Luigi and Manly's trip to
Hogarty, Wisconsin
June - July, 2003
(Click on any but the last two pictures for a larger image)

When Luigi and I reached our house near Hogarty in the afternoon of Thursday, June 26, we found little had changed since a month ago.

The swallows' nest was still over our bedroom window, near an empty wasps' nest.
The weather had gotten warmer, however, and we needed a fire only once, when it rained most of the day.

Walking down toward the river, I put up a wild turkey that flew heavily across the tops of nearby aspen and spruce trees and disappeared. I also noticed that a large jar that we had left about a third full of apple sauce had been emptied and moved a few feet. I had a vision of a fox trying to catch a mouse that had crawled into the jar, but based on later evidence, I think something else moved it. Nearby I left a large jar about half full of strawberry jam with a little mold on it, and this turned up empty and relocated the next day. It is our practice to leave compostible garbage in the woods to feed the creatures of the forest, but far enough to keep them from associating it with our house.

Luigi walked onto the Wedens' land and saw three sandhill cranes closely enough to make out the bright red on their heads. She also spent much time uprooting unwanted bushes and brambles and small trees from places where we did not want them.

Over the twelve years we have had the house, water has managed to get through or around the front door enough to cause mold problems. Not only the wallboard near the door, but also the flooring next to it.

I had previously arranged to have Tom Prellwitz, a local contractor, visit us Saturday morning to see what could be done. He inspected the damage and said he could start work the week after the week after the Fourth of July. He left his card -- that of New Image Construction LLC of Antigo.

One evening a couple of pickup trucks full of people drove past our house on the way to the Eau Claire River. On their return trip, we ascertained that most of the people had been deposited in the river with floatation tubes to ride downstream to the bridge on Highway 52. One of the drivers was Harley Gunderson, who owns the house at that bridge, and over whose land we have occasionally taken people out of the river after similar trips in a rubber boat. We let him know that we are glad to have him and his friends participate in enjoying the venture.

On Sunday I walked "around the block" along the old logging roads that are still identifiable enough to follow.

The Eau Claire River was still there, and a new deer stand had been erected nearby.
I do not object to our neighbors' shooting deer on our land, partly because I have seen enough remains of deer that have starved during the winters, and partly because an excess deer population eliminates wild flowers and several varieties of young native trees.

Later on my walk I came upon unmistakable evidence that beavers are back near our swamp.

Not only was a large white birch felled near my path, but a moderately sized aspen was dropped across it.
Clumps of wild daisies appeared here and there where the forest was not too dense.

We filled and set up the hummingbird feeder on Friday, but saw no birds there for a couple of days. Yet by our final day there were frequent visits by males and females alike. By waiting patiently for several minutes I was able to take a mediocre picture of one. While waiting I got a picture of a bug on the frame of our front door.

Although the grassy area near our house had been nearly covered with blooming wild strawberry plants a month before, we found almost no berries. At first I blamed the wild turkeys for eating them.

In shopping for food we have learned that the butcher in the market in Wausau makes very good bratwurst, but sells it only in packages of six. We bought a package, ate three for our first supper and put the rest in the freezer. On Monday we drove into Antigo to do laundry and replenish our supplies. As our wedding anniversary was Tuesday, we got some lamb chops and a bottle of Ste Michelle Brut domestic champagne. However, at dinner time, we found that our remaining bratwursts were still in the freezer and that we had most of a bottle of Australian Shiraz that would be much better with lamb. So we had these on Monday evening, and for our anniversary dinner we had champagne and bratwurst.

Tuesday morning I took my fishing rod and a Talkabout radio down to the river for a little fishing. I managed to catch one small fish and three or four tiny ones. When I called Luigi on the radio to say that I was coming back for lunch, she told me to look out for a black bear. She had heard a footfall and some snuffling at the back porch and, looking out the front window, saw the creature come around the edge of the house and amble off into the forest. I no longer accuse the wild turkeys of eating our strawberries.

Dick Weden turned up and offered to cut the grass around our house and to cut the brush and fallen logs on the old logging roads that I had previously walked over. His offers were gratefully accepted.

Wednesday morning, before we left, I took the compostible garbage even farther than usual from the house before dumping it in the woods.