The Birds and Bees and $1M on Kickstarter

 

Midwest Farm Seeks to Raise $1M in Two Weeks and it’s all about the Birds and the Bees.

Yes. It’s true. But I’m not about to show you anatomical slides like you’re sitting jaw-dropped in health class. I recently produced a video for a family farm, Bluebird Gardens. Currently, the are trying to crowd fund $1M on kickstarter for bluebirds and honey bees. And the goal must be met in two weeks. Yes, birds and bees, one million on kickstarter, just two weeks.

How it all began

Since getting their start in 1978, Mark and Diane Boen, owners of Bluebird Gardens have restored the Bluebird habitat in the surrounding area by building houses across their entire property and protecting them from other rodents and pests. On their (now) 404 acre farm they keep bees, maintain pollinator habitats and encourage biodiversity throughout the farm, which yields healthy, tastier crops.

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1978, Mark selling produce at his vegetable stand with dog Scooter.

These efforts have seen them recognized as the Soil Health Champion by the Otter Tail County Conservation Board and a Minnesota Clean Water Certified Farm.

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Mark prepares to transplant for the upcoming season.

“The truth is we would have needed alternative funding this year no matter what.” Says operations manager Jesse Lukes. “The farm sustained a loss for the first time in 38 years last year, but we are determined not to let that stop us.” Mark and Jesse’s ambition to improve access to healthy, local food in area communities has led them to launching a Kickstarter campaign. “As the American food revolution continues to grow, local family farms need help scaling up their businesses to become a vibrant part of the market.” Says Boen.

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Bluebird Gardens CSA drop-off site, Gethsemane Church in South Fargo, North Dakota

It’s a tall order

In just two weeks they hope to raise $1 million dollars to fund needed upgrades on the farm. “We don’t turn a big profit, , and the farm always finds a way to swallow it all back up when we do.” Boen says. Much of the investment into the farm has been for conservation. “As farmers we are soil-forward in our thinking.” Says Jesse, “In order to restore ecosystems and protect groundwater we accept a lot of extra costs over input-output farming.”

 

 

From an inside perspective

I’ve worked in tandem with Bluebird Gardens for many months and what I still don’t understand is that we all know their mission is a valuable one. “To bring nutrient-dense produce to everyone.” And their ethical process that includes the birds, the bees, the soil, you, me and everything in between, means better food for all. So why aren’t people backing this up? This kickstarter campaign (launching this thursday) will allow anyone with a supportive voice, to give a shout out for what’s right.

To learn more about Bluebird Gardens, their conservation and education plans, and help support the farm visit bluebirdgoesgrocery.com.

 

 

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Recent Work

I’ve been enjoying the cabin fever from the snuggle nest in my basement. Testing out some portraits with full throttle quote obsession.

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Funny Shirt #1 – BRATS

Is this a series? Am I creating a series? Possibly. Probably. Potentially?

So look, turns out I don’t enjoy creating craft tutorials. It’s bogus to stop what you’re making to take seven photos of it. Annoying. Let’s try this new process:

1. Text my friendo Megs all night about sardonic life events, plans for world domination and yes, funny t-shirt sayings.

2. Get a bug up my ass about making said funny t-shirts.

3. Whim-driven design session and boom……

Funny T-shirt.

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Here’s the interesting part. I’m a first time Zazzle.com customer and experienced a less than satisfying experience. But the lady in the “preview pictures” looks soooooo good in this killer razor-back tank yo!

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And just for testing purposes, here is the lady after eating a brat.

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And for the full effect. Here is the lady after eating a brat and being outside all day at a barbeque. Midwest coast!

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Looks great right? Now, I sent one of these shirts to my friend Anna. We have a Wisconsin camaraderie that is undeniably wholesome. We met in Ellsworth, WI over 13 years ago and have share the same love for brats, cheese curds and Barn Bluff in Red Wing. This is the shirt she got in the mail.

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What the heck! It’s something about “You summer in the oasis” and “a human being”. If anyone has a good translation of what this exactly says, lemme know.

But as Anna put it “I like the idea of someone receiving your brat shirt in the mail instead of this shirt”. Me too, Ms. Anna, me too.

Launch: Cat Wig Studio

I am pleased to announce a new service I’m providing. Welcome to the launch of Cat Wig Studio!

You too, can have your cat look luxurious.

You too, can have your cat look luxurious.

I started this business in my spare time and it’s really taken off. A lot of people want their cats photographed in luxurious wigs. Check out my previous work.

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Tabby, Lady Godiva Wig…..longing for his love.

If you or a friend you know also has this need, please contact me. I provide the following:

• A variety of shoot locations including my living room, your living room and a Pizza Hut

• Willingness to withstand the agony of rabies shots

• Custom-made wigs for cats, infused with cat-nip and made out of organic cat hair

• Online proofing system with audio commentary translated in Cat so you and your pet can review the photos together

• 100% Satisfaction guaranteed!

Sign up for a session today!

Some other memorable shots:

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Feline Noir.

Main Coone, Pretty In Pink.....innocent pondering.

Maine Coone, Pretty In Pink…..innocent pondering.

Yup, April Fools. Or is it?……….

My Date With Dr. Steven Brule: Taco Broats Recipe

I’ve always wanted to sit down with Dr. Steven Brule and have a chat over tacos. Are you familiar with him? Steve is the host of “Check It Out” On Public Access Television and as a celebrity, he manages to keep cool and humble….always dishing out news concerning health, life and pleasure.

Dr. Steve Brule, Host of Check It Out. #1 mentor in my life.

Dr. Steve Brule, Host of Check It Out. #1 mentor in my life.

The Date

I know Steve really likes tacos, especially guacamo. He is also a fan of seafood shrimp (bugs) and canned hash. So, for our date, I decided to make tacos, but I find them utterly irritating. I hate when you load up your taco with tomatoes, corn, onions, lettuce and other deliciousness and watch everything fall apart just inches from consumption. It’s worse than hunks! So I found this cool recipe that solves this problem! Check It Out! You can get all the instructions from Joyously Domestic, or just look at my quick overview below.

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Simple Sharpie Art Project: watch your own face melt off

Get ready to lose it. Draw stuff, apply liquid, then watch the good times flow. I’ve recently seen various pins on a new form of tie-dye involving permanent markers and alcohol. Calling it tie-dye is actually a dis, because this is way more than tie-dye. It’s like Batik meets performance art, meets guaranteed trippiness.

Here’s what you need:

supplies

Isopropyl alcohol
Permanent markers in various colors
scrap fabric like cotton or silk
plastic bag
old empty eye dropper
no talent; whatsover

(I show straws and a plastic cup, just as options for dropping the alcohol onto the fabric)

I’ll show you some techniques I discovered farther down, here are the basic instructions:

1.Tape the flat plastic bag to your work surface. You can also use waxed paper, really anything to protect your work surface from the alcohol will do.

2.Tape down your piece of fabric and start drawing with the markers.

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3.Load up the empty eye dropper with alcohol. I did this straight from the bottle, sucking up ounces of alcohol.

4.Saturate the piece of fabric with the alcohol and watch the magic happen.

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I just saturated the fabric completely, leaving zero threads sober. No rules here to abide by.

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The magic. It’s happening right now. Face proceeding to melt off.

5. Finished! Here is my first finished piece. Nice, nice, but I can do better.

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Okay, I learned that you are the driver, the eye dropper is your vehicle. Tell it where to go. So let’s begin again.

1. Technique 2 – Draw a pattern (I went for wood grain, Martha Stewart would be so proud)

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2. Technique 2 – Isolate areas to drop alcohol on. I’m making thoughtful decisions on where to place the liquid. Don’t just saturate the whole piece.

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Yeah, that’s the way to do it! Let me start again.

Now, I’ve learned to isolate areas, AND to start with patterns that are circular in nature! SCIENCE! ‘salutes the sky’

1. Technique 3 – Draw CIRCULAR pattern.

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3. Technique 3 – Saturate Isolated areas. Then, wait. Go back and saturate the same isolated areas. It’s like you are nurturing the liquid to spread when you do this. Be patient, grab a bagel, come back to it when it’s done it’s thing.

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Whoa, whoa, whoa. What do we have here? Yup, face has melted.

4. Technique 3 – I kept dropping alcohol on the areas I targeted. Isn’t that a marketing thing “Keep nurturing targeted areas”? First rule of Craft Or Die Club…….Stop Marketing Stuff!

Eyes watering, weeping ensues. So pretty.

Eyes watering, weeping ensues. So pretty.

5. Technique 3 – Finished! This is the look I was going for! This is amazing and soooo easy.

Project completed. Face melted to the bone.

Project completed. Face melted to the bone.

