Yep, Tundra Swans Are Moving!

Tundra Swans are beginning to appear in larger numbers on Pool 8. Check at the waysides south of Goose Island on Hwy 35, and south of Brownsville, MN, on Hwy 61 S.  To see historical data on our fabulous Tundra Swans, use the SEARCH Button at the top of the page!!  Look for a sunny day and take a drive along the Upper Mississippi River.  Numbers should increase throughout the rest of November as the Swans move south and then make a Eastern turn toward the East Coast.

A scientific dig for artifacts

sifting at Goose Island 4th Graders at Southern Bluffs had a unique opportunity to work with educators, parents, and archaeologists during a recent archaeological survey at Goose Island.

The survey was required because of planned recreational development of the site. The processed involved digging several test holes to a depth of 45 inches. The dirt from the test holes was sifted and any artifacts were identified and labeled. Interestingly enough, one test hole showed a few chert shards, charcoal, and a bit of pottery. Nice!! Another yielded mostly brown/green glass and rusted bottle caps, while another did not yield anything.test hole

Students then began skimming dirt from an approximately 4×4 square, and recording anything found in layers of approximately 4 inches (10 centimeters). Both sifting and skimming were pretty hard work!

Artifacts shown here include Chert shards, a bit of shattered rock, charcoal and a reddish bit of clay pottery. What a great opportunity for the kids to do a supervised treasure
hunting!! artifacts

Bird migration events set for Nov 10 feature Ferryville, Lansing, and Brownsville

FERRYVILLE — The Ferryville Tourism Council will host its annual Fall Migration Day from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, in River View Park on Highway 35.

cropped-eagle-sil-header.jpg

Additional birding events will be held beginning at 8 a.m. at the Driftless Center in Lansing, Iowa, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the birding observation area at Brownsville, Minn., Hwy. 26, all on Nov. 10.

 If you haven’t had the opportunity to explore the excellent DRIFTLESS CENTER in Lansing, Iowa, do take advantage of this opportunity. Enjoy the huge deck/porch that offers a wide view north toward the historic Lansing Bridge. There have been eagles in the vicinity each time I’ve visited.
Additionally, the displays capture our river heritage as well as any museum north of Dubuque.  Live snakes, including a timber rattler, our clamming heritage, driftless geography, commercial fishing and more. Great for kids AND adults.

Fall Color Forcasts for Mississippi River

 


Fall Foliage Hot Lines from greatriver.com

Mid-October seems to be the month when Fall Foliage really POPS along the Upper Mississippi River. You can follow its southward march with the contacts below. Weather is perfect, enjoy the drive!

Arkansas. 800-628-8725; www.1800natural.com (late October to early November)

Illinois.  800-226-6632; www.enjoyillinois.com (early October)

Kentucky. 800-225-8747;  (late October)

Minnesota. 800-657-3700; www.exploreminnesota.com (late September to mid-October)

Missouri. 800-778-1234; www.missouritourism.org (mid-to-late October)

Tennessee. 800-697-4200; www.state.tn.us/tourdev/ (early November)

Wisconsin. 800-432-8747; www.travelwisconsin.com (early through mid-October)


And don’t leave home without the indispensable guides to Mississippi River and Great River Road travel! Every volume of DISCOVER! America’s Great River Road is filled with a variety of fascinating Mississippi River fact and lore.  Photos, maps, charts!  All Volumes contain info on birding, wildlife viewing hotspots. Each highlights Geography, interpretive history and natural history attractions along the Great River Road.  SAVE $10!!!   Purchase ALL FOUR VOLUMES of Discover! America’s Great River Road… St. Paul, Minnesota, to Venice, Louisiana, individually signed by the author.   Four guides for $62.

Maps, mugs, totes, and more!

How cool is this? We just discovered that Our favorite hand painted Mississippi River maps can now be purchased online as tote bags, wood signs, T-shirts, coffee mugs, yoga mats and more! Click image below to purchase our coffee mug for yourself or as a gift!

Driftless Mapon your coffee mug!

Driftless Region Map on your coffee mug!  $14 at FineartAmerica.com Click image to choose your favorite mug!

Click this link to search ALL LIFESTYLE PRODUCTS, each with your favorite hand painted Mississippi River map!  Choose your map, your product or gift options, sizes, colors, orientation and more. Choose from stretched canvas to throw pillows to T-shirts

3247E883-8CB0-439B-980A-B2CDA812802FDon’t see your favorite map in our product catalog?? Call 888.255.7726 and we will help you find it, or get it posted for you! Looking to license an image for your commercial product? YES, we do that!

