7 Oct

My downfall in fall – the light nip in the fall air always sets me to fearfully fixating on the impending winter freeze.  The most dastardly doing of the Midwestern winter isn’t the dumping of snow on my driveway or the frosting of my eyelashes while waiting for the bus.  No,winter’s worst wrongdoing is the creeping into my psyche and diminishing my appreciation of the truly gorgeous fall season rolling over the farm hills of Wisconsin.

Layers of color from the fiery sumacs to golden oaks.

So this fall I’m making a new-season resolution to live in the moment, or at least the season, and take in all the brightly colored of fall.  I’ve been making a point to careen my bike through every crunchy leaf pile on my way to school, and get out the forest while their trees are most colorful.  Here’s my bit of a postcard from fall…



What a great day for a stroll

Every now and then I turn a corner on a country road and almost slam on the breaks in awe as I curve down a corridor of color!


Let’s not forget that Wisconsin is a bit of a prairie place.  One of the things I’ve learned here – the prairie changes color for fall just as well as the forest!

Shades of grass


Fall on the prairie


Milkweed – seeds all dispersed

I’m not the only creature out and about, soaking up the last warmish days of the season.  It seems that turkeys spend the entire fall (hunting season) pacing around in private fields of corn stubble just evading public hunting areas.

Gobble Gobble

This threatened ornate box turtle was a highlight of a recent field trip for my zoology class.

How could any species this cute be threatened?!

As the sun sets flocks of blackbirds flutter to and fro across a wetland deciding which side has the sweetest cattails.

Last flight of the night





Ode to Eggplant

2 Sep

Even a hot droughty summer must be good for something!

Turns out it’s eggplant!  As corn crops wither in the fields, eggplants are thriving.  One of my favorite CSA farms is even calling in the gleaners to harvest the eggplant overload.  Other members of the nightshade family – like peppers and tomatoes – are also doing well this hot dry summer.  But this is a blog about my love for eggplant…

The farmers market is overflowing with eggplant.  And the big purple Italian variety is just the beginning! Continue reading

The writing’s on the wall

5 Jul

The tricky part of public service announcements – reaching the public! Public communication can be especially challenging when large segments of the public you wish to reach live in poverty and lack education.  In Kathmandu several awareness campaigns have circumvented problems of illiteracy with clever and colorful graffiti displays.  As you walk by many walls of the city – ringing parks, schools, government buildings,etc. – you can see graphical messages inspiring everything from health practices to environmental concerns…

Wow!  Who knew hand-washing could inspire such creativity?!

Wall murals for World Handwash Day ring the walls of the central parks along Drubar Marg

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Pachyderm-perched perspective

27 Jun

The elephants lumber down the main drag of Sauraha.  On their way to work – on their way home from work – on their way to a refreshing river bath.  Their job?  Schlepping tourists around the Royal Chitwan National Park in Nepal’s Terai Arc region.

“Traffic” in Sauraha

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Peaks of Pokhara

14 Jun

The road to Pokhara is one of the best traveled highways in Nepal – but a sleek expressway it’s not.  The pavement is worn, the bus bounces as it careens around mountain passes.  The sun glares in the window.  The black exhaust and dust of the traffic billow in.  After just the few hours’ journey from Kathmandu you arrive in Pokhara sweat-soggied and soot-covered.  Nothing in world could be more inviting than the lake that shines in the bottom of the Pokhara valley!  Brightly colored row boats welcome you  to town and beckon you into the water.

Wooden row boats line the lake shore – invitingly colorful, deceptively innocent!
Photo credit – NOT ME – thanks E.P.

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Hard farming in the high country

10 Jun

Seemingly solid rock seems to yield to the plow.

I escaped the Kathmandu valley this weekend and set out for Pokhara – renowned for quaint mountain valley lake, mountain top temples, and the gateway to Himalayan trekking.  As the bus takes off on the winding mountain highway toward the north, we begin to leave behind the city haze, and I finally get to see the country side of Nepal!  The mountains are striking, the mountain life is astounding.  We curve and careen up and up through rocky mountain passes, looking over the precipitous edge of the highway, the valleys are filled with towns, the hillsides dotted with red clay brick farm houses, and entire mountain sides terraced for farming.  It’s hard to imagine the person power involved in forming and farming terraced gardens around 5,000+ ft elevation, on slopes reaching 60 degree angles!  And some of the valleys are so dry you have to wonder what reward is reaped for all that work anyway?!

Greener valleys.
Photo credit – NOT ME – thanks E.P.!

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An olfactory tour of Kathmandu’s streets

6 Jun

The streets of Kathmandu are crowded!  Not just with people, or traffic, also with smells.  Walking the narrow stone-tiled alleyways of a Kathmandu neighbor is like a roller-coaster ride for the nose.  One minute alluring, the next disgusting.

No rules and no right-of-way. Traffic in Kathmandu is jam or be jammed.

Overwhelming on main roads you notice the traffic!  Motorbikes zip in and out between motor-rickshaws and cars as buses barrel down the road belching pure black exhaust.  The smog gets so bad it’s actually hard to see the mighty Himalayan mountains ringing the Kathmandu valley. Continue reading