Tag Archive | ice cream

Barn Quilt and Dairy Farm Tour

Barn Quilt Tour Video-90 minutes

Green County Cheese Days in Monroe is back again, and this year I planned on taking the Barn Quilt and DeVoe Dairy Farm Tour. I had not done this before and I was excited! Our guides are Kris Winkler and Lynn Lokken. I went alone since Al couldn’t come with me on Saturday.  The tour was sold out with over 60 people filling the bus!


We headed out at 11 AM, Kris and Lynn gave a running commentary during the tour. We saw a great many barn quilts.  To do your own tour, you can get the map from the Green County Visitor and Activity Guide. There is a pull-out map in the middle of the publication. You can also see a Google map of the barn quilt locations from the website, Green County Barn Quilts.  We saw as many as we could in 2 1/2 hours.  Here is a small sample of the quilts we saw.

Kris and Lynn also pointed out several businesses and cheese-making places along the route.  The first was Rackow’s Family Sausage with the distinctive pink silo!

This quilt was mentioned but we didn’t see it on the tour.  This one was modeled after a scuba diving flag, a sport we participated in together for many years. It’s called, “Live and Let Dive”, #141 on the map.

The Maple Leaf Cheese factory in Monroe. They are the source of the famous fried cheese curds sold at Cheese Days by the Monroe Optimist Club.

Al and I saw this place in October (not on the tour), the Maple Leaf Cheese Store in Juda where we enjoyed a treat!

On the tour, we also got a sneak preview of a brand-new goat and sheep dairy farm that is still in development. It’s called Ms. J and Co.  This farm will be able to provide sheep and goat milk on a larger scale to cheese producers in Wisconsin. They are predicted to come online in 2020. It’s possible we may get a tour here at Cheese Days in two years!

And now, our visit to the DeVoe Dairy Farm for our tour!

Our first part of the tour was in the milking parlor. Yvonne DeVoe does all the milking on the farm and you can tell she loves her cows! ❤  The “head cow” is Adele, she mooed a few times for us too 🙂

Next, our group moved over to the farmyard, where we saw chickens, goats, pigs, donkey, and other animals. Oldest daughter Katlyn took over from here.

She also showed us a couple of newborn calves. She carried them in and out of the barn like they were light. Really, they might be at least 60 pounds!

Then, we adjourned to enjoy some ice-cold milk, cheese, and ice cream!

Our hosts Lynn and Kris serving snacks to all the tour participants.

I even said “Hi” to Alice in Dairyland 2018, Kaitlyn Riley!  A nice young lady doing a great job representing Wisconsin. After the tour, she participated in the cow milking contest.

After about 15 minutes, it was time to head to Monroe, Kaitlyn had some milking to do soon!  We saw a few more barn quilts on the way back. Be sure to watch the video for the full, unabridged tour.

Thanks, Kris and Lynn for a great tour, I hope to see you in 2020 during Cheese Days!


MacKenzie Environmental Center Maple Syrup Festival


Mackenzie Center sign

Spring is here and we returned to MacKenzie to celebrate! It had been almost 4 years since our last visit and this event sounded like a lot of fun! Here is the itinerary of the day.

Maple Syrup Festival Events

We arrived at 9:30 and began with breakfast at the Lodge, the pancakes and ham were so delicious!  The real maple syrup really made it great!

Mackenzie Center Lodge

Mackenzie Lodge inside

During breakfast we got serenaded with some sugarin’ music by the Dark of the Moon Contra-Band.  Let’s listen in!

Dark of the Moon Contra-Band

After our delicious breakfast we went to the sugaring camp a short distance away.  Over 1000 people came to this event and about 700 had breakfast too.

The weather was rather interesting, it alternated between white out and sunshine, sometime both at the same time!

MacKenzie Sugaring Camp

Set up in the camp was a large portable Ho-Chunk Indian home called a Ciporoke, it was put to the test today with the high winds and it didn’t budge. It was constructed in January so it has stood most of the winter.

Ciporoke sign at MacKenzie

We went inside and learned more about it and saw some animal pelts and tools used by the Ho-Chunk.  A docent inside answered the questions from the many visitors, very interesting! Let’s listen in.

The views inside, tools and pelts on display.

Ciporoke inside at Mackenzie

Nearby were three large iron kettles boiling sap as they did in the late 19th century.  Another volunteer was showing the various products that can be made from sap.  Also a demo of carrying two buckets of sap using a yoke.

Iron Kettles Boiling Sap at Mackenzie

Carrying sap buckets

This part of the festival was real fun, eating ice cream topped with maple syrup made by an antique steam engine! Let’s see it in action!

Great ice cream too, cold and snow doesn’t stop Wisconsinites from enjoying that any time!

Vanilla Ice Cream and Syrup at Mackenzie

After our treat we visited the Maple Syrup finishing House, where larger quantities of sap were boiled than in the iron kettles. It was a wood-burning unit and it warmed the room nicely! On our first visit in 2012 was when we saw it cold.

Syrup Finishing House at Mackenzie

Syrup Finishing House at Mackenzie

Wallen Sugar House display at Mackenzie

Sap Tank at Mackenzie

Sap Tank at Mackenzie

We also learned pickles and syrup go well together, never know that!

Pickles and syrup

This was a real fun festival and we are so glad we were able to go this year!

Back to School at the University of Wisconsin

Bascom Hall

Bascom Hall


The University of Wisconsin (UW) traces it’s beginning back to when Wisconsin achieved statehood in 1848. Today the UW serves all of Wisconsin and even the world with its many outreaches. Today we are exploring the Madison Campus. I didn’t have the opportunity to attend here (I went to Madison College). My grandfather Norman R. Braton was a Mechanical Engineer and Professor here at the Engineering Building for 29 years (1955-1984).  Here he is in the 1960’s.   He was also one of the co-inventor of the Shripper, it shreds rubber tires to prepare for recycling. Photo from the UW archives, 1977.    Read more of his accomplishments here and here.


