Sunday, November 11, 2018

Snow and 2018 Flood VIII

20181109_162926Late Thursday/early Friday we got a small layer of snow that has somewhat stuck around due to our temperatures have stayed below freezing.  Not much, but if anyone was still in denial then here's their slap in the face - winter will not be stopped.  I've yet to get out the full winter gear, and until it gets even colder more consistently I don't see the need.  Looking ahead in the forecast, we have temperatures above and below freezing and even some more snow toward the end of this week.  Well, you can't control the weather so we'll have to roll with it just like every other year.

In this picture of the back yard you can also see, on the top left, workers installing a new telephone pole.  While it might be tougher in cold weather my guess is they do it now purposely, after the loss of foliage that would surely be in their way going through back yards.  You can also see in this picture that I finally got the leaves cleaned up last weekend, knowing the snow was coming.  I also cleaned the gutters, started the snow thrower and got out the salt and snow shovels.  That means I have all my outside work done in preparation for winter - finally.

Friday afternoon I walked to our favorite local bar and grill Brothers Three (currently under new ownership after 33 years) and had the opportunity to take a couple more pictures of the creek.  I did notice it had gone down further yet, but still not down to where it should be.  A quick check of the lake levels shows that - while much better than a couple months ago - they are still a couple feet higher than they should be and I know they are still working on lowering the levels and still talking about how best to manage lake levels in the future.

20181109_132849Looking up this stretch of Starkweather Creek you can start to see the top of some of the big rocks on the sides.  On each side there is at least two rows of big rocks that had been underwater for several months now.  It is nice to see it go down, but this should still be considered significantly high.

Just because I like side by side comparisons, after the break is the view of the Milwaukee Street bridge from pictures I'd taken Friday and previously.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Happy Halloween 2018

Halloween can be more fun on the weekend, but I've liked this holiday more than most every other holiday for a while now no matter what day its on.  (Not that that's saying a whole lot.)  Like last year, I put the mummy up in the front windows and donned my ape mask for answering the door - and I scared the crap out of the first kid of the night!  I was a bit more careful from then on. 

This year I added a little projector that shines a shaky spider web complete with spider.  I had it out back trained on the garage door for only the sharp-eyed halloweener as they pass.  If you look real close you can see it in the picture.  Not quite what I expected, but it was cheap.  I did not take pictures of any kids in their costumes because, like most, I'd be afraid of being called creepy in this day and age.

20181031_191223My guess would be more than 50 trick-or-treaters came to our door last night.  Hard to say as they all came in groups of at least 3 and up to 8 or so kids, with most groups in the middle and always accompanied by many adults laughing it up on the sidewalk.  We saw many good and good-effort costumes, mostly the usual or else siDney or other characters I have no idea.  I learned you don't call the SpongeBob with no shoulders a banana, methinks he'd heard that enough on his treat venture!  We didn't run out of candy but one more group may have done it.  We waited until about 8 o'clock but no more came.  That means there's candy in the house - dammit.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Burning Bush, Apples, Cats and Fire

20181027_112848It has been cold, damp and dreary lately but we did manage to get the yard and garden cleaned up for winter yesterday.  A few notes and a full pictorial is over at the garden blog.  Stop over and have a look, it's probably the last big post for the year over there.  As we were finishing up it started to sprinkle, so I think we lucked out.  Otherwise, I don't have anything grand to say today, just wanted to post a few recent pictures and note a few things.

20181027_203421The burning bush is at its red-leaf peak before they join the growing number of leaves blowing about the ground.  The walnut trees next door are finished and I have those leaves mulched into the lawn, the rest will be gathered soon to be mulched for the flowerbeds.  Since we had the tree removed we get more leaves in front even though that yard is maybe one third the size - it has all the big trees that line the street out front.  Once the leaves are done then all that should be left to do outside before the snow comes is the gutters.

Kate brought home a lot of apples recently after a trip to an orchard.  Yesterday the house smelled lovely all day as she made apple butter.  Even though it was a double batch there are still lots of apples left.  I think we'll be having apple pie soon with lots left for the freezer.


I haven't really posted much on the cats in quite some time, but no news is good news as they are happy and healthy.  Some time ago there was another neighborhood cat that used to come around and see our cats inside the back door and through the windows.  Basil now 'patrols' the perimeter at times, going from window to window, looking for that cat.  I don't think he's upset or anything, but he is very curious.  Hamish doesn't seem to mind, knowing his brother is on the case.

