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The Eclectic Company - Where Every Post is a New Adventure!!
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Monday, March 28, 2011

DQ Curl and Gator Girl

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A few days ago when I posted a picture of hearty Frozen Tundra-ites lining up in the snow to get their DQ curly cones someone mentioned that they LOVED the DQ sign.


I hadn't thought about how cool it was until they said so.

So just for you, my bloggy fans, I went back in the dark and took a picture of the cool neonness of it all. Just for you. 'Cause that's the way we roll around here!


I wonder if the DQ owners KNOW how much signs like this go for on such shows as "American Picker"?

They may have their retirement nest egg balanced above their heads!


Gator Girl here also raised quite a ruckus on ye olde blog. MANY of you wondered if she was crazy and just WHY she was holding a 40 pound gator.

From time to time Sister Pam e-mails me photos that she thinks I might like to use on my blog, often with nary a word of explanation. This was one of those occasions.

I didn't KNOW why she was holding the gator, and I myself thought it might be an indication that she was losing it. I KNOW her hubby thought so - - - he had nightmares about the whole thing.

Because so many of you were worried and wondering about her, I ASKED her WHY she was holding that gator. Again - - - that's just the way we roll around here.

I don't think you'll like her answer, but here it is anyway:

She is holding it because she could.

Yep - - - you heard me right - - - she is holding it because she could.

Seems she and hubby were at a festival and "Mr Gator Man" was there allowing folks to hold his raised in captivity gator pet. She said, and I quote, "I couldn't pass up the opportunity."

Furthermore, she is AMAZED at all of you who are AMAZED at her. She doesn't find this behavior one bit crazy. She says CRAZY would be going down to the neighborhood pond and trying to cuddle a WILD gator.

Hmmmmmmm.

I think maybe her little valedictorian summa cum laude head has been in the Florida sunshine a wee bit too long.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

VCWho???

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It truly is the "stuff" that Cinderellas are made of.

When "the committee" announced the teams that would be "in" the 2011 Big Dance, and VCU was one of the last three in, most people said, "VC Who???" The pundits shouted "foul."

But come to the dance they did - - - in their sooty little uniforms with their larger than life attitude.


They entered as a lowly 11 seed but today they purchased their trip to the Final Four. The price of their ticket? A ten point beat down of number one seed Kansas.


Under the brilliant coaching of Shaka Smart (that's got to be an ICONIC coaching name from now on, no?) Little Cinderella romped through Georgetown, crushed Purdue, rode rough shod over Florida State, and now today killed the hopes of Kansas.

When they travel to Houston and the Final Four they will meet Butler which has had its own Cinderella moment in the sun. Whatever the outcome of that game, VCU has earned its place at the table with the Big Boys.

Photo Credits:
Joey Rodriguez photo by Ronald Martinez, Getty Images
Coach Shaka Smart photo from sec.floridatoday.com


Sunday Reruns - Kyle Perspective

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It's Sunday again, and you know what THAT means!?! It's time for Sunday Favorites!!!

Sunday Favorites are RERUNS, not current posts - - - if you want to participate, just repost something you previously posted "back in the day."

Thanks so much to Chari over at Happy to Design for hosting this meme, "Sunday Favorites." You may click on the link to find the rules and see more favorite posts.



Kyle Cam
(First posted on July 30, 2008)


Kyle, our youngest son and telecommunications major at Ball State, took my digi cam around the house and yard. I think you'll know what each of these items is, but they are from a purely Kyle perspective. Enjoy.


It's an ant's world.


Stumped?


Dishin' it up!


Birdie, birdie in the sky - - -


Work it out.


Grin and - - -


Bear it!!!

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Friday, March 25, 2011

When I Say Frozen Tundra I Actually Mean Subarctic Taiga, AND Not to be Outdone by the South We've Got Spring Flowers Too!!!

