"Wisconsin-Happy Festival State", by Eve Phillips. My husband and I love to travel in the state of Wisconsin where we live and get great pictures on the way. My name is Laurie Kutil and photography has become a great passion of mine since 2010. One thing I have learned in researching each town before visiting it is that, "Every town has it's story". When I do uncover those stories by connecting with local residents, our experience becomes so much richer. In turn, sharing the stories with you brings me joy :)
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!
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.
Crooked Canvas-Deb’s Place in Shullsburg.
Riverdawgs in the Wisconsin Dells.
Cat Café Mad in Madison.
Ella’s Deli in Madison.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Each year I eagerly look forward to Olbrich Botanical Garden‘s hottest new art display taking place at night. They really outdid themselves this time. Here is a map of all the art installations, more than ever this year!
For the first time, there are displays inside of the Boltz Conservatory. This display cycles through all the colors, just like the lights lining the inside of the conservatory.
Next I went outside to see those displays, the tree outside was raining light!
There is now a bar outside so you can enjoy an adult beverage while enjoying GLEAM.
There was a surprise around every corner, I especially liked the columns on either side of the entrance to the Rose Garden, there were roses rotating around inside.
Loved the rainbow brick path.
Projected onto the path in the grand circle were messages, and butterflies flew through them.
New this year were lighted panels with a description of the displays. This one was really neat.
The star shower light made for a ghostly appearance of anyone standing under it.
This one was a little hard to take a picture, video is better.
This one was pretty too.
I am finishing my journey through the gardens, looking completely different from in the day. As a member, it is $11 to come to GLEAM, 14 if you are not. You can become a member at Olbrich at this time for a discount and save on future events, coupon is on GLEAM guide. I look forward to next year!
It’s the time of year Columbus has been waiting for, Redbud Days. This annual celebration celebrates the Redbud tree, prominently displayed all over the city. Read more about the history here. Many of the redbuds are descended from one especially hardy tree that lived over 60 years, it was on 537 West James street. It lived from the 1940’s until it had to be cut down in 2001. It’s unique genetic makeup was preserved and the tree’s “children” are all over Columbus, 48 on city property alone.
We began the day by visiting some of the great garage sales around town. Found some great buys and had fun! Many people had redbuds in their yard, some quite large.
Back downtown for all the fun! Every year, a new Redbud Prince and Princess are chosen in a competition by children entering the contest. The ceremony was at the Columbus Senior Center.
Each child is interviewed and a panel of Judges choose the winners. See the ceremony here.
The kids were wonderful and all are fine representatives of Columbus. They will all go far.