Saturday, January 31, 2009


9:00 AM, 19 degrees, wind SW, calm. The sky is overcast and there is some fog, the barometer predicts snow.
The dog sled races are this weekend, starting at 10:00 AM. Joan and I will watch out on Star Route, where the trail crosses the road. The eight dog teams run eighty miles in the two days, the six dog teams run sixty. It is a little warm for the dogs but great for the spectators. I will report on the race tomorrow. We had a wonderful whitefish dinner last night courtesy of neighbor Erick. Joan poaches fillets in a generous amount of white wine with onion and lemon slices. The best!

Friday, January 30, 2009


Friday, 8:00 AM. 0 degrees, wind W, calm. The sky is mostly overcast and the barometer predicts partly cloudy skies.
Our neighbors the Radtkes have been involved with area skiing for years. Kathy is a teacher and ski team coach, and she informed me of yesterday’s Northern Ski League high school downhill ski match at Mt. Ashwabay Recreation Area. I got there about 11:00 AM just as the competition was ending, but got the flavor of the event in any case. There were teams, coaches and parents from all over the region, the two little chalets overflowing with high spirits.
Bayfield and some other northern schools are too small and/or cash strapped to field football teams, and ski teams are a great alternative. Boys and girls go to meets together, it is much less expensive than many other sports, and makes good use of area resources. It is great fun and an introduction to a lifetime sport. For more information go to the NSL web site, and be sure to go watch a race or two if you are able.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Thursday, 8:30 AM. 14 degrees, wind W, calm. A light snow is falling, obscuring the Island.
It was a quiet walk, people seem to be in a hunkered down mood, economy and weather I suppose. Neighbor Erick caught five whitefish out near the south channel yesterday, and he just drove by with pickup and ATV to try his luck again. Take your compass and GPS, Erick!
Winter is a good time to see bark and other tree characteristics often obscured by foliage. The two trees pictured are of course the paper birch, Betula papyrifiera that everyone knows and loves, and the less well known river birch, Betula nigra, which is a more southern species but perfectly hardy north. Paper birch is very prone to insect and disease problems, particularly the bronze birch borer, which usually ends up disfiguring and killing most of those trees used in the landscape. Unless one knows and accepts the limitations of the paper birch, one will be very disappointed. The river birch, on the other hand, is very resistant to the borer and much easier to grow. It also has very attractive yellowish papery bark when young, although by the time it is fully grown it has lost that decorative characteristic. On the whole, river birch is a much better tree for landscape use, and is hardy enough to use as a street tree. If planted, paper birch should be used as background trees, preferably as a mass planting where they can be watered and never mowed under. Often landscape architects will use these trees as accents for large buildings and in other ways in which they are bound to fail, so beware!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Wednesday, 9:00 AM. 4 degrees, up from –3 at 8:00 AM. Wind S, calm. The sky is blue but hazy, the result of more moisture in the atmosphere. The barometer predicts snow but it is still too cold to produce much.
The red maple tree (Acer rubrum) flower buds are swelling noticeably, further evidence of the returning sun and ongoing biological activity in the trees in spite of the winter cold, but it will be several more months before they bloom.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Tuesday, 8:00 AM. –14 degrees, up from –6 at 7:30 AM. Wind W, calm. Te sky is clear except for lake smoke on the eastern horizon. The days are gradually getting longer and it should warm up some. The barometer predicts mostly sunny skies.
It wasn’t a bad walk, with no wind. I put on my flannel lined jeans this morning, not as efficacious as long Johns but not bad.
Neighbor Eric stuck his head out to say hello, and said he just heard on the radio that all this cold weather is cased by global warming. The only rebuttal I could think of was the old saw, “whether it’s cold or whether it’s hot, we’ll have weather, whether or not.”

Monday, January 26, 2009


Monday, 8:30 AM. –10 degrees, risen from –13 at 8:00 AM. The wind is calm, changed to the S. The barometer predicts partly cloudy skies, it has been too cold to snow.
It is a beautiful day, the sun about a third of the way on its journey north into spring.
Out walking I heard a persistent woodpecker call, probably a downy establishing a nesting territory. “This is my piece of the woods, keep out!”
If love is in the air, can spring be far behind? Yes, another two months.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Sunday, 8:15 AM. –13 degrees, wind WNW, light to moderate. The sky is mostly clear but the barometer predicts snow.
