Happy St. Patrick's Day from the Iditarod

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I hope you are well!  It is spring like weather today here in Prior Lake Minnesota, my hometown on the edge of the Prairie.  The birds are singing.  We have some interesting news today!

Our cute and determined 14 year old identical twin neighbor girls (Chloe and Carlie) who have always loved animals, have turned it into a sport.  Today they will be riding in the ceremonial start of the Iditarod – the legendary long-distance Alaska 1000 mile dogsled race. The girls met another pair of dogsled racing twins, Anna and Kristy Berington, who live in Alaska and were featured on an episode of HGTV’s “Living Alaska”.  Carlie and Chloe fell in love with the dog-sledding sport at the age 10 when their parents took them for their first ride.  Uffda...

The girls started by saving their money to buy a second hand sled and harnesses and began training their two cocker spaniels to pull the sled.  They took many recreational dogsledding trips in Minnesota and eventually got their own dog mushing team of six dogs.  Through much training and support of their parents and brother they dreamed of someday riding in the Iditarod race.  Funny their father, John, has had to chase down the team of dogs a few times when one of mushers fell off.  The dog team can go quite far without a musher in control.

The race starts at 1:00 p.m. Minnesota time (10 a.m. Alaska time)! Carlie will be riding behind Kristy Berington and they are starting in 11th place.  Chloe and Anna Berington are about 38th in the line-up. There are roughly 70 mushers and they take off at 2 minute intervals. There are two good ways to watch the ceremonial start of the race on Saturday in Anchorage. For the first time, the race will be aired in the lower 48 states on the sportsmen’s channel! You can also watch live streaming from Alaska’s KUU T.V. – Here are the two links:

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2015/03/04/iditarod-ceremonial-start-airs-live-on-sportsman-channel-for-first-time-ever-in-lower-48-and-hawaii/371071/

http://iditarodch2.tv/2015/03/iditarod-start-watch-it-live-coverage-begins-930-a-m-saturday/   

Have a Fun Saint Patrick's Day!    

Best,  Lady Loon 

Grumpy Ole Men

ice fishing         photo 2

It is a bluebird day today in Prior Lake, Minnesota my hometown on the edge of Prairie.  Today I will take our high energy dog “Major” cross country skiing on the lake and go check up on my husband to remind him to be home in time to take me out for Valentine’s Day dinner.  He left on the snowmobile this afternoon to “fish” in one of his friends ice shanties. 

Every year the lake is speckled with many little ice shanties that form temporary winter villages.  I am told that some even elect a mayor of their ice village (Grumpy Ole Men).  It is not uncommon for the hardiest of sorts to spend the entire winter living in their shanty.  The ice shanties range from a basic plywood shed like structure to RV like trailers with heat, stove, couch, table, beds, bathroom and satellite TV. 

The basic concept is to drill a hole through the ice and have an access panel through the shanty floor for fishing.  The fisherman usually use a miniature version of a fishing pole to “jig” with a tiny white wax worm (caterpillar larvae of wax moth) for crappies and sunfish.  Some use a “rattle reel” which is a large wooden line spool with jingle bells inside mounted on the wall of the shanty.  The line on the “rattle reel” is tipped with a minnow and placed in the ice hole about a foot above the lake weeds for Walleye, Northern Pike and Lake Trout.  When the jingle bells start ringing you have a fish on.

Others will drill holes outside the shanty and place what is called “tip up” over the hole.  A “tip up” has fishing line on a small spool and when the fish bites a minnow and pulls the line it triggers a small flag to rise.  It is a ridiculous and entertaining event seeing grown men tripping and stumbling out of a small ice shanty in literal race for a “tip up” when the flag goes up.  My husband, on occasion, will trip a friends “tip up” flag just to see the fire drill occur.  Uffda...

I really think the goal for most guys is to avoid their weekend chores and play cards with their friends.  I noticed my husband’s ice fishing pole and tackle is still in the garage… 

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Best, Lady Loon

Will you be my Valentine?

I hope you are well!  It is the end of January in Prior Lake, my hometown out here on the edge of the prairie, and here is the recent news...

We had a lot of snow in December, but Frosty the Snowman has now since melted with unseasonably higher temperatures.  When the temperature gets above 40 degrees in Minnesota, the kids start wearing shorts to school, Uff da!

It has cooled down today and we expect a Super Bowl snow storm tomorrow.  Everyone is excited to get back out sledding, skiing, snowmobiling and snow shoeing.  There is plenty of winter fun ahead!

