Wisconsin Trip

Well, we're back and we had a great trip. Our friends are doing well, staying in his parents basement for now while they get their house ready and wait on their stuff to be delivered. We stayed there too. His parents were generous enough to go stay in their camper in the barn while we had their room and the kids got the spare room.

The part of Wisconsin that they live in is beautiful. It was cloudy most of the time and drizzly, but not too cold. His parents have about 80 acres. The house, two barns, garage and a couple other small buildings are all in one corner of the property. The field that he farms is about 150 feet up a steep, rocky hill. Byron, our girls and I climbed the hill to the field and walked through the woods to the rock overlook to look down on the house on Thursday morning. That afternoon we went 6 miles down to their place and took a tour of their 103 acres by 'Mule'. By 'Mule' I mean a small 4WD Kawasaki mini truck. The women and all the girls rode in back and he and I up front. Their place is more rolling hills, with the farm land in 7 different fields separated by steeper or wooded areas. They have just the house and a 2 1/2 car garage and a barn that has fallen down. Their house is small but cute 2 bedroom with arches in the doorways and an unfinished walk up attic that will become their master bedroom someday.

That night at dinner we noticed that Emily had a tick on her chin, probably from the woods at his parents place. We were in a nearby town and his brother's vet clinic was nearby so we stopped in after dinner and had him check it. Ended up that Emily had 4, one on the chin, two behind her ear and one in her hair. Jessica had two, one in her belly button and one we found later in her arm pit. Jessie was 'freaked out' (her words) but Emily wasn't phased at all. My friend found one later too. Only Audrey and I came out of the woods clean.

On Friday we went to this place called House on the Rock. It started as a get away house in the country that a guy built on the top of this rock that stuck up out of the ground. He built it to get away and study art. It's grown into this museum that includes a tour of the strange house that uses the actual rock for some of it's walls and then his eccentric collection of various items, doll houses, circus models and lots of other stuff. The house includes a glass walled 'infinity room' (see the picture) that is cantilevered 218 feet over the valley. You can look straight down through a glass 'table' at he end. It was kind of spooky as you can feel the thing move around a lot as you walk out there. He and I were pretty uneasy about it (it moves a lot) while the women and the girls just went on out. A central theme to the museum is the guy's fascination with using air, like the bellows of a player piano, to make musical instruments play. There must have been a dozen of those playing every kind of musical instrument. Some have been converted to CD's and they just look like their playing, others actually work. The one's that work don't sound real good. There was also a neat collection of old music players, most from the 1800's. There were several that played huge discs, 2-3 feet in diameter for a single song. They also have the worlds largest carousel, but you can't ride it or even walk around it. It's a real strange (and large) collection of stuff. From there the women went in to Madison to scrapbook while he and I took the kids home. He took me by some enourmous power generating windmills near there on the way which was cool. The afternoon was pretty nice and the kids spent most of it on the trampoline.

We spent Saturday around the house relaxing. The girls had fun with his brother's kids playing around the farm. They have cows and a couple of horses there. Jessie (my 9 year old) really wanted to ride, but they didn't think the horse was tame enough. They also had two new calves and a real young horse (all less than a week old). Jessie learned to drive the go cart, amazingly enough. She did pretty good, with me sitting next to her, and wanted to take everyone for rides. We took another ride around their place in the Mule so he could collect soil samples to get analyzed.

Sunday morning after church in Madison we had butter burgers, fried cheese curds and custard and it was off for Ohio. All in all, a rather mundane and unremarkable collection of activities for the most part, it was the company that made it fun. We really miss those guys. It's great to have a relationship that can make riding in a cramped, open truck on a cold, damp day collecting soil samples fun. We're looking forward to going back.

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