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Local growers encourage gardening success pg. 22

Spring 2015 The Journal Presents

Live. Play. Enjoy.

Dancin' With a Passion

Pro to Coach

Darcie Schultz: why she does what she does

Behind the bench at St. Scholastica

Let's Go! World traveler shares trip tips

d Name azine g a M Best paper s w e N by MN iation Assoc

POSTAL CUSTOMER ECRWSS

PRESORTED STANDARD U.S. POSTAGE PAID INT’L FALLS MN PERMIT NO. 30


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Live. Play. Enjoy. April ★ May ★ June 2015­ 2 Flippin’ And Sippin’ Kitchen and Cooking

7 Pets & Pastures

Animals, Pets & Livestock

8 Off The Beaten Path Happenings in the Woods

10 Books 'n Nooks Literary News in the Northland

11 Shack Doctor

6 14 12 22

Cabin Repair and Maintenance

17 Frozen Gardener A Slice of Life from the Gardener

18 Simple Solutions Tried and Tested Tips & Tricks

19 Eye in the Sky Lunar Tables and Constellations

20 Without A Paddle Things for Everyone to do

24 Who Knew

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Reflections & Musings To contribute or advertise, please contact: Mickie Olson at mickie@ifallsjournal.com or Laurel Beager at laurel@ifallsjournal.com 218-285-7411 1


SIMPLY NORTH Flippin’ and Sippin’

Blast from the past Handmade cookbook not something to throw away By Emily Gedde

One of my biggest fears is becoming a pack rat. Seriously, I hate clutter and want nothing to do with it. I realize the phrase is a fancy "Urban Dictionary" term for hoarder, but my grandpa always says pack rat, so I'm going to, too.

kies Sugar Coo Chad Johnson submitted by

The items I keep aren't meaningless things that have accumulated over the years. They mostly pack several memories that are just too hard to part with. I know, I know, that's what they all say. Nonetheless, my original fear surfaces every now and then and I go on a “I need to throw this away right now, no looking back rampage.” During my latest power declutter hour, I came across a Mother's Day cookbook my fourth-grade class put together in 1997. I don't know whether the fact I still have this project teacher Dan Zika had us put together is cute or sad. Have I succumb to my fear? And wait a second, why doesn't my mom have this cookbook? Anyway, I couldn't help but put the rampage on hold and page through the recipes collected by my former classmates, several of whom I'm still friends with. I even actually found myself dog-earing a few of the recipes to reshare and try out on my own family. I definitely can't throw this away.

What you'll need: •

1 cup Crisco

1 cup powdered sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. cream of tartar

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

What you do: • • • •

2

ter. Cream shortening and but Add sugars and eggs.

, soda, dd flour, cream of tartar A er. eth tog ed sift salt and nutmeg n flatten Roll in small balls, the ar. Back sug in ped dip ss with a gla utes. min at 350 degrees for 10-12

1 cup butter

• •

1 cup white sugar 4 cups flour

1 tsp. soda

1 tsp. nutmeg


SIMPLY NORTH Flippin’ and Sippin’

Easy Peanut Butter Cups Crazy Crunch

Potato Pancakes

Submitted by Kristie Kostiuk

Submitted by Alysa Ruelle

Submitted by Kayla Koski

What you need:

What you need:

What you need:

2 large candy bars (Dove, Hersheys, Symphony)

12 cups popcorn

1 medium onion

1 cup butter

½ cup flour

1 cup peanut butter

1 tsp. Vanilla

1 Tbsp. parsley flakes

1 1/3 cups sugar

4 Tbps. butter

½ cup Karo syrup

3 medium potatoes

2 eggs

1 tsp. Salt

What you do: •

Melt candy bars in microwave.

Line a cupcake tin with liners.

What you do:

rop half chocolate in bottoms and D spread up the sides.

ring everything to a boil, except vanilla B and popcorn, for about 10-15 minutes.

Cool in refrigerator .

Stir in vanilla and popcorn.

elt one cup or more of peanut butter in M microwave.

Let cool.

Spread peanut butter in chocolate liners.

Cool slightly.

pread remaining chocolate on top of S peanut butter and cool.

What you do: •

Peel and slice onion and potatoes.

lend all ingredients except potatoes for B 15 seconds.

Add potatoes and blend.

elt butter in pan, add ¼ cup mixture M and fry.

Top with sour cream or apple sauce.

Cheeseburger Pizza Submitted by Willie Olson

What you need:

What you do:

1 pkg. (7 ½ ounces each) refrigerated biscuits

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease cookie sheet or 12” pizza pan.

1 can Campbell's cheddar cheese soup

Pat biscuits into 12” round, bake 10 minutes.

1 can (8 oz.) tomatoes, drained and cut up

12 oz. Ground beef

I n skillet, cook beef and onion until beef is browned and onion is tender, stirring to separate meet.

½ cup chopped onion

Spoon off fat

1 tsp prepared mustard

1/8 tsp. Hot pepper sauce

tir in soup, mustard and hot peppar S sauce, heat through.

2 Tbsp. Sliced green onion

½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

pread beef mixture over biscuits to S within ½” of edge.

Top with remaining ingredients.

ake 5 minutes or until biscuits are goldB en. 3


★

SIMPLY NORTH Cabin Couture

Shell Shock

Let your bathroom take you out to sea By Laurel Beager

Kelly Bohman Hall Kelly Bohman Hall spends time with her parents each year in their summer home on South Padre and has collected many, many shells. On a recent trip, she spent her time looking specifically for the flattest shells she could find to use in a project at the Gold Shores Drive home she shares with husband Steve, several beloved cats, and the deer that have become her friends. "I wanted to dress up an ugly mirror with no frame around it," she said. "We had done some tiling in the house, and I used the scraps from the tile, the broken pieces." This inexpensive project is a way to use scraps of tile from earlier tile projects that may otherwise be thrown away. And, just how many shells

4


SIMPLY NORTH Cabin Couture can you display in bowls around your home? This is a way to use the shells to add a beachy feel to a project. "This is so simple, anybody can do it," said Hall. "It just takes a little time.” Plus, she said, it may match the tile you've used on the floor.

5. Let dry overnight. 6. The next day, apply grout atop to fill in the spaces between the tile and shells. (Remove tape if you used it to help hold heavier shells onto the mortar).

a damp sponge the grout off the face of the tiles and shells. 8. If you'd like to add a bit of a sheen to the shells, Hall suggested looking for a sealer that could be painted onto the shells.

