Saturday, February 20, 2016

Winter Tubing At Nordic Mountain

It's February 20, 2016, and we are having a February thaw going on here in Wisconsin.  Today the temperature was near 50 degrees.  The snow is melting and there are puddles everywhere.  I was a bit surprised when my daughters told me they were taking the kids Snow Tubing.  I asked them how they could tube when the snow was melting so fast.  They said that the ski hill makes snow, and they have a deep base.  It was a perfect day to tube.  We decided to take a drive to watch them for a while.  It must have been a perfect day because the place was full.  They were at capacity, and there was a waiting line.

Entrance sign to the ski hill.

As we drove in, we saw the tubing, snow board and sking hills were all busy.

Get your tickets here.

View from the road.

We pulled into a very muddy parking area, and one of our daughters met us.  The kids had already taken a couple trips down the hill.  We were able to walk over and watch the process.  There were a lot of families but several adults were there playing without any children.  There was a lot of fun to go around.

My husband, daughter Heather and myself




Sarah and Jack

Before getting in line for the tow rope, read the rules.  If you die, it isn't their fault.

Waiting in line for the tow rope.

After a short time waiting in line,  it was their turn.  The tubing hill employee attaches the rope, and they pull you up the hill.  It looks like fun to get pulled slowly  up the hill.

Once they were at the top of the hill, they had to wait until the people below were out of the way. 

Then back up the hill again to wait in line.

This trip everyone goes down the hill holding on to each other.

Once at the bottom of the hill,

they all pile out of the tubes for another run.

It was a fun day.  I would think everyone is very tired from all the walking and fresh February air.  It does my heart good to see our daughters and our grandsons having a day to remember.  Our only granddaughter Melissa was busy today.  She had dress rehearsal for their upcoming high school play.  I'm sure she didn't mind.   What she was doing was just as much fun for her.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Feeding the Deer Properly or Not At All

When I am wrong, then I say I am wrong.  In my defense, a person can't know everything about everything.  I had a rude awakening this morning.  I saw a video piece from a zoo in Wisconsin.  They were talking about how important it is for white tailed deer to be fed properly during the winter.  As anyone who reads this blog regularly knows, I love seeing the deer.  I feed them a small amount of corn everyday.  Many of the counties in Wisconsin don't allow feeding at all, but our county does.  I always felt fortunate that was the case.  Little did I know, I was literally killing the deer with kindness.  The video said to check out more information from the Wisconsin DNR webpage.  So that is what I did.  To my horror it said that the worse thing you can give deer is hay and corn.  It went on to mention the reason why.  It said that corn is what most wildlife lovers offer deer, and even if it’s labeled “deer corn",  feeding corn to deer is about the worst thing you can do.  Unless you’re trying to kill the deer.  The deer build up a hearty fat layer during the spring and summer.  Then in the fall, when there isn't as much food available, they start using up their fat reserves.   By late fall, deer instinctively reduce their food intake and continue to do so through most of the winter.  They mostly eat bark and leaves to get by.  Deer digestion is a finely tuned physiological process.  They have just the right combination of microorganisms, enzymes, and pH to enable the deer to digest a normal winter diet of woody vegetation. When offered a sudden supply of corn, a deer’s digestive system doesn’t have time to adjust to a high carbohydrate diet. The result can be acute acidosis sometimes followed by death.  At the time of death they can appear normal and well fed.  It’s just that they cannot digest the corn.  Corn and hay alters the environment in the rumen.  It turns it acidic and destroys the microbes needed for normal digestion.

I recently heard from a facebook friend that Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was found in her county in Northern Wisconsin.  When this happens they ban all feeding of the deer and even the birds because the deer eat birdseed from the feeders if nothing else is available.   Apparently feeding the deer attracts large amounts of deer together and therefore it can spread diseases more rapidly.  Our deer are pretty territorial and the same few deer live in our woods.  We don't get very many new deer venturing into the space.  I see many more deer grazing in corn fields along the highway.  I guess they can't read the guidelines, and they don't know that they are breaking the rules.

Late February and March are the most dangerous time for deer unrelated to traffic causes.  Their fat reserves are almost gone, and it is the time when most deer die.   The guidelines suggest that if you do decide to feed deer then you should use a special high protein mixture made for deer or horse, goat or rabbit pellets.  You can also feed them oats.  So guess what I'm doing today.  I am going to buy some different food for the deer.  It would break my heart to have them come for their evening snack, look up at the window and then have nothing from me.  I don't think I give them enough to depend on me for food or spoil their digestion, but I don't want to do them any harm.