Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
Today’s post is by Sara DeLuca, author of The Crops Look Good: News from a Midwestern Family Farm. Sara will be touring Wisconsin later this month. (Click on the title link for her event schedule, media interviews, and book club guide.)
This photo of me with my granddaughter, Emma Drury, was taken at Folsom House in Taylors Falls, Minnesota, on April 25, 2015. We were celebrating the recent publication of my book, The Crops Look Good: News from a Midwestern Family Farm. Based on a collection of family letters, the book is an intimate portrayal of family farm life in the region – first-person history, written as it was being lived. My mother’s letters to her eldest sister, beginning when she was seven and continuing throughout middle age, make a significant contribution to the story.
The Folsom House event on April 25 was very special to me, for several reasons.
Fifteen-year-old Emma planned and hosted my reading in this gracious home, built in 1855 by lumberman, historian, and Minnesota state senator W. H. C. Folsom. Five generations of the Folsom family occupied the house, which still contains their original furnishings, library, and personal effects. It is now operated by the Taylors Falls Historical Society, in partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society.
My parents, Harvey and Helen Hellerud, who farmed for decades in Polk County, Wisconsin, retired in 1976 and moved across the St. Croix River to Taylors Falls. As an accomplished pianist, my mother entertained Folsom House visitors on the Hews rectangular grand piano (shown in the background of this photo) on many occasions. She also served as a volunteer guide during the 1980s and 1990s. Her affiliation with the Taylors Falls Historical Society was a great joy to her during many productive years of retirement.
Now Helen Hellerud’s great-granddaughter Emma is volunteering at this beautifully preserved historic site. And I have enjoyed the privilege of sharing my book about a place that has been important to my family and history lovers throughout the Upper Midwest.
Here is a poem I wrote ten years ago, in recognition of a rich heritage, a craving for deep identity, and our interwoven lives.
We find a bright, prolific crops of dandelions
splashing the vacant lot behind my mother’s house.
She’s eighty-nine this spring, but she remembers being nine,
braiding yellow heads and milky stems, crowning
and necklacing herself with blooms.
Now she demonstrates for me
and for my grandchild Emma – six years old –
how you can braid an ornamental rope from flowers.
The trick, my mother says,
is working three stems at a time, all different lengths.
When one runs out you splice a new one in its place –
that way you never break the chain.
Emma plops down in the deep wet grass.
Mom squats. I kneel
between the generations.
We laugh at rough beginnings, ragged endings,
but we persevere. We practice,
practice till we get it right, Emma, Mom and me,
our heads bent low, lost
in a field of yellow tassels.
When our circles hold
and crown each other with our handiwork.
Coyotes are smart, curious, and adaptable. They live on prairies, in forests, and on farmland. They even live in cities such as Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York. City coyotes might make their homes in parks or in nature preserves or on golf courses—all places where they can find plenty of food and shelter. Sometimes they live in small family groups, and sometimes they live alone.
Hungry Coyote by Cheryl Blackford with illustrations by Laurie Caple offers kids a glimpse into the life of an urban coyote as he struggles to feed himself and his famished family.
We asked Cheryl and Laurie to share some of their inspiration for the book.
“The idea for this picture book came to me as I watched a lone coyote trot across a frozen lake one January morning. He turned his head to look at me, decided I was no threat, and continued on his way. Although we don’t often see the coyotes themselves, just signs of their presence such as scat on the trails, I saw him twice more. I wondered what he ate and how he lived. I did some research and became interested in urban coyotes and their success at living beside humans in many American cities. While many people are suspicious of coyotes (probably based upon their reputation as ‘tricksters’), or think of them as vermin, I admire the intelligence and adaptability of these animals. They thrive in many different natural habitats ranging from desert to lush grasslands, and now they’re also thriving in our cities. How could you not admire such a smart, successful creature?”