7. After it sets for about 15 minutes, wipe with

Here's how to do it: 1. Use adhesive mortar directly on the wall to create a frame with tile around the mirror, leaving space between the mirror and tile frame for the broken tile pieces and shells. 2. Wrap tiles in towel and smash with hammer to make the broken pieces the right size for the project. 3. Butter the back of the broken tile pieces and shells with a butter knife using the adhesive mortar. 4. Fill in the space between the tile frame and mirror by sticking the shells and tile pieces where they look best. (Hall suggested using adhesive tape or painter tape to help keep heavier shells in the mortar). This is the time to take a good look at the project, and before the mortar sets, rearrange the shells or tile pieces around to fit better.

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SIMPLY NORTH Extras

Let's Go!

3 simple ways to travel with less stress By Kelsea Davis

Why is airline travel so hectic? When you get on a plane, it should be an exciting time, but often the hassles of getting there cloud your happy expectations. Wouldn’t you like a friend to explain the ins and outs of travel? Consider it done. Hello Friend! I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work for Delta, and travel around the world, and I’d love to share a few tips to make your journey smoother.

Use the 3-1-1 rule for packing liquids: 3oz. bottles, 1qt. bag, 1 bag per person. Celebrate the destination, like Ireland, shown above, without the stress of packing!

The Essentials If you’re like me, the first time you stand in a TSA security line, you start to panic. Everyone else seems to have it all together, knowing exactly which things to take out of their carry-ons, and flying through with practiced ease. You, on the other hand, are fumbling to hold your pants up, with one shoe off and a bag exploding at your feet. Here are a few essential tips to get you through that security lane: • Liquids - Get your 3-1-1 bag ready. This is the term for your bag of liquids. In a carry-on, you are allowed liquids if they are 3 ounces, packed in a 1 quart size clear plastic zip top bag. You are allowed 1 of these bags per traveler. I like to make sure my bag is near the top or front of my suitcase so I can grab it easily. Most small suitcases come with a front zipper that is especially handy for this. • Electronics - If you travel with any electronics, such as a laptop, Kindle, Tablet, phone, etc., make sure these are also handy for you to take out. Laptops need a separate bin, but you can put phones and smaller electronics together in a bin with other things, to save space

Things Forgotten There are a few things that you should never 6

be without when flying, such as your passport and credit cards (fairly obvious), but there are less obvious things that you must keep with you in your carry-on/personal item (not your checked bag) such as:

tunately delayed. He was very worried that he wouldn’t be allowed into his room that night without the application. I’m not sure if he was able to find a place to sleep that night, but this proves again the importance of keeping important documents with you.

Extras Now that you have all your bases covered, here are a few extra things you might be very grateful you brought with you!

Separate smaller electronics (left) from larger laptops (right) for TSA security screens. • Medications - If you are ever separated from your checked luggage, make sure that any medications you need are with you, in your personal bag or carry-on bag. Many airline customers I’ve met packed important medications in a checked suitcase, only to have that suitcase be delayed at some point, leaving them stranded. • Paperwork - I once met a man who had packed all his paperwork for living in a dormitory in his checked luggage, which was unfor-

• Journal - There will be times when you need to write down names, addresses, hotels, etc., and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I had wrote something down to look up later. It’s invaluable to preserve memories, and a hard cover journal will last you long after a cell phone notes app dies. • Blister Bandaids - These handy items are great for those of you walking around tourist sites for a long period of time, trust me on this one. You can get them at any local drugstore, and you will be happy you did! These are just a few things to help you on your way, because traveling should be more about the destination than the stress. Use this as a guide in the future, when you start your adventure. Good Luck!


★

SIMPLY NORTH Pets and Pastures

Spring bird feeding tips Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Photo by Emily Gedde

Spring is the time to adjust your bird feeding system to accommodate springtime migrants, as well as the winter birds and permanent resident birds that have been visiting your feeders all winter. The most delightful aspects of spring bird feeding are the variety of species and the stunning spring breeding plumages.

Foods The biggest change necessary for spring is to increase the proportion of millet mix provided both in feeders and on the ground. These birds and returning mourning doves all prefer the smaller seeds of millet-type mixes. By early May the millet can also attract indigo buntings. Black oil sunflower seeds and cardinal mixes should also be provided fornorthern cardinals, blue jays, chickadees, house finches, and purple finches. Suet is another staple that should be provided throughout the spring. Keep finch feeders stocked with niger thistle to attract goldfinches, and any redpolls or pine siskins that linger from their winter visits to your feeders.

Feeders, shrubs and birdbaths The best way to present all of the bird foods is to have several "clusters" of three to four feeders each. These should be at several locations in your yard.

A cluster of feeders offers the opportunity to provide different bird food in each feeder as well as on the ground near or under these feeders. This arrangement allows room for more birds as well as occasional visitors like squirrels. Spring is an excellent time to make a temporary brush pile near your feeders. Brush piles should be about 10 feet from a feeder cluster. Trim some shrubs or smaller tree branches, and make a pile of branches perhaps six to eight feet wide and three to four feet high. You don't need to use heavy limbs. Small branches with lots of twigs are fine. This provides small birds with hiding places where they can avoid being caught by migrating birds of prey. It is also very important to have water available for migrating birds. A shallow bird bath or shallow pool with a recirculating water pump can provide dripping or splashing water that is especially appealing to birds. The best bird baths are shallow pools no more than one-and-onehalf to two and one-half inches deep. By the first of May, put out tray feeders with grape jelly, overripe bananas, orange halves, chunks of suet, finely crushed eggshells, corn bread, and small containers of mealworms. Hummingbird and nectar feeders should also be put out by May first because they may be visited by warblers as well as early returning humming birds and Baltimore orioles.

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SIMPLY NORTH Off The Beaten Path

More than just a plant By Lisa Maass Park Ranger - Exotic Species Education Voyageurs National Park

Goldenrod flower

It’s a warm spring day and I am leading a class of energetic second graders on a scavenger hunt. We are searching for signs of spring in Voyageurs National Park. As we hike the trail, students point out birds singing, the occasional bug flying around, and patches of open water on Black Bay. Suddenly, I hear someone exclaim “I found some green grass!” Sure enough, peeking through the ground are the first few blades of green grass. After months of living in a winter wonderland, we all welcome the sight of fresh greenery. We know it won’t be long before the forests are filled with the sweet aroma of Juneberry blossoms and fields are alive with colorful asters and goldenrod flowers. The north woods are home to a wide variety of plants and trees. From majestic pines to tiny violets, these plants help create the area’s beautiful scenery and provide food and habitat for wildlife. It’s easy to hike past tiny ground plants or take for granted the trees in our backyard. But could there be more to these plants than what meets the eye? For hundreds of years, the Ojibwe Indians have understood the intrinsic value of these plants. Years ago, they couldn’t go shopping and purchase the products they needed. They relied on plants to provide them with food, medicine, and raw materials. Many of the same plants we see today were crucial to the Ojibwe Indians’ survival. Certain wildflowers were made into remedies. Got heartburn? Forget the antacid tablets, wild rose flowers were dried and made into a powder that was ingested to relieve heart burn. The rose hips, picked in late summer, could also be made into a flavorful tea. Instead of aspirin for a headache, white pine needles 8

