Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Minnesota Prairie Roots top 10 posts for 2009 December 31, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 12:34 PM

NEARLY SIX MONTHS ago, I launched Minnesota Prairie Roots. The journey thus far has been all I expected. And more.

You, my readers, have responded with a humbling enthusiasm to the stories and photos I’ve shared. I am honored that you have embraced my posts, for blogging has truly become my passion. My readership continues to steadily grow and for that I am grateful.

Often, I am surprised at the posts which receive the most attention.

That said, I want to end 2009 by revealing the 10 most-viewed Minnesota Prairie Roots stories. Here they are, beginning with number 10:

10. “Cream cheese roll-out cookies, a Christmas tradition,” published on December 10, includes my favorite Christmas roll-out cookie recipe.

9. “Preserving the churches of Valley Grove near Nerstrand” ranks ninth among readers, but among the top in my personal favorites. I discovered these duo 1894 and 1862 churches atop a rural hillside while on an autumn drive. Much beauty lies within historic churches. I attempted to capture that in my October 9, 19 and 31 stories and photos from Valley Grove.

8. That legendary Minnesota icon, Paul Bunyan, drew many readers to my September 18 story, “Bemidji: beyond Paul Bunyan.” I published related stories on September 12 and 25 and October 10.

7. For years, I resisted attending a stream and gas engine show with my husband. But this year I decided to see what all the fuss was about by accompanying Randy to a Labor Day weekend event near Dundas. I’m glad I did. The results were some pretty interesting photos, shared in my September 17 post, “Tractors & a whole lot more at the Rice County Steam & Gas Engines Show,” and in several other posts.

6. The Faribault Farmers’ Market also offered plenty of photo opportunities and interviews with some interesting vendors. You readers apparently found the market interesting too as my July 23 story, “Farmers’ market vendors, their stories,” ranked number six.

Chocolate covered jalapenos

5. Ah, what can I say about Dennis and his chocolate-covered jalapeno peppers? I met Dennis peddling his jalapenos at the Faribault Farmers’ Market. If you haven’t already read my July 20 post, “Chocolate covered jalapenos,” do.

Judy Ostrowski applies henna art at Depot Park in Kenyon.

4. I haven’t quite figured out why my September 2 “Henna tattoos and body art by a gypsy woman” story has drawn such readership. But I will say that the tattoo artist I discovered at the Kenyon Rose Fest certainly drew my attention. So I suppose readers would find her equally intriguing.

Rachel Scott, the inspiration for Rachel's Challenge.

3. No other topic moved me as much as a presentation I attended by Rachel’s Challenge in Faribault. Rachel Scott was the first killed in the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. I knew I had to share what I learned and the result was my highly-popular November 5 post, “Rachel’s Challenge: Start a chain reaction of kindness.”

The Los 3 Reyes Bakery in historic downtown Faribault, at the center of a controversy over the exterior paint color. The bakery has since been repainted.

2. That “A controversy over color in downtown Faribault” ranks as number two among the most-viewed Minnesota Prairie Roots pieces comes as no surprise. The issue was a hot topic locally for weeks when a contingent of downtown business owners decided they did not like the vibrant color of a Hispanic bakery. I wrote about this controversy on September 30 and again on October 6 and November 9. I am still appalled that business people in my community would “tell” the owner of Los 3 Reyes Bakery that he needed to repaint his building a subtler color. I was hoping that Mariano Perez would resist. But, alas, the bakery has been repainted and an opportunity to embrace cultural differences has been bypassed.

A view of Immanuel from the church balcony.

1. Finally, the most-viewed post: “Preserving the past at Immanuel, Courtland,” published on August 26. In this story, I wrote about the home church of my maternal ancestors. Some might argue that my relatives bumped the numbers on this piece. But I don’t think so. Whatever the reasons, the statistics clearly define this as the top post for 2009.

What will 2010 bring to Minnesota Prairie Roots? Who knows? But I promise, I will continue to write and photograph with a passion. I love Minnesota (well, maybe not our winters). So continue to look here for writing and photos of the people, places, events, things and everyday life that define this place I call home.

Happy New Year!

© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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