Friday, June 26, 2009
I am grateful to already be tasting the fruits of the labors and planting and tending gardens. Here at Karen Anderson's garden in Minnetonka, where I have been tending, weeding, contracting rock edges and all over the years, since 2002, these are some small treats I enjoyed yesterday, between moving the sprinklers around Karen's various gardens. Named strawberry in English, I tend to prefer the American Indian name "heart berry" and these tasty plant people, remind me to connect my heart with Ina Maka, Mother Earth - from whence our bodies come and to which we all will return some day. Thanks for the harvest. Peace love and joy, each day a new beginning. YUM!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
At the end of the tour, we gathered in this structure that John described as the framework of a mid 1800's barn they found in the Sogn Valley area. It was reconstructed on the side of the hill and serves as a reception area for group gatherings such as weddings. Here I think we area looking southeast over some of the earlier plantings and more mature vines.
Here is a vine, I think John said three years old, that has just finished blooming and is covered with small developing fruits. We walked in this part of the vineyard where recent plantings of this year, and then successive years, to see how the young plants develop.
Here we are near the end of the Tour "Return to the Land" with John Maloney of Cannon River Winery who explains the importance of a south facing slope, soil that drains and even the limestone that is under the loess, a soil that covers the limestone in this location. Bill Jokela, in the green shirt wearing a hat, is a Carleton '69 alum, is a soil scientist who was raised on this land. His parents purchased land in the Sogn Valley that they farmed and when John was looking for suitable land for a vinyard, he talked with the Jokela's to purchase this land in the early 2000's. Here John describes recent plantings of vines that have been bred to withstand the Minnesota winters. I believe he said this is Marquette Grape, a red grape bred for red wine. One of the fun ideas is to come in Sept to join in the harvest.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Here is the spread of food and wine at my table. This ended up being family style and others who purchased bread, cheese and meat along the way as well as a pepper spread, shared to make lunch a veritable smorgasbord. Thanks to all my classmates who joined this adventure, Tour back to the land!
Our tour continued after some folks stopped in Northfield to attend some of the many talks during the reunion. Some of us continued east to the lower Cannon River Valley, ending up first at the winery in downtown Cannon Falls, then off to the vineyard in Sogn Valley to the south. Each of us who wanted to taste an assortment of wines, put down our $5 each and had 2 glasses at our place. I had purchased bread in Northfield and Cheese and bison sausage in Faribault to accompany the imbibations.
Harry and I have known each other almost 44 years, as we roomed across from each other at Burton Hall, Carleton Campus beginning in the autumn of 1965. Last year Harry graciously invited me to Avallon Burgundy France where I took a photo of him at a French Bakery as soon as I arrived in town on the train from Paris. Faribault, my city of birth, has as its symbol, the fleur de lise, long associated with France, and said to be an artistic display of the yellow iris. Thus, I found it fitting to reciprocate on some level, visiting a little bit of France...fromage..cheese and french bread. Thanks Harry for staying in my life. Bon chance, bon voyage mon Amie.
Here is the tasteful front view of The Cheese Cave retail outlet at 318 Central Ave in downtown Faribault. Across the street is a coffee house in the old American Billiard "Pool Hall" location I remember so well as a kid in the 50's and 60's. The tastefully rehabed Paradise Center for the Arts is also on the east side of the street. Thanks to Chris and Mike Telleeen who traveled all the way from California to join us on the tour.
Many of my '69 Carleton Classmates could view the video and sample cheeses at smaller tables behind the bar in the south and west. Here are some of us sampling the blue, gorgonzola and it looks like there is a run, west to the aged cheddar. It was fun to hear the story of the cheese cave from Jeff and the production methods and then sample right away. I recommend this venue in historic downtown Faribault and give folks a chance to be in a historic space while sampling state of the art cheese that still is produced with human hand care.
Laura mentioned, while some 30+ alumni crowded into the large bar area and the several table behind, that The Cheese Cave retail store had just opened one week before, on Friday June 12th and that we had the honor of being the first large group to visit. Here she is with Harry chatting likely not just about American Blue, also French cheeses as Harry has been a long time Francophile. I am grateful to see such a quality business in the old historic architecture of the city, French in origin, as Alexander Faribault, born in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin was half French and half Dakota, and remained friendly to his Dakota relatives who camped in their tipi's after the Dakota conflict of 1862. Thanks to Laura and her friendly staff for the great tasting and introduction to The Cheese Cave, virtually, without entering the real caves a few blocks to the east.
