Friday, November 1, 2019

Halloween 2019

We got 3 inches of snow a few days ago, then we got 5.1 inches on Halloween day.  While most walks had been cleared it was still below freezing with snow and leaves everywhere for the evening trick-or-treaters.  I wasn't really surprised that there were less this time, maybe two dozen or so, less than half of last year.  It just means we have waaaay too much candy left over.  Dammit, I like candy.  But I'm not used to eating a lot of it.  I may get a tummy ache!

This is the third year I've used the mummy in the corner window.  It was just a cheap decoration - two plastics sheets to tape in the windows - but I got a lot of compliments from the parents on it this year.  In fact, one said it was the most Halloweeny house on the street.  I think the effect from the corner windows is good, especially if you are walking toward it down the street.  I also got a cheap red strobe light that I put in the kitchen window, just for fun.  After dark it seemed like a nice effect, anyway.  Also cheap window decals went unused due to the cold glass.  I did have a new skull mask with a moving jaw, but I think I only answered the door in it a couple times and even then quickly removed it.  I guess I was apprehensive about scaring the younger ones.

All in all a nice, but slow, snowy and cold Halloween.  Almost felt more like Christmas out there.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Second Snow... and Meat!

Two days after the first snow we get the second - and this was a pretty big one.  Traffic was terrible all day until this afternoon when it stopped and cleared up a bit.  Here's a view of the freshly covered back yard from the warmth of inside.

Also this afternoon, thankfully after it was more clear, I went and picked up our fourth quarter cow.  It was a bigger cow than last year, we got about 132 pounds of meat at less than 5 bucks a pound, and that's for everything - steaks, roasts, ground and more.  Not too bad, and the meat is so much better than the local grocery store.  This will probably set us until early 2021!

That's all I can write for now, it's Halloween and the trick-or-treaters are starting to come around.  Boo!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

First Snow of the Season, 2019

First snows according to this blog - October 10, 2009; December 4, 2010, November 9, 2011; December 9, 2012; October 23, 2013; 2014 not noted; November 20, 2015; December 4, 2016; November 18, 2017; October 20, 2018; and today, October 29, 2019.

The unmelted lumps of snow in the driveway are on leaves.

The first snow of the season is something I've noted here before, usually, see above, so I shouldn't have been surprised as it's not too early for it.  I did see on the news last night that they were expecting 1-2 inches, but they also said it would melt during the day.  Oh, it's melted some, but there's still more than I'd like to see out there this afternoon, and it's been sunny all day.

The picture above is from before 5:00 this morning as I headed out to work.  At the time it was 30ºF and there was least two inches and likely more of the wet, heavy stuff - and still snowing.  Here, right, is the same view as I got home early this afternoon.  Roads, driveways and walks were mostly melted even this morning as the ground is warmer, but snow still lingers on the grassy areas.

Yes, the back yard is still mostly covered in snow still as it has only risen to 36ºF this afternoon, but the front yard is a more dramatic picture with the snow, leaves and drooping arborvitae.  Not surprising since this is the north side of the house.  Every winter I try to knock the snow off the bushes as soon as possible, which I did right after this picture, or it really takes a toll and they have a hard time straightening up again in the spring.  I did remember this year to give them a good, long drink of water before putting the hose away a couple days ago.  I forgot last year and the two taller ones are still a bit ragged in their bottom halves from whatever happened to them over last winter.

At least we finished winterizing the yard and gardens on Sunday.  Still left to do is leaves and gutters, but there are still leaves to fall yet.  The back yard gets mostly the black walnut leaves from next door, which are done now, so I mow to mulch back there.  The leaves in front will eventually get raked into piles and vacuumed up and mulched for the flowerbeds.  I see many people here have already raked several times, and they always put them out for the city to pick up.  While I have mowed to mulch in back, I refuse to rake the front until the leaves are done falling.  And I'm not putting them out for the city - ever.  I never really saw the sense in that when they make good mulch, if not for flowerbeds then just mow them into the lawn.  Putting them out for the city to pick up seems wasteful and inefficient, to me anyway.

It seems like I've said much of this before, so sorry if I'm being repetitive.  What do you do outside to get ready for winter?

