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Gas Pains

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.

Got Mice?

Critters, Mice, Household Pests, Rodent Borne Diseases

Just the other day my lovely wife mentioned that she saw something in the news about the rodent population basically exploding this fall.  Otherwise fastidious homeowners were finding evidence of mice everywhere.  Even in their kitchen drawers.  Exterminators were doing a land office business.  Mice as far as the eye could see.  Jill said it had something to do with the cold weather last winter.  The polar vortex kept the snows deep and impenetrable so that the usual predators of mice couldn't dine upon them.  At least conveniently.

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A Serpent Pays a Visit

Critters, Reptiles, Labrador Retriever

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Born on the Fourth of July

Critters, Deer Biology, Family, Labrador Retrievers

Almost...

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Meet the Cranes

Conservation, Critters, Prescribed Burns, Sandhill Cranes, Trail Camera, Reader Contributions

Meet Grus canadensis - the Sandhill Crane. 

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Scorched Earth Policy

Conservation, Critters, Prescribed Burns

My 88 readers know how I feel about wildlife.  I love seeing wild critters.  But if you want to see them you have to provide everything they need - namely the basics - food, cover and water.  And you have to maintain it.  That means keeping the invasives at bay and periodically performing housekeeping activities.

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Talking Turkey

Critters, Hunting, Talking Turkey, Trail Camera

Next month brings the spring turkey hunting season.  And the truth of the matter is that I've been more than a little concerned about these big birds over the last few months.  With deep snows and brutally cold weather as I was scouting I wasn't seeing any birds at all.  Thoughts turned to all sorts of bad scenarios.  Was it possible that there were starving, frozen and dying birds?  For sure this was a possibility in the northernmost reaches of Wisconsin.  As it turns-out northeastern Wisconsin was another matter.  All of a sudden - poof!  The birds were back.

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Adaptability

Adaptation, Conservation, Critters, Deer Management, Hunting, Whitetail Biology

It's a remarkable day when 22 degrees feels perfectly tropical.  The recent cold snap probably got your attention.  It sure got mine.  Twice.  First, when it happened and again the other day when I saw the We Energies bill.  Yikes!  It's easy to feel sorry for yourself (and your old Tosa bungalow) when the monthly heating bill creeps over a couple a hundred bucks.  But I'll adapt.  

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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. 

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Fish Tales

Critters, Fish'n, Friends

My earliest memory of fishing was getting up in the dark with my dad and picking-up grandpa and driving all the way to Port Washington to sit along the break wall with cane poles to catch perch.  Sometimes the fishing was good.  Sometimes not so good.  Whether or not it was good or not so good a stop was made at Smith Brothers for smoked chubs for grandma. 

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Guess The Critter

Animal Tracks, Critters, Guess The Critter, Outdoors

It's been a busy weekend. 

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Guess The Critter

Animal Tracks, Critters, Guess The Critter, Outdoors

While out bow hunting I came across this track.  It looked like a miniature log flume.

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Cuteness Personified

Barn Swallows, Cuteness, Critters

Jill shot this video clip from the kitchen.

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Birds of a Feather

Critters, House Finch, Life In Tosa

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Birds of a Feather

Critters, House Finch, Life In Tosa

I checked the house finch nest in the hanging basket just a short while ago and the chicks are packed-in there cheek by jowl.  They have really bulked-up (as far as small birds go). 

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Birds of a Feather

Critters, House Finch, Life In Tosa

Our house finch nest is tight quarters now that everyone has hatched.

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Birds of a Feather - Babies!

Critters, House Finch, Life In Tosa

I fetched the paper from the porch this morning and mama finch wasn't sitting on her clutch of eggs.

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Snaky Panky

Critters, Reptile Courtship Rituals, Western Fox Snake

Warning - The following post includes adult content.  Out in the open.  During daylight hours.  If you are offended by such matters read no further.  And please don't pester The Mothership with complaints.

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Friday Morning Music

Critters, Friday Morning Music, Los Lobos, Perfectly Good Guitar, Will The Wolf Survive

It's the start of the weekend.

