Turtles, lizards, and tadpoles in the rain.

One of the things we like best about our new neighborhood is the walkability. From the apartment, it’s a short 25-minute stroll to downtown and the riverwalk. There are dozens of shops and businesses within walking distance — restaurants, bars, the grocery store, the gas station.

Though I suppose there’s no reason to walk to a gas station unless you’re craving a Monster energy drink or a lotto ticket.

We’ve been lacing up our shoes and taking advantage of this as much as we can before winter sets in. Most mornings before work, I leave the apartment shortly after 5 a.m. The sky is still dark, the stars a brilliant mosaic of pinpricks dotting the black fabric of the heavens. By the time I reach the river, the dawn’s first rays of light are gradually painting the eastern horizon shades of pink and orange as ducks paddle across the placid water.

Fort Atkinson sure is scenic. I kinda feel like we threw a dart at a map and it randomly landed on this small community in Jefferson County. All I can say is, good throw.

Sydney, for her part, isn’t much into walking. She’s discovered the windowsill in our bedroom and loves to curl up there, either watching the world pass by or (more likely) sleeping.

Friday, I left work at 3:20 thanks to that flexible schedule. Tara and I walked down to Brock’s River Walk Tavern & Grill for the quintessential Wisconsin Friday experience: Brandy Old Fashioneds, cheese curds, and a fish fry. We got there early so we could snag a table next to the window.

Two and a half hours later, we walked back home while the nearly full moon rose. Stopped for soft serve ice cream at Frostie Freeze, which always has a long line. A few licks into our cones and we could see why.

Always pay close attention to the locals. They know the scoop. (Yeah, pun intended.)

Saturday, we ventured into Madison to hit up a record store. Didn’t realize it was game day. This is the second weekend in a row we’ve driven into the city while massive throngs of Badgers fans decked out in red have been streaming toward the stadium. Oops. Going to have to pay attention to those home game schedules more.

On the way home, we stopped at Dorothy Carnes County Park just to check things out. It’s a few minutes from where we live, and there are hiking trails, picnic tables, and some great scenery. Pretty sure this will become a regular hangout.

Today could not have been more opposite weather-wise. We woke up to rain and flood watches. It’s been coming down all day and shows no sign of letting up.

Fort Atkinson is right in the bullseye. Seriously, 3-5″ of rain?! That’s crazy. And wonderful. I have missed rain so much. I can count on one hand the number of times in which it rained all day in Rapid City. Coming from the PNW, that drier climate was a shock to the system. The rainfall in southern Wisconsin is roughly double that in Rapid, so rainy days like today aren’t uncommon.

We didn’t let a little rain stop us from venturing out, either. Took a drive to Indian Mounds Park on the shore of Lake Koshkonong. Here’s a little history: between AD 650 and 1200, groups of Native Americans throughout the southern half of Wisconsin and portions of adjacent states built earthen mounds of various shapes and sizes, including mounds shaped like animals, today called effigy mounds. The 11 mounds preserved here were part of a larger group of 78 mounds and include symmetrical and animal shapes, resembling birds, turtles or lizards, and perhaps spiritual figures.

It was just really cool to walk around and check out the mounds — not to mention the surrounding forest. All this green flora is kind of a shock to the system. We had to bundle up because it was a cool 58º. Fall is definitely right around the corner here.

After all that walking around in the rain, we ducked into a little bar and grill to warm up. A bite of food and a couple of drinks later and we were good to go.

Since it’s so cool today, I’m going to make an inaugural pot of Italian wedding soup, our go-to fall/winter meal.

Bring on the rain and bring on the cold!

Is it feeling like fall yet in your neck of the woods? How’d you spend your weekend?

45 thoughts on “Turtles, lizards, and tadpoles in the rain.

  1. I like how you guys settle in and start exploring! The “tapered linear tadpole” sign is great and the mounds – so interesting.

    Funny about the rain – SD must have such a surprise after the PNW. Maybe Wisconsin will be some middle ground?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’re the types who roll into a new town in the middle of a move and immediately scope out the nearest dive bar. You know what they say about all work/all play!

