Fighting Dams and Fishing for Smallmouth Bass :)

I left the Klesmith family and headed straight to a village meeting in Amherst- an open forum focused on what to do about the dam. It needs to either be replaced or removed- it can’t stay put in its current state.
Of course, being someone so focused on our cold water streams, I wanted the dam removed. Above the pond, it is a class 1 trout stream, with wild, naturally reproducing brook trout. Below the dam, where the water is 8-12 degrees warmer, there are no brook trout. :(
The people who live on the mill pond, however… they want to replace the dam. I don’t blame them for liking the look of the water. I like still water, too… where it is naturally occurring. We have 15,074 documented lakes in Wisconsin! I grew up swimming and playing in lakes up north, but they were “supposed” to be there. The mill pond is too muddy and shallow to swim in, and there is poisonous blue-green algae.
Anyway, I went with my TU chapter representatives to the meeting to show off a plan for the space where the pond is… We hired a firm to design a public space with foot bridges, bike paths, and a park. The meeting was very civil- folks from both sides were very respectful and tolerant. I was very frustrated, though… we have a lot of brook trout here in Wisconsin, and for some reason, I think the general population doesn’t realize how special it is for them to be wild, native, and happily making fish babies in our streams. With the opportunity to reconnect this resource, I couldn’t believe that anyone would want to replace the dam. There was good turnout at the meeting…

…and when it was over, I cried on the way home. I need to work on hardening my heart a little if I want to keep going to public meetings!
My spirit was lifted on Thursday after a productive morning of editing and lunch with my favorite photo mentor, Bill. :) Emy J’s has great coffee and fabulous food.

I rode my bike home in the rain…

…and prepped the house for a little facelift.
I had the weekend free from weddings but Brian was working a shutdown, so I was lucky enough to spend the day up north.
I’m on a boat…

Al invited Aaron and I up to fish the Menominee (the border between Wisconsin and the UP) in his drift boat. We caught lots of smallies!




The sturgeon were going crazy- they’d launch themselves out of the water and do some kind of prehistoric bellyflop on top. It was a noisy situation!
Look at these beautiful flies I was using.


The water was beautiful, and Al found a perfect place for us to stop for lunch!


The highlight of my day came near the end, when I coaxed a walleye up to take one of those minnows on top!

I’ve never caught a walleye before, and if was afraid to hold her for obvious reasons…

Al was an amazing host. Not only did he show us the time of our lives up there, he cleaned my fish for me and sent me home with ready-to-cook filets. Thanks for the awesome time, Al and Aaron! I had a blast.
That was the first fish I’ve ever kept. I was nervous to do it, but Al promised she’d be delicious! He showed me where her heart and other organs were, and I learned more about fish anatomy :)
I cooked her up with fresh beans from the garden, and drank fine wine with good company. Brian and I ate her on our front porch.

That’s about all the emotional growth I could muster for the week!
Be back soon, friends… with pictures of my newest niece!!

Miles this year: 364.75

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My mom is engaged!

In some of the most exciting news of the season, I’m happy to announce that my momma is engaged. :)
She’ll be marrying Bill Olson next June, and we couldn’t be more excited! I’ll be hanging out with them soon and taking some pictures, and I can’t wait to share them!
Speaking of engagement portraits, I was pretty excited to hang out with Lindsey and Derek a couple weeks ago. It was storming and the skies looked ominous, but we made the best of it, and the sun even came out at the end of our session! Take a peek at these cuties.






We can’t wait to shoot their wedding. How beautiful are they? :)
Next up is the Klesmith family. We were lucky enough to shoot their engagement portraits and their wedding, and now here we are… Shooting their family portraits! Brace yourself, little Owen is too cute to handle.







The Klesmiths won a portrait package that we donated to a cancer benefit locally, so this shoot was extra special, as we were able to help our community. It wasn’t just a family photo shoot, it was also a special announcement…

Congratulations, Hannah and Mike! We’re so excited for you.
I’m blogging from the waiting room at Auto Select (Matt and Josh at the desk are awesome!) while I get new tires, but I’ll be back in my office soon, working on photos!
Thanks for reading, friends.

Miles this year: 360.75

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Wisconsin TU’s Youth Fishing Camp, running, and Amy and Chris!

I’m having a hard time adjusting to life in my office after that beautiful week playing in the mountains. Here’s one more image for you…

I am happy to be back- back to my home, and my bed, and my puppy. And back to my garden! Some of my favorite purple raspberries are ripe.

