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The health benefits of gardening

SWEET CHEATS Detroit Lakes' own 'No Sugar Baker' shares her story (and a couple yummy recipes)


Ottertail man transforms old wood from Tuffy's tear-down

TIPS FOR A HEALTHY LAWN A special publication of the Detroit Lakes Tribune, Perham Focus and Wadena Pioneer Journal

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Contributors: Michael Achterling machterling@dlnewspapers.com Vicki Gerdes vgerdes@dlnewspapers.com Michael Johnson mjohnson@wadenapj.com Elizabeth Vierkant evierkant@perhamfocus.com

Editor: Marie Johnson mtjohnson@dlnewspapers.com Publisher: Melissa Swenson mswenson@dlnewspapers.com Graphic artist: Mollie Burlingame mburlingame@bemidjipioneer.com Cover Photo: Flowers at a Detroit Lakes home, by Marie Johnson

At the Window


Ottertail man transforms wood from old Tuffy's grain elevator into home decor works of art


Flower gardening is good therapy for the mind, body and spirit

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5 TIPS FOR A HEALTHY LAWN A Frazee lawn care professional shares his expertise


Sugar-free recipes from the 'No Sugar Baker,' Detroit Lakes native Jayne J. Jones

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Going with the grain

The Danielson home, near Ottertail, features repurposed wooden panels from an old elevator grain crib at Tuffy’s Pet Foods in Perham. Michael Johnson / Summer Home

Ottertail man turns wood from old Tuffy’s grain elevator into works of art BY MICHAEL JOHNSON


For Summer Home

or more than 50 years, the grain flowed freely through a massive wooden grain elevator at Tuffy’s Pet Foods in Perham, ending up in a mix of ingredients for animal feed for the masses. The structure was built at the start of the local pet food empire, in 1964. Grain elevator builders from Volden Construction of Henning started with two-by-eight boards at the base and nailed them together, one board on top of another. As the structure rose from the ground, layers of twoby-sixes were added, and finally two-by-fours, until the crib reached 80 feet into the air. Held together by steel rods and 20-penny nails, the mostly-Douglasfir giant did its job of channeling grain ingredients — until 2017, when the decision was made to tear it down in order to rebuild for the future of Tuffy’s, according to 48-yearemployee Randy Ebeling, who recently retired.

6 | Summer Home 2021

As the cribbing material started to come down at the Tuffy’s plant in Perham in 2017, it became clear there was a lot of wood packed inside the structure. Photo courtesy Randy Ebeling / Summer Home

“I try to be as creative as I can.”

- Wendell Danielson

Ebeling said the cribbing was divided into a couple dozen different bins. After a while, it was suggested that the old crib material be thrown out. But Tuffy’s owner Kenny Nelson, who remembers well when that structure was built, had other hopes for the unique wood; he saw the beauty and history etched into each board. He gathered up the wood and sought out someone who could find a way to use it, and use it well. “It was his brain child, not to let them throw the wood away,” Wendell Danielson says of Nelson’s decision. Danielson has made a name for himself in the area as a woodworker, and is known for turning yesterday’s trash into today’s treasure. Meeting with Nelson and coming to an agreement on obtaining and using the wood was a game changer for Danielson. It was like a historic wood ‘gold mine.’ He told his wife, Beth, that he’d be moving the wood to their homestead near Ottertail one day. She didn’t

think much of it, until 14 semi-loads of crib material were delivered, filling up a large portion of their property. “I think my wife thought I was crazy,” Danielson says, adding that, luckily, Beth is a patient woman. And she happens to be an art teacher at Wadena-Deer Creek Schools — she could see the inner beauty of the wood, too. Gradually, Danielson filled a barn — and then some — with the material. It takes up a lot of space since the wood is still in its grain crib form, with four sides nailed and held together by steel rods. A person can walk around inside each piece, but physically moving a piece requires a telehandler or similar heavy machinery. Working with the material is a challenge, Danielson says, because it’s filled with nails. The stacked lumber takes special equipment, and blades burn out quickly from trying to slice through the sections. The lumber is impregnated with oils from the grains, and that has gradually worn down the walls of the crib. Summer Home 2021 | 7

“It’s a lot more work, even to conceptualize the project,” Danielson says of using this material. But he believes that with hard work and responsibility comes reward. It’s the flow of grain over the decades that truly makes the material unique. Looking at a worn piece he’s installed on the interior of his home’s living area, Danielson wonders, “How many million bushels does it take to do that?” It’s a look that cannot be achieved by hand. It looks like water cutting a path through sand, and the harder grains of the lumber are exposed and highlighted. That makes a finished piece, with a poly or wax coating, quite spectacular. All the wood must also be kiln-dried to remove the chance of any bugs, moisture or bacteria causing damage to the piece. While the wood itself is beautiful, it still takes skilled craftsmanship to form it into something inspiring. Danielson has been developing his talents in that area for the last nine years, building a name for himself in woodworking as the owner of Danielson Design Co. His Tuffy’s grain elevator projects are now showing up throughout the Lakes Area. They offer utilitarian uses, like a chef’s table where a meal is prepared or a simple stool meant to be sat on, while also maintaining that history and story that Danielson has worked to preserve.

Wendell Danielson stands by the wooden grain cribs he’s been repurposing into various residential and commercial interior design features. Michael Johnson / Summer Home

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A table and wall art show off the beauty of the old grain crib panels in this home in Ottertail. Photo courtesy Wendell Danielson / Summer Home

“I try to be as creative as I can and make something out of nothing,” Danielson says. Sometimes, his work with the historical wood has led to meaningful moments in the present. For example, when Danielson was asked to build a new bar top for the Vining Palace bar and restaurant — Vining being the home of well-known artist Ken Nyberg — Nyberg found out about the crib material being used for the project. He explained to Danielson that, back in 1964, when he was a spry 26-year-old carpenter, he, along with the crew at Volden Construction of Henning, helped pound that grain elevator into place. Nyberg once hammered away at the immense crib walls in Perham, and now rests his arms on the glossy finish of that same wood at his local watering hole, the Vining Palace.


10 | Summer Home 2021

An impressive feature inside the Danielson home is this countertop-to-second-story-ceiling wall section, made of repurposed grain elevator material. It’s a complete piece, with two windows cut out in the middle. Michael Johnson / Summer Home

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Left: An installation at Tuffy’s Pet Foods brings wooden elements of the plant’s old grain elevator into the interior design of the new office building. Below: The ripple in the wood of this small table shows how grain used to flow over the wood back when it was in the grain elevator. Photos courtesy of Wendell Danielson / Summer Home

12 | Summer Home 2021

A look into one of the Danielsons’ sheds shows it’s about half full of the wooden crib material recovered from Tuffy’s in Perham after the old structure was torn down several years ago. Michael Johnson / Summer Home

Hearing how the wood had come full-circle in the life of this one man was a joy to Danielson. He says things like that add fuel to his desire to continue to find ways to keep the historical wood in the region, in local homes and businesses. In addition to the bar top at Vining Palace, the wooden features Danielson has made from the Tuffy’s grain elevator include: The conference room table at Thumper Pond in Ottertail; a large dining table at Willy T’s Pub in Ottertail; in woodwork throughout the

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Gardening as therapy: Working the soil to produce beautiful plants is good for mind, body and spirit


Brightly colored flowers add cheer and energy to landscapes. These were pictured at a home in Detroit Lakes. Marie Johnson / Summer Home

14 | Summer Home 2021



innesota’s COVID19 restrictions have largely been lifted, but some of the trends caused by the pandemic have remained — such as working from home, which led to a resurgence in home gardening. “A lot of people are trying it who have never gardened before,” says Becker County Master Gardener Catharine Weisenburger, who lives a few miles east of Detroit Lakes. “Some are even investing in their yard as an open office space, putting in areas where they can work outside.” One of her own garden plots has a sign that says, “Gardening is my therapy,” and Weisenburger thoroughly believes in the power of working the soil to relieve stress and improve overall health. “A lot of people just don’t know how therapeutic planting is,” she says, explaining that it can have significant health benefits for mind, body and spirit. “It’s very zen-like,” says Marietta Keenan, another Becker County Master Gardener, who lives by Island Lake in rural Rochert. “I lose all track of time when I’m in a garden — that’s both good and bad. There’s something about it that’s so relaxing — your mind doesn’t have to think about anything.”

“It’s very zen-like. I lose all track of time when I’m in a garden.” - Marietta Keenan, Becker County Master Gardener

Small-space gardening ideas

For those who don’t have sufficient space on their property to incorporate even a small garden plot, there are other options such as container gardening and vertical gardens. Containers can be decorative, incorporating artwork or artifacts like old wheelbarrows and handmade ceramic pots, or more practical, using things like old oil cans and plastic buckets. They can also be used to grow everything from flowers and ornamental plants to vegetables and herbs. “I have a little wagon that I use for my herb garden,” Weisenburger says. Garden containers can be placed both inside the home and out, she adds; their portability means that they can be moved inside when the weather becomes inhospitable, then moved back outside when the sun is shining and the temperatures warm up. Vertical gardens — trellises and the like — are another option for areas with limitedto-no green space. Though not all plants work well for vertical gardens, Weisenburger says quite a few vegetables do, as well as succulents.

easier for me to garden. I will never go back.” Weisenburger, too, uses a lot of raised beds and movable containers for her gardening.

