Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A Truck, a Cannon, Shopping and Critters…

How about a little ‘miscellaneous’ for a change!  What follows is a bit of playtime plus some shopping and a look at some of Laurie’s favorite animals too…

This is yours truly riding in Dale’s ‘hunting’ truck!  It looks a lot like similar old trucks in hunting and fishing country across the USA.  Laurie’s cousin Carla was a bit dismayed to discover that the old rusty truck was back in working order, but her husband was quite pleased!

Hey!  Boys have to have their toys don’t they?!  Actually, Laurie really got a kick out of this ‘potato cannon’!  Basically it’s a PVC pipe creation with a screw top chamber at one end.  A Coleman lantern lighter is frequently used as the ignition source.
The ‘gunner’ sprays some flammable hair spray in the closed chamber, then closes it.  A potato is jammed down the barrel, one aims the cannon and pulls the trigger!  There is an explosion and the potato is launched at a surprising velocity… I’m sure that at close range this thing is highly dangerous!  If you enlarge it and look carefully at the third photo, you will note the potato over the top of the tree by the center peak of the house… Laurie loved this creation!

Alternative names for these creations are the ‘spud gun’ and the ‘spudzooka’.  A plethora of different potato cannon plans are found on-line and a couple of them are even more powerful than this one.  Spud guns or potato cannons can actually be purchased through Amazon!

Another retailer bites the dust!  This was the soon to be closed Younker’s Department Store in Plover Wisconsin.  Having worked in retailing for most of my adult life, I’m sensitive to the ongoing collapse of brick and mortar stores across the country…

Younker’s was a highly respected Iowa based department store company.  The Company was founded in 1856 in Keokuk Iowa…that’s 162 years ago!  The company had been purchased by Bon-Ton Stores Inc. but the entire company, with 256 stores, is being liquidated.  The company had stores in 23 states and they employed about 23,000 people.  Other names operated by Bon Ton include Carson-Pirie, Herberger’s, Bergner’s, Boston Store and Elder Beerman…

I took this photo inside the store after I got done having our car washed.  I made one serious error in judgement!  Laurie and her sisters went shopping in this closeout environment and I wasn’t there to oversee what was happening…

I knew that I was in trouble when I ran across Bonnie in the store and asked her where Laurie was.  She sort of sheepishly rolled her eyes and motioned toward the center of the store, telling me that “Laurie’s over there checking out”.  One designer purse later, we exited the store.  Laurie was happy but I did whine for a bit.  It didn’t do me any good though.  

This next retail experience was more to my liking, with products that I appreciate and prices that don’t make me twitch!  This is Feltz’s Dairy Store at 5796 Porter Drive near Stevens Point Wisconsin. 

The store is part of a fifth generation dairy farm.  The current owners purchased it from the husband’s parents in 1995 and their children are prepared to operate the farm into the sixth generation.

So far away from home and so many days before we’d be home… We both love cheese but we had to walk away from this magnificent display of happiness.

Jams and bread were also on display.  The store just opened in June of last year.  Among the features the store offers are viewing windows into the ‘robot barn’ that allows visitors to observe cows being milked.  In the education corner visitors can learn more about both farming and this family farm.

In addition to cheese, milk, ice cream, butter, jam, locally baked bread, specialty coffee, maple syrup, eggs, they also sell locally produced meats, (including their own Angus beef) as well as sausage and bacon and many other products.  Then we found something fairly local that we could purchase and take back with us.  Note those 6-packs of New Glarus beer. 

This is the service counter at Feltz’s Dairy Store.  Note the cheerful young lady behind the counter.  At the right you should note the ice cream freezer, another temptation we avoided.  The same was true for the candy display at the left!  The beer purchase kept us from being totally frustrated and we made a small contribution to the store’s sales for the day…

I included a photo of this small flowering plant outside the store.  It was attractive and unusual.  I haven’t been able to identify it.  Any feedback would be appreciated!

It’s a fact that any farm, dairy or otherwise, has to have farm cats!  They do a great job of holding down the rodent population.  These two don’t seem too energetic though.  They aren’t overweight and that does indicate that they get much of their nourishment through hunting.  Like most cats, they act like they own the place!

The Feltz Farm dairy cows are Holsteins.  This is the most common US dairy breed.  They’re best known for their black and white spots…and for the fact that they produce more milk than other breeds!  The first Holsteins were brought to North America by a Dutch settler in 1621.

The Feltz Farm has grown green beans, sweet corn and peas and they have 750 acres where they grow alfalfa and corn for silage for their herd.  There are 700 cows on the farm.

The cow barns and facilities are the best and most up to date that we’ve ever seen.  Those are happy cows!  The cow in the last photo is looking at us as if we’re interrupting her day.  We were startled to learn that automatic milking has been installed at the farm.  This involves 2 robots that service 100 cows.  The startling fact is that the robots allow the cows to determine when they want/need to be milked.  Wow!

Feltz Farms offers guided tours of the robotic milking operation by appointment only during the week and every open hour on the hour on Saturdays.  Tours are $8.00 for adults, $6.00 for children from 6 – 12 years old and $3.00 for children 5 and under.  Phone: 715-344-1293.  The farm’s website is at

That’s all for this edition of my blog.  Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for joining us on another busy day in Wisconsin!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. Hi There, Loved this post... I would love some cheese from Wisconsin. I have only been up there once --and definitely had some of that fantastic cheese... Nothing better!!!!! I'd love that Dairy Store...

    I laughed at thinking about 'toys' that men love. (We women have our toys also!!!!) BUT--I will say that my 48 yr old son recently bought an old jeep to take to the mountains. (He's the son who just moved to Maryville.) He calls his jeep his 'mid-live-baby'.....

    Hope we get to Wisconsin again sometime. Sorry about the closing of Younkers.. I've never heard of that one --but I'm from the south... ha

    Have a great week.

  2. Interesting post, Dave! Never heard of the potato gun, that could do some damage. And you can't beat Wisconsin cheese, we cross the border frequently for it. Love those cats, you're right on target with 'they act like they own the place' and the Holsteins are great too! They were on our farm and my grandparents' also way back when. Happy shopping to your wife!

  3. Laurie's designer bag outing made me chuckle, friend David. Hope she is happy with it. I still lug around my lil back pack thingy from 19829that's the year I came to Canada and everything I owned was in this bag … The label reads "Flying Dutchman" … Well and this Dutch woman will be happy with it until the end of time as far as I'm concerned … Anyway … Love, cat.

    1. … sorry for the typo … it should read: 1982 (the year I came to Canada and everything I owned was in that bag) … c.

  4. Feltz's looks like my kind of place as well and love the next to last shot with the cow sheepishly eyeing you.