The Bars Are Open

I spent some time this past week getting the Scamp ready for camping.  Temperatures in the twenties seem to be done for the year.  For me, that meant installing a new water pump, running some fresh water through the plumbing system, and clearing a clog in the kitchen sink.

While my head was underneath the rear seat bench and the kitchen cupboards, most of the Wisconsin Supreme Court had their heads up somewhere else.  The conservative majority voted 4-3 to invalidate Wisconsin's safer-at-home order.  There is no back-up order. The Republican Legislature wanted a work week's delay to negotiate a new order with the Democratic Governor, but the conservatives on the court said, nope.  

Did I mention that one of those justices was voted out of office this spring?  His replacement isn't scheduled to start yet, so his vote was the deciding one. The newly elected justice isn't allowed to vote yet. Not all of the conservatives went along with the right wing judicial activism.  Justice Brian Hagedorn refused to vote along with his fellow conservatives, writing a scathing dissent:

"The rule of law, and therefore the true liberty of the people, is threatened no less by a tyrannical judiciary than by a tyrannical executive or legislature,” Hagedorn wrote. “Today’s decision may or may not be good policy, but it is not grounded in the law.”

Immediately after the majority's decision was announced, bars started opening in Wisconsin--many of them abandoning social distancing.  It is true that Julia's optometry school friends accused her of being in the photos of crowded bars that went viral from Wisconsin. It is not true that we will be in the bars anytime soon. 

Also, as soon as the order was set aside, Annie's Campground near Gresham, Wisconsin posted that things were back to "real normal."  Annie took the further step to ban masks in campground buildings.

"Here's the line up for May 15-17: Beautiful Weather!!!!! Masks are NOT allowed in the buildings for safety sake. They are viewed as a robbery in progress and will be handled that way. 
Friday night fish fry, fisherman's platter, shrimp, homemade pizza, pub mix, specialty drinks at bar $3 (Sanitizer and Summer's Not a Bummer Hummers), and more appetizers. 
Saturday: 0900-noon is @Starla's Concealed Carry class at the pavilion, no equipment needed... she is a fantastic instructor..."
There are very few virus cases in the Gresham area--yet.  Wisconsin's petri dish experiment will undoubtedly now include people from hot spots in Chicago and Milwaukee joining in with like-minded people in northern Wisconsin.  You have to be careful what you wish for.

Some of Wisconsin's larger urban areas immediately implemented their own stay-at-home orders.  Madison's order doesn't expire until July.  Here in Columbia County, no order is in effect.  Some people are complaining that many businesses are not immediately re-opening, but apparently not everyone thinks that things are back to the real normal yet.  Cases are back on the increase, even in Columbia County, due in part to increased availability in testing. 
We continue our boring lives here, scanning the interwebs for chances to get away in the Scamp.  National forests, state parks, and the Kickapoo Reserve remain closed.  There are a few municipal and county parks opening up campgrounds, but they aren't an upgrade from my spot on the top of the hill at home.  
The view outside the Scamp windows shows that my fruit trees are blooming.

Apple Tree

Cherry Tree
For my outings, I took a road trip about an hour away to pick up my monthly fresh milled flour and some eggs.  We played around with the idea of joining a CSA (community supported agriculture) share for weekly fresh vegetables this summer, but decided that the cost was more than we wanted to pay.  We'll have a small vegetable garden instead.  After having trouble accessing flour for my weekly sourdough bread, I did come across a CSA for fresh milled flour from organic heirloom grains.  The monthly cost wasn't too bad, and it gives me a chance to take a drive once per month to a different part of Wisconsin.
On the way back, I stopped near Prairie du Sac for eggs from pasture chickens.  The lady had some duck eggs for me to try as well.  They were surprising good, so I'll be getting more of those next time.  The price was the same as chicken eggs ($3/dozen), but the yolks are much bigger and richer.  

Justin celebrated his 20th birthday this week.  We had a small party in the driveway with strawberry shortcake.  Julia's dad and stepmom were also in attendance.

 Julia goes back to work one day per week, starting Monday.  The plan is to go to two days per week in June.  I had a bad virus nightmare this week. Hopefully,  nothing similar happens during waking hours.


