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NO. 43 • Fall 2015














The Goods Clara Bergan STEAM SISTERS




Pilot Odyssey CR-V


Fit Civic


Crosstour Insight CR-Z

Fuel Efficient. Environmentally Sensible. You’ll Love More Miles Per Dollar! Check us out! Phone: 877-751-0179

Downtown La Crosse, WI at 4th and Cameron Streets

FALL 2015 contents what we’re loving right now


Driftless day trips: cassville /potosi


STEAM sisters: clara bergan


infographic: gourds!


More than a hobby


the goods: paula brown


Lüsa organics: rachel wolf


The granary woodshops: tim blanski


lori biwer-stewart


yellow river dairy + feast


sum of your biz: jessica & derek balsley


Probit: marvin wicks




...and more! ON THE COVER:


It takes a lot of work, sweat – sometimes tears – and usually tools to make your passion your profession. It’s nice when those rough materials start off pretty too! Tools & Things photo by Aryn Henning Nichols. \ Fall 2015



Center Stage 2015 16

Friday, September 18 Neil Berg’s 100 Years of Broadway tickets on sale Sept. 1

Friday, OctOber 2 Danilo Pérez: Panama 500 tickets on sale Sept. 10

Saturday, OctOber 24 Lucky Plush Productions: The Queue tickets on sale Oct. 1

Friday, NOvember 6 5 Browns tickets on sale Oct. 1

tHurSday, NOvember 12 Griffin Theatre Letters Home tickets on sale Oct. 22

Get your tickets and join us! • (563) 387-1357 Preview all the artists on Youtube. Search for Center Stage Series 15–16.

A heartfelt ovation to all of our performance and media sponsors for investing in the arts for our community! 2015–16 Center Stage Sponsors

Media Supporters

The Decorah Newspapers

Luther College Diversity Council


Decorah Newspapers

From the Editor


s we were putting this Inspire(d) together, I kept saying to myself, “Man, this is going to be a good issue!” And, “Eeee! I’m so inspired!” So: It’s working! Hopefully it works on you too. This magazine is filled with people who are out living their dreams, making their passion their profession. “Yep, it’s more than a hobby,” is a phrase to which we can relate. But it’s true, friends! You really can make a living from something that is also fun – like making magazines! We’re happy to report we’ve been making magazines for eight years (on October 4, 2007, the first-ever Inspire(d) Magazine rolled off the press) and it’s afforded us a living that we – absolutely, wildly, happily – love. Thank you for making it possible, you guys!!! Eat chocolate cake with us to celebrate – my recipe is on and it. is. great. (If I do say so myself...) Cake-in-hand, it’s time to get inspired. Our “More Than a Hobby” section starts on page 35 with Paula Brown, the creative behind Decorah-based The Goods, where she makes beautiful jewelry, purses, and knitted wear. Then flip the page to check out Rachel Wolf, founder of LüSa Organics, an amazing handmade body care product company out of Viroqua, Wisconsin. Find out that sometimes – especially in Spring Grove-based woodworker Tim Blanski’s case – hoarding a bunch of lovely old wood isn’t a problem, but a wonderful opportunity to make something new (and a living), and how Osage, Iowa’s Lori Biwer-Stewart’s overcomes occasional feelings of doubt and depression to create beauty in this world and stay true to self. Finally, read about how Yellow River Dairy has the whole Lund family helping out on the farm to make things work (and make goat cheese too). These makers and artists and farmers flow right into our Sum of Your Business: Jessica and Derek Balsley of The Art of Education. The wife-husband-duo saw a need for “ridiculously relevant professional development to art educators” – a niche market, for sure – and went ahead and created it. Their business is growing fast, and the two share great tips on keeping life and work in balance. And, okay, sometimes “hobbies” can’t become “professions”…but they can still mean a whole lot to the person who enjoys them. Decorah-native Clara Bergan shares the history of steam engineering in her family and what it takes to be a woman in a field (pun) that’s often filled with men. What else? Oh my Gourd, I almost forgot our Science, You’re Super infographic, featuring…you got it: Gourds! (It’s gourd-geous!) For our paper project we show you how to make fall wreathes with a cardboard cereal box, a paper grocery bag, and a few other random art supplies. And I just love our probituary – Harmony, Minnesota-based Marvin Wicks (interviewed by my former Postville Middle School English teacher, Becky Olafsen). Last (but never least), we’ve started a new feature called “Driftless Day Trips.” We know you are all busy and often can’t get away for a night or whole weekend, so the idea of a quick trip was born. Check out our spontaneous cruise to the Cassville Ferry and Potosi Brewery (Roxie and I are swinging near Lock & Dam 10 in Guttenberg in the photo above) – it would be a lovely fall excursion! But, really, no matter where you go this fall – out on the Northeast Iowa Studio Tour, across the region checking out new breweries (there are at least three!), or to Hesper-Mabel for Steam Engine Days – make sure you take time to appreciate this amazing place we’ve got. There are few things more beautiful than the Driftless in the fall! Enjoy! Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols

Inspire magazine

Who are we? Co-founders: Aryn Henning Nichols / editor & designer Benji Nichols / writer & advertising sales (& husband, support team, dinner-maker)

We couldn’t do it without: Kristine Jepsen / contributor Sara Friedl-Putnam / contributor Kelli Boylen/ contributor Jessica Rilling / photo contributor

Inspire(d) Magazine is published quarterly by Inspire(d) Media, LLC, 412 Oak Street, Decorah, Iowa, 52101. This issue is dated Fall 2015, issue 43, volume 8, Copyright 2015 by Inspire(d) Magazine.

support inspire(d) Although Inspire(d) is free on the newsstands, you can have it sent to your door for only $25/year. Email for a membership or visit for more info.

Write inspire(d) Want to make a comment about something you read in the magazine? Email Interested in advertising? Contact Benji at or call 563-379-6315.

Visit our website: “Like” Inspire(d) Media on Facebook! 05


THE THRIVENT STORY Thrivent is a membership organization of Christians …

We help members be wise with money …

And live generously.

The result is stronger members, families and communities.

Let’s start a new conversation about money.

Thrivent Financial was named one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” by Ethisphere Institute 2012–2015.

Decorah Area Team Jeff Olinger, FIC Karen Trewin, FIC 218 E Water St., Suite 1 Decorah, IA 52101 Office: 563-382-1809 Toll-free: 844-349-7388

Appleton, Wisconsin • Minneapolis, Minnesota • • 800-847-4836

28304 N8-14

What We’re


right now


La Crosse SOUP Like La Crosse SOUP on Facebook for info & fun, upbeat graphics too!

The first SOUP launched in May of 2015 and raised $500. The project funded that night – a bicycle fix-it station where people can share tools to repair their bicycles – has already been built at Riverside Park with the help of SOUP. Cool! Attendance has more than tripled since that first night – their July fundraising efforts brought in over $1600! It’s a BYOB affair – bring your own…bowl. Also chair, if you’d like one for sitting. Doors open at 6 pm – food is served, pitches pitched, discussion and voting done, and the prize awarded all by 7:30! So no need to stress about SOUP taking up your whole evening. That said, guests are encouraged to stay and hangout afterward. Are you a La Crosse community member who wants to pitch?? Fill out an application through this link: The SOUP concept comes from “Sunday Soup” created by InCUBATE in Chicago in 2007. They encourage other communities to take the methods and adapt them for their own communities. There have been SOUPs all over the world! Who’s next? Go, SOUP, go! For a great guide on how to start your own SOUP, visit Fall La Crosse SOUP dates are: September 30, October 28, and November 25. For additional details (frigid winter location, TBD), check out (“Lovings” continued on next page) PHOTOS BY BRITTANY TODD

We are so impressed by the awesomeness happening in La Crosse right now. We recently “Loved” Beer By Bike Brigade (& they sent a sweet thank you note in the actual mail! <3). And then we found out about La Crosse SOUP! We’d go so far as to call it soup-er cool (groan). It’s a monthly micro-granting event – community members come together to eat soup, celebrate the best of La Crosse, and provide funding to folks planning creative projects that will make La Crosse an even more fun and lovely place to be. Here’s how it works: Attendees pay $5 for a bowl of soup, homemade bread, dessert, and a vote. (You can you give more than $5 but you still only get one vote.) Prior to SOUP night, people submit their community-building ideas ( From the submissions, SOUP organizers choose four groups to pitch (they’ll notify you a week prior to SOUP Night if you have been selected). At the event, each presenter shares their idea and answers four questions from the audience. Presentations lasts four minutes with a little extra time for questions. After the presentations, SOUP attendees share a meal and discuss the projects, and then vote for the one they think will benefit La Crosse the most. The winner gets the money raised through the event that very night, and should plan to come back to a future SOUP dinner to report their project’s progress.

Dance & Theatre







NOV 21: 1:30 PM & 7:30 PM

$12. ADULTS | $5. CHILDREN UNDER 12 | FREE WITH LUTHER ID Full 2015-16 season details at \ Fall 2015


Slow Hustle – Peter Awad & Family Get started today! 2 weeks of unlimited classes for $25

small appliances . pots & pans . kitchen tools . glassware . dishes . accessories . gift registry . & more!

106 E. Water St Decorah, Iowa • 563-382-3544


563.382.5511 •

Join us for Sunday Brunch in the Woods! Wood-fired pizza & International Cuisine!


2149 Twin Springs Rd, Decorah, Iowa • 563.382.4723 4-9 pm Wed – Fri | 11-9 pm Sat | 10-8 pm Sun 08

Fall 2015 /


Some of you may recognize Decorah entrepreneur Peter Awad from our Spring 2015 profile – or from around Decorah where he (usually) lives and works with his wife Melissa and four (!) beautiful kids. Here at Inspire(d) HQ, we’ve known Peter for a handful of years, and are always eager to hear what he has up his short-sleeve tee next – and man it’s exciting! Right now, we’re loving Peter’s amazing podcast, Slow Hustle (, which chronicles stories of local and national entrepreneurs – how they achieved success while also maintaining a “slowness” to life that makes room for family and fun. The phrase “life/ work balance” is something that will make pretty much any business owner laugh out loud, but the concept of living a meaningful life with all the parts you want included is a pretty epic – and ultimate – goal. To cap this point, Peter and his amazing family are setting off this fall on a 10-month adventure around the US, and sharing their story through the podcast as they go. That’s right – they rented out the house in Decorah, are selling one of the cars, packing up the Honda Odyssey, and hitting the road. All while homeschooling and working remotely. Sounds like an adventure! Do yourself a favor and click in to some great interviews and stories at

Decorah Fast Fiber How many times have you raised your fist at the screen, shouting obscenities (or at least thinking them), cursing your internet provider? It’s true – much of the rural Midwest is still at the mercy of, let’s face it – less than stellar telecom providers. However, there are many towns and cities that have taken back a truly historic model and are building municipal (city owned) telecom infrastructure. From Spring Grove to Cedar Falls to Chattanooga, successful municipal broadband programs have proven that fiberoptic broadband can not only greatly improve local internet speeds, but even more greatly improve local economies. And it’s not just about downloading movies and games – the potential for local business expansion, improved public schools, cities and safety, and smart grid technologies are huge. Before you start arguing


about how much it’s going to cost, consider success stories like the above mentioned (Spring Grove, Cedar Falls, etc). They actually MAKE money annually from their broadband utilities – think about every business and household payment that goes directly out of the community each month, and consider it staying here in our local economy. It’s huge. The Decorah Fast Fiber citizens group has successfully gathered enough signatures to get a referendum on the November 3 City Council ballot, which would give the City of Decorah the ability to form a public communications utility – not to fund such a utility, but to consider how the process could move forward. It’s important to note that a telecommunications utility would not use property taxes for its operating funds – it would rely on payments by customers, just like commercial providers do now. Find out more about this exciting potential project at – and consider voting YES on November 3!

117 W WATER ST, DECORAH . 563.382.WINE



Plus: Thursday Flatbread & Flights – 3 pours of wine & a pizza!

118 Washington St.


Ne Iowa RC&D Receives Public Art Grant for local counties! This past July (2015) the Northeast Iowa RC&D organization was awarded one of 70 National ‘Our Town’ grants (and was the only Iowa project chosen!) to develop and construct public art in communities along Iowa Scenic Byways. The grant program goal is to help create lively, beautiful, and resilient places with arts at their core. Through a public input and education process, many people come together – city officials, residents, scenic byway boards, local arts organizations, local artists, and schools – to identify public art concepts that will reflect each community, and in turn encourage cultural tourism. The project will have an immediate reach in Allamakee, Fayette, Clayton, Jones, Jackson, and Delaware Counties, with ongoing outreach across Iowa to assist other RC&Ds in repeating the process. Final projects will be completed by local artists and placed on regional scenic byways – some of our region’s most beautiful and off-the-beaten-path roadways. You can follow the process at or by following #NEAOurTown15 This grant project is just one of many projects the RC&D is taking to fruition this year – other recently completed projects include some very cool scenic by-way tear sheet maps (think awesome off-the-beatenpath back roads) “Cullinary Passports” – a guide to experiencing unique dishes and beverages that the locals consider “must haves” along the byway, and even a new kids activity book! Check it out at Here’s to local art and fun in a great region!




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Committed to the communities we serve, and to exceeding the expectations of our customers.



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702 Montgomery Street • Decorah, IA 563-382-8765 • 866-382-8765

Store Hours: Monday-Friday: 8:30-5:30 • Saturday: 8:30-1:30 • Sunday Closed

(“Lovings” continued on next page) \ Fall 2015


Perfect for weddings, showers, birthdays, graduations... or just for you!


What We’re


right now

Driftless: A film About Decorah by Decorah 404 WEST WATER ST, DECORAH, IOWA 563.419.4016 .

Mon-Fri 10am-4pm . Sat 10am-3pm

Beautiful Decorah Bed & Bath




563-382-4646 |

Burgers • Sandwiches • Salads • Appetizers • Breakfast • In-House Catering Locally Sourced Menu Options • Come watch your favorite games! • 22 Beers on Tap! Two event spaces for small or large groups – up to 200 people. Contact our Event Coordinator at for details.

206 W. Water St. •563-382-5970 •


Fall 2015 /

Oneota Film Festival has some cool projects on deck for fall 2015 – one of them is an artist in residence program with Nashville filmmaker Jonathan Rattner October 6–11. We’re loving what he’s working on while in town: A Community Crowd-Sourced Project called “Driftless: A Film About Decorah by Decorah.” You make the videos yourself - Rattner puts them together. Cool! Here are the details from Rattner himself: “Interested in making a film? Join us in celebrating the Decorah community by participating in a crowd-sourced documentary about the people of Decorah. Submit a short video about someone you care about, and see it screened at the 2016 Oneota Film Festival. Videos must take place in Decorah, but they can be shot by people visiting Decorah.. I will also be walking around town gathering footage all week. I’m looking to collaborate with local artists, filmmakers, teachers, and classes – so anyone interested in working on this project or who would like for me to visit their classes, can feel free to contact me at jonathan.rattner@” To learn more, attend an information session on Wednesday, October 7 at 7 pm in Valders Hall, room 206, at Luther College. Rattner will discuss the project and answer questions. Following the information session, he’ll also be screening his short film “The Interior.” It takes place in January, deep in the Alaskan wilderness, and follows a dog musher and his sled dogs as they live, mostly in darkness, at the edge of society. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session. People are welcome to attend either or both events. Rattner is an intermedia artist who primarily produces experimental documentary films and videos. He is currently an assistant professor of cinema & media arts and art at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he lives with his wife (and Decorah native), Kate Casper Rattner. Can’t attend the info session but still want to participate? Contact Jonathan Rattner at or the Oneota Film Festival at Oneota Film Festival is scheduled for March 4-6, 2016.

! m i e h er t Visit Ves

View world-class exhibitions Wood Carved Figures, Nordic Roots

rah, Iowa.

co in scenic De r a e y ll a n e Op

From Underwear to Everywhere: Norwegian Sweaters

Curated by carver Harley Refsal Sept. 19, 2015 - April 17, 2016 Opening Reception Sept. 18, 5-7 p.m.

Shop for Nordic-inspired Gifts

Museum Store

Aug. 22, 2015 to April 24, 2016

Folk Art School Sign up today!

Learn hand-craft Carving for Christmas with Harley Refsal Nov. 6-8, 2015

Traditional Norwegian Cookies of Christmas

with Darlene Fossum-Martin Nov. 8, 2015

Check for more info and a class schedule. Classes half price on stand-by for Winneshiek County residents.

Call 382-9681 to register.

Decorah, Iowa • • 563-382-9681


The National Norwegian-American Museum & Heritage Center

Looking for more details about events on the calendars? Check out these great fall activities! In chronological order, each event’s number coincides with its number on the calendar!

10. September 26: Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation invites you to a seed harvest on scenic prairie! 9/26, 9a-12p @ Heritage Valley. No experience needed – More info: 515288-1846

September 1. September 4: Celtic folk rock with Lehto & Wright presented by ArtHaus, 7pm. $12 adults / $10 students. Sponsored by Country Inn by Carlson. Tickets on sale now! 2. September 5: Water Street Music Series: Absolute Hoot. WSMS kicks off their fourth season with Absolute Hoot, 7 pm, Co-op Parking Lot. Free! Bring a blanket/lawn chair. 3. September 12: Norse Fall Community Day Picnic! Join us for U-2 BBQ, “GO NORSE!” t-shirts for kids (sponsored by Bank of the West), family passes for the Luther vs. St. Olaf Football Game! Register: 4. September 16: Wednesday Wine Down 4pm-8pm Paint & Sip this night! Visit for tickets. Get Uncorked at The Rustic Corner in Charles City! 5. September 17-20: Norman Borlaug Harvest Fest in Cresco Iowa! Inspire Day, Quilt Auction, Cruise to Cresco, 5K Run/Walk, Meals From the Heartland Packaging event, Food, Music, Games, & FUN! 6. September 19: United Way Used Book Sale Good Shepherd Lutheran Iowa Avenue, Decorah. 8AM - 12PM Saturday. Access pre-sale through free-will donation Friday evening. Supports books for pre-schools! 7. September 19: RIDE THE RIDGES bicycle tour - Winona, MN. Four routes along Southeastern Minnesota’s most scenic valleys and towering bluffs overlooking the Mississippi. 8. September 24: Taste the Local Harvest at the Oneota Coop - meet local producers, sample local products: 4:30-6:30 pm. Free.


Join us for these great events

Tomato Tasting September 5

Sample dozens of heirloom and open-pollinated tomatoes—including member favorites and rare varieties from SSE’s seed bank. Free seed saving workshops throughout the day.

Fall Seed Saving School* September 18-20

Learn how to grow, harvest, store and save seeds while discussing the importance of preserving crop diversity in your own back yard.

Fall Harvest School* October 3

Celebrate the harvest season with workshops related to food preservation and seed saving.

*(Registration required)

Seed SaverS exchange

3094 North Winn Road, Decorah, IA• • 563-382-5990


Fall 2015 /

9. September 25: Reefuel Yoga studio presents a meditation workshop with author, theologian, and yoga teacher Deborah Adele to discuss her book: The Yamas & Niyamas. For more info:

11. September 26: Run the Trout Run Trail! Decorah Rotary Club Loop de Loop 5k-10k Run-Walk, and HalfMarathon. Start time: 8:00 A.M. Registration information available at:

25W/ $25B

12. September 27: TASC Big Pumpkin Contest, 2213 Mt. Olivet Road NW, Waukon Weigh off, meal, fun! For more information about the event, contact TASC at 563-568-4060.

October 13. October 2-3: Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement’s 40th Birthday Bash! Get inspired by Rev. William Barber, Jim Hightower and other big-name thinkers/doers. Oct 2-3, Des Moines, 14. October 2-4: 18th Annual Northeast Iowa Artists’ Studio Tour. 55 Artists at 42 locations - all within 35 miles of Decorah! Most Artists ever – Free! Daily 10-5. 15. October 3: WitchFest at The Rustic Corner. Put on a pointy hat and enjoy a day of shopping in Charles City. Go to www.FaceBook. com/TheRusticCorner for details! 16. October 4: Farm fest at Prairie’s Edge Farm! Join us for hay rides, critters, cider pressing and more at Prairie’s Edge Farm. Meat and more for sale. 10am-4pm. 1206 150th Street Castalia 17. October 5-9: Scenes of the Driftless: A Community Art Exhibit at ArtHaus, Open to all to submit for free, Dropoff Oct 5-9, Reception October 9 from 6-8pm, On display through Nov 20,


Saturday October 24, 2015

Girls Day Out! Shopping, dining, & drink specials!


The Roxxy Hall Band SATURDAY NIGHT

Prizes, Demos, Free Samples! Like ‘Girls Day Out Lanesboro’ on

fun stuff to do

















Charlie Parr w/ Jeff Sept 11-13: Villa Louis Carriage Mitchell, Classic, Prairie du Chien Courtyard & SEPT 5: Cellar, 8pm • Seed Saver’s Tomato Tasting Festival 1-5pm • Drew Peterson, Hotel Winn Lobby, 6-9pm Over the Back Fence, St. Mane, • Holy White Hounds w/ Kick, Haymarket, 10pm • The 4 OnTheFloor, Pearl St Brewery, La Crosse, 6-10pm Lanesboro 7:30pm


Ann Reed, Chatfield Center for the Arts

3 12 Norse Fall Community Day – Luther vs. St. Olaf




12 27 TASC Annual Big Pumpkin Contest, Waukon, IA





SEPT 25: • Night Out at the Museum! La Crosse Children’s Museum • John Hodgman, Englert, IA City “Baltic Crossing” • Doug Otto & the Getaways, concert, Haymarket, Decorah, 8pm Vesterheim



Sept 25-26: Guttenberg La German Fest! Crosse SOUP SEPT 26 • Joel Ward, Hotel Winn Lobby, Decorah, 4-6pm • Villa Louis After Dark, Prairie du Chien • Zappa Plays Zappa, Englert, IA City, 8pm

Sept 24-27: Boats & Bluegrass, Winona



La Crosse Children’s Museum Tri-Quest


10 26 9 25 INHF Heritage Author Truth Values... SEPT 19-20: Taste the Deborah Adele Valley Prairie • Driftless Area Art Festival, Englert, IA City, Local Harvest, The Yamas Seed Harvest, Soldiers Grove, WI 7:30pm 9am-12pm Oneota Co-op, & Niyamas, • Pinter’s Pumpkin Patch 4:30-6:30pm 11 Reefuel, opens SEPT 19 Decorah Rotary Decorah • Al Stewart w/ David Nachmanoff, Chatfield Cntr for the Arts Loop de Loop • Ryan Lee, St. Mane Theatre, Lanesboro, 7:30pm Half Marathon


Sept12-13: Steam 6 19 Engine 13 18 15 17 100 Years 14 Author Robert 4 16 Days, United Way Wednesday Mike McAbee, of Broadway, Used Book Sale, Shedinger, Mabel, MN SEPT 18 Wine Down, Sportsman’s, Luther Center Good Shepherd, Dragonfly • “Woodcarved Figures, Rustic Corner, Rossville, IA Stage Series, Books, Decorah Nordic Roots” opens at Decorah, 7pm Charles City 7:30pm 7 Ride The Vesterheim, 5-7pm Ridges Bicycle • The Weathered Heads w/ Sept 18-20: Seed Saver’s Fall Tour, Winona Sept 17-20: Borlaug Driftwood Bones, Haymarket, Seed Saving School, 10am-4pm 5 Harvest Fest, Cresco MORE! Decorah, 10pm

Sept 5-6: Pedaler’s Jamboree Festival, Jefferson, IA


1 • “Wood carved figures, Nordic Roots” opens Vesterheim 2 Lehto & September 18th, 5pm, Vesterheim, Decorah Free Thursday! Absolute Wright, • “Woody Guthrie’s American Song” through Hoot, WSMS, ArtHaus, September 28, Commonweal, Lanesboro Decorah, 7 pm Oneota Co-op • “Ocean Soul, National Geographic Parking Lot, Photographs by Brian Skerry”, through October Joe & Vicki Price, 7 pm 11, MN Marine Art Museum, Winona Bob’s Bar, Sept 4-7: La Crosse Bicycle Festival Prairie du Chien MORE!


September Tuesday Wednesday













Twilight Nights start at Pinter’s Pumpkins, Decorah


Oct 15-17: Love and Information, Jewel Theatre, Luther College



Jon Stravers & Big Blue Sky. Elkader Opera House, 7:30pm


19 21 20 22 21 24 20 23 Jeffrey Lucero, Witchy Dubious Girls Day Out, Foucault, Englert, IA City, Wednesday Cowgirls, High Lanesboro Cavalier, La 8pm Wine Down, Court Pub, OCT 17: 22 Rustic Corner, Crosse, 8pm Lanesboro • Catherine Hearding exhibit opening, OboeBass! Charles City, OCT 24: Concert, St. Lanesboro Arts, 6-8pm Roxxy Hall Band, Lanesboro Comm Center 8pm Mane Theatre, • Villa Louis After Dark, Prairie du Chien Lucky Plush, Luther CSS 7:30pm • Crystal City, Haymarket, Decorah, 10pm Lanesboro 26 27 That 1 28 31 25 29 23 30 Happy Guy, Oct 29-30: OCT 23: Cringe Night, The Warehouse, Halloween! La Crosse • Chris Holme, Hotel Winn ArtHaus Paragon La Crosse Children’s Lobby, Decorah, 4-6pm Decorah, 7pm Ragtime The Dang Ol’ La Crosse SOUP BOOseum Orchestra, • Night Out at the La Crosse Tri’ole Children’s Museum Oct 30: Rockin Halloween Eighth Elkader Matisyahu, • Mary Chapin Carpenter, w/ The Delta Routine, Blackbird, Opera Englert, Englert, IA City, 7:30pm Hero Jr. & The Hawkeyes, Page Series, House IA City, 7pm Hotel Winn, 7:30pm SMU, Winona



Timber: Acrobats gone Lumberjack!, Page Series, SMU, Winona

OCT 16: • Michael Johnson, Chatfield Center for the Arts • Mike McAbee, Haymarket, Decorah, 10pm

The Color Run, La Crosse, 8am


Prairie’s Edge Farm Fest, 10am-4pm Castalia

Oct 2-3: Festival of Quilts, Spring Grove Fest Buildling


Danilo Perez, Luther CSS, 15 7:30pm Gene Ween, Witchfest, Cavalier, La Rustic Corner, Crosse, 8pm Charles City


9 10 8 Over the Back 6 Author J. 7 Breakfast in Ryan Stradal: Los Lonely Fence, St. a Victorian Kitchens of the Mane Theatre, Kitchen, Prairie Boys, Great Midwest, Lanesboro Englert, IA du Chien Dragonfly Books, City, 8pm Mike McAbee, OFF/ Leon Haymarket, Rattner Film Russell, Decorah 9pm Screening, Oct 5-9: “Scenes of the Driftless” Englert, IA 17 Valders 18 Oct 9-11: New Albin Library City, 8pm Community Art Exhibit Drop Off, ArtHaus Quilt Show, Community Center 206, Luther

“Charley’s Aunt” continues at the Vesterheim 1 Commonweal Theatre through Oct 26 Free Thursday! Oct 2-11: American Mike McAbee, Craft Week – celebrate Horseshoe, Calmar at Agora Arts, Decorah! Oct 2-3: IA CCI 40th Bday Bash – William 13 Oct 1-10: “Shrek the Barber, Jim Hightower, Des Moines Musical”, Elkader Oct 2-4: 18th Annual NE Iowa Studio Opera House Players 14 Artists’ Tour, Daily 10am-5pm 50th Anv!


OCT 3:

• Spring Grove Uff-Da Fest LøveLøpe 5K • Seed Savers Fall Harvest School • Don Scott, Chatfield Cntr for the Arts • Tom Bourcier w/ Stummer & Bolz, Hotel Winn. Lobby, 6-9pm • Dylan Sires & The Neighbors w/ The Olympics, Haymarket, Decorah, 10pm



fun stuff to do


Arlo 3 Guthrie, Englert, IA City, 8pm





24 5 Taste of the Holidays Food Pantry Fundraiser, Oneota Co-op Vesterheim Free Thursday!





NOV 7: • Wil Maring, Chatfield Center for the Arts • Keystone Chorus, Elkader Opera House, 7pm • Nick Foytik, Hotel Winn Lobby, Decorah, 6-9pm • Charles Walker Band, Haymarket, Decorah, 10pm


Colin Hay, Englert, IA City, 8pm



Nov 20-21: Deck The Tables, Hotel Winn


20 28 21 19 The Dandy 18 NOV 14: Harmony, MN Warhols, • Danika Holmes & Jeb Hart, Holiday Fest! Englert Elkader Opera House, 7:30pm Fillmore Central • Joe & Vicki Price, Franklin St. Night Out at High School the La Crosse Brewing, Manchester, IA Children’s Museum


COMING IN DECEMBER: 4-5: FEAST Local Foods Show, Rochester 4-6: ArtHaus Holiday Art Fair 4-6: Christmas at Luther 5: Norwegian Christmas Celebration at Vesterheim! 5: Gift of Art sale, Hotel Winn lobby, Decorah



Dec 16: Wednesday Wine Down, Rustic Corner, Charles City 4-8pm

Everywhere: Norwegian Sweaters” continues through Spring, Vesterheim, Decorah


30 28 22 24 23 29 26 Mike 27 NOV 21: Elf Fest, Munson, Decorah Sneak Peek Rustic Corner, • Bill & Kate Isles, Chatfield Cntr for the Arts Holiday Lights Hotel Winn Bicycles Charles City • Iris DeMent, Englert, IA City, 8pm Lobby, Magical 2nd Annual La Crosse SOUP Nights “Cranksgiving” Decorah, (runs 11/26- Mtn. Bike Ride 6-9pm 31 Gena 12/16) Ollendieck Art Happy Thanksgiving! Nov 28: Dead Horses, Haymarket, Decorah, 10pm Opening, Agora Arts, Decorah NOV 27-29: Nov 27-28: Christmas on 30 29 Houston County Festival of Trees, SG Fest Building Broadway, Elkader Opera House Victorian Home for the Holidays, Villa Louis, Prairie du Chien “From Underwear to

NOV 13: • Over the Back Fence Variety Show, St. Mane Theatre, Lanesboro 7:30pm • Nick Foytik Band, Haymarket, Decorah

Nov 13-21: Sunday In the Park with George, Jewel Theatre, Luther College


& Neighbors Day, Villa Louis, Prairie du Chien

7 25 Five Browns, Luther CSS, Lanesboro Arts Swingsation 7:30pm Gala Fundraiser Night Out Decorah Fast at the La Fiber Vote! Crosse • “The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe” Commonweal, opens Nov.13 Children’s • Scenes of the Driftless: A Community Art Exhibit, through Nov 20, ArtHaus Museum 26 13 27 14 12 8 “Chicago 9 10 11 The Norske Peter Rabbit Compassion ArtHaus Letters Home, Bluegrass Klub” closes Tales, Page Calligraphy, Luther CSS, Poetry Slam, 11/15, ArtHaus, Series, SMU, Ball, Englert, Decorah Elks 7:30pm IA City, 8pm Vesterheim Lodge, 8pm Decorah, 1-3pm Winona NOV 5: The Special Medea, A Virgin’s Voice, SMU Daniel Consensus, Nov 13-14: Chase Garrett’s Theatre/Dance, Winona Champagne, Page Series, 6th Annual Blues & Boogie Mike McAbee, Horseshoe, Warehouse, SMU, Winona Woogie Piano Stomp, Englert Calmar, 9pm La Crosse

Friends 1




fun stuff to do

25W/ $25B












Inspire(d) World’s Greatest Party


Date (not included in word count): Worlds Greatest Party! 7-10 pm. Inspire(d) invites you to the greatest party ever! We’ll have amazing amounts of fun! See you there!



Questions? Email

(Direct link:

See - we told you about our amazing fictional party in less than 25 words! On the visual calendar (like the one at left), your event will be listed along with a number that corresponds. People can just scan on over to the following pages to get the details!


Simple! We get an email with all your details exactly as you’d like to see them in the listing, and then we add it to the calendar!

It works like this: 1. Go to and click on the 25W/$25B sidebar box 2. Enter your information in our online form 3. Click through to PayPal to complete the transaction

Thus we’ve implemented a simple, expandable list of events for the pages following our regular calendars. Those who are planning “fun stuff to do” get a guaranteed spot on the calendar and in that event listing by purchasing “25 Words/$25 Bucks.”

We know it’s a tough racket to put on live music, activities, and special events, so we want to give you a chance to get the word out without breaking the bank.

Calendar time is always an exciting time at Inspire(d) Headquarters. “Just how much can we fit on there this month?!?” In recent years, what we had chosen for these lovely pages had been entirely editorial and subjective. We figured, hey, you like our magazine, so you’ll probably like the fun stuff to do that we pick out from around our region. But we’re running out of space and want you, our lovely readers, friends, and fellow event planners, to be able to tell us a little more about your fun.

25 Words/$25 Bucks


Looking for more details about events on the calendars? Check out these great fall activities! In chronological order, each event’s number coincides with its number on the calendar!

18. October 9-11: New Albin Library quilt show. Over 200 quilted items on display. Antique section, vendors, demonstrations, and more. New Albin Community Center. $5 Admission. More info 563-544-4325 19. October 21: Witchy Wednesday Wine Down - 4pm to 8pm at The Rustic Corner, Charles City. Get uncorked with a Halloween flair! More info at TheRusticCorner 20. October 23: Dubious Cowgirls duo at High Court Pub in Lanesboro, MN with food and drink specials to kickoff Lanesboro Girls Day Out weekend.

25W/ $25B

21. October 24: Girls Day Out Lanesboro, MN featuring The Roxxy Hall Band. Shop all day, dance the night away! Like us on facebook: Girls Day Out Lanesboro.

22. October 24: OboeBass! Concert. Award-winning Vecchione/Erdahl classical duo: Engaging audiences with folksong, jazz, tango and literary inspirations. St. Mane Theatre, Lanesboro, MN. $15/$12. 23. October 30: Cringe Night presented by ArtHaus, Hosted by June Melby. Friday, October 30 at 508 W Water St. Doors open at 6:30pm, event starts at 7pm. $5

November 24: November 5: “Taste of the Holidays” food pantry fundraiser/ holiday meal at the Co-op. Register by calling563-382-4666. $15 suggested donation. New take-away option available this year. 25. November 7: Swingsation! LANESBORO ARTS’ Gala Fundraiser: Scrumptious tapas food, lively music featuring blues & more, art & other auctions, cash bar, fun ambiance. $65. 26. November 13: Poetry Slam presented by ArtHaus, Sponsored by Dragonfly Books. Doors open at 7:30pm, event starts at 8pm. Decorah Elks Lodge. $5 adults / $3 student admission. 27. November 14: Compassion Calligraphy Workshop with Daishin McCabe at ArtHaus. 1-3pm. $50 per person open to ages 16+, Register online at 28. November 21: Harmony Holiday Fest! Get a jump start on holiday shopping with 40+ vendors showcasing a variety of arts, crafts, foods, & more! Fillmore Central High School Harmony, MN 29. November 26: Earn your 2nd piece of pie on the Decorah Bicycles 2nd Annual Cranksgiving Ride! Casual & No-drop Mountain Bike Ride – starts from Decorah Bicycles (College Drive next to Whippy Dip) 2pm. Fat bike rentals available. 30. November 28: ElfFest begins at The Rustic Corner! Beat the big box and enjoy small town shopping at it’s best in Charles City. Details: 31. November 28: Gena Ollendieck Art opening, 1pm – 3pm at Agora Arts in Downtown Decorah. Come experience American Craft and this unique art opening! 32. December 16: Wednesday Wine Down at The Rustic Corner in Charles City 4pm-8pm! Wine & holiday snacks to help you unwind from the hustle. More info


So much more than a

happy! discover






YOU’LL LOVE US \ Fall 2015


Guttenberg . Cassville Ferry . Potosi Brewing . Dubuque . Park Farm Winery

Guttenberg, Iowa

driftless dAy triP

at Lock & Dam 10 . Photo courtesy Guttenberg Development & Tourism

driftless dAy triP?


We know you all are busy and often can’t get away for a night or whole weekend, so the idea of a quick trip was born. With the arrival of Roxie three years ago, trips of any kind have become much more…thought-out…but that doesn’t mean we can’t still blast off on a spontaneous cruise every now and then! Turns out, on this Driftless Day Trip, we went on a literal cruise. Okay. A short literal cruise. We headed south toward the Cassville Ferry to ride ourselves and our trusty stead (Mazda5) across the great Mississippi then head toward Potosi. It was rocking! Okay, we’ll stop with the boat-related puns (for now). Besides, we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. READ MORE >


Fall 2015 /

By Aryn Henning Nichols • Photos by Inspire(d) unless noted


riving south down Highway 52 toward Guttenberg, Iowa, it’s hard not to let out a little sigh. The valleys and farmland and big blue sky make the miles tick by faster than you’d hope. The town of Guttenberg doesn’t actually come into view until the very last minute. No matter which way you enter, you come up over a hill or to a spot where the trees open and you’re greeted by this sweet little town way down in the valley, and truly amazing views of the Mississippi. Gotta get a pic? Scenic lookouts on the both the north and south side of town offer great selfies opportunities (don’t hate – we’re big fans of the family selfie!).


Photos courtesy Sheila Tomkins


Jon Stravers

Guttenberg is a German town through-and-through, and celebrates GermanFest each fall. September 25-26, 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the event! The family-friendly Fest includes an arts and crafts market, biergarten, kraut cook-off, hog roast, homemade beer tasting, live music, a 5K walk/run, wiener dog races, and more! From there, we were off to catch the ferry. We had hoped Roxie would also catch a nap, but alas…it wasn’t meant to be (yet). Just a few miles south of Guttenberg, there’s a sign directing you left to the Cassville Ferry. You’ll take some gravel that’ll seem almost like dirt roads…but know you’re on the right path. Just enjoy the scenery (and stop stressing already)!

Oct 25

w/ guests Cindy Scott & Brian Seegar



McPhly Quartet

Nov Dec 4-6 Nov 14 07

Guttenberg is snuggled right up to the Mississippi – the historic main street, River Park Drive, runs along the bank of the river. We packed a picnic and made a stop at a park near Lock and Dam 10. It was super fun to watch the boats and barges pass through the dam as we munched on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. There’s also a viewing platform available for an even closer look. History buffs can check out the National Register of Historic Places Lockmaster House Heritage Museum nearby. It now only houses memorabilia – it’s the last remaining lockmaster house on the Upper Mississippi River. South of Lock and Dam 10, just down River Park Drive, is the Aquarium and Fish Hatchery (generally open 9 am - 3 pm May - October). It’s a quaint little one-room affair, operated by biologists with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Exhibits include a large selection of live Mississippi River creatures – catfish, turtles, mussels, trout, and other fun fish – plus some cool historical displays.



