One of the motivations for moving to Minnesota for us was to live near our grandson, Archie. Another motivation was to be near a lake and get a boat. Both have worked well, and we now have a second grandson, Oscar, to make the decision seem even better. Before Oscar was born, I wrote an essay called "A Baby and a Boat" about this move and the time on the lake. It was published recently in "Grandparents Day," an online magazine from Australia. You can read it here.
We drove to Camp Pepin just south of Stockholm, Wis., to see an ice carousel. A group took chain saws and cut a circle in the ice on Lake Pepin, added a small boat motor, and sent the circle of ice slowly spinning. Visitors stopped by throughout the day to enjoy the unique experience. I wrote an article with photos and video and you can read it here.
I've been working as a news reporter for RiverTown Multimedia for two-and-a-half years. During that time, we have undergone some changes, as have most media outlets. We have combined smaller newspapers, reduced publication dates, and laid off staff members. Today we had a meeting and learned that the RiverTown section of Forum Communications will be sold to O'Rourke Media Group from Chicago on January 1. Initially I don't think it will make much difference to readers or reporters, but it will be an interesting experience to watch the transition and see how everything develops.
As we drive the backroads of southeast Minnesota and western Wisconsin, we often see old farm equipment that has been placed along the road, near driveways, or in front of barns or garages as decorations. The project I did earlier on old pickups inspired me to do another photo essay on farm equipment. Those photos are available here.
Earlier this year I read a book called The Cold Vanish about people who disappear in American wilderness areas. The stories included are fascinating, but I also noticed a couple of references to the Jon Francis Foundation which is located in Stillwater, Minnesota, not that far from where we live. I contacted David Francis, director of the foundation and father of Jon, and talked with him about the amazing work they are doing to help families who have lost members in wilderness areas. His background story and the work that is being done by the foundation is inspirational. Read it here.
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Driving around Minnesota and Wisconsin, we often see old pickups that have been positioned as decorations in front of farm houses or at the edge of fields. I had an idea to take photos of them and build a project showing the variety of pickups and their locations. The result is a photo essay published in RiverTown Multimedia publications.
After retiring from teaching, I assumed that I was done working. By chance, after we moved to Minnesota, I found out about a job as a news reporter. That was something I had always wanted to try, so I applied and got the job. I've now been working with RiverTown Multimedia for two years and have truly enjoyed it. Getting out to cover stories has taken me all over this region and I have had the opportunity to meet some incredible people who call this area home. Taking photos and writing articles suits me very well, and I am so glad I had the chance to experience this job. It is the perfect second career for me.
In January, a special section of the newspaper called The River is Life, a magazine about the commercial, environmental, and recreational aspects of living along the Mississippi River, won first place in the Minnesota Newspaper Association contest. Because RiverTown Multimedia publishes papers in both Minnesota and Wisconsin, we are members of both states' associations, and we just learned that The River is Life won first place in the Wisconsin contest, as well. We are very excited about that.
"There are moments in life that change our perceptions. When we are faced with difficult challenges, with scenes of beauty, with frightening emergencies, with quiet solitude, we often experience a sense of time in different ways. Sometimes it seems to speed up, to race, and in other situations, it seems to move slowly, to crawl. In Adventure Relativity: When Intense Experience Shifts Time, author Steve Gardiner takes the reader on a journey through a childhood game, a cardiac arrest, a high-altitude climb, a solo trip into the mountains, a heated run in the Boston Marathon, and other adventures that stretched his senses, pulled at his emotions, and gave him a stronger sense of meaning in life."
That's the blurb off my latest book Adventure Relativity, which is available on Amazon.
I had the opportunity to interview Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers about former Wisconsin Governor and Senator Gaylord Nelson who founded Earth Day in 1970. The Wisconsin Historical Society was generous with photos. You can see the article here.
Photo by John Jancik
Dr. Steve Gardiner is the author of six books and over 900 articles.