my golf game, not so much
Great to be alive in Wisconsin this second week of September 2017.
First the weather: September-October weather is Wisconsin’s best. Low humidity, high blue skies and near 80-degree temps this week. No hurricanes! Yowzah!
A good day for a day trip with Number #1 Son to the hills and dales of Columbia/Sauk County by way of the Merrimac ferry, in our ragtop Fiat 500c.
Do the locals really want a bridge over the Wisconsin River? Don’t they realize what an attraction is this ferry, the Colsac III? Remember the first time the First Squire took his brood of six across — what a thrill!
Son and Current Squire took Highway 113, Tower Road and Bluff Road through the Baraboo Range on our way to Driftless Glen distillery and restaurant in lovely Baraboo. It’s a relatively new establishment. Great meal — me with blackened salmon on a burger bun, barley and mushroom soup, washed down with a honey lager — on the veranda overlooking the Baraboo River. Across which, atop a bluff, rested a Circus World Museum circus rail car. The museum itself is right next door on Water Street.
We intended to tour the museum but the day was too nice to go indoors so we set out northeast, this time taking County W to Durwards Glen Road. That was another place first visited with the First Squire some 60 years ago.
Durward’s Glen has the natural allure — stone, woods, springs and streams — of nearby Parfrey’s Glen but with a fascinating array of religious statues, a lovely little chapel, and a fascinating old stone artist’s atelier (the Hermitage). Plus history dating back to 1862 when an artist by the name of Bernard Isaac Durward settled here. Later a novitiate for the Order of St. Camillus, Durward’s Glen is now an independent retreat and conference center. The grounds are open to the public during daylight hours. We dropped a few dollars into the donation box at Immaculate Conception Chapel.
Of course, we had to drive the winding South Shore Road through Devil’s Lake State Park. The Fiat 500c drive mode was set on “Sport.”
‘Better than Broadway’
The trip capped a beautiful weekend that saw the Badger football team win, the Packers beating the Sea Turkeys, and the Brewers sweep the Cubs — IN CHICAGO! Well do the scribes at the Stately Manor remember the days when such a trifecta was a pipe dream.
In a few days, the doyenne of the Stately Manor will accompany her Squire to a showing of Chekov’s Three Sisters at American Players Theater in its reconfigured outdoors Up the Hill theater in Iowa county just south of Spring Green. Next month, we’ll catch Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge at its indoor Touchstone theater.
We first attended American Players decades ago, shortly after its founding, when Randall Duk Kim was artist in residence, specializing in Shakespeare. We saw his Hamlet.
American Players has a national reputation. Consider this review by Terry Teachout (paywall), theater critic for the Wall Street Journal:
Few people outside Wisconsin know of APT’s existence, yet it is America’s finest classical theater festival, unrivaled for the unfailing excellence of its productions. Nowhere else — not even in New York or Chicago — will you see such plays done more stylishly or excitingly. … APT’s magnificent new production of “A View From the Bridge” … Arthur Miller’s 1955 drama of incestuous love on the waterfront … is, together with Mike Nichols’s 2012 Broadway version of “Death of a Salesman,” one of the two best Miller revivals I’ve ever seen.
(And Teachout’s review of its Shakespeare and its Jean Genet offerings: “American Players Theater is America’s best classical theater festival.”)
State’s economy is booming!
And now, on to a different tack altogether but one in the same pride in our Badger State.
What was the Wisconsin State Journal’s page one headline story Sunday?
Wisconsin businesses grapple with a growing worker shortage.”
The subhead: “With unemployment near a record low and more baby boomers retiring, Wisconsin faces a looming worker crisis.”
Isn’t this what Gov. Scott Walker has been trying to tell us for years? For all those nattering nabobs of negativity who cavil over Walker’s ambitious goal of creating 250,000 jobs? The jobs are there, begging for workers to fill them.
Lest one not see the forest for the trees, this is your bottom line (sponsored by the Blaska Policy Werkes): Wisconsin’s economy is booming!
Wisconsin is expected to need 45,000 workers in seven years but it simply lacks the people to fill them. Even now, employers complain they can’t fill high-need jobs — many of them low-income but some in nursing, IT and the sciences that pay better than the state median. — (Matthew DeFour’s excellent series here.)
Does make one wonder where we will come up with the 13,000 (or so) workers Foxconn wants to hire. (See now another Kenosha-Racine area Democrat voted for it, Bob Wirch.)
Cranes and turkeys and foxes, oh my!
Makes one wonder on what issue will the raft of Democrat(ic) gubernatorial challengers campaign? The supposedly degraded environment?
Yes, we’re choking on our own filth. Not! A small but telling anecdote. The Revenue Golf League finished its season last week. (Someone has to be its worst player.) Many of the fairways were being torn up as we watched by sandhill cranes looking for grubs under the turf. Sandhill cranes! Once so rare, now almost becoming a pest like the increasing numbers of geese. A beautiful pest but …
In addition to the cranes and geese, this season we saw red foxes, wild turkeys, and an eagle high in a tree — at Odana Hills golf course. Surrounded by the city of Madison. The congested Beltline Highway runs along its south side. High-voltage American Transmission electric lines on tall poles! Pesticides and fertilizer and motorized carts and Blaska flailing away at a little white ball like a berserk Dutch windmill.
Wildlife we never saw growing up on the farm 50 years ago! And you want to tell me Scott Walker and the legislative Republicans have degraded the environment?
Smoke it somewhere else, my … acquaintances.