Cheese and Dells

Friday, August 21, 2019

Harry pulling outIt was another cool morning when we went for our walk and then said our goodbyes to Harry. He is headed back across country to Idaho and maybe to Washington. It was great to get to know one of our newest NOMADS and it was also great to hear he has already signed up for several projects.

We had tourist-like plans for today. We first met Nancy and Gary at the Carr Valley Cheese shop and factory in Mauston. There was a very nice lady working in the store today who was willing to let us sample many cheeses, different honeys, cheese spreads, butters and more. She also graciously answered all our many questions. We were surprised at all the different butters – cow, goat, sheep, and various blends. We actually like the blend of the three the best. The cow butter, what we usually purchase, was easily better than the butter we buy at the grocery store. We sort of made a list of the items we want to go back and purchase before we leave Wisconsin. There are so many good choices but we have narrowed it down.

Boat Tour SignFrom Mauston, we drove about 20 minutes to Wisconsin Dells, and met Stel and Jodi at the parking lot for the boat tour. We took the two hour tour of the upper Dells on the Wisconsin river. The scenery was lush green trees with sandstone cliffs, and interesting rock formations. The pilot and tour guide were very knowledgeable about the area and shared a lot of history of the area along with a bunch of corny jokes. We made two stops for short hikes to view more of the formations, the first was Witches Gulch and the second Stand Rock. At Stand Rock there was a dog that jumped between rock formations. Pretty impressive. This “act” is traditional in the Dells, but in the past people did the jumping. In fact this place is called the birthplace of stop-action photography. In the 1880’s H.H. Bennett invented a camera shutter fast enough to take a picture in a fraction of a second instead of the five minutes required by most cameras of the day. In 1886, to show off his camera he had his son jump back and forth to Stand Rock until he captured the perfect photograph. We were told that picture and Bennett are credited with starting the tourist industry in the Dells.

After the ride back down the river to the dock, we disembarked and headed out for lunch. We walked down the street and found High Rock restaurant where we shared a meat loaf sandwich that was served on a seeded wheat bread with honey glaze that was probably the best we have ever had.

We will be looking for that bread in the stores. Walking back to the cars, we just happened to walk by a Dairy Queen, so of course we had to stop. Of course, ice cream afterwardsFrom there we went to Holiday Wholesale to see if we could purchase some of the cinnamon rolls that Roxy baked for us last week. We were able to snag a bag of the frozen rolls and we just hope there are as good when we cook them. Wonder what we will have for breakfast tomorrow?

End of Week Three

Thursday, August 22, 2019

We saw a beautiful sunrise this morning
We saw a beautiful sunrise this morning

Stel brought our devotion today based on Habakkuk 3:17-19 and focusing on the word “though” in the passage. She ended by asking the group to think about times when God met our needs during difficult times.

Max and Nancy returned to JJ’s house and finished the floor and trim there a little after 10:00 am, then Nancy went to Rhonda’s and Max went to Nate’s where he helped Stel, Jodi and Harry finish getting the bathroom ready for the plumber and electrician. They got both new windows installed and all the walls framed.  We got word that the plumber should be there Monday.

 

Anne, Gary and Norm spent the day working on doors, trim and siding at Rhonda’s. There is still a lot of work to do there, but the homeowners are so thankful for the work NOMADS have done.

Tonight Roxy and the ladies prepared another delicious dinner. This time honey garlic chicken, sauted vegetables and Asian salad. They outdid themselves with desserts also. Three pies and a German chocolate cake. We also celebrated Norm’s birthday so we brought a cake. There are plenty of leftovers for the weekend.

 

Anniversaries

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Another beautiful day in Wisconsin. It is the one year anniversary of last year’s flooding. So sad. We are even more thankful for our beautiful day after seeing the pictures of the flooding on the news. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people who are not back in their homes or are in their homes but they haven’t been able to have them repaired. People are still trying to navigate the FEMA, SBA, etc systems.

