Track running, smallmouth fishing, and a water tour of the Central Sands area.

Monday was an incredibly educational day. I spent the whole day out on a tour of the water issues in our area. I was talking with water specialists, hydrologists, specialists in climate change, plant biologists, farmers, and DNR workers. With the drought this year, and increasingly changing groundwater, there are many issues coming to light. Our community is fortunate to have had a few positive changes and good influences in our water as of late. Construction will begin soon on the Little Plover River Conservancy area, which will provide an educational center and walking and skiing trails. It will use solar panels for energy, and will be a great facility for our area. Del Monte has been a wonderful company, as they’ve just changed some of their land from agricultural use to a dumping site for their clean cooling water- basically putting water back into the land. When the New Page mill shut down in Whiting, our community lost a lot of jobs, but it saved us one billion gallons of water. When the Little Plover River showed serious signs of drying up in 2005, TU brought the situation to the attention of the DNR. That was the beginning of a long community process to restore the river to a healthy place. Many groups and individuals were involved in this process: UWSP folks, George Kraft, DNR representatives, Portage County, the Friends of the Little Plover River (a local group), Trout Unlimited, Wisconsin River Alliance, Village of Plover, Village of Whiting, Del Monte, the Vegetable Growers Association, and more! The story of how we are repairing and restoring the Little Plover River is a great example for how we can find solutions to a lot of the other water issues in our area.

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Our first stop on the tour was Justin Isherwood’s farm.

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He has lots of art on the farm!

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It’s so dry here that in non-irrigated areas, the plants are seriously suffering.

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When you look at the trees, there are so many leaves dried on the ground that it almost looks like fall!

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Lunch included chips made from Wisconsin potatoes!

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My friend, Stu, from TU, was there. πŸ™‚

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The second place that we went to was a much bigger farm, Heartland Farms. We heard them give a presentation about irrigation. They also had a nice display, showcasing Wisconsin fruits and vegetables. Did you know that Wisconsin is the leading state in growing green beans? 40% of our nation’s green beans come from Wisconsin. πŸ™‚

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While we were there, a crop dusting plane was out.

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Heartland farms has a lot of storage for their potatoes- those are just a few of the potato barns.

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They can turn on their irrigation system from any laptop or even from their cell phones! There is a lot of technology in farming.

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Our third stop was Long Lake, or what is left of it.

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Several lakes in this area have been losing water, and one had almost dried up completely. There were lots of water people giving presentations about their studies- they’re trying to learn more about why the lakes are disappearing. Take a look at this dock. I don’t think they’ll be tying their boat to it anytime soon…

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After a long day of learning, we rode the bus home.

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Back at my farm, the tomatoes are finally ripe. Tomatoes for every meal!

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I’ve had a few good runs this week.

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The in-between-race times are the best for me. Running feels fun again, and I don’t have to follow a strict training schedule. I am starting to build up weekly mileage again, after taking over a month “off.” I’m back to eating things like blueberry recovery smoothies. πŸ™‚

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I even overcame a fear of mine and ran on the track for the first time since 7th grade PE.

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I have always felt like the track is for runners, and I sometimes have a hard time calling myself a runner, so it didn’t make sense that I should be there.

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Running is full of mental blocks. Calling myself a runner is one of my personal struggles. I am pretty sure, after running five marathons (so far!), that I am a runner. So, I went for it. Just a mile, and there was not a soul around, but I did it.
Brian and I had eye appointments yesterday. Dilated pupils, anyone?

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We went straight from the eye doctor to the river for some driftboat fishing with my friend, Dan. He caught a beautiful white bass!

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I caught a cute little smallmouth.

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It was the first time that I put my finger in a fish’s mouth. I liked feeling his little micro teeth! I even got to put him back in the water. Holding fish is awesome. πŸ˜€

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I’m learning that you’re always haunted by the fish you don’t catch. I almost had a 17″ smallmouth, but the fly broke off the line. I’m still learning when I’m supposed to give the fish some line, and when I’m supposed to take it back. πŸ™‚
We fished in the rain until dark, then headed home.

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Thanks, Dan!
I’ve got to go pack for the wedding we’re shooting in Iowa this weekend. Yippee!

Miles this year: 393.2

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