Laurasjoquist's Blog

arts, crafts, photography, and joy

tut, tut it looks like rain:photos at horicon marsh, wisconsin 54/100

Memorial Day usually marks the start of our family camping season.  And, it usually rains on us that weekend.  This year we ventured north to Horicon, Wisconsin where we stayed at the Dodge County Ledge Park (camp site J was amazing) and went birding at Horicon Marsh and National Wildlife Refuge.  At 33,000 acres it is one of the largest fresh water marshes in North America.  Way to go Wisconsin!  It also has an interesting history of going from lake to marsh to lake to marsh to farmland and finally back to marsh that speaks volumes about human impact and lack of forethought.

Even though it rained most of the time we were there, we managed to see several new bird species and a lot of “old friends”.  Our list of new birds included the Ruddy and Redhead Duck, Yellow Headed Black Bird, Common, Black and Foster’s Tern(wicked cool by the way), Double Crested Cormorant, Barn Swallow and Trumpeter Swan.  Some other interesting birds we saw (but have seen previously) were the American White Pelican, Sandhill Crane and Blue Winged Teal(it’s a duck).  And we saw lots and lots of turtles.  Lots of them.

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robert o. cook memorial arboretum in Janesville, wi

when I have some extra time while running errands I like to find new places to walk and scout out what birds they have for Jack.  A few days ago, after a quick trip to Basics Co-Op, I stopped by the Cook Arboretum in Janesville.  The arboretum is operated by the local school district and used as an outdoor classroom.  How cool is that?

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Bird Fest at Sand Bluff Bird Observatory 53/100

The guys and I spent Mothers Day getting to know more about our feathered friends from the awesome volunteers at Bird Fest a charity event for the Sand Bluff Bird Observatory in Colored Sands Forest Preserve.  We were able to see some interesting new birds up close after they were caught and banded, and also checked the bird net with one of the volunteers.  Jack got to carry a Gray Catbird from the net back to the observatory.  Probably the highlight of his day.

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Photos of a short walk at Severson Dells 52/100

We stopped at Severson Dells over the weekend to look for birds.  We only found one new species, a Red Bellied Woodpecker.  Although the guys complained they couldn’t see a red belly on it at all.  We also stopped at the pond and saw some huge frogs and a baby turtle.  The frog and turtle photos were taken by Jack, who was trying out the camera again.

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an incomplete set of photos from Colored Sands 51/100

Why is it an incomplete set of photos from Colored Sands Forest Preserve?  Because I forgot to charge the camera battery.

We went here to check out the Sand Bluff Bird Observatory and to see if we could add any new birds to our Big Year list.  We were lucky enough to see a Sharp Shinned Hawk and a Rusty Blackbird.

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my first Tuesday with Dorie

I recently purchased a new cookbook “Baking with Julia(Child,that is)” by Dorie Greenspan, and joined an online community of people who bake (or cook) together twice a month from the same book.  The only rules are that you have to participate and you have to post about your participation on the scheduled Tuesday at the blog Tuesdays With Dorie.

My cookbook arrived just in time for me to make Hungarian Shortbread.  I’m not allowed to post the recipe, but it was so good that even the child ate it.  Although it was a little rich and no one went back for seconds.  I’m sending the rest to work with the husband tomorrow, since four sticks (that’s one whole pound!) of butter is not part of my get fit by Memorial Day diet plan.

I have to admit, I was a little intimidated to bake with Julia.  Because?  Well, because she’s freakin’ Julia Child.  I thought the recipe would be difficult and involve lots of extra (see tedious) steps.  I was completely wrong.  The recipe was simple, easy and delicious.  The book is very well written, and probably should be in everyone’s kitchen.  I made the shortbread exactly as instructed, with one change.  I didn’t have any rhubarb left, so I used some Chocolate Raspberry Jam I had.

I can’t wait until the next time I get to Bake with Julia, and Dorie, and everybody else on Tuesday.  Next up?  Pecan Sticky Buns!

hungarian shortbread