100 days of photos. Thousands of photos taken. I’m surprised I’m still motivated by the challenge, and I’m still learning and having fun. I celebrated with my photography mentor and friend Carly by watching a zombie movie and baking Texas-sized, red velvet cupcakes. The cupcakes were a better choice.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll stick with me for the next 266 entries!
I spent the past six years of Easter weekends in South Bend or Chicago with adopted friends and family, so it was nice to be home. My mom created some amazing additions to the Ukrainian egg display, which reminded me of my 4-H demonstration when I was 10 years old, “How to Decorate a Ukrainian Egg.”
I’d decorated a Purple Ribbon winner egg or two in the past, but I waited until the night before the county fair to prepare my demo. It was not a pretty experience and should have been a sign to cancel the whole thing off. But the show went on. And what a show it was.
One of the decorating steps involves using a syringe to extract the yolk and egg white. And, that’s exactly when my demonstration began to crack. Literally. Sometimes you end up with a cracked eggshell and must start over, so I was prepared with extra eggs. Of course, the first one broke. And the second. And the third. At this age, my young mind was not yet filled with foul words, and I explained these mishaps by saying “Oh bummer,” “That happens,” and “I’ve got more.” I was so determined to get it right. Wouldn’t you know that the fourth egg shattered too? And the fifth! Damn eggs.
At this point, I must have thought the only way to salvage a demonstration gone awry is to turn it into a comedy show. I may or may not have sabotaged my demo by squeezing the hell out of the sixth and last egg. Just for fun. I don’t remember exactly, but I do remember that The Show Must Go On! It was then, my dear readers, that I finished my demo with an imaginary egg. Can you even imagine?
When the results came in, I learned I’d received a Yellow ribbon. In 4-H, that’s a courtesy ribbon. It means “Thanks for trying” or “Better luck next time.”
And that’s the story of the time I got egg on my face.
Grandma C.Grandma P., Grandpa P. and Mom
I’m fascinated with old-fashioned barns that speckle rural America. The architecture, the history, a reflection of the past. I have many memories of our family barn, from playing with my sister, brother and friends (at the top of the list) to daily chores and cleaning (at the bottom of the list). Memories such as witnessing the amazing birth of lambs, puppies and foals; bottle feeding newborn lambs whose mothers wouldn’t let them nurse; luring back escaped horses with buckets of oats; finding small nooks for games of hide-and-seek with friends; the daily hunt to find where the hen Peaches laid her egg; sitting on a 10-gallon bucket after school to talk with your sheep in hopes to tame them in time for the 4-H fair; and the early morning wake-up call from Mr. Roo.
Over the past 30 years, the core frame of our family barn and the hayloft have stayed the same, while the rest has adapted to changing livestock needs and hobbies. This barn is well maintained. Others are not so fortunate.
One by one, many historic barns are vanishing. Today, wood framed barns are often replaced by more cost effective metal buildings or pole barns. And with fewer working farms, many barns sit idly on the prairie, and each timber, weathered by time, deteriorates or sags until the building falls in upon itself.
During your summer treks,
take note of these barns,
some big and some small.
And reflect on the history,
of ones that stand tall.
“The Valley of the Jolly Green Giant” refers to the Minnesota River Valley around Le Sueur. Though 60 miles further south, a statue of the Jolly Green Giant was created in Blue Earth in 1978. I’ve been through Blue Earth many, many times, but thanks to my project, it was the first time I checked out the giant. The 55-foot tall, fiberglass statue welcomes visitors from I-90 in a town where Green Giant corn and peas are still canned every summer.
Tater tot hotdish is one of my favorite comfort foods and fortunately simple to make.
Tater Tot Hotdish
1 lb. ground beef
1 can green beans
1 medium sized onion
1 can cream of chicken soup (or mushroom, or celery)
1 bag of Ore Ida tater tots
Salt, pepper, Lawry’s seasoning
Press the uncooked ground beef into a 9×9 baking dish. (Double the recipe if you use a 9×13 dish.) Dice the onion and drain the green beans, adding both on top. Spoon out and spread the cream of chicken soup. Add a dash of salt, pepper, and Lawry’s seasoning salt. Finally, top with frozen tater tots, neatly lined in rows. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Broil for the final couple minutes for extra crispy tots.