Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

According to Mommy, I am a bat. Seriously, try harder in the future, Mommy.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

County Hiking Challenge 2012--Hike 10/14

Mommy and I did a hike today that we only do when it is on the hiking challenge and only after our friend who also does The Challenge has done this one.  This is because Mommy considers this hike "unfriendly".  This hike is in one of the richest parts of the county and is full of warning signs that normal human beings don't seem to need because we don't see them at the other preserves.

 This sign shows up about every 1/2 mile. 
(Mommy erased the phone number if you were wondering.)

There is even a sign with a picture of an endangered turtle on it that tells you these very special turtles are very rare and are in the preserve and then tells you you mustn't bother the turtle if you see it. Mommy thinks that rich people need these signs because they just assume they own everything they see and it is theirs to play with or take. We saw a mom letting her child climb all over construction equipment that was parked at the trail head today. We have never seen this in other areas. We have seen parents walking around equipment with their kids and pointing out parts, but they've never let them touch it, much less climb on it like it was playground equipment.

Anyway, at this preserve a lot of the trails have "NO DOGS ALLOWED" signs on them too, and I'm not allowed to walk on ANY mowed trails, which, as you know, are my favorites.  In the past, even though the Challenge trail is not marked "no dogs allowed" it has gone onto a "NO DOGS ALLOWED" trail and Mommy and I have had to turn around, so that is why we wait for our friend to tell us if it is worth us driving to the preserve. I didn't wear my camera today because the temperatures were in the low 40s and the Merlin Cam tends to malfunction below 50 degrees, so you will have to put up with Mommy's photos only.

First off, when you hike here you want to look WEST because if you look east what you see are houses that are bigger than some hotels we've seen. Why does anyone need a house that big? How many dog beds do they have to have so their dog can have one in each room?

  Great big houses.
If you want to see this photo bigified, click here.

Me eating treats I stole from Mommy's bag while she was taking the previous picture

On the west side you see a river. It is a very small river and has been artificially straightened in sections too

Mommy was standing on this bridge to take the previous picture. That is another strange thing about this preserve. It has very fancy bridges. Most of the trail bridges in other preserves are just wooden spans with handrails. The ones here have fancy posts and wrought iron rails...

..or are all fancy concrete made to look like carved stone

Anyway, after you cross the river you get to a more wild area with ponds and woods. You can still see the houses to the east, but there is a small scrubby buffer between the trails and the homes.

 Small lake

Is this is the same heron that ate all my frogs at the froggy trail?

 Heading back to the trail head and looking at the west side of the trail.

We aren't sure why, but there is a giant bunny bench at the trail head. 
I just wanted to get back to the car and was not cooperating with Mommy on this photo shoot.

This hike was 2.9 miles long.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Show Us Your Treat Jar

Cibersibes have asked other blogging doggies to show them their treat jar. 


I don't get the concept of "treat jar" singular.  Here are my treat TINS plural. Oh, and I'd like to repeat that am NOT spoiled.

The tins belonged to Mommy's grandmother, and although they look a little washed out in the photo, the roosters and flowers are pink and green.  The tins usually sit on the kitchen counter and I have a bed right below them, which is convenient.  I would also like to point out that it took a lot of control to sit nicely while Mommy took the picture.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

County Hiking Challenge 2012--Hike 9/12

Mommy worked in the yard most of the day yesterday and all this morning after our walk.  When she finished working in the yard she came into the house and got everything ready for a hike.  She had planned to do a 2.6 mile hike down at the far end of the county, but when she said, "Okay! Let's go!" I ran to my bed and lay down. Mommy said, "Don't you want to go for a hike?" and I said no I did not.  Mommy then said, "It is too nice a day for you to be moping around the house and not hiking. How about we do the last really short one on the list? You like that hike. It's the froggy hike." I thought about it a bit and got up and agreed to go because I like the froggy hike. 

We hiked at this preserve a lot when I was recovering from having my toe amputated because this preserve is just two short loops, one inside the other, around a lake. Depending on how you string the loops together you can hike 1 mile, 1.2 miles, 1.3 miles, 1.5 miles, 1.8 miles or 2 miles so it was a perfect recuperation hiking spot.  The official hike was the 1.3 mile hike.

