Remembering Paris

Paris is often on my mind. The Lady of Ladybird Lane and I spent a wonderful Christmas and New Years there … 12 years ago, already. It seems like yesterday. I’ll always remember the evening we walked under the Eiffel Tower just after sunset, the sky clear, an iridescent blue, and The Tower glowing and flickering with this golden light. It was amazing.

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A golden glow at Vilas Park

Sunday just before sunset we decided to head out for a walk and some picture taking if anything happened to look interesting. After stopping by Wingra Park in Madison and finding no ducks to feed we decided to head to Vilas Park where one can almost always find a few near the lake shore. Walking south toward Lake Wingra the path has a small bridge over some water and if you look to the left as you’re crossing you can see the the west side of Vilas Zoo. Just before 6:00 p.m. the scene was just as pretty as a picture.

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Flying blue pigs

When I hear the phrase “flying pigs” these guys — blue jays — come to mind. They are voracious peanut eaters and not too shy about stuffing two or three at a time down their gullets. It’s sort of like the bird version of kids and chocolate. It’s fun to watch these beautiful, talkative birds. I wish the photos weren’t quite so soft. The light was kind of low that morning and these guys were moving fast trying to carry away as many peanuts as they could before the squirrels got there.

Last rose of the season at Ladybird Lane

This is the last rose of 2015. A hard freeze is predicted for tomorrow night. That’s about a week later than usual for the Madison area. It’s only a week but I’m grateful for the extra few days of decent weather. :-) It’s been a terrific year for gardening in our area.

I was surprised that the photo turned out to have this nice macro appearance even though I was using the 18-105mm lens.

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Fall is (has been) in the air and Limburger cheese

Fall has been in the air for a couple of weeks now. The locust trees have been turning yellow and raining down their leaves and now the maples are getting quite a bit of color. We got out of town Saturday for a little while and on the way back home we went through Monroe, Wis. It’s a nice small town and has an interesting and attractive town square. One place you have to stop, if you’re in that area, is Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern. What a combination, beer and cheese. It’s pure Sconnie! Baumgartner’s has to be one of the few places where you can still get a Limburger and red onion on rye sandwich. By the way, it comes with a safety warning: “Do not eat this with your nose!” The Lady of Ladybird Lane said it was outstanding and I can attest to that; we didn’t kiss until she got home and brushed her teeth and gargled. Whew!

The only cheese plant producing Limburger in the U.S., Chalet Cheese Co-op, is located a little ways North of Monroe. HuffPo had a nice little article about the Limburger, Chalet and Monroe if you’d like to know more. The cheesemakers of Green County say there are a dozen plants making over 50 different varieties of cheese in the county. And, when you go to a cheese store there you’ll find lots of other varieties as well. Anyway, back to our lunch and fall. I had a Reuben, as you can tell from the picture. I’m not quite as daring my mate. Around the courthouse the trees were just beginning to get some color. It was a pretty scene.

Blackberry leaves

I really enjoy watching our blackberry plants grow. Over the course of the summer here at Ladybird Lane I’d say a blackberry cane grows at least 25 feet. The plant grows so fast you can practically see the canes get longer. And, the leaves are beautiful. We had a pretty heavy dew a few days ago and that gave me a chance to take the pictures.

A tourist’s map of Sconnieland

It’s the first home game for the Packers today, the first home game for the Badgers was yesterday (quite a party) and we’d sure hate for first time visitors to Sconnieland to get lost. It has pretty much all you need to know :-)

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It’s that time of year again!

Yep, Packers are heading to Soldier Field, Sunday, high-noon, to teach the Bears another thing or two about football. :-) Browsing through some game-related stuff on Facebook I came across this. The Bears are probably hoping Cutler is better at football this Sunday than at Wheel of Fortune.

HOLLYWOOD — Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler left his appearance on Celebrity Wheel of Fortune empty-handed Friday when he bought a vowel rather than trying to solve a fairly easy puzzle.
The letter S would have completed the puzzle and earned Cutler a jackpot of $8,000.
Even Vanna White knew that the Bears still suck.
Cutler opens Chicago’s 2015 regular season this weekend at home against the rival Green Bay Packers, where he is not expected to fare better than he did on Wheel of Fortune.

bearscutler;-) Just a little funnin’ ya, folks! Thanks to Tim Donovan for the laughs! I love Onion-y kind of stuff!

All joking aside, I read that the Bears keep Cutler because it would cost the team a fortune to get rid of him. I wonder if the Bears Brain Trust (there’s an oxymoron for you!) have figured how much losing all the time costs them?

 

Supersteak!

It’s been tomato season here at Ladybird Lane for about a month. They started ripening slowly, a few grape tomatoes, then some cherry tomatoes followed up by some really sweet cluster tomatoes and now the Supersteaks are ripening. Boy, oh, boy, are they big! The ones in the photo were a pound and a half each. I say “were” ‘cuz they are no longer! ;-) Anyway, I weighed them with a metric scale and that comes to 600 grams for the small one and the two larger were 650 grams. Yes, that’s just three supersteak tomatoes on a single dinner plate. You can get a dozen regular tomatoes on a dinner plate. And they are fantastic tasting especially when eaten with some salt and pepper and a thick slice of fresh mozzarella. I like putting a little olive oil on them, too, then sprinkling them with some grated Parmesan cheese, maybe some balsamico. Mmmm, mmm good! One disadvantage of the supersteaks is that they are a bit more fragile than other tomatoes. They get over ripe quickly so eat them not too long after you pick them. It’s also interesting how they grow. Instead of beginning with a small globe the supersteak begins as a small flat, ribbed button. Kinda cool.

This year I planted six different types of tomatoes, a cherry, a grape, a plum, an heirloom named Burgundy, two supersteaks and two cluster tomatoes. And then, any volunteers that decided to grow I tried to find a place for them. I love surprises. One turned out to be a San Marzano plum which makes a really nice, thick tomato paste. Anyway, they’re not ripening yet.

Tommy’s calling card

Tommy, the wild turkey who showed up a few weeks ago here at Ladybird Lane, left his calling card while we were away visiting family in Romania. Tommy had dug himself a dust pit and seems to think the north side of the house is a pretty good place to stay cool during the summer heat.

We told friends and family about Tommy and everybody advised us on how to catch a “curcan sălbatic” and turn him into a good meal. I told them that turkeys were government property and I would need a license to do that. Most were pretty amused by the idea of having to get a license for anything and especially just to take a wild government turkey.

Turkey feathers are really pretty. The large one is big enough to make a nice writing quill. The smaller ones have a lot of very soft down at the quill end. I guess that’s how Tommy keeps warm in the winter.

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