So, to wrap up. Overall, take the time to play around with the materials and technique. I found the technique I liked and it just involves the teeniest bit of strategy. I think this project would be safe and fun for highly supervised children as well. Next, I’ll show you what to do with these fabric scraps. I’ll even put them in the wash to test their durability. Stay tuned!

P.S. This is what happens when you just let the creativity flow and manage to not give an F. Dr. Haji even got in on the fun because he likes craft time. So nice!

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Portrait Technique

Coi Fish

Alcohol strategically dropped. Lovely soothing inhale/exhale resulted.

It. Just. Makes me. Weep

It. Just. Makes me. Weep

Dr. Haji joined in by making this monkey astronaut from Florida. Haji is demented and lovely.

Dr. Haji started off by making this monkey astronaut from Florida. Haji is demented and lovely.

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Then Dr. Haji made a car crash. Fierce, Haji. Fierce.

Now it’s your turn. Go make something.

Vote on my next project – Creepy Doll Heads

My friend Sherry challenged me to make something out of creepy craft store doll heads. Well, something along the lines of pure destiny placed me in an opportunistic situation the following day. I was at a thrift store and found these two winners.

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I want your advice. Give it to me now!!!! What challenge do you have instore for me and these two doll heads? Enter your choice in the poll below and I will make it happen.
What should I make with these doll heads?

Unemotional Invention

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Undo.”

Say the things worth saying.

Say the things worth saying.

If I could un-invent one thing, it would be poker face. I’m referring to the way we hide our emotions. I can see the history of how this has developed through being strong for those who are weak, tricking ourselves to be brave so that we can walk through some pretty intense stuff, but it has had a negative side effect on our most important relationships. We avoid vulnerability. Are we becoming robots?

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In my early twenties, I had a very life-changing realization that happened right around New Year’s. My friend Anna can attest to this. I reflect on this time by calling it the “Just trying to be honest with myself” phase. My brave face was getting tired, it was so permanently embedded in my mind that after a while, I couldn’t tell who’s life I was living. This is how “being brave” effects your path. Implementing this reflection was difficult. I had to let go of outside forces that expected certain things. I ended a six year relationship, got a studio apartment in a city I’ve always wanted to live in, and began freelancing. This felt honest.

Whenever I am on the listening side of a friend or co-worker who has beef with someone, I keep this in mind. I’ll listen to their day dream responses, insights that weren’t voiced. And most of the time, I end up with this conclusion “What would happen if you responded to them with the exact opinions that you just voiced to me?”  Let’s look at an example:

My friend: “Pat always gives me the pink frosted doughnut!” And he knows I only like the blue frosted ones!”
Me: “I see, I see, doughnut frosting is really important to you, I know.”
My friend: “I just wanna be like “Pat, the blue ones are gross, I want a pink one!”
Me: “Why don’t you just say that to Pat, maybe he forgot! Maybe he remembered incorrectly!”

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This makes sense for a few reasons: 1. Because it sounds honest. 2: Because you are being straight forward without any fluffy cushy talk 3: Because it scares you, which honesty should. That’s how you know you’re doing it right.
Being emotional is scary, and that’s fantastic! The good stuff is always scary, no one likes to walk around being vulnerable all day. But if you practice vulnerability, it’s easier to get over yourself and make real connections with those you care about.
So, to re-cap. Let’s un-invent poker face. Let’s re-invent vulnerability. This would do us all come good.

If My Subconscious Scheduled My Day

Impossibility

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Impossibility.”

The quote: Sometimes I believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast. – Alice

This is one of my favorite quotes because my mind is very active the moment I wake. I stir under the covers for a few minutes trying to bat away the hungry cats pawing at my shoulder. If I were to actually do everything my brain prompts me to do in those few minutes, my day would look like this:

1) Eat 5 pink frosted donuts, an entire slab of bacon, and put on my sparkly tutu; ready for work!

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This is usually my first day dream in the morning, before my feet hit the floor. I don’t even really like donuts.

2) Put on my jet pack and take the scenic route.

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This can’t be too far off, right? Always wear safety goggles.

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Five A Day – How To Survive Like A Boss

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Five a Day.”

Let’s get one thing out of the way. In a recent discussion with Dr. Haji, I had only three words to describe what I would require in a situation like this. I only needed two: Just McGyver


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1) Protein bars from Snow Piercer

This would allow me to receive everything my body needs with the advantage of four foods left to request.

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