A special publication of the Detroit Lakes Tribune, Perham Focus and Wadena Pioneer Journal
Spring Home MAGAZINE
At home with history
After nearly a century, the Sprafka family prepares to leave their historic Detroit Lakes home JEWEL WITH A POOL ON LONG LAKE Page 16
NEW FLOWER FARM OPENS NEAR PERHAM Page 28
GARDENING IN THE GOLDEN YEARS Page 34
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Spring Home 2022 | 3
Spring Home MAGAZINE
AT HOME WITH HISTORY
Contributors: Michael Achterling email@example.com Dawn Duncan firstname.lastname@example.org Michael Johnson email@example.com
The historic Sprakfa house in Detroit Lakes is changing ownership for the first time in almost 100 years
JEWEL WITH A POOL
Dive into this gem of a home on Long Lake, featuring a large outdoor pool
Editor: Marie Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
ROCK YOUR LANDSCAPING Large stones and boulders give yards a defining look
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TAKE YOUR PICK
New flower farm near Perham lets visitors select their own blooms
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GARDENING IN THE GOLDEN YEARS
Local retirees find fun and reward in this popular pastime
Cover Photo: The historic Sprafka house in Detroit Lakes / Photo by Michael Achterling
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Leaving a legacy After nearly 100 years of family ownership, the Sprafkas are preparing to move out of their historic Detroit Lakes home, designed by renowned Polish architect Victor Cordella and completed in 1924 BY MICHAEL ACHTERLING
For Spring Home
t features 100-year-old original wood, milled by the original owner. A town doctor once had an office in its basement. And it housed three generations of the same family, who passed the property down their family line for 98 years.
“I’m kinda depressed and sad,” says Ron Sprafka, the home’s current owner, looking around the property in early spring. “It just got to be too much.” Ron and his wife, Sandy, recently sold their historic home, perched grandly on the corner of Summit Avenue and Frazee Street in Detroit Lakes, and will leave their family legacy for the last time at the end of April 2022. 8 | Spring Home 2022
Ron and Sandy Sprafka smile in front of their living room fireplace in their historic Detroit Lakes home. The Sprafka house, on the corner of Summit Avenue and Frazee Street, has housed three generations of the Sprafka family. Michael Achterling / Spring Home
“I think it’s going to be tough.”
- Ron Sprafka, when asked what his feelings will be when he sees the home without a Sprafka under the roof for the first time
The house sold for $409,000 – quite a bit more than what Ron remembers his dad paid for the place in 1939. “When (my grandfather, Joseph Sprafka) was dying, he sold it to my dad, and he said, ‘Would $20,000 be too much?’” Ron recalls. Joseph B. Sprafka came to the Rat Lake area of Becker County from Chicago and became a lumberman in the early 20th Century. He operated a lumber mill and, in 1922, provided wood for the construction of his family’s new home in Detroit Lakes. Four different types of wood were used during the home’s construction, and all were provided by the Sprafka mill: Red oak is used on the main
floor, while birch and maple were used on the second floor of the home. The ceiling beams on the main floor are quarter-sawn oak. Sprafka commissioned renowned Polish architect Victor Cordella to design his dream home. Cordella had designed more than 20 churches around Minnesota, including St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral in Minneapolis and St. Constantine Ukrainian Orthodox Church on University Avenue. The famed architect is most known for designing the American Swedish Institute. “Summit was the street to be on – that’s where all the big old houses are,” says Sandy Sprafka. Spring Home 2022 | 9
Ron and Sandy Sprafka display the blueprints of their historic home’s basement. Michael Achterling / Spring Home
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Becky Mitchell, executive director of the Becker County Historical Society and Museum, said the Sprafka house has been “well taken care of” and the renovations have kept the style and sizes of the rooms unique to the house. “It’s definitely a unique design and, if you ever see a picture of the Sprafka house, you know that that’s the Sprafka house. You don’t see that style repeated in this area,” she says. Mitchell thinks people will be referring to the home as ‘the Sprafka house’ for years to come, even long after it’s been out of the Sprafka family’s ownership. “It’s an amazing structure with the big windows, and of course the arches over the basement, and the woodwork is amazing,” says Mitchell. “To have the doctor’s office in the basement, Ambrose’s office, and we actually have a lot of his collection. They’ve donated it to us.”
“If you ever see a picture of the Sprafka house, you know that that’s the Sprafka house. You don’t see that style repeated in this area.” -Becky Mitchell, Becker County Historical Society and Museum Executive Director
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Contributed / Sprafka Family
View of the main wooden staircase at the house. Most of the wood used in the construction of the home was milled by Joseph B. Sprafka, the original owner of the property.
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Contributed / Sprafka Family
The first floor patio area features brick interior walls and a wooden swing.