Everything looks frozen now, we are really in the depths of winter. Even the needles on the white pine trees look shrunken with the cold, hanging flaccid upon the branches.
The big wind chime on the Carlson’s porch was clanging away as we walked past…I wouldn’t say merrily. We met Mike walking to his Seagull Bay Motel, and Lucky wasn’t sure who or what he was, all bundled up. I should have put my long Johns on again.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Saturday, 8:a5 AM. -10 degrees, wind WNW, moderate with strong gusts. The sky is clear except for lake smoke on the eastern horizon, but the barometer predicts snow.
Yesterday included a true, wonderful surprise, a phone call opportunity to join John Thiel, owner of Wolfsong Adventures, on a dog sled trip. He had an extra place in a sled and asked if I would like to come along. You can imagine that I hightailed it out to his dogdom on Happy Hollow Road, ten miles west of Bayfield. By 9:30 AM I was feeding and watering dogs, helping to harness them up and ready them for the trail. The party for the morning was comprised of two couples, one from Marshfield, the other from the Twin Cities, John’s helper Tim, John and myself. It was a gregarious and hardy bunch of folks.
John and Mary Thiel are Bayfield entrepreneurs of the hardiest and happiest sort, running a summer sailing concession with three sailboats, the winter dog sledding business with over thirty dogs, and Wolfsong Wear, custom outdoor clothing of the highest quality, sewn mostly by Mary, by hand (this follows my own theory that it takes three separate incomes for independent survival in the Northland). They own eighty acres adjacent to thousands of acres of Bayfield County Forest land, so their sledding adventures take off right from their kennels.
The Wolfsong experience is totally hands-on, every customer being encouraged, one might say required, to feed the dogs, hook them up to the sleds, and drive the sleds at least some of the time. This is an immersion in mushing, which no participant will likely escape. That said, it is not really hard. What it is, is cold. We were faced with low temperatures and a biting wind, but no one was frozen, as the Thiels make certain that everyone is properly dressed, and they have plenty of cold weather gear to pass around, including snow boots for those who aren’t prepared for northern Wisconsin cold. I was happy to have on my deer hunting stuff. By the way, children are more than welcomed, they are catered to, the Thiels having two girls, six and nine years old. The dogs are Siberian huskies, not all that large, maybe averaging fifty or fifty-five pounds. They are sweet, gentle dogs, putting up with all sorts of antics from the humans involved. I found the hardest part of the whole experience to be putting on the dog harnesses, because I am not adept at visualizing how things work. There are collars, harnesses, towlines and more, all of which can get tangled, frozen stiff and difficult. But, eventually the dogs (five sleds, more than thirty dogs), all got fed, watered (a hot soup made from boiled pigs feet), hooked up and ready to go. John went through a brief training session as to how to handle the sled, and then we were off, several of us sitting in the sleds (actually laying down like race drivers) and the others driving, and we are off. The dogs want to go, and are extremely powerful. Hang on or you will be left unceremoniously behind. Down the woodland trail we go, bitter wind on the face, in your eyes, up your nose. Gee is right, Haw is left. The dogs may heed the driver or may not, it is a kind of cooperative venture. Uphill slower, downhill breakneck speed. Average, maybe fifteen miles per hour, but endlessly. These dogs are in good shape! This is like taking a dirt bike on a wild ride as fast as you can go. Forget about snowmobiles, this is truly exhilarating! We stop every once in a while (John and I are in the lead with a nine dog team, really fast) to see how everyone else is doing. Oops, here is a team with an empty sled trying to pass us. Someone fell off! Grab the dogs, wait for whomever to come panting up to reclaim the rig. Off again, going like the wind! At one stop John asks if I want to drive. You bet! How to do this: Keep hold of the bar, or the dogs will leave you in the snow. Keep your knees bent, lean back. It helps to have a low center of gravity and a little lead in your butt, definitely my strong points. To veer left, push down on the right runner, opposite to veer right. If going too fast down hill or into a curve, put your foot on the drag, a tethered piece of snowmobile track between the runners. To really stop, stand on the brake.
When stopped, keep a foot firmly on the brake and a strong hand on the bar, and don’t say anything that indicates we should continue. Any words that sound like go, on, ahead, even good dogs, will be interpreted as a command to run, which the dogs are all too eager to do, and will leave the driver running behind futilely trying to catch up. Actually, I found that I could do this all pretty well, I didn’t tip over, didn’t loose the team, had pretty good balance and found a sort of rhythm to the mushing. Lots of fun, and a real adrenaline rush. The only times I fell in the snow were when I clumsily tripped over the pull lines.
