Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Insights into my blog featured in magazine article March 9, 2019

This photo shows the first page-plus of a feature story published in the spring issue of Fleur-de-lis. Nick Gerhardt photographed me in my dining room. My father-in-law, Tom Helbling, painted the winter scene behind me. The chest of drawers is a refinished Helbling family heirloom. And the chain of folded cranes were crafted and gifted to me by Sunny, a wonderful young woman from Boston. The four books represent a sampling of the many anthologies in which my writing has published.


EVERY DAY WE WRITE our stories. By the way we live. By what we say and do and how we act. Or don’t.

We craft our personal stories whether at a computer, working retail, raising a child… Each story differs. Each story matters. Every single person matters.


A selfie of Randy and me taken in September 2017 at the walleye statue along Mille Lacs Lake in Garrison. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo by Randy Helbling.


I am honored by the telling of my story in the spring issue of Fleur-de-lis, a lifestyle magazine published by the Faribault Daily News. Freelancer Nick Gerhardt wrote the piece which also features nine of my photos in a six-page spread. Plus Nick’s photo of me. And a selfie Randy took of us by the big walleye statue in Garrison because I am horrible at taking selfies.

Nick got my story right. He captures the essence of me as a person, a writer and a photographer in his focus on my blogging. I appreciate that. When a writer really, truly connects and understands the interview subject, as Nick did with me, it shows.

He spent several hours in my home, not only asking questions, gathering information and taking photos, but also talking shop. Although I haven’t worked in the newspaper field for decades, I can still relate to the profession and its challenges and rewards.

It is clear to me that Nick did his homework, researching my blog in advance of our interview. And it is clear to me that he fully understands my southwestern Minnesota rural background and its influence on my writing and photography. He digs into that in a section tagged “setting the roots.”


My husband enjoys his cheeseburger at the North Morristown Fourth of July celebration in 2016. This is one of my favorite close-up images and among those published in Fleur-de-lis. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2016.


Nick describes my blog as “a hotdish of Americana through a Minnesota lens.” I love that perspective. It accurately reflects my writing and photography style and the content of my blog. My images and words focus on rural Minnesota—Main Street, grassroots small town events, the Minnesota countryside, country churches, issues that matter to me and much more.


An abandoned farmhouse along Minnesota State Highway 19 east of Vesta on the southwestern Minnesota prairie. The image is published in Fleur-de-lis. The house, photographed in 2012, is now gone. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


When Nick interviewed me, I stressed to him the importance of noticing details. It is a skill rooted in my childhood. When you grow up on the prairie as I did, you notice details in that stark environment. I’ve always engaged all of my senses—not just visual. I can smell harvest, hear the howling wind, feel the bite of winter, taste sunshine in a garden-fresh tomato, see heat waves shimmering over a cornfield in July. That eye for detail weaves into my writing and my photography.

Through the decades, I’ve honed my craft, found my voice. But I’ve never lost touch with my prairie roots. Everything I write, everything I photograph, is rooted directly or indirectly in my rural upbringing. In my Minnesota prairie roots.


The cover of the spring issue of Fleur-de-lis.


FYI: Copies of the spring 2019 issue of Fleur-de-lis are available from the Faribault Daily News for $2. The issue also includes republication of my blog post, “Winter’s here, so we may as well embrace it,” illustrated by outstanding winter photos by area photographers. That post, I will note, published on January 2, long before this winter became the longest of cold and snowy winters in Minnesota.

© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


26 Responses to “Insights into my blog featured in magazine article”

  1. Gay Lynch Says:

    Congratulations! You are so awesome. Thank you for so many great stories and pictures.

    • Thank you. I appreciate your appreciative words. I am ready for warmer weather and more exploring with more stories and photos to share. The past two summers broken bones (shoulder one summer, wrist the next) put my photography on hold. I’m determined this summer to keep all bones intact and get out there with my camera.

  2. Gunny Says:

    Congrats on being recognized by others on your writing photography and your blog.

  3. Congratulations! What an honor of a lovely and talented lady. I love your posts and your stories and am very grateful you share them.

  4. BERNADETTE Thomasy Says:

    Congratulations, Audrey. I bet it was not easy being on the other side of the interviewer’s table. I’m glad you were happy with the result. You and your self-made career as blogger and photographer are definitely feature worthy. Keep up the great work.

  5. This is so awesome, Audrey! Your blog is wonderful. The publication is well deserved. Congratulations! ❤

  6. Rosalie Quale Says:

    Congratulations Audrey. A well deserved recognition!

  7. That is wonderful to be featured as a writer. Congratulations. I will be ordering a copy to have it to read when I am in MN.

  8. “a hotdish of Americana through a Minnesota lens”

    I so much appreciate that title, Audrey! ( Did your mother put potato chips on top of tuna casserole?)

    So well deserved that you should be recognized in this way.

    The “DETAILS” are what matter in life, and I LOoooooVE that you notice the howl of the wind, the smell of the harvest, and a little abandoned farm house all lonely on the prairie.

    They are all characters in your narrative.

    Congrats! Brava! Bravo!

    —I want to order one of those magazines! xx from Duluth

  9. Jean Schmidtke Says:

    I really enjoyed the whole book. All very interesting write ups. Enjoyed yours very much , especially the Cheese burger from North Morristown. You have such a good way with words.

  10. Valerie Says:

    What fun to be featured in your community newspaper/magazine. Congratulations.

  11. Sandra Van Erp Says:

    Spectacular! I read this publication on ISSUU. They always have interesting features, of course yours is the best! Also enjoyed the other articles on Brandt’s and Donahues where I yearly spend way too much during SSM reunion weekend.

    • Thank you, Sandra. I agree that Fleur-de-lis was filled with many interesting articles. I enjoyed learning about the Brand Peony Farm and wish it still existed.

      Thanks for returning to your hometown to spend monies and to reconnect with classmates.

  12. Well how fun is this…. to be featured in your local publication! You just have ” a way” with your words and photo’s to draw people in. I love your blog and the way we connect on so many levels! Congratulations Audrey!


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