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And the Storms Raged On Again: Cleanup, Day 2 July 24, 2010

Posted by Stella☆LunaC in About Town, Weirdness in Wisconsin.
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With the prospect of another blistering hot day and storm cleanup ahead of us, we got ready to tackle the job, on 2 hours of sleep.
The rain started up again around midnight and continued until 5am in the morning. Neither of us could sleep, after the harrowing events of the day before. Every flash of lightning, every distant roll of thunder, our ears were attuned, ready for the sound of approaching winds, any warning of a repeat of the night before. When the dawn began to lighten up the early morning sky, we finally fell into a fitful sleep, before the days’ work was to begin.

When we went outside, I snapped some pictures of the damage. Most of the stuff in our yard was minimal, but we worked 6 hours straight to get most of it cleaned up.

The second picture shows part of the tree that fell from the neighbors’ yard, over into our area. Nat’s car was partially covered by branches, but was unscratched.

Four hours later, exhausted by the heat, we finished cleaning up the driveway. DH cleared away most of the branches of the tree that lay on the perimeter between us and our neighbors, clearing the way for the sun to once again shine on my poor battered herbs and rhubarb. All that remains for us now are the memories of the days and nights before. The mess next door is much worse, a reminder of the bigger job ahead for some lucky tree service.

And the Storms Raged On~ July 23, 2010

Posted by Stella☆LunaC in About Town, Weirdness in Wisconsin.
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What a night.
We went out last night at 8pm to make a quick stop at the gas station, then on up Hwy H for some photos of storm clouds over Whitewater. The show was absolutely breath-taking, complete with a funnel cloud.

We had turned off at Green Lake Road, to get out of the way of a fast-approaching vehicle, but unfortunately, he was going our way as well. We pulled over to let him pass, then stopped at a clearing between some corn rows, to get some shots of the lightning show. It was all pretty impressive, and while we ooooo’ed and ahhhhh’ed, we also were aware that someone out there was in eminent danger.

Whitewater, WI storm clouds

Once we had our shots, we turned to get back in the truck when we noticed the sky behind us rapidly turning black. We jumped in the blazer and took off in an attempt to get ahead of the storm and home. I called DD19 on the cell phone and instructed her to get in the closet under the stairs, immediately. In a panic, we realized too late, the storm was heading straight for us, and in our haste, we got turned around in the Lauderdale Lakes area. We quickly found ourselves back out on Green Lake Rd. and heading straight into the storm.

It wasn’t long before  we could not see in front of us, so had to come to a complete stop in the middle of the road between two corn fields, and ride out the storm.
The rain came down so hard, we felt as if the wind shield would crack from the pelting. Then the truck began to rock to and fro from the gale-force winds that buffeted us mercilessly. We were helpless to do anything but sit tight and hope we did not become airborne.

After about 3 minutes, the rain seemed to let up a little, so we inched forward in an attempt to get out of harm’s way. Within seconds, we were pelted again as a second surge came at us full force. Again, we were forced to stop in the middle of the road, and hang on for dear life as the truck again began rocking. As I looked out the passenger window, we saw a lone tree bent over nearly double by the winds.

After what seemed like an eternity, we once again began our trek back toward the highway and  eventually HOME. DD19 was still under the stairs, nearly in a panic as a tree branch slammed into the front door above her. Once we got out on Hwy H, we could see the extent of the storm’s wrath, as we passed by and over the debris field left behind in the storm’s wake.
As we turned on Lost Nation Road, we came upon a vehicle that clearly had been blown off the road sideways by the force of the winds, into some trees that grew in an embankment near a ravine or “kettle” as we call them. We pulled over as a rescue vehicle and two other cars came up behind us and then stopped in front of us. DH got out to see if he could help locate a driver of the vehicle, but no one was found.

The gas station was totally dark as we passed by, and we wondered how many were affected. We learned today, 2034 customers were without power for over 14 hours.

When we got home, the driveway was a total disaster, branches everywhere. DH had to get out and clear the way just so we could get to the house. We wouldn’t be able to assess the damage until the next morning, at first light, but it was clear something had passed over us.

