Category Archives: Photos

Candle In The Window

Glints of light flicker as wicks crackle and whisper of comfort and hope.  Scents take us back.  Back to familiar places of the mind and heart; cookies in the oven,  stray branches cut from the Christmas tree, fresh blueberry coffee cake,  cologne worn by the handsome man/woman  met years ago and never seen again, hot cider in a smooth cup, squeezed out  juice of lemons,  lavender sprigs from the garden,  first bite of pumpkin bar with cream cheese frosting.

It’s been a joy to share the RedBarn soy candles this past year; sending little scented jars of beauty  out into  the world to spread their charm.   Always, life is about the  people we meet along our way and my heart is full with memories of happy moments, old and new friends, conversations and sniffing decisions that needed to be made.

Thanks to each of you who enjoyed RedBarn candles in your home or gifted the RedBarn soy candles onto others!  Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas to YOU!

 Embracing the  Minnesota winter beauty…… the enduring bits of nature.

Winter love for the wild creatures who share our RedBarn country world…..
…. and the beautiful smiles of the children who feed them.

LIght and peace….the hope of the world at Christmas!




Little Chair Is Painted!

Oh my, I heard the yes-word come out of my own mouth. In a weak moment I said, “Yes, sure, I’ll take a couple of little chairs and work up something to paint on them.”  Wait!! I’m not a painter! What was I thinking? It’s a fundraiser project put together by our local Big Stone Lake Area Chamber of Commerce , out here in beautiful western Minnesota farm and lake territory.    I didn’t have the heart to say “no”.

Deep breaths, no one else in the house, get started.  I have a ramble of self-talk, tucked in the back of my brain, that I  pull  up front whenever there occurs a shaking sensation in that ball on my shoulders.  It goes  like this,” Everything is MADE by someone and they had to START at sometime. You could most likely make ANYTHING if you really tried hard enough. Stop thinking about it and START”.   Being a crazy little thought, it propels me to jump in and try some things that a country girl should try and then. . . . .sometimes I simply should have had the good sense to turn the volume down, go pull weeds in the pumpkin patch or bake a cake instead.

How do you discern when to listen to the voices in your head ?

One memorable summer day I sewed  my husband a pair of underwear. . .you know, just to see if I could.   Sure, I could and did.  Have any idea how long it takes to sew all of those silly flaps and extra layers that someone decided should be in the front of men’s panties? Binding leg-holes and stretching on elastic? The ‘briefs’ lasted for years and my dear man often bragged(laughed) about his one and only pair of homemade underwear.

Turned the volume UP on my confidence building voice, dug through drawers to find some  tiny brushes, snatched a quart of white house paint from the basement shelf and  truly enjoyed  painting 2 summertime chairs!  Not perfect, not sure it’s my calling in life but it was artful, cheerful and. . . I’m done.     If we account for the time I spent thinking, painting, fussing around   the selling price should be $300!   That’s not so very realistic for a tiny chair.  Raising money for a good cause-yes.  Oh heck, most of the good things in life happen when you forget about money altogether, don’t they?

It felt good to let loose and tell myself, ” You are enough, whatever comes into your mind and jumps off the end of the paint brush will be. . . .what  is supposed to be.”




Summer Holiday Photoshoot

Flowers in full bloom steal my heart, make time stand still, almost cause me to write poetry. Does anyone else out there get a little overwhelmed, with the best of feelings, at the sight of the long- awaited garden flowers bursting open in bloom? The whole scene sends me into a Victorian era mood. Really! If it were a decision-making day, I would have at least one room destined for lace, old linen and wild rose spilling out of milk-glass vase. Anne of Green Gables, where are you when I need you?

So as not to really truly go overboard inside my home, I pack up some décor items that feel right and head out to the RedBarn for my annual mid July floral photo shoot! It’s a splendid-fun way to preserve the memory of gorgeous garden flowers. In my business it makes for some new ‘card shot’ material too.

Body temperature rises after a few minutes in that big barn and I find myself asking, “Why do you choose the hottest day of July to get inspired about this particular photo shoot?” Reminder. . . .that’s when the lily buds decide to unfurl!

Oh yes, it’s the gorgeous truth that each sun-filled Minnesota summer day begins and ends as a holiday. May as well add a bouquet!

