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Migrants in Madison............................................................. 6 Ugly Apple Cafe................................................................. 14
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Déjà vu. It was this time last year when I wrote of the hope and promise for a new year. I had long awaited the end of 2020, and even though I didn’t anticipate a snap-of-the-fingers change on January 1, I thought that 2021 couldn’t possibly be as bad or worse. Others’ opinions may vary on the outcome of that specific detail, but certainly none of us could have imagined the year that was.
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COVID-19 deaths continue to mount, with more variants appearing every few months. National and local economies are struggling. We’re divided seemingly more than ever on civil rights, personal rights, and motives and outcomes of present-day historic events. Locally, we’re very much affected, but I’ve felt a sense of community, support, and determination to come through it better and stronger. Madison Essentials is once again honored to be a sponsor of Soup’s On! (danebuylocal.com-soups-on). Each weekly sale gives me a chance to personally talk with community members who tell me they’re so glad we’re continuing the event and efforts to support local restaurants, FEED Kitchens, and Badger Prairie Needs Network. They want to help, and this is a great opportunity to do so. In return, they get to enjoy delicious soup! It’s not just there I hear these expressions. I am fortunate to get to talk with many people, and it’s always heartwarming to hear the success stories from individuals, families, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and others who have made it through difficult, sometimes traumatic, times. There’s a lot of love here, and given the opportunity, I think people want to do what they can to make our community a better place for everyone in it. But we have a lot of work yet to be done. We at Madison Essentials will continue to do our part by telling stories about the people, places, and things of the greater Dane County area. It’s my hope that this is a kickoff to a year full of hope and triumphs.
4 | madison essentials
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Watch for the next issue March/April 2022.
Cover photograph—Tequila Reaper Smothered Breakfast Burrito from Migrants taken by Eric Tadsen Photographs on page 3: left— Biscuits and Gravy from Ugly Apple Cafe taken by Eric Tadsen right— taken at Wisconsin Cutlery & Kitchen Supply by Eric Tadsen
A NOTE FROM
In our September/October 2021 issue, we ran Part I of a two-part series featuring the homes in Shorewood Hills. It was meant to be an interesting addition to our ongoing landmark series, but we realized there was more to it when we received an email from a reader: In the same issue as the “Power and Privilege” article, the “Shorewood Hills” article by Jeanne Engle chooses to focus on providing yet more voice to the very power and privilege that formed and continues to govern this well-educated elite (e.g., white, rich) village. The article blatantly ignores the longstanding deed restriction (voted on recently by the board to keep in writing) that “no negro may buy or own property” here. To challenge readers to be authentic and truly “responsible for the culture we live in and for the changes that need to be made,” perhaps Madison Essentials could lead by example. We hate to plead ignorance, but the email certainly caught us off guard. The reader is absolutely correct— those words are not just part of the Shorewood Hills deed restrictions but of other deed restrictions across the state. It’s something we were unaware of at the time. We’re happy to report that the Wisconsin REALTORS Association is working to remove the verbiage statewide. But why wasn’t it removed decades ago? And why would it take any significant amount of time to get it done? Everyone has their own answers. For those of us at Madison Essentials, it reminds us of the ongoing work left to do regarding racism in the state. Wisconsin adopted the state motto “FORWARD” in 1851, but every now and then it feels like this is merely the direction we tripped into the 21st century. This is why we have chosen to feature Sandy Eichel’s articles the past years. They’re a voice in the community focused on equity in all its forms. There are readers who don’t agree with everything Sandy says, but it’s our hope that people pause and ask some tough questions of themselves, friends, and community—believing reflection is key to personal growth. That’s really what Madison Essentials is. We’re not journalists. We’re not trying to break stories in hopes of getting clicks. In fact, each issue’s stories are written a few months before they release. What we are is a collection of voices in the community in love with the Greater Madison area. Local restaurants, events, people, art, these things make up the bulk of our content. But to complete the circle, we embrace direct reader feedback. Most is positive, but there is the occasional piece of pointed criticism. The above email fits the latter, and we become a better publication for it. Thank you.
e sse nt i al dining
Spicy Pork in Corn Tortilla, Tings Chicken in Flour Tortilla, and Carne Asada in Blue Corn Tortilla
by Kyle Jaco b son It’s hard to think of a food that has celebrated and betrayed a culture more than the hype and expectations surrounding tacos and burritos. To some, knowledge of Mesoamerica doesn’t extend beyond fast-food tacos—a goto for myself after hotboxing in college. But then there’s a deeper appreciation for the food found in rolled out blue corn tortillas filled with ripe ingredients from a backyard garden. Though I’ve no problem with the Americanized take on Mexican food, I think what’s lost in translation deserves to be discovered through authentic indulgence, and the best place to experience it just might be Migrants in Madison. Owner Oscar Villarreal learned early on about his passion for food. “Everything I 6 | madison essentials
loved to do was to cook. I always cooked when I got home from school. I always fed my cousins.” Natural as the road seemed, it was paved with hard work and deep loss. But he’d learned at a young age the importance of establishing a goal and working harder than expected to achieve its end, aptly summed up in a lesson his uncle taught him. At Rodriguez Brothers Farm, just north of Delevan in Turtle Valley, a nine-yearold Oscar was tasked with using the new lawnmower to mow the different grasses surrounding and intersecting the 2,300-acre farm. In one of the fields sat a large rock. Upon encountering the rock, Oscar maneuvered around it then continued mowing his rows. When he was done, his uncle checked his work.
“What happened there?” asked his uncle, noting the rock. “I had to go around the rock,” said Oscar. “Oh, so you were too lazy to get off the tractor to move the rock?” It turns out Oscar’s uncle had put the rock there to see what he would do. He told Oscar to go to the front office and get the hedge trimmer. For the next four hours, Oscar cut the rest of the grass by hand. If we’re going to Aesop this: always do the thing doing with what you’re doing. Oscar worked at the farm until he was 20, when he became a dishwasher at the
Red Geranium in Lake Geneva. Roughly six months after starting, “the salad lady didn’t show up one day, so I jumped on the salad station. The chef came back there and was like, ‘What’s happening here? Where’s...’ I don’t remember her name. “I go, ‘I don’t know. She’s not here. But I got everything set up, chef.’ “He’s like, ‘Well, who taught you?’ “And I was like, ‘I taught myself. I was watching. This is the next step, right? Going from here to there?’” What people might’ve second-guessed came second-nature to Oscar. His attitude landed him a scholarship through Red Geranium to attend WCTC in Waukesha, where he took cooking classes. Thanks to his continued work with the chefs at the restaurant, he always felt more than prepared for his lessons. He also learned that no matter what you’re doing in life, there are always rocks in the way, and there were more occasions he didn’t get off the tractor to move them. At 15, he came to understand that he was a young gay man growing up in a Catholic household. He turned to alcohol and considered himself a full-blown alcoholic at the age of 20. Over time, Oscar successfully quieted the alcoholism demon only to find another one that sticks with him to this day. The deaths of his sons. There’s a lot more to the story than what I have room for, but the short version Oscar shared with me is his son Emilio, 18, and nephew were pulled over in Walworth County one night in January 2013. The police claimed they were looking for someone with the tools to break into a house, and Emilio and his cousin were driving their grandfather’s work truck. They let the nephew go but kept Emilio because he was on probation. Emilio was taken into custody.
