Cute kittens being petted by their foster parent

Wisconsin Doublethink

In his prescient political novel, 1984, George Orwell writes that “doublethink” is the “power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them . . . .” Here in Wisconsin we are in the middle of deer hunting season. On the front page of last Saturday’s Janesville Gazette, the local newspaper, two stories were featured. Above the fold was a … Continue reading Wisconsin Doublethink

Ceramic Jar with Top on a black background

Rick Hintze – Making A Covered Jar – Step 1- From Clay to Jar

My friend Rick Hintze is a potter in southeastern Wisconsin who makes beautiful objects from clay. Rick has been making ceramic objects for more than thirty years. For many years he taught college. More recently, he works full-time at his art in his studio in Johnson Creek, Wisconsin. Rick and I are making a series of videos that demonstrates the process of making ceramic pieces … Continue reading Rick Hintze – Making A Covered Jar – Step 1- From Clay to Jar

Phot of U.S. Capitol at night with captions: The Shutdown is Over. The Debt Ceiling Has been Lifted. - Until we do it all over again in 90 days.

When Politics Become Personal

Now that the latest manufactured political crisis is over, we can breathe easier for a couple months. We don’t have to worry about the government being shut down or a default on U.S. debt – until the next set of deadlines in about 90 days.  Are we are supposed to feel good, until the crowd in Washington decides to do it again? And chances are … Continue reading When Politics Become Personal

“Where are all the people?” — On The Use of Public Space

Several years ago I was driving in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin with a young friend who was newly arrived from China. It was her first time to the United States and she had been in the country for about a week. As we drove past a city park, which was empty, she turned to me and asked, “Professor Cottle, where are all the people? I don’t … Continue reading “Where are all the people?” — On The Use of Public Space

Sandhill Cranes with Chicks Out for a Walk

It has been almost three weeks since I last visited the sandhill crane nest featured in my previous post. Yesterday I visited them and found the parents and two new chicks out for a walk. (You may click on the photos for larger sizes. Apart from being larger, they are sharper.) I watched as they foraged for insects and whatever else they might find to … Continue reading Sandhill Cranes with Chicks Out for a Walk

Wild Turkey Visits Bluewing Court in Janesville, Wisconsin

Earlier today while in my bedroom, I heard a loud thump against the roof in that corner of the house. Thinking that the house had been hit by falling space junk, I raised the blinds to discover a large and somewhat dazed wild turkey in the backyard. I grabbed my camera and ran to the backyard as the turkey rounded the corner of a neighbor’s … Continue reading Wild Turkey Visits Bluewing Court in Janesville, Wisconsin

Sandhill Cranes – Courtship Dance on a Cranberry Bog

The cranes and herons have returned to southern Wisconsin. Hundreds of sandhill cranes have been spotted near Whitewater, and great blue herons are now building and repairing nests at a rookery near Fort Atkinson. In celebration of their return, and the advent of spring, I am posting a remarkable set of photographs taken by my friend, Georgia Kestol-Bauer. Taken several years ago, these photos capture … Continue reading Sandhill Cranes – Courtship Dance on a Cranberry Bog

Downtown Janesville, Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s Gorgeous Fall Colors

Fall colors here in southeastern Wisconsin have surprised everyone this year. Now past peak color, the countryside sparkled with bright yellows and golds. The dark red and umber of sumac adorned many hillsides along the edge of forests. In the towns, the maples were magnificent in their display of red and gold.  Local wisdom claims that the beautiful fall this year is due to the … Continue reading Wisconsin’s Gorgeous Fall Colors

Tree swallow sitting on a small branch against a blue sky

Tree Swallows Tending Their Young

Since the middle of May, I have been tracking the progress of great blue heron chicks at a rookery in southeastern Wisconsin. Once or twice a week I wade through the tall grasses that border the rookery, carrying camera, lenses, and tripod. Each time I go, I hope to bring back dramatic photos and video of herons in flight, chicks being fed, or perhaps a … Continue reading Tree Swallows Tending Their Young

Marsh grass foreground, tall trees with nests in the background

Heron Chicks Trying Out Their Wings

Chicks at the local heron rookery are looking more and more like adults, but they still lack adult plumage as well as the ability to fly. Just like the chicks, the grass in the approach to the nesting area is growing rapidly. In the last week it has grown another foot and is now over six feet high in many places. I spent two hours … Continue reading Heron Chicks Trying Out Their Wings