POLIO & BLUEBIRDS

Earl Feick’s Bluebird nesting boxes are shorter than most so he can take care of them from his mobility scooter. Photograph by Nancy Camden.

Earl Feick’s Bluebird nesting boxes are shorter than most so he can take care of them from his mobility scooter. Photograph by Nancy Camden.

I stood next to an older man who was sitting on a mobility scooter at the Holland Festival parade in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin in late July.  I learned that the mobility scooter isn’t because he is in his eighties but because at age five, in a small town in North Dakota, his legs were paralyzed from polio. “Same time next year,” he said, when we left. Meet Earl Feick and his wife, Irmgard, who live in Plymouth, Wisconsin.

CHALLENGE & INSPIRATION

Tracy, Sean and Jeff Miller on the last day of a fourteen-day family bike trip around Lake Michigan. Peter Leaders walking nearly 9,000 miles around the outer states of the U.S.A. August 2015 Photographs by Nancy Camden.

Tracy, Sean and Jeff Miller on the last day of a fourteen-day family bike trip around Lake Michigan. Peter Leaders walking nearly 9,000 miles around the outer states of the U.S.A. August 2015 Photographs by Nancy Camden.

Can you hike for an hour? Can you see yourself biking for fourteen days with two twelve-year-olds? How about walking nearly 9,000 miles around the outer states of the U.S.A.? Three times in four days in late August, strangers-on-the-move through Ozaukee County were on-the-spot interviewed for Spotting Wisconsin. What is a ‘challenge’ is personal. Hearing these people meeting challenges is inspirational.

Like and follow Peter Leaders on his Facebook page Peterwalksthecountry. Like and follow Spotting Wisconsin’s Facebook page. Music for Spotting Wisconsin is by Conner Going.

EVERYBODY WAS A FRIEND

Photographs courtesy of John Kaufman.

Photographs courtesy of John Kaufman.

Did you know that among us are people who remember spotting teams of horses hitched in town? This episode of Spotting Wisconsin shares portions of an oral history I recorded. I have enhanced this little memory piece with audio from my sound collection. Travel back in time with John Kauffman who now lives in Cedarburg but grew up in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin in the 1920’s and 30’s.

Check out this fun and useful website, MissPronouncer.com to hear the correct pronunciation of Wisconsin towns, cities, rivers, Native American tribes and people’s names. Watch the video for a good laugh.

WASHED-UP COAL

David Schueler found coal chunks on the Lake Michigan beach at Harrington Beach State Park near Belgium. Photograph by Nancy Camden

David Schueler found coal chunks on the Lake Michigan beach at Harrington Beach State Park near Belgium. Photograph by Nancy Camden

In autumn, David Schueler and his family walked the beach at Harrington Beach State Park on Lake Michigan near Belgium, Wisconsin. They found coal that could have washed up from a sunken schooner years and years ago. David also talks about a special geological feature in Wisconsin, the Niagara Escarpment. A closer look at the wave-tossed coal.  Like, comment and share this podcast from Spotting Wisconsin’s Facebook page.

THEY KEEP BEES

Kris and Tim Fitzpatrick are being inspected by the bees (see them at Kris' knees) at the beehives behind their house in rural Vernon County, WI. Photograph by Nancy Camden.

Kris and Tim Fitzpatrick are being inspected by the bees (see them at Kris’ knees) at the beehives behind their house in rural Vernon County, WI. Photograph by Nancy Camden.

In early October, I knocked on the door of a hobby beekeeper in rural southwestern Wisconsin’s Vernon County. Their neighbor had pointed it out as a story for Spotting Wisconsin. Tim Fitzpatrick and his wife, Kris, led me down the hill behind the house to the honey bee hives where in the summer an estimated 600,000 bees work to maintain the colonies. What happens when the days shorten and the plants stop producing nectar? Why do the Fitzpatrick’s keep bees?

Click on the blue words to see photographs by Tim Fitzpatrick of the  bee hives when the honey is being collected from the boxes and cutting the wax caps off the honeycomb cells. Links to two other short stories I’ve produced about beekeeping: Wisconsin Public Radio and Kalamazoo Public Radio.    Like, comment and SHARE on Spotting Wisconsin’s Facebook page.   Thanks to my sister, Karen Camden Welsh, for using her vacation time to wander with me to find this story.

