Category Archives: Saturday Snapshots

Morning Meandering/Saturday Snapshot: People Slut


Happy Saturday!  Ok ok… my title of this post might have been a ploy to get you click over thinking “Oh my word Sheila… what is going on?”


Maybe not.  Read on to find out. ;)

This weekend is the BIG Moondance Jam in our area and many of the Brainerdites and people all over Minnesota have gathered in Walker Minnesota to listen to a weekend of awesome bands, eat super bad for you but delicious food, and drink lots of beer and camp on site.  There are a couple of bands I would not have minded hearing:  Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, STYX, The Wallflowers….  but honestly I can only take the big crazy crowds for so long and I would want to just go, listen to some bands and leave (not camp) and it is a long drive… so anyway….


Another group of friends are having their Class Reunion this weekend….

basically, Brainerd is pretty empty. :)

I tell you all of this… leading into my Saturday Snapshot this weekend, it is all about where I am thrilled to be this weekend… at home, hanging out on my deck which is my favorite place to be when the sun is out and the breeze is gentle.  So this morning, I took a little walk through my yard taking a few pictures of some of the things that make me smile:

Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

This swing sits in the back yard. I don’t sit in it very often anymore but I like the look of it and at one time it was a great reading nook.


Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

Hostas along side of the garage…. I love hostas! They do not take a lot of work, grow huge… and make me look like an impressive gardener (I am not)


Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

My crazy apple tree.. the one that never has an off-year and breaks its branches because the apples are too heavy. You may remember the pics of this one last year after it broke in half.


Book JOurney, Sheila DeChantal

This is where the tree broke last year and a friend of mine told me you could actually graft the tree branch and tape it back together… crazy idea but what did I have to lose?


Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

It worked! This picture was taken this morning from the broken branches! Of course… it looks like it is going to be heavy with apples again so I am worried all over….




This is a walnut tree. I am pretty proud of the walnut trees in the yard. There are 5. I don’t know why… no one else around has them… but they have always been on this property.

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey



Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Plum tree! I planted this one after the tornado in 2001.


Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

Plums! I only have the one tree so do not harvest large quantities for jelly, etc… I usually leave them for the birds.


Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

I like to put out goodies for the critters…. this one is peanuts for the squirrels.


Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

We have several crab apple trees in the yard and these do rotate years. This year this appears to be the only one that is going to crazy produce. I think this fall I will make jelly.


For more Saturday snapshots… check it out here!


Ok…. you have been patient, listening to me babble, looking politely at my pictures and smiling and nodding… I can now tell you about people slut.  I seen to be going through a sentimental season.  I am trying to connect with family and friends and spend time with them.  In other words – I am working on SLOWING DOWN.  Yup.. I said it.  I love being with people – all people (thus the people slut title, which I believe a friend once called me (affectionately – not mean) because I can talk to and enjoy talking to … anyone.


Anyhoo… maybe that did not hold up as well as I thought it would when I thought of it this morning. :)  Oh well… still nice to hang out with you.

Today… I am reading California by Edan Lepucki.  I am listening to I Don’t Know What You Know Me From by Judy Greer.  I am trying to line up a lunch date with my cousin.  I may go to a movie later with Al.  And tomorrow morning, I am going on an annual 50 mile bike ride is St Joseph Minnesota with my friend Amy.

What are you doing with your weekend?

Morning Meanderings.. Parades In Small Towns



Good morning!  How did everyone survive the 4th of July?  We had a fun time with friends but wow… it wiped me out. :D

As I mentioned yesterday morning, we were going to a parade about 30 miles from here in a town called Hillman Minnesota – population 38.  Apparently, I was told, they do an amazing job, and me, not the biggest fan of parades but all about adventure….

was curious. :)

For todays Saturday Snapshot, here are pictures from the Hillman Minnesota parade:

Hillman Minnesota, Book JOurney

On our way there we seen this little delight on the road… truly happy 4th celebrators on their way to Hillman!


Hillman Minnesota, parade, Book Journey

My friend’s daughter having a little face painting done before the parade start


Hillman Minnesota, Book Journey

These flowers were over by the craft tables and I needed a picture so I could look more closely at them after I came home. I love these.


Hillman Minnesota, Book Journey

Close up of the pics


Hillman Minnesota, Book Journey

Population grew IMMENSELY during the parade, a good 3,000 were all over the place.


Hillman Minnesota

Calf in the parade


Hillman Minnesota, Book Journey

1916 car. That was pretty cool.


Hillman Minnesota, Book Journey

Wizard of Oz float


Hillman Minnesota, Book Journey

The guys… the center one is my hubby.


The parade was about an hour-long.  There was a lot of old cars, souped up trucks, of course – people running for offices – Sheriff, etc…, lots of candy for the kids, and just a good time over all.

Afterwards we went to a friend’s home for hanging out, grilling, and catching up.  There were about 14 of us. Al (hubby) and I came home around 6:30 pm, I sat down with a book and promptly fell asleep by 7:30 pm.  *embarrassing*

It was a great way to spend the 4th.

Please stop and see other Saturday Snapshots here.

What did you do with your 4th of July?

Saturday Snapshot : TORNADO


This morning,I was going to go a completely different direction with Saturday Snapshot.  As I walked my yard, I was taking pictures of trees…  I love trees and we have quite the variety, silver maples, apple, cherry, plum, oak, and even walnut.  But – that one will have to wait.  As I looked around the yard I love so much, I went somewhere else.

Last Friday June 13th marked the 13th anniversary of the tornado that destroyed most of our property, Al (hubby’s) business, and not only changed our lives forever – but those of our neighbors too.  This morning as I walked the yard I started taking pictures of the “now” and then came in the house and took pictures of the pictures I have in an album of the “then”.


On June 13th, 2001, I had come home from work around 5:30.  I remember all of this because I documented the day, and the days and weeks to follow, in a journal.  The sky that night, I need no journal to remind me of.  It was a thick sort of green and looked cartoonish.  In fact, I thought it was so unique that I went outside and took pictures of the sky with my camera at the time.  The pictures never did the sky justice, but one of the pictures I took from our back deck was this one of our neighbors farm:



The picture is much better in my album, but as you can make out this is a large farm.


The next morning – I stood in the same spot on my deck and took a picture of their farm, or what was left of it, again.


So what went down?

Al had just left to go and do a bid for a guy on the south end of town.  I was on the couch reading after dinner and the boys ( at the time they were 10 and 12) were watching tv.  The tv came through with a tornado warning in the area.  This is common for June in this area and I barely even flinched.  Then, Al came running in the house telling us to all get in the basement.  He had been driving and seen the wall of the tornado south of us, turned around and raced home.

We all went to the basement, us and our two dogs.  We sat under the stairs and we could hear the wind pick up.  The house started to shake and dirt from between the floor boards above our head started to fall.  I remember I was sitting cross-legged and then thought better of it thinking if we did become trapped in the house how uncomfortable that would be to be stuck that way.

After a while – it just went quiet.

Al decided to go upstairs and look around.  I was envisioning that scene out of Twister where the dad opens the door to the cellar and is whisked away.  Upstairs I could hear him walking around saying “Oh no, no…”  I told the boys to stay put and I joined Al upstairs.  We had no electricity then – in fact we did not have electricity, or running water for the four days following.  Through the flashes of lightning we could see our home, plants turned over, our bedroom door was ripped off the hinges and was now in the living room, our windows had exploded and shards of glass had embedded itself in the walls across from the windows.  Outside we could see trees down everywhere and large chunks of our yard torn up.

I kept repeating, “We were hit.  We were hit.”


Even as I type this I kind of tear up because it was a scary time for us.  Al had just finished putting up his 40 x 80 building for his business out behind our yard, and the electricity had just been put in the week before.  It was gone.

Here are some pictures from that night… to this morning.



