Inspire(d) Spring 2015

Page 1







NO. 41 • Spring 2015





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

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SPRING 2015 contents



what we’re loving right now


it’s (no) Tiny Circus!


paper project: UNICorn piñata


Java john’s mary klimesh


science, you’re super: compost!


sign up alert: free garden series


go big: andy stoll & amanda west


how to stay in touch with siblings


Sum of your business: peter awad


all recipes are home


Mississippi mirth: irish food!


featured on the web


Probit: betty nelson


...and more! ON THE COVER:


Aryn doesn’t have “make unicorn piñata” on her 35 before 35 list, but she may have to write it in (and then cross it off, because: dream realized)! She had lots of fond memories resurface of various paper maché projects from her past as she and Rox worked on Miss Lily (Roxie’s name for her). Learn how to make her at! Cover photo by Aryn Henning Nichols \ Spring 2015


Center Stage Series


An original theatrical experience about food, family, and the comfort of home

Barn Studies 2, flickr user Bryan Pocius, CC BY 2.0

All Recipes Are Home Sat • April 11

7:30 p.m. Tickets $27, $25, $15 Available March 12

Created by Working Group Theatre Written and directed by Sean Christopher Lewis Live music by the Awful Purdies

Commissioned by Hancher / The University of Iowa, Center Stage Series / Luther College, and Grinnell College

Center for Faith and Life Luther College, Decorah, Iowa

• Get your tickets at the Luther College Ticket Office • • (563) 387-1357 • A heartfelt ovation to all of our performance and media sponsors for investing in the arts for our community! 2014–15 Center Stage Sponsors Luther College Diversity Council The Decorah Newspapers


Media Supporters

Decorah Newspapers

From the Editor Be the unicorn you wish to see. I repeated this phrase to myself a lot as we made this spring magazine. What does that mean, exactly? It’s pretty simple: Imagine the life you want most of all – the one you think maybe isn’t possible. Who runs that magical life? The unicorn. Be the unicorn. (That doesn’t sound simple? Humor me…) For me, that starts with my work. I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing, which is totally amazing to me, but I want to keep improving and growing. Who knows where things will end up, but I like to imagine events like this spring’s EntreFEST – Iowa’s largest entrepreneur conference – and the folks behind it, Andy Stoll and Amanda West, could help me get there. Andy and Amanda have had a hand in many (many!) of the awesome entrepreneurial projects/advancements happening in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area and beyond. We caught up with them (pg. 34) to chat about EntreFEST, the second year of Iowa Startup Accelerator, and all the other projects on their plates right now (Vault Coworking, Rise of the Rest road trip, Seed Here Studio, etc., etc., etc.)! Speaking of cool businesses, Decorah’s Peter Awad has launched a new podcast called Slow Hustle to help fellow entrepreneurs through the ups and downs of being your own boss. He shared some great ideas and insights for this issue’s Sum of Your Business. Sara Friedl-Putnam got to find a little (but not tiny!) bit of magic through the touring troupe, Tiny Circus. They came to town this past winter to make a stop-animation film about reusing and recycling (hooray!) that will premiere at the Oneota Film Festival this March (pg. 14). Coincidentally, there’s another production premiering in Decorah this spring at Luther’s Center Stage Series: All Recipes are Home! Benji Nichols chatted with writer and director Sean Lewis as well as Katie Roche from Iowa City’s the Awful Purdies, whose music will accompany the brand-new theatrical piece. Both Lewis and the Purdies came to Northeast Iowa last summer to collect material and stories for the production, which was commissioned by Luther College, Grinnell College, and the University of Iowa (pg. 52). And while it might not seem all that magical to some, our Science, You’re Super this issue never fails to amaze us. Compost! Banana peels to soil! Kristine Jepsen schools us on the dirty business, and gives us some hot tips (pun intended) on making a better pile (compost, not laundry) at home (pg. 28). Finally, few things are more magical than mothers – celebrate yours by reaching out to your siblings with our tips (pg. 43), leprechauns – you can read about the one that stole poor Jim McCaffrey’s Guinness cake that he made for this issue’s Irish feast (pg. 58), Mary Klimesh’s dumplings and chocolate cake – she’s our featured Chef on the Block (pg. 22), and grandmas and granddaughters laughing at lunch – read Sarah Rattenborg’s interview with her grandma, Betty Nelson, for the spring probituary (pg. 66). And, of course, don’t miss OUR MOST EPIC PAPER PROJECT EVER! It’s a unicorn. It’s you. And you should definitely make it a reality. Take the leap. Live your magical life. Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols P.S. (The unicorn also happens to be a piñata, which you could totally make for Cinco de Mayo. But you are NOT a piñata. XOXO!) P.P.S. Yes, siblings, I know I’m the worst at keeping in touch. Planning to take my own advice on pg 43 this spring! Love you!

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 Kopperud Jepsen / contributor Sara Friedl-Putnam / contributor Jim McCaffrey / Mississippi Mirth

Inspire(d) Magazine is published quarterly by Inspire(d) Media, LLC, 412 Oak Street, Decorah, Iowa, 52101. This issue is dated Spring 2015 issue 41, 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

Whatever your financial goals ... We’ll help you reach them.

Thrivent Financial offers a full range of products and services to help you achieve financial security, including: • Life insurance • Annuities • Mutual funds • Retirement options • Health insurance We’ll create a financial strategy that reflects your goals and values.

Thrivent Financial was named one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” by Ethisphere Institute from 2012-2014.

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

Insurance products issued or offered by Thrivent Financial, the marketing name for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Appleton, WI. Not all products are available in all states. Securities and investment advisory services are offered through Thrivent Investment Management Inc., 625 Fourth Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55415, a FINRA and SIPC member and a wholly owned subsidiary of Thrivent. Thrivent Financial representatives are registered representatives of Thrivent Investment Management Inc. They are also licensed insurance agents/producers of Thrivent. For additional important information, visit

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What We’re


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People you can trust. Quality you can depend on.

Let’s go to the Sock Hop! KDEC Radio in Decorah has been bringing the jams to local airwaves for 70 years, and last summer they were officially inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Music Association hall of fame! The station has been gearing up for a shindig ever since – well, actually a Sock Hop! That’s right: On March 28 at the Hotel Winneshiek, KDEC Radio will present the Wink-I Pepsi Party and Sock Hop featuring The Old Fashioneds from Winona, Minnesota. From 6-8 pm, go back in time with former KDEC DJ Darrell Winkie and FM 100.5’s own Jeni Grouws in the Hotel Winneshiek lobby. They’ll be spinning the classics and taking requests for music – as well as milk shakes! The Hotel Winneshiek will also be serving fun 1950s fare to fuel the dancing. The Sock Hop party kicks off at 8 pm upstairs with Mike Munson and The Old Fashioneds. All ages welcome. More details can be found at See you there! Aase Haugen Senior Services 100th Anniversary This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Aase Haugen Home, or Aase Haugen Senior Services, as it is now known. What was created out of one woman’s humble and trying Norwegian immigrant life has served so many over the past century in Northeast Iowa, and we love the history of it. Aase Haugen had taken care of her entire extended family throughout her life, never marrying or having children, and found herself alone in her final years. Her hope was to provide something else for others – a community in which to be at peace. In 1915, she donated 240 acres of family farm as the location for the original Aase Haugen Home. From the Home’s original location on the rail line just west of Decorah (now the Schwarz family South Bear School), to the current locations on Decorah’s West side and the Vennehjem Active 55+ Community, this organization has touched thousands of lives in our region. Learn more by reading the wonderful history of Aase Haugen that was recently rekindled on the www. website. ( To Celebrate the Aase Haugen Home Centennial, many events have been planned: • March 28-28 – A concert and presentation on Norwegian composer (and former Aase resident) Theodora Cormonton. 7 pm (28th) and 1:30 pm (29th) in the Decorah Lutheran Sanctuary. • April 12 – Traditional Hoilday Easter Dinner with Aase Haugen residents, family, friends, and staff. 11:30 am. (Reserve ahead at 563-382-6521) • May 18 – Aase Haugen Centennial Gold Scramble • May 25 – Memorial Day Service at the original Aase Haugen Cemetery, reception following at Vennehjem • June 30 – Centennial Dedication Ceremony and Family Picnic at the original Aase Haugen Home. Find out more at or by calling 563-382-6521 (Continued on next page)

Monday: 9am - 8pm Tues - Fri: 9am - 5pm Saturday: 9am - 3pm 3 goldsmiths, a graduate gemologist, and a watchmaker on staff!

31 West Main Street Waukon, Iowa 800.932-7028 • 563.568-3661 \ Spring 2015




April 11 am Hotel Winneshiek Sponsored in part by Inspire(d) Media & Hacker, Nelson & Co., P.C.

Advance tickets only

Style Show Brunch

women’s weekend out


Homemade Quiche Fresh Fruit Roasted Potatoes Coffee & Water Bloody Marys & Mimosas available for extra charge

Get tickets at J. Tupy’s and participating stores listed at: wwodecorah 08

Spring 2015 /

Empty Bowls is Back!

Empty Bowls Decorah What could be better than enjoying a beautiful bowl of soup while raising funds for regional food assistance programs? How about if you get to keep the beautiful bowl!? Empty Bowls Decorah is back this April 19 from 11 am to 2 pm at the Hotel Winneshiek. For a $20 donation you’ll help alleviate hunger, have a meal of soup and bread, and take home a lovely handmade bowl! We love that if you really want to get involved, you can even help create and glaze bowls before the event! Fun! The last Community Glaze-a-thon before Empty Bowls is scheduled for March 28th from 11am-1pm at ArtHaus and the Clay Studio in Decorah. All ages are welcome to participate. Just stop in at either of those studios and lend a hand! Empty Bowls is being brought to the community by the Northeast Iowa Peace & Justice Center, Inc. All funds raised go to regional food assistance programs. More info or ReNEW La Crosse Back in 2014, a group of individuals got together in La Crosse to create ReNEW (Revitalizing Neighborhood Empowerment With La Crosse Neighborhoods), a partnership of neighbors and local organizations working together to make La Crosse an even better place. The organization provides basic community services – ­ painting, plantings, property maintenance, etc. ­– to specific neighborhoods. Teaming up with the La Crosse Habitat for Humanity chapter and with the help of more than 150 volunteers, ReNEW has completed over 50 projects on 26 different properties in its first season – now that’s community in action! ReNEW is organizing again for summer 2015, so you, too, can get in on that action. See more at or

What We’re Piece by Winona artist Julia Crozier


right now


Bluff Country Studio Art Tour April 24-26, 2015 • 10am-5pm

Camp Tahigwa – Women of the Wild Weekend Camp Tahigwa for grown women? Yes please! “Women of the Wild” is back for 2015 and invites all women to “get away from it all” and enjoy a great weekend in the great outdoors April 24-26, 2015. Sessions cover activities like fly-fishing, stargazing, team building, tai chi, hiking, photography, and more! There’s a Sunday breakfast cookout and cooking classes too! What a fun way to get to know other outdoorsy women and learn something new too! A variety of lodging options are available, and all comfort levels are welcome. Make arrangements for a day or for the weekend – more info at www. or

Spring. Life returns to the countryside of the Driftless Region. Fresh earth, chirping birds, and inspiring views. The Bluff Country Studio Art tour is not just a chance to get out and see the usuallyprivate working studios of regional artists – painters, potters, woodworkers, glassmakers, and more – but a chance to rediscover the countryside between destinations. It’s also a great opportunity to stop in at galleries like the Lanesboro Arts Center, Bluff Country Artist Gallery, and the Minnesota Marine Art Museum to see works on display and for sale. From Lanesboro to Decorah, and Spring Grove to Winona – hop in the car, ramble through the Driftless, see beautiful things, and support the artists that make them. If you need a few tips on how to make it a successful outing, check out Inspire(d)’s handy guide to Art Tours!

Grab your pals for another fabulous women’s weekend out | decorah, iowa

Entertainment & parties all over town Classes and demonstrations Door prizes & giveaways

friday & saturday, april 10 & 11, 2015

Style shows Fantastic shopping deals! \ Spring 2015


Looking for more details about events on the calendars?

10. March 29: Vesterheim Free lecture “Less is More, More or Less: The Roots of Mid-Century Modern Design” by Roy Behrens, 2:00 p.m. at Vesterheim Museum.

Check out these super spring activities! In chronological order, each event’s number coincides with its number on the calendar!

11. April 3: Emerging Artist Exhibition Reception, 6-8pm at ArtHaus. Celebrate young artists of the Driftless Region! Artwork on display through May. Sponsored by Karen Trewin, Thrivent Financial.

