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I have been blogging about auctions for a number of years. I appreciate my on-line audience who checks in occasionally to see if I have written anything new. I regret that sometimes it is a long time between posts, especially in the winter. I have been thinking about this for a while and I am going to try something different. When I started doing this blog, all I talked about was auctions and auctioneering. I have come to see that what I am doing is much broader in scope and I am going to try to expand my blog accordingly. When I went to auction school, we were counseled to not refer to a person’s possessions as “stuff”, as this word was considered to be insulting to the “merchandise” to be offered at auction. With the benefit of hindsight after 30 years of conducting auctions, I am more and more convinced that the word “stuff” really does describe most of what people accumulate over the years. From now on, I am not going to be shy about using the term “stuff”. In addition to antiques, collectibles, furniture, and items of value, almost every house contains its share of obsolete electronics, out of style décor, unused sports equipment, almost new clothing that no longer fits, as well as multiples of various tools, consumer appliances, and kitchen items, not to mention books, toys, games, and everything else. With the advent of big box retailers, IKEA, and the home shopping network, we have overwhelmed ourselves with “stuff”.
It is obvious that dealing with “stuff” can be a major problem for people. In the extreme case, society has become fascinated with “hoarders”. Even in “nicer” neighborhoods, people don’t always want to leave their garage doors open for everyone to see all their “stuff”. The world of “stuff” has changed a lot since I started doing auctions. Back in the day, even a toaster or an iron at an auction would have another life in a new home. All that changed when we started importing inexpensive consumer goods from overseas. Single family homes used to be the standard in many communities, and in smaller communities, many if not most people were only one generation away from the farm and almost everyone understood auctions. I remember being slightly annoyed at the concept of “estate sales” when they first started cropping up in outstate Minnesota. I wondered why anyone would consider having an estate sale when an auction was obviously the best way to sell things. Over time, I have come to realize that different situations require different solutions, and so several years ago we started conducting estate sales in addition to auctions.
I have decided that I am going to start using my blog to talk about “stuff” and how to handle it. Sometimes I may be talking about an auction or estate sale, either one that is coming up, or one that has occurred. Other times, I might be talking about a garage sale, or a flea market, where “stuff” can be bought or sold. Additional topics might include selling “stuff” on the internet, moving “stuff” or storing “stuff”. I want to make my website interesting and useful for people who either have too much “stuff” or want more “stuff”.
Feel free to let me know what you would like to hear about.
Fraternal twins, separated at birth, are raised in the same small town, where they struggle for freedom from their families, their destinies, and, sometimes, each other– all with the underground railroad as a haunting presence in their lives.
“Stillwater is that rare historical novel that shines as much light forward as it does back . . . Rascally and robust, saucy and sincere and serious as a logjam, Stillwater is celebration of this country’s coming of age from a writer staking her claim to greatness.” — Peter Geye, author of Safe from the Sea and The Lighthouse Road
“Stillwater is a stunning achievement. Helget brings her keen sense for Southern Gothic to, of all places, the Northwoods of Minnesota. . . . A highly touching and believable tale.” — Jonathan Odell, author of The Healing
“The question of whether [this novel's characters] will—or won’t—take the risks to help each other survive gives the story some tension, but Helget’s lyricism is what elevates it.” — Publishers Weekly
Clement and Angel are fraternal twins separated at birth; they grow up in the same small, frontier logging town of Stillwater, Minnesota. Clement was left at the orphanage. Angel was adopted by the town’s richest couple, but is marked and threatened by her mother’s mental illness. They rarely meet, but Clement knows if he is truly in need, Angel will come to save him.
Stillwater, near the Mississippi River and Canada, becomes an important stop on the Underground Railroad. As Clement and Angel grow up and the country marches to war, their lives are changed by many battles for freedom and by losses in the struggle for independence, large and small.
Stillwater reveals the hardscrabble lives of pioneers, nuns, squaws, fur trappers, loggers, runaway slaves and freedmen, outlaws and people of conscience, all seeking a better, freer, more prosperous future. It is a novel about mothers, about siblings, about the ways in which we must take care of one another and let go of one another. And it’s brought to us in Nicole Helget’s winning, gorgeous prose.
