Fine dining at Hudson Senior Center

Just another name for grilled chicken?

I learned a new word to day, Spatchcock. Apparently my culinary vocabulary is limited to grilled, broiled, baked or “when will dinner be ready?”

I was typing the Hudson Senior Center dining menu that appears each week in the Star-Observer and on Tuesday, March 20, spatchcock is on the menu.

My imagination went out the door and toward the gutter, until I snapped it back and Googled the word. According to The Boston Globe, spatchcocking a chicken is not against the law. 

Here is what it entails: Cutting a chicken in half for broiling is almost as routine as chopping an onion. But keep the halves together in that same flattened position, and it looks as if you’ve done something complicated to the little bird.

Think of it as butterflying the chicken. The real term is to “spatchcock.” Alan Davidson explains in The Oxford Companion to Food: “The theory is that the word is an abbreviation of ‘dispatch the cock,’ a phrase used to indicate a summary way of grilling a bird after splitting it open down the back and spreading the two halves out flat.” Davidson speculates that spatchcocked birds originated in Ireland. He has noticed them in Irish cookbooks that date to the 18th century.

So, if you qualify age wise, head over to 1320 Wisconsin St., in Hudson and try it. Also on the menu that day is roasted carrots, Dirty Rice Orleans, V-8 Juice, cheesecake. Make sure you call 715-386-8709, a day ahead to reserve a seat. Every week there is a tasty menu that includes all the food groups. The price of dinner is quite reasonable and I have heard the food always taste great.

Bon appetite or eat up, whichever way you say it, and enjoy!

Love letters of the past


 I receive a news letter from Richard Schwenk, a leading members of the German Settlement Heritage  Society. He helps keep the history of the area surrounding County Rd. N and U (east of Hudson) alive and interesting.

This morning I received a Valentine message from him and thought it a good time to share it with you!   These friendly notes sometimes led to serious courtship letters between eligible acquaintances and eventual marriage in the example above of Edward Mayer’s marriage to Lena Bonnes, Feb. 5, 1893 [Richard Schwenk’s grandparents]

Take a moment on Valentines Day and tell all you sisters you love them. And all you sisters, tell your brothers you love them too.  My husband’s brother just died unexpectedly and and old saying rings so true, “if only I could talk to (whomever) just for another minute, I would have told him I loved him”.

Do it on Valentines Day, it’s a perfect excuse to be mushy.

Can it already be fair time?

I was perusing the St. Croix County 4-H site for some information and came across this short article.

Recycled Ribbon Program

Have you given a thought as to what to do with all your St. Croix County Fair Ribbons?  How about recycling them?  If you have any ribbons, instead of throwing them away, we would love them back to reuse.  Of course, they need to be in good condition and not have any writing on them.  Please drop them off at the Extension Office or give them to your club leader.  We will accept Jr. Fair and Open Class ribbons.  If you aren’t interested in keeping your ribbons, please consider donating them back to the fair.  Budgets continue to be tight, everything helps.

 A great idea, however, I worked too hard to get my little ribbons and am not ready to give them up yet. For a while I was going to make them in to a quilt or wall hanging, then I hung them on the wall, now they are just in a drawer that I stash all my ‘treasures’ in. I look at them every so often and recall what I had done in the past.

 I recall a story I heard on NPR about an older lady named Fahitabelle (at least that is what it sounded like) she was a lonely widow who made the most beautiful quilt ever seen. She decided she would take it to the county fair for all to see. Being a rather shy woman, she quietly entered her quilt in the fair and went home. The next day she wore a disguise and went back to the fair and sat by her quilt so she could hear the comments people were making about her work.

The ooh’s and aah’s were non-stop; she was in seventh heaven with joy that so many people would still appreciate that she had such talent.                                                            She went back the next day to listen again.  It was such a sweet story; I wish I could find a copy of it somewhere.

Since coming back to Hudson in 1987, I have participated in the County Fair in the Open Class almost every year. Anyone can enter the various categories, from canning, flowers and plants, sewing, crafts, baking, gardening, woodwork and much more. It’s fun to challenge yourself to make the best item you can and be judged against other folks in the area.

