Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography: Blog en-us suevickfinley (Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography) Fri, 05 Jan 2018 19:07:00 GMT Fri, 05 Jan 2018 19:07:00 GMT Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography: Blog 120 120 I Guess I'll Stick With Writing Aa poem Writing 11Aa poem Writing 11

Thirteen or so years ago, my son Aaron was writing quite a bit of poetry. One of my current projects is to join his words with my photography. 

This poem is about writing words versus writing music. Aaron is an accomplished pianist and tried his hand at writing music. He even entered one piece in a competition, but the judge was not particularly complimentary. 

Thanks to Jane Licht and the McFarland Historical Society, have access to the Larson House Museum as a backdrop for my photos.

Aaron and I arrived at the Larson House with my my ladder, my bag full of lenses, several light sources, our slippers, and my tripod...bags draping all over the place. As we arrived I said to Aaron, "I just hope I haven't forgotten anything important!" How unlucky to say such a thing...After an extra 15 minutes to run home and get MY CAMERA we finally got started!

Enjoy the poem, the photos and the out takes.



              Guess I'll stick With Writing

by Aaron Finley

photography by Sue Finley

calligraphy by Masha Finley

                                                                Aa poem Writing 3Aa poem Writing 3

The room sits empty, quiet, and cold,

Packed hollow with scratched out rests and holds.

Music's fire snuffed out with ink and page

But words, full and noisy burn and rage

Or whisper to me soft and sweetly.

Why do they only hear and greet me?

Aa poem Writing 1Aa poem Writing 1

Words also have their dissonant sounds

And many a phrase may sound out flat,

But better that than nothing written-

Than unturned staff sheets and half-penned rounds.

All crafts their artists have to toil at

To sound what on their heart has bitten. 

Aa poem Writing 4Aa poem Writing 4

My tunes, apparently, are better

When I arrange with word and letter.



Out Takes...

Aa poem Writing 10Aa poem Writing 10

The calligraphy artist

Aa poem Writing 2Aa poem Writing 2

The pipe 

Aa poem Writing 5Aa poem Writing 5

The dimple

Aa poem Writing 6Aa poem Writing 6

The idea

Aa poem Writing 7Aa poem Writing 7

The mouth

Aa poem Writing 8Aa poem Writing 8

The drama 

Aa poem Writing 9Aa poem Writing 9

The End





]]> (Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography) fun historical house museum music photography poem poetry suevickfinley whimsy writing Fri, 05 Jan 2018 00:52:01 GMT
The Whispering Horses                    The Whispering Horses


Our friends live part of the year in Arizona. They occasionally invite us to visit them which enables us to escape a bit of the Wisconsin winter. This year we spent a delightful week in February enjoying the warmth and diversions that Arizona and our hosts had to offer. 


Visiting the area where the wild horses hang out is one of the diversions our friends had in store for us. We parked along the road and walked into the the scrubby desert brush. What a treat! There were wild horses all around. We could see them in the distance. 

02-Wild horses-202-Wild horses-2 They were grazing with their backs to us. They seemed to keep a comfortable distance from the frequent human visitors. If I moved closer they trotted further into the brush. 

01-Wild horses-601-Wild horses-6 I moved closer and got flipped off by a tail!

04-Wild horses-1104-Wild horses-11 Haven't we all heard of the "Horse Whisperer"? Well, I decided to try to be the Horse Whisperer myself. How hard can it be? You see a horse and you whisper to it. 

 I started talking softly and smoothly, such a sweet, sweet whisper, and slowly moved closer...

03-Wild horses-703-Wild horses-7 I got the evil eye! But I didn't give up. Soon my soft, smooth talk began to pay off.

05-Wild horses-1305-Wild horses-13 This little guy looked at me over his shoulder and didn't move away...more soft, gentle babble...

 I came a little closer all the while whispering my version of gentle horse talk...closer...

07-Wild horses-2107-Wild horses-21 This horse gave me a bit of a mane slap but didn't walk away.

08-Wild horses-2208-Wild horses-22 Closer and closer I came while whispering gently...

10-Wild horses-3210-Wild horses-32 No longer just horse backsides, but horse faces looking at me!

11-Wild horses-3711-Wild horses-37    They let me get so close. But I began to feel sort of silly when I noticed that one of the horses was whispering and eyeing me.   13-Wild horses-3913-Wild horses-39 I whispered, he whispered. Was he mocking me? He whispered not to me, no. He whispered to his buddy...

16-Wild horses-4816-Wild horses-48 So there you go! I thought I was so clever to whip up imaginary horse whispering skills. When the next thing I knew the horses were walking away whispering and chuckling and I again saw nothing but their backsides as they disappeared into the desert brush.

1-Wild horses-31-Wild horses-3   



]]> (Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography) Arizona brush desert horses innocence photography suevickfinley whimsy wild Tue, 30 May 2017 11:33:00 GMT
Winter Comfort Food   comfort food blog-003comfort food blog-003                                                                         

I am not happy in the kitchen. The relentless grind of meal planning, grocery shopping, food prep, kitchen clean up....ugh. When I begin to cook a planned meal I frequently find I have somehow come home from the grocery store without the key ingredient. Example: we are having hot dogs and grapes. What! What! No, no, no! Are you telling me I went grocery shopping and got everything but the hot dogs?!?!  And so it goes, week after week, month after month, even year after year.

When I am working in the kitchen the corners of my mouth tend to slide down dramatically and my chin is a bit rumpled.  I never use "language", but I can be heard mumbling and sighing to myself in unpleasant tones while a complicated and intricate pile of mess envelops every inch of counter space. 

Recently, I decided to photograph a meal. I came home from the grocery store with everything I needed except fennel for the salad (and only because I could not find any). I prepared the food and set up our empty nest meal in front of the fireplace, thus briefly escaping the intricate pile of mess. The fire felt wonderful with the outside temperature at only 10 degrees. 

The intricate pile of mess still awaits me as I type, but you can enjoy the cozy setting, food photos, and the recipes.

comfort food blog-1comfort food blog-1        Winter Salad

12  kale leaves

1/2  cup  fennel, sliced

1/4  cup  red onion, diced

1/2  cup  pomegranate arils

(I added crumbled feta cheese)

2  Tbsp  oil-based salad dressing (I used Marie's Balsamic Vinaigrette)


Wash and dry the kale. Remove the stems and chop the kale into a very fine texture.

Slice fennel and red onion and add arils to salad.

Pour in dressing and stir all ingredients together and serve.

comfort food blog-4comfort food blog-4              

       20-Minute White Chile                                                                                         

1 cup  chopped onion

1 clove  garlic, minced

1 Tbsp  vegetable oil

1 lbs  ground turkey

1 cup  chicken broth

1 (14 1/2-oz) can  stewed tomatoes (I use diced basil, garlic and oregano tomatoes)

1/3 cup  Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard

1 Tbsp  chili powder

1/8 tsp  ground red pepper

1 (15-oz) can  cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 (8-oz) can  corn, drained (I leave this out.)

Cook and stir onions and garlic in oil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat until tender. Add turkey, cook until done, stirring occasionally to break up the meat. Drain. Stir in the chicken broth tomatoes, mustard, chili powder and pepper. Heat to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes. Yields 6 servings.

Beverage of choice. I chose a glass of water iced with frozen grapes. 

Then cozy up to the fire, enjoy, and keep warm. comfort food blog-3comfort food blog-3


]]> (Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography) chef chili cooking cozy family fire food meal photography recipe salad suevickfinley winter Tue, 12 Jan 2016 12:42:20 GMT
Behind the scenes with Teddy Bear and Baby Claire Claire -020Claire -020

I recently had a newborn photo session with Joe and Katelin and their baby girl Claire. I regularly encourage my clients to bring items such as blankets, outfits, stuffed animals, or other things that have special meaning for them. Usually I can include them in some way to add an extra personal touch. Among other things Joe and Katelin brought along a bear made from the military jacket of Katelin's father. Here is what Katelin told me about the bear and her father.

"There is a lady that my aunt knows who makes bears out of the clothing of deceased loved ones as a way to remember them. My father, Frank Wayne Riske, passed away suddenly on Nov. 11, 2005 in a motor cycle accident. It was a beautiful day, ironically Veteran's day, and he wanted to take the bike out for a spin. He was stopped at an intersection and was hit by a man who had a seizure while driving. He was only a few miles from his home and this man was not supposed to be driving. He was killed instantly so I am grateful for that as I know he did not suffer and did not have to hang onto his life in the hospital. If he was going to leave this earth, it was the best way. He was only 45 at the time, so very young. He left behind a wife, (my stepmother), me, 20 years old at the time, and my half sister who would turn 3 that November. 

"His rank was a Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force, and he worked as an Aircraft Maintenance Production Superintendent and had completed 24 years of service. He was responsible for maintenance production supervision of five flights and leadership of 600 people that accomplish over 15,000 maintenance actions annually on 54 F-15C/D and 13 F/A-22 aircraft. He was serving at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia at the time. 

"Thankfully, Joe was in my life at the time and he got to know Dad pretty well before the accident. Now it is up to us to tell Claire all about her Grandpa and how special he was to so many."

At the time of the photo session I didn't know all these details about Katelin's father's death. I did know it was important to do my best to get it 'right'. I wanted the bear and the baby to both be featured, yet somehow not compete with each other. I needed something to reveal that the baby was a girl but not so much that it would draw too much attention. Last summer I had found a stretchy dress in a discount bin and this seemed the perfect setting to use it. Here is a photo of Katelin holding up the dress. The dress's color is subtle and it has just a bit of lace at the waist - perfect to show that the baby is a girl.  

Claire -40Claire -40

We wrapped Claire in the dress with the lace at the top and tried to position her with the bear. We quickly discovered that the bear would not stay upright on his own. Enter Claire's daddy, scrunched into place and needing to hide himself and still hold the bear in position. We had soft light from one window, a soft background in the bedroom wall, an off-white coverlet over the bedspread, and the subtle wrap with lace. 

Claire -42Claire -42

I shot from several angles but this is the one I like the best. Here is the image straight out of camera. 


I decided to edit the image to bring out the bear's face a bit and give a little glow around it. I needed to be sure the name badge and emblem could be seen and I needed to call a little attention to the bear's paw on the baby's head. Here is the final result. 

  Claire -25Claire -25

Though it has been a number of years since the passing of Frank Wayne Riske my heart goes out to his family. I feel honored to share in this story, if only briefly, by capturing this image of the Teddy Bear and Baby Claire.



