As Fall nears an end and Winter is just around the corner in Wisconsin, it’s difficult to find areas that aren’t being hunted, late fall hiking in Wisconsin can seem to be chancy. I try my best to not make any moves that would make someone think I was dinner, but you just never know. I try to stay out of hunting areas and just travel places like Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha. We can always down the state color of blaze orange but that doesn’t make me feel any safer.
Retzer Nature Center
If you have not been to Retzer Nature Center, it is a fun visit and no entrance fee. The planetarium does have a $5.00 entrance fee according to the website. I have never visited that part. The trails are nice although a couple of hours and you would have walked all of them. I brought my granddaughter a couple of years ago and she had a good time with the children’s area inside.
I had walked most of the the trails today and was heading back to my vehicle when a few of the clouds parted and this great light came down and illuminated the milkweed directly in front of me. The wind was really blowing and I had a difficult time trying to focus with all the bobbing of the plants and blowing silk.
As usual curiosity got the best of me and I had to investigate some history and uses of the common Milkweed plant. First I new that the monarch butterflies liked it, but I failed to understand that it is the only plant they lay their eggs on and the caterpillars only eat milkweed.
This is one reason why the monarch population is declining. The loss of the milkweed plant with modern farming herbicides.
Milkweed sap has been used to cure warts and dysentery as well as a cough suppressant and to treat typhus fever and asthma. The fibers have been used to make rope, twin, candle wicks, stuff pillow, mattress, and life jackets in World War 2.