Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Way to go, Wisconsin DNR March 28, 2020

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources image


IF EVER WE NEED LAUGHTER, it’s now. And the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources delivered this week with A CHEESY GUIDE TO KEEPING YOUR SOCIAL DISTANCE OUTDOORS.

The second daughter, who lives in Wisconsin, where a “Safer at Home” order is now in place, texted the graphic to me this morning. While reading this message, I laughed out loud. Repeatedly.

This additional info accompanied the guide posted on the DNR Facebook page:

Hey Cheeseheads! Wisconsin’s state parks and trails are open for you to OutWiGo and enjoy some fresh air. If you head out, we encourage you to stay close to home and within your community.

Social distance is key to slowing COVID-19. Stay at least 6 feet away from others – but don’t forget about the air fives!

Kudos to the creative who came up with this idea. I always appreciate a savvy and fun media campaign. Humor resonates with people. They remember. They talk about it.

The Facebook posting certainly has people talking in the comments section. And it’s not good. Seems people are flocking to state parks and not a lot of social distancing is happening. Wisconsin isn’t the only place with this problem. I’ve heard from friends about overcrowding issues at North Carolina state parks (now closed) and even in Minnesota.

You can only do so much, I suppose. Thank you, Wisconsin DNR, for doing your best and for making me laugh today.


Cheese, cheeseheads and football November 22, 2010

A glimpse of shoppers walking along Pearl Street in La Crosse, Wisc., as seen from inside Cheddarheads, a cow/cheesehead crazy gift shop.

I WENT TO THE GROCERY store Sunday to purchase some last minute food for Thanksgiving dinner, including cheese for pre-meal snacking. My extended family prefers to extend their stomachs before indulging in a turkey dinner with trimmings.

Because they are an adventuresome bunch, I grabbed mango and tomato basil cheeses from Henning’s Wisconsin Cheese and Eden Vale’s black peppercorn smoked Gouda and cranberry white cheddar.

My husband questioned some of my selections, but I didn’t waver except for also choosing the “Best of class 2007” Colby from Henning’s. My family is not the safe American, Velveeta, plain old cheddar type of cheese-eaters. We prefer jazzed-up cheeses.

I’m also serving St. Pete’s Select blue cheese from Faribault Dairy Company, a subsidiary of Swiss Valley Farms. My husband and I, and two of my dinner-guest brothers, love that creamy, premium blue cheese, aged in the sandstone caves of my community.

All of this cheese writing this morning reminds me of my second eldest, who is currently traveling through Wisconsin on her way to find an apartment. She just landed a job in the Appleton area.

We’ve been teasing her about living in Wisconsin and becoming a cheese connoisseur, although I don’t know why given she attended college in La Crosse.

I suggested that she carry a cheese cutter lest Wisconsin officials stop her at the border. We even discussed whether the door into her apartment will unlock via a cheese cutter rather than a key.

Oh, yes, we’re a silly bunch, aren’t we?

My family has nothing against Wisconsin; we kind of like that state and Wisconsin cheese.

But don’t expect my daughter to become a cheesehead. She’s been asked several times whether she will now become a Green Bay Packers fan. The answer is a resounding “NO!” Like me, she is not a sports person. But, if she was, I suppose she might consider switching her allegiance from the Vikings to the Packers.

I’ve heard, and my daughter has probably heard too, that the Vikings aren’t doing very well this season. Is that true? Like I said, we could care less about sports…

Maybe my daughter should have purchased one of these cheesehead hats from Cheddarheads in downtown La Crosse. They were showcased in an old bathtub painted like a Holstein when I was there in May.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling