one month post plaquenil


a sharp-shinned hawk was here


The other day, I heard a disturbance outside of my window. When I looked up, I saw a mixture of snow fall and feathers. It seems that the resident Sharp-shinned hawk nabbed itself a meal from my feeding station.

from 1.28.2015

kin no neko



house finch

I love Mondays and Tuesdays, which is when I do a bird count at my feeding station for Project FeederWatch. I have fed birds all of my life, but it wasn’t until joining a local birding group on Facebook that I tried to lure in specific species, including Baltimore 0rioles in the spring (they love grape jelly and orange halves) and Red-bellied woodpeckers this winter. I tally the birds that come to a specific corner of my yard and record the conditions. I also have a phenology calendar from the Aldo Leopold Foundation, and in that I track seasonal events, such as the start of the Black-capped chickadees’ two-note song or the Blue jays gurgling and head bobbing.




Yellow-bellied sapsucker


This juvenile Yellow-bellied sapsucker is out of its range here in my yard this January of 2015. It has been hanging about since late October.

It has been a long time since I’ve published anything here, until now. Look for more updates soon!

happy new year

kin no neko

Right up until the evening of December 31st, I considered letting this space go quiet indefinitely. The struggle for energy is continual and it often leaves me distraught. My house and bits of my life are in a shambles, and that sometimes gives me the feeling that I have nothing worthwhile to document. I find it a struggle to write about the sad realities of my life, but as always I want to be exceedingly honest while remaining optimistic. That isn’t always so easy to put into words. And, well, with my house a wreck, I don’t so much want to put it into pictures either.

All that said, here I am and forward I shall go… taking on the challenge of health issues, new projects, old messes, and all things associated with the preciousness of life.

I don’t make resolutions, but I do really like the freshness of a new year. I think that it is a great time to reevaluate things and initiate change. I have a variety of short- and long-term projects planned and some general life goals. The common themes running through all of these are getting rid of what I don’t need (physically, digitally, mentally), organizing what I do have (again… physically, digitally, mentally) for optimal functionality and enjoyment, and continuing to explore new avenues.

  • I’m doing The January Cure at Apartment Therapy. This will be the four-week version of the eight-week Cure. While I know how to organize, streamline, and pretty things up, I thought that letting go of the control that I usually like to have and just doing what someone else suggests would be a good break as well as a nice way to start off the year. I will to continue to spruce up the house after that, particularly taking advantage of the weather… working on decluttering and organizing through the cold months, painting and gardening and spiffing up the home’s exterior come spring and summer.
  • I have some unfinished objects (the dreaded UFOs) that I would like to complete. FINALLY. This includes 1) crocheting together the circles of Mister Winter, 2) attaching ears to a wolf hat, 3) sewing buttons on a hood, 4) weaving a cat head basket that I just don’t *get*, and 5) embroidering Alicia Paulson’s Daisychain ABCs Crewelwork Sampler.
  • I plan to post more at my Facebook page. In the past, I’ve used it for occasional links and announcing new posts at my blog. I will continue that, but I am going to be more interactive, sharing interesting things that I find and answering any questions. I think that it’s a good way to stay in touch with people, be a bit more personable, because we all know that I’m terrible about responding to comments.
  • Um, respond to comments on a regular basis. *smile*
  • I have once again begun to put up photos at my namesake url and continuing to do so is a goal of mine. Speaking of which, there are a few projects that were sort of left in the lurch, most especially unmasked and the other side. I would like to add to both of these collections and maybe put the latter in book form to sell locally. Of note, the front page of is static, but if you add it to your feed reader, you’ll get regular updates. (Oh, gosh. This is set to forward one to this blog. I’ll try to fix it asap, but I forgot how!) You can also use the cloud tag on the right side of the page to navigate categories. But, *ahem*, this really needs updating as there’s not much to see presently.
  • Being sick is expensive. It isn’t just the medical bills or inability to procure an income. The expense also comes from exhaustion. For instance, whereas I once made everything by scratch and rarely relied on carry-out, over the past few years that has not been realistic… nor cheap. In light of that, one of my projects is feeding myself well despite limited energy and continuing to craft/design despite meager funds.
  • This space is one of my most important projects of the year. I have been blogging for over 10 years, but I have been most inactive during the last 12 months. I would like to update on a more regular basis, perhaps on weekdays as I once did.

Gosh, these sound more like resolutions than I intended. Whatever you call them, I’m up for the challenge of these projects and more.

mazomanie sand + oak barrens fire

mazomanie sand barrens

Earlier this month, there was a fire at the Mazomanie Oak Barrens, likely due to an extended drought that began in the spring. The damage was relatively minor, burning an area less than seven acres in size. While it’s a stark view, the DNR already performs prescribed burns in this area to preserve the health of the prairie. When we visited yesterday, the grass was beginning to grow back.

The path, which didn’t burn, can be seen in a photo that I took of my daughter a few years ago.



hillside school

Sometimes when I go for a hike, I forget my camera. Despite the initial disappointment, it’s okay. The experience will be just as sweet if I don’t document it, perhaps even sweeter as I’ll only have my memories. I feel as if these months where I haven’t been keeping much of an online journal are like those hikes without photos. I still have a good time and live a full life; I just don’t have a tangible way to share it with others.

A lot in my life has changed, but the transitions have been smooth. My uncle passed away in early July. He lived with my grandma and, therefore, tended to her well-being on a regular basis. She is 89 and now lives on her own for the first time in her life. (She was one of 11 children.) I provide her primary care, visiting morning and evening for a total of three or four hours daily. In June, I never would have thought that I could carve 25 hours out of my week, much less do it while increasing productivity in other areas as well. It is quite unfathomable, yet I’m doing it. I think that it just goes to show that we are capable of so much more than we realize, so it’s good to keep challenging one’s self frequently.

I think that I’ll make a little list of what has been going on in my world this summer:

  • Earlier this year, at the age of 20, my daughter finally received her Asperger’s/Autism diagnosis. We’ve long known that this was the case but, like with my own health issues, it was difficult to get someone to listen. This is quite validating and she can now receive services that were unavailable to her before this.
  • I pretty much abandoned my garden around the end of June. Like much of the US, Wisconsin was stricken with a severe drought and extreme temperatures this summer. The month of July was absolutely unbearable. I am partial to cold weather as it is, so the heat really bore away at my whole being. In August, the heat broke and we received a fair amount of rain. The strange weather of March through July has affected many harvests in Wisconsin, not the least of which include corn, apples, and grapes. Soon I will pull that which I let go wild. I may plant some fall crops and I might yet hoop a few beds. I’m looking at you, leeks.
  • Work has again slowed on the Mister Winter afghan. I crochet circles here and there, but to get my project-completed satisfaction on a regular basis, I have been squeezing in smaller projects. I made three plant hangers, a gazillion coasters, and various bits not quite worthy of an individual mention.
  • While I did whip up one medium-sized basket because I was itching to do some weaving, I otherwise haven’t done much in that area. I’m planning to do a few Sauk Indian-inspired baskets for the local historical society, which is pretty exciting and interesting to me. I believe that I’m going to make a birch bark bucket and a sweetgrass basket. We’ll see…
  • So many people have cut back on taking photos with their camera and are instead doing phone photos. I am guilty of this as well, yet I’m trying to change that a bit. In the meantime, I can be found on Instagram @sonotcool. One of my favorites there is @heiastrid. Her life is so interesting.
  • I have been hiking quite a bit again. It hasn’t been lengthy or strenuous, but easy and beautiful. We hit a lot of Wisconsin’s State Natural Areas. Baxter’s Hollow is a current favorite. We’re out there at least once a week. The photos from the Stones Pocket Road post were taken on the way into that site. That reminds me… I need to purchase Baxter’s Hollow Bird Food this week. Their site is gorgeous and has bird song from its location playing in the background.
  • I go to the local historical society about twice a week to archive glass-plate negatives. Although we started in March, we’re only halfway through the collection at this time. Each scan is like opening a birthday present. Hundreds and hundreds of birthday presents. One of them included the school above, Hillside School on Prairie Road near Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin.

ten years

ice age trail

Ten years ago today, I officially began to blog.

I had putzed around with Geocities-type sites before that, keeping a journal and sharing photos online, but that first blog really forged a new direction in my life. I can’t even begin to describe the scope of this exercise in sharing. I tried. I opted to keep it simple.

I love this gig, both here and guest blogging. I appreciate all of the folks who have been part of this grand ride.

other places

G Magazine April/May 2012

I keep forgetting to note that Australia’s G Magazine included a photo of my husband’s upcycled garden bench in its April/May issue. The magazine is really lovely, high quality, and delightfully informative. It was an honor to be part of such a nice publication.

Today, I posted an article at the Portal Wisconsin blog. It is a short photo essay about learning to weave antler baskets this last March.

I’m trying to keep better notes about other places that I publish stuff. Thus, this post.

Upcycled Garden Bench in G Magazine

portal wisconsin

750 Seventh Street

Today, I posted at the Portal Wisconsin blog and shared my complete obsession with a project that I’m involved with at the local historical society.