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2019-The Year in Review


Here is our summary of all the places we have been in 2019.  I also wish to apologize for so few blog posts being written. Unfortunately, this also ties in with the fact we did not get to many places last year. We, especially Al, has had many more commitments on my days off that we could not go any place. I have spent the last 6 months trying to catch up on making the videos that will be going into as-yet unwritten posts.  You can view these on our YouTube channel.

We still did have fun though, we did get back to some of the festivals we have not been to in a long time. That included Bald Eagle Days in Prairie du Sac in January. We are returning this year too.

We also returned to Woodstock for Groundhog Day on Feb 2nd. This is one of our Favorite festivals and the fact that the movie was filmed here makes it even better!

We also made it to Middleton’s Mustard Festival in August. Thanks again for all of you that saved your mustard bottles, they made a fabulous hat that I proudly wore!

In September we made our first visit to Weiner and Kraut Day in Waterloo in 7 years. The highlight of the festival is the Weiner Dog parade. See it here.

We also went to a festival new to us, the Sorghum Festival in Fall River, also in September.  Sorgum is processed as an alternative sweetener that tastes like molasses.

Sorghum

 

 

We also got video of processing the sorghum to make the syrup. Similar to making maple syrup.

 

 

Education also took a front seat this year for both of us. In November/December Al went to Kick’s Unlimited for Karate. We have become friends with the many instructors there and I shared with them my old videos that I got of them over 10 years ago. I also got new video as well. Al tested for his Gold Belt on December 2nd and earned it! I learned a lot about the many forms done by all of the skill levels from white to black belt.

I took a class introducing me to resin art at Meant to Bead, my favorite beading store, located in Sun Prairie.  Thanks Erin for teaching me a new skill, I have many resin projects in mind for 2020!

I made these pendants with extras to make later.

The weather was excellent this holiday season and we took advantage of all of the fun Holiday events that took place those three weeks. We enjoyed our 4th visit to see the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train. See video here.

We also enjoyed Sun Prairie’s fire truck parade, Baraboo’s Lighted Parade, Holiday fantasy in Lights in Madison. We also made it back to the Rotary Lights in Janesville, or first visit there since 2015. A great Holiday season!

One favorite highlight of 2019 is our continued partnership with the Fever River Puppeteers in Hazel Green. I have made a video of each of their shows since September 2018 to help preserve them. Chuck and Sandye Voight would love to see you! I look forward to our visits there!

This year looks quite exciting, as we are planning to spend a week in Door County in mid-July. This will be our first trip there since 2011 and we plan on seeing everything we can!

Happy New Year to everyone. Please share our blog and subscribe, thanks!

 

No Drama at the Lingonberry Llama in Belleville


We finally made it to the famous Lingonberry Llama! For a long time, this building in Belleville was vacant, waiting for the right business to make it a favorite gathering place in Belleville.

Here it is now, very inviting even from the outside! Some comments from Jon Cleveland, the owner.

The LL opened in November of 2018. It is now in contention for being the “Nicest Place in America” in a Reader’s Digest poll.  See more about it in a July 29 story on Channel 3000/News 3 Now.

The story is HERE if you want to make a comment of your own.

10-12-19 Update-They won, read the story here!

Upon entering the building, the smell of coffee and fresh-baked pastries on an early fall morning sets your stomach growling even if you had breakfast already 🙂

Barista Heidi was taking a batch of Cinnamon Rolls out of the oven at the time, yum! She gave us one with a thick layer of frosting, it was as good as it looked!

We also enjoyed cheesecake for our 2nd breakfast.

After we ate we looked around, the llama decor is EVERYWHERE, so cute! On the walls is llama art by local artists as well.  This beautiful painting is by Landis Heitz.

In the back by the Children’s playroom is this piece by Marion Rose.

Let’s take a look at the playroom, looks like fun!

This is especially cute! The play table on the right, the llama appears to be sitting there with the kids. You see a stack of construction paper and crayons at the table too!

I thought they had the coolest light fixtures there in the main dining area. An industrial/steampunk design. They also made use of the popular Edison Style bulbs.

They even have knit Llama hats for sale for $25. So adorable!

If you notice on the right wall of the dining room, there is a guitar hanging up, generously on loan from Rick Francois. It’s there for patrons to use. You play a tune and receive $1 off of your order! I wish I knew how to play one!

Well, we had a great first visit here and plan on coming back soon for Open Mike or Pizza night. Be sure to pick up one or several gift cards. We did!

Come to the nicest and friendliest coffee shop in America!

 

 

Heritage Day at the Rollo Jamison Museum


7-4-19

We are always looking for a new way to celebrate our country’s birthday. This year, we went to The Mining and Rollo Jamison Museums to celebrate! This place has been on our bucket list for several years so we took this opportunity to go!

We arrived just before the museum opened. We did the mine tour first before it got more crowded. Join us on the tour, led by a young man named Garrison. It was sure fun! It was also much cooler inside the mine than outside and it felt good!

After the tour, we rode the mine train, join us!

There was just as much excitement going on inside of the museum building.   The Music and Schoolroom had many working music machines of the late 19th and early 20th Century.

We heard a Regina music box, cylinder music boxes, mini-organs and such. Even a player piano. Hear and see them below!

We enjoyed a delicious lunch served by the Platteville Music Boosters. The last thing was music by the Wundo Band. Enjoy some of their music here, mostly 50’s and 60’s hits.

It was a great day today, especially since one of our friends joined us. We highly recommend a visit to the museum, you will learn a lot!

New Life Lavender and Cherry Farm in Baraboo


6-8 and 7-3-2019

Open June 8-September 28

Tues-Sat. 10 am- 6 pm.
Farm tours are available Tues-Fridays, 11 am & 3 pm, Saturdays, 11 am  1 pm, & 3 pm.   You can book your venue here as well. Call 608-477-4023.

Summer is here and so is the lavender!  It wasn’t blooming yet on June 8, so we came back July 3rd when it was! The New Life Lavender and Cherry Farm in Baraboo is a peaceful refuge from the Wisconsin Dells and a chance to enjoy creating memories with your family.  When the plants mature, you are invited to buy one to bring home.

Inside the store, you can buy many products made with the lavender, including bakery items and ice cream. See offerings here.  You can also buy essential oils, soap, lotion, and many other items, even fudge!

Next to the farm store is an outbuilding with a beautiful lavender barn quilt on the side.  It was painted by artist Vicki Baumgarten. She also manages Narrows Creek Winery as well.

You can also take a tour behind a tractor to see all of the fields and get a running commentary as well.  It lasts for one hour.

There are many great opportunities to take a portrait of you and your family here. There is a selfie station to put your phone on under the canopy.

This is an example of what this photo would look like.

You can also bring a tripod to take one in other spots. We also at among the lavender and got this great shot. This one is our favorite.

Plan your visit now to the New Life Lavender and Cherry Farm in Baraboo before summer is over!

2018 Adventures – Happy New Year 2019!


We apologize for not getting many posts written this year, we were just as busy as we were in 2017 and am still trying to get caught up. We are going to be deliberately slowing down in 2019 to do just that.

We began 2018 with a day trip to Chicago on January 30th.  We went to the Willis Tower, our previous visit was in 2003.  It was a fun day!!

This year, several places we enjoyed visiting either closed due to reduced business or unable to reopen after a fire.

  1. Crooked Canvas-Deb’s Place in Shullsburg.

  2. Riverdawgs in the Wisconsin Dells.

  3. Cat Café Mad in Madison.

  4. Ella’s Deli in Madison.

  5. The Farm Kitchen in Baraboo

The cat cafe in Madison closed in 2015, we made two visits to the new Sip & Purr Cat Cafe that opened in Milwaukee in June.  As of this posting 146 (Dec 29) cats have been adopted from there. Great job!

We are happy for another new business that opened this year, The Smiley Barn Toy and Candy Store in Delafield. For 16 years, it had been the Montage and looked like this.  This photo was also published in the Milwaukee Business Journal in an article they were writing about this new venture. This was on April 6.

