Thursday, October 20, 2016


I write this in the late afternoon, over a cup of coffee here, at the Blue Spoon in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin.

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This is maybe the hundredth (maybe thousandth!) coffee shop that I have visited purely for the benefit of WiFi. And for as good a cup of coffee as can be had (which in this case is not bad at all) away from home.

Ed and I are indeed away from home, though a person who is clever about Wisconsin geography may say -- pshaw! that's maybe an hour and a half from where you live! If it's not home, then certainly it's your backyard, so to speak.

It's true. We are not far from home.

I would say we are celebrating, Ed would say we are merely doing what we love to do every now and then. We would both be correct.

Ed's birthday is today, though he never ever wants to do anything at all about it. Unfortunately, he is stuck with a coincidence: October 20th also marks the beginning of our being in some important fashion together. Eleven years ago, he and I understood that however different we are, there is a fundamental something that draws us to each other. It was obvious from the get go and we have stuck it out now for eleven years, mostly ignoring all the ways in which people may think we are mismatched.

So despite his distaste for celebration, he is forced to celebrate, because I do and, well, he's usually not too far from where I am.

Today is also notable for the confluence of several other unusual events: first, you already know that Snowdrop is visiting with her other grandparents and so I have no time with her at all.

I can focus on you, Ed! (said with a wicked smile)
Alright, gorgeous... (said with apprehension.)

Secondly, it is also the first day of a big effort to build a new segment of the Ice Age Trail. Perhaps you remember that Ed and I love hiking this trail which meanders through most of Wisconsin and that we usually devote at least one day each year to volunteering on trail work. (So that would mean we will have worked at least eleven times on the trail together.) This particular segment isn't too far from us, which suits me just fine as I am these days a reluctant driver and an even more reluctant car passenger.

Finally, the weather: it's crispy autumnal and promises no rain.

I suppose some would call the forecast unfriendly in that it warns of frost tonight. And did I tell you? Ed and I plan on camping with the volunteers on the trail.

But we've camped in frost before and honestly, a good sleeping bag makes the experience rather wonderful.

And so immediately after breakfast... (Happy birthday, Ed! Alright gorgeous...)

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... Ed and I take off.

We head north, crossing the Wisconsin River on the Merrimac Ferry on a blustery and gray skied morning.

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We pitch our tent in the prairie...

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... and join the others who of course have been at it since dawn.

The views here a grand! During the entire work day, we face the bluffs -- the same ones that rise over Devil's Lake and the play of light on the fall colors is just sublime.

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(Lunch break)

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(The clouds begin to break up now)

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(Selfie time! Alright gorgeous...)

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(An increasingly blue sky)

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(Working the pick against stubborn roots)

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(The beauty of fall...)

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I do stop earlier than the rest -- just so that I can drive down to Prairie du Sac -- eleven miles from where we are working.

(It's a pretty drive)

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Will we stick it out tonight? The food wont be good, the night will be cold. Will we pack up and return home by the light of the moon?

That's for tomorrow's post. Right now I'm heading back to the trail. Eleven miles, eleven years, or sixty-six, depending on who is counting what.


  1. Brrr, Nina! I hope you and Ed can zip your sleeping bags together! ^^

    Happy 11th Anniversary of the Mutual Understanding of your Fundamental Attraction. :) That is something!

  2. Stunning photos Nina. Wisconsin should hire you to write copy for Wisconsin tourism, what a lovely time!

  3. Happy uncelebration you Two -- eleven and sixty-six -- great duo numbers, don't you think? What a beauty of a day (and night, since I am reading backwards)!


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