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IT’S BERRY TIME! Blueberries, Raspberries, Gooseberries & More! Chet’s Blueberries, Stevens Point & Lakeview Berry Farms, Mosinee

July 2011 Vol. 1, Issue 5

THIS ISSUE Chainsaw Artistry House on the Rock Village of Whiting FD


Neighbors Table of Contents July 2011, Vol. 1, Issue 5

Shown: Chet Skippy and Shawn Rubey examine some blueberry bushes that are ready to plant.

FEATURE ARTICLES

18 Chainsaw Artistry

4

Dick Taft performs sculpturing magic in wood with his chainsaw.

It’s Berry Time! Chet’s Blueberry U-Pick Farm offers eight delicious varieties.

COLUMNS 10

Raspberries, Currants, Gooseberries & More! Buy pre-picked or pick your own and enjoy the spectacular views set against the Big Eau Pleine Flowage!

3

Grounded Ruth Johnson, Neighbors’ Editor, reflects on daily life.

26 Day Trips-House 24

Salute to Village of Whiting Fire & Rescue Department Meet the brave volunteers whom help safeguard their communities. Page 2

on the Rock Architectural wonders and museum quality collections populate this extraordinary dwelling.

Neighbors-July 2011


Together A great team! This is what every employer hopes to achieve and in my business, I feel very fortunate because that is exactly what we have – a fantastic group of individuals who really enjoy what they do, This is especially true when it involves pleasing our customers, who often are our own friends and neighbors. Recently, we surprised one of our longtime employees, Dick Taft, with the gift of a Stihl chainsaw, in recognition of his 30 years of service as well as to aid him in his chainsaw artistry, featured in this issue. I moved to the country to a house with some wooded acreage and lots of outdoors work, which I love. Of course, it required a new compact tractor for all the rock moving, clearing and other associated chores. What a blast! Remember to attend our Neighbors Open House celebration, Saturday, July 30. You can enjoy prizes, free food and fun! Come join us and say hello.

Above: My new John Deere 2520 is the perfect workhorse for many hard jobs. Bottom: There is nothing quite like the joy of new equipment!

Happy trails and blue skies for all!

Jim Faivre Publisher, Neighbors jim@journeywi.com

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www.unitedfcs.com


Neighbors Grounded

EDITOR, PHOTOGRAPHER, DESIGN & PRODUCTION CIRCULATION & WEB MANAGEMENT Ruth Johnson journey@journeywi.com 715-347-3755

Everyone is invited, young, old and in-between along with new visitors and old friends, to the first ever Neighbors Open House! Saturday, July 30, from 9:00 am-2:00 pm, we will host a good old-fashioned get-together where everyone can gather for food, beverages, music and entertainment, including Feathered Gold Stables’ Gypsy Vanner horses. The weather is still playing havoc with the Central Wisconsin region and one can only hope we will have a real summer before winter rolls around again. I am now a true chainsaw advocate, having recently picked up my first STIHL after tiring of cutting up all the branches felled by the high winds, by hand. You can read about my tree-cutting exploits on page 23. My foray into chainsaw territory was partially inspired by the Chainsaw Artistry article, page 18, describing how Dick Taft creates wood sculptures using his chainsaw. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Thank you for reading Neighbors. Warm regards,

Ruth Johnson Editor, Neighbors Magazine

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Below: Rolling hills and flowage in the background, set a beautiful stage for Lakeview Berry Farms!

Neighbors-July 2011


IT’S BERRY TIME! Chet’s Blueberries Stevens Point, WI by Ruth Johnson, Editor

525 County Road J North Stevens Point, WI 54482

(715)340-4989 Facebook.com/Chets-Blueberry-Farm Please call the farm prior to arrival for open dates and times.

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‘Best-kept secret’ in Central Wisconsin is a great way to describe Chet’s Blueberry U-Pick Farm! Unless you are driving by the farm, which is located on the corner of Highway J and 9th Street in Custer, WI, or personally know owner Chet Skippy, you would never hear about this 12-acre gem because Chet never advertises other than to put out his ‘NOW OPEN’ signs. So, how is it that this farm’s blueberries disappear within a few weeks of ripening every July? Word of mouth, which spreads fast about these fat, juicy blueberries bursting into bountiful goodness. However, do not count on your friends telling you about Chet’s because most prefer to keep this treasure trove to themselves. Pretty as a picture, with well-groomed, spacious rows of fruit, lots of parking and restrooms, Chet’s has become a local favorite. When I questioned Chet about how he got involved in blueberry growing, he said, “While there are a lot of fruit growers in Central Wisconsin, there were no blueberry U-Pick operations in Portage County. I filled a much-needed market niche, which is what I like.”

