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Starring the unique people, businesses, and entertainment in the Lakes Area Fall 2012 One of my favorite memories from youth was spending a week or two at my aunt and uncle’s farm every summer.

volume 1 number 2


By Peg Serani

The deal was I could go if one of my 10 cousins could come spend that time at our house. My cousins would fight over who would switch with me. You see, it was haying season on the farm and truly a vacation for the cousin that “got away” to the big city. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why they wanted off the farm so badly. I loved every moment of it. Waking up while it was still dark, helping bring in the cows and get them milked, feeding the pigs and chickens and then letting the cows out to pasture – all before the sun came up – was HEAVEN to me. After these chores were done the kids would pour back into the enclosed porch for breakfast. I never saw so much breakfast food on a table. My aunt scrambled the fresh eggs we had collected while feeding the chickens in the biggest frying pan I ever saw in my life; you could take a bath in that baby! She cut up three loaves of bread, toasted them on the wood stove and slathered them with freshly churned butter. The mile high stack of warm, toasty bread was passed around the table. The lucky first kid got the heals (yes, all 6 of them), while the last was lucky to get one slice. A quart of homemade jam followed the toast, with the last kid literally scraping the bottom of the jar.

Aaron Ready gets a hands-on lesson from Doug Taylor in the finer points of plowing with real horse power. Photo courtesy of Aaron Ready

farm always finished with either warm cinnamon rolls fresh out of the wood stove or a couple of apple pies baked the night before. Apple pie was always covered with warm cream earlier skimmed off from the milk and saved for this part of the early morning feast. After finishing, the girls (all two of us) helped my aunt clean up the dishes. The other 6 boys headed out to the machine shed with my uncle to get the tractors and machinery needed for the day up and ready for working the field. Our workday was about to begin, and it wasn’t even 8 am yet.

I know. If you were paying attention and adding up the number of kids, it doesn’t come out to 11. That’s because the 3 youngest were under Then came warm stacks of pancakes the age of 6 and didn’t go out into with more of that unbelievable the field to work. They would stay butter and the most heavenly syrup. with my aunt to work in the garden, Pitchers of fresh milk still warm help with laundry and play in the from the cows were passed around empty hay loft. Aaah…life on the throughout the meal. Out would farm. What memories. come the next course: sausage and a huge platter of ham made from pigs So, what does this have to do with the family had raised. Would the 2012? I am SO glad you asked. food every stop coming? Where does one go to get milk fresh Believe it or not, breakfast on the out of the cow (and that HEAVELY

cream), fresh eggs just laid in the chicken coop, carrots so fresh they still have moist dirt on them? You take from the past, and live today – for a great future. That is just what Aaron and Rachel Ready are doing at their homestead outside of Jenkins, MN. Married in 2011, Aaron and Rachel planned their new life together with Aaron’s dream of living self-sufficiently as their guide. Aaron purchased the land in 2009 – the same year that Rachel graduated from Central Lakes College in Brainerd with a nursing degree. Aaron went on to earn his Sustainable Food Production diploma in 2012 from M State’s Fergus Falls campus.

The Sustainable Food Production program is designed to give students the knowledge and skills necessary to meet 21st century agricultural and environmental challenges. Its goal is students learn to grow food themselves and contribute to broader society as innovative problem solvers and catalysts for positive change within a new paradigm of food production. It pairs practical agricultural curriculum with courses in sociology for a better understanding of the cultural and community aspects of sustainable food production. Already, the couple’s vision of “back to our ancestors’ roots kind of living” is becoming a reality. continued on page 3

Doug Taylor helps Aaron Ready hook up a log to be skidded to the landing.

Photo courtesy of Vicki Foss


Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods

From the Publisher

Summer 2012

That was three years ago. There’s just something about the small towns in the Northwoods that feels so right. Something about the pace of life, real life characters, room to breath, and of course, plenty of space for horses.

Welcome to Our Neck of the Woods! Driving the stagecoach and producing outdoor theater in Nisswa and the surrounding area, I meet A LOT of people. So many times they are looking for the inside scoop on what to do and where to go in the Lakes Area. I was born and raised a Pine River boy. After a dozen years on the west coast acting, training & coordinating animals, and performing stunts in commercials, films and live shows, I came home for a visit.

There is so much to see and experience in our Northwoods. Our goal is to bring you a broader view of all the area has to offer. Not only do we want to produce unique entertainment with our horse-drawn rides, live theater productions and special entertainment by my company, Action Entertainment, but we want to promote all our neighbors and colleagues. This inaugural issue features a lot of horses, something near and dear to my heart. If you have ideas for future stories or would like to advertise, don’t be shy! We’d love to hear from you. Hope you’ll enjoy this peek at some of the unique people, businesses and events in Our Neck of the Woods. See you around town! Doug Taylor Action Entertainment

STAFF Publisher: Doug Taylor Design & Layout: Tina Foster Editor: Nolita Christensen Staff Writer: Halle Strausser

Our Neck of the Woods

Action Entertainment Pine River, MN 56474 218-839-2514 For more information on advertising, marketing and promotional opportunities with Action Entertainment and Lakes Area Day/Night Out contact us at: 218-821-1972 For current show schedules and to find this paper online, go to:

Jeremy’s Seamless Gutters “GUARANTEED Clog-Free” Affordable Rates Wide Variety of Colors Gutter Cleaning

Call Jeremy for a quote today!


Summer 2012 continued from page 1

Their days are filled with all-organic farming using livestock, and no electricity – except for the propane powered refrigerator. (Some things you just can’t give up!) This kind of living is sweat producing, but oh so rewarding. Not only do you get to reap the fruits of your labor, but it keeps you in wonderful shape. They planned and planted their first vegetable garden last spring with

Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods shovels and hard work. That first garden was small – 6 raised beds, each measuring 4 feet by 4 feet. Aaron and Rachel purchase raw grains from a local co-op and grind the grain with a bicycle driven grinder for flour used in baking. They also are raising free range chickens and have one family milk cow, with plans to expand their livestock in the coming years. This year, it was time to enlarge the garden and start using real horsepower for totally sustainable,

off-the-grid living. But these days, where does one learn to live and farm with horses? Aaron hunted down Doug Taylor. Doug’s knowledge of training horses for use in everything from movies and stuntshows, to pulling stagecoaches, carriages and sleighs, to dragging logs out of snow-covered woods was a natural fit. Doug learned from some of the best horsemen in the world while he worked as a trainer in Hollywood, and before that with his grandpa. Aaron started training with Doug in January 2012 by skidding logs out of a 4 acre logging plot just outside of Pine River. Throughout the winter he also got a taste of snow plowing using Doug’s horse teams.

Aaron Ready takes the reins as Percherons Tory and Lacy head for the landing. Photo courtesy of Vicki Foss

Through hands-on training like a kid would get on an 1800s farm, Aaron is learning equipment basics like different harnesses, the parts of wagons and implements, functions of the evener, yoke, and tongue of the wagon. He is learning horsemanship, trimming and shoeing, and to safely hitch and command two tons of horse might and muscle.

3 In April, with the help of Percheron mares Lacy and Tori, Aaron and Doug moved on to plowing, disking, dragging and grading. They prepared a new garden for Aaron and Rachel. Then they headed to Doug’s place to prepare deer plots and a pumpkin patch. Talking to this pair, it is inspiring to see old fashioned bartering coming back. Doug and Aaron trade labor, training, showmanship, gardening, eggs, pumpkins, and more. In their eyes, trading fresh milk for horse driving lessons is way better than writing checks. Aaron and Rachel’s circle also includes family with a passion for sustainable living. His sister plans on raising bees, and his future brother-in-law is currently training a pair of oxen to help out in their fields. In addition, Aaron and Rachel are expecting their first child soon. They will be raising their family in a healthy, self-sustainable environment. And maybe, during all his free time, Aaron will squeeze in a little time for singing and picking on his guitar.

Action Entertainment’s Cast

Amanda Hochmayr is a native of the

Doug Taylor grew up riding, training and

working horses in Minnesota’s rural countryside. He attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Hollywood, a top acting school respected worldwide. His nearly 20 year career includes work as a professional actor, stuntman, and animal coordinator for the stage, film, and TV. Doug has come home to the Lakes Area, where he is currently producing several unique forms of theatre and entertainment.

Luke Jordan is a native of Pequot Lakes,

where he lives with his family. Growing up, he was active in football, wrestling and track. After graduating high school he entered the world of sales, gaining skills that have come in handy with his work on Action Entertainment’s souvenir paper. After losing 130 lbs since 2005, he is proud to weigh 220lbs and work on stage as a stuntman, bringing to life characters like Billy in “Out West.”

Halle Strausser

has been in one form of theater or another from a very young age. Her most recent roles include the lead in “To Burn a Witch,” and a panicked vet school student in “Panic Inc.” For Action Entertainment, Halle has played both Granny and Mother in “Little Red Riding Hood – Uncensored,” and now is Sally the town girl in “Out West.”

Brainerd Lakes Area. She owns & operates Above and Beyond, that helps people with everything from gardening to home keep, construction cleanup, photography, & errands. When not being a “handy woman,” Amanda is active in local performing arts as a keyboard player, singer, dancer, model, & behind the scenes tech. She has worked extensively with The Angel of the Odd Productions, and Hal Lawrence & Associates. She plays Betsey the dance hall girl in “Out West.”

Warren Case was born & raised in Burnsville, MN. His eclectic background has included stints as a traveling minister, teacher, belly dancer, & stand-up comedian. For Action Entertainment, Warren has brought to life Captain Dick Rudder in “Fishing for Trouble,” the MN Sasquatch at the Nisswa Pioneer Village, the Big Bad Wolf in “Little Red Riding Hood – Uncensored” (which he wrote), Gil in “The Merry Widow,” (which he wrote), and Eddie Cheeks in “Final Cut.” Currently, he is Pete the bartender in “Out West.”


Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods

Summer 2012

Keeping the Tradition Alive Horses and men shaped the early days of this country. The settlement of the West depended on horsepower – which required harnessing. One aspect of settling the West was the stagecoach. The stagecoach was the equivalent of today’s mailman, Fed-Ex, UPS, bus service and automobile all tied into one. These coaches were often pulled by six horses Photo by Terri Jacobson harnessed and hitched to the coach. Every 15 to 20 miles Editor’s Note: What is now Vollmer’s Harness and fresh horses were hitched to the coach. Saddle Shop was first established in Pierz in 1893.