1. March 6-8: Oneota Film Festival! 3 Days of film & fun hosted by Luther College. See the Tiny Circus! Schedule, festival information, donations: 2. March 7: Ethnic Arts Festival! Luther’s family friendly event shares a taste of the cultures represented at Luther College. Country Fair, Ethnic Cuisine, Entertainnment! Details: 3. March 13: ArtHaus Date Night(s), $50/ couple. Paint, sculpt, or print with your other half at ArtHaus. Materials, snacks included. BYOB. More dates: April 24, May 15.

12. April 4: Artist Reception: ‘Paintings from the Rock Garden’ featuring watercolors by Kristine Fretheim. 6-8pm at the Lanesboro Arts Gallery, Lanesboro, Minn. FREE! Exhibit runs through 5/31/15.

25W/ $25B

4. March 13: “Over the Back Fence” Community Variety Show season opener! This month’s theme: ‘The 1980s’. 7:30pm at the St. Mane Theatre, Lanesboro, MN. Tickets $8/$5. 507-467-2446 5. March 14: BODY LOGICS M.A.T.™ Clinic @ Anytime Fitness. Awaken inhibited muscle tissue and release tension; a drug & surgery free way to enjoy activities that make you thrive! Move, Play, Perform Better! 9am-3pm 516.732.5751

13: April 11: BODY LOGICS M.A.T.™ Clinic @ Anytime Fitness Awaken inhibited muscle tissue and release tension; a drug & surgery free way to enjoy activities that make you thrive! Move, Play, Perform Better! 9am-3pm 516.732.5751

14. April 17: ArtHaus Poetry Slam featuring Shai Shay and Richard Weis, 8pm at the Elks Lodge. Come to share or just to enjoy. $5/$3 students. Signup to perform: www.arthausdecorah. org. Sponsored by DragonFly Books. 15. April 18: The Commonweal continues a celebration of The Father of Modern Drama with the 18th Annual Ibsen Festival. A full weekend devoted to all things Scandinavian!

6. March 19: Porter House Lecture Series – Dennis Schlicht “Insights into Porter’s Butterflies” 7:30pm, Freewill Offering.

16. April 19: Empty Bowls is back! Help fight hunger! Proceeds going to area food pantries and food justice programs. Hotel Winneshiek, Steyer Opera House. 11am-2pm, or 382-5337

7. March 21-April 4: Decorah Bicycles Annual Spring Sale - 15% off all regularly priced items! Stock up now so you can ride in style all summer! 101 College Dr.

17. April 22: Celebrate Earth Day with the Oneota Co-op. Join us for food, music by Absolute Hoot, and kid’s activities from 5-7 pm outside the Co-op.

8. March 28: KDEC / Iowa Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction Sock Hop with The Old Fashioneds! Hotel Winneshiek Steyer Opera House. 8pm-11pm

18. April 23-25: Mid West Music Fest. 100 bands - 11 stages. Three days of music in downtown Winona, MN. www.

9. March 28: “Minnesota in the 1920s: Flappers, Miners and Moonshiners” featuring Dan Chouinard and Prudence Johnson. St. Mane Theatre, Lanesboro, Minn, 7:30pm. Tickets $18/$15. 507-467-2446.

19. April 24-26: Camp Tahigwa’s “Women of the Wild”. All women are welcome to a weekend of outdoor adventure. For the day or weekend. Registration:



Prepare to be dazzled...again!

cla s s es w ork s h ops e vents

Saturday, April 11, 2015

9 pm Steyer Opera House, downtown Decorah 508 W. WATER ST. DECORAH . 563.382.5440 10

Spring 2015 /

Tickets on sale now through Eventbrite-

women’s weekend out | decorah, iowa

friday & saturday, april 10 & 11, 2015

fun stuff to do




The Dirty Bourbon River Show, CSPS

Tuesday Wednesday





1 Choosing March 6-8: the Right Oneota Film Seeds, Luther Festival! Gardening Class, Valders The Fab 362, 9:45am Four, The Englert


Ethnic Arts Festival!





Cherish The Ladies, Page Theatre



St. Patrick’s Day!

6 19 Porter House Lecture Series: Buterflies Mike McAbee, Alpine Inn, La Crosse 7pm



MARCH 20: Nick Foytik, Hotel Winn The Soil & The Sun, the Root Note Night “Out” at the Museum, La Crosse Children’s Museum




Heather Maloney, CSPS

8 28 27 Mike 26 Hero Jr., Sock Hop McAbee, Haymarket, with The Old 7 March 21-April 4: Decorah Bicycles Annual Spring Sale Hideaway, Decorah Fashioneds Chaseburg Equinox 9 MARCH 17: Handel’s WI, 7pm Stargazing, “Kiss Me I’m Irie”, Andy Hughes, Messiah, MN in the March 25-29: Uncle KVR, La CFL, 20s: Flappers, Trempealeau Hotel Vanya, SMU Theatre & 7:30pm Miners & Farge, 8pm Socks in the Frying Pan, CSPS Dance, Winona Moonshiners 30 ZZ Top,31 10 29 March 28: Empty Tweedy, March 20-21: Villa Louis Behind the Vesterheim Bowls Glaze-a-thon, La Crosse Englert Scenes tours, Prairie du Chien Free lecture ArtHaus, 11am-1pm Center MARCH 14: “Less is MARCH 21: More, More Simon Balto, Hotel Winn Lobby, 6-9pm Seed Saver’s Exchange Spring Garden or Less Prairie du Chien Shamrock Shuffle 5K School, Rural Decorah and St. Patrick’s Day Parade Carrie Rodriguez, CSPS, 8pm Ukranian Guitar Trio, CSPS


Turtles of WI, KVR, La Farge, 6:30pm


14 10 12 3 13 11 Vandana Seed The Nile 5 ArtHaus Shiva, Starting Project, The Date Night(s) BODY Englert 101, Luther Englert MARCH 7: LOGICS Gardening Creative Communities Art Event, M.A.T.™ 4 Class, KVR, La Farge 10am-4pm Clinic Valders 362, Over the Circle of Heat, Haymarket, Decorah Back Fence 9:45am Mike Munson, Trempealeau Hotel, 8pm Variety Show

March 2-8: Eat Week La Crosse!


MARCH 15: Classics at Montauk Concert, Clermont Waukon St. Patrick’s Day Parade Mike McAbee, Goodfellas, Waukon


Daylight Savings Time begins


Brother Sun, CSPS, 7pm

KDEC Home, Sport & Garden Show, Decorah HS,10am-3pm


March MARCH 5: Hugh Masakela & Vusi Mahlasela: 20 Years of Freedom, Luther CSS, 7:30pm Freek Bass, the Root Note, La Crosse Sean Watkins & Dave Simonett, Cavalier, La Crosse Tuesday

1 Pierre



3 11 Emerging Artist Exhibition Reception






15 The Pines, Rochester Civic Theatre


Charles Walker Band, Haymarket

14 17 ArtHaus Poetry Slam


15 Annual Ibsen Festival


“All Recipes Are Home”, Luther CSS, 7:30pm La Crosse Community Theatre Patron Gala


12 Artist Reception: Kristine Fretheim

Chick Fest, Charles City


APRIL 25: 22 30 Annual Decorah Tai Chi & “Leave It to Cleaver” Chi Kung Day, 8am Luther Baseball Field dinner theater APRIL 30: Joe & Vicki Price 28th KVR Tromp & Chomp 10k & Half Marathon Anniversary show! Turkey Old Blind Dogs, CSPS, Cedar Rapids, 7pm River Saloon, Clermont How to Make a Bean Tipi, Luther Gardening Spring Fling Benefit, KVR, Class, Valders 362 La Farge, WI 3-9pm


Passenger Pigeons! KVR, La Farge, WI 6:30pm


27 26





Jake Author Manders, Benjamin Hotel Percy book Winneshiek signing Lobby, Porter House 3-6pm Lecture: The Wall, 7:30pm


24 20 25 18 23 17 22 April 24-26: April 23-25: Earth Day at Empty Bowls Annual Oneota Co-op Mid West Bluff Country Decorah Hotel Winn, APRIL 24: Music Fest Studio Art Time Trials 11am-2pm ArtHaus Date Night Tour Evergreen Grass Band, Haymarket 19 April 24-26: Camp Paul Lawrence, Hotel Winn Lobby, 6-9pm Tahigwa’s “Women of the Wild”. Joe & Vicki Price, Bob’s Bar, Prairie du Chien

APRIL 18: The Dead Pigeons, Hotel Winn Lobby, 7-10pm Spring Wild Edible Hike, KVR, La Farge, WI 9am Smokin Bandits w/ Chicago Farmer, the Root Note, La Crosse


April 2-4: Easter EGGShovels & Stravaganza, La Crosse Rope, Englert Children’s Museum The 10 Mart 8 9 5 7 6 Bittman’s How To Build Hawkeyes, April 10-11: Women’s The Future of Haymarket, Weekend Out Decorah! Food, Englert A Raised Decorah Bed, Luther General B APRIL 11: 27 April 13-14: Les Miserables auditions! Gardening Class, & The Wiz, Spring Easter Egg Hunt & April 10 : Valders 262, Root Note, Petting Zoo! Driftless Area Clair Lynch Band, CSPS, 9:45am La Crosse Wetlands Center, Marquette Cedar Rapids, 8pm

Last chance to see “Scandinavian Modern Design: Norwegian Enamel” at Vesterheim through April 19.


APRIL 2 : Trout Steak Revival, Root Note, La Crosse Real Estate, Englert, Iowa City APRIL 4: Seed Saver’s Heirloom Apple School (& April 11), 10am Lowest Pair w/ David Simonett, Cedar Cultural, Minneapolis

Bensusan, “A Life Aquatic: Don Frey” through April CSPS, Cedar 26, MN Marine Art Museum, Winona Rapids, 7pm

Mission Creek Festival, Iowa City – through April 5.




fun stuff to do







Lew Klimesh Band, Haymarket,

Breakfast in a Victorian Kitchen, Villa Louis, Prairie

3 15 24 16 ArtHaus Syttende Mai Date Night at Vesterheim

“Over The Back Fence” radio show, St. Mane, Lanesboro 7:30pm

Memorial Day



Benji’s Birthday!

May 23-25: Spring Arts & Crafts Festival, McGregor, IA

May 24: Red Molly, CSPS, Cedar Rapids, 7pm


24 26 Joe & Vicki Price, Courtyard

Joe & Vicki Price, Riverside on the Root, Lanesboro, 5-9pm






June 6 – Miles/Adams Band McCaffrey’s McCaffrey’s Dolce Vita Dolce Vita June 11 – Hoophouse for Home Concert Production, Luther Gardening Class, Season College Farm, 12pm kick-off with June 14 – La Crosse YMCA ‘Got Energy Lew Klimesh Triathlon’, Swarthout Park, West Salem band!


Jack Klatt, Trempealeau Hotel Winn May 20-22 : Hotel Lobby, 6-9pm EntreFest, Iowa City Jambalaya Joe & Vicki Price Jamboree & Night Owls CD with Copper Aryn’s Release, The Mill, Box Birthday! Iowa City, 8pm




May 7-10: Upstart Crow Presents Much Ado About Nothing






Daniel Lanois, Englert, Iowa City



Container Gardening, Luther Mike & 25 Gardening Sarah, Hotel INHF invasive Class, Valders 362, Winn Lobby, species pull, 6-9pm rural Decorah 9:45am


Trio Brasileiro, CSPS, Cedar Rapids, 7pm


Cinco de Mayo!


23 Prairie du Chien Half ArtHaus Marathon Art Gala, & 5K Hotel Winneshiek Good Lovelies, GBPAC, Cedar Falls, 7:30pm


MAY 16: Happy J. Jeffrey Messerole & Fire Creek, Mother’s Haymarket, Decorah Day Trempealeau Hotel Reggae Fest MAY 14: National Theatre Live: The Hard Problem, Englert, Dan Deacon, Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis


May 8-10: Spring Festival, Robb Park, Gays Mills, WI

Free Student Tuesdays – MN Marine Art Museum, Winona


May 8-24: “Jesus Christ Superstar”, La Crosse Community Theatre

Watch for announcements for local Garlic Mustard digging parties.


Melba Price Exhibit, through June 7, Rochester Art Center

Villa Louis Historic Site opens for Historic tours daily, Prairie du Chien


“Tinker Toy Build Your Imagination” at La Crosse Children’s Museum until May 24.




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?

Holistic Health Solutions: • Homeopathy • Herbal Remedies Quantum Biofeedback • BioEnergetic Assessments

Check out these super spring activities! In chronological order, each event’s number coincides with its number on the calendar!

