The sky can’t make up its mind, and all morning, John Hildebrand and I peel off our rain gear only to put it all back on 10 minutes later. The Chippewa River is ripping after several inches of recent rain and the 17-foot Alumnacraft canoe we’re paddling is flying downriver, stymied only by a strong headwind. John is in the stern, and I’m happy to be the bowman. Both of us are a little hard of hearing, so we converse by exchanging three hours-worth of hollering and yelling. It is the most pleasant literary shouting match I’ve ever been party to. ... Read more

I’m standing outside of Lake Hallie Golf with my clamshell of leftover fried walleye when an older gentleman shows me a 16x20 photo in a plastic sleeve. The two eagles are nearly life size.

My wife had done her research, and that research led us to an enchanted property outside of Iron River where a celebrated chicken-breeder preserves the genetic integrity of Icelandic landrace chickens (once almost extinct). Why my wife pined for Icelandic chickens with such intensity, I coul…

About four years ago, with my notebook and camera in tow, I pulled into the parking lot of Dodger Bowl in my hometown of Dodgeville. It was packed — there were so many cars there you’d think there was a community event or fundraiser of some sort going on. But this was something different.

A tiny Norwegian island north of the Arctic Circle, Sommarøy (“Summer Island”), recently made the news for its “Let’s Stop Time” campaign to create the modern world’s first “time free” zone. Many of its 350 residents signed a petition to do away with clocks, deadlines and closing times durin…

I’ve always loved mowing the lawn. I know as a good environmentalist, I shouldn’t say that, but it’s true. I grew up in a comfortable middle or upper-middle class family where my parents for better or worse didn’t assign me many chores. In fact, mowing the lawn is the only chore I can recall…

Now that spring is maybe here to stay and summer isn’t far behind, my husband and I have decided it’s a good time for a “lifestyle change” (my preferred term for “diet,” which has the connotation of temporary change and isn’t something we’ll stick to).

By the time my Writer’s Notebook hits the press, this curious reporter in the southwest corner of the state will have celebrated a milestone. On April 27, I turned 30 — as in I’ve now entered my third decade on this spinning globe.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not one to take a vacation. I mean, I like vacations — who doesn’t? But for me, it’s hard to feel like I have the time, especially working under a deadline week after week. So when my significant other, Jamie, told me he had a few vacation days to use up before …

As I write this, the temperature is hovering in the upper 30s. It rained last night, and more is in the forecast. I thought rain would be better than snow, but that’s not the case. Flooding is rampant both in town and out on the rural roads, where county sheriffs have been calling in reports…

After a relatively mild start to the snowy season in southwest Wisconsin, Old Man Winter has finally decided to appear. The past few weeks have been plagued with snowy stretches, sub-zero temperatures (followed by above-average warmth), more snow, sleet and most recently, ice, which closed s…

I’m not usually much for New Year’s resolutions. My mindset tends to be that if there is something I want to change about my habits, or myself in general, that there is no better time than the present to make the change. And then I proceed to work out how I am going to do that.

A few weeks ago, I was surprised to receive a message on Facebook from a young lady with a request that instantly brought a smile to my face. The daughter of longtime friends in Belmont, the sophomore had been tasked to find someone to job shadow for a class assignment and had asked if she c…

We have all heard them before, the “Life is like … ” complete the sentence. I’m sure if you are anything like me, you have even used them in casual conversation. Or if you happen to also be a constantly thinking and analyzing person like myself, you have tried to come up with your own witty …

I wasn’t so much looking to, as Aldo Leopold wrote in “A Sand County Almanac,” avoid the spiritual danger of supposing heat comes from the furnace as I was to remind the squirrels their breakfast doesn’t come from the birdfeeder.

My mom often tells me that I was born outside of my proper generation, and I would tend to agree. Every day, I find anomalies that set me apart from the typical person my age.

I don’t know if he really made it through all seven and a half hours and 18 innings, but the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Game 3 win over the Boston Red Sox prompted a friend to ask about personal favorite World Series memories.

As September turned into October, I was recuperating from a cold I seemed to have picked up after attending the World Beef Expo in West Allis the weekend before. I had to get better fast as my biggest assignment yet was approaching — coverage of the World Dairy Expo at the Alliant Energy Cen…

With one our children off to college in Chicago and the other not far behind while maintaining a very full extracurricular and social life, Dave and I are getting our first taste of what it’s like to be empty nesters.

Why is it that spring is described as coming in like a lion or a lamb? Every year, school children make their spring predictions, creating cotton-ball lambs and tissue-paper lions on what March will bring for weather. This common phrase describes how the season changes so drastically from th…

Actress Meghan Markle married into royalty, tying the knot with Prince Harry earlier this year to become the Duchess of Sussex. For others, the path to royalty isn’t quite so romantic. In fact, it’s just plain a lot of hard work.

I remember it rather clearly. Significant other Jamie’s old, bright red Pontiac Grand Prix had revved its engine for the last time. We were in a pickle. He needed a cheap, reliable car — and fast. A bit panicky myself, I posted on Facebook, hoping, but not really expecting, anyone on my frie…

In my mind, the flip of the calendar from August to September marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. School is in session, leaves are turning and pumpkin stands and corn mazes are popping up across the countryside. Despite the calendar telling me though, it is hard to believe tha…

With archery season just a couple of weeks away, deer fever has once again returned to my house. A couple of new trail cams have been placed around our property, and the first evening the cameras were out, a doe, a small buck, and a bigger buck with a nice basket rack passed through our land…

Anyone who’s ever raised livestock knows it all too well: When the cattle are out, everything else in your life is put on pause until they, hopefully, are once again contained.

There is rarely a time when my mom and I are out together that someone doesn’t comment on the beautiful flowers she has growing around her house. Yellows, pinks, oranges, purples — all of the colors are currently in full bloom as we enter the late-summer season.

I took a few days this last week to work with the new FFA officer team for my local chapter. Although I have probably already talked way too much about all my good memories from my time as an FFA member and the high hopes I have for these current members, these days away have a way of remind…

The countdown is on: About eight weeks to go, if I’m lucky, before the arrival of baby girl No. 2. For most pregnant women in the last trimester, that would seem like an eternity, but for me it’s fewer than eight weekends to get about a million projects done at home. Throw in a day at the fa…