Horchata Iced Coffee
Tequila Reaper Smothered Breakfast Burrito
The next day, police took Emilio to the hospital, where he would be shot five times. “They said they shot him because he was trying to escape.” Oscar was confused as to why his son was in the hospital in the first place. “When I finally saw my son, he had been in a battle. He had defense wounds all over his body. Broken nose. Broken collarbone. He had a huge laceration over his head deep enough to where I could stick my hand in. ... Long story short, they killed my son.” Only a year later, Oscar lost his 22-yearold son to a driving accident involving black ice and alcohol. He believes that his sons continue to look down on him and their sister and have given him direction in opening Migrants. In fact, confronting those losses and making the best move for his own health led Oscar to Madison, where he rekindled his love for those days on the farm. “Migrants was always something we had done while eating at the farm. Start at 6:00 a.m. At 9:00 a.m., we’d get a 8 | madison essentials
break. We’d get our tacos out, eat our tacos. Our salsas. We’d share as a family. ... The most memorable times are when we all sat around and shared tacos.” Oscar remembers his mom packing him extra food and telling him, “Make sure you always take care of the ones that don’t have anything. Make sure you feed them. That’s why you get extra.” And the food is truly farm food. As great as the meats are, I fell in love with the vegetarian options. Where some restaurants rely on soy to simulate meat, Migrants acknowledges that there are ingredients out there that taste great on their own and don’t need the assistance of bland imitation. “I saw that in this area there wasn’t a lot of vegetables being utilized as vegetables. There was a lot of soy products being turned into chorizo or hot dogs or burgers. Why are you trying to make something out of...when you could literally grab the vegetable, like my mom did; chop it up; and it would literally be the vegetarian version of
meat.” We’re talking cauliflower steaks with malaise sauce and portabella torta. The attention Oscar gives his tortillas— making all by hand except for the giant burrito—speaks to an artform that he has yet to see anyone else in his restaurant master. Some customers just come in to buy his tortillas, the blue corn being my favorite. Tender meats, flavor-packed vegetables, and the mixing of hot and sweet balances out his build-your-own tacos with texture and flavor. The salsa bar, arranged with 10 different options from least to most spicy, gave me what I look for in salsas: flavor first, spice second. Spice is important, but I want to enjoy what I’m eating if I’m going to pay for it later. And then there’s the tequila reaper queso sauce. Creamy, cheesy, and just the right amount of heat for someone who maxes out around habanero. This stuff tastes good on anything, but over a burrito—pause for effect—suffice to
M ig ra nt s i s a s muc h a ce le brat ion of Me soa mer ica n food s a s it i s of l i fe it se l f.
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frabonisdeli.com say you’ll be comparing subsequent burritos to this one. From the good times to the bad, to growth, to discovery, Migrants is as much a celebration of Mesoamerican foods as it is of life itself. Patrons who’ve already fallen in love with Oscar’s food have found something far more valuable than the sum of its parts. What that is, I can’t exactly put to words, but I join them in contending that it’s worth it. Kyle Jacobson is lead writer and senior copy editor for Madison Essentials.
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Photographs by Eric Tadsen.
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e sse nt i al shopping
WISCONSIN CUTLERY & KITCHEN SUPPLY
Knives Out by Krystle Engh Naab
Wisconsin Cutlery & Kitchen Supply is the one stop kitchen store stocked with the essentials for any home chef, from the everyday cook to the master chef. Owner Michelle Dietz not only aims to provide quality products and services in her store—avoiding the frivolous and trendy—but a lot of attention is focused on teaching the proper usage and care of knives. She assures me she’s not trying to show off or knife shame anyone. “I started out in the beginning as a very enthusiastic customer,” says Michelle. From there, she joined the Wisconsin Cutlery staff in 2011 and purchased the business in April 2016. Michelle’s outgoing personality and passion for her business translates to a pleasant shopping experience, greatly enhanced by her experienced staff. Together, they agree that knives are treasured items, and they take great care working with them. “Sometimes it can be daunting, but [my staff] welcome the challenges,” says Michelle. “We have buckets of practice knives because we don’t train on people’s knives. It takes months for them to be dead on with sharpening the knife or tool, 10 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s
understanding the differences and needs on each item and how to take apart garden tools to get to the sharpening while not injuring themselves in the process. “It’s amazing how much sentimentality people have attached to their own knives. I remember a woman worried about her knife not being very nice and [asking] if we could sharpen it. ‘Of course, it would be weird if you brought in a knife that had no issues.’ And in talking with her a little longer, it was her mom’s inexpensive knife. But her mom passed away, and she started cooking at home. That not so fancy knife was hugely important. And we see that time and time again.”
and sharpen it back to its former glory. Hunting knives, scissors, garden and sewing tools—the staff are experts. “We can tailor the grit, the speed, and the grind to what we are sharpening, like an axe needing a convex angle rather than a concave angle,” says Michelle. Though it’s been years since Michelle was trained by the previous owner, she recalls when starting as a woman inexperienced with the trade that changing out the equipment was a scary
thing. As her comfort and familiarity with the machines grew, she realized there was still a lot to learn. Not a day goes by when she and the staff don’t teach themselves something new. The staff hoodies read “never underestimate a woman with a belt grinder”, encompassing the knowledge and fearlessness necessary to take on any sharpening. That’s why they believe there’s more value in teaching someone about a
When Michelle took over the business, they were at 17,000 sharpenings a year. In early November 2021, they exceeded 29,000 sharpenings. “We concentrated a lot more on sharpenings, we’ve changed out almost all of the equipment; instead of a giant 36-inch wheel, now I have a belt grinder that is reversible and adjustable and can be worked on with more ease.” And Wisconsin Cutlery goes beyond knives. If it’s got a blade, they can polish madisonessentials.com
knife, how to hold and take care of it, than getting a knife sale. “I could just as easily shut my mouth and get that sale, but that’s a transactional thing,” says Michelle. “And transactions like that don’t build a business. It’s not about getting all the knives; it’s about knowing how to use the knives you have.”
“Sharpening puts a new edge on a knife; maintains the edge currently there.”
Michelle has a phrase for remembering to sharpen knives at home, keeping them at their best while atoning for your sins of neglecting them: Hone & Atone. “A good knife should last you many decades, and for some people, that’s forever. You shouldn’t be coming to me every week, every month. But come every year. What you should be doing in between is honing.” Cutler Lea demonstrated for me the importance of home maintenance and safety when handling kitchen knives. “Sharpening puts a new edge on a knife; honing maintains the edge currently there,” says Lea. “Honing helps straighten back after use so it cuts through cleanly. Honing should be a very gentle, weekly maintenance—no fast or hard peacocking displays with the knife.” Working alongside neighbors Penzeys Spices, Conscious Carnivore, and the like, Michelle finds it vital to support other local brick-and-mortar businesses. “You can’t be brick and mortar and think you can compete with the internet, and this is important,” says Michelle. “I’m not competing with other small, locally owned stores in the area; we all have a place here. We fight together for the survival of local brick and mortar.” Michelle says their sales have never been this good, and that’s because their team has never been this tight. Both sides of the business—retail and sharpening—feed each other. During the pandemic, people who never cooked before, who would prefer to go out, were trying it at home and now need knives sharpened. Having so many new and returning customers means having to grow and evolve, and Michelle is enjoying
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just trying to keep up with the demand of sales and services. But everything still circles back to teaching, even if it’s the most fundamental skills for a hands-off chef like myself. Like learning how to hold a chef knife properly—revolutionary. Michelle inspired me to try something new. When I said, “I’m not the best chef,” she asked, “Are you a cook? Do you enjoy it? Then there is space for you; take it up.” Some find cooking a therapeutic way to unwind and explore, while others, like myself, find it confounding but appreciate the beauty in starting with basic ingredients and evolving into a scrumptious meal. “When you’re in the kitchen, unless you’re insane, you’re cooking with love,” says Michelle. “You are feeding yourself and loved ones, so that gets transferred to those sacred objects.” Krystle Engh Naab is a freelance writer and copy editor for Madison Essentials.
Krystle Engh Naab
Photograph by Barbara Wilson
Photographs by Eric Tadsen.
WISCONSIN CUTLERY & KITCHEN SUPPLY Shorewood Shopping Center 3236B University Avenue Madison, WI 53705 (608) 204-0560 wisconsincutlery.com
e sse nt i al dining
Smash Browns–Bacon Cheddar Potato Bombs with a Sunny Egg
UGLY App le cafe Wasted...fruit. Wasted...fruit. Today we know better than to judge our food on looks. But not too long ago we were produceshaming crooks. Sorry. I apologize to Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf for defacing their music. I also apologize to Laurel Burleson, owner and chef of Ugly Apple Cafe, because this is an article about her Ugly Apple Cafe. But my lyrical offense has a point: the name Ugly Apple is meant to spark conversation aiming to educate patrons that food waste goes beyond just what we throw away after a meal. Even though a lot more of us are coming around to ignoring harmless deformities in our food, the message of waste is plenty relevant, and Ugly Apple is using it to make food that’s as mindful as it is tasty. 14 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s
by Kyle Jacobson
The extent of the food-waste problem really became clear to Laurel during her time working for a high-end restaurant in Madison and, later, a country club. “It seemed like such a shame,” says Laurel. “Why is stuff that’s perfectly good having to go in the trash?” Inspired to do better, Laurel went to farmers’ markets in the area to educate herself on the issue at large. She quickly realized that farmers were having difficulty selling their fruits and vegetables when they came out looking kinda funny. “At the time, it seemed like this is an important niche that people aren’t noticing or seeing. ... I came up with the concept of I want to use seconds, but I was thinking more tomatoes. At the end of tomato season, everyone has way too many tomatoes. Sometimes they’re cracked, but I can make soup. I can make sauce.” The vision was to have a food cart downtown for breakfast, and she had the name Ugly Apple already picked out. “People around my age were like, ‘Great name. Cool.’ And people my parents’ ages were like, ‘Don’t call it that.’” Personally, I dig the name, but there was one large repercussion. Orchards started reaching out to Laurel, and soon she had tons of apples
to work with. Fruit leather, jam, and some apple pastries became staples.