  1. Texas is also opening up. In fact it's been two weeks now that restaurant dining rooms opened back up at 25% capacity and Friday night the bars had a "soft" opening with only staff. But not without drama! The state is firmly red but the big cities are blue. The state's AG issued letters to those cities last week saying their local emergency "orders" are in violation of law, yet all the so-called orders he harped on are specifically stated by the cities/counties to be guidelines and voluntary. (The very red, pretty much magenta, governor hates the fact the the capital of the state, Austin, and the county it is in is firmly blue and he is constantly feuding with the mayor and trying to override city and county policies with threats of calling in the state police and national guard.)

    Since opening the state has seen a jump in numbers but it's pretty much impossible to tell how much of that is legitimate or a result of increased testing and changing reporting protocols. We, The Wife and I, will not be participating in the "opening" for now.

    But the good news is that our own county recycling center will open back up on Monday. Judging by the state of our recycling trailer that will give them about two weeks to get things running smoothly before we need to make a run.

    1. We have a combined recycling/waste center called the Transfer Site. At the beginning of the pandemic, the town threatened to close the whole thing down. People responded by threatening to burn their garbage. The town decided that closing the Transfer Station wasn't such a good idea. They did limit the items that could be dropped off for awhile and set up a system where only one car was allowed in at a time. Those restrictions have been relaxed. Most people keep social distance, but I never see anyone with masks, myself included. I don't worry about masks when I'm outside. If someone had a coughing or sneezing attack, however, I'd probably be setting short distance speed records for a 59 year old man.

  2. My degree is in Geography - the study of human interaction with the landscape.

    It's been interesting to hear Karen, who lives in Berkeley, CA half the year and the other half in a hamlet in northeast Nevada about fifteen miles south of the Idaho border, tell how in Berkeley EVERYONE wears a mask and her local grocery, which maintains strict control over the number of people in the store, dispenses gloves at the door.

    On her way to her hamlet home a couple of days ago she stopped in Elko. NO ONE was wearing a mask, let alone gloves. She was stared at by all the other milling patrons as if she were a porn queen at the Larry Flynt Expo.

    The other day when returning from the north country I saw an interestingly designed building. Michelle and I made a pilgrimage to see it yesterday. It's made from shipping containers and -- when it opens at the end of the month -- will feature five different fast-food restaurants along with a large area devoted to the Santa Fe Brewing Company, a local outfit that has a strong presence throughout the state. As we drove up two guys were hauling stuff out. It turned out to be the owner and his 18-year-old son. When I asked for a tour they said, "Sure!" As we approached we donned our masks and by the time we were within range they too had theirs on. The building's capacity is 980, but by their own choice, through July, they'll limit the number of occupants to 100...and they'll have take-out.

    With urbanization, landscape's influence has dwindled. Fresh air used to be ubiquitous; now nearly everyone works and "recreates" (shops?) in enclosed spaces. Times have changed, but vasectomies STILL aren't popular.

    I recently read the French are (again) complaining about the lack of flavor in their bread. The influx of McDonald's and their ilk has, so the blaming goes, affected the entire bread-making industry. Thank god there are still, at least here in The States, a few decent commercially-made butters.

    Bodie's, the grocery in Abiquiu (serving the community and intrnt'l travelers since 1891), with all the cars parked around it, looked like a sow with a new litter. Nearly all patrons were wearing a mask and ALL employees -- the Governor has mandated them for all New Mexicans in public -- were wearing one.

    I got my vasectomy when I was 22. Prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    Good luck getting the escape vehicle ready!

  3. Julia and I lived in Berkeley when she attended optometry school there during the early 80's. The amount of government control and community consent is interesting. Where I live, very few people wear masks, especially outside. As I'm sure you know, the point of the masks is to protect other people, not yourself. Wearing a mask prevents transmission out when coughing, sneezing, talking, singing. When no one else is wearing a mask, it's of limited benefit, except to remind myself not to touch my mouth.

    I've never had much luck making sourdough bread, but I wasn't doing it right before. By weighing the flour and water, and better controlling the starter, my latest efforts have been a startling success. I'm enjoying the simplicity of it. No butter. Just flour, water, and salt. I even have the baguette baking utensil with the perforated metal and shaping shelves. Making my own crusty sourdough each week has been one of my personal pleasures during this pandemic.

    I never got a vasectomy, partly because I tend to avoid doctors unless I'm injured or seriously ill. That doesn't happen often. Many people assumed that we had fertility problems because we adopted, but as far as I know, neither of us did. Overpopulation and providing a family to an existing child that needed parents were our primary motivations to adopt.


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