Wednesday, May 21, 2014

May the Force Be with You

Recently I attended the 10 week program for the Citizen Police Academy in Onalaska. Those that know me would say " Really?". It was extremely informative, very enlightening and if you have the chance in your community to take part in this unique program, do so. It's a way to learn from each other and make your community better.

The previous year we attended the CERT (Citizen Emergency Response Team) training which teaches you first how to protect yourself in an emergency, secondly to assist your neighbors and finally to be of value to your community should a disaster strike. At the Citizen Police Academy we learned how others protect us.

During the 10 weeks we learned about:

The DARE Program in the schools and many other Community Programs.

How to lift a finger print by Investigators and CSI stuff.

Met "Jack" the K9 team police dog (no we didn't play fetch with him).

Took the field sobriety tests on some very happy volunteers.

Watched people get pepper sprayed on some less happy volunteers.

Took a ride-along in the squad car and learned high risk stops and arrest tactics.

Practiced firearms techniques and simulations at the gun range.

Toured the county jail and dispatch center for 911 calls.

For a final day we had a picnic honoring officers and recognizing past achievements and heroics. So of course I had to make a cake, this one looks like a large donut.

Overall I learned a lot, what struck me most was the people.  It's not a life for me the stress would eat me up.

Remember when you may disagree with a law, the police enforce them, it's the politicians the make them.


Monday, May 19, 2014

HaRvey's Hints

The Layout Evolves
On the second adventure with Harvey we spent the weekend at Goose Island Campground, south of La Crosse. This county park is right on the backwaters of the Mississippi, making it great for fishing, canoeing, bird watching and awesome sunsets.

Sites under Water

However the river is still near floodstage and many sites were under water and road impassable. But it was still a lovely place to be as we joined friends for  grilled fish and homemade dishes.

I thought you packed the golashes
Hint-Remember to bring the golashes, the ground is so saturated that as we walked around our site the water would begin to ooze to the surface. It's was very wet and muddy and we'll have to start searching for a replace rug (one especially for outdoors) to set up in front of the Harvey.

Goose Island Map

We had purchased a rug for $3 at a rummage sale and it became very heavy when wet and is still drying off as I write.

Tried our new poles for fishing, no nibbles but did catch site of an otter.

Your comments, insights and helpful hints are welcome. I just learned how to make it easier for you to respond.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Just Passing Through

It's a phrase you hear often in the park as locals use the road in Perrot to reach the other side of town.

Or you can think of it as the Migrational Wave of Warblers.

Over 25 difference types of these colorful little song birds make their way through Wisconsin from southern wintering grounds to northern breeding sites. People have been frequenting the park to hopefully get a peak at their favorite or find one more to check off their list.

They begin to arrive (the birds that is) in April and continue on through May. Depending on weather patterns, storms or even a good tail wind. Get it.

The Warbler Watchers look for the unique markings on the head, wings and rump to certain behaviors from bobbing, waves and spreads of their tails to clue them into identification. Even the location on the ground or shrubs and trees 10-20 feet up will let them know where to look for certain warblers.

Cerulean Warbler

A few Warblers that do make our area their nesting grounds are:

Cerulean Warbler-dendroica cerulean. They prefer to be high in the tree tops of mature woods near swamps and water.

American Redstart Warbler

American Redstart Warbler-setophaga ruticilla. Like to flit about with tail fanning.

Ovenbird Warbler

Ovenbird Warbler-seiurus aurocapillus. You'll find them on the ground  nesting and eating.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

To mom's everywhere and every species.

The Wisconsin DNR has a webcam on nesting Great Blue Herons. The first chick was hatched yesterday May 10.  It's always fun to watch these giant gentle birds nurture their little bobble headed babies. Check it out for yourself at then enter keyword Horicon.

They created a man made posts for the Heron Rookery and set up the cameras for you to enjoy. The birds are at least 40 feet up in the air so this is a unique opportunity for observation. The Rookery is in the Horicon Marsh Wildlife area at Four Mile Island in south central Wisconsin.

The Great BLue Heron is a wading bird, living near shores and open water. They are frequently seen at Perrot State Park. They can stand up to 4 feet tall and have a wing span almost 7 feet across. They are a sight to see as they glide over Trempealeau Bay.

A special mom's day wish to Erin and Olivia (born May 8 my great niece). Bet your glad she's here now. 9 lbs 11 oz.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

HaRveys Rockin

I'm sure you were all on pins and needles waiting to find out if it would be Recliner vs Rocker. We'll Rocker won out, kinda sorta. We bought two rockers as you can see. Choices were limited and we would have preferred no branding but I did fall in love with the "Camo".

I hope they don't blend in too much!
Did you know-"Camouflage"  is the combination of materials, coloration or illumination for the purpose of concealment. We like to think of it as disguise, maybe to blend in with one's surroundings, as in novice camper among more experienced campers. We are just hoping nobody will notice when we blunder.

Some uses of camouflage make objects hard to see (crypsis), while other try to look like something else (mimesis) or by distorting perceptions of speed, size and direction (motion dazzle). I think we are just trying to look and act like something else.

The word "Camouflage" may have been derived from a French phrase "to blow smoke" again the connection to the campfire and silly blogs. Many artists were engaged over the last century employed to create illusions for the military, then it was absorbed by fashion, art and society. You can imagine artists like Pablo Piccaso with his cubistic works having a good laugh at his audience as they try to figure out what is it.

Well off the track a bit, our new chairs from Gander Mountain are the Camo XL Padded Rocking Quad Chair with fabric designed by Realtree Xtra. The pattern is APG, I have to check online where we register. Gotta love their slogan "When Closeness Counts", your own interpretation will suffice.

We also had to have one of those zero gravity recliners. Although I feel I be rockin, more than reclining, we like diversity. That little action of rocking forward is helpful when getting out of the chair after hiking all day.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Water water Everywhere

Made it to the top-Brady's Bluff
Instead of snow and ice we have rain and flooding. But be assured Perrot State Park campground is well above flood stage. There maybe some wet spots along the Riverview Trail and the boat dock isn't out yet but you can still enjoy the park.

Some boaters/fisherman have put into the bay but can't exit out to the Mississippi because the high waters are reaching up to the train tressel. Going under would impress a limbo line.

Trempealeau Bay
Up river, Winona is above flood stage and will crest midweek, and hopefully will start to recede soon. We have more storms heading our way later this week.

Brady's East side
Just took my first hike of the year up and down Brady's Bluff. A little huffing along the way but it was worth it. Without the leaves on the trees you will get a lot more views.

I'd like to report the wild flowers are coming along. Besides the Dutchmans Breeches, the Bloodroot and Anemonies are blooming. I could see plenty of Shooting Star foliage and a few blossoms are reaching out. The Wild Ginger are getting ready, maybe in another week the woods will be awesome. The Hairy Puccoon are showing up on the East side of Brady's as well.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Fish Opener

Today is that day. The first day for fishing in Wisconsin. It's been awhile since we cast a rod and now that "Harvey" the RV is in our lives we are taking inventory of our toys for camping.

We have the inflatable kayak that we just repaired from a wild trip down the La Crosse River. There's another story for another time.

We have two walking sticks repurposed from our snowshoe poles. We are still searching for the perfect camping chairs, it's recliner vs rocker, to be determined upon various resources.

Then there's the fishing poles, I think we sold them at a rummage sale they were very old and not well taken care of, so the question is do we or don't we.

I voted we do make a year of fishing. I found out in Wisconsin if you are getting a license for the first time or if you haven't been for over 10 years the fee is only $5.00. I'm sold. I know there is still the expense of fishing gear but what the hay.

For those who love to fish they should also check out the WI DNR app for fishing and hunting called the pocket ranger. It's just full of stuff for fishing, including a GPS system to tell you the next closest fishing spot on land, lake and docks. It will help you identify your catch and check to see if it's a record keeper. All the rules and regulations are at your finger tip(s) and tricks to making a meal.

Just gotta love the technology. Those fish don't have a chance.