Hogarty, Wisconsin
May 24 -- May 31, 2003

(Click on any picture to get a larger version)

On Saturday, May 24, our son Dodge and his son Mason flew from Dulles Airport to O'Hare, where they joined Luigi and me for the 11:55 AM flight to Central Wisconsin Airport. Dodge had arranged the rental of a sports utility vehicle that would hold a sheet of wallboard; this proved unnecessary, but we were glad of all the space. Our first stop was at the supermarket in Wausau that we have been using for several years; we found that it was being abandoned, and all merchandise except liquor was being sold at a 40% discount. There was no fresh meat or bread or vegetables, but there was still enough other stuff to buy that we saved $40. The IGA store on Route 52 furnished the remainder of what we needed for the next three days.

The herd of buffalo that used to graze on a farm on the south side of Route 52 was still there, and still grazing.

In time we reached our house and found it much as we had left it. Dodge and Mason were there a year before, Luigi and I a year and a half. There were even more wasp nests under the eaves, and a couple of unreachable hornet nests, but there were not many wasps or hornets. Perhaps the presence of a swallow's nest above our bedroom window and a phoebe's nest in a nearby tree had something to do with their small numbers. Dodge sprayed the wasp nests and later we took them down and burned them.

On Sunday we walked through the old gravel quarry and junkyard and dirt racing track on Dick Weden's land and on to Jeff Marciniak's farm where Jeff and his father were separately plowing the fields on either side of the road leading into our property. There was plenty of opportunity for whoever chose to climb small dirt hills, and to throw stones into ponds.

There was also opportunity to stand on top of a boulder, and to discover the frogpond

On Monday Dodge and Mason and I walked down to the river and watched Mason try fishing for fifteen minutes without success. In the afternoon Dodge and Mason went to the Dells of the Eau Claire County park. See his illustrated account.

On Tuesday morning I went fishing at a different place and caught four shiners on an artificial lure and four more on pieces of one of the first four that I'd cut up for bait.

Dodge observed a traffic sign (bearing a red-winged blackbird) in an unlikely spot, and enjoyed it. Then, with moral assistance from Mason, he sanded the rust-marred back door, and painted it.

Luigi and sometimes I played games with Mason, and Dodge read to Mason several times various afternoons and evenings, especially when Luigi was getting meals ready.

On Wednesday we went into Antigo to leave Luigi at a laundromat with the laundry as Dodge, Mason and I drove twenty-five miles or so to Nueske's smoked meat store in Wittenberg. Then we returned to Antigo, picked up Luigi and the clean clothes, bought various items of equipment at Walmart (including a new Leatherman pocket knife-tool to replace the one that airport security had confiscated from Dodge at Dulles Airport), and proceeded to lunch at the Two Angels Restaurant. Then it was on to Copps for more grocery shopping and back to Hogarty.

On Thursday morning we ran out of bottled gas. I called Master Gas Company in Antigo promptly and they were able to get the driver of this day's delivery to bring us four new 100-pound bottles. He also found a leak at the indicator that shows when we need more gas.

In the afternoon Dodge and Mason floated and rowed in an inflatable rubber boat down the Eau Claire River from just below the rapids on our land to the park, where Luigi and I waited for them. In the past our trips have been only to the first bridge, but Dodge looked at the speed of the water there beforehand and decided to continue on to the park. This used a couple of more hours than we had expected, but finally they came into view.

Mason pulled the boat ashore. It was deflated and stowed in the back of the car.

Mason was willing to throw a frisbee occasionally. Dodge took the .22 rifle to an area where he could fire into a hillside and, with Mason looking on, performed some target practice. Targets included a tin can and a couple of clay pigeons left over from the days when we used to hurl them into the air with a trap and fire at them with a shotgun. Mason did not get to shoot, and did not seem overjoyed with the experience, though he was willing to collect the spent shell casings

In the afternoon I read while Mason worked on his coloring book. In the evening Dodge and Mason toasted marshmallows over the hibachi that stands on a stack of concrete blocks.

Friday it rained.

In the afternoon we all paid a call on Florence Weden, who used to live on the farm that Jeff Marciniak now owns. Jeff has sold the house to a young family named Hussey, whose parents own the farm across the highway.

On Saturday it was time to throw the old chicken bones, egg shells, coffee grounds, and other compostible garbage into the woods and to burn the paper trash. We had four eggs that we had not eaten, and Mason was allowed to throw them at a boulder. He enjoyed this.

Then we returned the car to the Hertz people at the airport, had lunch, and took the 1:15 airplane back to Chicago. Luigi and I took a taxi home; Dodge and Mason continued on another flight to Dulles. Dodge has posted his account of this trip at http://www.dmumford.com/family/hogarty-2003.05.31/text.html. Several of the pictures above have been taken from it.

Manly W. Mumford