Mustard and Butterflies

We spent our last full day in Wisconsin goofing off. Zac found us the National Mustard Museum in Madison.

Zac found it. We had to check it out.

Fortunately, a perky blonde gal sat behind a counter filled with mustards. Her witty banter enticed us to try her wares. We tasted mustards made with fruit. We sampled mustards made with spirits. We imbibed mustards from all over the U.S., off tiny spoons and pretzel sticks. We learned a lot. For example, did you know Shakespeare mentioned mustard 4 times in 4 different plays? Not a single mention of ketchup anywhere.

Mustard powder has been used medicinally for generations.

I think the best part was the palpable enthusiasm of the gal behind the sample counter. She judges mustards as part of her job. Jonathon even got to honk the mustard horn after his sizable purchase, plus he got a song book. Yep. You’re jealous, I know.


After lunch, the 4 of us headed to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, also in Madison. Well, Zac stayed in the car. Because…who cares about plants, anyway? He listened to music in the shade.

We headed in and right away heard about the butterfly display. A hothouse of tropical trees, flowers and shrubs created the perfect garden for colorful winged insects to flit about.

“Now, when you go in, make sure the first doors shut behind you. Then open the second set of doors,” the docent told us. “We don’t want the butterflies to escape.”

No indeed. We did as she said, leaving the air-conditioned space of the gift shop and butterfly display case behind. We stood in the in-between space for a second, then pushed the entrance door open. A wall of hot air flowed over us. The space needs to be kept between 82-102 degrees F for les papillons to survive.

We wandered up and down a series of trails. We spied all kinds of exotic plants. They even had a waterfall and a koi pond.


t was magical. You long for something out of the ordinary on your vacation, something that makes you feel alive, something not unlike the fleeting beauty of a butterfly. We were blessed enough to capture several of those moments.

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