Carmen and Cole

El que lee mucho y anda mucho, ve mucho y sabe mucho.

Honeymoon or Vacation



FORT ATKINSON, WI – A local couple delayed their honeymoon for two months after their August 27th nuptials.  “I have always recommended newly married couples take their honeymoon immediately after the wedding,” declared the groom.  “Anything else is a vacation.”

The couple, in their fifties, felt it was important to spend time with family and friends, many of whom had traveled long distances to celebrate the event.  “Come early, stay late,” they said.  “We want to have a big party!”  The festivities began early, with the arrival of the bride’s family on the Wednesday.  The couple hosted out of town guests, family and members of the wedding party at a rehearsal dinner at the Fort Atkinson Club on Friday.  Spanish tapas and paella cooked over open fires on the riverside terrace were served.  Two excellent sangrias, one white one red, prepared by the bride’s brother-in-law, were served with the meal.   At the ceremony the next afternoon, the couple broke with convention in several ways.  The bride, accompanied by her sisters and lifelong best friend, dressed in St Peter’s undercroft.  “I am not going to be caught in the rain or otherwise delayed,” she noted.  The groom greeted well-wishers at the front door of the church.  The couple then walked each other down the aisle.  Father Andrew Hanyzewski presided over the traditional Episcopal service.  Ushers indicated 188 people attended, a record for a wedding at St. Peter’s.

Before going to their own reception, the newlyweds sneaked away to spend a few minutes with close friends who were celebrating their marriage at the Soulful Toad.  Across town, on the family farm of the groom, tents were set up and decorated with flowers arranged by the groom’s mother and an army of assistants.  Shaun Edwards and Liese Pickering put together a great picnic feast; Aggie Schroedl made a beautiful lemon poppy seed tiered wedding cake. The Red Hot Horn Dawgs entertained until close to midnight.  Aimee Hanyzewski’s steady hand behind the scenes, ensured everything was perfect.  The couple could not have been happier.

By Wednesday morning, after all the guests had departed, the bride and groom were exhausted.  “We needed our honeymoon right then just to recover!”  The groom had completely underestimated the rest and relaxation benefit of a honeymoon when handing out that standard advice.   It was incidental good fortune then that the best time for them to fly to Peru for a visit to the Sacred Valley and trek to Machu Picchu was October.  They needed all that time to rest up.  The couple promised to send post cards.

Church Raises Money for Flood Victims

FORT ATKINSON, WI — Moved by a compelling narrative of manifold hardships written by a local woman who was volunteering for a relief agency in Louisiana, St Peter’s Episcopal Church in Fort Atkinson raised $1,952 for the victims of flooding in Louisiana at an event on Saturday, August 27th .  The funds were forwarded to Episcopal Relief and Development for disbursement.  The flooding, which has been described as “once in a millennium,” killed 13 people and damaged over 100,000 homes but has received scant coverage in the major news outlets.

Tent Pitched Under Partly Cloudy Skies, Weekend Weather Wonderful

FORT ATKINSON, WI–“Let’s wait another hour,” suggested the crew boss from General Party Rental of Watertown, WI.  By 9:00 a.m. the showers had subsided.  Fueled by an extra hour of coffee, the seven man and one woman crew made short work of erecting the 2,400 square foot tent with festive green pennants which a local couple had rented for a picnic wedding reception planned for Saturday evening.  “The wind on Saturday will be from the south, so how about we hang side walls on that side?” suggested the crew boss.  “The forecast on Saturday calls for a 60% chance of rain, better hang the walls on all four sides,” observed the man hosting the reception.

Wedding Reception Tent on Farm

Wedding Reception Tent on Farm

A closer reading of the weather forecast indicates a 58% chance of rain in the afternoon, falling to about 20% in the evening with the temperature in the low 70s.  Humidity is expected to be very high.  The recommended attire for the affair is “smart casual.”  Under the circumstances, “smart” will be “comfortable” in sticky conditions.  Wonderful.

County Clerk Grants License, Local Couple Thrilled

JEFFERSON COUNTY, WI–“When I got married for the second time, the ceremony was in front of a cliff,” regaled the deputy sheriff as a local couple passed through security on their way to the County Clerk’s office to apply for a marriage licence.  “Interesting choice of venues,” observed the future groom.


Wisconsin Marriage License

After successfully producing the necessary documentation of birth, parentage, residence, social security and non-marital status, as well as a cash payment of $90, and then waiting the statutory five day cooling off period, a local couple was granted a license to marry by Jefferson County Clerk, Barbara A. Frank.  “Our visit to the Jefferson County Courthouse  was perfect,” the bride to be reminisced.  “The County Clerk could not have been more pleasant or helpful,” she added.  “Good omens,” noted the groom, “the clerk was cheerful and wished us well, and the deputy sheriff survived his leap of faith.”