Apple Cider Donuts
To go beyond her then-current apple knowledge, Laurel went to an orchard that produced a large variety of apples to find just the right one for a recipe she was working on. She was wandering around different crates of apples, asking questions to the farmer, when the farmer suggested an apple she’d overlooked: the golden russet. “I would not have grabbed them myself. I was assuming they were going to be mealy because they were a bit soft already. No. They were delicious and, somehow, a little crispy. It’s one of my favorite apples even though they are the ugliest apples.” Perhaps the apple dish she’s most proud of only comes around once a year. “I make a really mean cider donut that I sell at Door Creek Orchard for their fall season.” But enough about apples. Ugly Apple is so much more than its namesake. The food cart people are already familiar with
Autumn Salad with Roasted Squash and Pickled Apples
actually tends to feature non-apple products. “You know you can get a biscuit, egg, and cheddar sandwich. You can get a muffin. The flavors might change, but you know what you’re getting.” The menu fluctuates with what’s in season, and Laurel has learned that she has to keep herself in check creatively. “The last year they had the winter Farmers’ Market at the senior center downtown, which would’ve been 20...18? Time has no meaning anymore. I was resident chef of the breakfast there. Part of the challenge was using as much of the local stuff from the farmers there as possible. ... There’d be those elements of let’s do something cool and fun and kind of crazy, but then it still has to make sense to the people who would be eating bacon and eggs.” Not everyone was interested in her pickled apples. But the Gouda Barb, made from one of Laurel’s biscuits—that was a crowd pleaser. Egg sandwich with ham, gouda, madisonessentials.com
Parmesan Grits with Roasted Vegetables
and her own rhubarb bourbon jam. People were into that sweet and savory combination, which is one of Laurel’s favorite combinations as well. Now a lot of her efforts are focused on informing people how good some fruits and vegetables are that they may have been dismissing. Laurel speaks from experience. “I grew up with everything from a box. ... It’s one thing that really inspired me to start playing with food.”
A perfect example of her own branching out would be when she was working at a restaurant in college and the chef would regularly bring in things from his garden. “I was like, oh! This is what tomatoes taste like. ... I wonder how many more people would like vegetables if they got a chance to try them at their best. Like roasted cauliflower—anything in that cruciferous family, mustard family. If you get some color on it, it’s a whole different animal.”
To further encourage customers to try new foods, she readily shares her recipes, none of which are precious or sacred to her. “Just go make it. It’s time and practice to know how to get it to where it needs to be, but there’s not a special chemical I’m throwing on it or a special oven.” It’s good food, and the heart of most food lies in its sharing and community. Why not work to make the whole experience stretch farther? Ugly Apple Cafe is looking forward to continuing with their presence at the Farmers’ Market this spring. You can also look for their soup now through Soup’s On!, but there’s something else currently in the works: Laurel is working with Tyson Foshay of Madison Sourdough to start a brick-and-mortar location. The location isn’t locked in, and they’re still figuring out some of the logistics, but come this May, they’re hoping to be moved in. Another food venue providing sustainable and local food that tastes
16 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s
delicious. If only every city could be so lucky. Follow Ugly Apple Cafe for pop-up events this winter @uglyapplecafe on Facebook and Instagram. Kyle Jacobson is lead writer and senior copy editor for Madison Essentials.
Photograph by Barbara Wilson
Photographs by Eric Tadsen.
UGLY App le Cafe ( 6 0 8 ) 3 52 - 8 4 5 9 uglyapplecafe . com
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e sse nt i al food & beverage
Photograph by Patricia Espedal
by Renata Solan Rooted, a nonprofit dedicated to “collaborations rooted in food, land, and learning,” emerged in January 2020 from the joining of two community-based nonprofits: Community GroundWorks and Center for Resilient Cities. One of the organization’s longest-standing projects is Troy Farm.
Photograph by Patricia Espedal
Troy Farm is part of the 26 acres of land Rooted stewards on Troy Drive along with Troy Kids’ Garden, Troy Community Garden, and an organically managed prairie. Troy Farm, which has been growing fresh organic food on Madison’s north side for more than 20 years, is membership based with a modified community supported agriculture (CSA) model. Members sign up for farm credit ahead of the growing season and then use that credit at the Troy Farm stand on Thursdays or at the Northside Farmers’ Market on Sundays. Since Troy Farm is part of Rooted, the farm’s work is able to extend as a social enterprise beyond growing food for members. Thanks to a long-standing partnership with the FairShare CSA as well as donor and partner contributions, Rooted can offer subsidized farm memberships and free produce boxes to income-qualified families, including those who are experiencing job loss as well as other factors. 20 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s
All of these community connections and partnerships add up to more vegetables in more households all season long. In 2021, Troy Farm distributed 30,000
pounds of produce beyond what was purchased at the market.
uses. The organization is honored to share some of the farm space and tools with local partners. In 2021, TradeRoots, a group of farmers and chefs with roots in Wisconsin and West Africa, and OM Grow, a group within Occupy Madison, grew food alongside Rooted’s farmers.
Between food for members and additional food that goes back into the Madison community, Rooted is growing a lot of vegetables. Still, the Troy Drive site has more arable land than Rooted
Taylar Foster, Rooted’s farm manager, sees Rooted’s access to land and farming equipment as opportunities for others in the community. “Resources, equipment, and tools are expensive, and land can be hard to find. We are able to grow food on this great land, why not share resources, infrastructure, and tools that we’ve already invested in?”
Photograph by Patricia Espedal
“We also donate a lot of produce to Healthy Food For All,” says Paul Huber, Rooted’s farm director. Healthy Food for All, a food recovery project in Dane County, collects vegetables from Troy Farm as part of their work ensuring local children and families can access affordable, healthy, and culturally appropriate food. “Every week, they come and pick up excess produce that didn’t sell at the market or make it into a produce box, and they deliver it to food pantries, community centers, and apartment complexes.”
Photograph by Taylar Foster
In addition to the farm’s more than 180 annual members, Rooted provides boxes of produce during the 20week growing season to families who qualify. In 2021, 78 such boxes were distributed to families free of charge through partnerships with Sherman Church, Lake View Elementary School, Bayview Foundation, Packer Community Learning Center, and Vera Court Neighborhood Center as well as the Badger Rock Neighborhood Center, which Rooted operates on Madison’s south side.
Sheena Tesch, deputy director of Northside Programs, says, “These collaborations are an opportunity to expand the resources that this land can offer more broadly on the north side and to further serve the community and connect with our neighbors in a longterm way.” For many years, Troy Farm has offered additional ways for community members to grow alongside their farmers through the Urban Farmer Training Program. The farm trainees have paid positions through which they gain hands-on madisonessentials.com
Photograph by Patricia Espedal Photograph by Patricia Espedal
experience prepping the growing beds and seeding plants in the greenhouses in spring, completing the final harvest in autumn, and everything in between. They work alongside the farm crew and volunteers and participate in workshops run by Rooted staff and community partners on everything from pest control to food justice. Taylar notes, “The farm can’t run without our trainees and volunteers.” While it may seem that Rooted’s Troy Farm is spreading roots across a diverse array of programs, it’s the focus on community support that unites all of the efforts. “I think community support is a two-way street,” says Sheena. “Yes, Rooted supports the community with fresh food and grower training, and the community supports Rooted through farm membership, volunteering, and donations. But it’s more than that. We support each other by building community together through connections and relationships with neighbors, other farmers, and other organizations.”