Ron’s father, Ambrose Sprafka, lived in the house and served as a doctor in Detroit Lakes for many years. Dr. Sprafka had an office in the house’s basement, but would frequently make house calls to patients where they lived. On one such house call, Ron remembers, one of his father’s patients found a human skull and other bones on their farm and his father took the bones back to the house, which made his mother feel uncomfortable. “It was in a bucket – we all saw it – it was in a bucket in the corner,” says Sandy of the skull. Ron adds, “They had it on the downstairs porch and my mom didn’t want it in the house, so she ended up eventually saying, ‘Ambrose, we gotta get rid of this.’ So she took it out.” He also chuckles and says one of his friends wouldn’t even walk by the house because of the bucket skull: “When he went to Holy Rosary, he lived over, across from the community center, so he would walk over to that block and then up and then to school, he wouldn’t come this way.”
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The second floor landing features original lighting fixtures and wood milled by Joseph B. Sprafka, the home’s original owner. Michael Achterling / Spring Home
Growing up, Ron remembers how much fun the get-togethers were at the house when his friends came over. “We had a little pool table in the hallway there, and we’d play pool,” he says. “And we played catch out in the front yard, and we’d have friends sleep out on the porch because there’s a swing bed out there.” Ron and Sandy met during their time at Bemidji State in the late 1960s. They married in 1970 and began traveling the world together. Memorably, they once watched the country’s bicentennial festivities from the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art – the same steps Rocky Balboa climbed in the
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famous “Rocky” movie series. “We were sitting at the top of those steps, watching the fireworks of the bicentennial,” Ron recalls. Sandy adds, “And we watched the parade.” Eventually, they returned to Detroit Lakes – after exhausting all of their money abroad, they say – and Ron ended up teaching in the Detroit Lakes school district; something he would do for the next 29 years. “Six years at Lincoln and the rest at Rossman, 5th grade,” he says. “It’s a fun age group, just interested in learning.” Ron and Sandy purchased their own home near Minnesota Avenue and Willow Street, and the couple
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began their own Detroit Lakes chapter together. In 1980, Ron’s father passed away and, as the decade went on, Ron’s mother began thinking about selling the home. Ron and Sandy decided to buy it. Ron purchased the home from his mother in 1987. They raised their two boys, Ron and Jim, at the house, and also opened their doors to foreign exchange students over the years. The couple has hosted seven different foreign exchange students since 1997, and have kept in touch with many of them over the years. The Sprafkas set up the students with their own apartment in the basement of the
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The kitchen is one of the only areas of the home that has been remodeled. Michael Achterling / Spring Home
“It just got to be too much.” - Ron Sprafka, on why he and his wife decided to sell their historic family home
house, in his father’s old office, while they were staying in Detroit Lakes. Except for the kitchen, which has been updated with new appliances and utilities throughout the years, the home remains just as Joseph B. Sprafka commissioned it nearly 100 years ago. One of Sandy’s favorite additions to the original concept was in the remodeled kitchen. “There was no heat in that room, so when we did the remodeling, we put in heated floors,” Sandy says. “I love them.” After retiring, Ron and Sandy began thinking about downsizing. They decided to put the house on the market after their sons declined to purchase the home. They accepted the offer from the new owners for the 4-bedroom, 3-bath in February. “They liked what they saw and that’s what they wanted,” Ron says of the buyers. On April 28, Ron and Sandy Sprafka will leave their 98-year-old homestead for the last time. They are moving to a cabin on the south side of Detroit Lake. “But, we are having a hard time leaving,” Sandy admits. When asked what his feelings will be when he sees the home without a Sprafka under the roof for the first time in its history, Ron said, “I think it’s going to be tough.”
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with a pool
This gem of a home on Long Lake, featuring lush landscaping and a large outdoor swimming pool, is a summer haven for owners Larry and Marcie Noah and their loved ones BY DAWN DUNCAN For Spring Home
n the picturesque Long Lake neighborhood of Detroit Lakes sits the home of Larry and Marcie Noah.
It’s a property that, in the warmer months, is in full bloom as a result of Marcie’s passion for gardening. The petal-power from her many plants adds pops of color everywhere from the main entrance at the front to the landscaped gardens in back. Raised in Crookston, Marcie has always loved flowers and sunshine, and has made the home she and Larry finished building in 1997 a summertime haven for their family and friends.
Photos Contributed / Marcie Noah
The Noah home, in Detroit Lakes’ desirable Long Lake neighborhood, is a stately yet comfortable family residence.
16 | Spring Home 2022
“The pool and yard are designed to be inviting and comfortable. We love to gather outside in the summer.” -Marcie Noah
The large outdoor swimming pool at the Noah home is a favorite feature for the couple’s grandkids and other friends and family.
