of the forest, silas







wisconsin state cow chip throw + festival

Pedal Pull Tractor Competition

This year, I helped to take photos for the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw. My contributions, as well as photos of the throw and the run, can most easily be found HERE in the sets on Flickr. We had a lot of fun and we saw a lot more than usual. The Puck burger was delicious. The little girl that spilled soda on my lens bag was very cute. I split a funnel cake with my husband. At the craft fair, I purchased more pottery — a greenish African violet pot. We missed the parade, but saw a bit of every band, including Elvis, I mean… Tony Rocker. The pedal pull tractor competition was awesome.

My feet are tired.

 Silas or Alice Glass

straight jacket

pork chop on a stick

Legends Tribute Band

pedal pull tractor trophies

quilt pillow

wisconsin cow chip food court

silas in the rain

day trip: black river state forest

Black River State Forest

This day was so important and, really, very surreal. It is a shame that I have waited more than a month to journal about it. I hope that I can recapture the strangeness and wonder of it all.

On June 25th, my daughter and I headed to Black River Falls and Black River State Forest. It is one of her favorite places. I think that it is pretty swell too. (In fact, my Scandinavian ancestors first settled near there in Jackson County, only I forgot about this until we came home, so on the next trip I’m going to find the old homesteads, or at least the land on which they resided.) We last visited the Black River Falls area two years ago and I shared a bit of info HERE, but even then I couldn’t find the words to describe the experience.

Since that time, so many people have landed on my site because they were searching for information on the Black River Falls dam or the dyke 17 tower. I always wondered why, because when I searched for those things online, there just wasn’t any enlightening information.

While there, we always visit the cemetery and the Dairy Way and the dam and the forest, especially the dyke 17 observation tower.

On this particular Saturday, we first headed to a shop-cafe that we like called Molly’s Rude Awakening. While the drive-thru coffee stand was in operation, the store was in the midst of a grand reconstruction. (Strike one.) After that, we hit the cemetery for a bit and then headed to the dam, or where I used to go to see the dam. Um, it wasn’t there anymore, but there was a temporary one next to the previous version. (Strike two. We stopped by the Chamber of Commerce, who informed us that a new dam will be constructed in the future. The old one was just that… old.)

Next on my creepy list was the motel where we stayed last time. It had been super eerie, especially the pool. Um, so, all of it was completely gone. Where the pool was in the ground? Grass. Where we slept? Concrete. (Strike three.) There had been a lot of houses in shambles and a burnt-out building on that street, but they were all gone too, either dozed or completely remodeled. (I guess that’s a good thing, so no strike.)

Thank goodness that the Dairy Way was still there.

unknown native

We bummed around town a bit more and then set off for the forest, specifically… dyke 17 observation tower. I couldn’t recall how we got there in 2009, but I took a chance and wound up on the right roads ruts. The vehicle trails throughout the woods are pretty sketchy. I spend a lot of time saying “oh, goodness” while I slowly rode the tops of the very deep ruts in the road. It was incredible; I loved it. Every so often, I would stop and take a little video. The sounds of insects was deafening, but they were completely revolted by both me and the vehicle. One flew inside and darted back out quite quickly.

I was so happy when I saw the sign for dyke 17. I grabbed my heavy-duty tripod, a mid-size video camera (Canon GL2), and my photography equipment. I then began the short hike to the observation tower. And then I hiked some more. And some more. And then I walked back to the parking area and checked the map. The tower was right there on the map and it should have been within my view. It was not there. (Strike four?) I was clearly bummed, but more so confused.

To make things just a little bit weirder, on the way back to the vehicle, we encountered an Eastern Hognose Snake that was displaying like a cobra less than two feet … from our feet. Of course, my daughter didn’t flinch. I startled and then knew that this was no cobra. In Wisconsin. I immediately put that on the weird-things list that I keep in my head, right before noticing that I was covered in ticks from walking through the grass. Not like five ticks. Like 50 ticks. I picked them off for hours. I continued to pick them off for the next day. (Strike, strike, strike, strike, strike.)

(I know that people are skeeved out by ticks, but I grew up in the country and if I’ve had one tick bite, I probably had 500 before the time that I was 18. I mean, I ate squirrels and stuff too, and I’m good with my history.)

It was time to get the heck out of Dodge, but not before encountering my first ever porcupine in the wild. I mean, dead-in-the-road wild, but still.

Since I can’t put into words the delightful queerness that is Black River Falls and Black River State Forest, I simply must remember it all. And visit again.

[Oh, gosh, I forgot to add that I contacted the forest administration and they sent me a very nice reply, explaining that the tower had deteriorated to a dangerous point and was deconstructed. The warden suggested several other lookout spots, so if you’re here looking for BRSF information, send me an email or leave a comment. I’d be happy to share the information.]

[Addendum: If you are looking for the dam-building cam, click HERE. Make sure to click on the time-lapse view as it is pretty awesome.]



nobrandcon preparations

con preparations

In a few hours, the four of us (my man, X, Joseph, me) will begin a short trek north to Eau Claire for NoBrandCon. I believe that this is our sixth year in attendance.

Around this time, I tend to get a lot of NoBrandCon visitors to my site and, so, if you are here due to an internet search, here’s some NBC stuff for you:

  • NoBrandCon Flickr group – Please feel free to join and add your photos. Most of my pictures from the past four or five years are in the group pool.
  • NoBrandCon 2008 – This is my favorite photo montage.
  • NoBrandCon – Official site.
  • Videos – These videos are from NoBrandCon 2009 and Daisho Con, probably 2009.
  • NoBrandCon posts – These are most of my NoBrandCon posts from past years.

Check back soon for coverage from this year’s convention.

born this way

born this way

While scanning some photos for Facebook this morning, I came across this picture of X from 2001.

It speaks volumes.

walking with grandpa



I have often mentioned that I am the fourth generation to hike the banks of the Wisconsin River here in the villages of Sauk City and Prairie du Sac, which are smooshed together and often (falsely) called “Sauk-Prairie”.  My daughter is, of course, the fifth generation of Therkelsson-Malone-Andersons to be a child of this river and proudly claims that title. 

To those of us who have nearly a century of lineage here, Sauk-Prairie is an adjective… not a noun.  For instance, this is the Sauk-Prairie area.  These people who have relocated here over past decades, and who are even involved in the future development of the villages, use the noun form of the word and it makes me want to shake them.  (While we share a police department, school district and hospital, each village maintains its own library, utilities, fire department, and government.  By the way, Sauk City has the oldest organized volunteer fire department in the state of Wisconsin.) 

All that aside, back to the river… Long before there were paved trails near the river, I trekked the foot trails with Grandpa Anderson.  Even then, 35 years in my past, the path often fell away as it neared the river banks and new stepping spots were slowly etched to the west, inch by inch.  I have taken this route hundreds of times, and I would like to think that I have some part in keeping the foot trails alive. 

The photos in this post were snapped near August Derleth park in Sauk City.  Many people outside of Wisconsin are not familiar with this talented local author, who passed away in the 1970s, but if you are familiar with H.P. Lovecraft… you can thank Mr. Derleth for that. 

I would like to share a foggy June morning with you as I spend time with my river, myself, and the memory of Grandpa Anderson.  (Since this is a photo-heavy post, you can see the rest of the pictures after the jump from your reader or the main page.) 

Have a merry weekend, friends.

Continue reading walking with grandpa

x's birthday #18 with cocorosie



Just popping in quick to share some photos from Saturday night’s CocoRosie concert at the Barrymore Theatre in Madison.  We had a fabulous time.

X met the folks who back up CocoRosie, including the amazing TEZ, who is a human beat box.  (See above photo.)  Freaking fantastic.  I have four videos HERE.  My personal favorites are TEZ’s solo and the girls doing Hopscotch.  Diane Cluck opened with a brilliant performance.  I chatted with her briefly and she was very nice.  She appears in the video title “final highlights“, and I do have a few photos, but I haven’t uploaded them to Flickr yet.  Soon.

To see larger versions of the shots below, head to Flickr.








this moment lasted 18 years



At the Mazomanie Sand & Oak Barrens, ditching time.  Plus, the prickly-pear cacti are in bloom.

X turns 18 on Sunday.  Bittersweet.  We are celebrating her birthday eve with CocoRosie on Saturday night.  (You might need a Facebook account to see that; Otherwise, click here for general event information and tickets.)  More about all that after-the-fact.

Oh my, 18.

this moment + weekend already?


x at the wisconsin river


(Playing along again with SouleMama’s this moment Friday series.)

Thanks to everyone for joining me at this new space.  Things are still a little clunky over here, and I will eventually adjust the theme, but this should work for now. 

Please let me know if you have any issues commenting by emailing me at sonotcool@gmail.com

Happy weekend!

memorial day weekend


This weekend?

Saturday:  breakfast – farmer’s market: radishes, asparagus, kale; black fennel, parsley – planted black fennel, parsley and heirloom tomatoes – discovered baby dill from last year growing in the garden – sat in adirondack chairs under the maple – sauteed asparagus and radishes with garlic (I’ll come up with a recipe for it and share soon) – read on the front porch in the early evening – tried to get video of Kin *covering* and *uncovering* the water bowl – finished reading Mrs. Miniver (LOVED IT!) – started adding books to my Amazon store

Sunday:  breakfast with a breeze through the window – adding at least 40 books to my GoodReads list – seeing a young and downy Grackle sitting on the bird feeder roof, confused about how to gracefully get to the seed – careful placement of fans to keep cool – more sauteed greens with white beans – sauteed green beans with garlic and red pepper flakes – falling off the vegan wagon and having a raspberry shake – getting a wild hair to move my blogs to my own domain – staying up too late

Monday:  road trip through and around Black Earth, Mount Horeb, Blanchardville, Mount Vernon, New Glarus, and Monroe – discovering a new park for picnicking – stopped at Brennan’s for asparagus, Grana, aged Cheddar, garlic, and lettuce – figuratively banging my head against the table while trying to figure out WordPress DOT ORG

(An aside: More about my move from Typepad HERE.)