      I knew what I was getting into moving to Rapid City…but that doesn’t mean I didn’t miss all that green and rain. Wisconsin is a lot closer to the PNW in that regard (and that was a big motivating factor, too).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rain would be so welcome right now- we’ve been under red flag fire warnings and the smoke is horrible. My car looks like someone tossed yellow dirt on it from the ash. Love all the green Mark. I could never live anywhere I didn’t have green and forests nearby and mushrooms growing on downed logs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The temperatures are suddenly going into the 50’s overnight. It has been raining all day and more is expected the next two days. All of a sudden, it’s like someone threw the switch and started Fall. Your comment about the soft serve ice cream made me remember we gotta get back to the Pelicans snowballs ice stand before they close down. There are a couple more flavors we gotta try this season. Football weather is here, and football has been on the TV all weekend long! Love the pics of Indian Mounds. That looks like a great spot to check out. Looks like Sydney has “checked out” on that windowsill. Seems like she has settled in nicely.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sydney has been such a trooper through this whole move…and that was NOT the case four years ago. We’re so proud of her!

      I haven’t been reading you very long, and it occurs to me that I don’t even know where you live. I googled Pelican’s and I see they’re located in 17 states. Are you a Kentuckian, by chance? (Just a wild guess.)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I adore being able to walk to town, especially when you can avoid drinking and driving. I can walk to a few grocery stores, but carrying more than two bags back two miles is a bit much for me.

    Everything looks fabulous! How exciting for you guys!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’re talking about getting a little push wagon or something, but just to bring the groceries in from the car. I can’t imagine walking a mile with that thing!

      It’s SO nice not to have to worry about a DD!

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  5. It looks and sounds wonderful, and it appears that you’re adjusting well. I love exploring new places although I haven’t moved around much. I travel well though.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So glad your random neighborhood pick was a good one. It all sounds and looks wonderful. It’s funny, you never realize how much you missed green until you’re surrounded by it again. As for fall, our temps aren’t there yet but a few trees are turning due to the summer drought stress.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Your third paragraph is sheer poetry. Great imagery. Great weather here this weekend – sunny with cool mornings and warm but not hot afternoons. Can’t wait ’til retirement so I can experience fall in its entirety without being stuffed in a building all day. My mom in eastern Wisconsin said its expected to rain there for three days straight, so I see you are in the same weather system. Glad it bypassed us – whew! We did an annual community bike ride yesterday and it would have been significantly less fun in the rain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Madison Iron Man triathlon was yesterday. Probably didn’t matter so much to the contestants, who had to swim anyway, but the crowds looked miserable in all their rain gear judging from the pics I saw. We ended up with 6-8″ of rain in our county. That’s just amazing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, that Iron Man is well attended ’round these parts. The husband would have done it were it not smack in the beginning of the school year – not a great time to take off work. And thank you for acknowledging the spectators of those events – we don’t get enough sympathy. Haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I was a spectator for several years in my childhood as my dad ran marathons. I remember standing in the misty cold of Duluth one summer (though it felt like November). I will always have sympathy for those in the crowd!

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  8. Ugh. Our oldest son and his family live near Clemson University; we failed to take the football schedule into consideration when planning our visit next weekend.😬 Hotels that would normally be $300-ish for the weekend are now going for over $1300 for two nights. We’ll be taking our travel trailer and staying 30+ minutes away. Next time, we’ll check the game schedule in advance.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m enjoying your adventures as you begin to make Wisconsin your home. The food looks lovely, albeit a bit heavy, and your photos of nature make me sigh. It’s fun to be living vicariously through you– I haven’t had to unpack even one box and yet I’m in Wisconsin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d like to live vicariously through somebody who didn’t have to invest so much sweat labor into moving, but hey, at least now we can begin to relax and enjoy the fruit of all that work. Or the meat and cheese of all that work, as the case may be.

      (I swear we eat vegetables and fruit, too!)

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s my dream to have a walkable home. I can walk IN my house, but walking to something from my home is a different story. I’d love a place to walk to for dinner/drinks/icecream.
    The Indian Mounds park looks so awesome, too; a history lesson in beautiful surroundings.
    Um, no fall here. It’s currently 88* at 5:15 pm.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Funny you should ask about weather and fall. That is what you did, isn’t it? It’s funny because a couple of times in the last week people here in MI have warned me about how cold it will be soon. It sounded to me like they were just skipping over fall and going directly to winter. I don’t want to do that because I am waiting at this time for the beauty of fall in MI which I have been told is a real thing, besides apples and fall festivals. Meanwhile, I am beginning to experience mild weather whiplash here, but nowhere near as wild as what I experienced in Tennessee. Here the variation in temps has only gone from low 80s to upper 60s over a week or so. IDK, maybe that’s fall weather?

    Like

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