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Thursday, August 21, 2014

RVing Friends Gone Home and did you know Steve is "A Machine"??

This morning our RVing pals Mel and Paula pulled out of High Cliff after staying for five days. We had shared a few meals, some shopping, and a nice evening of campfire sitting... I forgot to post this pic of our Two Brawny Lumberjack Men trying to get the campfire going with this one tiny hatchet!  LOL


These two get together and you never know what is going to happen! 



We said our goodbyes and we swiped the rest of their firewood.... because we are going camping this weekend with Steve's Dad nearby at Columbia Park. The motorhome is loaded up now as I type this and tomorrow I will drive it over to the park at noon. (Yes, for the new folks reading this blog, I do drive our 38ft diesel pusher motorhome myself too...)  Hopefully we will have a nice weekend and not too hot or muggy.


One of the nice (and many) gifts that Paula brought to me this week was this old antique light fixture!  It was from her sister's home, and Paula didn't really have a place for it in her house.  So she asked if we were interested in it.  It fits our "home style" perfectly!


Steve already installed it in our main floor bathroom and it looks wonderful.  Thank you so much, Paula!  I am sure your sister would be pleased to see it used and loved.




This evening, our neighbors came over and wanted us to help film their Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS so they could put it on Facebook to pass on the challenge to three of their people.  So Steve and I each held a camera in case one of us would goof up, we would have two separate videos of the same scene.  LOL  We both got a good film, and nobody needed to do a "reshoot" of the event:





And now for the part in my title about Steve being dubbed "A Machine"  ....  well, you can read about it yourself.  I copied and pasted this newspaper article that appeared in Times Villager newspaper about High Cliff State Park-----