We were served a welcome hot lunch on a very frozen little lake in the absolute middle of nowhere, up to our knees in powder snow. Lunch was complicated by the fact that all the dogs had to be unhitched and hooked up to picket lines to rest (otherwise they get all tangled up, chew up their harnesses, and may generally misbehave) and then all sorted out and hooked up again for the return run. John says women generally do better at all this fuss because they are more patient and follow instructions better than guys. I would say everyone did well, no one lost patience and all, and each and every one had a terrific time. On the way back folks were getting tired, as evidenced by more empty sleds appearing here and there.
Once home the dogs had to be unharnessed, put on their picket lines, fed and watered. These are, I reiterate, wonderful, gentle, beautiful animals. They are kept in shape by constant exercise and training, in every season. Several of our dogs were old, one fourteen, attesting to the care and conditioning they all receive. Time must be spent socializing each dog every day, and it takes the whole Thiel family to do it.
We started at about 9:30 AM and finished at 1:30 PM. We spent about three hours actually mushing on the trail. This was a real adventure. And even an old dog like myself can still run with the pack. I am a bit shy on photos because it was so cold out on the trail that my camera froze up, but it would have been nearly impossible to to take action shots anyway considering huge musher mitts and everything else. For better photos go to Wolfsong
And what about the rest of John and Mary's day? Off on a mush in the afternoon with a bunch of kids, dog sledding for their nine year old’s birthday party.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Friday, 7:30 AM. 17 degrees, falling 6 degrees in the past hour. Wind NW, strong. The sky is overcast but the barometer Is up, predicting sunny skies. Here comes the Arctic blast! This morning I am off to Wolfsong Adventures to go along a dog sledding experience.
Yesterday about 11:00 AM I asked Joan if she wanted to go to lunch. Since I am normally a cheapskate and don’t take her to lunch very often, she was elated. “Where?” The Bell Street Tavern.” “That’s on the Island?” she frowned. “Just a short ride across the ice road,” I said. “It’s open and safe, all the signs are down,” I lied. “Well…” So we got in the four-wheel drive Dodge pickup, and went to Hwy I (I don’t know if some wag designated it that in honor of the ice road, but I would have), which is Washington Avenue and goes down the hill to the ferry landing, and in the depths of winter continues right onto the ice. We bumped down the embankment and past the “Travel at Your Own Risk” sign, lined up with the row of cast-off Christmas trees stuck in the snow as road markers, and rattled out onto the three mile long frozen road. The photos are pretty self-explanatory; Travel At Your Own Risk, Speed Limit 15MPH, Slow Down, etc. Pickup trucks and ice fishing tents were here and there; closer to shore for brown trout, further out for lake trout. The road is plowed very wide, and not very close to the line of marker trees, and with everything white and some fog one had to keep eyes on the plowed edge to stay on the road. The surface is pretty smooth at present, but can get very rough at times, and sometimes is filled with slush. I would not care to drive it at night, or in a blizzard, as I think I could easily get disoriented and wander off into the frozen vastness. If one had a GPS it might come in handy. The driving is slow and the trip across takes a while. The rescue wind sled waiting patiently at the Island end of the road sort of puts things into perspective.
We had a great lunch and toured the Island a bit before heading back. On the east side of the Island the lake is frozen as far out as the eye can see, but it looks unsafe and no one was out there. We did see deer, which leads me to conclude that the wolf packs have not come across on the ice road as yet. Anyway we had a nice diversion on a rather ordinary winter day, and one that probably can’t be easily duplicated. Just because our trip today was calm and uneventful, don’t get the idea that this can’t be a real adventure, or even an undertaking fraught with danger. The first winter we went across the ice road, it was March, and we were advised to put our convertible top down, as that was how one recent traveler had escaped unscathed. Then there is the story of the construction company that decided to move a house across on the ice. It went through, and bobbed about until spring, when a fishing tug put a line on it and towed it to shore. Then there was the Japanese tourist couple a few years ago that were insistent they would take their rented Mercedes across the rotting ice as an adventure they could remember for a lifetime. It went through, they escaped with their lives and being Japanese took a lot of pictures, and I am sure they are talking about it yet. The car was retrieved quickly as it was not far off shore in only eighteen feet of water. It started up right away. The German’s make good stuff. Remember though, as you drive across, that the channel is 180 feet deep in the middle. Last year I saw a pickup go through, but it got stuck going down and froze in over night. It took a long time to chop it out and haul it in.
