Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A summer evening in my Minnesota backyard June 23, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:05 PM
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The setting in my southeastern Minnesota backyard Friday evening.

GIVE ME A PERFECT summer evening in my Minnesota backyard.

I set my margarita on a vintage TV tray and settled into a lawn chair next to the fire.

Mix it with a margarita or a bloody Mary.

Add a dash of fire flaming from the fire pit and from tiki torches.

I purchased this garden art at a dollar store many years ago. Tea light candles can be placed below each flower head. It’s one of my favorite pieces of garden art.

Toss in the soft glow of candlelight flickering on a whisper of wind.

My husband relaxes with the local daily newspaper as we enjoy the evening in our backyard.

Give me a magazine or a book and the man I love relaxing next to me, the two of us, side-by-side in our lawn chairs. Quiet conversation and the rustle of papers.

Fireflies court, flitting across the yard on an uncharted course to find love.

Fireflies glow in the sculpture I just purchased in memory of my nephew Justin.

We observe them. I wish aloud to photograph their magical light and my husband rises to capture a firefly, to clasp it between his hands. I try, without success, to photograph a bug I cannot see. “This is impossible,” I say, and settle back into my lawn chair near the fire.

I resume reading, thumbing through recipes for cheesecake until pinpoints of intermittent rain splatter upon my magazine.

It is time to put away the reading materials, to grab the ingredients for smores and roast marshmallows. Just as I extend the marshmallows over the fire, the rain begins falling at a rapid rate, soaking my bent back.

My husband picks up lawn chairs and tiki torches and tends the fire.

I hurry along the toasting and then rush inside to assemble the smores.

Even with the rain, it’s been a perfect summer evening in my Minnesota backyard.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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28 Responses to “A summer evening in my Minnesota backyard”

  1. treadlemusic Says:

    Love the garden art and the firefly sculpture is wonderful! Wherever did you find such a beautiful treasure! I fell in love with it the first time I saw it……and such a touching, perfect remembrance! We have a bonfire area behind our house. It’s far enough away, and separated by pines, that the feeling is like being quite removed from “civilization”. Quite a statement, considering that we live 5 miles from the nearest town, 1 mile from the nearest neighbor and are surrounded by hundreds of acres of cropland and woodland (DNR state parkland)! Such a pleasant post…….can so relate!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      The sculpture came from Springfield, Oregon, via Faribo Farm & Home (True Value) Store. When I saw the same sculpture in my nephew’s memory garden last week, I had to get one because I simply loved it. I’m told the Oregon True Value warehouse had 12 of these sculptures in inventory. That was as of Thursday.

      As for our backyard…part of it is next to a wooded hillside below a city park. The fence you see separates our yard from a neighbor. To the east is a very noisy and busy street, which is why we have the fence. If not, it would be like swimming in a fish bowl every time we went into our backyard.

      • treadlemusic Says:

        Will have to pursue this at our local True Value. Thanks for the info. Does the sculpture have a specific name??

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        It’s called “Lightning Bugs with Boy” and it is solar-powered. The product #: 143482

        Just so you’re aware, the sculpture is $30 and then I had to pay an additional $10 for shipping from Oregon plus tax.

      • treadlemusic Says:

        Thanks…..well worth it. DH thinks it’s cool, too!!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Well, let me know if you are able to secure the sculpture, whom we call “Little Justin,” after my nephew. Definitely worth the purchase price for me personally.

      • treadlemusic Says:

        Will do. Am working tomorrow so will check locally on Tues.

  2. Allan Landman Says:

    My cousin’s Son, Eric Steelberg, would be envious of your photography! Eric is a Director of Photography in Hollywood. Some of the movies he filmed were, Juno, Up In The Air, 500 days of Summer, Young adult, etc. He has a flare for the camera eye, and you have a real talent of capturing the right effect like he does. I’m sure you are bored with my compliments, but you deserve them. Whenever I see a movie filmed by Eric, I call or email his Mother to tell her how proud I am of him. If you ever catch one of his films, notice the angles and light he uses, it is so similar to your photos. Now enjoy the rest of the Margarita, and fire built by the “Harley Guy”. I am going for a convertible ride with the top down! Yes, Minnesota is the greatest place on Earth during the Spring, Summer, and Fall. The other, not so much. Lol.

    ps. I am going to send Eric’s Mother your blog address so she can see Minnesota at it’s best. She is a Native Californian that loves the Minnesota connection with relatives. She and her Sister think MN is wonderful. When she comes to Mn for a visit, Southern Mn is a must see for her. Ciao!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Oh, Allan, I am not bored by your compliments. I appreciate that you see the difference in my photography. I strive to get that unique perspective, that unusual angle, that whatever you want to say which makes my photos just a bit different than the usual. I try and I have a tremendous amount of fun.

      I’ve seen Juno and loved the film.

      Now I am off to watch Fargo. But no margarita.

  3. Beth Ann Says:

    What beautiful pictures!! Chris and I sat out on our deck last night after flying home from Ohio, sharing a glass of wine and catching up while watching the birds at the feeders. I lit some candles on the table and one by one the wind blew them all out. I tried again. Same story. I think candles outside in Iowa do not work—at least here! Loved the pictures and the narration. Made me smile!!! Thanks, Audrey!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Sounds like a wonderful way to unwind after your trip back to Iowa from Ohio. Candles don’t always work here in our yard either, so it’s not just Iowa.

  4. Bernie Says:

    Love a bonfire and cocktail….too bad for the rain. Nice compliments on your photos…..I agree!

  5. So Jealous – we were averaging 52 mph winds here yesterday, so went to the bar – ha! Happy Sunday:)

  6. Jackie Says:

    I’ve already searched the internet for the sculpture….I think you’ve started something Audrey 🙂
    There are alot of them out there and I think I’ll be purchasing one for my self!
    My hubby and I need to do the firepit thing a little more than we do, Sounds like a perfect time for you and your guy.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Good to hear there are more of these sculptures available than I was led to believe. Where did you find yours? You are apparently a much better sleuth than me. And, yes, I think I’ve started something…

  7. treadlemusic Says:

    Audrey!!!! Just ordered my very own little firefly buddy from our local True Value Hardware store. Should be in a week from this Friday. Thanks so much for the info!!! Uber hugs, D

  8. There aren’t that many “perfect” moments outdoors in MN, are there? It’s either too hot, too cold, too humid, too buggy, too windy…or, out here in the country, occasionally too smelly (pig barn 3/4 of a mile away – it doesn’t stink up the place too often, though). I love your candle flowers!

  9. Nothing better than sitting by a Bonfire.


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