Sunday, May 31, 2020

Nationwide Protests, Again

This is big.  This ain't right.  This is tonight, here in Madison.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Warning - Signs!

As I was beginning my summer-long ritual of cutting grass today I saw some new additions down the street by Starkweather Creek.  Actually, my third time mowing today but the first two times were only partial mows as grass in some areas grew faster than others this spring, so my first time mowing the whole lawn this year.  Anyway, the new signs were notable because we had just walked past the area yesterday and hadn't noticed anything different then.  Yes, we started going on short daily walks together this last week.  Both for exercise and to get out of the house more.  Now, how many more subjects can I add to one paragraph?

The sign warning of PFAS in the creek had been swapped out for a more durable metal sign, and a sign was added to encourage social distancing on the bike path.  I've heard that hardly anyone wore masks while on the bike path, but that was a few weeks ago so I hope that's changed.  Staying six feet away could be an issue on the narrower parts of the paths but usually there's room to step to one side.  Oh well, Wisconsin got a grade F on following the CDC recommendations of social distancing, mask wearing and gatherings for a reason.  Even though we Americans apparently are allowed to get 20 cm closer to each other than most of the rest of the world.

I almost didn't notice it, but off to the left of the slide area is what looks like a camera, facing south along the creek.  It didn't look like it was hooked up yet as it had a wire coiled around it and tape over the front, but still it made me wonder why?  Is it a trail cam to capture canoeists, to monitor activity on the creek, or to see if anyone is using the canoe/kayak slide the city installed last year?  Maybe I'll find an article in the paper on it soon.  Once it seems to be in use I may have to find my Halloween mask and get up to some hijinx down by the creek.

After the break are some closer pics if you're interested in reading the signs.  And I had a fire last night and I always seem to take pictures so I'll throw some of them in there, too.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Plant Day 2020

Yesterday was our annual spring plant day, when we get plants and fill pots.  With the current conditions we didn't want to go to a big place where there would be lots of people, so we went to a smaller, more local place and picked out a few things to fill the tree stump again this year.

Also, last weekend my wife planted several new plants, many in the tree stump area.  I'm glad we got the green coated chicken wire because it is much less of an eyesore, but if the plants will have any hope of surviving the rabbits they will need protection until they are better established.

Speaking of the rabbits, there's been a couple around (at one time I saw 3 at once in the back yard) but it still doesn't seem to be as many as last year - for now.  And I have chipmunks digging dens on the side of the house again.  I already trapped one (humanely) and let him loose down by the creek, but I may have to do it again.  Did I ever mention the time I trapped a squirrel?  Probably.

Several posts ago I wrote about the solar plastic owl I bought to hopefully keep the rabbits away.  Remember the clothesline post I was thinking of putting it on?  Well, I was out beside it and felt the top to make sure it wasn't rotted - and it snapped off in my hand.  The part that was in the ground was all rotten and just gave way at my light touch.  It surprised me when it happened, but not when I thought about it more.  I guess the surprising part should be how it stayed upright this long.  So far I have put the owl on a post of the back steps a couple times for a few hours, and it does seem to work.

So anyway, with nowhere to pull the clothes line to I took the old roll-up clothesline thing off the side of the garage.  It got used as a shelf more than anything, usually for a bluetooth speaker or just a place to put my phone.  The bolts are still there, maybe I'll put a little shelf there.  When it gets a little warmer it will be time to get going on the cat box area again.  This could be a quick little side project at that time.  Maybe.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Wings Over Wisconsin

Yesterday was Wings Over Wisconsin, a flyover of several hospitals in the lower part of the state as a thank you to all the healthcare workers.  Yes, the orange one ordered these flyovers through Operation American Resolve without realizing the cost of such flights, so our local Air National Guard integrated this into one of their usual training exercises.

By coincidence, the day before I finally got lucky and got a short video of one of the F-16s we have now based at Truax Field.  Yesterday I had the schedule, same as you see above, but I had no idea which way they would be taking off or landing or if I would even catch a glimpse as all the Madison hospitals are on the other side of the isthmus.  And jets are powerful, they get up and down much quicker than passenger aircraft.

As I was outside waiting I decided to take video of a squirrel romping around in the treetops.  Of course as soon as I started he settled down, but a few seconds later a passenger plane came in for a landing so I got a pretty good shot of that.  Later, as the jets were due to arrive back to fly over the Madison hospitals I actually did see them, though at a distance.  At one point I could see all 4 through the trees.  It was brief, but I finally got video of the F-16s!  I will keep trying for better.

Below is all 3 videos; a jet from Monday evening, passenger plane from yesterday evening and the jets in the flyover later last evening.  Best in full screen, jets are small in the last part.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Cat Tree Shuffle

Our cats, Basil and Hamish, turned 8 years old on April 20.  We didn't have a party or anything like that, but they were due for a new cat tree.  We get them one for their birthday every couple of years but for some reason I dragged my feet on it a bit this time.  After the smaller, first cat tree we found a nice, sturdy, tall one and while that second one, with the lighter carpet seen here, seemed a little higher quality than the brown one they replaced it with, we haven't found anything better since.

This blog is older than the cats, here you can see cat trees number one, two and three when they were new.  And, of course, this is the fourth.

When the first one got old we put it on the porch and put the new one in the house, as we've done each time since. The very first one got trashed when we got number three, but this time I took both the old ones and put the best parts of each together to make a pretty good one for the porch.  I'm not sure the cats liked seeing their porch tree dismantled, but it's now much cleaner and most of the frayed sisal rope pieces have been replaced with at least better ones, and the crow's nest part is brown now while the rest is the lighter carpet.  I just couldn't get the lighter top part clean enough.

In the picture, left is the second oldest, middle is the new one (go figure with the cats on it) and on the right is the previous one.  I didn't notice at the time I took the picture yet, but I put it together as a mirror image of the previous two, so I disassembled to make it the same since I think it works better for the cats looking out the windows.  And I seem to remember having to assemble and reassemble the ones before so why break with tradition, right?

Not terribly exciting, but it gave me something to do for a couple afternoons.  Happy belated birthday, Basil and Hamish, welcome to middle age!

Monday, May 4, 2020

Spring Weekend

We had a beautiful spring weekend, by far the best weather we've had this year.  The plants are growing well, trees are budding and the rabbits are back.  On Saturday we - mostly my wife - got lots of yard work done outside.  It was also the first day of the year we had all the windows open to let in that fresh spring air.  We just had to get the grill out, hamburgers for lunch and bratwurst for dinner.  Yes, we grilled out twice in the same day.  Why not?

Even though it was so nice out, it was also overcast most of the day.  Of course, until I started a fire.  It was still nice out by the fire, but very different than last time.  The temperature got up to 74ºF so I was in shorts and t-shirt rather than last fire when it was 48ºF and I was in long pants and jacket.  It was nice out there for a while but the wind picked up so I had to smother the fire eventually.  I have a lid for the firepit so I put the lid on it.

Sunday was also very nice but much more windy so it chilled too much with windows open like the day before.  And it sounds like this will be it for a while, unfortunately.  I think we may even be in line for snow flurries again later in the week.  Ah, yes, welcome to Wisconsin.  If you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes...

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Lazy fool, any excuse to get out of chores and have a fire!

No leaves yet, but they're coming.