Wisconsin Life # 902: Flowering Palette

October 13, 2022


The fields are blossoming as host Angela Fitzgerald frolics through the vibrant flowers at Schuster’s Farm in Deerfield. She talks with Sarah Schuster about how their family farm began and has grown over the last 30 years. They also discuss the family fun that the farm brings every year. We also travel around the state to meet a family of lavender farmers and learn about a builder constructing a castle by hand.

We then meet Laura and Aron McReynolds who’s farm is quite different from Schuster’s. The McReynolds farm is full of rolling hills covered in purple, and that purple comes from lavender. They started their farm after selling their business in Kansas and settling in Wisconsin. During this difficult time for the family, Laura found hope and inspiration in a photo of lavenders.

Then, we go from the farm to the frame as we meet Josh Arter, a photographer who is trying to capture all of Milwaukee bit by bit. Arter’s camera is a unique one, as it is hooked up to a Game Boy. The Game Boy Camera attachment takes pixelated black and white photos that give Arter a unique challenge when practicing his photography. He posts these photos to his Instagram account called 8bitMKE where he has close to 2,500 followers.

Next, our frame changes from a photo to a painting as Jenie Gao, a daughter of Chinese and Taiwanese parents, breaks the stigma around being a career artist. Gao’s murals have been featured across Dane County and in Milwaukee, but she has still found struggle and acceptance hard to come by as an artist. A big part of Gao’s success resides in self-motivation and drive. She’s passionate about erasing stigmas attached to career artists. It’s that passion that keeps her going.

Finally, we step back to the Dark Ages with Pete Kelly as he shares his bastion built by hand. Kelly’s dream for building this castle started in 1987, but as an electrician by trade he knew almost nothing about architecture. So he began to work and brick by brick the castle began to form. The dimensions are staggering as it stands 35 feet tall and weighs 5,000 pounds per running foot on the outside wall. All of it was built by hand. The castle itself is only 75 percent complete, but Kelly is determined to finish it.


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