover-Petalostemum candida
.Tiny white flowers on single stem.
Pea family, great for adding nitrogen to soil.


Partridge Pea-Chamaecrista fastciulate
Annual of prairie plant. Leaves fold
up on sunny days.
Also called sensitive pea.

Queen Annes Lace-Daucus corata
Escapee into the Prairie Host for Black
Swallow Tail Butterfly

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sneak Peak

Between enjoying Perrot Park, work, gardening, traveling I also love to create.

I'm currently getting ready for a fall craft show at the Omni Center in Onalaska, WI on Saturday. 12th and Sunday, Oct. 13.

Here are a few of my nature inspired creations. These are door/drawer pulls.

Woodland Collection

Shore Line

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bluebirds of Perrot

13 nest boxes in Perrot
Article provided by Steve-

As you wander throughout the park, you may come across birdhouses situated on a post. These are Eastern Bluebird nesting boxes provided by Brice Prairie Conservation Organization. There are currently 13 of them being monitored. Last year these nest boxes produced 73 Bluebirds along with 11 Tree Swallows, 8 Black Capped Chickadees and 12 House Wrens.

3 and 1 more to come
The female Bluebird builds a nest inside the nest box consisting of grasses and pin needles. In about a week or two, 3-5 eggs are laid. The eggs hatch in about 10-14 days. The chicks are cared for and fed by both parents. After 16-23 days, the chicks are ready to fledge.

Notice how clean they keep their nests.

Bluebirds typically have two to three nests per season. The biggest obstacles to Bluebirds reproduction are weather, predators, and competition among other cavity nesting birds.

"Four Calling Birds"
According to the Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin, over 35,500 Bluebirds fledged from 9334 monitored nest boxes across Wisconsin. As of this August, the fledging count is as follows: 67 Bluebirds, 9 Tree Swallows and 5 Wrens.

Steve has been monitoring the Bluebird population in the park for the past two years.

Thanks Steve for sharing your photos of these beautiful bluebirds. Hopefully we will have three nests this season.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Midway Garden Update

Wild Petunia
All has been planted. There is still mulch to come and the by next year some bicycle art.

Here's what already in bloom.

Wild Petunia-Ruella humilis, a pink to purple flower, a lovely low growing plant which is endangered in the wild.

Ohio Spiderwort

Ohio Spiderwort-Tradescantia ohienisis, blue flowers that fade to purple, best seen in the morning as they close up on hot days.

Butterfly Weed
Butterfly Weed-Asclepias tuberosa, red to orange flowers, a host plant for butterflies.

Purple Prairie Clover

Purple Prairie Clover-Dalea purpurea, vivid purple flowers another great plant for butterflies.

This is just the beginning, by next year you'll see Rattlesnakemaster, White False Indigo, Prairie Onion, Smoke Flowers, Harebells, Downy Phlox and more. Can't wait. I planted these from plugs and they will be fully mature in another 2 years.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Interstate Park

View of St. Croix River
Wisconsin's oldest state park, located in St. Croix Falls, has some great hiking trails created by the edge of the Ice Age Glaciers. This park is also part of the  Ice Age Trail that runs throughout Wisconsin for currently over 600 miles of hiking.      
Man of the Dalles

Interesting rock formations everywhere you look.

Canoeing the St. Croix


Glacial Potholes
A nice easy river to canoe on.
Glacial Potholes
Rock Climbing
Better and bigger potholes are over at the Minnesota side of Interstate Park.

And of course with rocks go rock climbing.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Zip Pi De Do Da,

Besides visiting  some great state parks this weekend, we decided to go zip lining. It was on our to do list. Went to Trollhaugen in Dresser, WI. They were very professional and organized. Better to do it here in the United States rather than in Central America. Six zip lines with 13 other people, took about 2 hours.

Sorry for the videos being side ways, I always forget and can't figure out how to rotate a video. Just turn you ipod or android.

First it's the birthday boy.

Then my turn to go Weeeeeeeeeee!
All I wanted to do was hang on,
couldn't keep the camera aimed.
On some of them I asked them to just give me a push to get started, but they wouldn't.

Little kids, not enough momentum
Weight has its advantage in zip lining. If you're too light like little kids you may not get to the end of the line, then they come out to pull you in.

Little kids getting rescued

Willow River State Park

The Falls
Just like a mini Ocho Rios. Water was fine and walking along the ledges no problem.

Here I am giving directions, watch out for that  hole. Ooops he didn't get the message.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Stepping Out

Now I have another excuse for not blogging for the next couple of days. We are off to have fun at a couple of other Wisconsin State Parks.

Our journey begins with Willow River State Park, then onto Interstate Park in Wisconsin.

No we are not camping due to the fact I don't like sleeping on the ground any more and having to get up in the middle of the night to visit the bathroom isn't my idea of a good time. We are considering those alternatives to tent camping but haven't made the commitment yet. So if anyone hears of a good deal on a popup or Small RV or trailer let me know. Must haves- bathroom, hard top and preferably under 20 feet.

Will be taking lots of pictures for my next blog.

Have a great weekend and I hope you get to see lots meteors this weekend. Perseid Showers peaking.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


The feeders are buzzing, actually humming with  Humming birds. They were absent for a while and are now back with their young. They are very territorial as you can see from the video. Hanging out on the feeders and chasing away visitors. Kinda looks like a game of "tag" or "capture the flag"

To attract Hummingbirds use a feeder with some red on it, don't color your water. Use a dissolved solution of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Be sure to thoroughly clean feeders in between with vinegar and water, do not use soap. Fill feeders as needed and when they turn cloudy.

I put my feeders out around the 1st of May so when they return to our area there is food ready for them, plus then they like me best rather than my neighbors. My mother would say be sure to have the appetizers ready before the guests come.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Lost and Found

Seems like I've lost track of time with all the summer activities, but alas I found some time today to return to blogging. But that's not what this blogs title is about. After experiencing several cases of hikers and campers rescuing lost animals I now have a brief comment to apply to my blog.

How do you know they are lost, this is where they live.

In one scenario, a fellow brought in an ice cream bucket full of baby opossum. He brought them into the park and wanted to demonstrate to his son his heroics. He reported he saw an adult opossum nearby that was dead. Ok I have to say it, maybe it was just playing opossum. The point is how does he know that was the mother not the father or an aunt. Who knows, by now the babies need to be rescued. Eventually the Humane Society of La Crosse opened their doors late at night to see if they could nurture the baby opossum.

Park hikers in another instance kept reporting seeing a woodpecker trying to climb up a tree and faltering and falling back down. It was along one of the hiking trails and many found the attempts disturbing and wanted to help the bird. Eventually park workers removed the bird and it was transported to the a lady who rescues raptors and other small animals in Viroqua. It's hard to think of it but birds will kick weaker and sick nest mates out. Evolution or maybe just sibling rivalry.

Just the other day at the top of Brady's Bluff, hikers repeatedly kept seeing a Rattlesnake in the middle of the path in the open area on top of a rock. Nobody had warm and fuzzy thoughts about who's going to take care of that poor lost thing.

We need to keep in mind that the animals in a state park are protected. Just because we see baby animals alone doesn't mean they are abandoned. Some adult animals only visit there young once or twice a day. It's our gut reaction to want to help cute little things but we may be doing them more harm than good. Please consult with those that are qualified in rescuing animals before removing them from their home.

Here are a few phone numbers of rescue agencies-

Coulee Region Raptor Rescue 608-486-2610
Coulee Region Humane Society 608-781-4014