You know autumn is here by the vibrant colors and high temperatures in the 40s. Expecting a killing frost any evening now. The current cold, wet spell heralds what I grew up on the farm knowing as Indian Summer but in Madison these days we call Indigenous Peoples' Summer.
It really is the most beautiful time of year in Wisconsin. It also means I've got to do the Ronald Reagan thing at the woodpile. The high-carbon fuel is piled high but needs splitting. The laird of Stately Blaska Manor has taken down nine trees in his incumbency and yet the Policy Research Center and Experimental Work Farm retains its arboreal splendor. It's what I call "the harvest" - so far, without objection from Patricia Hitchcock.
Thursday morning after getting a Fall influenza shot (the regular flu, not the H1NI flu) I returned to the Stately Manor here in Orchard Ridge, on Madison's southwest side, to find a small doe just next door. The creature was snacking on petunia blossoms in the middle of some serious carbo-loading for winter's onslaught. The picture was taken about 10:30 am. We stood outside and watched; the doe looked at us then returned nonchalantly to its brunch.
There was no time to build a tree stand. In any event, I took down that particular tree five years ago.
Fall is also time for mushrooms to emerge. I've had mushrooms pop up in gravel driveways. Despite tutelage from her Polish father, the queen of Stately Manor does not know which are edible. In addition to the commonly seen whitecap varieties, I have an outbreak of the species pictured above, a fungi I've never seen before. Anyone know what it is? It looks like it's from outer space. Or from a Ron Jeremy flick.
Speaking of mushrooms, that is what Lech Welesa, the Polish patriot, was hunting for when word came of his 1983 Nobel Peace Prize.
Now he's spreading peace?
What a bunch of ... hooey! You have got to be kidding me! Barack Obama, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize? Are they giving these things away in CrackerJack boxes?
Reuters News Service nailed it in the second paragraph:
The bestowal of one of the world's top accolades on a president less than nine months in office, who has yet to score a major foreign policy success, was greeted with gasps of astonishment from journalists at the announcement in Oslo.
What is more, The deadline for nominations for the prize was Feb. 1 - just two weeks after Mr. Obama was inaugurated.
Barack Obama, at this point, has no right to be mentioned in the same sentence as Lech Welesa, the courageous Pole who helped bring down the Soviet Communists' Iron Curtain.
"So soon? Too early. He has no contribution so far," commented former Polish President Lech Walesa, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, The Wall Street Journal on-line reported.
The Times of London had this to say:
The prize risks looking preposterous in its claims, patronising in its intentions and demeaning in its attempt to build up a man who has barely begun his period in office, let alone achieved any tangible outcome for peace. [Times: Absurd decision on Obama makes a mockery of the Nobel peace prize]
The only explanation I've been able to get is that the Peace Prize Committee is made up of Norwegians and the herring catch was over- pickled.
A real peace hero
Irena Sendler in 1942
Here's what you need to know about the Nobel Peace Prize:
Irena Sendler -- who recently died at 98 years of age, was a 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
During WWII, Irena was given permission to work in the Warsaw Ghetto, as a plumbing/sewer specialist. She had an ulterior motive.
Being German, Irena knew what the Nazi plan was for Jews.
Irena smuggled out infants in the bottom of a tool box she carried in the back of her truck. She used a burlap sack for bigger children.
She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers wanted nothing to do with her dog. The barking covered noises of the infants and children.
Irena managed to smuggle out and save2,500infants and children, before she was caught. The Nazi's broke both her legs and arms, and beat her severely.
Irena kept a record in a jar buried under a tree in her back yard of all the children she smuggled out.After the war, she tried to locate all parents that may have survived to reunite families, but most had been gassed.The children she could not reunite were placed with foster families or adopted.
Irena was nominated for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. She was not selected. Al Gore won for a slide show on Global Warming.
Don't believe me? Thanks again, Cousin Jeff, for the tip.