The shining jewel of the Noah residence is the large outdoor swimming pool. Nearby is a pool house, designed to match the main home. The bright, sparkling pool water is the ideal match for the myriad flowers, shrubs, trees and plants that breathe life into the entire estate, with colors ranging from fuchsia to red, yellow, orange, blue and green. It is a lush landscape, carefully designed to take advantage of the space and draw the eye to every corner and sitting area. “I love flowers,” Marcie says, “and especially petunias. They grow so well here in Minnesota, and the vibrant pink ones are my favorite!” The Tidal Wave Petunia is her main choice, since when cared for properly, it blooms abundantly and fully, with many flowers cascading down from a basket or pot. The Noahs have this particular flower throughout their yard and pool area, as it provides ample bursts of bright color. Other flowers found around the property include black-eyed Susans, dahlias, the Heavenly variety of morning glories, hollyhocks and more. One particular variety of dahlia on their property, called Dinnerplate, grew flowers last year that were 12 inches across. “They were absolutely striking,” Marcie notes. “I couldn’t believe that they were that big, but they lived up to their name!”
Marcie Noah, at home with a few of her grandchildren. Spring Home 2022 | 17
“I especially love the crabapple and the cherry blossom trees.” -Marcie Noah The crabapple and cherry blossom trees on the property add shade and beauty to the landscape.
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The Noahs are parents of two grown children, Ben (Jenna) and Abby (Cody), who have children of their own; the families live in the Detroit Lakes and Perham areas. Larry and Marcie’s pool is of continual delight to the grandchildren, as well as to many friends who like to visit as the couple entertains. “The pool and yard are designed to be inviting and comfortable,” says Marcie. “We love to gather outside in the summer.” Marcie has always bought her flowers from local companies, including Bergen’s and Country Fields Greenhouse. “Jarrod Troumbly at Country Fields delivered trucks full of flowers to me last year,” she says. “It’s a lot to plant, but I love it. Gardening is meditation to me.” Petunias are a favorite flower of Marcie Noah's, as they grow heartily in Minnesota and add bright, vibrant color to any landscape. Hanging plants, climbing vines and other plants add natural comfort and character to this corner of the Noah home.
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“Jarrod Troumbly at Country Fields delivered trucks full of flowers to me last year! It’s a lot to plant, but I love it. Gardening is meditation to me.” -Marcie Noah
Flowers and other plantings surround every side of the Noah home.
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Trees and shrubs beautify your property and can reduce your annual energy costs. To save some green, follow these tips: • Create a windbreak by planting dense evergreens to the north, west, and east of your home. • Plant trees close to your house on the east and west sides to keep out the hot summer sun and let the sun shine in during the winter. For more energy-saving tips, visit otpco.com/SaveNow.
Spending each day outdoors is fun and brings peace to Marcie. Beyond her flowers, she also enjoys the trees around the property. “I especially love the crabapple and the cherry blossom trees,” she remarks. The blooms of these two types of trees bring additional shade and beauty to the landscape, with a plethora of white that is set strikingly against the lush, green lawn. Other pops of color come from patio and garden accessories and ornaments such as a bright, striped yard umbrella, various ceramic pieces, and accents in pots and beds. The Noahs also pay homage to beloved pets that have passed on by displaying name stones and tribute rocks in flower bed areas. After spending their winters in Florida at their seasonal home, Larry and Marcie always look forward to spending the summers here in the town where they raised their family. “Summer in Minnesota is fantastic and so much fun,” Marcie says, “and I always get excited to put in all of my flowers and take care of them.”
Larry Noah, at his Long Lake home with two of his grandsons.
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Rocks, blocks and sliced boulders come together to create a natural and lasting outdoor oasis, like this one at Precision Landscape and Irrigation in Ottertail. Contributed / Precision Landscape & Irrigation
22 | Spring Home 2022
Rock your Landscaping
Add large stones and boulders for a defined and natural look
BY MICHAEL JOHNSON For Spring Home
hile using some of the most advanced practices in landscaping W in the region, Precision Landscape & Irrigation in Ottertail also utilizes some of the oldest materials on earth: rocks.
They use those rocks to create some of the most natural, long-lasting features your yard or shoreline will ever need or see. After all, there’s not a man-made product with the longevity of solid stone. When built properly, stone structures can last for lifetimes and bring big value to a property. Spring Home 2022 | 23
Incorporating stone walkways, walls and patios into your home landscaping projects is a great way to use natural materials to create defined spaces outdoors.
At the Window
You may have some large rocks already on your property and think, “I can make something of those.” And while a small project might be worth a DIY, larger projects can quickly drive homeowners in over their heads, and with less than desirable endings. Kelly Dorholt works in sales and marketing for Precision and commonly works with clients who regret trying to do projects on their own. They’ll say, “I thought we could do it ourselves,” Dorholt said. “And they put so much time, money and sweat equity into it, and now they have us come back, take it out, start over and do it right.” Doing it right is complicated, often expensive, and hard work. Considering the weight of the boulders that get placed in large spaces, the work can be backbreaking. Dorholt referenced the granite steps Precision frequently installs for those looking for a permanent walkway toward the lake: those can weigh around 750 pounds each. They require machinery to set in place after a firm foundation has been leveled, packed, and a base has been set.