Nov 27-29

SPOTlight: Guttenberg

Oct 1-4 & 8-10

Oct 17

Photo courtesy Guttenberg Development & Tourism



Event details & tickets at 207 N. Main, Elkader, IA



(continued on next page) \ Fall 2015


Cassville Ferry


building foundations

CASSVILLE FERRY Fall hours: September 8 to October 25 Friday, Saturday, & Sunday 10AM to 8PM (7 days a week Memorial Day to Labor Day check website for current hours)

SPOTlight: Cassville Ferry



Serving communities in Iowa, Minnesota, & Missouri

900 Montgomery St, Decorah, IA 563-382-2933 . 18

Fall 2015 /

After passing by small farms and large fields, you’ll finally arrive at a gravel parking area next to the river – this is the Iowa side of the Cassville Ferry! The Pride of Cassville Car Ferry – the oldest operating ferry service in the state of Wisconsin – connects two National Scenic Byways; the (Wisconsin) Great River Road and the Iowa Great River Road. It began in 1833 and continues today, making the same trip back and forth across the Mississippi. The very first governor of Wisconsin, a then 23-year-old Nelson Dewey, made his first trip across the Mississippi to reach the tiny village of Cassville. He settled there in 1836 and attempted to turn Cassville into a metropolis. It never quite made it – Cassville is just shy of 1,000 people – but it’s a cute little town and the Ferry is definitely a fun way to get from Iowa to Wisconsin (or vice versa). We had Roxie press the button and soon saw the ferry chugging our way. You drive aboard, give the friendly employees your fare, and enjoy the ride! From Cassville, (Wisconsin now, remember) we headed southeast on the Great River Road to Potosi. It was time for a beer! (Also a nap, but alas…not yet.) According to Wikipedia, Potosi is known as the “the Catfish Capital of Wisconsin,” because of its annual Catfish Festival in August, but when you arrive in Potosi, most would say it’s the



Rental costs (for 1 year) can be used toward the purchase of any new bike!


101 College Dr Decorah, Iowa • 563-382-8209


112 Winnebago St, Decorah • 121 N Vine St, West Union

Heading out of town? Get some peace-of-mind while you’re gone.

Potosi Brewery (and The National Brewery Museum and Library) that you notice first. Another one of those pretty little towns nestled in the beauty of the Driftless Region, Potosi is truly a village – fewer than 700 people call it home – but that doesn’t mean it’s not busy at the main attraction, Potosi Brewing.

Sims can set you up with the perfect security system for your home or business.

SPOTlight: Potosi Brewing The Potosi Brewing Company began in 1852. At its peak, it was the fifth largest brewery in Wisconsin, shipping beers such as Good Old Potosi, Holiday, Garten Brau, and Augsburger throughout the United States. But business slowed, and it closed its doors in 1972. In 1995, after a terrible fire that took out almost a whole block of buildings, a man named Gary David bought the property and began restoration, rebuilding for three years before finally being able to assess the brewery itself. In 1999, after a prompt by his wife, Madonna, David proposed a community meeting in hopes of bringing the public in on the restoration process. The meeting was incredibly well attended and brought forth suggestions as well as support. It eventually led to the 2000 formation of the Potosi Brewery Foundation. In January of 2001, the Potosi Brewery building was donated to the Potosi Foundation, and the brewery property was officially transferred. Following a $7.5 million restoration, the Potosi Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and sole owner of the Potosi Brewing Company, reopened the brewery in 2008. The Potosi

Convenient in & out shopping, questions answered, & no games or gimmicks.

Why shop anywhere else? 563-382-CELL (2355) • Mon-Fri 8am-6pm • Thurs ‘til 8pm • Sat 9am-5pm • Sun 12-4pm \ Fall 2015


Newly renovated & perfect for exploring all of Decorah!

Lovely Downtown Decorah Living

Large 2 Bedroom / 2 Bath Loft Gorgeous Panoramic Views . Gourmet Kitchen . Private Deck Nightly, weekly, & monthly rates. Open 7 days Memorial Day-Labor Day | Winter: Wed-Sat 10-5 / Sun 12-4

90 S. Front St. Lansing, Iowa. 319.594.6795


HOMES Sustainably Beautifully Efficiently

David J. Wadsworth • 563.419.0390 • Algerian & American Appetizers & Entreés Vegetarian Options Sandwiches & Salads Delicious Desserts Signature Cocktails Connoisseur Beer Selection

Elkader, Iowa • 563-245-1992 • 20

Fall 2015 /

Foundation’s mission is to support historical and educational initiatives, and charitable causes. To cap things off (pun!) in 2004 the Potosi Foundation was selected by the American Breweriana Association to be the home to its national museum. Potosi Brewery now crafts and distributes a variety of beers throughout the region. We had some yummy tasters while Roxie checked out the koi pond, and the pub serves up tasty food ranging from brats and burgers to flatbreads and pasta. The building itself is beautiful and fun to wander around, and you can also tour the National Brewery Museum. The National Brewery Museum showcases a collection of beer bottles and cans, glasses, trays, coasters, advertising materials and other items relating to breweriana collectibles. P.S. Breweriana commonly refers to any article containing a brewery name or brand name, usually in connection to collecting them as a hobby. P.P.S. There’s also live music through midSeptember out on the Potosi patio! Back in the car, we headed toward Dubuque. NOW it was time for Roxie’s nap (thank goodness).

Dubuque While this could certainly be a one-day trip, with an almost-three-year-old in tow, we decided to spend the night in Dubuque. There are several great options. Our favorites are the historic Hotel Julien right downtown ( and the Grand Harbor – right on the riverwalk. This place has (continued on next page)

Along the way: Dickyville Grotto One Catholic Priest, Father Matthias Wernerus, built this amazing place between the years 1925-1930. There’s no official record, but they say nearly 200 tons of rock were gathered from the Dakotas, Iowa, and nearby Wisconsin quarries to build it. Most of the site’s structures are covered in shells, stones, tiles, wood, glass, gems, and geodes donated by area parishioners.

Potosi, Wisconsin Death on the Prairie

Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites Mystery # 6

From Kathleen Ernst, the bestselling author of Tradition of Deceit, comes the eagerly awaited sequel…

Chloe Ellefson and her sister grew up treasuring

the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and having long dreamed of visiting each of the home sites where she lived. When Chloe gets custody of a beautiful quilt once owned by the beloved children's author, the sisters set out on the road trip tour of a lifetime, hoping to prove that Wilder stitched it herself. But death strikes just as their journey begins. As the sisters drive deeper into Wilder territory, Chloe races to discover the truth about the precious quilt – and her own heart – before the killer can strike again.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Park & Museum Burr Oak, Iowa

Available from independent bookstores, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and others as a trade paperback and for Kindle, Kobo, and Nook e-readers. \ Fall 2015


a riverboat-themed waterpark and is a fun option for a family stay (especially in the cold months)! If you do opt for the overnight, make sure to check out our Dubuque Driftless Day Trip at for details on what to do while you’re in town (Highlights: Mississippi River Aquarium, Fenelon Elevator, L. May Eatery, and more.) The next day, we got back on the road, this time headed northwest to check out another

“Thank You!” from Project Care!

We thank you for your support & care!

On behalf of First Lutheran Church of Decorah & the Project Care Committee, we would like to extend our heart-felt thanks to all of the individuals, businesses, & families who made Project Care 2015 possible! The goal & mission of Project Care is to recognize area students who are not only graduating from high school, but also “aging out” of the foster care system. This dedicated effort raised money to help equip 6 area young people in the next phase of life. They have endured much, persevered, & we wish them all the best! We also hope this project brings to light the needs of children in the foster care system! This INSPIRING endeavor would not have been possible without the kindness & generosity of members of our community! INDIVIDUALS & FAMILIES ---------------------------------------------------------Rich & Linda Svenson Dorothy Gray Larry & Diane Grimstad Andy & Brenda Rix + Owen & Danielle Dennis & Carol Tack Davis Family Foundation/ Steve & Patti Davis Jim & Sandy Hoeg Joan Rulon Rita Tejada Jeff & Marilyn Roverud Cory & Ann Landstrom & Sydney Bob & Sharon Lillie Grace Peterson Dennis & Paula Olejniczak Jill Phillips Dennis & Tiphanie Keefe Jud & Connie Barclay Gregory & Diann Marten Adrienne Storm Jim & Sue Haemker John & Joan Zidlicky Harland & Corrine Nelson Luann Smith Troy & Michelle Whitehill Linda Bakken Jim & Karen Martin- Schramm Irene Lovstuen David & Kirsten Heine + Zach & Andrew Steve & Peg Matter Randall Duvall Patricia McClure Andrew Whitfield & Spencer Martin Dave & Brenda Carlson JoAn Stevenson Elliot & Bev Christen Roger & Vicky Jaeger Jackie Wilkie Dawn Deines- Christensen Wanda Haas Shannon Winkle Sara Nottestad Jenine Jordahl Otis & Jane Tollefson Darrin Walter Pastor Harris Hostager Margie DeBower

BUSINESSES & COMMUNITY GROUPS ---------------------------------------------------------------------------Thrivent Financial Marlin Pruismann,Blairsburg, IA Carolyn Dannatt, Eldridge,IA Jennifer Kreeb, Dyersville, IA Thomas Hendricks, Clear Lake, IA Galon Heetland, DeWitt, IA Sally Frotscher, Urbandale, IA Karen Trewin, Decorah, IA Jeff Olinger, Decorah, IA Nathan Beattie, Altoona, IA Daniel Bacon, Storm Lake, IA Willis Wulf, Williamsburg, IA Andrea Pruismann, Davenport,IA John & Linda Arons NE Iowa Regional Board of Realtors The Family Care Clinic/Dr. David Heine NICC / Dr. Wee Hibbett Sports Superior Wood Floors & Tile Decorah Bank & Trust Life Images Photography / Cheryl Wieseler Decorah Elks Lodge / Darrin Walter Old Armory BBQ / Matt Henning Dough and Joe Bakery / Molly Pedretti Latham Furniture /Jayme Folkedahl Walmart / Mitch Link Kwik Trip, Inc. Inspire(d) Media JC Penney employees Stone Hearth / Kathy & Steven Ransom Alpha Sigma Sorority Decorah Greenhouse Subway Whippy Dip / Rosie Carolan Pizza Ranch / John Dambek Culver's / Lisa Roberson Bruce & Sue Anderson Story People / Annette Laitenen Dragonfly Books / Kate Rattenborg

John & Joan Lubke Jim & Karen Woodward Ranell Bolson Jon & Mary Hart Ruth & Phil Reitan Jenny Werner Ranae & Chuck Gipp Cheryl Miller Joann Voltmer Bruce & Melinda Hanson Lois & Tom Kuennen Pete & Linda Becker Marilyn Wahlberg John & Ann Glesne Heather Armstrong Joseph Callaghan, M.D. Paul & Norma Dirks Douglas & Kendra Van Sloten Owen & Linda Christiansen John & Arlene Nelson Valerie Pace Dan & Carol Edmondson Roger & Jane Kolarich Gloria Carpenter Will & Ruth Bunge Kari & Andrew Sassaman Myrv & Anne Christopherson Uwe Rudolf & Ruth Caldwell Elwin & Helen Farwell Heidi & John Snell-Anderson Doug & Georgiann Eckheart Jim & Marge Iverson Chad & Cheryl Huebner Don & Susan Nelson Thomas & Janice Kraabel Coleen Orwell Jim & Rita Friest Laurie Worcester Edward & Arlene Wenthe Carol Bolson Pastor Melissa Bills Monica Koth Adrian Walter Kevin Barth Carol Birkland Francis & Marilyn Peterson Jackie Wilkie Otter Dreaming Ranell Bolson Anonymous Donors Rockweiler Appliance Dean & Heidi Rockweiler Covenant Church Luther College Bookshop Gunderson Health System Friest and Associates Decorah Hatchery Winneshiek Medical Center Lynch Bar-B-Que Preceptor Zeta Chapter Beta Sigma Phi Prevent Child Abuse Iowa Ace Kitchen Place / Ace Hardware Java John’s Decorah Newspapers / Paul Scott N.E. Iowa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship KDEC Radio KVIK Radio Amundson's Clothing The Good Foot The Coterie Club Members: Donna Bahr Mary Hellgren Sherry Koster Bev Dohse Phyllis Green Linda Hess Sandy Hoeg Charilyn Hover Marilyn Istad Marilyn Peterson Darlene Rosholt Barb Sokol Carrie Solberg Marilyn Wahlberg Karen Woodward Vernelle Weis

“Be not Forgetful to Entertain Strangers: For Thereby some have Entertained Angles Unawares” Hebrews 13:2

spot off the beaten path: Park Farm Winery.

Along the way:

Field of Dreams movie site You know the story: If you build it, they will come. And apparently, so will the tourists and locals, for many years!

SPOTlight: Park Farm Winery, Bankston, Iowa Once again, we’ve taken you on a road that seems a little too far out of the way. And it’s kind of true. Because once you arrive at Park Farm Winery, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another country! There’s the trademark Driftless rolling hills and valleys, but with the bonus beauty of rows upon rows of grapes. It’s just lovely. Established in 2005, Park Farm is a family owned and operated winery near rural

Bankston, Iowa. The chateauinspired vineyard is home to a tasting room, wood-fired pizza oven, and event venue. Plus, they host “Toast & Jam” live music during warm-weather months! The 11-acre estate grows specific ‘cold climate’ grape cultivars that produce great wine while also withstanding the harsh Upper Midwest winters. Folks can grab some wine Check tasters (or just a glass of whatever for current hours they love), head out on the balcony, and enjoy the view while munching on a wood-fired pizza. It’s a pretty great spot. It was finally time to head north, back to Decorah. We had a blast on this Driftless Day Trip and hope you are inspire(d) to head out on your own. Hit us up at @iloveinspired if you do! Enjoy! – Aryn (and Benji and Roxie too)




Oh hey, we’ve been doing this whole Inspire(d) Magazine thing for 8 YEARS this October! Thanks for reading, you lovely unicorns, you! We like to celebrate happy things with chocolate cake. So head on over to for Aryn’s amazing recipe…it’s good. Like really good. Thanks again for all your support. You guys are the best.



