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Recently, I enjoyed meeting the president of Spy House Coffee in Minneapolis. We hit it off immediately and started talking about all things food. We kept circling back to seasonal foods and eating them at their peak, especially maple syrup, blueberries, and pumpkin. 

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Put your Smartphone away, don’t believe the weatherman and do not check anything online if you’re wondering what kind of winter we’re going to have. You’d get more precise information after walking through some oaks, husking corn and looking at a few bugs. That’s what the Farmer’s Almanac do…

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My wife always finds it funny when I react with some disdain to the weather in this area. “Yep, that’s what happens up here. You’re just going to have to get used to it,” she likes to say. Last year was especially comical to her when this area had one of the snowiest, and one of the coldest …

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In 1992, Bruce Springsteen came out with a song called 57 Channels (Nothin’ On). The protagonist in the song keeps trying to find viewing enjoyment, but ends up shooting his television and going to jail.

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Located along Lake Michigan on the east side of Wisconsin, Door County is home to more than 12 orchards. For many years, Door County produced 10 percent of all cherries grown in the United States. In addition to cherries, they’re well known for apples, too. It’s a beautiful place. 

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Everyone ages 7 to 70 was sitting around a roaring campfire, telling stories, reliving memories of the past and creating new ones the night before the Wisconsin Waterfowl opener.  All were a part of what Paul Smith, outdoor editor of The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel, called the oldest duck cam…

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Our publisher once told me, “Matt, life is a series of plane crashes. You can either sit in the dirt and cry, or you can dust yourself off and get on the next flight.” Gee, thanks, Tom!

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There’s been an ongoing war at my house between the native population and my family.

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Being the cook in the family has the advantage of getting to choose what I feel like cooking or baking. I cook, I choose. Simple. Family members can always make requests, but I get to decide, ultimately. 

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My wife Nancee’ and I were asleep when I heard Kova, a dog I was boarding, bark an angry bark from his travel crate on the porch. A second later we heard scratching just below our bedroom window that scared Nancee.  BEAR!!! Simultaneously, I realized I forgot to let our 2 house dogs back int…

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Growing up near Rockford, Illinois, I always had dreams of moving south when I grew up. Palm Trees, oceans, and hot weather – not a snowflake in sight all year. Needless to say, sitting here in Osceola writing my first column for The Sun and Country Messenger means those plans must have changed.

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The pace of change in our society never ceases to amaze me. Driven by technologies that seem to accelerate at an exponential rate, items that seem to be universally understood by a person like me, born in the second half of the last century, now require lengthy explanations.

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Okay, Summer, it’s time to pack your bags and move on. We in the Midwest have four seasons: baking (winter), eating green (spring), grilling (summer), cooking (fall).

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How can you help monarch butterflies get from Wisconsin to Mexico to winter so monarchs return in the spring? I asked Jill Stephens, an ordinary person who takes extraordinary measures to help monarchs succeed. This is her story.

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I’m ready for the National Football League’s season to be over. Three weeks in and I’m done. 

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Since I started this job, the weeks have made a habit of flying by. Deadlines will do that to a person’s sense of perception. And with each passing year the time between deadlines seems to have gotten shorter. 

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As the days grown shorter and the nights grow cooler it is time to say goodbye to our summer gardens.  They have given us nourishment and hours of beauty. This column deals with those garden/lawn chores that should be done before we get a blast of pre-winter. The more you do now the less wor…

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Brady was about as excited as I’ve ever seen him after he dropped that first dove. After last year’s mentored deer hunt when the deer came up close and personal, but got away, made dropping that dove a good memory to replace the disappointment of last year’s youth deer hunt. Brady, now 11, w…

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Greetings from what still feels to me like a foreign state, knowing it’s my second-to-last deadline at the paper. Since announcing my departure last week many readers have been offering well wishes, for which I’m very grateful. (Those who have nothing nice to say have said nothing at all, fo…

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It began for me a few weeks ago as a tickle in my throat, caused by sinus drainage. By the time I realized that my old friend ragweed had come to call, I was nursing a sore throat. After a full court press of allergy medicine, sinus rinsing, nasal spray and some vitamin C drops, I was no lon…

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 Is there anything better after a long week than a hunk of delicious cheese and a glass of wine? I’m trying hard not to say, “I love cheese,” but I can’t help myself.

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That first pair of blue winged teal came in fast and low on the opening day of the early season. It took a moment to make that positive identification before we were able to shoot and that was all it took. Cutting in low and fast they were in and out before we could get off a good clean shot…

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Now is the time of year when our gardens are starting to come to their natural end. The air is crisp and it is pleasant to be outside. 

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When I started as editor of the Sun and Country Messenger I thought I might stay until I was very old. 

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Three weeks ago my brother Richard called to tell me his orioles had left. I noticed mine disappeared from the feeder August 21.  I’m experiencing much quieter mornings without the bird songs of summer.  Now it looks like the grosbeaks have flown the coop too, taking their song south! So, wh…

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I hope you had a great Labor Day holiday. I am left pondering where the summer went because it took so long to get here this year.

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My garden has gone nuts this year. I’ve got broccoli heads the size of basketballs and sweet corn higher than I can reach. Yellow beans, zukes, onions, greens and squash are fighting the annual battle of weeds vs. veggies and winning! I have a fight with weeds every year. I lost the last bat…

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A couple weeks ago I interviewed two women whose friendship itself has become something rare. They identify with different political parties. 

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“Fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face.” — General Jack D. Ripper, “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.”

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The Kinnickinnic River, called the Kinni by those who know and love it, flows through gently rolling hills and farmlands of St. Croix County and the City of River Falls where two dams block the river’s flow. Once through the city the Kinni passes through a protected pristine river valley to …

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Have you heard of friendship bread? It’s a yummy bread that makes so much you have to share it. 

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Are you soaking up what remains of summer? Every year, it seems, I find myself wondering in mid August how it’s all gone by so fast.

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The way we communicate with each other is constantly changing. With advances in technology, it seems as if our machines are somehow reading our minds and presenting advertisements for products or services that we have been thinking about.

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The big rod doubled over, the drag screamed as the 10 year old’s arms strained against the power of fins and muscle. Without warning the big fish erupted from the water heading into the sky twisting and turning until reentry, vanishing into the deep. I could see Brady’s eyes enlarge when he …

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Last week, my brother and family visited. He has two adorable little boys. It was so fun having little ones around. They see the world in fresh new ways. Everything is fun. 

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They say to choose your battles wisely. The same could be said about fishing. I hear so many people say how they struggle catching fish this time of year and in most cases it’s true, but it needn’t be. The people who struggle in August do so because they fish now like they did in May. It cou…

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Growing up in the 1970s as part of a large family there were three times during the year when I could get candy: Easter, Christmas and Halloween.

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Today we are going to discuss plant diseases and insects. There are numerous diseases and insects that can cause damage to flowers and vegies.  Some of these insects and diseases can destroy our plants and others will cause them to just look ugly.  

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It starts in the spring when morel mushrooms and wild asparagus pop up for people who love the fresh flavor of tasty wild foods. About the same time spring fishing and turkey hunting come onboard. Add fresh fish and truly free-range turkey to make a meal fit for a king.