Saturday, May 19, 2018


It is a day of the expected and the unexpected.

First, we wake up to gray skies and a bit of wetness. Well good. Gardens need water and gardeners need a break. I am so happy that the Big Spring Yard Work neared its completion yesterday evening! There will be rain tomorrow. I need do nothing (for now) but sit back and take it all in.

But here's an unexpected: I did not anticipate that Ed and I would wake up to the Royal Wedding at some minutes after five this morning. I mean, really? But, it's such cotton candy for the eyes and Ed is trying to be gracious and attentive after letting me know that he has a planned absence this summer to help a friend with a boat. I understand his great desire to sail again, but it will be tough to manage the farmette without him. He is compensating by being at my side now right now. Including this morning when he nudges me and asks -- want to go downstairs and watch the wedding?
I don't. Well, I do. Fine.

And it's lovely and everyone is smiling. The world may be a sad place for some, alright, for many, but on this lovely English day, two people dress up and ride around in a carriage and smile and wave and the music brings tears to my eyes and the church bishop talks of love. Yeah, I can deal with all that!

A less pleasant surprise comes to us shortly after 7: we hear the loud rumble of the grading trucks working on the development around us. It's Saturday, but I guess they need to work when the days are dry and so the noise of the machines is with us again, even on this weekend day. I know this is wearing on Ed. I suggest we do an excursion.

After breakfast, of course.

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We revive an adventure idea Ed came up with a few weeks back, only then the farmette work was so intense that we hadn't the time for it. The outing includes a hike in a forest and a bike ride along an old rail bed by the Wisconsin River. But in getting our bikes ready, Ed notices that the frame on his trusty bike is cracked.

It's almost reason to call the whole thing off, but he does have an ancient backup bike. (I rode that one over the Rockies, he tells me. Yes, Ed. That would have been many decades ago.)

By now it's mid afternoon and the trucks are still rumbling and I feel I have done no work at all today and that should feel mighty good after so many hard work days in the yard, but instead it feels decadent in a couch potato sort of way.

Outside, the petals from the crab are falling and the cheepers delight in eating this sweet little salad, fresh off the tree!

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(Cupcake: Is this what a wedding looks like?)

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More rumbling and groaning outside. We stack the bikes -- his old one, my fairly old one -- in back of the car and set out.

The first destination is a little more than an hour away -- it's the McGilvra Woods. Never heard of the place? Neither had we until this year. To quote from the DNR website, it is "one of the richest mesic forests in southwestern Wisconsin." And yes, I had to look up the word mesic: it has to do with the ability of a forest (or other ecosystems) to retain moisture in deep rich soil. Such forests, with maples and beech trees and a great abundance of flora, used to dominate the landscape in the Upper Midwest, but agricultural ambitions cleared away much of the woodland.

As we drive north toward Baraboo, the skies begin to clear a bit. What a pleasant surprise! It's going to be a very lovely late afternoon.

The McGilvra Woods have no hiking path. You can walk pretty much anywhere. What they do have is something special, but, too, something not so grand. The good? Oh, the spring flowers. We had read that the woodland mix of ferns and delicate flowers is just lovely, and it is! I see woodland phlox, trillium, may apple, bellwort -- and many tiny blooms that I cannot name.

(the phlox)

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(the forest)

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But here's a harsh reality check: all that "preserved moisture" is heaven to insects. We encounter mosquitoes. In May!

We do not stay too long. We're not ready to face that beast just yet.

Just a couple of miles down the road is another DNR site -- again, one we'd not heard about until now. It's called Pewits Nest and it comes with warnings that the cliffs are not for climbing or jumping off of.

It's a beautiful spot with a heavenly scent of firs and the noise of the gurgling waters and small falls of the Skillet Creek.

(the cliffs of the gorge)

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And another noise as well -- of local teens (or are they young adults?) doing exactly what they're not supposed to be doing -- jumping off the cliffs into watering holes below.

We stay clear of all that and follow a path further back from the ravine. You can't get me too close to the edge of anything steep anyway.

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And now finally we are back in the car, searching for the new bike path that begins in Sauk City and makes its way up north. We eventually find it after taking several wrong bike trails first, but it's all very pretty and you could not ask for better weather for it. And the occasional views of the serene Wisconsin River are worth pausing for.

(a boy, splashing)

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(we once kayaked from here...)

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With what has to be perfect timing, we return just as the trucks and diggers and who knows what else have been cleaned off and left in their line up, waiting for their next work day, which I know will not be Sunday because, well, it's Sunday and, too, we're slated to have rain.

But tonight, the farmette is our haven and the sounds are only of birds and occasionally, of the cheepers, reminding us that worms are good, but corn and stale bread are the spice of life.

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Goodnight, cheepers. Good night farmhouse. Good night all!

1 comment:

  1. You and Ed made a lovely day of it. Sometimes you have to go looking for it, making it up as you go along.

    Though I never can understand your comments about refusing to give in to a lazy day. To most of us it’s one of life’s little pleasures, and not a guilty pleasure either. But, you are you and I am I.

    Don’t worry about the residential development going on next door. You’ll be surprised at the quiet, when neighbors are finally moved in. I think it’s very pretty at night to see a scattering of lights through the trees. It feels warm and welcoming and communal. That must be an ancient memory wired in my brain.


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