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Contributed / Precision Landscape & Irrigation
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Pat Morstad Precision Landscape & Irrigation Owner
Precision owner Pat Morstad has been in the field of landscape design for 35 years. He said it’s his experience creating high-level golf courses that brings his eye for detail and knowledge of the craft to his work in the Ottertail region and beyond. “It goes with my education in landscape design, installation, my degree in the golf course world, my degree in agronomy... It’s a combination of all of that,” Morstad said. He said when you’re dealing with boulders that are hundreds of pounds, that’s not work for bare hands. He and his crews use machinery to make sure the heavy boulders are set into place for good, and are positioned in such a way as to look the most appealing. The rocks naturally look great themselves, he said, but making them look great in a new landscape takes some skill. “The good Lord above gives you those (rocks) and you just have to be able to put them in the right spot,” Morstad said. Attention to detail helped the business earn the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association Landscape Award in 2021. The award recognizes Precision’s commitment to quality work, which Morstand said is getting noticed throughout the state and nation. They’ve been at their Ottertail location for three years now and have been serving the area for about 15 years.
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Morstad said the landscape business is changing and evolving as the green industry expands. For example, Precision now uses irrigation systems with sensors that shut the water off when the lawn is getting rain. And there’s a growing demand for rock gardens with drought tolerant plants, which provide a natural outdoor space that’s low maintenance and long-lasting. “It’s about trying to bring in that natural look; that we are at one with nature,” Dorholt said. Precision does rock gardens well, but is known for more than that. Dorholt said the work of fixing rip rap on shorelines has increased in recent years, especially as last year’s drought revealed more shoreline than had been seen for years. Outdoor kitchens have also become more popular, as the pandemic brought more people outside for group gatherings. Precision also puts together retaining walls for property owners who like precise lines in their landscapes. Walkways, patios, stairways and water features are other popular options. The growing crew at Precision offers plantings, lawn and garden maintenance, hydro-seeding, irrigation and full-service work that renders lawns and gardens virtually maintenance free.
While some choose to let Precision handle all the work, others look to do some of it themselves. If you’re thinking of tackling a project yourself, here are some things to consider:
1 2 3
Can you do it safely? Some projects involve heavy materials and can take a crew of professionals several weeks to complete. Do I have a workable plan? Put it down on paper, step by step: envision what it is that you are going to be doing, and make sure you’ve considered every phase of the process from beginning to end. Do I fully understand the rules and regulations? When working on a property, and especially near a shoreline, property owners must understand all the rules and regulations that might apply to their project. Consulting with your county ahead of time to determine what’s allowed will help you avoid facing fines or having to remove your work later.
“The difference between DIY and do-it-for me? Basically, everything.”
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pick New flower farm near Perham lets people hand-select their own beautiful blooms for wedding bouquets, party arrangements – or just for fun
28 | Spring Home 2022
BY DAWN DUNCAN
For Spring Home
erham native Jen Hanson has been a fixture of the area real estate scene for decades. Now 60, the married mother of three and grandmother of eight continues to sell, but is in the latter phase of her career, still tending to clients but not living the fastpaced lifestyle she once did.
Jen Hanson has opened a new pick-ityourself flower farm near Perham, called Grandflower Farm. Photos Contributed / Jen Hanson
Instead, Hanson has launched into being the proprietor of a new and ever-expanding flower farm, which her husband helped her name Grandflower Farm. Last summer, she spent her first full season there, growing a wide variety of beautiful blooms and hosting a number of special events. The Little Pine Lake farm has drawn various groups and individuals out to visit and pick their own stems. At a private “Bloom Social,” for example, guests assembled their own arrangements, with guidance from Hanson, and then had a little something to eat. For these socials, parties can either bring their own snacks and beverages or hire a caterer for an outdoor dining experience. Guests are able to sit and relax and spend time on the farm after choosing their flowers. Hanson has hosted groups of up to 30, and also holds workshop gatherings. She’s even had bridesto-be go out and pick their own wedding flowers from the farm. She describes herself as a farmer, not a florist, and so encourages brides or anyone else looking for specific arrangements to either share the blooms they’ve picked with a trusted local florist, or, if they’re creative, create their own arrangements. Spring Home 2022 | 29
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“This is something I created so people could come together and have a fun, affordable activity.” -Jen Hanson, Grandflower Farm owner
Grandflower Farm developed out of the pandemic, Hanson explained; she wanted to have a place where friends could gather outside and where people would feel socially comfortable. That idea grew into 58 raised garden beds, built by her husband, Robin Hanson, that are filled with a wide variety of flowers in many colors, grown from seed throughout the spring. After her opening season in 2021, Hanson is increasing the number of beds this year. She charges $1 per stem and provides jars for guests to take their flowers home in. Additionally, paper wrap and pots are options. “This is something I created so people could come together and have a fun, affordable activity,” Hanson says. “I have always loved flowers, and growing up on a turkey farm with a large family, I have always worked outside and appreciate the time and hard work it takes to make a go of it.” In Hanson’s family, flowers were outside for everyone to enjoy, not brought inside. Hanson’s currently raising 100 varieties of dahlias, plus numerous ranunculus, tulips, zinnias, lisianthus, snapdragons, and filler plants with the mission of providing options for people to create beautiful bouquets for their living and work spaces. Bouquet-friendly sunflowers in smaller sizes and different colors than the typical large types in bright yellow are also grown at Grandflower Farm.
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Grandflower Farm features
100 varieties of dahlias, plus numerous ranunculus, tulips, zinnias, lisianthus, snapdragons, small sunflowers and filler plants that people can select and pick themselves to create bouquets for their living and work spaces.
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In addition to continually adding plants to her different garden beds, Hanson is also working on developing more shaded areas for the property, which features seating sections of tables and chairs, including one that seats 24. She’s also working on a traveling Bloom Bar so she can bring flowers to events. Groups that visit the farm for reserved events typically spend up to three hours there, picking flowers, making bouquets, relaxing and visiting. Various women’s groups have visited and Hanson has loved watching them smile, learn about flowers, and enjoy choosing stems in an environment that isn’t rushed. “It is fun as well as peaceful here,” she comments. Following each event, there are leftover stems that Hanson gathers and creates bouquets from to deliver to nursing homes. “I love seeing how much joy flowers bring to the residents,” she says, “and their faces just light up when they get a bouquet for their room.” This season, Hanson has curated the color schemes of her flowers to include many muted hues, and is not as focused on the ultra-bright colors of last year. The dusty tones blend well with one another and offer interesting options to create eye-catching bouquets, she says, and the many varieties of flower types coordinate well. Her goals this year, in addition to continuing to host events, include partnering with a few area businesses that can serve as local pickup spots. North Threads in Perham is one location, with Nest, which is owned by Hanson’s brother, being another spot customers will be able to collect their bouquets. She is connected with various small-farm owners groups on Facebook and loves the camaraderie and helpful nature of the people she has been able to meet on the social media platform. “This is a huge movement in the flower industry, to grow local rather than import flowers,” Hanson says. “There are many new flower farms out there, and I’ve found the community of farmers to be so kind and generous. They are eager to offer advice and feedback, and that has made this a great learning experience.” For information about Grandflower Farm, visit grandflowerfarm.com or visit the farm’s Facebook page.
“This is a huge movement in the flower industry, to grow local rather than import flowers.” -Jen Hanson, Grandflower Farm owner
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Gardening in the
Two area retirees show how digging into this popular pastime can be a fun and rewarding experience
34 | Spring Home 2022
BY DAWN DUNCAN
For Spring Home
ardening is active, often hard work, but for two area retirees, it’s a favorite pastime and rewarding part of their post-career years.
Arthur “Dean” Carr, a 78-year-old Height of Land Township resident, took early retirement from his concrete worker position 22 years ago after a car accident. Although he didn’t discover gardening right away, he has been doing it daily in the warmer months since 2010. “I didn’t like gardening at all when I was growing up,” he laughs, explaining that for him and his siblings, being raised on a farm where his mother had a large vegetable garden, gardening meant chores, including weeding. “It wasn’t fun or relaxing back then, but it is now.” Carr and his wife, Rosa, a native of Germany, have been married for 55 years. They have a son together who, along with their daughter-in-law and three grandkids, lives in Thief River Falls. The Carrs often entertain family at their five-acre property, which they bought in 1968. In past years, they also hosted many parties for friends. When they purchased their place, it was heavily overgrown with brush, and so their first endeavor was to clear the grounds before contemplating landscaping. Today, Arthur Carr loves to grow many varieties of plants and continues to develop the yard areas; there are now multiple seating areas with varied amounts of shade and foliage and different types of tables and chairs. One features handmade patio stones that he crafted – concrete squares that have embossed impressions of different types of leaves and flowers. “Leaves kept covering the concrete squares as I would make and set them,” Carr says. “And after getting frustrated with how they were messing up my work, I figured I’d just incorporate them and make a design.” The end product is a unique set of squares that make up the Carrs’ patio, where they have a table and four comfortable chairs ready for al fresco dining.
Before Photos Contributed /Arthur Carr
The Carr property before and after the couple's improvements.
