A 100 foot tall Oak tree fell on my cabin.

Fortunately we were not in it... that's the loft bedroom area.  Tree is about 2'+ at base, multiple trunks, only the top 35 feet hit the cabin.  The main trunk just missed by about 5 feet. In video you can see main trunk on the ground feet from the cabin. That would have totally crushed it. The impact knocked everything inside to the floor.
Seems I now have another project.

Before building the cabin I cut down the trees I considered to be a threat, but I never guessed one to the South so far away was a threat.
A few years ago a tornado ripped the top half off of a huge oak and dropped it just a few feet in front of the cabin.  A cabin in the woods is nice, but not woods in the cabin.


Rock climbing - Broken hip, ribs and shoulder.

We went to the rock climbing part of St Croix River NE of Minneapolis Minnesota When we arrived there was an ambulance.
We walked on a very rocky rugged trail over jagged refrigerator size nasty boulders to get to the cliff and then learned that a girl climber (25ish?) fell and broke her hip, ribs and shoulder while walking on the very trail that we just used. Yes the trail was rough, but not that bad (unless you fall).

This is the trail to one of the many climbing areas.
It's a very popular area for rock climbing (we watched), nothing else like it for hundreds of miles, so they come here.

Nothing like being prepared.


My cabin was built shortly after Wisconsin became a state in 1848

Page 1 of big thick abstract (Note date on Abstract and transfer from United States to the very first buyer). 

We still use the rustic solar powered cabin winter and summer, I've owned it for a few decades.  It will be around for another 150 years. It's been a fruit farm for over 100 years... apples, pears, cherries, plums, acres of grapes, etc... and still has apples, grapes, and acres of blackberries. asparagus and flowers grow wild all over. It's near Bayfield WI on the tallest piece of land (600') for 100 miles around, great view of Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands.

(Click to enlarge any pic)
It was first purchased by Mr Rice directly from the US Government in 1856.   The abstract reads like a novel... including some serious financial fraud. Originally the land sold for $1.35 per acre (now worth about $15,000 per acre?).

View of foyer, kitchen, living room, dining room, family room, and bedroom.
The upstairs is currently only used for storage (boat, garden tractor, bicycles, tools, etc).

The entire field changes colors as various flowers bloom.

Shoveling Garage roof - 4-1/2 feet of snow.

More of Bayfield  = http://bertthemensachicken.multiply.com/journal/item/30/Snow_storm_at_75_degrees.


And she doesn't need batteries.

Just look at that smile...

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Looks like a kids battery operated toy...?             Tuna actually likes her.

She prefers to sit on my hand...all the time. She goes everywhere with me. We go for walks, shopping, events, ... People stare (They think she's a puppet, "Is that real?").  Her name is "Shmoo" (the Al Capp cartoon) = Al Capp- Shmoo  

"The Shmoo believed that the only way to happiness was to bring happiness to others." 

Are you talking to ME ? ?

She's a "Silky" or "Silkie", about 2 months old, just 1.5 pounds but will not get much bigger. She has black skin (dark dark blue) and black bones, (but tastes like Chicken?) and very bright blue ear lobes.  Marco Polo wrote of this furry chicken during his travels in Asia in 13th century.
Ridiculously tame, cuddly, and lovable.
I love her gentle contented chortling.  Her sisters won first place and ribbons at the County Fair.


Don’t you wish you could do this? Do what she does and you can.

Getting off the ground seems to be the hard part (Isn’t that true for all of us?) but once underway with forward speed it seems easier. . . . . . . But it still makes flying look like a lot of work.
Velcro makes a "clapping" noise while flying and I’ve always wondered why (seems inefficient), so with slow motion video I studied her flight. Now I can see why.  It’s going to be very difficult to teach her not to do that (wastes energy). I tried to tell her but she doesn’t listen.
First in Slow Motion, then regular speed. 



Picture Perfect - Inseparably entwined - Velcro and 2.5

I have never seen two creatures (including humans) more in LOVE than these two...Inseparably entwined.  My friends and companions are 2.5 and Velcro (2.5 is a Homer, Velcro is a Voorburg Shield Cropper, and "sticks" to me).
If separated, they are desperate to get back together again. They "cry", pace, flit about... etc... and are not content until reunited.  It's a joy to see the extreme love they have for each other.  
Velcro has had several near-death experiences and during that time, 2.5 was a basket case... extremely depressed and despondent, even lost weight. 
2.5 even saved Velcro's life a few times.  Bird rescues another bird.
And when Velcro was MISSING,
For a more touching stories on this love relationship - - - > Velcro
(Warning, Some could make you cry)


She was weak, may not have survived (injured wild mourning dove)

When I walked near, she didn't move. I threw some seeds, she didn't move. Threw more, they hit her, she didn't move.  After a bit she walked down the driveway, then she started walking down the street. Tried to fly but couldn't, so I herded her into my yard, caught her with a fish net.