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I'm an Earth Science teacher. Well, I WAS an Earth Science teacher until the folks 'round those there parts realized the ONLY way to rid their children of MY influence was to SHUT THE DOORS of the school, so that is JUST what they did. (Oh I do kid - - - they DID also have the option of locking me up.)

Anyway, I'm an Earth Science teacher - - - I know what the Tundra is, and I know I don't REALLY live on the frozen Tundra.


The true Tundra circles and covers the north pole.

It has permafrost - - - soil that remains frozen YEAR AROUND and can be found even in midsummer just inches below the surface. If I truly lived on the frozen Tundra, I could save myself the cost of running a refrigerator - - - all I'd have to do is dig a hole in my back yard and place my food in it.

There are no trees on the Tundra - - - the shallow, nutrient poor unfrozen portion of the soil simply cannot support them.

The plants on the Tundra are
willows, sedges, cushion plants, and grasses.



No, our REAL biome is the southern border of the Taiga - - - or Northern Coniferous Forest.

The Taiga is below and circles the Tundra.

We've got trees - - - lots of pines and also hardwoods.

We don't have permafrost, no matter HOW it may seem to those of you who are already picnicking in your back yards, swimming in your pools, and lying in the sun roasting your skin to a beautiful golden brown.

So No, we do NOT really live on the Frozen Tundra - - - but it is just so fun to say that I'm sure I shall keep on saying it. Besides, would you KNOW what I meant if I said the Frozen Taiga???

I didn't think so.

And just so all you southern bloggers don't feel TOO sorry for us up here on the Frozen Tundra I want to tell you that suddenly, and without any ado whatsoever OUR Tundra spring flowers have begun to bloom.

Yes - - - we have FLOWERS and it's only the 25th of March!!!

It's gotta be some kind of record.

Today in my very own yard I found:



Pansies, or their near kin, in full bloom right beside Waldo!!!


DAISIES blooming right in the middle of our front yard!!!


Just looky here! The SHRUB by our front door is flowering too!!!!


And my personal favorite - - - VIOLETS springing up on the edge of our driveway!!!

Happy spring folks!!!

I'm linking the post to the No Rules Linky Party over at Wit Behind the Ears.

(Photo Credits: Tundra - bio.miami.edu, Taiga - biomesfirst.wikispace.com)

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Here on the Frozen Tundra We'll Take our Spring Flowers Any Way We Can Get 'Em

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Today I found a surprise in the mail! It came all the way from Cali from my longtime bloggy friend, Headless.


A darling little football bracelet - - - does she KNOW me or what??? Later when football season rolls around, we shall PLAN to wear our bracelets together separately while we watch a game.


In the package I also found this little note card with perky spring flowers on it and a warm sunshiny note inside.


I promptly propped that little fresh breath of spring right up on the kitchen counter, because REALLY, we "ain't" got NONE of those growing 'round here!!! Shoot, we "ain't" even got sprouts!!!

Here on the frozen tundra we've still got a lot of this:


Yes, yes, YES!!! I took this photo THIS MORNING. Well - - - by the time this post publishes it will be yesterday morning - - - but you know what I mean.

By the way, do you KNOW how you KNOW if you live on the frozen tundra or not?????

Hmmmmm???

I don't yet know ALL the signals but here is one:


If your walk-up window DQ reopens for spring in mid February, and come sleet, freezing rain, snow, or subzero temperatures the "natives" line up at the window, some of them wearing shorts and flip-flops, to order their non-dairy frozen treats - - -


You PROBABLY live on the frozen tundra!!!!

I kid you not - - - I haven't passed this DQ since mid February that it DIDN'T have a long line.

We natives of the frozen tundra are a hearty lot.

I'm linking this post to the "No Rules" Linky party over at Wit Behind the Ears.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

First Family

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As in our FIRST born, Keri.


Jason, Keri, Kaeleigh, Piper, and Mackinley

I'm pretty sure this is the CUTEST little family on the PLANET!!!

Why no, I'm not ONE BIT prejudiced, what makes you ask?????

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Java

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Last April I spent a little over a week in Costa Rica.