I had talked with owner and Faribault Dairy cheesemaker Jeff Jirik several months back, as I had a vision of touring the cheese caves, deep under what I called the St Mary's Bluff as a kid. The yellow St Peter sandstone bluffs along the Straight River are a big part of the memories I have of the geology of my childhood hometown. My neighbor, Mr Swain had been the marketing director of Treasure Cave Blue Cheese in the 50's and 60's. Anyway, Jeff said "after 9/11 there are no tours near food supply chains", to avoid terrorist contamination and he said they would be opening a shop on historic Central Ave in the spring. He directed me to their marketing department and finally I talked with Laura, who demonstrates and allows us to taste the cheeses here, Blue, Gorgonzola and Fini, a sharp chedder they finish from Wisconsin. Jeff was the moderator of a 10 minute documentary of how the caves were started by the Fleckenstein brewing family and how Felix Fredrickson, a man known to my father, who was a strong Faribault history buff, came to purchase the caves to make cheese. The Blue Cheese, branded Amablu, is the premier, first blue in America and is similar to Roquefort, For European purists, the wikipedia summary under Blue Cheese: "In the European Union many blue cheeses such as Roquefort, Gorgonzola, and Stilton are, like wine, a protected designation of origin, meaning they can bear the name only if they have been made in a particular region in a certain country. Similarly, individual countries have protections of their own such as France's Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée and Italy's Denominazione di Origine Protetta." I especially enjoyed hearing about the special microbes that may be left from the brewing caves that just might make these cheeses more special. Ah the mystery of microscopic fungi! Peg Weaver would enjoy this....
This periodical was left out on a table between the kitchen and the library, where I notice some of the yellow composite, sun flower family plants are blooming on the prairie, likely in the fall. The home won some kind of award through the this magazine.
Here is a view of the service island in the kitchen of the home. All the wood and openness was striking to this writer!
Monday, June 22, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Peter shared his story about the vision and design of the home while we could view the blooming prairie behind him. The white flower I think is a wild indigo and a indicator species of a restored prairie. He described the species of animals that have already return to create more diversity in this land. Thanks to Doug and Mary Jones, Peter and Eldon for making this wonderful stop possible.
Our caravan arrived about 9:45 with Eldie Spencer of our class here introducing us to the site and the builder, Peter McKinnon of River City Builders. We were able to to tour the building, which is a single family home designed to fit in with the prairie setting.
Characteristic of the process of ebb and flow, the group suddenly grew to seventeen and one of the members was kind enough to capture the author (the tall guy in the back) with this photo. As we drove out of the parking lot at the planned time of 9:30 AM, we met another car with Tim Nagler, Bob Roth and Alden Stallings who joined the caravan. I fun event for me!
Here are fifteen of us gathering to car pool at the Brick Oven. By the time we left Northfield and were on the road to Nerstrand, I counted nine cars, with three being left in a vacant parking lot across the street.
We began our Friday morning tour, meeting at the Brick Oven Bakery where some of us loaded up on fresh bread to have on a picnic later on the trip. Here are Susan and Tim Wagner standing by the sign the staff had made for us. It was fun for me to see many folks gather that I hadn't seen for many years.
I woke up in Nourse, one of the campus dorms to then drive and park my van at Dacie Moses House to be ready to drive the the Brick Oven Bakery a couple of miles south, where we met for the beginning of the Back to the Land Tour, I had envisioned some 6 - 9 months ago. Having volunteered to contact some of my classmates to send at least something for the annual fund, I was invited to this morning breakfast event. Here are Marie Matsen (from Oregon) and Harry McLachlin (from CT) with President Rob Odean who is an honorary member of the class of '69.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Here is some of the action with smoking guns and horses that don't get spooked. This is the first time I witnessed this famous event that is a big part of the Northfield historical lore. I am grateful for having been born on the prairie lakes part of Ina Maka, mother earth. I will write about my Tour of the Land that happened yesterday, later today or tomorrow. Now I will go and sing with the Carleton Singing Knights, at the Dacie Moses House at 110 Union. Peace, love and joy...Enjoy your day!
I arrived for my 40th Carleton Reunion after a slow drive down MN-3 from St Paul. I dropped off Jane Newell's bike at her home by Robert Street and arrived in time to ride my mountain bike to the square in downtown Northfield for a Tiny Dog and other treats. Soon thereafter the horse were lining up of the side street as seen here for the reinactment of the famous Jesse James, Younger Gang event at the bank here in town.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
I enjoy serving a fresh breakfast, Fruhstueck, here on my new bistro table. Grateful for the new patio -deck furniture that came through my friends Denise and Mark...the newly weds of earlier this month. Here are Jerome and Werner with Treasure Tea, Grapefruit Juice, Scrambled eggs with sausage and vegies, toast and fresh fruit. I am enjoying my wide cup of Cafe' au lait...thinking of my French friend, Jacques Gravier, who introduced me to the French tradition many years ago. He and I went to the U of M about 1970 and stayed in the same dorm, Centennial Hall. Ah my mind wanders....all who wander, and wonder are not lost! I trust Jerome and Werner got to their flight OK and returned their white pony. Eine gute Reise - und guten Appetit.