Photograph by Taylar Foster
After the safety precautions of 2020 resulted in fewer in-person interactions, these connections became extra special to Rooted. This past summer saw the return of Rooted’s famed Thursday Nights at Troy, including live music, the Troy Farm stand, and meals prepared by local chefs using Troy Farm vegetables. “Troy Farm means something different to everyone who comes here,” says Taylar. “But everyone gives something to our community and gets something from our community. Without community support, we wouldn’t be doing any of 22 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s
this. We need volunteers and worker shares and farm trainees to help us grow vegetables. We need people to buy our vegetables. We need community centers to help make connections and interpret farm materials and help to distribute food. We need neighbors helping to pick up veggies for each other. There’s a reciprocity and a liveliness to it all.” Renata Solan is the communications director for Rooted and the Wisconsin School Garden Network.
The land that Rooted stewards on Troy Drive is open for the public to visit and explore. You can also become a Troy Farm member, purchase plants from the annual Troy Farm plant sale, grow food at Troy Community Garden, join the Urban Farmer Training Program, register for a family field trip, come to a Thursday Night at Troy dinner, and donate to support Rooted’s work bringing vegetables to more households. For more information, visit rootedwi.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
e sse nt i al nonprofit
Wonderful Ways to Welcome
by Kaitlin Svabek
February is National Bird-Feeding Month, and for good reason! Unpredictable weather means many birds, both year-round residents and winter visitors, can benefit from supplemental sources of food. Plus, taking time to enjoy the beautiful, interesting, frisky birds at your feeder can help minimize the cabin fever that tends to set in this time of year. Whether you’re a seasoned backyard birder or just getting started, there’s no such thing as 24 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s
too much information when it comes to accommodating avian visitors.
Choosing the Right Feeders Choose the right types of food and feeders to entice different types of birds.
Tube Feeders A classic bird feeder, tube feeders are composed of one main compartment with small holes and perches that allow
A bold, black and white downy woodpecker hangs onto the side of a suet feeder. Two popular local birds, downy and hairy woodpeckers, appear similar from a distance, but a trained eye can discern the downy’s smaller stature and shorter, stouter bill.
birds to pluck seeds out. If you decide to hang one feeder, a tube feeder is a great choice. Hang at least five feet off the ground on a branch or pole. • Attracts a wide variety of birds, including black-capped chickadees, tufted titmice, white- and red-breasted nuthatches, house finches, American goldfinches, pine siskins, and even purple finches. • F ill with birdseed mixes or sunflower seeds—black oil seeds provide much-needed energy and are special favorites for birds in our area.
Hopper Feeders These feeders, often covered and watertight, keep seeds protected and stored until a bird hops on, which releases a small portion of seeds. Like tube feeders, these should be hung at least five feet off the ground on a branch or pole. • Attracts many of the same birds as tube feeders and larger birds, such as northern cardinals, blue jays, and blackbirds. • Fill with anything you might put into a tube feeder. Safflower seeds are popular with cardinals and some sparrows; watertight feeders can sometimes work for blends with medium-coarse cracked corn, which is popular with jays.
Tube Mesh and Screen Feeders Appearing similar to tube feeders, these have specific mesh or screening that allows seed to be pulled out. Feeders made from metal, rather than hanging bags, are sturdier and less likely to be ripped open by other tenacious wildlife visitors. Two popular types of these feeders hold Nyjer® (a heat-treated thistle seed) and peanuts. Hang near other feeders if possible.
A ruby red male house finch sits on the edge of a Nyjer ® seed feeder tray. The specialized metal mesh is just the right size for finches to nab the small black seeds stored inside.
Ground and Platform Feeders
• Attracts whichever kinds of birds favor the food you place into them!
At the most basic, these feeders are large trays with screens intended to keep seed clean and just off the ground. They may be covered to keep out precipitation or have mesh to prevent squirrels or larger birds. Place at least 10 feet from a tree or shrub so birds can flee if needed, and avoid using this type of feeder if feral or outdoor cats are common in your area.
• F ill with Nyjer® for finches, pine siskins, and possible common redpolls; whole or crushed peanuts will attract blue jays, woodpeckers, chickadees, titmice, kinglets, wrens, and nuthatches.
• Attracts cardinals; mourning doves; and sparrows, including dark-eyed juncos, song sparrows, American tree sparrows, white-throated sparrows, fox sparrows, and even towhees.
• Fill with white millet, popular with the birds listed above. Sometimes bird seed mixes with dried fruit can be placed in these feeders to encourage American robins, cedar waxwings, and other frugivores.
Suet, a mixture of fats and seed, are useful for birds building up fat reserves during the cold. The most common feeder is a rectangular cage that can be opened to place a cake inside. These work well when hung from branches, wires between trees, or near other feeders. • Attracts nuthatches and Wisconsin woodpeckers (downy, hairy, and red-bellied being the most common). Chickadees, titmice, creepers, and wrens may also visit. • Fill with suet cakes and nutrition-packed bird puddings.
No matter what type you choose, placement is key. It’s lovely to watch from our windows; however, bird collisions with glass can be fatal. To reduce this risk, always place feeders less than 3 feet or more than 30 feet away from a window. Even safer measures include installing window screens on the outside or applying visual references that birds can see, such as appropriately spaced dot stickers. madisonessentials.com
A red-breasted nuthatch perches next to a suet feeder covered with snow. Suet cakes come in many varieties and can include seeds, nuts, and even dried fruit.
Keeping Birds Healthy Feeders are communal spaces where many birds, including those that might not normally come into close contact, gather. Generally speaking, bird feeders should be taken down and cleaned approximately every one or two weeks. Use hot soapy water to scrub off any stuck food or debris. Then soak or spray with a 10 percent bleach solution (one part bleach, nine parts water) and rinse thoroughly. Once the feeder has air-dried completely, refill with fresh seed and replace. Messy areas around feeders can also draw unwanted visitors. Small steps, like adding a seed tray under a tube feeder, can reduce the amount of spillage. In areas with problematic rodents, keeping the ground swept and properly installing a squirrel baffle on poles are useful preventative measures.
A backyard favorite, the tiny black-capped chickadee stops by a suet feeder. They are easily distinguished by their outsized call, which many remember as “chicka-DEE-DEE-DEE.”
26 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s
Remember to check often that the food is in good, edible condition—filling a feeder with a one- or two-day supply decreases the chance that too much moisture will build up inside. Immediately dispose of seed that has become damp, foul smelling, or moldy to avoid birds becoming sick. Any extra food you keep on hand should be stored in a cool, dry location inside rodent- and insect-proof containers.
Building a Long-Term Habitat It can take days or even weeks for birds to locate and regularly return to new feeders. Thinking ahead in the fall to plant native plants and add a source of fresh water can also play a role in encouraging birds to stop by. For those with space in their yard, leaving a bit of overgrowth or a pile of discarded brush creates a space for birds to gather and hide from predators. And one of the best protection for birds is keeping your cat indoors, which provides your pet a cozy space and the wild birds a safer habitat.
With a little work, patience, and persistence, you can design a healthy, welcoming place for birds to thrive through the winter. We’ll be back next issue with more ways to keep wild birds happy year-round. Until then, happy birding! Kaitlin Svabek is a communications specialist for Madison Audubon. Connect with the team at email@example.com or follow them on social media @madisonaudubon. Photographs provided by Lesley Haven.
A cute little chipping sparrow grabs a snack from a tube feeder filled with a birdseed blend. A variety of sparrows visit our area during the winter, so look for the plain grey chest, red cap, and thin black line through the eye to identify a chipping sparrow.
