NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Ants, Blues, and A Windmill

I'm on the road working with my mother tagging along again, this week we've had a bit more time to stop and...well, not smell the roses.  This is Wisconsin in January after all.

Cedarburg is a great town for walking and window shopping

But, there has actually been some more sun, and most of the time the temperatures have been bearable.  I drop her off at a shop, go do my sales pitch and then we're off again to the next town.

Ants for sale in Cedarburg

Cedarburg is a town we've both spent a lot of time in, and this time she spotted the giraffe!

Giraffe alert!!

While she was shopping in Cedarburg I dashed over to Grafton where I normally pop in and then hit the road right away.  I slowed down for a look around to give her more time in the shops and saw this water fountain sculpture which was designed and created by local artist Norm Christianson.  News to me, Grafton was once site of a Paramount recording studio.

Most of the African American blues artists probably went back to Milwaukee to stay according to a quick internet search, but a few indicated staying at the Hotel Grafton next to the Paramount Plaza where the water fountain and other tributes are located.

Hotel Grafton
Also of note in Grafton is Lime Kiln Park where lime was quarried by the Milwaukee Falls Lime Company. The kilns were used to fire the lime to 2000 degrees, which converted it into calcium carbonate, calcium oxide, or lime. It was then crushed into a fine powder and shipped out on the nearby railroad tracks to be used by the many tanneries in Milwaukee. The quarry was closed in the 1920's, it was used as a town dump for many decades.  Eventually a park was built over the dump in an effort to clean up the Milwaukee River. Three of the original 5 lime kilns remain and in addition to the nice park a dog park is located across the street.

Over the weekend I got outside also. I headed over to Glacial Park and walked out to the windmill which is technically outside the park boundary I think. Usually I just look at it from the top of the big kame, so I was pleased to get out to it and then circle the bottom of the kame and head back to the parking area.  The whole walk took me almost an hour, which is great because if I didn't mention it yet I'm trying to get back outside due to a big trip I'm hoping to take a month from now...

More on that as I get my plans squared away, for now just enjoy this barn I saw outside Reedsburg on a sunny day last week!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Flashback Post - Memphis and Nashville in the COLD!

This is a flashback post from my trip last January with Katrina

While scrolling down through my list of "drafts" for Blogger I found a few posts that somehow never got scheduled including this one that goes back to my President Tour with Katrina in January 2017.
I guess a year late is better than never?

Forks flashed separately to make it appear to move

We stopped in Memphis on our way home from our final stop at the Clinton Library in Little Rock, and it was cold and snowing.  That did not stop Wisconsin ladies like us from walking down past all the honky tonks in "The District" to see the neon and hear the music spilling out onto the sidewalk.

I'm one of the few out there who is not interested in crowds or "entertainment", preferring the company of less than half a dozen people at a time in general, and music that I don't have to shout over.  The volume on the sidewalk was perfect for a lifelong fuddy-duddy like myself.

We ate at the Kooky Canuck, lured in by the promise of Canadian comfort.  I am here to tell you that aside from having a Canadian flag in the room nowhere I've ever eaten was less Canadian, especially considering the rude and dismissive service we got from the moment we walked into the almost empty restaurant.  The menu items have quirky Candian inspired names and that is where the similarity to Canada ends.  Not all adventures turn out the way you think they will, but Katrina enjoyed her drink at least.

It was so cold out that no one was taking carriage rides, and the canine assistant huddled beneath blankets only poking her nose out when someone stopped by to give her a dog treat.

It was a little warmer when we visited Nashville, but not enough that we lingered long after parking our car a few blocks from the Capitol building.  We only had time to give the War Memorial a glance.

Above the front steps to this entrance, a carving reads:

AMERICA IS PRIVILEGED TO SPEND HER BLOOD AND HER MIGHT FOR THE PRINCIPLES THAT GAVE HER BIRTH AND HAPPINESS AND THE PEACE WHICH SHE HAS TREASURED.  This is a quote from President Woodrow Wilson's message before a joint session of Congress, recommending that a state of war be declared between the United States and the imperial German government.

