Noarthwoods News

Noarthwoods News

On the day that I posted this Northwoods news from the Forest Lake Country Store, I was able to look out my office window and see big snowflakes falling to the ground.  There was no accumulation, but still, it was a sign that winter is coming.  Getting this newsletter now is most appreciated in that I can enjoy a cup of coffee and be updated on what’s going on at my home away from home.

November News

Usually you think cold and snow.  Ice and wind.  So far late October has been pretty nice.  A walk down most roads or one of the quiet pedestrian trails will showcase some persistent trees still clinging to their color and some of the ferns still standing guard over the forest floor.   The sounds of ducks and geese are still floating thru the north woods lake country.  You can enjoy the smell of wood smoke drifting through the landscape. We have experienced an occasional snow flurry to remind us that real winter is not that far off, but mild fall days have been a treat this year.

Along with this months’ newsletter is a story written by Bob Wills.  Bob is a great customer of the store.  He summers on the Cisco Chain.  Before retirement, Bob was editor for the Milwaukee Sentinel newspaper.  This was the morning paper when Milwaukee had both a morning and evening newspaper.  Bob has travelled the world; he has won more awards for his journalistic skills than we can list.  Like so many in the north woods Bob has a passion for “up north” and people.  He has an equal passion for reading, learning and sharing!  Enjoy the story,,,   (Editor note:  Bob’s story follows at the end of this newsletter).

New in the Store

We continue to find new items for the store.  Recently we made a road trip to Milwaukee and visited with two of our vendors.  We have already added in many new cheeses including three styles of Havarti, a butterkase and more.  There are more to come on future orders from this supplier.

We have also found some nice pancake mixes; we started with your traditional buttermilk and a pumpkin pancake mix.  You will not find any eight dollar words on the ingredient lists, these mixes are made with all natural ingredients from a small Wisconsin company.  We will continue to add additional items.

Recently we added several new French wines and Italian wines into our selection.  Most have been tested in recent wine tasting events at the store.  The ones that our customers like best are the ones that make it to the shelf!

Fall and winter beers are showing up on the rack.  Leinenkugel Snowdrift Vanilla Porter and the new Cranberry Ginger Shandy are on the shelf now!

We are always looking for at least one more staff member at the Forest Lake Country Store.  Most customers have noticed that we do not have “specialists” on staff.  No one is dedicated to just dishwashing, cooking or waiting tables.  We all share all duties at the Store.  The person we are looking for will be available weekdays and weekends.  We have some hours available in winter and up to 30 or so hours in summer.  Some kitchen experience is preferred but we will train the right individual.  Stop in for an application.

News from the North Woods

Cheryl Pytlarz is helping at the Chamber of Commerce.   Cheryl offers some great perspectives and energy for the Chamber.  Here are some needs in the community for anyone with some time to volunteer:


LOL CHAMBER OFFICE HELPER, light computer work, brochure inventory, helping visitors, 4 hours per week, flexible hours.  For more information contact Sandy Wait, Chamber Executive Secretary, 715-547-3432

SANTA WEEKEND, Holiday Cheer with Santa and His Reindeer. The Chamber is seeking Santa Reindeer carolers, 1-2:30 and 2:30-4PM, or both.  The first session is at Santa’s Village while Santa is seeing the children and the second session is for the Santa and His Reindeer Caroling Parade through town into area businesses.  To sign up contact Cheryl Pytlarz of the Chamber Events Committee:   906-544-2524.

THREE BEAR SLED DOG RACE, February 6-8. Regional race this year with More dogs, More sleds, More activities!  Marketing/Advertising person to do radio, TV, social media, more (?).  Activities person to expand the number and type of activities to encourage more spectators.  Both needs begin as soon as possible and will involve up to 5 early evening meetings.  Also needed are Trail Prep helpers and Manning the Safety Stations on the course during the three day event.  For more information contact Pete Schindelholz, Race Organizing Chairman, 715-891-4844.