One of the special Costa Rican treats was a pot of freshly brewed locally grown coffee each morning.

It was yummy!


Fisherhubby is a big coffee fan, so I brought home three bags of Costa Rican Delight for him.

He loved them.

Recently, we were out of coffee beans to grind, so I ordered some of the very same Costa Rican coffee that I brought home last April.

It arrived the other day - - - looking and smelling JUST like it should.


You too can have Costa Rican coffee delivered right to your door - - - if you love java like we do.

No, this is not a paid advertisement, I'm SURE Cafe Britt would choose a much more sophisticated spokesperson than moi.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Our Spring has Sprung a Leak!*

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Oh and WHAT a leak it's sprung!!!

Yesterday we had rain, and sleet, and snow followed by lightning and wave after wave after wave of low rolling thunder.

Today we're still getting snow. I thought Fisherhubby was NEVER going to get his windshield clean enough to head to work this morning.

And to think, just a few short hours ago our spring was still "sprunging" and progressing so nicely. Well now we've got more 'o this:


Frosted shrubs


Snow laden roads - - - you CAN find our road in that picture, can't you????


No more exposed patches of green grass.
White blankets upon roofs once more.


And Waldo???? Well, he's doing his utmost to hide again.

And for those of you who are wondering, (I can hear you wondering - - - oh yes I can) "Why didn't she go OUT there and put Waldo back on top of her patio light????" Let me say I DID think about it but just as rapidly rejected the idea for where's the fun in that???? If Waldo goes back on top of the light, what will I use as a snow gauge???

Now, about this spring "sprunging" a leak business. Are we discouraged??? Are we daunted???

Oh no, mes amies. We know that this too shall pass. We may get our daffodils and tulips and crocuses far later into the season than do you - - - but get them we shall!


*Thanks to my friend Mark Wilson from whom I blatantly STOLE the title for my post.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Someone Isn't Young Anymore - - -

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Though she'll ALWAYS be fifteen months younger than moi.


Please SING with me:


"Happy birthday, Sister Pam,


Happy birthday, Sister Pam


Happy birthday


Dear P.A.,


Happy birthday Sister Pam!


And many more - - - - -

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Monday, March 21, 2011

What's a NEKOOSA?????

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Did you ever hold a sheet of fine quality linen stationery or typing paper in your hand, NOTICE a watermark that said "Nekoosa", and wonder what in the WORLD is a "Nekoosa!?!"

Well, wonder no more for I'm about to 'splain it all to you.


First of all, a watermark is an identifying mark as important to paper as a manufacturer's mark is to collectible fine china. Since paper is made using wood pulp and water, a watermark is so called because it is formed into the paper by water at a certain stage of the manufacture of the paper.

One very fine brand of stationery grade (weight) paper is made in a tiny Wisconsin River town named Nekoosa, and is watermarked as such. Nekoosa just happens to be a tiny berg not much more than a stone's throw from here.

Even though the manufacture of fine papers is the economical underpinning of little Nekoosa, there is MORE than paper in the town.


Driving through Nekoosa the other day, I couldn't help but notice the gorgeous mosaic murals that adorn the sides of several of the prominent buildings in the town.


Upon questioning, I learned that these murals were truly a community project of love spearheaded by the Nekoosa High School art teacher, Laurie Tenpas. Nekoosa residents, students grades K-12, business people, and volunteers created them over a space of several years.


The murals themselves depict things which make Nekoosa, well which make Nekoosa Nekoosa.


The Wisconsin river runs through the first one - - - Nekoosa being on the banks of that river and the word "Nekoosa" itself coming from the Ho-Chunk Native American word meaning "swiftwater."

The paper mill, cranberries, Walleye, Sand Hill Cranes, and other central Wisconsin specialities fill up the two murals.

Really wonderful "stuff" those murals!


Of course Fisherhubby was FAR more excited to learn that Nekoosa hosts a Walleye Contest in March and April than he was about either the fine papers OR the gorgeous murals.