Naturally Unbridled

20. April 25: Annual Decorah Time Trials. Iowa’s Longest Running Mountain Biking Event 9.2 miles, minimum total cash payout of $1,000, over $1,000 in drawing prizes 21. April 27: Dragonfly Books: Author Benjamin Percy [THE DEAD LANDS] 7pm. A post-apocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis&Clark saga, a super flu and nuclear fallout. Presentation/book signing.www.

25W/ $25B



Patti Bartsch, M.A., Ph.D. Traditional Naturopath & BioEnergetic Practitioner . Onalaska, WI . 608-799-8326 Perfect for weddings, showers, birthdays, graduations... or just for you!

22. April 30: Winneshiek Wildberry Winery presents “Leave It to Cleaver” dinner theater. This interactive performance is sure to get you laughing. Call 563.735.5809 for tickets.


23. May 1: Annual ArtHaus Art Gala at Hotel Winneshiek. Art, music, food, and drink starting at 6:30pm to support downtown Decorah’s home for the arts. Details: 24. May 16: Syttende Mai Celebration at Vesterheim Museum. Celebrate Norwegian Constitution Day with free museum admission, a children’s parade, Decorah’s Nordic Dancers, and more. Free! vesterheim. 25. May 16: Come ‘Into the Wild’ with outdoor comrades, help save the woodlands! Join perhaps the most fun invasive species pull statewide. Coffee, lunch provided. Details:

404 WEST WATER ST, DECORAH, IOWA 563.419.4016 .

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


26. May 24: The Courtyard & Cellar in downtown Decorah kicks off patio season with Joe & Vicki Price. Enjoy the evening before Memorial Day Courtyard style! 8pm, $5, 27. June 26-28 (auditions April 13-14): New Minowa Players presents Les Miserables June 26-28 at Decorah High School. Open auditions April 13-14 at 7 pm, NMP Building. Details & tickets at or Sheryl 563-379-5738

115 Winnebago Street . Decorah, Iowa



Open Monday-Saturday

117 W WATER ST, DECORAH . 563.382.WINE

happy! discover




222 E Water St, Decorah, IA . 563.419.0346 .



Plus: Thursday Flatbread & Flights – 3 pours of wine & a pizza! \ Spring 2015


No ordina

The stop-animation troupe Tiny Circus comes to Decorah to collaborate with residents on a magical film about the importance of reusing and recycling. by Sara Friedl-Putnam


Spring 2015/

All images courtesy Tiny Circus unless noted

ry circus \ Spring 2015


Vrooom! to decorah!

Lights! Camera! Action!

STOP! It’s a typical chilly winter day in Northeast Iowa, but there’s some pretty atypical movie magic happening in Decorah ­– even if the trappings of a Hollywood film set are nowhere to be found. In this case the lights are, well, those of the Depot Outlet on Montgomery Street. The camera is a Canon digital SLR. And the action involves directing a group of lively eighth-graders as they move women’s shirts around a circular display rack, then quickly stop. They do the same thing again…and again…and again – ­ which might be a bit boring were it not all part of the fun of something called Tiny Circus. Before you get ahead of yourself, it’s not actually a tiny circus…well, not exactly. Any elephants would probably be made of paper, tightropes crafted out of string, and

big tops hand-drawn. This Tiny Circus is a stop-motion animation film workshop (think “Gumby” or “Wallace and Gromit”), and the young teens at the Depot would be hard pressed to find two more enthusiastic proponents of the technique than facilitators Carlos Ferguson and Katie In. Formed in 2008, Tiny Circus holds stop-motion animation workshops around the country, traveling in a vintage Airstream trailer rigged with two screens (one five-foot, the other twice that size) for showing the movies it helps groups produce. The troupe also hosts residencies each summer (in Grinnell, Iowa) and winter (in New Orleans) where circus “members” ­– anyone who participates in one of its projects – ­ live and work together to produce animated shorts. They’ve made more than 70 such films to date. It all started six years ago with a small group of artists, the Ferguson family farm in Grinnell, and a big dream of

Dance & Theatre




BODY OF WATER Metamorphoses


MARCH 5: 9:30 PM MARCH 6: 7:30 PM MARCH 7: 1:30 & 7:30 PM

MAY 8: 9:30 PM MAY 1: 7:30 PM MAY 9: 1:30 & 7:30 PM MAY 2: 1:30 & 7:30 PM MAY 7: 7:30 PM $12. ADULTS | $5. CHILDREN UNDER 12 | FREE WITH LUTHER ID Full 2014-15 season details at


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creating Tiny Circus. This informal retreat brought artists together to envision a future where they engaged communities through stop-motion animation, creating fanciful, animated “Histories of the World” on almost any topic imaginable. The fact that they had never made a film using this technique – one that dates back to “The Humpty Dumpty Circus” in 1897 – ­ didn’t deter them in the least. (Remember that infinitely cool chess sequence in “Star Wars”? That was stop-motion animation too.) Experimentation produced the group’s first film, “The History of Rain,” as well as a deep conviction that stop-motion animation was the ideal tool for exploring more democratic communication. In other words, traditional “leader and follower” roles have no part in this circus. “We’re all about breaking down the very meaning of those roles and questioning the hierarchical structures of school, work, and play,” says In. “Every one of our projects is completed by a group, so collaboration is absolutely central to our process.”

Carlos Ferguson



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



How, exactly, does that process work? It starts with unleashing the imagination and brainstorming the topic. Then it’s storyboard time. What will the animation look like? How can sound be used to help convey the story? And what materials will be needed to build the sets and characters? (Colored paper and glue always come in handy!) Shooting inevitably takes the most time. “Every single frame of a stop-motion animation film is a photograph,” explains In, who joined Tiny Circus in 2012. “Objects are moved by hand very slightly before the next photograph is taken, and then when those photographs are put together, they make a movie. It’s really quite magical.” This magical process has helped young boys and girls in North Carolina convey the (imaginary!) history of vampires. It’s allowed teachers in Iowa to communicate creatively the importance of art education. It’s helped teens in New York explore the hotbutton issue of racial profiling in the wake of the Ferguson riots. (In and Ferguson cite that workshop as one of the most impactful experiences they have had to date.) And it has provided college students in Tennessee with a less scary way to face their fears. While that may sound like pretty heavy stuff, Tiny Circus, just like any circus worth its salt, also knows how to have fun. They dance. They play games. And they blast music. Loud. In other words, says In, “Tiny Circus rocks.” (Continued on next page) \ Spring 2015



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


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One glimpse of what’s transpiring at the Depot Outlet more than proves her point. The teens are engaged, inquisitive, and clearly having a blast making a movie. The topic for this one? Reusing and recycling in Winneshiek County. “All right, we’re ready to take our first shot,” says Ferguson in an assured voice that quickly cuts through the (organized) chaos. “Does everyone have it? Is everyone clear which direction they’re moving the shirts?” The students respond “yes” in unison, move the shirts ever so slightly in a clockwise motion, and then do the exact same thing several more times. These newly minted circus members – and, the day before, a class of local fifth-graders – ­ orchestrated this scene to give viewers a better sense of the second-hand wares sold by the Depot. They also moved shoes on a rack, books on a shelf, and plates on a table to provide “visual candy” (Ferguson’s words) to the film, which will include audio interviews as well as video of the county recycling plant and landfill. Nancy Sojka, a retired art educator and current president of the Oneota Film Festival (see sidebar), immediately felt the Tiny Circus magic when she saw the group in action at an Art Educators of Iowa conference in 2013. After approaching In and Ferguson about the possibility of collaborating with folks in Decorah, she got to work contacting organizations that had the resources to make it happen. The Iowa Arts Council answered the call last November, awarding OFF a $3,350 grant to bring the Tiny Circus to town. The Depot Outlet and Winneshiek County Recycling quickly

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Make a trip to Charles City for a fun day of shopping, eating, pampering and a whole lot of fun! Look for prizes, gift cards or free stuff in our new and improved swag bags. Line starts at 401 N. Main limited to the first 150 Chicks in line!

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“FALLING” followed suit, each contributing $1,000 to the project. Their goal? To raise community consciousness about how the two organizations work hand-in-hand to ensure that only items that belong in the county landfill go to the county landfill. A quick glance at the Depot’s diverse wares – need a baby swing, vintage jewelry, or a sturdy chair, anyone? – makes crystal clear that one person’s “trash” could indeed be another’s treasure. “The Depot is all about reuse, but we are so much more than just a thrift shop,” says Emily Hackman, Depot Outlet manager. “We want to give the community possibilities other than the landfill for discarding items they may no longer want, and hopefully this film will help spread that message.” Terry Buenzow, who has overseen the county’s recycling operations for well over a decade, shares that hope. “Everyone has a vested interest in how they dispose of their unwanted personal stuff, and they can often pick a better path for it than the landfill,” he says. “I’ve searched dumpsters from Novia Scotia to Oregon, and I can tell you no one else comes close to the system we have here.” That kind of teamwork fits perfectly with the mission of Tiny Circus. “This project is ideal for us because there’s such great collaboration already happening between entities here,” says Ferguson. “Our goal is to create art as a community-based endeavor.” Sojka believes that’s exactly what this troupe achieved during their time in Northeast Iowa. The animated film premieres March 7, 2015, at the Oneota Film Festival. (It will also run before almost every film set at the festival that weekend.) In the interim, Tiny

Mark your calendars for WitchFest Oct 3rd & ElfFest Nov 28th

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FRIDAY, SATURDAY & SUNDAY, April 24-26 10 AM – 5 PM 507- 452 - 4506 \ Spring 2015


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Circus will be hard at work paring the hours of film shot in Decorah down to just three minutes – no tiny feat. “We will have 100 times the material that we will be able to use,” says Ferguson, hinting at the editing work ahead. After its OFF premiere, the short will join the growing catalog of Tiny Circus films. If the troupe’s previous work is any indication – its videos have tallied more than 100,000 hits on YouTube and garnered countless comments like “rad” and “cool” – the end product promises to delight festival-goers, especially those proud to call this environmentally conscious county home. “Most children and adults love watching animated films,” Sojka muses with a smile, “but how often do they get to watch one created in their own backyard?”

Top: Tiny Circus’ In and Ferguson work with fifth-graders at the Depot Outlet (Photo by Carolyn Corbin). Bottom: Terry Buenzow, Ann Landstrom, Birgitta Meade, For more information on Tiny and Nancy Sojka “supervise” the Tiny Circus work Circus, visit (photo by Debra Bishop).

Annual ArtHaus


WONDERMENT DISCOVERY COMMUNITY JOY Details & tickets available online



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Sara Friedl-Putnam has been under the “real” big top before and found the Tiny Circus experience just as fun­– even if there weren’t peanuts and popcorn on hand for consumption at the Depot Outlet.

6th Annual Oneota Film Festival March 6­–8, 2015

Do you dig films?

Then be sure not to miss the Sixth-Annual Oneota Film Festival (OFF), set to feature a compelling array of notable and award-winning independent films March 6­–8 on the Luther College campus and downtown Decorah, Iowa. “Expect a fun, engaging event,” says Nancy Sojka, OFF board chair. “This year’s schedule includes 50 independent full-length films and shorts exploring everything from adventure and environmental sustainability to the arts and culture.” Each set of weekend films will be preceded by the animated short about reusing and recycling created by Tiny Circus and local residents. Other films of local interest include “Our Eagles,” a short about the world-famous Decorah Eagles, and “Seeds of Time,” a full-length documentary that follows agricultural pioneer Cary Fowler, a former board member of the Decorah-based Seed Savers Exchange, as he races against time to protect the future of the world’s food supply. Since its 2010 inception, OFF has brought together hundreds of film enthusiasts in scenic Northeast Iowa to enjoy award-winning films, converse with filmmakers, and celebrate film as a way to engage and explore some of the most critical issues facing our communities. Attendance at all films is free of charge. Visit to learn more about the festival and its 2015 lineup.


step-by-step instructions at



Paper Project! \ Spring 2015



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Mary Klimesh

Java John’s Coffee House

Introduction & photos by Aryn Henning Nichols


f you’ve ever been into Java John’s on Water Street in Downtown Decorah, you’ve probably seen Mary Klimesh. She’s the one carrying a plate of tasty-looking, totally homemade cinnamon rolls the short walk from kitchen to coffee bar, stopping at almost every table to chat. Mary – kind, engaged, humble – doesn’t see the people in Java John’s as just customers; they’re friends. That’s the kind of person Mary is. Plus, she’s a darn good cook. Inspire(d) favorites include any soup that has homemade dumplings (and every soup comes with a side of homemade sesame flax seed crackers and fresh fruit, yum!), Bob’s Breakfast Biscuit – ham, egg, and cheese on a savory scone (although we want to try the homemade English muffin egg sandwich too), and, of course, Photo courtesy Java John’s the chocolate cake. Do not forget the chocolate cake. Mary’s also famous for her aforementioned cinnamon rolls, bread pudding, and homemade breads and bagels. All of this “goes well with coffee” – according to Mary – which is, obviously, really important for a coffeehouse! Java John’s coffee beans are from Specialty Java in Waconia, Minnesota, and are shipped the day they order – right after roasting. The friendly staff of baristas makes a mean cappuccino and chai latte (Big Train is our favorite) as well. Java John’s was originally the brainchild of Mary and her husband, John. The business launched in Decorah in April 2009, but in January 2015, Mary and John were joined by new co-owners Doug Reid and Andrew Knox. Together, they’ve re-opened Java John’s… literally! They blew out some walls, expanded the kitchen and coffee bar, and they’re now even open later (until 9 pm seven days a week) to satisfy folks desire for late coffee and tasty desserts. Remember: Don’t forget the chocolate cake! (Continued on next page) \ Spring 2015


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Folk Art School

presents traditional folk artists directly from Iceland and Norway!

