We spent the weekend socializing, beginning with shopping at the downtown Farmers Market for the first time in many years where we reconnected with longtime friends. The Capitol was its usual beautiful self at 6:30 a.m.
We were serious shoppers and put off having coffee until we met the Saturday gang at EVP. I managed to plant the herbs I bought in the morning in the afternoon. And then we grilled out. (For those of you not familiar with Madison, there are hundreds of shoppers and booths right behind us on all four sides of the Square around the Capitol).
We were on the road by 8 a.m. on Sunday morning for our monthy Community of Reason (COR) book group. We ended the holiday with house and garden tours on Monday.
Once a month nine of us get together on a Sunday morning over coffee and pastries to discuss a book that we've all read. Instead of going to church we gather as COR to talk science and philosophy. Everyone but us lives in the country which makes for many lovely drives. This past Sunday we turned down a side road on the way home to make a visit that has been on my "bucket list" for many years: the Hauge Log Church.
"Built in 1852, the Hauge Log Church was the first Norwegian Lutheran Church constructed in western Wisconsin," according to their web site. Surrounding the church is a charming little cemetery where members of the first congregation are buried, including a man named Arne Ruste "who cut the first log used in building the church."
Stopping to visit on a summer-like afternoon, the church seems like the perfect spot to worship. Until you step inside and 19th Century reality hits you.
The space is small and chock full of hard wooden benches upstairs and down.
Space being at a premium, the stairs to the pulpit and the second floor are vertiginous in the extreme.
As someone who's been dealing with vertigo, climbing to the balcony took all my courage. I was wearing jeans and could not imagine making the trek in a long dress. Though, perhaps, this space was reserved for agile young people.
The lattice railing is probably a later addition as we could see the spindle holes from an earlier era.
The balcony seating was designed so that everyone upstairs had a view of the pulpit — and the minister had a view of you.
There's also an outhouse which you can see at the left in the image below. It's designed for two people with a single door on opposide sides of the building and round windows on the short ends. It was open for use.
The cemetary had old stones that are almost illegible. A few have been replaced with modern ones.
When we drove up we were surprised to discover that the building is open from sunrise to sunset seven days a week — year-round. We signed the guest register, becoming two among the nearly thousand visitors from around the world who stop each year, according to the web site.
While we were there, another couple drove up to enjoy the scenery and the solitude. They parked their Harley by our pickup making for a very Wisconsin scene.