“B POSITIVE”

Michael Feldman of the public radio show "Whad'Ya Know" talking with Jim Falkner. Photo by Nancy Camden

Michael Feldman of the public radio show “Whad’Ya Know” talking with Jim Falkner. Photo by Nancy Camden

Jim Falkner of Milwaukee sat next to me at a live airing of the humorous Wisconsin Public Radio show, Michael Feldman’s Whad’Ya Know? We ‘yacked’ a little before the show. It made me wonder, what does Jim know? So, a couple days later, I phoned to find out that he had been admitted to the hospital the next morning after the show. Change—it happens! I am making an intention to handle it better with Jim as a role model. (Jim and I are deeply saddened that Michael Feldman’s show of thirty-one years has been cancelled. This episode was recorded in Jim’s hospital room in spring of 2015. ) See this photo message to Feldman from Jim on the day I recorded him. ‘Like,’ comment and share at Spotting Wisconsin’s Facebook page.

RIDE THE BOOKMOBILE

Eastern Shores Library System Bookmobile. Photo by Nancy Camden.

Eastern Shores Library System Bookmobile. Photo by Nancy Camden.

Come ride a day in a noisy library that runs on diesel and rolls around on wheels. Even when stopped, it’s noisy, because everything inside, the lights, heat and computers are powered with a generator. It’s the Eastern Shores Library System bookmobile that is driven by two hardy librarians who serve the people in the small towns and rural areas of Sheboygan and Ozaukee Counties. To see the interior and people of the bookmobile click the following links: Inside the bookmobile.   Librarian Sue Potter at her desk.  Lily & Carol Fredricks & librarian Lisa HaartmanDriving down a country road. (The obviously appreciated and loved bookmobile librarian, Sue Potter will retire in July of 2016 after 29 years on the road. This story was recorded in April 2015.) Comment and share at Spotting Wisconsin’s Facebook page.

“PAY IT FORWARD”

+~Virginia Brown 9343Slow down! We’re in Colby, Wisconsin. I knocked on a door to ask directions to a historical marker. Eighty-six-year-old Virginia ‘Ginny’ Brown invited me in. With her antique calendar clock ticking, she talks about the early years, the present and the uncertain future—reflections on change, the passage of time, the story of life.

“CARRY ME HOME”

CYNDI MERKA AND ZIGLAR. PHOTOGRAPH BY NANCY CAMDEN

CYNDI MERKA AND ZIGLAR. PHOTOGRAPH BY NANCY CAMDEN

In the month of March, near Eagle, Wisconsin, a big black horse with a rider made wide strides to cross the road down from my van. This was the first time I had stopped a stranger to ask for a Spotting Wisconsin interview. Cyndi Merka eagerly met me at the nearby stable to talk about her beloved horse, Ziglar. A year earlier around the corner from the stable at Old World Wisconsin, I had recorded Nancy Osterhaus with her two Clydesdales, Lou and Hank. Do horses have personalities? What do they like and need? Get up close with three huge horses and their devoted humans.

A WAVE TO FIXING AND FARMING

Ron Holtslander and Alan Kultgen.  Photo by Nancy Camden

Ron Holtslander and Alan Kultgen. Photo by Nancy Camden

In the spring of the year, rural Port Washington, Wisconsin, I waved up a long driveway to two silhouettes beside an old farmhouse. A wave back drew me up to hear about fixing trucks, farming and friendship and to contemplate waving to people.

In this episode, Bill Powell of the Bay View neighborhood in Milwaukee chats with me about waving to people. The interview that follows began with a wave to Alan Kultgen and Ron Holtslander, who are in their mid-twenties and best friends for ten years. Be one of the guys under the hood of Ron’s big truck for this conversation. Together, they purchased a 1976 Lincoln Continental to restore and take out cruising. (Click on the words in blue to see additional photographs.) Thanks to Conner Going for the Spotting Wisconsin theme music.