News from the Northwoods

News from the Northwoods

At the beginning of this weekend, we had a blast of snow that hit Chicago.  It was not as bad as all the TV weathermen reported.  In the south suburbs where I’m from, the snow never accumulated on the streets or driveways.  North up to the Wisconsin border it progressively showed signs of more snow on the ground.  Still, it’s not what everyone expected.

I wondered how my friends up in the Land O Lakes area were doing in the snow department.  And as I opened my emails on Friday morning, I found the latest newsletter from Mark Gostisha, owner of the Forest Lake Country Store.

Anxiously I dove right into it and as ususal, he started his report on the happening of the Northwoods with painting a picture for us of what it’s like in Land O Lakes Wisconsin.    Here’s his latest newsletter…

Forest Lake Country Store January 2013 News

Great food and a whole lot more,,,

Winter is kind of staggering in the north woods.  Thanksgiving weekend we had lots of snow on the ground.  An occasional snowmobile could be spotted and there was talk of skiing, both downhill runs and cross country miles being logged by many.  Unseasonably warm weather and rain melted our base and we have been waiting for the snow season to start again!  A walk in the woods in your favorite LL Bean boots is an easy venture.  Check out the deep woods of Sylvania or the small tract across the road.  Any hike in the bush is invigorating and recharges the mind.  

This late starting winter will show you some remarkable activity along the shore of nearly every lake.  Local beavers are very busy taking advantage of the thin ice to fill the winter larders with fresh trees.  Watch close and you can easily spot their progress on downing a tree.  One morning you see a small pile of chips at the base of the tree.  The next day the tree is on the ground.  

Yesterday a short walk presented us a pair of cedar waxwings.  It is not rare, but also  not common to see these birds, their unusual trilling call is a joy to hear.  With any luck we will stumble on a larger group of these birds on a future stroll in the woods.

We look forward to a great Christmas season.  Time spent with family is always a gift.  Several weeks off helps us recharge our batteries.  Now, seeing the north woods cabins fill up is a gift for our business!  We look forward to seeing so many families returning to the north woods for the Christmas season.

New in the Store

The winter beers are showing up.  Make room in your refrigerator for some of these great beers!  Here are most of the winter beers:

Sprecher Winter Brew is a favorite every year.  This is a Munich style bock made with dark roasted and sweet caramel malts.  Also from Spreher we have a somewhat rare beer, Czar Brew.  This is their Russian Imperial Stout that is stored in bourbon barrels for 5 weeks.  The forest Lake Country Store is the only store in the north that is stocking the Czar Brew.  They have taken an incredible beer and made it absolutely outstanding.  Last from Sprecher, we have their Hooligan an English Pale Ale, and the Hopfuzion, a fresh hop IPA both in large format bottles.

Tyranena has unleashed two new beers in their “Brewers Gone Wild” series.  These are beers where they let the brew master, well, go wild.  These are made in small batches making very limited availability and always spectacular beer.  The first one is their Imperial IPA, Hop Whore.  The second one is The Devil Made Me Do It.  This is an Imperial oatmeal porter with coffee.  

Last we have some of the Lagunita’s Brown Sugga, quite possibly the best beer brewed by this outstanding brewery.  The brewery calls this their Olde GnarlyWine Ale.  A splendid brew indeed.  

Last in the beer aisle we have St. Stefanus “Blonde”.  This is a true Belgian Abbey beer.  They have been making beer since 1295!  Pretty good start on longevity in the brewing business.  These are the larger 750 ml bottles.  Each bottle is hand dated and the beer will continue to age, and improve, for several years in the bottle.

Wine Specials

Amano Primitivo

Made in the Puglia, the area situated between the Adriatic and the Ionian Seas.  Primitivo is the Italian version of Zinfandel.  The grapes for this wine are grown on very small vines that create highly concentrated flavors.  The vines are between 70 and 100 years old.  On the nose the 2007 has plenty of ripe raspberry aromas with touches of toasty oak. On the palate it is full bodied with ripe, blackberry, blueberry and raspberry fruit flavors and a hint of sweet, toasted oak. The finish is soft and long with elegant, rounded tannins.

The winery has opted to discontinue distribution in Wisconsin.  We purchased all of the distributors remaining inventory.  Inventory should arrive on Dec 21st and be ready for pickup before the Christmas Holiday.  Normally our price on this wine is $8.99 per bottle.  This is already a great value for this excellent wine.  Our special price is just $6.99 per bottle or, buy a whole case for the outrageous price of just $69.99 per case of 12 bottles!  Quantities are very limited so order early via email, or stop in Friday Dec 21st when we re-open.  

Events in the Store

Until the first week of January, sign up for a free snowmobile!
We are one of just 12 sponsors of a snowmobile giveaway for the World Championship snowmobile races in Eagle River.  We have a drawing box in the store.  In the first week of January each sponsor will pull just 8 names for a chance to win a snowmobile at the Derby!  This works out to a 1 in 96 chance of winning if your name is pulled from one of the sponsors!  There is a second drawing for a snow blower.  Each sponsor will pull two additional chances for a drawing of a $1500 Ariens Snow Blower.  Stop in and fill out a drawing slip in the store!

January 29th   9 AM – 5 PM Understanding Concealed Carry Laws in Wisconsin
We host these classes as a convenience to local residents interested in learning more and ultimately having the qualifications to apply for a Wisconsin concealed carry permit.  Material that is covered includes a detailed breakdown of the Wisconsin law, an overview of some equipment and safety instruction.
The class fee is $150 for individuals and $250 for couples.  Application forms are available at the store.  They must be completed and forwarded to the instructor.  You can also download forms at the instructor’s web site:   We are not collecting registration forms or payment at the store.
Lunch will be a BBQ Pork Sandwich, chips, pickle and a cookie for $7.  If you care to bring your own lunch carry-ins are allowed for this class.

Here are a couple long range events to get on your calendar.  More detail will follow in future letters, but please hold these dates:

June 12th Wine Tasting Benefit for Land O’ Lakes Artisans

August 10th Ride with Leinie fund raiser for the Wilderness Lakes Trails

News from the Northwoods

First and foremost a word of caution.  BE CAREFUL.  If you live up here, or are planning to be here for the holidays be wary on the ice.  Unseasonably warm weather and frequent rain/slop makes the ice conditions very poor.  Everywhere you turn up here there are warnings about thin ice.  The DNR, Sheriff’s Department and the local Fire Department has much better things to do with their Holiday time that dive under the ice looking for a Darwin Award winner that did not heed the warnings.

Dr. Painless Pete Schindelholz has his ginormous reindeer and sleigh lit up every evening in Land O’ Lakes.  Drive by his office and enjoy the great display the Pete and his staff work so hard to build and maintain each year.  A great gift for the community!

During out time off we like to explore a little bit.  One day we did not wander too far and found Scrap Pile Furniture and Antiques.  This is located in the front building of Frontier Builders.  Located just south of County Highway B on US 45 this is a unique store.  They have some monster pieces of old French furniture from the late 1800’s and smaller furniture pieces.  Or you can find some smaller items, like old lures or cooking utensils to use as highlight pieces or an accent in your north woods home.  We wandered around for an hour looking at all the cool items filling four different rooms at Scrap Pile.  

Events in the North Woods

February 9th and 10th Three Bear Dog Sled Races Land O’ Lakes
This is the biggest winter event in Land O’ Lakes.  The large area between the Town Hall and the elementary school is full of teams of dogs and their mushers.  The breeds of dogs are as different as the mushers that drive them and the rigs that bring them.
Unlike races like the Iditarod that are endurance races, these races are considered sprint races.  Tracks from about 4 miles to 14 miles are prepared thru the summer and fall, and then groomed before the races.  
The 3 Bear race has the largest purse in Wisconsin, bringing teams from all over the Midwest and Canada.  Over 80 different teams registered for the races last year.  
Make it a point to be in Land O’ Lakes for races this winter!  Check the website at for more information!

