WIsconsin Trip – Summer 2009 – part 2 (Coulee Region)

First a little background information. Coulee “in Wisconsin, they are the product of nearly a half million years of erosion, unmodified by glaciation. The loose rocks at the base of the wall form what are called scree slopes. These are formed when chunks of the canyon wall give way in a rockslide. Left alone, the valleys are often woodland, with the ridgetops transitioning into tallgrass prairie when not turned into pasture or used for row crops.” I always think of coulee’s like big spacious valleys, I’m not sure if that’s accurate, but when I think of “coulees” in WI I think of valleys of lush green forests and rolling hills.

I awoke relatively early on Sunday morning and after saying my farewells to the Isenberger’s I headed off for Galesville.

A little more information – My Pa, who died in November loved to go to auctions. He would go to auctions and buy anything that struck his fancy – lawn mowers, snow blowers, tables, street lamps, old books, clothes, motors… relatively ANYTHING. And he managed to fill the old Beaver Builder’s building in Galesville (over 300′ long with 4 floors) with those items he purchased. This is what my Pa did after he retired, much to the occasional frustration and frequent concern for finances that he caused my Ma. It’s hard to put into words what the Shop looks like inside, Pa had no recognizable form of organization we might have a stack of riding mower decks in this corner, at the far side of the building and behind a row of snow blowers. The vast expanse of the building have allowed many bats and stray cats to call it home and therefore there are various forms of feces in different parts. It was rare that Pa would cover items with a tarp or put them in a protected place, most if not all of the items in the shop are covered with a thin layer of black dust that gets transferred to your face, hands and clothes with ease.

I arrived in Galesville a little after 10, having just missed my Ma who was off to a 50th wedding anniversary party for old friends. I headed off immediately to the Shop to go to work. Rhonda, her husband Greg and my nephew Michael were already there hard and work. Rhonda put me to work sorting lawnmower bags which is frustrating. We assume that Pa must have bought a lot of old Toro bags at an auction as we have more than twice as many Toro bags as we do Toro mowers. Rhonda brought a movie (Paul Blart, Mall Cop) over that evening and we enjoyed that with Rhonda and Greg.

Monday morning Ma and I went to breakfast at the Garden of Eatin’ a local cafe (Galesville is called the Garden of Eden by some so the restaurant’s name fits) before I headed off to the shop for day two. Rain was falling pretty hard most of the day so we were confined to the inside of the shop which hindered our progress some and gets a person depressed pretty quickly. The local paper stopped by to ask questions and take pictures and we called it a day a little early. Rhonda brought over a movie (Bride Wars) and we were all likely in bed before 10 p.m.

Tuesday we all met at the Garden of Eatin’ for breakfast, the sun was out and it was threatening to be a nice day. Rhonda and I set our sites on moving lawnmower decks from the inside of the building to the outside – let me tell you those things are heavy and I am very grateful for the two wheelers that were on hand to cart them long distances and up the hill. I was put to the task of sorting out and lining up a pile of rear ends that belong to various tractors and riders.

I am so very grateful that Rhonda is there in Galesville. She has done an amazing amount of work getting everything ready for the auction. When I go into the building I am still overwhelmed at the enormity of it all and how much has yet to be done. I think there are over 100 push mowers, 100 riders, 100 snow blowers, 100 tillers on the first auction block (in addition to the various 1000s of spare parts, the 1949 1/4 ton truck, the fish finned car and god only knows what else. Rhonda (with little help from others) had put this all together for the first auction this Saturday which has helped Ma immensely.

Thank God for wonderful sisters! I’ll be heading back to the Coulee region in late July just in time for the 2nd auction.

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