An Ortonville Day-On-The-Town

Beautiful, happy people enjoying the Ortonville uptown scene!

Dearest Lila,  I adore your Uncle Henry carving! So good to see you.  Wasn’t it great fun being uptown in Ortonville for the little summer festival?  Shiny vintage cars lining the main street, artists set up showing their talents, businesses inviting us in for special drinks, food treats and conversation.  And the music….  I’d follow that Lee Kanten anywhere if he keeps singing those hot summer tunes to me.  Excited to see the new Lingonberry pastry shop opening up soon, aren’t you?  What a nice event that Miss Katie at the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber and her team put together!  I need a new camera.  Hubby gave me camera money for Christmas and I spent it on something else.  He says I always do this…don’t tell.  I better run.  You and John have a great trip to Norway this fall.                 Your friend,   Becky


Courtney snaps a fun photo for two of the adorable kids in town today.
How can one resist a tempting treat from these lovelies?  Hi Becky, Love Becky:)
Julie and Susie(longest tongue)looking pretty in uptown Ortonvile.
  Look at those old guys laughing…hopefully not at the old girl taking the picture.
The people, the visiting, the light-hearted laughter… part of any day!
Live music on the street corner….nice touch, Ortonville!
I’ve got this thing about taking photos of people taking photos.  Hi  Vicki!
Oh my gosh.  Heavenly!  Thanks for the invitation to visit uptown Ortonville.  It was sweet!

A ‘Shabulous’ Visit

I’ve started my summer shop-hop of special places to visit( and shop) in my own western Minnesota region.   First stop; an artist date with friend Bonnie Kleindl in her ‘Shabulous‘ shop on main street of Graceville.  Up the road and  3 country-songs-on-the-radio  away from the RedBarn.    Bonnie and I enjoy so many of the same decorating looks.  If it falls under ‘upcycled, repurposed, or banged back together’ most likely we could agree to love it.  Toss in some color, purpose and beauty for good measure!  Dear Bonnie set out some of my latest amazingly scented ‘Hillside Orchard’ Soy Woodwick candles for   her customers to try.  She’s already put out the new scent for fall…Pumpkin Pecan Pie!  All in a great, old cupboard that some lucky farmstyle-lovin’ girl is going to snap up and cherish in her home.  I’ll give you a little photo tour and share just a few of the items you might find at Bonnie’s always changing Shabulous Shop!

Bonnie look!  My sweetheart filled in the new-old chair that you gave me the really good deal on since the seat was missing.  My dish pan herb garden fits perfectly.
Loving my new patriotic  sign.  Just in time for July 4th celebrating!

20150610_151213_resized_1So excited to snap some photos that I left my purse and boxes right in the picture.  See, anyone can do this:) The new large and bright metal flowers are on my list for next shopping trip.   Graceville is a friendly town and look who stopped by(below) to say ‘hi’.  Nikki(left) works next door in her beauty shop and Jill(right) owns the local flower shop. Special delivery for lucky Bonnie!





What’s Been Happening at the RedBarn?

Friends ask that question often.  I don’t mind.  Life is full and rich with interests, pastimes, diversions, choices, companions.   It’s joy for me to know about the happenings in your life!  Each spring day in the Minnesota countryside brings pause for my soul to celebrate episodes of large and small abundance.   Sun shines, leaves emerge and life unfolds quickly with all to do this time of year on the RedBarn acreage.  Some of these things involve a shovel!

Recently, I was invited to attend a product event in celebration of Earth Day.  Each of our creative lives are enriched by the resources that come to surround us.  I need to listen close for direction.   Divinely led, we connect with the talents, ideas, personalities, family and friends and even the  ‘aha moments’ that enter our inner doorway.  It seems like such a tiny difference one could make to better care for our earth……. but if we each do….. it must add up.  Afterall, there are alot of us making small decisions every day on this spinning unit.

I was excited to show the  products that filled my table; apple pies baked from stored late fall apples grown within our chemical-free orchard,  cloth napkins crafted from vintage tablecloths and rescued fabrics, contemporary candles made from sustainable and clean-burning soy.

I promised I’d share on my blog for  special  friends out in the world who said they may need to get ahold of me.  It’s a full-heart-feeling when the things I share become a blessing, however small, in someone else’s home and life.    Needing a little break from rolling pie crust so, please, no more pie orders!  I could fly in and talk you through it if you really need me to.    Sewing with beautiful vintage fabrics is best described as way-fun and not like work.  Can’t wait to get back to it!    Beautiful, clean, sustainable candles are simply one of the little pleasures to brighten a home or space.

I’ll try to keep posting and feel free to let me know under comments or ‘contact’ if you need  to reach me, friends.

Wishing you abundance and joy in the ‘countryside of life’.

‘Sparkle’  is the perfect combination of floral and summer-fruity.
‘Clean’ sports the essence of clove and a hint of citrus.  
‘Summer Love’ is full-on -southern- belle honeysuckle.  Robin, in California, are you an Elvis fan too?
So excited to pack off ‘Fresh Coffee’ and ‘Spirit’ to arrive on one pretty doorstep in Arkansas!  Clean and even burning, sustainable 100 % soy, softly crackling, natural wood wick,reusable jar candles.

Valentine Notes

Something about this February week designed to celebrate love.  If you let your guard down even a little….it’ll get you!   I’m smiling this morning.  Time to mail off the Valentines that my lover-boy, now the Grandpa at the RedBarn, and I put together last night for the sweet children who have appeared in the homes of the babes we raised together back-in-the-day.

Do you ever take the time to write out a quote that touches your heart?  Something special about the feel of a wooden pencil in the hand.   And have you noticed how the words you write down keep reappearing and popping back into your life?   No rules; we don’t have to agree with everything that particular person says or feels.  Just the words we select.  Oh, the beauty of words!   It’s our life and we each  get to run it…all day long.  Aren’t we lucky for that?

In my cherished miscellaneous spot(yes, the junk drawer) near the address book, a small, crumpled, green paper found it’s way to the top this morning.  Surely, one random earthly-bliss moment in the past must have caused me to select these words for Valentine thoughts of today.     Ahhh, sweet Valentine’s week!  I hope it get’s you…right there in the heart!

“It matters not who you love, where you love, why you love, or how you love.  It matters only that you love.”     -John Lennon


Look Who Came For Breakfast

January takes a bad rap!  In truth, she brings exciting new adventures and beginnings each time she comes around the calendar.  I was reminded of that today as I was the lucky one to join this group of  beautiful  woman for breakfast at the Inadvertent Cafe in our great little town of Clinton, Minnesota.

Each one of us shared a bit of who we are and what is presently on our radar for hopes and dreams… we find contentment in a Minnesota winter….what we are creating….. and plans ahead for each of us.

Trust among old and new friends is something you can feel.  And it’s such a good feeling. We quizzed and questioned, shared ideas and resources, encouraged and made plans with one another.      Really, we had come together to talk about known common interest and we did get to that after our good food and splendid introductions.   Wool/natural fiber soap making,  yarns, the beauty in creating, wearing and using natural products.  I loved hearing about the animals and how they are cared for in a special way so they can ultimately share their renewable goods.  It’s an exciting conversation.

An opportunity to show support for hard-working, talented, people who are producing products to seriously desire.  Right here in Big Stone County of rural Minnesota  in January, no less!

Becky, Kathy K., Kathy D., Tessie S., Pam S., Marcella Rose.
Becky S., Kathy K., Kathy D., Tessie S., Pam S., Marcella Rose.

Kathy Krier is the owner of ‘Calvins Goat Milk Products'(FaceBook page).  As luck would have it, she is planning an open house on her farm operation this next Saturday,January 17th.  It’s going to be a great chance to see her farm operation and give her beautiful goat’s milk soap and lotion a try!

Can you believe I now own this amazing bowlful of soft, natural, beautiful ,handspun, Minnesota grown yarn?  I'm so excited about it and you guys, I don't even knit!
Can you believe I now own this amazing bowlful of soft, natural, beautiful, handspun, Minnesota grown yarn? I’m so excited about it and you guys, I don’t even knit!  Eddie looks happy about it too, although I know he wouldn’t leave a cap on.
Tessie has the gorgeous, handspun yarns for sale.  You can take a closer look on her website at
Tessie has the gorgeous, handspun yarns for sale. You can take a closer look(ok, this photo is pretty close) on her website at

Working on it….Winter JOY

Winter arrived swiftly this week.  I actually heard it coming across the South Dakota plains one late afternoon and felt the  change of seasons as the windy system pushed it’s way across Big Stone Lake and blew fiercely upon us RedBarners.  Snow came in the middle of the night so first peek of the snowy  blanket was through the upstairs window.  Pretty.    Day # 1  of being ‘snowed in’ is always exciting.  A mini vacation.  No, sorry, I can’t do that, go there, be on that committee…..I’m snowed in!  Whahoo!

