It’s a Dogs World-Summer 2019 with the KC-K9 Academy

When this summer began, I never expected our activities would bring us closer to the world of dog training.  It also brought me a new friend, Kate Bucci. She is the owner of the KC-K9 Academy. She specializes in training, nutrition and more. One of her top programs is her Board and Train.  It’s immersion training for your dog to learn discipline in a matter of days. Contact her on her website or call 608-206-6396.

Let’s start at the beginning, with the Madison Mallards Baseball games. We went to the opening season game on May 28.  Kate brought both of her Border Collies, Colt, and his younger one-year-old brother. Kovu. They are three litters apart. Colt is four years old. It was our first time seeing Kovu at the game. We didn’t see him last year but he actually did his first bat retrieve at only 7 months old!

We are seated in Section 101 in the front row with a perfect view of the dugout and home plate, just beyond the net. Here is Kovu waiting for the signal to retrieve the bat.

Colt was just as excited, he did a little flip when getting the bat.

We were at three games where at least one of the dogs retrieved the bat.  See the video here of their work!

This is from the summer of 2018.

They made the games extra special, and the bat boy didn’t mind sharing the duty with a couple of cute pups!

July 21

Midsummer brought us to the Wisconsin Brewing Company in Verona for Sunday Funday. This event was a fundraiser for the Capital K9s of Madison to get protective goggles for all of the police dogs.


Kate could not make it but Al and I could. It was a lot of fun to see so many dogs out on the patio.

The best part was the K9 demo, showcasing their skills.

There were not quite enough funds to get the Rex Specs. Kate then teamed up with Focused Dog Training and covered the remaining cost. The dogs were presented with their protective goggles on Sept 4th. Good job!

Photo by Madison Police


Pier Pups Dock Jumping

The Mallard games being over, we went to to see Kovu do his favorite sport, dock jumping into a pool.  The company running this event is Pier Pups, and it was held in the parking lot of Petlicious Dog Bakery and Pet Spa. It was our first time going to one of these competitions and it was really fun!

Kovu won a 3rd place ribbon for his efforts. Such a good boy!

Photo by Kate Bucci

See the video of his 5 jumps at this event.

During the “Grab It” competition, Kovu must catch a toy in mid-air during the jump. Here is a shot I got of that.

Kovu did achieve winning his Dock Diving Title by September 15. Way to go!

Photo by Kate Bucci

We are so proud of Kovu’s achievement. I shared my video footage with her and she produced a video showcasing all of his jumps leading up to the title.

Kovu is not the only one with talent. See Colt do the Git Up Dance by Woody from Toy Story 4. So cute!

And this concludes our 2019 adventures with Colt and Kovu. We look forward to next summer!

Photo by Kate Bucci

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!

  • 4494 Lake Circle Windsor, WI 53598
  • Toll-Free: 800-526-6873
  • Local: 608-846-4455
  • Email at:

Photo by Mousehouse Cheesehaus


Olblich Garden’s 3rd Annual GLEAM


Photo by Olbrich Botanical Gardens

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!


Paoli Fall Festival

10-1-16      Visit Paoli


Paoli is the happening place to be for fall festivals.  The colors were peaking now, especially by the gazebo.

Fall tree backdrop behind gazebo in PaoliWe heard music nearby behind the old mill, sounded like one of our favorite kind of music, the Blues!

Mill and pumpkins in Paoli

It was coming from The Hop Garden outdoor stage in the backside of the mill.  The sign was out near the street, they also had a Chili contest contest, good on a cool day like today.


The wonderful music we were hearing was being performed by  Old Black Joe And The 3rd Rail Sparks Blues Band.  They are regulars here, performing most Thursdays between 6-8 PM since 2014. Let’s listen in!

We also enjoyed lunch at the Paoli Brat and Bread Haus.   We had the Chicken Pot Pie,  very delicious!  We enjoyed the music at The Hop Garden while we ate.  The Cherry Pie A la Mode was wonderful too. Owner Cherri Bell makes everyone feel like an old friend upon meeting.  Thanks for the great lunch in such a festive atmosphere!




Quite an enjoyable afternoon was had by all, we took a stroll up the street to check out other fall scenes. The Paoli House Inn had many pumpkin sculptures out front.

Paoli House

The Paoli Schoolhouse Shops &  Café  stood out against the grey skies.

Paoli Schoolhouse

Paoli Secret Garden has the perfect item for you or for a gift.


Paoli Secret Garden inside store

Paoli is beautiful any time of the year, stop in for a fun relaxing day by the Sugar River!