YOU MAKE THE MEMORIES. WE’LL MAKE THEM LAST. Our shop features an extensive selection of frames, mats, and glazing, as well as a custom workshop to create designs inspired by your wildest ideas. OPEN Tues – Sat, 10am – 5pm Schedule an appointment or drop by
1901 Monroe St Madison, WI | 608.255.7330 | monroestreetframing.com
e sse nt i al landmark
SUN PRAIRIE Vibrant Past, Vibrant Present
by Jeanne Engle Comprised of portions of four city blocks consisting of 28 buildings facing onto the 100 and 200 blocks of East Main Street, the Sun Prairie Downtown Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2019. According to the National Register nomination, “Collectively, the buildings in the district have a significance that is even greater than the merit they possess individually because surviving streetscapes of such buildings are rapidly nearing extinction in the changing economic and social reality that characterizes the downtowns of Wisconsin’s cities today.” The story is told that a group of men led by Augustus Bird traveled 28 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s
from Milwaukee to Madison to build Wisconsin’s territorial capitol. On June 9, 1837, they arrived to sunshine at the edge of a large prairie after days of rain. There they carved the words “Sun Prairie” into a tree. In 1839, Charles Bird, Augustus’ younger brother, became the first settler in Sun Prairie. It was on his land that the future downtown was established. Commerce developed as local merchants opened businesses to serve the farmers who arrived nearby. Work on a railroad from Milwaukee to the Baraboo Valley stopped at Sun Prairie in 1859. For the next 10 years until the railroad was completed to Madison, Sun Prairie prospered and became the
shipping point for produce from the surrounding area. Once the railroad no longer ended in Sun Prairie, trade in the village waned until late in the 1800s. Commerce finally picked up, necessitating new buildings in the downtown district. One of the first to be built in the commercial vernacular style in 1878 was the George Maloney block at 223-225 E. Main Street. Today, Nest Interior Design is in one-half of the building, at 223. In business since 2005, Nest Interior Design has been at its current location since 2014. Owner Nicole Fulton is proud to have her business in a historic district. She says, “For us as interior
designers, obviously, we’re heavily invested in the aesthetics and history of the space. The building has texture and character. Amazingly, all the timbers east to west are single logs. It’s a beautiful building. When constructed, the basement windows were above grade. The street was built up to allow for modern utilities, and now the basement is below grade.”
Like the building housing Nicole’s business, structures in the Sun Prairie Downtown Historic District are all second generation, having replaced earlier buildings on their sites, and are all built of brick. Many of the first-story storefronts have been lost to renovation, but the upper floors are all largely intact and retain original decorative brick, wood, and metal cornices.
Nicole adds that J.J. Stitches, the business next door, has an even larger lower level that can be driven into. In the 1920s, Nest’s side was a grocery store with a meat market next door. Apartments now occupy the second floor.
Adriana Perez is co-owner of Abarrotes El Primo, 105 E. Main Street, originally the Queen Anne style Hotel Kleiner, built in 1896. The current enterprise is both a market and a taqueria and has been in business since 2006.
Adriana comments, “I feel grateful and honored to be in this building that has been here for so long. Our business will be part of Sun Prairie’s history in the future. Researchers looking into the history of the building will learn that people from another country came here seeking a better future. They will know that we worked hard, and that people came from all over the area to eat our food and see the town.” Hotel Kleiner was designed by Madison architect John Nader, who also devised Madison’s first sewage treatment plant as the city’s engineer. Another Nader structure in the district, the Charles Britton block, 209-211 E. Main Street, is also a Queen Anne style building from 1899. Like Hotel Kleiner, it has oriel bay windows on the second floor—a signature characteristic of the style. Eddie’s Alehouse & Eatery, 238 E. Main Street, has always been a tavern, according to owner Dan Callies. It was built in 1891 for Matthew Dott to house a saloon, one of almost half of the historic district’s buildings built in the 1890s. Dott was also a first cousin of Dan’s grandfather on his mother’s side. Eddie’s, in its location since 2008, is named after Dan’s father, who had a grocery store in the downtown from 1950 to 1962. Dan says, “Buildings of this era were built with a lot more character. This building is in really good shape; it’s like a fortress. The walls are 16 inches thick. Bricks cover concrete blocks on both the inside and outside. Original beams, virgin pine logs, span the 21foot width of the building.” There’s a 12-foot ceiling on the first floor with one-and-a-half-inch, hand-pressed tin that Dan restored and a 10-foot ceiling on the second floor. He says it’s much like the ceiling in the Overture Center’s Capitol Theater in downtown Madison. As president of the Sun Prairie Historical Library and Museum, 115 E. Main Street, Dan is connected to another building in the historic district. The original Georgian Revival style Sun Prairie Public Library was built in 1924. The architect was Alvan Small, Sun Prairie native who practiced in Madison. madisonessentials.com
Small is best known for his outstanding Prairie style homes, but who, according to the National Register nomination, “clearly had a solid grounding in the period revival style designs that became fashionable after World War I.” Prairie Flowers & Gifts, at 245 E. Main Street since 2012, has been in business for 40 years. Dina Pocernich has been
the owner since 2006 and building owner since 2017. Her commercial vernacular style building was constructed in 1887 and reconfigured in 1901, when two buildings next to each other were combined, a second story added to one, and first-story storefronts remodeled. Dina says, “I love the building. It’s beautiful with its exposed brick and original wood floors. When I had the building inspector here prior to purchase, he said it was solidly built. Trucks may have driven into the back of the building when it was a feed store.”
When businesses are located in a historic district, the owners generally have a strong sense of community. They care about people and properties in the district, about the neighborhood as a whole. This certainly rings true in the Sun Prairie Downtown Historic District. Jeanne Engle is a freelance writer.
30 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s
Photographs by Eric Tadsen.
Photograph by MOD Media Productions
Occupants of the building since it was first built as a general store included the Dane County Co-op General Store, operated by the Dott family; the Fuhrman Canning Company; a feed and seed store; garden store and water softener salt service; and Holt Pharmacy, a business that old-time Sun Prairie residents remember. The Catholic Order of Foresters, a fraternal benefit society, held meetings on the second floor. Later, it was a dance hall. Today, three apartments are above the flower shop.
SEPTEMBER 2021–FEBRUARY 2022
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e sse nt i al nonprofit
Decriminalization of Mental Illness
in Dane County
by Bobbie Jo Disch On Monday, September 27, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced $10 million in funding to construct the Dane County Crisis Triage Center (CTC) as part of his 2022 budget. Joe is also creating a brand-new division within the county government, the Division of Behavioral Health, to oversee these new changes. CTC will follow the creation of the Community Alternative Response Emergency Services (CARES) team. Both will work together toward the decriminalization of mental illness, aiming to work together to deter and limit the involvement of armed law enforcement and the criminal justice system for individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis. The CTC and CARES teams are part of a 14-part reform package that was announced by Sheila Stubbs and Analiese Eicher in June 2020. Analiese, Dane County board supervisor who 32 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s
helped create this reform package, describes the package as “a result of years of data-driven recommendations put into action.” Dane County Sheriff Barrett describes the reform package as rethinking the criminal justice system. He emphasized the importance of “not doing things just because that was how we had done them in the past.” Analiese cites this rethinking of the criminal justice system as being sparked by the Black Lives Matter movement and the COVID-19 pandemic. She described the Dane County community as always caring about issues of change; however, after seeing the basic needs of their neighbors becoming threatened, many community members saw change in our community as increasingly more important. Overall, the hope for this reform package is that it will result in a healthier community where individuals struggling with mental and behavioral
health issues can find healthcare instead of finding themselves involved in the criminal justice system. CTC will be a comprehensive facility that will allow individuals to receive help by obtaining a referral from other partners, being brought in directly by law enforcement, or by walking in themselves. Sarah Henrickson, clinical team manager and first embedded crisis worker, describes this model as having “no wrong doors.” CTC will be filling a large gap in mental health care, as it will allow for a place to go other than an emergency room for an individual in crisis. Often, an individual in crisis will be aware that they are in need of immediate help, but other behavioral health interventions can take days or even weeks. On the other hand, the emergency room can seem inappropriate and intimidating. CTC will fill this gap by creating high-quality emergency
care curated exclusively for mental and behavioral health emergencies. The CTC will be crucial for keeping individuals struggling with behavioral health issues out of the criminal justice system. The need for high-quality emergency mental health care is crucial for keeping individuals out of the justice system. Sarah describes the threshold for arrest to be low while the threshold for emergency detention and treatment is high. This means it’s easier to arrest an individual in crisis than it is to get them mental and behavioral health help. There are many barriers for emergency detention, so CTC will allow for an in between. Law enforcement will be able to drop off an individual in crisis for a 23-hour visit. Here, staff will monitor and treat the individual until they have a plan for what to do next. CTC can then move the individual to a more appropriate location or refer them to other resources that they can choose to take advantage of. The overall aim of CTC is to get an individual through the window of crisis safely. Launched in summer 2021, the CARES team aims to destigmatize mental health problems by sending crisis workers to mental health emergencies. When 911 receives a call regarding a behavioral health incident, the dispatcher can choose to send the CARES team, which consists of an embedded crisis social worker and a paramedic. According to Sarah, sending armed officers to scenes of mental health emergencies continues to stigmatize mental health, amplifying the perception that individuals struggling with mental illness are dangerous to the community. Additionally, she explains that when police officers are called to the scene of an incident, they’re immediately in emergency mode. Law enforcement is trained to deal with mental health emergencies; however, as an individual becomes more agitated, this contact with the police could turn into an arrest. Future plans in Dane County include a community justice center. The Dane County Criminal Justice Council defines a community justice center as a space for “procedural justice and racial equity.” County officials stated that they want to see the center include a community
court and services for education, peer mentoring, and restorative justice, but other services are still up in the air, such as counseling, a clinic for addiction treatment, and legal representation. Dane County officials want to model the community justice center off of the Red Hook Justice Center and then tailor it to meet the needs of the Dane County community. The Red Hook model provides alternatives to the way we understand criminal justice; for example, one of the key programs at the Red Hook center is peacemaking sessions that involve members of the community who talk with the offender and find alternative solutions to jail time. According to Red Hook, three out of four offenders that are referred to Red Hook receive social services instead of jail time. Analiese says, “To create different results, the criminal justice system will need to do things differently.” Bobbie Jo Disch is a NAMI Dane County intern.
