Friday, September 23, 2016

The Fun doesn't Stop

Zoo Entrance
In addition to fairs and festivals we entertained ourselves at the Shalom Wildlife Zoo in West Bend, Wisconsin.


This privately owned sanctuary, on over 100  lovely acres, care for hundreds of animals.

Since we were due for more showers we opted for the golf cart to make our way around. If the animals didn't care about the rain who were we to complain.

Herd of White White Tail Deer

Fireside Theater-Fort Atkinson
The fun didn't stop there, I was treated to an evening at the Fireside Theater in Fort Atkinson, WI. Having been a native of Wisconsin this iconic theater venue has been around for almost 40 years. Instead of theater in the round it has theater in the square. Scenes disappear in the center by a platform that's lowered down below the stage dramatically reappearing.

Finally it was my turn to attend. We had a lovely meal followed by a performance of Million Dollar Quartet.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fairest of them All

Holy Hill Arts Festival
A beautiful fall day on the east side of Wisconsin, with family I attended three art fairs and festivals. A lot of walking and inspiration.

Holy Hill Arts and Crafts Fair was blessed with a one day event with over 250 artisans set up below the hill. A small fee of $5 was worth it since they provided bus shuttles from the well organized parking lots. You could find just about anything from Halloween decorations to recycled clothing designs.

My pick for best of show

Pumpkin Carving

Next stop the quaint town of Cedarburg was celebrating with a Wine and Harvest Fest. We enjoyed pumpkin carving followed by a regatta of daring men paddling the pumpkins in the river.

They also offered hundreds of artists and food booths and of course plenty of wine offerings.

Grape Stomping

Pumpkin Regatta

Part of the Ambience

My favorite of them all was the Holy Hill Art Farm's Market Event. A blend of Art, Music and lots of Ambience. This family homestead turned rustic county entertainment venue just made you want to stay all day long.

Corn Crib turned Farm Gazebo

Farm Homestead and concessionaires

Country Watering Hole
They offer their market event in spring and fall, next one is October 15 and 16. Located in the Kettle Moraine country side of Hubertus, Wisconsin. Put this one on your list of must do.

Our Arizona Family would appreciated this sculpture

No Bull my Fav

Friday, September 16, 2016

For Goodness Snakes

The city of La Crosse Park and Rec. Dept. hosted a very interesting program on the Timber Rattle Snake at the Myrick Center. I attended along with 100 plus other people and very glad I did.

Snakes have long gotten a bad rapt, remember the story of Adam and Eve. Armund Bartz,  a WI DNR Endangered Resources Ecologist for the Driftless Area convinced us how we can live with Timber Rattle Snakes. A species of concern since their populations were dramatically reduced up until the 1970's. Bounty's resulted in thousands killed annually, shot, den's dynamited and hunted for the fun of it. Todays numbers are seriously low. The blufflands of the driftless region are the type of habitat they need to survive.

The Timber Rattle Snake is slow to recover since females do not reproduce until seven to even nine years of age. Then they only give birth (yes live birth instead of eggs) once every three years on average in the month of September. That's not a very rapid rate of reproduction. The female after becoming pregnant doesn't eat again until she gives birth, almost a year later. Then she needs several years to regain enough body mass to reproduce again.

Unlike other Rattle Snakes our area species isn't aggressive in nature and most snake bites are from provocation. Typically adult male between the ages of 18-35, with some alcohol involved if you get the picture.

The snakes are ambush predators that lie in wait for small mammals, often a rodent species to cross their path. Speaking of paths, when hiking around Perrot State Park staying on the path is always recommended. Going off treppsing in the woods, you need to be on the look out when steeping over logs since the Timber Rattler likes to wait for furry critters to scuttle across them.

Named for being a woodland creature they do seek the open sunny rocky locations the bluffs provide. The female even requires these warm rocky ledges for her gestation period. The limestone formations also provide cave like dens, created naturally, suitable for their hibernation.

We learned when encountering a Timber Rattler staying a minimum of five feet away is recommended. They can strike out at least half their bodies length. As a protected species in the park just give them some space and they will retreat. It was interesting and important to know that a dead snake can still bite you up to 24 hours after it's death.

More often a Rattle Snake will inflict a dry bite on a human. Meaning no venom has been injected. At least most adult snakes are wise enough not to waist it on something it can't eat. Age does make one wiser even in the animal kingdom. Keep in mind your pet dog is required to be on a leash in parks for this very good reason. Many a dog can get bit on the face, nosing around in the woods.

You'll know you've got a serious bite if it begins to burn, the local hospitals, Mayo and Gundersen both stock antivenin just in case. The last person in Wisconsin to die from a bite was in the early 1900's. I even met the victums sister who recalls the day on her family farm. The siblings were playin around the hay bales when her sister got bit. Even if you get treatment right away there can be life long damage.

I still have never seen one myself in the wild and would hope to some day, at a distance of course. Here are some of the identifiers. Heavy bodied, banded stripes, heart shaped or triangular head, slit pupils, rattle on tail and tail is black towards at the end. Baby snakes have a tan button on the end of their tails. When moving they also tend to keep the rattle angled upwards.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Finders Keepers

We have it ingrained in us to pick up and behold objects. We examine them for their beauty, try and discover their secrets and the connection to the universe. Maybe it's an unusual rock that catches your eye, a leaf turning its autumn color or picking up something that's out of place. Perhaps an object made by man that has been lost or discarded.

It is taught at an early age if you find something you should try and return it to it's rightful owner. You look around to see if others are near by or you carry it to the nearest location to surrender it to a lost and found box to sit and wait.

At Perrot State Park numerous items are turned in by visitors or staff. From socks and hats to lens caps and sunglasses. Often even more valuable items like cell phones and cameras. The staff does their due diligence to reconnect these personal items with their owners. Trying to look for clues in photos or phone numbers.

Recently a most unusual item was found by park staff in one of the shower buildings in the campground. It appeared to be left behind on purpose because it had a note to go with it. The creator wished for the person that found it to keep it. The note relieving them of any guilt for wanting to pocess the little artistic treasure.

The discovery was in fact part of an artistic movement called Art Abandonment. A way for artists to share their creative passion with a random person. Leaving the note absolving the finder of any quilt from the moral dilemma of keeping it.

The moral of the story is

No Lossers Weepers the Finders the Keeper