Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Take this snow and shove (shovel) it March 20, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 9:23 PM
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ON THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING in Minnesota, my true love gave to me…chicken on the grill.

But, before he could cook the chicken, he shoveled 2 ½ feet of snow from the patio to access the Weber. That would be the grill which, until yesterday, lay tipped on its side, having toppled off a melting snow mountain.

After shoveling his way to the grill, he fired it up.

But, as anyone knows, even in winter-spring, a man cannot grill without beer. So my true love chiseled a bottle of Nordeast into an icy snow bank to reach icy perfection. By the time I photographed the chilling beer, the bottle was nearly empty.

Later he iced a bottle of Grain Belt Premium.

And so on the first day of spring in Minnesota, I did not get five golden rings or a partridge in a pear tree. Yes, I am well aware that I am referencing The Twelve Days of Christmas here. But with all the snow still remaining in our northern state, December 25 seems like yesterday.

Rather, on this fine spring day (if you call 40-plus degree temps, rain and thunder in the morning, and snow-blotched lawns and boulevards “fine”), I got chicken, and potatoes, on the grill.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


The promise of spring in a seed packet

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 10:29 AM
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A few of the flower seed packets I have stashed away for the upcoming gardening season.

WHEN MY FRIEND MANDY offered me a pick of flower seed packets recently, I snatched up the cosmos. Next to zinnias, they are my favorite flower to grow from seed.

The simple sight of photographed blooms on a seed package lifted my spirits on a night when snow was falling. Again.

It has been an incredibly long winter here in Minnesota with more snow than I can recall in years. Thus, the possibility of spring seems as unlikely as state high school basketball tournaments without a blizzard.

But for now, a gardener can dream of cupping tiny seeds in her palm and scattering them upon soil that holds the promise of summer. She can dream of snipping stems, of gathering colorful blooms into beautiful, bountiful bouquets.

I WROTE THIS POST 10 days ago and simply didn’t get around to publishing it until today, the first day of spring. This morning, while in church, I heard the boom of thunder. It is raining here, with a brisk wind.

Snow mountains are melting. Wide swatches of muddied grass lie exposed to the elements, a welcome sight after this long and weary winter. But then again, snow is forecast for later this week, as tips of tulip plants push through the soil. This is Minnesota, after all, and we are never quite certain when spring will officially arrive. We mark the season by the arrival of warmth and bared grass and emerging flowers, not by a day on the calendar.


A bouquet of wildflowers plucked from a public garden (not by me) in Fulda, Minnesota, last summer.

Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling