Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Winning smile

There are all sorts of internet sensations involving dogs, dogs on things, and things on dogs.  Millie might be able to make it in the "things on dogs" category, if only she would look a little more excited about it.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Preparation or lack thereof

The eagles have come and gone, the geese are passing through, and many of my friends are planning their gardens, and in fact, planting their seeds starts right now.

I am still trying to figure out what to do with different areas of the landscaping.  There are so many issues to deal with, but no good plan to deal with them.

Currently, I'm thinking:

Lemongrass along the front of the house, directly under the waterfall from our gutterless roof.  Herbs along the south wall of the house (mint, sage, chives, basil, thyme, and the like).  Cone flowers and Black-eyed Susans along the south-west and/or west side.  Alpine strawberries on the north side.  Sunflowers and sweet corn along the garage. Hops, tomatoes, peas, beans, lettuce, and more in the garden. And gooseberries, currents, and/or raspberries along the alley.

We'll look back at this list in September and see what really happened.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


Millie and got to be pretty good at cross-country skiing together this winter.  She learned where to run in relation to me and my skis and poles, and I learned to release her from the harness when going down hills (or not, depending on how fast I really wanted to go).

Now that the snow is (mostly) gone, we're back to working on off-leash hiking.  We're also adding bicycling to the mix.

I have read that people with dogs often don't get as much exercise as they thing they will because they now have to devote time to the dog in addition to their own workouts.  I can definitely see where this is true, but my goal for this year is to really see if I can combine the two so that both of us can get some quality exercise in while not annoying each other.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March madness

Last week was a very busy work week for me.  I was stressed out and felt very much tied to my office chair.  Two things really kept me going.

Firstly, Sam is a great cook and volunteered to make all the dinners last week.  He will comment that he makes a substantial amount of the dinners anyway (which is true), but it is especially nice to know that I don't even have to think about food when I am so busy.

Secondly, the weather was gorgeous on the weekend, and Millie and I were able to take a breather or two out on the marsh.  We found a new trail that provided lots of sniffing opportunities for Millie and a few nice photo-taking opportunities for me.  It was quiet and beautiful just before sunset, and even the half hour we got out there went a long way to keeping me sane.

Now if that weather would only come back...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Three's company

It's bad enough to have one dog resting her head on your lap asking, "Is it play time yet?" when you're working.  It's worse when there's another one resting his head on the corner of your desk, and a third standing in front of the door trying to figure out how best to make you get up to give him a walk.

I might be able to deal with three dogs in terms of providing exercise and entertainment most days, but having three pairs of sorrowful eyes staring at me on days that I couldn't would be too much of a guilt trip.  I'd never get anything done.  Thank goodness I'm just dog-sitting.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Bridging the seasons

Well, hello, blog readers.  It's been awhile, hasn't it?  I do apologize.  It's been very wintry around here, and nothing much has been happening except shoveling snow, walking in the snow, working, and watching Dr. Who.

On a surprisingly nice day in February, my friend Andrea joined Millie and me for a walk around the neighborhood.  Andrea takes fantastic photos, and she took a few of us.  This one is particularly nice.

The snow is actually working on melting right now, and Millie and I are working on transitioning from cross-country skiing together to running and biking together.  We'll miss the snow, but we're looking forward to a little more variety in the scenery.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

wintry mix

It's been cold here.  Very cold.  Our neighborhood walks have been abbreviated to keep my fingers and toes from freezing off.  But Millie doesn't mind.  She runs around in the snow with no problem.

Today it warmed up a bit, so we went cross-country skiing.  Millie decided that she wanted to run without me for 45 minutes.  I was not happy that she took off into the forest, but she enjoyed herself quite a bit, I'm sure.

Next time, she gets a harness to pull me with.  That will wear her out.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Winter food coma

It's been both busy and lazy in our house the past two days.