Your path to

Fall Family


Sept 19 - Oct. 25 Sat 9-5:30 Sun 10-4

pumpkin patch corn maze • corn box haunted attractions big slides tetherball farm animals goat walk giant jumping pillow pedal carts with track pumpkin blaster ball-zone wiggle carts grain cart rides

The Bakery

concessions available all day plus homemade fudge, cupcakes and seasonal treats

4.5 miles west of Decorah, IA

563-382-0010 • 2475 State Hwy 9 for seasonal hours


Fall 2015 /

steam SISTERS Decorah native Clara Bergan follows in family footsteps as a steam engine operator Intro & Interview by Aryn Henning Nichols Photos courtesy Clara Bergan & family \ Fall 2015

02 25







FUN & CASUAL ATMOSPHERE Celebrating more than 60 years!

110 East Water St 563-382-4297 MENTION THIS AD FOR 20% OFF

A favorite family photo of a young Clara, “all steamed out.”

steam SISTERS T Doris Pfister Thompson, LMT, Owner

563-379-9700 •105 N Maryville St (Hwy 52) Calmar, Iowa

Artistry in Cabinetry since 1983

Kitchens Home offices Bars Entertainment centers Fireplace mantles Cabinets & shelving Remodeling Finished carpentry

Visit my new website! 563-382-4750


Fall 2015 /

he engine starts slowly. Chug, chug, chug. Pop! Chug, chug, chug – speeding up – it spills steam from it’s pipe as the wheels start to turn aaannnd…motion! People have been using boiling water to make things move for thousands of years, but steam wasn’t used for any practical applications until the Spanish inventor Jerónimo de Ayanz y Beaumont patented the first steam engine in 1606. Throughout the next two centuries, steam inventions advanced – from the steam pump to the first piston steam engine to a 10-horsepower engine – invented by James Watt in the late 1780s – that finally produced continuous motion, making it feasible for steam to be used for vehicles such as traction engines and railway locomotives. The first steam tractors were portable engines that were built on skids or wheels and then transported by horse to a work area. These engines were used extensively in rural North America for threshing. Steam traction engines were often too expensive for a single farmer to purchase, so “threshing rings” were formed. Multiple farmers pooled their resources to purchase a steam

engine, and they’d chose one person among them to go to steam school to learn how to run the engine properly. In some ways, a threshing ring was how the Hesper-Mabel Steam Engine Days began. It’s been many years since steam engines were the farm machinery of popular choice and threshing rings were the norm, but the people passionate about the trade are also passionate about passing it along. Decorah native Clara Bergan, 23, is an eager – and actual – student; she attended Steam School in Forestville, Iowa at age 15 (also in attendance: her mom and dad, aunt, uncle, cousin, and her then-pregnant sister!), and has practiced and learned the ins and outs of steam engine operation on a 1922 Advance Rumely steam traction engine inherited by her mother, Carol, and Aunt Connie. We caught up with Clara to chat about what she loves most about Hesper-Mabel Steam Engine Days (63th annual coming up September 12-13, 2015), being a woman in steam engineering (“it’s a bit of an anomaly”), and the best part of operating an engine (not what you might think!). It’s clear her love of engineering and family history is as thick as an engine’s steam billowing toward the clouds on a crisp, fall morning. (Clara’s awesome interview starts on the next page!)

don’t miss it!

at mean? What does th eans LØVE LØPE m gian. Norwe “Lion Run” in ed It is pronounc pah” wLe ah -v ew “L

October 3, 2015

Race: 10AM • Check In: 8:30AM

Viking Memorial Park, Spring Grove, MN 55974

Register Online by Sept. 18 (GUARANTEED T-SHIRT!) ADULTS: $20 • YOUTH: $15

OCT 2-3


Fri 12-5 PM • Sat 9AM-4PM VENDORS - DEMOS - SALES - UFFDAFEST.COM "Ole & Lena's 50th Wedding Anniversary & Vow Renewal"

Saturday, October 3 at 1:00 Lena saw a couple renew their vows on Dr. Phil and decides that's what she and Ole are going to do for their 50th wedding anniversary; but the only thing on Ole's mind these days is the Lodge's ice fishing tournament. Join us for a comedy about love, marriage, and growing old together.

63rd Annual Hesper-Mabel Steam Engine Days!

Mabel, Minnesota • Sept. 12-13, 2015 This year, featuring: Odd-Balls and Orphan Tractors. Don’t miss the Steam Engine Parade that chugs down Main Street at 12 pm on Saturday and Sunday. The weekend is filled with cool steam demonstrations too! You might see a steam engine working hard at: Shingle Mill Old Time Threshing Log Sawing

Plowing & Sub Soiling Corn Shelling & Shredding Tractor Dyno \ Fall 2015


Interview with Decorah native and steam engine enthusiast (and operator!) Clara Bergan Tell us about the history of steam engineering in your family. Envision loads of laundry thick with oil, grease and soot! Now you’ve got a pretty good idea of the fun had at Hesper-Mabel Steam Engine Days. The living history event is a multigenerational affair for a few area families, packed with much anticipation, sweat, and preparation. The summer leading up to the event, the Toot & Whistle Club spends several Thursday evenings sawing logs for fuel or repairing equipment. Around Labor Day, striped bib overalls make their way from the back of the closet. And the Thursday before, we drive antique tractors from Hesper to Mabel to kick-off the weekend. All this started in the early 1950s, when my grandpa Gerhard Clauson and three friends invited their neighbors to participate in old time threshing. Sharing a love of steam, they gathered their farm machinery to demonstrate a passing tradition. It’s the same today – a celebration of heritage, family, food and machines that do work. Since inception, Hesper-Mabel Steam Engine Days has grown from a small scale gathering of neighbors to an assemblage of antique tractors, steam and gas engines that welcomes crowds from all around. Today the family tradition continues with a 1922 18-HP Advance Rumely steam traction engine my mom Carol and Aunt Connie inherited. My dad Mike and Uncle Joe married into the Clauson family, helping keep steam alive by repairing, preparing, and operating a nearly century-old engine. Today, they joke the tables have turned. Now my cousin Joseph (Pearce) and I run the engine and they are the “old guys” imparting wisdom. Men’s • Women’s • Kid’s | Clarks • Merrell • Keen • Sanuk • Haflinger • Dansko • Sperry Top-Sider • Birkenstocks • Wolky • New Balance • & More!

Excuse me (Nurse, Chef, Regular Joe)... May I have this Dansko?

(Get it?)

Comfy Danskos for any activity (even dancing)! 128 W Water St, Decorah, Iowa • 563-382-9829 • Check current hours online

6:30 am to 9 pm daily Open to 11 pm Fri & Sat

GREAT SEASONAL MENUS Organic Coffee Drinks Delicious Homemade Foods Wonderful Local Wine & Beer List


Opposite: Young Steam Sisters, Johanna & Clara. Above: Clara approaches on the Advance Rumely


How do folks go about learning how to operate a steam engine? I’m fortunate to have both experts and an engine in the family, but for those without this luxury, a great place to start is steam school. There are a few workshops throughout the Midwest that offer both classroom and handson experience. Participants range in skill level so it’s a great place to ask questions. And that’s just it! Ask questions. I have so much to learn and never hesitate to ask when curious or unsure. When operating in a crowd of spectators at pressures over 100 psi, safety is the priority. Operating an engine efficiently and safely requires close management of your fire and your water level. Having experienced engineers nearby can be a valuable resource.


Are women generally encouraged to participate? Why did you decide to get into it? Women and steam are somewhat of an anomaly. But when my family – parents, sister, aunt, uncle and cousin – signed up for steam school, I was not about to be left behind. I was fifteen and recognized my chance to actually run the engine. Joseph is a year older than me and he’s a natural. Having a knack for things

406 W. Water St. • Decorah, Iowa •

(continued on next page) \ Fall 2015


Deck the Tables November 20 & 21, 2015 at the Hotel Winneshiek Blue Jeans & Bling Open House Fri., Nov. 20, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Tables & Treats Open House Sat., Nov. 21, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Restauration Luncheon Sat. Nov. 21,12:00 - 2:00 p.m. (Reservations required for luncheon.)

Spark your decorating ideas with inspiring tablescapes. Raffles, Home Décor Showcase, door prizes, auctions, carriage rides, music, food, and more!

Like our Facebook Page — Deck the Tables Visit for details Affordable Elegance.

Luther College Catering Wedding Receptions • Anniversaries Birthdays • Corporate & Family Events

out Ask us ab e r offic o f y r e v i l e d , box lunches rties holiday pa and more! • A wide variety of menus with a worldly flair, featuring locally grown foods and homemade recipes • A dining room that overlooks the beautiful Oneota Valley and accommodates 300-plus guests

Let us help you with your next event. Contact us at 563.387.1395 or email Check us out online at 30

Fall 2015 /

with gears, he’d climb on the engine with confidence and curiosity. Steaming up with Joey is a lot of fun and the peer support is what I needed to get involved. My dad and uncle are patient teachers and advocates for passing along traditions, regardless of gender. While I’m the first woman in my immediate family to get an operating license, familiarity to steam runs thick in the Clauson women. Combined, my mom and Connie have participated in every Steam Engine Days event, well-represented by my mom’s giant jar of admission buttons stretching back to years before my birth. My sister Johanna (pictured, opposite page on right, with Clara) on is an exemplary role model as well. Not one lick afraid of steam cylinder oil, Johanna attended steam school six months pregnant and undaunted by the firebox. In addition to family, my passion for steam stems from an interest in sharing and preserving farming history. I’ve gained a real appreciation for the tedious care belting up to a sawmill requires. Or the extra attention required to ensure the piston lands in the right quadrant to move either forward or reverse. Nothing is automatic and it’s very humbling. Sitting on an all-iron, scalding washing machine during its spin cycle kind of describes operating the Advance Rumely while belted to the saw mill. It doesn’t sound very appealing, but the sweat pays off in logs sawed with care. I’m proud of the history. Do you need to have a license to operate an engine? What does that entail? Requirements for operating steam engines vary by state. In Minnesota, an “Historical Boiler Operators License” is required. Licensure includes passing a written exam, hands-on exam and 50 hours of operating experience with a licensed engineer (including a checklist of completed tasks). Operators are required to display their licenses while operating an engine. It’s really cool to see four generations represented on the Advance Rumely – beginning with J.P. Clauson, my great grandfather. What’s the coolest part about operating a steam engine? Steam whistles are a pretty awesome part of operating an engine. Whistles are more than just fun in parades, they are also used for safety. When working on the sawmill, we toot the whistle for two short bursts to let people know we are starting the engine. There are a whole host of signals indicating different things, but my favorite is the long whistle that signals supper. At the end of a long day’s work, engineers and crew indulge in a sturdy, steam-cooked meal. We put meat, carrots and potatoes into

engine steam boxes in the morning. By evening – we’ve got roast! The last couple of years I’ve been experimenting with corn on the cob by injecting steam into a metal garbage can filled with a few ears. In regard to food, steam has created a fine gathering place for family and friends.

Want more steam? Besides making sure you put HesperMabel Steam Engine Days on your calendar (September 12-13, 2015), you could check out: 32nd Annual Steam Threshing Festival Heritage Park, Forest City, Iowa Sept. 19-20, 2015

Anything else you want to add? Steam engines don’t move very fast (probably 2-3 mph max), but the Advance Rumely weighs 12 tons with water in it. That’s a lot of mass. And there are no brakes. Keep that in mind if you’re standing around and an engine is approaching you – especially downhill!

Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion – largest collection of working steam shovels in the world Held annually Labor Day weekend Really in to it? Head to Steam School! 15th annual is May 21-22, 2016 Forestville, Iowa

One of Aryn’s first dates with Benji was to Steam Engine Days in Hesper-Mabel. Plus, her mother- and father-in-law celebrate pretty much every wedding anniversary there. So, while we don’t have steam engineering in our blood, it’s definitely part of our family history! Steam School for me? Who knows!

Schedule and Special Nights October S






Volunteer Set Up Day

S 31

November S M T NIGHTS OPEN 29





















A drive-through Christmas light display

5 PM–9 PM

Pulpit Rock Campground Decorah Hosted by





























Freewill Donation

October 31 | 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Sign up online to join the team getting the Lights ready for visitors.

BRAND NEW Sneak Peek Night

November 25 | Take this chance to walk through the dazzling park.

Opening Night

November 26 | Finish your turkey dinner, and bring your family to drive through the Lights.

Live Fireworks

November 28 | Starting at 6 p.m. See the Lights, and enjoy a live fireworks display, donated by the Jerry Kelly Family.

Santa’s Last Night

December 23 | Santa is at the Lights every night. Dec 23 is the final time you can visit him. He has a special gift for every child.

Final Night of the Lights

December 26 | The Lights will turn off and volunteers will go home for the last time at 9 p.m.

Donations and sponsorships from this event help fund the mission of Helping Services. For more details on the Lights, volunteering, and sponsors visit: \ Fall 2015







Cucurbita: Squash, pumpkin, zucchini... Luffa: Sometimes called "vegetable sponges" Cucumis: Cucumber & various melons Lagenaria: Mostly inedible gourds Citrullus: Watermelon & others

LUFFA The fully developed luffa fruit is the source of the loofah scrubbing sponge

(had to do it)

War ts aren’t ju st fo witches. They r make gourds e xtr gour(d)geous! a

And more, we bet!

Dippers & Scoops Storage Vessels Napkin Rings Birdhouses

Lagenaria (mostly inedible) gourds are both decorative and useful. You can make them into:

Can’t eat ‘em? No problem.

Remains of gourds used extensively as utensils were found in Egyptian tombs of the Twelfth Dynasty, about 2200 or 2400 B.C.

A gourd is a plant of the family cucurbitaceae consisting of around a hundred genera. The most important:

World’s Heaviest Watermelon (Tennessee, USA, 2013)

350.5 lbs

Who even needs silver?


Approximate number of times “Follow the Drinking Gourd” went through Aryn’s head while making this graphic.

You're super!


Gourds can be used to create instruments like drums, lutes, & sitars. Shaker gourds are one of the earliest musical instruments in history – hollow gourds are covered with a loose netting strung with hundreds of beads. As the beads tap against the gourd, a loud shaker sound is produced. Fun!

Gourds Sound Good!



Largest pumpkin ever (Switzerland, 2014)

2,323 lbs

Put a baby gourd in a square container to make a square gourd? Crazy!

Designer Fruit?!

id to long been sa s a h n o el m efits, Bitter edicinal ben m & l a n io it have nutr ilments! r stomach a especially fo


riftless Gardens

Maintenance & Design

Design Maintenance Installation Plant Sales Hardscape Consultation Education

Jeff Scott . 563-379-1101





Dr. David Gehling & the friendly staff at Decorah Chiropractic take great care of you!


Chiropractic We do our best to make you well. But perhaps more importantly, we do our best to treat you well.

Complete chiropractic services for the entire family.

Schedule your appointment today!

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211 W. Water St. Decorah, IA M.T.W. Fr.Sat 9-5 Thurs 9-8 563-382-8940


his magazine is filled with people who are out living their dreams, making their passion their profession. It’s more than a hobby! Yep, you really can make a living from something that is also fun! (Like making magazines!) In the next several pages, you’ll get inspired by Paula Brown, the creative behind Decorah-based The Goods, where she makes beautiful jewelry, purses, and knitted wear. Then flip the page to check out Rachel Wolf, founder of LüSa Organics, an amazing handmade body care product company out of Viroqua, Wisconsin. You’ll find out that sometimes – especially in Spring Grove-based woodworker Tim Blanski’s case – hoarding a bunch of lovely old wood isn’t a problem, but a wonderful opportunity to make something new (and a living), and how Osage, Iowa’s Lori Biwer-Stewart’s overcomes occasional feelings of doubt and depression to create beauty in this world and stay true to self. Finally, you’ll read about how Yellow River Dairy has the whole Lund family helping out on the farm to make things work (and make goat cheese too). Then, get out there! Want to make your hobby something more? Go for it! Be inspired! We believe in you!

XO – Inspire(d) \ Fall 2015



Photo by Aryn Henning Nichols

goods the


More THAN A HOBBY \ Fall 2015


Photos (unless noted) by Kristine Jepsen

Live Music

at the Hotel LIVE IN THE LOBBY Sept 5: Drew Peterson 6-9 pm



Sept 26: Joel Ward 4-6 pm Oct 3: Tom Bourcier w/ Mark Stumme & Lloyd Bolz 6-9 pm Oct 23: Chris Holme 6-9 pm Nov 7: Nick Foytik 6-9 pm Nov 27: Mike Munson 6-9 pm



Oct 30: Rockin’ Halloween! w/ Delta Routine, Hero Jr. & The Hawkeyes 7:30-11pm


Nov 1: Molly B 2-5 pm Nov 27 & 28: Johnny Rogers Dinner Show Like Hotel Winneshiek on Facebook for additional events & details

Call now to book a stay at the Hotel Winn! • • 104 E. Water St. Decorah, IA • 1.800.998.4164

By Kristine Jepsen


Photo courtesy Paula Brown

f you spend any time in or around Decorah, you probably know the incurable creative behind The Goods by Paula Brown. Paula works her main magic – amazing jewelry, purses, and knitted wear – out of an eclectic gallery/ shop in her rural Decorah home, but you’ll also find her behind the bar at the Hotel Winneshiek in Decorah – her part-time gig – several nights a week. Toward the holidays, you might catch her standing on a chair, styling the displays in the hotel lobby for the annual Gift of Art artisan craft show, an event she founded and sponsors. Or maybe you’ve seen her throw back her blonde head of hair and laugh, revealing a stack of hand-knitted scarves that fit together like bangles, or a riveting necklace of hand-selected turquoise. Ask for her card, and she’ll dig it out of a hand-knitted, felted, and dyed tote. Yup, of her own design. “I make things,” the Dubuque native says with a shrug. “I don’t fit in a box creatively. It’s what people need or what people want,” – she often takes cues from the folks she meets tending bar. “I can get lost in the process” – for example, spending a whole day crafting a wallet of upcycled corduroy to match one of her purses – “how do you stop?” Paula creates her own designs for goods, and then, even when something sells well at craft shows or in her shop, she’ll modify and remake the designs, turning always toward something new. “I want to make things accessible, whether that’s the value of small earrings or a shoulder bag,” she says. “People change. Their interests and tastes change. It gives me a chance to change and evolve, too.” Take the scarf bangles, “Nec Lux,” as she calls them. “I had customers asking me about different textures and colors (story continued on next page)

Want to see more?



Lunch & dinner Monday - Saturday • 563-382-3067

Purl Up & Knit for a Spell Yarn, Knitting & Fiber Art Supplies, Classes, & More! Tues-Fri: 11 am – 5 pm, Sat: 10 am – 4 pm Monday: Drop In & Knit Night 6-8 pm 563-517-1059 •

Movement for Health & Well-Being Change your life today! Contact Diane Sondrol for more information. 563.419.5420 or Small group and private lessons available, all are welcome!

220 Main Street • Charles City, Iowa

• You can visit Paula Brown’s The Goods Studio Store Saturdays, 10am-3pm or by appointment. • The Goods is also a stop on the Northeast Iowa Artists’ Studio Tour October 2-4, 2015 • The annual Gift of Art sale, organized by Paula and featuring six local artists, will be Saturday, December 5, 10 am - 7pm in the Hotel Winneshiek lobby. She also manages the local artwork on display throughout the hotel year-round, including a new collection of her own paintings. Details at

Boutique Shopping for Women & Children Wine Shop • Tea Shop & Frozen Yogurt


Tues-Fri: 10am–6pm . Sat: 9am–4pm . Extended Holiday Hours \ Fall 2015


The Goods Studio Store in rural Decorah, Iowa.


Photo (left) courtesy Paula Brown

of yarns, and I thought, ‘Why wear just one at a time?’” And so, the idea of mixing and matching the narrow bands was born. It’s the same with her purses and tote bags, which she hand-knits or cuts from unique or vintage clothing scavenged from thrift stores. Each bag features a natural emblem – a tree, a bird, or a palette straight out of an Iowa sunset – but the sizes and shapes are unique. “I had moms ask me for a backpack purse – something unique but

Jane Doe We’ll help you decide!

go over down with you to w & Jane will sit he att and it, M rst y’s de ac un m Donlon Phar ram so you can e Medicare prog th to you, in le pla ab ex ail l av e'l ns W options. up a list of pla ing br & ke ta 'll u eds yo n for you, but we we’ll enter the m can’t choose a pla e W . ch ea ed r m fo ake an infor including the costs t it so you can m derstand all abou un u yo rs. re lla su e do ak ur m s & save yo ll meet your need best of all – decision that wi -30 minutes. And lly take about 15 ua us s 15 - Dec. 7) on ct. ati (O ult These cons rollment period en e th g r rin du e anytim ur name & numbe it’s FREE! Stop in ll ahead to add yo ca Or . . on rts ati ult sta cons ent period for a Medicare D when the enrollm ll to remind you ca ’ll we & t lis r to ou DR UG PLA N

durable, that would stay put when you have a kid by the hand and bag full of water bottles and snacks.” She’s big on this kind of function, noting that quality fasteners, clasps, zippers, and finish stitching mean her pieces will live up to living. “My work is meant to be worn. And washed. And worn again,” she says. Any problems? She’ll repair it. And while running a shop from

- Your Pharmacists

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Fall 2015 /

Check out our Art Tour Primer at!

Photo courtesy Paula Brown

her country home might seem removed from mainstream commerce, it’s a deliberate step toward making a living from her artistic tendencies. Since starting at a flea market her first year of high school, Paula has traveled thousands of miles and hung thousands of handmade goods on her 10-foot-by-10foot display at art shows across the region, even as her family grew to include her husband and two sons. She’s also built a website and shipped items to customers, but none of those outlets afforded the joy of watching art transform someone in person, she says, having them see right where it was made, amid her hand-drawn design sketches and scraps of fabric on her cutting table. “I love seeing customers touch a fabric, or feel a smooth pendant or handmade button, or try something on – and then there it is – that joy,” she says. “That’s why I do it. It’s me saying, ‘I made this just for you.’” Kristine Jepsen

Mark Your Calendars

Art Festivals & Studio Tours this Fall Festival of Arts Wausau, Wisconsin September 12-13

NE Iowa Artists’ Studio Tour Decorah, Iowa area October 2–4, 2015

Autumn Artistry Osage, Iowa September 19, 2015

Fresh Art Tour Lake Pepin & Chippewa Valley October 2-4, 2015

Driftless Area Art Festival Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin September 19-20, 2015

Fall Art Tour Southwest Wisconsin October 16-18, 2015

Northeast Iowa’s premier wedding destination venue! Spend your special day in an elegant yet casual setting overlooking the Oneota Valley and the Upper Iowa River. Enjoy the Amish-built post and beam barn and restored one room school house – along with spacious outdoor patios and beautiful gardens.

Decorah, Iowa . . 563-419-8902


ORGANICS RACHEL WOLF By Sara Friedl-Putnam • Photos courtesy LüSa Organics


Fall 2015 /

Rachel Wolf has been called many things – “rock star,” the “bee’s knees,” “genius,” and, yes, even “master of all things natural and pure.” As the owner and founder of LüSa Organics – a Viroqua, Wisconsin-based body care product company that she runs with her husband, Pete – she could easily let such lofty praise go to her head. Instead, Rachel keeps it real when describing herself. “I’m a writer, a mother, a homeschooler, an herbalist, a homesteader, and an all-around crafty lady,” she says with a laugh. She also happens to be a firm proponent of the pursuit of happiness. “Life is supposed to be fun,” says Rachel, a former environmental educator who cooked up her first batch of soap (unscented honey oatmeal) with a group of friends in 1997. “You can choose the safe path, but if there is something that speaks to your heart, it’s always worth taking a risk to pursue it.” And she has the life experience to prove it. Rachel was pregnant with her second child in 2006 when she and her husband moved from Baraboo, Wisconsin, to Viroqua to focus their energy on raising their children – son Sage and the then not-yet-arrived daughter Lupine – and on growing LüSa Organics, which was operating under two names, Queen Bee’s Earthly Delights and Baby Moon. “Pete quit his job as a solar system electrician, so we took an enormous leap trusting that the net would catch us,” she says. “But it felt right – it felt like the net would be there – and it was. We have never regretted taking that leap.” Today LüSa Organics offers a full line of handcrafted body care products – including soaps, balms, exfoliants, moisturizers, and sugar scrubs that smell – and feel – great. Even better? All LüSa products are made from ingredients that are organic and/or sourced locally; all its fragrances are created from essential oils (lavender, patchouli, peppermint, eucalyptus, and citronella, to name just a few); and all its coloring comes from natural pigments, herbs, and clay. The sunflower oil used in LüSa soaps (22 varieties and counting) even hails from an organic farm just down the road.


(Continued on next page) \ Fall 2015


“Our products are of consistently high quality because we never compromise on ingredients or techniques,” says Rachel, whose own favorite essential oil derives from calendula, a plant with a long history of use as a healing herb. “Our customers want to know what the products are made of, how they work, and who’s making them. That’s part of the reason I write my ‘Clean’ blog – I want to be trusted by our customers and transparent in our business operations.” In the blog, she invites readers into her family’s daily lives. Read through the entries­ – which date back to 2008 – and you’ll learn, for starters, how Lupine makes jam, Sage taps a maple tree, and Rachel herself perfects peaceful parenting. (Some of her basic tenets? Forgive, accept, and love yourself).

LüSa Organics products are available in stores throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin as well as online at Each year the company donates 10 percent of its profits to organizations generating positive global change, like Sow the Seeds, Heifer International, and the La Leche League. If you visit the LüSa website, be sure to also take a peek at Rachel’s engaging blog, “Clean.”

open 7 days grocery • deli • coffee bar • bakery • health & wellness • meat & seafood 519 1 ST





315 5 TH AVENUE L A C ROSSE 608.784.5798

Fall 2015 /


good. honest. local.

This refreshing transparency – as well as her company’s unwavering commitment to quality – are big reasons why LüSa has generated such a passionate customer base worldwide. Word of mouth has landed many of its products – like its bestselling, cloth-diapersafe Booty Balm and Baby Wipe Juice – on the shelves of retailers in most states (though not yet Iowa!) and even as far away as Australia. And while LüSa Organics continues to grow in product sales and reputation, don’t think for a minute Rachel is content to rest on her laurels. To the contrary, she is constantly dreaming up, tinkering with, and testing potential new additions to the LüSa product line. “I’ve always been intrigued by the chemical alchemy of turning simple, safe ingredients into warm, luxurious body care products,” she says. “It’s satisfying, and somewhat thrilling, to know we can create something new with not much more than a good idea, a few quality ingredients, and our bare hands.” - Sara Friedl Putnam


cereal box paper bag paper napkins streamers beads pipe cleaners paper punch glue tape

step-by-step instructions at



granary the



Fall 2015 /

Est. 1961

People you can trust. Quality you can depend on.



Monday: 9am - 8pm Tues - Fri: 9am - 5pm Saturday: 9am - 3pm


3 goldsmiths 1 graduate gemologist 1 watchmaker 2 diamond setters

31 West Main Street Waukon, Iowa 800.932-7028 • 563.568-3661

Fall 2015



563-382-2700 • 510 MONTGOMERY ST, DECORAH, IA or find us on Facebook


SALES SERVICE PARTS We service all brands.

Story & Photos by Kristine Jepsen

302 College Drive, Decorah, IA 563-382-4856 • M-F 8-5 • Sat 8-3

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Fall 2015 /


istoric dream home you’d finally saved up for? Check. Corporate tech jobs and a community of friends provisioning a predictable retirement? Check. Logical next-step: Give it all up for an acreage in the rural Driftless, funded by woodworking skills dated to junior high? Wait. What? “It’s true,” Tim Blanski of Granary Woodshops says. “We hadn’t been in our dream house in St. Paul nine months – a house we’d walked past for years and saved to buy – when an ad for this acreage caught my eye in the paper.” One tour of the 1880 brick farmhouse and outbuildings at 18666 County Road 4, north of Spring Grove, Minnesota, had both Tim and his wife, Lisa Catton, testing fate. “We got back in the car, and she asked, ‘Do we make an offer tonight, or tomorrow?’” The problem was, they’d have to make a different living to make the move. As a marketing executive with an eye for salable detail, Tim set up a woodworking shop in the acreage’s original granary and turned his attention to the growing trend of artisan crafts made from reclaimed antique wood. “At first I made just gift boxes, picture frames. I’m not God’s gift to woodworking – this was stuff straight out of your average school shop class,” he says with a laugh.

John Hodgman

Friday, September 25 at 8 p.m. Co-presented by Majestic Live

Jake Shimabukuro

Saturday, October 17 at 8 p.m. Co-presented by True Endeavors

09/26 10/06 10/10 10/20 10/24 10/31 11/02 11/03

Zappa Plays Zappa Los Lonely Boys Leon Russell An evening with Lucero Presented by Sailor Jerry Igudesman & Joo An intimate evening with Matisyahu Colin Hay Co-Presented by Majestic Live Arlo Guthrie Alice’s Restaurant 50th Anniversary

221. E. Washington St. Iowa City | | (319) 688-2653

Driftless Area Art Festival Lisa, who continued contract tech consulting part-time, pitched in with varnishing and managing the fledgling business’s public relations, and they peddled their first goods at craft shows across the Upper Midwest. Soon, Tim found his niche: a rare patience for not only salvaging historic barns and sheds but in working the wood just enough to let its story shine. “All my wood is trouble,” he says, explaining that he’ll spend days matching up weather-worn grooves at the mitered corners of a box, or travel a state over to have a one-ton white oak burl sawn into slabs with the live edge (the outermost bark or surface) intact. “I’m giving people the story of this wood, its history,” he says, “and that means not shearing it down to its smooth heart. I leave the saw marks, the nicks and grooves mice have worn a passageway through.” He also believes in letting the material’s colors create their own mosaic. “I don’t paint or stain anything. I work with the texture of the wood’s original paint or patina.” Now specializing in custom furniture, particularly farm tables and decorative side pieces, Tom will build four or more buildings into a single piece: walnut for the base, cherry for the upright table trestle, rare 1-inch-by-12-inch barn siding across the top, oak trim fumed to a deep mahogany color by the ammonia of its previous installation: a horse stall. He also aims to give his furniture a full life of its own, calling in the mechanical expertise of other craftsmen to make the leaves in his tables sturdy, for example. “This is mortise and tenon,” he says,

Celebrating the Visual, Performing, and Culinary Arts of the Driftless Area

Saturday, September 19 10:00—5:00 Sunday, September 20 10:00—4:00

Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin 80 Visual Artists Live Music—Local Foods Free Admission and Parking

(Continued on next page) \ Fall 2015


L E T F O R E V E R B E D E L AY E D oil paintings by ADAM PAUL JOHNSON GALLERY through October 11, 2015 | FREE!

pointing to tiny rectangles inset in a table’s edge, “and these hold a single oak bridge across the leaves when fully extended,” he says, jigging a discrete set of polymer tension knobs just out of sight. “Reclaimed, antique wood is some of the sturdiest, most valuable wood to grow on earth,” he says. “Its worth is not just in looking pretty. It’s in doing a job, part of daily life.” As his finished pieces have expanded in size and notoriety – it’s been nearly 15 years since that first handmade gift box – Tim has pared back art show travel, preferring instead to host prospective customers at the farm, where they can walk with him through 107 W. WATER ST, DECORAH, IOWA OPEN MON-SAT 10 AM - 5 PM

UPCOMING GALLERY: watercolor by Catherine Hearding Oct. 17 - Dec. 20, 2015 SAVE THE DATE: Swingsation Annual Benefit Gala SAT, Nov. 7, 2015 ST. MANE THEATRE: Ryan Lee SAT, Sept. 19, 2015 | OboeBass! SAT, Oct. 24, 2015 Galleries & Art Loft Lodging 103 Parkway N St. Mane Theatre 206 Parkway Ave N 507.467.2446


Fall 2015 /





1. Beginning Drawing: Sept. 12-13 2. Watercolor/Ink: Oct. 24-25 • 563-387-6782

drop-ins welcome!

Molly Lesmeister, instructor

beginning, continuing, & gentle yoga 110 Washingon Street. Decorah, Iowa . 319.270.4592 Holistic Health Solutions: • Homeopathy • Herbal Remedies Quantum Biofeedback • BioEnergetic Assessments

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Patti Bartsch, M.A., Ph.D. Traditional Naturopath & BioEnergetic Practitioner . Onalaska, WI . 608-799-8326

his neatly stacked trove of woods in his barn and express exactly what they envision for their table or chair or entryway mirror frame. He makes a steady stream of contacts through his website,, and on, where clients are looking for something a little extraordinary. “I started out woodworking to make a living, almost a desperate living,” Tim says. “And instead I found a passion. Creativity came pouring out of me. I get up every day excited about what I get to make next.”



Kristine Jepsen understands the compulsion to ‘make things,’ as evidenced by whole drawers in her home of light-gage wire, glitter, beads, fabric scraps, papers and, especially, writing instruments. She’s proud to call the Driftless home, where creatives are far from the exception.

Learn more about Tim’s work at or by setting up a visit to The Granary Woodshops in rural Spring Grove.

ACUPUNCTURE • QIGONG • HERBAL MEDICINE • 563.382.9309 • 309 W. Broadway, Decorah \ Fall 2015



Fall 2015 /

Kindred Spirits by Lori Biwer-Stewart


250 artists. 7 days a week. 1 gallery.



Story & Photo by Sara Friedl-Putnam • Artwork by Lori Biwer-Stewart


ike many artists, Lori Biwer-Stewart discovered her calling very early in life. “I’ve loved to express myself artistically for as long as I can remember,” she says, recalling long, happy hours doodling and drawing as a child growing up on a farm outside Elma, Iowa. “It’s the only thing I ever thought I could do really well.” That conviction – and a naturally curious mind – led Lori to a commercial design degree at Hawkeye Institute of Technology in Waterloo, Iowa, and, a few years later, a basic printmaking class at MacNider Art Museum in Mason City. Armed with an abundance of natural talent, an expansive library of reference books, a deep love of the art form, and, yes, two printing presses, she began making (and selling) linocut prints out of her home in Osage, Iowa, more than 20 years ago. Today she is known across the Midwest for her crisp, whimsical work, which explores themes like youth and innocence, relationships, and spiritual awakenings through the use of symbolic images like birds, doors, or keys. “The carving process is very therapeutic for me and has gotten me through many bad moments,” Lori says, candidly referring to her longtime struggle with depression. “Some people can write well or tell interesting stories – I much prefer to speak through the images and symbolism in my linocuts.” Popularized by the likes of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso in the early- to mid-1900s, linocut is a deceptively simple, relatively inexpensive “relief” printmaking technique in which the artist uses a knife or gouge to carve a design into a


(Continued on next page)

303 W. Water St • Decorah, Iowa •563.382.4941

Luxury salon & day spa Hair salon + Manicures & Pedicures Facials •Massages • Makeup


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Open Monday-Saturday \ Fall 2015


Clockwise, from above: Me and You; FIreflies; Shiny Things; and Fulcrum - the Nature of Balance.

FALL FUN in Charles City

MARK YOUR CALENDARS Visit or check out our Facebook page for full list of participating businesses. 54

Fall 2015 /

sheet of linoleum (sometimes mounted on a wood block), inks the linoleum with a brayer (i.e. roller), and impresses the image onto paper either by hand or with a press. It was the ability to use the technique to create bold, decorative designs that first piqued Lori’s interest. “Linocut printing enables artistic expression like no other art form – the cut of the knife creates a primitive feel that only adds to the intent and intensity of the message being communicated,” she says. “Sometimes my work is dark and sometimes it’s fun, but it’s always thought-provoking; whatever the image is, my goal is always to make the viewer think and question.” She does exactly that in pieces like “Me and You,” in which a floating red balloon tied to an empty yellow chair symbolizes the yin and yang found in so many relationships…and “Fireflies,” in which a jar of fireflies nestled among wildflowers conjures up childhood memories of capturing the magical insects on hot summer nights… and “Shiny Things,” in which crows hording small gleaming objects suggest the tendency of so many to collect things they don’t really need. The three works are among more than 70 linocuts currently displayed on her website, www.lbstewart. com. Her always eye-catching work has earned Lori, who also works as a graphic artist at Curries in Mason City, more than a few awards at art festivals over the past two decades. Yet, despite the accolades, she admits she still struggles with the challenges of “getting out there” and marketing her work, especially through social media. She encourages other artists just starting out to stay on top of current social-media trends and to do what she has done from the start – stay true to self. “Do what really interests you – whatever subject that is, whatever medium that is,” she says. “You will never find joy in your art if you are just creating what you think people will buy.” Biwer-Stewart will display her work at the Wausau, Wisconsin, Festival of Arts on September 12-13 and the Autumn Artistry in Osage on September 19. Her work is also available in galleries across the Driftless Region and online at

Sara Friedl-Putnam has never considered herself particularly “artsy” or “craftsy,” but after being inspired by the talented women she profiled in this issue is seriously contemplating making a few gifts this coming holiday season.




WHERE YOUR ART HAS A FLIP SIDE! Each hang-able, frame-able, gift-able issue also features the work of a regional writer.


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Yellow River Dairy will be among the more than 100 distinctive Upper Midwest growers and artisans showcased at the Second Annual Feast! Festival and tradeshow December 4-5, at the Rochester Civic Center. This unique two-day food event begins on Friday, Dec. 4, with a tradeshow just for food professionals. The tradeshow invites farmers, growers, food buyers, artisans, chefs, and other food industry professionals to register and participate in an exclusive buyer-seller, peer-topeer forum and networking experience. On Saturday, Dec. 5, Feast! transforms into a tasty food festival and marketplace for the general public. Feast! is a harvest marketplace of jury-selected food, representing a great variety of specialties – from basic to unique, to over-the-top. The event will also include chef demonstrations, food making mini-workshops, and activities for kids. Admission to the public festival is $5/adults and $2/children. An additional charge and I.D. will be required for sampling local beer, wine, hard cider, and spirits. For more information about attending Feast! Local Foods Marketplace as a consumer, an exhibitor, or food-buying professional, visit or email Devon at To keep in touch with the latest updates, ‘like’ Feast! Local Food Network on Facebook, follow @Local_Feast on Twitter, and tag it up: #localFEAST.

River Dairy

Story by Kelli Boylen • Photos by Jessica Rilling / Northeast Iowa RC&D


ellow River is more than just a river in Iowa. Its land is filled with beautiful valleys, rolling hills, the 8,300-acre Yellow River State Forest, and one 80-acre goat farm called Yellow River Dairy. Pat Lund and her husband, Don, settled in rural Monona, Iowa, more than 25 years ago, and started on a farming path a little less traditional than many others in Northeast Iowa. Much of the family participates in the running of Yellow River Dairy – Pat, Don, and sons, Tim and Daniel, and daughter Deborah included – but they all report to the real bosses: the goats.


