By Joann M. Ringelstetter
On Monday, Ruth and I drove the 50-mile self-guided Farm/Art DTour in Sauk County, Wisconsin. We had such an enjoyable day, so I thought I would share some of our photos right away.
We left home very early so that we would be at the first stop, just outside Reedsburg, at first light. This first artwork is called “Lucky 13: Elephant in the Room” and it was created by Erika Nelson of Lucas, Kansas. It celebrates Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey’s announcement that they are retiring the last 13 performing elephants by 2018.
Our next stop was an amazing piece of art called “Monday is Wash Day” and it was created by Brenda Baker of Madison, Wisconsin.
When we first pulled up to the beginning of the clothesline, I thought it was just a short display of clothes hanging on the line. But as I walked down the road, I realized that the clothesline went on and on. Later, a local farmer told me he had heard that it was three-quarters of a mile long.
One of the fun things along the route is discovering farm art that isn’t on the tour map, like these Minions whose message is: “There’s nothing wrong with growing up country.”
And if you pay attention, you will stumble on what’s known as “rogue installations.” Early in the morning, we saw this sign urging us to take a little “detour from the DTour.”
Well, we couldn’t pass up the chance to see this rogue spider, especially since it was only “1 mile…ish” off the main route.
We also saw eight installations of some intriguing artwork called “A Mutual Curiosity” by artist Thomas Ferrella of Madison, Wisconsin. None of these were marked on the map, so it was fun to discover them along the route. All of them were eyes of people or animals. One of our favorites was this dog peering out from an old corn crib.
And, speaking of dogs, we also saw this unexpected sculpture of a person walking their dog.
And we were entertained by the sight of an antique red upright piano sitting on a tiny stage at the edge of the woods. It was called the “Red Piano Project.” Upright pianos used to be an important part of family entertainment. We had one in our farmhouse when we were kids and we used to play it all the time. It made for some great duets and some hysterical sessions of musical chairs.
There was also a very large alfalfa field that had been turned into “Field Billiards” by the Wilkinson and Ramsey Families.
This billiards scene included a monstrous pool cue made from a utility pole.
There were also some cute calves at the edge of the “pool table” that were getting their share of petting and pictures that day.
In addition to being an entertaining day, it was also very educational. There are signs along the route called “Field Notes” and they teach you about the land, the soil, wetlands, the dairy industry, etc. Here’s one about corn.
And I also learned quite a bit about antique tractors and other farm equipment.
One of my most favorite creations from the day was at the entrance to a FarmForm called Farmhenge, which was created by Harlan Ferstl and the McCluskey Brothers. It was a parody of the famous Grant Wood painting called “American Gothic.” But this artwork was made of gourds and it was called “American Gourdthic.” The farm couple was named Gourdon and Gourdenia and they made me smile.
The 2015 Farm/Art DTour runs through Sunday, October 11, so if you're in the area and don’t already have your weekend booked, give the Farm/Art DTour a try. You’re guaranteed to have a good time and learn something in the process.