The second wintery day arrives with thoughts of reality tagging along.  Chilly air still chilly, wind has settled down, snow is deep,  vacation is over and ITSREALLYWHITEANDCOLDout there.

Why is there 8 inches of snow on the ground and 18 inches packed on my car windshield? Scraper.  We had 4 of them last year….where’d I put them?  You say the water in the chicken coop is probably frozen? Brown boots down on the shelf in the basement. Who put my tall, brown boots away last year with dried mud stuck to them?  The road is in terrible shape and I should only drive 35 ?  More straw in the doghouse.  Shovel. The red one?  It’s in the lawn shed by the garden tools.    Ahhhh, the second day of winter we move into the ‘adjustment to winter’ stage and  act so silly….like we’ve never done it before.

We do adjust and we do find JOY in our Minnesota winters!  I’ve heard much talk about JOY lately.  Funny how a word will pop up here and there and it  becomes your word of the day, week or year.    Many of my creative friends have joined the ‘Wear Your Joy’ project.  I think we all have at least a few clothing items or accessories that help us wear our joy.  Kids are always so proud when they get a new coat or boots.  This project calls for one to be intentional. Feel like a child does.  It’s ok to  allow the joy of something new, something you really like,  to seep into your heart and bless your life.  Cool.    Today’s the day…here goes!

Naturally, I had to break out my favorite dark gray pea coat from last season.  I love it and have almost been waiting for a cold-weather day to wear it.  Quilted inside, feels good and is just right.(Thanks LLBean)  Here come my intentional winter JOY items; a new plaid scarf, handmade grey  hat and RED leather gloves. I’ve officially joined the “Wear Your Joy” movement. Minnesota style!

JOY is something that needs to be invited in, welcomed, encouraged and  allowed to bless our daily life.  Even on the winteriest of days.

Can't miss these.  My heart skipped a beat when I saw them on the store shelf.
Can’t miss these. My heart skipped a beat when I saw these beautiful gloves  on the store shelf.  Thanks Charlie, for helping me get a picture of both hands;)
Selfies are hard.  Scarey.  Looks like somebody with a big red hand is grabbing me and I like it.  Oh my.
Selfies are hard when you want to share a peek at your new gloves. .   Looks like someone  with a big red hand is grabbing me and worse yet,  I’m smiling about it.


Where is Thumpkin?  I’m a dork.  Joyous, but still a dork.  Laughter feels good on a cold November day.

Great little handmade cap to keep me all toasty.  I'm loving this, Jessica from Madison, Minnesota you sweet knitter friend.
Great little handmade cap to keep me all toasty. I’m loving this, Jessica from Madison, Minnesota you sweet knitter friend.    Another one, please.   Red?    It’s so comfy and perfectly full of JOY.

RedBarn Leaf Peeper

These days and moments of intoxicating Autumn peak leaf color are filling my nature-loving soul….right plump up to the top and overflowing!  Days are busy with apple picking at the Hillside Orchard, hosting sweet grandchildren for a few days during school break; all the while drinking in each ounce of autumn splendor.  Pleasures of past October days seep from stored up memory.  Times of my own growing up years on the farm, leaf piles and bonfire evenings with my own dear children and grandchildren(and dogs) cuddled on my lap.   Thinking of the years I managed to talk my man into taking an autumn drive to the  Minnesota North Shore and leaf peep along Lake Superior.  Or headed SE and poked along the Mississippi River road.  Last fall my daughter joined me on a road-trip to Door County, Wisconsin and a few autumns back I traveled the coast of Maine with my dear friend Teresa.  Sweet memories!