The next morning, we learned from the neighbors, a funnel had indeed been spotted over Whitewater and another coming toward our area at about the same time we spotted what we believed was a tornado forming.

The next door neighbors had damage to 6 of their trees; one was snapped off about 16′ up, and the rest lay in the path between our two houses.  Branches were tangled in the surrounding area, and one branch came to rest on top of DD19’s car hood, but did no damage. Luck was on her side, this time.

We took a ride out the DH’s folks house, to make sure there was no damage there. They were out of town and were concerned that there might be storm damage. Everything looked undisturbed,  except for a scarecrow that fell over and got soaked by the rains. Other than that, everything was fine.

The rest of today was spent cleaning up the mess, in 80+ degree weather, humidity and sun. We worked until we couldn’t lift another branch, twig, or leaf, and gave up for the day. We were surprised by how much we had accomplished; most of the debris in the front yard was gone, and all that was left were some larger limbs which we set off to the side for tomorrow.

I think I’ll just fix a bowl of garlic pasta and call it a day. Will post pictures as I get them- the cell phone went dead early this morning, and most of the first pics were taken at first light.

Easy-Peasy Pita Pocket Bread Recipe July 21, 2010

Posted by Stella☆LunaC in A Stitch in Time | Discussions, Back of the Fridge Recipes.
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I am done searching for that perfect Pita Pocket~I went online and found an easy-peasy recipe for pita pockets.
I mixed up a batch of dough, put it out on the patio table, and let the summer humidity work it’s magic. By dinnertime, I had a bowl-ful of doughy fun nearly crawling out over the top of the bowl.

I cut the dough in half and lined a deep-dish pizza pan with one half of the batch, loaded it up with all the veggie goodness I could dig out from the night before; some chopped green peppers, thin-sliced white onions, mushrooms, some fresh basil from the garden, Pastorelli’s pizza sauce and a whole pound of shredded mozzarella. No, I didn’t squeeze my own cheese this time, but I plan to learn how to make fresh mozzarella too, someday :)

The pizza in the oven, I rolled out the other half of the pita dough. Taking a 4 inch Rubbermaid container, I used it to cut a bunch of 4 inch mini-pitas, set them on a floured pizza peel and slid them onto a pre-heated cookie sheet, on the bottom rack. They turned out perfect, all puffed up and soft dough- DH and the kids loved them, SUCCESS!

Here’s the recipe I used, a simple multi-purpose dough recipe that can be worked for any number of things. And if you’re feeling a little adventurous, why not sprinkle some Italian herbs in the dough while it’s mixing. Add some garlic powder, for kick, how about some ground sun-dried tomatoes from the refrigerator (literally, dried romas) YUM!

Easy Pita Bread Recipe – Food.com – 81116

Sharon’s Blue Girl Rose Parade Doily, Done and Blocked~ July 19, 2010

Posted by Stella☆LunaC in A Stitch in Time | Projects.
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I finished Sharon’s Blue Girl Rose Parade Doily!

I started on the final connect-the-roses last 2 rows this morning, while enjoying a humidity-free day out on the deck. Miss Pepper joined me and played Shuttle-Acorn for amusement-who’s, I’m not sure-she was soon bored ~

…lounging under the table~

I got it laid out and blocked before dinner, then made French Bread Pizza for us and the kids. As soon as we were done eating, we all piled in two cars (DD19 and her BF wanted to go along) and drove out to Kettle Moraine State Park for some fresh spring water at the well.

Hydrogeology of southwestern  Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, in the vicinity of the Kettle Moraine  Springs fish hatchery
Hydrogeology of southwestern Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, in the vicinity of the Kettle Moraine Springs fish hatchery

OMG, we had a nearly tragic accident-it was getting dark, and as we drove through the park to get water, a doe ran out into the road ahead of us, then one of her two fawns followed right behind her- we slammed on our brakes, just as another spotted fawn started up the embankment to follow her mother and sibling-in the last second, she spun around and darted back into the woods….I gasped, Erin screamed, and we could see DD19 behind us, back waaaaaaaay off for more clearance, after that…it really shook us all up, to think we nearly hit a baby.