The property now features a large garden area with stone pathways. Spring Home 2022 | 35
“I’m out in the yard gardening every day that I can each year. I just find it so enjoyable and relaxing.” -Arthur Carr, 78-year-old Height of Land Township resident
One of Carr’s favorite plants is the Hosta, which boasts more than 10,000 varieties; approximately 6,000 of these are registered. He is a member of two different Hosta-related clubs, including the American Hosta Society and the Midwest Regional Hosta Society. Through these, he travels to various events and conventions each year, where he meets other gardeners, attends educational seminars, shops at various nurseries, and connects with friends from out of the area. The conventions he has attended have been in Minnesota, Kansas City, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Hostas are his favorite because of their many shapes, sizes and colors, plus they grow well here in Zone 3, he says. They are considered a hardy plant and they thrive in the hot, humid summers. In particular, the varieties called Snake Eyes, Beyond Glory and War Paint are Arthur’s top choices. In addition, he grows 15 types of peonies, seven versions of hibiscus and zinnias, 10 types of hydrangeas, and many gas plants, various ornamental grasses and trees, and shrubs. Multiple areas of his yard feature Tidal Wave
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Petunias, a hardy and brightly-colored flower. Gardens and a greenhouse are also part of Carr’s vast operation, and he has recently begun growing shrub roses. He has also ordered 25 new day lilies that will be added this year. Although weeding is a constant chore that has to be tackled, Rosa assists him in keeping up the property, and, as opposed to his younger days when he would have preferred to be playing with friends versus spending time pulling weeds, he doesn’t mind the upkeep anymore. “I’m out in the yard gardening every day that I can each year,” he remarks. “I just find it so enjoyable and relaxing.” His tips for those new to gardening are to never expect huge results immediately and to start small. He also encourages others to design their gardens how they want and not feel they have to match the designs of other gardeners or gardens they’ve seen. “Choose plants for the zone you live in and go from there. The most important thing is that you like your gardens and they are enjoyable in your opinion; you don’t have to follow the crowd,” he says.
A red hibiscus plant, one of several varieties on the Carr property. Peonies are one of Arthur Carr’s favorite flowers. He grows 15 different types on his property. Photos Contributed / Arthur Carr
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The health benefits of
Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies among people of all ages, and it comes with all sorts of perks for mind and body – especially for older adults.
It helps keep you fit and active. The labor and exercise involved with starting and maintaining a garden keeps the body moving, utilizing core strength, balance and mobility. It’s good for mental health. Scientists have found
that spending time outside in a green space, like a garden, creates a sense of well-being known as biophilia. Gardening not only gives a sense of achievement in admiring a job well done, but also keeps the mind occupied, which is good for mental health. It reduces stress. Stress is closely tied to mental health, and many studies have shown that gardening is a great way to relax and de-stress. Reduction in stress also improves the body’s immune system, which makes the system better able to fight off viruses and disease.
Another local retiree who’s come to love gardening is Marilyn Tinjum, an 83-year-old resident at Long Lake in Detroit Lakes, where she’s lived with her family since 1966. She actively cares for her gardens throughout the year, including the many perennials that dot the property. Tinjum and her husband are former business owners who owned Detroit Marine and Tinjum Appraisal before retiring. Tinjum also taught home economics for two years in Wahpeton prior to moving to the lakes area. Like Carr, Tinjum grew up on a farm and helped her parents with the daily chores, which included assisting her mother with a big vegetable garden. Unlike Carr, Tinjum enjoyed this task, and has been a lifelong gardener. From 1994-2006, she was even a Master Gardener of Becker County, after completing Master Gardening classes at the University of Minnesota. The Tinjums’ property came with some of the perennials that are still there today, and Tinjum has planted others over the years, including peonies, lilies, many types of shrubs, and a yellow rose shrub that she got from her mother. At any given time, something is in bloom at the Tinjum house, and she loves the color and visual appeal that the plants bring to the yard.
It can reduce the risk of auto-immune diseases. Speaking of the immune system, some studies
have shown that interacting with garden soil, which is rich in natural bacteria and microorganisms, helps build up an immune response. It can reduce the risk of dementia. Studies have shown gardening helps in preventing cognitive decline and dementia. It’s estimated that the risk of dementia falls by onethird in gardeners. It lowers blood pressure. Being active and relaxed lowers blood pressure. It gives you your vitamin D. Being out in the sunshine provides plenty of vitamin D, a nutrient the body needs to build and maintain healthy bones. It can lead to a healthier diet: Fresh fruits and vegetables grown in food gardens end up becoming a healthy part of gardeners’ meals. It can reduce loneliness. For many gardeners, the hobby has a social aspect, as they join local gardening clubs or converse and share ideas with other gardeners. It’s also healthy for the environment. The more plants that grow, the more carbon dioxide that’s taken in and oxygen given out, helping prevent global warming. Also, growing and eating your own produce reduces your carbon footprint.