FROM BITTER TO PROUD: THE STORY OF WILMER SCHULZ AT HIGH CLIFF STATE PARK
By Brian Roebke
Editor |
High Cliff State Park in Sherwood observed its 50th anniversary as a state park last week, and the most amazing story told by the 11 speakers at the ceremony was told by Wilmer Schulz, the longest-serving superintendent in the park.
Now 85 years old, Schulz told his story from the time he was approached by the government to the anniversary ceremony.
Schulz’s opinion of the park has changed 180 degrees from the first day he was approached about selling his land.
After the land for the park was purchased by the Wisconsin Conservation Commission, which later became the Department of Natural Resources, there was some turmoil.
Wilmer Schulz took over the family farm from his father in the early 1950s and was excited to make a living on the farm and use the big 40-acre woods to make maple syrup.
“We had 600, 700 pails out and cooked 120 gallons on syrup every spring, sometimes 200,” he said. “Cook and Brown was one of our biggest customers, and they would take 20 or 30 gallons a year.”
That syrup would be given to their office staff for an Easter present.
A gentleman from the DNR named Clyde Smith drove into his yard one day with something that would change his life forever: a request to purchase his woods.
Schulz told him, “Sir, it isn’t for sale, I just bought it.” Smith said, “No, we want it.”
He repeated that it wasn’t for sale and Smith told him the state would condemn it.
In the end, Schulz worked with the state and sold the land for $300 an acre, noting that land would be worth $8,000-$10,000 an acre today.
“I sold it to them and I was bitter,” he said. “Two of my neighbors were condemned, Schwabenlanders, Zehringer, farms were condemned because they didn’t want to sell, but they had to sell.”
One day Smith stopped to buy some maple syrup from him and said he wanted four or five gallons to bring to his friends in Madison. He bought even more the next year and told him they could use some part-time help at High Cliff.
He was asked if he could run a chain saw, tractor, and small Caterpillar.
Schulz was asked to talk to Andy Friedauer, who was the only employee from Western Lime that the state wanted to work at the park.
“Andy came up to me and said, ‘why don’t you work when you can, take a day off here, take a day off there,’ and that’s how I started working for the DNR,” he said.
As the park grew, he worked more and more until Smith told him he wanted to make him a park ranger.
“I told him if I get to be park ranger I will sell my cows and work full time,” he said.
He saw a newspaper ad the next week advertising for a park ranger at High Cliff, and Schulz was puzzled.
He called the park manager, John Franzen, who told him he had to pass a civil service test first.
“Luckily I graduated from high school,” he said. “Back in those days you didn’t have to go to high school if you didn’t want to, but you had to go until you were 16.”
He loved school, so he stayed. The school wanted him to go to college but his dad told him he would be a farmer.
He passed the test and was hired.
“I put the cows up for auction and I was still bitter,” he said. “Believe it or not, I was still bitter.”
When he started working, two men from Madison came up and said they wanted to purchase 40 more acres.
“I was crop farming and working here doing service, I was a fool to work,” he said.
They did purchase that work land for $600 an acre, much less than the $10,000 an acre his neighbor sold his for last year.
At that time, the park was in disarray, Schulz thought, since the park superintendent didn’t want to work weekends. The park was wild at that time because of the lack of control. Monday mornings were spent cleaning up the litter, bottles, and cans.
“It got so bad the state troopers would not come in to work anymore,” he said.
Schulz told him they had to talk to people above him and a couple weeks later staff was working seven days a week.
The park manager was promoted and Schulz was named acting superintendent. He passed another test to become the superintendent and was told to clean up the park and make some money.
“We were known as the rear end of the park system, that was not nice to hear,” he said.
They told him they were taking in less than half their expenses because they weren’t working Sundays and selling stickers.
“They said, ‘we want you to straighten out this park, get it to be a family park, and we want to make some money,’” he said.
His challenge couldn’t be done without some more help, so the state gave him another ranger, a naturalist, and hired Mueller as a seasonal worker and Janet Deprey as a secretary. He said they worked together beautifully.
“We started taking reservations for the campground,” he said. “We did it all in the office and the first year we had help from Kettle Moraine and Point Beach.”
The rangers would come on Sunday, with as many as eight rangers in the park. They wrote out 660 citations the first year, something Schulz wasn’t proud of, but felt it had to be done.
“When I retired 11 years later, we wrote out 60,” he said.
He believes he hired good people who turned the park around. Four people came through who moved on to superintendent positions at other parks.
He visited the park two years ago and went home almost crying. “It didn’t look good,” he said. “It looked bad.”
When he came back last week to talk to Linda Gulig, he said it looked a lot better.
She credited her maintenance worker Steve Pfundtner for being   “a machine.”
Someone asked him why he groomed the park like a city park and he told them, “You have to give in order to get.”
He believes a good product will result in people coming to that product.
“That’s why High Cliff got to be the (day) use area it is today and it was back then,” he said.
When he retired, he was proud of what he did and is glad the workers who came through the park are superintendents today and the boss, Jerry Leiterman (Northeast District Park Supervisor), is one of the nicest young men he had working for him.
“Now he’s Linda’s boss,” he said.
He talked about his buddy Joe Diederich, who lived across the road from him.
When Diederich got his driver’s license, he wanted to go to Kaukauna to the movie in his Pontiac coupe.
“We come down that hill, you know the hill it used to be, and he had it in high gear,” Schulz said. “Well I never had a ride in my life … we hit the railroad tracks down there and we went airborne about 3-4 feet and shot across the road and I said to Joe, ‘I want to go home.’”
They did go to the movie but he held his breath all the way to Kaukauna.
He said his heart is in the park but he didn’t want to be part of the Friends group telling people what to do.
“The High Cliff Association, when I was here, helped us a lot,” he said. “I found after I got in the files after I became superintendent and found out they helped pay for some of the land they bought from me, which I didn’t know.”
He said the Friends are important because the state doesn’t provide enough money and enough help to run the property like it should.
“At one time I was so bitter when I sold the land but at the same time, I was proud when I left here,” he said. “I’m not bitter anymore.”




Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Poopy Job in a Campground -- and RVing Friends Visit

(I am still working on a blog about the weekend up north for my nephew's wedding)


So you think working in a campground is fun?  Well, most of the time it is.  But not always!

As you know, Steve is in charge of the facilities maintenance at High Cliff State Park.

Steveio got the report that the dump station was clogged up, so he had to go and investigate.  It seems some brainless NIT WIT (to be kind and not swear on my blog)  stuck something down in the hole at the park for dumping RV holding tanks.  Nobody could dump their tanks, and the few that tried, had their hoses back up and fill the whole catch basin... so that had to slowly seep down before any investigative work could begin.  NOT a great way to start a Monday morning!!!




Trying first with an auger, then poles and hooks, then pressure hoses, and finally having to use the backhoe and chains and pull up the pipe to get down to what was plugging it up.  The process also necessitated crawling down in the nearby manhole to remove the object.... ewwwwww

After using up 7 hours of valuable man hours of three workers to dislodge the item, it turned out to be a Gatorade drink bottle.  ARRRGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!   It was a firm hard plastic reusable drink type bottle that would not just squish down like a disposable water bottle.