Icelandic Knitting Sampler

in April with Icelandic designer Hélène Magnússon

Carving an Ale Vessel with Horse Head

in July with Norwegian woodcarver Torgeir Lirhus

Check for a 2015 schedule Call 382-9681 to register.

Visit Vesterheim’s Museum Store for Scandinavian shopping! Books * Music Art * Art Supplies T-shirts * Jewelry and more


The National Norwegian-American Museum & Heritage Center Decorah, Iowa • • 563-382-9681

Name: Mary Klimesh Age: 60 Restaurant or Kitchen: Java John’s Coffee House Number of Years Cooking: 6 (formally) Formal training or live-and-learn? Live-and-learn. My mom was a very good cook – but nothing fancy. She grew up in the depression, so we learned the “waste not” approach to cooking. The pot roast or chicken on Sunday was repurposed (current term) for much of the rest of the week. Mom also read magazines and newspapers with an eye for good recipes, particularly bar, cookie, and hot-dish recipes. Most of the recipes I inherited from mom included a brief critique, such as “good” or “needs more flour” or “this is the one your dad likes.” What’s your earliest or most significant memory of cooking or being cooked for? When I was young, I liked to be mom’s helper in the kitchen. If I wasn’t doing something, I was watching what she did. I would watch how she took a recipe and made it her own by modifying the ingredients slightly to match her/our tastes. One of my favorite times was learning to make potato salad from mom. We peeled, cooked, and sliced the potatoes; boiled, peeled, and sliced the eggs; chopped the onions and celery. Then, the moment when we made the secret dressing – she brought out the ingredients and showed me how to assemble them, without a recipe. The wetness of the dressing was just right when it made a “slurping” sound when mixed with the potatoes and eggs. To this day, I listen for the correct sound, and think of mom.

Big Train Chai and that chocolate cake! Why did you decide to become a chef? I didn’t. I decided to open a coffee house, the rest followed out of necessity. I like to prepare things that “go well with coffee.” What’s the best thing you’ve ever made? No one thing. I do very well with cinnamon rolls, bread pudding, and soup. Do you have any monumental food fails you’d like to share with us? Many years ago, my husband and I were entertaining family for a meal. For dessert, I had decided to make a strawberry dream bar (with a crushed pretzel crust). I was using the last of a bag of pretzels, crushed them well in the original bag and prepared the crust and the cream cheese and strawberry topping. At the end of the main course I brought out this beautiful dessert and served everyone a portion. Simultaneously, we tasted our desserts, then we gasped for water. What I had overlooked in the process of making the crust was the accumulated rock salt at the bottom of the pretzel bag. It was quite a while before I tried that recipe again, and quite a while before my family stopped teasing me. How about secret food indulgences you don’t normally talk about? Macaroni & Cheese What’s your favorite: Ingredient: Potatoes Dish: Klub (potato dumplings) Cookbook: First, the one I put together of my mom’s recipes; I have many “seconds.” Random (or not so random) kitchen tool: Paring knife Vegetable: Rutabaga Fruit: Apple


& Now on Fac ebook! \ Spring 2015



You're super!

COMPOST By Kristine Jepsen


ou know you’ve wondered about it – that heap in your neighbor’s yard. Or, maybe your child came home from school and breathlessly told you a classmate had buckets full of garbageeating worms in her basement. Perhaps you yourself have saved kitchen scraps with the hope of turning them to the ‘black gold’ known as compost, rich and weighty and uniform as it crumbles through the fingers. It’s not magic, but science! Composting is one of the most transformative and successful processes on the planet. It’s a specific series of biological and chemical events that harvests the raw elements from anything once living – blades of grass, banana peels, wood chips, newspaper – and returns them to their most accessible form: soil teeming with life-giving nutrients. Dust to dust.


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Shutterstock / Marina Lohrbach \ Spring 2015



o why aren’t more people drinking this Kool-Aid? Well, because watching dead things come back to ‘life’ isn’t pretty. There are mushy, squishy parts and lots of bugs. Composting also takes time – ranging from a few months to a year or more, depending on ambient temperatures and handling. And, if proceeding under less-than-optimal conditions – i.e. without the right ratio of materials or influx of oxygen – it can get stinky. Really stinky. But it’s totally do-able, even with Midwestern winters as they are. And it could save 25-30 percent of your household waste from the landfill, where organic plant matter has little chance of breaking down organically. There are three common types of composting: Aerobic – in which the microorganisms doing the dirty work require oxygen; Anaerobic – actually called putrefaction, in which microorganisms go to town in the absence of oxygen, releasing ammonia, methane gas, and hydrogen sulfide; and Vermicomposting – a subset of aerobic composting where the work is done primarily by species of worms that adore digesting food scraps and fiber waste. In the aerobic setting – the fastest and most common in nature and most often replicated by humans – the perfect scenario is to feed dry, carbon-rich “brown” ingredients (newspaper, wood chips, leaves, dry-ish coffee grounds) in proportion to wetter “green” ingredients (vegetable scraps, fruit peels) in combinations that result in the total chemical composition of the pile achieving a ratio is 25:1 or 30:1 (carbon:nitrogen). This ratio exists because the microorganisms – bacteria, bugs,

fungi, etc – that metabolize compost use carbon as fuel, oxidizing it and respiring it as carbon dioxide, as well as combining it with nitrogen and other nutrients to make their own cell protoplasm. It does not, however, mean the pile needs 25 parts brown ingredients to 1 green. This is where it gets a little more confusing: Each food source contains some proportion of brown to green as well— it falls into one camp or the other depending on how dry it is when added. So, all told, a good rule of thumb is to add two parts green to one part brown, or even one-toone. (See sidebar for a link to a handy compost “recipe” calculator.) As bacteria chow down and oxidize carbon it generates HEAT! Under aerobic composting conditions, just one gram of glucose molecules can release up to 484 to 674 kilogram calories (kcal) of heat – enough kilowatts to brew 4-6 pots of java in the average coffee maker. As compost is digested and microorganisms multiply, the pile heats up and those best suited for each range of temperatures – and the changing food supply – take over. A compost pile both introduces and sustains a wide variety of bacteria, fungi, and actinomycetes (those wispy, branching growths that often form an extensive colony, or mycelium). Successive waves of bacteria that tolerate the hot-getting-hotter interior of the pile include mesophilic bacteria (50-115 degrees), which give way to thermophilic bacteria (150-160 degrees – by comparison, the average hot water heater is set around 125 degrees.) After the first 10 days, the original materials in the pile lose their definition and the pile shrinks substantially. Beyond 160 degrees, bacteria die off or run out of sufficient oxygen to continue, and the

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Spring 2015 /

Tradition of Deceit

Photos by Kristine Jepsen

pile starts to cool, requiring stirring or turning to put undigested materials back in contact with remaining bacteria. By contrast, compost fungi and actinomycetes cannot handle the hotter interior, restricting them to growth within the first 2-6” beneath the surface. There, they break down much of the tougher plant matter in the pile, usually near the end of the composting period or “curing” when the temperatures have begun to drop and they can survive across a larger part of the pile. Toward the end, mites, millipedes, centipedes, springtails, beetles and earthworms also flourish and add their castings to the nutrient density of the mixture. In fact, the size of the organisms present in the pile can indicate the mixture’s maturity, as the organisms on each level of the food chain keep the populations of the next lower level in check. Compost – or humus – is ‘done’ when it ‘stabilizes’ and its internal temperature returns to ambient temperature, even when turned or stirred. Most of the original materials should be unrecognizable, though tough, woody items like sunflower stems, corncobs, and avocado pits will still be intact. These can be removed (laden with beneficial bacteria) and incorporated into a new pile for another round. The remaining, sifted compost —reduced to about a third the volume of its original inputs! — should cure or rest for three or more months before use as potting soil, mulch or a soil

amendment. It will be deep brown in color, uniform in particle size (small), and smell ‘good’ and earthy – like a forest floor. Commercial compost – for sale at garden centers – is regulated by state agencies, says Marty Grimm, who sells bulk commercial compost from his farm east of Decorah through his company, Upper Iowa Organics. His windrow-style piles, centered on his 34 acres, must maintain an internal temperature of 131 degrees

Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites Mystery # 5

From Kathleen Ernst, the bestselling author of Heritage of Darkness, comes the eagerly awaited sequel…

Curator and occasional sleuth Chloe Ellefson is off to Minneapolis to help out a former college classmate facing a monumental task. Together they must write a winning proposal for a controversial and expensive project: convert an abandoned flour mill complex, currently occupied by homeless people, into a history museum.

When a body is found at the complex, stuffed down a grain chute, Chloe's attention turns from milling to murder. Back in Wisconsin, her love interest Roelke McKenna gets awful news. His best friend, a Milwaukee police officer, has been shot dead in the line of duty. Separated by hundreds of miles, Chloe and Roelke must sift through clues from the past and present. Alone, each takes risks that threaten their growing trust in each other—and their very lives. The Chloe series is for adults and mature teens who like books without explicit sex, violence, or gore. They are available from independent bookstores, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and publisher Midnight Ink as trade paperbacks and as e-Books for reading with iPad, Kobo, Nook, and Kindle apps and devices. \ Spring 2015


riftless Gardens Maintenance & Design

or more for 15 consecutive days, measured by a recognized compost thermometer, before it can be ‘screened’ to remove any ‘overs’ (oversize particles). Then it cures for 3-9 months before it’s ready for sale. “That’s the state’s regulation for ensuring harmful pathogens don’t survive,” Grimm explains. “Compost is quantified and classified as a fertilizer, just like the synthetics.” If you don’t have room or desire to build a bin or pile, vermicomposting is aerobic composting in miniature – where the red wiggler or manure worm (Eisensia foetida) or the red worm (Lumbricus rebellus) chew up the layers of brown and green inputs, leaving rich, uniform castings. Plastic worm bins need to be perforated with several holes on all sides for ventilation, and a coarse cloth (coconut mat, burlap) should line the bottom of each bin. When a bin is full and castings uniform, the worms can be ‘removed’ by stacking a new bin containing fresh food on top or alongside it. After mere days, the worms will migrate through the ventilation holes to the fresh grub. “As with most things, worms will thrive if you just pay attention,” says Jim Tripp, an avid gardener and founding member, with his wife, Cerrisa Snethen, of Decorah Urban Gardens (DUG). “If they’re slowing down, you have to adjust.” Is the air temp colder? Are they not getting through the wetter materials and need another sheet of newspaper laid on top? “Also, no discussion of worm bins should go without stating: ‘Worms LOVE coffee grounds. Love them.’” Just think about that next time you’re tossing a filter in the trash. Who knows? You just might find yourself commissioning a scrap bucket to keep under the sink.

Design Maintenance Installation Plant Sales Hardscape Consultation Education

Every windowsill in Kristine Jepsen’s home has at least one plant in it. And she pots up jade starts rather compulsively. It’s time to cultivate compost, too--no more excuses! In addition to writing for Inspire[d], she publishes creative nonfiction and other projects on her site:


Jeff Scott . 563-379-1101

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Interactive compost recipe calculator: Comprehensive how-to from Texas A&M Extension Service: landscape/dont-bag-it/chapter-1-thedecomposition-process The chemistry of composting: fundamentals/biology_aerobic.htm Florida’s state site for home composting: index.shtml Guidelines for testing finished compost: Good list of browns and greens — with their carbon:nitrogen ratios: carbonnitrogenratio.html List of ‘greens’ and ‘browns’:

good. honest. local. Anyone can shop! Everyone is welcome!