]]> (Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography) Grandparents air force family grandchildren innocence memorial military newborn photography portrait session sleeping suevickfinley teddy bear Wed, 11 Mar 2015 12:00:00 GMT
Valentine's Day Outing Valentine's Day-12Valentine's Day-12

Today is Valentine's Day and the sun is shining, but there is a bite to the howling wind. Fortunately my Valentine and I had our Valentine's Day outing yesterday. We checked out the Edgewater Hotel's new skating rink. ( )   Valentine's Day-5Valentine's Day-5

Valentine's Day-2Valentine's Day-2

Valentine's Day-4Valentine's Day-4

We had a sweet visit with Curtis Diller at his Kilwin's Chocolate Shop on State St. Amazing treats! We each had a chocolate covered strawberry. Drool!

Valentine's Day-11Valentine's Day-11

Valentine's Day-13Valentine's Day-13

Valentine's Day-9Valentine's Day-9

Valentine's Day-15Valentine's Day-15

Valentine's Day-18Valentine's Day-18

Valentine's Day-19Valentine's Day-19

Valentine's Day-17Valentine's Day-17

We enjoyed some of the inspiring old houses on our walk back to the car...

Valentine's Day-22Valentine's Day-22 Valentine's Day-24Valentine's Day-24

...and then dined at our favorite restaurant, Imperial Gardens East. 

Valentine's Day-25Valentine's Day-25

We finished off the evening with an awesome movie from RedBox, The 100 Foot Journey


                    Happy Valentine's Day to you all!

]]> (Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography) Edgewater Imperial Gardens East Madison Valentine's Day WI chocolate lake photography suevickfinley Sat, 14 Feb 2015 17:54:56 GMT
Cracked Glass Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-5Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-5

For a moment in time God lowered down a huge pane of cracked glass and placed it on Lake Waubesa. I have never seen anything quite like it; so glassy that it looked wet. But no, it was just the shiny, reflective surface on a lake covered in hard, cold, cracked glass. I spent the afternoon skating around, meeting people, taking photos, and enjoying the novelty of it. 

First I met this delightful family out for a stroll on the ice with their twin baby girls. Amazingly they stayed upright the whole time!

Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-1Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-1

Then I met Ernie, Iris, Bea, and Luna. They moved to our neighborhood a few months ago from the deep South. They are getting used to the frozen lake idea.

Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-17Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-17

They weren't always successful in staying upright but they had a grand time playing fetch with Luna. It didn't take Luna long to get her ice legs.

Website Blog 18 cracked glass3Website Blog 18 cracked glass3

Some lovely young ladies stopped by to skate.

Website Blog 18 cracked glass1Website Blog 18 cracked glass1

When Mark joined me we headed out across the lake to pester the ice fishing community. We pulled my camera in a sled. I didn't dare risk falling on my face and crushing my camera! I did manage to stay upright except when I lay on the ice to get a shot.

Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-32Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-32

And pester we/I did. The fishermen we talked to were very gracious and gave me permission to photograph them and include them in my blog. Thanks guys!

Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-31Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-31

Website Blog 18 cracked glassWebsite Blog 18 cracked glass

Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-29Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-29

Website Blog 18 cracked glass5Website Blog 18 cracked glass5

Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-45Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-45

As we headed home I shouted at these two groups of hockey players to line up well spaced including their dogs so that I could get the photos I wanted. Surprisingly all twelve of them said, "Sure!" ;O> Aren't they awesome, cooperative guys with hockey sticks and dogs?!?

Website Blog 18 cracked glass4Website Blog 18 cracked glass4

Here is the Father Lode of cracks!

Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-48Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-48

In the evening we were graced with the company of our niece, Carrie, our sister-in-law, Linda, and their friend, Kelsey for a sunset skate.

Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-49Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-49

Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-52Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-52

Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-51Website blog 18 Cracked Glass-51

The next morning the moment in time had passed. The lake was covered with a layer of snow and now our Cracked Glass is just a sweet memory!





]]> (Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography) children dogs family fish fishing fun hiking ice innocence lake nature photography play skating suevickfinley sunset whimsy winter Sat, 03 Jan 2015 21:59:23 GMT
Paparazzo neighbor strikes again! Fly! I am an extroverted introvert or maybe an introverted extrovert. I am super shy, but I love people and get a high being around them. Just don't ask me to talk and try not to notice me unless you are going to do all the talking. I am happy to listen.

Photography has been a lovely way for me to get to know my neighbors and it gives me something to talk about (gasp) should I need to. If you are having an outdoor wedding (see Paparazzo Neighbor? I think not!) or a birthday party, as in this case, I might be quietly taking photos from my little corner of the world and share them with you later. 

Here are some photos from an awesome birthday party held a couple doors down from us. I do actually already know these neighbors because they have two of the cutest little girls I have ever met. These girls are not shy, by the way, and that makes me very happy.

We do not have wings to "Fly!", but it doesn't matter if you have Robert and Ryan Cook... 

Brian 39th-47Brian 39th-47

of on the scene! Take a look at this... and... take off!

Brian 39th-71Brian 39th-71

Brian 39th-13Brian 39th-13

Brian 39th-25Brian 39th-25

Brian 39th-59Brian 39th-59

Brian 39th-76Brian 39th-76

A little flipping.

Brian 39th-87Brian 39th-87

Brian 39th-88Brian 39th-88

A few dance moves.

Brian 39th-104Brian 39th-104

Brian 39th-105Brian 39th-105

A few cheers... 

Brian 39th-117Brian 39th-117

...and a few antics from the sidelines.

Brian 39th-30Brian 39th-30

Brian 39th-125Brian 39th-125

The wild wind was not a deterrent.

Brian 39th-136Brian 39th-136



Brian 39th-159Brian 39th-159

Brian 39th-161Brian 39th-161

Brian 39th-163Brian 39th-163

Way to go guys! And Happy Birthday, neighbor!

]]> (Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography) Grandparents family fun lake party photography play suevickfinley watersports Thu, 14 Aug 2014 12:00:00 GMT
Little green visitor enjoys private photo shoot. Tree-frog-130Tree-frog-130

While picking some rhubarb for my mother a little green frog hopped out from under a giant leaf. I named him Oliver. Oliver turned out to be a Grey Tree Frog though he looked remarkably green to me. His tiny, delicate, suction cup toes were a marvel to behold. He posed handsomely for me as I shot photos of him all over the yard. It can be hard to get a variety of facial expressions during a photo shoot and indeed I did not succeed with Oliver. But at least his one expression was a pleasant smile. I hope you enjoy these images of Oliver. After this delightful photo session he disappeared back under a giant rhubarb leaf. 



















Gotta love Oliver and his delicate little toes!

]]> (Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography) flower frog fun garden grey tree frog hammock innocence iris nature photo shoot photography play spring suevickfinley tea cup whimsy Tue, 10 Jun 2014 12:00:00 GMT
Raspberry Lemon Easter Cake and a Bit of Bacon (recipes included!) It is great to have help when getting ready for an Easter family gathering. Mine was a pink bonneted, stylish, little cherub with a sincere attitude of eagerness.  Easter cake blog-3Easter cake blog-3

Okay Granny! What's first?

Well, we gather our ingredients...cake mix, lemon pudding, vegie oil, lemon-lime soda, powdered sugar, lemon juice and peeps.

Easter cake blog-2Easter cake blog-2

Assemble the ingredients in the mixer...

Easter cake blog-7Easter cake blog-7

...and inspect.

Easter cake blog-8Easter cake blog-8

Scrape down the beater...

Easter cake blog-11Easter cake blog-11

 and lick.

Easter cake blog-12Easter cake blog-12

Spread the batter in the prepared 9x13 cake pan.

Easter cake blog-13Easter cake blog-13

Add a few.  Easter cake blog-14Easter cake blog-14

Place in oven and voila! Or almost... Here's the thing, this recipe didn't call for eggs! Which is why the little pink bonneted cherub could safely lick the beater. But after baking the cake, seeing the results, and checking the recipe once again, lo and behold, NOW the silly recipe claims that three eggs ARE required! So, while the little pink bonneted cherub and her grandpa were at the park, another cake (this time with three eggs included)... 

Easter cake blog-18Easter cake blog-18

...appeared on the counter. 

Easter cake blog-19Easter cake blog-19

It was even covered with a lovely lemon glaze.


Easter Sunday it was festively dressed up. (Note the cupcakes in the background.) 


Raspberry Lemon Easter Cake anyone? 


Now for the 'bit of bacon' part: Dark Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes! (Have you ever heard of such a thing?) DSC_0543-17DSC_0543-17

But first the cupcake photo... DSC00384DSC00384

...and what happens to the soul who eats them!!



Glazed Lemon Raspberry Cake

1 pkg white cake mix

1 pkg (3.4 oz) instant lemon pudding mix

¾ C vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 C lemon-lime soda 

fresh raspberries

1 C confectioners’ sugar

2 T lemon juice

In a mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, oil and eggs; beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Gradually beat in soda. Pour into a greased 13x9 inch baking dish.

Place raspberries on top and press into batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched in center.

Combine confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice until smooth; carefully spread over warm cake. Cool on a wire rack.


Dark Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes

12 slices bacon, 8 crumbled, 4 saved for garnish

2 C all-purpose flour

¾ C plus 1 T unsweetened cocoa pwd

2 C white sugar

2 t baking soda

1 t baking pwd

½ t sea salt

2 eggs

1 C strong brewed coffee, cold

1 C buttermilk (No buttermilk on hand? Use 1 T white vinegar to 1 scant C of milk and let sit for 5 minutes before using.)

½ C vegetable oil


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 (12 C) muffin tins with cupcake liners. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. (Or bake as I did.) Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, ¾ C of the cocoa pwd, the sugar, baking soda, baking pwd, and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in eggs, coffee, buttermilk, and oil. Stir just until blended. Spoon batter into prepared cups, dividing evenly.
  3. Bake in preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange cupcakes on a serving platter. Frost with your favorite chocolate frosting and garnish with reserved bacon pieces. Dust with remaining 1 T cocoa powder.


]]> (Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography) Easter Grandparents cake chocolate cupcakes family fun grandchildren innocence lemon photography raspberries recipes spring suevickfinley whimsy Fri, 25 Apr 2014 01:57:10 GMT
Spring...Dinosaurs...Olbrich! Olbrich spring 2014-1Olbrich spring 2014-1

I am an enthusiast for Olbrich Botanic Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin. As a horticulture major at UW-Madison in the early 1970's I visited Olbrich's dahlia garden during my course of study in floriculture. The dahlia garden was impressive then, but the Olbrich Botanic Garden of 2014 has come a long way since 1974. It has expanded with well designed and maintained gardens which are a delight in any season of the year. (

I recently visited the Sydney Botanic Garden in Australia, and it was actually a bit of a disappointment. The design and color impact of our own Olbrich Botanic Gardens has spoiled me! So here is a little walking tour of this year's Olbrich Spring Garden Show. With the harsh winter we have endured the vibrant colors and the smell of warm earth was a boost for my sagging spirits! Enjoy my photos, then head over to Olbrich and experience it for yourself!