A couple of years ago our neighbor Sherman, who is a rescue diver, got a call that a pickup had gone through and there might be people down inside. He got out there and into his gear, and looked down. "Any chance they'd be alive?" "Nope." Sherman, who is no dummy, told them to grapple it and pull it up, he wasn't going to swim down there. Looking down into the clear cold water they could read the license plate, it was looked up and the owner was some guy in Red Cliff. They called the owner's phone number, assuming they would have to explain to someone that he was probably dead. Instead they got a groggy voice that admitted to being the owner of the pickup. It seems he and another guy had closed up the tavern on the Island the night before, got onto the ice road and decided to take a shortcut. They managed to get out as the truck went down, clawed their way onto the ice and, being well fortified with antifreeze walked home by dead reckoning and went to bed. There are also stories that are not humorous, as when snowmobiles have gone in with loss of life, but they usually have nothing to do with the ice road itself. Generally speaking the dangerous conditions are in the late winter when the ice is weakening and being moved about by wind and current. Right now, nothing can go wrong. Go wrong. Go wrong. Go wrong.
I wrote this account especially for some friends of our daughter Greta’s, all of whom live in Ohio and are regular Bayfield Almanac readers and have assumed the ice road was just some sort of tall story told in northern Wisconsin gin mills. Read and believe, you doubting Buckeyes!
Go Badgers!

1/22/09 ARTS FOR ALL

Thursday, 8:30 AM. 22 degrees, wind NW, calm. The sky is overcast with snow clouds, but the barometer predicts mostly sunny skies (and it will soon get cold again).
Joan and I attended a program last night at the library’s Cabin Fever series. It was inspiring and uplifting. Dwayne Szot, artist, comedian, humanitarian and entrepreneur is owner of Arts For All (see the web site located on 5th and Rittenhouse in Bayfield. Growing up in a foster home that had “children of all abilities,” Dwayne developed a special empathy with his handicapped siblings. He grew up a mechanical tinkerer, went to art school and eventually turned his many talents to providing severely handicapped children and adults the ability to express themselves artistically and emotionally by turning their wheel chairs into fantasmagorical arts machines. His devices, for wheel chairs and not, and their artistic and therapeutic effects have to be seen to be appreciated. Wheel chairs and power chairs become “Willie Wonka”devices that paint, draw with chalk, blow bubbles and spin ge-gaws, giving artistic and emotional expression and joy to even the most severely disabled among us. He and his wife travel the world bringing hope and joy to the handicapped, and they have just returned from their second business trip to Saudi Arabia. Bayfield is privileged indeed to have these folks and their wonderful business as a part of our community.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Wednesday, 8:30 AM. 19 degrees, wind NW, light. The sky is rapidly filling with gray clouds blowing in on the winds. The barometer predicts partly cloudy skies. It was a spectacular sunset yesterday, the kind which might be considered a portent.
We had chop suey last night, with rice. Lucky looked longingly at us throughout the meal. Dogs love rice. Why? It is better not to ask.
Dogs are wonderful companions, and can be our best friends, at least if we have no other friends. However, they are not people, and if we expect them to be, we and they will both be vastly disappointed. Case in point: why do dogs love rice? If I could talk with Lucky, and he with me, the answer would be, I suggest, something like this: "Boss, I love rice because it tastes exactly like fresh rabbit guts, especially with lots of soy sauce on it." Or something worse.
So, don't even think about conversing with your dog. Teach him to obey a few simple commands and say "good boy" and pat him on the head a lot, and leave conversing with him to Dr. Dolittle

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Tuesday, 8:00 AM. 13 degrees, wind NW, calm. The sky is overcast but lightening, an inch of snow has fallen, and the barometer predicts clearing skies.
