Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Property of the Week

This week's feature property is a three bedroom brick bungalow in Monroe.

Norman Rockwell could have painted this charming brick bungalow! Your family can be part of the happy picture in this stunning home. The owner has lived here for over fifteen years and her love for the property shows.

Oak pillars, leaded glass windows, built-in china hutch, oak and maple floors, window seats - this home has all the period details and all have been meticulously cared for. The dining room alone is heaven for lovers of classic homes! Modern updates are all here too: 3 car garage with extra storage, updated kitchen, 3 bedrooms each with walk-in closets, a second floor laundry and much more. Enjoy early morning sun on the three season porch to the rear and evenings on the deep front porch overlooking the perennial filled yard and lovely older homes surrounding the property.

This home is truly a gem, and one that must be seen if you love traditional homes.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Sure Sign of Summer

After the winter that we had here in Wisconsin, summer has seemed a long time in coming. It is nearly Memorial Day weekend, yet we do not dare to put away the long sleeved shirts and light coats just yet.

Summer is slowly coming, though, and one sure sign is the opening of the Monroe Farmer's Market. The market opens this Wednesday, May 21. As in other years, the market will run on Wednesday afternoons and on Saturday mornings.

Things are expanding at the market this year. Plans are to enlarge the market to three sides of the Square. There also will be Arts Weekends once a month through the summer where the market will feature both artisan goods and performing arts.

I know that after a long winter, I am out of Noel's wonderful jams, and I look forward to visiting with all the vendors. I ran into the Parrs at the store recently and was reminded of the wonderful sense of community the at Farmer's Market. Fresh lettuce and spinach, some asparagus and rhubarb, honey and jam all topped off with good conversation. What more can one ask for?

If local and organic foods are your thing, please stop on by. The sellers are wonderful people, and most grow their foods without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. They might not be certified organic, but there is something to be said about talking with the grower and knowing exactly how they have cared for their gardens and produce.

We will be there on Wednesday afternoon in search of asparagus and radishes, and I am certain we will visiting the picnic table by the Turner Hall stand on Saturday morning; I hope to see you there too!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Play Ball!

Summer means spending time outdoors for many people, and community sporting events are often a popular place to be.

There is still time in Monroe to sign the children up for softball, baseball or tennis. The eight week long little girls softball or little league baseball season is only $16 for residents. Adult slowpitch league sign-up is over, but if you contact Park and Rec, perhaps they have a substitution list for you to sign up on. Call Carol at 329-4666.

Youth tennis lessons run only $20 for residents. They run in two week sessions either in the first half or second half of July for kids ages first grade through twelfth grade. They are a bargain for ten 55 minute lessons. Adults, consider joining the tennis league or one of the tournaments! Leagues run from mid-June through early August and only cost $20 to participate. Youth leagues are also available. Tournaments happen in June, July and August.

Swimming lessons, youth golf lessons, karate, sand volleyball league - there are a lot of choices offered by Monroe's Park and Rec for your family this summer. Consider getting involved as a family and participate in the new Family Kickball and Family Dodgeball league. They take place in August and are for families with children entering first through sixth grades. The cost is only $5 per person or $15 per family for the four week session.

Get outside, get moving and enjoy summer here in Cheese Country!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pedaling for a good cause

Green County's Habitat for Humanity is having their annual fund raising bike ride this weekend.

Bike 4 Habitat is an all a day event. Pick the course length you are comfortable with (15, 30, 50 or 100 miles) and spend the day pedaling for a good cause. The starting point is Veteran's Memorial Park in Brodhead. Check is begins at 7:30 am and the ride is from 8 am until 5 pm with a dinner served after the ride. The registration fee is $35 and includes a t-shirt, route map, food and beverages along the route, support staff and aid station. Children 16 and under ride free with an adult. Bicycle helmets are required.

Help Habitat even more by gathering pledges! Participants bringing $500 or more in pledges will receive a free sweatshirt.

Green County Habitat for Humanity is working up to a new build, so come out and support them this weekend.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Property of the Week

This week's featured property is a building site just outside of Monroe.

Build your dream home on this spacious 2.91 acre lot on Alphorn Road, just south of Monroe. You will have the best of both worlds in this rural subdivision - room for your family to spread out and enjoy views of the rolling countryside, but a drive of less than a mile to Monroe.

This gently sloping lot allows for construction a home with exposed basement. Enjoy sunrises from your back windows as you look out over acres of farmland.

This lot would be perfect for a home with passive solar orientation, and photovoltaic panels could be a possibility here as well.

Priced at only $26,000, this is a lot that has many possibilities.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Good fences make good neighbors

It is said that good fences make for good neighbors, but what makes for a good fence?

If you are considering putting fencing in on your property this spring or summer, it requires more forethought than simply measuring and making a trip to the building supply stores.

First, check with your local building inspector. In many communities, there are rules regarding how and where fencing may be installed, as well as height limits. Pleading ignorance does not help if you make an error, and it could be a costly mistake if you have to rip out eight foot fencing because your city only allows six feet. Most communities also require that the side the faces the neighbors or streets is attractive, so no putting the cross members facing out because you do not want to look at them. Your neighbors do not want to either. One way around this is to make both sides of the fence finished, but that is more expensive.

When you are deciding where to put the fence, consider lawn care. The property on the other side of the fence must still be cared for, so make sure you have room to get there. Some people will talk with the neighbors to set up a friendly arrangement. If this is the route you go, remember that your neighbors today may not live there in three years and the new neighbors may not be amendable to the old agreement. Be wary of putting the fence on the property line unless you know exactly where that is. Encroachments can be messy and expensive.

Remember to call Digger's Hotline or enter a request on their website before you get started. Forgetting that step and finding out you should not have is one mistake no one wants to make. State law requires that you call three days before you disturb the soil for your project.

A good fence can be an asset to your property. Remember to put a little bit of planning into it, and you are sure to end up with a fence that will last for years.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Property of the Week

This week's featured property is a cozy country retreat.
If you are looking for the perfect country retreat, this is it! This adorable two bedroom home sits on over five acres on a quiet cul de sac. Built as a one bedroom in 2003, a second bedroom and office area were just added this year. No matter which city you need to go to, the drive is not too far: 15 minutes to Monroe, 30 minutes to Madison, a little over an hour to Rockford and just 2.5 hours to Chicago.

You can come home and relax at the end of the day. Privacy will be yours in this secluded subdivision. Sit on the rear deck overlooking your land and watch the wildlife in the trees and grassland. There is a large corral all set up for horses with fencing and a small loafing shed. This is the perfect cozy country home or a vacation retreat! Motivated seller, easy drive from the city, beautiful location - what more could you ask for?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Cinco de Mayo

In the spirit of acknowledging and celebrating our growing diversity here in Green and Lafayette Counties, Monroe is hosting its second annual Cinco de Mayo celebration this weekend.

Come downtown on Sunday, May 4 from 1 until 4 pm for fun for the entire family. There will be live music by New Song, games and activities for the children and a food stand hosted by the Noon Optimists Club. We went to last year's event and enjoyed it tremendously.

After the Cinco de Mayo event, continue your multi-cultural experience by walking down to Turner Hall for their Dance'n'Dine featuring the music of the Ken Zweifel band. Embrace our Swiss roots and our growing Hispanic population in the same day!

Also this weekend, Monroe is having their community garage sales on Saturday and a sidewalk sale on the Square. The weather is clearing up, so come out and enjoy spring in Cheese Country!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Going Green in the Bathroom

Sage or avocado? Hunter or mint? If we were talking paint, my choice would be sage, but let's talk toilets.

Oh the lowly commode. It has finally started going modern in recent years. The days of huge tanks and endless flushes are gone thankfully. Low flow toilets made their appearance on the market many years ago, but can we do better?

Change starts with people's awareness, and with water shortages in parts of the US in recent years, people are starting to become aware of their water usage. Here in Cheese Country, the old-fashioned Midwestern mindset of "Waste not, want not" is still alive and kicking. HE front loading washers are gaining popularity, and Energy Star certification has become standard on dishwashers, saving up to 40% of the water used in non-Energy Star dishwashers. But can we do better?

That brings us in to the bathroom and the lowly commode. It is estimated that fifty percent of households in the US today have only toilets that use 4 gallons of water or more per flush. Four gallons or more! Wasteful to the extreme, the anti-thesis of our frugal Midwestern ancestors.

We have all heard "If it is yellow, let it mellow. If it is brown, flush it down." Truly, though, how practical is this? It will not work in a public bathroom situation, and most households in the US will not practice it. We should instead look to technologies that have been commonplace in Australia, Europe, Asia and the Middle East for years.

Dual flush toilets are an easy way to conserve water. They have two flushing options - #1 and #2 for #1 and #2 if you will pardon the pun. Use one option for flushing liquid waste and use a minuscule .08 gallons of water per flush. For solids, utilize the second flush option. It is still an ultra low flow toilet and uses merely 1.6 gallons per flush. Dual flush toilets can result in a 40-60% reduction in water usage for the toilet in most households, even more if your home is one using outdated waterhogs.

The dual flush toilets first started appearing in the US a few years ago, and they are becoming easier to find. Perhaps your local building supply story may not stock them, but if you ask, you can probably special order one. Caroma entered the US market in 1998, and US companies have followed suit with units being offered by Kohler, Mansfield, Vitra, Vortens and more.

Dual flush and ultra low flow toilets are a great idea whose time has come in the US. Water is a precious resource and should be conserved. Dual flush toilets are an easy way to conserve a large amount of water easily.