I had a letter this morning from a friend at the cabin with spectacular pictures. Look at this beautiful blue sky. Debbie and Paul live just up the road from me and live full time at the lake. This is the view behind their house. They have a rock bluff in their back yard.

but wait Debbie wasn’t just sharing a photo of bare oak trees, blue skies and  grasses….look closer what is peeping over  the rock.

She blends in so closely to the fall colored grasses and the stone that you have to look quite closely or you could miss it.

Can you see it now……a beautiful red fox sunning herself on this fall morning. Looks like she is half asleep but those big pointy ears are keeping track of everything that is going on below.

The fox was content to sit her for several hours and watch the coming and goings of Debbie and her family and their 2 dogs Buck and Hunter.

aren’t these pictures spectacular…………….but there is more…….lookPaul and Jeff were in the garage and suddenly the fox was up there investigating.Her nose must have picked up that the two hunter were butchering a deer shot earlier. this lucky vixen shared a meal of venison.

and I am lucky to have good friends that keep me up to date on what’s going on at the lake.


Hot and dry

Just drove back from the cabin. Its hot and dry but the garden is still thriving. 

It probable helps that most of my flowers are native plants and are commonly seen in the ditches and the fields nearby.
This is one of my favorite parts of the garden right now. We used to have 4 wild plum trees here. They were wonderful healthy trees but I had to make a tough decision. Wind plums have wickedly long thorns and who ever mows the lawn had to be very careful around these trees. And skunks were visiting the trees and eating fallen fruit and bugs. Now I don’t have a problem with the wild life but I do have a large dog that can’t resist wanting to play with animals that come in the yard and after a couple of bath sessions late at night when the play wasn’t friendly– I reluctantly  agreed to cut down the plum trees.

In its place we planted a butterfly garden. We spot butterflies and hummingbirds in this garden daily. The flowers here not only smell good but they hum with all the insect activity.this bug looks a little fierce and I will have to look it up and see what it is. I looks like a wasp of some sort – over an inch long and jet black with a beautiful blue on its wings. There were several sipping nectar on the swamp milkweed that I planted for the monarchs. It looks scary but I didn’t see a stinger. I dead headed the coreopsis blooms and froze them. No dyeing this week – it is so dry that the county has issued a warning about fires even in a fire pit. They also banned fireworks last week in Sauk county. So I will wait and hope for some rain.I know that this is not a native plant but I couldn’t resist it when I was at the nursery – it is a black pearl pepper plant. It is sold as an ornamental but you can eat these if you like super  hot peppers. The plants are beautiful with purple and green leaves and the gorgeous purple flowers turn into dark almost black peppers that have a lovely shiny surface.

There are a couple more herbs tucked into this garden – basil, lemon verbena and pineapple sage. The pineapple sage has the most wonderful fragrance and the humming birds are crazy for the long red tubular flowers in the fall. And if you like lemons the verbena is the lemony-est(if that is even a word). It makes the best jelly too.

This is woad that I planted this year. It is thriving despite the drought conditions. It only gets watered twice a month. This is weld and it is growing like a weed(snicker) This might be madder. I am going to have to try to find a picture – – it is the only seed that I got in a seed swap for dye plants that didn’t germinate very well. But I am not worried 2 weeks ago I didn’t see anything here so maybe it is a slow sprouting seed and maybe when I get back to  the cabin in 2 weeks I will see more plants. But I still have some more seeds in reserve if I need to replant.And this is going to be a surprise because I neglected to write down what I planted. If I had to hazard a guess I would say passion flower??? (Peg – you probable recognize this).
All in all I would say that cutting down the plums and adding this butterfly garden was a great idea. Thanks Marty! (sorry that I was so stubborn about this)
I also planted some black hollyhocks 2 weeks ago and saw 4 seedlings up. I can’t wait to be able to dye with this next year. It makes a wonderful bluish gray dye. I can’t wait to see the dark purple blooms. I grew them before but didn’t have any come up this year in that dark purple. I have one dark red plant and the rest are white and pink. Other gardening news is that the Japanese beetles are not as bad this year. This is what I found in my traps after 2 weeks. Yea- I know it looks like a lot but this is nothing compared with last year. And the neighbors have them a lot worse than this. They are emptying their traps every day and the bags are half full or 6″. I only have about an 1″ of bugs in my traps. I really think the nematodes did the job. Another ongoing project in the garden is this area. I made another big mistake about 5 years ago and planted a grass from the nursery. And it spread like wild. Don’t get me wrong I liked the grass – it was about 5′ high and was a nice screen to give us privacy but it wasn’t supposed to spread. It was taking over and crowding everything out. It had gotten so out of hand it was invading the neighbor’s lawn. So last fall we made a decision that it had to go. But it is an ongoing battle. Some weeks I don’t know who it winning. But this week it looked like I had the upper hand so I decided to spread some mulch on the bed and maybe this fall I can seed some wild flowers into this area. Now there are 2 other areas that also need to be mulched and I just spotted some of this evil grass coming up in another bed. ARRRGGG!
Don’t make the mistake that I did – ask if the grass you see at the nursery is spreading or clumping. And then don’t believe the answer(like I did) – write down the name of the plant and then come home and find it on the internet. And then maybe… buy it.
Whew all this gardening is exhausting — this is a picture of Meva from this morning after 2 days of helping in the garden.
We didn’t work all day — we did manage to get out on the lake and do a little fishing. I didn’t catch much but the tickler caught enough for our fish fry tomorrow. And they were all big fish – crappies that were 10-12″ and a perch that was almost 10″. Panfish and potato pancakes – a feast fit for a king.
So that’s the news from Lake Redstone. What’s happening in your neck of the woods?

