Saturday, July 23, 2016

Lilies And More at the Centennial Gardens

The Allen Centennial Gardens contains a wide variety of lilies, lovingly tended by a special club dedicated to lilies. Below are some photos of the garden's lilies that I took, along with a few other types of plants and flowers.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Enjoying a Picnic with E.T.

The lawns of the Madison state capitol became a patchwork of colorful blankets for the evening's Concert on the Square. Around 50,000 attendees attended the free concert featuring well-known movie songs by composer John Williams. It was a great evening to enjoy a picnic dinner, and even some wine. Both young and old (as well as some dogs) were captivated by the well-known songs of the composer whose scores span six decades. Some of the favorites included the Star Wars theme, Indiana Jones, Superman, and ET.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Through England and France at the Centennial Gardens

The Allen Centennial Gardens contains several areas, each with their distinct look. In one section, there was a pond, complete with waterlilies and a small wooden bridge, which temporarily transported me to Monet's gardens in Giverny or the Taikobashi Bridge of Dazaifu. It did have some cattails and milkweed, which reminded me that I was indeed in Wisconsin.
Beyond a high hedge was a European-style garden, complete with manicured shaped hedges and sculptures.

With some tweaking on the gazebo, I could have been at the Garden of the Morning Calm near Seoul.
It was fun watching the koi and other fish swim in schools. Such a common sight in Asian gardens.

All in all, a beautiful place to enjoy on a Sunday afternoon!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Dean's Residence, 10 Babcock Drive

This past weekend, I revisited the Allen Centennial Gardens in Madison. In addition to the beautiful gardens, the UW Madison landmark includes a stately Victorian Gothic house that was once the home of the first four agricultural deans of the university. 

Built in 1889, the house is now on the list of the National Register of Historical Places. Placement on the historical registry helped save the building from the encroaching claws of the ever-expanding university. The structure is currently undergoing renovation and will be repurposed as a student center.

The exterior still has some beautiful details such as this window. I wonder how much of the original interior ornamentation still exists. I hope that when the interior is completed, it will be open to tours. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Madison Art Fair on the Square

Mostly blue skies welcomed visitors to Madison's Art Fair on the Square, held July 9-10. Yesterday I went to the annual juried event, set around the beautiful capitol square. Around 500 artists set up booths, exhibiting photographs, ceramics, weavings, jewelry, sculptures, and more. It was enjoyable viewing the varying styles, and I was particularly drawn to the international booths such as Mexican retablo, Chinese embroidery, and Peruvian weavings. 

Visitors to the visually stimulating event could also enjoy plenty of snacks/drinks (including some Wisconsin specialties and free chocolate chip cookies) and listen to live performances. Based on the large crowds I saw on Saturday and the pleasant weather, I wouldn't be surprised if attendance was over the normal 200,000.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Sandboarding down the La Paz Sand Dunes

On my tour of Laoag, my guest house friends took us to the La Paz Sand Dunes. This stretch of coastal sand dunes is an easy 15 minute drive outside of Laoag and spans for about 85 square km (52 miles) along the South China Sea. It is a popular site for films, both Philippine movies and Hollywood. Mad Max and Born on the Fourth of July both shot scenes in this coastal desert. 
Sand dunes can reach up to 90 meters (295 ft) in height, but are constantly changing due to variations in wind, currents, weather, sedimentation, and types of vegetation. 

In one area, adults and kids were sliding down the dunes on boards. It hearkened me back to my snow tobogganing and sled riding days on the glacially formed hills on the family farm in Wisconsin.

Jeeps and 4x4 vehicles could also be seen driving over the dunes.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Bushes A'Plenty

All decked out with pants, a light jacket, and a liberal dose of mosquito spray, my parents and I headed out into their woods to pick wild blackberries. Wild turkeys and a variety of birds serenaded us as we walked to our intended destination. Scattered throughout the woods were patches of the berries, just waiting to be picked by the brave. Just beyond the tangle of grapevines, sharp thorns of the canes, and swarms of menacing mosquitoes and horseflies were bunches of the sweet berries. Even with the extra bonus obstacles of stinging thistles, sticktite weeds, and burdocks, we weren't deterred. Our reward: enough wild blackberries for a dessert and plenty more for eating fresh.