French Creek Valley

in West Central Wisconsin

Last Revised: June 1, 2023

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French Creek Valley was formed some millions of years ago by the French Creek which takes its water and its erosion energy from a watershed of only 12 square miles and is fed intermittently from two no-name streams that come down from the hills through our land on either side of it.
The creek constantly pokes its nose under the blacktop road that it shares with the shallow valley floor. In fact it crosses the road seven times within two short miles. There are only a few homes in the whole valley because this little creek can wreak havoc with any structure located close to the valley floor. Our house is 'way up the hill, so we like it that way.

Here are some things we do here that don't fit into any other category:

Is "Living OFF the Land" for you? what about old age?
My thoughts on dealing with hard work in the "Golden Years".
Here's my 8 minute youtube video on that important subject:
Is "Living Off The Land" Really for you?

We had this great deck built several years ago, but, since the railings have curved, vinlyl covered tops, we couldn't mount typical garden store brackets to them. Here's how we solved the problem:
How to fit a plant hanger or Bird Feeder to a curved-top deck railing

Fruit Fly Elimination! See how we get rid of those pesky Fruit Flies:
Click here for Fruit Fly Elimination

A couple of years ago we decided to Clean Up A Neglected Area behind the building that I call the "TTT" shed.
"TTT" stands for "Tractors, Tracksters and Trip Hammers, because that what is mostly filling it up at present.
We had dozens of trees growing into hundreds of wire mesh cages and lots of other stuff to dig out, using manual labor, chain saws, the backhoe and its new "thumb".
Click Here to see how we cleaned it up

We recently did a Controlled Burn of a part of our tillable farmland.
Click Here for a short essay of that event

Building Collapse
During December of 2010 we had a record single snowfall of close to two feet. It was followed shortly by another several inches of snow and then about an inch of ice. The weight was too much for the 40 foot by 60 foot building in which we store most of our power equipment.
Click Here to see what happened and what we did about it

A Short Tour of Our South 40
We have 60 acres of land on the north side of our road and 40 acres on the south side. If you take this link, you can use my first attempt at an image map to see a few things that are of interest to us on that piece of land.
Our South 40
(when you see the cursor turn into a hand, click on it to see that area in more detail)

We built a 70 X 100 square foot pond on this 40 back in 1975.
Here are a couple of pictures of it:
Pond in 1975
The beginnings of our pond it 1975.
Note the lack of foilage. You can see all the way across French Creek Valley!

Our pond in the Woods
Here's the completed pond, about 25 years later, circa 2000.
It's now surrounded by trees and totally hidden from the road at the floor of French Creek Valley!

Whoops! Here it is, the early summer of 2022 and we must have had some big winds over the winter because several trees in the pond area have blown down.
We have cleaned up most of the damage, but two trees have fallen into the pond.
Here's a short video that shows what we have to deal with:
Trees in the Pond
We will wait for the ground around the pond to firm up before bringing in a tractor to haul them out. Then, of course, we will cut them up for firewood for the neighbors.

Beaver Problems in 2011
Beavers have been killing trees on our land for a number of years since about 1980. See what we are doing about this infestation.
Beaver Pond and Dead Trees, 2011

Creek Volcanoes: In the year 2002, the French Creek froze up slowly and in a special way down by the road in front of our house. There was a little waterfall about 50 feet north of the bridge and as the water bubbles and froths at the low end of this one-foot high drop, it keeps the ice from covering the creek fully. That year, the ice moved in from the sides leaving an ever-narrowing gap through which one could see the water. The water that was still running under the ice was still much warmer than the air since it comes from springs upstream as much as a quarter mile away. When the temperature went sub-zero, one could see steam (really water vapor) coming up from the narrow gap.
As this water vapor cooled, it deposited wispy fronds of ice in a volcano-like area around each of several vents. This action formed the "Creek Volcanoes" that you can see in the three pictures below. We have never seen this phenomenon before or since.

Creek Volcanoes