I didn't get a photo of  the Tennessee State Capitol which sits on the highest hill in the central city.  It was designed in the Greek Revival Style by architect William Strickland of Tennessee limestone quarried only a mile from the building site.  The architect died in 1854 before it was finished in 1859 and is entombed in the walls of the building itself.  He worked on the U.S. Capitol and the steeple of Independence Hall in Philadelphia - so unbeknownst to me until now I have seen his 3 most popular works!

It was a very nice Capitol, and holding up very well for its age. It wasn't just the limestone that came from Tennessee but most of the marble as well.  Definitely a contrast to the Wisconsin state Capitol which had 43 varieties of stone from six countries and eight states.  However, if you are at the Tennessee Capitol and notice that some of the exterior limestone seems a different color that is because the softer limestone had to be replaced with sturdier Indiana limestone a century later.  It is also one of only 12 state Capitols that does not have a dome, perhaps due to its age?  Maybe that wasn't the thing to do yet then!

The official video which you can watch here says "..the state saved considerable money by having the limestone worked by inmates from the state penitentiary and by slaves hired out from their masters." The fact wasn't as surprising as the cheerfulness with which the fact was delivered...

Original chandelier in former State library, now the Legislative Lounge

Some of the ironwork is Tennessee sourced but some wasn't including the intricate gasolier/chandeliers from Philadelphia.  Gas lighting was a new technology during the 1850's. The State Library has been restored as closely as possible to its original state, I especially loved the ceiling which included portraits of Tennessee intellectuals such as poets, geologists and historians.  We could use a little more respect for men of learning in these times, the past does instruct us in what we traditions we should keep as well as in those we should change.

Frescoed portraits in ceiling of State Library

On August 18, 1920, Tennessee passed the proposed 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by a one-vote margin, becoming the 36th state to ratify the measure and clearing the way for its official adoption eight days later and securing the right for women to vote. Here is the touching story that came out of that event:

Harry Burn, a 24-year-old representative from East Tennessee who two years earlier had become the youngest member of the state legislature. The red rose signified his opposition to the proposed 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which stated that “[t]he right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” By the summer of 1920, 35 states had ratified the measure, bringing it one vote short of the required 36. In Tennessee, it had sailed through the Senate but stalled in the House of Representatives, prompting thousands of pro- and anti-suffrage activists to descend upon Nashville. If Burn and his colleagues voted in its favor, the 19th Amendment would pass the final hurdle on its way to adoption.

After weeks of intense lobbying and debate within the Tennessee legislature, a motion to table the amendment was defeated with a 48-48 tie. The speaker called the measure to a ratification vote. To the dismay of the many suffragists who had packed into the capitol with their yellow roses, sashes and signs, it seemed certain that the final roll call would maintain the deadlock. But that morning, Harry Burn—who until that time had fallen squarely in the anti-suffrage camp—received a note from his mother, Phoebe Ensminger Burn, known to her family and friends as Miss Febb. In it, she had written, “Hurrah, and vote for suffrage! Don’t keep them in doubt. I notice some of the speeches against. They were bitter. I have been watching to see how you stood, but have not noticed anything yet.” She ended the missive with a rousing endorsement of the great suffragist leader Carrie Chapman Catt, imploring her son to “be a good boy and help Mrs. Catt put the ‘rat’ in ratification.”

Still sporting his red boutonniere but clutching his mother’s letter, Burn said “aye” so quickly that it took his fellow legislators a few moments to register his unexpected response. With that single syllable he extended the vote to the women of America and ended half a century of tireless campaigning by generations of suffragists, including Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, Lucy Burns and, of course, Mrs. Catt.   (Borrowed from the History Channel website)

There were 3 U.S. Presidents from Tennessee: Andrew Johnson (Abraham Lincoln's Vice-President), James Polk and Andrew Jackson.  President Jackson is a figure I've been meaning to do more research on, honored and admired by many he was also unfortunately the one who ignored the Supreme Court decision and enforced his Indian Removal Act of 1830 sending the Cherokee on their forcible journey. The horrific story of their migration from North Carolina to Oklahoma where more than 4,000 of them died is another topic I mean to read more about.   He was the first president to rise from a low social position to the White House by popular demand, and he personally beat the tar out of the man who made history’s first presidential assassination attempt. Although he had no problem with slavery, he was adamant about preserving the Union against secession and nullification. Most of our Presidents were not perfect and a product of their times for better or worse.  So much to learn, so little time!  Maybe Jackson's Hermitage should be next on my list of Presidential stops? Though I did have to raise an eyebrow when I saw the slogan "Home of the People's President" on the website.  Not the black people or the brown people, so that's an interesting choice in these times!  I just learned that we may actually be in that area in April so perhaps I will get to stop in for a crash course on all I need to know to judge for myself what kind of man he was.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Pennsylvania Post Office Murals Flashback - Doylestown and Bangor

