Supporting the Little Guys

As the crab apple trees and lilacs both came into their full glory, filling the yard with the fragrance of a delayed Spring, I took an additional day of vacation to extend a long weekend, and frantically scrambled to eliminate as much dog and cat hair as possible, while putting together an extra-special spread for the women of my book club.  We are usually pretty low key, but it’s not every day we are honored with the author at the table with us!

Crab Apple Blossoms and Lilacs in Duluth

With a couple of mutual friends in the club, the author of Locally Laid was gracious enough to find time in her busy schedule to join us for the evening to discuss her book.  Lucie Amundsen was fresh off the circuit of events surrounding “One Book Northland,” the annual community-wide book event in Duluth, Minnesota, and is a frequent speaker and instructor on both writing and agriculture-related topics.

Locally Laid, the book

In full disclosure, but honestly not influencing my review of the book (otherwise, I would simply not have put together a blog post at all!), I have come to know Lucie through a variety of intersecting organizations and activities. Before I became acquainted with Lucie personally, though, I became acquainted with her eggs — those of you following my blog for some time may recall this frittata recipe and encouragement to vote for Locally Laid Eggs as part of the Super Bowl commercial promotion contest (link to that post here)!

Lucie herself is kind, smart, and humor-filled — and the book reads as you would expect from someone like that: well-written, funny, and enlightening about what smaller farmers face in trying to break into the big ag industry and over-crowded grocery shelves. While my family has been a fan of “LoLa,” the little chicken that could (along with her “truly worth-every-penny” eggs) from the beginning, I was not aware of the full story behind this start-up until reading the book. Alongside the business story you also receive a healthy dose of classic Northern Minnesota life and understand why we love it here.

Chicken napkin rings to honor Locally Laid.

My book club has gathered every other month or so for the past 5 years, rotating among our dining room tables in the evening after work, enjoying interesting conversation (sometimes which even touches upon the book!), while sharing a light dinner and wine. The book’s theme this time gave me a chance to break out the chicken napkin rings, and do a little fun browsing for “compatible” wines.

Poultry, Agriculture, and "Uncaged" Wines

And a special book club guest provided an excuse for a festive (yet simple-to-prepare) dessert: Fresh Blackberry Napoleons with Cream Cheese Mousse (link to full recipe provided).  To add a little color, I mixed in some raspberries with the blackberries, and used a four-berry preserve.  The recipe is easily adapted to a variety of fresh fruit preserves and berries.  It can be partially prepared ahead of time and ready to assemble just before serving – a perfect book club option!

Fresh Blackberry Napoleons with Cream Cheese Mousse

If only I had hosted this book later in the summer, I could have gone to “Farm LoLa” and picked the berries myself to use in the dessert!

Locally Laid is an award-winning book, and is an excellent choice for an engaging book club discussion.  If you are fortunate enough, perhaps you (with or without your book club in tow) can catch Lucie at one of her upcoming speaker events, listed on Locally Laid’s website: http://locallylaid.com/the-book/.

~ Kat

Weekly Photo Challenge: Evanescent

This week’s photo challenge seemed to foreshadow the weekend, and spur me to return to my blog, which has been neglected of late. Krista encouraged us to share a photo of a moment in time that held meaning for us … specifically, to share an evanescent moment or memory.

Evanescent Northern Lights

“Evanescent” is often used to describe something that quickly vanishes or is fleeting in time. The northern lights dance and shimmer and pulse in the sky ….. lights that can often vanish as quickly as they appear, and refuse to be scheduled or predicted with any certainty … evanescent lights in the sky.

Equally fitting is my college-aged son in this photo … for while the days may often be long, the years fly by, and then that time with those children you gave roots, but also gave wings, is evanescent indeed.

~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. “Evanescent” is this week’s theme. Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here: Evanescent.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow

As you stroll the evening streets of New Orleans, tucked behind the St. Louis Cathedral, away from the raucous lights and sounds of Bourbon Street, is a shadow of some fame — the shadow of “Touchdown Jesus.”

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. “Shadow” is this week’s theme. Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here: Shadow.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitude

Even in the most raucous of settings, one can find some solitude if you time it right.

While in New Orleans for a long weekend recently, I went for a run Saturday morning and had Bourbon Street to myself, as the soapy residue still lingered along the curb.

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. “Solitude” is this week’s theme. Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here: Solitude.

10 Lessons Learned From My President

Each President of the United States leaves a legacy. As President Barack Obama enters the last week of his tenure in the White House, his legacy is only just beginning to show itself. But I can say with confidence that these 10 lessons are takeaways that will endure:

10. Never lose hope.

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9. Reading is essential for opening your mind, expanding your worldview, and giving you the depth and breadth to handle an infinite number of situations.

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8. The umbrella is big enough to fit everyone under it.

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7. Grit and resilience are keys to success, whatever you do.

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6. Kindness and respect never go out of style.

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5. Do not be afraid to show your emotions … even if it means crying sometimes.

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4. There are different perspectives to most issues … work hard to understand each one.

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3. Maintain your sense of humor, even under the most trying of times.

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2. Raising your children is one of the most important jobs you will ever have in life. Never lose sight of that.

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And since, as the saying goes, behind every great man there is a great woman … and better yet in this case, beside every great man there is a great woman ….

  1. When they go low, you must go high.

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Thank you, Mr. President and Mrs. Obama.  You have honored the White House and our country with your grace and vision these past eight years.  You will be missed.  Let us return the favor by continuing to stand up for what is right, and doing it with respect and an openness to truly trying to understand all sides of the issues.  We have more in common than not; it is in our best interests to continue and try to move forward together, no matter how difficult and arduous it may be … while at the same time not letting our guard down and failing to speak out against injustice, inequity, and matters that harm the greater good.

Yes, we can. Yes, we did. And, yes, we will again.

~ Kat