Photo by Laurie Kutil, 2014

On May 30, we attended the Delafield Plan Commission meeting and met owner Maria Luthur and her potential staff and other interested people. The meeting was about not whether Maria could have her business there, but whether she could have the smile back on the barn. It was larger than the zoning ordinances allowed for it to be considered a “sign” in Delafield. If it were called “public art”, it would not be considered a sign. Our group all individually put in words of support for Maria. The board voted, the majority supporting the smile being considered art!  We were ecstatic and glad we could play a part in this becoming a reality. I took a group photo of us before we dispersed.

We returned in September to take a tour of the new store.  It’s great to see Delafield smiling again!

We also went back to Hazel Green in September after 3 years to see more puppet shows. We asked Sandye and Chuck Voight, the Fever River Puppeteers if they would like me to film their shows for them. They enthusiastically agreed after they saw my edit of the first one, The Magic Calendar. See a sample of Jack and The Beanstalk from our first visit in 2015.  I don’t have much of that one until it comes around again. We will be back for ALL of the shows for 2019. We encourage you to go out to see their shows. Equally entertaining for adults, they are real pros! The address: Hazel Green Opera House,  2130 Main Street, Hazel Green, WI

Much more to come in the new year, lots of new posts coming up!

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Please follow and share our blog with all of your friends!

Barn Quilt and Dairy Farm Tour




Barn Quilt Tour Video-90 minutes

Green County Cheese Days in Monroe is back again, and this year I planned on taking the Barn Quilt and DeVoe Dairy Farm Tour. I had not done this before and I was excited! Our guides are Kris Winkler and Lynn Lokken. I went alone since Al couldn’t come with me on Saturday.  The tour was sold out with over 60 people filling the bus!

 

We headed out at 11 AM, Kris and Lynn gave a running commentary during the tour. We saw a great many barn quilts.  To do your own tour, you can get the map from the Green County Visitor and Activity Guide. There is a pull-out map in the middle of the publication. You can also see a Google map of the barn quilt locations from the website, Green County Barn Quilts.  We saw as many as we could in 2 1/2 hours.  Here is a small sample of the quilts we saw.

Kris and Lynn also pointed out several businesses and cheese-making places along the route.  The first was Rackow’s Family Sausage with the distinctive pink silo!

This quilt was mentioned but we didn’t see it on the tour.  This one was modeled after a scuba diving flag, a sport we participated in together for many years. It’s called, “Live and Let Dive”, #141 on the map.

The Maple Leaf Cheese factory in Monroe. They are the source of the famous fried cheese curds sold at Cheese Days by the Monroe Optimist Club.

Al and I saw this place in October (not on the tour), the Maple Leaf Cheese Store in Juda where we enjoyed a treat!

On the tour, we also got a sneak preview of a brand-new goat and sheep dairy farm that is still in development. It’s called Ms. J and Co.  This farm will be able to provide sheep and goat milk on a larger scale to cheese producers in Wisconsin. They are predicted to come online in 2020. It’s possible we may get a tour here at Cheese Days in two years!

And now, our visit to the DeVoe Dairy Farm for our tour!

Our first part of the tour was in the milking parlor. Yvonne DeVoe does all the milking on the farm and you can tell she loves her cows! ❤  The “head cow” is Adele, she mooed a few times for us too 🙂

Next, our group moved over to the farmyard, where we saw chickens, goats, pigs, donkey, and other animals. Oldest daughter Katlyn took over from here.

She also showed us a couple of newborn calves. She carried them in and out of the barn like they were light. Really, they might be at least 60 pounds!

Then, we adjourned to enjoy some ice-cold milk, cheese, and ice cream!

Our hosts Lynn and Kris serving snacks to all the tour participants.

I even said “Hi” to Alice in Dairyland 2018, Kaitlyn Riley!  A nice young lady doing a great job representing Wisconsin. After the tour, she participated in the cow milking contest.

After about 15 minutes, it was time to head to Monroe, Kaitlyn had some milking to do soon!  We saw a few more barn quilts on the way back. Be sure to watch the video for the full, unabridged tour.

Thanks, Kris and Lynn for a great tour, I hope to see you in 2020 during Cheese Days!

 

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.