Summer Solstice

3rdarm marcia kostick marcia mello etta arthur mullen chicago wisconsin spring green summer solstice

Sunday was the summer solstice, the lightest day of the year, and before that old sun finally relented she illuminated a W-shaped cloud (possibly reppin’ Wu-Tang Clan) on the horizon.

3rdarm marcia kostick marcia mello etta arthur mullen chicago wisconsin spring green summer solstice

In Spring Green I had a juicy bacon cheeseburger at Freddy Valentine’s Public House.

Infinity Room: Prequel

3rdarm marcia kostick marcia mello etta arthur mullen chicago wisconsin spring green house on the rock overlook

We went directly from the Governor Dodge State Park to dinner in Spring Green.

3rdarm marcia kostick marcia mello etta arthur mullen chicago wisconsin spring green house on the rock overlook

On the way we stopped at the Scenic Overlook just down the road from The House on the Rock.

3rdarm marcia kostick marcia mello etta arthur mullen chicago wisconsin spring green house on the rock overlook

The bridge over the throughway echoed the House’s architecture, and in the distance we saw the tip of the Infinity Room.

Pine Cliff Trail

3rdarm marcia kostick marcia mello etta arthur mullen chicago wisconsin mineral point governor dodge state park pine cliff natural area

Located within Wisconsin’s Driftless Area, Pine Cliff features an unusual southern pine relict community perched atop several sandstone cliffs and adjacent north-facing slopes. Although one of many small relicts known in this area, Pine Cliff is important because all three species of pine native to the state, red, white, and jack, occur here together, disjunct from their typical range in Wisconsin.

3rdarm marcia kostick marcia mello etta arthur mullen chicago wisconsin mineral point governor dodge state park pine cliff natural area

White pine dominates the site, but red and jack pines grow on the exposed, droughty summit. All three are successfully reproducing.

3rdarm marcia kostick marcia mello etta arthur mullen chicago wisconsin mineral point governor dodge state park pine cliff natural area

More mesic north-facing slopes provide suitable habitat for numerous ferns, mosses, and lichens, particularly the noticeable smooth rock tripe.

3rdarm marcia kostick marcia mello etta arthur mullen chicago wisconsin mineral point governor dodge state park pine cliff natural area

Away from the cliffs is a southern dry-mesic forest composed of red oak, white oak, basswood, white birch, and black cherry. The pines supply habitat for more northernly bird species including black-throated green and blackburnian warblers.

State Park Ice Cream

3rdarm marcia kostick marcia mello etta arthur mullen chicago wisconsin mineral point

I love that Governor Dodge State Park sells ice cream cones. Marcia got a peanut butter turtle and I got blueberry pie, with buttery crust.

Twin Valley Lake

3rdarm marcia kostick marcia mello etta arthur mullen chicago wisconsin mineral point governor dodge state park

We returned to Governor Dodge State Park for the first time since last June, when 2 tornados rolled through these valleys, and we had to hide in a cave. It was Father’s Day, and the main area at Cox Hollow Lake was jammed.

3rdarm marcia kostick marcia mello etta arthur mullen chicago wisconsin mineral point governor dodge state park

Instead we headed over to Twin Valley Lake, for some mother / daughter tubing while I napped on the grass.

Bob’s Bitchin’ BBQ

3rdarm marcia kostick marcia mello etta arthur mullen chicago wisconsin mineral point bobs bitchin bbq brisket waffle fries 3rdarm

We drove up to Dodgeville from Chicago on a Sunday that unfortunately, happened to be Father’s day. Bob’s Bitchin’ was packed! There was a wait of 30 to 45 minutes. The bar had a limited menu (mostly sandwiches) and open seating.

3rdarm marcia kostick marcia mello etta arthur mullen chicago wisconsin mineral point  bobs bitchin bbq waffle fries brisket cheese dodgeville

We bellied up to the bar for a brunch of brisket smothered in cheese and chili, over waffle fries. It was the smoky cheesy fuel I needed to fire up for our visit to Governor Dodge state park!

Marcia in the Summer

3rdarm marcia kostick marcia mello etta arthur mullen chicago wisconsin roly poly cat mineral point

Marcia Mello, Etta’s amazing artist mother, visited us this June. It was her first visit to the Midwest in the summer.

3rdarm marcia kostick marcia mello etta arthur mullen chicago wisconsin mineral point

The first thing we did was squeeze the cat and listen to her new album, “Ship of Songs.”

French Pressed Cacao

xoco patio arthur mullen gordon peter zack chef frontera grill 3rdarm

Gordon (in town to play a show) and Effie are having a baby! It will be a little girl (I’m predicting big cheeks) possibly named Josephine or Esther. We got to talk about that and my NUCCA procedure when Peter and Gordon came for lunch on the Xoco patio.

xoco patio arthur mullen gordon peter zack chef frontera grill 3rdarm

Another day I got to entertain (with help from Olivobampo) Chef Zack and his fiancee Susan. They had met traveling Central American countries, where cacao pods grow. In the morning, they would French press cacao beans instead of coffee, something I’m keen to experiment with.

The Balancing Center

3rdarm balancing center dan fedeli chicago arthur mullen nucca

I started seeing a chiropractor named Dr. Dan. He and his wife are regulars at the restaurant. For years I’ve noticed Dr. Dan staring intently at my posture, and many times he has handed me his card and said, “Why don’t you make an appointment, I’m right down the street…”

3rdarm balancing center dan fedeli chicago arthur mullen nucca

I received the NUCCA procedure at the Balancing Center: the top vertebrae of my spine was listed to one side, causing my nervous system to lock my hip and knee to support my weight. I had been putting most of my weight on my right leg. After NUCCA I was sore for 3 days, while my left leg adjusted to taking it’s share of my bodyweight. I remember walking back from the office to work, on Clark Street in the rain, body in balance for the first time in my adult life.

Briggsville, WI

3rdarm arthur mullen roly poly cat meghan rob chicago wedding photos van leuwen lamb

One of my favorite parts of the night was sitting next to Greg Broughman, a chef who lives about the tavern where he hand-grinds Wisconsin beef for burgers, north of Madison. Etta and I will have to take a trip up to visit Greg in Briggsville.

3rdarm arthur mullen roly poly cat meghan rob chicago wedding photos van leuwen lamb

On the way home from Rob and Meghan’s wedding the Saturn got engulfed in the Naked Bike Ride. I captured the spectacle on camera; Etta squealed with delight as the many micro-penises whizzed by our car window.

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