But all is well, and we made it back safe, without hurting anything, and no worse for the experience. We were taking a chance going out at dusk as it was, and probably won’t do that again- it’s not worth it.

I’ll get a picture of the doily posted tomorrow, when the sun is up~teaser shot from earlier today:

Roses all in a Row

Sharon is still having a hard time after her surgery, so she instructed her DH to tell me not to come visit tomorrow….she is way too tired to stay up more than a couple hours at a time and poops out really fast…she wants me to wait until she comes home, before I pay her a visit.

Good Night, Sweet Car~Well, it’s time to go… July 18, 2010

Posted by Stella☆LunaC in A Stitch in Time | Projects, Flora and Fauna.
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Today will be the last time we’ll get to drive Sis’s Mitsubishi 3000GT for a while. I suspect DH polished and cleaned it up too good, and she will banish any thoughts of selling it now…*cry

DH and I had fun with it, just the same. We definitely will want to take it off her hands, if ever she decides she is tired of it…

This morning, I got a first-hand look at the Grandmother of all Deer Flies. Our area has been inundated with them this summer, the worse in recent years. They have prevented us from taking evening walks, as they pester Igor relentlessly and bite him viciously on the nose, causing large welts to appear. Sometimes 5 or more will buzz his head as we head out and will not leave until we return and hide in the garage. A few bold ones have ventured into the garage, only to be swatted by DH. But they persist to torment us.

This one was in a Death Spin when Igor found it on the back deck yesterday morning. Hideous thing was spinning around on it’s back, scared the carp out of me once as it spun out of control toward my bare foot, until it finally spun itself between  the boards, and fell through. Good riddance!!

I have finally connected all the rose motifs for Sharon’s Blue Girl Rose Parade Doily. She is still recouperating from day 2 after surgery and from what her DH said, was in a great deal of discomfort. We suspect it will be Wednesday before she is released. That gives me enough time to complete the doily before she comes home.

Sharon's Rose Rows

Time to take the Zoom Car back…. I will miss you, Mitzi….

Zoom Cars R Us! July 18, 2010

Posted by Stella☆LunaC in A Stitch in Time | Projects, About Town, Books and Authors, Garage World.
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OMY I almost forgot to add a thank you to Linda Godfrey in my last blog entry,  for giving us a copy of her latest book, Haunted Wisconsin

Haunted Wisconsin: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Badger  State
Thank you, Alienda, and I had a blast riding “shotgun” with you!!

Whoot! What a day!

I got up early this morning, planning on going for a walk. That was not the case, for as soon as I stepped outside onto the deck, a blast of muggy warmth told me today would not be a good day to do 3, 4 or even 5 miles…I thought about it for a few, then decided against it, in favor of working on Sharon’s Rose Parade Doily. I am near completion, and since her surgery was moved forward, I felt an urgency to get it finished.

I put on a pot of water for my morning tea, and took my crochet basket out to the patio table and began laying out the doily and 16 rose motifs that were to be attached.

Taking my time, I began attaching the first rose motif. It went on without a problem, and so I moved onto the next motif, following E. Hiddleson’s directions very carefully; second flower attached, I noticed a twist in the linked chains. DRAT! RIPPIT and started over. A second attempt came out the same as the first-RIPPIT again and started over. I went in and got a cup of tea, then came back out with a renewed  confidence that I would get it right this time.

But, after attaching 3 more rose motifs, I realized why I kept getting a twist in my chains. RIPPIT and started over, totally frustrated by this time. Now I had to get it right or the whole thing, ball and all,  was going to go flying off into the woods for the squirrels to play with.
I began attaching the rose motifs, this time from behind the motif. Perfecto!! Finally, 2 hours later, I had at least got 4 of the roses on the outer edge attached without twisting. Now, I could put the doily aside and get ready for work.

DH spent the better part of the day waxing his sister’s Mitsubishi 3000GT, which is one of his favorite pastimes.

After I got caught up on the day’s orders, I went outside to see what, if anything, needed to be done. The car was cleaned up and all that was needed was to vacuum it out and that’s where I came in.

After we got the car all clean and shiny, we took it to for a ride out to Palmyra to Rushing Waters Fisheries, to pick up some fresh fish for dinner.