38 | Spring Home 2022
Photos Contributed / Marilyn Tinjum
Bright pink lilies add a burst of color to the Tinjums’ property. Tulips are spring bloomers in Marilyn Tinjum’s yard.
Gardening is also a stress reliever for her, and she finds peace and relaxation by being among her many plants. Tinjum encourages aspiring gardeners to keep a journal as they design and manage their gardens. This helps track what grew well and what didn’t, and helps develop best practices for upkeep. Giving the plants water, fertilizer, and regular weeding are keys to success, she advises. Plus, as Carr indicated, choosing plants appropriate for the harsh Minnesota climate is critical. “Gardening is a peaceful way to spend time,” Tinjum says. “And for me, it is a lifelong activity. I plan to do it as long as I can.”
“For me, it is a lifelong activity. I plan to do it as long as I can.”
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g n i r p S as h sprung
Embrace the season with this lemony fresh, light and delicious classic Italian dish PLUS 2 MORE BONUS RECIPES: Make it a meal with soup and dessert! Spring has sprung, and I am in the mood for dishes that are light, bright and sunny, like this delicious and easy-to-make Scaloppine of Chicken Piccata. Piccata is one of my favorite Italian sauces. Unlike tomato or cream sauces, piccata is a light sauce made of lemon, butter, white wine, garlic and capers, and it is surprisingly simple to make at home. Veal is traditionally served with a piccata sauce, but this can be difficult to find in our region, so we typically use chicken or pork tenderloin with great results. I love almost any dish that is prepared with the Italian method of scaloppine — a 40 | Spring Home 2022
technique of pounding meat each breast and then I use into tender, thin cutlets, or a sharp knife to slice the scallops. Scaloppine is often breast lengthwise, pulling found on Italian menus in the knife horizontally myriad forms, including through the breast from top piccata, Marsala, Milanese, to bottom, to create cutlets pizzaiola and saltimbocca. that are about a quarterAs I inch thick. mentioned, To create the we have thin scallops enjoyed this of meat, I preparation place the cutlet with a variety between two of meats and pieces of plastic have even had wrap and use HOME WITH THE success with the flat side LOST ITALIAN beef and bison of my meat Tony & Sarah Nasello tenderloin. mallet to gently For this pound it until recipe, I use whole, boneless it is about 1/8-inch thick. and skinless chicken The cutlet will flatten out breasts, and can typically and expand as you pound, get three cutlets from each and this step ensures that whole breast. I trim any the meat is as tender as excess globules of fat from possible.
To help thicken the sauce, I dredge each cutlet in flour before they are sauteed in oil, but this step can be skipped for a gluten-free option. Next, I saute the cutlets in hot oil just until they are lightly browned on each side. Because the cutlets have been pounded thin, this only takes about two minutes per side to achieve. Once browned, I remove the cutlets from the pan and deglaze it with a bit of dry white wine. This step adds terrific flavor to the sauce and most of the alcohol content will cook off as the wine reduces. Deglazing also helps to loosen the flavorful brown bits of chicken that have stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Once the wine has reduced by about half, I add some chicken stock, lemon juice, capers, sugar and salt and let the sauce cook until the ingredients have blended together, about three minutes. Then, I remove the pan from the heat and slowly stir in the butter until it has melted. Finally, I return the chicken cutlets to the pan and continue to cook it over low heat until a thin, saucelike consistency is achieved, which takes only about another minute or two. To serve, I place the cutlets on a large platter, overlapping one another, and pour the sauce over the entire platter. I garnish the chicken piccata with freshly chopped parsley and paper-thin slices of lemon. This Scaloppine of Chicken Piccata cooks quickly and is so tender you only need a fork to cut it. Lemony fresh, light and delicious, this classic Italian dish embodies the very essence of spring.
• This dish cooks very quickly, so have any side dishes ready to serve before starting the piccata. • Pair with whipped potatoes or a long pasta noodle like linguine or spaghetti, and a green vegetable like asparagus, broccolini or green beans. • The piccata sauce can also be served with pork or turkey, as well as flaky white fish like walleye or halibut.
