Tag Archives: Wisconsin


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

Genetics to the rescue!

7 May

It’s somewhere between pet peeve, best compliment, and favorite inside-the-lab joke when someone says “do the genetics”.  As in “hey we found this piece of fur/tissue/excreta out in the field, could you do the genetics on it?” or “we want to know XYZ, couldn’t you just do the genetics and tell us?”

Who is that masked lab geek?

Of course I want to just swoop down like some sort of laboratory super hero – cape swirling around the tops of my knee-high boots, hands propped powerfully on my magical pipetter tool belt – and declare, “Never fear, I shall DO THE GENETICS!”  My battle cry would probably be “Multiplex!” or something geeky yet powerful.

In fact, my genetic super hero alter ego was recently called forth her biosafety-level-2 phone booth to do the genetics for a Department of Natural Resources in distress.

Chronic wasting disease was recently detected in a deer from northern Wisconsin – that’s almost 200 miles further north than anyone was expecting to see a case of this disease that, until now, had remained primarily localized in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.  This disease has been a constant concern for the DNR, a consternation for hunters, and a cost of many state dollars.  Needless to say, an entirely new outbreak was a bit disconcerting.  Questions were raised, speculations were rampant.  How did a diseased deer show up so far from the hot zone?  Was there a conspiracy?  Was someone illegally transporting deer?  Were captive deer farms leaking disease on to the landscape?  Was it just all a big bungled mistake?

Couldn’t someone just do the genetics and find out…Never fear!

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The Winter that Never Was…

28 Feb

This is what we expect of winter in Wisconsin…

The WI State Capitol and Monona Terrace viewed across the frozen lake.



…picturesque views across fresh snow on the frozen lake…





One good 2011 snow storm buries us!


>>>> Continue reading

On your marks, get set, GOURD!

27 Oct

Polish your deck shoes and straighten your ascot – it’s time for a regatta.  The 8th Annual Giant Pumpkin Regatta!

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A post card from an alternative car road trip

19 Sep

Massive thanks to my guest blogger – Jen S.!   Jen lets us tag along on her trip to the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair!

Strolling around the fair in the shadows of renewable energy.

An electric vehicle charging station that doubles as a carport, wind turbines slowing rotating high above the tall white tents, a myriad of LED lights, a green dragon guarding the renewable building materials hut, Will Allen (45 minutes late, but nobody seems to mind), Chris Paine, an Amish family, a polyurt, dreadlocks, rainbow PACE flags, cars running on vegetable oil, compressed natural gas, and all electric.  This is the 22nd annual Midwest renewable energy fair in Custer, WI.  People from across Wisconsin and the Midwest convene this weekend every year to talk renewable energy and sustainability.  It draws a diverse crowd.  I am here on a date with a guy I am just getting to know.  We drove up from Madison, WI in a converted compressed natural gas 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier.  This is our first weekend together and my first time at the renewable energy fair.

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What the tide rolled in…

5 Aug

After a beautiful day of camping and cherry-picking on the scenic Door County peninsula, we strolled down to the Nicolet Bay beach to bask in a colorful sunset – and got a big, slimy surprise.   As little Lake Michigan waves lapped at the shore they littered the sand with tiny shiny bodies.  More silvery slivers bobbed in the water.  The afternoon’s sandcastle moats filled with the bodies of stinky, fishy intruders.  There was a fish kill of alewives (members of the herring family), and thousands of them were washing up on the beach.  Not just our beach!  We found out later, from a walk around and news report, that large parts of Lake Michigan was being coated in a crusty ring-around-the-shoreline of decaying minnows.

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