“A fondness for nature provides the inspiration behind my artwork. I had the fascinating opportunity to spend time with one of only two known domesticated coyotes in the United States. ’Wiley’ lives with Rick Hanestad and his family in western Wisconsin, about an hour’s drive from St. Paul. A National Geographic film crew recently spent a number of hours documenting his behavior.
“Wiley is very tame and handles well on a leash, just like a friendly pup. He has never shown any type of aggressive behavior to humans and sleeps on a favorite recliner in the Hanestads’ living room!”
Cheryl and Laurie hope Hungry Coyote encourages readers to look at our own surroundings with fresh eyes and develop curiosity and respect for wildlife in our cities. They recommend the following links about urban coyotes:
We’re delighted to note that My Grandfather’s Knocking Sticks: Ojibwe Family Life and Labor on the Reservation by Brenda J. Child has won the the seventh annual Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award.
Child uses her family’s own powerful stories to tell a different kind of history–one that puts her reader’s feet on the reservation. She shows how Ojibwe men and women on reservations around the Great Lakes sustained both their families and their cultural identity in the face of extreme prejudice and hardship.
Winners of the Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award cross multiple disciplines or fields of study, are relevant to contemporary North American Indian communities, and focus on American Indian Studies, modern tribal studies, modern biographies, tribal governments or federal Indian policy.
Dedicated in 1993, the Labriola National American Indian Data Center in the Arizona State University (ASU) Libraries is one of the only repositories within a public university library devoted to American Indian collections. The Labriola Center holds both primary and secondary sources on American Indians across North America. The Center’s primary purpose is to promote a better understanding of American Indian language, culture, social, political and economic issues. The Labriola National American Indian Data Center has been endowed by Frank and Mary Labriola whose wish has been that “the Labriola Center be a source of education and pride for all Native Americans.”
My Grandfather’s Knocking Sticks is also a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award.
CIVIL WAR HOMECOMING
Saturday, March 28 at 7:00 P.M.
The year 1865 saw inauguration, abolition, armistice, assassination, grief, celebration and reunion. The brand-new frontier state of Minnesota mourned and commemorated along with the rest of the nation. Minnesotans celebrated the return of the troops and got down to the business of building railroads and cities, sprinkling the countryside with farms and lumber camps and welcoming immigrants by the tens of thousands.
Dan Chouinard and an all-star group of friends gather to paint a Minnesota portrait of the times through songs, letters and newspaper accounts, in Civil War Homecoming. This live show at the Fitzgerald Theater on Saturday, March 28 is a co-production of the Minnesota Historical Society, MPR and the Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force.
Featuring Kevin Kling, Maria Jette, T Mychael Rambo, Prudence Johnson, members of the Roe Family Singers, and the Brass Messengers as well as Eric Jacobson, Annette Atkins, Gwen Westerman, Mark Ritchie, Dean Urdahl, Pat Bauer and David Geister.
Additional information available here.
Interested in learning more about Minnesota and the Civil War? Visit www.mnhs.org/civilwar
“This book tells the story of one of the most vital and important theater companies of our time.”
Oskar Eustis, The Public Theater
Join us tonight for the Book Launch Celebration at Open Book in Minneapolis for:
All the Lights On: Reimagining Theater with Ten Thousand Things by Michelle Hensley
Monday, March 9, 2015
Open Book: 1011 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis
Doors open at 6:30 pm, short program begins at 7:00 pm, followed by book signing
Also available via HowlRoundTV today at 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern via http://livestream.com/newplay
“Ten Thousand Things brings the best possible theater, plays of Shakespeare and Aeschylus and Beckett, to audiences who have seen little of it before, those in prisons and shelters and adult education centers and rural towns and housing projects and Indian reservations and chemical dependency treatment centers, as well as to enthusiastic veteran theatergoers in consistently sold-out performances for the general public, all performed in large bare rooms, with no stage, just right on the floor inside a small circle of folding chairs, with all the fluorescent lights in the room turned on. Our budget is modest, we don’t need our own building, our set supply budget is little more than that of our very first show, but we pay our highly skilled artists on a par with the largest theater companies in town. We have even become Johnny Appleseeds of a sort, taking this unique model to other theaters around the country who are also eager to find ways to reach outside their buildings with excellent work. And all along this journey, the honest, openhearted encounters of our first-time audiences with our first-rate artists have led us to make wonderful discoveries about theater—pinpointing just what makes it thrive and flourish.” Michelle Hensley, from All the Lights On
Fractured Land: The Price of Inheriting Oil by Lisa Westberg Peters begins with the passing of the author’s father and the questions his estate will raise:
“When my father dies, my mother will inherit his mineral rights. Eventually my siblings and I will inherit hers. At that point, I will benefit from drilling techniques that require millions of gallons of water, dozens of chemicals, some of them unknown even to regulators, and the safe disposal of toxic wastes.
