Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy New Year from Badger State of Mind!

I hope 2014 treated you well and you had lots of great Wisconsin adventures! My family and I certainly did and we look forward to more in 2015. 

2015 should be a great year for Badger State of Mind with the plan to publish Badger State of Mind presents: Waukesha County and continue to work on other BSOM titles. 

Please visit the website, and follow along on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates. 

Stay healthy and be happy!

Kelly Maddern

Friday, August 8, 2014

Pewit's Nest in Baraboo

Badger State of Mind has always been about promoting parts of Wisconsin that are off the beaten path or part of small business. My family and I just visited Pewit's Nest State Natural Area in Baraboo this past weekend. When I first learned of the place through a friend, I would have considered it off the beaten path, but literally three days later, I started seeing stories about it pop up on Wisconsin Trails and in the Sunday paper. So, it's not as off the beaten path as it once was... but I absolutely think it's worth your time to visit. 

Pewit's Nest State Natural Area is a place that will definitely remind you of the Dells with the carved out sandstone along Skillet Creek. Just off of Hwy W, west of Hwy 12 in Baraboo, there is a small parking lot that fits maybe 20 cars at most. (that might be an overestimation) There is no parking allowed along the highway, so you face a fine if you can't fit in the lot. 

There is a path leading you to the creek. As you walk along the path, you will come to a fork. To the left, you will take the path up a hill and up above and along the creek. To the right, you will take a shorter, flatter path to the end of the falls and right to the swimming area. After my experience, I would highly recommend taking the path to the left and following it all the way to the end where you will go downhill to the creek. From here, you can enter the creek and walk down through several small falls. My 6 & 7 year old kids joined us and thoroughly enjoyed the adventure. Once we got towards the end, the last two falls were a little too tall and the water too deep for them. But kids with better swimming ability and an adult to help them down the falls could go through all of the falls to the end. When we got as far as we could go with the littles, we walked back and took the trail back to the fork. We then brought the kids to the end of the falls where the swimming area was and let them enjoy more water.

My recommendation for your trip as far as attire and things to bring would be swimsuit and water shoes, don't bring anything extra that you don't want to get wet. Bring a waterproof camera, or use a waterproof case (as I did) for your DSLR. Between the trails and the rocks in the water, you can use the traction of the water shoes. I don't think we would have done as well with bare feet or flip flops. Although the cliffs along the river are quite high, as long as you watch your kids and keep them from the edge, it is a fairly safe walk. 

Enjoy your trip! Feel free to comment here with your experience at Pewit's Nest! It's so gorgeous and truly worth the visit. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Photos from Wautoma...

Robert Bergen from Wautoma emailed these photos to me so I can share with all of you! Included are a male Baltimore Oriole, a female Baltimore Oriole and a White-Crowned Sparrow. Thank you Robert! Beautiful pictures!

If you have any images you want to share, please email me at

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Seasonal Visitors...

It's one of my favorite times of the year in Wisconsin... when the colorful birds make their way through the area. Indigo Buntings, Baltimore Orioles, Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks...

But what is the best way to make sure they come to your yard?

Indigo Buntings love nyjer seeds and sunflower chips. They will often be found eating alongside finches and other birds that don't dominate the space. Today, I saw two buntings below my bird food cakes, eating the seeds from the ground.

Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks are similar to cardinals. They like a large perch and love safflower seeds. They have a thick, powerful beak which helps them to peck at cylinder feeders. Their diet consists of insects, fruits and seeds.

The Baltimore Oriole, probably my favorite of the bunch, has a sweet tooth. I have attracted them by using oranges cut in half, nectar like you would use with a hummingbird and/or a jar of grape jelly. I think the ones that have visited my yard have preferred the grape jelly... as you can see in these pics.

I'd love to see your pictures of birds from your yard. Feel free to send them to and I'll display them on Facebook or this blog!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Turkey vultures are amazing birds!

I've learned a lot about turkey vultures over the last several years, and they are now one of my favorite birds. They may have a face that only a mother would love, but they are very interesting.

Many people get creeped out when they see a vulture, as it reminds them of death, disease and doom. Fact is that turkey vultures (unlike black vultures) almost never kill their food. It is true that they may sense death and disease with their very sensitive sense of smell... because it is dead animals that they seek. But, what is really amazing about these birds is that they can eat a diseased animal and essentially dispose of the disease. They don't contract it themselves. But watch out... they use "defensive vomiting" if they see you as a predator. Defensive vomiting is when they throw up the gross, smelly meat they had eaten to scare you off.

It is pretty easy to spot a vulture in the sky. Their wings extend upward into the shape of a "V" when they soar on thermals. They are often in groups of 3 or 4, soaring around and around up in the sky. You will often see them in areas where the landscape changes because these areas are where they find the updrafts to ride on. Roadsides, along cliffs and along quarries are common places to find them.

Turkey vultures do not create nests, rather, they will situate an area in rocks along cliffs, in caves or other high locations.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Facebook Chat with me!

New London Sturgeon Spawning

Each Spring, sturgeon fish swim upstream to spawn. The "event" draws an audience from miles around because of their viewable display along the river banks. Sturgeon are very large and prehistoric-looking fish, sometimes measuring up to 6 feet long. 

The Wolf River, along highway X in New London, Wisconsin, is one of the spawning locations that draws thousands of visitors each year. Spawning occurs after the river water reaches 53 degrees. Depending on the weather each year, the timing on when the spawning occurs can be anytime between March and May. This year, due to the late winter/cold spring, it looks like we won't see spawning until well into May. When spawning begins, it only lasts for a couple of days. If you want to see it, you will need to be willing to head to New London soon after reports of spawning activity. I subscribed to the email updates a few years ago, so I receive notices each year. You can also call their hotline to get up-to-date information. (920) 303-5444

If you've never experienced a sturgeon spawning in Wisconsin, I would recommend going at least once and bring the kids! It's a very unique experience, and you don't get an idea of how unique and large sturgeon are until you see them in person.  

For more information about sturgeon spawning in Wisconsin, visit these websites: 

If you are interested in serving as a sturgeon guard, you can find more information here:


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Tree Swallows came back!

Last year I put up a cute birdhouse that I found at Target. I hung it out mostly for decoration in the yard, but I thought it would be great if a bird family actually used it as a home. I was excited when it was inhabited by a pair of tree swallows. I have tons of sparrows, juncos, finches and cardinals in the area, but this was the first time I saw tree swallows close by.

This year, I hoped the tree swallows would come back. This past Saturday morning I woke up and looked out and there they were! BUT, after watching them for a while I noticed that they were being surrounded by finches. We had a turf war going on. I saw a couple finches fly in and out of the house as the tree swallows perched on top. The swallows flew away at one point and I didn't see them the rest of the day. I thought they had been defeated and I was really bummed out.

Fortunately, I saw them back Monday morning and they are going in and out of the house with no finches surrounding them. I think they've officially moved back in and threw the finches things out on the lawn. :) While I love finches, I really wanted the tree swallows to stay around too.

I really do love migration and seeing old friends come back to the same place year after year. It amazes me how they can fly hundreds, if not thousands, of miles and find their way back to the same place.

I'd love to hear about the birds you have visiting your backyard. Do you have any special birdhouses or feeders to attract certain types of birds? Where do you live?

tree swallow

Monday, April 7, 2014

Welcome back to the blog!

Greetings friends! I had abandoned the blog for a while, but I wanted to get it going again. I like having the ability to tell some stories between writing the books.

Right now is Spring and migration time! One of my favorite times of the year and my cameras get a workout. Here are some pictures I recently took while working on Badger State of Mind presents: Waukesha County.

Sandhill Crane

Golden Crowned Kinglet


Killdeer with worm

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Events coming up... Think Christmas gifts!

I will be doing a book sale/signing at a Craft Expo in Waupun, WI this coming Saturday, November 4th from 8am to 4pm at United Methodist Church. 199 E. Jefferson Street

On November 16th, I will be doing a book sale/signing at Magee Elementary School in Genesee Depot, WI during their Community Fair from 9am to 2pm.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fun, Fresh Updates!

Hello BSOM friends!

It's been a while since I've posted to this site... I've been busy! The photo-a-day project has continued... I just haven't been good at getting them all updated here on the site. I will do that... hopefully soon.

Behind the scenes, there is a new website in construction to go along with the branding of Badger State of Mind, LLC. I would love to get that rolled out by early August at the latest. So keep an eye out!

In other exciting news... I've begun to work on Volume 2!! The next book will focus on Waukesha County, but it will have the same premise of Volume 1 – off the beaten path and small businesses. I will post updates on my progress and let you know when you can get your hands on it.

In addition to all of that, I am also hoping to add some fun items like stickers, shirts, and more to a Badger State of Mind store.

Along with the new book is a new Facebook page dedicated solely to it: Stop by and LIKE it!

And don't forget to like the main Badger State of Mind Facebook page, currently with 2100 followers:

Most importantly... thank you for your continued support! Feel free to contact me at


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Day 105, Photo-a-Day

Did you know that a woodchuck and a groundhog are the exact same thing? 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Day 104, Photo-a-Day

Spent some time watching this woodchuck. The pose on the left was when I first got there, like he was waving "hi"... and the pose on the left was about 40 minutes later, just as I was about to leave. I couldn't help myself... I had to add captions. :)