Monday, July 16, 2007

Grandson Gets His First Hit

Sure there are bigger events in the world, but to a kid that very first hit in an official ball game is an accomplishment to savor. So here's to the man!

Batter UP!



Wednesday, July 11, 2007

OFTA Hears from Smithcreek Potters

OFTA (Old Friends Talk Arts) attendees gathered at the Buchanan Center for the Arts on Wednesday, July 11th to hear Linda Sickmon and Carol Tenold of the Smithcreek Pottery talk about "The Soul of the Potter." Each woman brought samples of their work and talked briefly about how they had gotten started in ceramics and how they approach their art. Sickmon, for instance, prefers stoneware creations while Tenold favors working with porcelain finishes. Both talked about the unpredictability of working with various glazes and of the tensions that rise as they wait to open the kiln after a firing. The Smithcreek Pottery is located just west of Monmouth on Hwy 164 toward Oquawka. Look for a small sign on the right just after the intersection with Hwy 94.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Buchanan Center for the Arts opens Photo Show

Above-Landcape blue ribbon winner Linda Lee Blaine poses next to her shot of the harbor at Bergen, Norway.

Below-A group of guests enjoy the opening.

Judges John Vellenga and John Van Kirk present an award to a prize winner.

Jim Vugteveen, a local pharmacist, won two awards.

Almost two hundred photos, double the number of last year, graced the walls of the Buchanan Center for the Arts in Monmouth, IL last night (July 6, 2007) as the Security Savings Amateur Photography Exhibit opened to the public for its month long run. Categories range from Landscapes and Children to Animals and Flowers. Rene Burton, who captured Best of Show honor, was not in attendance at the opening, but a number of the other award winners were there to receive their ribbons as the pictures above will attest.

You may visit the exhibit Mon-Fri from 9-5 and Saturdays from 10-2. It is open free of charge to members of the Center. Non-members are encouraged to make a donation.

Should you wish to combine your attendance with a chance to hear from two local artists, you can come to OFTA (Old Friends Talk Arts) on Wednesday, July 11th at 10:00 AM. Linda Sickmon and Carol Tenold will display some of their ceramic creations and give a talk titled "The Soul of the Potter." There is no admission charge to attend OFTA programs and free refreshments are also available.

OFTA is partially supported by grants from the Buchanan Center for the Arts and the Ilinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Coon Valley, Wisconsin Beckons

What would you expect to find in Coon Valley, Wisconsin? Maybe some old lazy dogs, a sleepy bar dotted main drag, and a meandering trout stream out back! Yes, they're all there, but would you expect a fine Italian restaurant masquerading under the cover of a stereotypical small town Wisconsin tavern. Disciasios is the place and Lou, the proprietor, and his wife Marty produce as good an Italian menu as you can find anywhere in Cheesehead country. To top off the spinach lasagne, stuffed mushrooms, and veal scalopini there is also a nice selection of wines and imported brews.

If that's not enough of a reason to visit Coon Valley, about three miles out of town is Norskedalen. It is a nature center and Norweigian heritage village nestled in a gloriously scenic valley. It brings you the life of the gritty and resourceful Norweigian pioneers who settled the area in the latter part of the 19th century. There is a modern visitors center, a large shelter house for outdoor events, nature trails, and a group of restored pioneer buildings furnished with turn of the century fixtures and implements. For a very reasonable five dollar admission fee you can get a tour with a knowledgeable guide, visit the museum, and amble about through the grounds at any leisurely pace you prefer. The operation is supported by a private foundation, and in addition to charming tourists, it provides thousands of school children from all over the La Crosse area with hands on experience in history, culture, and environmental awareness. For more information go to

For a quick tour you can also take a look at the pictures.

Monday, July 02, 2007

W's Farm Explodes with Birds and Flowers

It was also time to return to the Waltershausen Farm this past week. About three hours east of Minneapolis and across the rolling Mississippi and we were in La Crosse, WI with the magnificent bluffs and hills of the river spreading out in both directions along its shores. W's farm has been a wildlife Eden for my camera and each time we visit I zero in on the flowers and the birds. No comment needed; just look. The orioles and the indigo buntings topped our sighting list, but there were also hummingbirds and finches bellying up to the feeders.

The ultimate find was the family of sandhill cranes on the way to Coon Rapids. Or should we say that we saw them while we were going to Coon Rapids. The cranes did not actually say where they were going.

Vacationing in the Land of Sky Blue Waters

A pleasant week in Minneapolis was had by the De Young duo. We sampled the rigors of Lakeview Golf Course, the menus of several chain restaurants, and the oh so cool acting talents of the Oceans crew at a local cinema. There was also a fine Greek dinner with son David and his new girl friend.

Water features are always a part of a visit to the land of ten thousand lakes and after photographing the Stone Bay sub-division's faux l'eau, we headed for Waysata and the gorgeous expanse of the real Lake Minnetonka. Whether it was a sunset cone from Ben and Jerry's or a meal at the Sunset with old friends of forty years ago, Minnetonka is splendid. Here's to vacations and long may they wave.