Welcome To My Blog

Weekends are for wandering Wisconsin. That's what Rick, my guy, and I do. Occasionally we wander during the week, too. Sometimes we just drop in on other people's lives.

This blog is my way of sharing where we've been, neat places and things to do that we've found.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Close to Home II

This past weekend, we once again were at our favorite camping site, Ledge Park in Dodge County. This time Rick pulled the camping trailer with a new old truck. Of course, the combination is not as stunning as the Chevy panel truck and trailer.
Rick says that he hardly knows he's pulling anything with
the "new" old truck - an '89 Ford.
Original cuties.

On Saturday we paid a visit to our friend, Amanda, who had moved to Knowles earlier this summer. She and her husband, Troy, have a lovely home in this unincorporated community north of Mayville.
Gotta love the sense of humor in this community.
Sadly we returned to Knowles a second time that day. Troy and Amanda’s dog, Juvie, had died unexpectedly within a few hours of our visit. He was a rambunctious yellow retriever, a well-trained bird dog. I imagine that he’s still retrieving ducks and geese – in a place where hunting season has no beginning nor end.  
Rest in peace, Juvie.
We discovered a new place for breakfast on this weekend – Cindy’s CafĂ© in Iron Ridge. As the town's name implies, iron was mined here from the mid-1800s through the 1930s. The iron was used for cast iron stoves and other “modern” conveniences.
Cindy's food and decor is delicious - especially the vintage dining set.

Earlier this year we met Joe and Susie, our friends and managers at Ledge Park, at the Audubon Inn in Mayville. We had a delicious dinner and drinks in this lovely boutique hotel, originally the Beaumont Hotel built in 1896 and now on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Beaumont Bar inside the Inn has a great selection of martinis and beautiful stained glass windows.

We’ll be missing Audubon Days in Mayville this October because we’ll be at a vintage camping trailer rally that weekend. However, we hope to get in one more weekend of camping at Ledge Park before the season end.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Driveway Camping

This past weekend we were camping in the most private of campgrounds – the driveway of Rick’s son, Jon, and daughter-in-law, Kari, in Sheboygan. Driveway camping is a great way to overnight at a friend’s or relative’s home when they need a bit more space to host out-of-town guests. Rick came prepared with his inverter that takes power from his 12-volt truck battery and converts it to 110-amp service so we had lights inside the camping trailer

The occasion of our trip to Sheboygan was a “meet and greet” – an introduction of the latest addition to the family, Rick’s second grandson, to his great aunts and uncles. It was a beautiful summer day. The kind we’ve been waiting for since June!

The James Tellen Woodland Sculpture Garden is across the street from Jon and Kari’s home (see an earlier post for more pictures). The gang wandered over there on Saturday afternoon. 
Tellen's earliest sculptures were these bear cubs. The works
in the garden were created between 1942 - 1957.

This sculpture, one of several tavern scenes created by Tellen,  looks like
 a falling-down drunk being scolded by his wife.

We were treated to a tour of the inside of Tellen’s cabin, where he spent his summers, that we’d only seen through the windows in the past. 
A chandelier in the dining room.

Another of Tellen's metal sculptures inside the cabin.

A small building that houses a brat fryer stands next to the cabin. Apparently when the Tellens had company, the women stayed in the cabin and the men went over to what could be deemed a “man cave.”

A man cave isn't complete without a fish mounted on the wall!

Since we were camping, we thought it would be a good time to make a batch of monkey bread in the Dutch oven for Sunday morning breakfast. I’m still learning. I need to keep a chart handy so I know exactly how many charcoal briquettes to put under the oven and on its lid to achieve the proper temperature. Even though the monkey bread was a bit dark on the bottom, it was still tasty.

Labor Day is just around the corner and the end of summer is approaching, but good fall camping days are still ahead. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Symco Shakedown IV

Symco is a crossroads on Highway 22 north of Manawa and the site of a two-day traditional hot-rod and rock 'n' roll show – the Symco Shakedown. (For more background, see my blog post about last year's event.)
This year's was the 4th annual and Rick has gone all four years – even volunteered for three. Our friend, Paul, borrowed one of the latest additions to Rick’s vintage trailer collection and camped next to Rick for three nights. Last year I said I wouldn't be going in 2012 since the Shakedown had turned into a three-day car show. That was just a bit too much for me. Well, I changed my mind and attended for one day this year.
The water tower dominates the skyline.
The police and fire stations share a building in "Unionville,"
 the recreated historic community at Symco.

This car was one of many brightly colored vehicles on display.
Nice pin striping.
Sometimes the plainest vehicles are the most visually appealing to me.
I'm always a sucker for a convertible.
This tractor is used in an orchard. The cover protects it from tree branches.
So often I talk about how small a world it is when I make a connection with someone. Once again the world is small. Last fall I met a woman, Katherine, at an event here in Madison. She mentioned that she was interested in classic cars. I told her about the Symco Shakedown and it turned out that she is good friends with the organizer. She even had met her husband at the event! Of course, we ran into each other this year at a supper club in Manawa.

The Miss Symco contest was added a couple of years ago. It’s fun to see women costumed as they would have dressed in the 1950s. However, I’m sure they weren’t sporting as many tattoos back then!
"Betty from Bel Air"
An added feature of this year’s show was a Saturday afternoon wedding in the chapel on the grounds. The happy couple were camping behind us and invited us to the ceremony.
The chapel held about 40 people.
I've heard of a velvet Elvis, but a velvet Jesus?
Jeff, the groom.

Casey, the bride.

The number of vendors is on the increase at the Shakedown.
These fuel pumps were at the swap meet last year, too.
So creative - wallets made from duct tape!
The Symco Shakedown is getting bigger every year. As for the 5th annual…..check in again next year.

I drove Highways 51 and 22 to get to the Shakedown. A field of sunflowers near Wild Rose on Highway 22.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Toadally Artful

Last weekend I paid a quick visit to my sister and brother-in-law in Sheldon. I arrived on Friday night and that meant fish fry so we went to the Tee-A-Way Golf Club in Ladysmith. The next day we spent some time at the Rusk County Farmers' Market. Lots of summer vegetables – zucchini, tomatoes, beans  were for sale as well as sheep milk cheese. I bought Dante Lamb for gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. The milk for the cheese is produced by the Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Cooperative. Sheep milk is shipped to cheese factories all over the U.S. I can even buy the co-op's artisanal cheeses here in Madison at Fromagination on the Capitol Square.

Later in the day we stopped at Toad House.  Toad House is a combination museum, gallery, classroom, workshop, soon-to-be bakery and coffee shop, and eventually, a place where people can stay over a few nights and make art. Just before we arrived, children had finished making delightful sun catchers using material they found on the grounds.

I can't remember the original house that was on
this site and underneath what we see today.
However, in two short years, Eileen and Tony Ziesler
have transformed the place into something special
 in the Ladysmith community.
This sun catcher's base is a paper plate.
The design in the center is covered with
clear contact paper on both sides to let
the light through. It's a very clever art
project that children can do at home, too.

One never knows what might be encountered while strolling the
paths in the woods behind Toad House. It's magical.
Flowers and vegetables are growing in the Toad House
Patty pan squash ready for a delicious dish.

Sunday was one of those perfect Wisconsin summer days – the temperature had dropped to the 50s overnight, the morning was cool, and the daytime temperature rose appropriately to the high 70s. So what did we do? Cut, split, and stacked wood for my brother-in-law's wood furnace. This furnace provides the main heat source for the house.  Propane from a supplementary tank kicks in when needed, but my sister figures it won't be empty for another two more years.

Northern Wisconsin has received much more rain than we
have here in the southern part of the state. My sister's
flowers have filled in nicely around the house.
My brother-in-law cut and split 1 1/2 face cords. My sister
and I hauled and stacked it. Good exercise, for sure.
Later we took a ride down to the Jump River and through the woods. When I was still in Sheldon, cows used to pasture in those woods surrounding the house and the area was like a park  no tall weeds or underbrush, cow paths on which to take a walk. A very different sight today. My father retired from dairy farming 20 years ago and cows haven't been in that woods since.
Even with all the rain, the river is still low. The water must have
evaporated because of all the unseasonable heat we've had
in the past several weeks.
A lone small sunflower amidst the lush vegetation down at the river bank. 
I took a less-traveled route back to Madison on Sunday for about half of the way. It was undeniably one of the best days for top-down driving that we've had all summer. (Top-down on my car, of course!)