New Year’s Day we had our annual Polar Bear Lake Plunge and last week while cross country skiing through one of the lakes many ice shanty villages, I took a photo of these cute young lads with their fish.  They had some pretty good luck!

We have recently changed our business name from “Mystic Loon” to “Lady Loon”.  Our new website address is
www.ladyloon.com and new email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) .  Please update your internet browser bookmarks and email address book.

This past year we added a third vacation cottage located on Prior Lake called Liberty Bell.  It has four bedrooms, three baths and is very spacious.  It has a very unique history and was built with many antique materials from historic local buildings.  You can see the cottage and history at
http://ladyloon.com/liberty-bell-cottage

This year we added a Lady Loon Personal Chef option for your stay.  Chef Patrick, trained at le Cordon Bleu, prepares our guests a spectacular gourmet meal right at the cottage.  This is a foodies and friends event not to be missed.  You can simply socialize and enjoy a fabulous meal; learn interesting chef and food facts; or put on a chef jacket and participate.   You can see more information and make your reservation at http://www.mercury212.com/about-mercury212/.

Have a fun Valentine’s Day and don't forget the chocolate and roses!

Best,  Lady Loon  images

A Special Father's Day Cottage Meal Idea...

resized - roast

Well it has been a quiet week in Prior Lake, Minnesota, my hometown, out there on the edge of the prairie.  This recipe has been in my husband’s family for many years.  It actually goes back to when my husband’s father was teaching high school in a very small northern Midwestern town in the 1960s.  His parents rented an old farm house and his mother was paging through some 1930s farm journal magazines left in the attic of the home.  Since his parents lived on the modest income of a small town teacher in northern Midwest, his mother was always looking for meal ideas that were unique, affordable and flavorful.  Inside the farm journal she discovered a recipe to cook a simple cut of beef that turns out spectacular and Father’s day favorite for my husband and his Dad. 

The following are the recipes for a delicious dinner of Grilled Sliced Marinated Beef Roast, Sautéed Garlic Asparagus, Morel Mushrooms, Boiled Baby New Potatoes and Fresh Strawberry Pie:

Marinated Beef Roast

3 Pounds chuck roast (1.5 – 2 inches thick) - You can certainly use better cuts of beef (e.g. London Broil, Sirloin) but the chuck roast works just fine.

1/3 Cup red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

1/4 Cup catsup

2 Tablespoons cooking oil

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 Teaspoon prepared mustard (yellow mustard)

1 Teaspoon salt

1/4 Teaspoon black pepper

1/4 Teaspoon garlic powder  

Thoroughly mix all ingredients in a bowl to create the beef marinade.  Poke the roast on both sides several times with a fork to allow marinade to penetrate.  Place chuck roast in Ziploc bag and pour marinade bag so roast is covered.  Set bag inside baking pan to avoid any seepage mess from bag.  Let the roast marinade at room temperature for 3 hours (longer is better).  Remove roast and marinade from bag into baking pan.  Grill roast on medium heat, turning and basting roast with marinade until medium rare.  With a sharp knife, slice the roast into thin strips and remove any fat or gristle.  Place the sliced pieces of meat back into baking pan with remaining marinade and serve.  Viola!  You will be making this a lot after the family tries it.

This time of the year wild asparagus, morel mushrooms and strawberries are in season.  You can find them in them in the forest and prairie meadows or easily pick up asparagus and strawberries from a local grocery store.  Morel mushrooms are only available in the wild but you can substitute with baby Portabellas.  I recommend getting the produce from a local organic farmer like Lorence’s Berry Farm in Northfield, Minnesota http://www.lorencesberryfarm.com/.  You can either pick your own produce or they will pick them for you. 

If you have time you can eat lunch at Hogan Brother’s Café in the historic Northfield downtown adjacent to First National Bank of Northfield where the famous James-Younger Gang met their demise trying to robbery attempt.  It is no surprise that our stoic farmers of Scandinavian decent would ever give up nickel…

Sautéed Garlic Asparagus & Morel Mushrooms

For side dishes to serve with your beef roast, I recommend sautéed garlic asparagus and morel mushrooms.  This is very simple and easy to prepare.  Get the smallest stalks of Asparagus you can find, the large ones tend to be woody and less tender.  Chop off the larger ends and rinse asparagus and morels thoroughly.  Chop three clove of garlic (I would use the garlic press provided in the cottage).  Bring large pan to medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter.  Add asparagus and morels, garlic and 1 tablespoon of Soy Sauce (optional).  Stirring occasionally, roast for 7-10 minutes until desired tenderness.  If you like your asparagus well done roast on low for additional 10 minutes.  Viola!