Here Werner presents me with the flag of his part of Germany, Saxony, where his lives in Dresden, the capital that sits on the Elbe River. He and Jerome, posted their flag whereever they camped on their journey and I am grateful to have the connection to their peaceful land. Green and white are the colors of my Faribault High School...the Falcons somehow got the green and white too...Maybe those peregrins high in the white sky with the clouds and coming to earth for a quick meal. Es freut mich noch wieder meine zwei Freunden zu sehen. Vielleicht ich gehe zuruck nach Deutschland nachstes Jahr.
Here are Werner and Jerome, returning with their White Camry pony as I discovered them sorting stuff to get onto the plane back to Dresden in the visitors spot at my apartment building. What fun to see their newly bearded faces...Bart Gesicht nicht war?...smiling and tanned upon their return after one month on Turtle Island. We met at a sundance in South Dakota almost 4 years ago, and I visited them last year in Dresden and I am so grateful they came to stay here at the beginning and end of their adventure. Eine gute Reise! Viel Spass.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Steve Wolfe and I went for a quiet Saturday walk around the beach, and after finding just one stemless red lady slipper in bloom in the jack pine wooded area shared with the Leonards next door (dry spring) we wandered down to see the progress on the Jack and Nellie Weaver retirement complex. Sitting at the picnic table in an area I remember having a peaceful fire with food, celebrated with my parents, Peg and Pete Weaver and Nellies Dad, Harold Williams, I took this photo on a quiet evening with sounds of the loon and gulls in the background. Quite the latticework of supports holding up the roof! It's now a sunny Sunday and I am sitting in the latest rendition of the Adirondack in Nisswa (remember Betsy in the big old location?), finishing my blogging and all before our drive back south to St Cloud and then the Cities...Cheers and Blessings..
Reflecting on my fun visit with Jim Henderson yesterday, the author of Lost in the Woods, published in 2008 at his summer home on Sunset Beach, Pelican Lake. THe cover photo is from the CCC Camp located on the back land now under the stewardship of Jim and Melanie Weaver and their family. In 1968, the year after the three Weaver Brothers, Jim, Jack and Tom purchased the Palmer property, I talked with Steve Steffenson who had worked at the camp, and got some photos from him. A few years back I left a map I created and some photos with the DNR Library in Brainerd. Jim H, having discovered them in his long journey of research )he visited the National Archives in DC) contacted me a while ago, and we walked the land together and I lend him my file of history. Wonderful to see the fruits of my limited research, back in the day, captured in Jim's great book, even the map I created. THanks Jim for your great hospitality and generosity. May you recoup your publishing costs and share in the abundance of life in the woods and lake region of Minnesota. I suggest an interested reader might purchase this book, at about $20 from Jim, PelMar Publishing, Milwaukee. By the way PelMar is for Pelican Markee...the two lakes those of us raised on Sunset Beach, Pelican Lake, Crow Wing Co MN, might well remember in our formative lakes traditional lives...Enjoy
Here is the fun loving trio, Jesse Weaver, Jane Newell and Amy Brown celebrating the day and the ride at the rest stop some 6 1/2 miles north of Nisswa. I somehow sense they are having a good time! :-) Take Care and live well....
After Jess and I visited the train station rest stop in Pequot Lakes, we returned toward Nisswa to find Amy and Jane had made it to this rest stop about 6 1/2 miles out of Nisswa. This was Jane's longest ride as she previous high was 4 miles in St Paul to the Lilydale Landing from Harriet Island and back. So here is Jesse, Amy and Jane chatting about the adventure so far.
Here is the author visiting a clump of yellow puccoon flowers along the trail. Thinking of Peg Weaver (1910-2007) whose favorite color was yellow. Her spirit bird is the goldfinch. And here is one of her favorite prairie, dry lands flowers, the puccoon, the Latin name Lithospermum means "rock-seed". Grateful that is was such a lovely spring day. 60's to low 70's F. THanks Jess for taking the photo. Live long, stay well.