Steve Vollmer grew up in the Lakes Area, spent time working for 3M, and ended up in Los Angeles. In 1995 Steve bought the harness and saddle shop and relocated it to Hwy 371, overlooking Round Lake. Today he continues to make quality leather harnesses on the same highway where he grew up. He enjoys a life filled with wagon trains, harness-making, and collecting old saddles, bits and horse paraphernalia.

When the Butterfield Stage Company was formed, they bought 1500 horses and mules to start the stage line. They carried the mail and passengers from St. Louis, Missouri to San Francisco, California – a distance of 2755 miles, which took 596 hours to travel. That was an average speed of 4.5 miles an hour!

By Steve Vollmer

the 1940s when the tractor was introduced. After that, there was a sharp drop in the use and making of horse harnesses. That lasted until the early 1960s when there was a renewed interest in driving horses. Today, harnessed horses are mainly used for pleasure driving. They can be seen in parades, weddings, funerals and wagon trains.

plow, disc and drag their fields with teams. Many feed cattle with teams, especially in the winter. A horse team will always start, whereas a tractor may or may not. As a result of the renewed interest in driving horses for whatever reason, there is still a demand for good leather harnesses.

Many current day teamsters enjoy going on wagon trains. With so many to choose from each year, they are a great way to see the back country and enjoy the team and wagon. Other present day teamsters enjoy small farming operations with their horses. They often

Photo by Luke Jordan

Harnassed horses were also used for farm field work up to

The story behind Ernie’s on Gull When carpenter Ernie Ritari and his family moved to Squaw Point from Brainerd in 1917, they made their way through jack pine and hazel bush to get here. Back then the East side of Gull Lake was just a gravel road - a half days ride by horseback from Brainerd. Ritari, an immigrant from Finland in the 1800’s, did not allow Vodka on his camping and fishing resort due to his bitterness against the Russians. Kind of ironic considering our signature drink today the Greenie! His wife Edna tended bar and cleaned cabins while their dog Toby enjoyed ice cream before every guests drink. Ernie rented ten boats and usually had five families mainly from Minneapolis and Iowa join him during the summer months. Ernie, Edna and Toby were among the few who stayed year round in East Gull Lake. The Ritari’s were famous for their community pig roasts and later built two cabins and installed housekeeping equipment. Ernie’s on Gull Lake is currently owned and operated by CMZ Hospitality. Chris Foy, Mike Foy and Zac Swarthout purchased the restaurant from the previous owners Craig and Desi Dunmire in August of 2011. The Foy brothers and Swarthout all graduated from Brainerd high school and spent their childhoods around East Gull Lake, frequently visiting Ernie’s back in the day when it was known as Ron’s Steak House, Ron’s on Squaw Point and the Butcher Block. Ernie’s today is a strong family establishment which starts with our family and is extended towards yours. In today’s corporate environment where family owned restaurants are limited we strive to differentiate ourselves from everyone else by remembering your names and always extending a hello and a thank you. From all of us at Ernie’s we hope you enjoy your experience with us! Gull | Zac, Mike, Chris and our amazing staff |


10424 Squaw Point Rd. East Gull Lake, MN 56401 - 218.829.3918 -

d tR

Restaurant Bar Marina



ua Sq

371 North


Gull Dam Rd. or Cty. Rd. 125

Pirates Cove

Summer 2012

Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods

Rope a GOOD Deal from the Only Ford Dealership You’ll Ever Need! PINE RIVER, MN The Houston Ford Family Dealership is the second oldest continuous family owned business in Pine River. “We have been meeting the automotive needs of Pine River and surrounding communities for over 70 years,” says Dick Houston, Owner of Houston Ford.


he business was established in 1941 by Dick Houston’s grandfather, John Kater, Sr. It was known as the “Ford Store.” In 1946 Kater sold the business to his two son-in-laws, Glenn Houston and Marion Sherwood, who renamed it Sherwood-Houston. In addition to Fords, the partners sold Buicks, International Harvester Tractors and Johnson Outboard Motors. The original building was completely destroyed by fire on July 18, 1950. At that time the partnership dissolved and Sherwood took over the Buick-International Harvester-Johnson Outboard business which he operated from a location he rented on Highway 371 on the south side of Pine River.

Houston Ford as it looked in its current location in 1979. In his business career, Dick served as president of the Pine River Chamber of Commerce from 1967 - 1969 during which time he initiated the first Miss Pine River Pageant, crowning Kay Edgeton the first Miss Pine River on May 11, 1968.

Glenn built a new building on the site previously occupied by Sherwood-Houston Garage and began running the Ford operation, adding a Ford Tractor franchise. He renamed the business Houston Motors.

In 1980 Dick was elected to the Ford Dealer’s Advertising Board representing 292 Ford dealers in the seven state area. And in 1990 and 1993 he served as their chairman, placing over 13 million dollars in advertising for the Northland Ford Dealers. On a national level in 1996 Dick was elected, along with 27 other Ford Dealers from across the Nation, to serve on the National Ford Dealer Council. In 1997 he was honored to be chosen as the Vice President of the National Council which is the only real voice that 4,300 Ford dealers, from all across the United States, have with the Ford Motor Company. Over the years the Houston Ford dealership has received recognition and many awards from the Ford Motor Company for service and excellence, including the coveted President’s Award. Today the family tradition continues as Dick’s son, Randy, works side by side with him in the dealership. Randy orders the exceptional stock of quality Ford trucks and products, for which the business is known.

The building on Barclay Avenue that Glenn Houston built in 1951. Glenn continued to run the business until he passed away on May 27, 1955 at the early age of 46. Glenn’s wife Dorothy, daughter of John Kater, Sr., took over the business. Dorothy ran Houston Motors with the help of her son, Dick Houston, who graduated from Pine River High School in 1956. Dorothy and Dick worked together and successfully grew the business until her death on August 8, 1965 at the age of 54. At that time Dick took over the business. Two years later he bought out his two sisters and took over full ownership.

“In this day of Internet marketing,” says Dick, “our business continues to grow. We have customers visiting our website from all over the nation who shop and buy from us. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, if you want a great product and exceptional customer service, Houston Ford is the place to go and we deliver nationwide.”

At age 26, Dick was the youngest person that the Ford Motor Company ever awarded a Ford franchise to. In 1974 Dick moved the business to Highway 371 south of Pine River and built a new building on the site where the business is located today. Dick says, “Since then we have remodeled and added on seven times to meet the needs of our growing customer base and to maintain the benchmark level of customer satisfaction our customers deserve. The most recent addition was done in 2000 when we added the log and wood customer friendly showroom complete with a 32 foot fireplace and full kitchen. Stop in and smell the fresh brewed coffee and cookies.”

(218) 587-4419

The Houston Ford Dealership today.

2654 State Hwy 371 SW Pine River, MN 56474



Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods

Thai It; You’ll Like It! By The Dining Duo

An exciting new dining option has sprung up in Hackensack: Udom’s Thai Restaurant. For those unfamiliar with Thai food, it is generally filled with lots of fresh ingredients, lightly prepared. The scents are as much or more of the dining experience as the taste is. Mixing spice, saltiness, sweet and sour, Thai cuisine is a rich jumble of savory aromas like galangal ginger, basil, lemon grass, bay leaf, cilantro, lime, chili peppers, and coconut milk. Opened April 13, 2012 by Thai native Udom Mitchell and her husband Paul, Udom’s offers authentic Thai cuisine with no MSG and gluten-free ingredients. Located in a small corner building with windows along 2 sides, approximately a dozen small tables fill the space. A brightly colored, low room divider provides some separation between diners, and simple Thai decorations hang on the walls.

tured that spice level 3 would be a “sinus-clearing experience.” We sampled the daily special of asparagus and broccoli stir fry with chicken, noodle soup with pork, coconut milk soup (absolutely delicious!), egg rolls dipped in sweet chili sauce, and wine. We had a lot of leftovers to take home, and were very pleasantly satisfied without having the heavy feeling that normally accompanies pigging out on such a large meal of other styles of food. The service was friendly, helpful & casual. Co-owner, Paul, was acting

as lunch wait staff and was happy to answer questions and advise on menu choices – although a little harried. He explained they were working through the kinks of a new restaurant and the fortunate challenges of being busier than they had anticipated. For instance, on our Wednesday afternoon visit they had run out of some menu items and were waiting for 10 more cases of Thai beer. As their menu declares, Udom’s dishes are “prepared one order at a time and always fresh.” While not a quick in and out dining experience, the food is certainly delicious.

Summer 2012 All-in-all, Udom’s is definitely worth a trip to Hackensack and a little patience. And, hey, you can even soak in some gorgeous Minnesota summer by taking some of that Thai food across the street for a picnic along the shores of Birch Lake at the city park. Now that’s hard to beat.

Udom’s Thai Restaurant

Dine in or take out 144 First Street S, Hackensack One block W of Hwy 371 across from the Hackensack City Park 218-675-5513 Summer Hours through Sept 6th: Tues-Sun 11am – 9pm (Closed Mon) Fall Hours Sept 7th-Oct 28th: Fri – Sun 11am – 8pm (closed Mon – Thurs) Discover, Visa and MasterCard accepted.

Family tradition.

The focus, however, is definitely on the food. Udom’s menu has a nice selection without being too large or overwhelming. It also includes helpful photos of the foods. Guests are invited to start off with a Thai beer, glass of wine (basic selection of chardonnay, white zinfandel, cabernet and merlot), fruit frappe or soft drink. Appetizers include deep-fried chicken wings, egg rolls, fried pork with garlic and black pepper, wontons, and spicy glass noodle salad. Entrees range in price from $7 to $12. Favorites offered are: pad thai, fried rice, noodle soup, stir fries, minced pork omelets, tom yum hot and sour soup, green curry soup, coconut milk soup, spicy minced pork salad, and daily specials. Many items include a meat choice of shrimp, pork, chicken or squid. Each dish is prepared individually, so diners also select their preferred level of spiciness. Options range from no spice (0) to heavy spice (3). We found spice level 1 was “Minnesota spicy”, spice level 2 was “California spicy”, and we conjec-

Traditions are formed at the table – whether it’s a dinner table or a picnic table. Our tradition is offering top-quality groceries and old-fashioned customer service.

(218) 963-2265 - - CR 13 & Hwy 371, Nisswa

Summer 2012

Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods


Editor’s note: Daniel Dix is from Backus, MN, where he is owner of WoodSpirit Gardens, a landscape design and installation company. Putting strong emphasis on working with nature, he has a unique perspective on land use and environmental issues. His diverse undertakings include Therapeutic, Water and Oriental gardens as well as wetland restoration, erosion and flood control. Since 2007 he has been visiting and working in Costa Rica – both as a landscaper and a tour guide. The following is an excerpt from his book-in-process My Almost True Adventures of Costa Rica.