Winter at last

Christmas has come and gone – we have been pleasantly busy here on the lake. It’s been the everyday business keeping us busy. You know the normal day to day things. We had a nice X-mas with our son coming over for dinner. We shared a few laughs and a few drinks and cooked dinner. The mister and I had eaten a little earlier, since we belong to the elderly eat dinner at 3:00 crowd now. So my son and I worked on his dinner together- a grilled steak and hot peppers stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon and brussel sprouts sauted in a pan with the left over bacon. We sipped a nice Malbec wine from Chile while we sliced, diced and talked. Then we descended into the man cave. Well the man cave isn’t really a man cave its more of an entertainment center with 2 tvs one for watching cable and the other for computer link ups. 2 couches/daybeds  and 2 electronic recliners- add a heated floor, a wet bar/small kitchenette and a person could live down here. So it was down to the cave to watch a movie and then for the night’s more important entertainment—-the Green Bay Packers vs da Bears. It was a terrific game. The Packers were favored to win but after the last dismal game last week where it seemed the real Packers did not show up to play -it was hard to say what the outcome of the game would be. To be fair last week the Packers had a lot of injuries but it didn’t seem like they had shown up to play. They were distracted and missing. But the Chiefs were on the ball. They played hard and  make few mistakes. They true-ly deserved to win. But back to the Bears vs Packers, both teams played well–it was an exciting game to watch. And by the second half  we were all pretty sure of a Packer win.

Now its on to the Lions vs the Pack. Another home game so the Packers are sure to be favored. Usually I am fine with either side winning when it’s the Lions and Packers. After all I was born in Detroit but this year it has to be the Pack. I’m sorry the Lions play dirty and I don’t want to see them win. But most of all I just hope no-one gets hurt. It is too bad really because the Lions have a good team and if they could clean up their act and get the penalties under control I think they could have had a shot. Well maybe next year for the Lions. This year the Packers will go all the way.

Well enough of the sports commentary after all I am a knitter I should leave the sports commentary to those who know more than I. Right now I am hard at work…well actually if I am writing here that means that I am avoiding work(sorry Al) …ok so I am kind of working on a couple of things.

I have a couple of patterns almost done and a couple more that are still in rough draft stage. And I busily knitting so I can take some pictures to share with you. And we are taking a small break at the cabin, we needed to check on things. It is colder here and the lake is frozen in the bays but open in the middle. But we did manage to get out for a walk on the ice. I love to walk on the ice. we were the first ones to venture out on the ice in our bay. There were no other footprints in the thin frosting of snow on the ice. We explored in the nooks and crannies on the shore. And peered through the clear ice under our feet and marveled at the quiet, crisp air. The only sound was the occasional boing sound of ice forming. Looking out towards the open water in the middle we could see a gaggle of geese. What a apt name for a group of geese. It makes me giggle to think of the noise they make –geese do gaggle and honk. Several yards away from the geese were some other very large black birds that we couldn’t quite make out. But we could see 5 of  them huddled along the edge of the ice. And 2 flying. Marty commented that he wished we had brought binoculars as we watched them- sure that we were watching bald eagles. And then I remembered my camera. But even with the lens set on the closest setting I couldn’t make out what they were. But I snapped several pictures and then used the telephoto lever to zoom in some more on the digital pictures I took and then we could see the white heads and tails of the mature eagles in this crowd and could see the immature eagles without the distinctive markings. Tomorrow when we are rested I will load up some of these pictures.   They probable aren’t that good but I am always thrilled to see these magestic birds. And I was thrilled to see the eagles out on the ice but I didn’t dare walk out any further to take pictures.