Today Harry led the team in devotion. He used the Daily Word book again and today’s word was “potential”. We all have so much potential because we have the holy spirit living in us. He also used Proverbs 11:25 from the Message – “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed, to remind us that sometimes we need a reminder that somebody cares.” And sometimes we need to give that reminder to others. Whenever we feel that nudge, that still small voice, to call a friend, send a card, we need to DO IT because they may be in need of a reminder someone cares. Thanks for the reminder, Harry.

We then all headed back out to our usual job sites to work. Max took Anne and Nancy back to JJ’s to complete the flooring, texturing and trim. Max stayed around and worked on the floor a while while Anne and Nancy completed the texturing. He then went to Rhonda’s to check on Gary and Norm while Anne and Nancy worked on completing the floor and trim. Norm and Gary worked on doors most of the day, interior and exterior. From Rhonda’s Max went to check on Stel, Jodi and Harry. They were working to install windows and of course one of the two windows purchased for them last evening was defective. It wouldn’t open. The exterior wall is almost completely framed awaiting the other window. Progress is being made and they have another day or two work to complete our portion of this project and then it will be waiting on the plumber and electrician. By the end of the day JJ’s flooring was complete and we need to install the transition strip and reinstall the trim.

At the end of the day, we went to Dairy Island for ice cream. They have more than 20 flavors of soft serve but Anne just got vanilla, and Max had root beer. Both were very good and we would definitely go back and probably will. It was our treat for our anniversary – 37 years. We will celebrate further this weekend. It was another really good day.

Yet Another Three House Day

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Today was a mixed bag. It was very cloudy this morning but we had some nice sun this afternoon and a high of 83. We have a cold front coming through tonight which will keep temps lower for the next few days.

Today Nancy and Gary led devotion. As usual they sparked some good discussion, this time about the importance of embracing Godly relationships. We then discussed the accomplishments of yesterday and the headed back to Rhonda’s and Nate’s while Max went back to the lumber company to get more materials. After delivering the lumber to the crew at Nate’s, Max headed over to Rhonda’s to pick up Anne and Nancy. They had been staining the last of the interior doors and casings in hopes that they would be dry enough to install by late afternoon. After that was done Anne, Max and Nancy headed back to Mauston to JJ’s house, leaving Norm and Gary to work on installing an exterior door and more siding. At JJ’s there was drywall to patch and vinyl plank flooring to install. The flooring was a real puzzle. Sometime back, the basement started to flood so JJ pulled up a portion of the flooring. Now because there is no extra of the flooring we had to determine how to re-install damaged flooring. We are making progress but, it’s a puzzle sorting out the pieces and lining them back up to make complete rows. We also got the drywall patched, taped and mudded today.

Stel, Jodi and Harry returned to Nate’s and finished framing one wall and started another. That house is almost ready for the electrician and plumber.

Tonight was another great meal prepared by some of the ladies of the church – baked ziti with meatballs and a nice tossed salad and garlic bread and, of course, desserts. Tonight we also had some cheese curds and various cheeses from a local dairy. It was all so very good. Time for a bath and bed.

Starting Week Three

Monday, August 19, 2019

Another beautiful Monday in New Lisbon, Wisconsin. We were up early and got a good walk in the fresh cool morning air. We are enjoying starting our days with a walk in the cool temperatures.

We led devotion this morning using a YouVersion Bible app devotion as our basis.

After devotion and meeting, Anne and Nancy, Gary and Norm went back to Rhonda’s house. Anne and Nancy worked on texturing the kitchen ceiling, and painting the upper portion of the walls. Later they began staining boards for the door frames. Gary and Norm worked on the exterior siding and removed an exterior door and began the repairs for the reinstall. Progress was made in all areas. Stel, Jodi and Harry went back to Nate’s where they completed the subfloor, removed the old ceiling, worked on laying out walls and moved the tub into the house after it was delivered. Max went to JJ’s house, which will be a new project for us beginning tomorrow. He and Lynette, our UMCOR representative met the home owner and reviewed the scope of work. Max found some drywall repairs and repairs of vinyl plank flooring needed to be completed. It was a busy day for all. There is much work to be done and we are already feeling a little pressure. We have eleven work days remaining on this project and would love to see the homes of Teresa, Rhonda, Ilana, Nate and JJ completed.

