Thursday, September 29, 2011

Let's go gophering...images of a 13 Lined Ground Squirrel

I'm always up to seeing new kinds of wildlife and here in Wisconsin, I was able to see and watch a new creature that is unfamiliar to me.  The 13-Lined Ground Squirrel is something that we do not have in NY...and this one was particularly amusing as the images show!

13 Lined Ground Squirrel (aka Striped Gopher) does not (to me) seem like a gopher, yet they are listed in that category.  Part squirrel, part rodent, part chipmunk...these little animals seem to be an all-in-one creature!

On my first days here, the following 3 photos were taken out in the yard.  Then, this particular fellow (or female as I have no way of knowing their sex) was very shy.
I had to use the zoom to even get a close-up view of him...
And try as I might, he would not sit pretty for me!
Yesterday, while outside, he was back in his favorite part of the yard...and has since grown accustomed to my presence.  I was able to get several poses of him...
 Here's looking at you...LOL
I had to wonder if he was just as amused by me as I was with him!  
Finally...I caught him standing up!
I was able to creep closer, but he did keep a sharp eye out...!  A little while later, after I had set the camera down, out of my reach (wouldn't you know it!) he decided perhaps it was okay to creep closer to me.  He came out of the yard and onto the garage pad...about 10 feet from me...and all the while I was cursing that I'd set the camera down!
His kin...who was not into closeness at all!

There are a good half dozen of these critters scattered around the property, and I'm told that they are very invasive although very cute! 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Move...My journey to Wisconsin Part 3: Making my way on to Wisconsin

Coming from New York, where the speed limit is set at 65 mph on the highways, imagine my (pleasant) surprise upon seeing that I could make better time (though only by a few minutes over-all) heading for Wisconsin!  I had to snap a picture of it...just because it was something new to me!  LOL

 "Chicago" 168 miles.  Seeing this sign brought a kind of apprehension because I knew this city was another big one.  Being a country girl and never having visited anything bigger than Rochester or Syracuse, NY...I worried that I might get my directions wrong and get totally lost in a strange city.  My fears were unfounded...I made it through without any problems!!!

All I can say about seeing the skyscrapers buried in the clouds!  Little town gal sees a big city (in daylight...I went through Cleveland and Ann Arbor in a blur)...was amazing!
 Another thing that was astounding was the amount of traffic that I was in.  I am sooo not used to it...but it wasn't as scary as I envisioned.
 Merging traffic and traffic merging off the main highway...
 Now here was another first for me.  Tunnels..not a long one, but one never the less.  Seeing them on videos is a bit different than going through one!
At this point...I am close to being out of the central part of the city.  The only thing that I totally disliked about Illinois was the toll booths...every so many miles.  Each time, I had to throw in some it $.30, $.60, $.80 or even $1.60.  As you leave the state, a sign reads something to the effect:  Thank you for using the Illinois toll highways.  

That will forever be burned into my mind as a state I will avoid should I ever pass this way again!

A ways into Wisconsin, I came upon these weird rock pillars...which I thought were pretty interesting.

This is one set that I saw...

And here is another...

I was able to get a closeup of this second formation as I passed by.
Here, I passed what the sign said was a "bog" but I am clueless as to what kind of bogs they are.  Cranberry...maybe?

All in all, it was a trip worth remembering, even though I didn't get as many photos as I wanted.  It took me something like 11 hours to make it to my and trouble free!

As always...thanks for reading!  

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Move...My journey to Wisconsin Part 2: Holly, MI

Water tower in Holly, MI
It's always interesting to visit quaint little towns that are off the beaten track, and my friends, Laura and her mom, Cynthia took me to such a delightful little town called Holly, MI.

Cynthia wrote about our little adventure and the township, adding to it some of the fun facts we learned in the process. 

Holly boasts a haunted hotel and numerous antique shops...more than I have ever seen in a small area! Wow!  I've always found it fascinating to wander through shops...the stories behind the articles, we can only imagine!

What follows is my photo story of the places we seen, the shops we walked through, and some interesting items of note.  Enjoy!