Sunday, October 20, 2019

October This-And-Thats

With no real subject to write about and knowing I've not posted much of anything aside from the creek in some time, it's time again to sit down and start writing about whatever comes to mind.  You know the drill, now here I go!
  • I got sick for the first time this season, starting over two weeks ago.  I was so miserable, and for so long.  I think it was just a real nasty cold virus, but it may have been a bit of the flu - even though I got my flu shot less than a month before.  (Some say that's what got me sick, but I think they use a dead virus for the vaccine.  What do you think?)  I was off work for a whole week and it's been lingering in the week since.  At least my boss felt sorry enough for me that I wasn't required to do the mandatory overtime this past week.  Yay.
  • I was poking my nose around in blogger and I just happened to notice that Delcatto's comment on my last post was my 1,000th comment!  Doesn't mean much unless you're a numbers geek, and I'm sure about half the comments were me.  That's my random fact for today, I guess.
  • The trees are turning colors and some leaves are falling already.  It seems odd in places because some trees are almost bare while others are still green.  Some trees just drop their leaves earlier than others.  Also, it's time to clean up the yard and gardens, which I have a small start on but hopefully will have more done by the time this weekend is over.  This is not my favorite time of year, it is the time of impending winter to me.  I much prefer spring and the time of impending summer!
  • We just put in the order for our next quarter cow.  This will be the fourth time we've done this, and the meat seems to last us a little over a year.  It's nice to have all that meat in the freezer, and it's cheaper in the long run.  Plus, we enjoy it more than the meat from the grocery store.  Lots more, it's just a higher quality meat.
  • Without much else going on, I did enjoy my last 3 posts.  I enjoyed the walks and getting outside, and trying to get good pictures.  I'm sorry to have stretched it out a bit, but I was busy/had nothing else to really write about anyway/was in no particular hurry - take your pick.  I actually feel a little guilty if I don't post anything for too long, but it can be hard when not much is happening.  Even this post was pretty much put together over several days of wondering what I would write.
I can't think of anything else to say right now.  I guess that's why I've not posted anything recently.  Oh well, no news is good news, I guess.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Starkweather Slide Step - Part III

Yesterday afternoon the sun finally came out, so after the Badger game I took the walk around our section of Starkweather creek to get a closer and different look at the new steps and slide.  I've never done this short walk before and this seemed like a good reason to get out and do it.  I start at the end of our street and walk north, crossing the bike path bridge then walking south to the Milwaukee Street bridge, and then back north a bit to our street again.  All pictures in this post, and there's quite a few here, were taken on this walk.

Google reminded me that a year ago today I posted about the creek and the flooding and the progress of the water as it was going down a bit.  Things look a bit greener this year than last, you can take a quick look at a year ago today here, and all my flood-related posts here.  While the levels look a whole lot better than this time last year, all the lakes are still well over their set summer maximum levels.  The creek empties into Lake Monona, which is still much too high so the creek is at least a foot and a half higher than it should be right now, by my reckoning.  Lake levels can be checked and animated here, at least until Flash Player goes away.

But enough of that for now.  Come and walk with me around this section of Starkweather Creek - after the break, of course.  And mind the ducks!

Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Starkweather Slide Step - Part II

When I posted a week ago I didn't know it would be a whole week before I could follow it up with part two, but a busy week and required overtime and here we are.  I'll tell you right now there will be a part three because I do want to get out sometime this weekend to make the walk around and see the view from the other side of the creek to get a closer look at the steps and a different view of the slide.

But first things first, let's take a look at the completion of both projects, steps and slide - after the break!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Starkweather Slide Step

I mentioned previously that the city was going to put in a canoe/kayak slide into Starkweather Creek at the end of our street and, further upstream on the other side, steps leading down to the creek.  I also said that I would post a pictorial of the process, which I found a little difficult because I have a whole bunch of pictures and needed to pare them down.  In the end, I decided to go in date order, only of the days I made the walk down to see, of course.  There's still a lot of pictures, but date order should help keep them in context.

The project started later than expected, it was scheduled to begin August 12.  We received a letter from the city earlier in August letting us know of the plans and the schedule.  I'm sure other projects were delayed, you can't really depend on timelines for these kinds of things as they are at the hand of the weather.  And it seems the contractor concentrated on completing the steps before fully starting on the slide.  At least they did not limit our parking as we were told would happen and all in all it was no bother to us.

So let's begin - after the break!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

My Fall Vacation

Hello everybody, welcome back.  I hope you've been well.  I know I've been more absent than normal lately.  I had a vacation and, well, it was different for me so I guess I've just not been sure how to write about it.  But that never stopped me before, so here goes!

I took last week off as I've done for several years now.  Long after I had secured the week off my wife found out she was being flown out to the east coast for work for much of that week.  My first thoughts were that it would be kind of nice.  In actuality, I got kind of depressed and lazy.  Now, the weather had much to do with that, being overcast and/or rainy most of the time (despite the pictures I have here), and my back wasn't that good so I couldn't do much of what I had planned, but my mood certainly lifted when she got back home late in the week.

The weekend before was a pretty normal weekend, and I got up early Monday morning to take her to the airport.  That wasn't such a bad day, I made some rather large but necessary purchases (new bed and glasses) and grilled out brats for dinner, but scrapped plans for a fire due to impending rain.  Tuesday was much warmer and very humid, but the heat and humidity broke in the evening so I did spend a good amount of time by the fire that night.  Over the course of these two days I also got another piece of wood cut and painted for the cat box project downstairs, but with my back acting up I did not get any further on this project, disappointingly.  Wednesday was also hot and humid, even more so than the day before.  By this time I was sleeping about 10 hours a night and that felt good, but the weather was just so damn gloomy and if it wasn't raining then rain was coming soon.  I figured it was just a matter of time until water got in the basement, another excuse to put that cat box project off.  Thursday was pretty much the same, gloomy and wet, but the storms stepped it up a few notches that afternoon.  I felt pretty crappy that day, probably due to drinking too much and sleeping too much the previous few days.  I can see now I had fallen into a bit of a funk.

On Thursday night I was supposed to pick my wife up from the airport, but her first plane was delayed due to the weather in Chicago, then her next plane actually tried to get to Madison but the thunderstorms and lightning we were having here were too much and they had to turn back.  My brave wife ended up getting a rental car for her and her coworkers and made the drive from Chicago to Madison in the middle of the night and through the aforementioned severe storms.  The airline was of no help and the next plane was the next night so she didn't have much of a choice, unfortunately.  But thankfully she made it back safe and sound and the cats and I were very happy to see her.

All that, and before she could return the rental car and pick up her luggage on Friday a branch fell from a tree out front and smashed the rear window of the rental car as it was parked in our driveway.  Alas, just the icing on the cake of a very bad travel night and day for her.

Since then the weather got a bit nicer and I got a few more things accomplished, like power washing and water sealing the back steps and washing all the windows.  But the cat box project, the one I've been mulling for several years now and finally got a good start on, still stalled.  But that's okay, for now.  I have all the hardware, wood and paint that I need so I'm going to run out of excuses eventually!

So that was pretty much my week of vacation.  I wasn't at work and I got a lot of rest so it was still a positive for me.  One thing I didn't mention yet was the several walks I took up and down the creek as they worked on the steps and canoe/kayak slide.  It seems everything was completed on Saturday, so that will probably be my next post, with a pictorial of the process.  See you then!

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Sunday Pictures

I don't know if this is a new 'thing' for me or not, but again I'm tired and I don't feel like writing a whole lot tonight so here are a few pictures I've taken since the last time.

 I should have more to talk about very soon as there are things that I want to do very soon, but if I promise I'll jinx myself.  How's that for a cliffhanger?

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Labor Day and Packers

Tonight is finally the opening of football season with the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears - the oldest rivalry in the NFL - to start the NFL's 100th season.  The Packers played their 100th season last year, so they're older than the league, interestingly.  We've not seen much of what the Packers starters could do in the preseason, and they have a big challenge tonight playing in Chicago against the defending NFC North champion Bears.  After the off-season coaching change and all the speculation I just hope it's a good game that gives us hope no matter tonight's outcome.  Go Packers!

Last weekend we had a holiday fire pit with friends, only the second time this season we attempted this.  The first time was on Fourth of July weekend and only friends Terry and Becky came over and we didn't even have a fire because it was so hot!  Sunday night turned out much better and we enjoyed seeing friends that we hadn't seen in quite some time.  As summer wanes there will be more fire pit opportunities so we'll need to try and take advantage.

That should be all for now, I need a nap.  Since I get up at stupid o'clock every morning and it's a night game tonight I'll need to get some sleep.  Remember, the Bears still suck - Go Packers!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Sunday Pictures*

The lamp, he is angry.
I take a lot of pictures.  With digital being so easy and storage so cheap, why not?  I don't see myself as some great photographer or anything, but it is a nice feeling when you get a good picture.

I don't feel I have a lot to say right now, but I do have pictures.  This is just a few pictures I took over the last week.  Let's see how this goes...

*Picture links updated, thanks BW!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

August This-And-Thats

Things have settled in to late summer around here.  Flowers are past their peak, football is starting and I've not been posting much of anything recently.  These are the times this kind of post is made for - with a twist this time.  This will be a more visual This-And-Thats than just a normal bullet-points rundown of different thoughts.  Just a few things I've been up to, so, with that, let's get on with it, shall we?

  • I found the spider that had been making the massive webs between the garage and the porch.  After that picture in the last post we saw him working on another web, pictured here.  And the other day I happened upon his lair when cleaning up, so he had to go.
  • A few weeks ago there was guano under our bat house behind the garage.  Our first sign of a bat using it since it was installed.  There's been none since, unfortunately, but I am encouraged as we are seeing more bats and more often this year than last in the evening skies.  This is a short video from Friday night by the fire showing some bat activity in the area - with an appearance from a plane taking off, of course.

  • Yesterday I finished the edging of the walks out front.  Now, I know it's been a few years since I've done it, but the sod had already crept several inches over the pavement again.  It doesn't help that the walks in this older neighborhood are generally lower than the turf, especially for us.  Still, it was very gratifying to clean it up, even if it won't last forever.

  • While taking pictures of the edging I took an inadvertent picture of the house.  This reminds me that I trimmed the arborvitae last weekend, and also swapped out the front light bulb.  The arborvitae has grown quite a bit in the last 10 years, and while I think it's kind of a pain to have I do like that it gives some character to the front of the house.  My (OCD) fear is that as it grows bigger it will get harder to keep looking good.  And for the light I got one that is LED and is supposed to not attract bugs, but what I really liked about it is that it has a sensor so it turns on and off at dusk and dawn by itself.  As for the bugs, it does appear there is less bug clutter on the front of the house now, but time will tell.

  • August 20 will be one year since the great deluge of rain that gave Madison and western Dane County, especially Black Earth, all sorts of flooding issues.  The Yahara chain of lakes is finally closer to "normal" levels - except Waubesa - and still way too high for all, but that's where they've been kept for several years now.  If we receive any sort of deluge like last year the same thing would happen again.  I do know there are plans being made to help prevent all that rainwater being diverted straight to the lakes, and other plans like dredging to ease the flow of the Yahara River between the lakes.   Link for below screen capture is here.  Interesting article here, I've read it once quickly so I should re-read it soon.

I think that's more than enough for now, I've had my say.  Thanks for reading, see you soon.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Fungus and Spiderwebs

Just a couple recent and interesting pictures I happened upon.  First, the little ceramic gnome we've had for years holds a little ceramic mushroom in his right arm.  Here he is surrounded by a few other forms of fungus among potted plants showing signs of late summer on the large, rotting tree stump.

Also, when I went out to the garage the other day I almost ran into a rather impressive spiderweb, going from the garage to the ground and all the way to the house and/or porch.  I tried to get several pictures, but it's hard to get a spider web without a dark background.  I held my arms up high to get this one.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Atwoodfest 2019

Dancin' in the Street!
Last weekend was Atwoodfest, the largest of Madison's near east side festivals.  My wife and I spent about 4 hours wandering the streets, watching bands, eating foods and perusing the merchant's wares (and I got my 2019 Atwoodfest shirt!).  We got there relatively early in the afternoon, about 2 pm, and watched as the place soon became more crowded.  The weather forecast during the week called for Saturday to be in the mid-90's with scattered thunderstorms, thankfully that had changed by Saturday to partly cloudy and mid 80's.  Still plenty warm but not as hot as past years, though a cooling shower would have been welcomed a few times.

Believe it or not, I didn't take a whole ton of pictures like last year when I took way too many.  But I did get many interesting sights at the festival and along the way.  The bike path was repaved earlier this year, Goodman Community Center's newly refurbished Brassworks building is completed, Goodman's cow (by the Ironworks building - both locally historic) has been re-painted with an interesting design (my wife laughed at where the raccoons are), there were beautiful wildflowers and community gardens along the path, and that bike display that was new last year in someones front yard was still there, now with a basket of flowers and night lights.

Follow along with the pictures after the break as we walk to the festival and back.  It happens on the last weekend in July every year - make your travel plans now!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Planes, Trains and... Cicadas?

Earlier tonight I had a fire for the first time in a month, since June 29.  It was around 80ºF, which was the lowest temperature and/or driest opportunity on a weekend night since then.  We've been mostly very warm and humid this month, but for the last several days which we enjoyed open windows again.  And the next couple days will be very warm and humid with scattered storms again.  I won't complain, I hear the UK just had record-setting temps around 100ºF yesterday.  Anyway, though I was tired I built a fire and sat by it watching the Brewers game on my phone for a couple hours tonight.  Always enjoyable, but I did have to shower off the lovely combination of sweat, bug spray and smoke when I came in for the night.

While I was out there the opportunity arose for a short video featuring a plane and train, and the automobiles are in the background din even if you can't tell with the other two - circling back to a prior post. There's also a fourth noise here as the cicadas have been out in force lately.  The train tracks are a few blocks south and east.  We don't seem to get lots of trains, but I may just be used to them now.   And freight, not passenger, usually with lumber or coal or box cars with who knows what else.  Short video below.

An then there's the back fence.  Tell me, does it look terrible?

I've been trying to get some estimates lately on replacing it.  I researched online and found 4 places I wanted to get an estimate from.  I have two similar estimates in hand, one supposed to be emailed soon, and one place that I left a message and they never called back.  So far the two estimates are very similar at over $2000 to replace what we have with the same but new.  It's only 40 feet of fence, that's over 50 bucks a foot, is it worth it to replace it yet?  Affording it isn't the issue, I just thought that seemed a lot for only 40 feet, even for cedar.  Yes, right now the tops are dry rotting and it being a squirrel highway erodes them more and more every year now, but can we get a couple more years out of it or does it look that bad now?  Replacement would have to be in early spring or late fall as to not destroy the hostas, so I guess it comes down to how long do we want to wait to replace it.

A few more after the break.  And this weekend is Atwoodfest!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Latest LIVE Listening Pleasure 35 - Alice Cooper

It's hard to say why I've not seen Alice Cooper live before now.  He does tour a lot, so perhaps I always thought there would be a next time.  In fact, there almost wasn't a this time.  Alice Cooper played Wednesday night at The Sylvee here in Madison, but I had tickets for a show I especially wanted to see on Friday, two days later.  That show was cancelled a few weeks ago so I decided this was the time to see Alice Cooper.  After all, he is 71 years old now, how many more tours can there be?

Not wanting to stand and jockey for a good view I bought one of the seats that surrounds the balcony, giving me an unhindered view of the night's show.  More expensive, but at my age I can afford these comforts when available.  I wound up on stage right, front row, second from the end farthest from the stage.  I still had a bit of taller rail in front of me since I was by the end and the stairs, but the rail that separates the seats from a forty foot fall seemed so low, and there is nothing but a short cable tray that runs below it to stop anyone from falling.  Me, being tall and clumsy, definitely made a note of that for future.

There was no opening band and the show started a little after 8, so I knew it wasn't going to be a terribly late night but I still took off the next day from work.  The stage was impressive with a castle-like structure that was used to its utmost.  The songs were mostly all classics with 14 of the 20 songs being from the 1970's, many of the hits.  The band, featuring three guitarists including the acclaimed Nita Strauss, was tight and entertaining.  And the special effects were limited to lights and fog, but there were several fun props used during the show including a giant Frankenstein, a giant baby and, of course, the guillotine.  He does a dramatic show with these little playlets that make things lighthearted and fun to go with the music, as you will see in the video below.

I'm disappointed that my original plans this week were cancelled, but I am very glad I went to see Alice Cooper.  Now to see what's next!

Previous LLP Posts...
LLP 1 - Pain
LLP 2 - Nightwish
LLP 3 - Die Antwoord
LLP 4 - Pain part 2
LLP 5 - Andrew Bird LIVE
LLP 6 - Nightwish part 2
LLP 7 - Paramore
LLP 8 - Newsted
LLP 10 - Nightwish Imaginaerum Movie
LLP 11 - Kiss
LLP 12 - Rick Springfield
LLP 13 - Hyrax
LLP 14 - In This Moment
LLP 15 - Faster Pussycat LIVE
LLP 16 - Sebastian Bach
LLP 17 - Cradle Of Thorns
LLP 18 - Amaranthe
LLP 19 - Lindemann
LLP 20 - Halestorm
LLP 21 - Garbage LIVE
LLP 22 - Arcade
LLP 23 - Nightwish LIVE
LLP 24 - Ace Frehley
LLP 25 - Darkc3ll
LLP 26 - Dementia
LLP 27 - Rammstein
LLP 28 - Marilyn Manson LIVE
LLP 29 - The Harp Twins LIVE
LLP 30 - Diamante
LLP 31 - Steel Panther LIVE
LLP 32 - Scum Of The Earth
LLP 33 - Marty Friedman LIVE
LLP 34 - Buckethead LIVE
LLP 35 - Alice Cooper LIVE

Monday, July 8, 2019

Sunday on the Lake

On Sunday we got out on the lake for the first time this year (thanks Terry!).  It's always nice to be out there on the water.  It was a tiny bit cooler Sunday than it had been all scorching week prior, still with the sun shining hazy but bright I got more color than intended - well done but not quite extra crispy!

It was a lot of fun, but I took lots of pics and some video - more than I intended - but at least three quarters of the shots are no good due to the movement of the boat and not being able to really see what I'm shooting because of the brightness of the sun.  Still, I got some good pics but next time I think I'll leave the camera in my pocket a lot more and spend more time having fun with the people I'm with.  We don't get as many opportunities to get out on the lake as I'd like so I guess I get enamored with trying to get the perfect picture, which is practically impossible on a moving boat anyway.

The lake levels are still higher than they should be, for any time of year.  Technically not flooded like I showed in this post last year, yet currently at or above the Summer maximum set by the local authorities (screenshot taken from here) and all it would take is another rainstorm like we had last year and we'd be in the same, um, boat.  Why do we not learn from past mistakes?  Because boating is big business and it would cost people money to extend their piers if the lakes were a few feet lower.  Baloney.  These overly inflated lake levels aren't worth the risk.  Set the lake levels where they should be and make the rich snobs in the fancy houses adapt, I say.

After the break is lots more pics and a (n unlisted) YouTube video of boat cruising for a few minutes, just to give you a feel for it, I guess.  Never mind the background banter!

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy 4th of July 2019

Happy 4 day weekend 4th of July!

Everyone has a 4th of July, but it's Independence Day here in America.  A day for grill fires, explosions and missing digits.  We don't plan on going out for fireworks tonight, but we do plan on grilling out later today.  Mostly a day for chores and errands, though.  I hope to get a bit further with the cat box project, make a run to the hardware store, and get the chain saw out and cut the wood I've had by the garage since last year.  It's supposed to be very warm and very humid with scattered afternoon thunderstorms today so hopefully all will get done and we'll still have time for relaxing.  Tomorrow night we're going to have a couple people over for a fire in the evening, otherwise no specific plans made for the rest of the weekend yet - but I always have a list that I can work on.

Be happy, be safe, and enjoy the holiday, everyone!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Plants and Flowers

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Ends and Odds

I was looking at old posts a while ago and came across this video I posted 10 years ago, and I still enjoy it.  I didn't know who it was then, but it's At The Bottom Of Everything, by Bright Eyes.

I actually had this as a draft and scheduled to post on June 8, exactly 10 years after I originally posted it, then must have forgot to hit 'publish.'  Somewhat relevant as I just posted about airplanes, and I came across it today so here it is.

I also had this cartoon that I saved some time ago, I forget from where, because I liked it.  I don't mean to offend anyone who believes in religion, but I don't, obviously.

I did some more work on the long-fabled cat box area project today, still a long way from being done but it'll get there.  I have everything I need now but the good back for it.  After a couple weeks without one, I may have another fire tonight.  Gif below is from last night.  Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Planes, Planes, Planes

We live on the near east side of Madison, Wisconsin, just a couple miles south of Dane County Regional Airport and Truax Field, home of the 115th Fighter Wing of the Wisconsin Air National Guard.  The main runway is in line with a few blocks to our west, so we get a really good view of the air traffic.  The amount of traffic can vary at times, actually rather busy as I type this, and consists of very small to medium/large passenger planes.  Depending on the day and weather we either get take-offs or landings.  I like the landings as we get a better view of the planes, while the take-offs can be louder because planes are accelerating but they are also getting higher and can veer off to either side.

We knew about this aspect when we bought the house ten years ago, and it wasn't a concern then and it still isn't now as we really love our house, our location, and our proximity to work and local businesses (and the bike path though we need to take more advantage of it).  I've even grown to really like watching them - in fact, I think I always have liked it.  Sometimes the jets can get real loud, but they are somewhat fascinating as well - and nice to know we are so protected here in the upper Midwest.  And they almost always go in twos, so if you hear one, get ready for another one coming.  They also usually advertise when they will be doing extensive training, but that doesn't seem to stop some idiots in the neighborhood from complaining on the neighborhood farcebook page (I'm told).  Once, we even saw a military transport plane taking off over us - it was so big and so low it felt like I could throw a rock and hit it!

Pursuant to a conversation with blogger friend Blue Witch in the comments a few posts ago, I thought I would try to get some video to share to show what we see daily.  Now, I may hear scores of them go by on a single day, but I'm not usually in a good position to capture it on video.  In fact, the first one I took after that conversation may be the best of them all.  It's the first one in the video compilation below, in the evening with the plane's lights on.  Over the last week or two I've tried to get video and found it's not as easy as I thought.  First, I've not had a fire the last couple weekends so I've not spent that much time out in the yard and ready to record.  I've tried running out when I hear one coming, but to very mixed results, as you will see.  And I always seemed to miss the bigger ones, and the Frontier ones where I can try and make out the animal on the tail.  I've no video of the jets yet though I'll keep that in the back of my mind for future, but they're not just loud - they're freaking fast!

Total, I got over a dozen videos, 11 of which are compiled below, one of which I would take out if I wanted to spend more time on it.  Only the last video is of a take-off, this afternoon and right overhead.  I used Windows video editor for the first time to make one video out of all the clips and spent very little time on it.  Sorry, but it's good enough for this purpose.  It is posted to my YouTube account, but it is not listed for the moment, it's only posted here.

Yes, we have noise in the background here on the near east side; airplanes, street traffic, even and railroad tracks a few blocks away.  I've noticed this more than ever during this recent time of trying to get video of airplanes.  I do remember once several weeks ago, later at night out by the fire, hearing a plane, a train, and the traffic all at once and thinking that would be an interesting thing to capture.  Planes, Trains, and Automobiles!  We'll see, maybe that opportunity will arise this summer.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Basil's Vet Trip Today

Basil has not had a good year so far.  He's had crystals in his bladder and urine, blockages, several trips to the veterinarian, and eventual surgery in late March.  Since that surgery and spending a month in a cone things have been going relatively well until recently we noticed him leaving little pink dots on the carpets.  He had a urinary tract infection, which he is more prone to now since the surgery.

Today I took Basil to the vet.  For as many trips out of the house this year as he's had, he still gets seriously stressed.  We prepared by not letting the cats see the carrier and then separating them with Hamish in the front of the house and Basil in the back, like we had to do for several weeks after the surgery.  He did not want to get in the carrier, but we got him in and he only howled a bit as I drove the few blocks to the vet's office.  My wife, meanwhile, had a family event to attend at that same time.  Once Basil and I got to the vet he was quiet and eerily calm, even letting me pet him in the carrier - until they tried to take him out of the carrier.  He didn't overtly attack as they had a good hold of his scruff, but he hissed and screamed bloody murder a lot.  He peed himself in the carrier, pooped on the table, briefly had is teeth looked at though he showed them to us lots, got a rabies vaccine and generally did not have a good time.  But they got enough pee out of the carrier to test and confirm the UTI.  We left with antibiotics, Gabapentin for his hyperesthesia (twitchy butt) and pill pockets.

He was quiet on the way home, and I could see the hope in his eyes when I got the carrier out of the car.  Once inside, he exited the carrier immediately (more poop in the carrier) and ran for a quiet corner and started cleaning himself.  I got out treats right away and he was right there eating them up, which was a good sign, so I gave him the first antibiotic in the pill pocket.  I let Hamish out of the front of the house and the cats greeted each other, but Basil did get hissy.  Since then, Basil has cleaned himself more and they hung out on the porch for some time and I only heard a few hisses since.  I think we'll be okay now.

Some time ago I mentioned that I wanted to write about Basil and how he'd been doing.  At that time I thought we were done with this kind of thing, but he got hissy with Hamish that very night.  Over the last several weeks things have actually been pretty good, the only issue is mornings and evenings when we give them wet food.  When they are about to get fed, Basil gets jumpy, defensive and is easily startled - leading to more hisses and running away.  For a week or two now he just stays out of the kitchen and we bring his bowl outside the kitchen door and put it on the inside front door mat and he seems happy with that.  Hamish, meanwhile, has shown more patience with his brother than I originally would have thought.  It can't be easy having your brother act weird and hiss at you a lot, but I think he could tell his brother was not well.

So, Basil's saga continues, poor thing.  At least we're back on track and hopefully he'll feel much better again soon.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Fire And Ice (Cream)

I don't think I ever saw an ice cream truck when I was a kid, but I knew them from books and TV.  Now I see them every summer - well, we mostly hear them.  I don't normally see them go down our street, but it kept getting louder as I sat by the fire last night.  I should have had my money ready!

Monday, May 27, 2019

Holiday Fire Pit Views

Happy Memorial Day, everyone.  Though today is rainy, the last two days have been wonderful.  I did as I said and sat by the fire last night.  I also took lots of pictures because I just enjoy taking pictures and I'm still loving the fire pit.  Sit a spell, enjoy the view.  Wish you were here!

Panoramic view makes the yard look bigger.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Plant Day 2019

Yesterday was our annual 'Plant Day,' the day we get plants and fill pots.  Normally I do this on my own, but my wife helped this year so we got it done faster than usual.  And more hands was certainly a big help when potting.  We filled the stump with pots, planted several different ones in the big planter out front, and got the usual two hanging pots, one for by the front door and one for the back.  We only planted one perennial, out front by the stairs, coral bells or something, and the hanging plant for out front is a smaller one this year.  I liked the clean look of the smaller white pot and simple yellow flowers.  On the other side of the stairs out front we decided to, sometime this summer, dig up the bulbs that are there and return the area to lawn.  The soil and lack of sun just aren't ideal for flowers and we find it rather unnecessary at this time.

We've had two beautiful days in a row (for a change), but tomorrow will bring scattered showers and storms again so the time was now.  I wanted to get this done when I was on vacation but that never happened, mostly due to the cool, wet weather at the time.  I think we got a good selection and we look forward to watching them grow.  Oh, my wife also got a couple pepper plants and some herbs for the garden.  We may not be the best gardeners, but we haven't given up!  The garden blog is a different story.  I just don't have the time or energy to keep up a separate blog for the garden stuff, so if I post anything about the garden from now on, it will be here.

Soon I'll post a full yard tour because I want to show more than just the potted plants, I just don't want to take the time tonight, honestly.  And I have work to do on those plants yet.  The arborvitae out front really took a hit over winter and are looking pretty shabby, and the burning bush out back did not come back this year.  It was very old and very overgrown, and only has a smattering of leaves this spring.  I'll have to take the chainsaw to it eventually, and it will seem very bare there until we replace it with something.  My wife has suggested a lilac as our other lilac is also a very old bush and this could happen to it any year now and we wouldn't be surprised.  There's only a couple blooms on it this spring, I think.

Not sure what else to say but I wanted to get this posted sooner than later.  Right after I post this I'll be going outside and sitting by the fire pit and watch the day fade into night.  Maybe I'll try posting a fire pit picture from my phone, or maybe not.  I also want to post about the cats soon, just to explain further how they have been getting along and how we've been trying to get things back to normal after Basil's surgery and all that comes with that.  Plus, cat pictures are cute!

A few more interesting pics from yesterday after the break.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Vacation Wrap-Up

It was nice while it lasted.  Tomorrow morning I will be getting up at stupid o'clock and going back to work.  But I still have today.

Since my last post I've gotten a few things done, but not much as my back required me to take it easy for a few days.  And the weather this second half of the week has been much cooler and wetter than I had hoped for.  I never did get out on the bike, which disappoints me, but we've had a rather cool and wet spring overall with just a few very nice days here and there.  Even today they're calling for rain most of the day so I'll be mostly staying in and catching up on videos and articles that I never seem to be current with.

Friday afternoon I tested my back and knees by walking to our local bar to have a few drinks, and my wife would show up after work and pick me up.  On the way I got a picture of Starkweather Creek at the end of the block, picture taken from the Milwaukee Street bridge.  The water is a bit high as you can only see the top layer of rocks along the side (at the end of our street, further up from this bridge view), and a check on the lake levels shows all 4 lakes at (what is currently set as) the summer maximum.  I've not heard anything about the lake levels lately, but they need to be lowered to prevent flooding issues like we had last year.  Unfortunately, it seems we may not have learned a thing from it.

Also during the walk I passed more community gardens along the railroad tracks.  There doesn't seem to be much activity yet, I'm sure due to the cool, wet spring so far.  We are behind compared to last year.  I hope we still have some time with moderate weather, rather than go straight from heating to air conditioning.  Open window weather is very nice, and we've only had a few opportunities so far this year.  After the walk we grilled out brats and I must have been in a picture taking mood as I took pictures of flowers and some of the trees over us.  I'll include some after the break, along with another picture of the cats, this time they're getting tall on the back of the computer chair.

Yesterday my wife and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary.  I had also planned on getting plants, but sleeping in late and a dreary day and forecast postponed those plans.  Also, recently it occurred to me that I have an acquaintance of over 30 years that owns a jewelry store, so I got my wife a rather nice anniversary gift and we went out for a nice dinner at a more upscale restaurant in town.  I know being married to me can't be easy, but I do try and I love my wife very much.  Cheers to you, Kate!