To each his own, I always say.


And when I pan out a bit with my camera, you can see that we are STILL working on melting away our snow here in Central Wisconsin. The calendar MAY say spring - - - but it will take more than the calendar to warm us up around here.

If you look closely, you will see we are STILL forming rivulets of melt-off in our parking lots.

Actually, a bit of a SLOW warm up is a good thing because if ALL that snow melts TOO quickly and IF much rain falls during the melting process it can cause flooding of rivers and streams.

Some rivers are reaching flood stage already.

We are fortunate in that while the Wisconsin DOES run through our town, it is not out of its banks and we live far enough away from those banks that even should they flood, we will be in no immediate danger of an unexpected "bath."

Thanks for your visit to my little corner of the world today.

(Photo Credit: The Nekoosa watermark image is from thepapermillstore.com)

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Reruns - Sugar Shack

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It's Sunday again, and you know what THAT means!?! It's time for Sunday Favorites!!!

Sunday Favorites are RERUNS, not current posts - - - if you want to participate, just repost something you previously posted "back in the day."

Thanks so much to Chari over at Happy to Design for hosting this meme, "Sunday Favorites." You may click on the link to find the rules and see more favorite posts.

As spring is finally arriving on the frozen trundra, we are all getting a little "sappy." In honor of that, I'm rerunning this sweet post.



Sugar Shack in the Sugar Bush
(First posted on July 2, 2009)


My cousin Doug, who also lives in central Wisconsin, is a master of the "Sugar Bush."

The sugar bush refers to maple trees, the collecting of their sap, and the reducing of that sap to produce the delectable delight we all know as maple syrup.

I just asked dad what a "maple syrup maker" would be called. Dad said, "You call him your cousin." Hmmmmm - - - wonder where I got my sense of humor??? (Actually, I was doubly blessed in that department as mom was quite funny and witty too.)

Now back to our NEW "Hero-of-the-Sugar-Bush.


This "sugar shack" to which I referred was NOT an outhouse as some of you PROBABLY thought - - - come on, admit it, you THOUGHT it - - - but IS in fact the storage site for all the "stuff" needed to make the syrup, including lots of buckets for collecting sap, spiles (which you might think of as spouts which are stuck into the tree in the spring) and a long narrow pan in which the sap will be reduced.

In the woods behind the sugar shack are lots of sugar maples. In the spring when the sap is ready to "run," Doug places a spile in each tree and hangs a bucket to collect the sap.


Once there is sap in the bucket, he pours it into this stainless steel pot which can hold 200 gallons of sap. All this hauling buckets to collect sap is done by hand.

Once reduced, these 200 gallons of sap will make 6 gallons of syrup. That's right - - - only SIX gallons of syrup for every 200 gallons of sap. So, the next time you are about to complain about the PRICE on a bottle of pure maple syrup, think of the WORK involved to GET it, and pay the price. Syrup producers all over the world will thank you.


Doug reduces his syrup over a wood fire in the time honored and historical way.

And as an added benefit of cutting, chopping, and collecting all this wood - - - he is able to HEAT his home on subartic Wisconsin winter nights with this:


He says there is nothing better than getting thoroughly cold shoveling a driveway and THEN coming in to soak up the warmth of his Franklin stove.

But I digress - - -back to the bush - - -


This is Doug's fire pit over which he reduces the sap into syrup. He places the long, trough-like sap filled pan over the fire and watches it boil down. The MOMENT it reaches 212 degrees fahrenheit, he pulls it off the fire because it is finished. Longer and it will be ruined and go to sugar.

He bottles it hot so the lid will seal down, preserving it perfectly.


Pure liquid gold.

Last season Doug collected 1400 gallons of sap. From that he produced 46 gallons of syrup.

People hear about his syrup word-of-mouth and they come in droves to buy it.

He said he is a softy and ends up selling more than he really wants to.

I didn't have the heart to ask for a pint - - - though I must confess, I was coveting one in my heart!!!

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