Fermentation Fest: A Live Culture Convergence

Nameplate for Fermentation Fest

Turn on the T.V. or page through any number of magazines and you’ll find that Wisconsin is cultivating a prestigious culinary scene. From James Beard award winners to specialty food entrepreneurs, our beloved Badger State is taking on an epicurean eminence that goes far beyond beer, cheese, sausage and fish fries.

Knowing this, you can rightly assume Wisconsin’s putting on some sumptuous food festivals. Among them, Fermentation Fest is literally bubbling its way to the top.

Definition of culture shed, by Jay Salinas, Wormfarm InstituteNow in its fourth year, Fermentation Fest is a 10-day celebration of the arts, farming and fermented food. There are how-to classes for the ancient art of fermentation. There are tasting events that expand one’s senses beyond the homogeneity of today’s grocery stores. There are musicians, poets and storytellers. And, if that’s not enough, there is art—how does a 50-mile self-guided Farm/Art D’Tour through the breathtaking farmlands of
Sauk County grab you? Think meandering country roads…rolling unglaciated hills…October, in all its autumn glory. As organizers define it, Fermentation Fest is a celebration of the “cultureshed” of Wisconsin’s Driftless area.

Fermentation Fest is the brainchild of Donna Neuwirth and Jay Salinas, and their Wormfarm Institute, a non-profit organization fostering arts and agriculture. Supported in part through the National Endowment for the Arts and ArtPlace America, Sauk County is the only rural county to receive art funding, says Donna. The fest is also hosted by the Sauk County UW Extension and the Reedsburg Chamber of Commerce, and sponsored by a multitude of businesses and organizations. Yes, Fermentation Fest is truly a convergence of culture.

So this year I’m super excited to be part of Fermentation Fest. My dear friend, Ann Foley, who designs for The Creative Company and Madison’s Brat Fest—another great food event—recommended me for doing the Fermentation Fest newsletter. Thank you, Ann!

And thank you, Donna! I’m honored to be working on this project and loving the time I get to spend in beautiful Sauk County!

Hey, make sure you sign up to get the latest on Fermentation Fest’s schedule and registration!

 

Why Christians Should Celebrate Earth Day 2014

Moss growing on log in Glacial Drumlin Bike Trail, Jefferson Co., WisconsinToday is Earth Day and here’s why Christians should be part of this annual celebration. And even though our main focus is eternal life in heaven, here’s why we should practice mindful stewardship during our time here on earth—not just on Earth Day, but every day.

God’s Creation

In the Bible book of Genesis, chapters 1 and 2 tell us the earth and everything in it were created by God. The earth is God’s masterpiece, both in form and function. We wouldn’t dream of littering an artist’s work in a museum with garbage or toxic waste. Certainly God’s work—his earth—deserves this same respect.

Granddaughter looking up to a beautiful blue skyGod’s Assignment to Us

I realize we humans can’t determine the fate of our planet any more than we can the length of our lives. But we can take responsibility for both their quality and care. After all, this is what God entrusts to us when, in Genesis 1:28, he commands “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it.”

I think of this as my husband and I enjoy nature with our granddaughter. Shouldn’t she and every other precious child be able to lay in God’s green grass and look up to his beautiful sky without fear of chemicals and pollution? Shouldn’t they have natural food to eat that won’t harm them or the children they may someday bring forth?

God has given us the job of being caretakers of his earth—for ourselves, for our children and for their children. Such a high calling this is!

Spring blossoms against Fachwerk BarnAppreciation to God

When God offered us his gift of salvation, he precursored it with a temporary stay here on earth. Given the state of our sinfulness, we certainly deserve accommodations much worse. Yet our Lord, in his great love, lets us live in this beautiful world. Wow, we are so blessed! The more I travel, the more I learn of the environment and our human body, the more I strive to live naturally—the more I do any of these things—I am so much more amazed by the graciousness and intelligence of God’s design.

In Psalm 139:14, David writes, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” We owe God this same appreciation. We can show this by caring for everything and everyone he has created.

Sunset on Georgian Bay, Ontario, CanadaGlory to God

Some people are worried Earth Day has taken a paganistic twist. Others feel we’ve allowed “saving the environment” to become our modern day idol. Well, instead of automatically denouncing this annual celebration, why don’t we Christians just speak out? On Earth Day and every day, let’s praise God with our voice and glorify him with our actions. Let’s be good stewards of his earthly masterpiece.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God,” 1 Corinthians 10:31.