This girl at the RedBarn could live out the rest of her days peering at only the russet reds, glorious golds and greens of autumn foliage.  Indeed, these are my soulful, most inspiring days of the year!  Have you noticed Autumn playing her tune on your heart?

Aha moment!  This could be heaven!  

Setting sun, a bit of breeze and a few stalks of prairie grass.
Setting sun, a bit of breeze and a few stalks of prairie grass join to create a heavenly moment.


Someone made the decision to plant this view along the lake.  Smart folks!
Leaf-peeper love!


Trees hidden in the middle of a farm section.  I'm here, I see you, nice colors this fall!
Trees hidden in the middle of a farm section. I’m here, I see you, nice colors everyone!
The color tones I'd love to wake up to all year long.
The color tones I’d  wake up to all year long.
Hurrah for a little green in the mix.
Hurrah, for a little green in the mix.
"I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree...."     Joyce Kilmer
“I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree….” Joyce Kilmer
Golden rays, golden days of farm life and lake life intertwined.
Golden rays on golden days; farm life and lake life intertwine in western Minnesota.
Look who wants to share the view on the orchard bluff.
Look who wants to share the view on the orchard bluff.

Big Days At The RedBarn

It’s that time of year when the RedBarn gets spiffed up to welcome the Meander Artists and visitors from near and far!  A very happy first weekend of October ,full with beautiful offerings of hand-made art and happy-to-be-out-in-the-countryside visitors.   Going on year number eleven for hosting Meander in the RedBarn.  It’s a pleasure!  Rain or shine, snow forecast or heat wave the visitors to our Big Stone Lake Area find us and stream in with a smile.  We are ready at the RedBarn for the joyful days of Meander to begin once again!

Welcome to the RedBarn for Meander October 3rd, 4th and 5th.
Welcome to the RedBarn for Meander October 3rd, 4th and 5th.
A bit of pumpkin love.
A bit of pumpkin love.
Time for a photo by the old car?  Get inside and take a little spin?
Time for a photo by the old car? Get inside and take a little spin?
Sweet Colin and Charlie have been pressing cider.  Our lucky guests we be getting a hot cup of spiced cider as our treat this year!
Sweet Colin and Charlie have been pressing cider. Our lucky guests will be served a hot cup of spiced cider as a treat this year!
Autumn gets into your soul....if you let it.
Autumn gets into your soul….if you let it.



Apple Season Along Big Stone Lake

Love, love, love apple picking season at our old orchard tucked in along the shores of Big Stone Lake.  I’m saying, “It is ooooold in the life of an apple tree.”

My dad started planting apple trees as his retirement project in the late 1970’s.   Some guys simply don’t like that word…retirement.   Or possibly, they do like it so much that they become inspired to act on the thing  they have always wanted to do but could only find the will to dream.  Dad fell into that thought somewhere and proceeded to plant, tend, graft, experiment with, pick and love up on over 1000 apple trees during his 25 years of ‘retirement’.  Many of the trees have gone to wherever old apple trees go to retire.  Nearly 400  of the hardy,beautiful, loaded-with-apple trees are still doin’ their thing in the peace-on-earth prairie acreage known locally as Hillside Orchard.    It’s a joy to pick, press cider, sell and use the apples.

If we do by chance utter the word retirement near the brave trees still bearing in the orchard…..we hold it down to a whisper.

Picking apples and pressing the most amazing apple cider with my son Charlie...he's in charge this time.
Picking apples and pressing the most amazing apple cider with my son Charlie…he’s in charge this time.

Summer Happy

What one thing makes you happy.….today?   It’s hard to pick just one single ‘thing’ on a perfect-RedBarn-August day.    And surely, with the human woe that slips into life, there will be days when we can’t find anything happy.  Who made the rule not to start a sentence with and ? Let’s break it!   It’s a big job……that stayin’ happy.

Living life from the vantage point of a three-year old seems mighty  happy to me.  Is that what we big folks call staying in the present….living one glorious summer moment at a time?  That’s my pick for today.

These two sweet little rule breakers(Josie and Ben)understand 'happy' when visiting at the RedBarn.  May you find something in each day that keeps you chuckling.
These two sweet little rule breakers(Josie and Ben)understand ‘happy’ when visiting at the RedBarn.  May you find something in your day that keeps you chuckling and gives you ‘happy’.