Summer Reading Program 2018 Reading Takes You EVERYWHERE!


6/5 @ 3pm: Kick-off with Global Games

6/12 @3pm: MN Zoo mobile “All things Connected”

6/19 @ 3pm: Chione Quintet

6/28 @ 3pm: Wonder Weavers

7/3 No Program

7/10 @ 3pm: Professor Robert

7/17 @ 3pm: Rice Crispy Architecture

7/24 @ 3pm: Music w/ Mr. Business

7/31 @ 3pm: Silly Singing with Emma


Summer Reading Program 2017 Reading by Design!

Tuesday, July 25 @ 3:00

Balloons with Kevin Lindh

Tuesday, July 18 @ 3:00

Build a Fairy Garden

Tuesday, July 11 @ 3:00

Eagle Bluff STAR LAB

***Week of July 3 – 7 No programs this week***

Tuesday, June 27 @ 3:00

DIY Grass Hedgehog

Tuesday, June 20 @ 3:30 *Note time difference*

Mad Science of Iowa

Tuesday, June 13 @ 3:00

Charlie Mcguire’s Music

Tuesday, June 6 @ 3:00

Kick-off with Professor Marvel’s DIY Magic Show

 Story time on Thursday mornings at 9:30 am

6/8; 6/15; 6/22; 6/29

7/13; 7/20; 7/27


Summer Reading Program 2016

PicMonkey Collage

“Read for the WIN!”

Lots of FUN and FREE events for kids and their families this summer!

Family Entertainment Schedule

Tuesday, June 7     Kickoff with Jason Huneke

            @3:00   Comedian and Juggler

Tuesday, June 14   Yoga Story with Nancy

            @3:00  Work on our yoga poses

Tuesday, June 21   Dazzling Dave’s “Yo-Yos”

            @3:00  Super stunts with a yoyo master

Tuesday, June 28   Egg Carton Scavenger Hunt

            @3:00  An egg carton, a list, and fun times outside

**************No programming July 4 – 8 ***************

 Tuesday, July 12    Professor Marvel

            @3:00  Summer fun with drama and magic

Tuesday, July 19    Story Stroll

            @3:00 10 Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure

Tuesday, July 26    Popcorn Olympics

            @3:00 We supply the popcorn and the prizes.

Thursday, July 28  SRP Finale

                @9:30 am  Who will be the Gold Medal Reader?

Story Time on Thursdays @ 9:30 am

Story times are intended for preschool children, but everyone is welcome.  This is a great way to be sure your preschooler is experiencing activities that support school readiness.

All story times include caregivers and are available on a drop-in basis.  No registration required.

June 9, 16, 23, 30

July 14, 21, 28

Summer Reading Program 2015 DSC00339

Tuesday, June 2 @3:00 Kickoff with Professor Marvel
Summer fun begins with drama and magic
Monday, June 8 @6:00 Pipe Cleaner Super Heroes!
Create your own Super Hero!
Tuesday, June 16 @3:00 Storyteller Katie Knutson
Super stories from a professional storyteller
Tuesday, June 23 @3:00 Star Michaelina
Interactive comedy, magic show
Monday, June 29 @6:00 Jack Pearson
Celebration of reading and music

************No programming July 1 – 7************

Tuesday, July 14 @3:00 Balloon Stories with Kevin Lindh
Balloon stories with an unexpected twist
Thursday, July 23 @3:00 Favorite Hero Costume Party
Dress as a favorite book hero & get a treat
Monday, July 27 @6:00 LEGO Building Contest
We supply the LEGOs and the prizes
Wednesday, July 29 SRP Finale@12:30

Story Time is on Wednesdays @ 12:30 pm

June 3, 10, 17, 24
July 8, 15, 22, 29

Story times are intended for preschool children, but everyone is welcome. This is a great way to be sure your preschooler is experiencing activities that support school readiness.
All story times include caregivers and are available on a drop-in basis. No registration required.

All events are free and open to children 13 and under including independent readers and those who are read to by their parent/caregiver.

Check out books each week and receive a small prize.

You will also be entered into the
Grand Prize Drawing!

Summer Reading Program 2014

PicMonkey Collage

Summer Reading Program 2013

PicMonkey Collage

Summer Reading Program 2012

SRP 2012

 July 11, 2012 Wednesday Walkabout V or A Nice Day to Sit in the Park

Thanks to Sara Decker and intern Leilani Oas from the Lanesboro Art Center for a weaving project today.  We simply sat and wove under a picnic pavilion in Sylvan Park.  It was lovely.  We conversed.  We took note of the sparkling new picnic benches that have premiered this season, and at which we worked.  The photos from today say it all, a perfect day.

