Lady Hawk

My friend, has been tending for a Red Tailed Hawk for the past 26 years. The hawk is now 31 years old and serves as a strong teaching tool and educational animal ambassador at the Lake County Forest Preserves. With a badly injured right wing, the future was uncertain for a 4-month-old red-tailed hawk found near Highland Park in the summer of 1988. The hawk was taken to a wildlife rehabilitation facility, but after healing, it could only glide short distances. It was unable to gain enough lift to soar and hunt, and as a raptor both skills are necessary for survival in the wild. The Lake County Forest Preserves staff recognized this hawk could touch many lives as an ambassador for birds of prey. So a home was built at Ryerson Conservation Area in Riverwoods where the bird became an honorary environmental educator. She lives outside year-round in an enclosed structure, called a mews, built specifically for her. The mews protects her from stormy weather and predators, and provides a secure place for her to feed and nest.

The hawk, now 31, is tended to by environmental educators. Volunteers also donate their time each weekend. Staff members maintain regulatory permits and complete required government reports that hold the Forest Preserves accountable for her care. Because she is a wild raptor, staff refrains from assigning her any human attributes like a name. This helps communicate to the public that wild animals are not pets and should always be handled with caution and care.

On average, red-tailed hawks live between 10-21 years in the wild and up to 29 years in captivity.

Fun on the Beach

Never did I ever think that I would have the best beach experience so far here on the shores of Lake Michigan in Highland Park, IL. The sun was out, the water aqua blue with whitecaps crashing on the beach. The water was warm. The beach was perfect for beach glass treasure hunting. I could close my eyes and imagine I was in Mexico or Hawaii. I spent 4 different days on the beach.

  • One day beach combing: beach glass, agates, and all kinds of pretty stones
  • One day swimming – I had a little interaction with the Highland Park Police – swimming is not allowed on the beach where we were. Luckily I got reprimanded after a 30 minute swim (wave jumping). I was ready to come out.
  • One day hiking along the beach and the adjacent park
  • And this last day relaxing and watching a storm blow in.

Sturgeon Full Moon

It’s the first night of August’s Sturgeon full moon. Join me in my monthly ritual: find your favorite drinking glass, and fill it with a beverage of your choice and toast from your heart. Put all the positive intent you can out in the universe. Toast to living the dream, or dreaming the dream. Toast to family, friends, health, and wellness.

The Full Moon for August is called Sturgeon Moon because Native Americans knew that the giant sturgeon of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were most readily caught during this full Moon.

Other names for this Full Moon include ”Full Green Corn Moon,” signaling that the corn was nearly ready for harvest, “Wheat Cut Moon,” “Moon When All Things Ripen,” and ”Blueberry Moon.”

MOON FOLKLORE

  • Clothes washed for the first time in the full Moon will not last long.
  • If you glimpse the new Moon over your right shoulder, you will have good luck.
  • To have a project prosper, start it during the new Moon.
  • Babies born a day after the full Moon enjoy success and endurance.
August Full Moon

First 100 Days

Thursday August 8th marked my 100th day on the road with Bob. I am just as excited as I was day one of my adventure. I am a little more seasoned as an RVer. Learned some lessons the hard way. Met wonderful people. Saw Beautiful sites. Still learning to sit and do nothing. I met with my daughter, my best friend since High school, my most influential professor from College, 5 close cousins and 8 distance cousins, a friend from work decades ago, and a friend from college. I can’t wait for the next 100 days. It includes Niagra Falls, New England, a visit with my sister, a trip across the pond to England, wild horses on Assateague Island, and down the east coast to Georgia.

By the Numbers:

  • 100 Days
  • 2 Countries
  • 11 States/Provinces
  • 1 Ocean, 2 Great Lakes (3 if you count Flathead) Multiple Rivers
  • 24 Campsites
  • 8475 Miles driven
  • 4478 Miles towing Bob
  • 561 Gallons of gas
  • 15.1 Average Miles/Gallon
  • 85 Average Miles/Day
  • 187 Average miles between campsites
  • 73 Least miles between campsites
  • 310 Most miles between campsites
  • 4 Night Average and Median length of stay
  • 1 night shortest stay (5 times)
  • 10 nights longest stay (2 times)
  • 97 F – Highest temperature
  • 31 F – Lowest temperature
  • 34 Thunderstorms
  • 1 Tornado Watch
  • 1 Flood Watch
  • 0 Snow
  • 58 Blog Posts
  • 31 Audiobooks listened to
  • 10 ebooks read – 1 paperback read
  • 30 DVDs and 5 movies in a theater watched
  • 6 knitting projects complete – 1 in progress, 1 abandoned
  • 6 mail deliveries from Ilona

Wisconsin Dells

Growing up in the Chicago area, a popular vacation spot was the Wisconsin Dells. I was more drawn to Baraboo State Park. I had never spent time on the Wisconsin River to enjoy the dells. I rectified this yesterday, and was amazed by the beauty. Cruising through an awesome path cut by ancient glaciers. I passed under pine-crowned cliffs, navigated winding river narrows, and viewed iconic sandstone formations like Chimney Rock, Blackhawk’s Profile and Romance Cliff.

We made two shore landings: Witches Gulch is a spectacular and spooky walk through a narrow canyon carved by wind and water and filled with fern glens, shadowy passages and hidden whirlpool chambers. At Stand Rock, we walked to the base of this imposing pillar of sandstone, then watched as high above us, a trained dog made the famous leap from cliff face to Stand Rock and back again.

St. Croix River

Mary, 2 of her friends, and I enjoyed a Stillwater Riverboat Jazz Dinner cruise on the St. Croix River experiencing the beauty of the scenic St. Croix River.

The St. Croix River (French: Holy Cross) is a tributary of the Mississippi River, approximately 169 miles in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The lower 125 miles of the river form the border between Wisconsin and Minnesota. The river is a National Scenic Riverway under the protection of the National Park Service.

The river is the result of geologic forces going back 1.1 billion years. At that time, the Mid-Continent Rift rendered the middle of North America apart, creating a volcanic zone. The lava spewed forth cooled into hard basalt. That basalt is what today creates the dramatic cliffs around the Interstate State Parks. About 500 million years ago, a shallow sea covered the area, laying down layers of sand and minerals that make up much of the sandstone bluffs now seen along the river. In the last 20,000 years, glaciers have scraped the landscape and released torrents of meltwater, which carved the St. Croix River’s course.

Minnesota Wild Rice

One of my favorite foods of Minnesota (besides Walleye) is wild rice. It puts plain old white and brown rice to shame. It has a wonderful nutty, earthy flavor. I had forgotten how tasty it was until I came back to Minnesota

Wild rice – an aquatic grass that bears a resemblance to the edible grain – has been the center of the Ojibway Indian diet and culture for centuries. It’s considered a gift from the Creator, according to Thomas Vennum, who wrote the book on it. According to legend, the Ojibway followed a prophecy to find the place where the food grows on the water, which was around Lake Superior, particularly in Minnesota.

The Ojibway gather wild rice by hand. Ricers went out two to a canoe, one with a forked push pole, and the other with a pair of wooden flails used to knock the rice into the boat. To protect the fields, Minnesota restricts the harvesting season and regulates boats and tools. Tribal harvesters manage themselves, and reservation waters are off limits to other ricers.