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Spinning yarns: Sheep farmers create yarn for weaving and knitting
During the chilly winter months, many people find comfort with fiber arts. Whether knitting, crocheting or weaving, yarn is a hot commodity this time of year.
For some locals, using the yarn isn’t enough; they want to make it. Nancy Ellison and Catherine Friend, both sheep farmers in Zumbrota, use the wool from their flock to make yarn, though both go about it differently.
Keeping it natural
Having grown up on a farm, Nancy Ellison is no stranger to sheep. “I got my first sheep when I was about five years old. My uncle gave me three lambs,” she recalls. She’s had sheep on and off since then and currently keeps 36 sheep. They are a mixture of Shetland, Icelandic and Gotland because each variety has a different type of wool. Having a mixed flock gives Ellison numerous varieties when it comes time to spin. ...More »
Chocolate debunked: Fair Trade supports chocolate makers everywhere

Milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate, flavored chocolate—the possibilities are endless, but which is the best for you and which is the fairest of them all? 
Fair trade
Take a walk through your local grocery store, health foods market or co-op and odds are you’ll come across a shelf stocked with a variety of chocolate. If you take a closer look, you’ll see that many of the wrappers are labelled with certification symbols. Some are gluten-free, some vegan-certified, some USDA organic and some are labelled with a “fair trade” symbol. 
Fair trade—what does this mean and how does it affect that undoubtedly tasty bar of chocolate in front of you?  ...More »
Know your chef: Chef Tony Pester talks golf, inspiration and meatloaf
Our new series features chefs from around the area. Get to know the people who make some of your favorite dishes. This month, we talked with chef Tony Pester from Pescara.
What are some of your hobbies? I’m a golfer. Obviously golf season is six months out of the year. I grew up playing pool, my parents had a pool table in their basement, so that was kind of my winter hobby. 
What is your favorite cookbook? My new favorite one right now is “Essential Pepin,” Jacques Pepin’s book. It’s 700 pages and it’s just so French. I was trained classic French cuisine. I spent some time in Paris doing an internship at Maxime’s so I’m really French-focused as far as cooking technique goes.  ...More »
A natural cure-all: Try a natural remedy for your ailments

If you find yourself standing in the pharmacy aisle, surrounded by bottles of pills and syrups, tubes of creams and lotions all promising to cure an ailment, stop! Take a moment to consider modern day alternative medicine has to offer.
Natural remedies can restore us and offers a plethora of health benefits: lower blood pressure, reduced sugar levels, better sleep, help heal wounds, provide energy and clearer thinking. “The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician,” said Paracelsus, a 16th century Renaissance physician. Before you walk down the aisle provided by mother earth, take heed. A little knowledge and research can go a long way to finding the cure for what ails you. ...More »
Pretty outdoor pots: make a pleasing holiday arrangement

Believe it or not, it’s about time to put away the mums and pumpkins of fall and replace them with the evergreens and snowmen of winter. With the change of seasons often comes a change of decoration both inside and outside your home. If you’re looking for some new ways to spice up the outside of your house, we’ve got a few here for you. All you’ll need is a container and some clipping shears. ...More »
How to home brew: creating your own beer isn't all that difficult

Craft beers are putting a dent in the commercial beer business. More choices gives beer-drinkers an opportunity to find a flavor they truly enjoy drinking, turning each bottle or pint into a sensory experience. In the past few years, brewing at home has become a major trend and has many beer drinkers asking just how do you make your own brew?
While home brewing might seem daunting at first, it’s actually pretty straightforward. Wally Klopp, owner of Pine Cheese Mart in Pine Island and Von Klopp Brew Shop in Rochester, has been brewing beer and wine for over 38 years. Everything you need to begin brewing can be bought in an equipment set and brew kit. Once you have that, it’s time to start brewing.
Brewing process ...More »
Effective exercise: low-impact exercise offers great health benefits

Exercise is something we know we’re supposed to do, but often we come up with reasons why we shouldn’t, or can’t, do it. Sometimes, these are legitimate concerns such as joint problems. Low-impact workouts are often a great answer for those who are unable, or unwilling, to do more “common” exercises.
What is a low-impact workout, you ask? We got the scoop from Pennie Eisenbeis, group fitness coordinator at the Rochester Area Family YMCA. “Low-impact exercise is a type of exercise that does not require you to heel strike a hard surface,” she says. This extends to hitting a hard surface, such as the floor or the road, with any limb. High-impact workouts, on the other hand, do rely on heavy hitting of hard surfaces. High-impact workouts include running, dancing and jumping, for example. Low-impact workouts can include biking, walking and yoga. ...More »
The power of touch: Reiki can help ease pain.
At times, our journey through life is difficult. We are riddled with stress or we suffer from abuse. Our body aches from past injuries, surgeries or cancer. All of these ailments can send us into a tailspin.
We are forced to reach out and find something to combat our suffering. We begin looking for a magic bullet. But the magic bullet can’t offer us what we desire because there isn’t one magical element that can take the pain away.
By changing our perception of our life, however, we are given an opportunity to reduce unconscious turmoil. Diane Anderson, a Reiki practitioner in Rochester says, “Reiki is a way of life. It teaches us to be aware and exist with a higher level of consciousness.” ...More »
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