Crazy White Man

In Costa Rica, there are different grades of coffee, the cheaper and more expensive kinds, like everything else in this world. One day, when living in Costa Rica, I ran out of coffee. I think it was because Rosa, my house keeper/ cook, brews a few pots for herself everyday she works, but I am not complaining. Anyhow, when I remembered that I needed coffee, I happened to be near one of the countless little stores that are scattered across the county. Kind of like a very, very, tiny Wal-Mart. You know, the kind of place where they carry almost everything and “If they don’t have it- you don’t need it.” Well, I wandered down the aisle (single) and saw the coffee. They had a few different brands, but they also had what I assumed was home roasted, ground, packaged coffee almost hidden behind the regular brands. It was WAY cheaper than any coffee I had seen for sale. Not much more than a large Coke here. Its plastic bag was clear, and it was the blackest coffee I had ever seen. More like the color of coal. There were little sticks in the coffee, too, as well as some unidentified material, like the pickers were not real

Story and photos by Daniel Dix

careful when they harvested the beans. I thought, “What the heck, I will just buy the cheap stuff, and if it isn’t the best, well, Rosa will still drink it I suppose.” So I grabbed a bag and went to pay. But the man at the counter said something like “No, no, solo para borrachos. Solo para borrachos.” That means, I think, that this was only for drunkards. Now how weird was that? But maybe he said something else and I just did not understand it. So I did what I usually do in these sorts of circumstances: I smiled and held out the money. The man took it and shook his head. I took the coffee home and the next morning I needed to be in San Ramon (the nearest city) at about 9:30 am. I always get up early and exercise then take a leisurely breakfast out on the veranda. So, I figured I would brew up some coffee and at about 9am call a cab. I have hiked the hour, more or less, to San Ramon before. The drive should be a task undertaken by someone who wants to meet an Undertaker. This particular stretch of the Pan American Highway… well, it is only a little safer for

Coffee is a main crop in mountainous Costa Rica. It grows everywhere and it is being harvested, all by hand, often by Nicaraguans.

hikers. The curves are the worst part since visibility is obscured and there is little, or really no, shoulder to walk on where you need it most. Anyhow, at about 8:30am I settled down with the black as coal coffee. I assumed that I had a half hour to enjoy before I had to call that cab and get to town. There were a few warning signals that I should have paid attention to. Like the smell. Oh, it smelled like coffee alright but it seemed to have just a hint of diesel to it as well. I have been drinking coffee strong here, as is the custom, and taking the edge off it by adding sugar and milk. I did this with my cup and headed for the veranda. Another thing that should have warned me was the colorful sheen on the surface of the coffee. It is normal, of course, for coffee beans have oil in them. But it looked more like a tiny tanker had run aground in my cup. Tasting the brew told me it was bitter and strong so I added more sugar and milk and drank it anyway. Wow, what a surprise! Now I knew what the man at the store was talking about. If you gave a cup of this stuff to one of the staggering drunks I have seen on the streets of San Ramon, he would stand up straight and sing the Battle Hymn

of the Republic- on key and in perfect English! I even think that if you brewed a stronger cup and you drizzled it on the lips of a dead man he would get up and dance the Merengue! I managed to drink the cup, and suddenly decided to save the 4 plus dollars the cab costs and stroll to San Ramon. I think I mentioned the traffic out here on the Pan American highway. Usually, it moves fairly fast – oh, forty miles an hour or more, even going up the mountain. But at other times it slows to a crawl. This could be for a number of reasons, like: a holiday weekend, an accident, just two truck drivers who have not seen each other for awhile and pull “over” to visit – leaving only one lane open. Or it could be that a truck tipped over. This happens with amazing frequency. That is, trucks tipping over. I have seen it all over Costa Rica. So maybe pulling farther “over” could result in one of the trucks tumbling down the mountain. Blocking traffic is better, I guess. Anyhow, that “Day of the Power Drink” when I walked, I think it must have been one of the slow traffic days since I was passing cars on my trek downtown. In fact, I think I passed some of them twice. continued on page 23


Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods

Summer 2012

Treasures in the Northwoods

Throngs will follow a map and distinctive red and black signs on a unique treasure hunt Labor Day weekend. From Pine River to north of Longville, they’ll travel State Highway 84’s beautiful curves, hugging the lakes and wending through the gorgeous northwoods. Nestled into the natural beauty, they’ll discover nine sites hosting the creative works of 90 local and regional artists. There will even be some tasty foods and a little music. The Arts Off 84 Art Crawl is a fun filled, family-friendly, two day event. It features a wide range of arts from high-end pieces to quality handmade crafts. It has grown and evolved as the art selection has expanded and improved, as well. In order to maintain the integrity of the art crawl a jury process was instituted in 2011. Entries for 2012 promise a feast for the senses. Attendees will be able to peruse paintings, photography, fiber art, paper crafts and cards, wood furniture and accessories, Lake Superior rock creations, hand woven baskets, chainsaw sculptures, garden art, cigar box guitars, rustic picture frames and home décor, hand painted fish carvings, gourds, specialty soaps, hamade knives, jewelry, metal and stone art, pottery, ceramics, stained glass, upcycled creations, soy candles, wood carvings & woodwork, leathercraft, hand lotions, waterproof art for the shower, rustic willow furniture and accessories, copper work, beading, hand dyed scarves/shawls and hats, birchbark canoes, custom guitars, wrought

iron art, kaleidoscope photography, knitting, quilting, felting, and other specialty art forms. They will also be able to sample tasty treats like jellies, syrups, vinegars, honey, organic produce, canned goods, and baked goodies. The full, updated artist directory will be available in July on the website It will feature artist bios and photos of sample works.

By Nolita Christensen

Organizers, Sherry and Larry Chapin, have always been interested in art and fellow artists. Originally from Staples, Larry is a talented wood carver. He specializes in the carving of realistic Native American and Mountain Man head studies. Sherry is originally from Minneapolis. As a jewelry artist she has expanded her work to include jewelry metalsmithing. In 2008 the Chapins, along with a talented woodworking neighbor, started an art crawl around their lake. The first Lake Ada Art Crawl featured 31 artists at five sites. Three years later the annual event expanded to span the 31 miles of scenic State Highway 84. Its name also shifted to the Arts Off 84 Art Crawl. Now in its fifth year, the Arts Off 84 Art Crawl is living out its mission to promote the works of local and regional artists and provide an art presence to the Pine River, Longville and surrounding areas. The organizers strive to serve the needs of the community by offering a wide variety of artistic art forms available at a range of prices.

Larry Chapin has been bringing wood to life for many It has been a labor years. His carvings include realistic Indian and Mountain of love with countMan sculptures, collectible Santa’s, collectible whimsical less hours of work snowmen, and unique chainsaw carvings.

before, during and

after the event each year. With no formal training in event planning – but plenty of intelligence and commitment to excellence – the Chapins have created a great event that is fun for attendees and profitable for area businesses and artists. And somehow, they manage to create and present their own works and host additional artists at their home/studio. Pottery artist, Midori Marcum, sings the praises of Sherry in particular. “Sherry’s really, really good. I’ve never been in a show that’s better organized,” she said. Marcum noted the high quality of communication, including a survey, reporting back to artists after each show, and making refinements each year. Marcum was not sure what to expect for sales her first year participating in the art crawl. She was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of customers expecting to buy real art. She noted that the event fills a niche with its focus on art and quality handcraftsmanship that is different from what you might find at a farmer’s market or craft fair. Marcum was extremely pleased to nearly sell out of all her goods, making enough money during the weekend and from resulting commissions to purchase a kiln that had been on her wish list. “I highly recommend it to other artists,” Marcum said. Artists wishing to participate may visit the website for registration materials and information.

Summer 2012

Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods


Midori Marcum, hailing from Japan, uses her experiences to create unique, functional pieces that are intended for everyday use, not just for sitting on your shelf at home collecting dust. Each piece she creates has a special feeling for Midori and she hopes you will also feel that same connection to her pieces.




What: Arts Off 84 Art Crawl Cty. 46 NW

Where: 9 sites along Hwy 84, Pine River through Longville

Smith Drive NW

Cost: Free and open to the public

Sherry Chapin enjoys creating one-of-akind jewelry pieces using sterling silver, copper, gemstones, crystal, glass, and recycled materials. New this year is a collection of metalsmithed jewelry.

5 4

Note: No dogs, please. Service animals only. More info:,, 218-587-5075


12th Ave. SW

When: Sat Sept 1st & Sun Sept 2nd, 2012 9am-5pm both days

Division St

2 12th Ave. SW

NO DOGS – Service Animals Only

3 Cty. Rd. 43

18th St. SW

Watch for the official Art Crawl signs and numbers



Lakes Area Septic Design Septic Design Compliance Inspections Site Evaluations

Water Testing Monitoring & Mitigation Operation & Maintenance

16 years of quality service to our community Certified - Bonded - Insured

Contact me today to get started on your design! 218-587-3977

JoAn Wannebo


Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods

Summer 2012

The Stagecoach: An American Icon By Rich Engstrom Photos courtesy of Terri Jacobson as much as $75,000 to build. The stagecoach was unique in that the main body was supported on thoroughbraces – leather straps that acted as shock absorbers, giving it sway and cushioning its bounce.