Olbrich spring 2014-3Olbrich spring 2014-3

Olbrich spring 2014-4Olbrich spring 2014-4

Olbrich spring 2014-5Olbrich spring 2014-5



Olbrich spring 2014-9Olbrich spring 2014-9

Olbrich spring 2014-11Olbrich spring 2014-11

Olbrich spring 2014-12Olbrich spring 2014-12

Olbrich spring 2014-13Olbrich spring 2014-13

Olbrich spring 2014-14Olbrich spring 2014-14

Olbrich spring 2014-16Olbrich spring 2014-16


Olbrich spring 2014-32Olbrich spring 2014-32

Olbrich spring 2014-31Olbrich spring 2014-31

Olbrich spring 2014-33Olbrich spring 2014-33

Olbrich spring 2014-35Olbrich spring 2014-35

Olbrich spring 2014-37Olbrich spring 2014-37

Olbrich spring 2014-25Olbrich spring 2014-25


]]> (Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography) Botanic Gardens Olbrich dinosaurs escape family flower flowers fun photography show spring suevickfinley winter Sun, 16 Mar 2014 23:19:28 GMT
Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails...but mostly toads! "Frogs and snails and puppy-dog tails"...that is how the old rhyme goes. 

website Toad blogwebsite Toad blog

At Tree-Hollow Cottage we have seen our share of frogs...

website blog Toad 12website blog Toad 12

...turtles, monster worms, and of course fish, both dead and alive. (See blogs 'Simply Fish and Simply Fish 2~the seamy side.')

But I really love toads. Who can resist the Frog and Toad stories by Arnold Lobel, or Warton and Morton by Russell E. Erickson? Toads are uniquely handsome, and ploppy. One can catch them easily whereas a frog is much more elusive.

We have had a toad living in our boat house and yard over the past few years. In April he was small.

toad blog 12-6toad blog 12-6

In September not so much!

toad blog 12-19toad blog 12-19

We could pretty much find him at will. He was such a fun playmate for our grandsons. 

website blog Toad 121website blog Toad 121

It was fun to pull out the kiddy pool and build him a resort home, give him diving lessons, and share intimate moments together.

toad blog 12-30toad blog 12-30

toad blog 12-35toad blog 12-35

toad blog 12-42toad blog 12-42

When Great Grandma was discarding a broken pot we got the idea to make Mr.Toad his own little toad hole.

website blog Toad 126website blog Toad 126

Granddaughter Charlotte was introduced to the fascinations of toady playmates. (Bunny ears essential.)

website blog Toad 124website blog Toad 124

She was determined to be brave. I think she succeeded don't you?

toad blog 12-38toad blog 12-38

In September we played with Mr. Toad for the last time and returned him to his favorite corner of the boat house. It was a solemn moment.

toad blog 12-52toad blog 12-52

Till next year Mr. Toad. We love you!

toad blog 12-51toad blog 12-51

]]> (Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography) Grandparents family frogs fun grandchildren innocence lake photography play snails suevickfinley toads whimsy Tue, 08 Oct 2013 12:00:00 GMT
Paparazzo neighbor? I think not! Someone very dear recently referred to me, in a somewhat goading fashion, as "the paparazzo neighbor". Of course I was deeply offended! The term has such a negative connotation. Note the definition below. 

Paparazzo-a freelance photographer, especially one who takes candid pictures of celebrities for publication.

I am not a "freelance"  photographer and I believe I have never seen a celebrity in the flesh! I would hardly call my blog a publication! I am a photographer and my camera is usually swinging from my neck (as the numerous lumps on my granddaughter's head will attest), but there the similarity ends!

On June 8th, 2013 there happened to be an outdoor wedding in our neighborhood. It was only natural that my swinging lens should focus on a few scenes from this event. It took place four doors up from us on one of the few glorious days we've had since the snow melted.

The wedding party gathered on a pier down the shore from us and were ferried to a pier on the other side of us. The bride arrived in a sleek looking speed boat. How romantic! My granddaughter Charlotte and I traipsed up and down our shoreline, and a little beyond, watching with delight. 

The groom had gone around the neighborhood a few days earlier to let everyone know about wedding traffic concerns. He was handsome and sweet. I have not yet learned his name, but I will share a few photographs from one of the most important days of his life.

Charlotte and I first noticed some fancy red pants containing a performer of some sort. He was definitely not camera shy! (I wish I knew his name, too. He should see this.)

neighbor wedding-1              Soon after Mr. Red Pants disappeared other lovely clothes began to parade by.

neighbor wedding-2 neighbor wedding-3

neighbor wedding-4 As the parade of beautiful clothes slowed down, Charlotte and I went around back to the pier next door to watch the event unfold.neighbor wedding-6

The wedding party passed directly in front of us on their way to the designated pier.neighbor wedding-8 There was a bit of an audience on the lake as well as on shore...we shall call them 'gawker boats'.

neighbor wedding-9

The water was calm and peaceful - perfect! neighbor wedding-11 Okay! Now right here, look at the image below. Very disappointing! Not one wandering ring bearer, excited little flower girl or over-zealous groomsman landed in the drink. The entertainment value for the 'gawker boats' was severely limited. 

neighbor wedding-12  See the photographer in the upper left? Instead of people plunging off the pier, she is getting pretty shots of perfectly behaved, adorable children, calmly walking to their places.neighbor wedding-15 neighbor wedding-16 Here comes the bride! All this while the red pants dude was singing. It was fantastic. We could hear him!

neighbor wedding-19 neighbor wedding-22 neighbor wedding-24 Perfectly poised and beautiful.