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A Dog’s Life

Soon time to pack the cooler and head out for lake time on Big Stone Lake!  The 4th of July has always been cause to pause and reflect on good fortunes of living on American soil.  My dad has passed on, years back, but many of the little sayings he used are still with me and pop into my head at special times.    Son, Charlie, took this photo of dear Hunter-dog having a snooze on the porch. He presented it to me with a chuckle, “A way to celebrate the day.  See, red, white and blue.”

As a man of the land, farmer, my dad took very few nice summer days off from working.  The 4th of July was always a fun day off to celebrate the privilege being an American.

You might have guessed. . . . . one of his good old sayings was, “It’s a dog’s life.”


Art Rocks In Big Stone Lake Area

Oh, what a night. . . .late June, 2013.  I remember. . . .what a night.  You know the tune.   I swapped my RedBarn garden jeans for white capris and jumped in the car. . . .heading for a dose of culture.  I noticed the boys in the crowd left their fishing hats home and shined up a bit too!   The Italian meal was superb, the company was divine and the art on the walls of the Java Jules Coffee House and Bistro; nothing short of ‘wow’.  Our Big Stone Lake Area knows how to celebrate the success of an ‘art happening’ among us!    Have you ever heard that line about Minnesota being ‘the state of the arts’?  It has something to do with putting your money where your mouth is; healthy arts community means good things for everyone in the community.  That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!

Local artist, Deb Larson, is publicly sharing her dynamic exhibition of ‘Couch Culture’ over the summer months.   During the opening evening Deb was visited by the Pioneer Public TV crew. They covered the event for an upcoming segment of their locally produced, art-related show, ‘Postcards’.   Ahh, a star among us!  It’s fun to talk about the growing number of artists, the growing support among the community, the sense of pride felt when we fill a room to support the success of an individual.  But really, what about all of those huge life-like paintings?  Now that’s one artistic challenge. . . .painting up friends and folks in the community and actually getting them to look like them.  I’m on the list of impressed viewers, Deb!


SONY DSC Lovely Eddie with the gorgeous feet.  Dan and Mo being Dan and Mo(above).


Deb’s interview with Pioneer ‘Postcards’ producer, Andrea Singleton. SONY DSC

Each dinner guest was asked to write a postcard to share about one of three things we have going on; accomplished area artists, Deb’s exhibition now hanging at Java Jules in uptown Ortonville, MN or the Upper Minnesota River Arts Crawl, known as Meander, that includes our area artists each fall(dates this year are October 4th,5th and 6th).  Beautiful people. . . .they all listened so well and dutifully spread the news of the arts among us!


Snapdragons, Oregano and Asparagus

For all of us who enjoy planting, growing and picking. . . .there are plenty of experts to help us succeed.   Should we follow along and do things by the book?   Nah!  Slap you knee, and shout, “It’s my little spot of dirt and I can do anything I want to in this garden.”   It does take my bravado down a level when overnight visitors stop by and. . . .eat off the plants in my garden.    Marigolds, Rudbeckia and Petunias; I picked the plain, but pretty, plants that I thought no one would want.  Wrong.

Among these longed for, stretched-out days of  late June in Minnesota RedBarn countryside,  it takes more than that to get me down.  Live and let live, eat and let eat.    Here’s my own little rule; every time I walk out into the flower beds I am going to  pick something.    Something that I can hold high, create with, eat or at least smile about.   It’s my garden and if I say it’s beautiful. . . . .it is, right?  I’ve always liked green.

Rogue asparagus spears popping up among the Day Lily.  That’s a nice surprise!   White snapdragon ready for snapping. Ok.  The clump of Oregano.   I’ve  tried to dig it out three years in a row and it doesn’t want to leave my garden.  Must mean I am supposed to let it be and start to love it.   I am happy with my nontraditional bouquet. Just right for celebrating the gift of a sunny, warm day.   Thank you, Mother Earth!

Asparagus soup with only three spears?   I’ll try.

SONY DSCWashing up while she decides what she is going to do with us!


The surprise asparagus popping out of the Day Lily patch reminds me of the movie, ‘ET’.  An unusual being that’s out of place?


‘Cheers’ to one lovely day in the countryside!


A dash of RED goes well with green-all year long.SONY DSC

Sharing The RedBarn Living Space

Stopping at the end of my driveway, to glance out over the empty, black front lawn flower garden, was meant to inspire a quick thought of floral transformation.   A happy sign of  life sighted in the garden, as the shiny swallow staked her claim.  Seeing a bit of nature, really seeing it, making a shift in  thought, slowing down, imagining what the subject has to say about the whole interaction, creates that magic-wand-joy-in-the-present.

The realization that all in life share so many of the same feelings; taking in, reflecting, wondering, protecting, finding a place to call home and guarding with our hearts the people we love.

We can share this space and these thoughts, dear bird.   I’m hoping you agree and promise not to  swoop me later today when I’m sprinkling in the  Zinnia seeds and pulling out some clumps of grass.


Can’t resist the charm of a vintage garden tool.


The Swallow is trying to fool me.  Which house do you think I live in?SONY DSC

Twinning On Graduation Day

What a blessing; two baby girls.  From the  ‘start’ ( check back in your biology book) we were talking two; two crying babies in the delivery room, two cribs, two new bikes, two back packs, two first bras, two prom dresses, two college funds. . .and two special young ladies growing up and driving off into the world(two new cars??)at the  same time.   One of my very best friends asked me to create tote bags as gifts for her twin nieces.   I don’t know if they will actually ‘tote’ them around, although they were so gracious and quite excited about them.  I’m thinking it might be a fun idea to paint up a large wooden peg, hang the bag and fill it with scarves, socks, journal, a stash of dark chocolate, popcorn and personal items when you get your first apartment in Duluth.

Graduation parties are a huge social event in rural Minnesota. . . .maybe everywhere.  Sweet Cassie and Amber live waaaay out in the countryside so the ‘townies’ had to drive forever to get there!  Tee-hee! A perfect reason to enjoy the open country on a spring day.   Kind of overwhelming to be the graduate(s) and see cars and people lining your little gravel road, tables full of friends enjoying the wonderful lunch, Aunties tearing up as they gaze at the precious baby pictures on the table and wondering, “Why did these years have to go by so fast?”   I know, I know, why do they?

Getting creative is always fun.  This project was simply ‘extra-fun’!  My artist/photographer friend, Krista, did the photo shoot for the girls last fall and gets the credit for the fun photos we had to choose from.   I asked the girls if we could do a triple shot (twin girls, Krista’s fun photos and my tote making) out in the backyard.  They were all for it.  I can see why you enjoyed working with Cassie and Amber, Krista.  Should I say, “Naturals”?

Mom and Dad are so goin’ to miss these two.  Grown up a bit. . . . . still those same two precious babies.


Ready for anything!


   Congratulations on your graduation, Cassie and Amber!  I’m so impressed; only the really cool kids  have a photo with their parents.  Now that’s a keepsake.  Guess who will love you the most, never stop, think of you every day and totally be-there for you?  I know you know!



New material for smiles and joy; the colorful  flock of yellow finches that  many of us country friends have been sighting and delighting to this past week!

It’s a big deal to wear yellow in a polite, reserved, rural community.  Ok, so we are not that polite all of the time and yes, I do prefer to ‘live under a rock’ some days.    Now really, when is the last time you walked out in public with a bright yellow item of clothing on?  What if  yellow became the ‘new black’?  That might shake  things  up in corporate America!   In the mean time, yellow is the perfect color to send our spring time ‘joy in the countryside’  to an even higher level.

Sunflowers, marigolds, a painted chair, fresh lemons, fabric shopping.   See what you birds have started?


If everyone at the office were wearing yellow it would feel like a level playing field, right? SONY DSC

Natural beauty, confident even amidst the fresh falling rain. SONY DSC

Hard to hide. . . .anywhere, when you are YELLOW!

Spring Horse On Lawn Moment


If I didn’t know better I would think you are a puppy-dog, Miss Annie.   Where did you break out this spring?  The fence is down, due to heavy snow, deep in the prairie ravine.

It’s an annual event; horses on the lawn chomping bites of green.  They break out a mile from home and then run back to let us know they are out.  Thank you for that, sweet ladies!

Dear Annie loves to be brushed, scratched and will follow you anywhere.  Yes, even  through the gate and right back into the corral.   No place like home, even for a horse in the countryside.


You can’t come into the car with me,  darlin’.  She had earlier started to climb the porch steps and wanted to follow me into the house.  So sweet with no concept of being ‘too big’.




Sweet Annie, born and loved at the RedBarn in Big Stone County!