|TREES AND IRRIGATION MAKE THE "DESERT" BLOOM|
|ORNAMENTAL PEAR TREES IN SOUTHERN WISCONSIN|
|SUGAR MAPLES IN BLOOM|
Our trip to southern Wisconsin accomplished its goals of visiting family for a 90th birthday party and a christening, but we got off track and didn't get to the funeral. Southern Wisconsin is in full bloom with maples, ornamental pears, cherries, plums, flowering crabs and spring bulbs all glorious. Sugar maple was the dominant tree in bloom from Wausau, which is mid-state, south. Not much going on north of there.
The birthday party was in Wild Rose, which is pretty much in the middle of the central sand counties of the state. Seventy years ago when we visited relatives there it was poor country, akin to Apalachia economically, the land worn out, a virtual desert, with sand blowouts and deep gullies where rusted out cars and trucks were dumped in an attempt to stem the erosion. One could not walk barefoot because of the sand burrs. About the only cash crop was cucumbers.
In the intervening years pine trees were planted for Christmas trees and lumber, which anchored the blowing sands, and the streams and water table came back. Now the trees are being replaced where practical with big irrigation rigs that pump water onto a variety of crops, everything from peas to corn, and farming is profitable again (but don't ask a farmer, they will always say they are loosing money).
Skeptics regarding the care of the earth and its endless possibilities need look no further than Wisconsin's sand counties to see what can be accomplished by free markets and a free people.