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Source for vermicomposting worms: Or, ask around town – an active composter might even have worms to share!

How to get started with aerobic composting Choose a well-drained site and a retaining structure, if desired (wooden pallets, for example, or a rotating bin – you can purchase special bins just for composting that are built on a “spit” for easy spinning) Alternate 2-4” layers of brown and green materials, roughly adding equal amounts by weight (which means adding more of the drier, lighter brown stuff to balance out the heavier green

stuff). Some sources propose adding this volume of material and just stirring it uniformly, instead of messing with layers. Water compost lightly as layers are added. Keep the site 3’x3’x3’ or thereabouts so the work of stirring it or turning it is manageable. ‘Turning’ means removing everything from the bin and putting it back in, moving material from the edges of the pile to the middle, as possible. Keeping the site compact also encourages bacterial activity and keeps the heat from dissipating in cooler temperatures. Continue to add material to a pile, as warranted by the space, burying food scraps in the center and covering each green addition with a layer of ‘brown’ inputs, such as dry leaves. To ‘finish’ a pile, stop adding new material and let the compost cure until turning no longer generates bacterial activity (heat).

Composting gone wrong: Common mistakes and how to fix them


• Don’t overwater or overfeed with nitrogen-rich “green” ingredients. The microbes, including worms, can’t keep up. If your pile or bin feels more moist than a damp (not dripping) wash rag, back off on the green stuff and add some dry “brown” stuff to restore order. • Stinky, slimy mess? Turn the pile uniformly or stir the worm bin. Every phase of aerobic composting requires an influx of oxygen. Check your carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of ingredients to adjust for moisture, too. Keep in mind that some ingredients can go either way: Grass clippings are full of nitrogen (green) when they’re fresh and wet. They’re more in the ‘brown’ camp once they’ve dried. • Won’t heat up? The pile likely contains too much carbon (brown ingredients). Mix more green inputs into the pile and aerate thoroughly. If still too dry, water the whole pile and stir again. • Don’t compost pet droppings, bones or meat scraps, which often contain pathogens that aren’t killed in the range of thermic activity in the average home compost pile. • Don’t compost colored paper – the dyes that create the color may contain metals and other chemicals that harm beneficial composting bacteria. • Avoid composting yard waste containing weed seeds, which are also difficult to kill.

We get a little excited about GoOD Food. ONEOTA COMMUNITY

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everyone welcome

grocery • bulk • produce café • meat • cheese bakery • wine/beer supplements • body care no membership required \ Spring 2015


Destination Garden Center ea! New Gift ar

Annuals • Perennials Hanging Baskets Trees • Shrubs Decorative Rock Mulch • Block Gardening Tools & More!

Use our patio displays to plan your landscaping. Design and installation available!

Don’t forget

The Bakery Stop for sandwiches, homemade fudge and cupcakes!

4.5 miles west of Decorah, IA

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


2015 Luther Gardening SERIES We love the series of gardening classes that Luther College’s sustainability department has put together – you can learn about everything from picking out seeds to making your very own hoop house! Classes are free and open to the public – all you have to do is register in advance. Find more information and registration forms at Questions? Email


Seed Selection: Choosing the Right Seeds Thursday, March 5 • 9:45-10:45am • Valders 362 Hybrid or heirloom? Indeterminate or determinate? Early or late maturing? Mike Bollinger (River Root Farm) and Grant Olson (Seed Savers Exchange) will discuss factors to consider when selecting seeds, as well as recommend some of their favorite varieties. Seed Starting 101 Thursday, March 12, 2015 • 9:45-10:45am • Valders 362 There are many reputable places to buy high quality transplants, but have you ever thought about growing your own? Benefits of growing transplants at home include the ability to choose your favorite varieties, as well as the potential for significant cost savings. Jeff Scott of Driftless Gardens will discuss strategies and techniques to help you learn to grow your own plant starts this year. How to Build a Raised Bed Thursday, April 9, 2015 • 9:45-10:45am • Valders 262 There are a myriad of benefits to gardening within a raised bed system. Benefits can include easier weed and pest control, better soil, accessibility and aesthetics. Jeff Scott of Driftless Gardens will discuss key considerations and show plans and budgets for various raised bed systems. How to Make a Bean Tipi Thursday, April 30, 2015 • 9:45-10:45am • Valders 362 / Valders Edible Landscape Bean tipis are an easy way to maximize the use of your garden space while also adding making the garden more topographically interesting. David Cavagnaro of the Pepperfield Project will work alongside participants to build a bean tipi in one of Luther’s edible landscapes.

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Container Gardening Thursday, May 14, 2015 • 9:45-10:45am • Valders 362 Containers can be great places to grow a garden! David Cavagnaro has been photographing container gardens for years and will share his expertise on creating beautiful container gardens with combinations of flowers, plants and herbs. Perry Halse, of Luther’s ground crew has been incorporating edibles into flower pots all across campus. Participants are sure to leave feeling inspired to create container gardens that will be the talk of the neighborhood.

How to Build a Low-cost Hoophouse for Home Production Thursday, June 11, 2015 • 12-1pm • College Farm 2132 Pole Line Road, Decorah Hoop houses can provide shelter for seedlings and early and late season crops. Giles Teslow and Perry Halse have both built multiple low budget hoop houses and will be on hand to provide you with design ideas and tips for constructing your own.


All images courtesy Luther College

Backyard Chickens Thursday, July 16, 2015 • 12-1pm • Valders 362 Do you like omelettes and quiche? Have you always dreamed of being able to have fresh eggs for breakfast from a coop right out your back door? Jon Jensen and Rachel Sandhorst have been raising their own broilers and laying hens for years and will share some of what they’ve learned with participants during this session. They will discuss housing, light requirements, seasonal needs, feed and other considerations. Growing Grapes Thursday, September 17, 2015 • 9:45-10:45am Valders 362 Think grapes and Iowa don’t mix? Think again. Join David Cavagnaro for a conversation about growing grapes in this region. David has successfully grown grapes at his farm north of Decorah for years and will share with you some of his best tips and tricks. He will provide recommendations on varieties that do well in your Midwestern home garden. Saving the Season: Storing Vegetables Through the Winter Thursday, October 1, 2015 • 9:45-10:45am Valders 362 You’ve grown bushels of beautiful sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes, brussels sprouts, leeks, squash and onions. They are still happy in the garden but you know the frost and cold temperatures are imminent. Have no fear. Regardless of whether or not you have a root cellar, there are many creative solutions for storing your homegrown vegetables so that you can enjoy them throughout the winter and spring. Come learn how. \ Spring 2015




Spring 2015 /

“Vault is a community of founders, innovators, entrepreneurs, starters and creatives. In short, we’re big idea people, and we’re building the bright future of Iowa together.”

Andy Stoll & Amanda West, co-founders of Iowa City-based Seed Here Studio, talk about the era of the entrepreneur in the Midwest & beyond. By Aryn Henning Nichols

Amanda West sits up front with a group of coworkers at vault, where she’s CO-FOUNDER & OUTGOING ceo All images courtesy seed here studios \ Spring 2015


Andy and Amanda at Big Omaha!

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Spring 2015 /

here’s a fine line between inspiration and intimidation. It’s so easy to look at super busy, super successful entrepreneurs and think, “Wow, look at them go!” And “I could never do something as awesome as that.”

But we call bulls#*t. There are a lot of hard parts to being an entrepreneur, but the hardest is probably mustering up the courage to take the leap. Once you’re in it, you learn, adapt, and realize that those super successful entrepreneurs – they’re just like you. They don’t have all the answers. They don’t have any special business-owner DNA. They’re just people with ideas they wanted launched into the world. (Sound familiar?) “Our definition for entrepreneurs is: someone pursuing an idea/ opportunity/passion/ambition without regard to their current resources,” says Amanda West, co-founder of Seed Here Studio and Iowa Startup Accelerator (to name just a couple). “That’s to say, people who are going for it, even though they may not (and usually don’t) have all the knowledge, network, team, or capital to fully realize the potential of their idea.” Amanda’s co-innovator/creator/conspirator is fellow Iowa City-based colleague, Andy Stoll. In addition to co-founding Seed Here Studio – a program design, media, and events agency with a community mission – and helping launch Iowa Startup Accelerator – an intensive program that helps take tech-based startups from concept to successful launch in 90 days – Andy and Amanda have an ever-growing list of accomplishments in both life and work.

For real – let’s list! AMANDA: • Launched a student engagement program called The 10,000 Hours Show that went on to be acquired and expanded by United Way Worldwide • Worked for several years post-college with Richard Florida (The Rise of the Creative Class) and The Knight Foundation to support mid-size cities around the country with their creative community building efforts • Is the current director of EntreFEST • Is the outgoing Project Lead for The Creative Corridor Project • Is the co-founder and outgoing CEO of Vault Coworking – check this quote from the Vault manifesto: “Gather your supplies, get a kick in the pants, and keep moving this city forward. We’ll grow what has been planted here, and we’ll take it to the next level. We will rebuild, reinvent and redesign and change the world in the process.”


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

To do

t e G is owa ah, I r r o o f c e er s in D ed retail ic io n r o e r iz tr Elec d author livers sup & . TV de alue ruste Sims DISH y, and v cal t ly u n lo o r O g you ow y ork. nolo Netw ing, tech ff can sh deals a DISH n t ramm trained s bscriptio prog u s ly . high fers and town Our of TV in t s e e it ll lse? the b for sate ere e


pa y sho


563-382-CELL (2355) • Mon-Fri 8am-6pm • Thurs ‘til 8pm • Sat 9am-5pm • Sun 12-4pm

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ANDY: • Recently completed a 4-year, 40-country, solo trip-around-theworld • Co-taught and helped design a social entrepreneurial course at the University of Iowa in collaboration with faculty member David Gould and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh • Helped produce media projects ranging from a web series on world magic to award-winning feature films • Worked as the creative director for a new media endeavor following adventurer Charlie Wittmack’s 10,000-mile World Tri • Designed and authored the travel filmmaking curriculum for MatadorU • Is a sought-after speaker on leadership, entrepreneurship, creativity, cities, community-building, entrepreneurial ecosystems and travel (TedX, UI commencement speech, to name a couple) The two friends met while in college at the University of Iowa in the early 2000s. Both were part of the group of dreamers and social do-gooders that founded The James Gang, the Iowa City (Continued on next page)

Hozier with a side of Tove Lo Mumford and Sons in a rich Bastille sauce

& for dessert Milky Chance smothered with Kongos

Always Free, Always Fresh. \ Spring 2015



March 21-April 4



non-profit organization behind projects such at the 10,000 Hours Show, Public Space One, Mission Creek Festival, the free wireless Internet in downtown Iowa City, and lots more. Now in their mid-30s, Andy and Amanda could easily be considered a couple of those intimidating entrepreneurs we talked about earlier. But don’t be fooled – they’re still just people. And they’re native Midwesterners, to boot, so you know they’re nice too. “We both wholeheartedly care about our mission and try to genuinely live out our values,” Amanda says. “We share a noholds-barred sense of possibility and have a similar eye for BIG ideas, great design, and world-class production. We also have consistently different perspectives and very different skill sets and personalities. After working together for a decade, we’ve learned to trust and respect each other’s differences.” Teamwork and collaboration is, in fact, vital to their projects’ success. Really, Amanda and Andy believe all entrepreneurs will have a much better chance at success if they employ the skills and resources of like-minded partners.



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Spring 2015 /

“One of the great benefits of working in Iowa is if you want to get involved with things at the highest levels, even if you’re young or new to the community, you simply have to raise your hand, let people know, and be willing to work with it. In my experience, people will help you,” Andy says. It’s this notion that drives the direction of Seed Here’s current focus: EntreFEST. EntreFEST, Iowa’s entrepreneur conference set for May 2022, 2015 in Iowa City, is geared toward small business owners, high-growth startup teams, innovators inside large existing companies, ecosystem builders…you get the picture. This year’s




Rather than organize an event, Andy and Amanda had fun attending one for a change: Startup Weekend Cedar Rapids. This photo captures the spirit of the CR startup community!

attendees will get to check out keynote speakers such as Jacquie Berglund (founder/CEO of Finnegans Inc.), Trevor Owens (Lean Enterprise), Ben Milne, (founder/CEO Dwolla), and have the opportunity to seek out mentors, funding, and even new team members through this networkingfilled event. You never know who you’ll meet. “I love that Iowa is a one-degree state. If you want to connect with anyone, you are not more than about one degree away. It’s easy to access the top leaders in nearly every field, industry, community, and build genuine relationships,” Andy says. 2015 marks the 8th year for EntreFEST, and the third year that Seed Here Studio’s been behind the production. In the last two years, it has doubled in size and scope (twice), with another increase of that size anticipated for this year. It makes sense; it’s the era of the entrepreneur! Folks are taking a look at the ways we’ve done WORLD FAMOUS GEAR business over the SMALL TOWN CHARM decades, as well as the current issues facing our world, and thinking there must be other ways to live, work, and affect change. “Our society is ready for and needs a fresh approach and true/big problem solvers,” Amanda says. “Couple that need with access to a global network of people, knowledge and inexpensive tools to create with, and what we get is a growing number of empowered problem solvers setting out to make the world a better 406 W. Water St. • Decorah, Iowa • a place.”