were crushed and boiled into an herbal steam and applied to the forehead to reduce pain. Plants also provided building supplies. Paper birch trees were well utilized by the Ojibwe. The thin, durable bark was used to make canoes and baskets and covered the sides of a family’s waaginogaan, a wigwam style of home While we may find some of these plant remedies and uses unusual in today’s world, there are various Ojibwe customs we still engage in today. In early spring, many locals tap species of maple trees for sap that will eventually be turned into delicious maple syrup. This continues to be an annual event for many Ojibwe Indians, although traditionally they boiled and dried the sap into maple sugar. In July, people of all ages venture to their “secret” wild blueberry spots and load up on gallons of sweet berries. Come September, the wild rice is harvested, which is a food staple on many local menus. Locally, we understand the value of trees, as species like aspen and spruce contribute to the timber industry, producing wood products, paper, and as a result, jobs. At Voyageurs National Park, the Ojibwe Ethno-botanical Garden gives visitors an in-depth look at the connection between the Ojibwe Indians and the native plants they depended on. Located next to the Rainy Lake Visitor Center, the garden is open year-round and is beautiful in all seasons. Guided garden tours are available June-September or visitors may pick up a brochure and engage in a selfguided tour of the garden. Interpretive signs tell the story of this special place and the people who once lived here, while plant markers along the path describe the uses these plants had for

the Ojibwe Indians. The Ojibwe Ethno-botanical Garden has not always been home to native plants. In fact, prior to 2010, this one-acre site was only a field of nonnative, invasive reed canary grass. This plant’s height and long growing season allowed it to out-compete other plants. Through efforts by park staff and volunteers, the field was restored with the native plants you see today and has flourished these past few years. While the restoration of native species is a success story in the garden, exotic species continue to threaten native vegetation in other areas of the park. Invasive hybrid cattails, which can be seen in and around Voyageurs, have consumed lake bays and taken away growing space for native aquatic plants, including wild rice. Efforts to remove sections of cattails from Black Bay will begin in summer of 2015, with the goal of restoring a native aquatic plant habitat to encourage the return of aquatic wildlife. At the end of the day, as we walk the garden path, I tell the students what this site looked like a few years ago, a barren field with little plant diversity. While they don’t see much activity now, soon spring will turn to summer and the monarchs will return to the milkweed flowers and the chipmunks and songbirds will fill up on berries from the trees and shrubs. As we look for signs of spring, we think about how many living things have relied on these important native plants over the years, from the traditions of the Ojibwe to the needs of wildlife. And, of course, being second graders, sometimes their idea of plant importance is simply stopping to smell the roses.


Photos by National Park Service

SIMPLY NORTH Off The Beaten Path

Monarch caterpillar

A view of the Ojibwe Ethno-botanical Garden

What's going on in the woods? May • Quaking aspen leaves unfurl. In the common vernacular this is referred to as “green up.” • The buzzing of bumblebees can be heard. • American bitterns boom from the predawn depths of cattail marshes. • Spring azure butterflies can be seen dancing along woodland trails. • Yellow marsh marigolds blot the swampy woods. • Red blossoms of the red maple appear before the leaves, and the greenish flowers on the sugar maples will bloom a week or two after leaves unfurl. • The ovenbirds, warblers known for building domed nests, ring out in song from the forest. • The first of the “cling-on” wood ticks can be found as early as mid-April. • Snoring calls from marshy ponds are the first signs that leopard frogs have awakened. The spotted green-and-brown frogs are sometimes found on land. • Noisy, blacked-headed gulls, Bonaparte’s gulls, arrive in large flocks. • The silvery sheen of big-toothed aspens can be seen among the green of leafed-out quaking aspens. • Magnolia warblers return to the north woods in the spring, enticing birders from all over to see the colorful “winged jewels.” Most warblers winter in Mexico, Central America and South America. • Heading back north from Mexico and Central America is the ruby-throated hummingbird.

• Rose family fruit trees begin to bloom — the wild plum, juneberry, pin cherry and chokecherry.

June • Common nighthawks return to the night sky. Swooping and gliding, some have been recorded consuming 500 mosquitoes on a single evening. • Beneath pines in the sandy soil, watch for the pink-purple fringed polygala flowers. • The fawns of white-tailed deer lie motionless to escape detection. However, black bears are still able to locate and eat a fair number. • Hundreds of dragonflies, spiny baskettails, emerge and swarm near the lake shores. • “Cotton” is shed by the balsam poplar and cottonweed trees. Silky-haired seeds drift in the wind from the female trees. • Dig wild leeks – the small but potent onionlike bulbs – now. • Luna moths appear around lighted areas. They slowly run out of energy after gorging on leaves as fuel while caterpillars. • Eastern forest tent caterpillars, familiarly known “army worms,” gorge aspen leaves and often strip whole forests. Droppings may be heard pattering like rain. In the cocoons, sarcophagus flies lay eggs; a onceevery-11-year event. • Frothy masses made by nymphs of an insect called froghoppers, cling to plant stems. Also known as spittlebugs, they pierce the stem, suck up plant juices and blow bubbles. The blob protects the developing insect until adulthood. • Lingonberries grow in the north woods,

although few are aware of it. Locally known as mountain cranberry, the close relative of the blueberry flourishes on rocky cold shores. Blooming now, it bears red fruit in August. • Adorned with six black and white spots on each wing, the the twelve-spotted skimmer hunts in sunny glades. Check stream banks for ebony jewelwing, the iridescent green damsel with black wings. The damselflies wings are held over their backs at rest while dragonflies keep their wings flatly spread.

July • The showy lady's slipper, Minnesota’s state flower, starts to bloom. • Birds and chipmunks now feast on ripe pin cherries. Over 80 various critter species make use of the tree. • Pine sawyer beetles, large and slow in flight with long antennae, are out and about. Although large in size, they are harmless unless annoyed. Larval grubs of the pine sawyers make creaking sounds from dead logs. • Shelf-like clusters of oyster mushrooms, edible, white and fleshy, sprout from stillstanding-but-dying aspens. As with any wild edibles, make sure you know what you are picking before ingesting. • In a good year, blueberries are now juicy and plump. • The little brown bats search for mosquitoes and other insects after dark. Insects are scooped up in the tail membrane and transferred to the mouth in midair in a splitsecond maneuver. 9


SIMPLY NORTH Books 'n Nooks

Which way? The Wisdom Way! Former Falls resident highlights the backbone of the company he is proud to work for By Emily Gedde

