Friday, December 3, 2010

Festival of Trees, 2010 Edition

Santa's in the basket on our entry at Wausau's Festival of Trees.  By now all the decorated trees and other Christmasy decor and gifts have been auctioned off, packed up and delivered to new homes, since we did our tree trimming on Nov. 21 and the displays and silent auctions ended on Nov. 28.

Our craft group chose a theme of "A Victorian Christmas Tea" this year.  Like last year, nearly everything we put on the tree was handmade.   Besides the tree, we also prepared a gift basket with a teapot, pair of tea cups and saucers, a selection of fine teas from Johanna May's Tea Shoppe in Weston, a book (The Twelve Teas of Friendship), jams, tea towels and cloths, and a cross-stitched teacup wall hanging.
You are welcome to browse photos of other entries from the 2010 Festival of Trees at this link:
 (Hope it works!)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Who Stole the Falls Out of Rib Falls?

Four-plus inches of rain on Thursday, Sept. 23 . . . lots of areas had it worse than us, but water levels are the highest we've seen.  Below is left side of the falls at Rib Falls -- water must be two - three feet over the highest rocks.

And the right side of the falls . . .   not much rock showing.
Then the downstream side of the bridge:

Oh, oh, hope they don't have an open house scheduled here.  Normally the Big Rib River is not visible and is 1/4 mile south of this driveway.  Located north of Hwy 29 and west of Hwy O, 1 mile, on Dahlke Rd.

The last two photos are along the Little Rib River:  the tipped pine tree is in Town of Berlin on Lincoln Drive 1/2 mile west of Hwy O.  The brush heap is at the bridge on Hwy O and Woodland Drive in Town of Stettin.  (Woodland Drive itself was under water just west of Hwy O.)
Did not get photos of the flood at the bridge in Marathon City -- WSAW Channel 7 TV was filming there when we went by this morning.  Some 6 or 7 houses had to be evacuated there.  That will be on tonite's news.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Another Expedition into History

Sept. 21 the Pommerscher Verein (Pomeranian People) were invited to participate in the Diversity Day event in the park at the High Ground  War Memorial at Neillsville.  About 120 students, from grades 5 through 10, came through in 6 waves, 20 or so at a time, to learn about Pomeranian ancestors, the Platt Deutsch language and tracht, reasons for leaving the old country, and ways of travel to the new country. 

Interesting bits: 
One of the 6th graders studied the Kleinschmidt family’s 100th-year poster and noticed the great-grandson’s picture in the lower right corner.  “That is my cousin,” he said.  It’s a small world, even in Wisconsin.

No, our ancestors did not get from southeast Wisconsin to central Wisconsin by airplane, car,  tractor, nor by submarine!  Sorry kids, but they didn’t have those machines “way back when.”  Those were some of the wild guesses.   But nearly every group had someone who came up with “walking” as a way to get to central Wisconsin.  Right on.

We shared some songs in Platt Deutsch:  Op Wisconsin, Du Bist Mien Suhnsheen, and Prost, Prost, Prost.  We also had copies of some German word puzzles and mazes, and had “German” candy (Gummi Bears) to hand out.

Bonnie and David Radtke anchored the Pomeranian display . . .
Literally anchored it, because David engineered the rope and clamp arrangement that kept our posters and easels from blowing over.  The best thing one could say about the weather is that it kept improving throughout the day, from foggy rain to sunshine.  It did not affect the children, who were enthusiastic and attentive.

Besides our Pomeranian display, there was also a couple representing Slovenia, wearing beautiful tracht, and a lady demonstrating Native American musical instruments.  Those were the two whom we saw; we missed seeing several other groups.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

An Expedition in Marathon County History

'Twas wet and windy with temps only mid-fifties, but two busloads of Marathon Junior High School students did a two-mile (or more!) hike around downtown Wausau this morning.  They were given GPS points and clues to about nine specific historical markers (or buildings).   As each small group reached their first destination they needed to learn about the significance of that marker and answer a couple thought-provoking questions before getting coordinates and clue for the next site.  Of course, we "docents" at each site tried to add more to the students' information.  The docents also learned new, neat stuff too!

The kids did very well.  There was no grumbling about the weather; they were focused on solving their questions.  Perhaps the hiking helped warm them up.  (And there was hot pizza at the end of the trip.)
World War I memorial:  the kids are too young to know that the "backpack" hanging on the soldier's chest has a gas mask hanging out of it.

Punching in GPS coordinates --  a couple units didn't work, but the word clues and adult guides got the place figured out.  Here the WW II (and Korean war and Vietnam war) markers commemorate the Marathon County soldiers who gave their lives to the cause.  The question here was:  how many women are named on these markers?  [Ans:  none.]  And why?  [Ans:  Because women were not allowed in combat then.  I think the 1990's, the Gulf War, is when women first went into combat.]

At the Battle of the Bulge marker:  the docent had an uncle who fought in that battle.  The kids knew who Winston Churchill was (he is quoted on the marker), and they knew it was in WW II.

These kids will be following the theme of war and peace for several weeks after this -- most of their school lessons will involve the theme.  I believe they will finish up with a public display of what they've learned.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Walking On Water

A two-inch rain and thunder storm that grumbled around most of last night raised river levels considerably for today.  There was enough water that these boys/young men deemed it safe to jump off the rocks at Eau Claire Dells in eastern Marathon County.  Although the series of photos looks like only one guy in action, there were really 3 guys, all dressed alike and about the same size.  We're guessing the drop was about 15 feet from their take-off spot.   It's not a sanctioned activity!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer Storm Track

A followup to Tuesday's storm track through Marathon County:  We personally were not hit hard.   We took a ride around the "block" -- around several blocks -- and saw some serious crop damage in a swath about 1.5 miles wide going from NW to SE through the towns of Hamburg, Berlin, and Maine -- somewhat parallel to County Hwy A.

Corn and soybeans shredded by hail, for example. Grain fields flattened. A few uprooted trees, a bunch of broken trees and downed branches.  I think one part of Hwy A was closed off a while due to downed trees, branches and power poles.   One metal shed roof on Hwy A was peeled partly off.  One Ginseng garden had slatted wooden shade panels going every which way; another couple ginseng gardens with black shade nets ripped loose.  Did not take pictures.   Local newspaper's pictures were mostly of in-town stuff; doesn't look like they got out to the boonies.

However!    if the old German folk saying holds true, we should be just about done with this year's storm track.  The saying -- in English, because I can't do the Plattdeutsch version -- says that if there is a hard enough rain on mid-summer's day (June 21)  to raise little bubbles when it hits the pavement, which was true here this June, then there will be another 6 weeks of wet weather.  ("Then the farmer can sleep";  I guess because it's too wet to go in the fields.)
Credit goes to Gary Klingbeil of Wausau for knowing German proverbs; aka "Sprichworter" aka "Bauernregel"  = "Farmers Rules"

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer Theme, Continued

Left:  Minnie Morgan Daylily

        Below:  "Flower Talk";  the Wild Horses daylily  (left) and Red Roses daylily (I think).
                                          Above:  just another summer sunset.
                                          Below:  Leadplant, a prairie plant.

Oops, sorry, it's the Elegant Candy Daylily.  The Fab. Christmas flower is all dark maroon, not two-toned, and it's also not as ruffly.
[Had a terrible time getting cursor to a place where I could type text today.]

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer . . . Clouds and Flowers

It's past Mid-Summer by 2 weeks,  hot and muggy now, but our mid-Wisconsin 86 degrees is nothing compared to the misery (102 degrees) in New York and the Northeast.

The glorious freckled white lily is called "Muscadet," a gift from Agnes Dahlman.  The petals span 10 inches -- honest truth!   The lilies below are both the Orienpet type.  As Agnes said, they are lilies on steroids; very vigorous, nice and tall and sturdy, and prolific bloomers.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Seasons Are Reversed?

From April 27, when Spring was just bustin' out -- as in the hillside photos above -- to May 7 is just 10 days, but what an ugly reversal:
The gold finches loaded up for a freezing night.  33 Degrees last night; colder tonight.  I moved all the plants from the plastic-covered greenhouse into the house and garage where they'll have to make do until it warms up outside again.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Early Spring, Continued

                      Remember the old song that went "How do the trees put on their robes of green?"
                                                               "They leave them out."
I caught our soft maple doing that last evening (April 21), then made four "kaleidoscopes" from the photos.  The original images are at the end of this entry.

This year's kaleidoscopes are maybe not as good as last year's -- see the June 2009 entry for comparison.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring Equinox . . .

Report from rural Mid-Wisconsin: 
The sunsets range from March 22 (just past the equinox) (the top photos) to tonight, April 7 (bottom two).   In between were a spring shower and a hawk of some kind.

Crocus have had a longish blooming time:  were ready to open about March 14, then waited out a cold week, and have been at it ever since.  Daffodils are close to opening.  The first batch of tomato seedlings are 5 inches high, but have had to stay inside this week.