Holiday plans unclear because of surgery

Even after three weeks of not having to go anywhere, except for a doctor’s appointment, I still sometimes wake up and wonder what I am doing today.

Is this the day my friend comes to shower me? Can I just roll over and go back to sleep?

While I am allowed to go places, I need help in getting out of the house. I need someone to put the ramp down, get me down it safely and take me outside to enjoy the weather, or get me in a vehicle and drive me somewhere. It is not something I can do on the spur of the moment as in times of old.

Tomorrow, I look forward to the doctor’s appointment to find out how my recovery is coming along. I think it is going along well, but an X-ray and taking out the stitches will show the reality of the situation.


Farm-fresh meals

Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Cal Dudek, 5, of Shawano, sits behind the wheel of a Cockshutt 1900 tractor at Beran Dairy during the 32nd annual Shawano County Brunch on the Farm on Sunday. Besides the food, visitors got to see how the farm operates and learn what goes into preparing the food they enjoy.

Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Lexi Baranczyk, 5, of Sobieski, watches as a Holstein cow dives into her feed Sunday at Beran Dairy, which hosted the 32nd annual Shawano County Brunch on the Farm.

Wisconsin is known for its dairy cows, its cheese, its potatoes and much more related to agriculture.

On Sunday, more than 2,500 people got to see up close and personal the animals and the land that provide the food that many folks take for granted.

Shawano County’s 32nd annual Brunch on the Farm at the Beran Dairy in Birnamwood featured several delicacies representative of Wisconsin farm products, including cheese curds and cottage cheese from milking cows and hash browns from Wisconsin potatoes.

For many visitors, it was their first time seeing a farm in operation. For others, it was continuing an annual tradition.

Pat Hesseltvandinter, of Shawano, has gone to seven brunches.

“I like participating and honoring the farmers, taking in all that nice food and those products they make for us,” Hesseltvandinter said. “I also enjoy going someplace and wondering who you’re going to know. I’ve done that already a couple of times.”


Nonprofit Profile

Photo by Carol Wagner Members of the Red Tent Book Club include, from left, front row, Matty Mathison, Pat Dugan and Carol Kary; middle row, Grete Berndt, Gina Washinawatok and Jean Belke; back row, Lolly Bower, Mary Martzke, Jennifer Langlois, Dee Chan and Linda Trevarthen.

For the women of The Red Tent Book Club, reading is more fun when it is shared with others. They read a book a month from January through November, followed by a Christmas get-together where they plan for the next year.

Lolly Bower has been a member for 22 years.

“It’s developed into a community of friends,” she said. “It’s a joy to be in that gathering.”

Retired teacher Jean Belke has been a member for six years.

“When I retired it was on my bucket list to join a book club,” she said.

They meet at somebody’s home to discuss the month’s book, which is usually selected by someone who has already read it and recommends it.

“We try to pick books in paperback so they don’t cost too much and are not terribly lengthy,” Belke said.

They can also get the books at the library.


Accommodating people

Throughout the week on the farm, people stop in for whatever reason. Some, such as the vet, to treat the cows or perform a herd check, our artificial inseminator to breed the cows, others to drop off farm supplies, still others to pick up our milk to take it to the factory.

One particular farm supply guy comes once a month, right on time, and very early, like 6:30 a.m. early. Every time he comes he wears a broad smile and greets me with a boisterous: “Good morning, Kay, how are you today?” He is a young kid, right out of high school and is a considerate, hard-working, polite young man.

One morning I had already washed up milkers and was just heading into the house before he made his appearance. It happened to be a frigid-cold winter day, and to make matters worse, we had just been dealt a nasty snow storm the night before. As we talked a bit, I commented he was a little late that morning.


Volunteer Profile

Photo by Carol Wagner Pam Schmidt stands by a sign for the 104th annual Bonduel Fourth of July celebration. The sign lists names of sponsors who donated at least $500 for the fireworks.

Pam Schmidt is a board member of the Bonduel Civic Association, which is organizing the village’s annual Fourth of July celebration.

Schmidt was born in Cecil and graduated from Bonduel High School. She worked at Carver Boat and Citizens Bank before her current job as deputy county clerk for Shawano County, which she has held for 24 years.

Schmidt and her husband, Ron, a bank examiner, have been married 21 years. They live in Bonduel and have two daughters. They enjoy spending time with family and friends, watching high school sports and Bonduel Broncos baseball games.

Schmidt is a past member of the East Shawano County Thrivent Chapter Board, St. Paul Lutheran School Booster Club Board and St. Paul Youth Board. She also volunteers for church-related committees and the Broncos baseball club.

Q How long have you been a member of the Bonduel Civic Association?


Road to recovery can be a bumpy one

I was so excited when I fried myself two eggs for breakfast the other day. After having family looking after me 24/7 the week before, it felt like freedom.

Sure, I had surgery. Sure, I only had one leg to stand on, and my balance wasn’t the best, but I wasn’t an invalid.

I have had other moments of rebellion since then, but reality always brings me back to the actual situation. Sure, I no longer need someone to be here all the time, but I am still very limited in what I can do alone.


Shawano gets another Little Free Library

Photo by Carol Wagner Heather Schmidt and her daughter, Ainsley, 4, look for a book in the Little Free Library by their home in Shawano.

A Little Free Library can spring up anywhere. On Memorial Day weekend, one was put up by the Heather and Tyler Schmidt family at 1305 E. Zingler Ave. in Shawano.

“We volunteered,” said Heather Schmidt, a kindergarten teacher at Hillcrest Primary School. “We thought our location is great, and there’s a lot of kids in our neighborhood.”

The library was built by Bob Echtner, father of Terry Wiley, an occupational therapist who works at Hillcrest Primary School.

Echtner likes to do woodworking, had seen other little libraries and decided to make one.

The Schmidt family will maintain the library, replacing books when necessary with books that were donated.

The Little Free Library movement started in 2009 in Hudson, when Todd Bol built a model of a one-room schoolhouse and stocked it with free books in honor of his mother, who was a teacher. Encouraged by friends and neighbors, he built and gave away several more.


Nature center offers summer camps, programs

Navarino Nature Center has planned a number of activities for the summer months of July and August.

Three weeks of Navarino Nature Center summer camps start on July 27. The Junior Investigator Day Camp, for ages 7-10, runs from 8:30 a.m. to noon from July 27-30. The Junior Camper, for ages 10-15, will be held Aug. 6 and 7. Campers will spend one night camping out at the nature center. The Junior Explorer Day Camp, for ages 9-14, runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Aug. 10-13.

Boys and tomboys will venture into the woods in search of crawly critters from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 14 at a program called “Frogs, Snails, & Puppy Dog Tails.” The youngsters will find materials to build a toad house, find and hold salamanders and frogs, play with Maize — the center’s in-house snake, make nature crafts and get their faces painted. A special campfire meal will be provided. Cost is $40 per child; RSVP is required.


From kids to cows

Photo by Carol Wagner Herb Tauchen stands by a new heifer barn at Tauchen Harmony Valley Inc. farm.

Herb Tauchen knows what it means to work hard, and that ethic has been passed down to his six sons and four daughters.

“Our kids all learned how to work,” he said. “None of them have ever had a problem finding work.”

Four sons — Gary, Alan, Gregory and Stephen — are involved in Tauchen Harmony Valley Inc. farm outside Bonduel.

Tauchen was raised on an 80-acre farm in Dorchester. He earned a degree in agriculture education from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Tauchen worked for the United States Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service for 33 years. His first job was in Barron County for about two years. Then he was sent to Waupaca County, where he bought a farm and milked 14 cows. After nine years, Tauchen came to work in Shawano and Menominee counties, where he helped farmers plan erosion control, terracing, land drainage, etc.

“I worked with lots of farmers,” he said.


Volunteer Profile

Photo by Carol Wagner Chris Verbeten volunteers at the Shawano Area Food Pantry and Resource Center.

Chris Verbeten volunteers at the Shawano Area Food Pantry and Resource Center. She was born in Appleton and graduated from Kimberly High School.

Verbeten worked at Community First Credit Union for eight years and the city of Appleton for five years as a computer programmer. She was a programmer at R.R. Donnelly for 10 years before she retired two years ago. She lives in Keshena with her husband of 30 years, Daniel, who is also retired. They have a son. The couple likes to take motorcycle and boat rides.

Verbeten belongs to Hope Community Church in Shawano, where she helps whenever they need her. She also goes to the Strong Bones class at Zion Lutheran Church in Shawano. “It’s been a life changer for me. I have so much more energy,” she said.

Q How long have you volunteered at SAFPARC?

A “It’s been a little over two years.”

Q What do you do?

A “I work at the front desk on Thursdays and fill in other days as needed.”


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