Consider pollinators

Some people like to make their gardens into a haven for pollinators — bees, butterflies, dragonflies, hummingbirds and their kin — who spread pollen from plant to plant in their travels. Coneflowers, petunias, peonies, nasturtiums, sunflowers, and even some types of ornamental grasses are all ideal plants for attracting nature’s little helpers, Weisenburger says. “Nasturtiums also help draw aphids and other nasty bugs away from vegetables,” she notes. “Plus, every part of the plant is edible.” Ornamental grasses, meanwhile, are quite hardy and easy to grow. “Grasses are awesome,” she says. “Bees love them (for nesting). It’s a shelter for them.” Keenan has actually built Hanging baskets full of flowers like the ones shown here (in space in her garden for bees to a hanging basket on the porch of a Detroit Lakes home) are a nest. simple way to incorporate flowers into outdoor decor. “I have a little bee Marie Johnson / Summer Home house,” she says, “and I keep a muddy area open for bumblebees, because they nest underground.” Gardens can be planted with Give your bod a break: varieties of flowers and herbs Use raised beds that specifically attract bees Keenan says raised beds, and butterflies, Keenan adds. or elevated gardens (also The University of Minnesota known as garden boxes) are and North Dakota State quite popular, for a variety University Extension programs of reasons — not the least both offer information packets of which is that they make on how to plant different it easier to tend to everyday kinds of pollinator gardens. tasks like weeding and And Weisenburger noted that watering. starting in July, the Master “It’s so physically taxing Gardeners will be doing site to be down there (on the visits to answer people’s ground), weeding and watering gardening questions. and planting,” Keenan says, There is a caveat, however: adding that it puts a lot of “We can give you suggestions, This structure in Marietta Keenan's garden may look like strain on the joints and back. but you have to do the work,” a tiny birdhouse, but it's actually built for bees to nest in. Vicki Gerdes / Summer Home Weisenburger says. “Raised beds make it a lot Summer Home 2021 | 15

“Gardening is my therapy. A lot of people just don’t know how therapeutic planting is.” Go native When it comes to choosing which plants to use in your garden, both Weisenburger and Keenan say native plants are best. “We always encourage people to use native plants, because they’re more adaptable to the soil, water and weather conditions in this area,” Weisenburger says. Native plants like anemones and thimbleflowers work very well, especially along lakeshores. In fact, Keenan says, she recently had the Becker Soil & Water Conservation District come in and plant native species along her own lakeshore, and other

area landowners — including Valhalla Resort — have done so, as well. “When I go out on the water and see roses, anemones and thimbleflower in bloom along the lakeshore, to me that’s so much more inviting and attractive than seeing nothing but rocks,” she adds. The Soil & Water Conservation District sells native plant and seed kits every spring, with packages tailored to pollinators, lakeshores, shade gardens, rain gardens and more. Check their website, www.co.becker. mn.us/dept/soil_water, in early spring for more information.

- Catharine Weisenburger, Becker County Master Gardener

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the health benefits

of gardening R

esearch has shown spending time outside is good for not only our bodies, but our minds, as well. Gardening is a way to help us realize the unpredictability of life — that we can’t always be in control of the situation. We can’t control the rain, the sunshine, or the temperature outside, but we can adapt to those changes. When we realize that sometimes we have failures in the garden, that stimulates us to learn what went wrong and opens us up to learning new things. Good relationships often develop among people with common interests. There is nothing better than boosting your mood by talking about gardening with others and sharing your passion. Gardeners also develop a relationship with the plot of ground they are tending. You feel like a parent to those little plants and want to nurture them along. Ever wonder why garden centers are sometimes called nurseries? I often find myself totally absorbed in the gardening process. My mind concentrates on what I am doing right in that moment. I don’t worry about, “What am I going to have for supper?” or how much laundry I have to do. The rest of the world fades away and I connect with getting my hands and fingernails dirty. I hear the wind rustling the leaves, the birds singing, and smell the fragrance in the air. Whatever

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The gardens at Catharine Weisenburger’s rural Detroit Lakes home contain many unusual and eye-catching pieces of garden art, such as this three-wheeled bicycle festooned with flower containers. Vicki Gerdes / Summer Home

stresses are in my life that day seem to disappear, and my mind gets recharged and reenergized. And it goes without saying, gardening provides great physical exercise. Movement helps your body get those endorphins going, boosting your mood and lowering anxiety levels. *Excerpted and edited from an article by the University of Minnesota Extension. Read it in full online at https://extension. umn.edu/news/health-benefits-gardening.