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Frank The Pheasant

Critters, Romance, Strange But True

Just a bit more than a couple of weeks ago I introduced you to our resident pheasant - Frank.

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Meet Frank

Critters, Girlfriend, Hunting, Romance, Strange But True

The Door County Fish Farm and Game Club does much to promote the rich heritage of hunting, fishing and trapping on the peninsula.  For instance, last weekend I walked to the other side of the road to congratulate a youngster who had traversed the field with a big old gobbler slung over his shoulder.  I heard the single report of a shotgun only thirty minutes earlier.  The answer to the Ford pick-up materializing on the shoulder of the road before sunrise was revealed.  He had been hunting with an adult mentor during Wisconsin's youth hunt.

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Spring Has Sprung

Cavity Nesting Songbirds, Conservation, Critters, Girlfriend, Nest Boxes

It is the Spring Equinox today. 

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Deer Camp 2011-The Compilation

Bicycling, Critters, Deer Hunting, Deer Management, Door County Hunting, Economics, Family, Friends, Gourmands, Governor Scott Walker, Green Bay Packers, Holidays, Hunt Camp Humor, Hunting, Life Is Good, Outdoors, Scott Walker Deer Management, Sister, Terrific Cooking

11/18/11

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Deer Camp - Day Seven

Critters, Deer Camp, Family, Holidays, Hunting, Smile For The Trail Cam, Terrific Cooking

11/24/11

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Deer Camp - Day Six

Critters, Deer Camp, Whitetail Mating Behavior

11/23/11

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Deer Camp 2011 - The Compilation

Bicycling, Critters, Deer Hunting, Deer Management, Door County Hunting, Economics, Family, Friends, Gourmands, Governor Scott Walker, Green Bay Packers, Holidays, Hunt Camp Humor, Hunting, Life Is Good, Outdoors, Scott Walker Deer Management, Sister, Terrific Cooking

11/18/11

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A Deer On Every Meatpole?

Critters, Deer Camp, Governor Walker, Hunting

I'm going to take the politics out of the forest and put the deer back in.  Campaign promise - Governor Scott Walker.  

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Deer Camp

Critters, Deer Camp, Friends, Hunting, Technology

Braumeister, Smokey Joe and I spent a quality weekend bow hunting - last weekend.  We saw a pile of deer but nothing close enough to kill with a well-placed arrow.

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Nobody Here But Us Chickens

Backyard Chickens, Backyard Homesteading, Critters, From the Mailbag, Local Government, Reader Contributions

From time to time I have to remind myself to check the old mail bag.  If you were to email the staff here at  Gas Pains (quercusbicolor@yahoo.com) there is a reasonably good chance someone might pick-up your message within the next week or so.  It's a small staff but we are committed to eventually responding - so your forbearance is appreciated. 

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A Roommate Moves In

Arachnids, Spiders, Critters, Entomology, Guess The Critter, Life In Tosa, Strange But True

I have been leading a semi-bachelor existence lately.  Jill and the dogs are up at the farm and I'm in Tosa doing my day job with once-a-week commutes to and from to make the pack whole again.

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The House Finches Return

Critters, Life In Tosa, Family

So far this year we've had Cardinals nesting in a giant tangle of a rose bush along the fence in our tiny back yard.

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Do Deer Pee In the Woods?

Critters, Smile For The Trail Cam, Do Dee Pee In The Woods

This is a question that has dogged scientists for some time.

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Guess the Critter

Critters, Guess the critter, Entomology, Chrysalis, Cocoon

Late last year Jill and I fetched a Christmas tree from the farm to place on our porch.  It's a good place for a large holiday decoration if you live in a small Tosa bungalow.

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Guess The Critter

Critters, Great Blue Heron, Large Aquatic Birds, Door County Great Blue Heron

The trail camera takes rather nice pictures for a not so expensive device.

