Isn’t it fun hanging out with a famous funny author?  Well, I sure thought so yesterday – while laughing myself silly listening to Lorna Landvik tell us about her life, her books and the characters we have come to know and love through her novels.  Recently, when our local library announced it was hosting an authors visit by Lorna Landvik, I could hardly believe I had the chance to meet a famous author of whose every book I have devoured and thoroughly enjoyed.

Oh was she a hoot!  Before she was a writer, she was a comedian, which came out full force as she told us her story, often delivered with a thick Scandinavian brogue that made us feel right at home.  And now that it’s the next day, I have a few questions for her that I could not think of for the life of me during her Question & Answer time interval yesterday, which could have earned me a piece of chocolate.  Yes – she throws chocolate candy at you if you ask her a question.  And I still couldn’t think.  A Chocolate Block.  Today I would love to ask her who are some of her favorite authors, and what if you have an idea for a book but the characters won’t come forth and introduce themselves like her characters do for her? That could have earned me TWO chocolates yesterday.

Lorna Landvik will be busy this week finishing a new book, which of course she couldn’t divulge any information about except that it is almost done.   And I will be busy doing tax work (of which I am months behind); guess who will be having the most fun?   Maybe I should throw myself a chocolate every time I have a question.

My favorite books by Lorna Landvik are ‘Welcome to the Great Mysterious’, and ‘Patty Jane’s House of Curl’.  What are your favorite Lorna Landvik novels? And what question would you ask Lorna so she could throw a piece of chocolate at you?

More wedding photos

November 20, 2010

Scott and Becca

Scott and Becca

Bridal Party

fun pic

Becca’s family

Our whole gang

Storm watching



Decorating the car

just married

Just Married

scott becca

Happy couple


July 16th, 2010

Flower prep the day before the wedding – sister Deb made six hand held  bouquets,  40 or so tabletop mason jar arrangements, two pulpit arrangements and the flower girls basket – all with flowers from my garden except for a few dozen roses that we ordered.  We used hundreds of peonies that had been sleeping in my fridge since May and June!

Florist designer - sister Deb

sorting peonies for the wedding

Scott and Becca’s wedding – July 17th, 201o

Storm watching before the wedding

Scott and Becca's rainbow

Funnel cloud over the church after the wedding

Becca's bridal bouqet

Handheld bouqets all in a row

mason jar arrangement

Made with love

Family pictures to follow soon!


Congratulations, Jenny, on your fine achievement!  We are so proud of you! Thirteen years of hard work and now you hold a diploma – life is full of options and adventures for you.  Go girl!

Yesterday we had the wonderful fortune to hear in person, farmer and author, Joel Salatin.  The author of many sustainable farming related books, Joel was on a lecture circuit promoting his newest, soon to be published book, ‘The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer’, along with the movie ‘Fresh’, a film that focuses on new thinking about what we’re eating.

His message to farmers was inspiring and simple –

We can heal the land with sustainable and organic farming practices

Be proud of who you are and your farming profession

Love and embrace what you are doing

We appreciated hearing his encouragement and success story; we left feeling younger and more excited about farming, and inspired to follow more of our dreams.  It confirmed our belief that we can make a difference, and are making a difference, one acre at a time.

We DO love what we are doing; it is the reason we have made sacrifices in our lives to stay here on the land.  We love being connected with nature through the soil and the seasons, and feeling blessed by heavenly sunshine or rain.

We love farming with organic practices that are enriching the soil; watching the worms and beneficial bugs increase in number, feeling the soil grow ‘softer’ each year, and witnessing green, healthy crops during summers of drought.

We love the opportunity to grow our own food, to preserve and harvest the food, and sharing the work and the bounty with extended family.  We love that our children are raised as ‘farm kids’, enjoying a simple lifestyle that embraces faith, family, hard work, country sunshine and wide open spaces.

Yes, we love being lunatic farmers, every single day!

Green Lotus peony ~ A gift from a garden fairy god-person

I have never met a fairy godmother, but I once was visited by a garden fairy god-person, and I have a unique and beautiful peony growing in my gardens to prove it.   The story behind this peony might seem far-fetched, but it is a true example of the enthusiasm and generosity that gardeners share.

Quite a few years back, I was cleaning house and getting rid of old magazines and nursery catalogs.  My daughter, who lived in a city 30 miles away, offered to take them off my hands and donate them to the magazine exchange at her local library.  Off they went, and I thought that was the end of that.

And then – a month or so later my phone rings.  And some stranger introduces himself and says he picked up a copy of a Klehm’s Song Sparrow Nursery Catalog that was at his library’s magazine exchange, and was wondering if it had been mine because it had my mailing address on it.  And he had noticed that I had marked a certain unusual peony in the catalog, and he tells me that he himself has that same unusual variety and is wondering if I had purchased one for myself.  When he found out that I had not actually purchased it, he asked if I would like a start from his peony.  And that’s not all….. when I mentioned that we lived 30 miles away from each other, he said it wasn’t a problem and that he could drop it off for me the next day!

It was all a bit baffling, and I was a bit nervous about this stranger coming over.  What if he wasn’t who he said he was, how could I know?  And why would he drive 60 miles to deliver a plant gift to a complete stranger?  My doubts were ungrounded, for the next day he showed up with a nice, healthy peony division for me.  We chatted gardening for a while, and then he proceeded to go on his merry way and left me to plant my new peony.

Each year when the unusual blossoms of my ‘Green Lotus’ peony are in flower,  I am most humbly reminded of the generous gardener (or garden fairy god-person) who shared it with me.   I can’t remember his name anymore, but the experience is engraved into my heart.

Have you ever been unexpectedly gifted from a gardener or fairy god-person?

Garden Moments

January 27, 2010

Ethan checking out the birdbath.

Friends in my garden

December 14, 2009

Momma kitty was a part of our lives for almost 15 years.  She was a wonderful hunter and kid lover – as you can see the kids loved her, too.

I love stories of people who take the time to brighten the day for others.  When I first heard the story of bagger Johnny, I got such a warm fuzzy that I thought my heart would melt.  And I had to reach for the tissue box.  If you want to hear an inspiring story that will warm your heart for weeks to come, take time to click and watch.  You won’t be sorry.  After you’ve viewed the story, let me know if Johnny inspired you to brighten the day for someone else.

Johnny the Bagger


Shout out for Elbows Allowed!

September 7, 2009

louise birthday

To celebrate my mother-in-laws 80th birthday this past August, we hired a catering crew to come to our home and prepare a birthday feast.  And what a feast!  Elbows Allowed, a brand new, local catering company in Cokato, prepared and served a fantastic meal, all made from scratch and home cooked!


Bacon wrapped artichoke hearts
Prosciutto wrapped asparagus
Barbecued Ribs
Garlic mashed potatoes
Raspberry pear walnut spinach salad
Fresh garden vegetable medley
Raspberry topped cheese cake drizzled with dark chocolate

Basil strawberry punch

I believe that this new company is headed for some big time bookings!  Elbows Allowed is a dream that two friends, Betsy Niemela (my sister-in-law) and Mary Raisanen, had talked of pursuing over the years while they worked in the corporate world.  Finding themselves both laid off from their corporate jobs this past winter, they decided they had nothing to lose by following their catering dream!  Both of these ladies come from large families, and grew up helping their mothers prepare home cooked meals from scratch, and Mama Mia, does it taste like it!

Catering to parties of any size or occasion, these gals are fast gaining a reputation for outstanding food!  Give them a call for your next special occasion – 612.845.6573  or 612.229.1703

Elbows Allowed crew

Elbows Allowed crew