Some brainless idiots (being kind here) just don't realize that someone has to go to a LOT of work to remove their stupid stunt.... when strained budget and available man hours don't let other routine work get done either.  I bet they enjoyed the lovely park that day, and it's lovely BECAUSE of the hardworking people who keep it that way.  So instead of getting their own work done, the guys had to spend most of the day troubleshooting and taking care of this stupid act of vandalism!   Plus, there are FOUR dumpsters about 20 steps away from the dump station, so that is no excuse either of a dummy not having a place to throw away their trash and thought sticking it in the hole it would dispose of it??

(okay--- my rant is done) 


I happened to be in the park and was able to snap a few pics, because our friends Mel and Paula were there camping for a few days.  It was kinda a dreary on-again off-again rainy day.  So we hopped in the car and ran around the local area hitting a few thrift shops.  Then they took me out for lunch!

   (poor Steveio didn't have any time or appetite for lunch while working on the clogged dump station!) 


As we went from store to store, finding treasures and even some quilting fabrics... THIS is what happens to husbands who complain that we are taking too long! Heh heh......


Tuesday was also a kinda hot humid clammy and sometimes shower day.... 
so what did we do? 

MORE thrift store shopping!   hahahahahha

We didn't know what the weather would be like, so instead of cooking at the campground, we came to our house to make dinner. When Steve got home from work, we had a nice supper prepared and he and Mel tossed some steaks on the grill.   Ahhh good food, good wine, and friends!  How nice---

My tomatoes are now ripe and fresh from my backyard,
and this was our first salad to enjoy with garden 'maters! 


The weather seemed to finally clear up and dry out a bit.  So we went back to the campground with them to enjoy an evening campfire.  Mel popped in a piece of copper pipe with a bit of old plastic garden hose inside.  This creates the colored campfire on the right.  

(warning --do not cook over this type of fire,
 as you don't know what chemicals are released due to the burning device) 
BEFORE                                                 AFTER 



Photos just don't do a campfire justice,
so I will post a video clip here of the actual fire! 



Thursday, August 14, 2014

Whirlwind Visit From the Folks and Sky Diving Great Auntie!

Well, my folks made it safe and sound to Chilton.... I was in the grocery store and got a phone call saying they were sitting on my front porch!  So I drove home as soon as I could, and yup, there they were--- two little homeless waifs sitting on my front stoop... looking for a person with a key to get in the house!   There weren't any cars behind me, so I pulled up in front of the house, rolled down the passenger window and took this pic of them.



I pulled in the driveway and snapped another shot of them sitting there.  
They looked so gosh durned cute! 


We made up some lunch and caught up on all the newest, latest and greatest.  Then my dad wanted to go down to New Holstein to TSC store check out some farm equipment, and it just so happens that next door is a thrift shop... so Mom and I went in there!

We hit one more thift shop in Kiel and then headed on back to our house... soon Steveio would be home from work.  Relaxing out on the front porch is a good way to wind down his busy day... and enjoying some time with the folks too!

 (the Pillsbury Dough Boy Cookie Jar in the lower right corner
was her mother's day present I didn't mail because they were moving) 


Mom hauled out the photo albums she brought along and was showing Steveio all about their newest home in Georgia.  These folks change their homes as often as they change their underwear (almost) ....  Well, I can count six different places they have moved to in the last 10 years or so.  So she had to show us all about the newest place.


I made up a couple pans of lasagna, using the roll-up method.  One was chicken alfredo lasagna and the other was the tomato meat sauce type.  Both came out great!

Here is the Chicken Alfredo recipe... click to enlarge it in another window to read the words if it's too small on your browser.



Here is the way I make it, I added some Italian bread crumbs on top too.


We sat around the for the evening, catching up and enjoying the time with my folks.  My dad has a very sassy habit of sharing his Cheetos Cheese Puffs with Finney. (who is a very willing participant, I might add)   There... caught in the act!



And Mom is not much better!   Here she is this morning sharing a cinnamon roll with the pup!  ARRRGGHHH!   She also keeps a handful of doggie treats in her pocket, and both dogs follow her all around the house to see how many they can beg off of her.