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Pick these:

Great perennial flowers for your outdoor landscapes Perennial flowers are flowers that survive over the winter and will come back again in the spring, year after year. The following perennials are recommended for this area by the University of Minnesota Extension. For more information, visit https://extension.umn.edu/find-plants/flowers. Common Milkweed: A Minnesota native wildflower that blooms in midsummer, milkweed can grow up to 5 feet tall and the flowers are fragrant. Essential to the Monarch butterfly life cycle, milkweed will attract Monarchs to your garden; but it can be aggressive and weedy, and will need to be managed. The plant loves full sun and tolerates most soils.

Daylilies: A rugged, vigorous perennial that can endure in a garden for many years with little or no care, daylilies adapt to a wide range of soil and light conditions. They establish quickly and typically grow from 1 to 4 feet high. Gardeners often use them as a flower border or backdrop to other plants, or as a ground cover on slopes, where they form a dense mass within just a few years.




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Tall Garden Phlox: This pollinatorfriendly perennial’s long-blooming flowers come in a wide range of colors. Hardy and vigorous when grown in the right conditions, phlox grows to two or three feet tall and is often used as a background plant along borders. Flowers bloom for six weeks or longer and are usually fragrant. Phlox grows best in full sunlight — but will tolerate light shade — and in soils that drain well, yet retain adequate moisture. It is typically purchased as a potted plant from nurseries, garden centers or local farmers’ markets. Hostas: Probably the most popular perennial in Minnesota due to their lush look, hardiness and ease of care, hostas are adaptable to many sites and come in countless combinations of leaf color, shape and texture. They can survive in deep shade and can be planted in large masses for reliable color and texture in the garden. Depending on growing conditions and variety, plants range in size from 6 inches high and a foot or less across to 3 to 4 feet high and 5 to 6 feet across.


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Pick these:

Great annual flowers for your outdoor landscapes Annual flowers are flowers that live for one growing season and then die. The following annuals are recommended for this area by the University of Minnesota Extension. For more information, visit https://extension. umn.edu/find-plants/flowers. Geraniums: Easy, low maintenance plants, geraniums grow well as potted plants indoors, as well as outdoors in gardens and containers. They grow best in a sunny location with welldrained soil. Available in a wide variety of flower colors, leaf patterns and scents, they can be stored over the winter and regrown again the next spring.

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Impatiens: Impatiens are fairly low maintenance plants that do well both in containers and garden beds. They are typically shade and moisture-loving plants. Sensitive to cold (so don’t rush to plant them outdoors), they prefer fertile, well-drained soil that is high in organic matter. Flowers come in many colors, most commonly white, red, pink, violet, coral, purple and yellow. Salvia: Salvia are very low maintenance, easy-to-grow plants that perform well in garden beds, but not containers. They come in a wide range of sizes, from 1 to 5 feet tall, and need full sun and welldrained soil. Very light feeders with little to no disease or pest issues, salvia commonly comes in shades of blue, purple, pink, red, white and yellow. A garden containing salvia will often have many bees, butterflies and hummingbirds visiting the flowers for nectar and pollen.

Petunias: Bright and lively, petunias are among the most popular flowering annuals. They’re amazingly easy to grow, both in the garden and in containers, they bloom from spring until frost, and they scent the air with lovely fragrance. Petunias tolerate lots of heat and perform best in full sun, but need at least 5 or 6 hours of good sunlight; the more shade they receive, the fewer flowers they'll produce. While soil needn't be terribly rich to grow good petunias, it must drain decently, and it's always useful to condition the soil with organic matter, such as peat moss, compost or manure. “Spreading" types and potted petunias (such as those in hanging plant arrangements) require more frequent watering; otherwise, watering once a week should be sufficient.

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Used outdoor chairs found at rummage sales, flea markets or secondhand stores can be freshened up easily and affordably with a quick coat of paint and new cushions; place them outside with some greenery to add outdoor seating and liven up a dull space. Tribune File Photo / Summer Home

Easy outdoor living MAKEOVERS on a budget BY ELIZABETH VIERKANT For Summer Home


ummer’s here, and that means people are spending more time in their outdoor living spaces like porches, patios and decks. Though, some homeowners may find those spaces dissatisfying and don’t know where to start with their potential redesigns. For those folks, Skye Fingalson, an interior designer and the owner of Design 2 Sell, an interior design studio in Detroit Lakes, has some advice to share: “Get creative,” she says. “A person can go a long way with a small budget.” Fingalson’s favorite thing to do when designing outdoor spaces is to include fun and vibrant colors, because it makes the space feel summer-y. She also loves to see

different patterns mixed together, which she says can be simple and inexpensive to do by incorporating a mix of outdoor cushions, pillows and rugs. For those with budget limitations, she suggests repurposing unexpected items, such as turning an old container into garden decor. She recommends thinking outside the box while bargain-hunting, rather than buying traditional items at full price: “Just shop around and get creative. You can use items you found at a flea market or thrift store,” she says. For more ideas and information, visit shopdesign2sellatthelakes.com. Summer Home 2021 | 21


IDEAS for under $2,500

$500 and below:

Skye Fingalson, owner of Design 2 Sell in Detroit Lakes, recommends adding an outdoor rug to bring in more color and tie the outdoor living space together. Also add a bistro table with some greenery and/or an umbrella for some affordable and eye-catching extra seating.


Add an outdoor area rug and bistro table for a pop of color and extra seating. Adorn outdoor furniture with patterned cushions for a cozy and inviting feel. End tables and garden stools can also be incorporated to bring in more color and make the space feel more vibrant. Add items with different textures to bring the whole space together and create a nice conversational area. Add greenery, flowers and an umbrella for an extra-inviting feel.


Along with all the earlier tips, Fingalson advises adding an electric fire pit, which adds a welcoming warmth. A survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders found that 83 percent of homeowners who had installed fire features said they had a greater desire to be home after completing the project. In addition, tasteful wall decor pieces can be nice additions to any outdoor space. Fingalson particularly recommends a wall-mounted garden or window boxes. 22 | Summer Home 2021

Thinking about adding an outdoor living space?

Here are 3 things to consider

Real estate professionals and organizations like the National Association of Home Builders note the growing popularity of outdoor living spaces. These spaces not only help homeowners take more joy in their properties, but also appeal to potential homebuyers when the time comes to sell. Homeowners mulling outdoor living projects should consider various factors before deciding to go ahead with a project, such as: ► Space. An outdoor living space can only be as relaxing as its location allows. The proximity of neighbors will affect privacy levels, and could make it hard to enjoy a quiet night outdoors or curl up and read a good book. In addition, landscaping may need to be addressed if drainage is an issue in the yard. That can add to the cost, and may limit the materials homeowners can work with. ► Cost. Home renovation resource HomeAdvisor estimates that the average cost of a new outdoor

living space is around $7,600. That cost can go up or down depending on the features the homeowners want to have in their outdoor living spaces. Including a built-in fire pit, for example, will cost more than purchasing a stand-alone fire pit.

“Get creative. A person can go a long way with a small budget.” -Skye Fingalson

► Return on investment. There’s a lot of conflicting data online about the return on investment on outdoor spaces, especially kitchens, but many trusted real estate organizations report that such additions do not mesmerize prospective buyers. Data from the American Institute of Architects indicates that outdoor kitchens are routinely ranked among the least desirable home features, which means homeowners should not expect a substantial return on investment when selling their homes. Built-in fire pits, however, fare better: Estimates from the National Association of Realtors suggest fire features recover around 67 percent of homeowners’ initial investment.

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Don’t get bugged: These plants help keep insects away from outdoor spaces Insects can turn relaxing days on the patio into wars of attrition with hungry bugs like mosquitoes. Thankfully, there are ways to fight back against bugs while simultaneously adding a little aesthetic appeal to the backyard. The Farmer’s Almanac notes that planting these insectrepelling plants around the patio can help repel unwanted insects, including mosquitoes. ► Lavender: Lavender is a fragrant plant that adds a pop of purple and has been known to repel mosquitoes, fleas, flies and moths. ► Basil: Basil can provide the best of both worlds, as it’s been found to repel flies and moths and also makes for a tasty addition to pasta sauces and other dishes. ► Thyme: Also a valuable ingredient to keep in the kitchen, thyme can help keep hungry mosquitoes at bay. ► Mint: Mint has long been considered an effective mosquito repellant. ► Alliums: Like lavender, alliums can add a burst of purple to your patio. And though they aren’t believed to repel mosquitoes, alliums have been found to be helpful against cabbage worms, aphids, carrot flies and slugs. ► Chrysanthemums: If ants are drawing your ire, chrysanthemums may do the trick. These eye-catching flowers also are believed to repel fleas and roaches, among other insects. ► Marigolds: The scent of this awe-inspiring plant (pictured at right) is known to repel mosquitoes and other pests. Marigolds also attract insects like ladybugs that are known to consume aphids, which reproduce rapidly and feed by sucking sap from plants.

24 | Summer Home 2021

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26 | Summer Home 2021

A bright green, growing lawn is displayed on Broadway Avenue in Detroit Lakes in June. Photos by Michael Achterling / Summer Home

lawn care

5 local professional T I P S from a BY MICHAEL ACHTERLING


For Summer Home

n his eight years of professional lawn care, Jamie Wood says he has never seen drought conditions quite like the Lakes Area has experienced this spring and summer. He knows everyone wants perfect, green turf, but this summer, he says, his company has had to turn down business because sometimes nature needs to do the work. Wood, the owner of Big Woods Lawn Care in Frazee, says that once the grass goes dormant, there is very little he can do for it besides wait for the natural rains to wake it up. “Mother Nature usually takes care of itself,” he says. His company does commercial and residential mowing, as well as pruning bushes and other lawn care tasks, which can cost between $50 and a few hundred dollars depending on the services, lawn size and location. “I’m not just a grass cutter,” Wood says. “Property management is more my thing. We also do aeration and overseeding.” He says there are some basic tips every homeowner should know when trying to manage a healthy lawn, especially while battling drought conditions. Summer Home 2021 | 27



If the grass is dormant (brown), be patient “At this point in the year (late June), if you haven’t been watering since spring, then the grass is already dormant,” Wood says. He believes some consistent rains would go a long way into waking up the green turf. “More consistent soakers — not a heavy downpour where we’d get a half inch of rain in 10 minutes; that wouldn’t do any good,” he says. “We need three, four, five days of just slow, nice, soft rain so it has a chance to soak in.” He adds that grass always takes care of itself and has cycles of dormancy and then growth. “It goes dormant because it has to or it will die,” he explains. “It naturally goes dormant on purpose because it doesn’t have enough moisture, but it’ll come back, you just need to have patience.

Don’t mow brown lawns “If your lawn isn’t green, you shouldn’t be mowing it,” Wood says. “If you have to mow it because you’ve got green spots here or there, you want to mow it as tall as you can keep it.” He says 3.5- to 4-inch height should be enough to lightly manicure the tops of the grasses and leave the rest of the stem intact. The tops of the grass should turn green again as more moisture makes its way into the soil table. Wood recommends leaving the dormant grass alone and keeping it long — as long as your patience will allow it. “I have clients where their entire yard is brown,” he says. “It’s just Mother Nature.”

Tracks from mowing are displayed in a section of dormant grass on Jackson Avenue in Detroit Lakes in mid-June.


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"Fertilizer is not going to make dead grass grow and (homeowners) are just wasting their money.”


- Jamie Wood, owner of Big Wood Lawn Care


Don’t overwater “If you are watering, water during the cool times of the day, morning and evening,” advises Wood. “If you water all day, it’s so hot out that it’ll just evaporate before it does any good.” He says it doesn’t do any good to have water pooling on the grass, either, because the water isn’t permeating into the soil table so the roots are still being starved of water. Additionally, the soil layers beneath the sod are usually sand, silt and clay, with porous spaces that allow room for oxygen. During heavy rains, the porous spaces fill with water and feed the grass. If there isn’t a cycle of watering and then oxygenation, however, the roots of the turf could suffocate and die.

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Keep trucks, mowers and tires off struggling lawn “Being on the lawn, driving trucks or 4-wheelers or lawn mowers or anything like that is a terrible idea,” he says. “If you drive around town and you look at some of these commercially-owned properties, you can see tire tracks in every one of them, just dead brown tire tracks, and those don’t go away all summer long.” Wood says he’s only mowing about half of the yards for his clients because he doesn’t want to damage the dormant grass and leave tracks for the owners. “So I stay off of those, and I’m just mowing irrigated lawns that are green,” he says.

Fertilizer doesn’t help dormant grass Wood says fertilizing is a waste of money when the grass is brown because the grass won’t absorb the chemicals, so the fertilizer will just sit there. “You’ve got to have grass to fertilize it,” Wood says. “Fertilizer is not going to make dead grass grow and (homeowners) are just wasting their money.” He adds that weeds will continue to grow, even among dormant grass, so weed killer is OK, but he still recommends waiting for the grass to begin its growing cycle before applying chemicals.

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Summer Home 2021 | 29

Sweet cheats


Detroit Lakes native is on a roll as the ‘No Sugar Baker’

Jayne J. Jones has turned her diagnosis of severe diabetes into an opportunity to live the sweet life as the “No Sugar Baker.” All photos courtesy Jayne J. Jones / Summer Home

30 | Summer Home 2021



Summer Home

hen life gave her lemons, she made sugarfree lemonade. Jayne J. Jones, a Detroit Lakes native, has turned her diagnosis of severe diabetes into an opportunity to live the sweet life, penning blogs and a cookbook as America’s favorite “No Sugar Baker.” The 1992 Detroit Lakes High School graduate, who now resides in Sarasota, Fla., is making a name for herself with her fun personality and tasty collection of sugar-free recipes. From cookies to lasagna, she covers it all in her new book, “The No Sugar Baker’s Cookbook of Healthy Living and No Regrets.” Her blog, found online at nosugarbaker.com and on the No Sugar Baker Facebook page, has more than 100,000 followers and growing, and her live Facebook cooking demos on Saturdays typically get about 40,000 views. It’s a career turn she never expected, born from a new lifestyle she never thought she’d embrace. Growing up in Detroit Lakes, Jones says she was accustomed to a traditional Minnesota diet of gooey meals and desserts like tater tot hotdish and toasted nut rolls. She loved eating decadent kinds of foods, and she loved making them. “Cooking and baking used to be my thing,” she says. “I used to make these huge cheesecakes layered with candy bars on them. I used to flaunt it!” That all abruptly changed in the fall of 2019 when, during a family vacation around her 44th birthday, she started having flu-like symptoms. She visited a local urgent care, and went home thinking it was just a minor stomach infection. A week and a half later, she still wasn’t feeling any better. She had been craving soda “and downing it” for days, she says, and then one morning started vomiting nonstop for hours. Her husband, Chris Beehler,

“I hear from a lot of people that they’re feeling healthier, so I know I’m making a difference.” - Jayne J. Jones

took her to the emergency room. After running some tests, the doctors came back with frightening news: Jones’ blood pressure was dangerously high and her glucose level was around 600 mg/dl — for reference, “you want to be batting 100,” according to Jones. “My A1C was off the charts.” She was diagnosed with severe diabetes, and told she was probably only minutes away from having a stroke. Her vision was affected, and she lost her eyesight for more than two weeks. If she didn’t change her habits, her physician told her, she’d likely be dead in four years. That shook her to her core. “When a doctor lays his eyes on you and says, ‘Listen, I don’t care how arrogant and cocky you are, if you don’t figure this out in four years, you’re going to die,’ that scares the living daylights out of

The No Sugar Baker's pecan pie. Summer Home 2021 | 31

you,” she said in an interview for this story, tears coming to her eyes at the recollection. “I value life more than anybody. I love every single day.” The diagnosis surprised her, angered her, and aroused feelings of guilt. “I felt very alone when I first got diagnosed,” she says. “I felt like I did this to myself, by being overweight… And I had to throw everything in my kitchen away. I was so mad.” She later learned that she’s far from alone: 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes. She also learned that it wasn’t all her fault — genetics plays a big role. She had missed the earlier warning signs — swollen feet, frequent thirst, stomachaches, the urgent need to ‘go’ — attributing it all to other, less serious things. Once the diagnosis sunk in, it didn’t take Jones long to formulate a new plan for moving forward: “I went home, rolled up my sleeves, and eliminated all sugar from my diet,” she recalls. She was determined to not have to go on insulin. All fruit, flour, potatoes — anything sugary or carb-heavy — had to go, and she also started an exercise regimen. She researched recipes and ways to supplement or replace traditional ingredients in familiar foods. Her family — husband Chris, their daughter Emily Beehler, and Jones’s parents, David and Margaret Jones, became her devoted taste testers. Her plan worked. In less than five months, she had lost 60 pounds, her vision was back to 20/20, and she was completely medicine-free, all due purely to her lifestyle changes. The “No Sugar Baker,” a persona coined by her daughter, evolved out of this new lifestyle. It started with a few simple food pictures Jones posted on Facebook one day. Those

32 | Summer Home 2021

The No Sugar Baker's pumpkin bars.