June 27, 2012 Wednesday Walkabout IV or Lanesboro’s All Business

We started out in the cool of the library on a hot day, and proceeded to hopscotch around town between air conditioned businesses.  It made sense to follow the money so our first stop was the bank.  Nancy showed us around the Associated bank.  We liked the vault.  It’s been there since the the building went up.  And Delia noticed that there is an old-time safe inside just like the one at the Fillmore County Historical Society.  Nancy said it is just an antique and pointed to the a very modern computer controlled  safe alongside.  Nancy explained that in addition to saving, storing, dispensing  and loaning money, the bank is a place to safely store valuables in their safe deposit boxes.

We walked into Little River General Store, largely because Braden Knudson’s was with us and his dad repairs bike there on weekends.  They seem to enjoy their business in our town.   Braden’s favorite thing about the Store is seeing the bikes come and go, and boy are there lots to choose from.

Our next stop was the post office.  It’s a busy place and one that links our town to anywhere and anyone in the world with a deliverable address. Terry showed us how mail makes its way through the town facility and eventually to our homes.  Kids seemed to enjoy finding their family’s box in the sorting areas.  Little did we know that we’ve all got our own boxes within the post office whereby the carriers put everything in route order before they set out to deliver it.  We also enjoyed looking at stamps that are available for purchase, pretty and diverse, we could all make someone’s day by sending a letter and personalize it with a fancy stamp. 

We wandered over to the Lanesboro Local.  Andrea was tending the store and was just receiving a milk delivery from Bob and Jeanette Kappers of Kappers’ Dairy in Chatfield.  I asked them what they thought about owning a small business here in Fillmore County and if they had advice for the kids?  They replied that it really makes a difference when people buy local products in support of local producers.   And, of course, that’s what the Local tries to provide, locally sourced, grown or made items.  Andrea pointed out some interesting products, sent the kids scavenging on an “I Spy” mission and let them sample Spring Grove pop and local graham crackers.

Because it stands just down the boardwalk from Lanesboro Local we walked in to the Cottage House Inn.  The young woman behind the desk asked if we were there to “check in”.  Her question only made sense but I explained our purpose as my troupe malingered in the a/c, by this point almost fed-up with the ins and outs of local commerce, and the heat.  Anyhow, the Bunge family, grandmother and grand-daughter at the desk, kindly entertained our presence in their lobby.  They are yet another family working away and enjoying their labors together.  Often it’s on behalf of other families who visit yearly and with whom they develop ongoing rapport.  They noted that there is only one TV in the place, in the lobby for all to share, and their visitors from far and wide like it that way.

The penultimate visit was down the street at Gordon’s Spud Boy Diner.  We discussed everything from how to make a hamburger and fries, to the meaning of life.  Well, sort of.  Gordon’s renovated 1920’s diner is what he described as “the missing link”.  It is one of very few diners that followed the first wave of wagon-drawn quick food restaurants, and the diner cars which arrived in towns as a railroad delivered, ready-to-go restaurant.  Whatever its provenance, Gordon daily delivers tasty, made fresh meals from 6am until 2pm.  Whatever you do, don’t come for breakfast after 11 am as his streamlined and close quarters establishment simply can’t overlap breakfast and lunch service.  Visit Gordon at the Spud Boy, you’ll be glad for it. 

We threw in a stop at Zoo Books because Evan Thiss was along on the walk, and his dad is proprietor of Zoo books.  But how can you not stop and talk to someone who has bearded lizards sunning themselves on the front porch of his business?  Eric publishes and distributes books, and the crawling, slithering sort of creatures is his area of specialty.   One important lesson of the day seems to have been that it’s possible and even important to do the kind of work you love.

That sums up a day of visiting around to local business in Lanesboro.  Even though it’s a small town, there is a world of enterprise to behold.

June 20, 2012 Wednesday Walkabout #3 Lanesboro History and more!