Cool Sunday

Sunday, August, 18, 2019

Cool front coming through
Cool front coming through

There were again some storms predicted overnight but we didn’t get much rain and no storms. It has been cool, cloudy and windy all day. We actually wore long sleeves today. We will happily take long sleeves over the 98 degrees we saw predicted for home today. We are actually seeing changes in the leaves already. Nothing dramatic, but early changes. Interesting too is that the kids don’t start back to school here until after Labor Day. I guess they have so little summer they want to take advantage of it all. They are still talking about the minus 45 degree days they had last winter. They don’t get snow days here but they do get cold days when everyone stays home when the temperature is below minus 35. That is just so foreign to someone from the Alabama.

At the gathering before church this morning our chef had big, luscious fresh hot cinnamon rolls. Probably the best cinnamon rolls we have ever eaten. If not best they at least tie any cinnamon rolls we ate on our Alaska trip. For those that didn’t follow that adventure, we ate cinnamon rolls there and back and selected a champion at the end of the trip.

Pastor Deb started a new sermon series this week titled “My Big Fat Mouth” with today’s message being “My Big Fat Mouth – Complaining” and upcoming sermons on gossip, lying, etc. She reminded us of Exodus 16:8, “..You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.” We all need to recite Psalm 103:2-5 more often, “Let all that I am praise the Lord, may I never forget the good things he does for me.”

Trying to match blueprints to plumbing
Trying to match blueprints to plumbing

This afternoon Anne worked on paperwork, and Max did some work with Norm on the new bathrooms at the church. The ladies of the church fed us another wonderful meal and we had our team meeting. We are ready to start another week of work trying to help people return to their homes.

Car-Trapping and Hiking In Wisconsin

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Today was a beautiful day in our part of Wisconsin. It was 58 degrees when we woke this morning to a sunny sky. Since we did not have any team members arriving today, we took the day off. We got our walking in before breakfast and after breakfast decided to head out to explore our area.

Mill Bluff Trail signWe see numerous sandstone buttes and mesas as we drive around the area. Everything is very flat and green and then there is this big rock formation sticking up. We have talked and laughed about these formations since our arrival. Today we decided to go to Mill Bluff State Park which is an “ice age national scientific reserve” and only 11 miles from Winding Rivers. We planned to do some hiking and learn more about this geology.  Just as we were entering the park, Max looked into our rear view mirror and saw our team members Stel and Jodi and two other NOMADS, Gary and Avis behind us.  Didn’t expect that.  With the park’s big title designation, we expected exhibits, and lots of information. We were somewhat underwhelmed by the hiking and education. We did get some good exercise climbing to the top of one of the buttes. However, the park is beside I-90 and rather than a peaceful, quiet state park, there was interstate noise everywhere we went. There were no exhibits and we found one small handout with a map on one side and about 6 paragraphs about the formations and the scientific reserve designation. We hiked the nature trail, climbed the one butte and then decided to move on to something else.

Necedah NWR signIn looking at what else was in the area, we found the Necedah (neh-CEE-duh) National Wildlife Refuge which is about 17 miles north of New Lisbon. The refuge welcome center was very well done. Beautiful building and helpful staff. There are numerous trails and wild life viewing areas. We did the one mile loop trail at the visitors center and then drove to Sprague and hiked in that area of the refuge. Beautiful day to be out in nature listening the frogs, and birds. We saw 3 gorgeous swans peacefully swimming on Sprague Pool along with sandhill cranes, Canada geese, great blue herons and other birds.

After leaving the refuge we drove to Tomah and on the way drove through an area of a lot of cranberry bogs. Wisconsin is the number one producer of cranberries in the world. There is a big harvest festival in September and we would love to be here for the harvest in late Sept and October, but we will have moved on by then. We did learn a lot more about the bogs and growing cranberries. Interesting. In Tomah, we bought a saw blade, bought some groceries and of course got some ice cream. You can’t hike seven miles without having ice cream. It was a good day!

Other car-trapping sights we saw today: