Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wisconsin Tour: Taliesin

Day Four Itinerary (08.20.10):
Taliesin Highlights Tour
Dinner at Old Feed Mill in Mazomanie, WI
Movie: 'Bedknobs & Broomsticks'

Our last day trip was to Taliesin...which we had been wanting to go to for a long time! We had planned to go over spring break, but we found out it wasn't open then. But coming this time of the year was a lot prettier!...even though we spent half the time in a rain storm!

Taliesin is located in Spring Green, WI which is west of Madison about an hour away. It is where Frank Lloyd Wright built his Taliesin East architecture school and his home. It is located on land his family had owned for a long time. Part of the site is still located on the original home and farm.

Taliesin is comprised of many different sections which surprised me. There is the guest center and restaurant (which was designed by Wright at a later time), the architecture school (which is still exists even today), Wright's home, the original farm house, a small chapel, the windmills, the barn, the pond, lots of land, and couple of guest homes which is where some Taliesin trust members live. When I heard of Taliesin, I really thought it was just one building!

The architecture school holds a theater (which used to be a gym at some point), the studios, gallery space, and other rooms such as the dining hall and social space.

This is the architecture school. Taliesin was really only built as an experiment and a lot of it has been damaged by weather and just hasn't held up! This means a lot of $$ to keep this place open!

This is the back part of the house where later in the house's existence, cars were directed to park. Right now it is being re-roofed with wood shingles.

Wright didn't like his entrances to be noticeable

Wright's home was built into the side of a hill, instead of on top of it. The design of the building allows a courtyard that was really pretty!

Wright actually designed this barn that was used for building equipment and some farming tools. The men who first studied at Taliesin worked for their stay!

A pond was formed when Wright had part of a stream damed. However, it has many problems with it since it's not really a natural area.

There are two windmills on site called Romeo & Juliet. Wright called them that because he said one couldn't stand without the other. When they were built, no one thought they would ever last the weather here!

Taliesin is surrounded by lots of land. A large part of it is flat, and then meets up to some knobs. A lot of it is lawn grass, and other parts of it prairie

This is a small room attached to the barn and silo. There is a house attached to the barn as well where someone lives. However, a lot of it looked in bad shape!

Wright's home from a distance

The Unity Chapel was used by the Wrights for services. It is still used today but more as a social space for the members of the preservation trust. This place was kind of creepy, but then again, it seems like most of Wright's places I've been to are.

This is Wright's 'grave' even though it isn't really where he's buried

The gift shop had a lot of nice and expensive things in it...I hope Brad & I can build something like this one day!

Fast Times and Apple Pie

Last weekend, Kat and I decided to take a stab at the typical American Apple Pie Recipe, but also make it our own by blending a few recipes we had found, one at Annies Eats and from the William's Sonoma Baking Cookbook (a recommended book for anything to bake!) This is truly our first attempt at customizing a recipe... and really my first time baking anything like this, but the results were amazing. A truly classic apple pie!

Apple Pie
For the crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
6 oz. butter (1 ½ sticks), chilled and diced
6-8 Tbs. cold water
For the filling:
2 lbs. peeled, cored and thinly sliced cooking apples (I used Gala)
1/4 cups brown sugar
2 Tbs. butter (melted)
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. all spice
For the topping:
1 egg beaten
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the butter. Cut the butter into the flour or rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture is crumb-like. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of water over the mixture. With a fork, toss gently to mix and moisten it. Press the dough into a ball. If it is too dry to form a dough, add the remaining water. Wrap the ball of dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.
At this point you can start to make the filling. To make the filling, add the peeled and apples to a mixing bowl. Mix the spices (cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, & all spice) with the brown sugar in a separate bowl. Toss the apples in the melted butter. Add the spice/sugar mix and coat evenly.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let warm up a bit if necessary. Preheat oven to 375°.
Cut the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll out one half into a 12-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Try to keep the dough as round as possible. Transfer the rolled-out pastry to a 9-inch pie dish. Put in the filling and smooth so the top is level. Roll out the pastry for the top crust and cut it into strips about 1/2 inch wide. This will be used to create the typical lattice top of the classic apple pie.

Use the longer pastry strips near the center of the pie and the shorter ones near the edges. Cross the two longest strips over the center of the filled pie. Place a second long strip over the top cross strip. Fold back every other strip onto itself and lay a cross strip in place, then return folded-back strips to their original position.Continue weaving in this fashion, working from the center of the pie toward the edges. Trim and flute the edges decoratively with your thumb or with a fork.
At this point, beat an egg to create an egg wash and brush it evenly over the entire pie. This will give it that nice shimmering finish once it is done. Also, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon to create a sprinkle to put over the top. You can add other spices here to create your own unique flavor...
Place this exquisite creation into the oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and the fruit is tender. Cool on a rack. Serves 8. Garnish with some ice cream or whipped cream!

While the pie was baking, we watched Fast Times at Ridgemont High in the continuation of our dinner and a movie tradition. I had seen segments of the film before, but had never really seen the whole thing. It just seemed like the right thing to watch, a classic movie paired with a classic recipe! With that being said, both the pie and the movie were the ultimate treat. I couldn't stop laughing at the crudeness of the comedy. Being a huge fan of Sean Penn and seeing him in a early break-through role was awesome as well... I can say that I recommend this to anyone who grew up in the 1980s!

Katrina Says...
I was surprised when Brad called me and asked if I would make a homemade apple pie! I said I would, even though I had just been to the grocery. So off I went to the Coop to get some organic apples and then to Kroger for some butter (butter is so much more expensive in KY than WI! probably a good thing...), which turned into a disaster...( I was harassed in the parking lot, and then I accidently got the 1lb block of butter instead of sticks!) But....everything turned out just fine...including this pie!

The apples were mixed with some butter and spices. Definitely not what you get when you open a can of apple pie filling! There is a lot less sugar and a lot more apple. I even used my garage sale find of the day...a neat handmade glazed bowl.

The lattice isn't perfect, but what else would you want with a homemade pie!

I used pink lady apples, which gave the pie a little more tartness than sweetness. I think next time I'll use a bit more sugar and spice

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wisconsin Tour: Old World Wisconsin

Day Two Itinerary (08.18.10):
Old World Wisconsin
All you can eat seafood buffet at OYSY Sushi & Seafood Buffet
Movie at Home: 'North by Northwest'

The first of our day trips was to Old World Wisconsin in Eagle, WI. A few months earlier, a tornado (a tornado in WI!?) swept right through this place and pretty much destroyed their parking lot and lots of trees. However, it completely missed any of the houses! amazing...

Old World WI is pretty much a museum of Wisconsin buildings. They were actually all taken from around the state, and brought here, where they were rebuilt or settled down into a realistic setting. It is actually a pretty big place and they have done so to keep each building its own separate settlement. It is such a neat place and maintained really well (and isn't one of those corny attractions!) It kind of reminded me a little of Shakertown back in Lexington.

Old World even raises their own farm animals and makes food from their products, and does crafts just like the real settlers did back in the day. It's really on its own really functional.

I had actually heard about Old World Wisconsin from several people in the UW-Madison Department of Landscape Architecture. Janet Gilmore, Arnie Alanen, and William Tischler have all made great comments about the place, so I told Katrina that we had to go. The place is a great showcase of later immigrant culture of Wisconsin. It shows various time periods and a variety of cultures.

We finally took the tram that was offered after walking through the wooded areas (around a pond). We were attacked by hundreds of mosquitoes!

This is an old school house in Strawberry, where we were in the Apostle Islands!

The craftsmanship of the homes and some of the barns was very interesting! It was hard to imagine that most of this stuff was cataloged, disassembled, and rebuilt piece by piece in place at Old World Wisconsin.

We even tried some of the games they had in the schoolhouse building

This was one of the first churches in Milwaukee

This was a really fun day trip toward the end of our journey around WI. However, this was an amazing place. If you are a huge fan of history and culture, you will really enjoy visiting Old World Wisconsin.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wisconsin Tour: Days in Madison

After we got back from the Apostle Islands, our next series of trips were either hanging around Madison or taking day trips near Madison. After we got back from the Apostle Islands, we took a day in Madison to relax and unpack. On this day we went to the Olbrich Gardens, which I had been wanting to go to ever since the first time I came in Madison a year ago. The Olbrich Gardens were amazing...they have a conservatory with tropical plants, as well as a really neat maze of botanical gardens outside. It was well designed and filled with a variety of plants. I imagine it's a neat place to work! There was even a golden temple that was donated to the gardens from India. I was disappointed we couldn't stay longer, but Boo had to give someone a tour of the WI LA department. Hopefully I'll get to come back where things are bloom again.

