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.

Happy September!

September morning in Wisconsin

This was the view today as I came down the hill for my morning walk. Isn’t September beautiful? Even though I hate to see summer end, by the final weeks of August I’m always ready to leave that month behind and move on to the next. Hands down, autumn is my favorite season of all.

September’s a turning point for other reasons as well. In addition to special times such as my son’s wedding, family get togethers and lots of gardening, I’ve just finished a busy summer of projects (I’ll share more on them soon because I’m particularly proud of them). Now that those are done, I’m taking a deep breath and getting ready for my next pipeline—graphic design for an upcoming conference, responsive web design for a small business and copywriting for an innovative new product.

But, wait, I mustn’t forget—on top of all that, there’s also the Octoberfest brewery tour! Yes, once again my husband and I are planning a celebration of autumnal sipping and scenery (why, of course this is my favorite season!). Here’s what we’ve pegged so far. Look like fun? Any suggestions for sights along the way?

Have a blessed autumn everyone! Enjoy God’s gift of nature and love!

Google map for 2015 brewery tour

Counting Cranes for Earth Day

Counting Sand Hill Cranes in Farmington Township, Jefferson County, Wis.

On Saturday, my friend Liz and I got an early start to Earth Day celebrations. Literally. As in rolling out of bed and venturing out in the field by 5:30 a.m. for the Annual Midwest Crane Count. At such a pristine hour, the sun hadn’t fully risen, but the music of nature was in surround sound.

Wood duck in Jefferson County, WIs., DNR marshland

We saw flocks of Canadian Geese, Wood Ducks and scores of smaller wetland birds. We heard a pair of Horned Owls in the distance and choruses of Sandhills Cranes. And frogs, oh, the frogs!

Annual Midwest Crane Count, Jefferson County, Wis.

We’d been forewarned that our assigned area would be a little wet. You know your friend is a kindred spirit when she’s willing to rise early on her day off and muck through a swamp.

DNR marshland Farmington Township, Jefferson County, Wis.

By 7:30 the sun was up and we’d completed our 2-hour count. Based on the Sandhill calls and the directions from which they came, we recorded hearing six cranes and seeing one in flight. From there, we headed to Sustain Jefferson for its sixth annual Organic Gardening Workshops and Potato Fair.

All in all, what a wonderful way to appreciate the beautiful earth God has given us!

Earth Day is April 22—what are you doing to celebrate?

Day #5: Meandering the Great River Road

Autumn color in western WIsconsin Where do I begin when I have a gazillion pictures of brilliant autumn color, magnificent rock formations and serendipitously winding roads? I could share them all, but first allow me some digression.

Tuesday after touring Minhas Craft Brewery in Monroe, we pointed our car westward and headed to Cassville, Wis. We had a cabin on the Mississippi waiting for us, but by time we settled in, it was cold, raining and dark.

Eagle's Roost Resort, Cassville, WI When we woke up the next morning—voilà!— here was this welcoming view from our deck. Sunshine. Warm temperatures. The river.


Eagles at Eagle's Roost Resort, Cassville, WI Bald eagles! Lots of them!

Aptly named, our cabin was part of the Eagle’s Roost Resort. We had such a beautiful view of the river, waterfowl and these soaring eagles. I’ve decided a zoomier lens is next on my not-totally-necessary-but sure-would-be-nice purchases.

Mississippi River towns in Wisconsin Cassville wholeheartedly lives up to the expression “sleepy little river town.” It’s a Main-Street village nestled in the narrow stretch between the bluffs and the river. Add a railroad track to that, along with a train coming through every hour or so, and you’ve got a perfect picture of every town up and down the river.

We had a fun breakfast at this cafe. We sat by quietly listening, laughing and finally joining in with the locals as they shared the neighborhood gossip with us. We learned quite a bit!

Wyalusing state park,  wisconsin And then, because we’ve been eating the tastiest of Wisconsin’s food and topping it off with some mighty fine beer (it is our Octoberfest Tour, after all!), we ventured to work it off by trekking through two state parks; Nelson Dewey and Weyalusing. Let’s just say these bluffs are breathtaking in more ways than one.

Poison Ivy I thought a quick stop behind a tree was necessary until I saw these leaves of three. Gee, but they’re pretty. I decided my urgency, like many of life’s woes, was all in my head and I could wait until we got back to the rest area.

Church in bluffs in Marquette, IA We hopped across the river into Marquette, Iowa, to see this totally adorable church. Would you think it’s now repurposed into a home? Perhaps a Doors Open is in order? Imagine seeing those bluffs out your back window.

Pearl Street Brewery sign, La Crosse, WI Finally, at the end of a meandering day, we made it up to La Crosse and checked into our hotel on Pearl St. And eventually found the Pearl Street Brewery, which incidentally is not on Pearl Street. But I’ll leave that for another day.

In the meantime, here’s another shot of a gorgeous winding road.

Autumn colors in western Wisconsin A bend in the road is not the end of the road…unless you fail to make the turn. — Unknown

Next stop: Pearl Street Brewery, La Crosse

Crabapples and Emotions: Marketing Like You Never Knew

Autumn crabapples in Wisconsin

Folklore says that fruit- and nut-bearing trees in their mast year are predictions of a hard winter. If that’s true and my crabapple trees are to be considered, then, yep, a strong winter is on its way. My trees are loaded. Apparently our tried-and-true Farmers’ Almanac agrees because last week it came out with its Winter Outlook 2015: More Shivery and Shovelry! As if all this isn’t enough, today I was in a hardware store that was running a special on snowblowers.

Snowblowers! Really?!

Actually that store isn’t unreasonable. Considering we all love to talk about our weather (better yet, dramatize), the store owner is simply employing smart marketing tactics to get a head start on selling his product. He’s using fear, the number one of 10 emotional triggers that commonly affect our buying and selling. Retailers, bloggers, radio talk shows—they all use fear to rile us up and motivate us to action.

Fear is okay. But it can usually be filed under “not quite all the facts,” right along with many old-time folklores. In truth, those crabapples of mine are rather pretty and will feed lots of birds this winter. I like to think of them as preparation for the months ahead (maybe even a batch of crabapple wine or cider—how’s that for putting the cold in order :-).

If I’m going to use emotional triggers to sell my services or my clients’ products, I prefer “trust,” “value” and “belonging.” I like “trendsetting,” in terms of innovative, or ahead of the game. I really like “time,” because when you let me help you with your marketing, I give you more time to do the things you’re best at doing: running your business.