Guilty Pleasures


Golden rod and asters are the flowers remaining on the prairie

Golden rod and asters are the flowers remaining on the prairie

Fall is in the air. Darkness greets me when the alarm goes off in the mornings now, and the desire to snuggle in a warm blanket, sip on an aromatic cup of coffee and watch the sunrise in quiet comfort is almost irresistible.

The landscape is decorated with gold and crimson—soybeans turning golden brown, golden rod in full bloom, sumac plants with their crimson leaves, and red and orange rose hips and hawthorn berries color my days.

Migrating geese and cranes and cackling turkeys provide the sound track for the day. Crickets and cicadas perform a twilight symphony each evening to bring summer to a close. Stars sparkle in the clear night sky, and Orion becomes prominent in the sky—the hunter returning as autumn approaches.

I love this time of year. There are apple orchards to visit, hikes to take, fall color change to anticipate and watch. The days are clear and crisp. The air is clean and fresh. I can inhale deeply, sigh and be at peace with the changing world around me.

And, there’s one more important thing about this time of year.

It’s time for me to indulge in my guiltiest of pleasures—watching  the boys of the gridiron go at it. Continue reading

Preparing Society’s Future Conscience

It's a really big job.

It’s a really big job.

If I said to you that this person’s work ensured that 10 years in the future your community would continue to be a safe place to live and work—that crime rates would continue to be low. You would probably say that person’s job was important.

If I said to you that this person’s work meant that we could continue to enjoy litter-free sidewalks, the beauty of fresh streams to fish in, woodlands in which to camp, hike and hunt, the majestic flight of the bald eagle, clean water to drink and fresh air to breathe, you would probably applaud that person’s work.

If I said to you that this person’s work meant that technological advances to improve the lives of the vulnerable, injured and sick would be possible, that your community could be the birthplace of inventors, scientists, engineers and lawmakers, you would be excited to meet that person and call her “neighbor”.

If I said to you that this person has the job of preparing the conscience of the human race to meet the challenges of the future, you would probably say “Wow, that person has a big job. We better get the best person we can in the position, and support her as much as possible.”

That person is the teacher in your child’s classroom Continue reading

Things I Learned at Summer Camp This Year

  1. You really need to boil the carrots a long, long time when you make wild carrot stew. No camper song goes on quite long enough to accomplish this feat.
  2. Queen Anne ’s lace roots are edible (if you boil them for a really long time, see number 1)—they are wild carrots, but you better know your plants because there are others in the parsnip family that are quite dangerous to ingest, or even pick.alnc_h
  3. A red-tailed hawk gets its meal about 2 out of every 10 tries; an owl 9 out of 10.
  4. You can make friends for life in one week. Some of them might even be from the opposite side of the world.
  5. Nothing compares to climbing your favorite willow tree.
  6. Continue reading

To Boldly Ask What No One Has Ever Asked Before

Playing in the dirt from a young age

Playing in the dirt from a young age

We had just passed a road construction site on the small two-lane state highway on the way from our hotel to my Dad’s house. The new road cuts and construction revealed bright red dirt— really red dirt, even by the standards of the Piedmont Plateau in Georgia.

From the back seat my daughter asked, “Mom, what kinds of worms do they have here in Georgia?”

“The same species that we have in Wisconsin, why?” I answered.

There was a thoughtful silence, then “But they poop out red dirt?”

It is truly a miracle that my husband managed to keep the rental car on the road.

Actually, it was an insightful question. Continue reading

A Definite Article

iStock_000012148387XSmallI was sitting, stumped by the blank Word doc that glared at me from my computer screen. No inspiration was coming for this week’s article. Every time I would think of something to write, I would look a back at my log of recent articles and find that I had written about that topic already.

All of the writing gurus advise “write what you know”. Okay. I’ll start there. What do I know this week? Continue reading

To Grandma and Papa’s She Goes

easter_cMy daughter spent two days with Grandma and Papa this spring break.

On Friday immediately after coming home from school, she marched upstairs and started packing. By bedtime on Friday night, she started hauling down suitcases and bags full of stuff from her bedroom to take on her trip. This continued all weekend. Mariah, our dog, could barely find her food bowl now because of all of the stuff that was going to Grandma’s—which was staged in our kitchen.

My daughter even wanted to go to bed early on Sunday night so that she could wake up extra early on Monday morning to leave.

She even gave her engineer Daddy directions on how best to pack things in the car—for maximum efficiency.

My daughter was just a little excited. Continue reading