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Thursday, July 31st, 2014
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Shangri-la


By Loni Kemp

Fri, Jun 6th, 2014
Posted in All Columnists

We pack a lunch, wildflower book, camera and bug spray to be ready for anything, and head over to Choice, the tiny settlement on County Road 43 between Mabel and Rushford. There we meet up with several carloads of Harmony Garden Club members and their families, all excited for our big adventure hike to Cabbage Rocks. We gulp our coffee and then caravan another mile or so up a dirt road, down a long driveway, and park at the start of a long descending wagon road.

Many have heard of Cabbage Rocks, but few have been there. A “remote, idyllic hideaway, where life approaches perfection” is the dictionary definition of Shangri-la, and that fits this place perfectly. It is not noted on any map, and is located in a large and nearly inaccessible part of the Big Woods, part of the Richard J. Doer Memorial Hardwood State Forest. You can get there from several dead end roads, but only an experienced guide can show the way. I have been there a half dozen times over the past decades, yet the nearly two-mile hike through twisting valleys and stream crossings, up hills and down, has me stumped when I try to remember the way. Fortunately, a founding member of our garden club and native to the area will be guiding us this day.

We say hello to the landowner who comes out to greet us, and are off like a herd of turtles. If you’ve ever been on a wildflower hike, you know that we move slowly, bending over each little beauty, discussing and photographing every diverse flower we see along the way.

Even though we postponed a week, spring is still in its early stage this May morning, and the trees are just beginning to unfurl their intensely yellow-green leaves. Anemones of all types are identified and straightened out, including rue-, false-rue-, and wood, plus the related early meadow rue. Wild phlox, spring beauty, mayapple, wild ginger, and yellow flowered bellwort are a few of the old friends we greet along the way. Before the day is done we will identify 52 native plants.

The kids are charged up from helping us elders hop the rocks over one stream and then another. We traipse down a long valley, disturbed to see the amount of invasive garlic mustard showing up, obviously spread by the June flood of 2013. At first we pull a few plants and hang them on branches to dry out and die, but then the enormity of their numbers sinks in and we give up.

Our trusty guide keeps glancing up to the right, looking fo .....
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Luscious Lemon Bars

By Judy Thomas

Fri, May 30th, 2014
Posted in All Columnists

Computer on. Check. Microsoft Works on. Check. Brain. Absent and blank. That being said, what do I do now? Since we celebrated Easter and we’re on the lighter side, chicks and bunnies come to mind. One of my daughters and family are very active ..... 
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Becky's Food Tales - A baby bird, the folly of man, and rhubarb cake

Mon, May 26th, 2014
Posted in All Columnists

The Sunday before last, my husband and I drove out to the tree dump. No particular reason, we didn’t even have any brush to dump. But I had noticed that the fire from the tree dump seemed particularly smoky that evening, and I wanted to see what wa ..... 
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The Working Mom: Boys Will Be Boys

By Tammy Danielson

Mon, May 19th, 2014
Posted in All Columnists

When I first started writing this column five years ago, I referred to my husband a few times in my own style of wife humor. However, while I was busting a gut laughing, he found my stories less than humorous and also found out very quickly how many ..... 
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Recycling 101

By LaVerne C. Paulson

Mon, May 19th, 2014
Posted in All Columnists

The last week of April was a bit on the cool side and more or less relatively damp. But Mother Nature made a few changes so many of our farmers found their way into their fields when the sun reappeared, the weather warmed up, and the soil became wor ..... 
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The Working Mom - Boys Will Be Boys

By Tammy Danielson

Mon, May 19th, 2014
Posted in Fountain Columnists

When I first started writing this column five years ago, I referred to my husband a few times in my own style of wife humor. However, while I was busting a gut laughing, he found my stories less than humorous and also found out very quickly how man ..... 
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A little of this, A little of that

By Kathy Little

Fri, May 9th, 2014
Posted in All Columnists

Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple and Kay Scarpetta are my detective heroes. Since I love to read mystery novels, I start to think of these characters as real people who are exceptionally bright and who have family, friends and even hobbies! ..... 
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Country Coffee Talk

By Jeanette Schmidt

Fri, May 2nd, 2014
Posted in All Columnists

Spring has Sprung!! The week before Easter we weren’t so sure about that… In fact, we thought we might have to wear stocking hats instead of Easter bonnets. But now the bloodroots are blooming and the woods will soon be a carpet of white flowers ..... 
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A View from the Woods: Earth Day changed my life

By Loni Kemp

Fri, Apr 25th, 2014
Posted in All Columnists

I was 17 in 1970, a junior at Osseo High School lying on the outskirts of the Minneapolis suburbs. Our former small town school was bursting at the seams, with over 2,000 students coming from the massive developments of ramblers that had overtaken po ..... 
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