Day One Itinerary (08.17.10):
Olbrich Gardens
Snack at Chipotle
Dinner at Home: Taco Mac & Blueberry Crumble

The scenery at the gardens was truly amazing and extremely photogenic. I think these are just a fraction of the photos that were taken. I promise to someday get a handle on all of my photography and post this stuff to a Flicker account or at least to Facebook! Also, we decided to cook some meat we had stored in the freezer, which was a nice retreat from all of the veggie munchin' I have been doing lately... Although it was nice to eat meat, I feel that I feel better and more fit with a veggie/fish diet. So I guess I am perpetually sticking with the vegetarian diet until I feel another need for change.

Day Four Itinerary (08.21.10):
Lunch at Chipotle
Gandy Dancer Festival in Mazomanie
Dinner at Brocach's Irish Pub
Movie: 'Sweeney Todd'

After our 3 days of day trips (which will come in a follow up post!), Boo had to do some work for this WRM practicum in Mazomanie. However, I got to come with him later that evening to the Gandy Dancer Festival, where the WRM had set up a information booth. I learned a gandy dancer is someone who maintains railroads, which is an interesting name! Along with the festival was some bluegrass music, which seems to be popular in Wisconsin. We got to see the Lonesome River Band, which I had seen a couple years before, at the J.D. Crowe Festival here in Wilmore, KY. Kind of ironic!

A Gandy Dancer

Kid's Hula-Hooping & The Feedmill Restaruant

Day Five Itinerary (08.22.10):
Tour of Troy Gardens
Hung out at Glenwood Children's Garden (Home of a Jens Jensen Council Ring)
Peruvian Style dinner with the WRM Students courtesy of Vanessa Cottle's Mom

Unfortunately, we didn't grab any good photos of the events that took place on this day, but it was still nice to get out and see some of the hidden gems in Madison. Troy Gardens is one of the first and only co-housing projects with a community garden, community supported agriculture plot, restored prairie, and 30 units of affordable housing... It is quite impressive to see all of this working together.

Also, Madison is home to the largest concentration of Jens Jensen designed "Council Ring" landscapes. The last one he designed before he died is in the Glenwood Children's Park. It really is quite a humbling experience to get to tread in the footsteps of great designers, and I really love coming to this park. It is along the bike trail and is such an interactive retreat from the city... They have equinox festivals there and do yearly restoration work which I participated in last year. I think one of the reasons I enjoy Madison so much is its very diverse range of spaces and experiences. After living here a year, I still find myself exploring much of the city and discovering new things. And experiencing those things with Katrina makes it even better!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wisconsin Tour: Aldo Leopold's Shack

Day Three Itinerary (08.19.10):
Aldo Leopold's Shack & Visitor's Center
Dinner at Home: Apricot Pork Chops, Sweet Potatoes, Fried Sweet Corn
Movie: 'I'm Not There

A few years ago, I read the Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold and it changed my life and the way I pursue landscape architecture. That being said, Kat and I had to devote a day of our Wisconsin Tour to going out and treading in the footsteps of this truly influential figure. Drove up to the outskirts of Baraboo, WI and took the tour.

The Aldo Leopold Legacy Center was designed really neatly into the landscape. It was built with sustainability in mind and was made with recycled wood and the landscape was designed for low maintenance and sustainable water management. The courtyard made by the three buildings also made the center welcoming.

Aldo's actual shack was located about a mile away down the road from the center, but we could ride the center's bicycles instead of walking or driving.

The site incorporated a lot of environmentally conscious features such as rain water gardens and a prairie landscape. The roof of just about every building was dotted with solar panels and the wood was harvested locally from the trees which had been planted by Leopold himself nearly 70 years ago! The center also featured some gallery space and educational areas about the goals of the center and the legacy of the man behind it all.

'The Shack' was a quaint little chicken coop converted into a cabin. It was surrounded by woods and prairie and was just a stone's throw from the Wisconsin River. The area was dotted with lots of pine trees and we had to fight through swarms of mosquitoes to see the place. After we took a walk down by the river a group of men showed up and seemed to be having a meeting at the shack. We were allowed to step inside and see what it is like inside and look at some family photos taken by the Leopolds. The shack hasn't changed much over the years and still boasts a simple layout... I couldn't imagine spending the winters here with such a large family!

A few short walk away from the shack is the Wisconsin River. We had to walk through a big sandy area to get to it, now we knew why this area is known as Sand County!

The land restoration of Aldo's property was done by himself and his family. A large amount of the restoration was given to the prairie landscape.

So, at last, I can say that I have visited the man who has most influenced me as a designer and steward of the landscape. I would urge anyone who is interested in the environment and stewardship to read his books and articles and to possibly visit the place where he discovered so much. I can't believe so much discovery happened in such a quaint space!