I admit I have stood by my exhibits and waited for people to comment on my handiwork; after hearing the story I mentioned, I felt justified!

So if you need your ego stroked, plan to entry some items in the county fair’s open class. It is going to be held Wednesday, July 18-22, at the Fairplex in Glenwood City. Just driving all the way across St. Croix County is an event. You might even win enough money to cover the gas. Of course all the area FFA and 4-H kids are there with their projects, so stick around and show your support of this worthwhile group. It’s tomorrow’s business leaders and community supporters that are participating.

Get more information at and get a fair book with all the open classes available to enter.  I challenge you to grow bigger tomatoes than mine!



Community Education Booklets have arrived

A sure sign spring is coming is the raft of catalogs that show up in the mail. Aside from seed catalogs,  LL Bean, Coldwater Creek or other retail offerings is the Hudson Community Education Booklet. This little production has a nice photo on front by HHS ’06 grad Kyle McNamee, as seen here.

There is a range of class offerings from art, technology, cooking, Crazy gear & wheels class!, women’s self-defense, cooking gluten free, a series of classes at Homestead Park and so much more.

Last session I took a PowerPoint class and ended up sitting next to a friend I hadn’t seen for a while and also in the class was my neighbor Renee. It was fun to be there in a class room with adults who were probably as flustered as I was learning this ‘technology’ that my nephew could do in 6th grade.

Even if you sign up for one just class, you are helping the local economy by supporting talented and educated folks who are sharing their knowledge on a range of subjects. You may also run into a neighbor or person who has similar interests or perhaps learn something that could send you on a new career path or develop a new hobby.

If you missed the booklet, which has advertisers that help defray the costs of printing, look on line at under community. While you are on that site, take a gander at all the other info about the school district. In there is information about the April 3 referendum. It might help you make a decision regarding the ‘dog track’ purchase.

Sign up soon, as some classes have limited enrollment. Happy Learning.

My 50 cent sta-cation

The cold weather is here and I had a chance to hunker down at home on Thursday night. I made a nice fire and had a few books to read.

Oops, I already read them, so as I looked around for something else to read and I came to a bundle of magazines I had bought at a library book sale in Nebraska. I spent 50 cents for a dozen bird magazines. They are produced by the Wild Bird Stores and are called…WildBird.

I thought they’d be fun to look at and try to identify birds with. They are much more than that, they all had great articles about where to go ‘birding’. They had very nice photos of birds and of migration hot spots that sounded really nice when its 5 degrees outside. Colorful birds in South America, the Texas panhandle, Florida, Arizona, and even a spot just east of Detroit look like places to bookmark for future travel plans. If you are looking for any kind of binoculars, there were ads a-plenty to help make a choice.

We enjoy our 11 feeders in the yard and have a pretty good assortment of birds that show up to eat and drink. We also have about 8 birdhouses, a wildlife area and trees and bushes with year round fruit on them for their snacking pleasure. An acquaintance of mine joked that I’ll be the hit of the nursing home, with my passive bird watching hobby. I know it’s probably not real interesting to some folks, but it is a life hobby to be enjoyed. The other day I received an email photo from a Hudson lady, Diane Bauer, who snapped this photo of birds in her yard. We might have to get a heated bird bath! Thanks Diane.

So for 50 cents, I got to take a mental vacation to the south, call me a ‘snow bird’ if you like!

Let the fun begin

Politics do indeed make strange bedfellows. The Iowa caucus was a lot more exciting than the town of Hudson caucus that was also held on Tuesday night.  Iowa’s results prove once again that every vote counts, unless perhaps you vote in Ohio.

The 6 p.m. town’s event was called to order and was adjourned almost as fast. Business was conducted and the caucus was over by 6:10 p.m.

Long time resident Don Jordan put his name on the ballot for the 1st supervisor position. He will face incumbent Ken Kolbe in the spring election. 20 plus year veteran town board member David Ostby will run unopposed for the 3rd supervisor position.