July is National Blueberry Month! According to USDA and various university studies, blueberries offer these potential health benefits:   

(Continued on Page 8) Opposite Page: An overview of Chet’s Blueberry U-Pick Farm. Top: One of Chet’s eight blueberry cultivars in bloom. Right: Blueberries ripe for the picking!

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Overall antioxidant superstar! Anti-aging - helps improve aging’s motor skills and reverse short-term memory loss. The anthocyanin in blueberries is a great anti-cancer ingredient and helps reduce eyestrain, improve night vision and possibly avoid macular degeneration. Helps prevent urinary tract infections Neighbors-July 2011


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BUSY BEES Chet, who previously owned and operated Rainbow Falls in Plover, is first and foremost a businessperson and does not like to leave anything to chance. That is why he uses honeybees to pollinate his blueberries. Chet uses the services of John and Dan Piechowski, Henry’s Honey Farm, Red Granite, WI. According to Chet, “We rent hives from Henry’s Honey Farm and always have good success with them. I personally see the power of good pollination in my own fruit. With pollination, it is perfectly formed, bigger and sweeter. Un-pollinated fruit is stunted.” Chet also benefits from several bumblebees that seem to appear out of nowhere each year to supplement the rented honeybees. NUTRIENTS Each row of Chet’s blueberry bushes includes thirty-two yards of humus organic mixture (mulch, peat moss, sawdust, wood chips, grass cuttings, pine needles and leaves) and two irrigation lines. (Continued on Page 9) Above: Chet rents pallets of honeybees each year from Henry’s Honey Farms for pollination. Middle: A bumblebee searches for pollen amidst the blueberry blossoms. Bottom Left: Shawn Rubey, one of Chet’s employees, surveys the lifelike eagle he just installed to scare the other birds away from the bushes.

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Each row is 300 feet long and there are 150 rows, which translates into 45,000 feet of plastic drip lines. Chet estimates with main runs and valves, he has nine miles of underground pipe. THREATS “Birds, birds, birds!” exclaims Chet when you ask what his biggest obstacle is. He tries everything to keep them out from shooting cannons (not a neighborhood favorite) to installing lifelike predatory owls and eagles suspended on a pole. The eagles soar across the rows, which Chet says is the most effective deterrent thus far. Chet says the birds can literally wipe out his crop, “I think they held their state convention here last year and ate so much, they might hold their national convention here this year!” CULTIVARS Whatever kind of blueberry you like, you will probably find it at Chet’s since his 14,000 blueberry bushes include eight of the main varieties grown in our area. Blueberry bushes offer plenty of fall ornamental color. Leaves range from yellow to dark orange. Simply call (715)340-4989 or check Facebook.com/Chets-BlueberryFarm page for updates on picking days and times. Top: Chet surveys his burgeoning bushes and provides a great view of his colorful logo. Middle: Chet and Shawn groom some new blueberry bushes. Bottom: The blueberries are getting closer to picking time!

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Top: From blossom to fruit to fall leaves, blueberries provide beauty for nearly every season! Below: Work never ceases as the blueberry bushes mature. Picking rocks, monitoring irrigation, checking for insect damage or blight – Chet and his crew never run out of things to do! (Continued on Page 9)

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MORE BLUEBERRIES! A second visit to Chet’s Blueberries ‘yielded’ many photos of bushes loaded with ripening fruits.

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RASPBERRIES, CURRANTS, GOOSEBERRIES & MORE! Lakeview Berry Farm Mosinee, WI by Ruth Johnson, Editor

1746 Bergen Road Mosinee, WI 54455

715-457-2704 lakeviewberry@hotmail.com www.lakeviewberryfarm.com Facebook.com/Lakeview-Berry-Farm Mon-Sun: 7:00 am-8:00 pm Page 12

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Berry goodness oozes out of every ounce of Lakeview Berry Farm, a U-Pick berry farm most famous for its bountiful brambleberry crops: red, black, purple and gold raspberries; red, champagne, black and white currants; blueberries; rhubarb and red and green gooseberries. Renowned for some of the sweetest and largest fruit in the area, owner Dennis Lewer attributes their success to their location – the rolling hills of Big Eau Pleine Flowage. “We live in a microclimate with the lake effect continually affording us a milder climate than most of Central Wisconsin.” “Additionally, when the glaciers came through,” continues Dennis, “they deposited a solid foundation of topsoil abundantly rich in all the nutrients berries and other crops need to thrive.” The berries are not the only things that flourish. Lakeview Berry Farms is now in its twentieth year and currently operated by the second generation of Lewers. Shawn Lewer, son, serves as manager while sister, Danielle Banks and Becky Herrick, Shawn’s fiancée, assist him. A prolific third generation follows closely behind, lending their helping hands as well. (Continued on Page 14) Opposite Page: Three younger members of the family’s third generation show off upcoming gooseberry crops. This Page: A gorgeous display of Lakeview Berry Farm’s tasty berry selections.

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BERRY DELICIOUS All of Lakeview Berry Farms mouth-watering yet low calorie fruits are anti-oxidant powerhouses, high in vitamin C. They profoundly impact against aging diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and mental decline. BREATHTAKING VIEWS Another reason Lakeview Berry Farms is so popular is its panoramic landscape, sweeping across Big Eau Pleine Flowage and the surrounding valley. The trellised raspberry rows line the sloping farmland while gooseberry and currant bushes attractively border the farmstead area. Even if you did not pick or eat a single berry, Lakeview Berry Farms would be worth the trip just for the unique opportunity to enjoy their scenery. Lakeview Berry Farms offers all of their berries in these formats:    

Fresh – Pick your own or have them picked and available at your convenience. Freshly Frozen - Available in two-pound bags, call first. Wine Varieties - Perfect berries for aromatic and beautifully flavored wines in two-pound bags and five-quart pails. Jams – Plenty of mouth-watering raspberry flavors. (Continued on Page 14)

Top: Covered shelters dot the wide avenues between fields while rows are clearly marked. Birdhouses are everywhere. Middle: Danielle checks fruit progress. Bottom: Beautifully scenic, Lakeview Berry Farms is a treat for the eyes as well as the taste buds.

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BIRDS AHOY! While most berry growers foster an adversarial relationship with local bird populations, Lakeview Berry Farms welcomes the winged denizens. Danielle explains, “We lose 25% of the crop to birds but those same birds eat a ton of insects that would otherwise create more damage than any bird could.” Wooden and gourd birdhouses spring up at every turn, attracting nearly every bird imaginable, even eagles, soaring high above. FARM FACTS Lakeview Berry Farm does not rent or own beehives. The farm’s dense berry bush/cane coverage acts as a natural hive. “In the spring, when the bushes blossom,” Danielle exclaims, “the fields hum with constant honeybee activity.” The berry bushes normally last about 10 years but due to the high, natural nutrients in Lakeview Berry Farms’ soil, some fields are 15-years old and still producing. Meanwhile, young and old will wind their way between carefully manicured rows, wide enough even for the disabled, and gather Lakeview Berry Farm’s berry bounty. Happy picking! Top Left: More of the sweeping vistas and birdhouses surrounding the area. Top Right (Left to Right): Siblings, Shawn Lewer and Danielle Banks, Shawn’s fiancée, Becky Herrick and sister-in-law, Jessica Lewer, shown with parents/owners, Fran Lewer & Dennis Lewer. Middle: Shawn keeps the wide lanes between rows nicely manicured for easier berry picking. Bottom: Some of the many gourd birdhouses that ring the fields.

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HARDCORE HOBBY! Dennis (driving tractor) & Fran (below right) Lewer, Lakeview Berry Farm founders, are long-time John Deere enthusiasts. Dennis drives his JD 5225 utility tractor hard, building a large pond on their property. He estimates he saved at least $30,000 doing the scraping, digging and hauling himself with the help of his handy JD 5225!

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U.S. FINALS CHEERLEADER CHAMPION FROM WESTFIELD By Ruth Johnson, Editor

Achievement is what Shania Bowers gained on her trip to Virginia Beach, VA. She competed in a national cheerleading competition, The U.S. Finals, before a crowd of 30,000 spectators. Shania, daughter of Westfield residents, Mike and Laurie Bowers, and a sophomore at Westfield High School, is a member of an All Star Cheerleading sports team called Madtown Twisters. Madtown Twisters teaches young athletes discipline, self-motivation, perseverance, pride, respect and sportsmanship through competitive cheerleading, focusing on stunting, tumbling, dance and performance. The team had to place in First to Fifth place in its division in several regional competitions in order to qualify for The U.S. Finals. At The U.S. Finals, Madtown Twisters took third place in their division. In a previous regional competition at Kenosha, WI, Shania won First Place in Individual Dance. (Continued on Page 19) Top Left: Shania demonstrates her advanced gymnastic skills. Middle: Shania and her mother, Laurie. Bottom: Shania and the Madtown Twisters team.