When we got out of the car we could see that the lake was full of Canada geese. This is only about a quarter of the goose flock. There were a lot of dogs on the trails today because the weather was so nice, and they were all on leashes.  Mommy thinks maybe seeing all those geese right off made people realize they needed to leash their dogs.

I lagged behind from the very start of the hike.  Mommy is trying to figure out how I took this picture of her because the leash is going in the wrong direction to be attached to me, but we know it was attached to me and not some other dog.

Hiking down to the fishing pier wasn't on the official hike, but I insisted on going down there to look for frogs.  There were none. When we got to what used to be a farmer's field with a sign that said, "NO TRESPASSING" we found a different sign that said, "DO NOT ENTER. TRAILS UNDER CONSTRUCTION. AREA NOT SAFE FOR GENERAL PUBLIC" This is very exciting because it means that the forest preserves bought out the farmer's field next door and, hopefully that also means the woods, two other little lakes, and the creek next to the field so this preserve will have even more trails soon and some developer won't be able to put big ugly houses up right next to the current trails.  When we got to the spot where the big loop connects with the little loop I insisted on going down the little loop so that I could get to the second fishing pier to look for frogs. There were no frogs there either! In fact, I didn't see a single frog on the entire hike, at the froggy hike no less!

When we were about two thirds of the way through the hike Mommy started singing "One of these things is not like the others." because she spotted that heron out with the geese. That is almost as embarrassing as polkaing to her car. Anyway, maybe he is why I didn't see any froggies today.

Mommy really liked this art shot I took of the fall leaves on the ground.  She is thinking of printing it out and framing it.

Here is a shot Mommy took from the lookout spot. If you bigify it you can see some people on the grassy part by the shore. They are about 30 feet from the parking lot. They arrived and gathered there a few minutes after we started our hike and they all got into their cars and drove off a few minutes before we finished our hike. Mommy and I don't understand people who come to a preserve and never go farther than 30 feet from their cars, but a lot of people seem to do that.

Anyway, with the added in side trips to the piers the hike totaled 1.8 miles.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

County Hiking Challenge 2012--Hike 8/11

This hike was along the river trail that Mommy and I like to hike.  We haven't done this particular stretch of it for about two years because I can't hike to it anymore from the trail heads where Mommy likes to park.  Mommy doesn't like this section's parking lot because it is off a very busy road and you can only get to it from one direction.  Also, there is no turn lane so if the drivers behind you aren't paying attention you risk getting rear ended when you slow down to make the turn.

The beginning of this hike goes behind shopping malls and apartments. This whole area is mostly shopping malls with some apartments added in, so it is nice that the people who live in those apartments can get to a nice bit of nature easily. But as far as hikes go, it isn't very exiting in the beginning.

See, not so great.

We did get to see some color

But don't give up on the hike because after you cross the river...

 you are in the woods

 The woods are nice and full of good smells and sometimes you'll see a deer.

The hike ended where the river trail merges with one of my favorite non-river trails.  I wanted to take the other trail, but Mommy said no because that hike is even longer than the one we were doing and we would never had made it back to the car, but she said since the challenge has a "wild card" entry we could maybe do the trail she wouldn't let me take as our wild card.  Total hike, 2.3 miles.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Monthly Diary for September, 2012

Well, this wasn't the most exciting of months.  Mommy and I took a bunch of hikes for the county hiking challenge. If you haven't done so already, you can read about them here, here, here and here.  I had more laser treatments and they have done me a lot of good.  I can now get up on the couch, although I don't do it as much as I used to, and I'm taking Mommy for longer morning walks.  We did a 6 1/2 mile morning walk this month and a few 5 mile walks too.  My treatments are farther apart now.  I'm going every other week and the vet thinks maybe I can cut down to once a month after my next treatment.  Mommy was happy to hear that since they are running up a bit of a bill.

The biggest part of the month was that Mommy and I went up to the house in Wisconsin to help Grandma and Grandpa get things ready for winter.  Mommy's youngest brother came too which was good. Grandma and Grandpa got a new boat!  It is a pontoon boat so the good news is that it is much easier for me to get on and off of, but the bad news is I'm not allowed on the seats, but as you can see from the photos below, I can still see what's happening if I stand up.


 Mommy liked this picture I took of the boat's anchor

Since it is fall the colors were very nice.  Mommy and I both took some pictures of the color.

Mommy, Grandma, Grandpa and Mommy's youngest brother all went to see Beef-A-Rama.  I've gone in the past, but Mommy thought it might be too much for me with the crowds.  She was nervous someone might step on my foot or accidentally knock me over, so I stayed home this year.  This meant that Mommy got to take the shuttle bus in instead of walking in on the bike trail, which was new for her.  I let her use my blog to write a guest post about the event if you want to read it.  That night Mommy's niece and nephew-in-law came for dinner.  They are the reason we went to Minnesota this summer for a wedding.  Mommy's brother, niece and nephew-in-law all played slow motion chase with me, which was a lot of fun. 

I really like the nephew-in-law. I actually handed him Mommy's shoe when he arrived.  Everyone was shocked because I don't give things to ANYBODY.  Then when he knelt on the floor to talk to me I walked around behind him, sat on his leg and did my singularity impersonation, in which I become infinitely dense in both matter and mind, so that he couldn't get up.  Mommy took a picture of him trying to get his leg out from under me.  I think it is a fun game to play with unsuspecting humans.

So, even though it wasn't the most eventful  of Septembers, it was a fun one.

Beef-A-Rama, 2012 (A Guest Post by Mommy)

Normally this is a busy but not horribly crowded event in Minocqua, Wisconsin, but this year, thanks to someone getting the UW brass band to open the parade the event was full of "outsiders".  It was so busy they sold out of official t-shirts and I had to get the unofficial one (which frankly was cuter than the official one).  Also there is usually an unpublished theme to the event such as "1960s and 70s TV Shows" or "Through the Eras" which makes it fun for the attendees in the know to try to figure out.  I couldn't find a theme this year, although I suspect it may have been "More Cowbell" since there were an awful lot of them out there and the unofficial t-shirt says, "I got my bell rung at Beef-A-Rama".

Originally this event was "Fish-A-Rama" and it was held right before tourist season started.  They cooked fish on the street and it sounded absolutely horrific, but someone got the clever idea to change it to something that actually smelled good, and that people wanted to eat, and Beef-A-Rama was born.  Then they moved it to the end of the tourist season to try to attract some of the leaf peepers.  The "Rump Roast Run" and the "Calf Mile" (kids' race) start the day's events with the winners being awarded huge raw rump roasts, but the big thing is the main street being taken over for businesses and organizations to cook large rump roasts.  The judges drift through the event and are served samples of the roasts.  The various businesses participating set up elaborate tasting tables for the judges and provide extra entertainment when the judges arrive.

One of the chefs at work
The cow hats were a big thing with the visitors this year
But the big event is the Parade of Beef.  This happens at 2:15 in the afternoon.  The chefs take their roasts, and parade them down the street to Torpy Park where they are sliced up and sold as beef sandwiches.

Beef in a wagon on a plastic tub? Really folks, you could have done better
The Min-Aqua-Bats (a ski show team made up of junior high through college kids) carried their beef on a ski disk
Beef on the front of an ATV, a bit lazy there
Diving club guy walked the parade in flippers
Frisbee golf club hit a hole in one with their presentation
Yup, beef in an outhouse. I wonder who got their sandwiches.
Hawaiian themed beef traveling in style
Cows with a wheelbarrow
Mardi Gras themed team had this guy carry the beef on his head the whole way
Minocqua Winter Park reminds everyone what is coming
My favorite, the Men in Black with their beef dressed up as an alien
I had to add this guy.  He wasn't part of the parade.  He had been drinking down at the bar at the end of town and when the Royal Court float for the High School Seniors came past the bar he hopped on the back and rode down to the Beef-A-Rama beer garden in style.  He hopped off as soon as they reached his destination.
And, for those of you who want more, her is the video from last year's Beef-A-Rama

We left after the parade so I don't have pictures of the beef sandwiches or the party that continues until 8 p.m. when they roll up the streets and send everyone home, or to the local bars to continue the fun until closing.