Yerkes Observatory in William’s Bay-Our Last Tour


5-21-18  Closed-Oct. 1st, 2018

Watch tour we took below.

We had just recently heard the news that Yerkes Observatory will be closing on October 1st of this year and knew we had to hurry back to take another tour before they ended.  The news had just been announced a week or two earlier.

My first visit was actually in 6th grade in February 1977. Here is a picture I took then.

We went together for the first time in 2012. Richard Dreiser has been giving almost all of the tours since 1980, 38 years!  Six years later, he said he remembered us and was happy to see us again.  He is really nice and we will miss him. He is writing a book though about Yerkes so we look forward to getting that when it’s published.

It wasn’t really crowded since the news only just came out about the closure a week or so earlier. We heard that the tour groups in September were quite large. We could look around the hallway shortly before the tour started.

The back of the hallway was cordoned off, it wasn’t in 2012. Let’s see what is back there.

Richard began by showing some beautiful photos taken by the Yerkes telescope and others in the hallway adjacent to the lobby.

After discussing these photos, we then moved out to the lobby. It is quite beautiful, decorated with terracotta accents, marble floor and a skylight in the ceiling. The light fixtures are original too. The building was officially opened in 1897.

Al Kutil

Under the skylight.

Richard pointed out the many features in the decorative artwork of the building in the lobby area.  Faces, angels, and owls abound!

We then moved outside, where Richard pointed out the many distinguishing features in the artwork on the columns and above the door. Art is everywhere at this building, something you don’t see anymore.

Then, we went back in and concluded the tour at the big telescope. We could not go up on the platform on this visit.

Yerkes had been visited by many scientists, including Albert Einstein in this group photo taken in the 20’s.

We all got a special treat that most people don’t get to see, the dome rotating (see video at 48:33).  He went to the console on the right side of the dome and made the adjustments.

 

 

Laurie Kutil 2012

Our tour came to a conclusion 10 minutes later, Richard spent the remaining time answering questions. Went back down the stairs.

Saw the library and stopped in the gift shop.

Our visit concluded here. We are sad this valuable resource is no longer a part of the University in Chicago.  However, it may reopen again at later date under new ownership. I will update this post if this happens. We hope Richard will be hired to continue his excellent tours. Meanwhile, enjoy the video of the original tour.

Celebrate July 4th in Columbus, WI


7-4-18 and 7-4-12

The last time we were in Columbus for July 4th was in 2012 so we decided to go back.   The parade started at noon and it was wonderful! It lasted nearly two hours. The Parade Marshalls. (click to enlarge)

Watch it here.

After the parade we headed to Fireman’s Park where all of the festivities were taking place. There was a carnival also, Mr. Ed’s Magical Midways.

The main attraction that drew us here was the First Brigade Band from Watertown. They were in the parade. They are a Civil War-era band, complete with instruments that were played in the 1860’s.  We knew about them but never saw them perform before.  See them below.

At this point, rain was threatening. The next show was Ballet Folkloriko Mexico.  They were also really good, but it began to rain half-way through their performance and they had to cut it short. They had someone also getting video, but they had to stop because of the rain. I held my hat over my camera to keep it dry! You can see my video below.

And that was the conclusion of our July 4th celebration in Columbus. We had a wonderful time here today! Let freedom ring!

Have Your Photo Struck at H.H. Bennett Studio in the Wisconsin Dells


7-25-18

Our last old-fashioned picture was in 2008, also on Broadway but not here. It was at Professor Samuel S. Porter’s Old-Time Portraits.

To treat ourselves for our 19th wedding anniversary that occurred the day before, we arranged to get a tintype picture at the famous H.H. Bennett Studio on Broadway in the Wisconsin Dells.  Our Photographer was David Rambow, expert in wet-plate photography since 2001. He is also Site Director for Wisconsin Historic Sites under the umbrella of the Wisconsin State Historical Society. We booked it well in advance at the H.H. Bennett website, deposit is $50. From there you can choose your package and complete your payment during your sitting.

We arrived at 10:30 for our 11 AM sitting, ready to be impressed! I had picked out clothing we had that looked sufficiently “period”, late 1800’s. My lace collar that I wore over my blouse was crocheted by my Grandma Tauchen when they were in style in the 1980’s!

Dave greeted us warmly and invited us to the very studio where Bennett made the Dells famous in the 19th and 20th centuries. This is how the backdrop looks in color.

Behind the chairs are head braces to help you hold still while the picture is taken. This is a long exposure photo.  The darker the studio, the longer the exposure. Since it was a bright sunny day, it only took 6 seconds.

 Photographer Robert Squires was there too and documented our visit. Thanks for the great photo!  He got a picture of Dave installing the prepared wet plate into the camera.  It takes 3-minutes to get it camera-ready after exposure to the chemicals. There is no going back once it is preparing!

 

Dave graciously allowed us to shoot video of getting our photo “struck” so we could show everyone how it’s done! See it below.

We had a great time doing this amazing photo, and they said Al looked like a Civil War vet. We were sent a digital copy ahead of the photo that would be sent in the mail to us.

On August 1st we received our photo in the mail.  It was varnished to help protect it from scratches.  It was beautiful! On the back was David’s info about the photo.

Also some information on how the photo was made.

I already had a frame to put the photo into that looked good with it.

Don’t pass up your opportunity to get a tintype photo taken by David at THE H.H. Bennett Studio!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mousehouse Cheesehaus in Windsor


7-3-18  Celebrating 30 Years!