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Shania described her first competition at the Resch Center in Green Bay, “At first, when I was waiting behind the curtain to compete, I was every nervous to perform in such a large center and in front of so many people. Once I got onstage, I was fine and did very well.” TOGETHERNESS Cheerleading is a family event with both Shania and Laurie, her mother, traveling to Madison weekly for team practice this last year and once a month to regional competitions. “The time I spent with Shania this year was well worth the effort because it was a fantastic mother/daughter bonding experience,” states Laurie. Laurie coached Shania’s middle school dance team for two years, which benefited from funding from area sponsors. Laurie’s coaching efforts provided a solid foundation, helping guide Shania through her Madtown Twister efforts. All the girls are judged on their individual efforts and Shania continuously high in her dancing achievements. Shania will take a break from cheerleading this year to concentrate on schoolwork and enjoy some free time. Top Left: Shania and one of her teammates won top honors. Top Right: Shania’s team performs on stage. Middle: Prior to her award-winning performance, Shania holds a young fan. Bottom: Shania on her favorite tractor brand with her mother, Laurie.

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CHAINSAW ARTISTRY Poetry in Motion! By Ruth Johnson, Editor

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A Westfield, WI tornado in 2004 felled a huge tree in Dick Taft’s yard, launching him towards exploring a craft that intrigued him for years – carving wood sculptures with a chainsaw. The tree snapped over, leaving about eight feet of trunk still standing. Dick had a tree specialist remove the tree but asked the specialist to leave the trunk as it stood. THE BIRTH OF GUIDO Dick studied the trunk from all angles for quite some time before beginning his first cut to create Guido, a fisher bear. Guido was fashioned after an old angler in bib overalls whom Dick noticed for years at a Northern lake while fishing with friends. The old angler always fished from the shore with a cane pole and looked European so Dick and his pals nicknamed him, Guido. Guido, shown above, now serves as a permanent testimony to Dick’s chain sawing artistry. He is the focal point of Dick’s back yard, which is populated with other creatures that sprang from Dick’s chainsaw artistry. (Continued on Page 22) Top: Guido, the fisher bear, was Dick’s very first chainsaw sculpture. Right: Eagles are another favorite theme for Dick, which he carves in a variety of poses and angles.

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SPECIAL RECOGNITION In 2011, Dick received a brand new, lightweight STIHL 250 chainsaw in recognition for thirty years of service to the company where he worked. Even though lightweight, it had plenty of power to carve through the toughest wood! The new chainsaw made Donna, Dick’s wife, extremely happy, “It is so much quieter than his old chainsaw! I no longer have to shut the windows and doors when he is chainsaw sculpting!” AVAILABLE COMMERCIALLY Dick sells his sculptures throughout the United States, primarily through people who drive by his home or the couple’s favorite campground on Lake Puckaway and see his work on display. “One of my first sales was to a fellow who drove by the house and saw a family of five bears (Papa, Momma and three little ones), I had just finished,” says Dick. “He ended up buying all five because he said he couldn’t split up the family.” Customers and friends happily spread the word about the whimsical creatures he creates. Dick also participates in several craft shows yearly. To contact Dick, (608) 296-2386. (Continued on Page 23) Top Left: One of Dick’s eagles takes shape. Top Right: A fanciful creation overlooks the woodpile, partially camouflaged by the greenery. Bottom Left: Dick has many requests for dogs like this Golden Retriever and is happy to customize a sculpture to clients’ desires.

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Top: Dick’s creatures populate his yard, waiting for final changes. Below: Chainsaw carving requires safety first, a sharp blade, a good supply of wood and most importantly, an eye for the creature that waits to be carved from the wood.

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Top: It is an astonishing wonderment to drive by Dick’s yard and see his wood menagerie! Below Left: A lone moose keeps watch over the birds. Below Right: This is my favorite eagle created by Dick, primarily because it is so detailed. It looks as if it will fly away at a moment’s notice.