Baby New Potatoes

Clean boil and serve with butter, cottage cheese or sour cream. 

Strawberry Pie with Graham Cracker Crust

 Crust:

1 Package of graham crackers crushed with rolling pin

1/4 LB of butter melted

Toss everything in pie pan until evenly mixed.  Press mixture on bottom and sides of 9-10 inch pie pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Set to the side and let it cool.

Pie mixture:

7 Cups of strawberries

1/4 Cup corn starch

1 1/4 Cup sugar

2 Cups cold water

¼ Teaspoon salt

3 Ounces strawberry Jell-O mix

Mix cornstarch, sugar and salt.  Stir into cold water in saucepan and simmer until thick and clear.  Add Jell-O and simmer on very low heat for 20 minutes stirring frequently.  Place cleaned and rinsed strawberries in pie crust and pour Jell-O mixture over top.  Cool in refrigerator until thick.  Viola!  Who doesn’t like a fresh strawberry pie?

I guarantee a Father’s Day nap will be order after this meal…

Lady Loon

I Fawn My Way Home

goatfawn 2

I "fawn" my way home...

Happy Memorial Day!!! This weekend is very special for our family. We are a retired military family and have experienced much over the 23 years of my husband's service. We are reminded and grateful for all of the service member's sacrifices and those who continue to protect our way of life. God Bless them all!!!

Speaking of protecting, we had an interesting thing happen this weekend. We have a small hobby farm close to the vacation rental homes. Our hobby farm has 12 chickens, 6 geese, 4 goats and 2 rabbits. We hopefully will have a colt next year.....yes, our own petting zoo with fresh eggs daily.

The goats' main purpose, besides being cute, is to eat the invasive foliage (e.g. buckthorn) eliminated from the farm rather than using chemical herbicides. They are free to wander the farm but always return home in the evening. On Friday they came home with a new guest following them, a whitetail deer fawn.

The whitetail fawn was probably born within a day or so because it was still shaky in the back legs. We expected the mother to come get the fawn but it bunked in the barn with the goats and hasn't left. Based on the deer carcass close to the road we unfortunately expect the mother was hit by a car.

As it turns out goats milk is the ideal replacement for whitetail milk. If wasn't for the goats finding and protecting the orphaned fawn, it would have perished. Too funny, the fawn now thinks it is a goat!

The photo with the goat is our daughter Maria and the photo with the fawn is our son Mitchell. It is the small mystical things that happen in a person's life that make it interesting.

The weather is spectacular in Prior Lake, Minnesota!

Lady Loon

 

Purple Rain

 

 

I hope you are well!  Are you still singing "Prince" songs in the shower???

We have some big news!  We added another Lake Cottage located on Spring Lake, Minnesota.  The cottage is called "Moon Song" and has an interesting story.

The Moon Song cottage was purchased and is owned by Christopher Moon and his wife Dona. Moon was the Producer and songwriter for the musician "Prince" and credited with discovering Prince here in Minnesota. Moon wrote three of the four songs on the demo tape that ultimately secured Prince with the largest recording contract Warner Brothers had ever signed for a young new artist. The Moon Song cottage was paid for from the royalties of a single song Moon originally wrote for Prince 40 years ago. Thus we named the cottage 'Moon Song'.

It includes Kayaks, row boat and a private dock. If you would like other local boat rental options, please let us know.

Spring Lake: The Moon Song Cottage is located on the eastern shore of the 300 acre Spring Lake. Spring Lake is located 2 miles south of the town of Prior Lake in Scott County, Minnesota. The lake is primarily managed for walleye and large-mouth bass and secondarily managed for northern pike and bluegill. It is considered one of the best fishing lakes in the entire area and well known for its great Bass fishing. One of the best fishing spots is right off the dock of this property and at certain times of the year one can sit on the dock and catch fish after fish with barely a break in between.

Spring Lake is also wonderful recreational lake for any family to enjoy. The Shakopee Prior Lake Water Ski Association has a slalom course and ski jump. Everyone on the lake enjoys seeing acrobatic practices and shows.

We are updating our website to include the Moon Song cottage but you can visit http://www.vrbo.com/506636 for more photos and availability.  Book now, we only have few weeks left for this summer and fall.    