The license was delivered by the United States Postal Service on Saturday, August 20th and remains valid until mid September.  The couple will be married at St Peter’s Episcopal Church in Fort Atkinson on Saturday, August 27th at 4:00 p.m sharp by The Very Reverend Andrew Hanyzewski.  A reception on the family farm will follow at 6:00 that evening.

Onerous Marriage License Requirements Dampen Local Destination Wedding Business

JEFFERSON COUNTY, WI– “I just went to Vegas, hired an Elvis impersonator and a pink Cadillac convertible and did it,” advised the friend of a soon-to-be married local couple.  Destination weddings in Las Vegas have been a cultural phenomenon for decades.  That trend is more recent in South Eastern Wisconsin.  Agritourism is growing and family farms like Busy Barns outside Fort Atkinson have reinvented themselves as educational, recreational, and nuptial ceremony destinations.  So perhaps it is not surprising that the local couple opted to stay closer to home and make the family farm a destination to receive guests following the formal wedding ceremony at a church in town.

Jefferson County Court House

Jefferson County Court House

Clark County, Nevada need not worry about losing too much wedding business to Jefferson County, Wisconsin any time soon, however.  For starters, couples intending to marry locally must comply with a statutory five day waiting period between application and issuance of marriage licenses. Divorced individuals must demonstrate patience by waiting six months from the date the divorce is final before applying for a marriage license.  At $90, a locally obtained license is among the most expensive in the country (Indiana issues marriage licenses for $18).  Payment must be made in cash. While clerks in many counties nationwide  accept typical twentieth century forms of payment including personal checks, money orders and credit cards, Jefferson County, Wisconsin is steadfast in maintaining the rural nineteenth century cash payment tradition.  And unlike the Jefferson Counties of Tennessee and Florida, Wisconsin’s Jefferson County has not subscribed to the recent fashion of granting substantial marriage license fee discounts to couples who have completed at least four hours of marriage counseling.  In addition to government issued forms of identification from both bride and groom, the county clerk also requires “certified copies” of birth certificates, social security numbers, as well as the name and address of the officiant.  In short, the state expects some advance planning from couples planning to spend their lives together.

The Midwestern common sense approach to regulating marriage arguably has virtue, despite being at odds with the demands of a growth industry.  But even with less onerous marriage license requirements, pumpkin patches and corn mazes will have difficulty competing with the Las Vegas spectacle “of Harley bikes with the bride dressed as the groom and the groom dressed as the bride and the rest of the bikers falling off their bikes laughing,  across from the Little White Wedding Chapel.”



Former Badger Marching Band Members Agree to Garage Gig

The Buggy Shed

The Buggy Shed

FORT ATKINSON, WI — When Madison’s party band, The Red Hot Horn Dawgs, march into town on August 27th, the gig will be at a small venue known locally as The Buggy Shed. The white shiplap clad post and beam structure with red cedar roof shingles (which has not seen a horse carriage in more than a century) is hosting its first musical act of the millennium to entertain the guests of a newlywed couple at their reception. Horn Dawgs bookings manager, Mike Steen, expressed interest in performing at the intimate venue the same night Mr Burgundy and Zac Matthews are playing across town at Rhythm on the River suspecting, perhaps, the town knows how to party.


Red Hot Horn Dawgs Concert in Central Park (Edgerton, WI) 10 August 2016

Horn Dawg’s music director, Jamie Sercombe, indicated the band’s repertoire spans multiple genres and decades, reflecting the tastes and enthusiasms of the band members, many of whom were members of the world class University of Wisconsin Badger Marching Band.  Rock & roll, funk, R&B, latin, calypso–pretty much anything with a horn section and gets people dancing.  “Perfect,” said the bride-to-be “we don’t need any slow songs–we want to boogie!”  The groom allowed that maybe one slow song in each of the three sets planned for that evening might be okay.  The couple is accepting song requests which will be carefully reviewed and then shared with Sercombe and the band. There is a remote possibility the band will revert to the Badger’s signature “Stop at the Top” high stepping style.

Music at The Shed may mark the beginning of a trend as another Madison-based act,  We Are,  the Brown brothers conga drum and guitar duo, has allegedly expressed interest in the space.

Updated on August 15th to reveal the real name of the Brown brother’s band and provide an active link to their Jones Market jingle.

Circus Chef to Cook at Newlyweds’ Reception

Shaun Edwards 20160716

Chef Shaun Edwards

FORT ATKINSON, WI–Shaun Edwards ran off and joined the circus in 2006, putting a recent bachelor’s degree in business and finance from Lipscomb University to use as a roadie with Cirque de Soleil. While on the road, a concession job selling hot dogs soon became one managing the Cirque’s VIP bistro dining tent. A decade later, with a degree from  The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, stints working with Certified Master Chef Rich Rosendale at the Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Springs, WV and Top Chef Masters winner, Floyd Cardoz, at the North End Grill in Battery Park, NY, Edwards has become a chef in his own right. Chef Shaun is now responsible for product development at Jones Dairy Farm, a packaged food company located in Fort Atkinson. He also makes many of the artisan delicacies offered in the company’s retail market.

At the end of August, Shaun will be working the tents once again. On Thursday the 26th, he and his crew will cook for the guests of a local couple at an informal supper following their wedding rehearsal. The bride is of Spanish descent; the food served will include many of her favorites. To ensure authentic flavor, imported Spanish olives, cheese, almonds, saffron, pimenton and Calasparra rice will be used for the tapas and paella. The next evening Shaun will be responsible for the picnic reception after the wedding ceremony. The menu will feature local favorites. Shaun has been encouraged by the groom to offer new interpretations of family recipes. The groom accepts full responsibility for the decision to mess with tradition; full credit for any magic goes to the chef.

Forager Scores Mycological Gold under Oaks

maitake 100924

Grifola Frondosa, Maitake, Hen of the Woods, Sheep or Ram’s Head

UNDISCLOSED NORTH AMERICAN LOCATION–Grifola Frondosa appears in late summer through mid fall. While it has a distinctive appearance which would be difficult to confuse with other mushrooms, and it can grow to enormous size, it can still be difficult to see as it often well camouflaged by grass and fallen leaves on the forest or savannah floor. A local man has expanded his hunt for the elusive Hen of the Woods this year in order to have enough of the delicacy to share with friends and extended family when they visit the farm for a wedding at the end of August.

Early August Golden Hen

Early August Golden Hen

“Normally, I just pick one or two maitake which typically weigh between 5 and 10 pounds each; I leave the small ones” declared the mushroom hunter. “A good sized specimen can take a long time to clean because of the grass and leaves which get caught in the fungus as it grows.” He explained that one 10 pound mushroom could take up to an  hour to prepare for cooking or dehydrating. Each is deconstructed, leaves and other forest debris are removed bit by bit, then the “petals” are placed in a dehydrator overnight or cooked immediately. “I usually sauté some in olive oil and season with minced shallot and a little salt and pepper, then eat right away–straight from the pan or tossed in pasta. They are at least as good as morels, maybe better. ” Dried hen of the woods is easily rehydrated and are excellent additions to soups, sauces and stews.

Chicken of the Woods BRR 1309

Laetiporus, Chicken of the Woods

Hen of the Woods is not the same as Chicken of Woods. “One looks like a chicken, from the back, I guess, and the other supposedly tastes like chicken.”  The two are totally unrelated: Laetiporus is often bright orange and grows on dead or dying trees, Grifola Frondosa grows on the ground under healthy trees. Since their seasons overlap, the forager allowed that there may be some Chicken of the Woods on the menu too.

The Hen of Woods has a special importance to the soon-to-be married couple as they went hunting for them on the day the first met nearly a dozen years ago.


Tapas and Paella on Friday night at the Fort Atkinson Club


Fort Atkinson Club

Fort Atkinson Club

FORT ATKINSON, WI–Following a rehearsal for those in the wedding at St Peter’s Episcopal Church on Friday, August 26th, a local couple will host an informal supper for adult family members and guests travelling from afar at the Fort Atkinson Club at 6:00 pm. Carmen, the bride-to-be, has found Spanish cheeses, olives, almonds and other delicacies for tapas. Fresh locally-grown tomatoes, onions and peppers will be used to make gazpacho. Paella will be offered as a main course. Invitations to the affair will be delivered by the United States Post Office the week of August 8th.

The Fort Atkinson Club was built in the early 1900’s. Its design was inspired by the prize winning Arts & Crafts Wisconsin Pavilion at the 1904 St Louis World’s Fair. Originally conceived as a men’s club, the building was converted into a Masonic lodge in the 1920’s. More recently, a group of civic minded individuals raised money to renovate and fully modernize the structure, making all three levels accessible and adding a commercial kitchen. The original manual pin set two lane bowling alley on the River Level was preserved without modification. In 2015, the Fort Atkinson Club was rededicated as a community center and event space.

Holiday Inn Express Extends Booking Deadline until Sunday

FORT ATKINSON, WI–In consideration of Carmen and Cole’s relaxed approach to event planning, Fort Atkinson’s leading hotel, the Holiday Inn Express, has extended the booking deadline for those who may share that trait. Hospitality manager, Tammy Koebler, noted there were still rooms available in the block held for the couple’s wedding on August 27th.  “We are happy to extend the deadline until Sunday, August 7th,” she explained.

Holiday Inn Express Expecting Full House

FORT ATKINSON, WI–Fort Atkinson’s top rated hotel expects a full house the last weekend in August.  “Weekend nights over the summer are almost always fully booked,” said Holiday Inn Express General Manager, Mary Jo Eggers.  “The weekend of August 27th, we have three wedding parties plus Rhythm on the River. Carmen and Cole have a block of rooms reserved until Friday, August 5th; any rooms in that block which remain unbooked will be released at midnight.”




Reception Planned at Jones Farmhouse

Scylla in bloom at Jones farmhouse

Scilla in bloom at Jones farmhouse

FORT ATKINSON, WI — After considering the food, drink and entertainment options provided at the  Rhythm on the River festival just one block from the church on the day of their nuptials, a local couple has chosen to host a reception on the family farm nearby instead.  The traditional church service  at St Peter’s Episcopal Church at 4:00 on Saturday, August 27th will be followed by an outdoor reception at  6:00 and a  live band at 8:00 on the farmhouse grounds.  The bride’s future sister-in-law recommended comfortable “smart casual” attire. A post-reception conga dance at Rhythm on the River just before midnight remains a possibility.

Clueless Couple Enlist Professional Help

FORT ATKINSON, WI–A simple suggestion became complicated after a local woman agreed to a proposal of marriage.  A priest agreed to officiate, a date was chosen, a venue selected, and a list of friends to invite was compiled.  Immediate family and close friends greeted the happy  news with great enthusiasm, followed instantly by a long list of vexing queries.   The couple knew the when and where, but had given no thought to details and were unable to answer most of the questions posed.  Dress, rings, music, incense, flowers, invitations, cake, caterer, menu, tables, candles, chairs, linens, drinks, tents, lights, rooms, band, website, registry and transportation were mysteries.

After focusing on a few details, like the cake, the couple solicited assistance from seasoned theater professional Aimee Hanyzewski to sort out the rest. An MFA graduate of Northwestern University, Aimee is a freelance scenic and lighting designer who is resident lighting designer at Edgewood College in Madison and previously had held the same position at Roosevelt University in Chicago.  She has worked with the Milwaukee Repertory Theater in the Stackner Cabaret on The Devil’s Music, Liberace, Debbie and Doyle

Aimee Hanyzewski 20160717

Aimee Hanyzewski

, Ain’t Misbehavin’, From My Hometown, Fire on the Bayou, Grafton City Blues and others. She also designed the lighting for Venus in Fur and The Year of Magically Thinking in the Stiemke Studio. Further in the past, she had worked with In Tandem, Next Act, Forward, and Oak Park Festival Theatres.  After moving to Fort Atkinson, Aimee initiated and organized chamber music at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, a series of quarterly chamber orchestra concerts which are open to the public free of charge.   She is also active in Fort Atkinson’s multiple community theater companies. In short, Aimee is used to working with inexperienced actors, limited resources and tight deadlines.

With Aimee’s direction, the couple is confident that if they manage to show up to the church on time, their guests will be fine.

Best Advice this Week

FORT ATKINSON, WI-Overheard in passing: a woman admitted to having behaved like bridezilla on Saturday. “You have six weeks left to be bridezilla, use that excuse for EVERYTHING,” her friend explained.

Suspicious Man Observed taking Photographs


Fort Atkinson River Walk

FORT ATKINSON, WI–On Saturday June 4, 2016 at 5:00pm the Fort Atkinson Police received a report of a suspicious man taking pictures along the River Walk. A K-9 officer was dispatched and found a man who matched the description of the suspect taking pictures of the depot on the Glacial River Bike Trail.

Rest Depot on Bike Trail

Rest Depot on Bike Trail

Officer Boeve and Dino

The suspect was questioned and made statements that he was a photographer and had taken pictures of the River Walk; he held a Fujifilm XT-1 digital camera with a 27mm pancake lens. The K-9 officer determined the suspect was abiding the law and no further action was taken.

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