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“Baling hay, milking, feeding babies, kidding season, showing at the Iowa State fair, cold winter nights and hot summer days are familiar memories for all four kids.” – Pat Lund

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d M oca A R l f o oA C KETPL


“The farm is actually two parts: The goats and their feed, and everything else,” the Lunds write on their website, yellowriverdairy. net. Yellow River Dairy has three breeds of goats – Saanens, Alpines, and Toggenbergs – chosen for their unique milk flavors and cold-weather hardiness. “The Saanens and Toggenbergs are Swiss breeds, and tend to be somewhat intelligent and easy to manage,” they continue. “The Alpines are a French breed, very hardy but also very independent, and forever the first ones to test any fence.” It was about 25 years ago that Pat and her husband, Don, decided to give goat farming a try. When Pat was deciding how to work at home while raising their then-young children, she knew she didn’t want cows or pigs on their farm. She always enjoyed the few goats they kept around as pets, and after meeting a few dairy goat producers at the county fair, they bought a herd and starting milking. “Our children have been a part of the farm since their childhood, and all still participate to varying degrees,” Pat says. “Baling hay, milking, feeding babies, kidding season, showing at the Iowa State fair, cold winter nights and hot summer days are familiar memories for all four kids.” They started shipping their milk to Mt Sterling Co-op Creamery, a member-owned and operated cooperative in Crawford County, Wisconsin, where they’ve been co-op members and helpers ever since. But it was over a decade – 16 years, to be exact – before they decided to make cheese commercially. For years they drank milk straight from the bulk tank and made cheese in their farmhouse kitchen. “Deciding to take the step into commercial production was a natural fit,” Pat explains. “It was simply a continuation of the kitchen cheesemaking that our family had been experimenting with for years.” It was almost three years from that decision ‘til their first log of commercial cheese. They searched carefully for the equipment that they needed – looking for bargains along the way –worked closely with their milk inspector – asking for advice along the way – and were able to create a micro processing area in an existing building on their rural Monona farm. In one day, they can process up to 1,000 pounds of milk into cheese, which results in about 140 pounds of cheese. The milk is first pasteurized, then cooled. Culture is added, and after the

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necessary set time, rennet is added. Once the cheese and whey separate, the process splits depending on what type of cheese is going to be made. Pat says cheesemaking days usually last about eight hours, and packaging takes place the next day. Their very first chévre sale was at a Saturday morning farmers market in Decorah in the spring of 2009. They later added the markets in Cedar Rapids and La Crosse (they still participate in these two) and you can also purchase Yellow River Dairy cheese locally at the Oneota Food Co-op in Decorah and the People’s Food Co-ops in Rochester and La Crosse. Pat especially enjoys hearing from customers at farmers markets. “They will tell you what they like and don’t like,” she says. This feedback has helped the Lunds grow their product line to include 23 varieties of seven types of product. Yes, you read that right! Goat cheese is often referred to as chévre, and many people think there is only one kind. But the fact is that goat milk, just like cows’ milk, can be made into many different types of cheese. Yellow River Dairy makes their milk into cheese “logs”, a semisoft product dubbed “cracker-cut logs” since a slice nicely tops a cracker. These logs are available in plain, smoked, peppercorn, dill, lemon-pepper, and lavender. They also make plain, dill, and red pepper cheese curds. Their traditional soft chévre is made in a variety of flavors from plain to blueberry mint. And they make a goat cheese dip also available in several flavors, and a crumbled goat feta.

Their son, Tim, is the main cheesemaker, handling most of the cheesemaking operations during the summer months. During the school year – when milk production is typically lower – Tim is a music teacher at an area school and Pat picks up the cheesemaking title. The Lunds milk their 120 goats seasonally, from February to November, grazing them on pasture as much as possible, and have established their own cheese route, selling product to 25 stores in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. It is indeed a family affair: Daughter-in-law, Tara, helps with packaging and cheese production, while Daniel, Deborah, and David help with chores when Don and Pat want a break from the farm work. Don farms with Pat and handles the cheese route, supports the on-farm processing, and puts in many hours of work to help keep things running smoothly. “You have to be creative and inventive to make it all work,” Pat says. For those just wanting to give cheesemaking a try, though, Pat says, “Making cheese is easy to learn and there are plenty of online sources for reference. Just get started!”

Kelli Boylen lives in the unglaciated hills of Allamakee County with her family. She is a freelance writer and a licensed massage therapist.



In 2013, the USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program issued a grant with the goal to develop producer profiles, or miniature biographies, of local producers as a means of personifying and promoting Iowa farmers markets. Northeast RC&D was responsible for selecting 10 producers to represent this area. The photographs - shot by Northeast Iowa native Jessica RIlling – have been developed into posters and large prints that are and have been showcased in businesses across Northeast Iowa. They were also made into greeting cards that are available at area markets, local retailers, and online at northeastiowarcd. com/product-category/cards. All proceeds will further promotion of local producers and farmers markets. Northeast Iowa RC&D’s goal was to capture heart and life of Eastern Iowa’s local food growers, show the high quality of their products, and help local food consumers understand where the food they buy at local farmers markets originates.

Find Harmony in Your Life





It was a perfect late-May afternoon on the Iowa City Ped Mall when we first met Jessica and Derek Balsley. Jessica – having just presented at EntreFest, Iowa’s awesome annual entrepreneurial gathering – was now enjoying a moment in the sun. The same could be said for the Osage, Iowa, couple’s online-based company, The Art of Education, which provides “ridiculously relevant professional development to art educators”. But whoa! What does that even mean? “I was working towards my masters degree, and discovered it was nearly impossible to find relevant professional development opportunities out there for art teachers,” she writes on their website, “Through this personal experience, the idea for The Art of Education was born.” Jessica clearly saw the opportunity to focus on creating great on-line professional development tools for elementary and high school art educators. Coming from an “artistically supportive” family, she went ahead and resigned from her job teaching 600+ Ankeney school district students and she and Derek – whose background was already rooted in start-up type businesses – got right to it, launching the Art of Education (AOE) out into the world.


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Jessica & Derek Balsley

The Art of Education • Osage, Iowa By Benji Nichols • All photos courtesy The Art of Education

Oh, and they also decided to move back to small-town Iowa. And were growing their family. Yes, life was busy, but that was important – they could (and can) relate to their customers. “As a former K-5 Art Teacher, current higher-ed instructor, wife, mother, and entrepreneur, I understand what you are going through every day,” she writes to her customers online. “AOE exists to help empower you to thrive in your profession, to reignite your passion for teaching, and help you discover that one small tweak you can make in your teaching to change your life and career for the better.” The Art of Education provides web-based services: a digital magazine, online higher education for art teachers, and an online conference model – the latter of which had never been done in the art education world. The idea has taken flight, and the couple is now moving their several-year-old business from a home office into a new space in downtown Osage. And while the mix of business owner, husband, wife, parent, and boss can be a real juggle, Jessica and Derek wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Basics: Name: Jessica and Derek Balsley Age: 30 and 32 Business: The Art of Education • Years in Business: 4 Tell us about the “leap” moment. When/how did you decide to jump in and become your own boss? The process was very gradual. The idea started as Jessica’s blog for art teachers, and we quickly realized we could provide more value if we offered additional products and services which all fulfill the same mission: To provide “ridiculously relevant professional development to art educators.” Derek’s background in entrepreneurship, marketing and business propelled the small venture into something scaleable. For us, starting a business was something we did in the evenings and weekends while both working full time jobs. We hoped it would one day allow us to move back home to Osage, which it did! We enjoy working on our business, and it’s truly a family affair. Within two years, we had both quit our day jobs to do this full-time and now have a team of 26 people who work satellite for us. What’s the best thing about being your own boss? The freedom and flexibility for our family is really great. Some weeks we might put in 60+ hours and work all weekend long, but we can also quit working on the next Monday at 2 pm and go out on the boat if we want. As a mom, I enjoy picking up my child and not ever missing her events because of work. There is no ‘normal’ day, but it all seems normal to us.

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We also enjoy the fast pace in which we can accomplish things working as our own boss. We don’t have to wait for long approval processes and policies that stifle us. If we decide to do something, we can hit the ground running immediately and live or die on our own intuition. This fast pace and accountability is important to any startup and has really impacted our success. (Continued on next page) \ Fall 2015


“Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” – Steve Jobs

How about the worst? It can be hard to get away from the business. It comes up in our dinner conversations, family vacations, and everyday life. The business is a big part of our life, and there is no hiding from it, it can be difficult. Up until now, we’ve been working from home, but it’s time to get an office outside our home, to attempt to gain some work-life balance. We are excited for this change.

Was there ever a hurdle where you just thought, “I can’t do this?” How did you overcome it? For us, hiring the very first person was very difficult. I had the impression that ‘no one could do the job like me,’ but we quickly realized this was the only way to grow. A more focused employee can take the task and go deeper than I ever could. We are all stronger together. I think any business, no matter how large or small, can benefit from delegation in some way. We now live by the motto: “Only do what only you can do.” It helps us refocus our efforts on big-picture thinking, growth, and new-product development while letting our talented team members execute better than we ever could on the every day tasks of running the business.

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Any mentors/role models you look to/have looked to? We believe that our mentors should change as we grow and change. We learn fast and adapt quickly. As we outgrow learning resources we try to have new websites and coaches to follow that will match where we are (or want to be.) ‘Growing out’ of your mentors is a good thing, because you know you are pushing yourself to the next level and need something new to break out of your comfort zone. What’s the one thing you wish you had known before you started? You don’t need to ‘have all the answers’ to move forward with something. You can make a decision, and then find a way to make it happen. We’ve learned this over time, and without it, we couldn’t have grown as quickly, both personally and professionally. To have no fear. This is your life. It can be fun, it can be terrifying, but you are the only one who can shape your own life. We feel by starting a business we have taken our life into our own hands in all areas, and it’s empowering. How do you manage your life/work balance? This is a constant struggle, but one thing that works well is setting some boundaries. I don’t like to talk about ‘business’ before breakfast or after 9 pm. This allows a bit of time to ‘just be.’ I don’t check my email during these times, either. We also recently moved to the country. This natural outlet has proven to be wonderful for us. It allows us an instant chance to step away from the computer and go 180 degrees in the other direction. What keeps you inspired? Any quotes that keep you going? One thing that keeps us inspired is knowing we are changing the world, and accepting the power we have, as two small people with an idea, to do so. When people tell us how our services have truly changed their life for the better, we know Check out the ever-awesome the mission is important and we Slow Hustle podcast for never regret going down this path. more fun interviews with We’ve discovered something Jessica (episode 22) and Derek (episode 12), and great that I think most students will insights into how the couple never hear from their teachers, has built their fascinating and and most adults will never purpose-driven business. hear from popular media. That business, regardless of how it is usually portrayed, is most notably a powerful way to improve the world. To make a difference in the lives of our fellow man. We leverage our business to make an impact for the better… and we make a good living as a result. Talk about a win-win scenario! One of our favorite quotes, from Steve Jobs, is: “Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” Life as an entrepreneur, for us, isn’t something we will be leaving anytime soon. We enjoy the lifestyle, we enjoy the leadership and pressure that comes with owning a business, and I imagine in our lifetime we will start many more businesses, both individually, and as a family.



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Marvin Wicks • Interviewed by friend Becky Olafsen

Becky and her husband, Peter, frequently share the pew with Marvin at Greenfield Lutheran in Harmony, Minnesota. With a sparkling smile and laughing shoulders, Marvin comments on the world and weather until the service begins. However, Marvin is sometimes absent from that pew because he is in the church cockpit, running the videotaping and audio controls. Marvin is no stranger to a control panel, being a United States Air Force veteran of 23-year’s service as a fighter pilot during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. This “gentle gentleman” is also a veteran of the agricultural conflicts of the Driftless Area. After serving all over the U.S. and around the world, Marvin came back to the area and farmed near Eyota, Minnesota with his wife and children. After 23 more years of service on the farm, he and his wife retired to Harmony. In retirement, Marvin has been active as an ARP tax preparer, a chip carver in the Norwegian traditional style, and as a volunteer with the Winneshiek County and Harmony Historical Societies. He has studied many local historical events, but when asked about the most interesting, he replied, “The removal of the Winnebago Indians from the area. They were removed from Wisconsin and promised a permanent home in Northeast Iowa. Then the United States government decided to move them to Minnesota to allow white families to settle in the area. An enormous logistical undertaking to move thousands of Indians, animals, and wagons hundreds of miles. A sad chapter in our history, but a fascinating story.” What is the best advice anyone ever gave you? As part of my military training, ”Your power is in your ability to decide.” What did you want to be when you grew up? A pilot. At the age of 10-12 years it was a great event to see an airplane in the sky. The entire family would be out in the yard watching as one “puttered” by. I was lucky enough to live my dream. I got my private pilot’s license in Decorah at age 17 in 1945, and I began Air Force training two years later. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you? A bible for hope and care of the mind, a parachute for shelter from the elements, and a large knife to aid in survival. I guess military training stays with you. Try to describe yourself in one sentence. Always concerned, maybe even worried, for the unexpected, which results in my detailed planning, which leads to anticipation and pleasure as events unfold.

Do you know someone you’d love to interview for this page? Let us know!

If you could eat anything every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Norwegian desserts six days a week with English plum pudding on Sunday. I grew up with Norwegian pastries, and England is one of the places I was stationed. What have you learned in your lifetime? As you meet people from such varied backgrounds, it is amazing to me how much we are all the same. I think our travels and living around the world have added to the realization of all the good things available in our own backyard, the Driftless Area. Of all the places you have visited which one stands out? I would love to revisit the ruins in Athens and at Leptis Magna, an abandoned Roman ruins on the north coast of Libya. The significance of what these people accomplished so many years ago brings to mind our insignificance as we rush through our busy lives. What is a favorite memory? All my favorite memories revolve around my family and all the places we lived. But, the special memories begin on my wedding day after several months of separation during the Korean War. Often asked where I met my wife, I say I never did, meet her, that is. We grew up together on nearby family farms south of Burr Oak, Iowa. Our wedding day, beautiful sunshine, surrounded by happy family and friends, the pastor telling me to visualize my bride on a pedestal. After 59 years with her, four years without her, I carry that vision still.

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