As President Elect Obama is inaugurated this historic day, it is impossible for me not to recall my own introduction to racism, “Jim Crow,” and the legitimacy of the then-incipient civil rights movement. It was early 1953, when I traveled for the first time to the deep South with my parents (and the last trip I would take with both of them). Milwaukee in those years had relatively few black people, and I had little contact with them. However, I was raised to have an inherent sense of justice, and the sudden realism that “colored” water fountains, and “colored” restrooms (not even for both sexes) and “colored” waiting rooms actually existed mystified, embarrassed and infuriated me. These things became indelible in my memory, and it would take a long time for myself and everyone else to sort it all out.
Many years later I reflected on these memories as I stood alone at dawn on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the black scar of the Vietnam Memorial on my left, the more distant and traditional Jefferson and Washington memorials on my right. I was humbled and gratified by what it meant to be an American, and to be free, regardless of race, religion, social status or national origin, with no secret police dogging my early-rising footsteps, or bureaucratic lackeys questioning my thoughts or actions.
So, today it is with a vivid sense of the true greatness of our country that I welcome the advent of the Obama presidency, centuries in the making; and may God continue to bless America, the land of terrifying, relentless, ever hopeful change.
The Ice Road is open today, even though the signs still say Closed, and Unsafe. Sort of like the new road we are going down as a nation. It may appear to some an unsafe road to travel, but we have traveled unsafe or even closed roads before, and always made it across to the other side. Occasionally we have gone through the ice, but have always pulled ourselves out. The new road beckons, and it is time to go down it.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Monday, 8:00 AM. 8 degrees, wind WNW, calm. The sky is overcast and a very light snow is falling. The Island is just barely visible, a long low smudge on the eastern horizon. The barometer predicts snow.
I am no ornithologist, but the cardinal is one of those birds that is always talked about: “didn’t used to stay the winter,” “must be getting a lot warmer, see a lot of those southern birds now,” etc. They certainly have been pretty common winter residents in Bayfield since our own arrival here almost eight years ago. Birds are highly mobile and certainly can take advantage of changing habitat factors such as climate, and may very well increase their range in a matter of decades or more, and probably can decrease their range just as rapidly if conditions warrant. My 1917 Birds of America cites southern Wisconsin as within the breeding range of the cardinal, whereas my 1963 Birds of Wisconsin indicates their range is throughout the state, an evident increase in year-round range of hundreds of miles within half a century. There is an interesting 1947 study by Howard Young, available online, which tracks the expansion of the range of the cardinal in the state starting in 1900. The epicenter of the cardinal population is indeed south, in Kentucky and Missouri, and they have spread continually from there, the northern extreme of their range seemingly being the Boreal forest region, of which Bayfield is just on the southern fringe. The Great Plains is evidently a barrier to the west. So it makes some sense that people hereabouts have witnessed and remember fluctuations in winter and breeding residence of these birds over the years. Another thing to consider in animal and bird ranges; are the habitats the change element, or are the animals and birds adapting to an unchanging habitat? In any case, whether measured in decades or centuries, the cardinal is a southerner who had become a Yankee as well.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Sunday, 9:00 AM. 4 degrees, wind S, calm. The sky is ovecast and big fluffy flakes are drifting gently down. The barometer predicts partly cloudy weather.
The Stormy Kromer Cap is one of the icons of the Northland, an essential part of the outdoorsman’s (or man about town’s)wardrobe in these parts. Its lineage goes back over one hundred years, and was born out of peculiar necessity. Stormy Kromer was a semi-pro baseball player and railroad engineer. He always wore a baseball cap, but often when sticking his head out the engine window the wind blew his cap off. His wife was a seamstress, and he asked her to devise a practical way to keep his caps on his head. She developed a variation of the typical baseball cap, but with pull-down ear laps which would snug the cap around his ears and back of his head in such a way that the cap did not need to be tied under the chin, but stayed on snugly on its own. Not only did this solve the problem of losing caps while driving his engine, but it created a cap that kept ears and neck warm. The cap soon evolved into a winter chapeau, made of good wool, windproof and water proof, sticking to the sportsman’s head no matter how blustery the weather.
One potential problem with the Kromer cap is that many do not understand how the ear flaps function. You pull them down over the ears, one does not roll them down as with most cap ear flaps. This is essential, because pulling the flaps down allows the cap to hug the ears and head very tightly, it conforms to the ears and nape of the neck precisely. Properly fitted and affixed, this cap has everything…it will not blow off, it is warm, protects the ears and has a proper sun and weather visor. I have been told by some skeptics however that I, at least, look like I just got off the boat when I wear it. But, style is in the eye of the beholder, is it not?
Stormy Kromer's cap is still proudly made in America and is well worth the cost.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Saturday, 9:00 AM, 3 degrees, wind SW, calm. The sky is overcast, the Island obscured by falling snow, and we have 4” of new powder. The barometer predicts snow.
It’s still cold but a veritable heat wave compared to the past week.
Neighbor Gordy has a new snow scoop, and Lucky sure didn’t like it, barking and worrying it as Gordy pushed it along. Lucky has developed some idiosyncrasies as he has gotten on in years, and to be honest so have I. But as yet I don’t bark at the neighbors.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Friday, 8:00 AM. –20 degrees, wind W, calm. The sky is cloudless except for billowing lake smoke on the eastern horizon.
I cannot pass up the opportunity to comment briefly on the "miracle on the Hudson" plane crash yesterday. New York is, I think, the greatest city in the world, and the people among the best. I worked in the City for some years, and have a vivid memory is of an accident on an on ramp to the West Side Highway. A couple of guys in T shirts and shorts walked into the mess, and directed heavy traffic safely around the accident, acting exactly like traffic cops. The amazing thing is that everyone, everyone obeyed these guys! There's no one like a New Yorker!
Two blue jays at the feeder are puffed up as big as crows. Yesterday I saw a red squirrel pop up out of the snow like a Jack-in-the box, shake itself, and pop back under into the tunnel it has been using to run from tree to tree.
I think the ice road will open soon, it must be frozen thick enough now, although there are other factors to consider, such as quality of the ice, currents, etc.
The photos are of the big wind sled. The interior has bench seats and I am told it is a hard, noisy, smelly ride. The two big engines can move it at a good clip but I think the pilots are usually pretty conservative, as rivets can pop, etc.
The wind sleds are owned by the Village of LaPointe on the Island, and the operating budget is provided by fares, a subsidy from the Bayfield School District, and donations from the Madeline Island Ferry Line. The big sled was purchased several years ago from a Canadian manufacturer with a federal grant. They are expensive to run and maintain and are not a profit making venture, so everyone is happy when the ice road opens. The Island would be virtually isolated for weeks without them. The wind sleds, the ice road and the ferries are all expensive operations, but a lot cheaper than a boondoggle bridge, and think of the sense of romance and adventure we would loose!
No walk for Lucky and me until it warms up considerably. Like most of us Northlanders, we are hardy souls, but we are not completely nuts!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Thursday, 8:00 AM. -18 degrees(on this date last year it was 17 degrees above), wind W, light with stronger gusts. The sky is clear, the moon still hanging in the western sky. The lake smoke rises in the east beyond Madeline Island.
Our morning walk lasted only ten minutes, Lucky doing his three-legged hop almost from the outset. I put long underwear on for the first time since deer season, and they will stay on until this cold snap is over. My grandfather kept his on all winter, without benefit of washtub for them or himself, and by spring they could stand up without assistance. That is just the way things were. Anyway, no pretenses this morning about “warmer near the lake.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Wednesday, 8:15 AM. -4 degrees, wind NW, calm. The sky is clear except for clouds on the eastern horizon. The barometer predicts mostly sunny skies.
The morning walk was a little slick, everything coated with a fine white hoar frost, the result of a foggy, misty “lake effect.” I can’t call it “lake effect snow.” The clouds on the eastern horizon are “lake smoke.” The open water beyond the islands evidently is now freezing. We did not get the extreme cold that was predicted, but I assume areas inland and in Minnesota are in the minus double digits. Summer’s “cooler near the lake” becomes winter’s “warmer near the lake.”
The large clump of grass pictured is fountain grass, a non-native that is very attractive but can be pretty invasive . Tall native grasses like Indian Grass or Big Bluestem would be my preference and are also very effective in the landscape.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Tuesday, 8:30 AM. –7 degrees, wind WNW, calm. The sky is mostly clear and the barometer predicts partly cloudy skies.
It is a clear, cold, crisp day, the sun bright and everything silver tinted, with 2” of fresh snow reflecting rays of the gradually returning sun.
A second Amaryllis is blooming, a salmon/red beauty sporting eight blooms and buds on two stalks. Its very presence on the dining room table defies the deep freeze of winter. The bulbs in this pot are at least ten years old. I don’t remember them blooming at all last year but they are certainly making up for their recalcitrance.