Bobbie Jo Disch
e sse nt i al arts Photograph by Lois Bielefeld
by Chris Gargan “I am never removed from this viewpoint,” Ariana Vaeth says about painting herself as a painter. She is acutely aware of her need to include images of herself in her paintings, what she describes as a “pungent place,” a constant reassurance of her identity and place as a Black woman painter. She possesses a keen consciousness of the role people play in her work; friends, companions, and lovers “lend themselves” to her for the creation of her mythologies of human interaction in dense, decorative, and exquisitely defined space. Ariana is at the nearest end of the continuum of artists who have made their own lives and experiences the focal point of their visual expression. Just as Raphael relentlessly inserted himself into narratives of theological debate or imagined schools of philosophy, as Vermeer carefully recreated the 34 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s
Photograph provided by Hawthorn Contemporary, Walkers Point, Milwaukee
jewel-box world he occupied in 17th century Holland, artists of the 19th century found that the world they inhabited and their particular role in that world were the stuff of imaginative resonance that audiences came to understand and treasure as commentary and documentation of their own lives and experiences. When the hierarchy of academic painting, which assigned the highest value to historical representation and the lowest to landscape painting, began to erode as a result of the relentless assault of realism and impressionism, artists found that the daily events of their lives were the undiscovered country of visual power and meaning. Ariana paints the life she leads. Whether a hair-dyeing party in the bathtub surrounded by friends and participants, eating Chinese food while watching television, makeup sessions before a night out, or simply a pile of girlfriends sharing intimacy and friendship, she mines the everyday for the poetics of her milieu.
Photograph by Lois Bielefeld
Ariana’s technique as an oil painter working at life-size scale in a direct impasto application of juicy pigment suspended in cold wax or alkyd medium that produces an insistent surface, one in which tactility is added to gesture, baroque postures, and the physical interaction that crowds the pictorial space with a demanding and essential life force. She conjures the ghosts of Bonnard, Vuillard, and especially Suzanne Valadon with her flattened, patterned, and polychromed surface. The patternmaking often seems to rush
Photograph by Ariana Vaeth
forward, advancing before the objects’ presences in her composition. Ariana talks about creating rules for her pictures. Rules that include giving each figure their own narrative space so that the image can read like a play. She flattens the illusory space in order to ensure that every figure is approximately the same size, an idea that struck her when studying Persian miniatures and, most recently, playing with the notion of elongated pictorial space or depth to reduce her reliance on foreshortening. madisonessentials.com
Photograph by Lois Bielefeld Photograph provided by The Lynden Sculpture Garden
Watching her paint, I was struck by how she holds her brush, often in gloves that might appear to impinge upon graceful mark making. The brush emerges between her middle and ring finger—a decision that, consciously or not, reduces her reliance on the small motor movements of her hand and fingers, and instead translating the larger gesture of her arm and body as she stands before her canvas. It can appear that she’s engaged in the same choreography of action that her subjects inhabit. She remains acutely aware of the meaning and physical intonation of her subjects. Curiously, Ariana was initially attracted to the idea of becoming an artist when she viewed the work of Italian and Spanish Baroque and Mannerist artists. She was especially taken by the work of Bartolomé Murillo, a Spanish artist whose work included religious events and ordinary genre depictions of women and children caught in tenebristic lighting (dramatic light and dark) and interrupted in theatrical gestures. She also stated her intrigue with Mannerism, 36 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s
a painting style popularized after the heroic figures of Michelangelo, work done “in the manner of” or imitation of the manos, or hand, of Michelangelo in which the figure becomes elongated or attenuated for dramatic effect. Common to all good artists, this influence is never explicitly felt in Ariana’s work. Rather, the sensibility of dramatic gesture and pose is exploited to deepen the emotional tensions or mood of a given picture. She arrests movement into exquisite moments of unconscious revelation. Her figures are less posed than caught in an instance of play, of pensive interaction, or of romantic intimacy and reflection. Part of the startling exposure of her work is the fact that at the age of 26, Ariana has produced a pictorial voice that is at once intimate and revealing, a willingness to disclose the autobiography of her life. It’s urban. It’s complex. It’s fraught with the daily experience of being Black in a world where blackness can often be invisible. She inhabits this painted
Madison’s LGBTQ magazine since 2007
Ariana is negotiating the fraught terrain of making a career and a life totally provided for by her artistic output. Since graduating from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, she has been awarded prestigious fellowships, including the New Studio Practice artist in residence at MIAD; the Mary L. Nohl fellowship for emerging artists; a recipient of the gener8tor grant for young artists in Milwaukee; selected among handful of artists for inclusion in the statewide Triennial at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art; and, most recently, did a residency and exhibition as the Al & Mickey Quinlan fellowship at the Miller Art Museum in Sturgeon Bay.
This latest experience has given her the opportunity to do more intensive work with live models, a direction she is currently following. Ariana recognizes the relentless effort it takes to sustain validation and presence in the art world. As she so aptly observed, “There is no pity party for artists.” Chris Gargan is a landscape artist and freelance writer working from his farm southwest of Verona. You can find his work at Abel Contemporary Gallery in Stoughton. He’s seen here with his dog Tycho Brahe.
Photograph by Larassa Kabel
world with the details of ordinary existence and charm. She includes dogs and cats, rumpled bed clothes, and unwashed dishes. Her world is mostly that of interior spaces that somehow, no matter how compressed, never feel claustrophobic or limiting. Instead, they are filled with a promise of engagement and an invitation to imagine oneself as included in the drama.
“I must mention that in regards to my community, I have been given tangible and unquantifiable space provided by Black-led spaces. I am in great gratitude for the gift of time at these two centers. Studio space is precious. I have to credit the Sherman Phoenix for having me as their resident artist for two years. I am now an independent creator housed at Ayzha Fine Arts Gallery & Boutique located at The Avenue, Downtown Milwaukee.” - Ariana Vaeth madisonessentials.com
e sse nt i al pets
T hat Crazy THYROID!
There are a lot of diseases that dogs and cats have in common with people. Diabetes, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, and obesity, to name a few. Both species also can have thyroid gland problems. The interesting thing is dogs and cats are at different ends of the thyroid disease spectrum—cats only develop an overactive thyroid gland and dogs almost exclusively develop an underactive thyroid gland. People can have either, but not both. The thyroid gland is found in the neck. Dogs and cats have a lobe on either side of the trachea, but it can’t be felt unless it’s enlarged. Thyroid hormone (the gland that produces T4, which is converted into the active hormone T3) regulates the metabolic rate of every cell in the body. If there is more T4, the cells work faster. Less T4, and the cells slow down. Hyperthyroidism is just that—the cells are hyper and working overtime. The metabolic rate speeds up, leading to increased energy output. The affected cat is burning more calories all the time, even when sleeping, so it’s very hungry, losing weight, and shedding 38 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s
more. Overactive cells in the intestines can cause vomiting or diarrhea. Hyper cells in the heart lead to a faster heart rate and thicker heart muscles, which can eventually cause heart failure. Hyperthyroidism is the most common hormonal disease in cats and is caused by a small tumor in the thyroid gland. It’s most commonly seen in cats over 13 years of age. There isn’t an exact cause for the disease found, but it’s probably due to multiple factors. Excess iodine in the diet may play a role in development of hyperthyroidism. Iodine levels in cat foods vary widely, sometimes up to 10 times the daily recommended level. Cats who eat mostly a cannedfood diet, particularly with fish flavors or from pop-top cans, have three and a half times the risk of developing the disease over cats eating just dry food. Fire retardant chemicals (PBDEs) and persistent organic pollutants (PFAS) are found in higher levels in hyperthyroid cats. Genetics may also play a part, as some purebred cats, such as Siamese and Persian breeds, have a decreased risk of developing hyperthyroidism.