Born in 1976, Nicole Lea Helget grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota, a childhood and place she drew on in the writing of her memoir, The Summer of Ordinary Ways. She received her BA and an MFA in creative writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Based on the novel’s first chapter, NPR’s Scott Simon awarded The Turtle Catcher the Tamarack Prize from Minnesota Monthly.
Sugar Maples have earned the admiration of millions upon millions of people throughout North America for their breathtaking fall color, the strength and usefulness of their wood, wonderful cooling shade, and for providing the sap that makes maple syrup production possible. Fall Fiesta Sugar Maple is a selection by Minnesota’s own Bailey Nurseries that has rapidly become the standard of quality.
Within a week, the sap will begin to flow at long last, a sure sign of spring. If you plant a Fall Fiesta Sugar Maple this year, perhaps your children or grandchildren will be able to make maple syrup from it some day. In the meantime, you will have a Fall Fiesta Sugar Maple that is a great tree.
For best results, plant your Fall Fiesta Sugar Maple in medium textured soil that drains properly, but not excessively. Avoid compacted soils, and chronically waterlogged areas. Fall Fiesta will grow into a nice sized tree at a moderate pace when just enough, but not too much fertility and water are available.
Fall Fiesta Sugar Maple will become a full size shade tree of 50′ to 70
‘ tall by 50′ wide, so plan accordingly when choosing the planting location. You may have to wait to get maple syrup from your new Fall Fiesta Sugar Maple, but you won’t have to wait long for great fall color. In just a season or two, you should see a beautiful combination of yellow, orange and red color when summer gives way to the fall color change in October.
By late winter, most of us are longing for green grass, spring flowers and the return of color to the landscape. Despite the pounding of a tough winter, one of my all time favorite plants for adding excellent color to the landscape is in its glory in the waning weeks of winter.
Cardinal Red Twig Dogwoods absolutely shine in late winter. The neon red / orange stems of Cardinal Red Twig Dogwood provide an intense splash of color, especially when contrasted against pure white snow banks. In our photo, we have Cardinal Red Twig Dogwood planted in the back and in front, is a dwarf variety of the standard Red Twigged Dogwood, Arctic Fire.
Plant a mass of Cardinal Red Twig Dogwood in a generous sized area with full sun for the best effect. As the sun intensity increases in late February and the month of March, the color pop of the stems also increases.
From a fresh and highly original voice, a debut collection of stories that illuminates the state of America today with an inscrutable, eerily clarifying light.
“What is your ‘inappropriate behavior’ of choice? Debut author Murray Farish, in this hip collection of stories, exposes an America living on the edge-the edge of the law, the edge of grief, the edge of society. Portraying characters who appear as real as a next-door neighbor, each unique story will make you wonder just what is happening behind closed doors. Highly original and focused on the unusual, Inappropriate Behavior is an auspicious beginning for the talented new voice of Murray Farish.” — Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, Iowa
“Interesting and accomplished, this collection of stories explores the intersection of abhorrent behavior and the facade of ordinary life. Murray has mastered the short story and this collection is solid—not a weak one in the bunch.” —Sarah Bagby, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kansas
“Inappropriate Behavior is a collection of lovely surprises: the tartly fresh, felicitous phrase, followed by the astonishing plot turn, and then by the lightning-streaked illumination of character. I think you will like this book.” —Ken Kalfus, author of Equilateral
In “Lubbock Is Not a Place of the Spirit,” a Texas Tech student recognizable as John Hinckley, Jr. writes hundreds of songs for Jodie Foster as he grows increasingly estranged from reality. The young couple in ‘The Thing About Norfolk,’ socially isolated after a cross-country move, aredismayed to find themselves unable to resist sexually deviant urges. And in the deeply touching title story, a husband’s layoff stretches a couple to their limit as they struggle to care for their emotionally unbalanced young son. Set in cities across America and spanning the last half-century, this collection draws a bead on our national identity, distilling ourobsessions,our hauntings, our universal predicament.
Murray Farish‘s short stories have appeared in The Missouri Review, Epoch, Roanoke Review, and Black Warrior Review, among other publications. His work has been awarded the William Peden Prize, the Phoebe Fiction Prize, and the Donald Barthelme Memorial Fellowship Prize, among others. Farish lives with his wife and two sons in St. Louis, Missouri, where he teaches writing and literature at Webster University.Inappropriate Behavior is his debut.
