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

Beautiful Bayfield

Harbor sunrise in Bayfield, WIsconsin

Early morning walks have their rewards, don’t you think? This was our view in Bayfield, Wisconsin as we meandered through the town. Admirably, the locals were also up and hard at work tidying up after the weekend’s invasion of Applefest tourists.

Located on Lake Superior, Bayfield is an artsy town of 500+ and is referred to as the Gateway to the Apostle Islands. We quickly realized that our 2-day stay wasn’t going to be enough. Mental note: Next time, 3-4 days, minimum.

Grey Oak Guest House, Bayfield, WI

Here’s the Grey Oak Guest House where we stayed. It was gorgeous! Historically preserved, beautifully decorated and immaculate, I tingled with excitement the minute we stepped in the door. And how about this: It’s on the corner of 7th and Manypenny. Mannypenny! With a street name like that how could it be anything but magical? Innkeepers Susan Larsen and Neil Howk made sure our stay was just that.

Bayfield, Wisconsin from a ferry

Madeline Island is the largest of the Apostle Islands and the only one open to commercialism and private ownership. Our 20-minute ferry rides there and back were accompanied by a semi hauling sand, several woman loading large tubs (maybe fish?) and school-age children toting lunch boxes. Once again, we couldn’t help noticing a way of life quite different from ours in the farmlands of Wisconsin.

Big Bay State Park, Madeline Island, WI

Caveat: Madeline Island is not for everyone. If you’re into the Wisconsin Dells kind of vacationing, you’re on the wrong boat. Instead, the island offers a school of arts, a museumyoga and beautiful hiking trails. Think of taking a glorious breath, slowing down and donning a pair of boots.

All Sisters Winery, Bayfield, WI

As much as we enjoy our hops, we’re certainly not opposed to sampling fermentation of the “other vine.” Back on the mainland and just up the hill from Bayfield, we found All Sisters Winery. It’s a mother-daughter owned and operated winery in this cute house out in the country. They’ve only been open a few years but their lineup is pretty impressive, all crafted from Wisconsin-grown varietal grapes. We came away with a smooth, dry red and two stemless wine glasses that just may become my favorite sippers.

Good Earth Gardens, Bayfield, WI

Bayfield’s peninsula is scattered with orchards, berry farms and CSAs like this Good Earth Gardens. We indulged in Cortland apples, apple juice and charcuterie sausages that only hands-on, local food artisans can produce.

So do I want to head back to Bayfield and it’s surrounding communities? You bet. Maybe this winter for the ice caves? Or next summer for the Big Top Chautauqua.

Our previous stop: South Shore Brewery, Ashland. Our next stop: Fitgers Brewhouse, Duluth, MN.

October is Fermentation Fest!

2015_FF_EventGuideFermentation Fest is only three weeks away and I’m really pumped! Should I take a class on winemaking? Hands-on cheesemaking? Or kombucha for beginners?

Just as exciting is the Fermentation Fest Farm/Art DTour. With 50 miles of art, music, food, and crisp, colorful countryside, the DTour is what autumn dreams are made of. Better yet, this year it travels a new route. Think quaint villages named Rock Springs, Loganville and Hill Point, or scenic stops such as Ableman’s Gorge and White Mound County Park.

So this event guide was my summer project: This stack of eye-catching design so strategically placed on my bucket of Marquette grapes (what, don’t we all read 20-page, newspaper-style event guides while picking grapes?). It was a great project, made even more fun by working with Cricket Design Works, who did the Fermentation Fest logo and masthead.

2015_FF_EventGuidePgRemember my Wisconsin barn tour? Well, here’s the corresponding story. This and other engaging articles are all part of the Fermentation Fest event guide, as well as maps, schedules and, yes, great photography! Check it all out here.

You can also request your own free copy here, or find them in locations throughout southern Wisconsin. I’ve seen them in these venues (and elsewhere):

Fermentation Fest: You’ve gotta go!

Dinner on the Farm!

Soil Sisters ad in Edible Madison Magazine, by Adunate Word & Design

Earlier this year I was honored to design promotional pieces for Soil Sisters, an event celebrating Wisconsin family farms and rural life. Well, here it is August and this past weekend was the big occasion. It was divine!

Dinner on the Farm, Inn Serendipity, Browntown, WISoil Sisters filled the weekend with five fun components from farm tours to hands-on workshops. My husband and I went to the Dinner on the Farm at Inn Serendipity, a B&B and 5-acre organic farm. You see a lot of these farm-to-table meals happening lately and I’d been wanting to try one. I wasn’t disappointed. It was a warm, old-fashioned gathering of people and food…

Dinner on the Farm, Inn Serendipity, Browntown, WI

…with tours of the farm and games for the kids…

Moo Grass Band  at Dinner on the Farm, Inn Serendipity, Browntown, WI…and fun-loving bluegrass music by the Moo Grass Band.

Solar-heated straw bale greenhouse at Inn Serendipity, Browntown, WI

Our fascinating hosts, John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist, describe their Inn Serendipity as an “incubator for land stewardship, ecologically-based design and living.” The inn is fully powered by renewable energy and what once was a grainery barn has now been renovated into this solar-heated straw bale greenhouse. John and Lisa use this building to germinate seedlings, dry garlic and store the many books they’ve authored.

Dinner on the Farm, Inn Serendipity, Browntown, WI

Monica Walch, left, talking with John and Lisa, coordinated the dinner. Monica founded her Dinner on the Farm business on the ideal of connecting “people back to the land and to the farmers and artisans who are making our communities a better place to live.”

I love this. We simply must support entrepreneurs dedicated to producing good, sustainable food!

Underground Food at Dinner on the Farm, Inn Serendipity, Browntown, WI

Speaking of dedicated entrepreneurs, look at the work and equipment that goes into preparing such a meal. Our chefs for the day were the Underground Food Collective, of Madison, often featured on public television’s Wisconsin Foodie.

Dinner on the Farm menu by Underground Food Collective, Madison, WI

Here was their menu.

Buffet by Underground Food Collective, Madison, WI

And here was their magnificent spread. Oh, it was so-o-o-o good!

Giardiniera by Underground Food Collective, Madison, WI

My favorite was this slow-pickled Giardiniera, with its hint of spicy pepper and heaps of flavorful vegetables. I took this picture knowing I’d never remember the name or yummy ingredients.

New Glarus Beer at Dinner on the Farm, Inn Serendipity, Browntown, WI

Top all of this off with a New Glarus Beer and our first dinner on the farm couldn’t have been any better.

Where’s that schedule of events—I want to do this again!