 Rather than take off walking we started out sitting down at the library for a chat with Orval Amdahl.  Orval related many memories of Lanesboro.  Some things like the dynamiting of the bluff to bring Rte. 16 through the East side of town in 1928 he said he’ll never forget.  The work was done by Georgian (Russian) immigrant workers.  Despite efforts to secure the area, the blast sent pieces of rock sky high that just kept raining down upon houses in the area, peppering holes in roofs and generally wreaking havoc.  He remembered that in those days most town residences had at least a cow and a horse, some even sheep and goats.  There was a daily parade of town cows off to communal pasturage.  And those who needed horses for transportation but hadn’t time or space for them were accommodated by one of the town’s two big livery stables.  Roads were rough and horses really did the trick for getting around in all terrain and through all weather.  Horses helped drag the gas powered saws which cut through 30” thick ice on the pond to supply the town with refrigeration.  Horses needed long spikes on their shoes to do it.  Through the tough times of the Depression there wasn’t work, especially for young folks such as he.  But efforts were made to keep young people busy and the Legion put together a crack baseball squad.

Orval recounted making a horse ride to visit relatives outside town on a balmy March day in 1935.  By the time he headed home the weather had turned and he wound up battling his way through a storm that dumped 22” of snow and blew into drifts as high as phone poles.  His progress home was reported to his parents by friends and neighbors calling ahead by phone as they saw him pass.  Ten days after the snow came a torrential downpour and then flooding, a flood which claimed the life of one of two foolhardy townsmen who got notions about running the river in a canoe.  In 1951 Orval experienced another notable flood but this time he was working at the lumber yard on the Flat, an experience they rode out by securing as much as possible, making way for the water to flow, and otherwise getting out of the way of the rushing water.

Some fun memories included his accounts of various competitions in the area.  How about these for “extreme sports,” motorcycle races up Church Hill on the Bunny Trail, Olympic level ski jumping trials at the ski course on Hwy. 250, and a corn husking tournament on the flat at what is now John Horihan’s farm!

Like so many World War II era Veterans, that time changed Orval’s life.  He put aside intentions to become a veterinarian, wound up studying biology at St. Olaf’s, and moved on to Marine Corp officer training with 33 others from his college graduating class.  He served several tours in the Pacific theatre of operations, arriving eventually in Nagasaki, Japan, just days after the explosion of the atom bomb there.  Having seen along the way the place they were intended to engage the Japanese on their mainland, Orval explained that he knew the U.S. invasion force simply wouldn’t have stood a chance and on that basis he thanks President Truman for his decision.

Our group took leave of Orval and walked to the Lanesboro History Museum to round out our exploration of local history.  Museum staff was ready with an investigation that involved unusual objects which we tried to understand and name.  We did pretty well.  A WWI mess kit, leggings and waffle iron were easy to identify.  Less easy was a carpenters’ circle drawing tool and butter press.  The item utterly eluding us as to function turned out to be a hog scraping tool. 

Upstairs at the museum we took note of Orval Amdahl’s high school graduation picture.  Little did he know when that picture was taken just how far and wide he’d travel in life.  But we’re most pleased that he and others are willing to share some of the stories about their lives with Lanesboro friends today.  Thanks also for our visit today go to Lois Peterson, Pam Niven, and Sandy Webb at the Lanesboro History Museum.

Join us at the Lanesboro Library on Wednesday at 1pm for more adventures.  Here’s what’s upcoming:  June 27 “Lanesboro’s All Business”, July 18 “A Visit to Oz (aka Frank Wright’s Garden), July 25 “Root River Primer on Small Craft, Moving Water, and Safe Boating”


6/13/12 Wednesday Walkabout #2  Real Burro Power
On Wednesday June 13 we visited the Lanesboro School.  Constructed in 1959 and added onto first in 1990 and most recently in 2000, it overlooks Sylvan Park.  Mr. Boggs, our Superintendent explained that it requires a yearly budget of $4 million.  Judson Bell, age 8, expressed concern that if that were his responsibility to fund he’d have a hard time coming up with that much money.  But Mr. Boggs explained that the sales and real estate taxes   which we all pay provide the pool from which the money is drawn.  And Mr. Semmen, our Elementary Principal echoed this notion by explaining that because the money comes from our midst, the school and all its holdings are really owned by the community.  In this way, we must treat our school just as well as we do anything else we own.
Part of our mission to the school involved looking behind the scenes and sure enough, Mr. Semmen opened doors for us that he said he’d never before opened.  Mechanical and technical systems abound in the basement of the school for power distribution, heat plants, water treatment, computer routing, and elevator controls.     John, Anna, Delia and Judson!
There’s even a storage room with paper records dating far back into the last century from not only Lanesboro but also some of the one-room country schools which today’s school has replaced.
We learned that during the school year there are more than 300 students and a total staff of up to 70.  But summer isn’t exactly a quiet time at school either.  The big tube boiler system had just been inspected.  Karen Peterson showed us around the boiler room and explained about its care and maintenance.  Elsewhere in the building, lots of cleaning, ordering, and restocking of materials and supplies was underway.   
Our thanks go to all the people who help make our school yet another great aspect of Lanesboro.