Haunted Holly hotel

front of the hotel

one of many antique shops

main street

Holly Candle Shoppe

a restaurant

Another antique store

Clock in town center

Another water tower
Mural of times past

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Move...My journey to Wisconsin Part 1

I have to apologize to everyone for taking so long to get back to my blog and my journey to Wisconsin.  As life so often does, it can become quite busy...and I won't deny that I am truly enjoying the peace and quiet here!

I left New York State on the 6th of September driving a nearly new yellow Penske 10' moving van, and made my way toward Highland, Michigan, where I would stay 2 days with a dear friend.  The day was a perfect one for driving...not too hot and not raining...all was good!

My co-pilots were two 3-month old kittens...Smokey and Lily.  They were all snug in a carrier...and did very my amazement!  During the entire trip to Michigan, not once did they toilet in the carrier...but let me tell you that the minute I fixed up their litter box...they were in it in a flash!  I was so proud of them!

The only times that I stopped were to refuel, grab a snack to eat and make sure the kittens were I put their food and water dish in with them.  I probably should have stopped for an actual meal along the way, but I was too anxious to try out these new wings of freedom!

I had no reservations about making the 10+ hour drive to Michigan...even though I knew that there might be some tricky spots when I hit Cleveland, OH.  I knew and trusted myself enough to know that I could get through these huge cities...and I did.  But let me tell you, Cleveland seemed like it took about 2 hours to get!!!

The next big one that caused some concern after I was there was Ann Arbor, MI.  I never knew just how big this city is and the junctions/exchanges were confusing.  I did make a wrong exit and after about 10 minutes of driving, realized my error and turned around...and found the correct exit to take.  From there...with a little phone guidance, I arrived at my destination...about 11:00 (or so) that evening.

It was hard getting good shots as I drove through New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and into Michigan...but here are the few that I did manage to get:

I'm not sure what river this is, but it ran along the side of the highway in NY

sunset someplace between OH and MI

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mourning of common sense

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: - Knowing when to come in out of the rain; - Why the early bird gets the worm; ... - Life isn't always fair; - And maybe it was my fault. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies, don't spend more than you can earn and adults, not children, are in charge. 
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion. 
Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault. Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. 
Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife Discretion, his daughter Responsibility, and his son, Reason. He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame and I'm A Victim Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Depression Chocolate Cake

I don't know how often this old recipe gets used anymore, but it is the absolute best recipe for the moistest dark chocolate scratch cake I have ever found!  

It uses no eggs or baking powder, but rather baking soda and vinegar as the leavening agents.  It's easy to remember and easy to put together: stick all the ingredients in a bowl and mix!

Depression Chocolate Cake

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup cocoa
2/3 cup oil
2 cups cold coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons vinegar

Mix all ingredients together and pour into greased cake pan(s).  Bake @ 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes, depending on your oven.

Cool and frost with your favorite frosting!


Sometimes plans fall flat

Well folks...I am still here in plans fell through at least for the moment.  I am frustrated, hurt, angry...but I can't say whether it's more at the Uhaul company or myself for not following my gut feelings.

When I reserved the truck back in the first week of August, I was told that all I would need is a $100 deposit and the balance would be due when I returned the truck at my destination.  In all honesty, it seemed TOO simple...and between then and the time that I was supposed to pick up the truck, I called several times to verify and re-verify that the information was correct...talking to a different woman every single time.  Each time I called...I got the same answer...$100 deposit and the balance when I got to Wisconsin and returned the truck.

As scheduled, I went to get the truck, and low and gut feelings were confirmed...the whole balance was due BEFORE I even took the truck!  I was devastated (to say the least) because I did not have that amount available to me...a whopping $826.  (I wasn't due to be paid until the 1st and 2nd of September, and being on disability...I would not have enough for both the truck and fuel/eats to move from NY to WI.)

Unbelievable.  But really?  Maybe not so much.

At any rate, I have a loving and caring man awaiting me who is going to rent a truck from another company most likely this coming Tuesday.  So although I may be still here in's not going to be for long.

I don't mean this as a bash against Uhaul...but clearly, the information I received couldn't be trusted...and it's also a lesson learned to 'trust' a gut feeling...that it WAS too simple...there was a catch-22 lurking unseen. 

My best advice to anyone is to do as I did...but even more-so...get all the details no matter what you have to, go to the vender...whatever.  And trust your intuition...if it seems too simple...most likely it is.