Yesterday, I was not feeling well.  I stayed on the couch while Sam did amazing things in the kitchen.  Adding this to his Sunday adventures in food, he has recently made:

Vegetable barley soup
Veggie chili with bulgar
Chili-cheese polenta
TVP sloppy joes
Mushroom barley casserole
Vegetable barley soup (2nd version)
Falafal and tahini sauce

Today, Sam was not feeling well, so he took the couch position, and I made:

English Barleywine
Spent grain banana bread
Spent grain dog treats

We're feeling productive.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Edward and Viola

When the inspector was going through our future house, he told us that he thought the house was built in the 1910s or 1920s due to the thickness and style of the basement walls.  None of the documents that accompanied our house indicated an actual date.

Well, I got curious, so I went over to the La Crosse Public Library to the Archives to see if I could figure it out.  And wouldn't you know, David (the very helpful archivist) and I figured it out fairly quickly.

It seems that the best way to find out when a house was built, at least in La Crosse, is to determine when water lines were run to the lot.  Our lot got water on Oct. 23, 1923.  Now, in the Assessor's records for 1923, there was no valuation for a house on our lot, but David thought that because all the yearly records were handwritten, it didn't make it into the tax record that year.  It showed up in the 1924 records though.  In 1923, our lot was worth $275.  In 1924, our lot was worth $400, and our house was worth $4000.  We assume, then, that the house was built in late 1923 or early 1924.

In looking up these records, I also learned that a Mr. William Schroer originally owned our lot and the lot to the south of us.  It appears that in 1923 he built houses on both lots.  He continued to live in the house on the lot to our south, and sold our house to Mr. Edward J. Kreutz and his wife Viola R.

Because David is the curious type, and I was not disinterested, we looked in the city directory to learn more about the Kreutz household and their time in our house.  We pulled out directories for approximately every 10 years, beginning with 1924.

1924: Ed was an estimator for Segelke and Kohlhaus Manufacturing.
1934: Ed was an assistant estimator for S & K Mfg.
1943: Ed was promoted to vice president for S & K Mfg.
1953: Ed rose to president of S & K Mfg.
1963: Ed was a draftsman at North La Crosse Lumber
1970: Ed was still a draftsman at North La Crosse Lumber

We figure that Ed rose through the ranks to president, and then either retired (he was born in 1891, so he would have been 72) or the company folded, and he went to work at a less taxing job as a draftsman.  Viola's name was missing from the 1970 entry, and we learned that she died in 1967.  Ed was no longer listed in 1980, and we found that he died on November 10 (spooky!), 1974.  They are buried in the Catholic Cemetery with their daughter and son-in-law.

So, who moved in after the Kreutz's?

1980: Anthony Kromke, relief machine operator at Safeway Foods; Michelle Kromke, chief pharmacy technician at St. Francis Hospital.
1990: Carl Barnes, salesman at Frank's Liquor of La Crosse

And there we stopped.  We could have looked at shorter intervals or continued for more years, but I was getting hungry (it was way past my lunchtime), and I had found what I had come looking for.  I will probably go back another time and fill in some of the more recent gaps, but for now, I am delighted to know a bit about the early history of my house and the family who loved it so much as to live in it for 50 years.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013



Merry Christmas! We are celebrating in casual fashion at home with ourselves, the snow, and some tasty food and beverages.

Millie has been digging in the snow, particularly after Sam threw some treats out in a snowdrift to see if she could find them.  Sam has cracked open the cider and filled his playlist with Christmas-related podcasts, and I felt the need to clean the bookshelves while sipping mulled wine.

In the midst of cleaning, I found four Christmas books from my childhood that had somehow gotten inserted between philosophy and Lord of the Rings.

Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Little Golden Book version)
The Very First Christmas (pop-up book!)
Quomodo Invidiosulus Nomine Grinchus Christi Natalem Abrogaverit (How the Grinch Stole Christmas, in Latin)

Perhaps I'll sit in front of the kerosene heater and reminisce this afternoon.