Sugar river in Paoli

Fall Maple tree in Paoli

Big Ship, More Fun! Sail Across Lake Michigan on the S.S. Badger Carferry!


Badger Car ferry arrival in Manitowoc

The time has arrived for our Michigan vacation to begin!  We decided to take the S.S. Badger Carferry from Manitowoc to Ludington since we never had before and it looked like fun!  Since we were only sailing one-way, it cost us $201, including our two bikes.  There is a two-sided historical marker here, as the Badger is a national historic landmark too.

S.S. Badger Historic markerManitowoc and the Car Ferries Marker

We arrived early to see the ferry’s arrival from Ludington and put our vehicle in the loading zone. There was an air of excitement among the passengers while we waited to board, as many of us were sailing for the first time.

Badger Carferry docking in Manitowoc

Upon boarding, we got our picture taken by a ship wheel as a memento of our experience.

Badger Selfie 1 IMG_9266

After leaving  port, we set about exploring the passenger areas of the ship. See map and amenities here.  Our view from the port, or left side of the ship.  You can see the Wisconsin Maritime Museum and the Cobia sub from here. We even saw a tour going on there, like we did a few years ago.

View of Wisconsin Maritime Museum from Manitowoc

 Also, enjoy the video of our 4-hour journey across the lake. There is something for everyone here.

Lets explore the ship, there are many areas to see on board.  Upon boarding lunch was being served at the Upper Deck Café, lots of dining space just beyond the stairway in the Cabana Room. If you want to eat, be sure to get your food before 4 PM Michigan time as they have to get things put away before reaching port.

Upper Deck Cafe on Badger

Badger Upper Deck Cafe Menu

Cabana Room on Badger

Adjacent to a TV lounge is a rack of Michigan and Wisconsin publications to help you plan activities on the other side. Also the latest issue of Crossings, the official annual magazine of the S.S. Badger.

Publication Rack and ship amenity sign on Badger

 Just up ahead is the main lounge where a rousing game of Badger Bingo was taking place.  It’s free to participate and there are prizes.    We opted out to explore the ship instead.  We also met Issac, an expert juggler who also assisted with the bingo game. Great job Issac!

Issac the juggler on Badger

In the lounge the man is looking at a screen showing  where the Badger is located on Lake Michigan.  Other ship locations are visible too. Remember to change your watch after crossing the state line.

Badger Bingo


Ship locations on Lake Michigan

Here you can also get some food a la carte at the Badger Galley.

Badger Galley

The ship also has two bars where you can get a drink, this is the Port Side Bar in the galley dining room.

Port Side Bar on Badger

Topside near the bow (front) of the ship is a large sun deck plus plenty of room to sit on either side of the ship if you want to be outside. You can see the bridge (Pilot House) right above you here.


Bridge on Badger closeup

Inside the ship there is much more to see and do.

A video arcade for the game players.

Badger arcade

A movie theater, it was playing a kid’s movie at the time.

Badger movie theater

You can get a souvenir at the Badger Boatique, from apparel to knick knacks and toys.  You can order some items online too if you don’t get anything during the trip.

Badger Boatique apparrel

Explore the ship museum/quiet room to learn about the ferry and other great lakes history.

Badger Museum

After exploring the ship we went back out to the upper deck.  At 5:20 Ludington was becoming visible!  You can see sand dunes and a distant light station.  We could see another light house from here distantly, another passenger informed us it was the Big Sable Point Light in Ludington.  It is 8 miles from downtown.

520 PM Ludington

Big Sable Light Station in Ludington

At 6:17 PM we went by Ludington’s North Breakwater Light at Stearns Park. Plenty of people waved at us as went by.

North Breakwater LighthousePlenty of people at the opposite light station too warmly greeting the ship’s arrival.

Ludington Light station

People even waved from the yards of their homes, sitting in lawn chairs.

Ship Watchers in Ludington

The ship turned as it prepared to dock.  Most people were in the aft of the ship watching the process, it was fascinating!  We docked by 6:30.

Badger Docked in Ludington

The big trucks came out first, we saw one full of red apples! Another truck had green apples.

Apple Truck

Green apples in truck on Badger

At the same time, the Badger food supplies were being re-stocked by a truck from below, very creative!

ILoading supplies on Badger at Ludington

Badger Food supplies

We saw a two-sided historical marker at the ticket office.

Markers at Luding Port

It was time to go to Manistee where we were spending the night. We recommend this ride for anyone wishing to cross Lake Michigan.  It’s true, “Big Ship, More Fun!”™  Welcome to Michigan!