It would make quite a headline:
Environmentalist Rakes in ND Oil Profits
And so I sit on an uncomfortable fence. On one side is a sea of oil that fouls beaches and birds and contributes to climate mayhem. On the other side is a sea of oil—my family’s oil!—that provides jobs for thousands of people, financial breathing room for my parents, and wealth for the long-suffering state of North Dakota.
Nope. You can see, I’m sure, how a hospice room is not exactly the place for that kind of discussion.
My dad sees the picture of an old North Dakota oil well—or it’s going to be an oil well as soon as they hit pay dirt—and does a thumbs-up.” –from Fractured Land
Join us this Thursday, October 9, at 7 pm at Common Good Books to hear Lisa Westberg Peters talk about the dilemma we all face–how our personal lives intersect with the energy industry and the environment–and her new book, Fractured Land.
Slouching Toward Fargo
A Two-Year Saga of Sinners and St. Paul Saints at the Bottom of the Bush Leagues with Bill Murray, Darryl Strawberry, Dakota Sadie, and Me
By Neal Karlen
With a Foreword by Mike Veeck
The Casey Award–winning account of life in the minor leagues, celebrating the game, the characters who love it, and the magic that can happen when a town, a team, and a ball player get a second chance.
Meet the author!
Tuesday September 16, 2014 at 7 pm
Subtext Bookstore, St. Paul
In his classic account of two years with the most audacious bush league ballclub ever to plumb the bottom of the pro sports barrel, Neal Karlen presents a dizzying collection of characters: co-owners comedian Bill Murray and sports impresario Mike Veeck; baseball’s former winningest pitcher Jack Morris; outfielder Darryl Strawberry, on his way back to the majors; the back-rubbing Sister Rosalind; baseball’s first woman player Ila Borders; frantic fans, a ball-carrying pig, a blind sportscaster, and a host of others. They all prove the credo of the Saints: Fun is Good.
“Hilarious, insightful, touching, informative, Neal Karlen’s baseball account delivers a world of vivid characters and ironic redemptions. Karlen is simply one of the best, most sophisticated, and literate practitioners of journalism we have. He goes out and gets the full story, while turning himself into a wonderfully self-mocking, truthful, and likable narrator. I loved every page of this book.”
—Phillip Lopate, author, essayist, and film critic
“Two things make it great: characters and story line. The tale is rendered in hilarious fashion, mixing plenty of baseball with plenty of laughs.”
—Rocky Mountain News
“A fun-is-good book . . . [with] enough oddballs to make Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland seem like a straightforward account of a schoolgirl’s visit to a theme park.”
“The funkiest team in baseball.”
—The New York Times
$17.95 paper, available September 2014
384 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4, 51 b&w photos, index, 978-0-87351-951-9
Available September 2014 from Minnesota Historical Society Press
The Hognander Minnesota History Award recognizes the most outstanding scholarly work related to Minnesota history published during the preceding two years. The award, funded by the Hognander Family Foundation, is presented every two years.
This award stems from the Hognander family’s belief in the importance of studying and preserving history. As Joe Hognander notes, “We established this award because of our relationship with the Minnesota Historical Society. Its commitment to excellence is noteworthy in promoting scholarly research and writing. We hope this award will inspire more activity by recognizing and rewarding the finest work in the field.”
