Saturday, May 30, 2015

Raccoonery; Time of birth; Little cake-pan man lives; Misc . pix

Redux; memory refresher

Thursday, January 17, 2008

try to be a little more fur-bearing.....

The Raccoon
(Sewer and otherwise; see below)
This animal
conserves energy during winter through inactivity, not hibernation
gets its English name from the Algonquian Indian word arakun, meaning "he scratches with his hand"
develops its familiar facial mask by about 10 days of age, usually before the eyes are open
is one of the few creatures that appears capable of making the adjustment from family pet back to wild animal

The common raccoon Procyon lotor is probably best known for its mischievous-looking black face mask. Raccoons are usually a grizzled grey in colour with a tail marked by five to 10 alternating black and brown rings. Body coloration can vary from albino, (white) to melanistic (black) or brown. An annual moult, or shedding, of the fur begins in the spring and lasts about three months. The head is broad with a pointed snout and short rounded ears measuring 4 to 6 cm. The eyes are black. Total body and tail length for adults averages 80 cm; males are generally 25 percent larger than females. Raccoons in northern latitudes tend to be heavier (6 to 8 kg) than their southern counterparts (4 kg). However, fall weights for adults have reached 28 kg in some areas.

Raccoons are able to live in a wide range of habitats. The only apparent requirements are a source of water, food, and a protected area for denning. The best habitats are hardwood swamps, floodplain forests, fresh- and saltwater marshes, and farmland, both cultivated and abandoned. On the prairies, raccoons are most abundant in woodlot and wetland areas. This highly adaptable animal is also very common in many cities of North America. Movements and home ranges of raccoons vary greatly depending on habitat, population density, and food supply. The home range is the area used by an animal for food, water, and shelter in its normal, day-to-day movements. In rural agricultural areas of eastern North America, home ranges between 1 and 4 km2 are common, whereas in prairie habitat, raccoons have used areas as large as 50 km2. At the other extreme, the area used by urban raccoons has been documented at less than 0.1 km2. Generally, home ranges of individual raccoons overlap, and there is little evidence of territoriality, especially in urban areas. As with home ranges, raccoon densities vary significantly depending on the type of habitat. Estimates of five to 10 raccoons per square kilometre are common in rural agricultural areas. In urban areas, exceptional numbers of raccoons, as high as 100 per square kilometre, have been recorded. However, densities as low as one per square kilometre may occur in prairie habitat. In the northern United States and southern Canada, the annual life cycle of raccoons consists of a breeding period during late winter and early spring, a growth and fattening period during the summer and fall, and a winter denning period. In more southern latitudes, winter denning occurs only during periods of poor weather. Winter denning allows the raccoon to conserve energy in the form of fat reserves when food is not available. This is not hibernation, but a period of inactivity. The body temperature does not drop, and the animal’s activity appears to be governed by the air temperature. Preferred denning sites include hollow trees, stumps, logs, caves, vacant groundhog or fox burrows, and buildings such as barns. In city areas, denning sites include residential chimneys, sewers, garages, attics, trees, and culverts. Adult males usually den alone, but the family unit often dens together during the first winter. Communal dens containing as many as 23 raccoons have been reported; however, four to five is more common. Although usually one den is used during the winter, several different dens provide sanctuary during other seasons. Unique characteristicsThe name raccoon is derived from the Algonquian Indian word arakun, meaning "he scratches with his hand." The species name, lotor, refers to the raccoon’s supposed habit of washing food with its front paws. This activity, however, is probably associated with the location and capture of aquatic prey such as crayfish. The behaviour is no doubt innate, because captive raccoons have been observed attempting to "wash" their food in the absence of water. Because the raccoon can be easily tamed when young, many people have had their lives enriched by a close association with this intelligent, inquisitive animal. Males, however, may become aggressive as they mature and usually end up being returned to the wild. The raccoon is one of the few creatures that appears capable of making the adjustment from family pet back to wild animal.

Six species of raccoons occur in North, Central, and South America as well as on some of the Caribbean Islands. However, Procyon lotor is found only in southern Canada, portions of the United States, and Central America. The species inhabits all provinces of Canada except Newfoundland and Labrador and is gradually expanding its range northward as land is cleared for agricultural purposes. During the 1930s the raccoon was successfully introduced into Germany and the Soviet Union. Today, its range has expanded to include Luxembourg, West Germany, the Netherlands, and France.

Raccoons are omnivorous and will consume practically any food item, plant or animal. They prefer corn, crayfish, fruits, and nuts, but there is a seasonal shift in diet depending on availability of food items. During the spring, animal matter, including invertebrates, or small animals without backbones, and insects, makes up the major portion of the diet. While they prefer crayfish, raccoons also consume muskrats, squirrels, rabbits, waterfowl eggs, and freshwater clams. In the summer, plant material, including fruits and nuts, becomes more important. Wild cherries, gooseberries, elderberries, wild grapes, strawberries, and garden items such as potatoes and sweet corn are relished. They also eat frogs, small fish, turtles, beetle grubs, grasshoppers, earthworms, crickets, and snails during the summer. Corn is the mainstay of the fall diet in most areas where it is available; however, acorns, beechnuts, hazelnuts, and grapes are also consumed. Raccoons raid the nests of insects, including hornets, bumblebees, termites, and ants, mainly for the larvae, or immature stage. The raccoon’s thick fall and winter coat protects it from the stings of irate adult hornets or bees. The fall diet is extremely important for raccoons in northern latitudes because they must accumulate sufficient fat reserves to sustain them during winter denning. The raccoon builds up fat over its entire body, even around the tail bone. It may be 2.5 cm thick on the back. In fact, by late fall about half of the animal’s total body weight may be fat. In northern areas the raccoon lives on its stored body fat during the winter, but farther south where nuts and corn are plentiful it continues to hunt for food year-round. In suburban areas, raccoons often raid garbage bins or hunt for earthworms, beetles, and grubs on residential lawns. Raccoons can also be a menace to farmers because they may eat domestic fowl and eggs.

The breeding season generally begins in late January or early February in the northern parts of the raccoon’s range. Mating tends to take place in March in most areas. Birth of offspring peaks during May, although births have been recorded as early as March or as late as September. Year-round breeding has been reported for raccoons in southern areas. Male raccoons are polygamous, or will mate with several females in succession. Females, however, are monogamous, and will mate with only one male and will not tolerate other males after mating has occurred. Juvenile females often breed during their first year. Juvenile males, although capable, usually do not have the opportunity to mate until their second year because of competition from adult male raccoons. Litter sizes tend to be larger in the northern part of the range. Between three and seven young per litter are common in northern latitudes; however, litters of two or three young are usually the rule in southern areas. The gestation, or pregnancy, period averages 63 days. Raccoons are born without teeth and with eyes closed, and they weigh approximately 75 g. The eyes open at two weeks of age, and the teeth erupt at about 19 days. By about 10 days of age the young are already sporting the familiar facial mask and colour patterns typical of the species. The young remain in the maternity den for about eight weeks and then leave to hunt for food with the female, although they still nurse from time to time for almost two months. The adult male plays no role in raising the young. The family group, which consists of the adult female and young, is quite sociable, hunting for food together during the night and denning together during the day. The mother teaches her young to climb, hunt, and swim during their first summer. The family unit generally remains together until the adult female has her next litter, usually the following spring. Juvenile males often disperse from the adult female’s home range, although juvenile females may remain within the vicinity of the mother’s range. The life span of raccoons in the wild is estimated at three to five years; most populations are completely replaced over seven years. However, longevity records of 12 and 16 years have been noted in captivity and in the wild, respectively.