Thanks for sailing on the S.S.Badger

Welcome to Michigan sign

Fort Atkinson – Intersectional Peony City of Wisconsin

11-11-15 (Veteran’s Day) 2-1-16, 3-18, 5-28

Fort Atkinson Bridge and Indian

Welcome to Fort Atkinson crop

 Fort Atkinson is a city of of over 12,000 with a proud history.  Fort Atkinson was built around the site of Fort Koshkonong during the Black Hawk War. It was also named after General Henry Atkinson.  The site has a marker, a monument and a cannonball.  This is the historic Eli May House on 407 East Milwaukee Ave, built in 1866.

Fort Koshkonong Marker at Eli May house in Ft. Atkinson


Fort Koshkonong site in Ft. Atkinson

This is a peaceful community now with many activities for visitors and residents to enjoy.  Our first stop on our November visit was to Evergreen Cemetery to see the Bellman Carillon Tower and Veterans Memorial.

Bellman Carillon Tower in Ft. Atkinson

Vets Memorial in Ft. Atkinson

The Chamber of Commerce is another great place to stop for info on Fort and the rest of Jefferson County.  See their video.

Ft. Atkinson Chamber of Commerce

We headed downtown to see other historic sites and markers. Nearby the Eli May house is the historic water tower. During the summer you can climb the stairs to have a good view of the city.  Here is a view provided by a previous visitor.

Ft. Atkinson Water Tower

Water Tower Markers in Ft. Atkinson

Long before Europeans lived here, Native Americans did.  The have many mounds in this area. There is a marker and a partially-preserved VERY rare Panther Intaglio on 1228 Riverside Dr. You can see it here.

Panther Intaglio Mound Marker in Ft. Atkinson

Panther Markers

Panther Intaglio in Ft. Atkinson


A famous poet also spent most of her life here, Lorine Niedecker. We found where she lived at Blackhawk Island near Ft. Atkinson.

Lorine Niedecker marker

Lorine Niedecker house

The larger house near the Rock River is further down the driveway, we didn’t trespass to see it, just zoomed in.

Former Lorine Niedecker house

Fort Atkinson also has a re-creation of their original Fort Koshkonong and stockade at Rock River Park. It was built between 1966-68 and hosts the Koshkonong Rendezous on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. We went on May 28, 2016.


Fort Koshkonong replica in Ft. Atkinson

Fort Koshkonong History

Another historical park we visited in March was the Jefferson County Indian Mounds and Trail Park. Be respectful of the mounds, as they are burial sites and to please stay on the marked trail.  See map here.

Indian Burial Mound Marker in Jefferson County

Jefferson County Indian Mounds Park

Bring your bike along or take a walk along the Glacial River Bike Trail.  Take a break at the depot/shelter.  This is part of the Rails to Trails programs to convert old rail lines to recreational trails.

Ft. Atkinson Glacial Trail

Fort Atkinson is also host to many businesses that provide good jobs and a fun night out.  On our 2015 visit we went to Capn’s Roadhouse for lunch. It was Veterans Day and since Al is a Navy vet, he got a free steak dinner!

Capn's Roadhouse in Ft. Atkinson

The restaurant is close to the high school, on the grounds is the historic bell that was part of the first high school building.  It is in a semi-protective structure.

Ft. Atkinson High School Bell 1867

When we returned in May of 2016, we enjoyed lunch at Fat Boyz.  A friend of mine recommended them for their chicken strips and he wasn’t kidding!  We ordered one chicken strip basket and we couldn’t even finish it.  Great value in a friendly atmosphere, a place fun for the whole family!

Fat Boyz Biker Bar in Fort Atkinson

Fat Boyz restaurant in Fort Atkinson

A great place for shopping is Nasco.  They have discounts on toys and much more.  I couldn’t help myself, I got a Duncan YoYo.

NASCO in Fort Atkinson

Duncan Yoyo

Jones Dairy Farm is also a major employer, I see their products in my local grocery stores all the time.

Jones Dairy Farm in Fort Atkinson

If you like live theater, The Fireside is a favorite destination for Wisconsinites.  We have not yet been there yet, but we plan on it.  You get dinner before the show for a complete evening out. This a family business, the 3rd generation has now taken up the reins to keep this popular tradition going at Fort (what the locals fondly call their city).  They also offer Friday Fish Fry for just the food and no show.

Fireside Dinner Theatre in Fort Atkinson

If you just want something light, Beauty and the Bean is a friendly place with great coffee.  The “beauty” part is the salon adjoining the coffee shop.