February 23, 2013 Boulder Junction Frozen Tozen
Our 5th Annual Frozen Tozen Winter Fest is scheduled for Saturday, February 23, 2013. We have a full day planned of fun on Boulder Lake including an ice fishing tournament, ice golf, turkey bowling, and ice skating and other fun activities. This event is a fundraiser for the Boat Landing Improvement Fund and the Community Food Pantry.  

Land O’ Lakes Library News

January 11th at 1:00 p.m. Movie Afternoon  Showing:   Hope Springs
Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) is a devoted couple, but decades of marriage have left Kay wanting to spice things up and reconnect with her husband. When she hears of a renowned couple’s specialist (Steve Carell) in the small town of Great Hope Springs, she attempts to persuade her skeptical husband, a steadfast man of routine, to get on a plane for a week of marriage therapy. Just convincing the stubborn Arnold to go on the retreat is hard enough – the real challenge for both of them comes as they try to re-ignite the spark that caused them to fall for each other in the first place.

Free movie on our new wide screen!  Free popcorn from our movie style popcorn popper and coffee are available.  Come join us.

Basic computer classes with Tammy.  Every Thursday
Thursdays:   January 3rd through February 7th
Classes beginning at 1:00 pm

Questions about Pintrest, Craig’s list, Facebook or just getting around the internet?  Tammy will help you answer your computer questions while you learn from other peoples questions too.  You are welcome to attend as many as you can.

Land O’ Lakes Artisans /Artistree Events

January 15   INTRODUCTION TO WATERCOLORS   10:00 – 3:00
Once again, artist Wendy Powalisz will offer this fun and unique introduction to an exciting medium. There will be a discussion of materials; you will learn basic washes, brush strokes and simple techniques that will lead you on your way to success with watercolors. For beginners and even experienced painters, a painted guide will be created for future reference as you continue to explore the magic of painting with transparent watercolor.
Adults: $35.00 Children ages 8+ $10.00.  Materials will be supplied, but bring any watercolor supplies you may already have.  Bring a bag lunch.
Deadline for registration & payment: January 10

January 17 OR Saturday, January 19  EARRINGS 101 10:00 – 12:30
Artist Wendy Powalisz will teach the very basics of making earrings. Several style options will be explored. Wire wrapping with the proper tools will be taught. This class will give you the jump start you need to be your own jewelry designer.
If you have them bring an assortment of beads in different sizes.
A cookie sheet or tray lined with white or light colored towel OR a purchased beading design tray. (Something to keep your beads in place while working.)
Round nose pliers for jewelry making.
Flat nose pliers for jewelry making.
Earring hooks of a style that you like. Several pairs.
All other materials will be supplied.
Adults: $35.00  Deadline for registration/payment: January 12 for either class

January 22  WAVE BEADED BRACELET 10:00 – 12:30
Clare Okraszewski will teach this beginning class in beaded jewelry. Using beading needle and thread you will weave your beads in this easy bracelet. Once you have mastered the basic wave pattern, Clare will show you how to expand on the idea, vary the pattern and use different types of beads. Samples may be seen inside Artistree Gallery.

Size #11 Seed Beads. Any color you like. The kind sold in tubes.
40 – 50 each, of 3mm up to 5mm beads or crystals.
Contact Wendy with supply questions.
All other materials will be supplied.
Adults: $35.00 Deadline for registration/payment: January 15

January 28 COOKING CLASS: Winter Soups 11:00 – 1:00
Class size is very limited, sign up early!
Held at Ely Memorial Church Kitchen   
County Road B, downtown Land O’ Lakes

Join the dynamic duo of Sandra Hall and Lynn Richie for this class on cooking winter soups. Known to many in the area, these talented ladies can cook up a storm! They have catered countless meals for parties, churches and many community gatherings.

Sandy Hall has been involved in culinary arts for over 20 years. She graduated from the College of DuPage with two degrees; Culinary Arts and Food Service Management. After working as Production & Catering Manager for Waste Management Headquarters and being a private chef for the Band of Illinois, she came to the north woods and worked for Bent’s Camp for three years. She was fondly known as the “Soup Nazi” while working with Bent’s.