Hear Murray Farish read an excerpt from Inappropriate Behavior here.
Green industry jobs span a broad range of areas, including production of seeds, sod, flowers, shrubs and trees, as well as landscape design, landscape installation, retail and wholesale distribution and sales of plant materials. It’s an excellent time to get started, since many green industry companies are currently interviewing people to fill openings on their staff.
Many people find satisfying careers simply by going to work for a nursery or landscaping company, and working hard to learn by on-the-job training.
Other people choose to enter a horticulture school such as the one at Dakota County Technical College, gaining a rich and broad foundation of knowledge and entering the work force through internships.
Whichever path fits best for you, we’d like to encourage anyone thinking about a career in our industry to stop by at the nursery for a visit. We’d like to get acquainted. We are hiring now.
A relentless, old-fashioned Minnesota winter has a firm grip on us, as early March weather feels more like mid-January. Despite almost no let-up in the significantly lower than normal temperatures, it really won’t be very long until our hopes are realized, and some 40 degree plus weather and a strengthening sun gnaw away at the snowbanks.
When daytime temperatures reach the 30′s and re-freezing occurs at night, sap flow begins in the trees gracing our yards, fields, forests and urban areas. Maple syrup producers will be boiling down sap into the very best compliment for a stack of buttermilk pancakes.
In the next 10-20 days, the sap flow will begin. Some years this happens in February, but this year it will be later due to the extended cold temperatures. Regardless of when it occurs, the beginning of sap flow in trees is the beginning of the end of winter!
This period of the four seasons that we are about to experience is the rebirth of a landscape that has been sleeping quietly since late October when dormancy really became established. As the days grow ever longer rest assured that hope springs eternal. The timeless dance of new life is about to begin.
What: STARS ON ICE, the country’s premier figure skating production
When: SUNDAY, MAY 4, 4 PM
Where: XCEL ENERGY CENTER, St. Paul, MN
The country’s premier figure skating production, Stars on Ice, is proud to announce that America’s top Olympic medal contenders at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia will headline this year’s nationwide tour. Witness some of the America’s most creative and cherished champions performing together in both individual and ensemble routines. Stars on Ice will crisscross the United States this coming year, as the only figure skating tour in America, bringing you the greatest performances and competitors from the 2014 Winter Games.
Northfield Skating School has teamed up with our friends at the River Blades Skating School in Hastings to offer discounted group tickets to our students, families, and friends!
Postmark deadline for ticket orders: 3/10/14
Please note: This event is being organized by NSS and the River Blades Skating School. Please use address on the ticket order form. Orders sent to the Northfield Ice Arena or Community Services will not be processed.
The latest gripping, supernatural novel from award-winning author Wendy Webb, following The Fate of Mercy Alban, featuring a reclusive horror novelist and a woman who has taken on a bit more than she bargained for when she becomes her caretaker. Another escapist bit of commercial fiction with a mysterious edge that remains popular with readers.“A deliciously complex blend of psychological suspense and ghost story, THE VANISHING is pitch-perfect on every note, from its mansion setting in the pine-scented northern wilderness, to the secrets and specters lurking around every corner.” -Erin Hart, author of The Book of Killowen “A brisk thriller tinged with gothic elements…. Careening through séances and ghostly encounters leaves the reader breathless.” -Kirkus Reviews
Recently widowed and rendered penniless by her Ponzi-scheming husband, Julia Bishop is eager to start anew. So when a stranger appears on her doorstep with a job offer, she finds herself accepting the mysterious yet unique position: caretaker to his mother, Amaris Sinclair, the famous and rather eccentric horror novelist whom Julia has always admired . . . and who the world believes is dead.
When she arrives at the Sinclairs’ enormous estate on Lake Superior, Julia begins to suspect that there may be sinister undercurrents to her “too-good-to-be-true” position. As Julia delves into the reasons of why Amaris chose to abandon her successful writing career and withdraw from the public eye, her search leads to unsettling connections to her own family tree, making her wonder why she really was invited to Havenwood in the first place, and what monstrous secrets are still held prisoner within its walls.
