Saturday, April 26, 2014

Was It A UFO?

It was about 11:15 pm on April 25, 2014. I had just gotten ready for bed. I have taken my flannel sheets off the bed and replaced them with regular cotton sheets, but I haven't taken off my electric blanket. It was a bit chilly so I turned the blanket on for a little while. I got all cozy, but the room seemed especially light. I opened my eyes and could see a bright light coming in the window. Being slightly startled, I got up and looked out the window. Wowza! Something was out on our marsh, and it was coming in our direction. I got my husband up. We watched it come closer and closer. I looked through binoculars but it was too hard to see. The light was blinding. My husband opened the patio door and went out on the deck. He was certain it was a UFO. I stood behind him in my bare feet on the cold deck boards. Then he yelled "What are you looking for?".   There was no answer, but it turned around and slowly went back the way it came. Then in the distance I heard "Goodbye". The aliens could speak English. Then when they turned a little,  I could see it was a boat.  I could see the shapes of people. I could hear them laugh. Then I saw them casting out a white net or a line of some sort. Slowly they moved toward the river, and then they were gone.  My husband said he was correct, it was a UFO (Unidentified Floating Object).

Blinded by the light out on our pond.

Then they started to move away.

And then they were gone.

We stayed up for a while talking about what just happened.  We know it is sturgeon spawning season which I wrote about a couple days ago  We know it is walleye spawning season, and there is a limit on the number of walleye a person can catch.  We were sure that who ever it was out there was up to no good and probably doing something highly illegal.  We were certain they were poaching sturgeon or walleye.  We finally settled down again, the bed was nice and warm on my cold feet and we went to sleep.  The funny part is that my dad was in the next room with all this going on, and he didn't hear a thing.  He claims he doesn't sleep that well, but he did last night.

This morning my husband called the DNR to see if they had any boats out looking for sturgeon.  They said no, but it is Carp bowfishing season.  It was probably just some people fishing for carp or maybe catfish with a bow and arrow.  It is a legal sport.  We have seen them do this during the day, but we have never noticed night fishing before. 

This is the type of boat we saw.  It has a platform, spotlights and a big fan like an airboat would have.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Another Busy Day On The Homefront With Wood Ducks and More

Today it has been a very very busy day on the home front.  I have not gotten anything done.  The minute I start something, I see some new sign of summer.  I got up at 6:00am today because I knew it was going to be a sunny warmish day.  The forecast for the next few days isn't nearly as nice.  The first thing I always do in the morning is make coffee.  It only takes three minutes with my awesome and very old Bunn coffee maker.  When it's done I relax in the chair and look outside.  I love this time in the morning when everything is quiet, and no one else is up.  Today the first thing I noticed was all the wood ducks have paired up.  Up until this point they would hang out in a group with a few pairs mixed in.  Today a pair was swimming in the water, a pair was sitting in the tree and a pair was walking right past the wood duck house and climbing the hill.

Pair of wood ducks sitting in the tree right outside our dining room window.

Male wood duck walking up the hill away from the water.

Either the same duck or another came to sit on my deck railing.

Next I saw a great big bird out in the marsh.  It didn't have a white head but it was as large as an eagle.  I couldn't get close enough to see what it was, but when it flew it was gigantic.  It takes three to five years for an eagle to get its adult coloring.  This could have been a young one.

The big bird is sitting in the photo about half way up to the left of the tree.

In spite of the cooler water temperatures, the turtles are peeking out.  The sun probably feels good.  Soon there will be tons of them out sunning themselves on any branch or surface they can find.  The flooding makes it a little more difficult.

The leaves are budding out.  The pussy willows are gone and the willow is now getting its leaves.  The red winged blackbirds like to sit in the willow tree.

Pussy Willow bush is getting leaves.

Tamarack Tree is getting it's new needles.  Tamarack trees are pine trees that lose their needles like a deciduous tree.

The most convincing sign today was the return of the Tree Swallows.  They usually compete with the Bluebirds for birdhouse space, but there aren't any bluebirds in our yard today.  I see them on the property but they must not be ready to nest.  The Tree Swallows always settle on the same house.  No matter how many choices we give them, they like the blue-gray house.

I could hear them squawking at each other as soon as I went outside.  One must want to live here and the other doesn't.

