Tag Archive | cheese

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

 

Hoard Historical Museum and National Dairy Shrine in Fort Atkinson


11-11-15 and 3-18-16

Hoard Museum signHoard Museum and National Dairy Shrine

A visit to Fort Atkinson is not complete without exploring the Hoard Historical Museum and National Dairy Shrine. Suggested donations are $5 for individual or $10 per family.  A painted cow and stained glass art greet you upon entering the building.

Hoard Museum cow

The first room we entered is the Mounds Gallery. We learned a lot about the Indian Mounds in Wisconsin.  We saw a short film made my members of the tribes involved.  In the same room are arrowhead collections by Raymond Thomas Lawton.

Increase Lapham display

Thomas Lawton Indian Collection

The adjoining room has a Native American diorama and more artifacts.

Indian Diorama at Mound Museum

A close up.

Indian home display at Hoard Museum IMG_7563

Inside of the home.

Indian home IMG_7559

And the food they ate, either growing naturally or their own plantings.

Indian Food display at Hoard

Food sign at Hoard

The museum also encourages visiting Aztalan State Park, which we had!

We headed up to the 2nd floor where there was a display dedicated to their local famous poet, Lorine Niedecker.

Hoard 2nd Floor Exhibits

Lorine Niedecker display

The William Dempster Hoard room, where resides a large portrait of him and his magazine, Hoard’s Dairyman is displayed. The magazine still exists today, in production since 1885!

William Dempster Hoard and magazine

He also went to the Wisconsin State Fair in 1859 and Abraham Lincoln was a guest speaker. Here are his impressions.

The Bird Room has MANY birds in display cases,  some over a century old. This Bald Eagle is from 1904.

Taxidermy room at Hoard

Bald Eagle display at Hoard

Another room upstairs is dedicated to Ft. Atkinson’s Police and Fire Department.

Police and Fire Room at Hoard

The Lorine Niedecker Room in addition to the display near the stairs.

Lorine Niedecker room at Hoard

The Duck Hunting Room showed hunting around Lake Koshkonong.

Duck Hunting Story sign at Hoard

Canoe information, it may have been owned by William Hoard himself!

Duck Hunting Room at Hoard

Boll Hoard canoe at Hoard

Duck display at Hoard

In the Play Room were toys from days gone by.

Play Room display at Hoard

We went back downstairs to see a representation of how the Hoard house may have looked while occupied by him and his family. Displays are rotated occasionally to display different pieces.

Frank and Luella Hoard House sign

Hoard Dining Room

Hoard house parlor

Kitchen at Hoard house

The last part we saw in November was the Lincoln Era Library and Exhibit room at the back on the museum on the first floor. It spotlighted Lincoln artifacts, Fort Koshkonong and the Blackhawk War.

IMG_7690

Lincoln display at Hoard House

Fort Koshkonong as it originally looked in this display.

Fort Koshkonong exhibit IMG_7716

Here is what the site looks like NOW.  It is presently a residential neighborhood.

Fort Koshkonong site in Ft. Atkinson

A great visit to this museum had to be cut short by lack of time to finish it.

—————————————————————————————————————-

3-18-16

We’re back!  Winter is over and it was time to complete viewing this amazing museum.  Flowers were beginning to push up in the garden in front of the museum. These are Iris Reticulata, planted by museum volunteers. Beautiful!

Hoard Museum in Spring

Iris at Hoard Museum

We never got to see the dairy shrine side of the museum in November so we got back today.  It took about 2 hours to see this part, it occupied the main floor and downstairs.

Dairy Shrine entrance

We entered into a large octagon-shaped room with a variety of displays and dioramas.  Going around the perimeter of the inside of the room was a timeline history of the Hoard Museum and dairy technology developments.

Hoard Museum Volunteer of the Year Joe Slaney frame

Volunteer Joe Slaney (Volunteer of the Year!) began the presentation in the room, we moved from exhibit to exhibit in a clockwise direction, everything was cued to audio and video, a 3D presentation!

