Monday, July 23, 2018

The Anderson Japanese Garden

YouTube video HERE

The Anderson Japanese Gardens is a 12-acre (49,000 m2) Japanese garden located in Rockford, Illinois. WEBSITE

The gardens were established in 1978 by John R. Anderson and landscape architect Hoichi Kurisu on the site of Anderson's home. They were inspired by Anderson's trips to Japan, and particularly his visit to the Portland Japanese Garden in Washington Park, Portland, Oregon, which were also designed by Kurisu.

In 1992, John Anderson was recognized for his outstanding work in promoting international friendship and mutual understanding between the United States and Japan with a commemorative silver cup from the Japanese government. Educational programs at the Anderson Gardens cover the language, arts, and culture of Japan, and the Gardens host formal tea ceremonies, ikebana and calligraphy demonstrations, bonsai displays, and feature programs for students and adults. Anderson Japanese Gardens hosts an annual Opening Day Celebration and Japanese Summer Festival, featuring celebrations of Japanese culture. In 1998, Mr. and Mrs. Anderson donated the gardens to a nonprofit organization.

In 2004 the gardens were named finest Japanese garden in North America by the Journal of Japanese Gardening. In 2011, Tuesday Evening in the Gardens kicked off featuring singer/songwriters, local food vendors, and a friendly family atmosphere for guests to enjoy the gardens and performance.

The gardens are in a 13th-century "pond strolling" garden with several waterfalls and ponds, streams, rock formations, winding paths, and a sukiya style tea house and guest house (built by Masahiro Hamada). The "Garden of Reflection" is a contemporary Japanese-inspired garden, with bronze angel sculptures by Carl Milles. Plantings include Japanese maples, cloud pines, azaleas, magnolias, and rhododendrons.

The gardens are home to many species of colorful fish, minks, and ducks. In the "Garden of Reflection" beetle traps hang over the water to encourage these fish to surface for food,

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Walker's Point (AKA The Fifth Ward)

Walker's Point is a neighborhood that lies south of the Third Ward and the eastern part of the Menomonee River Valley. Founded by George H. Walker in 1835 as a fur trading post, the area is now noted for being mostly an industrial neighborhood, with limited housing scattered in pockets throughout the area, particularly on the eastern end of Walker's Point.

My spending about 2-1/2 hours on and around South Fifth Street, was hardly enough time to discover the entity of the Fifth Ward. It did however, provide a glimpse of what it is about. Notable in Walker’s Point is the Iron Horse Hotel to the north, Rockwell Automation, La Perla and the Milwaukee Ballet. 

Yes, this is Selena Gomez

Recently this area has seen some condo, office, and retail development spill over the Milwaukee River to this neighborhood. However, it is not displacing anyone as the spaces undergoing development have mainly been former storage or empty industrial space. 

The area is 68% Hispanic with many charming homes and businesses. There has been attempt to revamp the area — some attempts have succeeded, others have not. 

I had (Colectivo) coffee at the Fuel Cafe and checked out the menu — it was to my liking. It’s a great family cafe.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A Brief History of Shalom Wildlife Zoo

It does look good in FULL SCREEN

Beginning in 1979, thirty acres of land was purchased with the intent to preserve it from development.  Over the years additional adjacent parcels were acquired. Today the Zoo encompasses 100 acres.  Shalom's wildlife began as a deer farm with native whitetail deer that were purchased from the State of Wisconsin.  People would come to see those "Big Bucks" on guided wagon ride tours through the property.  The tours provided a great opportunity to educate visitors on animals, plants, habitat and Native American culture. In 1990 Bison and Elk were added for additional  wildlife viewing enjoyment. Soon red fox, raccoon, skunk and mink were purchased and put on exhibit. Every year more species are added. In 2002 self guided tours were made available for those that wanted to walk, and in 2006 golf carts were added for those who were unable to walk.  

Although still a working farm, in 2010 Shalom was licensed as a Zoo and is home to over four-hundred animals that are cared for daily.  Some of the animals are here for permanent placement, some have been donated and some have been purchased.

Our Mission Statement: To preserve the wilderness, while providing education, enjoyment and wildlife encounters in a natural ecosystem.

Shalom is a privately owned federally licensed zoo and receives no government assistance. We are solely funded by the admission fee to the zoo.  Your visits are important to the future of  Shalom. With your support we strive to improve Shalom Wildlife Zoo.

Needless to say, it is not really possible to find some of the animals at any one visit. Everything I saw was on about a three hour visit, and that's enough for me.

Shalom is a Hebrew word that means Peace. 

1901 Shalom Drive, West Bend WI 53090

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Paradise Springs Nature Area in Wisconsins Kettle Moraine South

I found that I've not made a Youtube slide show of The Paradise Springs, so I stand at correcting this. However, while the springs remain, paradise is now temporarily lost A structural failure underneath the more than 100-year-old dam at this historic, state-owned property has mostly drained the pond on June 19, 2015.

The YouTube video can be seen HERE.

These images were taken on October 14, 2014 and serve as a memory for the time being.

Paradise Springs has been owned by many different people. One owner was a millionaire who built a horse track, fishing hole, and an elaborate spring house over beautiful Paradise Springs. 

Paradise Springs is about 5 feet deep and maintains a temperature of about 47 degrees F. year-round. Over 30,000 gallons of water flow from this spring each hour—that’s 500 gallons each minute. Paradise Springs sits in a bowl-shaped depression where the water table reaches the surface.

Most spring houses served a purely functional purpose—to protect the springs and to allow access to the water. This spring house was beautiful as well as functional. Mr. Petit built this spring house in the early 1930s with a wooden-and-copper dome roof and colorful fieldstone walls, no doubt one of the most elaborate spring houses ever built in Wisconsin. Though the roof is gone, the beauty of this spring house remains.

In the early 1900s, Mr. and Mrs. L.D. Nichols stocked this pond with trout. They also had a menagerie of animals which included peacocks, monkeys and pheasants. This pond is still stocked with brook trout for your fishing and visual enjoyment. The wooden cribs you see below the surface provide hiding places for young trout. Brook trout are the only trout species native to the Kettle Moraine and are still found in cold spring water ponds and brooks throughout the region. In October, the trout in this pond spawn lay their eggs near the spring house on the gravel bottom. When spawning, brook trout turn a vibrant pink color and are easier to spot.

The YouTube video can be seen HERE.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, Belgium Wisconsin

See a YouTube slideshow HERE.

Located along Lake Michigan in the town of Belgium, Forest Beach Migratory Preserve is 116 acres. This preserve contains a 5-acre hardwood forest with ephemeral (seasonal) ponds, open grassland and prairie, a partially wooded ravine and 5 constructed wetland ponds. The site was previously a golf course but OWLT purchased the land because the property’s location and attributes lend itself to supporting migratory birds along the Lake Michigan Flyway. Immediately upon acquisition in 2008, the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust began stewardship activities including invasive and exotic plant control.

Today the preserve hosts a "patchwork quilt" of habitats that support all kinds of migratory birds, reptiles and mammals. An interpretive trail system invites visitors to meander through the preserve learning about the restoration efforts and the unique restored habitats. Visit this preserve to hike, bird watch, fish, hunt or cross country ski.

See a YouTube slideshow HERE.