We Explore a Pearl Button Factory sealed in 1956. Come Visit!

Kari Anderson (karipearls.com) recently shared this story of her visit to a fascinating Pearl Button factory which once operated in Muscatine, Iowa! Thank you, Kari!!

Muscatine once had the title of  “Pearl Button Capital of the World!” and this pearl button factory is actually a time capsule of that long-past era. In 1956 the owners said the last good byes to their employees and locked the door!

With flashlights in hand, Kari climbed the dark stairways. At least 2 floors of the Schmarje building were dedicated to the Ronda Button Company and the Schmarje family had the foresight to leave this factory basically untouched for over 60 years – what a blessing! for those of us interested in this local history.

At least 2 floors of the Schmarje building were dedicated to the Ronda Button Company. The Schmarje family had the foresight to leave this factory basically untouched for over 60 years – what a blessing! for those of us interested in this local history.

Button Cutter

These machines zipped through tons of shells, cutting blanks for buttons. Muscatine also has a local pearl button museum which has a movie visitors can watch showing workers quickly slipping shells into shell cutters so blanks can be cut out from them. (It looked dangerous…)

The new type of button cutting machine, featuring a carbide-toothed saw operating on a vertical shaft enabled workers at the Ronda Button plant to produce top grade blanks at a faster rate than was possible by older methods.

The local pearl button museum has a movie visitors can watch showing workers quickly slipping shells into these cutters so blanks can be cut out from them. (It looked dangerous…)

I saw how shells would arrive at the plant by the tons in burlap sacks.


Button Blanks
Shells would come not only from the Mississippi River, across the street, but from lots of sources including the Minnesota, Arkansas, White and Tennessee Rivers.


Machines Lined the Walls
There were old burlap sacks bursting their seams with buttons blanks that never made it to the finishing factories…but lay here as a reminder to all of us of the immense work and effort that went into making buttons for our shirts and skirts.


Finished “Pearl” Buttons made in Muscatine
I hope you enjoyed the little mini tour of our local time capsule.

Here I am sharing for Pechkucha Night at our local museum about my pearling adventures.


Me speaking at Muscatine Button Museum “Around the World in 80 Carats!”
An interesting bit of trivia: guess who at one time stayed here in Muscatine, IA?

The current president of China, Xi Jinping! As a young man he was an exchange student here. His presence here in Muscatine, has developed a unique relationship between Iowa and China. Our former governor, Branstad, is now the ambassador to China.

God bless,

Kari

 

Sunday Birding Observations

Greeted Sunday by getting up early to enjoy the valley!

Watched a “V” of geese go by… learned from birders yesterday that about this time Canada geese begin to flock up and continue to migrate northward. These are the geese that have not fledged any young this spring. Birders call it the “molt migration” as the geese will now begin to molt their breeding feathers. Preceded by weeks of loud honking as they begin to gather up. Usually occurs about June 1.  The geese with hatchlings are now quite silent in order to protect the young.

We were stunned to see a pair of TRUMPETER swans fly along our hillside at almost eye level off the deck this a.m.  Did they spend the night on the neighbors pond? Are they there now? That is a FIRST for the valley, I think.
Listened to wood thrush singing almost constantly through the morning, with their melodic “eolay”.  Two, at least, calling back and forth between the two sides of our hill.  We did hear them last year a few times, but they seem to have staked out our farm as territory this year.
Summer has settled in this weekend! Enjoy an outdoorsy holiday, friends!

Ibis and Other Birding Oddities This Spring

Dan Jackson, who probably hears and sees every bird to pass through the Coulee Region has a reported several oddities of interest. Most recently (about May 16) he reported seeing this “white-faced ibis!!”  His comments follow:

“The White-faced Ibis that was first seen about a week ago is still hanging out in the Halfway Creek Marsh.  This marsh is on the north side of county ZN about ½ mile west of Midway and between Midway and the Visitor’s Center of the La Crosse District of the Upper Mississippi River NWR.  This is west of Hwy 35 and County ZN can be reached by exiting on OT from that road.  In Midway, take ZN to the west and watch for the small parking area on the right (north) side of the road after you go around a major corner.  This is east of the RR tracks.”

Image result   WHITE-FACED IBIS

Another interesting report was of the WHITE ROBIN Dan photographed this spring, which I cropped to show here!     Dan has been posting his sightings at https://www.freelists.org/list/wisbirdn

White Robin

White Robin