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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!

 

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

 

Green County Cheese Days in Monroe 2016


9-17-16

Photo by Green County Cheese Days

Photo by Green County Cheese Days

It has already been two years and we got to enjoy Green County Cheese Days again.  We went in 2014 and had a wonderful time!  This time we went on a Saturday instead. No parade but many other things going on.

Al has become interested in photography during the last 2 years so we parted for several hours to cover different activities.  He took the Barn Quilt Bus Tour for $5 at 9:00.

barn-quilt-bus-tour-banner-at-cheese-days

These two ladies, Kris Winkler and Lynn Lokken, are known as the “Barn Quilt Ladies” hosted the tour.

kris-winkler-and-lynn-lokken-barn-quilt-ladies-wm

Some of the barn quilts he saw.  Here is a list of  150+ barn quilts in Green County.

barm-quilt-collage-al-kutil

Meanwhile, I stayed downtown to see what was going on the Square. Quite a bit! Music, cheese carving and making and much more!  If you come here, you better like cheese  🙂

Swiss Colony (Colony Brands) was on the square too!  A great place to get local Wisconsin-made food gifts year ’round.

swiss-colony-at-cheese-days-img_7997Their mouse mascot dressed as Santa took pictures with kids of all ages.  Here he was in the parade two years ago.

Swiss Colony Mouse at Cheese Days

swiss-colony-mouse-at-cheese-days-2016

Cheese Days has a mascot of their own that made his debut in 2014, Wedgie. He is a wedge of cheese who loves getting his picture taken with everyone! He also had his picture taken with some fine representatives of Cheese Days.

Left to Right

Brodhead Dairy Queen – Elizabeth McGuire

Green County Dairy Princess – Emily Streiff

Green County Dairy Queen – Libby Beck

Argyle Dairy Queen – Stephnie James

Juda Dairy Queen – Sharlene Swedlund

 

Dairy Industry Representatives img_8028

The Fried Cheese curds are the biggest attraction. Lines are usually quite long to get these, but I got them without a long wait.  It’s $5 for a serving, delicious!  Sold by the Monroe Optimist Club.

Cheese curd booth at Cheese Days in Monroe

monroe-optimist-club-making-fried-cheese-curds

 

cheese-curd-tent-at-cheese-days

Fried Cheese Curds at Cheese Days in Monroe

For the really brave people, there was a Limburger Cheese Challenge. Dare you eat some of the stinkiest cheese ever made?  I admit, I wasn’t brave enough (yet)!

limburger-challenge-at-cheese-days-wm-img_8092

To see the long version video of our day (2 hours-45 minutes), see below.

I stayed downtown to see how a wheel of Swiss Cheese was made in the Old World, and in the U.S. before the large cheese factories we have today.  It was fascinating! The demonstration hosted many Master Cheesemakers and we learned so much! Watch the long video to see everything I did.

cheese-factory-at-cheese-days-2016

Cheese Making booth at Cheese Days

At the end you could get a great selfie taken, pretending to make cheese. Fun!

making-cheese-selfie-at-cheese-days

Here is a 15-minute edited version of the cheese making demo.

The brown Swiss Cows were also brought out for the public to meet and greet them 🙂

swiss-cows-at-cheese-days-wm

Just off the square was a small carnival put on by:

CHRISTMAN AMUSEMENTS

JIM CHRISTMAN
PO BOX 195
WAUTOMA, WI 54982
 920-787-7735

christman-amusements-carnival-at-cheese-days-2016

Again, another GREAT Cheese Days festival. We hope to come back in 2018!

cheese-day-2016-selfies

Swiss Cheese Wheel at Cheese Days

 

 

2nd Annual Wisconsin Cheese Curdfest


8-24-14

Curdfest sign

Curdfest took place the same day as Ride the Drive and on our way back home and it looked like a lot of fun. It took place at the Madison Mallard’s baseball team stadium. Cheese is big business in Wisconsin and cheese curds are a favorite snack. This festival serves cheese curds from MANY businesses and you have the chance to vote for your favorite!

Cheese Curd ballot

There was quite a crowd when we arrived, we realized it would be the last time inside these gates until our first game next summer. We got in line at the Curd Girl food cart. This was the only cart we stopped at and cash was low. We made a good choice though, they were delicious!

Curdfest Curd Girlfood cart

Fried Cheese Curds at Curdfest

There was so much more to see, a petting zoo for the kids drew a crowd. The animals were so cute!

Petting Zoo Collage

 

We also had music by the Hometown Sweethearts as a great background to all the fun.

Hometown Sweethearts band at Curdfest

 

For a great time and great curds, come to Curdfest!

Curdfest at Madison Mallards in Madison

Green County Historical Museum in Monroe – Part 3


9-21-14 Green County Historical Museum

We missed going to this museum last year when we were visiting, and it happened to be open during Cheese Days, so we stopped in.  Admission is $2 for adults, but Al got in for free because he has a mustache. They were celebrating their new display of mustache cups on display for the 2014 season.

Green County Historical Museum

A history of this former church.

Monroe Universalist Church history

Mustache cups

Mustache cups in Monroe

 The museum has a great many Green county and Monroe artifacts for viewing.

Green County Museum inside in Monroe

You can see the Standard Oil Red Crown gas pump globe that was once at a Standard gas station in Monroe. It was restored and is working again!

Standard Oil Red Crown pump globe

 Another artifact that was  also working that was a great surprise, an Edison cylinder phonograph with a 1910 recording of “The Old Folks at Home” (Swanee River).  Our guide played it for us, thanks!

Here is a kitchen display.

Green County Museum kitchen display

A vintage cash register, still looks great!

Cash register at Green County Museum

Cheese Days has been a big tradition in Monroe for 100 years. they had on display the 45 produced in 1967. It remains the official theme to this day. Listen to it here, with a slide show of this year’s festivities.

Cheese Days in Monroe song

We went to the 2nd floor for more displays in the former church.  On the way up were antique record players, including the Edison cylinder record player.  Also a sleigh.

Sleigh at Green County Museum

On the 2nd floor, wow! The stained glass windows were gorgeous!  We were told that each window piece was carefully removed and cleaned and re-assembled. Hard work but the results show!

Round Stained glass Window 1Round Stained glass Window 2

Very realistic Swiss wood sculptures on display.

Swiss Wood sculptures in Monroe

After touring the inside of the museum, we saw the one-room Bethel schoolhouse right next to it. The school was in use in 1906. By 1970 it was moved next to the museum and restored.

Bethel School in Monroe

Bethel School inside in Monroe

At the end of our tour we got a book, “The Story of Monroe- Its Past and It’s Progress Toward the Present” for the Cheese Days special price of $5. What a great addition to our Wisconsin history reference books!

The Story of Monroe book

What a great tour! Monroe lives up to its slogan, this friendly community keeps you coming back!

Monroe sign

Cheese Days in Monroe 2014 – The Parade


Cheese Days Parade logo

Cheese Days Part 2                                                      9-21-14

We had just found our viewing spot at the post office, it was a great place to see the  2 1/2 hour parade. I was glad then we didn’t bring our chairs or tripod, there would have not been enough room for them.  SO many people were here to watch the parade.

Cheese Days parade vantage point

 The parade is beginning!   A solemn procession of brown Swiss cows leads the parade. This symbolizes bring the cows down from alpine meadows in Switzerland to the lower elevations.

Soon after that were the Almost Famous “Dancing Cheesemakers” , excellent performance!

What is a Swiss parade without Alphorns and the Monroe Swiss Singers?

Alphorns at Cheese Days

Monroe Swiss Singers at Cheese Days

A special treat, Aareländer Musikanten from Switzerland!

Aarelander Musikanten from Switzerland at Cheese Days

The King and Queen of Cheese Days 2014 are Duke and Diane Phillips,  and their grandchildren.

Cheese Days King and Queen 2014

 Cheese Days Ambassadors Sarah Sacker and Brienne Hendrickson.

Cheese Days Ambassador Sarah SackerCheese Days Ambassador Brienne Hendrickson

1929 Ford Racer

1929 Ford Racer at Cheese Days

The Wacky Wheeler, a big favorite!  I have seen him at other parades.

Wacky Wheeler at Cheese Days

Here is the Swiss Colony Chris Mouse, all ready for Christmas gift giving!

Swiss Colony Mouse at Cheese Days

Pipes and Drums, Zor Shriners of Madison.

Zor Pipes and Drums at Cheese Days

 

National Mutual Benefit presents Betsy Ross. This lady is a friend of mine.  She is a retired school teacher who plays many characters at schools and nursing homes.

National Mutual Benefit  Volunteer Betsy Ross

And the mascot of Cheese Days, Wedgie!

Cheese Days Wedgie mascot

These guys were amazing! The Jesse White Tumbling Team from Chicago. Lets watch them!

Jesse White Tumbling Team at Cheese Days

Even the Loves Park, IL Shriners were here with a cute carousel float.

Loves Park Zor Shrine at Cheese Days

 

Also Stephanie Klett whom we just saw recently at Edgerton’s Chilimania is also Official Limburger Queen of Cheese Days 🙂

Stephanie Klett Limburger Queen

That was quite a parade. Many more entries than this went into this 2 1/2 hour parade. I understand why it takes two years to plan this festival.  We hope to enjoy it again in 2016.

Greetings from Cheese Days

 

Green County Cheese Days in Monroe – 100th Anniversary Celebration! Part 1


Cheese Days 100th Logo

3rd Weekend in September- Even Years 9-21-14

Cheese Days is THE festival we have eagerly awaited all summer.  Green County celebrates it’s Swiss and cheesemaking heritage at this festival. It is so big and takes so much planning, it only occurs biennially. This year celebrates the 100th anniversary and was it BIG! Enjoy this slideshow I created with the official Cheese Days song, sung by Rudy Burkhaltar and Martha Bernet in 1967.

It is held downtown with the beautiful courthouse as a backdrop.  The whole square is filled with booths and tents with concessions, food, beer and entertainment. There is such demand for cheese curds, you have to get tickets before getting in line for the curds. We didn’t, it was almost parade time and there was so much to see before it started at 12:30.

Cheese curd booth at Cheese Days in Monroe

 

Famous cheese sculptor Sarah Kaufmann was also there, carving a piece of cheese right there.  We were so lucky to meet her, even had a picture with her 🙂 She was sponsored by the radio station The Big AM 1380- WEKZ.

Sara Kaufmann at Cheese Days

Sarah Kaufmann and us at Cheese Days

We also enjoyed some great polka music by the Goodtime Dutchmen,  let’s listen in!

Also some accordion and singing by Master Yodeler  Kerry Christensen.

Kerry Christensen at Cheese Days

 

Another picture with a character, the mouse from Colony Brands Swiss Colony.  They have an outlet in Madison too.

Al and Laurie and Mouse

On Saturday (we were in Cambridge for their fall festival) they made a wheel of Swiss Cheese right at the festival at this booth.

Cheese Making booth at Cheese Days

 

They also had a knock-off of the American Gothic cut-out you could get your picture with, funny!

A Swiss Gothic Al and Laurie

It was 12:15 and we had to find a spot for the parade QUICK. We found a good one at the last-minute, up high above the crowd at the post office, just off the square and on the parade route. It was a great vantage point we will have to remember next time in 2016.  Read next article about the parade.

Cheese Days parade vantage point