Magnificent Trees for Earth Day 2016

Old growth forest in Hartwick Pines, Grayling, MI

Last week while traveling in Michigan we spent an afternoon in Hartwick Pines State Park. When I was a kid my family spent a lot of time vacationing in nearby Grayling so this whole Au Sable River region holds special memories. It was great to be back (snow and all, ha!).

Chapel in the Pines, Hartwick Pines State Park, Grayling, MI

It’s also fitting because today is Earth Day and this year’s emphasis is Trees for the Earth. If you want to celebrate trees, Hartwick Pines is the place to go. It’s a 9,672-acre park that during the late 1800s was owned and logged by the Salling-Hanson Lumber Company. Thankfully in 1927, Karen Michelson Hartwick, a company heir, donated the land to the State of Michigan as a memorial to the logging industry. With that came 85 acres (now 49) of old growth, 350+ year old, red and white pines. Talk about glorious trees! There’s also a second growth forest that was planted in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corp.

How blessed we are that people in the past cared enough to preserve trees for us today. Now we have an opportunity to pay it forward. In recognition of its upcoming 50th anniversary, the Earth Day Network has set a goal of planting 7.8 billion trees by 2020 and they’re looking for us to help.

Reliance Peach bareroot trees

Here’s our contribution: Peach trees. They’re replacement for those we lost a few years ago to Wisconsin winters. Since peaches aren’t native to this area, their lifespan isn’t as long as it might be in a more southernly climate (oops, we’re not exactly following the article I wrote for Forward Mutual’s weekly news:-). Nonetheless, I’ve been missing the home-canned goodness they offer, so we’re happy to replace them as needed. Grow fast trees, grow fast!

Happy Earth Day everyone! Plant a tree and celebrate the good earth God has given us!


Nature, agriculture, food and history are some of my favorite topics. If you need copywriting for your organization, drop me a line!

How Fun – A Promotional Photo Series!

Vintage Needles and 1910 calendar

One of my goals for the year is to challenge myself with something new. That opportunity came along right away in January when my walking partner proposed a brilliant collaboration. Since then we’ve been busy planning, scheduling, designing, and doing whatever in preparation for a big opening this Friday, April 1. No April Fool jokes happening here!

In the meantime, I want to share some vintage advertising I found stashed in a drawer. For the rest of the week I’ll be posting these and a few more treasures on my Instagram. Be sure to check them out!

Art Nouveau in advertising

I’ve always loved art nouveau and according to this history, it was a popular medium for advertising from the 1880s until World War I. This is the cover to the 1910 calendar above.

Advertising copy for wright's Fancy Patent Flour

Who says copywriters aren’t fun? Or creative? This reminds me of the Rollings Reliable Baking Powder story contest in Anne of Green Gables!

Stay tuned until Friday!

Celebrating Possibilities on National Ag Day

In celebration of National Ag Day , I bought my first bee hives

Today is National Ag Day and we celebrate our abundance of food, thanks to American agriculture. Think about it, where else can we enjoy such epicureous quantity, quality and diversity?

I was recently discussing my design project for this autumn’s Fermentation Fest, a convergence of agriculture, art and fermented foods. October seems so far away but as event co-founder Donna Neuwirth shared new ideas, I was inspired with anticipation. As Donna said, oh, the possibilities.

Oh, the possibilities

Such a simple phrase, yet so fitting for National Ag Day. This year’s theme is “Agriculture: Stewards of a Healthy Planet,” and the possibilities ahead are bountiful. Farmers are increasingly listening to consumer demands and striving to produce their products in healthier, more earth-sustainable ways. CSAs, farmers markets and farm-to-table organizations have become a societal commonplace, meaning our access to local food is so much greater. And the ever-growing specialty food market offers us cleaner ingredients and values we care about.

Speaking of specialty foods; several weeks ago I took a beekeeping class from Mad Urban Bees. This bee farmer, as owner Nathan Clarke describes himself, keeps an office in the vintage-li-cool Madison Enterprise Center. He describes the neighborhood as burgeoning with specialty food businesses. How cool is that?

So yes, today, in celebration of National Ag Day, I bought my first bee hive. It’s my effort, small as it is, to produce better food and be a healthy steward of the planet God has entrusted to us. I’ll certainly not make it to the eminence of farmers, but I’ll be a good writer and designer for them. Oh, the possibilities!

Give me a buzz :-)

National Ag Day 2016 banner

November Means Working Together (Pro-Bono)

sandhill cranes in the distance

Here it is November and we still have sandhill cranes. If you look closely in this zoomed-to-the-max iPhone shot, you see two of them enhancing the otherwise desolate cornfield. They caught my attention a few mornings ago as they gaggled away in response to another pair far in the distance. This weekend we’re supposed to get several inches of snow so these snowbirds will likely say to heck with this and take off for warmer temps.