Norman R. Braton 1960'sShripper 1977

Mechanical Engineering Building


The 1986 movie “Back to School” was also filmed here at the UW.

The campus unofficially begins at Library Mall. Here you will find the Memorial Library and the University Bookstore.  It has spent recent years full of construction equipment, so here it is long before that, in 2012. It is lined with food carts three seasons of the year, not winter. Also the clock streight ahead past the carts in 2013. It was a gift from the class of 1923.

Library Mall Madison 5-24 -12 Madison


Clock Tower 5-8-13 Madison


With the clock facing your back, you see the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Memorial Union and the  Red Gym/Armory (1893).

Wisconsin Historical SocietyIMG_8231

Memorial Union

Big Red Gym 5-8-13 Madison


The Memorial Union is a favorite hangout in Madison. Let’s go behind the building to the Union Terrace. It was remodeled last year, here is how it looks in summer 2014.  The colorful terrace chairs and the Lake Mendota views have delighted residents and visitors for generations.  The Brat Stand is also open in the summer to enjoy a meal by the water.  There is also a stage for outdoor concerts.

Union Terrace 2014 Madison

Brat Stand Memorial Union Madison

Memorial Union Stage Madison

The UW Hoofers base of operations for the sailing club is also here. This is an organization anyone can join for a variety of sports and hobbies.

Hoofers Sailing Club Madison

As we leave here, the majestic Science Hall in red brick towers over the union.

Science Hall Madison

Now we make a right then another left onto Observatory Drive, another place for great views.  The hill is VERY steep, I had to walk my bike. We soon come upon Muir Knoll in the Bascom Hill Historic District. John Muir was a student of UW, the Class of 1863. He became a naturalist known world-wide.  There is also a Storytellers Circle made of stone to sit and converse. Long before this in 1919, it had a ski-jump!

Muir Knoll Rock MadisonJohn Muir marker bascom Hill Historic District

Muir Knoll circle MadisonStoryteller's Circle Muir Knoll Madison

 We now are way above Lake Mendota, we now reach the famous Carillon Tower. It is now striking 11:00. It is not mechanically chimed, a man named Lyle Anderson  has played it for 31 years. He retired in August 2016 and it has stood silent since then.

Carillon Tower - Lyle Anderson plays 11:00Carillon Tower Class Presents Madison

We continue down Observatory Drive, now we are way above Lake Mendota.  From here we can see Picnic Point, a long tongue of forest reaching out into the lake.

Picnic Point From Observatory Drive

On our left is Washburn Observatory, Madison’s own portal to the stars. It’s open to the public during events like eclipses, planet viewing, meteor showers and such all year around. On the grounds to the right is a very large boulder, determined to have been left by the glacier that was once here.

Washburn Observatory in Madison

Glacier Boulder MadisonChamberlin Rock plaque Madison

 Next we are stopping to smell the daisies and more at Allen Centennial Gardens, another part of the UW Campus not far from Washburn Observatory.  On February 19, 2015 they hosted their first Luminous light show in the garden.  What a great winter evening with a beautifully lighted path and warming fires surrounded by people roasting marshmallows! They will have it again in 2016.


Allen Centennial Gardens Madison

Allen Gardens House at Luminious

Head down to Lake Mendota just down the way, you will find the Lakeshore Path beckoning you to take a walk or bike ride.  Also the Porter Boathouse looms in the distance.

Porter Boathouse

Near here on University Ave. is the UW Botanical Garden. Both are so beautiful!

UW Botanical Garden Madison

 During the football season, Camp Randall is the place to go for a Badger game. Here is the inside of the stadium after the Crazylegs Classic run/walk, last Saturday in April every year. It was remodeled about 10 years ago. We have done this event several times, a lot of fun!

Camp Randall Stadium outside

Camp Randall Stadium 2005

And the Camp Randall Arch. Camp Randall used to be a Civil War base long before it was a football stadium. Go Badgers!

Camp Randall Arch Madison

You can’t have a Badger game without “Jump Around”. This began in 1998. We have even enjoyed doing this at the Madison Mallard games 🙂

For those people interested in rocks and minerals, the Madison Geology Museum is for you! Also free admission.  The kids will love the pre-historic skeletons on display too!

Madison Geology Museum


Boaz Mastadon

After a great day of exploring, a stop at Babcock Hall Dairy Store for some of their famous ice cream is a must!  I have coming here for a ice cream treat since childhood.  You can even go to the 2nd floor and watch them make cheese and the ice cream through the large windows.

Babcock Hall dairy Store

Babcock Dairy Store insideBabcock Ice Cream

Babcock Hall Processing plant

This is only the tip of the iceberg at UW Madison. The UW welcomes everyone to come visit their campus, you don’t have to be a student to have fun here!

Boombox the Wasteland or What to Do With Union Corners?


This was a  festival that took place at Union Corners, a LARGE vacant lot that is still waiting for some businesses.  That day, there was some.  And what a party! There was a parade, free ice cream, art, and entertainment. Also all boomboxes were tuned to WORT for music timed for the performances.


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The Parade.

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Entertainment-Middle Eastern Dancing by Sadira. They have been performing for over 20 years. I have watched her and her troupe perform at festivals in Madison since the 80’s.

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This was a fun festival, but soon things will finally start happening to this wasteland. An agreement was finally signed to develop it.  I will update later, perhaps after its completed (may be a few years).

Related Article

*  Union Corners on Course Again

*  Boombox the Wasteland 2013