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Scaloppine of Chicken Piccata Serves: 2 to 4 INGREDIENTS:
4 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise (horizontally) into cutlets approx. ¼-inch thick (depending on size and thickness, you will get 2 to 3 cutlets per breast) 2 cups flour for dredging (may omit for glutenfree option) ½ cup vegetable or olive oil ½ cup dry white wine 1 cup chicken stock or water ¼ cup lemon juice 3 tablespoons capers 1 teaspoon sugar ¼ teaspoon salt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 cup), cubed
FOR THE GARNISH:
1 lemon, cut into very thin slices 2 teaspoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap and set aside. Place 1 chicken cutlet between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Use the flat edge of a meat mallet to gently pound the cutlet until it reaches a thickness between 1/8- to ¼-inch. Place the pounded cutlet on the prepared baking sheet and repeat until all the cutlets have been pounded thin. Next, place the flour in a shallow dish (like a pie plate) and dredge each chicken cutlet in the flour on both sides, shaking off any excess flour. Place the dredged cutlet back on the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining cutlets. Line another baking sheet or platter with paper towels and set next to the stove. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot, about 1 minute. Place the chicken cutlets in the pan, overlapping one another, and saute in the hot oil on both sides until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side, then transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Reduce heat to medium if the chicken appears to be browning too much. Repeat this step until all the cutlets have been lightly browned. Add the wine and cook over medium-high heat until reduced by half, about 3 to 4 minutes, scraping the browned bits of chicken to loosen them from the bottom of the pan. Add the stock/water, lemon juice, capers, sugar and salt to the pan and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and slowly stir in the butter. Once the butter has melted, add chicken cutlets to the sauce and return the pan to the burner. Cook over low heat until a saucelike consistency is achieved, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the cutlets to serving plates or a platter and spoon the sauce over the top. Garnish with freshly cut parsley and thin lemon slices, serve and enjoy.
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DIRECTIONS: For best results, separate the eggs while they are still cold, then cover each bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before using. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and place rack in the lower center position. Have a 10-inch two-piece tube ready to use (ungreased). In your stand mixer or a large bowl, place the sifted flour, 1 ¼ cups sugar (reserve the other ¼ cup for later use), baking powder, salt and orange zest. Use the paddle attachment or a hand mixer to beat on low speed until combined. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add, in order, the egg yolks, oil, orange juice and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Orange Chiffon Cake Serves: 8 to 10 INGREDIENTS:
6 extra large egg yolks 7 extra large egg whites 2 ¼ cups cake flour, sifted 1 ½ cups superfine sugar, divided into 1 ¼ cup & ¼ cup 1 tablespoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons grated orange zest (be sure to wash oranges before zesting) ½ cup vegetable oil ¾ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed and strained 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
In a separate mixing bowl, use the whisk attachment to beat the egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar, one tablespoon at a time, and beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes. In three stages, use a rubber spatula or large whisk to gently fold the egg white mixture into the batter until it is just combined. Pour the batter evenly into the ungreased tube pan and gently cut through batter with a knife. Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes, until the top springs back when pressed and a wooden skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Immediately upon removing from the oven, invert the cake pan on its feet or over a bottle, and let hang until cold, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Once the cake has cooled, run a long, serrated knife or a long offset spatula along the inside of the tube pan, around the center core and along the top. Invert cake onto a piece of parchment paper (to prevent sticking) and remove from pan.
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Minestrone Primavera with Chicken Meatballs INGREDIENTS FOR THE MEATBALLS: 1 pound ground chicken 1 to 1 ½ cups fresh breadcrumbs 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated 4 garlic cloves, minced 3 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped 2 large eggs, beaten 1½ teaspoons kosher salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
FOR THE SOUP:
2 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, thoroughly rinsed and cut into ¼-inch rounds 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth 1 quart (4 cups) water 2 cups baby carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch rounds 1 ½ cups d'italini pasta (or any mini-sized noodle) 1 ½ cups (12 to 15 stalks) fresh asparagus, blanched and chopped into 1-inch pieces, ends removed 1 ½ cups (about 15 to 20) fresh green beans, blanched and chopped into 1-inch pieces 2 cups baby spinach, packed ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
• Save top and bottom parts of the leek and freeze for later use to make stock. • Use any fresh or slightly stale bread to make your own fresh breadcrumbs, using a food processor to finely grind.
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Heat olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat and cook meatballs until golden-brown all over, about 3 to 4 minutes. The meatballs will finish cooking in the soup, so transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.In the same pot, add the leeks and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the thinly sliced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken broth and water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in the carrots and pasta and cook at a gentle simmer until pasta is almost al dente (still a bit firm), about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the meatballs, whole asparagus and whole green beans and simmer until carrots are tender, pasta is al dente and meatballs are cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes. To keep asparagus and beans firm, remove after 2 minutes and return to soup just before serving. Add the spinach and Parmesan cheese and cook for about a minute until Parmesan melts and spinach just begins to wilt. Chop the blanched asparagus and green beans into 1-inch pieces and add to soup. Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese in the center.
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In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, breadcrumbs (starting with 1 cup), cheese, minced garlic, chives, parsley, eggs, salt and pepper until well mixed. If the mixture is too sticky, gradually add more breadcrumbs until easy to handle. Roll the mixture into ½-inch balls (makes about 45 to 50 small balls).
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