A rural health policy worker by day, Laker alum Jayne J. Jones has a background in law and government and has also published a series of hockey-themed children's books, all prior to becoming the "No Sugar Baker."

generated some interest in her recipes, and before long, there was a recipe blog, a website, livestreams and, most recently, the cookbook. It’s all happened within just a couple of years, but Jones says “the timing hasn’t felt fast” to her: “It’s happened naturally.” Publishing the cookbook wasn’t an entirely unfamiliar endeavor for Jones, as she previously published a series of hockey-themed children’s books. That “Drop the Puck” series is available for purchase on Amazon. A rural health policy worker by day, Jones has an impressive background in law and government. She has a law degree from William Mitchell College of Law and has worked as a lawyer, an executive assistant to Minnesota Speaker of the House Steve Sviggum, in administration for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and as a professor of political science at Concordia. This newest chapter in her life, becoming the “No Sugar Baker,” Jones says, is one she never intended to write, but is nevertheless enjoying. Her parents have told her that, “if it helps one person, you’re doing the right thing,” she says, “and I hear from a lot of people that they’re feeling healthier, so I know I’m making a difference.” Two of Jones' favorite recipes—for peanut butter chocolate chip bacon cookies and zero pasta lasagna —are shared on the following pages. Her cookbook, "The No Sugar Baker's Cookbook of Healthy Living and No Regrets," is available on Amazon.com or on the No Sugar Baker website, nosugarbaker.com.

Summer Home 2021 | 33

“I went home, rolled up my sleeves, and eliminated all sugar from my diet.” - Jayne J. Jones

Strawberry rhubarb pie, by the No Sugar Baker.



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The No Sugar Baker’s PEANUT BUTTER

CHOCOLATE CHIP BACON COOKIES Ingredients: 5 Tbsp. butter 1/2 cup natural artificial brown sugar 1/2 cup natural based artificial granular sugar 1/2 cup peanut butter (I use fresh, sugar free peanut butter, deli-made) 1 egg 1 Tbsp. vanilla 1-1/4 cup flour (almond or all-purpose) 1/4 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. cinnamon 1/4 tsp. salt 3/4 cup cooked and crumbled bacon 3/4 cup dark sugar-free chocolate chips Directions: In mixing bowl, combine peanut butter and artificial sugars and mix until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla, mix again. In separate small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to first mixture and combine well. Add in chocolate chips and bacon. Make round balls and place on sprayed baking sheet. Flatten dough with fork and top with extra bacon and salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes, until light golden brown.

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Summer Home 2021 | 35

No Sugar Baker’s


Ingredients for the “Noodles”: 8 oz. cream cheese 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese 4 eggs 2 tsp. italian seasoning Ingredients for Lasagna Filling: 1/2 cup chopped onion 1 lb. ground beef 1 lb. italian sausage 1 jar Rao tomato sauce (low carbohydrate) 1 cup cottage cheese 1/2 cup parmesan cheese 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Melt the mozzarella and cream cheeses together. Stir until smooth and add in beaten eggs and Italian seasoning. Blend until evenly mixed. It should have a thick liquid consistency. Pour cheese batter into prepared baking pans. Use a spatula to spread batter across pans. Bake for 20 minutes. Set cheese noodles aside to let cool. 2. While noodles are cooling, prepare your meat sauce. In a large skillet, add onion, ground beef and Italian sausage. Cook on medium heat until meat is browned. Drain excess fat from pan. Add in Italian seasoning and tomato sauce. 3. Reduce to low heat and cook at a simmer. Next, evenly slice your cheese dough into thirds. Add a thin layer of meat sauce to the bottom of the pan. Add first noodle layer over meat sauce. Mix the cottage cheese with the parmesan cheese. Add 1/2 of the remaining meat sauce across first noodle layer. Spread an even layer of the cottage cheese mixture across. Repeat with second noodle, meat sauce, cottage cheese mixture, and mozzarella. Add third noodle. Top with remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle on remaining mozzarella. Bake lasagna at 350 for about 30 minutes. Let lasagna set for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!


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Summer Home 2021 | 37


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Profile for Perham Focus

Summer Home Magazine  

2021 Edition FLOWER POWER — the health benefits of gardening SWEET CHEATS Detroit Lakes’ own ‘No Sugar Baker’ shares her story (and a co...

Summer Home Magazine  

2021 Edition FLOWER POWER — the health benefits of gardening SWEET CHEATS Detroit Lakes’ own ‘No Sugar Baker’ shares her story (and a co...


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