Home made yellow jacket trap

Home made wasp traps keep campsite insects at bay

Late summer camping in Northern Wisconsin can be filled with peril. As the days stay warm and the nights get cooler insects like yellow jackets and wasps increase their activity, looking for sweet eats to prepare for the winter ahead. But here’s a simple solution you can use to draw them away from your picnic table and trap those pesky insects.

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Cool Refreshing mojito

Summer’s Hot; Cool it down with a Mojito

As the staff here at Backroad Wisconsin work feverishly on the reboot of the www.backroadwisconsin.com website; we often need some cool refreshment for these hot summer days. Yep, the State of Wisconsin is enjoying on its hottest summers on record. I’ve totally lost count on how many days above 90 degrees we’ve had so far this year. The only welcome thing I’m missing is some cool rain, of which we’ve also had not enough of.

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Campfire Cookery: cooking over an open fire

I was perusing amazon.com and the book: Campfire Cookery: Adventuresome Recipes and Other Curiosities for the Great Outdoors
totally caught my eye. As a camp cooking aficionado, I love it when a new campfire cookbook comes out. When we go camping we usually lug the dutch oven, cooking grate, and propane gas stove to produce some of the finest eats you will ever find in any campground. I’ve ordered a copy of the book, so a full review will be pending our camping adventure over Labor Day weekend.



Book taps into the State’s Tavern Culture

Tavern culture wisconsin league back roads backroadwisconsin
Bluegill Bar in Birchwood, WI

The tavern in Wisconsin plays an important social role in the State. The perfect tavern is warm and inviting, dimly lit, maybe with a worn bar top and ancient back bar. The barkeepers are gracious and the locals friendly. All over the State these little hole in the wall places still exist, although they are fading more rapidly than you could imagine. Photographer Carl Corey spent the last two years visiting taverns all over the state to create an illustrated document  of our disappearing tavern culture.

From the Milwauke Journal Sentinel:

It’s a world of neon lights and trophy deer, a bowling alley here and a pool table there, mirrors that shimmer and glasses that glisten, and overseeing it all, the owners and workers who toil to keep alive a business and a way of life.

The book is part document, part elegy.

“There is no doubt it will have to change or it will fade out,” Corey says of the tavern.

That’s a theme reflected upon in the book’s introduction by architectural historian Jim Draeger of the Wisconsin Historical Society. Draeger notes how “tavern culture helps define the Wisconsin experience.” These are family-owned gathering spots and “as a result, tavern owners have been staunchly individualistic, resisting attempts to standardize, franchise and homogenize their spaces.”

The book: Tavern League: Portraits of Wisconsin Bars is available from the University of Wisconsin Press.

Do you have a favorite local hangout in your community. Is there a tavern that you can call home?


41 rural post offices in Wisconsin could be closed

Herbster, WI post office could be closedHerbster, Wisconsin, population 104 and located on the southern shore of Lake Superior is one of the communities, along with 40 others in Wisconsin that could lose their post office if a bill makes it through congress authorizing their closure. The US Postal Service has drafted a plan to close hundreds of small post offices nationwide as a cost savings measure. But these closures can have a profound impact on the local community and economy.

From the Superior, (WI) Telegram

Herbster Town Supervisor Jane Bucy thinks closing rural branches could mean the end to many small towns.

“Oh, it’s the life of the community,” Bucy said. “We get a lot of elderly people here who are dependent upon it for medicines and things. They don’t get around very easily. Packages. I mean, it’s just the life of the community.”

Being on this list doesn’t mean that the post office will be closed. The US Postal Service will release a more definitive list in September and open it up to public to comment if an office should be left open or not.


2011 Great Northwoods Fish Fry Fest

Great Northwoods Fish Fry Fest 2011Back again for another year is Sig Hansen of the Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch for the Great Northwoods Fish Fry Fest at the Lake of the Torches Casino in Lac du Flambeau.  The Great Northwoods Fish Fry Fest on Saturday and Sunday, August 13 -14 2011. Held at Lake of the Torches Casino. Saturday Noon – 8pm and Sunday 10am – 6pm. Free for all ages. Saturday from 1 – 6pm Sig Hansen and Sunday from 1 – 6pm The Hillstrand Brothers from the hit Discovery Channel series “Deadliest Catch”. Fish Fry Cooking Contest in 3 categories on Sunday. For a Best Fish Fry entry form go to lakeofthetorches.com.

Evidence of Asian Carp found in Wisconsin Waters

Adult Bighead Carp Fish Identification Asian
Adult Bighead Carp

According to the Wisconsin DNR, anglers have caught a Bighead Carp near the Prairie du Sac Dam on the lower Wisconsin River. Also last month, evidence of Silver Carp DNA was found in a carp caught in the St Croix River in Western Wisconsin. This has state officials calling for the Federal governement to allocate funding to deal with the issue of invasive species in the Mississippi River System.

Silver Carp are known for their jumping behavior when startled by boaters and fishermen and are currently plaguing waterways in Illinois. The revelation of invasive carp species in Wisconsin waters is worrisome, but as of late, none of fish caught have made it past barriers such as dams, nor have any young fish been found or shown signs of reproducing.

According to the Wisconsin DNR:

“High water levels on the Mississippi River are enabling more Asian carp to move farther into Wisconsin waters,” says Bob Wakeman, who coordinates Department of Natural Resources efforts to prevent and control the spread of aquatic invasive species.

“Their presence is not a big surprise because their numbers have grown tremendously in the lower Mississippi and Illinois river systems and stray fish have reached Wisconsin before. But it’s a big concern because of the potential damage they can do.

Bighead and Silver Carp eat plankton and put stress on native fish species as they overtake a fisheries. Anglers are advised if they catch a Silver or Bighead carp to photograph it, note where you caught it, put it on ice, and contact the local DNR office. Following the rules for preventing the spread of invasive fish species and fish disease such as VHS will go a long way towards limiting the Asian Carp species spread.


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