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Random Musings and Idle Chit Chat

Critters, Governor Walker

Last Sunday after I heard about the ruckus at the Mayfair Mall I thought maybe I should blog about it.

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Scott Walker, Deer Management and Hunting

Critters, Deer Camp, Hunt'n, Governor Walker

The opening day of the 2000 gun season our camp shot eight deer.  As the Dutchman noted in the camp diary that was the year we hung a stringer of deer from the meat pole.  A group photo of this extraordinary occurrence has been prominently hung in the stairwell.

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Deer Camp - Day Six

Deer Camp, Critters

Two-thirds of the way through the traditional gun season.

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Guess the Critter

Critters

Last week Jill and I were out killing buckthorn and scouting deer when we found this really cool nest.

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Position In The Food Chain

Critters, Deer Camp

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Phil's Revenge

Critters, Critters, Gardening

My nemesis - Phil the groundhog - has returned and has taken-up residence in my septic mound up-north.

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Phil's Revenge

Critters, Critters, Gardening

My nemesis - Phil the groundhog - has returned and has taken-up residence in my septic mound up-north.

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Friday Garden Chronicles and Garden Music

Critters, Gardening, Terrific Cooking

I know that many of you are great fans of the Wauwatosa Farmers Market. My pal Karen, who also blogs on this page, has extolled its praises

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Guess The Critter

Critters

My pal Lawyer snapped this picture in Italy.

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A Mother's Day Surprise

Critters, Life In Tosa

As of Monday afternoon only two birds could be found in my hanging basket.

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A Mother's Day Surprise

Critters, Life In Tosa

It has been three and a half weeks since I spotted the house finch nest in my hanging basket.

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A Mother's Day Surprise

Critters, Life In Tosa

Life in the wilds of Wauwatosa can be cruel sometimes.

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A Mother's Day Surprise

Critters, Life In Tosa

This last mother's day I discovered a intricately woven cup nest in one of the hanging baskets located on my front porch.

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Death and Dying

Conservation, Critters, Family, Roadside Curiosities, Strange But True

Early one morning last week I stopped to visit my dad on the way to the day job.

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A Mother's Day Surprise

Critters, Life In Tosa

We've been watching some finches casing-out one of the asparagus ferns hanging on the front porch.

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Spring Has Sprung

Critters

Evidence of that fact is was the appearance of the first Red-winged Blackbird a few days ago.

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Winter Ghost

Critters, Reader Contributions

The Snowy Owl is one rare bird.

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Deer Camp Redux

Critters, Strange But True, Deer Camp

I got some good news last week.

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Hunt Fish Vote

Critters, Fish'n, Hunt'n, Outdoors, Politics-Other

That headline is from a bumper sticker I have.

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Never Grab a Groundhog

Critters, Strange But True, Groundhogs, Groundhog Aggression, Dangerous Groundhogs

 

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Fast Pheasant Facts

Critters, Conservation, Outdoors, Terrific Cooking

Phasianus colchicus Linnaeus – commonly known as the ring-necked pheasant.

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Timberdoodle

Critters, Girlfriend, Hunt'n, Outdoors

Aka Bog Sucker, Bog Bird, Night Partridge, Doodle Bird, Whistling Snipe, or Pewee - the American Woodcock – Scolopax minor is a fascinating critter.

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Dispatch From Deer Camp

Critters, Firearms, Friends, Hunt'n, Outdoors, Terrific Cooking

The boys and I are safely ensconced in deer camp.  Lawyer, Sid, Mennonite and Braumeister. Girlfriend is the only person of the female persuasion around. 

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Ruination

Critters, Gardening

Yesterday dawned with sweet corn on my mind.

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Cave Man

Critters, , Just For Fun

Some of my 42 readers will have figured-out by now that in a number of ways my wife and I are of opposite tastes.

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Walking the Dog

Critters, Girlfriend, Just For Fun, Outdoors

This is my Labrador retriever - Girlfriend.

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The Garden Chronicles - Man Against Nature

Gardening, Critters, Outdoors

Any other frustrated gardeners out there?

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