Our daughter Stephanie is coaching individuals on better physical fitness regimen and eating habits.  She has asked us to share this release:  “Here’s a fun fact–the average weight gain from now through New Years is 10 lbs. That’s pretty scary!!

I’m READY to get back in the game. Are YOU?

I get it, believe me. Right around the holidays I stress out about the fact that there are so many different social events, with so many tempting foods that I won’t have the willpower to avoid. Does this sound like something you struggle with??

I am starting a new 21 day accountability group, November 3rd, for individuals who want to get a grasp on eating healthier and start on a doable exercise program BEFORE the holiday season hits.

I am looking for those of you who are READY to make that change and learn how to easily make some changes in their everyday lifestyle, that will not leave them feeling deprived, but feeling satisfied and in control of their choices.

You will get:
•Customizable meal plans
•Grocery lists
•Shakeology to reduce cravings and boost energy (you choose flavor)
•30 minute workouts
•Schedule to follow
•Daily support and motivation
•and HOT bod to rock any sexy outfit on New Year’s Eve!

I am here to help YOU, whether it be with your fitness, nutrition, or both.  Change is scary but it doesn’t have to be with a great support system!  Feel free to call or text me at (618) 303-6620 or email me

Events in the North Woods

November 7th at 1:30 pm Girl Rising Film and Discussion at the Land O’ Lakes Library

The Friends of the Land O’ Lakes Library, Inc will present the film Girl Rising on Friday, November 7th at 1:30pm. This showing will be co-sponsored by Potluck for Women, a women’s group in the Land O’ Lakes area which meets quarterly to discuss and support a national or international charity that supports women and girls.

The Girl Rising movement unites girls, women, boys and men who believe every girl has the right to go to school and the right to reach her full potential. The movement uses the power of storytelling to build a global community. Their motto is: ONE GIRL WITH COURAGE IS A REVOLUTION.

In the film you’ll hear the stories of nine girls in developing countries. Each girl was paired with a writer from her country to tell her story. The film is narrated by Liam Neeson and the stories are told by well-known actresses including Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Kerry Washington, Selena Gomez, Salma Hayek, Alicia Keys etc.

Chris Ebert will facilitate the discussion following the film.  Refreshments will be served.

November 9 Annual Harvest Dinner at Ely Memorial UCC Church 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Ely Memorial UCC Church on County B in Land O Lakes will host their Annual Harvest Dinner.  Their famous Venison Stew, sauerkraut, spaetzle, cranberry sauce, rolls, beverages and assorted desserts will be served.  Dine in or take home a carry-out meal.  The price remains the same at $8.00 adults and $3.00 for children under age 10.  Come and enjoy a great fall meal!  Proceeds from the dinner will be used for outreach programs. For more information call Ely Church at 547-3890.

November 15  Boulder Junction   Great Escape Shopping Spree

Gather your girlfriends and escape to Boulder Junction for a fun day of shopping at the Community Center and downtown establishments! On Saturday, November 15, 2014 from 9am to 3pm, stop by the Community Center to meet representatives from Ahni & Zoe, Arbonne, DoTerra, Essential Bodywear, Jamberry, Lia Sophia, Mary Kay, NeriumAD, Norwex, Pampered Chef, Party Lite Candle, Silpada, Tastefully Simple, Thirty-One, Usborne Books, Wild Tree and Younique Cosmetics.

Products will be available for purchase that day or can be direct mailed to you.  Visit local shops, art galleries and have breakfast or lunch at one of our restaurants.  Spend the day in Boulder Junction, pamper yourself and get a head start on your Christmas shopping.

For more information on the Great Shopping Escape and other Boulder Junction Chamber happenings, please call 715-385-2400 or visit

November 28th “A Christmas Carol” 11:00AM  Land O’ Lakes Town Hall

The Land O’ Lakes Public Library is hosting a live theater performance.

A Christmas Carol on Friday, November 28th at 11:00 a.m.

The program will be held at the town hall.   Before Santa comes to town check out…

The Classic tale of a miser’s redemption.

Ebenezer Scrooge is a nasty, mean, snarling old geezer with no care for anything other than his money. His one and only friend visits him as a ghost, and starts him on a journey that melts his icy heart and teaches him the joys of caring for, and giving to others.

About the Traveling Lantern Company.

This teams travel in one vehicle, with all their props, costumes and set pieces. The simplicity of this design allows for quick set-up and breakdown at each venue, and allows for flexibility: performances can be done in gyms, cafeterias, multi-purpose rooms, courtyards, etc. All plays are geared for (but not limited to) children in the K-8 grade levels. Shows last about 45 minutes.  The group has been, and will always be deeply committed to providing high quality, low cost programs to our nation’s schools and libraries.

The style is interactive. They use children from the audience in our shows, encourage active audience participation and build our shows to involve the children as much as possible.  They use a creative approach to traditional stories; dispensing with outdated social and demographic stereotypes, while holding true to the author’s original intent. They do not alter classic stories except to make them performable, or sometimes to make them easier for modern-day children to understand.  Their goal is to perform great stories that present important ethical ideas to children on a level that they can absorb, relate to, and then consider.

Boulder Junction White Deer Triathlon 2015: Plans are in full swing for this paddle, run and biking triathlon on May 16, 2015. Our website up and running. Registration opened October 1 and we already have nearly 30 registrations!

Land O’ Lakes Artisans (LOLA) and Artistree Events

Saturday, November 1 & Saturday, November 8 Jewelry Class: 

Garter-Stitch Beaded Bracelet   2 Part Class    10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Adults & Teens $30.00  Held @ LOLA Center for the Arts  Sandra Hardy Brown Memorial Classroom

Knitting is not just for yarn anymore!  Artist Cindy Pesek of Watersmeet, MI has combined her love of beading and knitting for this interesting jewelry making class.  Cindy has been a knitter since the age of 8 and has been making jewelry for 10 years now.   By adding beads while knitting, a one of a kind bracelet will be created.  These bracelets will make wonderful quick-to-knit gifts, just in time for the holidays.  Students will complete their bracelet in the second class.  Students must know basic cast-on knitting for this class.  All materials supplied.  Deadline for registration and payment is:  October 26

November 6  Take an ARTventureBirds in Art exhibit

Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum Wausau, WI  7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Travel by carpool to Wausau.  Leave promptly @ 7:30 a.m. from the West Parking Lot of St. Albert’s Catholic Church in downtown Land O’ Lakes.

Three hours are planned for touring the exhibit, followed by an arranged dutch-treat lunch and boutique shopping.   Return to Land O’ Lakes by approximately 6:00 p.m.

Recognized around the world as the best in contemporary artistic interpretation of birds and related subject matter, the Birds in Art exhibit sets the standard for avian art.

To REGISTER contact Karen Lenhart at 906-358-4473.  Deadline to register (for car-pooling and lunch arrangement) is November 1.

November 9 Zen Doodle 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Adults & Teens  $25.00  Held @ LOLA Center for the Arts  Sandra Hardy Brown Memorial Classroom

Do you doodle?  Zen Doodling (inspired by the Zentangle Method) is a fun and relaxing way of making art intuitively that creates a relaxed sense of well-being.  Meet artist Catherine Calvetti of Eagle River who will be teaching this class, which is perfect for those who may be afraid to draw or great for those who want to enhance their drawing skills.  Creative compositions will be made on a book mark and six cards that will become one of a kind gifts.  All materials supplied.  Deadline for registration and payment is:  November 2

November 11  Puffy Funky Fish Home-Schooled Kids Art Class  12:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Children Ages 5 – 16  $10.00 each

Held @ LOLA Center for the Arts Sandra Hardy Brown Memorial Classroom

Artist Wendy Powalisz will lead a series of classes for home-schooled children.

Watercolor techniques and Zen Doodling drawing techniques will be used to create this fanciful fish.  All materials supplied.  Deadline for registration and payment is:  November 4

November 15 Cooking Class:  Explore Korean Cuisine  10:00 – Noon

$35.00  Held @ LOLA Center for the Arts  Sandra Hardy Brown Memorial Classroom

Personal Chef Lynn Richie is back and we will take a look at Korean cooking.  Dumplings, Korean fried rice and marinated Korean style flank steak will be prepared.  Lynn will also discuss the various vegetables used in Korean cooking and Korea’s most important side dish – Kimchi, will be sampled.  Tastings will be offered. Deadline for registration and payment is:  November 8

November 18 Steam-Punk Bugs Home-Schooled Kids Art Class  12:30 – 2:30 PM

Children Ages 5 – 16  $10.00 each

Held @ LOLA Center for the Arts  Sandra Hardy Brown Memorial Classroom

Play in the clay with artist Wendy Powalisz.  Using recycled materials and clay, students will create bugs with attitude!  All materials supplied.  Deadline for registration and payment is:  November 11

November 20  Cooking Class:  Winter Soups with Chef Tom Baertschy  10:00 AM – Noon

$35.00  Held @ LOLA Center for the Arts  Sandra Hardy Brown Memorial Classroom

It’s soup season!  Chef and owner of The Bear Trap Restaurant in Land O’ Lakes, Tom Baertschy will teach soup essentials.  Learning the knife skills to slice & dice quickly, how to get the most flavor out soup vegetables and getting a correct acidic balance in your creations….you will be ready to serve up warm and satisfying family meals for the coming cold!  Tastings will be offered.  Deadline for registration and payment is:  November 13


November 29  Holiday Open House & Book Signing 10AM – 5:00PM

Join LOLA as we celebrate the start of the Holiday Season.  In conjunction with Artistree Gallery’s Holiday Open House & Art Bazaar, LOLA will be on hand to greet you and offer some Holiday Cheer!

Kids can come in for some fun Reindeer face-paint from 11:00 – 2:00 p.m.

From 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. meet local children’s book author, Philip Wolbrink of Watersmeet, MI.  Phil has written A Raven Stole Christmas, inspired by the playful ravens of the north woods. 
Watercolor Wednesdays is on-going through March!

Stop in on any Wednesday, 10:00 – 4:00 to paint with other water-media artists.  A free time to paint, create, share and learn from others.

Event Registration.  Unless noted, please call LOLA to register:  715-547-3950

Food Pantry News

The Headwaters Food Pantry continues to support the under privileged in the Phelps, Conover and Land O’ Lakes communities.  As always they rely on donations for a big part of their services.  Cash donations or donations of products.  This month they have the following wish list of things that they need:  Laundry soap, toilet tissue, toothpaste and brushes.

Donations can be dropped off at the Headwaters Food Pantry or we are happy to accept your donations at the Forest Lake Country Store.

People around Land O’ Lakes

November 1 is a shared birthday for Barb Trenary and Diana Melhop
November 2 is Jim Hartmann’s birthday
November 4 Peggy Saad, Walt Bates, Scot Beattie and Tom Rapp all celebrate birthdays
November 5th Rick Brown has his birthday
November  6th is the birthday for Kelly Pyne and Paul Lucas
November 7th is a shared birthday for Don Dziedzina and Tom Gage
November 10 is Joe LoMastro and Mike Stoney share their Birthday
November 11 is Heidi Reuter’s birthday
November 12th Laurayne Conway and Jim Appleton celebrate their Bday’s
November 13th is Jack Koller’s birthday
November 15th is Jan Smet’s birthday
November 16th Carol McCauley celebrates
November 17th is a shared birthday for Evelyn Gall and Wayne Schemmer
November 25th is Nancy Zorn Micke’s birthday
November 29th is Karen Ghinazzi’s birthday
November 30th Sam Otterpohl, Rob Olk and John Ivan share their birthday

Thanksgiving is in November.  We are truly thankful for all of the customers that share their families and friends with us.  Thank you for the time that you spend with us as we build our little business venture.  The best of the holiday season to you and yours.  We hope that God blesses you and yours as much as you have blessed us.