A few miles north of Nisswa we stopped to adjust our seat heights. In back is a small bog encroached lake with the classic tamaracks. Jesse is here showing his flexible self at just 6'6 1/2" who is kind enough to stay with his dad's slower pace on our 14 mile trip from Nisswa to Pequot Lakes and back. Thanks Jess!
Schmecks Gut! Here is Jesse Weaver appearing well pleased with the Radeberger and a sample of German Chocolate Cake, mit Coconuss nicht war! Jesse is an avid home brewer and it is fun to see him sampling various brews in a sober way. Viel Spass und a log life.
I promised my friends, Jerome and Werner from Dresden, that we would do a Radeberger Beer sampling while they travelled the American Western Plains. Jerome just sent an email from Wolf Point Montana and I invited him to check out my blog. Here is Nate reaching for more corn chips for the gucamole, with Amy, the birthday girl looking on as Jesse reaches for the bottle of Radeberger to refill his Stein. Jerome and Werner had brought two of the Steins, with what I think is an image of Gustavus Adolphus on them for sampling in the authentic German style. Being from Dresden, they offered this as a part of their culture. All of us enjoyed the fresh taste of Radeberger. Thanks J and W...Vielen Dank. Und eine Gute Reise!
Here are Nate Weaver, Amy Brown, and Jesse Weaver at Amy's Birthday Cake celebration at 520 6th Ave S in St Cloud yesterday. Amy requested a German Chocolate Cake with coconut on top and Jesse stretched his experience and "enjoyed" it with some coaching. Cafe Latte' in St Paul does an amazing job with fresh ingredients! Sue Weaver and Paul Mote had prepared the place and had sandwiches and guacamole prepared ahead of time for the crew. Jane Newell and Steve Wolfe from the Twin Cities, later joined Amy and Jesse for a trip north to Pelican Lake and a bike ride. What I nice day in St Cloud amid the blooming garden in the back yard!
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Keeping the theme of roses, there were fragrant red rose petals available for us to blessing Mark and Denise here at the door leaving the restaurant. Notice the petals already thrown by guests and the fun as Jim Brenny, the wedding director watches.
Boy, I learned a lot about fun and intimate cost effective ways of doing a wedding from Denise and Mark over the past several months. Thanks to all that created the event!
A new addition to a wedding that was fun for me, is this candy table. Treats to take home and savor over the next few weeks! Here is Denise's friend Andrew who is in charge of the table that was very popular as paper bags with handles were provided at each table for all the guests. I will enjoy sharing the treats in my apartment in the coming weeks. Thanks Denise and Mark for sharing in your intimate and fun life changing event. Truly inspirational. :-)
Jane Newell, my adopted sister, here sits with Eric Wickiser prior to the wedding. Eric provided a song from West Side Story for the couple during the ceremony, as he has found joy in singing lessons at McPhail lately. Jane is passionate about her work as a PhD candidate at the U of M, in family systems. She also is the director of the Buckman Fellowship for Leadership in Philanthropy as a graduate assistant.
Yesterday, I attended and shared an Amercian Indian Blessing for Denise and Mark during the ceremony prior to their cutting of this moist chocolate, raspberry filed wedding cake, bedecked with roses. The white fondant was rich and creamy from my perspective. Here are Denise and Mark at the candy and cake table, witnessed by their wedding director, Jim Brenny. It has been sweet to watch, honor and support this special couple over the past few years as they have faced life's challenges together in a good way. Live long and prosper, Denise and Mark! Peace love and joy.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Here is Paul Thompson after I planted the garden on the south side of his garage last evening and this morning. Just as I completed the planting it started to rain. A mixture of heirloom and big beef hybrid tomatoes, green and banana peppers, shallots and onions, celery, celantro, basil with a few flowers (marigolds and impatiens) for accent. Looking forward to seeing how things grow and ripen this year.
My son Jesse called yesterday to arrange a meeting at Trader Joes in Maple Grove, to me, the Disneyland of a shopping area built on farm land and gravel pits that I watched being built next I 94 over the past 20 years or so. Amy had never been to a Trader Joes, this being just my third, after Kettering OH, when visiting cousin Jeanette Weaver years back, and then the one here in St Louis Park built a few years back. So here is Amy in front of a pink display (she is dressed in pink) of the beverage. She had her camera out to take a picture, so I took this of her in the moment. I took one bottle home and then to share with Steve Borden at Torvac on his last full day at work, prior to getting on a plane to France to visit this sister in Le Mons, as well as traveling with his sons around Paris etc. Ah the tastes and beauty of spring in Minnesota. Hope this finds you in the pink of life as well. Mitakuye Oyasin. Pidamiyedo.