6/6/12 Wednesday Walkabout #1: A Swamp Walk with Eric Thiss

This adventure included: 20 kids, several grown-ups, a few fish, two snapping turtles, five snakes, frogs who wouldn’t be caught, a caterpillar who was, lots of bird-life, dangerous flora and one intrepid Eric Thiss.

We started our walk, as always, at the library.  At the pond nearest the library are plenty of evidences of life.  Crayfish make burrows in the banks of the pond, and leave piles of dirt alongside these round openings.  Under rocks we found little critters called “scuds” by fishermen.  These are a primary fish food for around 5-10 varieties of fish in the ponds.  In following the ponds’ outlet in the direction of the river we noted the increase of current speed, and water clarity as the channel narrows.

We walked on to the bass pond, where Eric had placed several hoop net traps in the hopes of catching turtles.  On our arrival there, we found one trap hosted a snapping turtle as big as your great grandma’s soup tureen.  Snagged on the outside of the trap was a fishing line.  Attached to the fishing line was a local teenager.   So, Eric’s first order of business was to free both the turtle and the snagged line.  This accomplished, we greeted the turtle. She had an algae covered shell, powerful digging feet, and a reptilian countenance.  However, turtles aren’t reptiles, and have their own classification. Given that she had been extracted from her habitat of perhaps 2 decades and was being ogled by 20 noisy kids, she was agreeable.  Eric deftly explained how he’s able to manage such a turtle without being bitten.  Younger ones can be held aloft by the tail.  Older, bigger ones can be gripped by the shell, behind the back legs.  Now here’s the kicker on snapping turtles, young ones are largely carnivorous but by adulthood their diet is primarily vegetarian.  And, to further allay unwarranted fears, they won’t snap randomly at the toes of unsuspecting waders, they’d just lie still and take it as you step unknowingly upon their back.


A great, classic adventure story of a snapping turtle that travels the length of the Mississippi river is “Minn of the Mississippi”.  Check it out from the library.



One critter came home with my family after this walk.  John Prestemon found a pretty caterpillar with a spike on one end.  Eric told us it would become a hawk-moth type.  So, back at the library we researched it, discovered it was a sphinx moth caterpillar and that they eat peony, grape, apple, and four o’clock leaves.  Sure enough, it chomps peonies, has shed its skin once in the past week and continues to grow.  Now, we’re looking forward to its metamorphosis.



In walking around the bass pond and discussing the evidence of creatures who live there, we talked about insects, mammals, birds, and plants.  It turns out that of all the things that lurk there, we humans most need to beware the stinging nettle, wild parsnip, and poison ivy (3-leaf) plants that will make your skin miserable in their own unique ways.  So, some lessons of the day were these, learn the appearance of these problem plants.  But don’t be afraid to turn over a rock and look to see who lives there.



We extend sincere thanks to Eric Thiss for sharing his knowledge of regional ecology, and a hands-on investigation of it.  He went above and beyond the call of the day by bringing along some of his own, locally obtained snake and turtle “pets.” And here’s another lesson of the day, Lanesboro kids were really game to learn, and they don’t shrink from creepy crawlies.

7/27/11 Wednesday Walkabout VIII or We’re Not Bluffing

In our last scheduled outing for this summer, 16 intrepid natives climbed to the heights above town better known to us as Eagle Bluff.    What a remarkable place!  And, it is notably populated with staff who are our friends and neighbors.  Among them was Jeff Boland, an employee there for 8 years, and our tour guide.  He not only showed us their many buildings, and facilities but informed us about native habitat, plants and trees in particular.

As an institution, Eagle Bluff has evolved from its beginnings in 1982.  Joe Deden, its founder, sought to create a forest education center, with special emphasis on shiitake mushroom farming research and development.  Environmental education became its focus in 1992.  It took on the name Eagle Bluff in 1997 and now is dedicated to outdoor education.  With about 35 employees, and 20,000 visitors yearly, it sure has grown, maybe a bit like a mushroom?

Our guide for the day, Jeff, says the best part about his job is getting people excited about the outdoors.  The big challenges to that can be as obvious as the extremes of weather in which he and others work.  It takes slowing down to a sustainable pace in the heat of summer, and staying functional in the cold of winter.  James Semmen recounted helping to “beta-test” the South Ropes course with sixth graders shortly after its completion a few years ago.  He said he’d never forget the cold of that December day, or the matter of making sure everyone stayed safe amid the challenge of the course in those conditions.  Things like that and the yearly excursion of fifth graders for a 3-day educational trip to Eagle Bluff highlight the connection of our town to this nearby asset.  And the best part, I think, is that Jeff encouraged us to visit often.  Not only do they offer classes, open high-ropes and indoor climbing sessions, lectures, and other instructional opportunities, he encouraged us to make use of their hiking trails on our own.

I send thanks this week to all the folks at Eagle Bluff and to James Semmen for driving the bus to get us there.  I thank all who have participated in any or all of our eight Walkabouts, and to the Lanesboro Library for making this part of the Summer Reading Program.

Anna Loney

7/20/11 Wednesday Walkabout VII or How Hot Was It?


Well, it was so hot you might have fried an egg on the sidewalk but we had a better offer, really cold lemonade and cookies, courtesy of Val and Gordon Tindall at the Spud Boy Diner.



We retreated to the Diner after viewing the spectacle of hundreds of vintage autos on our appropriately named “Parkway” Ave.  The autos, mostly Model T’s, and some A’s, represented the gamut of styles; coupes, sedans, pick-ups, delivery wagons, race cars  – and in every possible degree of condition, from spit and polish restoration to true beaters.  My own favorite hailed from Iowa.  Its windshield was plastered with stickers from National Parks.  Its owner said he had personally toured 49 states and 7 Canadian provinces in it.  Now, that’s classic!

Our “walkabout” became a “sit-in” when we took to the air-conditioned splendor of the restored 1920’s era diner.  Gordon and Val are only too happy to share their time with anyone who wants to learn about the diner and their painstaking restoration of it. They seem to be the model of patience in the face of the red tape, which has delayed the opening of their business.

Thanks go out this week to the Tindalls for welcoming us into their diner.  

Next week is our eighth and final Wednesday Walkabout (7/27/11) for this Summer.  It’s a good one, a visit to Eagle Bluff where we’ll hike to the river and learn about native Root River flora, fauna, landscape and more.  Join us if you can.  Meet at the library, 1pm.  (Please note:  Our bus to Eagle Bluff will depart from in front of the school at 1:15 in order to avoid the likely MS Tram jam up in Sylvan Park). Written by Anna Loney

7/13/11 Wednesday Walkabout VI or Lanesboro’s Got “Legs”


Today’s was a seedy tour.  Not relegated to the back alleys of our fair town (though we did happen through the Lanesboro alley where at least one tortoise of remarkable size happens to reside), we visited the sites where seed and feed are weighed, measured, processed, stored, sold and bought. Our first stop was Root River Ag, formerly the Lanesboro Grain Co., where Dennis Schuck and Steve Redalen gave us the low down on their business.  Dennis specializes in helping his clients with the best possible feed and nutrition for livestock.   Steve is an agronomist, or the guy who helps farmers with  seed and fertilizer needs.  It was here that we first encountered a “leg”, or the vertical column which carries grain upward on a belt lined with little scoops. 
Dennis and Steve weighed our group of 18 (7 adults and 11 kids), we came in at 1850 pounds.  They didn’t drop us down the chute or run us up the leg and into the 9 storage bins overhead, but we got the idea of what a kernel of corn, or an oat or a soybean experiences on the first phase of its journey off the farm.
Interestingly, Root River Ag carries products bulk products that even “townies” such as I need to know about: rock salt, water softener salt, bird seed, grass seed. �
Across Parkway Ave. at the mill which was historically the second step in grain processing, where grain was crushed and mixed into usable feed, we toured the restored and re-purposed mill.  It is now a retail sales and hotel complex which the Lamon family designed and built within these old buildings.  Cheryl Lamon explained that we happened to be visiting on the 10th anniversary date of the Stone Mill Suites opening.  The stone portion, built in 1885, and adjoining wood structure dating from 1890, once housed not only a feed mill, but also a chicken and egg business (including ice storage).  Lamon said she had her doubts about the place before renovation, the pigeon infested buildings sent her reeling, but we all agreed that their work and restoration of the buildings was indeed visionary.
Our third stop was just down the block, or west along the old railroad bed, to RLH Grain.  Here soybeans and corn are received from the end of September through early November.  Keith Eide and Rich Horihan explained  the are weighed, tested for moisture and other content, moved along in the fanciest “legs” we saw all day (multi-layered  belts with slick yellow plastic scoops), through a dryer yielding  14-15% moisture, then on into giant storage bins. From there the corn and beans await truck transit to boats on the Mississippi and other processing plants near and far.  Rich made note of the fact that he’s trying new techniques to reduce the amount of “bees wings” (not insect related in the least, just a little piece of the corn kernel which flies off in processing) floating around town this fall at harvest and processing time.
Many thanks to all the folks we encountered this day at Steve and Dennis at Root River Ag, Cheryl at the historic mill, Rich and Keith at RLH Grain.  It was fascinating to understand a bit more of our farming history and that it keeps on going and growing.
Written by Anna Loney
Wednesday Walkabout V, or Let’s Keep History Local Too

Lanesboro History was the subject for this adventure.  And a little bit of it made me want to know more, but that’s just an “old person’s” take on it.  Let’s hear from the experts.  Clayton and Braden Knutson gave it a “thumbs up”, noting especially that the 7 ft. long hand-carved wood chain, and various tools and utensils struck their fancy.  Evan Thiss liked the camera room.  Executive Director, Lester Dunn, explained that he’d spent some time working over the many cameras in that room, specifically removing the old acid batteries from them, so that they might not corrode themselves into oblivion.  He’s been working at the Museum for just over a year, and says the best days for him are when kids come in and become enthusiastic about history.  His own interest in history began with an inspiring high school American history course in his hometown of Endicott, NY.  Regional MN history grabs him now and in looking at historic photos of Lanesboro he pointed out some interesting things, for example:  the stone from the legendary Phoenix hotel in the heart of town was reused after a devastating fire to build the American Legion and Village Hall buildings, a round table for turning locomotives stood just NE of the depot on what now is a flat spot where the trail takes off from Coffee Street.   Beyond photos, the museum  is jam packed with art, artifacts, curios, documents and more stuff than you could shake a stick at, so if you’ve not yet visited, just do it.

Sandy Webb, a long-time teacher and volunteer at the museum, organized a scavenger hunt for our group to seek out various objects throughout the Museum.  And this the children handily did, but the object which had us completely stumped was and is, the “mystery object” in the front window of the museum.  Guess it correctly and earn a piece of candy.  Stop in soon as it will be replaced by another object in the next few days.  And, here’s a hint, it’s not a de-horning iron, but it is some sort of farm implement.

Outside the museum we enjoyed the beauty of another perfect MN summer day.  We regarded some historic views of town as pictured in the Lanesboro history book by Don Ward and Ted St. Mane.  We looked to other images taken right there in that same block of Parkway, in front of today’s Red Hotel and tried to imagine ourselves in the place of the others who’ve posed there before us.

Many thanks to Lester Dunn and Sandy Webb for making our group welcome at the museum and to the Lanesboro Historic Preservation Assoc. for its work at keeping local history alive. 

Written by Anna Loney
Wednesday Walkabout  IV  or  Cows  and Trout all need TLC
1st Stop:  Duschee Hills Dairy
Chris and Pat Troendle welcomed us along with their dairy cow, Nellie.  She is a Holstein (black and white)and is  2 ½ years old.  She had her first calf in January and will be going to the State Fair again this year.  It’s her third time there, and hopefully “three” proves a charm.  We had a chance to pet her side and learn that her tongue is rough.
A dairy cow’s job is to eat a lot of feed and water, then produce a lot of milk.  The feed is a mixture of 20 ingredients.  Two times a day the cows come to the milking parlor.  Computers keep a record of each cow’s milk production.  Workers at the dairy are careful to check that the cows are clean, healthy, and comfortable.  The cows live in free-stall buildings, with bluff sand for bedding that helps them feel cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.  If summer temperatures become too hot, sprinklers and fans  cool the cows.
The farm was settled by Chris’ great grandparents because the landscape reminded them of their native Norway.  Both Pat and Chris were involved with agriculture when they were younger.  Chris had a pet cow, Wendy, with black spots on her white body (like polka dots). That cow went to the State Fair and was nicknamed, “ Vanilla chocolate chip cow.”
Dairy farmers need skills that include those of : veterinarian, accountant, mechanic, plumber, electrician, computer technician, welder, nutritionist, public relations worker, artificial insemination technician, heavy equipment operator, chemical applicator, forester, pasture manager, and nutrient management specialist.
2nd Stop:  DNR Fish Hatchery
David Susag welcomed us and showed a video of how this hatchery  harvests and fertilizes eggs for Rainbow and Brown Trout.  There are many careful steps to check that the fish are healthy and that their water is clean.  When the eggs hatch and the fish become  “swim up fry” , they are fed by hand 12 to 16 times a day.  The size of their feed matches the size of their mouths.
All of the hatchery water is spring water (48 F at all times).  The spring water intake handles 5,000 gallons/minute.  Even on the warm day of our visit, the buildings felt comfortably cool because of the constantly moving cool water.
We got a chance to feed colorful rainbow trout in a long cement tank called, “a run.” They will be the next fish to be trucked away for stocking .  Then there will be room at the hatchery for another generation of fish.  David said that during the spring load-out, there are long work shifts – sometimes 12, 14, or 16 hours in order to make the long trip to Grand Marais for delivering fish.
David attended school in Brainerd for Natural Resources and worked for the National Park Service and Army Corps of Engineers before coming to our Lanesboro Hatchery.  He said that it is important to have strong observation skills to check that the fish are ok.  His job requires knowledge of nature and of people.
Mr. Semmen, our bus driver, delivered us safely back to the library parking lot – much more knowledgeable than when we had begun.
Please join us next Wednesday, 1 pm , at the Lanesboro Library for “Local History: A Walking tour of town and visit to Lanesboro History Museum.”
Written by Bonita Underbakke
Wednesday Walkabout  III  or Wine Brewing,  Protective Packaging, and Firefighting
1st Stop: Scenic Valley Winery, in the building which was built as the Lanesboro Cooperative Creamery.
Karrie led us upstairs to a room full of dairy bulk tanks which had been converted to fermenting tanks.  They were full of rhubarb juice in the process of becoming wine.  When the juice needs stirring, workers use a canoe paddle.
Although Karrie thought of becoming a veterinarian when she was young, she also enjoyed retail and worked at her father’s winery.  She learned to make wine from Milt Hoberg, a great teacher and storyteller.  In the early days, she and employee Bucky Rogers were squeezing partially fermented raspberries.  That day, she and Bucky (and the ceiling) ended up squirted with sticky raspberry juice.
2nd Stop: Preston Specialties, Inc. (P.S.I.)
Next door to the winery, Scott Strom showed us examples of corrugated paper protective packaging.  He then showed us a paper sculpture of a deer head with antlers, a gift from his wife, Karla.  As a boy, Scott had also thought of becoming a veterinarian, but he worked at Mayo Clinic, and then joined his wife’s family business.  Every day he uses knowledge of engineering, math, and people to create important protective packing products.
3rd Stop: Lanesboro Fire Department
After a treat of Laffy Taffy, Scott led us across the street to the Fire Department building full of big red trucks: the Chief’s pickup; 2 pumpers; and 2 tankers.  He let us climb into a huge truck cab and sound the very loud horn.  He showed us his heavy firefighting clothes and the heavy-duty tools carried in the trucks, plus oxygen tanks that are built into the passenger seats to save minutes on the way to a fire.  We learned that sometimes the firefighters are called to car accidents in addition to fires.  Firefighters have different training than ambulance workers, so sometimes they are both called to the same emergency.   Scott answered all our questions, and then offered us another candy treat before we strolled back to the library.
Please join us next Wednesday, 1 pm at the Lanesboro Library for a tour of Duschee Hills Dairy and the DNR Fish Hatchery.
Written by Bonita Underbakke
Wednesday Walkabout II or Broadway Comes to Lanesboro
Delia Bell’s summation of the day, “it was about art and  we went to the Commonweal and the St. Mane, but we didn’t go to the Cornucopia Art Center!”  But wait a minute, “what’s in a name?” and it isn’t the Cornucopia anymore, is it?  And furthermore, didn’t the Commonweal used to be where the St. Mane is now, and who’s on first anyhow?
We have answers.
Evan Thiss explains, “Well, we went to the Commonweal, and Jerome Yorke gave us a tour”.  Delia adds, “He told us about all these secret tunnels”.  “But we’re not supposed to tell anyone, Delia” says Evan.  “So now everyone knows, but we weren’t supposed to tell anyone, he’ll get angry and punch us or something” says Delia.  Evan laughs.  Bonita says “we’ll probably have to leave town at this rate”, having revealed company secrets, “ just so long as no one finds out about the one that goes down to the river”  “Oh, I just won’t say anything more” responds Delia.
OK, so enough of this nonsense, (not Nunsense, soon appearing on the St. Mane stage, courtesy of our local community theater.  Yes, that’s right all your friends and neighbors in habits).
Jerome Yorke is a resident actor with the Commonweal troupe.  “He’s a really good actor, and he’s awesome” says Delia, “I saw An Enemy of The People, it was confusing, but decent”.  Evan and Delia both want to see the upcoming play The Little Shop of Horrors.  It is in tech week, or the week of rehearsal where they try to work out all the bugs.  Except, as we learned, sometimes the bugs, the inconsistencies produce the uniqueness that is live theater.  “Every performance is new and different” said Yorke.�
Some of what we, our group of 23, learned today:  about 20 people work at the Commonweal, you might be consumed by a giant Venus fly-trap if you choose a career in acting, memorization is improved by not trying to force it, it takes 3 weeks to get a play from first read to “on its feet” to the stage, effective strategies for memorization include reading, speaking, writing, re-reading, and even then actors are “thrown” or forget their lines but most of the time an audience never knows, plus there was a dog upstairs at the theatre and we’re afraid it’s either a hang-over from Sylvia or an hor d’oeuvres  for Seymour but that’s probably another story. . .
In an extension of the “willing suspension of disbelief” which we learned about from Jerome, our group went next door to the St. Mane to try our hand at play acting.  Before that we talked with Sara Decker and Dave Harrenstein  about its history, as a movie theater, then home to the Commonweal and now host to movies, local theater, musical performances and the monthly radio show “Over the Back Fence”.  Sara Decker really loves her work as co-ordinator of all the details which make these things possible.  Plus she’s busy with the visual arts aspects of the Lanesboro Art Center , gallery shows, exhibits, artist residencies, and educational outreach.   We compared and contrasted the theaters, “St. Mane’s smaller, no offense” says Delia.
Sara Decker coached us through a play.  As with most things it was a learning experience.  Imagine if you will trying to prompt a wide-eyed 4-year old boy cast in the role of Grandma through her interaction with a menacing wolf, as he quietly and repeatedly implores “I don’t know”.  Well, neither did we.  But the show went on.  Our improvised “Red Riding Hoodwinked” was at least mercifully short and somehow representative of its fairy-tale origin.  The hunter (Judson) boldly slew the wolf (Evan) and freed Ms. Hood (Isabelle) and her Grandma (Daniel).  And they all walked happily under sunny skies back to the library to write this account, and that’s the truth.�
Join us next week for more adventures in Lanesboro, Wednesday, 1pm at the Library.
Written by Anna Loney, Delia Bell, Evan Thiss and Bonita Underbakke
Wednesday Walkabout I City Gov. & Hydroelectric Plant
Today we had a turnout of 23 (16 kids and 7 adults) for the walkabout. We learned lots about local govt. from Bobbie Vickerman, who kindly came prepared with a lollipop for every question asked.  The kids came up with plenty, depleting City candy reserves in short order.  As you might imagine, Bobbie explained that our Historic District, natural resources, bike trail and lots of great people from near and far further contribute to a great town.   But she was also ready with a great deal of technical info about everything from our water supply, to info on our Hydro-electric generation plant.
We then toured the Hydro plant with Jared Wagner, one of the fellows who helps keep it up and running.  He said that one of his fondest memories of his work was in being able to get power flowing on the occasion of the Garrison Keillor/Rhubarb Festival stage show a few years back.  Bobbie earlier mentioned to us in response to the question “why does the power go out?”, that the power outage in question was due to the errant actions of a squirrel somewhere in Iowa. It toppled the grid in such a way as to eliminate electricity in most of the region.  Thanks to locally produced hydro-power, Jared helped get Lanesboro back in electricity quickly enough that most folks didn’t even notice the interruption.
Many thanks to Bobbie and Jared for their time.
Written by Anna Loney