When one thinks of the Old West the images of the American cowboy come to mind. So do gunfights, cattle drives, saloons, and the stagecoach. In almost every Old West movie you will see the four-wheeled, six horse drawn carriage with a driver perched on a seat high upon the outside, controlling the team as it travels down some of the roughest roads in the nation. The one ton stagecoaches were made of the best materials from their oak wheels on up. Concord stagecoaches were purported to be built so well that they wore out before breaking down. Today, an authentic replica of an iconic Concord stagecoach would cost

But only so much could be done in 1800s transportation. Rumbling along gravel highways was not comfortable. The leather curtains could be lowered, but could not keep out the elements such as wind, rain, dust and snow. Besides concerns about outlaws and Indians (not every coach carried a guard), one also had to contend with fellow passengers. Deodorant had not been invented and neither had comfort stations. The person opposite you might be a cowboy looking for a ride after many days on the trail or a trapper just out of the wilderness. She also could be a female dressed in the finest clothes of the day. But after many days enclosed in a carriage 4 feet wide and only 4½ high, every-

one was too close for real comfort. The stage line of the Old West had up to 2,000 horses and as many as 800 workers. There were over 150 relay stations where fresh horse teams were “staged” and ready to be quickly switched out so the coach could continue with minimal downtime. The horses traveled five to 12 miles an hour, with teams changed every 12 miles. A trip from St. Louis to San Francisco took as long as 25 days. American’s beloved 1800s author, Mark Twain, made a stagecoach ride from St. Joe to Carson City in 1861. In his book Roughing It, he remarked on his travels, “The

three passengers sat in the back seat with all of the rest of the coach full of mail – twenty-seven hundred pounds of mail.” Very uncomfortable. He described the way-stations as “Long, low huts, made of sundried, mud-colored bricks. The roofs were thatched and then sodded with earth. The buildings consisted of barns, stable-room for 12-15 horses, and a hut for an eating room for passengers. You had to bend in order to get in at the door. There was no flooring, with the ground hard packed. No stove, but a fireplace serving its needful purposes.” continued on page 11

Because of the close conditions in the coaches, the Wells Fargo company created the following rules of travel: •Abstinence from liquor is requested, but if you must drink share the bottle. To do otherwise makes you appear selfish and unneighborly. •If ladies are present, gentlemen are urged to forego smoking cigars an pipes as the odor of same is repugnant to the gentler sex. Chewing tobacco is permitted, but spit with the wind, not against it. •Gentlemen must refrain from the use of rough language in the presence of ladies and children. •Buffalo robes are provided for your comfort in cold weather. Hogging robes will not be tolerated and the offender will be made to ride with the driver. •Don’t snore loudly while sleeping or use your fellow passen- ger’s shoulder for a pillow: he or she may not understand and friction may result. •Firearms may be kept on your person for use in emergencies. Do not fire them for pleasure or shoot at wild animals as the sound riles the horses. •In the event of runaway horses remain calm. Leaping from the coach in panic will leave you injured, at the mercy of the ele- ments, hostile Indians and hungry coyotes. •Forbidden topics of conversation are: stagecoach robberies and Indian uprisings. •Gents guilty of unchivalrous behavior toward lady passengers will be put off the stage. It is a long walk back. A word to the wise is sufficient. Reference: Elizabeth C. MacPhail, Wells Fargo in San Diego, The Journal of San Diego History, Fall 1980, Volume 28, Number 4. (via Wikipedia)

Summer 2012

Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods


continued from page 10

The Pony Express entered the scene in April 1860, and continued until October 1861. (They could

make the trip from St. Louis to San Francisco in 10 days.) It was a short stay and didn’t affect the stagecoaches as did the coming of the railroad.

After the transcontinental railroad connected the East and West in 1869, the role of the stagecoach diminished. It continued only connecting those communities that did not have the railroads traveling through them. Today, folks in the Lakes Area can experience a slice of history themselves. Doug Taylor and Action Entertainment will be giving stagecoach rides every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday throughout the summer in Nisswa.

Located in Beautiful Downtown Breezy Point

OPEN: NOON TO 10Pm 20 + Flavors Ice Cream ~ Flavor Bursts Razzles~ Hard Core Banana Split Malts ~ Shakes & More Please call ahead for large groups 218-562-5452

While you’re in Nisswa…

Enjoy a little history at the restored train depot and Northern Pacific Caboose and take a self-guided tour of a late 1800s Pioneer Village. 10 am - 4 pm WednesdaySaturday, Memorial Day – Labor Day. Take a stagecoach ride downtown Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays throughout the summer. Race a turtle! Every Wednesday June 6 – Aug 15 Turtle Races are downtown. 1 pm registration, 2 pm start. Catch live family theater Thursdays at the Pioneer Village presented by Action Entertainment. Visit the Farmer’s Market 8 am - 12:30 pm Thursdays through October 25. Stroll the streets and watch for Buddy the Trick Horse and Brodie the Wonder Dog summer Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. For more info and ideas on great area entertainment, food, and shopping, visit:

SPIKE’S BARBERSHOP Downtown Pine River Style cuts For men & women

SPIKES WALES 218-587-4588 WES STATTLEMAN 218-851-3332


Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods

Summer 2012

Food, Fun & Friends Billy Pestello knows how to have fun. As

proprietor of Billy’s at Breezy, he has his own formula for success. His secret, make sure everyone is having fun! Whether it is providing great giveaways or presenting live entertainment and attractions, Billy is up for giving it a try, and it pays off in smiling happy patrons. Billy sums it up, “I figure if I keep them happy and give them something fun to do, I can keep ‘em coming back.” It helps that they have great food and drink. Billy’s has two bars, one inside, one outside. Thier menu includes steaks, burgers (try the Jake-a-nator if you think you can handle it!), pizza, pasta, seafood and the best chichen drummies around. His winter promotion “12 Days of Christmas” was a great success. Every Tuesday and Wednesday night starting in the middle of November and ending with the Final Drawing on New Year’s Eve, some lucky winner received a 3 day/2 night trip for two with 1 free airfare. 6 different trip destinations were available. The Final Drawing was the one to win! 8 days/7 nights for two with one free airfare to Hawaii! Besides the usual meat raffles (Don’t miss Tuesday’s all prime rib!) and daily specials, Billy regularly hosts live music and other live entertainment. Last summer he hosted Action Entertainment’s Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre and this year he is home to their Western Stunt Show. The show is presented every other Saturday evening at

DAILY LUNCH & DINNER SPECIALS OPEN 365 DAY A YEAR AT 11 AM Banquet Room for Large parties Game Room for Kids 11 Flat Screens to Watch Your Favorite Games On CR #11 Breezy Point (Next to the Ice Arena) 218-562-4667 4pm, 6pm, and 8 pm. Billy is always working to improve his facility. Last summer he added an outdoor patio and bar, and this summer he put in a lawn for playing bean bag toss, and other games. Drop by and check it out!


All Summer Long Monday-Friday


Two Featured Lunch Specials Ready in 20 minutes or less-Or FREE!!

at Billy’s

June 9 * June 23 July 7 * July 21 August 4 * August 18 4 pm * 6 pm * 8 pm Adults $12

Kids 3 –13


Bean Bag Toss on the Green!

Billy Pestello and Carmen Farl

Come enjoy a drink and the sun on our new green space!

Tuesdays Prime Rib Meat Raffle 5:30 pm Wednesdays Regular Meat Raffle 5:30 pm

Summer 2012

Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods In 2007 The Brainerd Area Sertoma Club set out to create a Holiday Family Tradition like no other.

animated, colorfully lit displays.

Breathtaking lights strung into captivating displays reflect off sparkling white snow, delighting visitors as they drive through the Sertoma Winter Wonderland. This spectacular holiday tradition includes a tour of more than 80

For the complete experience, climb aboard a horse-drawn ride. Hear the sleigh bells jingle, and let the crisp air make your cheeks rosy. Doug Taylor, professional animal coordinator and stuntman with Action Entertainment, provides sleigh and wagon rides many evenings. At the end of the trail is the Holiday Village, filled with good cheer. Visitors can enjoy snacks and refreshments, chat with Santa Claus, and join in more holiday festivities. Sertoma Winter Wonderland welcomes an average of 25,000 visitors a year, representing over 500 communities from 37 states and 9 countries. They keep the experience fresh with new displays and elements, and are transitioning to LED lights for the park to make Sertoma Winter Wonderland at the Northland Arboretum more energy efficient. In addition, in just four years, Sertoma is proud to have given more than $100,000 back to local charities to do speech and hearing, environmental, public service, education, youth and other work. What: Sertoma Winter Wonderland Where: Northland Arboretum, Baxter, MN When: 5:30 – 8:30pm Wed - Sat, Thanksgiving through New Years Cost: $10 per car, discount coupons available

Photo by Vicki Foss

While you’re in Brainerd…

See an original jail cell and learn about logging & railroads at the Crow Wing County Historical Society Museum. 10 am - 3 pm Tuesdays - Saturdays. Visit a Lakes Area Growers Market 8 am - 12:30 pm Tuesdays through October at Franklin Art Center & Fridays at Gander Mountain. View local arts in the galleries and studios of Franklin Arts Center. Hear 26’ tall Paul Bunyan, enjoy 40+ rides and attractions & 30 buildings in the Pioneer Village at Paul Bunyan Land 10 am - 6 pm daily through Labor Day. For more info and ideas on great area entertainment, food, and shopping, visit:



Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods

Summer 2012

BUFFET Tuesday Wednesday Friday 11 am - 2 pm Thursday 5 pm - 8 pm


Leave your worries and troubles far behind! Bliss Spalon is a full-service day spa, dedicated to providing you with the most pleasurable and relaxing experience possible. We combine ancient relaxation techniques with state-of-the-art technology to create a truly unique spa visit. Our services include: Boutique Massage Permanent Make-up

August 25th-26th At the newly remodeled

Hair Services Skin Care Nail Services

Call us today to schedule a day of well deserved pampering and relaxation!

Bar Harbor Supper Club

County Road 77, Lakeshore Classic Boat Parade Saturday 4:30 pm-6:30 pm

4430 Main Street, Pequot Lakes, MN 56472

Award Ceremony Sunday 2:15 pm

Docks open to the public at 9 am Saturday & Sunday To register your classic or for more information, contact: 612-834-5020

Any service we provide! Offer expires: 10/12

Summer 2012

Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods


JULY 3 3-4 4

Nisswa Freedom Day Stars and Stripes Day Pequot Lakes Nisswa Turtle Races (Wednesdays thru Aug. 15)


Western Stunt Show LIVE on stage at Billy’s in Breezy Point

9-11 10

Bean Hole Days Pequot Lakes Free Fishing Seminars Pine River Dam (Tuesdays thru Aug. 14)


MN Country Sampler Picnic Brainerd Northland Arboretum

19-21 21

Moondance Jam Walker Western Stunt Show LIVE on stage at Billy’s in Breezy Point


Antique Boat Show & Rendezvous Crosslake


Summerfest! Longville Main Street & Firehall


Backus Fly-In Pancake Breakfast

Or maybe you want to rent a paddle board, get your watch fixed, or find a good bakery? LAKESAREADAYIN.COM is the place to find local services and deals. Visit us online, and download the FREE app for your smart phone to get specials and events delivered right to your hand!

Backus Airport

31-Aug 4

Ever wish there were an easy way to find who has dinner specials tonight? Or maybe you are planning ahead for next weekend and looking for some live music? Look no further! LAKESAREANIGHTOUT.COM is the place to plan your perfect night out.

