Wisconsin Life host Angela Fitzgerald celebrates Dutch heritage with a trip to the Little Chute Windmill. She gets to see the authentic 1850s-esque construction firsthand, in a living piece of history. She talks with Gene Janssen, a longtime volunteer, about how the windmill was built in Holland and shipped to Little Chute. Angela gets a tour of the windmill’s inner workings by head miller Larry Janssen, Gene’s son.
Fitzgerald also shares a collection of all-new stories from our Wisconsin Life team, including a profile of Luke Traver who is keeping the Dutch art of wooden shoe carving alive. He carves Dutch farmers’ wooden shoes or klompen from aspen logs, a moist wood prime for carving. Traver uses a block knife, a tool with a 20-inch blade made specially for carving wooden shoes. Fourteen years ago, he apprenticed under master wooden shoe carver Bob Siegel. Traver is now a master carver, demonstrating the centuries-old art of wooden shoe carving at events all over the country
Next we travel to Edgar where small dairy farmers, Debbie Bauman and her husband Dave, reimagined their farm. They took a big risk years ago to transform their traditional barnyard into a garden oasis. Now the former barnyard is dotted with hostas, and their rural family farm is beginning a new chapter.
Then we meet Randy Bryant. He is on a mission to restore, preserve and share the Ten Chimneys Estate. Owned by Broadway legends, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, the estate is nestled in the woods outside Genesee Depot in Waukesha County. Bryant is a self-proclaimed preservationist, architecture historian, and theater lover. The Ten Chimneys project feeds all those passions as a world-class museum and national resource for theater education.
Finally Wisconsin Life visits Jan Killian, an artist who paints using alcohol ink, a dye-based ink in an alcohol solution. It’s a form of painting that’s very difficult to control. Most artists using alcohol ink create abstract works, but Killian uses it to create detailed wildlife paintings. Killian showcases her work at art shows around the Midwest. She also holds regular classes to introduce others to alcohol ink painting.