Lynn Richie has been working in the food industry since 1979. This love affair with food has had Lynn doing pretty much everything in the industry from cooking to working as a waitress. She has taken numerous classes in all types of cooking in Chicago, in Wisconsin and in California. During her extensive travels, including many trips to France, Lynn has sampled many different types of food and has developed a discriminating palette. Lynn currently is chef and owner of Enchanted Pantry, a personal chef service. She will come to your home to prepare from “scratch” fresh foods for you, your family or for your party!

Two soups will be featured: Vegetarian squash soup and Fish Chowder. A perfect use for all the winter squash that is available right now and of course, fresh from your ice fishing trips! Learn to prepare stocks from scratch along with tips and techniques that will help you to be the soup master of your kitchen!
Class will end with tastings of soup and a light salad. Bring a paper and pen for notes.
Adults: $25.00 Deadline for registration/payment: January 21
All Classes are held at the LOLA Center, 4262 County Road B, unless otherwise noted.
To register for all classes: Call Wendy at 715-547-3950.
All classes must be pre-paid prior to deadline. No refunds will be given for cancellations after class deadline.

Checks made out to: LOLA
Mailed to: P.O. Box 981, Land O’ Lakes, WI 54540
Dropped off at: LOLA Center for the Arts
If the classes, events and programs of LOLA have meant something to you, to someone you know, or to the community at large, please consider year-end giving to LOLA. Thank you for your support!

Watercolor Wednesdays Starting October 17
Every Wednesday  10:00 AM – 4:00 PM….running all winter long.
Free and no need to register.
The art room is yours for the day. Bring your works in progress, start something new or get help with something old. Meet other watercolor friends, share and create together. This is time for you to get inspired and get some work done. An artist will be on hand to facilitate and help with questions or sticky or tricky bits! This is a safe and encouraging environment to share your work and learn from each other. Come paint and create! Bring your own supplies. Watercolor paper will be made available for purchase.
Bring your bag lunch…….OR if we order by 10:00………The Forest Lake Country Store will deliver lunch to us! How sweet is that! Menus are available.

People around Land O’ Lakes

January 1 is Joe Garvin’s Birthday.
January 2 Kay Gierl celebrates another Birthday.  
January 4th is a shared birthday for Fred Madigan and Ben Acker
January 5th is a shared birthday for Carol Schemmer and Beth Vos
January 6th is another shared birthday for Jean Cuttell and Tug Juday
January 10th Cliff Kolinsky’s celebrates his birthday
January 11th is the birthday for Krissy Van Boglen
January 12th Tessa Haynes’ celebrates her birthday
January 13th  Karen Sattler enjoys Florida on her Birthday
January 14th Doreen Steele shares a birthday with Stacy Adams.  
January 17th Phyliss Gottmann celebrates her birthday
January 18th  Russ Jablonsk and Auggie Pabst celebrate their birthday’s
January 20th is Jon Helminiak’s birthday.
January 22nd Barb Renc celebrates her birthday
January 24th is Dan Balog’s birthday
January 25th Marty McCauley’s celebrates his birthday
January 26th is a shared birthday for Mark Fassbender and Chuck Gierl
January 28th is a popular shared birthday for Judy Stoney, Diane Hemauer, our daughter Lauren and our grand-daughter Jordan Reese
January 29th Megan Gwyn’s enjoys her birthday
January 31 is a 3-way birthday for Chuck Battin, Tom Ferguson, and Chris Reuter

Thanks as always for the gifts you give us all year.  All the friends, and customers, we meet thru the year make our job a joy.  The best of the Christmas season to you and yours.  

Kris and Mark Gostisha and girls

Forest Lake Country Store
6256 County Road B     
Land O’ Lakes WI 54540
715 547 8222

Store Hours
Friday and Saturday 8 AM – 8 PM
Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 8 AM – 2 PM
Closed on Tuesdays

Special Hours for the Holiday week:
We will be closed on Christmas Day
Christmas Eve, New Years Eve and New Years Day we will close at 2 PM
December 26th, 27th, 28th and 29th we will be open from 8 AM – 8 PM!

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