You can’t miss it as you leave Madison, heading north on I-90.  Take exit 131 and you are soon there.  This prime location has given them so many customers, they had to expand over the last year to keep up.

In the 70’s, the store was mostly a liquor store with some cheese. Tony’s parents owned it from 1988-1998, increasing the amount of cheese over liquor. Tony took over ownership of the Mousehouse Cheesehaus in 1998 from his parents and added homemade fudge in 2009.  I took this photo in 2010.  The mouse on top of the roof is named Igor. Hours are 8 AM-7 PM daily so plenty of time to stop in.

In 2016, before the expansion, CEO Tony Sobczak and Vice President Heather Smythe explained all that they do on a local Wisconsin program called, “Talk of the Town”. She has been there for 20 years!

July 2018

The expansion was completed in 2017 and there is room now for much more cheese and fudge! Read more about the expansion here.

The inside is just as amazing, bring a cooler because you are going to need it.  This is your one-stop shop for all things Wisconsin.

You can now watch Fudge and Cheese Curds being prepared through the new viewing windows. On the left is the fudge window, the right is the cheese room.  Stop in around noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays to see these confections being made! Separate prep rooms for the cheese and fudge ensures the highest quality for you, the customer!

Inside the Fudge room. Inside are 2 steam-jacketed kettles with stirrers to make the fudge creamy and smooth while cooking. It takes about 40 minutes for the fudge to be ready to pour and flavor. Read more on the fudge here.

In the Cheese room, you can watch cheese curds mixed with herbs and spices to give you many flavor choices.

 You can watch both cheese and fudge being prepared on Tuesdays and Thursdays at around 12:00 PM. The new viewing windows to the cheese and fudge kitchen are a hit with the kids too! These new kitchens ensure that your cheese and fudge are prepared with the utmost care and in a very clean environment. You can see how clean everything is!

Enjoy a tour of the store with me in the video below. You can taste all the cheese before you buy too. You can get pre-assembled gift boxes or choose your own selections for a custom box. Watch Megan make many varieties of delicious fudge right from the viewing window!           Also, see April mix many flavors of delicious cheese curds made that very morning! I’m getting hungry just watching.

You can also get sandwiches here, no need to go somewhere else for lunch or supper.  Igor’s Big Belly Deli can make prepare sandwiches to order to go or eat there in their dining room. Get 8-inch subs too, pre-made and ready to eat.  Menu here.

We hope you enjoyed touring the Mousehouse Cheesehaus.  Tony, Heather, and crew are happy to serve you and bring you the best cheese and fudge in Wisconsin!  Contact them here or come for a visit!

  • CONTACT INFORMATION
  • 4494 Lake Circle Windsor, WI 53598
  • Toll-Free: 800-526-6873
  • Local: 608-846-4455
  • Email at: customerservice@mousehousecheese.com

Photo by Mousehouse Cheesehaus

 

River Dawgs-A Taste of Chicago in the Wisconsin Dells!


Closed October 18, 2018

In 2017, Chicago came to the Dells in the form of a great new restaurant called River Dawgs, just off Broadway on River Road. We went for the first time on 7-7-18 and had a great meal! We saw their gyro special posted outside the door and couldn’t pass it up.

 

We went in and it smelled so delicious! Inside is small but not a problem in the summer. Owner Ken Nelson’s only goal is that you leave happy with a great meal that will make you want to come back for more, and we will!

 

Our lunch was ready in about 10 minutes, yum!  The fresh-cut fries were great too.

On another visit, I enjoyed Polish Sausage and Al had a lobster roll, both delicious!

Ken is from Chicago originally. He knew the Dells needed a restaurant with great Chicago tastes, and he filled that niche very nicely, as well as many hungry tummies! View the rest of the menu, we can’t wait to try the many other offerings on future visits!

Stop by River Dawgs, tell Ken we sent you!

 

Oregon Community Band and Tin Man Water Tower Lighting


6-6-18

Today was a special day in the Village of Oregon. Oregon is a big believer in preserving their heritage and history. They proved that again by not tearing down their historic “Tin Man” water tower. Instead, they chose to restore it and light it up!  Tonight is the inaugural lighting of this Oregon landmark.  The Pump House below the tower was previously restored and now the tower is too! It was also open that evening.

Before that, it was time to enjoy a concert by the Oregon Community Band.  It takes place at Waterman Triangle Park downtown.  They have entertained Oregon since 1981. Jim Baxter is the current Conductor.

Enjoy the concert too!  At the end of the show, the Tin Man Water Tower’s lights were turned on for the first time!

A beautiful evening in Oregon, Wisconsin. This community preserves their history in a way that all can enjoy.

 

Making a Big Stink About the Corpse Flower


6-14-18

 

It happened! Olbrich Botanical Garden’s Corpse Flower has finally bloomed today.  The last time this plant bloomed was in 2009, I didn’t see it then.  They have 4 plants altogether. The University of Wisconsin has its own Corpse Flower, affectionately named “Big Bucky”. That one last bloomed in 2012. It was named “Mori” by fans of Olbrich.

It’s housed inside of the Bolz Conservatory. At 4:15 PM it wasn’t too crowded so I picked a good time. Here are some facts about the flower.

The flower is located near the Conservatory entrance, there is a sign showing its life cycle. Picture courtesy of the University of Wisconsin.

I may have missed the peak smelliest time of the flower, I could only smell it up close. Inside the spathe the color is a deep red, setting off the green.

Now the whole plant.

It was fun meeting Mori, the world’s largest flower in person.