cell phone tower deaths on frontline

lamium + oregano

Tonight, Frontline is airing the episode for which we contributed some footage. It is about cell phone tower deaths. They contacted us in April after seeing some of our tower climbing footage. After that, we went out and shot a bit more. It should be airing at 10PM on most PBS stations. (There are two short clips of our footage. If you watch the online video, our winter scenes from the tower are shown at the 7:12 and 15:12-minute marks.)

Otherwise, just puttering in the garden.

slanted light

robins following me about

pallet pea trellis

robin by pallet pea trellis

as it darkens


jen's antler baskets

My friend, Jen, made these antler baskets, although they were snapped at my house on a very cloudy day. These are just a smidgen of what she has weaved.

I’m not doing so great on the health front, with even more pain and less energy than usual. It’s been digressing this way for about eight months. I still plug away at my part, taking care of what things that I can, and that always includes balance. So, I do a little less of almost everything, a lot less of some things, and let unnecessary parts go completely.

In the past, life has always come back around and caught me for a bit. Granted, I have never fully gotten back any health that I’ve lost. Still I trust that my body will allow me some freedom and energy in the future, maybe tomorrow, to swing back into capturing what still exists, even grows, and preserving it here.

linkage :: week 13

miss dageurrotype

Each Saturday morning, I’ve been going to the Sauk-Prairie Historical Society and working with fellow archivists to scan and analyze local glass negatives from the early 20th century.

I feel like the person in the movies who sits in a dimly-lit library at night, only it’s morning, paging through thick volumes of material and looking for that obscure clue. I’m Lisbeth Salandar tap-tapping into online databases. Last week, I signed an email “Sherlock Holmes”. Next time, maybe, Encyclopedia Brown or Inspector Clouseau.

I was sharing with my daughter some of the subject matter. In the very first image, there was a man crouching in the bushes with a child while his wife posed in the foreground with a bicycle. Yesterday, in what looks like a graduating class of six young women, way over on the edge, there is a man peeking from behind the skirt of a girl. Silas joked that this must have been the photo meme of that generation, the 1910’s version of planking. Glass negative bombing, if you will.

When I get home in the early afternoon, I sit down with a stack of books at my desk and my favorite online databases open on the computer, and I take out the notes from that day’s scans. I generally find a few hits and I get sidetracked by a lot of misses. By Sunday, my desk is covered in papers, they are my tracks in the snow. Arrows. Lists of names and places. Initials instead of whatever RMV means.

Next month, I hope to share the project on PortalWisconsin’s blog, where I am a new contributor. Jody Kapp wrote a nice introduction to the glass slide project HERE.

[The daguerreotype above was found behind another photo when I bought a vintage frame several years ago. More here.]

coming soon... weaving antler baskets


mary prepping antler sheds

the basket studio

jen + mary

jen pulling reed

tower climbing in three views

before a climb

tower climbing

Last Saturday, we did a trial run to see if we could get decent tower climbing footage. There are many adjustments that could have been made and will be made in the future. For one thing, that shoulder cam is not positioned right. I may have to mount it on a helmet or more in the front at a different angle. I’d like to make it removable so that it can be maneuvered, once at the top of the tower, for panoramic video.

And then there was the issue of a missing master key as well as the barbed wire fence, which didn’t stop my partner, yet left me at a distance to film. Really, that was an exception and hasn’t happened to us before this, especially since we always get permission.

This video is long and not what I wanted to make, yet it gives me a point from which to grow, practice, and learn.

[Edited to add: We shot this footage, and contributed other footage, to Frontline’s “Cell Tower Deaths” story by ProPublica, which was originally supposed to air February 21, 2012. It has since been replaced by a rerun, not a time-sensitive news piece.]

signing off + well wishes

antler shed in the studio

And so, I think that I will sign off from my digital diary until the new year.

Before that, I have to note that although I keep this daybook for myself and write as if there is not an audience, the truth is that the feedback is truly humbling, welcome, and even life-changing at times. I have made so many friends after nine years of blogging. Some I have met and hugged, some I hope to meet in the future, and some, although we are unlikely to cross physical paths, I feel like I have spent countless hours in person with them.