I ran with the fun run group here in Point over at Standing Rocks, but I had so much fun that I didn’t take a picture until the ride home.

I was home for two nights, then I headed out for Wisconsin TU’s very first youth fishing camp.
My friend, Jen, came over to help! We were twins in our matching jackets.

We taught the kids about conservation, knot tying, tying flies, and a whole ton of information about fishing with flies, spinners, and bait. The kids had a great time, caught some fish, and learned a lot!
















Many thanks to all our volunteers who came out and shared their time and talents with the next generation. What a crew!

I was SO ready to be home for a week in my own office and my own kitchen… I cooked Heidi food for a week!

I’m sure everyone eats their eggs with kale and sriracha, right?
I returned to running with Lydia as much as possible.



Hurry home, Carmel! We miss you. :)
I was lucky enough to be invited up to Wausau to capture one of my best friends, Amy, in some engagement portraits with her handsome fiancé, Chris.
Amy was one of my maid of honors, along with my other bestie, Nikki. Here we are, almost seven years ago. #flashbackfriday

Photo by Lem Fillyaw of Painting With Light.
I will be one of Amy’s matron of honors, so I won’t be able to shoot her wedding, but we sure had a great time up at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, in their gardens. Take a peek!












It is amazing how time flies. I remember when we were too young to drive… and look at us now.
Congratulations, sweetie… we can’t wait to celebrate with you two next year!
That’s all for now. I have a lot of photo shoots this week, so stay tuned for some super cute stuff!

Miles this year: 355.25

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My Big Horn Mountain Adventure (Part II)

Of course, we took time to fish.
This was the first time that I really felt like an independent angler. Brian and I didn’t know what streams to fish, or what flies to use. We looked on a map and drove around until we found some water, which turned out to be the South Fork of the Tongue River.

I read the water, and explained the differences in this type of stream compared to the Midwestern beauties that he’s been on, and I picked flies that matched the hatch. The result? Rainbows, and cutthroats, and my first cutbow.





We fished on both the North and South fork of the Tongue, and a tiny little stream a couple miles from camp.
Brian caught his first fish in a stream!!


I am so proud. We had an awesome time exploring and learning about the local water! I even found a sign put up by some TU members. :)

We wore waders sometimes, but I prefer to wet wade when I can :)

One of the days, we all went out on a long ATV ride to the Upper and Lower Paint Rock lakes, and caught a few trout in still water.

I don’t have any photos to prove this, but I shot my first gun while we were out there. Brian brought his pistol, and I learned how to shoot it. I hit both of my targets, the beer can AND the other beer can. Sure, they were only ten yards away, but I did it. Woo!
It was hard to leave- we had such an amazing time. All the fresh air and playing outside wore us out! We stopped at Mount Rushmore on the way home.


My alternator started to go bad on the way home, but we made it, and the alternator has been replaced :)
I left the mountains and came home to a mountain of paperwork (and photo editing!), so that is where I’ll be for the next few weeks.
Thanks for reading, friends!

Miles this year: 355.25

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My Big Horn Mountain Adventure (Part I)

Monday morning rolled around, and Brian and I did as much laundry as we could, unpacked from Lifest, and repacked for the mountains. It took us about 18 hours to get to the mountain, so we drove the first half on Monday and stopped in Mitchell, SD for the night.
Once we entered Wyoming, on Tuesday, we had to take our kayaks through the watercraft checkpoints.

It was a pain since I was anxious to get there, but it is for a very good reason, and they gave us an awesome keychain…

The closer we got, the more different things looked. Permanent snow drift fences and hills, then bigger hills, then mountains.

We took turns driving, which helped a lot!

I was so excited to get to the mountain and meet our friends, John and Carmel. They had an awesome campsite set up and we spent the week with them and John’s three boys.

When I stepped out of my tent, this was the view. Insane.

I loved seeing all the mule deer! So cute.

Carmel and I went for a few runs up there. There’s nothing like attempting to run five miles at 9,000 feet to humble a person.

We did a lot of fun things- one of my favorites was visiting Porcupine Falls. We hiked down to the water, then climbed up on the rock cliff and jumped in the pool! It was a balmy 53 degrees.




We took a day and drove down to Yellowstone. Kayaking Yellowstone Lake has been on my bucket list for a while, so I was just thrilled to get to play down there. I have also read a lot about Yellowstone as I’ve gotten more involved with TU, so it was exciting to go visit on my own. We had to get watercraft licenses for the park and go through another inspection, then we were happily paddling away. :)









We even found a couple little caves to check out.


It was a fun day on the water, but we saw a storm rolling in, so we headed back.

We’d bought fishing licenses, but when the storm came, we weren’t sure if we’d have time. I grabbed my rod anyway, strung it up, and popped over to the closest fishable stream.

Three casts in, and I heard the first clap of thunder, so I packed up. It started to rain, so we headed back, but stopped for a couple photos. Picture it: I had B drive, so I could jump out of the car and shoot, then it started raining harder, so I rolled down the window and shot through the opening, then it started hailing. I still wanted to play outside!











It was an incredible day. Neither of us had been there before, and one day wasn’t nearly enough time! We are already planning a longer trip back next time. For those of you who have been to Yellowstone, what would you recommend?
It took us almost four hours to get back to camp, and we were about four miles away when my brakes started making that signature grinding… That sound that means, “Ooh, girl… You should have checked your brakes before taking a long road trip to the mountains!”
So. This happened. Adventure in a photo?

John took Brian into town (Sheridan) the next day to pick up brake pads and rotors, and B installed them right there on top of the mountain.
I’ll leave you with a sneaky picture B grabbed of me doing yoga in the morning. Any inversion was made infinitely more awesome by seeing the upside down mountains in my view.

Part II of my adventure will share all my fishing fun. :)
Please come back for more! As always, thanks for reading, friends.

Miles this year: 352.25

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Lifest 2014

After our busy Fourth of July weekend, we kept right on chugging with our busy schedule.
I actually spent Monday- Wednesday filling in as the receptionist at my physical therapy office- Point Forward Physical Therapy. I made a great office girl!
I even had time for a few runs, including a Green Circle loop with Abbie.

I packed up my gear, my pup, and my husband, and we headed over to shoot Lifest, a music festival in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
I don’t usually share too many photos from the event, but I take a lot of photos of people hanging out, camping, and generally being awesome. The evening concert crowds are usually around 20,000 people, and lots of people stay and camp for the week. I am a photo team supervisor for an awesome group of 14 photographers and videographers. Our team is called the Ninjagraphers.
The Beirl family and friends were there:


And Kenzie did some incredible spray paint art…

Chris, my twin “our intern” was working, too!

…and Jordy…

…and a goat. Well, a whole petting zoo…

And this. Father of the year? :)

John, my physical therapist, brought his oldest boys for Toby Mac.

There were lots of concerts, lots of speakers, lots of signs, and lots of folding chairs. :)








…and last, but not least, Wes, from my favorite late night comedy folks, Happy Fun Time.

Lifest hosts a 5K run on Saturday morning, and I ran it with a stranger! I met her during the first mile and we chatted and prayed our way through the run. Pretty awesome.

Jean brought me lots of healthy snacks, and the Fawley family took great care of me (and Brian, too!), as always.
I will leave you with some smiley balsamic vinegar, on the bottom of my salad plate.

We came home from Lifest on Sunday afternoon, exhausted, and left for another adventure on Monday…


Stay tuned for that story! Thanks for reading, friends.

Miles this year: 347.25

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The National Mustard Museum, Madison fun with friends, and Ashley and Erik’s wedding

My dream has finally come true.

I went to the NATIONAL MUSTARD MUSEUM! It is located in Middleton, Wisconsin, and I secured a tour and case of personalized mustard.

I could barely contain my excitement. I love mustard! I watched a video about mustard in history, saw all kinds of antique mustard jars and tins, and learned about mustard use around the world. Mustard fields are a beautiful thing! Did you know that mustard has been used for centuries as medicine? I can’t wait to take a mustard bath after my next long run. ;)



I came home with sixteen jars of mustard, mustard powder, and whole mustard seeds, so I can make my own! Awesome.
We stayed at Amanda and Andy’s new apartment, and had one heck of a sleepover with our Delta Omicron college friends. Curtis, Mo, Josh, and I all went to market on the square on Saturday morning. It’s a big farmer’s market on Madison’s Capitol Square.

We had a lot of fun with our friends celebrating our Delta Omicron sister, Ashley, marrying the man of her dreams, Erik. Brian played in a saxophone quartet for the first time since college! I wasn’t allowed to take pictures during the ceremony, but if her photographer will let me buy one of the quartet and put it online, I will post it for you all to see. They sounded pretty awesome. :)


We hung out in the Union until it was time for the reception, and then we partied with our friends all night!




Congratulations, Ashley and Erik! You had a beautiful wedding day. :)
As always, thanks for reading, friends. I’ll be back soon!

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