Monday, April 26, 2010

Rainy Weekend

The weather did not seem to cooperate much with us this weekend, as we had sporadic rain both days. Saturday morning Michaela and I attended the Spring Clean-up Day at the Mead Wildlife Area. With many grandmas in attendance, Michaela was the center of attention. She was a real trooper, helping throw weeds into buckets and talking to everyone. Danielle woke up with a slight temperature and stayed at home with Christine.

Saturday evening we visited one of Michaela's school friends family for the first time. Michaela and Abigail played well together, but the one-and-half year old kids Danielle and Aaron only ventured to the same toys once.

I was able to get an online research survey out this weekend as well. This is my first attempt at a survey questionnaire, what a learning experience. Now I just need enough people to take it.

Friday, April 23, 2010


A recent news article on yahoo reminded me of last weekend. On our way back from Appleton we went north to Shiocton for birds. The unexpected benefit of being in Shiocton was watching the Sturgeon spawning. It was neat seeing the large fish, now I want to catch one more than ever!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Weekend Bird Blitz

Christine and I traveled to Appleton this past Friday for my spring department meetings. The UW Colleges have thirteen locations, and we only get together twice a year as a department. We lingered in the area before, during and after the meetings to bird.

We saw many birds for the first time this year and also saw one bird species for the first time ever. We took an extra half hour drive to go through Wausau, and saw our first ever Eared Grebe at a park along the lake. As we pulled into the parking lot we saw two birders already scoping the lake, who happened to be from our area and to our surprise had already heard of me. We had a nice talk with them, and they generously shared their scope and pointed out the target bird.

During my meetings Friday afternoon Christine saw these two Cooper's hawks fighting (More pictures 2, 3, and 4). She did not find many birds though, rather she spent time shopping and looking for a TV and Blue-Ray player. After a meal with the department we headed to our room, where I finished my slides for a research presentation the next day while Christine read a book. The quiet relaxation bestowed upon us by Dan and Linda was greatly appreciated.

The next morning we went birding before the meetings continued. We did not find too much out of the ordinary, but enjoyed watching a few regulars including a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. After the meetings we headed north out of Appleton, finding this cooperative Eastern Chipmunk at Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve. We scoped the flooded fields on Van Patten Drive, seeing many ducks and a nesting colony of Yellow-headed Blackbirds.

We arrived back in Marshfield last Saturday night after looking at more Best Buy electronics in Stevens Point. (Our DVD player died and we are considering updating everything now!) Sunday morning we spent four hours leisurely walking through McMillian Marsh Wildlife Area north of Marshfield. There was a good variety of birds, but not many photo opportunities beyond the Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Dan and Linda arrived late Sunday night and we enjoyed their short visit. On Monday Dan and Christine built a sandbox frame underneath the deck. The girls absolutely love time with family.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Grandma and Grandpa Time!

So, as you previously read, Grandma Cindy came out to help with the girls while we had our fundraiser and we had a lot of fun. The picture below was at the zoo...doesn't everyone have these pictures from somewhere !

Also, this week, starting yesterday when I brought the girls to the cities to meet up with my parents, we have the house to ourselves. My parents have taken the girls so that Malcolm and I can go to Appleton to attend his department meeting. I didn't really want to hang out with the girls in a hotel room for two days so this way they get to spend time with Grandma and Grandpa and cousins and Malcolm and I get to have time alone to go birding and out to eat. (I am putting that in 'print' so that we can't back out of our dinner tonight. Malcolm said we were going out tonight!) I have already enjoyed the morning/afternoon of relaxing and quiet time. It is a much needed time and I enjoy it immensely.


Malcolm and I haven't got out a whole lot yet this spring to go birding but we have a few times. I purchased a new framed carrier that will fit me better than our other one and now we have two. The girls always fought over who got to ride in the Kelty and now we will be able to walk longer and hopefully everyone will be happier :)

Malcolm took the picture below of a Red-winged Blackbird this past week and I thought it was cool so I wanted to post it. We haven't seen much but this past weekend we got to go for a walk and saw both Ruby and Golden Kinglets, a Hermit Thrush and Fox Sparrow and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

Food for Thought Fundraiser

This past weekend Malcolm and I participated in the Food for Thought fundraiser at the University. It is a yearly fundraiser in which the community purchases a ticket to come and taste food from local amateur chefs and also there are silent auctions that local businesses donated goods and services to as well. This year I was asked if I was willing to provide cheesecakes for tasting so I spent a bit of time last week preparing over 400 mini cheesecakes for the tastings as well as a couple large ones for decoration. I made Mocha Cappuccino, Dulce de Leche/Caramel and Chocolate and everything went over well with chocolate being the least favorite...unfortunately that was the one I made the most of so we had a number of those left over. Here are some photos of our table as well as a few from the event.

Oh, and a sincere thankyou to Grandma who came to watch the kids while I baked and while Malcolm and I were at the event. Her help was very much appreciated and the girls had a lot of fun too!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone! Here are a few pictures from today.

What you don't see are pictures of my feeble plumbing attempt gone wrong. This morning I took the stem out of the bathtub's hot water valve before shutting off the water to the house....yep I got wet. I am thankful Dad could talk me through the fix, at least the water was warm.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring Break

A week ago Wednesday we traveled back to central Minnesota for an long weekend over my Spring Break. I had the week off from teaching, so we pulled Michaela from school for two days and headed back to extended family for rest and relaxation.

On the drive back Wednesday, we stopped at Como Zoo briefly. Unfortunately the zoo is only open until 4pm in March, and we arrived at 3:45. We still had plenty of time to see the cats and monkeys; but unfortunately we could not find the real giraffes.

We ate supper with Dave and Liza in Fridley. They are alot of fun to visit and they were absolutely amazing with the girls. Michaela and Danielle enjoyed their pets, and we greatly appreciated their hospitality.

Thursday morning we visited Lisa and Elizabeth in Wadena. as Michaela had been asking for Elizabeth since Christmas. Danielle was sick and spent much of the day on my hip while Christine made a lemon birthday cake for my parents. Thursday night we returned to Staples to see Coleen and Leroy, who were visiting from Alaska. Michaela and Elizabeth played so hard that Michaela took an hour and half nap, and she struggled to wake enough to play that night.

Friday and Saturday we lounged around Wadena at Christine's parents. The girls enjoyed time with their grandparents, while Christine and I relaxed and enjoyed time away from work. I thoroughly enjoyed avoiding doing anything class related for four days!

While at Dan and Linda's we cleaned all but one of their dozen birdhouses. The last would have been cleaned, but Christine got quite a surprise when she grabbed it. A flying squirrel quickly exited the house and attached itself to the nearby birch tree. Everyone came outside to get a view of this nocturnal rodent. I cannot tell from the pictures if it is a Northern flying squirrel or Southern flying squirrel, as the belly hair color indicates Northern but the of trees indicate Southern.

Saturday afternoon and Sunday we were in Staples. Michaela and Danielle love spending time with either set of grandparents. Dad, Christine, and I cut a load of wood Sunday afternoon. It was the first time I saw Dad's impressive hydraulic trailer in action.

We were able to drive straight through from Staples to Marshfield on the return trip. Michaela and Danielle were both in the middle of an ugly viral infection, which made for some weird sleeping arrangements. Luckily they are feeling better now, but in the process did pass it along to both of us as well as both parents and Lisa and Elizabeth. Oh well, who knew that would be the cost of visiting?