by Lori Scarlett, DVM I recently had a cat patient come in because she was losing weight and vomiting more. The owner said she was ravenously hungry, but just kept getting thinner. I looked back in the cat’s record and saw that she had been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism six months previously and started on daily medication, but the owner had only gotten a month’s worth of tablets and never followed up. When asked, the owner said she didn’t realize it was a lifelong disease. Treatment consists of either twicedaily medication, feeding a special prescription diet exclusively, or radioactive iodine treatment. Most people choose to medicate their cat daily. Methimazole blocks the production of T4, which decreases the amount in the body, slowing down the metabolism. It works well and doesn’t have too many side effects, but periodic blood work is needed to make sure the dose is correct and the cat isn’t becoming hypothyroid. The prescription diet Hill’s Y/D is formulated to be very low in iodine, containing just enough so that the cat
doesn’t develop an iodine deficiency. The food works well in about 90 percent of cats, but it’s the only food the cat can eat, making its use more difficult in multicat households.
Years ago, I had a hyperthyroid cat and had surgery done to remove the affected gland. My cat never developed hyperthyroidism after that, but surgery isn’t performed very often anymore. It can be difficult to tell if one or both glands are affected. If one gland is removed, there is a chance the other gland will eventually start producing too much T4. Removing both glands can lead to not enough hormone being produced as well as other complications. Ultimately, the cost of radioactive iodine treatment is comparable to surgery with fewer risks and a better long-term outcome. About the only way for a cat to develop hypothyroidism is by removing the thyroid glands, but an underactive thyroid gland is one of the most common hormonal imbalance in dogs. Rather than a tumor, an autoimmune disease called thyroiditis is at play. The thyroid gland is overtaken with inflammatory cells, which eventually destroy the normal thyroid cells. Over 75 percent of the thyroid gland needs to be destroyed before signs of hypothyroidism appear, which can take months to years. Hypothyroidism is considered a heritable disease. Some of the most common breeds affected include beagles, border collies, boxers, cocker spaniels, dachshunds, and golden retrievers. Since the thyroid gland is underactive, the cells in the body aren’t working very
fast at all, so metabolism slows down. Clinical signs of hypothyroidism include weight gain, thinning fur because the hair follicles stay dormant longer than normal, a slow heart rate, sluggishness, and weakness. Unfortunately, just like when I go to the doctor and sort of hope my thyroid level is low to explain any weight gain, most overweight dogs are not hypothyroid.
Annual blood work for both cats and dogs can help pick up thyroid issues before they cause any damage to internal organs. Diagnosis can be challenging, especially early on. If there are some clinical signs that fit, your veterinarian will check a T4 level. But T4 can be low if the dog is ill for any other reason. This is called sick euthyroid. Further testing may include checking the level of T3, FT4, and cTSH. The cTSH is the thyroid-stimulating hormone produced by the pituitary. If the amount of T4 is low, the brain sends out hormone signals to tell the thyroid gland to produce more T4. But if the gland is diseased and can’t produce more, the pituitary just keeps cranking
out cTSH. So if the T3 and FT4 are also low, the cTSH is high, and the dog has signs consistent with an underactive thyroid, we have a diagnosis. Treatment of hypothyroidism is very straightforward—we give the dog a thyroid supplement every day for the rest of its life. Some dogs do best on twice-a-day supplementation and some on once a day; it does require blood tests to determine the best dose and yearly testing to make sure the dog is continuing to do well. Annual blood work for both cats and dogs can help pick up thyroid issues before they cause any damage to internal organs (particularly in the case of heart disease in cats). If your pet is diagnosed with a thyroid disease, keep in mind that it will require daily treatment for life (excepting if you choose radioactive iodine treatment for your cat). As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your pet, please talk to your veterinarian. Lori Scarlett, DVM, is the owner and veterinarian at Four Lakes Veterinary Clinic. For more information, visit fourlakesvet.com.
Lori Scarlett, DVM & Charlie
Photograph by Brenda Eckhardt
Radioactive iodine is the most definitive treatment, but the most costly up front. The cat spends up to a week at a specialty hospital (in Madison, UW vet school) and has radioactive iodine injected into a vein. The iodine attaches to the thyroid gland and emits highspeed electrons that destroy the thyroid tumor (which takes up more iodine than normal thyroid tissue). In 97 percent of cases, the cat is cured and requires no further treatment. This is great news if the cat is difficult to medicate and picky about food!
e sse nt i al community
The Sanctity of Safe Spaces by Sandy Eichel Welcome back to our series the “us” in inclUSion, where we talk about how all of us need to take responsibility in the things we do and say every day to make our society a more inclusive place for everyone. We’re in this together, but we all have to do some work individually too. It’s our responsibility, and it will take all of us contributing to make real change. In our previous segments, we talked about what it means to be an advocate to diverse communities, examining and challenging our own biases, what systemic oppression is and what it looks like in the everyday life of people who experience it, power and privilege, and the difference and the importance between intent and impact. There’s a lot of talk in diversity, equity, and inclusion on creating safe spaces for diverse people. We need to make our workplaces and public places and communities places where diverse people can feel confident that they won’t be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physical harm. But this is only one type of safe space. In this segment, I want to talk about spaces that are intentionally created by a diverse group for themselves to recharge and connect. 40 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s
I recently attended the YWCA Madison Racial Justice Summit. If you haven’t heard about it, look into it. It’s an amazing local resource for educating yourself, and it happens every year. One of the speakers (shout-out to Valarie Kaur, author of See No Stranger) was talking about safe spaces, and we were directed to remember a time when we felt totally supported, accepted, and completely safe with a group of people. Where were we? Who was there? Why was it safe? My mind went immediately to an LGBTQ conference over two years ago where I was in a nonbinary roundtable discussion. We packed ourselves into the room they gave us. Though I didn’t know anyone there, I felt completely accepted. I felt giddy to be around so many people that shared something sacred with me, my gender identity, one that many people still don’t accept or understand even in the LGBTQ+ community. As I heard people share their stories, I sat there filled with joy, crying from a deep part of me, the depths of my soul, where I felt safe, seen, and loved. It’s hard to describe to someone that has not experienced governmental and
societal oppression what it’s like to be in spaces all of the time that aren’t safe, and the toll that takes on a person. The emotional and physical energy it drains to always be on guard with shields up, knowing that at any moment things could go horribly wrong. It’s exhausting. Black, brown, and Indigenous people know this existence very well; it’s their everyday, all of the time. If you’re a person that hasn’t experienced it, you may not be invited in those spaces. White, cis, and straight people often take up a lot of space in safe spaces created for diverse communities. Because folx that haven’t experienced that type of oppression often don’t realize they are taking up too much space, it can be surprising for them when they aren’t invited or are asked to leave certain spaces created for diverse groups. There’s a lot of “how can we ever have unity if we can’t all be together?” First, people need to feel safe, and those in communities that spend most or all of their lives not feeling safe need spaces together to recharge in order to survive. So yes, there will be places you aren’t allowed to be in, and if you are invited, you must respect that space and be aware of how much space you’re taking up with your voice, opinions, and
Photo by Kevin Sink
feelings. You are a guest, and if you’re trusted with being a guest, be mindful so that you can be invited to that space again and continue to learn. Deep listening; not talking over people; asking them their opinion; letting them be heard; not getting too close; and making sure you ask for consent before any handshakes, hugs, or physical contact are all ways of helping others take up more space and feel safe. I have also felt the desire in a space of people of color to share my ideas; it’s so tempting, isn’t it? Especially if you’re trying to be an ally to that community. You want people to know “Hey! I’m an ally! I want to help you!” While that sentiment is wonderful and appreciated, white, cis, and straight people can be performative and demonstrative of their allyship without realizing it and not realize how it makes the diverse people around them feel. I have done it; I have been corrected; I have caught myself doing it, and I have to remember the best thing I can do when I’m a guest in a space created for others is to listen, not take up too much space, and be respectful of my place there. This also goes for the expectation of diverse people helping or educating you on what you’re curious about or don’t know. True, it can seem or feel frustrating when you ask a person a question out of sincere care and a desire to learn and hear back from them that they don’t have the energy to answer it or it isn’t their job to educate you, but while it may feel off-putting, see it from the other side. You, a person in a place of some type of privilege, are asking someone who has experienced oppression of that type to talk about it, to open the wounds they’re constantly trying to keep closed in order to educate you. It’s a lot to ask, and it’s asked often. Diversity burnout is a real thing. We want diverse populations to give and give, but we make no promises on if we will make real change or if the environment, work culture, community, whatever, will actually listen and make changes that make it better for the diverse people.