Wendy Webb‘s first novel, The Tale of Halcyon Crane, was the 2011 winner of the Minnesota Book Award for genre fiction, and an IndieNext Pick from the Independent Booksellers’ Association, a Midwest Connections Pick from the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association and a Great Lakes, Great Reads Pick from the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association. Her second novel, The Fate of Mercy Alban, was published in February 2013. Wendy is also the editor ofDuluth-Superior Magazine, celebrating the area she features in her gothic thrillers. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and her beloved Alaskan Malamutes.
This standout little hosta makes a statement in your hosta garden. A small plant – reaching only 10 inches high by 24 inches wide, the leaves are cupped and are of heavier substance. A beautiful gold centered inside surrounded by a dark green margin it will produce near white flowers in the summer. This plant is a sport of Maui Buttercups and is often paired with Wylde Green Cream.
Rainforest Sunrise was named Hosta of the Year in 2013 by the American Hosta Society. To be named Hosta of the Year – a hosta has to have surpassed many different criteria – some of which are availability across the country and at an affordable price, hardy in most of the country and reliability all season long.
Pictured here is my Rainforest Sunrise, and I have it planted in a threesome, the other two being Maui Buttercups and Wylde Green Cream. We have many new hostas coming this year and after such a long harsh winter – I am more than ready to get my hands dirty!
An entertaining introduction to the quacks, snake-oil salesmen, and charlatans, who often had a point.
“A must-read for medical history buffs, whether mainstream or maverick.” -Publishers Weekly
“Astronomy was preceded by Astrology. Modern medical science was preceded by snake oil and homeopathy. Janik tells a compelling story, in graceful prose, of what happens when error, greed and fashion rule the marketplace of medical ideas. What Lewis Thomas called ‘The Youngest Science’-medicine based on cell and molecular biology-is young, indeed; and this fine book reminds us of how far we have come.” -Gerald Weissmann, MD, author of Epigenetics in the Age of Twitter
“Historian Janik chronicles the rise and fall and renewed popularity of alternative medicine.” -Booklist
Despite rampant scientific innovation in nineteenth-century America, traditional medicine still adhered to ancient healing methods such as induced vomiting and bleeding, blistering, and sweating patients. Facing such horrors, many patients ran with open arms to burgeoning practices promising new ways to cure their ills: Hydropaths promised cures using “healing tubs.” Franz Anton Mesmer applied magnets to a patient’s body, while Daniel David Palmer restored a man’s hearing by knocking on his vertebrae. Phrenologists emerged, claiming the topography of one’s skull could reveal the intricacies of one’s character. Bizarre as these methods may seem, many are the predecessors of today’s notions of health. We have the nineteenth-century practice of “medical gymnastics” to thank for today’s emphasis on daily exercise, and hydropathy’s various water cures gave us the notion of showers and the mantra of “eight glasses of water a day.” These early medical “deviants,” including women who had been barred from the patriarchy of “legitimate doctoring,” raised questions and posed challenges to established ideas, and though the fads faded and many were discredited by the scientific revolution, some ideas behind the quackery are staples in today’s health industry. Janik tells the colorful stories of these “quacks,” whose shams, foils, or genuine wish to heal helped shape and influence modern medicine.
Erika Janik is the producer, editor, and consulting historian of the Wisconsin Public Radio series Wisconsin Life. She is the author of four previous award-winning history books. Her work has appeared in Smithsonian,Mental Floss, and Midwest Living, among other publications. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
Locally Brewed celebrates the Midwest’s craft brewing movement with profiles of 20 of the area’s brewmasters and their breweries. These are entertaining and inspiring stories of the individuals who have been essential in the exponential growth of this movement, as told through vivid interviews, beautiful photography, and dynamic artwork.
