NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

City Run to Barker-Stewart Island

While staying at the Stewart Inn I went for a morning run before starting my work day.


I had two goals besides getting some exercise, the first one being to make my way to Barker-Stewart Island where the lumber baron Hiram Stewart made his fortune.


A footbridge across the Wisconsin River leads to the island which is surprisingly small for what was such a big operation financially.  The local historical society occasionally had costumed interpreters out here but otherwise there isn't much to see except the foundation of the sawmill.


The Barker Stewart Lumber Company was once the largest producer of hemlock lumber in the count.  The original sawmill on the island was built in 1881, and purchased in 1887 by C.C. Barker and Hiram Stewart. By the end of the 19th century, Barker and Stewart could process 40 million feet of lumber annually and the mill was in operation until 1915.

Railroad truss bridge in background built 1888, sawmill foundation foreground

Every winter, men would head to the north, cut down trees and drag the logs to the Wisconsin River.
Every spring as the river thawed, the logs would come rushing into Wausau and would get pulled from the river and milled on the tiny island.


The other reason for my run was we had passed some murals on our way to the Inn that I wanted to capture and a quick run past was the perfect way to get a closer look.  Here's a fun rendering of Wisconsin's state motto "Forward" and so unique to see it on the side of a residential home near the river.


More murals from Wausau to come in the Mondays ahead!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Happy Birthday Mom

Last Monday Mom joined me on the road and we made a few stops to celebrate her recent birthday and Mother's Day.


We stayed in Wausau at the Stewart Inn which was built  in 1906 by renowned architect George Maher for Hiram Stewart, a local lumber baron. In the second half of the 19th century men would head to the north come winter, cut down trees and drag the logs to the Wisconsin River.


When the river thawed in the spring the logs would come rushing into Wausau and the workers would pluck logs from the river, mill the lumber and send it on its way to an expanding country in need of materials.  Hiram was one of the owners of the Barker-Stewart Mill which operated from 1881 to 1915.


Like Louis Sullivan, Maher used ornamentation based on native plants and geometry. Maher referred to his personal approach as the Motif-Rhythm theory. Using a native plant, often in combination with a geometric shape, the motif would be repeated as a decorative element throughout the design; in the art glass of the windows, the tiles and woodwork of the fireplaces, in stenciling on walls and ceilings, as a decorative element on furniture, on light fixtures and any item created for a house.


In Maher’s theory, this repeated use would visually tie the design together.  In the case of the Stewart home he used tulips and a tripartite arch.


My only complaint about Prairie style or Arts and Crafts homes is the use of white or beige walls with the woodwork.  Warm colors from nature do more to draw out the glow of the wood in my opinion!


Before checking into our home for the evening we took a few minutes to wander the garden at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum.


The sculpture "The Dance" which Wayne and I saw when we visited last summer was still on display, which was exactly what I was hoping when I suggested we stop there.


Mom really enjoyed all the bird inspired art on the grounds, and anyone can visit the exterior of the museum for free even when it is closed like it was on Monday.



When I stopped in to say hello to a client she recommended we go to "2510" for dinner, which turned out to be a great suggestion because they give free birthday cake to you during your birthday week.


If you're not blown away by the free cake you will be when they bring the wheel for you to spin for your "surprise".  Mom won a $5 gift certificate for a future visit! If you come on your actual birthday your dinner gets discounted the percentage of your age in addition to the free cake and the free spin!



Friday, May 18, 2018

Preschool Perspectives

I stopped in Sheboygan recently and even though I only had about 10 minutes to spare I darted in to the John Michael Kohler Center for the Arts.  Since donation is encouraged but admission is free I'll catch them with a donation sometime this summer when I come back again.


I was glad I stopped in; those 10 minutes really made my day! The following information is quoted directly from their website about the exhibit "Preschool Perspectives".

This year, the Preschool celebrates fifty years of creative learning through the arts. The students crossed the threshold into the galleries regularly to explore The Road Less Traveled and Unseen Forces exhibition series. These experiences were folded into the activities in the classrooms.