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Notice in your daily life the places you take up the most space and if there are any places you can be observant about how that might be affecting other groups. It may be something you have never thought about before, but it’s important. Safe spaces are sacred, and being in them is a sacred act. Be mindful of how much space you take up. Sandy Eichel is a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Speaker and Consultant.
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e sse nt i al travel
Uncovering Wisconsin’s Hidden Gems
in the Winter by Anne Sayers Where exactly is “up north?” Trust me when I say that you’ll know when you get there! Wisconsin’s northwoods are an unmistakable treasure, overflowing with breathtaking natural landscapes, thousands of lakes, streams and rivers, over half a million acres of public forest, a vibrant art scene, one-of-a-kind places to eat and drink, cozy accommodations, and friendly folks excited to welcome you. Maybe you’ve visited the northern part of the state in the summer, but if you haven’t experienced the magic of up nort’ in winter, this is the year to do it! This winter, discover the unexpected along the shores of the largest freshwater lake in the world. The snow falls a little heavier up here, which has inspired unique events perfect for enjoying the beauty of the winter season. 42 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s
Before you hit the road, don’t forget to check out Travel Wisconsin’s Snow Report, updated regularly throughout the season for natural and man-made snowfall. The report is kept up to date thanks to a dedicated network of more than 100 reporters in all 72 counties. Use the report to find the latest status of favorite local trails and hills or discover a new hidden gem to explore. The Snow Report can be found online on travelwisconsin.com/snowreport. Nestled on the shore of its namesake lake, the city of Superior gets better every time I’m lucky enough to visit. In winter, enjoy the stars over Superior’s iconic lighthouse or take a trip just south to Big Manitou Falls, the state’s largest waterfall (just two feet shorter than Niagara Falls), where you’re bound to see gorgeous views.
This January 28 and 29, check out the Lake Superior Ice Festival. With a myriad of family-friendly events—ice sculptures, a snow slide, fireworks, ice racing, and events just for kids (you may even meet Elsa)—you are destined for several fun-filled days and nights. While you’re in town, consider staying at Barkers Island Inn, with a wonderful lounge, indoor pool, and incredible harbor view. For serious relaxation, try out the hot tub and sauna. The on-site restaurant, Barkers Waterfront Grille, features locally caught fish and views of Lake Superior for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Chequamegon Bay Area It may not be easy to spell, but it’s so very easy to love. The Chequamegon Bay area’s incredible natural formations are a wonder to explore in winter. When the temps drop, the Apostle Islands Sea Caves become the ice caves, a site for stunning photos and a lifetime of memories. If the weather conditions are right, you can access the caves from the ice (always check conditions in advance), but some can also be seen from above on the Lakeshore Trail. You can even drive on a road entirely made of ice on Lake Superior from Bayfield to Madeline Island (ice conditions permitting). Opportunities for big adventures continue into February. On February 19 in Iron River, the Northern Pines Sled Dog Race runs from the Northern Pines Golf Course through the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest back to the golf
IF YOU HAVEN’T EXPERIENCED THE MAGIC OF UP NORT’ IN WINTER, THIS IS THE YEAR TO DO IT!
course. Spectators get to experience the unique thrill of dogsled racing from vantage points along the route. Free family-friendly events are hosted in the heated event center, including an opportunity to meet the Northern
Pines Sled Dog Race mushers. Warm up with a hot drink and fresh pastry at Angie’s Bakery or stop by White Winter Winery for handcrafted meads, spirits, and ciders. The race runs from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Later that same day is the bucket-listworthy Book Across the Bay event. In the early evening, more than 3,000 participants ski or snowshoe across frozen Chequamegon Bay from Ashland to Washburn. Participants navigate the 10K course by the light of the stars and hundreds of candlelit ice luminaries. When staying in Ashland, check out The Hotel Chequamegon, a historic Victorian style hotel. Enjoy a meal at their in-house restaurant, Chequamegon Grill, or choose from the many other great local flavors—a local microbrew at South Shore Brewery, Cajun-smoked salmon at River Rock Inn & Bait Shop, and handmade lavender truffles from Gabriele’s German Cookies & Chocolates.
Cable/Hayward The cities of Cable and Hayward anchor the largest and most prestigious cross-country ski marathon in North America, the Slumberland American Birkebeiner. This year, the event will 44 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s
be held from February 23 through 27, when 12,000 skiers from around the world will participate in the Birkebeiner (Skate 50K/Classic 55K), the Kortelopet 29K, Prince Haakon 15K, the children’s Barnebirki, and Junior Birkie. The annual racing festival draws over 40,000 people each year. If you plan to visit during Birkie festivities, make sure to book your lodging early. Check out the Treeland Resorts and rent a cabin on the Chippewa Flowage in Hayward, perfect for families and nature lovers. Or maybe you’d prefer to book a room at Lakewoods Resort & Golf in Cable, a perfect place to unwind and a great place for a bite to eat. Or you can stop halfway between the two towns at the Seeley Sawmill Saloon and Lenroot Lodge, a place to eat, sleep, and play. Even if you don’t make it for the Birkebeiner, there are incredible trails to check out any time of the year. In fact, this area boasts the largest communitywide multiuse trail system in the United States—1,200 miles of snowmobile trails, 94 miles of cross-country ski trails, 400-plus miles of mountain bike trails, 150-plus miles of ATV/UTV trails, and 125 miles of hiking/snowshoe trails. These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to places to explore and discover in the northwoods this winter. Check out travelwisconsin.com for more inspiration and to plan a winter of adventure you won’t soon forget.
LOVE CAN’T HIDE BEHIND PAPER AND PEN.
MUSIC BY JERRY BOCK LYRICS BY SHELDON HARNICK
FEBRUARY 18 & 20, 2022 CAPITOL THEATER
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Our Lives Magazine............................ 37
Dane County Humane Society....................... 41, 47
Soups On!............................................ 17
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Beef Butter BBQ.................................. 13 Monroe Street Framing...................... 27 Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream........ 13 My Choice Wisconsin.........................48 Fraboni’s Italian Specialties & Delicatessen...............9
Nitty Gritty........................................... 19
The Old Feed Mill Restaurant............33 Old Sugar Distillery............................. 18
Otto’s Restaurant & Bar.....................23
Abel Contemporary Gallery............. 37
Paoli Schoolhouse American Bistro................................ 19
Deconstruction Inc............................. 16
Sugar River Pizza Company..............33
Goodman’s Jewelers......................... 18 Katy’s American Indian Arts............. 18
Vintage Brewing Co. ......................... 19
Gift Card! Question: “Which local restaurant owner received a scholarship through Red Geranium in Lake Geneva for cooking classes at Waukesha County Technical College?” Enter by submitting your answer to the above question online at madisonessentials.com or by mail with your name, mailing address, phone number, and email to: Madison Essentials c/o Towns & Associates, Inc. PO Box 174 Baraboo, WI 53913-0174 All entries with the correct answer will be entered into a drawing for one of two gift cards. Contest deadline is January 30, 2022. Gift card will be honored at all Nitty Gritty locations.
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Winners Thank you to everyone who entered our previous contest. The answer to the question “Which local business owner used to be a fabric designer in Mumbai, India?” is Yakub Kazi of Ember Foods. A one-hour massage gift card at Bergamot Massage & Bodywork was sent to each of our winners, Karla Lawrence of Poynette and Barbara McWilliams of Cross Plains.
CONGRATULATIONS! 46 | m a d i s o n e s s e n t i a l s
There’s no place like home! Friday, March 11, 2022 Monona Terrace Puppy snuggles, cocktails, and dinner to beneﬁt animals at Dane County Humane Society
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