“Part cookbook, part storybook, it’s an irresistible collection of feel-good anecdotes, vivid photographs, and recipes from both chefs and farmers.” -Carly Boers, Chicago magazine
“An inspirational glimpse into one vibrant area of the local food movement.” -Kirkus Reviews
“Anyone who enjoys farming stories, cooking, animals, and locally grown food will treasure this book. It’s well done, interesting, and beautiful.” -Margo Dill, News-Gazette, Champaign, IL
In just the past 20 years, beer has been transformed from a “low-class” drink to a pluralistic, populist drink with the same stylistic diversity and caring craftsmanship as wine. One of the strongest hotbeds of this cultural shift is in the Midwest, where independently owned craft brewers focus on the creative, artisanal elements of the beer-making process. Locally Brewed explores these trends and the fun, fascinating, and unique details of each brewery, including label art, hand-pull designs, and of course the brews themselves.
This is a book that can be enjoyed by the “beer geek” and the casual imbiber alike, as it emphasizes the people behind the beer as well as the beers they brew. Special sidebars and pullouts show what makes each brewery special, weaving together the story of the indie beer movement, relevant to both small-town Midwesterners and big-city beer lovers.
Anna H. Blessing researched, wrote, and photographed 14 editions of the eat.shop book series in addition to being a regular contributor to many other print and online publications, including Lucky, for which she was an editor for six years. She lives in Chicago.
Inspired by the Winter Olympics in Sochi? Looking to try skating, or keep skating? You’ve come to the right place!
Northfield Skating School’s first SUMMER SKATING SESSION will run on Monday nights from June 9- July 28th, 5:00pm-6:45pm!
Group lessons, hockey classes, private lessons, spin class, and power class will be offered. Registration will open through Community Services later in the spring. Stay tuned!
Earlier this week, staff member Kelly Gulbrandson became NSS’s first skater to pass a Gold U.S. Figure Skating test. Kelly tested her Adult Gold Moves in the Field Test, the highest test of its kind attainable in the U.S. Figure Skating structure. A panel of judges evaluated her patterns for qualities such as power, extension, and edge quality, and she received passing scores from all three judges. Kelly trains year-round at the St. Paul Figure Skating Club with NSS director and coach Carey Tinkelenberg.
Thanks to Northfield News Sports Editor Jordan Osterman for stopping by the rink and for featuring NSS in the local paper on Wednesday.
. At Knecht’s Nurseries we produce Peak Performance Trees by placing them into specially designed and constructed plastic pots that have dozens of openings in the side walls, and even on the bottom of the pots. When tree roots contact these openings they are soon root pruned by the air drying out the tip of the root. This prevents roots from circling and becoming root-bound as they so often do in standard solid walled plastic pots.
A tree that is not root bound will just plain grow better. The air root pruning that Knecht’s Peak Performance Trees experience in their special pots does not harm the tree. Instead, the root system is actually stimulated by the air root pruning at the outer edge of the pot The stimulus response produces huge quantities of fine roots inside the root ball that virtually eliminate transplant shock at planting time, and speed establishment of new roots into the surrounding soil.
Stop in at our garden center this April or May and see the remarkable Peak Performance Trees at Knecht’s Nurseries. Better yet, plant a Peak Performance Tree this spring and experience the joy of watching your new tree grow vigorously the very first season it is in your yard!
Valuable trees in your landscape can suffer damage to the bark from winter sun, mice and rabbits eating bark, deer antler rubbing and scarring from weed whips and mower decks. If the bark on your younger trees is still intact, it’s not too late to protect them with inexpensive, easy to install white plastic tree wraps.
Most of the damage to tree bark from winter sun occurs from mid-February to early April when the sun’s rays are growing stronger day by day. Sunlight bounces off the snow pack onto the south/southwest side of the trees on sunny days. Think about it. After a winter spent largely indoors, an outing in the late winter sun can cause sunburn to our faces, such as that experienced by skiers around the outside of their goggles. Much the same thing can happen to thin and tender tree bark.
Taking one minute to install a white plastic tree wrap to the bottom 4 feet of the trunk of a young tree will prevent the sunlight damage called sunscald. A white wrap also reduces rapid temperature fluctuations which can stimulate premature sap flow. On thin barked young trees premature sap flow in a day followed by a rapid drop to near zero degrees Fahrenheit or lower can cause a rupture of the bark that becomes visible weeks later in early spring.
This is severe damage to the tree, and is usually prevented by installing a white plastic trunk protector.
The use of a dark colored material to cover the tree bark can actually aggravate bark damage due to the greater temperature fluctuations of the dark colored materials.