Beauty and the Bean in Ft. Atkinson

Beauty and the Bean inside

In March 2016, we enjoyed fish fry at the Sunset Bar and Grill in the town of Sumner (part of Fort).  The food was fantastic! In the summer they have music outside. Take a selfie by the big anchor like we did  🙂

Sunset Bar and Grill in FortAnchor selfie at Sunset Bar and Grill

Fish Fry at Sunset Bar and Grill


The VFW Post 1979 is open  Fri-Sat-Sunday only.  They have a Sunday brunch.

Ft. Atkinson VFW

VFW Hours in Fort Atkinson

A new restaurant opened up on the Rock River downtown in Nov. 2015, Brook’s River Walk Tavern and Grill.

Brook's Riverwalk Tavern and Grrill

Enjoy a stop at Tuttle’s Pharmacy, open since 1931.  Their friendly service can’t be beat either and are are ready to help with your prescription needs. There are many unique gifts ideas too.

Tuttle's Pharmacy in Fort Atkinson

Across the street is Catfish Alley, between two buildings, beautiful art work!

Catfish Alley art in Fort Atkinson

One place you need to make time for when you visit is the Hoard Museum and Dairy Shrine. We stopped there in November and didn’t quite complete our tour. We returned March 18 and saw the Dairy Shrine portion that we didn’t see before.

Hoard Museum sign

Hoard Museum and National Dairy Shrine

Behind the museum is the largest Intersectional Peony Garden in the country. On Saturday June 6, 2015, Fort Atkinson was officially declared  “Intersectional Peony City of Wisconsin”. On May 28 of 2016, we had a chance to see these beautiful flowers in bloom.

Peony garden in Fort Atkinson

Intersectional Peony Garden sign

Hoard Museum Peony Garden in Ft. Atkinson

Downtown Fort Atkinson

Fort Atkinson is a very interesting community and we plan on returning as often as we can.

MillerCoors Brewery Tour


Miller Brewery crop IMG_4278

Welcome to Miller Valley!

Miller Valley IMG_0787

We realized how much of Milwaukee we still have not seen, and decided that taking the free tour of the MillerCoors Brewery was just the thing on a snowy winter day. In this picture you can see the large silver tankards where the beer is aged for three weeks.

The tour is for one hour, be prepared to take stairs and walk to several buildings.  Register at the front desk when you arrive. Good info to know before beginning the tour.

Tour Info IMG_0807

 A photographer was there to take our picture and had some props to make the picture even more memorable.  We would be offered a 5×7 and 2-4×6 print, a bottle opener and a can cozy at the end of the tour for $20.  We got it, such a fun memento of our visit.

Miller Visitor Center in Milwaukee

We were on the first tour at 10:30, and it turned out to only be the two of us. Leah was our guide, she gave us the VIP treatment!

Leah and us IMG_0819

The tour began with a 10-minute film in the theater describing the history of the brewery. After that we went to the first building where the beer is made.

Beer Processing at Miller IMG_0827

Here we could also see the conveyor belt rolling with filled cases of beer.

We went down to the lower floor of this building and saw it is also a vast warehouse for all the beer.  Would you believe all of this will be gone by the next day?  Most goes to Chicago with the rest points elsewhere. It is the size of 5 football fields placed side-by-side. Here are some stats.

Beer Distribution stats at Miller IMG_0855

Beer Warehouse IMG_0852

We went back out and crossed the street, going under the bridge where you could see beer going across on the conveyor.

Miller Bridge IMG_0865

It was time to see where the Fermenting Room.  Copper tankards were on the upper level and the silver-colored ones were below.

Fermenting room at Miller

Miller Fermenting Facts IMG_0883

After this we walked further up the street to our last stop, the Historic Caves building where the beer was chilled before refrigeration.

Brewery Panoramic View IMG_0899

There was also a historic marker on the building.

Historic Caves Entrance at Miller IMG_0901

Plank Road Historic Marker at Brewery

We went into the hushed darkness of the cave, gently lit on either side but still allowing for night vision.  It was beautiful, and there was a mural painted in the back.

Miller Cave IMG_0910

Miller Cave IMG_0915

Miller Cave Mural IMG_0912

In here were were also paid a visit by Frederick Miller himself, via a projection on the back of the cave.

Very cool!  The tour was now finished, we then went to the tasting room. Al did the tasting since I don’t drink beer.  Thanks Leah, we really had fun!

Tasting Room IMG_0934

Tasting Room back at Miller IMG_0936

While we were there we got our photo that we had taken at the start of the tour.  Our first silly selfie of the year.

Miller Tour Selfie text

We really had a good time here today. Since there is not a restaurant on site, we went .7 miles away to Saz’s State House for a great lunch.

Saz's State House in Milwaukee IMG_0975

It’s always Miller Time™ in Milwaukee!