Humans are the major predator of the raccoon. They prize its fur and take between 2 and 4 million pelts annually in North America. As well, automobiles kill thousands of raccoons each year. Another major source of mortality is disease. Since 1983, several thousand raccoons have succumbed annually to rabies in the mid-Atlantic and southern United States. The disease is currently spreading north toward Canada. As well, thousands of raccoons die annually from canine distemper, particularly in eastern Canada and the United States. Parasites such as lice, fleas, and ticks are often found on raccoons, but do not appear to be a significant source of mortality. Other raccoon predators include pumas, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, dogs, wolves, Great Horned Owls, and fishers. However, they are only a minor source of mortality. Malnutrition and harsh winter weather play a greater role in limiting raccoon populations, especially juvenile animals. Although some records show that raccoons may be long-lived in the wild, many animals succumb during the first year of life to disease, starvation, wild predators, and trappers. In some areas annual mortality rates for raccoon populations have been estimated at 50 to 60 percent. Some people see the raccoon as a wily and persistent pest. Raccoons often cause significant damage to agricultural crops such as corn and lesser damage in orchards, vineyards, melon patches, and poultry yards. They are considered undesirable in areas being managed for waterfowl or upland game birds because they destroy nests and eat young. In urban areas considerable damage to residential roofs, garages, gardens, and lawns has been blamed on raccoons. Often the only solution is to remove the offending animals by trapping or hunting. Problem animals are often live trapped and moved to other localities. This practice, however, may contribute to disease transmission. Recent studies have shown that relocated raccoons travel long distances in short periods and are thus an ideal vehicle for transmitting contagious diseases such as rabies. Habitat improvement for raccoons should include the provision of denning sites such as hollow trees and logs and the planting of crops such as corn as a source of food. However, in city areas little habitat management is needed because the raccoon adapts readily to human-made structures for shelter or sanctuary. Raccoon populations are thriving in most areas, and the species appears secure from any population decline in the foreseeable future.

River in Iowa
Leads dog-sledder
Saves lives in 1936

and ETC.

Myrtle at bottom
maker of booklet about the 1936 winter
- a descended member of the Scottish Nicholson clan

To borrow this booklet of news clippings
- crumbling as it is -

David Dix SRN ed.
308 South St 311
Waukesha WI 53186


Banjo-playing windmill constructed
in the garage welding shop circa 1980

made from tin-snipped venetian blinds for blades
and old cake-pans for the little
banjo man.

When the wind blew, the man stomped his leg
and strummed the banjo.

the wind blew too hard one night 
and the whole thing crashed
 and slid in a torrent
 down Arcadian Ave 
where we lived.

The time came when I had to dissemble the Vulcan yardlight
with my hacksaw....

But today
the damaged works
still stands in the Odd Fellows'
where we are quartered.

Yes, a blade was not found
in the recovery in the morning
after that wind and rain storm....

nor was the little man's head found -
so  later we fashioned a new head 
out of tightly-crumpled aluminum foil;

The whole affair stands/hangs 90% in our Odd Fellows bedroom,
sometimes shedding great shadows.

It was never built to last.


Dee's NY brother Jeffrey


Misc pix

Odd Fellows Indian lamp

(In Waukesha

We don’t think about it very much anymore
but the ghosts of native Americans might;
we walk, or alas, drive their ancient trading trails
paved many times over;
even our later inter-urban streetcar tracks
are now out of sight,

buried like their lightly-beaten paths
by time and poured concrete
and newcomers can’t get the gist of traveling downtown,
can’t figure these streets out because so many diagonals
cut through strangely, they say.

But it was all so simple then
for the woodland people
to follow their converging spoke-like paths
to the now downtown five points trading posts
No doubt

going through thick woods
from their outlying settlements,
intending to live forever in their homeland
upon which they trod so gently

Pioneers built great improvements
on their sacred burial grounds
and cannons stand in the library park
passing time’s additions, tentatively,

muddying the purer water of days
dim to us, unknown;

But not to the ghosts
who watched flowing streams
clear away many other silty stirrings
only for a moment hiding customary clarity

We are being watched by these patient spirits
these spector ‘savages’ who knew so much.
Their way to our downtown
is abiding.)

Dee's cherry pie this week.


- 30 -

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memorial Day; Then what are we fighting for; Walt Lohman; Misc. pix

Postby David Zep Dix » Fri May 22, 2015 11:31 am
Most recently appeared in the Waukesha downtown blog TAKIN IT TO THE STREETS 5-22-15
(LANDMARK quarterly - John Schoenknecht Ed.-  had it in 2007)


This event took place at Arcadian and Hartwell during Carol Lombardi's mayorship.

For us - wife Dee, son Lee and daughter Erin - who were there that Memorial Day, with me at the camera,

it provided a memory for this Memorial Day:

Cousin Craigie and I raise the flag in 1942 at our grandparents' in Cedar Falls Iowa.


Cartoon from The New Yorker

As a liberal they can't take that (the flag) away from me....

Take that! Ann Coulter et al


Waukesha farmer/cattleman Walt Lohman, first on right,
good friend of Uncle Lee's and the SRN editor
is currently laid up after an auto accident
caused by a driver who was high.
T-boned Walt and his wife Shirley.

Won't be marching for a while
but is making a come-back.
We'll be breakfasting at Dave's again soon.




The Everyday Enchantment of Music

by Mark Strand

Listen Online

A rough sound was polished until it became a smoother sound,
which was polished until it became music. Then the music was
polished until it became the memory of a night in Venice when
tears of the sea fell from the Bridge of Sighs, which in turn was
polished until it ceased to be and in its place stood the empty
home of a heart in trouble. Then suddenly there was sun and the
music came back and traffic was moving and off in the distance, at
the edge of the city, a long line of clouds appeared, and there was
thunder, which, however menacing, would become music, and the
memory of what happened after Venice would begin, and what
happened after the home of the troubled heart broke in two would
also begin.

"The Everyday Enchantment of Music" by Mark Strand from Collected Poems. © Knopf, 2014.


Another BB:

BB's first confirmation class after years serving congregations of older people
[Brittany Barber the Rev. 1st Cong., Waukesha 5-17-15]


Misc. Pix

Mississippi Sawyer
1-Man Band, Farmers Market 5-16-17

M. Sawyer, IBID

At Dave's with Angel 5-16-15
Owner Jose's son
Upward bound in college
serves customers AND himself eats 
his dad's fine cooking!

Coming out of the historic 1st Nat'l Bank
- after seeing the restored terrazzo floor on a history tour -
Sharon Vallee of the 1st Congo, 5-16-15
white-jacketed blonde, center

Sharon is the adopted mother of Dolly
the three-legged dog.

Dolly was minus a leg when Sharon took her.
Dolly has been trained and now brings comfort
and cheer
to residents in nursing homes etc.

Swallows (or Swifts?) seen swallowing Fox River-hatched bugs
out out windows
have been catching them by hundreds
in big swallow/swift flocks that move up and down the river
 at this hatch-time. Could they be Mayflies?

Trout fishermen habitually watch for such insect hatches 
at their secret creeks and rivers, we're told.
Ravenous, the fish bite more readily on their lures.

Been there, seen it.

David Farragut James
formerly of Fox Point WI
circa 1958
catches great trout
near Wales WI

Young man, confirmed
tells of his church relationship
(see above top)

Odd Fellows rose (chocolate) in rare very late afternoon direct sun; it's our fated dwelling's angle

We do see beautiful sunsets, actual sun being a few degrees west of us



Ben's robot

Saturday, May 16, 2015

A walk in the park; Ravel Bolero; KD, more pix

As it was sunny yesterday (5/13/15)
I took a stroll through the park
along the river
which is close to our Odd Fellows residence
 in downtown Waukesha.

This Redbud tree was in bloom.
The sometimes flooding Fox - not today - was at peace.
Shadows, glimmering wave-lets

A tamarack next to the Redbud
begins to open its tufts of needles
for the season.  It will shed them
come fall.  That's the kind of tree
it is.

We had a tamarack tree in our backyard.
  Here the young tree is going gold for the fall season.
It grew higher than our two story + atticed house.

Scroll down for section on the tree


On the subject of having to move:

The Helts this week sent us this picture taken in a cemetery in Iowa.

There was a knot above the hollow-branched raccoon nest 
that looked like an eye.
So we took the computer to draw in an eyebrow.

We like to think the trimmed tree 
 looks out for its resident raccoons,
-  with sorrows over the disturbance.

Elephants and trees and others (raccoons for sure) never forget!


Ravel: Bolero
The London Symphony Orchestra
Valery Gergiev

(conducting with what appears to be a hat-pin?)

Excerpted from Wiki:

BolĂ©ro is "Ravel's most straightforward composition in any medium".[4] The music is in C major3/4 time, beginningpianissimo and rising in a continuous crescendo to fortissimo possibile (as loud as possible). It is built over an unchanging ostinato rhythm played on one or more snare drums that remains constant throughout the piece:
Ravel bolero drum rhythtm2.png
On top of this rhythm two melodies are heard, each of 18 bars' duration, and each played twice alternately. The first melody is diatonic, the second melody introduces more jazz-influenced elements, with syncopation and flattened notes (technically it is in the Phrygian mode). The first melody descends through one octave, the second melody descends through two octaves. The bass line and accompaniment are initially played on pizzicato strings, mainly using rudimentary tonic and dominant notes. Tension is provided by the contrast between the steady percussive rhythm, and the "expressive vocal melody trying to break free".[11] Interest is maintained by constant reorchestrationof the theme, leading to a variety of timbres, and by a steady crescendo. Both themes are repeated a total of eight times. At the climax, the first theme is repeated a ninth time, then the second theme takes over and breaks briefly into a new tune in E major before finally returning to the tonic key of C major.
The melody is passed among different instruments: 1) flute 2) clarinet 3) bassoon 4) E-flat clarinet 5) oboe d'amore 6) trumpet (with flute not heard clearly and in higher octave than the first part) 7) tenor saxophone 8) soprano saxophone 9) horn, piccolos and celesta 10) oboe, English horn and clarinet 11) trombone 12) some of the wind instruments 13) first violins and some wind instruments 14) first and second violins together with some wind instruments 15) violins and some of the wind instruments 16) some instruments in the orchestra 17) and finally most but not all the instruments in the orchestra (with bass drum, cymbals and tam-tam). While the melody continues to be played in C throughout, from the middle onwards other instruments double it in different keys. The first such doubling involves a horn playing the melody in C, while a celeste doubles it 2 and 3 octaves above and two piccolos play the melody in the keys of G and E, respectively. This functions as a reinforcement of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th overtones of each note of the melody. The other significant "key doubling" involves sounding the melody a 5th above or a 4th below, in G major. Other than these "key doublings", Ravel simply harmonizes the melody using diatonic chords.


KD Cat, more pix

Black Panther ?

KD and leg bones ~
moose leg by her head
mine reflected in stove glass

KD Cat reposes on her favorite companion
the fleece duster - a gift from the Hekkers down the street ~
not to be forgotten by man nor beast.


Dee snoozes while KD lies on the raccoon blanket
(she made for me as a Xmas gift)
and a dove is at the sill feeder ouside behind them.

- Hard to get the light just right for this
on the digital camera. -

"Thanks for my snacks"

One at a time
taken by paw and slid to the rug
... from her treat bowl,
an enamel tart tin
my mother played with as a child ~
now an antique from the great-grandparents
the Wildgrubes (Germans) of the WI shoreside farm 
part of which later became Terry Andre state park...

All things are connected:  Chief Seattle



Robot lamp is Odd Fellows hit

'Tin Toy Arcade'
get yours now!