neighbor wedding-26

The preacher preached, and just like that the ceremony was over! (Spot the red knee at left!)neighbor wedding-30

So Charlotte and I headed around to the front of the house to see what there was to see. Fancy clothes were heading back the other way. Charlotte was pretty fancy herself. She still had on her nice dress having just returned from a baby shower earlier in the day.neighbor wedding-32

This charming young man, impressed by Charlotte's wheels, stopped by for a chat.neighbor wedding-33 Limos, drivers, photographers, red pants performer, groomsmen, bride, all at the end of our driveway! Sweet!

neighbor wedding-37 We were treated to this amazing smile from the beautiful bride! Paparazzo Neighbor indeed! We are simply friendly neighbors. Someday I might know the bride's name. Could she look any happier?

neighbor wedding-39
neighbor wedding-42 neighbor wedding-43 Stretch limo and driver.

neighbor wedding-44 The red pants performer in his mostly red car. Still loving the camera! I wish I knew his name.

neighbor wedding-45 neighbor wedding-47 After a while all the excitement disappeared down the street...I think I will bring my new neighbors a pie and find out their names!

]]> (Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography) Lake McFarland WI Waubesa boats family fun lake neighborhood outdoor paparazzi photography pier suevickfinley wedding Wed, 17 Jul 2013 12:00:00 GMT
Concert on the "Sea" Shore  

The first flute choir concert on the shores of the "Sea of Waubesa" was in August the summer of 2007.P1050480

We have had one every year since then. Last year we had a perfect evening in every way. Calm water...DSC_0005 The garden was in bloom.


DSC_0069-3 The temperature and humidity were comfortable, there were no bugs to speak of, and we had approximately 73 people in the audience...DSC_0173 DSC_0149 Neighbors stopped by.


DSC_0184 DSC_0188 Friends chatted.DSC_0198

And kids had plenty of room to play.DSC_0202

DSC_0219 DSC_0153 DSC_0242 The sunset was beautiful.DSC_0210

DSC_0216 We had music by three performing flutes ensembles; the Madison Flute Choir,

DSC_0040 Flutes a la Mode,DSC_0241

and Tree-Hollow Duo.DSC_0247

While the Tree-Hollow Duo performed, a lovely young lady by the name of Madylynn Grulke..DSC_0236 in the lake as the sun was setting and delighted the audience with interpretive dance.DSC_0259

 Come join us again this year for a free concert with the same three groups performing. 7 pm, Tuesday, August 6, 2013. All are welcome!


]]> (Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography) concert educational family flute flutes free friends fun lake music neighborhood Wed, 10 Jul 2013 12:00:00 GMT
Simply Fish 2 ~ The Seamy Side! As we saw in my previous blog fishing fun is...well, fun.Blog 9-8 But what happens when fish are dying due to heat and drought? Blog 9-11                                                        The "Seamy Side" of Simply Fish.

Years ago, when my parents lived here at Tree-Hollow Cottage, my mother would collect dead fish and "plant" them around the bushes. Fish emulsion makes for rich, fertilized soil which in turn makes for happy hydrangeas and flowers.DSC_0003

Last summer we had a drought with hot, hot weather and a subsequent fish kill.

Balloons are fun, and puddles are fun, so why not have innocent, whimsical fun with dead fish? Here is how to proceed. 

Gather two grandsons who have invented a game called "Mean Boss". In our case the younger grandson particularly enjoys this game. A granny such as myself is required to be the Mean Boss. The Mean Boss has to shout, and scream and threaten! (What must the neighbors think?) 

The Mean Boss does not want to clean up dead fish herself.  My goodness no!Blog 9-34 So she delights in forcing the unsavory job of seaweed shoveling and dead fish collection upon her hapless "employees". DSC_0008-014

They fuss and fume and scowl at the injustice (or at least they try to for the sake of the game). None the less they are forced into submission!


All two of them are required to drag the heavily laden bucket of dead fish and seaweed to the Mean Boss's flower beds...

Blog 9-36

...and "plant them". Thus have they passed many hours of fun with dead fish here at Tree-Hollow Cottage!

Blog 9-32

But, for my grandsons, dead fish fun is not restricted merely to the Mean Boss game. Oh no! A retirement party can provide young children with opportunities for dead fish delights that grown-ups might never dream of...such as collecting them...Blog 9-29 ...piling them on a toy boat...Blog 9-30

...then proudly parading them about for the party guests to enjoy. Below we have the typical and disappointing, yet strangely gratifying, reaction of the grownups.

Blog 9-31

Simply Fish 2, offering up...Blog 9-13

                                                          ...the "seamy side"!

]]> (Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography) Grandparents family fish fun gardens grandchildren innocence lake party photography play suevickfinley whimsy Wed, 05 Jun 2013 12:00:00 GMT
Simply Fish Blog 9-27 It is only fitting that around Memorial Day I should do a blog about fish. For as long as I can remember Memorial Day weekend has been great fishing at the pier of Tree-Hollow Cottage on the shores of the "Sea of Waubesa"...aka the "Center of the Universe".

There is something very special about seeing your child catch his or her first fish. For our boys and our grandchildren it happened to be age three.

Our son Scott, circa 1982, proudly holding up his first fish. Our son Todd, circa 1984, proudly displaying his first fish. Our son Aaron, circa 1994, proud of his first catch and a few proud family members surrounding him.May 3013-001 And fishing continued for our sons over the years...May 30131 Similarly, our three grandchildren, Lucas, Matias and Charlotte all pulled in their first fish at age three.Web site blog 9 fishing Countless family members and friends have fished from this same pier year after year...May 30132 Blog 9-6 Blog 9-9 Blog 9-46 DSC_0020-009 Even the dogs want a piece of the action.

Blog 9-18 Blog 9-20 And, there's budding "friendships"...

DSC_0030 ...and the buddy brothers.

untitled-1 Then there's cleaning fish.

Here the student...

DSC_0002-010 ...becomes the teacher - about thirty years later. (True, not every "student" seems to be enjoying class.)Blog 9-52 But, the rewards are worth it...a lovely "bucket" of fish for the frying pan!Blog 9-55 All summer long at the pier of Tree-Hollow Cottage, as the sun rises...Blog 9-40 ...and sets...

Blog 9-25 ...we LOVE to simply fish.

Blog 9-37 Stay tuned...another angle on "simply fish" coming soon.

]]> (Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography) Grandparents family fish fishing fun grandchildren innocence lake photography pier suevickfinley Thu, 30 May 2013 12:00:00 GMT
Puddle Power Never underestimate the power of a simple spring puddle for innocent, whimsical fun! Thus, a blog entitled...                                                                     

                                                                 "Puddle Power".                                                                              

blog 8-10 Our late, cold spring has made wading in the lake a frigid bit of unpleasantness. When a recent rain created a lovely puddle in our driveway it provided the pleasure of an afternoon of wading for our granddaughter. 

The fun began with a whimsical "Puddle Power Prance" 8-2

blog 8-52 blog 8-5 blog 8-12 ...and continued with the collecting of sandbox toys for some "Puddle Power Play" 8-16

blog 8-17 Wet 8-22 ...soon became a wet bottom.
blog 8-24 The excitement of using "bloatie" (the floatie) for the first time this season was only surpassed 8-30

...the excitement of combining "bloatie" AND a swim suit for the first time this 8-31

Then came the sly (but certainly innocent) fun of chasing granny with "Puddle Power" 8-41 ...and "Puddle Power" mud!

blog 8-45

Our "Puddle Power" fun came abruptly to an end and granny might have had a little explaining to do were it not 8-49

...the stories of little boys and puddles - and even some prancing!blog 8-53

]]> (Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography) Grandparents family fun grandchildren innocence photography play puddle spring suevickfinley whimsy Tue, 14 May 2013 12:00:00 GMT
Balloon Bash! Charlotte's 3-64

This post is about the economically joyful hysteria one can create for children with a bag of balloons.

Balloon Bash! 

Recently my granddaughter turned three years old. My husband and I were fortunate enough to have her overnight and we had a small celebration on the morning of her birthday. 

We have a treasure chest for each grandchild at our house. Not EVERY time they visit, but periodically, they will find something fun in their treasure boxes when they arrive.

For Charlotte's birthday morning I stuffed her treasure box with a pretty pink dress, a princess crown, and a bag of balloons. Charlotte's 3-1

Charlotte was delighted with the crown, delighted with the dress, but OOOHHHH, the balloons!Charlotte's 3-18                                       You can blow them up...Charlotte's 3-22                                       ...and bat them around. You can draw on them,Balloon bash-3 ...kick them, and pop them. BUT what Charlotte loved most was to blow them half size and let go! The balloons shriek and flatulate around the room at a speed to set your teeth on edge. Charlotte's 3-45

Charlotte's 3-47 Charlotte's 3-68                                    So I said to myself, "Why not have a Balloon Bash dinner party?"

                                  When the day of the bash arrived, Great-grandma and Charlotte set the table...

Balloon bash-21 ...a few party favors were placed...Balloon bash-7 ...and we called in the Balloon Blower Brawn...(say that ten times fast!).Balloon bash-11 Piling up balloons for the guests was even fun.Balloon bash-26 Guests started arriving and there was mayhem in no time.Balloon bash-39 Balloon bash-37 Balloon bash-58 Balloon bash-61 Balloon bash-108 As the evening wore on, one clever boy got the creative idea to mix balloons and forks. (Adult supervision recommended for such a mix.) Mayhem and decibels escalated!                                              Balloon bash-99 Balloon bash-93 Balloon bash-120 The orange blob over Matias' head is the balloon remainder fluttering to the ground after being forked to death!Balloon bash-122 Before long there was an alarming amount of balloon debris littering the floor...Balloon bash-110 ...which had to be collected.Balloon bash-124 We rounded out the evening with some microwave s'mores.Balloon bash-125 Balloon bash-134 Balloon Bash Dinner Party pros: cheap, easy to prepare, kids have hysterical fun.

Balloon Bash Dinner Party cons: its loud, really loud! (And sort of messy.)Balloon bash-5                                       Try a Balloon Bash yourself, and let me know how it goes!

]]> (Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography) Grandparents balloons family fun grandchildren innocence party photography play suevickfinley whimsy Mon, 22 Apr 2013 12:00:00 GMT
Gnome or Funny Baby? blog 6-13 In the spring of 2011 I decided to collect some gnomes. I thought it would be fun to put them around my garden for our grandchildren to discover and play with. I showed them to my granddaughter Charlotte. She was slightly amused but not very impressed. Lucas and Matias were not really impressed at 6-1 blog 6-3 But in the summer of 2012 everything changed. Charlotte saw one gnome in the garden and called it her "baby". I said that it was a funny looking baby! After that she called all the gnomes her "funny babies".  Lucas and Matias thought that was hilarious. So while most people call them gnomes, around here they are "funny babies".