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Enjoy that ‘Up North’ feeling without the drive, alongside the Wisconsin River. Order favorites like Black Angus burgers & JUMBO fried shrimp. Eighty different kinds of ice-cold beer & handcrafted Bloody Marys. Happy Hour weekdays 2-5pm, live bands on summer weekends!

Anchor Bay Bar & Grill

(715) 423-0010

EXPERIENCE THE SILVER COACH! The only authentic railroad car restaurant in Central WI!

Home of Miller's Fresh Garden Peas

anchorbaybarandgrill.com 3460 North Biron Dr, Wisconsin Rapids

TUES-SUN (Closed Mondays) Dining 11am-9pm Bar 11am-Close

Wide array of mostly Wisconsin based fresh produce, fruits, berries, jams & jellies, honey, flowers, meats and cheeses, Wollersheim and Door County wines and more.

715-249-3060

N4317 Elizabeth Lane Hancock, WI 54943 pmillerfarms@gmail.com www.grammamillersmarket.com

Steeped in history since 1940, the Silver Coach seats 70 and offers romantic, private dining for two. Elegant, delicious cuisine provides unforgettable dining! Seasonal outside patio dining available. RESERVATIONS: (715) 341-6588 38 Park Ridge Dr, Stevens Point (Half Mile W of I-39 & Hwy 66/10 Interchange)

MONDAY -SATURDAY (closed Sundays) Lounge: Open 4pm  Dining: 5pm-10pm

www.silvercoachrestaurant.com

Open 7 days, 9:00am-5:00pm

If you love berries, Lakeview Berry Farm is heaven! Pick your own rainbow of strawberries, blueberries, currants, gooseberries and red, black, purple and gold raspberries. (715) 457-2704 lakeviewberry@hotmail.com www.lakeviewberryfarm.com Mon-Sun: 7:00am - 8:00pm

Your prime destination for steaks, seafood and cocktails served with exceedingly friendly service in a relaxed, Northwoods atmosphere. Our signature entrée, Prime Rib, is available nightly. Dine in for our traditional Friday Wisconsin Fish Fry or use our convenient Friday “Fish on the Fly” drive-thru. We offer GLUTEN-FREE & GARLIC-FREE options.

(715) 341-7714

redmillsupperclub.com

1222 County Rd HH W, Stevens Point Mon Tue-Thurs Fri Sat-Sun

Closed 5:00-9:00 pm 4:00-9:30 pm 5:00-9:00 pm

U-PICK AMAZING BIG SWEET BLUEBERRIES! Ripening Soon! (Mid July-End of August)

Watch for the opening notice on our website, Facebook page and our farm roadside signs Over 14,000 blueberry plants with more than eight varieties on 12 acres. We provide buckets or bring your own. Lots of fun! 525 County Rd J North, Stevens Point


Delivering fire and rescue services to the Village of Whiting, emergency assistance throughout Plover/Southern Metro area and hazardous materials response to the entire county, keeps the dedicated Village of Whiting Fire & Rescue Department hopping. Through cooperative intergovernmental efforts, this group provides improved services; controls costs and combines purchasing efforts; furthers training and public education; manages fire inspections and investigations; and most importantly, creates the safest possible working environment for their firefighters. (Continued on Page 27)

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Top: Structure Fires Rapid Intervention team is on the scene hard at work in both the house fires on the right and the left. Below: Whiting Fire & Rescue responds to a house Fire in Stevens Point.

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Day Trips By Heather Kizewski & Ann Marie Worzalla

THE HOUSE ON THE ROCK Spring Green, WI There are places you read about or someone mentions or describes to you and you think, “Yeah, I’d like to go there someday,” but then forget about over time. The House on the Rock might be easy to forget because it is unlikely any photograph or print or online article, no matter how detailed or vivid, could truly capture its essence. It is also unlikely that any writer could fully illustrate with words so artful as to give the reader a true glimpse of a place this truly outrageous.

Welcome to Day Trips! Inspired by an authentic passion for travel, each month we will share a unique adventure accomplished in one day; no overnight bags required. We are sisters-in-law from Stevens Point and Amherst, whose families are involved in potato farming, so we are firmly entrenched in Central Wisconsin. For more than six years, we have ventured forth in search of unique destinations – it is amazing how far you do not have to go to experience the moments we often seek in faraway lands. We hope to spark your wheels into motion. You are only a day trip away!

Above: Sisters-in-law, Heather Kizewski (left) & Ann Marie Worzalla (right).

ORIGINS In the 1940’s, Alex Jordan, an architect, discovered a sixty-foot spindle of rock towering in a breathtaking valley of Spring Green, WI, upon which he created his vision of an unforgettable grand residence. (Continued on Page 29) Left: A dragon adorns a unique sculpture at the House on the Rock’s entry. Below: A view from the forested valley below highlights the Infinity Room literally suspended in space. SPECIAL NOTE: Click here to go to Day Trips’ Facebook page.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS My first visit occurred when I was seventeen years old. It was for a school trip and I did not want to go. That morning, I contemplated “coming down” with a sore throat. Little did I know I would come back nine more times during the next two decades of my adult life. People have often asked me, “Why so many times?” The answer is mainly I wanted to share it with others in my life, whom I knew would find it just as baffling and eccentric as I do – a true marvel – like walking around in the strangest dream or maybe a bizarre painting at a worldly museum somewhere far away. Page 28

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(Continued from Page 28) Left: Waterfalls outside the house cascade magnificently down this nature-inspired wonder.

HARMONY The tour features dozens of incandescent instrument displays that seem to play by themselves when you insert a token. Opulent sounds range from classical to swing, twangy old Wurlitzer country to ancient Oriental to powerful organ chords that strike throughout your entire body.

FUNDING When Alex decided to build this house (a weekend retreat), he never intended for it to become a tourist attraction. Yet people continued to ask to visit the architectural wonder they heard about through word of mouth. Alex started out asking for fifty-cent donations, funneled directly into further expansions, taking it to levels even more astonishing. PROGRESSION The fourteen-room original house subsequently grew into a wondrous complex of buildings, exhibits and garden displays. Although Alex was a major collector all his life and enjoyed visiting museums, he did not want The House on the Rock to become one.

Ann Marie commented several times throughout this trip, her first visit, that the experience would be completely different without the music; that with it, you feel drawn further into this mystic realm. HERITAGE OF THE SEA My all-time favorite musical display is Heritage of the Sea with one section, the Octopus’ Garden (shown on page 26); strumming a unique instrumental version of The Beatles 1969 hit song. An unforgettable 200-foot, boat-swallowing sea creature dominates the entire area. However, my heart sadly skips beats for the many distinguished relics, including several authentic letters from Pearl Harbor about the U.S.S. Arizona and menus from the Queen Mary. (Continued on Page 30)

(Continued on Page 28)

While many of his collections could have found their way into ordinary museums, they remained in this bizarre structure designed by a brilliant man with an extraordinary imagination. Alex passed away November 6, 1989. His longtime associate, Art Donaldson, a businessperson and collector who shared Alex’s broad interests, now owns The House on the Rock and continues Alex’s dream of entertaining visitors worldwide. Top Right: One of many musical-themed displays visitors can enjoy. Bottom: Orchestras of instrument-playing mannequins populate this entire room.

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It lures you straight to an old-fashioned pizza parlor where you can order ice-cold tap beer with the tastiest pizza you will ever consume.

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They also sell Italian roast beef and deli subs, but it is difficult to resist the pizza once you smell it.

RELATED CIRCUMSTANCES

INDOOR CAROUSEL

My most recent discovery in these maritime papers revealed information, which referenced an overlooked coincidence. Before the Titanic was even designed and fourteen years prior to its sinking, Morgan Robertson wrote a novel titled Futility.

Reported as the world’s largest, House on the Rock’s carousel (shown above), has 269 different beasts (no horse heads) from around the world.

The novel involved the shipwreck of the fictitious Titan, a supposedly unsinkable ship that hit an iceberg in the month of April, the same month the Titanic sank.

Hundreds of mannequin angels hang from the ceiling while the carousel is studded with over 20,000 lights and 182 glowing chandeliers. It weighs 36 tons and is valued at 4.8 million dollars. MARVELOUS ODDITIES

Naturally fascinated by coincidence, the peculiar similarities regarding the two shipwrecks literally raised the hair on my arms. Not only are the names similar; with only 24 lifeboats, the Titan, like the Titanic with only 20 lifeboats, was far short of what they needed. The Titan’s length measured 800 feet; the Titanic 882.5 feet. The Titan’s top speed was 25 knots; the Titanic was 23 knots. The list goes on. SENSES LURED Just as you are getting lost in shipwreck history, the unexpected alarmingly delicious smell of pizza hits you! Above: Musical instruments positioned on chairs, play melodiously all by themselves. Right: A wicked-looking Samurai reigns amidst mythical dragons.

There is something wild, whimsical and unpredictable around every corner: sparkling crown jewels, lavish suits of armor, enormous antique gun collection, spectacular ivory carvings, blue stained glass and a room-rumbling performance at the end of Streets of Yesteryear (keep your tokens ready for that). Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy in the colossal Red Room is also captivating. The hypnotic Samurai Room’s spellbinding music leaves you feeling as if you were amongst ancient snake charmers. RECOMMENDATIONS I suggest touring House on the Rock from March 25 to October 30. Otherwise, many exhibits and the Pizza Parlor are closed. You can choose option to split up your tour seeing only certain sections at a time. However, I highly recommend seeing them all, since there is nothing I would condone missing. Leisurely enjoy your experience to the fullest, which takes three-five hours. Wear comfortable shoes. (Continued on Page 31)

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This gives you time to savor your pizza and maybe a hand-dipped cone or old-fashioned malt from the ice cream shop adjacent to the parlor. I highly recommend visiting in fall when foliage colors are at their peak (usually October’s second week). The outdoor flower gardens/waterfalls are most vivid and lush in summer, but feel crisp, cool and fresh in fall. You have the option of visiting during Christmas, but your favorite sections may be closed then. Personally, I prefer seeing the exhibits without the holiday décor. FINAL REFLECTIONS

It is worthwhile to browse through the gift shop before you go. Check out the unique souvenirs and gorgeous candy. On your way home, be sure to stop and view the various lookout points off Highway 23 (you will see signs). Viewing the Infinity Room from a distance made us further appreciate the Alex Jordan’s brilliance and the beauty of Spring Green, reiterating what a truly worthwhile trip it is to take. For more details, visit The House on the Rock’s website: www.thehouseontherock.com. (More photos continued on Page 32)

Although Ann Marie listened intently for many years as I described The House on the Rock prior to our Day Trip, she concluded, “Regardless of what you pictured in your mind, it exceeds anything your imagination can conjure! The most elaborate descriptions or photos make it only ‘ho-hum’ compared to what you actually see, hear, smell, taste and feel in person.“ Top Left: A collection of medieval towers. Top Right: The Infinity Room is worth a trip on its own. It extends 218 feet straight over Spring Green’s Wyoming Valley, and 156 feet above the forest floor. Its walls house 3,264 windows. The views are staggering, especially the treetops below. Bottom: The Heritage of the Sea room’s 200-foot long sea creature is big enough to swallow boats.

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Top: House on the Rock delivers a montage of strange and wonderful room filled with both authentic antiques and fantastical creations that sweep you off your feet. Below: The grounds are just as deliciously imaginative as the interior yet they possess a more serene, Zen-like atmosphere - a refreshing break.

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Top: Many sections of the House on the Rock exhibit an eclectic mixture that seems total unconnected like the angel, knight, lions, giant clock and Virgin Mary statue above. Below: Another landscape feature, the water wheel and waterfall pond deliver a calming influence that is a delight to behold.

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I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR! By Ruth Johnson, Editor

An avid landscaper, I love to prune bushes, trim trees and clear land. In the past, I have cleared large tracts of land by hand with a loppers shears (2” diameter capacity) and my grandfather’s old pruning saw. This year, in early June, I jumped into the current century with the purchase of a new STIHL chainsaw MS 180 C. I chose it because it offered a ready-start mechanism, was lightweight enough to heft around for hours and unlike earlier chainsaws, it self-applies chain lubrication oil as it saws. I do not always believe such claims until I try them but I was pleasantly surprised to find my new STIHL MS 180 C fulfilled all benefits and then some – particularly the incredibly easy starting mechanism! I tested it on some small, 3-inch diameter trees, cutting off the top half first and then dispatching the bottom. Of course, I wore my safety goggles and gloves but plan on investing in some Kevlar chaps and leather shoes for future jobs.

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Neighbors-July 2011


SUMMER IS VEGGIE TIME, TOO! Summer’s hot sun and warm showers bring out the growth in peas (pictured), field corn, sweet corn, beans, potatoes, onions, beets and more throughout Central Wisconsin.

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Neighbors-July 2011


Neighbors-1107 July 2011