During The Road Less Traveled exhibition series recently featured at the Arts Center, the children became fast friends with artists Loy Bowlin (aka the “Original Rhinestone Cowboy”), Emery Blagdon, Charles Smith, Stella Waitzkin, and Eugene Von Brunchenhein through observing, discussing, sketching, and journaling about the artists’ work. In the studio classrooms, they worked collaboratively to create elements for their own art environment and exhibition.

My favorite part of this tableau - the kettle labeled "Hot"!

Children were invited to be curious, ask questions, and problem solve as they created patterns, hammered, drilled, spread glue, sprinkled glitter, and rolled paint, all while learning to take turns and work together developing their social-emotional skills.

So much to love here, but the stuffed animals under the bed tugged at my heart

Little fingers twisted, pinched, cut, sewed, drew, painted, printed, wrapped, and tied, just to name a few techniques. A variety of found objects, recyclables, natural and man-made materials, and fine art supplies were explored throughout the creative process. 

Welcome to our garden

Our mantra, “No, no, don’t throw that away! I can make that into something!” has been exclaimed many times both at Preschool and at home.


Can you imagine what our society would look like if all children had access to an early childhood education of this quality?  Can you imagine what our society would look like if that education continued to be so rich through to adulthood?  If I had the opportunity I would love to work with children again, shaping little hearts and minds.  Someday I'm sure I will.

On my way out I also paused to look at an exhibition of some of the work of artist Don Baum.  Originally from Escanaba in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, he moved to Chicago when he was 18 where he attended the Art Institute, the Institute of Design, and the University of Chicago.


In addition to being an artist he eventually became a curator and taught emerging artists in Chicago.


The little houses with their collage of images drew me right in, I wish I'd had more time to examine them and think about why they spoke to me though I suspect it's because "home" has always been a complicated concept for me with my footloose lifestyle and Navy childhood.  What images would decorate my home if I made one?  Maybe this is a project I'll pursue...if I do I'll share the result. I show the same two houses here but from two different angles/sides. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

High Cliff Spring Wildflower Show

Last week the weather was unbelievable, and the spring wildflower show just exploded in Central Wisconsin.

Cloud of Rue Anemone on forest floor

I stayed a night at High Cliff State Park, and even scored the Group Camp all to myself when I mentioned my asthma and my need to avoid campfires if possible.


I wasted no time getting out of my work clothes and getting out onto the trails.


The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and I felt like I could walk for hours.

Say "Sunshine"!

There was a small hitch though...somehow when I was rearranging things while packing my yoga pants and running shorts got left out of the bag.  Oh, well, as you might imagine that didn't stop me.  I had pajama pants packed which was better than hiking in dress trousers, right?

Pajama pants tucked in socks just in case but no ticks yet!

The park was crowded with folks out to get some exercise, but for some reason they were all on the paved road and not in the woods which has plenty of trails with most of them quite wide.


No matter, that meant I didn't have to worry about being in anyone's way as I crawled on the ground to get eye level with those stunning wildflowers.


 I don't think I've ever seen such thick groupings of Dutchman's Breeches before!  They do love a rocky slope in the woods so not a surprise to see them at High Cliff though.


I know my more recent posts mentioning High Cliff involved Halloween decorations, fireworks on the 4th of July and the mound effigys in the park, but the park is actually situated on the Niagara Escarpment high above Lake Winnebago and part of it also used to be a quarry.

Dicentra cucullaria

I never would have thought the first time that Wayne and I stayed here in 2010 that I would end up coming back again and again to see it at so many different times of year.

Erythronium americanum - Yellow Trout Lily

I even found clusters of Yellow Trout Lily, which I often have trouble catching in bloom. And the large Trillium in the campground were just starting their bloom as well.