I spent some time by the fire on Friday evening.  The cool weather and break in the dampness made it a pleasure once again to sit by the fire and figure out all the world's problems - or stare blankly into the flames and relax.  Same difference.


Saturday, October 20, 2018

First Snow of the Season, 2018

I was watching the Badger game today when it started snowing on TV.  Realizing the game is here, I turned my head and saw the snow out the window.  Today has been very windy, with snow and wind, then sun and calm, then hail and wind and then more wind and sun.  Enough snow to cause blizzard conditions for a time at the game, and while the whole football field was completely white with snow for much of the second quarter we had no accumulations here at the house.  The sticks blown from the trees are certainly accumulating, though.  In the twenty second video below, the car alarm in the background seemed strangely appropriate at the time.

I know I've not really written much of anything for some time, but that's just how it goes.  I've been doing overtime at work that has me tired often at home and, well, not a lot has been happening worth writing about.  Winter is definitely on its way, so there are chores to be done to get prepared.  Perhaps I can get a few things done this weekend and I should get some pictures over at the garden blog.  Otherwise, I hope all are well.  Cats are still cute, the lakes are still flooded, and I'm still tired.  Normal posting shall resume eventually.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

LLP Bonus - Ledger

I don't remember how I came across this but I think it was in my Youtube recommendations or I saw it in a list, something like that.  Ledger is a side project by Jen Ledger, drummer for the band Skillet, which I heard of before but now found out is a christian hard rock band.  I watched a recent show of theirs last night and yes, they are definitely christian as Jesus was mentioned during 3 or 4 talks in between songs.  Still, I've been playing the Ledger EP lots the last couple weeks, mainly the song Iconic.  Not enough for a full post, but I do like it enough to be a bonus Latest Listening Pleasure.  I like her voice, and basically that's what made me keep playing the EP.  The songs are more pop than I usually listen to, but it's fun.  Odd fact:  She relocated at 16 from Coventry, England to major in drums at a religious school here in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Ledger - Iconic

Monday, October 1, 2018

September This-And-Thats

Here we are, as the dog days of summer turn into the cool days of fall.  The days are getting shorter, the temperatures - especially at night - are much cooler, yet the mosquitoes are still buzzing about.  Well, before I have to change the title I best start typing, eh?

  • While I'm thinking of it, here's some things that happened this last week that have not happened in some time:  Wearing a light jacket.  Turning on the furnace.  And getting our first frost of the season.  Some people like fall, I say at least it's not winter yet - but you know it's coming...
  • With that reality I spent time today moving the power washer and other garage things inside to over-winter in the basement.  Cleaned up about half the pots on the stump and reorganized the garage a bit for a place exclusively for garden items and pots.  I also spent more time bent over weeding than I should have.  This year's side of the compost bin is fuller but there's lots more to come.
  • I had another critter digging a hole by the side of the house recently.  Neighbor Dave had a critter bomb left over so we set that off, but to no avail.  I refilled the hole a couple times, put rocks on top, even pounded a thick branch down the hole yet the critter persisted.  Next, I bought a small live trap, caught the chipmunk almost immediately, and let him go down by the creek.  Thankfully, no more holes since.
  • I wrote everything above this sentence yesterday, ran out of thoughts and took a walk down to the creek, came back and wrote another flood post.  Looking back at my third sentence, I must now get this finished today!
  • We got a bit of rain last night, but thankfully not enough rain recently to exacerbate our high water issues.  Hopefully with time the water will drain and smarter lake levels will be maintained in the long term, but next year I suspect short memories will leave us susceptible to this happening again.  But I hope not.  Also, we weren't the only area in southern Wisconsin to have flooding issues, and I know South Carolina is certainly still having flood issues.  Weather 'events' seem to be happening at a much faster rate than years past.  Global warming or not, the climate is changing.  I wonder what this winter will bring?
  • The Badgers had a bye yesterday, the Packers play soon (so another break from writing), and the Brewers and Cubs games are this afternoon.  The Brewers and Cubs are tied and today is the last game of the season.  If they both win there will be a tiebreaker game tomorrow, and the loser plays in the wildcard game the next day while the winner gets first seed and home field advantage for the playoffs.  It's going to be an interesting day, then I'll finish this.  I promise.

