It felt as though spring finally really arrived here yesterday; warm sunshine greeted the entire day and the trees are finally starting to leaf out. Wisconsin responds to spring by holding city wide rummage sales and since Marc and I missed the one in Amherst the previous weekend I decided to head over and catch the one in Weyauwega on my own as Marc is again in North Dakota.
Weyauwega is another old village of around 1600 population spread out over a pine filled hillside which spills down to flat ground around a very nice looking lake. It’s only about five or six miles from our lot in Waupaca. My wandering brought me to the free city boat launch so I made a mental note of that should Marc ever obtain the small fishing boat and time to use it he yearns for. While it has many nice old homes, like this vacant one, the town looks a little down and out with many empty store fronts and lots of properties for sale. Although Wisconsin weathered the recession much better than the west, it still hit hard here and many mom and pop businesses, especially if they weren’t necessities businesses, went under.
I spent a pleasant morning scoring a few treasures, perused the one antique store I found open then headed directly across the street to one of the reasons for coming here—the plain-entry Star Dairy retail store. It’s no secret that Wisconsin makes, by far, the creamiest and tastiest cheeses in all the land and my formerly high cholesterol levels can testify to that. I still buy cheese for Marc and an occasional snitch for myself but being in a place like this sure makes the choices hard. We are particularly fond of smoked cheeses and they offered up quite a selection here, including smoked Monterey Jack with Peppers, something I’ve not seen done before. Of course, smoked Parmesan is also to die for and I had also never heard of smoked Swiss so all those offerings had to make it into my basket. Then I threw in some of their freshly churned butter. In addition, the store offered some locally produced honey and some homemade (even the label says literally “produced in my cottage kitchen”) jams of various berries made by a gal in Wild Rose, another close-by village. Since we have a large rhubarb patch growing I choose a blueberry/rhubarb combination to try to see how I like it. I was planning on giving our rhubarb away but if this combination is a winner then some weekend Marc will just have to get on his jam-making hat!
Later in the afternoon I took Rocket for his romp in the park which was a pleasant place to hang out smelling spring coming to life. As we were standing by the Tomorrow River I heard this loud scratching sound climbing a downed log on the far side of the river. It was so brushy and whatever it was blended in so well I couldn’t tell just what creature it was at first, thinking maybe a beaver. I about fell over when I saw the most massively large turtle short of a desert tortoise I have ever seen! Unfortunately my pictures don’t do it justice as I just couldn’t focus in close enough but I was astounded with the size of the claws which were easily as big as a bear’s. I figured the creature must have weighed at least 150 pounds; I had no idea water turtles could get to such a size! It looked like one nasty creature to mess with, let’s just put it that way. Snapping turtles are ubiquitous in the Wisconsin River so I figure that is what this may have been. It soon disappeared back under water; and here I had been daydreaming about floating this river on a tube on a hot summer day!
Marc appears to be really tied up in North Dakota for the foreseeable future, maybe weeks this time. His job is not an easy one and he put in 70 hours this past week. It’s very tiresome and there are no easy answers for it. We are tentatively making slow progress on having the modular house company draw us up a plan incorporating changes we wanted but this could be at a standstill until his return. Another thing now at a standstill is further mowing of our lot which he did manage just before leaving. I must say though that at this new point in the game, it is something he seems to enjoy, as evidenced by the smile on his face. Having just learned to run the mower I don’t feel competent enough to tackle it all on my own as yet. We did manage to get five poles of our garden fence set.