DH cooked the salmon with a little olive oil in the skillet, got a nice caramelize going, then served it with Bookbinders cocktail sauce, yummm- YUM! I made a Greek Cucumber salad with yogurt, sliced cucumbers, minced garlic and a pinch of salt; it went along perfect with the fish.

Later, after dinner, we decided to go for a ride to the gas station to replace the 1/4 tank we used tooling around the countryside…Mike handed me the keys and said, “Let’s go!” GASP! I hadn’t drove a stick in over 25 years!!
I started out a little slow, but by the time we got out on the road, it wasn’t that difficult. We drove around a few back roads, then came up to the gas station, where lo and behold, our next door neighbors were parked at the same pump. When they saw us pull up, they were like, “When did you get THAT???” Then DD19 showed up, and we had to laugh at us all having a “neighborhood meetin'” at the gas station LOL!

Later this evening, DH was writing a friend and sent him this email:

My Zoom car that quickly became Sandra’s Zoom car…
120 pounds of pure evil!
My life’s in jeopardy
Murdered in cold blood is what I’m gonna be
I ain’t been home since Friday night
And now my wife is coming after me

Give me police protection
Gonna buy a gun so
I can look after number one
Give me a bodyguard
A black belt Judo expert with a machine gun

Gonna buy a tank and an airplane
When she catches up with me
Won’t be no time to explain
She thinks I’ve been with another woman
And that’s enough to send her half insane
Gonna buy a fast car
Put on my lead boots
And take a long, long drive
I may end up spending all my money
But I’ll still be alive

All I did was have a bit too much to drink
And I picked the wrong precinct
Got picked up by the law
And now I ain’t got time to think

Gonna buy a tank and an aeroplane
When she catches up with me
Won’t be no time to explain
She thinks I’ve been with another woman
And that’s enough to send her half insane
Gonna buy a fast car
Put on my lead boots
And take a long, long drive
I may end up spending all my money
But I’ll still be alive

And I’m oh so tired of running
Gonna lay down on the floor
I gotta rest some time so
I can get to run some more

She’s comin’!
She’s comin’!

He’s such a kidder ~

Night of the Fireflies July 16, 2010

Posted by Stella☆LunaC in About Town, Art and Photography, Books and Authors.
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I just got back from a most interesting adventure with neighbor/good friend/author Linda Godfrey.
Linda called this afternoon to see if DH and I were up for a Bigfoot area tour, with herself the Guide to the Strange in Wisconsin. She was feeling down and wanted to get out and take a ride but said she felt a nap-attack coming on, and would call when she was more rested. I told her absolutely, call if and when she still felt like taking a ride, after her nap.

Linda is a local legend here in Wisconsin. She is an artist with a degree in art education, taught part time while working as a journalist for a local paper in Delavan, when she happened upon some files labeled “Manwolf ” in an archive in the Police Dept. Of course, her interest was piqued and she had to ask about the reports. She researched the many reports, interviewed local residents, and began what was to become her life’s journey in search of the weird and elusive. She became known as the Bray Road Beast expert, for her extensive research into local folklore.

After dinner, DH dropped me off at Linda’s house, and we gathered our atlas and cameras for the trip. We headed out to some pre-determined locations to check out some area “hot spots” to get a feel for just what might attract a Bigfoot-type creature. Driving along some of the many windy roads that interlace the Kettle Moraine State Forest, we found some of the most alluring marshes, woods, and prairies, and imagined how perfect this area could be for such an elusive creature to inhabit. We drove for miles without a single car passing us by, and saw some beautiful barns along the way, while watching a most spectacular sunset unfold before us.

As the sun set and it grew dark, we were blessed with the most beautiful display of fireflies in the bean fields and corn rows, and in the road ahead of us as we drove. It was a veritable faerie fantasy with millions of tiny strobes rising up to greet the night sky. We truly knew this night was intended to be all that it was-a spectacular festival of lights.

Although we didn’t spot anything big and hairy, I did get to see a local cemetery near Milton, said to be the spot where an axe murderer was captured while trying to flee the authorities, sometime back in the early 1950’s. The story is in Linda’s Strange Wisconsin book, a definite must-read.

