Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire April 6, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 1:50 PM
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MY SWEATSHIRT REEKS of smoke, as if I’ve been sitting around a campfire for hours.

But in reality, I’ve only stepped into my backyard for several minutes, into the strong scent of smoke drifting from across the street a few houses away.

Honestly, I could not believe my eyes. Who, in their right mind, would burn leaves in tinder dry conditions like this? Apparently my neighbor.

Only an hour ago, I heard a local radio broadcaster announce a burning ban issued by the sheriff in Rice County. Given the dry conditions, only recreational campfires and grilling are allowed.

Recreational campfires like this one are still allowed. I gathered with extended family around this campfire in Waseca on March 24. This photo is for illustration purposes only.

The National Weather Service has issued a “red flag warning” for the western half of Minnesota from the northern to southern borders. Gusty winds and low relative humidity in an already dry landscape are creating “critical fire weather conditions,” according to the NWS.

Heed the warning, Minnesotans. Use common sense. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a warning from the NWS or a directive from the sheriff to tell you that burning leaves, or anything else for that matter, today or anytime soon would be a very bad idea.

I kept expecting to hear the wail of fire trucks racing to my neighbor’s house. I live along a heavily-traveled street. It’s happened before that a passerby has called the fire department when a neighbor has been burning leaves.

HAVE YOU HAD any fires in your neighborhood today or recently? If so, send me a report via a comment.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


Hop into church on Easter

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:57 AM
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TYPICALLY, JUNK MAIL I receive goes directly from my mailbox into the recycling bin without even a read-through.

But the message and graphic on this piece of mail paused me to stop, read the words and actually flip the oversized postcard to the other side.

Now why did this mass mailing capture my momentary attention?

The short, off-the-wall powerful message popped right out at me. And, the image, well, who doesn’t savor a chocolate Easter bunny?

Connecting the bitten-off-tail bunny with the chosen message seems creative genius to me, the perfect pairing of art and words.

Now I don’t know who, specifically, is the creative mind behind this postcard. But the mailing comes from CANVAS Church in Northfield.

I won’t be attending or joining CANVAS Church. I already have a church home. But I applaud this congregation for reaching out to the masses with an impressionable message that might just bring people in the doors for Easter morning worship.

As an added Easter worship incentive, CANVAS is offering free individual or family photos by a professional photographer.

There you go. Creative marketing and gimmicks to draw in worshipers. Not a new concept. But certainly one that made me stop to read a piece of junk mail before tossing it into the recycling bin.

© Text copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling