Friday, May 30, 2008

'Sconnie Report/Memorial Day

Hello everyone!

I hope you are having a good Friday! Has anyone else just eaten a big plate of nachos? Yum.

Thrift news:
If you haven't been to a thrift store lately, take note: tonight at the Univ. Ave Goodwill I found two pairs of Joe's Jeans, a pair of Citizens of Humanity jeans and a pair of Level 99 jeans. At Macy's or Anthropologie these brands run $99 to $200; at Goodwill they were $6.99 apiece. I bought the Level 99 and the Citizens of Humanity pants (neither of which were in my size) for either of my sisters in law to try. The Joe's Jeans were tiny; size 25. I should have bought them to sell on Ebay for a major profit....

Traveling news:
Last weekend I journeyed to south central WI, my Motherland.

In the first critter report, observe the cuteness of my sister L and her boyf C's new puppy. L and Diesel:
Of course, L is cute too!

It is hard to take pictures of puppies as they are constantly moving. My Dad carried Diesel out to the garage to get a treat.
He refers to Diesel and Chevy as "his dogs".

Chevy is L's dog and is ten months old. Because of the younger puppy, and because he is EXCITED Chevy wiggles around more, too. Here sis K attempts to snuggle Chevy!

One of the main purposes of the trip was to go morel-hunting with my Dad! More mushroom p0rn:

These "yellows" as my Dad called them, were significantly bigger than the morels I found in my Minneapolis backyard!

We collected two plastic grocery bags full of morels!

Both good and evil reside in the forest:

(Heebie jeebies, heebie jeebies! Check out this post regarding tent caterpillars!)

How many of you have encountered one of these in the woods?
So precious and tiny.

Look at the fawn's delicate little hoof peeking out! I loved him so much. My Dad says that baby fawns remain scentless for about a week after they are born. He suspected the Mama deer was very close by.

The next day I left my ancestral home and headed to Wisconsin's capital, Madison! It was great to be reunited with GH, aka the Domestic Nemesis! With her shiny new Master's Degree, we conquered the city!

A fellow graduate of my high school, KZ, joined in our State Street frolic. She's working on her Doctorate at the UW.
I steal her necklace.

GH and I went out for a FABULOUS (and cheap!) dinner on the Square, at Muramoto. After enjoying great sushi, an exquisite miso-grilled sea bass, and a fascinating six course beef rib prix fixe menu, we were some happy campers! Interestingly, that very afternoon sis L went out for sushi at the other location!

Another important part of the trip was my Mom's birthday on Monday! We took her out for dinner.
(Why does my Dad look happier holding the dog than standing next to his wife and daughter?!?)

We were all surprised and excited when family friend, HS, announced that her boyfriend D proposed to her on Memorial Day! HS and I at Christmas:
Congratulations, H and D!

Stay tuned for a 93% critter-related post very soon!


P.S. Has anyone seen a baby bunny yet?! I haven't. :(

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Camden State Park

Hello Critter Lovers,

How are you? Instead of being outdoors on this lovely morning, I'm writing a blog post. Oh well!

We had a great one night camping trip in Southwestern MN. Camden State Park was much lovelier than I expected. The 3.5 hour drive went by quickly (although Highway 212 through Eden Prairie is a CF; no wonder I haven't been out there in years) and the park was in a very hilly and scenic region. Highly recommended!

Our campsite:

The path and the Redwood River behind our campsite.

R hung our hammock right over the water!

Here he messes with the newly-discovered macro lens on our camera. (We've had the camera for four years! Thanks to Maven and JH in CO for the macro tips.)

We took a hike, which was partially thwarted by the fact that some of the portages were out because of high water.

There were a lot of natural springs.

Check out these morels we found on the horse path!


The Wild R and his Garmin GPS!

Our first geocaching excursion was sort of a crisis. We missed the 1:00 pm geocaching tour, and when we took our GPS out around 4 we think the rangers moved the cache. On the way to the site we did startle two deer, however!

The deer jumped right into the river! The first one made it easily across, but the second deer got caught in the current and dragged downstream a few yards! R caught it on camera as it successfully made it out of the river and followed its buddy up the hill.

There were deer everywhere. Can you spot the one in this photo?

We also saw a wild turkey, a pheasant, and tons of orioles.

R and I have only been to this State Park, William O'Brien, the Boundary Waters and a less-than-thrilling State Park in Alexandria, MN. Can any of you recommend some of your MN favorites?

Have a great week!


Friday, May 16, 2008

Annual Morel Post

Greetings, y'all, and happy Friday!

As the years go by I realize that May is a special time of year for me. My childhood home, and parent's current house, has a huge lilac bush in the backyard. Not only have I been enjoying the scent of lilacs since I was six years old, but also I've been picking bouquets since then. Concurrent with the lilac blooms is the appearance of morel mushrooms, which my Dad has been hunting for a very long time! I try to continue the tradition.

Our apartment building has two different varieties of lilacs in front, as well as a few mushrooms springing up! This year I found the morels not in the front yard, but rather the side and the rear of the building, where two years ago several elm trees were cut down.





And for Cousin Senor R, my own tulip photo, with a lilac bush in the background:

Stay tuned for a full report of our camping trip!


Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Hey dudes,

How goes it?

Things are good here, although I'm mighty tired tonight! Not as tired as the Domestic Nemesis, as she's finishing her last grad school paper RIGHT NOW! You can do it, buddy.

My temp job ends Friday, and for the last week and half I have been hauling books in the university book store warehouse. It makes me feel tough because I'm the only girl! But today my body is pretty tired from walking around all day, picking up stacks of books, alphabetizing them, putting them on carts, wheeling the cart to the correct shelf and locating the book pile and placing the books on it. I used to do work like this all the time; I think a few pounds may have crept on because I switched jobs.

Critter report: There are yellow finches in the trees outside the warehouse!

Now, a brief meme.

Stuff that is driving me crazy:
*Two super sensitive teeth; the Sensodyne the dentist recommended is not working!
*An 11 day emotional crisis every month (making a MD appt. for this)
*My hair (but I got new highlights today!)
*Happy people. (Just kidding) (Partially kidding.)

Things I am looking forward to:
*An overnight camping and geocaching trip to this State Park!
*Traveling to the Motherland next weekend with SH to go morel-hunting!
*Summer in general.
*Meeting my sister L's new puppy!

Finally, a picture of my sister AG's cute doggy, "Kung Fu":

Hugs and shout-outs,

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wedding Weekend and Rodent Repost!

Hello everyone! I hope the month of May has been good for you so far! The sunshine was lovely today; I just took a nice bike ride. (Well, except for a smashed shin from trying to get my bike past the screen door and wooden door and up the stairs into our apartment.)

We had a great trip up to sister JHF and JF's wedding at Lake Winnibigoshish! I highly recommend the Bowen Lodge, where we stayed. The cabin was lovely, the lodge was beautiful and the hosts were very nice people.

Ze pictures:


DSCN3474.JPG Bridal makeup design provided by Wendell!

We had the pleasure of transporting R's grandpa and his wife up north with us. It was great getting to know them better and hearing wonderful stories about their lives!
Here they are in the horse drawn carriage.

While beauty was provided by JHF, the bride, cuteness was provided by our nephew, Baby B! Shown here with his beautiful Grandma, RB.

R and I took a nature walk by the lake, which the Mississippi River flows right through.
(It was a lot more wintry up there, four hours north of the Cities!)

DSCN3443.JPG I luv moss.


We ran into AB and RB on the trail; they had seen a porcupine run right up a tree! Indeed, we soon came upon the furry rodentkin!

It watched us as we paused beneath the tree.

As we walked to the end of the point and headed back toward the lodge, we discovered YET ANOTHER porcupine!
DSCN3454.JPG I would like to pet the porcupine, just a little bit on his forehead.


To learn about this defensive dude, I'll repost my Critter Corner Entry from 3/27/2007:

This critter was suggested to me by my dear cousin Miss Lippy. The porcupine!


Fuzzy! (But spiny.)

Porcupines are the world's fourth largest rodent, after the capybara (and mara) and the beaver. The average porcupine ranges from 25 to 36 inches long, has and eight to ten inch tail and weighs between 12 and 35 lbs.

In the big ol' Order Rodentia, there are two porcupine families. The eleven Old World species fall into the Hystricidae family, while the twelve species of our own New World porcupines are part of the Erethizontidae family. Interestingly, the two families are not closely related. It seems like the New World porcupines actually evolved quills as a form of defense separately (and later than) the New World dudes. For a large, slow and otherwise wimpy rodent, some badass quills sound like a good development.

The word porcupine comes from the French "porc d'epine" or "thorny pork". They are also called "quill pigs".

Superpowers of the porcupine include, um, its' quills, along with superb hearing, senses of hearing and taste. Eyesight is poor, though. They're also excellent swimmers, kept buoyant by their hollow quills!

Contrary to popular belief, porcupines don't actually throw their 30,000 quills at their enemies; they just come off easily when touched. The body heat of the attacker causes the quill to expand and sink in deeper. Barbs on the quill also deepen the wound if an animal (or person) tries to pull it out. An encounter with a porcupine can kill an animal, not usually from infection, but instead from starvation, as any quills in the mouth might prevent the victim from eating.

The fisher, part of the weasel family, is one of the few creatures that can kill a porcupine. A fisher will incapacitate the porc by biting its' nose, and then flips the spiny guy over and attacks its' furry belly. Porcupines aren't very fast, and can easily be clubbed by people. In Italy, Vietnam and some parts of Alaska porcupine meat is considered a delicacy.

Side note: Has Mario Batali ever cooked porcupine on his Molto Mario show?

Side note: Have YOU ever been stuck by a porcupine?!

Porcupines are strict vegetarians, enjoying leaves, twigs, ground plants and in the wintertime, tree bark. They can kill trees by eating all the way around a trunk. Although porcupines climb trees regularly, and may live in a hollow tree trunk, one Alaskan study found up to 30% of porcupines had healed fractures. This makes one assume that they fall out of the trees, too!


These rodents are mostly solitary, although they might snuggle together in a winter den. They'll live in caves and hollow logs as well as tree trunks.

Females are more territorial than males, but when nooky season comes along, in the late summer or early fall, males will expand the size of their territory over five times to find a honey. Upon meeting each other, the male porcupine will put on a squeaking and wiggling display, culminating in the process of urinating on the female's head. If she's into it, she'll back up, flip her tail over her quills (the underside of the tail is not spiny) and accept his love. If the female porcupine is not interested, she'll shake off the urine and leave the scene!

The gestation period for porcupines is very long for a rodent: Seven months. Usually one or two babies are born. Their spikes harden within the first hour, and they nurse for about four months. The baby porcupines then find their own territory in the late summer when mating season comes around again.

For cute!

Two more facts: Native Americans decorated leather with porcupine quills. Porcupines will seek out salty items like shovel handles and wooden canoes and then eat them to get the sodium!

I hope you liked learning about porcupines!

Happy Hump Day!


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Last Day of Skool


It's the last day of my semester; just four hours of teaching until "summer starts". This includes the temp job I just accepted, working in a university book warehouse for two weeks. I can lift 50 pounds, right?! According to BM, with whom PoundPapi and I had a great brunch yesterday, there might not be a lot of temp work this summer, due to poverty levels, etc. It is my poverty levels I'm concerned about!

In critter news, a black and white cat is stalking the neighbor's back yard. Also, the previously mentioned Glo-Fish (tm) in my aquarium have disappeared. All three, gone without a trace. It is my hope that with their genetic engineering they have found a wormhole to a new aquatic dimension. Either that or they were eaten by their compatriots!

I tried a new recipe; homemade biscuits and gravy!

Last night soul-sis AB came over to rehearse for JB's wedding. We bonded earlier this week at the bridal shower, and are looking forward to exploring Lake Winnibigoshish this weekend. Did you know that lake hosts the largest breeding population of bald eagles in the Lower 48?

Full wedding report to follow, along with a post about a creature that has unique genitalia!