"...(T)hen I'll finish this.  I promise."  Famous last words.  I wrote the first half of this on Saturday, the second half on Sunday, and now it's Monday.  No sense continuing with the bullet points, I didn't have much to write about anyway.  And screw it, the title will remain unchanged.

20180920_170653So, since I last sat down to write we got more rain overnight and all day today.  There's water in the basement again so I got the rugs up after work today, but just a bit too late.  I haven't looked at the numbers yet and I'm not sure I want to.  We could sure use a dry spell - until winter.

Also, the Packers won yesterday, but even though they shut out the other team (for the first time in like 8 years) the mood seemed somber as they could have played much better.  Also, the Brewers and Cubs both won yesterday and played a tiebreaker game today which the Brewers won so they win the division outright and with the best record in the National League will have home-field advantage as long as they're in it, up to the World Series.  Go Brewers!

Lastly, I include pictures of a lone mushroom/toadstool I saw in the back yard a couple weeks ago that I thought would make a good picture.  I hope you think so too, because I got about 487 mosquito bites taking the pictures!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

The 2018 Flood VII - Some Progress

Today, September 29, 2018

In the middle of trying to put a different post together I walked down by the creek out of curiosity to see the level, and I am pleased to see that it has gone down some, but is still a couple feet higher than it should be.  You can see some space beneath the bridge, probably not enough for kayaks or canoes to make it down the creek, but it is certainly improvement.  Either way, all the ducks are swimming in the water - and still don't seem to mind.
A month ago - August 25, 2018

There's a nifty animation of the lake levels of the last seven days under those blue words.    You can see it's still nowhere near what it should be.

A closer up picture after the break, and a butterfly sign that I don't remember seeing before, oddly.

Friday, September 14, 2018

The 2018 Flood VI - Enough, Already!*

18F yahara-lakes-locks-and-dams
I believe this picture came from here:
The lakes had been high all summer so far, see my pic from earlier this year here, then on August 20 western Dane County received the worst of a rainstorm and got 10-15 inches.  Surrounding areas, including us, also got many inches of rain but the double digits got the headlines.  Much of that water flowed to the Wisconsin River and much of it flowed to the Yahara chain of lakes, starting with Lake Mendota.

The Tenney Lock and Dam have been tested, but have held admirably.  Lake Mendota drains through that lock and dam (1), into the Yahara River crossing the isthmus to Lake Monona.  If the dam fails, this influx of water is what will flood many low parts of the isthmus and Lake Monona.

Lake Monona has gotten higher than it's ever been. It drains through another branch of the Yahara, one that has had to be weeded in the past because they slow the flow, directly into Lake Waubesa, which then has another lock and dam (2) before draining into Lake Kegonsa which also has a lock and dam (3) that then drains via a lengthy part of the Yahara River and a couple more dams (4,5) until ultimately flowing into the Rock River.  That's the basics, and this is a map to help you visualize it easier if you're not from here.

You can see how it will take time to let all that water flow.  If we were to get any substantial amount of rainfall in a short amount of time, any similar deluge as before, anytime before winter we will be having perhaps much bigger problems.  I should note that it has not rained since the last rain spell I posted of last week, and no real chance is forecast until later next week.  I've been paying attention to the forecast a bit more these days.

There are reasons to keep the lakes high and reasons to lower them to natural levels, and proponents for each have been heard in this renewed debate, despite the problem at hand continuing and expected to continue until at least winter.  I think they should be lowered below the level they've been kept despite the issues for boaters and pier owners.  In time, all would adapt.  Then the next time something like this happens there will be the capacity to hold and handle the flow of water without flooding.  Seems so obvious, why doesn't it just happen? [Insert political crap here.]

Random green fire pit picture.
I got out for a bike ride today, just down to the lake and back, less than an hour overall but my joints are feeling it now (and the reason I didn't go yesterday).  I got some good pictures to share, the first few are from a bike ride the other day and the rest are from this morning - except for one picture I stole a screenshot of from goggle maps.  It shows the rocks that should normally be visible on the sides of this stretch of Starkweather Creek.  Since they lakes have been kept overly full the last couple years a cursory search didn't find a similar picture in my albums of the last couple years.  But I have posted pictures of this and these other places in the past so you can seek them out for before and after shots if you wish.

Pictures and comments after the break!

*Originally titled with IV instead of VI - sorry!