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, Wednesday and Thursday 8 AM – 2 PM
Closed on Monday and Tuesday

We will have our winter seasonal closure starting on December 1 and will reopen on December 26th.  Winter cleaning, refinishing the floors and other annual maintenance is high on the to-do list!  We will also make time to be in Antigo and Milwaukee to spend time with our families.


A Rainbow of Love By Robert H. Wills

Thoughts of love began at–of all places–the dental office of Painless Pete.

For those not familiar with the rustic little town of Land O Lakes, Wisconsin, Pete is the tooth fairy. Located in the deep woods, of course.

I was visiting his log edifice for the first time. The conversation was get acquainted chatter.

“I believe you are a friend of Dan Benson” I said “He has mentioned you several times in conversation”.

“Yes. My wife and I went last week with Dan and Barb to the Porky Mountain Music Festival. We had a great time blues and booze”.

The mention of Barb stirred my memory.

“I love Barbara,” I said.

Visibly disturbed the imperturbable Painless Pete remarked, “err, uh, Dan is married: Barb is his wife you know,” the dentist replied, looking me square in the face.

Amused, I replied, “I’m a friend of theirs also.”

“And I’m sure Dan understands.”

They summoned me to the dental chair where I was to be “cleaned”. Dr. Schindelholz returned to his office.

Several members of his staff departing with him.

Leaving the conundrum unanswered.

The mystery had its beginning at the Forest Lake Country Store.

Mark and Kris Gostisha, the proprietors, held the key to the Pandora’s Box that contained the answer.

First we have to analyze the meaning of the word “love”.  It’s thrown around carelessly these days even by wordsmith like myself, who should be super sensitive.

As far back as my college days Karl Menninger a famed American psychiatrist had written a book Love Against Hate that discussed the similarities between the emotions that erupt in both loving and hating.

In the past I experienced a double entrende in an exchange between US Senator Herb Kohl, a family friend, and myself.

We both used the word “love” in describing our affection for Cherie.

Unwittingly the present proprietors of the Country Store solved the mystery.

The former owners, Bret & Frisk Miller returned at the invitation from the Gostishas for an evening of musical entertainment.

In their repertoire was “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Cherie and I had long been Bret & Frisk fans. We had concluded that Frisks singing of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” out shown movie star Judy Garland.

Over the Rainbow is now a theme song for the movie The Wizard of Oz. 

On a late summer evening a carload of neighbors included me at the special event.

We gathered at a table at the rear of the store where Bret & Frisk were returning to a stage they had made famous.

Luck of the draw, across from me were seated Dan and Barb Benson. 

Dan had long been the builder and guardian on our Cisco Chain property. When we had a home expansion dream or a downspout leak we always turned to Dan.

It was a friendly, talkative, gossipy shared evening with those seated nearby. Even with an empty chair by my side.

Was Cherie there? 

While some of the people on the rim of the audience thoughtlessly ignored some of the music, Bret & Frisk soldiered on. 

Bret strummed a few cords and Frisk began singing:

“Somewhere over the rainbow way up high…” the audience mellowed…

Maybe it was my glass of red wine.

Or maybe it was the impact of that empty chair at my side.

Or was it that I was alone?

A tear, and then more…  Began flowing from my eyes.

I attempted to muffle a sob or two. 

No one seemed to notice.

“…Someday I’ll wish upon a star

And wake up where the clouds are far

Behind me…”

Her voice rose over the clatter of the evening with the clarity that only Frisk could achieve. 

It characterized the beauty of her singing.

My thoughts were of bluebirds, rainbows, Kansas, Dorothy and Toto.

And Cherie.

Frisk was singing:

                “…Where troubles melt like lemon drops

                Away above the chimney tops…”

That’s where you could find me.

Barb glanced over and without speaking made her way around the table, leaned over and put her arm around my shoulders. I don’t remember whether she spoke.

She didn’t need to.

Soon it was reality again and I thanked her for a moment of understanding.

And sharing.

In my book, she gave a bit of her heart. And I’ll never forget.


Edited by Shelly Sparks
September 19, 2014

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