All this has happened, and it is only noon.  I need to go and get some chores done.  If anymore signs of summer happen, I will report on another day.  Considering we live in the middle of nowhere, there is a lot happening today.  Even the common Male Mallard duck was ready for his close up.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sturgeon Spawning Season In Wisconsin

The sturgeon are spawning again in this area.  I wrote about sturgeon spearing and a little bit about the spawning process last year. Click on this link if you want to read more about the sturgeon.

We knew it was getting close to sturgeon spawning season 2014.  Then last night my daughter got a call from her neighbor.  He said the DNR was down by the Fox River netting sturgeon to tag.  They were tagging the fish so their behavior and habits can be monitored.  Since her son is fascinated with wildlife, fish and prehistoric creatures, they went to see the process.  He got to touch the sturgeon and ask questions. I bet all of his classmates are getting stories today.

They use a net to capture the sturgeon.

They take measurements of the fish.

Here they are putting a device under the skin so they can keep track of that individual fish.

Being a little bit jealous that my daughter and grandson got to participate in such a fun adventure, we took a little trip to see if we could also see a sturgeon.  We didn't quite know where to look, but we went to the city park on the Fox River.  There was a policeman walking along the trail so we asked him if he had seen any.  He said there were some a few feet down the trail.  We could see the fin action from where we were standing.  I almost ran to the spot.  We were very lucky to see them.  There is a boardwalk and when the river flooded the boardwalk became a few inches under water.  Apparently the sturgeon flopped over the top and landed in shallow water trapping them between the boardwalk and the shore.  As I was trying to take some pictures, the DNR warden came walking up.  He explained that the sturgeon were trapped, and they would have to find a way to release them.  He said the male sturgeon have to be 14 years old and the females 20 years old before they spawn.  He also said that the water has to be 54 degrees.  Since the water temperature has gone down because of the cooler weather we have had in the last couple day, the fish wouldn't be in our town for several days.  At that time they will bring in a crew to tag the fish in Princeton.  Maybe we will see them again.  Thank you Mr. Game Warden for being so nice.

Sturgeon don't have teeth, they sense food with their feelers (barbels).

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day Cornflake Haystacks

Everyday is Earth Day in my world, but today it is officially Earth Day 2014.  I thought I should make a Tuesday recipe related to earth day but I couldn't think of anything.  I looked up some recipes and many of them were based on the blue marble earth.  They had a lot of blue and green food coloring.  I don't like using food coloring especially red dye.  I think some of those artificial colorings cause a lot of behavior problems in children and probably in adults too.  Then I thought I'd make a dirt cake, but everyone makes dirt cake these days and none of us should have all those calories.  I settled on these.  They are called Cornflake Haystacks.  Not really earthy, but close enough.  They have a lot of calories too, but as it turns out we aren't a fan of butterscotch.  We won't be eating that many.  I sure hope Dad likes them*.  Otherwise, I will freeze them and bring them out when the grandkids come over.  If you love butterscotch, you will really enjoy them.

*Dad loves them.  He has polished off nearly all of them in three days and hasn't eaten any of his other cookies or treats.  

Cornflake Haystacks

1 cup peanut butter
1 (12 oz.) butterscotch chips
6 cups corn flakes

Put the peanut butter and the butterscotch chips in a large pan.  Turn the heat to low and melt.  Be sure to stir often.  When the mixture is smooth, add the cornflakes.  Mix until the cornflakes are coated.  Then take a spoon or a scoop and drop on parchment paper or waxed paper.  Let them cool.

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Trip To The Pottery Shop

The week before Easter was Spring break for my grandchildren.  As a special treat my daughter's took the older kids to Medieval Times in Illinois.  They had a great time but the two younger ones had to stay home.  I've written about Jack several times.  He is a character and knew that he was missing some special time with his mom.  So last Wednesday my daughter and I took him to Wisconsin Dells.  We went to the Pottery Shop.  I believe they have them all over the country.  You go in, pick out a piece you want to paint, paint it with all the furnished equipment and then leave it to be fired.  You can pick up the finished piece or have it shipped to you.

They have a lot of pieces to paint. 

He picked out his pieces and got to work.

He chose a little Shark.

He only dropped it once and the fin got chipped, but it doesn't show.

Next was an ice cream bowl.

I bet he will even eat his cereal out of this bowl.

My daughter worked on her own project.

Before the mug went in the kiln.

It's amazing how the colors pop.

The funniest part of the day was the family friendly bathroom.
We had a great day.