 

The presentation began with a video introduction about the Hoard Museum, then it instructed us to move left to the next panel.

#1 – Hoard Farm Replica

Hoard Farm model

#2 – Modern Milk Marketing

Milk Marketing

This panel showed the many ways milk products were marketed to the consumers from 1 to 92.  One of the most successful was the “Got Milk” campaign. Al and I participated in this when we went to Cows on the Concourse. Here is our milk mustache photo.

Got Milk Campaign photoGot Milk Ad Campaign

Milk use pie chart.

Milk use breakdown

#3 – Daily Farmers of the 1800’s

A display depicting the dairy farmer in the 1800’s, also a room where ice blocks are stored that were cut from a nearby lake in the winter.

Milking cow in 1800's

Milk Storage and ice blocks

#4 – Farm Wife Makes Butter With the Milk

IFarm Wife Churning Milk into butter

After her husband (or farm hand)  milks the cow, she is responsible for processing the milk into butter or soft cheese. She often has a custom butter mold with her own unique design inside, marking it as her “brand”.  She then sells the butter to her town’s general store for store credit or cash. Here are a couple of butter molds on display in the museum.

Butter Molds

#5 – Modern Cheesemaking

Milk is now delivered to the cheese factory in large trucks, from there all kinds of cheese are made. We saw that in Arena and Rudolph.

Modern Cheese Making

salting cheese in Rudolph

#6 – Summary

Dairy Industry Summary

Milk Presentation Sponsors

That was an AMAZING presentation! In the center of this room is a library with dairy industry books and magazines.

Hoard Museum library

We completed our visit by seeing the other MANY artifacts, too many to count. Here is an array of butter churns.

Butter Churns

We will close our visit with a painting of the 7 Wonders of Wisconsin, the 7 cow breeds predominant in this state. This museum was well worth the time to see and we will return again to see any new exhibits, as they rotate some of them.  Thank you Frank Hoard for this gift to the community.

& Wonders of Wisconsin cow painting

 

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

 

 

Back to School at the University of Wisconsin


Bascom Hall

Bascom Hall

 

The University of Wisconsin (UW) traces it’s beginning back to when Wisconsin achieved statehood in 1848. Today the UW serves all of Wisconsin and even the world with its many outreaches. Today we are exploring the Madison Campus. I didn’t have the opportunity to attend here (I went to Madison College). My grandfather Norman R. Braton was a Mechanical Engineer and Professor here at the Engineering Building for 29 years (1955-1984).  Here he is in the 1960’s.   He was also one of the co-inventor of the Shripper, it shreds rubber tires to prepare for recycling. Photo from the UW archives, 1977.    Read more of his accomplishments here and here.

 

Norman R. Braton 1960'sShripper 1977

Mechanical Engineering Building

 

The 1986 movie “Back to School” was also filmed here at the UW.

The campus unofficially begins at Library Mall. Here you will find the Memorial Library and the University Bookstore.  It has spent recent years full of construction equipment, so here it is long before that, in 2012. It is lined with food carts three seasons of the year, not winter. Also the clock streight ahead past the carts in 2013. It was a gift from the class of 1923.

Library Mall Madison 5-24 -12 Madison

 

Clock Tower 5-8-13 Madison

 

With the clock facing your back, you see the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Memorial Union and the  Red Gym/Armory (1893).

Wisconsin Historical SocietyIMG_8231

Memorial Union

Big Red Gym 5-8-13 Madison

 

The Memorial Union is a favorite hangout in Madison. Let’s go behind the building to the Union Terrace. It was remodeled last year, here is how it looks in summer 2014.  The colorful terrace chairs and the Lake Mendota views have delighted residents and visitors for generations.  The Brat Stand is also open in the summer to enjoy a meal by the water.  There is also a stage for outdoor concerts.

Union Terrace 2014 Madison

Brat Stand Memorial Union Madison

Memorial Union Stage Madison

The UW Hoofers base of operations for the sailing club is also here. This is an organization anyone can join for a variety of sports and hobbies.

Hoofers Sailing Club Madison

As we leave here, the majestic Science Hall in red brick towers over the union.

Science Hall Madison

Now we make a right then another left onto Observatory Drive, another place for great views.  The hill is VERY steep, I had to walk my bike. We soon come upon Muir Knoll in the Bascom Hill Historic District. John Muir was a student of UW, the Class of 1863. He became a naturalist known world-wide.  There is also a Storytellers Circle made of stone to sit and converse. Long before this in 1919, it had a ski-jump!

Muir Knoll Rock MadisonJohn Muir marker bascom Hill Historic District

Muir Knoll circle MadisonStoryteller's Circle Muir Knoll Madison

 We now are way above Lake Mendota, we now reach the famous Carillon Tower. It is now striking 11:00. It is not mechanically chimed, a man named Lyle Anderson  has played it for 31 years. He retired in August 2016 and it has stood silent since then.

Carillon Tower - Lyle Anderson plays 11:00Carillon Tower Class Presents Madison

We continue down Observatory Drive, now we are way above Lake Mendota.  From here we can see Picnic Point, a long tongue of forest reaching out into the lake.

Picnic Point From Observatory Drive

On our left is Washburn Observatory, Madison’s own portal to the stars. It’s open to the public during events like eclipses, planet viewing, meteor showers and such all year around. On the grounds to the right is a very large boulder, determined to have been left by the glacier that was once here.

Washburn Observatory in Madison

Glacier Boulder MadisonChamberlin Rock plaque Madison

 Next we are stopping to smell the daisies and more at Allen Centennial Gardens, another part of the UW Campus not far from Washburn Observatory.  On February 19, 2015 they hosted their first Luminous light show in the garden.  What a great winter evening with a beautifully lighted path and warming fires surrounded by people roasting marshmallows! They will have it again in 2016.

 

Allen Centennial Gardens Madison

Allen Gardens House at Luminious

Head down to Lake Mendota just down the way, you will find the Lakeshore Path beckoning you to take a walk or bike ride.  Also the Porter Boathouse looms in the distance.

Porter Boathouse

Near here on University Ave. is the UW Botanical Garden. Both are so beautiful!

UW Botanical Garden Madison

 During the football season, Camp Randall is the place to go for a Badger game. Here is the inside of the stadium after the Crazylegs Classic run/walk, last Saturday in April every year. It was remodeled about 10 years ago. We have done this event several times, a lot of fun!

Camp Randall Stadium outside

Camp Randall Stadium 2005

And the Camp Randall Arch. Camp Randall used to be a Civil War base long before it was a football stadium. Go Badgers!

Camp Randall Arch Madison

You can’t have a Badger game without “Jump Around”. This began in 1998. We have even enjoyed doing this at the Madison Mallard games 🙂

For those people interested in rocks and minerals, the Madison Geology Museum is for you! Also free admission.  The kids will love the pre-historic skeletons on display too!

Madison Geology Museum

 

Boaz Mastadon

After a great day of exploring, a stop at Babcock Hall Dairy Store for some of their famous ice cream is a must!  I have coming here for a ice cream treat since childhood.  You can even go to the 2nd floor and watch them make cheese and the ice cream through the large windows.

Babcock Hall dairy Store

Babcock Dairy Store insideBabcock Ice Cream

Babcock Hall Processing plant

This is only the tip of the iceberg at UW Madison. The UW welcomes everyone to come visit their campus, you don’t have to be a student to have fun here!

Hillsboro – Czech Capitol of Wisconsin


6-15-14 and future visits

“Vitame Vas”  We Welcome You to Hillsboro

Hillsboro signCzech Capitol crest

Hillsboro is a secluded community of just under 1500 in Vernon County, about 90 minutes north of Madison. It is located in the Driftless Area, meaning the glacier missed this area. The town is in what is known as the Cheyenne Valley, a place rich in history.  The Czech immigrants descendants take great pride in their heritage. On the 2nd weekend in June they put on the Cesky Den Festival, complete with Czech food, music and other traditions.  We came to attend this festival and see their historical museum, open Sundays from 1-3 from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.  Upon entering town we saw Hillsboro Riverview Dairy and The Natural Choice Cheese Store.

Hillsboro Riverview Dairy in Hillsboro

Cheese Store sign Hillsboro

Cheese House in Hillsboro

On our right is the historic Municipal building.

Hillsboro Municipal Building

Let’s explore downtown on Water Ave, their main street.

Hillsboro downtown

One of the first things we saw was a display of local art, depicting Hillsboro’s countryside.

Hillsboro Art

Hillsboro art

 

Quite a few businesses downtown, a Ben Franklin. Also Hillsboro Floral, and Barbie’s Kitchen.

Hillsboro FloralBarbie's Kitchen in Hillsboro, WI

Also Hillsboro Brewing Company, open since 2012.

Hillsboro Brewing Company

Hillsboro is a very patriotic community and honors its veterans with a memorial at Memorial Lake at the edge of town.

Field Vets Memorial Lake plaque in Hillsboro

Hillsboro Vets Memorial

 

Mt. Vernon Cemetery has a Civil War Memorial.

Civil War Memorial in Hillsboro

 

A famous Navy Admiral was also born here.

Hillsboro Navy Admiral

Hillsboro also has a proud history of standing up for civil rights. Just across the street from the memorial is a historic marker showing this area also had a settlement of African-Americans in Heritage Park. This area’s isolation allowed them to prosper without fear of persecution.

Cheyenne Settler's Heritage Park

African-American Settlers of Hillsboro

 

 There is a Cheyenne Valley Heritage Road Tour available if time allows.   We did happen upon a round barn on the way home though. Here is the map of the self-guided tour that you can do. Cheyenne Valley Heritage Road Tour-Hillsboro

Round Barn

We sure had a great day in Hillsboro. The Cesky Den Festival and Museum were wonderful too!

 

 

New Glarus – Wisconsin’s Little Switzerland


11-6-10 and other visits

Wisconsin is a state diverse with many cultures, many from parts of Europe. New Glarus was settled by immigrants from Switzerland in 1845 from the canton of Glarus.  People have continued to immigrate here since then and kept the Swiss culture forefront in the city’s atmosphere.  It’s a great place to visit when a trip to Switzerland is not possible.

New Glarus sign

One of  the first views upon entering town is two flags and a sign.

New Glarus sign

 

And the great view looking up the  street.

New Glarus downtown

 

New Glarus  is also the trail head of the Sugar River Trail.

Sugar River Trail sign

It used to be a railroad track.  The Trail  goes all the way to Brodhead. The restored depot is now a gathering center for visitors and residents alike.

New Glarus Depot

 

New Glarus also is known for the beautiful “Cows on Parade”.  Beautiful painted cows are all over town in front of businesses.

New Glarus Hotel Chef cow

 

This cow is in front of the New Glarus Hotel Restaurant, a huge Chalet-style building like many downtown. We enjoyed a great lunch there once.

New Glarus Hotel

 

 

Across from the New Glarus Hotel is The Maple Leaf Cheese and Chocolate Haus will make your mouth water upon entering.

Maple Leaf Cheese and Chocolate Haus

 

A bit further up the street is the famous New Glarus Bakery. Their Stollen pastry is in big demand.

New Glarus Bakery

 

Stollen

At the end of the street is the beautiful Swiss United Church of Christ. In front is a statue dedicated to the early settlers of New Glarus.

Swiss United Church of Christ and statue

 

What was formerly Robert’s European Imports and Gifts, is now Esther’s European Imports. Among their wares are Swiss Army knives and much more.

Esther's European Imports

 

The New Glarus Primrose Winery is also a great place for wine and gifts. Most made from Wisconsin grapes.

New Glarus Primrose Winery

 

Open during the summer is the Swiss Historical Village.

Swiss Historical Village sign

 

Swiss Historical Village building

 

For a great visit to the Old World without needing a passport, come to New Glarus!

 

 

Related articles