When we got near to our starting point, I called DH to have him come pick me up. He was more than happy for a chance to take his sister’s Mitsubishi 3000GT, we call it the Zoom Car, out for a spin, and arrived within minutes. But when it was time to leave, he somehow inadvertently hit a button on one of the two levers on the steering column, setting off the windshield wipers. He tried for nearly 10 minutes to figure out how to turn them off, and eventually resigned himself to having to drive back with them flapping all the way home. Once we were in the garage and could see what we were doing, DH found the wiper on-off switch and the car was back to normal.

The Haunted Zoom Car…


And you were wondering why we are called “Weird Wisconsin”? Wait until I find out more about the kangaroo that chased cars, Al, the Bighorn sheep over in Tibbets, just around the corner from us, and many more strange creatures. I won’t give too much away; you’ll have to read the books~!

Is there a Bigfoot roaming the woods and marshes in our area? We know there are strange things being discovered every day.

As for us here in Wisconsin, you can bet your bottom dollar, if it’s out there, Linda will find it, no matter what…

Spirit of the Southwest Shawl, Speaks from the Heart July 16, 2010

Posted by Stella☆LunaC in A Stitch in Time | Discussions, Heart Notes.
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Yesterday I took a picture of my stepdaughter, modeling the shawl a dear friend in Australia made me~ isn’t it a bit uncanny, I had her on my mind all evening after that, only to receive such tragic news today – she wrote in an email, twin grandbabes, lost at 8.5 and 9.5 weeks…I just cannot imagine the heartbreak upon learning such devastating news…my heart hurts, I cannot be there to hug her and comfort her….
E. is such a sweet girl, I knew she would appreciate the love and workmanship that went into the shawl’s making, and would be the perfect model for this Spirit of the Southwest Shawl by Evelyn Clark. I am dedicating this blog post to my dear Sister in Australia, Lindy.
We both commented on how wonderful it smelled as we nuzzled it’s softness-we both said almost at the same time, “If this is what Australia would smell like, we want to go there!!!”
Sending warmest thoughts and white light to you, dear one….may there be peace and comfort for all involved, soon…♥♥♥

The Truck, She’s Ka-PUT, The Saga Continues July 11, 2010

Posted by Stella☆LunaC in Kiddos.
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Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Truck She Went Ka-PUT!

Today was fun-filled excitement from the minute I got back from my 5-mile walk. The weather was fine, I just got fed up with swatting at deer flies that attacked us in hordes as we walked. The sun beat down on us; we were both wiped out by the time we got to the last mile…but I was glad I did it. I missed 2 days in a row, and payed the Fiddler for my laziness.

We replaced the battery in the Blazer yesterday, when the “Battery Low” light came on. Sure, why not? The battery was 7 years old, and we suspected it was about ready to go. The dome lights had mysteriously begun to flicker on and off sporadically a few days ago, and the Volt meter started to drop little by little within the past week.

So, new battery in place, we got in the truck for our normal evening ride around the area, glee in our hearts as we watched the Volt meter steadily rise back to the halfway mark. DH was happy. We stopped and looked at a 1974 GMC Sprint with a for-sale sign in the window, parked at the gas station on Hwy. A. DH took some pictures of it, what a beauty, and we oogled it for a while before heading back home.

Aint she a beauty?

We started to pull out of the gas station when DH said, “uh-oh…”. ???, I asked. He said, “The battery light just came back on and the Volt meter just dropped.” Groooooooooannnnn. We headed back home, all the while keeping an eye on the meter, watching it drop like a lead balloon, along with our spirits… By the time we got to Hwy H and turned onto our street, the speedometer and all other gauges went flat-line. Then the Seatbelt Off indicator started flashing…we were in a near panic, hoping the car would make it back to our house before stalling completely. No sooner had we pulled into our driveway and braked in front of the garage, the engine sputtered and died. That was all she wrote.

I called the garage and spoke with the mechanic. Yep, that whistling sound we heard right after replacing the battery, that was the alternator. That much, I remembered from past experience.  Charge the battery overnight and bring it in next day, he said. Cool, except tomorrow is Sunday. So, we’ll wait and take it in on Monday- no need to let it sit at the garage doing nothing, when it’s safer here.