Crow Wing County Fair Brainerd


Western Stunt Show LIVE on stage at Billy’s in Breezy Point


Walker Bay Days


2nd Annual Pork in the Park Hackensack


Chokecherry Festival Pequot Lakes


Corn Fest Backus


Brainerd Jaycees Street Fest on 7th

11-12 17 18

Downtown Brainerd

33rd Annual This Old Farm Days Paul Bunyan Land

Taste of Longville



Under the tents on Main Street

Western Stunt Show LIVE on stage at Billy’s in Breezy Point




Mochas Smoothies

Cajun Fest Walker Northern Lights Casino


NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals


Coffee shop

Brainerd International Raceway


Mille Lacs Band Pow Wow Onamia


Lakes Area Bluegrass Festival Pine River Cass County Fairgrounds


Gull Lake Classic Boat Show Lakeshore Bar Harbor

Mon-Fri Saturday

7am - 7pm 7am - 5pm

409 Barclay Avenue Pine River MN 56474 218-587-5100

Homemade Soups Gyros Wraps Burritos


Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods

Summer 2012

Wild Woman Roams Free in Woods By Rae Christy

eat, but most people haven’t tasted more than 5 or so – wild fruits, maybe dandelions, and possibly lamb’s quarter.”

Listening to Alma Christensen or watching her graceful walk, you’d never guess she’s 91 years old with 19 grandkids, 30 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grands. You also probably wouldn’t guess she eats twigs, bushes and berries every day. Alma’s journey to becoming a wild edibles expert began over 85 years ago on the family farm near Jenkins. Starting at six years old, when they were old enough to be a help, Alma and her 8 younger siblings were in the fields, garden and wilds harvesting foods to feed the family. “’Necessity’ was the name of the game during the Depression,” she puts it, simply. Her hands-on education started with dandelions. “Dad turned them up with the plow. I took it from there, learning plants one by one,” Alma explains. And with each plant, there were numerous uses to learn. The dandelion is a very versatile plant. The tap root can be roasted and ground to make a coffee-like beverage. The crowns and leaves can be used in salads and for steamed greens. Dandelion flower petals can make a delicious soup, or be made into tasty little “pizza burgers” seasoned with oregano & basil. And of course, there’s always the option of transforming those “weeds” into wine or jelly.

But, here in northern Minnesota, all the time from March until November there is something in the fields and woods to reap. Alma challenges, “Within 50 feet of any set of buildings, I bet you can find 50 edibles.” Nettles, thistles and more surround gardens. There are berries like pincherries, chokecherries, brambles, and bog cranberries. The woods are stocked with plants to make beverages like New Jersey tea, Labrador tea, vitamin-C packed rose hips, leaves from rose family – raspberry & strawberry leaves, and wild spearmint & peppermint. Nature provides sweet flag, wild ginger, acorns, and hazelnuts to candy or make into nibbling tidbits and appetizers. For Alma, wild foods serve as a connection to history and ancestors, as well as nature. For instance, she is quick to note the acorn was a staple food of the colonists. They would grind acorns to use them like flour in baking, to make pancakes, and as a form of grits. Along with vegetables and purposeful plantings, gardens also have “weeds” like purslane, dandelions, mustard, lamb’s quarter, and amaranth. With mild disgust in her voice, Alma declares, “I resent people calling little wildings ‘weeds.’ They are misplaced plants

that refused to grow in a row.” She points to nature as having the right idea. “You get better yield when you don’t plant in a row. If you plant in a zigzag you get a lot more in the same space. In nature lots of things grow in colonies – not rows.” She points to wild ginger, onion, leek and some mushrooms as examples of wild colonies. Raising her own family of 7 children, she combined the domestic and wild foods on the table every day. Frequently, wild ingredients popped up in juices, fruits, salads, or condiments like cranberry catsup. Her family didn’t share her level of passion for foraging, but they ate the nearby things and plenty of wild game. The trunk of Alma’s car always holds tools for impromptu foraging. A tote tray is stocked with a paring knife, jug of water, paper towel, small jars, Cool Whip or ice cream buckets, and bug spray. Sometimes Alma’s grandkids accompanied her on expeditions. “If you’re going to get lost in the woods, take my grandma,” quips granddaughter Nolita. She recalls tucking their pant legs into their socks, spraying on bug repellant, and hanging whistles around their necks, before they would tromp into the woods together to pick berries or gather cattail pollen for sunshine corn muffins. Included in those field trips were lessons about poisonous plants. Although edible plants far outnum-

ber the poisonous, Alma emphasizes you should never taste a plant that you are not positive you have identified correctly. Her mantra is “When in doubt, leave it out.” She cautions about dermatitis from poison ivy, poison oak, wild parsnip, and the like. She reminds, “Leaves of three? Let them be.” For beginners she says it is a good idea to leave alone red and white berries until you are sure of their identification. And when it comes to mushrooms, Alma teaches three choices: 1) raise them yourself, 2) buy them at the store, or 3) take the word of an expert. Using a little common sense, time in the wild provides a lot. “You see nature at its best,” Alma says. Besides enjoying tasty treats, she fondly recalls seeing porcupines up pine trees, bears in blueberry and blackberry brush, and even a doe drop her fawn. In 1972 Alma “went public” as a wild edibles teacher when she presented a program for a homemakers group of the University of Minnesota Extension Service of Cass County. Using the format of Talk, Taste and Trail, she led a group of ladies through her wild world. After tasting samples, they asked, “Why don’t you write a cookbook? Men do the wild game, why don’t you do the wild plants?” It took a period of 10 years to compile – with her husband ill and a myriad of details that accompanied raising kids – but she did it. The

From taproot to blossom, the cattail has multiple edible parts and uses. The root can be used like a potato, the tender first 6 inches of stalk like asparagus, and the pollen from the blossoms as flour . The young spikes that later become the brown “sausage” of the cattail can be treated like sweet corn.

How many domestic garden counterparts lend themselves to that kind of multiple use?

Cattails can also be used to make crafts. Dried leaves can be woven, and dried stalks can be used like Lincoln logs (like Native Americans did).

Most people are surprised by the number of wild edibles surrounding us. Alma says, “There are thousands of things out there you can

The fluff from fully matured cattails can also be used to pack wounds and stop bleeding. In World War II, cattail fluff was even used for making rafts.

Summer 2012 resulting book is filled with recipes, nutritional charts, and illustrations she drew herself. She says being in the woods “is the next thing to Heaven; a place for serenity and meditation. That’s why I named the book For Soul and Kitchen; it was good for the soul as well as the kitchen.”

Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods But this lady doesn’t just hang out in the woods and at film festivals. Alma keeps active attending sports games, dances, family events and gatherings, history presentations, concerts and performances.

She is also a world traveler, studying plants and cultures wherever Alma has presented all over Minne- she goes. She jokes that she took sota for schools, churches, and clubs her first trip across the Atlantic of gardeners, sportsmen, and outOcean before she was even born. doors women. Over the years, she As a first generation immigrant, has become a familiar face teaching she was born just 2 weeks after her at Deep Portage Learning Center, mother landed on the US shores. Northland Arboretum, Happy Danc- Since then, she has visited 49 states ing Turtle, MN Historical Society, (all but Oregon), Canada, Mexico, White Earth Wild Foods Summit, and Costa Rica. She sojourned to parks and fairs. Europe to see her Austrian relatives, learning her own history and culShe has popped up on the radio, in ture. And for nine winters she lived newspapers from Alexandria to Two in Hawaii. Harbors, on TV spots like PBS’s Viewpoints North, and On the Road As a young woman Alma spent with Jason Davis. three years as a teacher in a 1 room country school. She was a “war Alma has even graced the silver widow” for four years, including screen. a short stint as a Rosie the Riveter. She sews, paints, quilts, knits, In 2007, some blue violet jelly at does needle work, cans, bakes, and a potluck captured the curiosity of cooks. For years she strategically Aleshia Mueller. Originally from packed hundreds of handcrafted Backus, and now working as a items into her car to enter in area professional filmmaker in the Twin county fairs. Cities, Aleshia started asking questions about the unique treat. Alma worked closely with MN Extension Service for 17 years, Alma’s granddaughter shared stories acting as a resource for Cass and about her grandma and her wild neighboring counties. She still foods. Soon, they were plotting a gets calls to answer questions. She short film on Alma for the Minnecontributed to programs like “Grow sota Historical Society’s Greatest Your Own Groceries” and hosted a Generation film competition. garden plot to conduct experiments on hardy plant varieties for our The resulting ten minute documennorthern MN planting zone 3. She tary “Lady of the Woods” has been speaks highly of the quality educascreened at the Minnesota’s Greatest tion she enjoyed through the U of Generation Film Festival, Fearless MN Extension Offices. Filmmakers – Fearless Females, the 2008 Cannes Film Festival Shorts While she still gets out into the Film Corner, as well as smaller woods whenever possible, Alma’s community screenings. In 2009, spirit of adventure, natural curiosit was featured at the Square Lake ity, and passion for lifelong learnFilm Festival. Alma was delighted ing now includes learning her new to attend the screening, answer computer. She has entered the questions and led a walk around the world of email and Facebook. festival grounds.


Soul and Kitchen: Wild Food Cookbook $15 (incl. S & H) Happy Dancing Turtle 2331 Dancing Wind Rd Pine River, MN 56474 218-587-2303

Lady of the Woods DVD $10 + $5 shipping Reel Nomad Productions 612-202-1434


New Used Specialty Items 218.587.2284

With Bargains Galore Something for everyone!

Corner of Hwy 371 and Cnty Rd 1 in Pine River 218.316.1610

Open Monday thru Friday 10 am to 5 pm


Seeds of Sommer


Organic Bulk Spices & Herbs Organic Teas & Tees Supplements Gifts And So Much More Jack Pine Center, 4464 Main Street, Pequot Lakes, MN


Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods

Martin’s Sport Shop:

Summer 2012

From Behind the Counter By Renee Kardell

July 26, 1943

Tourist or local, young or old, we’ve all heard the story behind Martin’s Sport Shop. How Martin Dullum opened it over 80 years ago as Nisswa Oil Company. How it was located on the opposite side of the street from the present day store. How it passed down from generation to generation, and evolved into a store that sells summer sporting equipment, shoes, clothing and everything in between. Martin’s does, truly have a long, interesting history. But this is the story from behind the counter. From the employee perspective of being part of such a historic, vibrant business. My first day at Martin’s was a disaster, to say the least. I knew nothing. Nothing about the clothing, nothing about the shoes, and especially nothing about the expensive sunglasses sitting in the expensive looking case. I had been so excited to get hired, but then the real struggle began: learning the products, getting customers to like me, and attempting to answer questions in a way that didn’t make me seem like some silly high school student. Honestly, I struggled. But looking back I learned so much about myself, my customers and working in retail. My first summer I learned the basics: greeting customers as they walked through the door, making small talk, and asking if I could help find anything. Slowly but surely I learned about the products, and found I enjoyed selling inline skates and the clothing we carried. I was nowhere near “good” at it yet, but I was learning. Three things kept me interested. Number One: the customers. Each person that walked in the door was different. Every family had a different story and back-

Photo courtesy of Teresa Berg

ground, and I got to hear it all. I got used to asking, “Where are you guys from?”, “What do you do for a living?”, and “Where are you staying while on vacation?” From each person I got a different response, a different variation of their lives. Suddenly, I was building a relationship with all customers. To say I thoroughly enjoyed it, would be an understatement. Number Two: The outstanding owners – past and present – made my time at Martin’s incredibly worthwhile. Jim Dullum was the owner for many, many years until he sold it to his daughter, Teresa Berg, in 2009. You may know Jim because of his amazing talent for building a relationship with customers as soon as they step in the door. He greets them with the biggest, brightest smile and before selling them anything he gets to know them. What makes me so proud to work for Teresa and Jim is that their goal is not to sell, sell, sell; it is to make customers feel welcome, happy and at home. Jim embodies that message. It’s a common sight to see Jim, while selling Vibram FiveFingers (one of our favorite store brands), sprinting with customers through the store to show off how comfortable the shoes are. When a customer is in search of a fellow shopper or family member, Jim can often be heard shouting the customer’s name right along through the store. One of my favorites though, is Jim constantly telling customers that “We’ll will leave a light” for them. There is never a dull moment when Jim is around. Martin’s today

Teresa Berg, is the current owner of Martin’s. I have to admit, when I first started, I was intimidated by her. Teresa, of course, has standards. You must learn about the products, be presentable, and always show courtesy to the customer. But as long as you’re doing your job, Teresa is the type of boss any employee would love – more a friend than a boss. Teresa can be very assertive and to the point, but I have come to admire these traits, especially in her line of business. I am lucky to have absorbed some of her assertiveness and confidence with customers, benefitting from her example. What I appreciate most about Teresa, though, is her patience. From my very first day at Martin’s, it has been constant learning about the products, the customers, and how best to do my job. Through it all, she has selflessly listened, offered help, and always treated me with kindness – even in a situation where I was in the wrong. Number Three: (secretly best of all) The feeling I get from working at Martin’s Sport Shop. Each shift isn’t work; it’s fun. I meet people from all walks of life. I get to sell inline skates, shoes, clothing, and skis all. I get the blessing of working in a gorgeous community with tourists and citizens who are caring, generous,

and happy. I get to walk down the sidewalk, and personally know every person I pass. Sometimes I say to myself, “The sun is shining, it’s 75°, I know all of these people, and I get to sell summer stuff all day long. Could it get any better?” This summer will be my forth at Martin’s. Although I have spent much time away at college, there is no better feeling than coming home and walking through the door to work at Martin’s. It’s not that I don’t love college – because I do. It’s that no matter what I do or how busy I keep myself, college will never be home. When I come back to Nisswa and work at Martin’s, deep down I feel home. I love the small town loyalty, the smiles on the faces of everyone I pass, and the caring customer-employee relationship at all the stores where I shop. When I compare myself to the girl who started at Martin’s four years ago, I see a completely different person. Martin’s Sport Shop is not just my place of employment. Simply put, it is a place where I learn, laugh, and have grown close to several amazing people. It is a place with historical meaning, heart and happiness. Sadly, someday, I will no longer work at Martin’s. But I know that just as a light is left on for all of our loyal customers, there will be a light left on for me.

Photo courtesy of Teresa Berg

Summer 2012

Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods


Horse Sense By the whinnying girls of Four Seasons Resort: Pearl, Lacy, and Angel

Merritt Jewelers Your Hometown Full Service Jewelers in Pequot Lakes

One rainy afternoon we were in the barn browsing through the Horse Herald News, when we came upon an article that kindled a twinkle in our eyes. We read a story by Mr. Ed about a place in Minnesota where horses can go on vacation with their owners. It is three hours north of Minneapolis in the peaceful woods, a place surrounded by nature and endless tranquility. There, the days begin with peaceful sunrises and end with glorious sunsets. He lamented that so many of his friends are left at boarding stables to look at the same four walls, never getting to stretch their legs and see the true beauty of our state. Ed recounted walking the gravel road or taking his owner

down secluded logging trails and old growth forests for hours. It was the most beautiful and peaceful place he had ever been. Ed said when the bugs got too bad or if his owner needed a break, he got to rest with the little fillies at the house. His owner loved relaxing by the lake and fishing for bass, northern pike, crappies, sunfish and the occasional walleye. We whinnied, for we realized that Ed was talking about us. He had vacationed where we live and get to enjoy life and company of others. We’re always thrilled to meet new friends, great studs and even old nags. If you would like to visit us girls at Four Seasons Resort on Jail Lake, feel free to contact Doug at (218)-587-2227

Beautiful peaceful sunset over Jail Lake.

Photo courtesy of Doug Brostrom

So often we forget to stop and enjoy all which is around us. We get so caught up in the everyday hassles of our lives and don’t enjoy the simple things in life that give us such great pleasure -- our horses.


Seventeen Showcases of beautiful Diamonds, Gemstones, Pearls, Gold & Sterling Silver Jewelry


All jewelry repair done in our store Everything from chain repairs to custom creating your own special jewelry piece


Barb’s Bargains – always 60% Off


Stop in and have your picture taken with Paul Bunyan & Lucette’s Engagement ring

31067 Front Street 218-568-4695 Pequot Lakes, MN 56472

While you’re in Walker…

Learn about the settlement of Cass County and the Ojibwe culture at the Cass County Museum, Pioneer School & Wildlife/Indian Arts Museum. 10am-5pm Tuesday – Friday (FREE Fridays this summer!). Check out the exhibits, archival files, photos, newspapers, and research library. Get crazy! Don’t miss Walker Crazy Days with sidewalk sales and vendors offering outdoor booths filled with crafts, food, beverages and other misc. items. June 21, July 19, and August 9. Visit the Green Scene Farmer’s Market Thursdays 9am1:00pm through September 20. Get lucky! Drop by Northern Lights Casino where you can play over 1,000 slot and poker machines, live blackjack, and 20/20 bingo. Eat, drink and be merry at the buffet, snack bar, cabaret and full-service bar. Sample some handcrafted beer in the tap room of Leech Lake Brewing Company Monday-Saturday Noon – 6 pm.

Featuring a complete selection of

Cold Beer Spirits Remarkable Wines

Hours: 9am to 10 pm Monday thru Saturday Highway 371, Pine River, MN

Swim, fish, boat, picnic, bike and hike on the beaches, trails and parks throughout the area. For more info and ideas on great area entertainment, food, and shopping, visit:


Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods

Summer 2012

Four Generations of Farming, Family and Fun Not many can say they operate today on a 110 year old original family homestead, but Dave Peterson can. With pride and respect for those who came before him, he welcomes guests to Pine Peaks Retreat & Event Center.

Homesteaded and Dairy Farm

In 1902, Dave’s great grandparents, Peter and Ella Peterson, ventured into the wildness of the Chain of Lakes near Cross Lake. They bought land and established a hotel for the loggers in lush, northern Minnesota. With Norwegian tenacity and the power of the American Dream, they built a good life for themselves and raised a passel of nine kids. One of their offspring, Dave’s grandfather Oscar Peterson, bought 80 acres in 1908 from the folks for a dairy farm. He and his wife Grace had nine children who helped Ma and Pa with farm chores, raising livestock, and selling milk to the nearby Pine River Creamery. After 49 years of operation, Oscar was ready for a well-deserved rest – and so was the land. So, the farm was put into soil bank, a government program that paid farmers to discontinue production for 10 years in order to increase milk prices.

Hobby Farm

However, the land was not idle for long. In 1962 Dale and Betty Peterson (Dave’s parents) bought the farm from Oscar and Grace. Keeping up the tradition, they too had nine children who grew up on the property, which they turned into a hobby farm in 1967. The kids cared for pigs, chickens, and the three cows. “One we drank from, and the other two we sold,” Dave fondly remembers.

Family Event Compound

With a desire to keep building family memories, Dave decided to acquire the land in 2005. He married Dr. Julie Nyland on the grounds that year, and soon after built a family compound for his siblings and all the kids. They hosted family reunions, fellowship gatherings, and weddings for two nephews and even Dave’s daughter Molly.

Wedding and Event Venue

Considering the possibilities for a great wedding and retreat destination, Dave contacted two friends he’d made through his Monticello Ford dealership. Paul McCulloch and Dick Fischer had lake homes in the Crosslake area, and in 2006 the two had become partners in the Pine Peaks Lodge. The Lodge had no meeting room

or banquet hall, and it was located only six miles from Dave’s place. A dynamic partnership evolved between the threesome – and Julie, of course.

Pine Peaks Retreat & Event Center

Together, the partners developed the concept for a retreat and event center during the winter of 2011. They shifted into execution mode and by April broke ground. Pine Peaks Retreat & Event Center opened for business in June. By August, Paul McCulloch was booking comedy shows from Scott Hansen’s Comedy Gallery. Monthly, high-caliber comedians with performance credits including appearances on Jay Leno and David Letterman’s shows venture onto the stage.

Today, the 5-acre destination near Cross Lake accommodates bridal parties, family retreats, scrapbooking parties, quilting bees, and more. Guests enjoy the beautiful northern landscape, fresh air and sunshine. The comedy shows are growing in popularity as well, and Paul’s booking headliners from around the country. The old Peterson homestead has changed its function over the years, but one thing hasn’t changed: the property remains open to gatherings where families and friends share love, fellowship and FUN TIMES. No doubt, Peter & Ella, Oscar & Grace, as well as Dale & Betty, would be very happy and proud of what Dave & Julie, the partners, and the family have done with the place.

Summer 2012

Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods

While you’re in Crosslake…

Take a drive. The Crosslake Historical Society recommends 23 sites of historic interest scattered throughout the community. "Stop-and-listen" tour your way through the log village 11am-4pm Saturdays & Sundays. Visit the Farmer’s Market at Town Square 9am-1pm, Wednesdays & Saturdays, through October. Go fishing, swimming, picnicking or camping at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s Crosslake Recreation Area and Pine River Dam. See the library and train models replicating logging and mining industries in the early 1900s at the Northern MN Railroad Heritage ''work in process'' historical railroad museum. For more info and ideas on great area entertainment, food, and shopping, visit:

The Northwoods Steakhouse Prime Rib, Hand Cut Steaks, Walleye, Ribs, Pasta, Burgers, Sandwiches & House Made Soups • Full Bar Service Happy Hour M-F, 3-6PM • Gluten Free Menu • Outdoor Seating, Family Friendly • Free WiFi Locally Owned & Operated Open Daily @ 11AM, Sunday Brunch @ 9:30AM



Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods

Summer 2012

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   

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Summer 2012

Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods


continued from page 7

As I reflect on it now, the whole rest of the world seemed to be going in slow motion. Going downhill, glancing from side to side, I noticed that I got some weird looks. I surged forward, marching like a demented toy soldier wound too tight. I got to San Ramon way early for my appointment. So I circled the

block like a gerbil in his cage until it was time, my eyes drying out in the breeze since I could not blink. That day I talked without periods

or commas, caught all the mosquitoes in my house, and raked a good part of the jungle above my humble abode. When night came, sleep eluded me. So I simply lay in bed and computed the size of the universe and figured out when time began. Since then, I have hidden my black gold ‘coffee’ in a safe place in an insect proof container. I don’t want Harry, my pet Tarantula, to find the stuff, because if he did, no horse, cow, nor I would be safe around here. I am contemplating bringing some of this “coffee” back home. It could come in handy for cleaning car parts, as a topical lotion for Athlete’s Foot, and to give me the strength and courage to bring world peace and win the Nobel Prize for creative writing.

Buy one Blizzard, get one Blizzard FREE* *of equal or lesser value

Good at Nisswa, Pequot Lakes & Pine River locations

“Pawn Star of The Lakes Area” GUNS

While you’re in Pequot Lakes…


DOWNTOWN PINE RIVER Mon-Fri 10 am to 5 pm Sat 10 am to 2pm

Member of MN and Ntn’l Pawn Brokers’ Assoc.

View exhibits of Pequot in the 1930s and 1940s at the Pequot Lakes Area Historical Society Cole Memorial Building. Listen to a live Band in the Park at the band shelter in Trailside Park 7-9pm Saturdays June 23 – September 1. Check out the Market in the Park with flea market, garage sale, fundraisers, kids bobber hunt and Bobber Bowling 9am-4pm Thursdays June 21 – August 16.

Dentistry Spay & Neuter Feline & Canine Birds & Exotics Pocket Pets Vaccinations Euthanization Services Cremation Services House Calls Available

For more info and ideas on great area entertainment, food, and shopping, visit: 5508 County Road 1 - 5 miles east of Pine River


218.568.8115 35016 Hwy 371

Dr. Kyle Adkins

Downtown Jenkins


Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods

Summer 2012

Judy Lykins

A Legacy of Education and Inspiration

I still remember my first day of school. The anxi-

ety about what I would encounter once I entered the doors of Nisswa Elementary School. I felt as anyone does on their first day of school: nervous, excited and apprehensive. Then I met her: Judy Lykins, my kindergarten teacher. Everything in her room was neatly organized. Nothing threw her. She assigned each of us a dot to sit on around the large square at the center of the classroom to listen as she read or gave the day’s instruction. It was clear she had been doing this her entire life, like she was meant to do it. Mrs. Lykins taught me how to read, to write the alphabet, my numbers and what they meant. But most of all, she taught me manners, respect and the first building blocks of responsibility. Then it didn’t seem like much, but now I realize the impact she had. It is because of Judy Lykins I can even begin to write this. Simply knowing my letters, numbers and how to make a simple sentence makes me more literate than over half the world’s population. She gave me the first opportunity to learn, to grow, to educate myself. So often, elementary teachers – and teachers in general – are taken for granted. To most, their work goes unnoticed. However, I have always been so thankful for all the teachers throughout my life, especially Mrs. Lykins. Without them, where would I be? Uneducated, unemployed and . . . unsatisfied. Although kindergarten was over fifteen years ago, there are so many fond memories I have of Mrs. Lykins impacting me. Such as the way I hold a pencil to write. I cannot count the times Mrs. Lykins taped that number two pencil to my fingers to teach me the correct way to hold it. I still catch myself when I do it incorrectly, and I hear her voice saying, “No, Renee, like this,” as she moved my fingers and taped them to the pencil. Or the day a boy in my class tripped me as I chased him during a game of tag. For weeks I planned to get him back while he was playing soccer during recess. The taste of sweet, sweet revenge was on the tip of my tongue as I oh so quietly

snuck up behind him, ready to exact what I thought to be well deserved vengeance. Seconds before I could pounce, Mrs. Lykins caught me by the wrist. My eyes grew wide with shock as she looked at me in that stern, almost aggravated way. I remember our little talk word for word. “I know what you were about to do, Renee,” she said, her blue eyes bearing into mine. She pursed her lips and slightly shook her head. I said nothing and avoided her eyes. Her shoulders fell. She sighed, “Renee, just because someone does wrong to you, does not make it okay to do it back.” She sounded like my mother. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes and cross my arms. She brought me in from recess and sat me down at a classroom table. “I saw him trip you last week and ever since you have been rude and crabby toward him. Renee, I know who you are and I know that you are better than tripping him back. I know you can find it within yourself to be the better person, forgive him and be his friend again. Find it in yourself, and then return to recess,” she finished and pointed to the door. I left as fast as my feet could carry me. I was embarrassed, because she was wrong. I wasn’t better than tripping him back; I

By Renee Kardell

wasn’t the “bigger person.” He deserved it and I wanted to laugh as he fell, I thought to myself as I trudged over to sit by myself on the swings. The rest of recess, I sat fuming until I heard two voices behind me. One was the boy who tripped me, the other was someone poking fun at him. I turned slightly to watch. As much as I disliked him, I felt a pang of sadness at the things the bully was saying. Without knowing what I was doing, I got off the swing, walked nonchalantly toward the two boys so I crossed paths with the running bully. I stuck out my foot, knowing my timing was perfect. His sprint turned into a sprawl. His hands scraped against the cement. He tumbled to the ground in defeat. I turned to the boy who had tripped me playing tag. “Don’t ever trip me again,” I told him as I turned on my heel and walked into the school. Okay, so it wasn’t exactly what Mrs. Lykins had meant. I hadn’t risen above and “been the better person.” However, I remember the lesson she taught me. Revenge is never the way. It does no good to hurt someone back. Revenge only twists your mind, focusing on wrongdoings and hurtful emotions. I may not have acted on her lesson that day, but it stuck with me. She taught me the differ-

ence between right and wrong. One of my favorite memories in Mrs. Lykins class is the day she taught us to skip. At first, honestly, it was a challenge. I was terrified I would mess up and look stupid in front of the whole class. Until someone else fell first. The entire class started to laugh, and the poor girl who had fallen looked mortified and began to cry. Mrs. Lykins quickly rushed her out of the room, and we were told to sit on our dots until Mrs. Lykins could come back. When Mrs. Lykins re-entered the room her face was sullen. Our classmate had twisted her ankle and was so embarrassed that she was going home for the rest of the day. “When Becky fell, you began laughing,” Mrs. Lykins stated, scanning each of our faces with a sad look. Some hands shot up into the air to say that they had not laughed. “Whether you laughed or continued on page 25


218.829.5529 710 West Washington Street, Brainerd, MN 56401

Summer 2012

Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods


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not, you are still at fault,” she corrected the class. We all stared at the floor in stone cold silence. “A classmate, your friend, was struggling, and you not only laughed at her, but you watched her and did nothing,” she said, letting her words slowly wash over us. She was ashamed of our actions. To Mrs. Lykins, treating another human unfairly was one of the most atrocious acts you could commit. “What if it had been you who fell in front of the entire class, you were laughed at, no one stood up for you or helped you off the ground?” she questioned the class. “I want you all to think very closely about what happened today. I want you to put yourselves in Becky’s shoes, and think about how you would have felt if you had been the one to fall,” she instructed us. Empathy. The trait that makes us most human is what Mrs. Lykins had been talking about. I didn’t know the exact word for it until I was almost ten years old, but it is still one of my most vivid memories of kindergarten. All that night I thought about what had happened. I was so struck by it that I wrote Becky a note and got my friends to write one, too, on the bus ride to school the next day. I could have written, “I’m sorry you fell,” which would have been true. I was sorry, but that was not the point Mrs. Lykins was trying to make. She made it clear enough that I understood exactly. Instead, I wrote, “I’m sorry I didn’t help you, Becky. Please feel better.” Mrs. Lykins’ empathy lesson was one I will never forget. Even at such a young age, it taught me a huge moral. I never will be able to watch another human struggle without thinking of Mrs. Lykins. In a single school year Mrs. Lykins taught me more than I can even begin to describe. Not only did I learn numbers, letters, reading and writing, I learned life lessons that I will remember and use my entire life. There are no words powerful enough to express my thanks towards Judy Lykins and all of the wonderful things she taught. I was distraught to hear Judy passed away in April 2011 after a fight with cancer. My first thought was the world was a little less without her. One less amazing teacher. One less thoughtful, caring, gorgeous person to add happiness to the world. Then, I was so very, very disappointed I never thanked her for all those days of cleaning up after me, patience, and teaching me so much.

Although I was tremendously saddened by her passing, I couldn’t help but think of how she had been when I talked to her in February at the Miss Nisswa pageant. She was exactly as she had always been – happy. Her smile was infectious, her deep sense of caring obvious, and her personality warm and passionate. Looking back, I find it most unfortunate I could not have talked to her longer, to catch up and to ask her so many things I didn’t know about her outside of teaching. Even more unfortunate, was my inability to attend her funeral due to college finals. I wanted to make it, but when I expressed the need to my parents, they smiled and said, “What would Mrs. Lykins say to you missing school, let alone finals, Renee?” They were right. She would have wanted me to study and ace each final like the good student she had brought me up to be. I don’t think I ever studied harder for a test, let alone five. If there was one way to show her how much I truly appreciated all that she had done for me, it was this. For all those days of taping the pencil to my hand, for stopping me from bullying another child, for teaching me my letters and numbers and how to simply be a decent person, I could do this. When finals were over I returned home and paid my respects to Mrs. Lykins. Many people mentioned that her funeral was not terribly sad, but more a celebration of all she things she had loved. “Uplifting,” one person described it. Of course it was. Judy wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. When I asked others, carefully, about how she had been before she passed they told me she was calm, religious and peaceful. Of course she was. What else would she have been? Judy Lykins is the type of person you feel blessed to have had in your life. Simply having known her, in some way you are a better person. Although I was so young when I first met her, I will remember everything she taught me. With the utmost patience and the biggest smile, she showed my classmates and me she cared. Genuinely cared. This is my thank you to her, for all the patience, the support and the education that will always remain close to me. Thank you, Mrs. Lykins, for being the epitome of an educator, an inspiration, and most of all, my friend.

Horse-o-scopes by Buddy the Trick Horse

Aries March 21 – April 19 Your human may be forgetful today. You should step on his foot so the throbbing pain of his broken toe reminds him to feed you. Taurus April 20 – May 20 Today is full of excitement and joy. Don’t be afraid to kick up your heels. Teach your rider to fly! Gemini May 21 – June 20 Inspiration and focus are yours today. Who knows? Today could be the day you learn to open the latch on the grain shed. Cancer June 21 – July 22 Today is a lazy day. Take it easy. Just don’t forget to hide your cowgirl’s spurs first. Leo July 23 – August 22 You may feel a little clumsy today and risk a bad mood. You’re better off just staying in the pasture today. Try faking a limp to avoid work. Virgo August 23 – September 22 Throw yourself into your harness today. You are strong and capable. Many cookies and carrots are in your future as reward for your hard work. Libra September 23 – October 22 You will feel your oats today – and not in a good way. Remember not to bite the hand that feeds you … or trample it to death. Scorpio October 23 – November 21 Romance is in the air. Be sure to plan something fun for you and that special pony. Sagittarius November 22 – December 21 Unlucky things seem to happen around you today. So have fun with it! An open gate or a downed fence could lead to a whirlwind adventure. Capricorn December 22 – January 19 You are feeling kind and generous today. You may even feel inclined to behave for your human. Be careful not to let others walk all over you. Be sweet if you’re so inclined – just remember to give your human a little kick every now and again to remind them who’s boss. Aquarius January 20 – February 18 Who cares if you just had a bath?! Go roll in mud. Today is a day to enjoy life. Pisces February 19 – March 20 The dogs may be nipping at your heels, but no need to be afraid. Remember you’re much faster than them – and have a stronger kick.


Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods

Summer 2012

While you’re in Pine River…

Stroll along the Pine River History Walking Tour. Discover the colorful history and tales of the community with 13 stops – including the newly restored 1895 Depot and 1919 Waukesha horse-drawn fire engine. Race a duck! Every Friday June 22 – Aug 17 Duck Races run down the river. 1:45pm registration, 2 pm start. Check out Pine River Growers’ and Crafters’ Market 2:30-5:30 pm Fridays May 25 through September. Drop by 371 Flea Market 8 am-3 pm Saturdays through Labor Day weekend. Enjoy Free Fishing Seminars 10 am July 20 – Aug 14. For more info and ideas on great area entertainment, food, and shopping, visit:

Hackensack Lumber & Hardware Backus Lumber & Supply

Hackensack Lumber & Hardware 124 Hwy 371 N Hackensack, MN 56452 218.675.6188 Hours M-F 7:30 am - 5 pm Sat 8 am - 4 pm Sun 10 am - 3 pm

Backus Lumber & Supply 4169 4th St. NW Backus, MN 56435 218.947.3456 Hours M-F 7:30 am - 5 pm Sat 8 am - 12 pm

Visit us online at:

CityNisswa.IQ.W12.ad_Layout 1 1/13/12 10:32 AM Page 1

,OCALSSECRETs6ISITORSFAVORITE Ye Old Pickle Factory | 963-0085

Downtown Nisswa | Open Daily |

Spirits of Nisswa | 963-7488

Across from Schaefer’s Grocery |

Nisswa Community Center | 218-963-0085 22x40 dance floor | 299 occ. cap. | smoke-free bar rental | kitchen | clean-up | tables and chairs all included

Summer 2012

Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods

Shake, Rattle and Roll Your Way to Ole and Lena’s

Time travel is possible in Pine River when you step into Ole and Lena’s Sweet Revenge, a great little restaurant full of 1950s charm and service. Stepping in the front door, you can’t help but smile. The first thing you’ll notice is the original soda fountain and the sweet décor. Red vinyl and chrome stools line the counter and invite you to cross the black and white checked floor to sit for a while. Advertisements from a by-gone era, oldies tunes, friendly small town service, and tasty treats will make this stop one to enjoy and remember. Ole and Lena’s menu is filled with nostalgic favorites, toasted sub sandwiches, and handtossed pizzas. If you’re a little adventurous, slide into a booth and let your taste buds delight in some truly unique pizza combinations, such as “The Rat Pack.” Like the group it was named for, it celebrates diversity by piling on sausage, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, and chicken as well as veggies and cheese.

The best smelling pizza in the shop, the “Howdy Doody” marries pizza with an old favorite, macaroni and cheese. Other specialty pizzas include “The Three Stooges” that combine Spam, sausage and pepperoni with onions, mushrooms and green olives. Hitting the menu this summer is the “Spanky” pizza for


up a diet, but it’s a lot of fun and you can work off the calories playing foosball or dancing to the 50’s music,” said Oliver. “We want people to enjoy themselves with their friends and family over good food when they visit.” As of June, folks can also drop in to Ole’s Pub on the back side of the building. The cozy pub features free popcorn and peanuts. “Go ahead, throw the shells right on the floor,” encouraged Oliver. There is already music on

the weekends and lots of plans to add games and events. The sisters are excited to continue the fun vintage decorating with a motorcycle theme. Ole’s Pub is open at noon Monday through Saturday, with Happy Hour specials 3-7pm and nightly specials starting at 9pm. So find some time to stop at Ole and Lena’s Sweet Revenge and Ole’s Pub in Pine River. Savor a truly unique experience with some great folks.

Story and photos by Vicki Foss

It’s a Dog’s Life By Brodie the Wonder Dog

If “every dog has its day,” then I want to spend mine at Ole and Lena’s Sweet Revenge. It’s a dog-gone friendly little place filled with treasures from the good old those who loved potato chips on days, wonderful people, and delitheir bologna sandwiches. You’ll cious, unique food. My tail is wagjust have to try it. They’ll even ging and my mouth is watering just deliver it within 5 miles of Pine thinking about it! River! When I get off the trail after And that doesn’t even begin a long days work, I like a place to to tell you about the malts. The put my paws up, get a good meal, vintage malt and soda fountain is and hang out with really fun people. fantastic. “I don’t think you can The owners, Sharon and Debbie, go find a better malt in the area,” said out of their way to make my visit a local patron who was enjoying special. lunch. The building is a neat part Sisters Sharon Manley and of Pine River history as it housed Debbie Oliver are the proprietresses Pfeiffer’s Pharmacy for a coon’s of the establishment. “We grew age, and before that, a bank. If you up in the area and always knew we look around you can see all sorts of wanted a business in downtown. history and character. When this building opened up, we knew it was the right time for us to open the restaurant,” said Manley. Ole and Lena’s is located on the corner of Barclay Ave and 1st St South, a historic building that housed a local landmark, Pfeiffer’s Pharmacy, and before that, a bank. “One of the most fun things about being here is digging through the basement and closets and finding treasures. We found an old CocaCola sign that someone made into a sled and other fun things we’ve put out for display,” said Oliver. Manley and Oliver stress that the restaurant is a “Guilt-Free Environment” that everyone will enjoy. “The food here will blow

At my height, one of the first things I notice is the old TV in the corner playing classic TV shows. My favorite, of course, is the Lone Ranger. I just wonder why he didn’t have a trusty canine sidekick like me? For dessert I love Ole and Lena’s famous malts. The ice cream is scooped from huge tubs kept cold in the original vintage soda fountain that has been in the community for over 50 years, and then mixed with 1950s malt machines. I consider myself a ‘lucky dog’ when I get to share one of these tasty treats with a friend. Don’t let the “dog days of summer” get by you without a visit to my favorite restaurant, Ole and Lena’s Sweet Revenge.


Action Entertainment’s Our Neck of The Woods

Summer 2012

Action Entertainment Presents! Doug Taylor created Action Entertainment with a spirit of fun and willingness to experiment. He is living out his dream to bring unique entertainment and promotions to the Lakes Area. You may recognize Action Entertainment from their stagecoach rides, appearances in local parades, or their live theater shows. Doug and his team of actors delight local crowds with stunt shows, murder mystery dinner theater, and roaming costumed characters. Comedy, drama, cowboy poetry; you name it, they’ll do it. Doug and his stunt actors will wow you with close-up gun spinning, sword fighting, good old fashioned fist-a-cuffs, high falls and full-out barroom brawls. Kids of all ages love to pet world class trick horse, Buddy, and his faithful sidekick, Brody the Wonder Dog. In their first three years, some of Action Entertainment’s local venues have included the Nisswa Pioneer Village, Billy’s in Breezy

Point, Houston Ford and Dark Cravings in Pine River, and the Breezy Belle. Action Entertainment can customize an experience specifically for your special event – whether it’s a wedding, family gathering, employee or club party, or community celebration. They can create performances, interact with guests, or provide rides “in style.” Doug’s magnificent horses love to lead a variety of vehicles. Choose from his fairytale-like white vis-à-vis carriage, open sleigh, wagon, or authentic stagecoach. Since the Lakes Area is home for Doug, he is excited to team up with LakesAreaNightOut. com and to promote area happenings and provide additional marketing and exposure for local businesses and events. Check them out, and catch a show when you’re in our neck of the woods!

The “REAL” stars of the show Buddy the Trick Horse

Five year old stallion, Buddy, comes to Action Entertainment from the MN Horse Training Academy. He has performed all over the Lakes Area as a promoter, presenter,& stunt actor. Buddy can count, sit down, rope himself, & even fetch a cold beer from the cooler. This talented horse also demonstrates his nerves of steel as he carries the ghost pirate under gunfire in the spectacular Halloween Haunted Stagecoach ride. You can catch Buddy performing in shows at the Nisswa Pioneer Village and in “Out West.”

Brody the Wonder Dog

Brody hails from Australia, and is one of the most popular stars of Action Entertainment’s stable of actors. He

herds cattle riding from the back of his own horse, attacks and fights realistically with no harm to other performers, climbs thirty foot ladders, and more! Brody has performed in Hollywood movies and in live shows all over west the coast.

LIVE ON STAGE Saturdays 4 pm, 6 pm, 8 pm June 9 * June 23 * July 7 July 21 * Aug 4 * Aug 18

Saturday, Aug. 25 11 am & 3:30 pm

Season Grand Finale

at the Nisswa Pioneer Village Join us beginning July 26th thru the end of the summer for a tour, a show and a ride! Tour the authentic pioneer houses, watch some live theater and then hop on the stagecoach for a bird’s eye view of Nisswa! *Ask us about our mobile stage productions for your next event. Contact us at or 218-821-1972.

Rumble down the streets of Nisswa on a horse-drawn stagecoach ride Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. $5 per passenger Group rates available

Our Neck of The Woods  

Find local entertainment, events, specials, music and more in the lovely Lakes Area!

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