After coffee this morning, they loaded up and headed further north to the U.P. of Michigan.  It was not a sad "goodbye" ...rather it was a "see you soon" in two days!   They will visit some of the other people we know up there, and then head over with the family to Escanaba, MI for the weekend. We are happy to have a family gathering coming up for my nephew Darren's wedding!   It should be a great time, and we have the motorhome loaded up and ready to roll.  Steve has to work till noon tomorrow and then we will head out.  So we will be seeing the folks, and siblings, some of our kids and grandkids, and friends at the wedding ...  Will take a LOT of pics! 


Speaking of family... 
my great auntie Bernice
(technically my second cousin) 
sure made a big headline 
in the local paper in Port Washington, WI!   
Check this out! 


Yes... she sure did!!!!   



You go, girl!  
Soooo proud of you, Bernie...
you have a LOT more guts than I do~! 






Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ooooh My Parents are Almost Here - and Replacing Sash Cord in Our Old House Windows

My parents are heading up north for a family wedding this weekend.  We are waiting for them to come to our home and ride up with us on Friday in the motorhome.

They took off from down south in Georgia on Aug. 5th...  they showed up in Ohio at my step sis Tonya's house and posted us a pic on Facebook. So we knew they made it that far by Aug 7th.  LOL


Then this morning they posted from my cousin John's computer in Cedarburg, Wi... so we know they made it to Wisconsin!   We chatted for a while, which was a good thing.  My sister Linda and I have been going through "Mom-Withdrawals"!!!  Since they moved from Florida to Georgia this past spring, they do not yet have Mom's computer hooked up at the new house.  So we have not been able to chat, send pics and share blog posts.  Oh my!

They will be visiting with relatives and friends in Cedarburg for a day or two, and then be up here to our home in Chilton by Thursday.  It's only 60 miles from there to here. Easy Peasy.  Then they can help me load up the motorhome for our weekend up in Escanaba, Michigan.  My brother Butch's youngest son Darren is marrying Chelsea and we are going to have a great time!  The motorhome is our travelling hotel room, and the dogs can go along and enjoy the weekend too.



Today was a rainy day which was just fine by me. We really needed it and got about 2 inches.  My rainbarrels had been empty for three days now and we needed some fresh rain for the lawns and my tomatoes!   I hate to use city water on them, and having the rain barrels provide good water is an added plus.  I have been picking 5-6 tomatoes a day now and enjoying them in our evening meals--- plus a few sliced up on a plate as a treat.   Soon there will be enough to can a few jars every other day of stewed tomatoes to restock my shelves in the root cellar.

I was weaving most of the day, and took a break to run some errands.  Then I had to stock up on goodies for the grandtots in case they come out into the motorhome to rest before during or after the wedding and reception.  Granmuddahs gotta do that, ya know.  I am thinking my folks are sleeping in our rig with us, but tossing in a few grandkids for morning cuddles will be fun too


Now for some repairs to Our Old House!  

I figured I would post these pics of a project we did over the weekend.  Of course, you know we own a very old home, 100 years old.  The windows are old fashioned wooden sash type with raising panes that have window weights in the casings.  From time to time the old woven cords will break on either side and the weights fall down inside the casing.  Some of our windows have just one cord intact, which lets the window operate, but a little harder to raise and lower.

Finally one window in the dining room broke it's second cord.  Time to replace it....  so I bought a new hank of  "sash cord" at the hardware store. Do NOT use clothesline, it's not made the same and will stretch after a while.  Sash cord is braided differently and made to not stretch out.

Okay.. now it's time to fix the broken window cords....


First step... get a tall man to fix it for you.  
Then you don't have to stand on a ladder!!!!

He removes the two strips of wood along each side of the casing 
which are attached with screws



Now we can remove the window pane and remove the broken rope. 

The rope is only held onto the pane by a double knot in the end of the rope, 
to make a lump that fits in the circle part 
and the rest of the rope just lays along in this groove....  that is all. 
No other means of attaching it.

Next we unscrewed the bottom portion of the casing on each side to remove the weights and the bottom sections of broken rope down inside the casing.

These are the two window weights that came out of the bottom 
of the casing openings. 
Yup, they are very heavy. 


Bright idea from Steveio:
Save the two pieces of the old rope and place them end to end 
to measure when cutting the new rope!  
NO guessing for how long it is needed.  
We cut both ropes exactly right for each side of the window. 