Best,  Lady Loon

  

 

No Peak-A-Boo Pumpkin Stew

Well it has been a quiet week in Prior Lake Minnesota, my hometown, out there on the edge of the prairie.  With the abundance of pumpkins this Halloween season we thought of sharing one of our favorite autumn recipes, Lady Loon Peek-A-Boo Pumpkin Stew.  The Stew is precooked and then warmed and served from inside a carved pumpkin.  When everyone is seated at the dinner table bring the carved and capped pumpkin filled with the Peek-A-Boo Pumpkin Stew out and set it down on the table and tell your family and guests “Voi-la!  Dinner is served”.   We guarantee your family and guests will enjoy this recipe and their expressions will be priceless with the presentation (have a camera on hand).  The photo below is from one of our guests' last year at Halloween.

Enjoy!  Lady Loon 

Lady Loon No Peek-A-Boo Pumpkin Stew

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs Beef Stew Meat cut into 2” pieces
  • 1 Large Onion Chopped
  • 4 Carrots cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 Large Potatoes cubed
  • 1 Rutabaga cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 Stalks Celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 Cup Mushrooms, cut into bit size pieces
  • 2 Cups Chopped Cabbage
  • 1 28oz can Stewed Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Beef Broth
  • 2 tsp Salt (more or less to taste)
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 4 Tbsp Minute Tapioca
  • 3 Cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 tsp Dried Parsley
  • ½ tsp Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire
  • 1 Can Beer
  • 2 - 11.5 oz. Cans Tomato Juice
  • 1 Large Pumpkin (Sized to fit on a Jelly Roll Pan in the oven) 

Place beef, onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, rutabaga, stewed tomatoes and cabbage in large roaster.  Pour remaining ingredients over meat and vegetables in roaster.  Roast at 300 degrees for 4 hours.  Select a pumpkin(s) with enough inside capacity to fill with the Peek-A-Boo Stew and can fit on the lowest rack of your oven.  The day of the dinner wash the outside of the pumpkin and cut hole in the top (creating a cap with stem) of the pumpkin(s) so the opening is large enough for stew ladle.  Clean out the inside of the pumpkin so only the yellow walls of the pumpkin remain.  Fill the pumpkin with the pre-cooked Lady Loon Peek A Boo Stew and cap the pumpkin.  Place the pumpkin on an aluminum covered jelly roll pan and reheat in the oven for 1 hours at 300 degrees.  Scoop stew into serving bowls from pumpkin.  Remember to scrap a portion of the inside of the pumpkin into the serving bowl for pumpkin flavored stew.  

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Oly's Wood-Burning Furnace

Well it has been a quiet week in Prior Lake Minnesota, my hometown, out there on the edge of the prairie.  A beautiful fall and it froze the other night, our first little frost triggering an almost alarm of hurried activity; leaf raking, Canadian waterfowl migrations, harvesting, etc.. 

My husband and I went to the VFW for the Friday Fish Fry hosted by the Lutheran Church ladies organization.  We ran into Oly Olson and my husband, who enjoys hearing riled up Minnesota sing song accents, asks Oly a controversial question about whether he started his home wood-burning furnace yet.  Many of the stoic Scandinavian immigrants decedents are brought up to be modest and self-effacing so they view starting the furnace too early is wasteful and boastful.  Oly replied, “No, it isn’t too cold yet. Vat da heck would someone put the heeder on yet?  Der isn’t even ice on da lake yet.  I bet no good Yonson started a fire, I smelled da smoke from his place on Wednesday.”  Since many people in this area heat their home with firewood it is easy to figure out who started a fire “too early”.  

Oly continued with a story from his great grandfather.  The following is a little background to provide context of his great grandfather's story.  Following the Homestead Act of 1862, many Scandinavians pioneered the lands of the mid-west.  These frontier settlers worked hard, and were justly proud of their new home in America.  They were not above boasting about their new country, especially to settlers who came from the old country. 

Oly went on to tell my husband this story.  One man would often speak longingly of his old country to his neighbor, Sven, about the echoes in the mountains surrounding his old home.  "I vould call out 'Yonson', " said he, "and 20 minutes later comes back such a strong echo that it would knock me to the ground. "

Well, Sven was not about to let that boast go unchallenged.  "You call that an echo?" he scoffed.  "Why, here in Minnesota, we can yell 'Yonson' and in less than a minute we'll get 500 echoes saying 'Vich Yonson?'!"

That's the news from Prior Lake, Minnesota.

Lady Loon