I received some holiday cards and I think that I managed to thank everyone personally. I hope so. This year, I didn’t send out greetings of the season by mail. I sent good wishes via thought, but the trouble with those is that most don’t know that I’ve wished well for them. That’s okay. I will give everyone my best wishes every day of the year, so they’ll know at some point or another. Or not.

Okay with it all, I am.

Though scant, I will surely attempt to peek in on some of my favorite sites during my daybook-keeping break. If I can. No promises or I will surely break them.

Signing off now in the early evening, I am now going to lollygag for a while, take the dog on a brisk jaunt about the yard, then settle in with a bit of crochet and telly while I wait for my husband to get home from a work trip to Iowa.

P.S. I am sort of on Twitter again, after an off-again-on-again hiatus of … a while. I will probably post any relevant phone snapshots on there.


constants :: holiday thoughts

kitties + lights

When I opened the editor for my journal this morning, I found four drafts that I’d written over the past week. Apparently, I’ve been thinking about December traditions, candles, twinkling lights, the wilderness, and Enlightened.

Everything has been so still here. There have been blue-sky-sunshine days, but mostly it is gray, and it is quiet, like in the movies when someone can stop time yet move about while others are paused. That is how it feels while I write now and that is how it feels during these darkened days while I move through the house. Unless a car passes or, like today, a gust of wind moves the trees, everything is fixed. I like this feeling and I like December days.

Our week of festivity usually begins with the Winter Solstice. Our little family gathers, appreciates one another, makes gestures with thoughtful gifts, eats well, and revels in the darkest night. This year, that will be preceded by a Sunday dinner with my siblings, niece, nephews, and step-pop. On Christmas Eve, we visit grandmums and a bit of extended family. We stay home on my birthday, the 25th, and laze about the house playing games. I will be 42 this year. Five days later, my man and I celebrate our anniversary. We are staying in Milwaukee to see a Jim Gaffigan performance. We always stay in on New Year’s Eve.

And this ends my idle thinking, as I have merry-making to do.

whipup 2012 calendar

 whipup calendar

I was thrilled when Kathreen Ricketson invited me to me part of the 2012 WhipUp.net annual calendar. I remember, last year at this time, pouring over the 2011 calendar and being so amazed by the talent. It is very humbling to be part of this. I tend not to think of myself as a crafter or an artist or anything but… “hey, I like doing this and I’m going to document it a bit”. I did a small interview there and have been featured alongside June calendar girl, Katie of Duo Fiberworks. (There are links to all the contributors HERE.)

The calendar is available for purchase in two formats, a downloadable PDF file (in three calendar designs) or a print-on-demand version from RedBubble, which is quite oversized and glorious.

In other news, I recently purchased the most beautiful pair of earrings from Julie Smith’s Etsy shop, Under the Tulip Tree. She has a blog with the same name and an aesthetic for making simply lovely things that are not too busy. I routinely don a pair of diamond studs that belonged to my grandmother-in-law, and I feel honored to have those, but I’ve been wanting some variety in my decoration. First, it was over-sized rings and now I’m onto earrings.

Next, I might go wild and shop for a bracelet.


air war test


Hijinx may run in the family.

None of this was planned. I just put the camera on the tripod and let it film while we explored the woods for a while. I don’t know how to edit film, so it’s really choppy in the end. I need to learn better video-editing skills? Challenge accepted!

day in the life: november

I somehow forgot to do a day in the life for October. Oh, well.

Today, I did ‘day in the life: november morning’. Of note: Kin is still completely obsessed with watching reflections. From this spot, she can see the living room and is looking for our other pets to appear, which confounds her. Sometimes this causes her to attack. The other day, I happened to glance at a mirror and there was her reflection watching me. She is my little guard kitty. She even growls at the meter man.

 the kitty in the hutch

morning studio

two of many stacks

the wall above my desk

in the garden with luna

making miso soup for breakfast

miso soup

houseplant health clinic time

going to south shore


on her porch