Our family spent nearly every summer weekend up at the Emerson Cottage on Lake Wisconsin in Dekorra township on Oak Knoll Road, northwest of Poynette. At the end of the weekend when it was time to go back to DeForest, we had accumulated a brown grocery bag of garbage that had to be disposed of. If Dekorra had a town dump I never knew about it because dad always threw our bag of garbage in a wooded ravine that ran under County V about a half mile from Hooker’s Resort. We always took empty cans and bottles back to DeForest with us to be recycled and dad said that our garbage made a fine meal for the raccoons, skunks and other creatures in the woods where that ravine ran.

When I was a kid I would sometimes go for hikes around the area. I preferred to do this with a friend but sometimes I would hike alone. I usually took along my Daisy BB gun just in case I saw a bird that I would try to shoot, but usually missed. Occasionally we would come upon a roadside dump. One day I was exploring with two other friends and we came across an interesting dump far from any road. We figured someone had driven a pickup filled with junk back to this remote spot and left it all there. There were all kinds of interesting things: used and broken furniture; an old tub washing machine with a wringer; some old clothes; used lumber; and way off at the end of the dump was a discarded artificial leg.

I worked my way over to the leg and picked it up when I discovered there was a nest of yellow jacket wasps in it. I threw the leg as far as I could as I yelled YELLOW JACKETS!! and took off as fast as I could. We were lucky to out run the wasps. Needless to say we didn’t go back to revisit that dump.

All the land around Oak Knoll Road was originally part of the Radewan Family Farm. They owned a lot of land, but it wasn’t good land for farming. The land on the waterfront they parceled into lots and it was perfect for folks from town to buy a lot and put up a cottage on the lake or river. Much of the land had not been cleared of trees for farming and there was a large chuck of the farm in marsh land. Even the land that was tillable was mostly sand and crops did not do well.

The Radewans did have a pretty good sized herd of dairy cows. Every morning they would bring the cows out of the barn and lead them to various pastures and then in the late afternoon they would be brought back to the farm for milking and put down for the night in the barn.

The land on the other side of Oak Knoll Rd. across from our cottage was the marsh. If you walked about a block or two up the road there was a corn field nearly every year. I swore the sand burrs grew better than the corn in that field. Right in the middle of the corn field was a desert that was a little larger than a football field.

It was all sand with a few bushes and there were some bleached bones scattered about. It was really cool — a perfect place for playing cowboys and Indians. I don’t know why this big sandbox was in the middle of a corn field. I do know that there were sandy spots like this scattered about the area but they were all much smaller. Of course the Wisconsin River had all kinds of sand bars.

Now you know all about the dumps and deserts in Dekorra.

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