Left – our home this morning. Right – that morning after the tornado. The tree that is down was a large crab tree, really the center focus of the front yard. It broke my heart to see that tree split and dying.



Left: The back of the house this morning. Right: The back of the house the morning after the tornado. The large tree still in today’s picture split in half and landed on our roof. This tree is the reason we did not lose our home entirely, the weight of the tree still attached to the deep roots help our roof on. The front of the houses roof lifted 5 inches, but never came off. LOVE that tree. :)



Left – the garage area this morning. Right – where our garage had stood before the tornado. At the time the garage was not attached to the house (perhaps a good thing) and the tornado completely took it. The red jeep and the white truck were parked in front of the garage as you see them here. My jeep was untouched and Al’s truck had a hairline crack in the windshield. The garage must have went straight in the air and left the yard intact. The remains from it was found across the road behind a neighbors back yard.



Left: A tree in our back yard this morning. Right: That same tree the day after the tornado. What is wrapped around it is the roof from Al’s shop. What is crazy is that if the roof had not been stopped by becoming caught on this tree, it would have hit our house at a speed of over 100 miles per hour. Al wanted to cut this tree down after the tornado but I said no. Then all the branches off the backside of it had been seared off, but today it is healthy and whole again.



This is a shot of our back yard after the tornado. The plastic white things are to put calves in from our neighbors farm. We pretty much had all of their damage in our yard and the neighbors across the street had all of ours.



More of the yard. We lost about 40 trees after all was said and done.



Friends who came to help with the clean up.



It is the pictures of the friends who came to help afterwards that brings the tears back to my eyes but this time with a smile.  We worked for days afterwards, cutting up the trees, hauling away debris, repairing the house.  It took over a year to bring the house and yard back to some sort of normalcy.

Here is what happened during the tornado:

  • all windows on the back side of the house were blown out
  • the back and sides of the house had the wood siding ripped off
  • we lost our garage entirely
  • Al lost his shop entirely
  • 40 trees lost
  • garden was destroyed
  • another garage on the property was bowed in back like a “C”
  • Basement flooded the day after the tornado
  • bedroom (along back side of house) was destroyed

When all was said and done we resided the house with an aluminum steel siding.  We replaced the large bay window in the bedroom with a smaller one.  We saved the tree on the deck, he is half the tree he used to be but that is ok. :)  We have since remodeled the basement (2004) to now be a second level to our home – family room, a bedroom, storage and laundry.  Al rebuilt his business with the insurance money and is now thriving.  Our home has been remodeled, we built a new garage to go on the house, and our yard – while not as many trees as I would like…. has sort of a park look to it now and I like it.



The back yard this morning.


This morning, I had to look hard to find it, but I did. This is a piece of metal that was driven into this tree in our yard during the tornado. It is a good 6 inches into the tree and will never come out. A reminder of what was….



This final picture was taken last night.  I love my back yard.  And if you look way out you can see the trucks of Al’s business, 13 years later doing well, rebuilt after that night that rocked our world forever.


Check out other Saturday Snapshots here. :)



Saturday Snapshot – Why Am I At A Camp For Those Infected and Affected By AIDS?


For today’s Saturday Snapshot I thought I would share with you where I have been this past week.  I am on a Camp Board for a Camp called Camp Benedict.  This camp is an educational camp for those infected and affected by AIDS.  The camp is a family camp, which means we have men, women, and children at camp, and we have people who have obtained AIDS through many different ways:



Blood transfusions (before they tested blood back in the 80’s)

and yes, children born with AIDS


My connection to this camp and cause stems back 5 years, and you can read about it here.  During the year we have a large event and a bike ride to raise money to provide camp for free to those who attend.  The camp is the only one like it in a 6 state range.

Anyhoo… here are some of the pics from this past week:


Cap Benedict, Book Journey

This year was the 20th year of Camp Benedict!




Camp Benedict is an education camp and throughout the week there will be different speakers covering topics like- stigma, health, medications, laws, men’s groups and women’s groups.



We bring in experts on different topics and from different agencies to help answer questions.


While the adults are in classes, the kids have their own things going on with Camp K staff. They also have their own classes where they learn about AIDS and about how to be supportive of their parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent, etc…

Camp Benedict

The camp provided meals and snacks.


Camp Benedict, Book Journey

Of course camp is not all work and study – it is after all… camp. :) From lunch time (noon) to 5:30 (dinner time) is free time and the camp provides water sports, horse back riding, massage, Reiki, pontoon rides, and a trip to the Dairy Queen. Or – you can do as I did… sit in the warm sun read a bit and take a nap :)


Camp Benedict, Book Journey

On the first day of camp we all wrote down words associated with what we thought when we first heard about AIDS. We put those words in a box and on the last evening of camp we burned those words.


Camp benedict, Book Journey

On the last night we have a closing ceremony and then we have KARAOKE and a dance for all the campers. It was so fun to watch the little kids!



Our DJ this year was fantastic and she really provided fun things that involved all ages


Jason Hatton, Book Journey, Camp Benedict

Friendships are built in that week of camp. Jason has been to camp three times. It’s always great to see old friends and make new ones too!



It is tradition at camp that on the last day as the bus leaves the camp K staff builds a pyramid to wave off the campers.



Camp Benedict, Book Journey

The close of Camp Benedict 2014.


So why am I a part of this camp?  I LOVE what it is doing.  I love Connie Statz, the woman who bravely 20 years ago had an idea for a way to support others with AIDS and she ran with her vision and this that I just showed you – is the AMAZING result.  I love working with this board of people all striving to encourage, support, and teach.  And I love the campers, I enjoy getting to know people throughout the week, listening to their stories and knowing that I am helping to provide a good take-away from them hanging out at this beautiful camp.

Thanks everyone who serves on the Camp Benedict Board and Friends of Camp Benedict.  Thanks to the camp staff, and of course to all the campers who travel from all over to have a week at a beautiful camp and hopefully leave with a great experience.

If you would like to support Camp Benedict, here is a link to my support page where I raise funds for the bike ride in August which goes directly to the camp.


Be sure to check out other Saturday Snaphot posts ans see what everyone else is taking pictures of this week :D

Morning Meanderings: Awkward Moments At The Book Expo


Good morning from New York!  I have not dropped off the face of the earth, I have just been running from morning to night at the Book Expo in New York.

I have MANY things to share with you once I come home about the expo, the books, the people, the events…  but for now… just a funny little story and a couple of pics for Saturday Snapshot. :)

So… on Wednesday at the Blogger Convention, author Maureen Johnson was the keynote speaker.  At the beginning of her talk she mentions the book 50 Shades Of Gray.  Alison from Alison’s Book Marks and I have a joke about that book so I put on Twitter “20 minutes in and already a mention of 50 Shades Of Gray” and tagged Alison.  (I did not realize due to poor internet reception that this tweet did not post but went into drafts instead.)

Anyhoo…. flash forward to yesterday morning and Alison and I are at the Children’s breakfast which was AMAZING with moderator, Jason Segel. (Yes!  That Jason Segel!) I put on Twitter that I am at the Children’s Breakfast at the book expo.   Then Twitter pops up on my phone and says

“you have drafts to send would you like to send them now?”


I click yes… and before I know it, following my “I am at the Children’s Breakfast at the book Expo” tweet is…

“20 minutes in and already a mention of 50 Shades Of Gray” 





Anyhoo… today is my last day at the expo.  I am heading that way in about an hour to wrap up a few things but for my Saturday Snapshot post I thought I would send a couple of pics your way….  also, please see my posts at Armchair BEA where I have interviewed a couple of authors and publishing houses. :D

zombie, New York, Book Expo, BookJourney, Sheila DeChantal

Outside… across form our hotel? Should I be worried? Is there where watching The Walking Dead pays off?


Harper Collins, Book Journey, Book Expo, Sheila DeChantal, Adriana Trigiani, Dorothy Benotn Frank, Stephanie Evanovich

The Harper Collins Blogger Party… from the left: Dorothy Benton Frank, me, Adriana Trigiani, and Stephanie Evanovich. Made my night!



Streets of New York


New York, Book Expo, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

Walking back to our hotel – with (center) Alison from Alison’s Book Marks and (right) Candace from Beth Fish Reads


Catch you back in Minnesota!

Morning Meanderings… The End Of An Era


Saturday the 24th!  Egads…. in three days I will be on a plane for New York.  I feel like I have so much to do yet… shopping for me, shopping for the hubby, pedicure…..

If you have been following what has been happening here lately you know that tomorrow we are moving out of our current office space into a building we purchased.  YAY about our first building!!!  But…. if I were honest, I am a little sad too to leave the space I have worked in for the past 10 years.  My focus today for Saturday Snapshot is my office, as it looked this morning when I popped in.


This (above) is my desk.  Our office was in an old school, we officed out of the school library.  I find that poetic. ;)  As you can see my computer is gone, my phone is gone and the shelves are bare.



Here is the other side of my desk.  My chair has a label on it saying it goes with my desk.  Every box is labeled “Sheila’s Desk”, Dawn’s Desk”, Office storage”, etc…


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This is the rest of the library space in the “throws” of being packed up.



Empty shelves have always bothered me…..  ;)


2a - Copy

This is the center space where all the Pastoral staff worked.  This is the cubicles that will be taken down tomorrow afternoon and moved to the new space.



This is the desk across from mine, my co-workers desk.  This is the original Librarians desk with a new front on it to match my desk that was built and placed in that space.


My job is a Family Life Administrator.  I work with the Children’s and Student (Teen’s) Pastor as well as the Connections Pastor.  What does that mean?  I keep track of classes, run all paper work for the three of them, contact people and keep on-line groups of people interested in studies, marriage classes, child dedication, baptism, membership.  I am also the Special Events Coordinator and I plan out events like a Fall Kick Off Party, summer picnic…   I really enjoy what I do.


Add your pics to the Saturday Snapshot meme by clicking on the link and going to West Metro Mommy’s blog.  You can also see what others are taking pictures of around the world.

I… am now heading outside to finish mowing.  In about an hour friends are coming over and we are going motor cycle riding with them this afternoon.  As busy as I am now, the break and hanging with friends is a welcome one. :)


Stay safe everyone this Memorial weekend.  Any fun plans?






Literacy Events and Plenty Of Cake


Happy Saturday!  Really!  The sun is shining in central Minnesota and I think I will actually be able to mow today which I LOVE!  (Mowing = audio time) :D

If you read my morning post yesterday I listed some bookish things I was doing with my day.  My friend Gail and I went to help out a struggling lending library that was lacking books.  It was a fun little road trip with coffee and scones (thanks Gail!)  The owner had put out an s.o.s. on Facebook and he said the post received over 4,000 hits!  Our community passed the word and he said books had been coming in.  Between Gail and I, I believe we brought them another 40-50 books. 


The books I gave to the lending library




This is on the side of the lending library that sits outside Zaiser’s in NIsswa.


Then yesterday afternoon The Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library were part of a Literacy Award for our Community College where the author Jon Hassler, once taught.  Jon wrote many books from adult fiction and non fiction to children’s stories.  He is most known for Staggerford, which was also Jon’s first book, about a week in the life of a teacher in a fictional small town in Minnesota. His books have been said to be filled with a lot of action or major happenings, but more like the Mittford series by Jan Karon or the Debbie MaComber series.  


The friends handled the reception of the event with trays of goodies and cake and coffee





This is the 5th Literary Landmark for Minnesota – YAY!  The others are:

  • Boyhood home of Sinclair Lewis, Sauk Centre, Minn. Harry Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) spent his formative years in this home. He was an American novelist, short story writer, and playwright who became the first writer from the United States to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. His works are known for their insightful and critical views of American society and capitalist values, as well as for their strong characterizations of working women. Partners: Minnesota Association of Library Friends, Sinclair Lewis Foundation. Dedicated July 16, 2013.  

  • Betsy’s House, Mankato, Minn. The childhood home of Maud Hart Lovelace was dedicated along with the childhood home of her best friend, Frances “Bick” Kenney. Lovelace’s series of Betsy-Tacy books was based on her and Bick’s adventures growing up in Mankato. Dedicated May 20, 2010. Partner: Betsy-Tacy Society.
  • Tacy’s House, Mankato, Minn. The childhood home of Frances “Bick” Kenney was dedicated along with the childhood home of her best friend, Maud Hart Lovelace. Lovelace’s series of Betsy-Tacy books was based on her and Bick’s adventures growing up in Mankato. Dedicated May 20, 2010. Partner: Betsy-Tacy Society.
  • 481 Laurel Avenue, the birthplace on September 24, 1896 of novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, who is internationally renowned for such works as The Great Gatsby, Tender is the Night, and This Side of Paradise. Saint Paul, MN. Dedicated September 24, 2004. Partner: The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library


*as seen on the United For Libraries page, Literary Landmarks by State.


It was awesome to be a part of this event.  I was there along with a few hard-working Friends of Our Library – Gail, Laura, and Jolene from our Library in Brainerd. 


I have posted this to Saturday Snapshots.  Pop over and see what other photos are being posted around the world today :)


Literary Weekend Trip and a Tasty Recipe


I thought this morning I would do a combo post between Saturday Snapshot and Weekend cooking… both memes that I love to participate in as I enjoy taking pictures and trying new things in the kitchen… but dont always have the time to write the posts. :)


Last weekend I ventured to the North Shore to our cabin… just me and my dog with the plan to do a little spring cleaning, a little reading and movie watching and just wind down… before spring really hits and life winds up and I go go go!


Large left: the tunnel by Two Harbors Top two right: Just fun things between Duluth and the North Shore Bottom two right: Road as you drive into the rocky terrain, this road was actually blasted through the rock to be made, and the far bottom right is the outside wall of the famous Glensheen mansion, I have toured it many times.



Sammy made the trip with me. We made a pit stop in Two Harbors for frozen custard.


While at the cabin in Finland Minnesota I read two books and watched three movies.  It felt great :)  I never have time to do things like that.


To post your own pics, or to see others and what they are posting this weekend… check out Saturday Snapshot.



Switching gears, a friend of mine hooked me up with a tasty little recipe I would like to share for weekend cooking.  Like reubens?  This you will LOVE.


Reuben Roll

1 tube Pillsbury Pizza Dough
1/4 cup thousand island dressing, + 2 tbsp for top
1/4 pound sliced corned beef or pastromi deli meat, chopped up (I used deli turkey as I am not a fan of corned been or pastrami)
3/4 cup Sauerkraut, drained and squeezed dry
2 cups grated Swiss cheese, + 1/2 cup for top


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Unroll the Pillsbury pizza dough on a greased baking sheet. Press to about 14 inches x 9 inches. Bake for 8 minutes then remove from oven. Spread the 1/4 cup of thousand island dressing over the crust, all the way to the edges. Top with the chopped corned beef, drained sauerkraut, and 2 cups of Swiss cheese. Carefully roll up the pizza into a tube. Place the pizza roll into a 9×5 inch loaf pan, seam side down.
Drizzle the top with the remaining thousand island dressing and shredded cheese. Continue baking for 10-12 minutes longer or until cheese is bubbly in the center. Carefully remove from pan and slice to serve. Enjoy!


It was delicious – I made it this past week for hubby and I and we both really enjoyed it.

See other fun recipes to try (and I have found more than a few!) by checking out Weekend Cooking.







Morning Meanderings.. “Agate Vines”



Good morning!  Hope everyone is doing SUPER FINE this happy Saturday :)  We had a bit of sunshine yesterday that melted away Thursday snow storm so I am looking forward (*hopefully* fingers crossed*) to no more snow.

Yesterday evening, our Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library helped to host a local artist who had recently created original lights to go over the circulation desk.  Today I thought I would share that for Saturday Snapshot.


I have known Greg Rosenberg for many years now.  Until recently, his business was located downstairs from the office I work at.  Occasionally I would pop in to see what he was working on.  Greg works with stained glass, metal, and yes – agates, to create original art works.  Here is one of his many lamps he has made:

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Gorgeous yes? 

Here are pictures from last nights event:


Other artists spoke regarding the importance of art in our community and Greg spoke about the lights and the inspiration behind them.


It was a good turn out. About 35 people came to see the lights and celebrate with Greg.


The Friends of the Library served cake….



and Lily had made a tasty beverage with apple juice, 7 up, lemon juice and real ginger.


The lights as you can see, each hang from a metal “root base”. They hook into the base. Each one is unique and as you look at them you will find hidden vines, shapes, one even has an extended heart shape agate that comes off the lamp to look like a leaf. The agates are Brazilian Agate and Minnesota. Greg calls the lights “agate vines”


Here is a picture of the lights over the desk. There are 6 in all. Attendees of last nights event had an opportunity to walk behind the circulation desk as well so they could see all sides of the lights.


This is Greg and his wife Margaret standing by the circulation desk.

Greg also made a beautiful window using a mixture of agates and stained glass that sits above the doors into the library from the entryway.  I apparently was too busy talking to people last night and forgot to take a picture of it, but it is another gorgeous original piece.

To see more of Greg’s work, please check out his website at Shining Light Studio.

It was a fun evening!

Morning Meanderings… All For The Bees


Good morning.  Happy Saturday.  I am sooooo excited to have a pretty much “no commitment day”.  It has been about two weeks since I have had one of these.  :D

For Saturday Snapshot today I though it would be fun to bring up something I talked about a couple of years ago but recently revisited…


A couple of years ago my friend Amanda took on the adventure of raising bees and harvesting pure organic honey.  Always fascinated with anything buzzy, shiny… I was in on that deal.  I was thrilled when she invited me over to help her out:


May 2012


By spending a day with her, I learned so much about bees and bee keeping…. for one… it is a heck of a lot of work:


The bee boxes – that she builds herself are filled with slats for bees to build their honey. 


You put the bees into the boxes and they will weave themselves in and out of the slots and trays where they will be making honey.



Every bee box needs a queen and you add her to the box just as seen here, in this little box that will have a marshmallow on the end. In about three days the bees will eat the marshmallow and the Queen will be set free to run her hive.  Crazy and fascinating stuff!  At the time of this picture Amanda was purchasing her queens, but she has since learned to create her own which is a talent not many of the bee people have which gives her a bit of a notch up.


Above I showed you what a new bee box looks like, but this one is a well used box where bees have been busy doing their thing.  In this pic Amanda is looking for the Queen.  II felt a need a to capitalize, after all.. she is the queen. ;)





It has been two years now since Amanda has started and her business is buzzing (sorry couldn’t resist!)  They now have a website called Buck’s Busy Bee’s and she travels between here in Central Minnesota to Florida where her bees are being used to help pollinate fruit trees. 


This past week their family was in a bit of a crisis with the sudden unexpected loss of a grandmother.  Amanda had 15,000 bee frames to make by today to be loaded on a truck that leaves tomorrow morning.  With the additional things going on this week she was unsure how she would ever make it happen.  Myself as well as a whole team of relatives and friends went over to her home on Wednesday and we made bee frames and bee boxes.  I only took one picture while I was there – but I wish I would have taken more of everyone working together to make deadline.  It really was a cool thing to see and I learned something new… how to build the bee box frames.  :D


This is from Amanda’s garage where we built the frames (up close) that go in the boxes (far right).

As the frames are glued… I was covered in it!  It was a good time though and I was happy to help. I hope to get out there more this year and help her.  This fall I will be writing an article about Amanda and the bees for Her Voice magazine.  I am happy to share her story :)




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