Aren’t the migratory habits of birds amazing?

For example, for several months in autumn the sandhills gather in wetlands before heading south. These are called staging areas and here in Wisconsin there are several where thousands of cranes assemble at a time. I like to imagine this is a time of preparation and joining together of forces for the arduous journey ahead.

You probably knew migrating birds fly in the V-Formation, officially known as the echelon formation. They do this for its aerodynamic advantage, obviously. But did you know birds take turns flying the front helm of this V, a very strenuous task? And did you know the mortality rate for birds is six times higher during the migration season? Given this, isn’t it interesting that even though survival favors the selfish—those that promote their own well-being before that of others—the God-given nature of birds is to selflessly share the responsibility?

This author makes a good point when he says, “If migrating birds work together, the flock has a greater chance of having all of its feathered brethren make the long trip to their destination.”

Working together. For the good of all.

With this caring concept in mind and because November is the month of giving, let me announce it’s my season for pro-bono applications. Each year Adunate accepts two pro-bono projects for greatly reduced or no cost. These are projects I strongly support and believe will positively impact God’s creation, his people, or his ministry.

My interests include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Architecture
  • Arts
  • Children
  • Faith
  • History
  • Humanity
  • Natural Food & Living
  • Nature & Animals
  • Preservation & Sustainability

If your organization needs creative assistance in the upcoming year, click here for an application. Then, to guarantee your project’s success, be sure to click here!

Deadline for submissions is December 31, 2015. I will let applicants know of my decision in January.

Fermentation Fest Converges Once Again

Touring Sauk County for Fermentation Fest 2015

It’s been a full month, but I’m still sighing with warm reminiscings of our Octoberfest Brewery Tour. The culmination of this glorious trip was Fermentation Fest in Reedsburg, Wis. We couldn’t have had a more flavorful or beautiful encore to our week than this.

In case you’ve missed my incessant promotions—deservedly so—Fermentation Fest is an annual, 10-day blending of agriculture, arts, food and appreciation of the land. Initially one considers this a rather eclectic mix, but once you experience everything the festival has to offer it all melds together in the most appreciative of ways. I find it especially exciting because in designing the event guide, I have the honor of being part of the event’s promotional team.

Fermentation Fest, Reedsburg, WI

Disregarding the well-worn travelers, check out this stunning entryway to the Fermentation Fest Headquarters. The building is a historic railway station and it otherwise serves as the Reedsburg Chamber of Commerce.

Details of Fermentation Fest entryway, Reedsburg, WI

Yes, these are the details of the entryway. It’s a collage of wine corks, seeds and beans all converging to represent the delightful elements of Fermentation Fest. Imagine the work put into this!

Lucky 13: Elephant in the Room, by Erika Nelson

This year our schedule didn’t allow us to participate in any of the food fermenting classes but we instead did the 50-mile Farm/Art DTour. The weather was glorious, the scenery stunning and the art installments were divine. Lucky 13: Elephant in the Room, by Erika Nelson, celebrates the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey’s announcement to discontinue using elephants in circus performances.

Fermentation Fest's appreciation of the land

Monday is Wash Day, by Brenda Baker

There’s something truly heartfelt about art displayed in the middle of such beautiful land. With her Monday is Wash Day, artist Brenda Baker pays kudos to the “historical and undervalued part of rural life.” I live in the country. I hang clothes to dry. So of course, I loved the story-telling thoughtfulness of this piece.

Meandering roads in Sauk County, WIsconsin

Farm structures in Sauk County, Wisconsin

Sauk County, WI

With meandering backroads, rolling hillsides and idyllic farm scenes,  Sauk County is a magical place. When we came upon Amish children riding home from their one-room school, my heart simply melted.

Red Piano, Fermentation Fest, Reedsburg, WI

Stevens Signs, Rock Springs, WI

Flood, by Molly Rideout, Rock Springs, WI

Flood, by Molly Rideout, Rock Springs, WI

Art comes in many forms: Music, architecture and storytelling. This story, Flood, by Molly Rideout, really hits home, given our fragile state of human relations. Must history always repeat itself? Can we ever learn to love one another?

antique farm machinery, Sauk County, WIsconsin

You can’t celebrate agriculture without appreciating its heritage. Farmhenge, created by Harlan Ferstl and the McCluskey Brothers was an arrangement of new and old farm machinery pieces. The artistry of old iron is beautiful, isn’t it?

So there you have it—my favorites of the Farm/Art DTour. You can see more beautiful shots posted by some of the 20,000 festival-goers who made this year’s Fermentation Fest the biggest and best yet. Check them out here!

Our previous Octoberfest stop: Leinenkugel’s Brewing Company