"... we are pioneers embarked
on a wonderful
exploring and experiencing
the physical world.”
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
to see the impact of Dane County’s early settlers all around us.
From many of our major roads and original farm houses to
lakeside settlements, Dane County residents have always been attracted
by the abundance of natural resources and quality of life.
Learn about early inhabitants’ interdependence with nature
- from beavers to metals to the great soil that supports many of our
industries to this day - in Instant Outdoor Expert. Reconnect
with our pioneering history and heritage by
exploring the Lussier
Family Heritage Center. And act like a pioneer - and put your
hands to work in crafting a loaf of homemade bread or get your blood
pumping by performing some old-fashioned daily chores.
Kathe & Betsy
The Folks at Nature Net
|Did you know.....
Cranberries, a native Wisconsin fruit, were likely served at the first
Thanksgiving meal in 1621? The name cranberry is shortened from the
original "crane berry" so named because the flower bears a likeness
to the neck and head of a crane.
Do This Month:
Harvest (or purchase) and cook with root
vegetables - an important pioneer staple.
Watch for deer
- they're busy during this time of year because it's their mating season.
Take a trip back in
time on a Wisconsin
Check out family
events at area Nature Net sites.
Tricks of the Trail for
Even those most intrepid little naturalist may ask, “Are we there
yet?” on your journeys to fall explorations. Make the trip seem shorter by discussing how early pioneers
traveled - compared to today. If
you were traveling by horse or covered wagon, would you be closer to your
destination? If you were
traveling on foot, how far would you be right now?
How long would it take if you had no road?
You’ll find reaching your destination takes no time!
Instant Outdoor Expert:
Though Wisconsin has been inhabited since the end of the last
glaciation 10,000 years ago, the first Europeans to land on the shores of
a Wisconsin coastline were indeed pioneers - new to the land and
surroundings of Wisconsin. Jean
Nicolet, a French explorer seeking a
water route to the Pacific, largely thought of as the first European to
visit Wisconsin in 1634, established relations with the Winnebago Indians,
but it was not until over one hundred years later that the first permanent
Wisconsin settlement was established. During the interim years, Wisconsin
was sparsely populated by rugged fur-traders
who helped fuel the notable beaver-skin hat craze in Europe and eastern
North America. In the 1820's, when lead
was discovered in Wisconsin, Europeans finally began to create settlements
in our state and themselves pioneer a new way of life here. Around the
1848, when Wisconsin joined the Union, becoming an official state,
communities were founded to support the mining population and farming
became the new way of Wisconsin living. The records, diaries and
journals of these migrants tell amazing stories of discovery, hard work
and adversity. Read some of their excerpts on the University of Wisconsin's
Also read about the life of a pioneer
child who grew up not far from Wisconsin, just outside of Toronto,
Canada to get a sense of life 200 years ago.
Early pioneers got exercise in almost every daily activity!
Imitate what it would be like to wash clothes on a scrub board,
pumping your arms and scrubbing up and down vigorously.
Sweeping was also a daily activity.
Take a broom (or just pretend) and swish it back and forth, back
and forth. How fast can you
go? If you have pails or buckets with handles, fill them with water and
walk two hundred paces in your backyard. How full can you keep your
buckets? How many trips from the "lake" to the house would
you have to make to fill the kitchen sink? To fill the bathtub? For more ideas
on children's responsibilities
and chores to get you moving, check out the Bureau
of Land Management website about kids who traveled the Oregon Trail, or the Herbert Hoover Presidential
Library and Museum website devoted to Laura
Family Heritage Center
The Lussier Family Heritage Center aims to encourage the discovery of the history, culture, and resources of the Dane County Region, the Nine Springs E-Way, and Lake Farm County Park through recreation, interactive programs, special events, and interpretation.
Like a windmill, with the many blades of nature, culture and recreation working
together, the Heritage Center is driven by the "winds of the community"
to create energy and momentum for the region.
The Lussier Family Heritage Center is located in Lake Farm County Park, the gateway to the 3,600-acre Nine Springs E-Way Corridor Resources Protection area, which runs from Verona to Lake
Waubesa. It is also the junction of major regional bicycle trails,
including Glacial Drumlin Trail, Military Ridge Trail, and Madison's Capital City Trail.
Lake Farm Park is itself a part of the new Capital Springs Centennial State Park and Recreation
The Lussier Family Heritage Center is a seven-minute drive from downtown Madison, one mile south of the Beltline
From the West Beltline go south on the South Towne Drive Exit (exit 264)
and turn left on Moorland Road, which turns into Lake Farm Road. The Lussier Family Heritage Center
is on the left: 3101 Lake Farm Road.
In pioneer times, the tasks were divided between boys and
girls. Though bread making was a woman's job 200 years ago, don't
let that stop the entire family from joining in on this hands-on, old-fashioned experience.
Start by mixing
the following two ingredients:
1 tablespoon yeast
(or one packet)
1 cup warm water
Feed the yeast with:
Honey or brown
sugar (about ¼ cup - no measuring cups back then)
Salt (about 1 teaspoon)
Oil (about 2 tablespoons)
Wait for foam to appear on the
top – this reaction is caused by the yeast eating the honey and creating
gas – that’s the gas that makes our dough rise and our bread fluffy.
3 cups flour
Mix well with a wooden spoon and then turn the dough onto a floured
surface and knead like crazy.
Now shape the
dough into a ball, place it into a large oiled bowl and lay a moistened
cloth over the bowl. Place the bowl in a warm location (near the
fireplace if you're really sticking to the old-fashioned way) and let the
dough rise until it has doubled in size (about an hour). Punch the
dough down, knead like crazy again and bake in a loaf pan at 350º until
the top crust is nice and brown. Enjoy with homemade
butter and touch of Wisconsin honey.