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Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

The Critter Chronicles

Backyard Homesteading, Critters, Growing Your Own Vegetables

So far not much has gone awry with the garden this year.  My cousin in Pennsylvania has a huge garden too (runs in the Gaertner blood) and she has had to erect enormous fenced exclosures to keep the deer from terrorizing her veggies.  Me?  The blonde Lab has assumed the role of watchdog and raises the most horrific ruckus anytime a whitetail gets in her sights.  Even at hundreds of yards.  The deer are positively terrified of the territorial yellow dog.  The black Lab keeps the bunny population in check.  I haven't grown sweet corn for years so the raccoons leave me be. 

Reptiles and amphibians are welcome.

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Friday Morning Music

Friday Morning Music, Midnight Oil, Beds are Burning

It's the start of a long holiday weekend - which for many of you has already begun.

I recommend that you crank-up the volume for this 1987 world wide political hit single... 

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Jardin Magnifique!

Backyard Homesteading, Growing Your Own Vegetables, Gardening

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words...

Who Was Joe Pye and Why Does It Matter?

Native Plants, Folk Medicine, , Forest Exploration Center, University Lab School

If there was no Joe Pye then this plant would have a name other than Joe-Pye Weed.

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Friday Morning Music

Friday Morning Music, Jason Mraz, I'm Yours, Perfectly Good Guitar


Start of the weekend folks.

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Visualize Whirled Peas

Backyard Homesteading, Growing Your Own Vegetables, Whirled Peas

Yeah.  I know.  A groaner.  But actually a 90's band from Austin, TX.

For me it's harvest time.  This weekend I picked the first batch of peas from the hedge of pea plants that has grown-up along my pea fence.

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Learning and Exploring On the County Grounds Forest

Forest Exploration Center, Leave No Child Indoors, County Grounds

Sometimes I think children nowadays spend too much time indoors with their pods and pads and smart phones and laptops.  If they keep this up they are probably going to grow pale and lazy.  And miss out on some really cool stuff.  Because if you spend enough times outdoors you are going to see and learn some amazing things.  You're also going to get a dose of fresh air and exercise.

I have to earn my daily bread in an office environment so I spend my time in front of the warming glow of computer monitors and clients.  Nevertheless, I also make every effort to escape that climate-controlled, fluorescent-embued environment and get outdoors on my boat, in my garden or in my woods.  And when I'm not in my woods to personally observe nature I have three patient sentinels that keep watch 24/7 all year-round.

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Friday Morning Music

Friday Morning Music, Steely Dan, Do It Again

It's the start of the weekend people. So slide on into it with the classic jazz-rock single from the early 70's.  It sure takes this blogger back in time...

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Canis Pretiosa

Canis Pretiosa, Girlfriend, Orthopedics, Tibial Tuberosity Advancement

Our household seems to be doing its level best to singularly support the field of orthopedics - human and canine.  Broken leg for Jill, hip replacement for me, correction of an angular limb deformity for Sister and now Girlfriend - who blew out her knee recently.

From time-to-time you'll read or hear about an athlete who has blown out their knee.  The cause of this is generally the tearing or self-destruction of the anterior cruciate ligament.  Dogs have a similar anatomical structure in their knee - the cranial cruciate ligament.  And Girlfriend blew hers out.  Probably from the wear and tear of a half dozen years of flushing and retrieving birds and from running faster and jumping higher.  Her CCL was damaged and she wasn't having much of a life on three legs.  She was in discomfort and in need of surgical repair.

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Friday Morning Music

Friday Morning Music, Everyday is Like Sunday, Morrissey

It's Friday.

The start of the weekend.

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Peter Piper Stuffed Peppers

Backyard Homesteading, Dangerous Kitchen Experiments, Peppers

What do you do when you have an abundance of peppers?   Look for creative ways to prepare them.  And eat them.

I planted three varieties of pepper plants this year - sweet green and red and a couple of banana pepper plants. 

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Karma and the Eschweilers

Forest Exploration Center, Eschweiler Buildings, University Lab School, High Tech High, Karma

Most of my 85 readers know that the Forest Exploration Center (FEC) has plans to open a charter school - the FEC University Lab School - in the historic Eschweiler buildings on the County Grounds.  We think it is an appropriate repurposing of the buildings.

Moreover, our plan for the school is to model the FEC University Lab School after the hugely successful High Tech High located in San Diego, CA.

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