(Continued on next page) \ Spring 2015


Are you one of those people with an idea you’re waiting to launch? Now is the time! “In the past 10 years, entrepreneurship and creativity have really been democratized, especially because of technology. If you have an idea in your head of something you want to create, the barriers of entry have just collapsed,” Andy says. “It has never been easier to make an idea happen and to find a global audience. There is no better time to start than today.”

“Surrounding yourself with other entrepreneurs is the fastest way to become one.” – Andy Stoll

8th annual ENTREFEST Iowa City, Iowa • May 20-22, 2015 Why you should go: • Feedback for EntreFEST 2014 in downtown Iowa City was so positive, organizers have chosen to host an even larger version this year. • All three public Iowa universities – University of Iowa, Iowa State, and University of Northern Iowa– have joined forces for the 2015 event. • Iowa City is awesome. • We (Aryn & Benji) are going to be there. (Hey, totally worth mentioning.) • Of course, amazing keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and fun parties!

Literally, you should probably start today. The 2015 Iowa Startup Accelerator (ISA) is accepting applications through June 2. ISA is an intensive program that matches tech-based startups – especially those in ag, health, education, manufacturing and transportation technology – with world-class mentors, Midwestern work ethic, seed funding and development expertise to take them from concept to launch in 90 days.

iowa startup accelErator Applications open through June 2, 2015 “Heard of the Midwestern work ethic? You’ll experience it first hand here at the Iowa Startup Accelerator. From the minute we hit ‘go’ we’ll all be working around the clock with you to make your business work. Make no mistake. If we pick your team, it’s because we believe in you. Be ready.” Eric Engelmann, managing director Iowa Startup Accelerator. Tips from co-founder Amanda West for applying: Entrepreneurs with early-stage scalable companies should apply. Last year, we received applications from all over the world, and we expect the same and more this year. My best advice to companies applying is to get a jumpstart on your customer discovery and minimum viable product. If you have a prototype to test and have already started talking to customers, you’ll stand out much more. If you can, I highly recommend you go through a pre-accelerator program like the University of Iowa’s Venture School. That program walks you through customer discovery and designing your business model canvas and serves as a great introduction. With that knowledge in your pocket, ISA can help you get much farther to launching by the end of its 90 days. 40

Spring 2015 /

Eric Engelmann

“The application process is competitive. Only 10 teams go through the program each year,” says Amanda. “Those teams get $20,000 of investment, a network of mentors and resource providers, training in Agile project management, lots of instruction on lean startup building, and a sweet office.” According to Amanda, the program was practically willed into existence by their friend and fellow entrepreneur Eric Engelmann. Engelmann founded his software company, Geonetric, in 1999 and recently made a bold move to transition his company to self-directed teams, removing all middle management. “That freed up some time for him, and when he saw Brad Feld from Boulder talk about TechStars at an event in Des Moines, he found his next project,” says Amanda. “From there he was off like a bullet train, and it’s been an amazing ride.” The very first round of teams went through the Iowa Startup

Accelerator last year, and everyone’s expectations were met or exceeded. “From the know-how and tenacity of Eric and our program manager, David Tominsky, to the quality of the mentors, to the progress of the businesses, to the relationships of the founders to each other, to the investments that came immediately after the program, everyone was very happy,” says Amanda. But even if you don’t have a tech start-up idea, or you don’t want to go through the intense – albeit amazing – process of ISA, you should still “trust your crazy idea.” “There is a growing entrepreneurial community around Iowa and if you can plug yourself into it, you will find resources, moral support, and encouragement that will help you get your idea off the ground,” Andy says. “Surrounding yourself with other entrepreneurs is the fastest way to become one.” (Continued on next page)

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Spring 2015 /

Andy and Amanda should know. Last year they had the opportunity to travel with Steve Case, founder of AOL and Revolution, through the Rise of the Rest road trip – two bus tours to nine American cities including Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Nashville Madison, Minneapolis, Des Moines, St. Louis, and Kansas City. They met with “hundreds of founders, CEOs, investors and civic leaders, heard dozens of pitches, and invested $1 million to foster emerging startup ecosystems in America’s heartland.” Andy and Amanda will join Steve Case for pitches at SXSW in Austin this year, and on another Rise of the Rest road tour too. “We went across the Midwest on this tour to learn about and cheer on growing entrepreneurial ecosystems. This movement is everywhere, and the cities that will be the Silicon Valleys of tomorrow are forming right now,” says Amanda. “I see this shift as a great moment in time. It’s definitely the era of the entrepreneur/ innovator/creator, and it seems we’re only getting started.”

Aryn Henning Nichols totally agrees that it is, indeed, the era of the entrepreneur… and it’s gonna be awesome. Aryn actually knew Andy in college, and had a blast learning about all of his and his “partnerin-crime”, Amanda’s, latest projects. See you at EntreFEST, peeps? Let’s do this.


AND STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOUR SIBLINGS TOO! Call your mother. She worries. It’s embroidered on pillows and etched into our brains. And with mother’s day coming up, you probably should. Call her, that is. But you know what else your mother would really like? For you to, “Stop pulling your sister’s hair!” Or to – at least – get along with her. For us older folks (sigh), it’s often not about utterly detesting your siblings, but not having the time to keep in touch. The funny thing is, keeping in touch with your family is about as easy as it’s ever been right now. We can talk over video calls on our phones, people. It’s like we’re the bleepin’ Jetsons up in here! So, we put together some ideas on ways to connect and re-connect with those folks you grew up with and loved (to hate). Without further ado: an infographic with our best ideas for keeping those family ties tied nice and tight. ‘Cause, you know…you’re stuck with each other. May as well enjoy it!

80 YEARS AGO, Donlon Pharmacy was born right here in Downtown Decorah.

OUR PATIENTS ARE LIKE FAMILY! (Some actually ARE family!)

The Donlon “Corporate Office” is still right on Water Street and you can talk to the “CEO” anytime, no matter what the reason. (Heck, I don't mind if you call me at home: my number’s in the book!) Matthew Maker, Pharmacist, CEO, Chief Bottle-Washer

Locally Owned & Proudly Independent Since 1932.


201 West Water Street, Decorah, Iowa • 563-382-2626 • \ Spring 2015


It’s a Jetson-esque era we’re living in! Use technology to your advantage, but do what works for you. If you don’t like folks seeing your mug in real-time, don’t choose Skype or Facetime dates. If you like texting, do it. Don’t feel bad about it! But also don’t feel bad if your sibling or extended family member doesn’t reply in the same way – they have to use technology in a way that works for them too (which might just be occasional updates on Facebook, or an email joke forward. Don’t judge.)


Skype Facetime Facebook Texting Email Blog Google hangouts

So often these days, people act like everything in their lives is secret, especially the hard stuff. But here’s the secret: we need people to help us get through the hard stuff. And our brothers and sisters – our families – they want to know what’s going on! It’s also fun to over-share the good stuff. Let your family be proud of you!

Be an over-sharer.

Don’t judge.

• To make sure you hit your goal, pre-address and stamp your envelopes, with an attached sticky note saying what month you’d like to send your “get happy” mail out.

• Make a goal of sending out quarterly updates. If you have lots of siblings, you can even print out a note with your “over-sharer” details to make it easier, and then just scribble a little something in the card to make it more personal.

• Heading out to shop? Check the card section and pick up a couple of your favorite cards to mail later. Bonus: Watch the clearance section for fun, blank cards and stock up!

Try these tricks:

Getting a letter/card/postcard in the mail has got to be one of the best things ever. It can turn a crummy day around in an instant. But how do you make it a habit?

Snail Mail

*or parents or extended family or your get the picture.


Only child? Widen the net.

live far apart, For families that a eing a photo of sometimes just se oser. cl el n make you fe smiling face ca u yo if t thing to do This is also a grea r ei th n ar le ing them the have kids – help e ak m ill w s ce and fa n. cousins’ names fu e r that much mor next get-togethe


Do you have cousins? Aunts and uncles? Favorite neighbors or family friends? Reach out to them! Whether you share DNA or not, we are, as Kurt Vonnegut says, all part of a karass. Embrace it. Life’s not meant to be lived alone!

Especially for those big trips, but also for Facetime dates and phone calls. Getting a conversation on the calendar is sometimes the only way to make it happen.

Make plans. As far in advance as you need to.

Plan a trip that can be a vacation for everyone! Research fun locations in between your homes and set up a google doc to plan meals/food/activities so no one person has to shoulder the planning.

Meet in the middle – literally!

Care packages are just a little bit different from gifts. For one, care packages are usually all about food and fun! Chocolate, coffee, trail mix, stickers, silly drawings your kids made – throw ‘em in and put a bird stamp on it. Putting one of these bad boys together is super fun, and opening one is even better. Did your over-sharing sibling let you know he/she is going through a tough time? A surprise care package can save the day!

But: Care Packages!

remember there’s no obligations!

That’s fun and totally thoughtful. Just

*Sometimes you see something that is perfect and reminds you of your family member, sibling, etc.

Does it stress you out to give/send gifts at Christmas and birthdays? You’re not alone. So talk about it! Make sure you discuss your desire to take presents out of your get-togethers/family habits because it makes you uncomfortable. If you have another sibling who feels differently, agree that it’s okay for you to not give gifts and for them to give gifts, as long as all involved can drop the guilt.

Drop the gifts*

Yeah. We’ll say that one again. Really let it sink in. Guilt is a useless emotion. Let it go, let it gooooo!


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Slow (Your) Hustle

Peter Awad is a man of mystery. At least, it might appear that way to the casual observer. He and his wife, Melissa, live with their four children in little Decorah, Iowa, yet every day, Peter does business with folks across the world. What’s the business? High-end/ high-performance car parts – sold on the Internet – through his 15-year-old company, Import Auto Performance. That would be enough to keep anyone super busy, but Peter is also partner in the blogging venture, GoodBlogs – a community blogging software that “combines the innovation of crowd-sourced content with the power of content marketing.” And he still finds time to sleep (maybe?).

(Continued on next page) \ Spring 2015


That’s the hard part – the buzz phrase that’s on everyone’s lips, but no one knows how to manage: the life/ work balance. To simultaneously counter AND add to that struggle, Peter recently launched yet another company – a super cool podcast called Slow Hustle – that chronicles life as an entrepreneur. “Business is hard. It’s fun, exciting, crazy and also stressful, depressing, debilitating. It’s the ultimate of roller coasters,” he writes at “After talking with dozens and dozens of entrepreneurs, I realized I am not the only one feeling these extreme emotions. They are actually universal and seemingly part of the entrepreneurs’ handbook (which doesn’t exist).” Peter with his amazingly beautiful family (from left): wife, Melissa, baby Ayers, Summit, Brighton, & Wyndsor

(Continued on next page)

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Shoes are cute. Tiny shoes? Cuter. No kidding!

(Get it?)

128 W Water St, Decorah, Iowa • 563-382-9829 • Check current hours online

Slow Hustle: Life as an entrepreneur is

about making both slowness and hustle a priority. Get good at both. Efficient at both. Talented at both. Obsessed with both.

Peter interviews entrepreneurs from all over – the list includes people like Mendel Kurland, evangelist at Godaddy; Willie Morris from Faithbox (pictured below with Peter in a screenshot from his Slow Hustle podcast interview); and Rand Fishkin, founder of SEO company, Moz. The fun, funny, and motivating conversations cut to the core of those roller coaster emotions, highlighting what has worked and what hasn’t for these businessowners. Peter’s hope is that the podcast will help others with their own struggles as entrepreneurs, salespeople, household managers, etc. Because life is short, and choosing to be your own boss means you’re in control of it. But take it from Peter – sometimes you just gotta slow your hustle.

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Check out and subscribe to the Slow Hustle podcast at Knowledgeable staff • Great Gifts • Book Signings

Other links: The Basics: Name: Peter Awad Age: 34 Business: Slow Hustle/Import Auto Performance/GoodBlogs Years in Business: 15 Years Tell us about the “leap” moment. When/how did you decide to jump in and become your own boss? It happened by accident while in College. I was studying to be a Mechanical Engineer, working at an engineering internship and in my spare time started selling auto parts online out of my bedroom. I didn’t have any money so I would sell products and then have them rush shipped to me so I could ship them to my customers. It was one heck of a way to build up some funds so I could hold an actual inventory. Stressful but necessary. What’s the best thing about being your own boss? Having seemingly unlimited options of how to create value and increase revenue for your company and family. (Continued on next page)

Bestsellers plus special interest: gardening, Scandinavian, cooking, poetry, children’s books & more…even e-books! 563-382-4275 • 112 West Water Street, Decorah \ Spring 2015






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Spring 2015 /

How about the worst? Having seemingly unlimited options of how to create value and increase revenue for your company and family. You read that right and it’s not a typo. The biggest pro is also the biggest con. Sometimes its tough to stay focused because of it. Sometimes it’s amazingly stressful. If you have the skin for it, it can also be amazingly fulfilling and rewarding. Was there ever a hurdle where you just thought, “I can’t do this?” How did you overcome it? Quite often. The key is having clarity and to do so, it’s a must to remove emotions from the scenario. Clarity paired with taking time to step back to see the bigger picture will allow you to come up with creative ways to overcome huge obstacles. The bonus? Big obstacles commonly allow for growth and innovation. You’ll hear this as a business owner (or prospective owner) and think “that’s baloney” but it’s the truth. Our darkest days are when we are forced to think more creatively than we ever have to when it’s easy peasy. Any mentors/role models you look to/have looked to? Lots. Without mentors (who have all become good friends) I’d have a difficult time gaining a different perspective. It’s important to have mentors in all walks of life: Younger, Older, different industries, etc. Creative ideas and solutions come from those you least expect because they don’t have the industry baggage you do. They say “why not?” when you say “no way. that’s not possible.” What’s the one thing you wish you had known before you started? Sheesh. Where do I begin? How about: Entrepreneurship is manic-depressive. It’s ubiquitous. If you find an Entrepreneur that

says his days are always even keel, have him call me. We’ll bottle his secret sauce and retire. Some days you’ll feel like you are crushing it. Everything is going right and falling in to place perfectly. The next day the business feels like it’s crushing you. Could be back-to-back days, weeks or months. Either way, it happens and you simply find ways to deal with it best. How do you manage your life/work balance? I’ve decided it doesn’t exist. Work is part of life and life is part of work. The best ways to manage is to have clear guidelines that you follow. For example: Knowing that once you leave work, you put your phone in airplane mode from dinnertime until the kids go to bed. That way you’ll have undisturbed quality time with the family. Or taking a long lunch and enjoying a nice lunch, walk and/or book. Will you succeed every time? Absolutely, not. All you can do is put systems in place and have accountability partners that can help to keep you on track.

Sustainable Home Builder Specializing in




What keeps you inspired? Any quotes that keep you going? Freedom from cubicles. Flexible hours. Watching my kids grow up and wanting to spend as much time as I can with them. Solving problems others haven’t solved before. Creating, innovating and helping others do the same.

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” –Abraham Lincoln

It’s like coming home..

...for a light breakfast or lunch, long coffee, or afternoon treat. Now serving homemade bagels & English muffins! • Free wi-fi throughout • Indoor/Outdoor seating • From scratch pastries

400 W. Water St., Decorah • 563-382-5690 • See website for hours and daily specials

Sum of Your Business is a new Q&A section in Inspire(d) featuring entrepreneurs in or relating to the Driftless Region. Our readers have asked to learn more about people who have started their own businesses, how they’ve done, and how they’ve done it! We thought that sounded like a great idea. Who knows – maybe you’ll even be Inspire(d) to create a business yourself! Know someone we should feature? Let us know! \ Spring 2015



All Recipes Are Home, a new PRODUCTION by Iowa City’s Working Group Theatre, follows a young man’s epic journey across the state, and his sister’s journey to find him. IT celebrates the rich ties of food, farming, and recipes to Midwestern culture, and the comforts of Home. By Benji Nichols


Spring 2015 /

ARE HOME \ Spring 2015


Affordable Elegance.

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

GALLERY | ST. MANE THEATRE April 4 - May 31, 2015 Opening Reception SAT., April 4, 6-8pm

exhibit | PAINTINGS FROM THE ROCK GARDEN. These watercolors evoke the essence of a particular moment. FREE!


JONATHAN E D WA R D S SAT., March 28, 2015 7:30pm Four decades into a stellar career, the man simply delivers, night after night – songs of passion, songs of insight, songs of humor, all rendered in that pure and powerful tenor. Tix $20/$18. Galleries & Art Loft Lodging 103 Parkway N St. Mane Theatre 206 Parkway Ave N 507.467.2446


Spring 2015 /

Chocolate chip cookies. Mac and cheese. Betty Crocker. Ten Layer Cake. Recipes are – in theory ­­– mathematical equations. But in reality, each recipe – tucked in an old box or church cookbook, scribbled to the edges with notes and names – is a story, sometimes handed down from generation to generation, place to place, family to family. Just a whiff of a favorite dish can transport you to another time and place. Home. “Irish Stew,” says Sean Lewis, writer and director of ‘All Recipes are Home.’ “It’s the meal I remember smelling in my grandmother’s house whenever Sean Lewis we would visit her.” But as anyone who has tried to recreate a dish “just like grandma” knows, a recipe will only get you part way there. “At its simplest, a recipe is just measurements and ingredients, but at its best it is like a potion,” says Lewis. “Mundane things that when put together remind of us of who we are and where we came from.”

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At its simplest, a recipe is just measurements and ingredients, but at its best, it is like a potion - SEAN LEWIS

Commissioned by Luther College, The University of Iowa, and Grinnell College, “All Recipes Are Home” is a new theatrical piece by Iowa City’s Working Group Theatre. Following a young man’s epic journey across the state, and his sister’s journey to find him, a beautiful story is woven through words and music, including new songs from Iowa City’s own The Awful Purdies. The work explores and celebrates the rich ties of food, farming, and recipes to Midwestern culture, and the comforts of “Home.” “This is our fourth major play in Iowa,” says Lewis, the lead of Working Group Theatre. Founded in 2009 by three MFA graduates from the University of Iowa, Working Group has created more than 30 new plays and theatrical works, many centered around timely social issues. “We have done some heavy material in the past including race and class, the support for caregivers of loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s, cyber bullying, etc. It was clear after coming to Decorah and meeting farmers across the state that this piece would need to be different. This show needed to be joyful. A celebration. We really wanted to make a show that collected this identifying quality of the state, this ‘look at how we are brought together despite our differences.’” Lewis, an award winning director, actor, and playwright in his own right (including being heard as a commentator on NPR’s This American Life), visited Northeast Iowa extensively in preparation for the production. (Continued on next page)

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All Recipes are Home premiers as the final show of the 2014-15 Center Stage Series at Luther College in Decorah April 11, with additional performances at Grinnell College April 13, and the University of Iowa / Hancher on April 17-18. Find out more at:

Photo courtesy Luther College

The new Awful Purdies album, also entitled “All Recipes Are Home” is available for pre-order now on Maximum Ames Records with a delivery date of Summer 2015.


The “physical” album will actually be sent as a packet of Seed Saver’s vegetable seeds (!) with a download card – plant and play, and eat your way through the summer!

“The local commitment to food is amazing,” he says. “Young people deciding to come back to the farm and living from the land juxtaposed with children leaving the family farm, the shared interests and concerns of farmers who are neighbors but also their differences regarding the type of farm; family vs. commercial; organic vs. non. I loved how excited people were with their work. No one is in farming for the easy money. But there is a true honor in growing something and nurturing it – a joy in providing for others.” Specific stops for Lewis included The Pepperfield Project Farm, Foresight Farms, WW Homestead Dairy, The Seed Saver’s Exchange Heritage Farm, The Oneota Co-op, multiple local vegetable farmers, as well as the Decorah School District and Luther College Kitchens. “I loved working in the Decorah Middle School cafeteria,” said Lewis. “The food they provide local and fresh prepared is worlds removed from my cafeteria experience. We served purple French fries that day – I served them – and never felt less popular in a middle school!” Folk band “The Awful Purdies” also collected stories from around the state and visited Decorah in preparation for the production. “At first the idea of writing songs about food seemed completely lacking in sexiness,” says Katie Roche, the official accordion, xylophone, penny whistle, recorder, and washboard player for the


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Photo courtesy Luther College

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PATCHWORK GREEN FARM Always fresh and super tasty vegetables & herbs produced chemical-free near Decorah by Erik Sessions & Sara Peterson.

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Photo courtesy Seed Savers Exchange



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group. “But now that we are deep in this subject, the band has realized that it is dripping with politics, love stories, empowerment, and complete loss.” They performed at Seed Saver’s Exchange Heritage Farm during their stay in Northeast Iowa, and held story circles to collect personal experiences for the project. “We could have easily continued to listen through that gourd labeled food and wrote nothing but food songs for the rest of our lives,” says Roche, “Because lyrically, food is really about survival and quality of life. That subject is a ten layer cake.”

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OPeNINg MARcH 1 Seeds, Garden Tools, Books, Gifts, & more

Open Daily 10-5[Mar-Oct] • Thurs-sun 10-5[Nov-Dec]

Spring Seed Sale

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Heritage Plant Sale Rare plants from our collection

Benji Nichols has long believed that recipes are merely rough guides to follow. Much as in life, the monumental failures and successes are often found by deviation – but finding them again is the real magic!

Seed Savers Exchange 3094 North Winn Road, Decorah, IA 563-382-5990 • \ Spring 2015



Spring 2015 /


By Jim McCaffrey . Photos by Aryn Henning Nichols \ Spring 2015



am going to buck tradition for St. Paddy’s Day. Well, sort of. A traditional menu of corned beef and cabbage in America differs from what graces the tables in the old sod. When one visit’s the Emerald Isle and asks the age-old question, “Where’s the (corned) Beef?” He/she may be met with empty, blank stares. The closest applicable dish that comes to mind is probably back bacon and cabbage – two totally different animals. (No pun intended.) Okay, okay...they do have corned beef in Ireland, but it is not the headliner of Irish cuisine. When the massive potato famine led to the great emigration, many Irish made the long voyage to Ellis Island. Upon embarking into New York City, they encountered Jewish butcher shops churning out kosher corned beef at Godspeed. Almost divine intervention. It was a tasty cut of meat, prepared much like their beloved Irish bacon, but inexpensive enough for the impoverished immigrants. Paired with cabbage (cheaper than potatoes), it became a new household staple. Now you know the real history of how corned beef and cabbage became the beloved and traditional meal for St. Paddy’s day. And that’s the truth, (fingers crossed). Speaking of traditions, I better share my all-time favorite Irish joke with you: Patrick and Mary had been married for years. It was Patrick’s birthday. When he got home from work Mary informed him that she had made his favorite meal. “Oh,” asked Patrick, “Did you make lobster?” “Oh yes, Patrick,” said Mary. “And those little red potatoes?” queried Patrick. “Oh yes” replied Mary. “And julienned carrots?” asked Patrick. “Of course,” said Mary. “And snails? Did you make snails?” Patrick asked.

“Oh my word, Patrick, I forgot the snails. I’ll run right down to the market and get some,” said Mary. “No, no, no,” Patrick replied. “You’ve been cooking all day, I’ll run and get them myself.” “All right,” said Mary, “But don’t you be stopping by the pub on the way!” Patrick said, “No, I’ll be right back.” So Patrick runs to the store and picks up a sack of snails. On his way back, he comes across Mikey standing in front of the pub. Mikey says, “Patrick, its your birthday, let me buy you a pint.” Patrick says, “No, I promised Mary I’d be right back.” Mikey says, “In the time we have been talking, we could have quaffed one down.” Patrick says, “Oh, all right.” So Mikey buys Patrick one and Patrick buys Mikey one. They keep at it for a couple of hours. Patrick suddenly grabs his sack of snails and says, “Mary is going to be furious,” and races home. Just as he gets to the stairs of his house, the bottom of the bag breaks open and the snails fall to the sidewalk. Mary comes to the door and yells, “Patrick, where have you been?” Patrick crouches down and gesturing to the snails says, “Move along laddies, move along.” Ok, enough of this diatribe. Back to the meat of the matter, so to speak. In this case, the meat is Ireland’s beloved lamb. The Emerald Isle is aptly named for its abundance of lush pastures. This abundance has led to an abundance of sheep. Root vegetables incorporated with the lesser cuts of lamb became a favorite dish in the old country especially with the farming community. Better known as Shepherd’s Pie and in our case, we used ground lamb. Not always readily available, I was able to procure some at the Oneota Food Co-op in downtown Decorah. This simple but


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wonderful peasant dish is just great comfort food anytime of the year. I made it in individual rarebit dishes but it can just as easily be made in a casserole dish for everyone as well. Next up is another fun peasant entry, Irish Soda Bread. I have to admit that until a year ago, I had never even tasted it, let alone having baked it. My eyes were opened when I dined with Joey Homstad at Dublin Square in La Crosse. We both ordered the fish and chips. Delightful! Accompanying was a dense wedge of bread that had raisins in it. I thought this is weird but slathered it up with softened butter and gave it a try. It was on a different plane than fish and chips with its sweetness, but it worked anyway. The recipe I have included calls for caraway, which I think I will leave out in my next batch. It tended to overpower everything else in the bread. And one cannot celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without a nod to Ireland’s infamous beer, Guinness. A recipe for Guinness cake was procured and we were off to the races. We were going to test all of these recipes at our quarterly Inspire(d) lunch, so the day before I decided to get ahead of the game and bake the soda bread and the cake at the restaurant. All went well, and after both were cooled to room temperature I placed them in one of our refrigerators. I asked our two waitresses for the night to make sure that no one touched the bread and cake because I was serving them the next day. Morning came and I headed to the restaurant to clean up and finish making our meal for lunch. I hadn’t frosted the cake yet, so I decided to get that accomplished first. Into the refrigerator I go and pull out the soda bread but to my dismay no cake was to be found. After going through all eight of our refrigerators three or four times, and pulling what’s getting to be less and less hair, I started making phone calls. The waitresses were unavailable, Conor said he didn’t see anyone move the cake, and when I called Brock he said he had moved it to the top right shelf. I told him that was impossible. There was an unopened box of avocados and an open box of salmon and that was it. All I could think of was leprechauns. Those little rascals were up to their shenanigans and had pulled a fast one on me. Back to the drawing board. Make another cake, frost it and make the Shepherd’s Pie. Whew, just in the nick of time. The Inspire(d) crew rolled in and we had a great leisurely lunch. Later, Conor and I were prepping for supper and he pulled out the box of salmon. “Look, Dad, here is the cake, buried under the salmon.” he exclaimed. Damn leprechauns! Jim McCaffrey is a chef, author, and co-owner with his family of McCaffrey’s Dolce Vita restaurant and Twin Springs Bakery just outside Decorah. He is author of humorous cookbooks “Midwest Cornfusion” and “Mississippi Mirth”. He has been in the food industry in one way or another for more than 40 years. (Recipes on next page)

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Shepherd’s Pie POTATO TOPPING 2 lbs russet potatoes ½ cup half and half 3 oz butter 2 egg yolks 1 tsp sea or kosher salt Fresh ground black pepper to taste FILLING 2 Tbl canola oil 1 cup chopped onion 2 peeled carrots, diced 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 ½ lbs ground lamb 1 tsp salt Fresh ground black pepper 2 Tbl flour 2 tsp tomato paste 1 cup chicken broth 1 tsp Worchestershire sauce 2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme ½ cup fresh or frozen corn ½ cup fresh or frozen peas


Peel potatoes and dice. Put in a 2-quart pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, decrease heat to a simmer and cook until tender. Mash potatoes. Add half and half, butter, salt, and pepper and mash until smooth. Thoroughly whisk in yolks. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add canola to a large skillet. Set on medium heat. Add onions and carrots. Stirring occasionally, sauté until onions become opaque, 3 minutes. Add garlic, lamb, salt and pepper stirring occasionally. When lamb is browned, 3-4 minutes, sprinkle flour, stir, and cook another minute. Add tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, and stir. Simmer for 12-14 minutes until sauce begins to thicken. Add corn and peas. Spread evenly in a 9X9 baking dish, cover with mashed potatoes, using a spatula to make sure topping goes completely to the edges and is smooth. Place on a baking sheet on the center shelf of the oven until potatoes begin to brown, 2530 minutes. Cool for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy. (This recipe is a variation of an Alton Brown recipe. If you can‘t find lamb feel to use ground beef in its place.)

Irish Soda Bread 3 ½ cups flour ½ cup sugar ½ tsp baking soda 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 1 pint sour cream 2 eggs 2 Tbl caraway seeds (optional) ¾ cup golden raisins Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soak raisins for 30 minutes in warm water to plump. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, beat eggs and stir in sour cream. Add to flour mixture and stir well wit a wooden spoon. It will get thick. Drain raisins and add with caraway (if using) and knead with until incorporated. Place batter in a greased 9-inch spring form pan. Sprinkle a little flour on top and pat the batter so it lies evenly in the pan. Use a knife to make a shallow crisscross on top. Bake for 50 minutes.


Guinness Cake 4 oz unsalted butter 10 oz dark brown sugar 2 large eggs, beaten 6 oz flour 1/4 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda 7 fluid oz Guinness 2 oz cocoa powder

ICING 4 oz semi sweet chocolate 2 Tbl Guiness 2 oz butter 4 oz sifted icing sugar 1 oz finely chopped walnuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch spring form pan. Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in eggs. In a separate bowl, sift in flour, baking powder and soda. In another bowl, stir Guinness into cocoa. Alternately fold half quantities of flour and cocoa into butter mixture. Spread mixture into pan and bake 30-35 minutes until a tooth inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes before opening pan. For icing, melt chocolate with Guinness, beat in butter, cool a little and then beat in icing sugar. Remove 1/4 of the icing and stir in walnuts (if using) to the remainder. When icing is cooled to being spread able, coat top of cake with walnut mixture and coat sides with the 1/4 chocolate mixture.

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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 •


You’ll love it too!

We’re super excited to be bringing not only our fun print magazine (the one you’re holding!) to the world, but also features on the interwebs (and the best stories from past magazines too). Below is just a teaser of what’s on right now – visit us to read the rest of the stories, and don’t forget to say hello! We love you guys! Cedar Rapids Boxed (IN) By Benji Nichols Driving through Cedar Rapids on I-380, you might catch a peek at Mays Island, and the Veterans Memorial Building stretching up from the Cedar River. You’ll also likely catch a grainy whiff of Quaker Oats (one of four original Quaker Oats plants!), and see the sleek glass upper windows of the newly renovated Doubletree Hotel at the US Cellular Center (formerly Five Seasons Center). What you won’t see driving, however, is the size of Cedar Rapids’ huge collective heart – worn proudly on its sleeve. Luckily you don’t have to detour far to see just how deep Cedar Rapids’ roots run – or Grant Wood’s studio!

Your Yard + A Garden = Yarden


For the Love of Brunch



By Sonya Luse Geenen • Illustrations by Natalie Moore So you want to start a garden? There’s no time like the present to get those hands dirty… or at least start planning to get your Plan your Yarden today! hands dirty… once there is some dirt to get at. And there’s nothing like fresh _____ (fill in the blank with your favorite veggie) picked straight from your garden to make your day! Check out the handy garden plan at

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By Jim McCaffrey The grips of winter are behind us! Let’s party! Church lutefisk and school chili suppers are so last season (literally) – but spring is the perfect time to invite friends over for a noon get-together of food and drink – maybe even outdoors! Middle of the day parties can be highly uplifting and delightful. The great thing is that they can be so diversified – eggs mingle on the menu with pork loin. Coffee is served alongside cocktails. We tend to say if it’s after eight and before noon, it’s brunch!




How to Make Paper Flowers + May Day Baskets! By Aryn Henning Nichols In my adult life I’ve often found myself grateful for my crafty mother who taught me her crafty ways. While my siblings and I complained during 4-H Fair Time as we cut out patterns and sewed our own dresses, skirts, etc., re-covered old chairs and learned to use cameras, I’ve found these things to be incredibly useful – and fun ­– in real life. (Thanks, Mom!) There’s another crafty thing my mom taught me that I’ve also used again and again to impress the masses: the homemade paper bow. For the Spring 2011issue of Inspire(d), I adapted it to be a paper flower for May Day Baskets. Learn how to make it at

Chef on the Block: Schera’s It’s a tale of two cities – Elkader, Iowa and Mascara, Algeria – and the perfect pairing of two business and life partners’ backgrounds and cuisines. Brian Bruening and Frederique Boudouani established Schera’s Algerian American Restaurant in 2006, because, as 563-735-5570 Brian says, “a restaurant gave us an opportunity to work together…and make use of our very disparate skill sets.” Neither had a restaurant background, but they decided to take their love of food and entertaining to create this anomaly of a dining experience in Northeast Iowa. Named after the heroine Scheherazade from “1001 Arabian Nights” as well as Frederique’s sister, Schera’s features Algerian dishes right alongside classic American fare. And they do this in a tiny Iowa town named after a North African freedom fighter. Wait, what? ��������

Midwest Music Fest By Benji Nichols Highway 61 follows the Mississippi River Valley south from Red Wing, Minnesota to Winona and beyond – a trek that has certainly inspired many, and AmeriCorps volunteer Sam Brown was no exception. A late winter drive with a friend down this vividly gorgeous road planted an idea: Brown would help launch a community music festival in his new hometown. “I don’t know what kind of bug got into me but I wanted to see this happen in Winona. It was like why NOT do this?” The idea wasn’t just about creating a music festival, but also an event with involvement from the community at every step. Thus, the first Mid West Music Fest (MWMF), “an all-ages, multiple-venue, multiple-genre and multiple-day music festival,” was born.

���������� Algerian & American Appetizers & Entreés Vegetarian Options Sandwiches & Salads Delicious Desserts Signature Cocktails Connoisseur Beer Selection

Elkader, Iowa • 563-245-1992 • \ Spring 2015



Betty Rikansrud Nelson is ‘hooked’ on weaving...& chocolate!

Interviewed by her granddaughter, Sarah Rattenborg, while at lunch. They got a few looks because of how much they were laughing. Betty’s ideal “balanced meal” is a piece of milk chocolate in one hand and dark chocolate in the other! What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you? A friend once told me to take an adult education class in weaving from Lila Nelson because she is such a great teacher. I “got hooked”! What did you want to be when you grew up? An airline stewardess, but I figured I was too tall. What do/did you do? I was an accountant at Hacker-Nelson and also taught accounting part time at Luther College. In my retirement, my favorite hobbies have been weaving, jigsaw puzzles*, and cuddling with my cat *Interviewer note: At this point I would like to point out that Grandma Betty does jigsaw puzzles without looking at the picture on the box, and that is really cool.

Betty, her husband, Dave, and Sarah during Nordic Fest 1991.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you? 1. Something to read 2. Something to do with my hands, like weaving or needle work 3. A great big Sudoku book

Try to describe yourself in one sentence. I’m a know-it-all! I have an answer to everything! It might not be right, but I’ve got an answer. If you could eat anything every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Chocolate! Name one thing you could not live without. My family. Friends can come and go when you or they get to different places in your lives, but family sticks with you.

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

Multiple choice: tell us about…Your favorite memory. Tent camping with the family. There was one summer we finally got a couple of my kids and their families all together camping. There were some rough spots when people didn’t feel well or had different ideas of what to do, but it was nice having the families all together.* *Interviewer note: It was awesome. It’s one of my favorite memories too.

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What Eye Care Means to Us “The ‘Family’ in the name Oneota Valley Family Eye Care is truly what I feel like when I’m there – never a number, I’m part of a family.” – Bill Keefe

“My 14-year-old daughter got something in her eye one Sunday during a hay ride. I called Oneota Eye Care’s after-hours number, and Dr. Schwartz called me right back, saying he’d meet us in 15 minutes at his office. There, he removed the thistle and she was fixed! It was great to get that service at 9 pm on a Sunday night!” – Ben Grimstad


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Rustic Corner

Tour the backroads of central Iowa and you’re sure to find a paradise like none other at The Rustic Corner! It’s like taking a vacation to your happy place without the plane ticket!

Join us for ChickFest on Saturday, April 4th. Make it a mini vacation for you and the girls - shopping, food, drinks, and FUN! Best of all no reservations required! It’s Worth the Trip Every Time! 413 N Main St • Charles City, Iowa 50616 • 641-228-2657 Open 9 - 5 Mon-Sat • Wed late till 8pm • Sun 11 - 4