The evening ended with a glorious sunset over Lake Winnebago, and not a single drop of rain!  Nearby was a large cluster of Purple Martin gourds so if you're a fan of them High Cliff is the place to come camping this summer before they leave in late August.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

View From Southport Light


Cream City brick on the original tower and Keeper's house - addition done in red brick at later date

The quick background information goes like this: In 1837 the Pike Creek settlement, where Kenosha now lies, became Southport. The area was the southern most port in the Wisconsin territory on Lake Michigan and in that year, 61 steamboats and 80 schooners called on the village. A lighthouse was needed in order for these ships to find the village at night. The first was an oak stump cut ten feet off the ground with a wooden platform, lined with rock, built on top. On this, a fire was lit each night during the shipping season. Can you imagine sailing into harbor by the light of a fire?


The Southport Light is currently not in use, but was built in 1866 and was in use until 1906.  I've been there before but the other day I finally splurged and paid to go up in the tower which is about 55 feet tall and situated on a hill about 19 feet higher than lake level overlooking Lake Michigan.

This is how I take a "work break" during my day

In the days before electricity the Fresnel lenses were turned by a weight driven "clockwork" gearbox.  If you are mechanically inclined go to this link to learn everything you ever wanted to know on the subject. My mind started spinning, I'll have to wait for Wayne to explain it to me since I'm more creatively inclined.

Wall channel for weight and pulley system next to porthole

If you want to see one in action the Keeper told me the one at Split Rock in Minnesota still operates.  Funny because we were at Split Rock 3 years ago this month (click my link to see the beautiful photos I took!) and skipped the tour because the price was "too high". They must have lowered it because an internet search says it is only $5 each admission which I would not hesitate to pay.  Maybe we were under the impression that admission stickers for the adjacent State Park were mandatory.

Porthole view of Harbor Park and Southport Marina where I walk every time I come to town

Free parking is available at Split Rock during the summer (May 15 through October 31) when the visitor center is open. During the winter (November 1 through May 14) and when the visitor center is not open, a state park vehicle permit is required for parking. I guess we will have to go back!  I know I wanted more time to tackle the Superior Hiking Trail there.

Simmons Island Light looks tiny from Southport Light!

In addition to the Marina and the lighthouses you can visit the Civil War Museum, or choose from a variety of events from Art Fairs to Car Shows and the Taste of Wisconsin at the end of July.  Every Wednesday there is a free classical music concert at the Sesquicentennial Bandshell and of course brew pubs and burger joints are easy to find when you're ready to eat!

Birdhouses and blooms out behind the Light

If you want to visit, Southport Light Station Museum is open Thursday through Sunday from May until the end of October.  Admission to the museum in the lightkeeper's home is free and it is $10 to climb the light tower, children ages 8-12 are $5 and younger children I assume are free.  Just down the street is one of our old Kenosha favorites, The Boat House Pub, if you're thirsty stop in for one of their 19 different types of Long Island Tea concoctions like I used to do...20 years ago!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Mauthe Lake - the Wild and the Not So Wild

The last few weeks I camped a few times as I traveled around Wisconsin for work, including at Mauthe Lake. Before I even got to the entrance I was greeted by some Sandhill Cranes.  I'm so excited to be including more bird pictures now that I know Judy is still out there reading blogs!


The Marsh Marigolds and Skunk Cabbage were up, the mosquitoes surely won't be far behind. This is one campground I avoid after May because it is perfect breeding habitat for the little suckers.

Caution, does not smell like a rose

But a week ago the Ice Age Trail winding atop the esker was quiet except for the sound of startled deer taking off through the woods and the song of many frogs.


I hiked for about half an hour, keeping an eye on the sky with rain in the forecast and night approaching.

Yes, this picture is level!

Count Road GGG which goes to Mauthe Lake is under some serious construction, so be prepared.  Where the IAT crossed the road I came upon some horses who were nice enough to pose for me.


I got back to my tent just in time - about a minute after I zipped myself inside the sky opened up and it poured all night long.  I got a text from Wayne saying they were getting a severe thunderstorm with hail but luckily it only rained by me.  Twin Lakes was not so lucky and we got hail damage to our house, the camper and even Wayne's truck.  That's what insurance is for, and all can be fixed.  I sure am glad though that I didn't wake up to hail while in my tent!