A crowd of 75 or so interested citizens showed up to be part of the election process. It was interesting to see and observe, kind of like that Survivor show, who lined up allegiances with who. Over the years there have been issues that pitted neighbor against neighbor; friends on both sides of the fence and sometimes the fences were never mended. Last night it appeared to me that factions with many diverse interests came together and put forward the candidate Don Jordan. I think he will bring a level of civility to the board meetings that has been lacking as of late, a background of involvement in the town and the knowledge and commitment to listening to the citizens of the town.

I have watched our town board tackle some sensitive issues, some I agree with, some not. I commend anyone who chooses to get involved in local politics, as long as they can keep an open mind and remember that they are serving everyone, not just a fraction of a community’s special interests. Good luck to all candidates.

Make sure everyone in your house is registered to vote by Feb. 21, 2012.

Voter ID information

Do you have your voter ID all ready for the primary election on February 21, 2012? All the brouhaha about voter ID can be confusing. While it is true a ID card is free, it may cost you some time and money to get to the point of applying for the ID.

If you don’t have a photo ID for voting, the DMV can issue a photo ID free of charge if you will be at least 18 years of age on the date of the next election and request an ID card for the purpose of voting.  If you don’t have in your possession any of the ‘certified’ documents needed to prove you are who you say you are, you need to get them, soon.

Most of the certified documents you may or should have in your possession already. A birth certificate, passport, marriage certificate or divorce certificate, naturalization papers and a few others that are officially certified are what you need. Do you need to apply for one from out of county or state? You’ll need to get in contact with the County office where they originated from and purchase a certified copy of the documents. Once you have them, keep them in a safe place, as you’ll probably need them again if you move, get married or die, for example.

There are organizations popping up all over to help you through the task if needed. Don’t feel intimidated if you are having trouble getting the proper ‘certified’ documents, or getting to the DMV, remember, it is your right and responsibility to vote, don’t let it slip out of our hands.

Here is some information I got off the Wisconsin DMV online site at that may help you get an ID card.

 When applying, it will be necessary to provide your Social Security number and one document from each category below.

  • Proof of name and date of birth:
  • Certified U.S. birth certificate (not a copy)
  • Valid U.S. passport
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Tribal ID card


 Proof of  identity:

  • Social Security card
  • Certified copy of a marriage certificate or judgment of divorce
  • A driver license or ID card form another state (this must be surrendered to get a Wisconsin driver license or ID card)


 Proof of Wisconsin residency

Documents listed below must include your name and  current Wisconsin residence street address:

  • Pay check or stub or earning statement with your name and Wisconsin address, and your employer’s name and address, issued within the last 90 days. Your employer’s telephone number may be required for verification.
  • A bill for water, gas, electricity, landline telephone, cable or cell phone service issued within the last 90 days. Electronic copies are acceptable.
  • An account statement from a Wisconsin bank/financial institution issued within the last 90 days. Electronic copies are acceptable.
  • Certified school record or transcript that identifies you by name, shows your current address and is issued within the last 90 days for the most recent school period.
  • Mortgage documents for a residential property located in Wisconsin.
  • Community based/assisted living residential contracts.
  • Your current valid homeowner, renter or motor vehicle insurance policy dated within one year of application.
  • A letter from a homeless shelter.


Proof of U.S. citizenship, legal permanent resident, conditional resident or temporary visitor status:

  • U.S. state or local government-issued certificate of birth (certified copy – birth registration and hospital certificates are not acceptable).
  • Valid U.S. passport
  • U.S. Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. Certificate of Citizenship

The Government Accountability Board notes that an unexpired Wisconsin driver license is the most common acceptable photo ID for voting. An expired Wisconsin driver license or ID is acceptable too as long as it expired within two years after the most recent general election. In other words, if a Wisconsin ID or driver license expired in December 2010, it can still be used for voting purposes in the November 2012 general election.

The most common documents are listed above. For a complete list of acceptable documents and more information on how to get a Wisconsin ID card, visit the Wisconsin DMV online at

For more information on voting in Wisconsin, visit the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board online at


Made in America

There, covered all my bases!