Much of the focus on the Dakota people in Minnesota rests on the tragic events of the 1862 U.S.–Dakota War and the resulting exile that sent the majority of the Dakota to prisons and reservations beyond the state’s boundaries. But the true depth of the devastation of removal cannot be understood without a closer examination of the history of the Dakota people and their deep cultural connection to the land that is Minnesota. Drawing on oral history interviews, archival work, and painstaking comparisons of Dakota, French, and English sources, Mni Sota Makoce tells the detailed history of the Dakota people in their traditional homelands for at least hundreds of years prior to exile.
Published by Minnesota Historical Society Press in 2012, the book went on to win the 2013 Minnesota Book Award in the Minnesota category last year.
Westerman and White will be honored for their latest achievement at the upcoming Book Awards Gala on April 5 at the Saint Paul Union Depot. Gwen Westerman is professor of English and Humanities at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Bruce White is author of We Are at Home: Pictures of the Ojibwe People.
When Prohibition shuttered saloons, thirsty law-abiding citizens turned to soda fountains for sustenance and entertainment. Parlor owners developed concoctions to suit every taste—and to keep their counters and tables full.
Soda Shop Salvation: Recipes and Stories from the Sweeter Side of Prohibition (a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award) gives readers a taste of this turbulent time, and a few recipes for romance.
Excerpt from Soda Shop Salvation:
Love at the Soda Shop
“The soda fountain often plays an important part in fanning the flame of love . . . Many fountain owners are finding there is a great demand for drinks with names like kiss me again, some day, soul kiss, lover’s delight [. . .] what better could quicken a bashful lover than to have his coy companion say I would like a soul kiss wouldn’t you, John?” —The Soda Fountain, December 1921
Cupid Delight Sundae
1 (1/2-inch) slice vanilla ice cream
3 tablespoons crushed pineapple
3 cubes canned or fresh pineapple
4 maraschino cherries
3 tablespoons crushed strawberries
2 Thin Walnut Wafers (see book for recipe)
Cut the ice cream in half across the long edge and place the two slices side by side on a plate. Pour the crushed pineapple over one slice and top with the pineapple cubes arranged in a circle with 1 cherry in the center. Pour the strawberries over the other ice cream slice and arrange the remaining 3 cherries in a circle on top of it. Put the wafers on the side and serve with two spoons.
1 large scoop vanilla ice cream
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) strawberry syrup
1 tablespoon cinnamon heart-shaped candies
Put the ice cream in a sundae dish and pour the syrup over the top. Sprinkle with the cinnamon candies.
1 large scoop maple nut ice cream
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) Hot Chocolate Fudge Sundae Sauce
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
whipped cream for topping
walnut-stuffed date for garnish
Put the ice cream in a sundae dish. Drizzle with the chocolate sauce and sprinkle with coconut. Top with whipped cream and garnish with the stuffed date.
“In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love, while the young woman’s fancy yearningly turns to ice cream sodas. Better cater to her fancy.” —The Soda Fountain, March 1921
Minnesota Historical Society Press Spring 2014 Titles
Augie’s Secrets: The Minneapolis Mob and the King of the Hennepin Strip (Paperback, February 2014)
The Brides of Midsummer (First English Translation, February 2014)
When I Was a Child: An Autobiographical Novel (February 2014)
Her Honor: Rosalie Wahl and the Minnesota Women’s Movement (March 2014)
Keystones of the Stone Arch Bridge (April 2014)
Curiosity’s Cats: Writers on Research (April 2014)
Edited by Bruce Joshua Miller
Conflicted Mission: Faith, Disputes, and Deception on the Dakota Frontier (April 2014)
Linda M. Clemmons
Hungry Johnny (May 2014)
Cheryl Minnema, Illustrations by Wesley Ballinger
Toys of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s (May 2014)
Kate Roberts and Adam Scher
Scoop: Notes from a Small Ice Cream Shop (May 2014)
Smitten with Squash (July 2014)