Saturday, April 30, 2011


Spring has arrived. Not in the form of a red breasted bird, or green buds on the trees or tractors busting up dirt clods in the fields but in the form of juicy balls of ground beef on the grill at Pete's Burgers in Prairie du Chien. Every year for the past one hundred and (I think) two, Spring is heralded in by the aroma of burgers and onions grilling in a little shack on the main street of this riverfront town. For the real lowdown on the history of Pete's, check my archives, April 25, 2009, "Make Mine Plain". Jo and I were at a loss for dinner ideas last evening. Fridays around here means that the few restaurants that are in the area are filled with greasy fingered friendly munchers getting more than their fill of crispy chunks of dead fish. These people are serious about Friday Night Fish Fry so don't dare ruin the harmony in the kitchen by ordering any thing that isn't deep fried and doesn't exist under water. I actually heard about a guy that was run out of town by a greasy fingered mob because he ordered sushi at a local cafe. And, just try to get a piece of fried chicken that doesn't have a distinctive fishy taste. Ha!!! At any rate somehow the thought of "A Good Burger" entered into the conversation. Hey! Is Pete's open for the season? (Pete's is closed during the winter leaving the New Year's Eve Carp drop as the main Prairie du Chein event) We checked Pete's web page (Yes they have a web page - They may cook a little old fashioned but they know the difference between bytes and bites.) A quick twenty-five mile trip to Prairie and we were first in line to grab a sack of juicy burgers and head down to the (flooded) riverfront for a romantic spring dinner. Today the temperature is supposed to go above freezing, the grass is getting green and Pete's is open (only on weekends). How good is life?

Pete's grill loaded with the next bunch of juicy burgers
(about seventy-five patties).
The pile in the middle is onions and "The Secret Ingredient" (Water)
No one gets served until the full grill is done cooling.

The only choice you have to make, with or without onions and which,
if any, of these many condiment

This is it... the Ruth's Chris of Prairie du Chein!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April Fool

As usual, I've had all sorts of ideas for a "Great" new blog. But, as usual, I either forget these "Great" ideas or realize that they're not that "Great". Now, as I look out my window at the lovely winter scenery, I realize that there have been many "Great" ideas recently that, if nothing else, have made life rather interesting. For instance, right now the "Great" Global Warming idea doesn't look so hot! And the "Great" idea to store my snow blower away for the season, doesn't seem to "Great" either. So, maybe, for now, I'll just stick to a few ordinary thoughts and ideas. For starters, although I've had my suspicions, my Granddaughter Catherine finally came out this week. Yep she's admitted that she's a "Billiken" (or will be as of the Fall Semester at St. Louis U.) The accompanying pics pretty much support those suspicions. (that's Catherine on the right) Enough said.
Late last week JoAnne's Grandmaing genes really kicked in. This resulted in a quick trip "Up Nord" ta see the Grandkid Eddie, don't ya know. I normally enjoy the drive but after following a semi at around thirty miles an hour for, about, thirty miles, it wasn't shaping up to be a real joy ride. The reason for the delay was because of the two or more inches of "Slow" covering the road (that's a mixture of slush and snow). Just as I started to consider turning back, the semi pulled over to let me pass and the road conditions improved. On to "The Cities" where Grandma was rewarded with a welcome by a smiley little Eddie and Grandpa got paid for his driving chores with freshly baked, homemade scones. After a quick visit which involved Reid and Summer shopping, Grandma Jo spoiling Eddie and Grandpa eating scones, it was back on the road to the Sunny Southland. The River is pretty high right now, lapping up fairly close the the road's edge in places. Lakes appear where no lakes belong and the Eagles are busy raising their newly hatched kids. Actually, this time of year the Vultures move in as the Eagles proceed farther North. So, Eagle sightings are fewer and farther between. From a distance it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between the Vultures and the Eagles. They're both large, black and have enormous wing spans. The sure fire way to pick out the Eagles is the giveaway white head and tail. Although, due to the cold weather, a lot of the Eagles were wearing little knit ski masks therefore making identification a lot more difficult. We did encounter one rather exciting incident, two Eagles engaged in a mating ritual. They completely ignored any sense of decency and went at it right there in broad daylight. My first reaction was to stop and take pictures but the fear of being caught by the DNR with "Birdporn" in my possession made me think twice. Besides I was anxious to get home in time to enjoy some good old fashioned Wisconsin Spring weather.
Meanwhile back to "Great" things. Last Friday I was privileged to take part in a project to "Feed My Starving Children" at the Fennimore Firehouse. This involved volunteers preparing and packing meal kits which are shipped around the world to feed kids that don't get fed very often. I'm proud to say that I was part of a group who in an hour and a half packed enough nutritious food packets to feed thirty three kids for a year. (For more information see )
A few other "Great" ideas include - not mentioning the Cubs, and writing down my "Great" ideas in the future. Another idea maybe "Great" maybe not - post a few pics from "Up Nord".

Could this be a future Billiken?


Everyone but the dog got the joke.

" You're getting sleepy. When I snap my fingers, you say, 'Grandma' ".

"these two ardvarks walk into a bar................"

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Here We Go Again

The invitation was tempting, the weather was fair, (not below freezing) the wind was blowing out and it was April Fools Day so why not accept the offer and head South to the Land of Lincoln and Wisconsin Democrats.
Early Friday morning I ventured out of the comfort and security of my little "Clock" place and was immediately greeted with the first of many April Fool jokes, SNOW! The weather guy on WGN Radio promised no snow in Chicago so off to meet the guy with the tickets, Derek. After a quick check of equipment, peanuts, KitKats, Jolly Ranchers, Hersey Miniatures, gloves and warm hats we hit the road for a wonderful day at the old ballyard. An uneventful car ride, a short hop on the El and squeezing in as the last two to make it onto the overloaded bus made for a fairly pleasant trip down. The car ride always provides an opportunity for the kid and I to solve most of the world problems while the El ride gives us a reason to pray a prayer of thanksgiving as we witness the Expressway traffic we left behind when we moved North. We arrived early which gave us a chance to take a lap around the outside of the stadium and check out the new statues and shops (bars) in the area. And once inside we seek out the "old timer" vendors who never seem to change, the familar groundskeepers who just slow down a little more each year while the new, younger ones eagerly scrap, rake, sweep and run around meaninglessly.

Ah but there was no joy in Wrigleyville that day, the mighty Cubbies struck out, grounded out, flew out popped out and just simply, lost out. At any rate it was still a great day and the return of Vienna Hot Dogs to Wrigley almost made it worth while. Young Sebastian is just learning the meaning of being a Cub fan. Here's his first reaction...

Just think of all "The Next Years" he has to look forward to!