Monday, November 20, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving, 2017

By Ruth A. Ringelstetter

Photos in this blog post can be purchased as wall art, paper prints, downloads, phone cases, and keepsakes. Just click on the desired photo and look for the blue “BUY” button.

In the fall of 2014, Joann and I were heading west to look for fall color. We hadn’t driven the Farm Art DTour route before, so we thought we would drive a piece of it to see what it was like.


The Farm/Art DTour is a celebration of art, food, and farming that takes place along a 50-mile route, winding through scenic working farmland of central Sauk County, Wisconsin. We really enjoyed the rural creativity and humor that we found that first day, so a few days later on our way home, we decided to drive the rest of the route.

One of the things we found was a large round hay bale turkey sculpture with an invitational sign. The sign read “A Thanksgiving Invitation & Discussion by Dr. Tom Turkeyweiler: 'Let's talk about the health benefits of beef!!!'”


The chairs were there for us to sit a spell and Dr. Tom Turkeyweiler was waiting to give anyone who would listen his reasons for recommending eating beef instead of turkey.

The display was made by Aspen Sunset Farm, which raises grass-finished beef.


The Farm/Art DTour has switched to an every other year schedule, and will return in 2018. If you haven’t driven it before, you might want to put it on your calendar for early next October to see what the artists and farmers come up with to entertain us.


For Thanksgiving this week, we’ll travel to our youngest sister’s house and she’ll have a gorgeous roast turkey on the table. Sorry Dr. Tom, but we do love our turkey on Thanksgiving!


Whatever you do to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, may the day be happy, the food delicious, and your travels safe.

Photos in this blog post can be purchased as wall art, paper prints, downloads, phone cases, and keepsakes by clicking on the photo. You will be taken to the gallery website where you will see a big blue "BUY" button. Or to see all photos available, click on the "Browse Galleries" button on the menu at the top of this page. Thank you for your interest!

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Shunpiking!

Ruth

Friday, November 10, 2017

Richland County Veterans Memorial

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

Photos in this blog post can be purchased as wall art, paper prints, downloads, phone cases, and keepsakes. Just click on the desired photo and look for the blue “BUY” button.

On October 15th of this year, Ruth and I started our day of photography at first light in the city of Richland Center, Wisconsin. After photographing several old buildings, we decided to stop at the Richland County Veterans Memorial for the first time. This memorial is sandwiched between Highway 14 and the edge of a commercial area, so we didn’t think it was going to be much of a photo opportunity. But we were wrong!


The mission of the Richland County Veteran’s Memorial Committee, formed in 2003, is “to honor Veterans of Richland County, Wisconsin…those who have served, those who are serving, and those who will serve.”


According to their website, the memorial “lists names of individuals who have been military personnel of a war, conflict, or in peacetime, a resident of Richland County at some period in their life and who have been honorably discharged by the military.”


I was happy to see that it also honors war dogs.


This veterans memorial is very unique and it is one of the nicest memorials I’ve ever seen. There are 11 granite monuments arranged in chronological order by date and war, starting with the War of 1812.


Each monument has a unique design and each one causes you to stop and reflect, such as this monument honoring World War I veterans.


Or this one honoring Vietnam War veterans.


I didn’t know the story behind this veterans memorial until I had spent a half-hour among the monuments and was heading back through the arched entrance on my way back to the car. It was then that I noticed a plaque honoring Mariel Beeman Kepler, who was a Richland County resident for her entire life.


During World War II, Mariel attended Richland Center High School and collected all the local newspaper articles about Richland County servicemen, which she put in scrapbooks. Years later, her husband, Downing, who had served in World War II, urged her to organize and share her scrapbook information.


In 2004, Mariel’s book, entitled “World War II – News of Our Men and Women in Service, Richland County, Wisconsin: A Scrapbook Collection,” was accepted into the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. And the sales of this book contributed to the creation of the Richland County Veterans Memorial.


In October, 2014, at the age of 89, Mariel saw her dream for a Richland County veterans memorial fulfilled when she visited the newly completed Richland County Veterans Honor Roll, traveling its paved walkways in her wheelchair. Unfortunately, Mariel passed away in January, 2015, just five months prior to the final dedication of this very special memorial.


This memorial honors over 8,300 Richland County Veterans, including those in the National Guard Reserves. When I think about that number for just one county in one state, it makes my head spin to think of the number of veterans across the country. And as I write this on the eve of Veterans Day, it also makes me even more grateful for the service to our country of all veterans, past, present, and future.


The Richland County Veterans Memorial is located at 450 S Main Street in Richland Center, Wisconsin.

Photos in this blog post can be purchased as wall art, paper prints, downloads, phone cases, and keepsakes by clicking on the photo. You will be taken to the gallery website where you will see a big blue "BUY" button. Or to see all photos available, click on the "Browse Galleries" button on the menu at the top of this page. Thank you for your interest!

Happy Shunpiking!
Joann

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The End of Autumn

By Ruth A. Ringelstetter

Photos in this blog post can be purchased as wall art, paper prints, downloads, phone cases, and keepsakes. Just click on the desired photo and look for the blue “BUY” button.

Early on the morning of October 23, Joann and I left her house shortly before dawn. We had a first stop in mind, but we barely made it half way there before Joann was pulling over on the shoulder for a colorful, foggy farm scene.


Since the fog was shifting around in the hills, we quickly changed our plan and headed to Indian Lake County Park to see what the lake and the park offered for fall color and fog scenes. The park has a boat launch parking area, which we came to first, so we decided to start there.


Fog is a funny thing, and when you’re sitting still, you can see it shifting and moving around in the hills. From the boat ramp, you can look out over the lake, or look away from the lake across a prairie to an old farmstead.


Considering how the fall had begun, with much of the sumac changing color in early September, we were pleasantly surprised to still see some bright splashes of red around the lake.


The park was full of various fall colors, and as we drove to the main parking area, we could see the reds of some late sumac and the yellows, golds, and browns of the late autumn prairie. But we thought the best color was from the highway, where there was already too much morning work traffic.


So we pulled into the main area of the park and assessed the color as we circled around the parking lot. I commented to Joann that it was too bad we couldn’t really see much of the beautiful prairie from there that we had seen from the highway. But then Joann got an idea. She parked the car and walked up a rising hillside until she was high enough to look out over the prairie, with the remains of an old stone house and barn in the distance.


As we turned around and were driving back out of the park, we could see more color again, so Joann pulled over. By the time she came back to the car, she was very happy with the photographs she was able to capture, but she also had wet feet from walking around in the tall grasses.


After Indian Lake, we checked on a few more sites we’d been to before, and then ended up along the Wisconsin River. There didn’t appear to be a lot of color, but the fog was still hanging over the river enhancing the views.


A little further along, we passed the Mazomanie Oak Barrens. Neither of us could remember having been there before, so Joann turned around and we drove in. By this time, the fog was starting to lift, but Joann managed to move around enough to catch it as it rolled across the hillside.


We crossed the river into Sauk County with a couple of places in mind to check out for remaining color As we headed to one location, we glanced over to see one of our favorite old merry-go-rounds under a yellow maple tree. Sometimes we drive quite a ways down the road before one or the other of us says that we have to go back, but this time there was no question. Joann immediately found a spot to turn around to visit the merry-go-round.


Another favorite thing to find is a nice fall display. How cute is the one below with crows sitting on the scarecrow?


If you love rock formations, you definitely should spend some time along the roads in Sauk and Richland counties. They are easiest to see in the winter when all the leaves are off the trees, but they are at their prettiest in the fall when yellow leaves or orange and red sumac enhance their beauty.


We were a little late for our first visit to Seeley Creek Dam, as a lot of the color was gone already, but it was the first I had become aware of it. This is another case of being very close to something multiple times, but being unaware, and driving right by. We’re not even surprised anymore when we find out about things like this.


By now it was getting late in the day, and we were heading for home, but I asked Joann if she wanted to drive through Hoot Owl Valley on the way back to Baraboo and the highway home. I wasn’t surprised when she agreed, and we drove through the valley backwards of our normal route. The road is very narrow and hilly, but it was beautiful, in spite of most of the leaves having already fallen.


Almost every time we return to Joann’s house in the daylight, we pass by the church below. We’ve taken pictures from the highway in front of the church, but it is never as picturesque as when you come up to the church from the back.


And of course, we had to pull off as far as we could and get some photographs. This may have been the best year for maple color in the trees next to the church. And the golden cornfield still standing behind it only added to an already beautiful scene.

We hope you’ve had a wonderful fall season and have gotten to experience all the hues of autumn. We certainly enjoyed ourselves!

Photos in this blog post can be purchased as wall art, paper prints, downloads, phone cases, and keepsakes by clicking on the photo. You will be taken to the gallery website where you will see a big blue "BUY" button. Or to see all photos available, click on the "Browse Galleries" button on the menu at the top of this page. Thank you for your interest!

Happy Shunpiking!

Ruth

Monday, October 23, 2017

Evening Encounter

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

Photos in this blog post can be purchased as wall art, paper prints, downloads, phone cases, and keepsakes. Just click on the desired photo and look for the blue “BUY” button.

Two years ago, on September 22 at 6:30 a.m., Ruth and I started our day photographing in a cemetery in Richland County, Wisconsin. We photographed our way to the apple orchards in Crawford County, spending several hours in the area. As the afternoon waned, we wandered back through Richland County. Around 6:30 p.m., we found ourselves near one of our favorite rock formations called Steamboat Rock.


We’ve visited Steamboat Rock many times over the years and it never disappoints. For years, there’s been an old abandoned spring house at the base of the rock. It always amazes and delights me to find that it’s still there. However, on a visit there a week ago, it was obvious that it may not be there much longer.


And on another autumn visit over 10 years ago, we discovered upon a close study of the beautiful patterns in the rock, that there was a hornet’s nest camouflaged among the patterns.


We never visit without taking a few photos, so on this autumn day, we drove down the county road that goes past Steamboat Rock and turned off on Steamboat Hollow Road, which was a safer place to park the car for a few minutes. It was a beautiful, warm autumn evening and a peaceful country quiet surrounded us.


As I stood in the road with my camera on the tripod and pointed toward the rock, an old convertible slowly approached. There was an older gentleman driving the car and a young girl on the passenger side, and both of them were thoroughly enjoying the ride. We waved at each other….a sort of acknowledging wave that said, “What a gift it is to drive through the countryside and enjoy the scenery!”


After I finished taking a few photographs, there was still a little daylight left, so we decided to go check on the remains of the old Bowen’s Mill, which is a short distance from Steamboat Rock. Our first visit to this mill was in 1998. Ten years later, on an autumn 2008 visit, it still looked the same.


Bowen’s Mill was built as a flour mill in 1867 on the Pine River. People from the surrounding counties brought their wheat to Bowen’s Mill for grinding into flour. Four generations of the Bowen family owned and operated this mill, which became a feed mill in later years.


And now, it was another seven years later and, other than the landscape being overtaken by trees and shrubs, it still looked the same. We keep expecting to find a pile of rubble whenever we make a return visit, but the old mill continues to stand the test of time.


As I stood there with my tripod and camera, admiring the strength and determination of this old building that was close to 150 years old, I noticed the convertible that I had seen by Steamboat Rock coming toward me. The driver stopped the car in the middle of this quiet country road and said, “Are you the same person who was over by Steamboat Rock a few minutes ago?" “That I am!” I responded. “You’re everywhere!” he exclaimed. “As are you,” I replied.


We both laughed, and then he told me that he was sharing his joy of the open road (and his open car) with his granddaughter. I bid them farewell, and Ruth and I headed for home.