Then I discovered what was wrong. Just a baby, badly injured and weak. Her breast had been torn open exposing her innards. I got her to drink some water, Very thirsty, extremely thirsty, dehydrated, she perked up immediately but wouldn't eat. She was still bleeding a bit. I cleaned her up and she seemed like she'll survive. Should have stitches, but I will watch her, should be ok?

Doing pretty good now, as soon as she's old enough to fly, then in a few days when healed enough, I'll let her go. Good luck little bird. Come back and visit someday.  
SEE UPDATE - She'sssss Back..? (Link Disabled)


My Pet Fox wrapped around my neck, we'd watch TV together

When I actually lived on my farm there was lots of wildlife.  Fox would dig burrows in my fields (Interesting design, see below).  One time Mamma fox thought I was plowing too close so I watched as she carried her babies to the woods nearby.  She left one behind, my pet.

A WILD animal, a great pet (most of the time), just like a dog or cat but very independent. I often let Sly into the house to spend the day. While watching TV she'd climb up on my shoulders, wrap herself around my neck and sleep. Sometimes she'd sleep on my lap and would want to be petted.
Occasionally, for no apparent reason she would bite me viciously and draw lots of blood. Then just minutes later, it's back on my lap for more petting. I was glad she wasn't a pet wolf. Sly lived in the front yard in a dog house. I always had 6-10 dogs loose and they all got along.
My all time favorite pet was a seagull (Diddy, future blog, a fascinating extremely intelligent pet). She got along well will all the animals too, but ... Seagull was boss (Picture, about to attack cat). Seagull don't get their adult feathers until about 4 yrs old.

Diddy was 6 months old in the picture.
When I fed Sly (fox) her dish of cat food, Diddy Seagull would zoom over to the fox while it was eating, Peck Sly on the head then proceed to eat all the foxes food while Sly would stand back and watch.
My dog Martha, and the seagull were friends.

 One day Sly just disappeared, never saw her again. Found a mate? an accident? Got pecked on the head too often? Dunno.
Fox burrow design.
It was a 50 foot triangle in the field about 1 foot below the surface with an emergency exit at each corner (I dug it up just to see the layout).  Midway between two of the points there was another burrow heading directly to the center of the triangle. That's where the den was, where the young were raised.
A fun pet... but not a sensible one. Too dangerous for kids and people.


She was hanging upside down by her leg for more than 2 hours.

6/6/2010 - See Update at the bottom of this post, and more recent updates in the comments.
I was sure she was dead.... eyes closed, she looked so very dead.  

It was a bit later than usual when I went out to close up the Chickens, in the thunder, lightning, and pouring rain. Everyone was there except for my sweet Velcro Pigeon. She would never stay out on purpose so I feared the worst. This is my prize pigeon, my friend, my companion, my treasure…we’ve been thru a lot together... she has nine lives it seems (she's used up 4).  With flashlight I looked everywhere, several times, no sign of her. I was about to give up and hoped she might return the next morning. Then, for no good reason, I shined the light at the top vent in back of the aviary and to my amazement, there she was, hanging upside down by her leg, looking so very very dead, I was sure she was dead.
I grabbed a ladder and with the light in one hand and rain pouring down… then I saw her blink so I knew she had a chance to live but a short time longer and she would have died. I lifted her body and was attempting to free her foot when the ladder started to sink and tip over in the wet soil. I was afraid if I dropped her, her leg would twist and break. The hole was small and I could not reach past her to free her leg. The ladder kept tilting further so I quickly pushed her back into the vent without freeing her leg and hoped for the best. Success, when she fell inside (just a 4" drop to the nest roof) her leg was freed.
I ran inside and she was laying on the nest roof, exhausted and not moving. Her leg did not appear to be broken but she was nearly unconscious. I held her in my arms on the couch and she promptly fell sound asleep. I held her for hours, hoping she’d survive.

WHY? Did she go out the vent ? It seemed strange, she never had before and the door was wide open anyway. But the next night, our Tuna cat desperately wanted to go outside, so we let him. It was because there was a neighborhood cat returned to the scene of the crime. Tuna promptly chased him away. Tuna pays no attention to the pigeons, chickens, or Doves, ignores them, but doesn’t like stray cats.
The next morning Velcro’s leg was swollen and getting worse so I took her to the vet. The Vet said she would likely lose her leg, it was limp and no sensation. But she gave Velcro an exam and an x-ray. There were no fractures so then the vet said there was a 75% chance of losing her leg. By then I was so upset, the vet hugged me to comfort me. 

The next day Velcro showed signs of being able to control her leg a bit, but not her toes (dangling) so there was a bit of hope. When she walked she’d fall on her face. By that evening she was able to use her leg just a little bit for support and could limp with difficulty. By the third day her leg had much improved and she seemed to be able to control her front toes just a bit. By evening, she could sorta walk but with a very severe limp, no pressure on her toes and foot. While recovering, she spent many hours sleeping in my arms.

Her life partner, 2.5 the Homer pigeon, was so very upset, frantic, and desperate to see Velcro… didn’t know what to do, cooing loudly and pacing. She seemed to know that Velcro was in trouble. When I put Velcro’s cage on the deck, 2.5 immediately flew up from the aviary to be with Velcro. Later I put Velcro in the house and before I could close the door, 2.5 had flown in to be near Velcro. The bond between those 2 birds is so amazing, so complete…. They truly love each other so very much.

The forth day Velcro was doing so much better I decided she could be free inside the aviary to be with her lover 2.5. For the entire day, they hugged and kissed and coo’ed and coo’ed. 

The 5th day she still limped badly, but it seemed she would be able to be free and lead a mostly normal life so I let them both outside. It was a pleasure to see their happiness. They were jubilant to be together again, much hugging and kissing. They flew around the neighborhood so happy to be reunited and free to fly. Velcro was still limping but otherwise seemed in pretty good shape.
This is such a sweet video.


BUT THEN late in the day, I noticed the large pool of blood. Velcro was laying on the aviary platform instead of up high by the nest. She seemed to be bleeding to death and hadn’t the strength to get up to the nest. She was covered in blood and I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. I finally discovered that she had NO control of her back toe and had been walking with her toe folded under her foot all day and the knuckle was bleeding badly. I cleaned her up some and got the bleeding to stop. . We taped a cotton ball on her foot to restrict movement and protect the wound. Afraid it may start bleeding again, I held her in my arms for many hours again and she slept. I was hoping she hadn’t lost too much blood, and that it wasn’t too late.
The next morning we made a splint… a cast… of styrofoam and gauze patches, to keep all her toes in place.

Still covered in dried blood.

I’m hoping that when we remove it tomorrow (Fri) that her back toe stays in the right position… then maybe… a day in the aviary and if that’s successful, then Saturday she and 2.5 can be free to fly together again. I’m hoping.
 = = = = = = =    UPDATE 6/4/10 9:30pm. The day started out great. Removed the splint and Velcro was in good spirits and walking pretty good with all her toes where they should be. I let her loose in the aviary and watched her close for many hours and it looked very promising. Her back toe was always straight behind her... all day long. She doesn't have perfect control of her leg yet so stumbles occasionally but overall, doing quite nicely.
BUT by evening, she was walking with her back toe under her foot again so we immediately put the splint back on and confined her to a cage. Will check again in a few days, but I fear it means she cannot control it at all? ? ? then her back toe may have to be amputated ???
...Another potential problem. Her leg is still quite swollen and feels hot to the touch, she gets daily medication for it.  I was hoping it would be normal by now. Also her digestive system is not right. Pigeon droppings should contain no liquid, but hers does, quite a lot. That means all is not well, but maybe that's to be expected under the circumstances... lots of stress. Otherwise, she seems healthy, alert and happy.

UPDATE 6/11/2010 12 noon, Doing well except that she still has almost no control of her toes. The problem is that her rear toe folds under her foot then she walks on it and it bleeds. The splint prevents that but if she's to get control back, her toes need exercise. I'm taking her back to the vet this afternoon for some advice and more pain medication. I'm still keeping her confined in my office. She just now managed to land on my arm.
GOOD NEWS update 7/9/2010 - Success, looks like she'll be ok. 
More Good news update 5/1/2012 - She's fully functional, back to normal.
Terrible news 5/20/2014. Today a hawk killed her as she was flying to the deck to visit me. http://bertthemensachicken.blogspot.com/2014/09/this-is-not-sunset-picture.html


Picture Perfect - Cuisine - Wok

Bayfield Wisconsin Art Festival, Food vendor. 
It was raining at the time so I guess you could say
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he was "Woking in the Rain".
Thanks for visiting my site -
<a href="http://bertthemensachicken.multiply.com/journal/item/492/Picture_Perfect_-_Cuisine_-_Wok">Picture Perfect - Cuisine - Wok</a>