Stump The Beaver: May/June 2014
May 21, 2014 11:23AM ● Published by Gene Kirschbaum
Frank from Beaver Dam asks: Back in the day, Beaver Dam was famous for producing some mighty fine beer – Ziegler's Beer. How come we don't have any vintners who produce wine around here?
Answer: We're working on that. Glaciers left Dodge County with a high concentration of limestone ridgelines (drumlins) that when combined with our naturally occurring clay results in great grape soil. The limestone provides proper drainage and the ridges deflect the cool temperatures downhill, protecting the grapes from frost damage in spring and fall. Traditional wine grapes dislike our cold Wisconsin winters, but a number of varieties have recently expanded the climate envelope. Armed with these hardy grapes is the first commercial vineyard in Dodge County that I know of: Edwin Brix Vineyard (check out their Facebook page). Many magnificent mauve masterpieces from Marty’s marvelous merlot meadows are sure to follow . . .
Al from Beaver Dam asks: Why is Wisconsin called the Badger State? I have seen a number of beavers in Wisconsin, but I have never seen a badger. Should we change our name to the Beaver State?
Answer: It's hard to argue with that logic; however, you should know that Wisconsin folks are not called "badgers" because of the abundance of badgers within our territory. Rather, we are called badgers because of where some of our early settlers chose to live. Legend has it that early lead miners lived near their work by burrowing into the sides of hills, similarly to how badgers burrow and live in their badger homes called "setts." Thankfully, our lead miners did not choose to build their tunnel homes in pastures, for then we would be the Dung Beetle State.
Mary from De Pere asks: Do you have any long-term goals? Answer: A couple of goals come to mind:
1. It's kinda lonely around here for us wooden beavers. Heck, the only other wooden beaver that I know of is the one at the Chamber of Commerce. If it were up to me, every home in Beaver Dam would have a pet wooden beaver that got dressed up every Sunday. Of course, I'm biased. (Editor’s note: A third wooden beaver resides just to the north of Beaver Dam on the corner of Sunset Bay Drive and South Sunset Point Road, although not a fashionista like Stump and the Chamber Beaver; I believe this country beaver prefers the buff.)
2. A billboard south of Beaver Dam on Highway 151 read:
"WELCOME TO BEAVER DAM, HOME OF 14,000 BUSY BEAVERS" and I'd love to see the day when the citizens of Beaver Dam are proud enough of our beaver heritage to display that sign once again.
Send your questions to: Beav@localeben.com