The boys began to take the "funny babies" on adventures around the yard and garden and named each of them. Among the names chosen were Wibble Dibble, Kumquat and Junior. Here is Junior in his red hat, 6-19 Below is the infamous Wibble Dibble!blog 6-30 Wibble Dibble and Kumquat were the favorites for a while. They were a part of a pirate hunting expedition one hot summer day. blog 6-37 blog 6-43 blog 6-48 blog 6-50 Charlotte enjoyed including the "funny babies" while she played on her 6-4 blog 6-10 blog 6-11                                       ...and sail boated with 6-14 blog 6-15

All summer long they peeked out around the 6-22 blog 6-27 blog 6-28 Including in the tree-hollow (for which our home and my photography business are named).blog 6-16 I even found Wibble Dibble one day perched high in a pine tree!
blog 6-40 In the fall they joined us for camp fire fun. blog 6-54 blog 6-60 blog 6-65 But sadly, the signs of extensive, loving, (but not always gentle) play, began to show. Our favorite, Wibble Dibble, lost his feet. Garden glue was but a temporary 6-51 Parts and pieces were placed together and stored for the winter in the tree-hollow. Charlotte and Matias dug them out of the snow in February to check on 6-74 blog 6-69 Then returned them to their snowy grave. 

Now that the snow has melted and the "funny babies" have thawed out, they are waiting in the screen room for whatever fate may bring their way. blog 6-75 blog 6-77 Except for losing his sweet metal flower and watering can, Kumquat survived unscathed and alone was invited to winter inside Tree-Hollow Cottage. Wistfully, he longs to join his less fortunate friends in hopes of more summer fun. blog 6-78 Hang in there Kumquate! Who knows what "funny baby" adventures await?

]]> (Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography) Grandparents adventures family fun garden gnome grandchildren innocence photography play suevickfinley whimsy Mon, 15 Apr 2013 12:00:00 GMT
"Iceland" We have a tiny slice of heaven on the shores of "The Sea of Waubesa". My father calls it the center of the universe. Our tiny slice of heaven was a bit surprising yesterday morning. I shall call it "Iceland".

During the night the wind pushed the ice pack, which is having trouble melting this year, right up out of the lake and way up on our shore! Never mind that we have the pier stacked along the seawall, something we have done year after year with no problems. But the heaved ice pack pushed against our pier sections and our boat hoists, seeming intent on turning steel into pretzels.

My photos don't do the incredible sight justice, or convey the amazing sounds of tinkling piles of ice crystals. But they will give you an idea of something I have never seen before and hope to never see again.

A heap of ice piles on the sea wall and further up to the lawn.

blog 5-3 Here are the pier sections being petzelized by the crush of the ice blowing in. blog 5-1 This boat hoist has been pushed off its platform and is starting to dig into the boat house 5-2 Aaron and Mark digging 5-4 That piece of cement in the foreground was a part of the platform, it got heaved up onto the 5-6 A magnificent pile of ice crystals!blog 5-9 Piles and piles of 5-13 I had the brilliant idea to put the hose to it. blog 5-15 Brilliant? 5-17 Reinforcements brother and our oldest 5-18 Getting close to being able to lift the hoist 5-19 Poor, poor owl!blog 5-20 blog 5-21 blog 5-22 Our neighbors had some problems, 5-35 These were lying flat till the ice pushed on the legs!blog 5-37 Aaron...thanks for the brawn!blog 5-43 blog 5-47                                                                                                    ICELAND!!

]]> (Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography) family ice lake nature photography suevickfinley winter Thu, 11 Apr 2013 12:00:00 GMT
Come on...spring already My first blog was March 8. I was saying good-bye to winter. Silly me. 

It is now April 8 and I am finally having more success saying good-bye to winter. But here, to bide our time until we have some real color in our gardens, are some photos of the spring flower show at Olbrich Gardens. I went with my parents on a snowy day in March. March 14. I was still thinking then that within a week all the snow would be gone and the crocus would be blooming at my front door. Dream on, silly me! 

Enjoy the dream. It has to be reality soon!

My mom is reading about the cork tree sculpture.

blog 4 Olbrich-3 blog 4 Olbrich-2 blog 4 Olbrich-1 blog 4 Olbrich-6 blog 4 Olbrich-7 blog 4 Olbrich-8

blog 4 Olbrich-10 blog 4 Olbrich-11 blog 4 Olbrich-13 blog 4 Olbrich-14 blog 4 Olbrich-15 blog 4 Olbrich-16 blog 4 Olbrich-17 blog 4 Olbrich-18 blog 4 Olbrich-20 blog 4 Olbrich-21 blog 4 Olbrich-19 blog 4 Olbrich-22 blog 4 Olbrich-23 blog 4 Olbrich-25 blog 4 Olbrich-27 blog 4 Olbrich-30 blog 4 Olbrich-31 blog 4 Olbrich-32 blog 4 Olbrich-34 blog 4 Olbrich-36 blog 4 Olbrich-37 blog 4 Olbrich-38 Before moving on to the conservatory room I stepped outside...such a lovely snowy day!blog 4 Olbrich-40 In the conservatory it was warm and steamy and full of 4 Olbrich-44 blog 4 Olbrich-41 A comfortable place for bird 4 Olbrich-42 blog 4 Olbrich-43 Now let us enjoy spring. We deserve it!

]]> (Tree-Hollow Cottage Photography) Botanic Gardens Grandparents Olbrich art family flowers paintings photography sculpture spring suevickfinley winter Mon, 08 Apr 2013 12:00:00 GMT