We have good inventories of four different styles of white plastic tree bark protectors available at the nursery office. We are open 9 am to 4 pm – M-F in February and the first half of March. We’ll have longer hours thereafter. It only costs a few dollars to protect your valuable young trees. It’s pretty disappointing to wish you had. A really nice feature of the tree wraps that we sell is that they can be re-used for 3-5 winters. Be sure to remove the tree wraps each spring about the time you mow your law for the first time.
Wintergreen Arborvitae are hard to beat for applications where a tall, hardy, dark green, fast growing privacy screen or windbreak is important to make the function and feel of a landscape just right. Plant Wintergreen Arborvitae in a continuous straight or curving row, or group them in staggered clusters that are sited in the foreground /background and in between if a somewhat more naturalized look is desired.
Not only are Wintergreen Arborvitae very fast growing, they are also quite resistant to winter burn. You seldom see a Wintergreen Arborvitae turn brown after a tough winter.
While some varieties of pyramidal arborvitae can splay apart during heavy wet snow or ice events, Wintergreen Arborvitae usually stand tall while other varieties are flopping.
A little patience is required after planting a group of Wintergreen Arborvitae. Wintergreen Arbs grow so fast that they briefly have a thin lanky look. With three to four years a four foot Wintergreen can become a beautiful 10-12 footer. It is usually during the third year that the lanky look begins to disappear and the Wintergreen not only provides a good tall screen, but also develops a density that creates a handsome appearance.
Wintergreen Arborvitae grow to a mature width of about 8 foot and reach to about 35 feet tall. Most spruce trees reach widths of 25 to 50 feet, necessitating a lot of space to get a decent screen. A much narrower area of just 8-10 feet wide is all that is required for a screen of Wintergreen Arborvitae.
If you see an evergreen privacy screen in your future you may want to consider Wintergreen Arborvitae, and its two excellent close cousins North Pole Arborvitae and American Pillar Arborvitae. Both North Pole and American Pillar carry a strong dose of Wintergreen Arborvitae genetics, and perform extremely well in even narrower spaces than the Wintergreen and are plants designated as Proven Winner plants.
Come into our garden center for a look in mid-April. We carry all these of hardy, fast growing upright arborvitae in our production and retail inventories. Watch for our spring sales coupons via our e-news newsletter.
The Como Park Rose is a very hardy shrub rose that produces beautiful rich red roses that remind me of the classic red roses that are a traditional Valentine’s Day gift. While Valentine’s Day cut roses usually last a week or so, the re-blooming characteristics of the Como Park Rose bring forth these lovely red roses quite consistently over a period of about twenty weeks each growing season here in southern Minnesota. It’s definitely a rose that keeps on giving.
At Knecht’s Nurseries & Landscaping in our Garden Center, we sell about 250 or more varieties of shrubs, and when it comes to roses, we have decided to sell only hardy shrubs roses so our customers are very likely to have roses that are successful over a period of years, rather than a few months. The Como Park Rose is part of the Easy Elegance series of shrubs roses developed by Bailey Nurseries from St. Paul. Over 30+ years, Bailey’s has done an incredibly good job of hybridizing and testing thousands of hardy shrub roses, and selecting the very best to be part of their Easy Elegance rose series. These roses thrive in Minnesota, are very disease resistant, flower heavily, and offer great beauty and many color selections.
While the snow is still deep, and we can’t sell you a Como Park Rose today, it will be time to begin planting in just 8-10 weeks. This year consider adding some hardy shrub roses like the Como Park Rose to a sunny area of your landscape. They are sure to please for years to come.
Happy Valentine’s Day from all of here at Knecht’s Nurseries and the Como Park Rose!
Bernie Emery has been working for us for the last two seasons and this year she will be assuming the responsibilities as our Retail Manager. Bernie has just completed – and passed – the examination of the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association (MNLA) and earned the designation of Certified Nursery and Landscape Professional. She joins five others on our staff who are also certified.
This designation is a result of putting time into the industry, studying hard and passing a rigorous examination. We are pleased to have Bernie as part of our staff. She is looking forward to working with our customers and giving them the greatest customer service she can provide!