Have you been catching Diana Sawyer on the news with her segment about Made In America?

 It’s pretty fun to see all the products still being made here. The other night it featured Slinky’s, awesome. I remember when we got our first Slinky and how long it took before it became a mangled pile of thin metal, but it was cool while it lasted.

A friend of mine just told me about this website called If you can’t shop locally, like I preach here, try this web site for some armchair surfing. You can cover a lot of your shopping right here. Here is a rundown of what I saw from a quick look.

  • drum sets for the 99%’ers who had the first ones confiscated
  • don’t tread on me flag pins for other folks
  • commando undies for the ladies, huh, I thought commando meant…??
  • alpaca hats for granny, look nice and warm
  • ceremonial silver shovels for the next ground breaking event, to build a new factory for more made in America items!
  • coffee from Maui
  • dust pans, kind of dull but….
  • Mute-magic to automatically mute TV commercials (for anything with an 0-matic feature?)
  • walking sticks and snow shoes  Slowly… remove your hands from the computer and get outside.
  • Dirt king trikes with duallies! For some hardcore off-road triking?
  • pool cues
  • maple syrup       
  • blank CD’s
  • union made shirts, jackets, vests
  • Spinzit rachet tool and some serious looking hammers
  • even a few electronics
  • firefighter bags and packs

They featured over 2,900 products, I just listed a few here, so check it out. If you can manage to buy only one item made in America this year, it will help keep someone off the unemployment line. And for the un-deciders among us, gift certificates to you guessed it —

Order now for delivery before Christmas.

Get out the vote—for mittens

While you are hustling and bustling around town the next two weeks, make time to stop at the Hudson Library and vote. You won’t need a photo ID, passport, visa  or even a library card to make a choice.

You will be voting for the favorite mittens on the Merry Mitten tree that is the upstairs of the library.


This press release from the library covers the info you need to know:

   Mittens submitted to the library’s Merry Mittens contest will be put on display in the Library’s lobby from Dec.1 through Dec. 17. Library patrons may vote for their favorite mittens Dec. 2 through Dec. 10. Winners of the most creative mittens and the overall favorite mittens will each receive a cash prize of $25.

 Mitten-makers may pick up their creations on Dec 19. They may also choose to have the library donate them to a local charity.

 Almost like the Republican presidential candidates; there are 23 to choose from. Well, OK, these are ALL mittens, unlike the candidates. They also have a right and left feature; the mittens I mean. First time voters can work out any voting angst by partaking in this process.

 While you are at the library, make sure you take in the view of the river from upstairs; it’s as breath taking this time of year as any.

Small Business Saturday-part II

Think outside this box!

We should make this Saturday, Dec. 3, Small Business Saturday II. There will be over 120 small, small businesses offering up their American made products for sale, right here in Hudson, at the high school.

Youth Action Hudson is hosting a craft sale on Dec. 3, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at 1501 Vine St., the Hudson High School. It is a win-win for Hudson and our youth, as I see it. The vendor fees supports the YAH group, the small business vendors have a ‘storefront’ for a day, holiday shoppers have an opportunity to browse for unique and  locally made gifts, you can make donations to the local food shelf and Salvation Army; all in one location, right here in town.

And if you need a chair massage or want to enjoy some entertainment from the Hudson Swing Choir, the Hudson Holiday Boutique and Craft Sale has you covered. Plus, you’ll be able to see what the Youth Action Hudson program is all about.

There are so many talented folks offering up their goodies, and for many of them, it IS their job. For others it is their hobby and passion, but the monies they take in most likely will go right back into our local economy.

So, make your calendar, I-phone, I-pad or planner to stop by on “Small Business Saturday in Hudson II.” After you shop at the craft sale, support other small businesses in Hudson. Have lunch at a locally owned restaurant or coffee shop, stop at locally grown Christmas tree farms, search out locally owned businesses for gift certificates and gifts, for you or a lucky recipient.

I’m guessing it will be a Mace free event with no mob action, but a pleasant group of folks looking for something special for someone special.  Happy shopping, YAH!