Friday, April 15, 2011

~ Back in Jackson County ~

Jackson County Wisconsin is where I lived before moving here to Monroe County Wisconsin. I thought I would take a few minutes and tell my readers about the scenery there since I did not establish this blog until moving.

I lived in Black River Falls. It had been a small logging town and I loved perusing the museum downtown. The old things fascinated me and took my imagination back to 1911 when a horrible flood wiped out most of the town. Walking around the town looking at the dates on buildings amused me, as most of them had been completely destroyed.

Sometimes, when walking through the downtown streets, I would imagine what it was like in the 1920’s - 50’s. The respectable men wore suits and never left without their hat. The women wore beautiful long dresses that, back in their time, were just plain dresses. But to me, seeing the few in the museum that had survived the years, they were the prettiest dresses I had ever seen. And the ladies always wore a hat or a bonnet to keep their beautiful complexions.

The shops must have been very interesting. I would imagine the rolls of fabric and the barrels of food at the main store downtown. I wondered how many saloons there were. Today there are countless downtown bars so that on Friday nights it is almost impossible to get a wink of sleep.

But for now, enough about the town. Let me see if I can put onto paper how beautiful the scenery is around Jackson County during Spring and Summer . . .

If you were in town and drove out Highway 54 heading East, you would eventually come to some flowages. Now, to the typical person driving on the highway, what would they see? Water. But to my family and I it was heaven on earth. To see the rich green grass against the blue water that reached to the far bank where tall pines and firs grew to the bright blue sky was amazing and it always made us feel peaceful and closer to God. I believe that God creates such scenery just for us to be in and feel closer to Him.

The wildlife that visited those flowages was amazing too. There were deer, of course. There were wolves and a cougar at one point. Countless snakes, rabbits, squirrels, etc. Many species of ducks visited the flowages as well as Canada Geese, Loons, Double-Crested Cormorants and Trumpeter Swans. There were always Sandhill Cranes to be found there and even a pair of Whooping Cranes were spotted and photographed. But the main thing we went for were the Bald eagles.

There was a large tree to the left side of the road. And if you looked high up in that tree you would find a very large eagle’s nest. In that nest, around mid-March, you would see a stunning pair of Bald Eagles working on their nest. We always stopped across the road to marvel at (and photograph) the huge raptors so carefully placing sticks and grasses to make their nest a home for the coming months when they would have their young to look after. We watched them every year and I got to know the different eagles. This one had a brown spot on the top of it’s head, and that one seemed only to have one working eye. After the first 2 years, something went wrong. Every time their eggs were laid, one of the eagles disappeared and the remaining eagle would dutifully sit on the eggs until they could sit no longer - and the eggs did not last. Now every year, with every pair, a mate would disappear. It was heart-breaking to see the remaining eagle come back with a very young mate the next year. And the next year another one. I tried to explain the situation to the local DNR, but to no use. They were either incompetent or laughed because I was so young, I must not know what I was talking about! So it went on. No eaglets because there was never a mate to switch with. I will not say what I believe was the cause, for I never do point fingers. But the fact that it happened every year at the same time led to much suspicion.

But let me move on to happier thoughts. The times that the eagles were successful in raising their young was definitely a time to remember! To watch the eaglets go from a fuzzy white blur on the camera, to a huge almost golden raptor was the greatest experience ever! Before Jackson County, I lived in Richland County. There I also had a special eagle’s nest to watch every year. And now, in Monroe County and not far from my house, yet another pair of eagles are nesting. To me, birding is the most important hobby of all. Photography a close second. The two put together make the greatest hobby in the world.

And here I shall stop. I said I would take a few minutes and I have rambled on long enough. Once I discover as many wonders here in Monroe County I shall post like this again. But my mind has wandered as far back as I will allow it to for now. It is late and I am tired. Another big day and another big adventure await me!

~ Mara

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