Saturday, January 13, 2018

Viewing Eagles At Petenwell Dam

Last August my husband and I took a day trip to Lake Petenwell.  It was our 49th wedding anniversary, and we didn't have anything in particular planned.  We decided to take a trip to the Petenwell Dam.  We had heard it was a great place to view eagles.  We were familiar with the area because it was next to Castle Rock Lake which was the site of our camping fiasco.  Anyone who knows us, knows how that turned out. 

For those who don't know how it turned out, you can read the blog post above and pretty much guess.  We sold the darn thing.  We were very lucky to sell it quickly and that was the end of my camping experiences.  

Petenwell Lake is a big man made lake in central Wisconsin.  It is the second largest body of water in Wisconsin and was created by the Wisconsin River Power Company in the late 1940's.  The power company built a Hydroelectric Dam on the Wisconsin River forming the lake.  South of the Petenwell Dam is another dam which formed Castle Rock Lake which is the 4th largest lake in Wisconsin.   

Our day trip last summer was very nice.  The area around the dam is beautiful.  There is a tower near the dam built for viewing the eagles.  We climbed the tower and got a good view the river and the dam.  We walked around seeing people fishing and boating, but we didn't see any eagles.

This is the dam.  You can see the Lake on top and the River below.

Even though we didn't see any eagles, we had a great day exploring the area, but we promised ourselves we would return one day to try again.  When we left the area, we saw this sign.  It explains that the best time for viewing eagles is November to March.

So today we decided to take another drive.  It was a nice sunny day, and we ignored the fact that it was 5 degrees outside.  We took our heavy winter coats, hats, gloves and of course my camera.  It took a good hour to get there, but when we did it was so worth it.  There were a lot of eagles fishing, flying around and sitting in trees.  There were two guys with huge lens on their cameras taking photos.  It made my little camera look like a toy.  They didn't talk much, but they did say they had been there since sunrise.  It was about noon at that point. 

This is the winter view of the dam with ice formed.

At the edge of the parking lot sat these two eagles.  The one on the right looks like a young one.

Eagles have to be six years old before they mature and get the white head and tail feathers.

I believe this is a younger immature eagle who hasn't achieved the white markings.

As I stood there, two more flew into the trees.

Looking across the river to the other side, I could see more eagles sitting in the trees.

It's hard to get an action shot, but here the eagle has caught a fish.  I wonder if the professional got a shot of this.

It was an awesome day, but we didn't stay long.  We were prepared for the cold temperatures except for our feet.  We didn't have boots on and our feet got cold.  Fortunately there wasn't much wind or it could have been worse.  We stopped at a local restaurant and Ray's Closeout store.  Later we picked up a few groceries and got some gas before returning home.  I can't wait to go back.  We will wait until the temperatures warm up a little or make sure we are covered from head to foot. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

It's Easy To Make Ghee

Ghee is popular right now.  I have been making it for a year or more but I guess I haven't blogged about it.  If I have, I have forgotten but if I don't remember then no one else will either.  That is except for a couple friends of mine who remember back so far, they probably remember being born.  Ghee is nothing more than butter that has the milk solids and water removed.  It is the healthiest form of butter and is pure butterfat.  My daughter drinks Bullet Proof coffee.  Bullet proof coffee is black coffee blended together with ghee or grass fed butter and coconut oil.  I don't make it but it supposedly is very satisfying and good for a person.  I use ghee on toast and for cooking wherever you would use regular butter. 

My method for making ghee began with melting the butter in a pan and cooking it on the stove until the milk solids separated out and began to turn brown.  The brown bits would settle out.  Then I would strain it through a fine sieve.  This worked but you had to stand by the stove and watch carefully so it wouldn't burn.  Now I use my small slow cooker.  It is only a two quart cooker that I also use for overnight steel cut oats. 

I put the grass fed butter in and turn it on low.  I leave the lid ajar to let the steam escape.  In two or three hours the butter solids have separated and begin to turn brown.   The browner the bits, the nuttier the ghee tastes.  Unsalted butter is supposed to be used but often I don't have it on hand.  Salted butter works fine,  When separated the milk solids taste very salty and the ghee doesn't.  I presume a lot of the salt separates out too.  The cooked butter is strained leaving a clear yellow oil.  I put it in a dish to harden.   It has a higher smoke point if you use it in cooking.  Butter burns easily because of the milk solids it has in it.  Ghee has none left.

There are a lot of published reasons why ghee is better than butter but I don't know if all of them are true.  I do know that it is better for you than margarine.  Since the milk solids are removed it makes ghee basically lactose free and perfect for people with allergies and sensitivities to dairy.   I think it also tastes good and is just another small and easy way to a healthier life style.  Of course, moderation is the key.  You can't sit down and eat a bowl of ghee any more than you can overeat butter.  It's still a high calorie fat.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Beating Winter Boredom By Knitting a Doggie Sweater

For the past two weeks or more it has been bitter cold here in Wisconsin.  Fortunately today we reached temperatures near 30 degrees with even warmer temperatures predicted for the next few days.  We haven't had much snow because it's too cold to snow.  I don't know if that is a proven weather fact, but it seems to be true. 

The days tend to get long for me in the winter because it is dark in the morning when I get up, and it  gets dark early in the evening. However, the days seem to be getting a little longer.  It is 4:36 pm and it is still light out.  My husband rather enjoys getting comfortable and cozy in his recliner.  He reads, plays computer games, researches whatever he has on his mind and watches TV.  He gets up occasionally to stoke the fire or to go outside for more firewood.  I am not so content.  I'm not a snuggler, and I get antsy pretty easy.  I may not accomplish that much but I need to move a lot more than him.  I also tend to snack more than he does.  That is not a good thing.

I decided that I needed a project.  Nobody in my family needs any more knitted or crocheted items.  We have more hats, scarves and mittens than we need.  I have been knitting for charity, but I needed a break from that.  I told you I get bored easily.  I thought that I would make sweaters for our granddogs, Piper and Bandit.  I found a pattern in  It was in the side bar on my facebook page.  It's a little creepy that they knew I was looking for something to knit.

This is the final sweater.  Bandit is a small dog, but I thought I would start with a medium size.  I figured it would fit one of the dogs.  If it was too big for Bandit, then it would fit Piper.   As it turned out, the medium fit Bandit perfectly.  I used yarn that I have in my stash so it didn't cost anything.  I also made it a little shorter than it called for.  I didn't want him peeing on his new sweater.  I think he is adorable, and he didn't chew it off so maybe he likes it too.

Now I have to make another one for Piper.  It was fun to make something a little different from a pattern I had never used before.  I will post a picture of her when I get it finished.  Winter will be over soon enough and then I can complain about being too hot.  There is no pleasing some people, namely me.