When Tom Rolando set his mind to writing a book about the company he works for, it didn't take long. On a 10-hour flight from London to Chicago, the 1980 Falls High School graduate and chief operating and technical officer of Wisdom Adhesives Worldwide, completed the basic outline of the book based on the family-owned, Illinois company. It all came together easily, he said. “The book is my view of the company,” he

said of 'The Wisdom Way.' “It's based on the core principles of the company that have been in place since 1875.” Wisdom Adhesives Worldwide is a leading global manufacturer of packaging and converting hot melt and water-based adhesives and the longest continuously operating adhesives manufacturer in the world, ccording to its website. The Wisdom Way focuses on six guiding principles for longevity and success that Wisdom Adhesives Worldwide has used for the past 140 years and continues to use every day. Rolando said the main guiding principle is passion, followed by action, reinvention, endurance, relationships and generosity. “It's as simple as this,” Rolando said. “If you're good at something, you're going to be passionate about it. If you have passion

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about something, you'll be good at it... Without passion or being good at something, they're not going to be successful... Name me one successful person who isn't passionate about what they do.” Tom Rolando The book dives into the six principles and how benefits can be reaped from each one. For a long time, Rolando said he had worked with the company's owner, Jeff Wisdom, about the possibility of a book. The struggle, he said, was writing something that didn't lose the attention of its audience. “I see a lot companies put books out and they're all so boring,” he said. “We could write a story about a 140-year old company, but nobody wants to read about that.” So, Rolando considered what is behind the story. That, he said, is where the idea to write about the principles came out. “That's the driving force behind this company,” he said of the principles. “And leading the way, again, is passion.” The book concludes with a look into the next 140 years of Wisdom Adhesives Worldwide and how these core values help create a bright future. Free of charge, “The Wisdom Way” can be ordered by emailing TheWisdomWay@ WisdomAdhesives.com.

About Wisdom Adhesive Worldwide Since 1875, Wisdom Adhesives Worldwide has been advancing the technology of adhesives. The company’s leadership has been headed by five consecutive generations of the Wisdom family, still exceeding the expectations of worldwide customers at an unparalleled pace. In this age of global entities, Wisdom Adhesives Worldwide stands out as a company of real people working person-to-person in order to respond to the needs of each and every industrial adhesives customer—and doing it fast.


SIMPLY NORTH Shack Doctor

Dear Shack Doctor:

The cool nights of spring will soon fade into the warm nights of summer. What do I do with the furnace? ~ Want to do it right Dear want to do it right: Now is the time to think about preparing your furnace for its off-season. Here are some simple steps to help keep your system working well: Change out the filter: Furnace filters should be chanced every 60 to 90 days. Old filters contain dust and particles that can cause the furnace to work harder to force air through the system. Make sure the arrows on the new filter are facing in the direction of airflow.

Vacuum: Vacuuming around the furnace will keep dust from entering the system.

Test detectors: Check and change batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at the same

time your shut down the furnace. •

Test thermostat: Prior to shutting down the furnace, test the thermostat by switching it to the various settings, heat, cool and off. If the thermostat fails to respond get it serviced so it's ready for the next season.

Shut off/turn down: Some furnaces are easily shut off, while others should be left on the lowest setting, allowing a pilot light to burn. Check your furnace manual or a professional about the best way to handle an off season for your system.

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SIMPLY NORTH Feature

From Pro to Coach

Ben Gordon now behind bench at St. Scholastica By Kevin Boneske

Ben Gordon of International Falls, shown playing forward for the Tulsa Oilers, announced his retirement from pro hockey prior to the start of the 2014-15 season to become an assistant coach with the College of St. Scholastica men’s hockey team. Ben Gordon said he would be lying if he claimed he doesn't miss playing pro hockey. But the 30-year-old International Falls native noted he still gets to go to a hockey rink on a daily basis by being an assistant coach with the College of St. Scholastica men's hockey team, where the transition from playing to coaching has gone smoothly for him. “Hockey's still my job,” he said. Gordon, whose pro hockey career spanned six seasons with nine teams and four leagues, had his best season in the pro ranks in 2013-14 for the Tulsa Oilers. That season he led the Oilers 12

in goals (36) and points (89), registered five hat tricks and recorded 22 multi-point games. Gordon finished fourth in the Central Hockey League in scoring and also earned the Oilers’ Most Valuable Player Award. In his two seasons in Tulsa, Gordon appeared in 113 games and recorded 155 points (62 goals, 93 assists) for a 1.37 points-per-game average. Prior to accepting the coaching position with St. Scholastica, Gordon had signed to play a third season for the Oilers in 2014-15 along with Falls natives and forwards Drew Fisher and Ryan Cramer. Fisher – who is also Gordon's brotherin-law by being married to his sister, Jena –

remains with the team and is Tulsa's points leader this season. Cramer was released by the Oilers before the regular season began. Gordon said he realized he was nearing the end of his pro hockey playing days when he retired as a player just before another season began and had been looking forward to making the transition to coaching when the opportunity to become an assist at St. Scholastica materialized and was too good to pass up. He said his previous relationship with St. Scholastica men’s hockey head coach Mark Wick led up to him being able to become an assistant with the Division III Saints.


SIMPLY NORTH Feature

“I ask myself what would my dad do in this situation.” Gordon, who is the only full-time men's hockey assistant with St. Scholastica, ended the 201415 season as the team's interim head coach when Wick went on medical leave. “I didn't really change anything that I did from assistant to head coach,” Gordon said. “The players came out and worked hard for me.” Gordon won his head-coaching debut Feb. 6 when the Saints defeated nationally-ranked St. Norbert College, 3-1. St. Scholastica then dropped the final three regular-season games to end up as the No. 5 seed in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs. After the Saints won their opening-round playoff series against Lake Forest, Gordon led St. Scholastica into the NCHA semifinals, where the Saints' season ended after losing 4-3 in overtime to the conference champion and NCAA Division

At left, Ben Gordon is shown demonstrating an off-ice agility drill outside Bronco Arena as part of the 2013 Falls Summer Hockey Camps, for which he was on the coaching staff of the camps run by his father, Kevin. III Tournament qualifier, Adrian College. “It's safe to say we underachieved this year,” Gordon said. He said he expects Wick will return as the head coach for the 2015-16 season, which looks bright after losing only four seniors to graduation. Gordon noted his role as an assistant coach also involves recruiting, in which he has been scouting junior hockey games for prospects to join the Saints. Though NCAA Division III schools aren't able to offer athletic scholarships like at the Division I level, Gordon said St. Scholastica is able provide financial aid for players who attend college there from both the United States and Canada. Gordon, who played Division I college hockey at the University of Minnesota before turning pro in 2008-09, said there is a misconception

with the current quality of Division III hockey being seen “a lot lower than” the Division I level. “(Division III is) very good hockey,” he said. In addition be able to draw from his past experience as a player, Gordon said his father, Kevin, who was the head coach of the International Falls boys hockey team when the Broncos won their last state championship 20 years ago and presently runs summer hockey camps in the Falls, is someone who he can talk with about hockey strategy. “I ask myself what would my dad do in this situation,” he said.

Ben Gordon 13


Practice, Passion, Perfection

SIMPLY NORTH Feature

14

By Emily Gedde


SIMPLY NORTH Feature

Local dance instructor pours her heart and soul into the sport she loves

Darcie Schultz, left, leads one of dance classes at Backus Community Center. More than 200 dancers participate in Dancin' with Darcie. Chaotic may be a good way to describe a room of about 20 4-year-olds wearing tap shoes. The laughter is loud; the more than 40 pieces of metal hitting the laminate floor is louder. But as soon as Darcie Schultz tells the group to gather around her, all is calm – with an added giggle or two. It's why she does what she does. The instructor of more than 18 years has a way with dancers. They admire her and she adores them. The mutual respect impresses parents in the room. And those 4-year-olds are only a fraction of the more than 200 dancers who come to her studio at Backus Community Center. They are all like her children, she said. “I watch these kids grow,” she said. “They're all so special and unique in their own ways.”

The passion begins At 8 years old, Schultz started a lifelong passion of dance. Her mother enrolled her in classes at Kay Marie & Carol's School of Dance in the Twin Cities. Schultz began developing her technique and the sport quickly became just as much a part of her as she was of it. “I loved it,” she said. “Those were some of the

best years of my life.” The young dancer worked her way up the talent scale, and by age 16 she found herself as an assistant teaching a beginner class. The experience took Schultz's confidence to a new level. “I had so much passion for dance and knew it was something I wanted to keep in my life for a long time,” Schultz said. And so when she ventured off to St. Cloud State University after her high school graduation, she continued dance lessons.

New territory Fresh out of college, it was time for Schultz to continue on to the next step in her life. She was engaged to her long-time boyfriend, Jay, and when he got a job at Boise Cascade, the couple made International Falls their home. The territory was new to Schultz and she quickly discovered its lack of dance studio. Shortly after exchanging vows, Schultz began teaching dance in Borderland through the Community Board. The effort was experimental and 32 students signed up for the experience. “I never advertised or anything,” Schultz said.

“It kept growing by word of mouth.”

Next adventure Nine years quickly passed and enrollment in Schultz's classes saw a steady increase from year-to-year. It was time, she decided, to break off on her own. “I thanked the Community Board for all they did for me, but I knew it was time to take the next step,” Schultz said. “It wasn't to make more money, though. I was doing it – still am doing it – because I truly enjoy it. It is just a part of me.” With her husband there to support her, Schultz opened Dancin' with Darcie. Aside from her full-time job as a supervisor at United HealthGroup, Schultz was spending countless hours in and out of the studio. Luckily, she said, Jay knew how important dance was to his wife and was always understanding of the time her passion took her away from him and their family. “It takes up a lot of my time,” Schultz admitted. “Sometimes it's a challenge to find a balance.” Her children, she added, are also understanding when dance takes their mother away from sitting in the bleachers at their sports practices. 15


SIMPLY NORTH Feature contributed photo

Schultz works on dress rehearsal. “I make an effort to be at all their games,” Schultz said of her two sons, Jackson and Cameron. “I have conversations with them about why I do what I do. I try to teach them what it means to work hard and to give back to your community.”

The best she can be Her determination and work ethic flow into the time and effort she puts into every dance. “I'm hard on myself,” she said of the choreography she pieces together while preparing dinner in the kitchen. “I always think of ways choreography could be better.” While there's always room for improvement, Schultz many times has her audience fooled. The instructor's annual dance recital has captured the attention of the community year-afteryear and continues to amaze both men and women. “I get feedback from a lot of people, but some of the best compliments come from men,” she said, smiling. “They tell me how much they enjoy the show.”

This year's show is set for May 2-3, and like year's past, the behind-the-scenes work has long been underway. Performing lines have been perfecting their routines since September and other classes have been rehearsing their routines since January, Schultz said. “They're working hard,” Schultz said of her dancers. “They are committed to putting on a good show... It will be a good show... “I'm passionate about what I do, I enjoy what I do and I feel good about what I do,” she said. “I hope that shows in my dancers and in our show... I feel proud about that.”

Learning and growing Stepping in front of a classroom of eager dancers, by now, comes natural to Schultz. She knows she not only has the task of transforming them into better dancers and performers, but to be someone they can look up to. “I like the fact that I can be a positive role model,” she said. “That's the part that gets me to keep doing it. If I can help one or two girls, it's worth it.” And, she continued, unbeknownst to many of the young ballerinas and tap dancers, they aren't only perfecting their arabesques and deboule turns, they are learning lifelong lessons. “Like with any sport, dance teaches you confidence,” she said. “I've had some students come in who are very shy, very introverted and I've seen them completely change by coming to class. They don't always know that is happening, but I see it and I'm proud of it.” Being tested Teaching, performing, anything dance related has always been consistent in Schultz's life – which hasn't always been easy. In 2000, her 7-month-old daughter, Ciera, died in an accident. “I miss her every day” Schultz said, wiping away tears. “I sometimes wonder if she'd be in dance. Maybe she'd play hockey for all I know... All the girls I teach are like my kids because I don't have Ciera here with me today. She holds a close place in my heart.” Fast forward to 2011, Schultz was tested again when a drunk driver hit the vehicle she was in. The accident didn't result in any permanent damage, but she still gets sore, Schultz said. “I wasn't going to let some drunk driver destroy what I love to do,” she said. “That's my determination. No, life hasn't always been easy, but I keep going. I have to.” 16

Schultz is passionate about teaching young dancers confidence and being a role model for them.


SIMPLY NORTH Frozen Gardener

The Frozen Gardener By Rob Davenport

A

h, is there anything better than that first whiff of spring? Seems like it came earlier this year, perhaps Mother Nature knew we needed it after last year. Squishy Boots The arrival of spring means the arrival of Lake Davenport. You see, while the front and back yards of our house are nicely graded and stay dry most of the time, our side yard is not. It is low and full of bumps. It is the kind of yard that makes you wish you had a better suspension on your lawn mower. It also fills with water during heavy rains or as the snow melts. Often we see ducks paddling around the yard looking for a bite to eat and noisily catching up with each other. We have seen deer stop over for a drink, and of course the dog can’t take a step outside without finding herself in the middle of the water, smiling back at us as she looks forward to tracking mud all over the house. This year however, it was the kids that found frozen Lake Davenport to be irresistible. Now playing on the ice in the spring isn’t the safest activity, but since the "lake" is only a few inches deep it seemed harmless. After all, who doesn’t remember sliding around on the ice as a child? Sliding competitions were the main entertainment while waiting for the bus in the morning. The kids would set their bags down and run as fast as they could through the snow before hitting the ice to slide as far as they could. Most of the time they would stay on their feet and not fall in a giggling ball of arms and legs, but that would happen sometimes too. Of course as the morn-

ings got warmer, the ice got thinner and the kids decided to try to break the ice. This turned out to be great fun as they cracked and broke the ice only to have it refrozen by morning like some gigantic Etch-a-sketch. This ice breaking routine went on for about a week without incident, well aside from having to tell them put the baseball bats back in the garage. One morning, though, would put an end to the ice-breaking game. It started much like all the others. The kids put their bags down and ran over to the ice. They took tentative steps out to the middle to test the ice. It was still strong enough for safe passage. So of course the kids have to push it even farther. One kid started jumping followed by the rest. The ice was strong and refused to crack, until the kids started jumping all at the same time. This proved to be too much and, with a single crack, the ice broke in to many pieces leaving three kids laughing with triumph and Andy flat on his back still laughing, but soaking wet. Of course, the bus pulls around the corner at this very moment causing instant panic. We ushered Andy inside to get changed and waved the bus along. After a quick toweling off and some fresh clothes Andy was ready to go, except we couldn’t find his spare shoes anywhere. After searching the house a second time, Andy remembered that they were in his bag. So I headed out to retrieve it from the driveway only to find that his caring and thoughtful sister had taken his bag with her on the bus. So Andy rode with me to school in nice dry clothes and squishy boots.

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SIMPLY NORTH Simple Solutions

Using your cellphone as a camera By Spenser Bickett

Spring's arrival to Borderland brings with it ample opportunities to get out and enjoy the outdoors after being cooped up all winter. While you're out enjoying the gorgeous lakes and woods, you might want to take out your smartphone and snap a few pictures. Here's a few tips to remember so when the time comes, your smartphone photos will look so good, you'll want to frame them.

Front or back? Front cameras on smartphones are great for taking selfies, but when it comes to taking great photos, the front camera doesn't hold a candle to the resolution specs on the back camera. The back camera is better equipped with more megapixels, while the front camera's main design function is video conferencing. So flip your camera to the back when you're trying to get the perfect shot.

Lens Simply stated, lenses are integral to the photo-taking process, because all photos are shot through lenses. When you keep your smartphone in your pocket or bag, it's bound to get a little dusty. Give your smartphone's camera lens a wipe with a clean cloth every so often to clear it of any grime or fingerprints. You might be surprised by what a quick 15-second cleaning can do to improve your pictures.

Sit up straight Good posture isn't just key for eliminating back pain, it's also critical for good photos. A fast way to reduce blur in your photos is to hold your smartphone in a stable way before you snap your picture. Holding your arms outstretched or far away from your body can make them sway more when taking photos. Keeping your elbows close 18

to your sides can provide a bit of added stability, as can resting your elbows on a stable object. Sometimes, even resting your smartphone on a table or other stable object can do wonders for clarity. Also, take your photos by holding your smartphone horizontally, as opposed to vertically. The landscape orientation fits more detail in, especially when taking group photos or capturing more of the background. Photos taken horizontally also look better when viewed on a widescreen computer screen or TV.

Lighting When it comes to taking the best photos, lighting is key, and natural light is the best source of lighting for that. The right amount of lighting can make food look more appetizing, facial expressions more cheerful and environments more welcoming. Try to take your smartphone photos under natural light as much as possible, which means avoiding using your flash. If you're indoors, this means going near windows and doors and if you're outdoors, go near light sources like neon signs or steet lamps. Keep in mind where your light is coming from, too. Avoid backlight when taking photos of people, unless you want a silhouette effect. If you shoot your subject with sidelight, it can capture texture and depth. Sometimes experimenting with reflective surfaces can get light in just the right spot. Try using a piece of white paper to direct light onto your subject. If you're outdoors, ideally the sun should be behind the camera's lens, shining light onto the subject without entering the lens directly. Pointing your camera towards the sun will cause shadowing and a loss of contrast, so avoid this, unless that's the effect you're looking for. Cloudy

conditions can cause the sun to be diffused throughout the sky, so avoid shooting up to the sky if it's not a sunny day. If you're using your smartphone, it's best to not use your flash altogether. Your phone's camera flash is almost always too harsh and rarely helpful. Instead, explore your smartphone's camera settings, and try increasing its exposure and ISO levels.

Zoom zoom When it comes to getting the best close-up photo with your smartphone camera, don't zoom. It sounds counterintuitive, but there's a reason behind it. Most smartphone cameras can zoom in while taking a photo. But, this zoom is most often a digital zoom instead of an optical zoom. The difference is a digital zoom simply enlarges and crops the output from the sensor before the photo is captured. An optical zoom is a true zoom lens, like kind of lens you'd find on a film camera. Zooming before capturing doesn't let you reframe the image after the fact, instead, you're essentially losing data and reducing quality with no backup plan. The image will appear to show a distant object closer than it would be, but you can easily take the photo without zooming first, and crop it afterwards. Taking the photo without zooming provides flexibility and the ability to change your mind later.

Composition Nothing beats composition as a simple way to take better-looking pictures. Learning some basic composition rules like the rule of thirds, leading lines, scale and framing are easy to learn and easy to remember. Once you've got the rules of composition down, though, you can break them by playing with other aspects like lighting and angles.


SIMPLY NORTH Eye In The Sky

Eye in the Sky By Jackie Briggs

Many times growing up in the country, I remember my dad would come in from putting wood in the stove outside urging us to quickly grab our coats and boots and come see the northern lights. We’d all head out as fast as we could to the darkest spot in our yard and gaze up at the sight of dancing green, purple and red lights in the northern sky. The times were few and far between but every one of them quite memorable. Still, to this day, I still get that excited feeling when I look out the window and see flashes of green lighting up the night sky. However something has changed in the way I enjoy the northern lights. I no longer rush to grab my coat and boots, I grab for my tripod and camera. Taking pictures of northern lights can be

tricky, but it can be done. First instinct for most may be to grab their cell phone to try and photograph the colorful lights. While this convenient camera may be good for many other things, it doesn’t really allow you to capture night photography. To photograph the northern lights, two things are a must: a tripod of some sort and a camera that lets you operate on manual mode. It’s really quite simple from there, but you most know a few things first: • S hutter speed is basically the amount of time your camera takes the picture. The longer the shutter is open, the more light your camera lets in. To photograph anything at night, especially the northern lights, you want your camera to be on a

very slow shutter speed. This allows you to capture all those beautiful colors that come from those beautiful dancing lights. • A perture is how wide your lens opens up to. The wider open the lens, the more light it lets in. Having a wide open aperture (the smallest number) allows you to let in the most light to make the northern lights viewable to be recorded on your camera. From those two things, you can essentially play around with different number combinations to find one that works for the time of night and intensity of the northern lights you are taking photos of. The result can be extremely rewarding- something you can be proud of and hang on your walls to be enjoyed by all.

Lunar Tables & Constellations • April 22, 23: Lyrids Meteor Shower produces about 20 meteors per hour at its peak, the night of the 22nd and morning of the 23rd. Some meteors may produce bright dust trails that last for several seconds. Meteors, produced by particles left behind by a comet discovered in 1861, will radiate from the constellation Lyra, but can appear anywhere in the sky. • May 4: Full Moon, also known as the Flower Moon, Corn Planting Moon and Milk Moon. • May 5, 6: Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower, could produce up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak, the night of May 5 and the

morning of May 6. The shower runs each year to May 28. The meteors are produced by dust particles left behind by Halley comet.

the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of winter, as winter solstice, in the Southern Hemisphere.

• May 7: Mercury at greatest eastern elongation. Mercury is at its highest point above the horizon in the evening - look for it in the west just after sunset.

• June 24: Mercury at greatest western elongation. Mercury is at its highest point above the horizon in the morning - look for it in the east just after sunset.

• May 18: New Moon.

• July 1: Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter. Look for the bright planets very near one another in the west just after sunset.

• June 2: Full Moon, also known as Strawberry Moon, Rose Moon and Honey Moon. • June 21: Summer Solstice, when the North Pole will be tilted toward the sun, marks

• July 2: Full Moon, also known as Buck Moon, Thunder Moon and Hay Moon. • July 16: New Moon. 19


SIMPLY NORTH Without a Paddle

Connecting to America's longest scenic trail Less than half a day drive from Borderland will bring wannabe hikers to America's longest scenic trail. The North Country Trail connects America’s red plaid nation, wandering 4,600 miles through America’s rugged northern heartlands. Stretching across seven states, this National Scenic Trail runs from North Dakota to New York, offering many chances for adventure along the way. Known as NCT, the North Country Trail is within a day's drive of 40 percent of America's population and hikers in Borderland hit the trail after a "While only a few have attempted to thruhike the whole trail in one shot, thousands find their way onto a section of the NCT each year," according to the North Country Trail Association. "Spring, summer, fall or winter, the trail offers something for everyone. Winter camping and snowshoeing, long-distance trail running, a saunter through quiet spring meadows or vineyards, crossing salmon-filled rivers, a weekend with the grandkids…. you can find what you’re looking for on the North Country Trail, and right nearby. This trail can be rugged and welcoming, remote and festive. You get to choose your own adventure. The NCTA's website at northcountrytrail. org offers a great amount of information about the trail. There, the trail is broken down stateby-state to allow people to plan their hike.

Photo by Matt Davis

Hikers take in the sites of the North Country Trail. The 1980 Congressional authorization of the North Country National Scenic Trail prompted the founding of the North Country Trail Association in 1981 as the volunteer organization providing the major partnership with the National Park Service in building the trail and telling its story.

resents the northern part of Minnesota, and Rep. Peter Welch, who represents Vermont, reintroduced bipartisan legislation that could soon enable ambitious hikers to journey the entire 4,600 miles from North Dakota to Vermont. The bill is in the Subcommittee on Federal Lands and can be viewed at

"The North Country Trail stands as an example of what a strong private-public partnership and a dedicated citizen volunteer effort can accomplish, leaving a legacy for generations to come," writes NTCA.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/799

New route proposed

This bill would change the original proposed route of the North Country Scenic Trail to create a more sustainable trail corridor and incorporate more than 400 miles of existing trail.

In February, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, who rep-

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who represents Minnesota, has introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

The bill updates the authorized route to include a new preferred trail corridor between Remer and Ely, as well as incorporate more than 400 miles of existing trail in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and North Shore of Lake Superior into the national North Country Scenic Trail. “I’m proud to be an original author of this bill to boost our multibillion dollar tourism industry and create jobs throughout the northland while conserving wetlands and enhanc-

20


SIMPLY NORTH Without a Paddle

Photo by Doug Boulee

A view of a sunrise of over the North Country Trail. ing the experience for the thousands of hikers who travel these trails today," said Nolan. "In Minnesota, we live for the great out-of-doors. With the inclusion of the Arrowhead reroute into the national system, we honor the contributions of past trailmakers, ensure future generations benefit from their hard work, and continue the legacy of responsible land stewardship.”

Quick facts about the North Country Trail:

nental) Divide, the North Country Trail offers a cache of contrasting hiking experiences in Minnesota. Historic marks include the remnants of iron mining along the Mesabi and Vermilion ranges, Native American historic sites, and remnants of Paul Bunyan’s logging era. Also, keep your eyes open wide for “northwoods” wildlife icons, including moose, whitetail deer, black bear, Canada lynx, timber wolf and bald eagles. The North Country Trail enters Minnesota near Jay Cooke State Park, where the Superior

Hiking Trail (SHT) begins. This famous 280mile trail takes hikers first through the City of Duluth before following the ridgeline of Minnesota’s scenic “North Shore.” Reaching the end of the SHT, the NCT follows the aptlynamed Border Route Trail (BRT) which heads 65 miles west paralleling the U.S. – Canada border. Upon reaching the end of the BRT at the famed Gunflint Trail (Cook Co. Hwy 12), the NCT picks up the Kekekabic Trail (“Kek”), which heads 38 miles west toward Snowbank Lake northeast of Ely.

• It is administered by the National Park Service. • It crosses through 12 National Forests • It was created by Congress in 1980; it already has more trail completed than the Appalachian National Scenic Trail is long. • In 2010, volunteers contributed nearly 70,000 hours toward building and maintaining the trail and telling its story, a 14 percent increase over 2009, valued at $1.5 million dollars. The proposal is supported by Bruce Matthews, executive director of the North Country Trail Association. “When you look at the map, you realize that these trails just belong,” said Matthews, noting the added benefit to rural communities in northeastern Minnesota and Vermont in the additional tourism dollars captured through national scenic trail designation.

Minnesota From the leisurely lakewalk of downtown Duluth to the rugged Sawtooth Mountains to the gentle Laurentian (north-south conti-

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SIMPLY NORTH Feature

Growing south of the border By Don & Wendy Graves

Wendy Graves Of course it is snowing as we write and, with the exception of the high tunnels, the ground is still frozen. But it is mid-March and it is time that our seed starting needs to begin. Although it sometimes can be hard to wrap our minds around this task when it seems so cold, once we begin we feel the anticipation of warmer weather and the task of planting seeds in flats begins to make summer and a bountiful harvest a reality for us. We have gardened here on our piece of land in Ray for almost twenty years. About four years ago we began the transition from tenders of a large garden to workers of a small farm. During these twenty years we have gained a “sense of place,” learning what our specific location has to offer, along with experiencing its limitations. For example, we are always looking for seeds that will produce fruit earlier, as opposed to later to match our short growing season. Our farm is located along the west branch of the Rat Root River, with a heavy clay soil, and our location is low relative to the surrounding land. The fact that we are in a depression has meant 22

that we have the possibility of frosts (sometimes killing) all throughout the summer. We lost most of our cherished tomato transplants to such a killing frost one year on July fifth! We have, therefore, been forced to be creative and inventive with season extension strategies, as without these, it seems as if we would not have a growing season at all; perhaps with the exception of broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. Who can garden and not want to grow tomatoes? Our philosophy has always been to garden and farm sustainably and organically. The idea is to pay close attention to building the soil through the addition of natural fertilizers such as compost, manure, and cover crops; to preserve and enhance the natural biodiversity of the farm; to revitalize habitat for native, beneficial insects; and to manage the farm and the land in a way that would make it possible for future generations to continue growing healthy, nutritious food on the land. We enjoy the wildlife that northern Minnesota offers and do not want to diminish that presence on our farm, yet we

would prefer that the deer not eat the lettuce, that voles not girdle our young fruit trees in the winter, that Franklin’s ground squirrels would not take a bite out of each Minnesota midget melon, and that chickens would be safe from weasels! Our approach has been to devise a diversity of strategies that protect our crops from the wildlife that wants to share the bounty with us. We are still in the process of devising a protection system for the chickens that we hope to add in the future. Now that we have introduced ourselves and our small farm, just what do we have planned for future editions of Growing South of the Border in Simply North? We are eager to share our growing successes and failures with you, along with the varied strategies that we have enlisted to meet the challenges of our particular piece of ground. Of course, there are many local gardeners and farmers that are just as resourceful as we are that are eager to tell their stories, as well. We’ll get out and interview these growers and will report back to you with their insight, knowledge and experiences. We also plan on


SIMPLY NORTH Feature setting up garden and farm tours where you can meet these growers, hold their soil in your hands, and learn how they have adapted their space for northern growing. We will open our Rat Root River Farm for the first tour this summer, so be sure to look for the date in an upcoming edition of The Journal! We’ll share resources with that will help you to discover seed and plant varieties that are well adapted to growing in the north. Heirloom varieties have been around for generations, with characteristics bred into them by farmers and gardeners now long gone. Which of these heirlooms might be just the ticket for your garden? As a plus, you can save the seeds of heirloom plants that are doing well in your garden and adapt these plants to your specific conditions. Not only are we interested in varieties that grow well in a particular area, but many of us also like to store potatoes, onions, squash, garlic, carrots, beets, etc… We’ll help you choose varieties that not only grow well, but also store well. Perhaps it’s time to consider building a simple root cellar in your basement? Season extension is critical in our northern climate and there are many strategies that will give you the confidence to start that lettuce in March or early April. We already have lettuce and spinach seedlings growing in our high tunnel! Season extension allows one to raise the temperature of the soil much earlier in the season, provide a much warmer growing temperature throughout the season, protect sensitive plants from frost, and grow varieties that were developed for warmer zones. These strategies can be as simple as a light row cover draped over your melons to large high tunnels covering thousands of square feet of ground. We’ll have plenty of designs, tips and techniques to help get you started. What have we forgotten? Let’s eat that produce!!! Each edition will contain delicious recipes that you can prepare or adapt to suit the produce that you have on hand. We are especially fond of using vegetables and fruits in recipes that are just a bit different, so get ready to challenge those taste buds and to step a little outside of your food comfort zone. How about pasta with leeks and goat cheese, for example? There must be some local goat cheese out there. Don and Wendy Graves live in Ray, Minnesota. Community college educators by profession, they have been working at living sustainably on their Rat Root River Farm and mentoring others who wish to do the same. They produce a large proportion of their own food, sell at the Backus Farmers’ market and donate produce to the Falls Hunger Coalition.

The Graves' fresh-grown strawberries.

A solar panel sits on the Graves' property in Ray.

A greenhouse helps the Graves' to be successful. 23


SIMPLY NORTH Who Knew

Who Knew? By Dana Hartje

Yippee! Spring is here, now what do I do? It seems I wait, and wait, for the weather to change from below zero temperatures and snow storms, then first week of warm weather leaves me wondering how to enjoy it. Sure, I could clean up the mess that my dog makes in the yard all winter, maybe shovel the remaining snow off the deck, clean the mess from the garage floor, but then what? The warm weather leaves me feeling frustrated. I love the sunshine and warm temperatures, but can’t help but feeling I should be doing something productive while it’s warming up. Washing the car is fruitless; one drive down the highway and your car is a mess again. Going for a walk is always a challenge; in the early warm-up days my driveway turns into a skating rink. Once I make it off the driveway there’s a good chance I’m going to need a rain suit to shed the slush and water that splashes up as cars drive by. My dog enjoys the early spring walks but comes home looking more like a

chocolate Lab than a yellow Lab as she splashes through every muddy puddle. Snowmobilers are keeping busy putting away the sleds, ice houses are being removed from the ice and the ice fishing gear is getting stored for next year. Well, now what can we do? It’s too early to do any yard work, although I have friend who spends her warm weather days moving snow piles around her yard to make them melt more quickly in order to see her gardens. One spring tradition at my house is one I do not willingly participate in, not that I am ever asked. My husband spends hours moving the running water from our driveway and yard, digging little trenches, cleaning out ditches, checking his culverts. This is his job spring and fall. I’ve always been amused by the time he spends doing this, but the truth is, he has found a way to be outside, enjoy the sunshine and be productive.

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I attempted to be in charge of the water drainage one weekend last fall, and I can’t say I was a success. I tried but the water and dirt got the best of me. Oh well, I have somebody who is more than willing to handle the water project, but what does that leave me? It’s too early to take the snow fence down. Guess I could try to organize the garage? No, that’s really no fun and that’s something that my husband does for a diversion while moving the water. I guess it’s time to pull out a few lawn chairs and sit in the sun. But just sitting isn’t productive, I need a purpose, something that I can say I accomplished at the end of the day. Sure, there are things to be done in the house, but it just feels wrong to let a sunny warm day slip by without enjoying it. I’m not good at doing nothing; it’s a skill I’ve never mastered. I need to find a reason to be outside and be able to say I did something that needed to be done, now if I could just think of something other than cleaning up the mess my dog makes all winter. Yes I’m desperate for something to do on a warm spring day, but I am a little picky about the job I do. Maybe I can sit in the lawn chair and work on a list of things to do next spring, or plan my summer projects or, I guess, I could finally clean up after my dog. Who knew sunshine and warm weather could be such a problem?


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Simply North Magazine Spring 2015