This post is from my trip to Pennsylvania with Cory in September 2017

I did find time to see two New Deal Post Office murals while we were in Pennsylvania.  The mural “William Markham Purchases Bucks County Territory” was painted for the former post office building in Doylestown, Pennsylvani by Charles Child in 1937. The mural now resides in the lobby of Doylestown’s newer, mid-1980s post office which does not do it justice at all.  It was very difficult to see the way it was displayed and of course newer post offices have no personality and the painting wasn't painted for the spot it was hung like they did originally.

While driving from Doylestown to Bangor I saw this mural along the highway depicting life along the Delaware & Raritan Canal.  It was located in the town of Easton, which apparently has quite a few murals so if I ever get back there way I will have to search them out!

Built in the 1830s, the canal was used for barges to haul coal from Pennsylvania to New York City. Eventually railroads made the barges obsolete and the canals were abandoned. We actually followed the canal for quite a distance on our route.  On the New Jersey side of the river there is a state park named for the canal which I didn't know about or of course I would I stopped!

Once in Bangor, I was relieved to see the Post Office mural up on the wall where it belonged.  It is titled "Slate Belt People" and was completed in 1941 by Barbara Crawford, which may be the first post office mural I have come across painted by a woman or else I just misremember.  It is the only mural in the country completed for the The Section of Fine Arts program that was painted on slate slabs.

Across the street was another mural.

I found a link to the story, it sounds like their small town is doing great things with art for the youth of their community.

Linking up to Monday Mural.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Frank Lloyd Wright, Giraffes and Origami

Imagine my surprise last evening to open up Fantasyland on my kindle and discover that Chapter 20 begins by talking about how even Midwestern architects could become famous in the early twentieth century.  They mentioned Frank Lloyd Wright's distaste for the cities and his longing for pastoral landscapes and how this was when the notion of working in the city and commuting to the "suburbs" began.  He returned north to Wisconsin from Chicago and built Tailesin...which we happened to pass on our rounds that very day!

Wright's artificial lake on the grounds of Tailesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin

One of the few places in Wisconsin I haven't toured, for even the grounds are off limits unless you buy a ticket.  Tours run May 1st through October 31st, but a 2 hour tour of the house and grounds costs $54.  You can see why I have yet to indulge, even though I love architecture.   The Visitor Center across the road is free and has a gift shop, bookstore and restaurant so maybe next time I come to town I will at least swing in to check that out.

There's never much to see in Platteville so don't go out of your way, but I do like the sign for the Owl Cafe.  My mother and I had lunch there today...we weren't overly impressed.

Always quick to spot a giraffe on the side of the road I pulled over to visit this purple one as we left Spring Green.  There are less than 100,000 estimated living in the wild.  None of those currently reside in Wisconsin.  A running joke in our family, since my daughter Katrina once said she thought she saw one running toward the road when she was 17.  She may be tired of getting sent pics of giraffes, but I will delight in it until the day I die.

When we checked into our hotel in Reedsburg after a long but productive day we were greeted by a collection of Origami at the front desk.  You just never know what treasures you will stumble upon on your journeys!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Recommended Winter Reading

Suzanne from Take to the Highway went to Newfoundland this summer and I missed it because I haven't read a single blog in 6 months.  My secret is it out! I spent some time last week catching up on a few including hers and I highly recommend you read the series. I'd like to follow up on a comment she made in one post about hiking.  She had inquired about hiking trails and then stumbled across a good one even though the person asked said there weren't any.  To this I will let everyone know that in Newfoundland 95% of land is leased "Crown Land" and is considered accessible to the public and few trails are marked like the Skerwink Trail and East Coast Trail. Best to plainly ask "Where is a good place to go for a walk?" because knowing where to go is sometimes the safe thing with all the cliffs or other obstacles you could come across.  Or just park the car and strike out across the land because private property is not a concept in the same way up there as it is here.  And while you are out bring a bucket and pick as many berries as you want!