In case you’re wondering if Bowen’s Mill actually made it to 150 years, it did! Ruth and I checked on it a week ago, and it’s still going strong.

Photos in this blog post can be purchased as wall art, paper prints, downloads, phone cases, and keepsakes by clicking on the photo. You will be taken to the gallery website where you will see a big blue "BUY" button. Or to see all photos available, click on the "Browse Galleries" button on the menu at the top of this page. Thank you for your interest!

Happy Shunpiking!
Joann

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Island Church

By Ruth A. Ringelstetter

Photos in this blog post can be purchased as wall art, paper prints, downloads, phone cases, and keepsakes. Just click on the desired photo and look for the blue “BUY” button.

The first time Joann and I visited the Island Church (also called St. Wenceslaus Church) was in January of 1999. It had just snowed, and although the roads were clear, the shoulders were not, and there was no place to park for most of our photos. We would pull up to a stop, Joann would jump out with her equipment and I would drive down the road, waiting somewhere for her until she signaled, and then I’d drive up and she would hop back in.


The little church celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2013 and is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. It is also a Wisconsin Registered Landmark.


On February 18, 1863, Anton and Therezia Christel sold 1 acre of land for the church to the first Bishop of the Diocese of Milwaukee for $35.00. The land was on a hill and was surrounded by deep, boggy wetlands with one access road.


The Waterloo Area Historical Society says the church was founded and built by migrants who were mostly Roman Catholics from Bohemia and Germany.

The little church is 32 X 24 feet and was made of log and timbers. After about 20 years, the church was sided to protect it from the weather.


The first priest was Father Hubert Jansen who came from Jefferson. Mass was held about every four weeks. On Sundays when no mass was held, parishioners would gather and a member would read scripture passages and lead prayers.

In 1891, the Island Church priest was Father Francis X. Hess. He moved to the newly completed St. Joseph Catholic Church in Waterloo, and the congregations were merged. Regular services at the Island Church ended shortly thereafter.


The small St. Wenceslaus Church Cemetery was first used in 1865 and is located just behind the church.


In 1970, an article appeared in a Milwaukee newspaper saying that the church had been given to the Wisconsin Historical Society to be moved to Old World Wisconsin near Eagle. Several area residents formed a committee to preserve the church on its original site. The group is known as the Island Church Foundation and they were successful in keeping the church at its original location.


Services are held twice a year at the church. On the second Sunday in July, the church holds a nondenominational service, and on the fourth Sunday of September a Catholic Service is held in celebration of St. Wenceslaus Day.


Our first two visits to the church were almost 10 years apart, and were both winter visits. But finally, in August of 2016, we visited on a gorgeous August Day. This time, without snow on the ground, Joann was able to walk around the church and back to the old outhouses.


There is also a tree swing hanging from a big tree behind the church.


Finally, just a couple of weeks ago, we visited the church when the doors were open. It was our first time to visit when Joann could take some photos inside.

The entryway has a viewing spot in the wall where the original logs can be seen.


The church still has the original unpainted pine pews that were made by an early parishioner. In the aisle between the pews, stands the original small iron stove with extended stovepipes.


The original confessional is still there in the corner.


Everything inside remains just as it was when the last mass was held. The altar still stands with its candlesticks and other religious articles. On the walls, the pictures representing the Stations of the Cross still hang just as they did when the church was in use.


Even with how small the church is, there was a choir loft raised about three feet above the floor.


You can visit the church and cemetery at any time, but if you’d like to visit for a service or view the inside of the church, follow them on Facebook. Events at the church are listed when they are scheduled.

Photos in this blog post can be purchased as wall art, paper prints, downloads, phone cases, and keepsakes by clicking on the photo. You will be taken to the gallery website where you will see a big blue "BUY" button. Or to see all photos available, click on the "Browse Galleries" button on the menu at the top of this page. Thank you for your interest!

Happy Shunpiking!

Ruth