Now it's time for MY bright idea! 
Drop a fishing line with a sinker weight attached down from the top roller 
through the little hole at the top pulley wheel, 
and let it drop to the bottom opening to serve as a guide string.
Now tie it onto the new rope and pull it through the casing into place!




We then strung the new ropes and brought them down to the bottom and 
tied them securely to the weights. We set the weights back in the bottom openings. 

(there are also another set of weights inside the casing... 
 for the top pane of glass to be able to open it from the top down,
 but we didn't fiddle with those, they were still intact) 



We pulled the knots at each of the tops down along the casings on each side.
Best if you have two people to do this part.  
One to lift the window pane into place 
and one to guide the cords on each side into the slots 
and line up the knots in the circular holes along the window frame.

I could not take a picture while we were both having our hands full. 


Onec we had the knots and cords lined up on each side, we 
slid it into the window frame and pushed it into place.


Last step, putting the wooden pieces back into place on each side, 
and securing them back on with the screws... 



---15 minutes---
DONE! 

Now, I might explain why I posted this.  I like posting the repairs and modifications we do to Our Old House.  But also I posted this because it was a VERY easy job.  And because my husband has been complaining that he wants to have NEW windows installed.  I counter with the fact that I love these 100 year old windows and they are charming and quaint and lovely.... and VERY EASY to fix when a cord breaks!  I don't want new windows on Our Old House. 

You see my point? 

heh heh


Monday, August 11, 2014

Smokey Bear's 70th Birthday Party and High Cliff State Park's 50th Anniversary

Steve has been a proud employee for the State of Wisconsin for 36 years. He has been with the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources at High Cliff State Park for the past 2 years now. Can you believe it's been 2 years already?

Did you know that it's also the 50th Anniversary for High Cliff State Park???... and it's Smokey Bear's 70th birthday!

They had a special "task" to ask of Steve for Saturday.  It seems Steve is the only employee in the park that can fit a certain costume... hmmmmmmmm

(I am not allowed to post pics of him getting assembled into this costume, 
but rest assured, it was a funny event----) 



Meet------- SMOKEY BEAR!   

The official name is "Smokey Bear"  .....   only later when composing a song was the word "the" added in between to make the words in the song easier to sing.


I was dubbed "Smokey Bear's Friend" to help guide him around and hand out treats.  Those big heads don't allow you to see downwards towards his feet too well, and we can't have Smokey tripping over some little tot wanting a hug now, do we?

(there are ice packs inside the suit that slide into pockets to help cool him, 
and a fan inside the top of the hat)



HERE ARE SOME VIDEO CLIPS OF THE DAY

Smokey walked through the woods on the way to his birthday party..... 


And once there, he was introduced as the guest of honor! 



Some of the older folks even remember ALL of the words to the song:



The birthday cakes were served, with ice cream and drinks... and all the children and adults took part in wishing this very hot bear a Happy Birthday!    




Many folks posed for pictures, and Smokey got a LOT of birthday hugs! 



 With the acting Park Superintendant Linda Guelig and Park Naturalist Cindy Mueller



Now.. I know there are a LOT of pictures here, but I could NOT resist... and had to post many of the good ones. Most of these photos were taken by our friend Craig as I was a bit busy to be snapping shots of the event. I was handing out pencils, coloring books, tattoos, posters and bookmarks.  I was helping to coax the shy ones, and helping the gregarious huggers to take it a bit easier on Smokey. It was SO much fun!

Seeing all those smiling faces, and hugs from young and old alike.  It really warmed my heart.  I was so proud to be a part of such a great day!

  

Meeting and greeting all the guests at his birthday party



Group shots of families will make great additions to their family albums


So much fun, from the youngest to the oldest folks...



I am thinking that Smokey made a few new friends



 Just look at those smiles!  and oooh the High Fives for the ones who didn't want to hug

When these kids go back to school, do you think they will say they met Smokey?


Yes, Smokey Bear even assisted this gal in a wheelchair with pushing her over the uneven ground 
and back to the parking area.  What a thoughtful bear! 




 This passing car-full of kids saw him trekking across the parking lot on his way back to the office.. and they all piled out to eagerly pose with him for a photo opportunity! 



And the last pic... as a very very hot Smokey Bear went back into the forest.... 


REMEMBER--- 
ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT FOREST FIRES!