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…

June 21 was the official first day of summer, although we’ve already experienced some hot summer days down here in the southwest corner of Wisconsin. For me, summer has always been a fun time for hiking and swimming out at the state park, family vacations and attempting to avoid a terrible s…

In 1918, the Eiffel Tower was the tallest man-made structure on Earth, Woodrow Wilson was U.S. president and Charlie Chaplin was a major movie star. The agriculture industry was just in its mechanical infancy, with horse-drawn harvesting machines and John Deere entering the tractor manufactu…

Back in mid-April in the midst of a snowstorm, I thought there was no way we’d be making our annual Memorial Day weekend camping trip to the family land in Price County. If we did, I figured the lake would still be frozen and we’d be parking the camper between snowbanks.

Aside from having someone abscond with what would have been our only edible watermelon, last summer’s foray into gardening at a nearby community garden — instead of our deer-infested backyard — was mostly successful.

It’s not often you find ostrich, rabbit, frog legs and fried green ‘maters on your lunch menu — at least, not in Wisconsin. But these entrees are just par for the course in the South, and y’all can bet they’ll be served up with a hearty helpin’ of down-home hospitality.

It was the Wednesday before the most anticipated event of the year for the Bechen family — the marriage of my brother Jake to his beautiful fiancée Cara Levetzow. The two were high school sweethearts, heading off to college in Madison together after graduating — Jake at Edgewood and Cara at …