Picking wild blueberries in Argentia

No one is going to ask what you are doing on their land if you walk across their "yard", in fact you are more in danger of being invited in for a cuppa tea! It is due to Crown Land that you can pretty much pull over and park your RV wherever you want like Suzanne did, or pack a tent and strike off out into the wild.  Want to know more, here's a link.

Other reading that I am excited to share is Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson.  I was giggling so hard and long during the first chapter that the cats were sure I lost my mind.

Me - pretty darn happy a few days ago to be on a walk when it's above freezing
Wayne - not as happy because his ice is melting for ice fishing

Jenny suffers from a long list of mental illness issues, but you almost forget that because you are laughing so hard at her observations.  The cover features a raccoon with its arms outstretched and a disturbingly cheerful is based on her real life taxidermy buddy but I will say no more so the laughs aren't spoiled for you. A great quote: "...when cancer victims don’t respond to medication, no one blames the cancer victim; people with mental illness don’t get the same respect."

Now I'm reading Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire by Kurt Andersen, and while I'm not too far into it yet I'm enjoying the look back on how our country has a "rich" history of extreme behavior and belief systems that goes back to the Puritans and other groups who founded this nation.  Our founding fathers who wrote the constitution of course were more about rational thought, but it's been a struggle between rational thought and our tendency to be "predisposed to believe exciting untruths" since the beginning. From the Puritans and Quakers in the 1600's to the birth of Tent Revivals and speaking in tongues in the 1700's Americans moved on to romanticising frontier life and being sucked in by entertaining fibs like traveling medicine shows, and our predisposition to believing in conspiracy theories.  What other countries have given birth to characters of such fantastical blends of truth and fiction like Buffalo Bill and Daniel Boone or have spent decades trying to prove there was a conspiracy around Kennedy's assassination?  Here's a tidbit about the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago I never knew, Aunt Jemima pancake mix was a new invention being advertised and they hired an actual woman to play her while flipping pancakes and telling plantation stories.  Read more here.  Here's a doozy: In the 1890's after a run of Buffalo Bill's Wild West show in New York someone decided a great idea was to put on a show that would provide a picture of life in the south called "Black America" featuring “the labors that the Negroes of slavery days engaged in, and the happy, careless life that they lived in their cabins after work hours were over.” Another shocking revelation was that Henry Ford was anti-semitic and even wrote The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem.  Honestly! 

As I'm reading the book I'm amused at the things I recognize in myself, like my love of immersing myself in mysteries and acting out the books I read as a child, especially those frontier stories.  One of my favorites was Caddie Woodlawn, that one probably provided hours of re-enacting entertainment, not to mention the schoolhouse scenarios I made my cousins play out after watching "Little House on the Prairie".  Let's not forget my fascination with the 1893 World's Fair, those Art Deco 1920's and trying to find adventures in the "wild" to this day.  Obviously I'm American enough to suffer from an addiction to nostalgia, but the trick is knowing where to draw the line and know what is real and what is fantasy.

What are you reading?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

I Don't Need No Stinkin' Snowshoes...Do I?

Just yesterday I commented on Mark's blog that I decided I don't need snowshoes.  Sure we had almost a foot of snow last week, but look how quickly it disappears, and besides in a few years I hope to never see another January in Wisconsin.

Yesterday on the Ice Age Trail in Kettle Moraine

And then I woke up this morning to 6 inches of snow.  Maybe I do need some, I'll have to look in to how much they cost.

Kettle Moraine today

Luckily my work appointments were close to home, and I stopped at Kettle Moraine for the 2nd day in a row for a hike.  This one was a little more strenuous than the day before, but someone had been out before me so I had their footsteps to walk in.

I chose a path about a mile from the one I took yesterday, knowing that the flatter Scuppernong Springs Trail would give me enough of a workout while goose stepping through the snow.

I've mentioned this trail a few times; it's directly across from the Ottawa Lake campground and an easy but interesting hike. The hiking trail is a former railbed that led to Eagle Lime Products company that mined marl here almost a century ago.  After only six years of actual lime production (1908 to 1914), mining and processing operations ceased. Some of the ruins are still located along the trail.  There was some new graffiti that I actually enjoyed.

Since I met Barbara and Ron in 2014 I think of them whenever I come here.  I've been catching up on blog reading one blog at a time this month, yesterday it was Mark from BCB, tomorrow I'll have to check in to The Road Less Traveled.

The wildflowers and even the lichens are things buried or waiting under piles of leaves to spring forth on warmer days, but I did spy the above peeking out of all the white.

my sweatshirt I throw on over my work clothes is making an
appearance in quite a few photos lately...

Proof that we got 6 inches, I held my phone up next to the snow piled on the bridge rail and they were the same height!  The weather forecast for the rest of the week for the state looks fair which is good because I hit the road for 3 days with my mother tomorrow morning.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Thank You Farmers

Here's a few Wisconsin murals I've seen on my wanderings for work.  “The Blue Heron” by Milwaukee artist Catherine Lottes is located in Menomonee Falls on Appleton Avenue.


I must've seen the mural below in the spring, I remember driving around town but don't remember seeing others.  However Beaver Dam had the Wall Dogs come in and do 15 murals in July 2017 so next time I get to Beaver Dam I'll have to find a few more!


Speaking of mass mural installations, you may remember my post about the opening of Black Cat Alley murals in Milwaukee.  One of the murals caused controversy (as good art sometimes does) and was recently vandalized. It's an interesting story, read about it here.  I don't remember seeing the mural in question, the alley was very crowded when I went and there was a lot to see! The original story about the art and the artist's vision is at this link.

Culver's restaurants has painted some barns blue and added a message thanking farmers for their contribution to feeding us.  This one was most likely near Beaver Dam, but there is one near Mineral Point also so it could've been there.  The first Culver's was opened in Sauk City in 1984 by the son of a cheesemaker who used to inspect dairy farms. Craig and his wife combined a love for his mom’s homemade hamburgers with his favorite childhood vacation treat, Fresh Frozen Custard, creating their signature combination: Culver’s ButterBurgers and Fresh Frozen Custard. There are 136 Culver's in Wisconsin and 102 in Illinois, and now they are located in 24 states! I don't like my bun buttered and I can't eat dairy, but I love their grilled chicken sandwich and french fries.  If you're dairy sensitive like me just ask for no butter when you order!

Linking up to Monday Mural.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Outdoor Wisconsin - A Few Photos Left Behind

Here are a few odds and ends I photographed around Wisconsin this fall that I forgot to publish!

October came and went quickly in Wisconsin, but I had a few chances to enjoy the outdoors.

dunes at Kohler Andrae

I stayed overnight at Kohler Andrae State Park where I could walk down to the beach from my campsite.

view of the beach at Kohler Andrae

Early in the month I caught some fall color up at Dorchester city park in northern Wisconsin's lovely Marathon County.

my campsite under the trees
I even popped onto the North Country Trail for half an hour a little further along in the tiny town of Mellen.

Mellen is one of those towns that is so small their City Hall, police department and museum is all in one small building!

High Cliff State Park was peaceful and the deer just eyed me as I walked by but wasn't alarmed.

The park has Indian mounds along its trail system, though the shapes are better discerned from above.

A new discovery was the site for Maribel Caves Hotel. The hotel was built by Austrian immigrant Charles Steinbrecker in 1900 and was originally named after the nearby Maribel limestone caves. Tourists came to see the caves and the hotel had spring water pumped to it for spa bathing. If I had known more I would have stopped at Maribel Caves Park where a series of trails lead to caves and crevices to explore.  Some of the caves are gated and can only be seen on a guided tour. Public cave tours for the 2018 season will be every 3rd Sunday of the month May-October from 10am-3pm.

The hotel was destroyed originally by fire and the land is now in possession of the county since the 1960's. It was in much better shape before 2013 when it was hit by a tornado.  To see a photo of it in 2012 click here.