Tomorrow comes early. Dad will be here at 9am with his Jimmy as a loaner, until our truck is back.

I really need to give my knitting needles a workout-the Rose Parade doily is about 5 roses from the next stage, attaching all the motifs will be fun.

Tomorrow, we will rest and relax. No need to stress over things out of our control. I read on Yahoo News tonight, Truckee, CA. is one of the best lake towns in the US. I was surprised Lake Geneva, WI wasn’t on the list. It’s one hopping tourist town right now. I’d love to go back and visit Truckee or at Lake Tahoe, my other favorite lake spot, where I practically grew up. The crisp mountain air and smell of Ponderosa pines would be so rejuvenating about now.

Thank you, Sis, for sending me these photos. They help in more ways than you can imagine!! ♥♥♥

Sweet dreams of Emerald Bay and the Ponderosa pines ~and good night.

The Truck, She’s Ka-PUT, Day 2

We got up this morning and awaited the arrival of Dad, who was bringing up his Jimmy for us to use to go pick up the kids in Chicago. When Dad arrived, he brought a big “tester” thingy, on a tripod with wheels, and hooked it up to the battery to see if he could get a reading. He then surprised us by offering to change the alternator for us WHOOT! Maybe the Ancient Ones are still looking out for us, after all!!

We made the trip to Chicago in good time- Igor was beside himself with joy at seeing E. and J. and just could not contain himself, running first from one to the other and all around the rest of the small group. It was so good to see them, what a long year this has been!!!
DH got the kids’ luggage packed up, and waited for the goodbyes from family members. It is always tough; we only get to see them once or twice a year, as it is….then we crammed ourselves back into the Blazer, ready to head back home. Igor lay down, content in his small space beside the ginormous suitcase that E. brought with her.

We made it back home in good time, unpacked the Blazer and got everyone settled in. We were all starved and realized we better eat something before heading into town for the evening’s dinner fixins: French Bread Pizza, and breakfast stuff for in the morning. All we had in the house was a bag of authentic Mexican tortilla chips, some salsa, sour cream, and some french fries DD19 had baked just before we got back.

After dinner, DD19 and DD17 wanted to take a ride into town to get desert. “Surprise me!”, I said, when they asked what we would like. They came back with a Sara Lee French Silk chocolate pie, YUM!

After dinner, we settled down to watch This Is Spinal Tap on DVD, a tradition in our family, when the kids come out. What a great movie!! Half-way through, just about at the Stonehenge scene, (my favourite part)  we got into the pie.

When the movie was over, E.& J. settled down to watch some music videos on E’s laptop, which I had set up to access our wireless. It worked like a charm; is that Macbook FAST! I want one!!!

We have to get up early to go pickup Grandpa in the morning, 9am. He called us to tell us his car’s brake line broke today, so now they are without a car!!! I feel horrible for them being stranded, after loaning us their truck, so we have to make sure they get their truck back, in any event!! Dad is going to come over and change our alternator, and then we’ll take him back home. I’ll stay here while the kids go with, so they can see their Grandma.

Tomorrow comes early, so I’ll sign off for now, with a promise of pictures soon!

Eagle, Wisconsin Tornado Aftermath July 5, 2010

Posted by Stella☆LunaC in About Town.
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Our neighbor and good friend Linda, came over and we took a ride over to Eagle, WI, to survey the damage from last week’s tornado.

We were not prepared for what lay ahead. Literally.

The photos will tell the story.

Leave no stone unturned
toothpicks
Fallen Giant
for size perspective…
Iron fortress in ruin
The cemetery association did not have insurance. Families are relying on help from various town disaster relief groups, so they can begin the process of repairing the damage to individual plots and stones. So many have volunteered to help with cleanup, the town had to reluctantly turn people away.
I was moved by the whole experience, the loss of such magnificent mature hemlocks and spruce, the likes of which won’t be seen again for decades. I have a picture in my mind of how it looked at one time, the many times we drove by and admired the beauty of the park. We would say, “what a beautiful final resting place….”
Rest in pieces…