Beauty in the Brown

Yesterday I was in Reedsburg, Wisconsin for a client meeting. Geologically speaking, this is an interesting area of the state. It’s tucked between the glaciated hills of the Baraboo Range and the unglaciated ruggedness of the Driftless Area. As I drove the backroads, I chided myself for breaking a photographer’s number one rule: never be without your camera. Thank goodness for cell phones.

Sauk County, WIsconsin in spring

Even though everything is brown at this time of year (including the unmelted snow), there’s a unique beauty in the monotones of spring.

Irrigation in Sauk County, WI

There’s beauty in repetition right?

Country road in Sauk County, WI

Or the hopeful expectation of a curved road up ahead.

Abandoned farmhouse in Sauk County, WIThere’s even a forlorn beauty in an abandoned farmhouse.

Mailbox decorated for Easter in Sauk County, WIAnd just when you think you’ve seen enough brown, you come upon a mailbox such as this. How fun it is!

So my new project is exciting! It’s going to involve these very fields of Sauk County, Wisconsin, along with good food and awesome art. Stay tuned in the months ahead, there’s more to come!

 

Responsive Web, Inverted Pyramids and Door County, Wisconsin

Cave Point, Door County, Wisconsin

If there’s anything that reinforces the need for good web design, it’s a 4-day weekend in the boondocks. Think about it: If you’ve got the who, what, where, when and why right in front of you, you’re pretty much good to go no matter where you happen to be.

Like Door County, Wisconsin. In February.

Door County is an almost 500-square-mile jut of land between the Green Bay and Lake Michigan. My husband and I were there last weekend for our anniversary. We love going at this time of year because it’s the quiet season. We can snowshoe in the many parks, find miles and miles of diverse shoreline and visit cozy, lakeside villages, all free of the crowds that make them a hot spot in summer.

That’s Cave Point in the picture. Isn’t it stunning? Often, the crashing Lake Michigan waves cover the rocks with sprays of water. This day everything—I mean, everything— was so very still. With temperatures well below zero, the water was a frigid wonder of clarity.

But Door County Wi-Fi? Understandably, not so clear.

Even though Door County is  more commercially developed than it was decades ago (sadly so, in my opinion), it’s still rather remote, especially when it comes to the internet. As we randomly zig-zagged the peninsula on country backroads, I perused my iPhone in search of the next cool place to stop. One minute there was reception, the next there wasn’t. Knowing it could give out at any time, I really appreciated a well-designed website.

I appreciated responsive websites even more.

Nowadays, a responsive website is a necessity for good business. Responsive web design is like the inverted pyramid of the old journalism days; it puts the most important information up front for optimal viewing no matter what device is being used.

Here are three sites I found helpful while in Door County. Two are simply well-designed and put the necessary information where it needs to be. The third is a fully responsive site that properly rearranges itself according to the order of importance and size of the device.

Wild Tomato Pizza, Fish Creek, WI

Here’s the Wild Tomato Restaurant and how it appears on my iPhone. Mmmm, this looks good, doesn’t it?

Many Door County businesses are closed for the winter. Yet when I googled “Door County pizza,” I found right here on Wild Tomato’s home page that they are open, where they’re located and their phone number. The fact that they link to a beer menu tells me they have artisan beers even if I don’t take the time to click into it.

Good business? You bet. The restaurant was super fun and the food was delicious!

St. John Lutheran Church, Door County, WI

Most churches don’t think of themselves as a business. Yet sometimes they need to act like one; for example, when they want to reach out to the tourists of their unique vacation community.

St. John does just that with its website. Right there on the home page I found the 5 W’s needed for knowing about the congregation and how we could attend its services. And yes, the members of this beautiful church in the country were as warm and welcoming as their website!

Door County, WIsconsin

So here’s the fully responsive site: The Door County Visitor Bureau. Check it out on your computer, then check it out on your iPod or smartphone. Notice how it’s packed full of interesting information and rather than proportionately shrinking it en masse for small devices, which would make it way too small to read, its responsiveness vertically rearranges the contents into segments in order of their importance.

That, my dears, is responsive web design and that’s what brings people to Door County, even in the dead of winter!


What about your website? How does it look on a smartphone? Can viewers clearly find what they need to know? Here’s a completely responsive website Adunate did for a Donny’s Girl Supper Club. Contact me if you’d like the same exposure for your business.


 

Wednesday Webs: Earth Day

Earth Day garden plant

I think we should make Earth Day a weeklong event. One day a year simply is not a big enough nod to the importance of taking care of our Earth. Our very beautiful Earth!

So I’m extending my Earth Day celebrations all week.