All content, of both the original and this blog, is written from my point of view and is my opinion. I believe it to be accurate at the time it is written. ~ Kyle Prast, Brookfield resident since 1986

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Happy Flag Day! Did you know the observance began in Wisconsin?

Today is Flag Day, a day that commemorates the Continental Congress' adoption 235 years ago,  on June 14, 1777, "that the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field [canton], representing a new constellation."

Since that time, the configuration of stars in the canton of the American flag has changed many times, as each new state, represented by a star, was added.  Outside of a brief flirtation with the idea of adding an additional stripe for new states Vermont and Kentucky in 1795, that trend was discarded in 1818, when 5 more states were added: Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, Indiana, and Mississippi.  The stripe count returned to 13  thereafter, representing the original 13 colonies or states.

Now for the Wisconsin connection...

On June 14, 1885, "a 19 year old, $40 a month school-teacher, stirred by a deep love of the American Flag, held the first Flag Day exercises in a little country schoolhouse located near Fredonia [Wisconsin]." The schoolteacher, Bernard Cigrand, "began a lifelong crusade" on that day to honor the adoption of our our flag back in 1777.  

The schoolteacher's quest was fulfilled when President Woodrow Wilson declared June 14th as National Flag Day in 1916. Later President Harry Truman signed a bill in 1949 "requesting the President call for Flag Day observance each year by proclamation".

That one room school was none other than Stony Hill Schoolhouse, 5595 Hwy I, in Ozaukee County. The school building has been restored and is open to school groups by appointment from May - mid June and from Labor Day - mid October. (Call 262.377.4510 for more information.)

The general public may visit the school house (exterior) on any day, but this weekend might be a good time as the Ozaukee County Pioneer Village, 4880 County Hwy I - Saukville is holding FREE ADMISSION DAYS from noon to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday, June 16th & 17th, 2012. All 24 historic buildings/structures are open, there will be Heritage Demonstrations, and an Ice Cream Social too. Pioneer Village is just a few miles south of Stony Hill Schoolhouse.

Incidentally, Wisconsin joined the Union in 1848 as the 30th state. I would love to have one of those flags, with its 5 x 6 star arrangement, because any American flag, regardless of the number of stars or star arrangements in the canton, may be flown--they never have an expiration date! 

So fly that flag proudly today and everyday, and Happy Flag Day!

"History of our Flag" by Heather O'Dell

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Friday, June 08, 2012

My very own Fox & Friend or natural rodent control

May I introduce you to my very own rodent patrol squad: Mr. and Mrs.(?) Red Fox

Yesterday morning, I saw one sunbathing in my backyard and quickly went for the camera to snap a picture. While I was focusing, another fox joined the first! They greeted each other with a nose nuzzle, and then stretched out in the grass to enjoy the sunshine. They stayed there maybe a half an hour then disappeared back into our woods.

Now we have had foxes in our neighborhood for several years-- they have been known to den down the street,  in a backyard near Kinsey Park. In the past, we would see one in or cutting through our yard from time to time. Earlier this week, I saw the first fox of the season streak across our yard, chasing dinner.  But this is the first time I have ever seen 2 full grown foxes in our backyard this early in the year. 

A quick Google informed me that Wisconsin foxes have their litters of "5-6 babies in March", and the pups don't go out on their own until they are about 7 months old. So I am wondering if these are the parents, as both the male and female share in parenting duties, and maybe their den is nearby--not too far from the kiddos? Time will tell.

As a gardener, I appreciate the excellent job they do at keeping the mice and rabbits at bay! Since they have come to our neighborhood, our mouse and rabbit problem has been greatly reduced. They also tidy up the yard under our Mulberry tree during berry season. Foxes eat small rodents, amphibians, and fruit. (Remember Aesops fable, The Fox and the Grapes?) 

But rodent patrol aside, they are just fun to watch, with their red coat, white jabot, and black stockings. So count yourself fortunate if you are able to catch them relaxing. Foxes are one of the joys of living in Brookfield.

Though foxes don't form packs and are only the size of a small dog--around 9-12 pounds--do remember they are still wild animals. Give them their space.  If foxes are in your area and you have small children or a small dog, do supervise them when outside.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

...and the winner is Scott Walker!

What a night. What a year and a half! I couldn't believe they called the election for Walker  so early in the evening, as I was expecting a late night. Like many of us in the not-so-silent majority, I am very grateful to be able to put this behind us. 

Gov. Scott Walker's acceptance speech was outstanding. I would like to quote his intro here, because if you didn't see it live last night, you might miss it in the news coverage today: 
 "Wow, what a crowd!
First of all, I want to thank God for His abundant grace.

Next, I particularly want to thank not only you here, but people all across the state. I want to thank you for your prayers, because for the last year and a half, [it is] the thing that has sustained Tonette and I, and Matt and Alex so much, and not just at campaign events but literally at factories and farms and small businesses. 

Just about every day over the past year and a half, I've met people at every one of those stops, and what has sustained us is people, many times people I've never met before, come off the line, off the farm and tell us, Governor, we're praying for you and your family. I can't tell you what that means to me."

In addition to Gov. Walker's thanks to the Almighty, I would like to thank all the Republican volunteers for making the thousands of phone calls to get out the vote. Thank you!

The one sad note of the night was Sen. Van Wanggaard's loss in Racine County. Hopefully in November, Republicans will gain the majority in the Senate.

Enjoy your day. (It is now safe to answer the phone again!)

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