Falling into Fall

Here in Wisconsin, we’re lucky enough to experience all four seasons. If you’re like me, you’ll find that autumn in Wisconsin tends to be especially delightful. With pumpkin patches, apple orchards, and colorful leaves, there is much to do and see during this final season before the cold and snow strikes again. One site that is particularly helpful in tracking down all the beautiful tree plumage throughout the state is the Fall Color Report. This site not only tracks peak folitreesage, it also provides nearby events, activities, dining and lodging.

Going hand-in-hand with falling leaves are falling apples, which Wisconsin has plenty to offer. The Wisconsin Apple Growers Association can locate apple orchards throughout the entire state. Two of my favorite orchards include Ferguson’s Orchards and Autumn Harvest Winery. apples

Although Fall is known as apple season, there are plenty of other later-summer fruits and veggies still being harvested. The Farmer’s Market in Phoenix Park is frequented by many during summer months but continues to run through October with plenty to offer. For those that want a taste of late summer and early Fall in the winter months, the library offers many books on canning and preserving.

Still looking for more things to do this Fall? Check out Volume One’s guide to all things Fall-related. Here are also some more books to help keep you in the Fall mood when you’re not outside raking leaves or sipping hot apple cider.

What’s your favorite way to fall into Fall?

Putting Pen to Paper

Writing is not a talent all of us are fortunate to have. Whether writing fact or fiction, I envy those who can sit down and let the words flow. It was once my belief that if you really have “the gift” writing would just be easy. “Not so“, says my friend, local author Jim Alf. I’ve recently became aware of a new group in the area called Chippewa Valley Local Authors (CVLA). They held their first meeting at the public library on July 7th with 12 local authors attending. The purpose of the organizational meeting was “to discuss the forming of a group of local published authors for the purpose of presenting their works to the public as a group. Specifically advanced was the goal of presenting books at major public events.”

I had to ask Jim some other questions and learned these few words of wisdom:  “Writers write to express themselves, they look for inspiration all around them, and some work best with a deadline.”  Jim concluded that “writing can be an itch waiting to be scratched.”

Yes, those in the CVLA are already published authors looking for a venue for their works, but the deeper picture for me is their love of the written word, and a chance to discover a style of expression and personality of each writer shining through.

Our library and a number of community organizations also offer ways to improve your writing skills and opportunities to meet and greet authors throughout this Fall. Don’t miss the 16th Annual Chippewa Valley Book Festival coming October 12-22. Visit the festival’s website, http://www.cvbookfest.org for more details including the list of authors featured at this year’s festival. This is a wonderful way to meet authors, attend luncheons and workshops, and listen to authors read and talk about their work.

Want to try your hand at writing? Coming soon is a  Writers Workshop to be held at the library on Tuesdays, November 3, 10, 17, & 24 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. You will be encouraged to write your way out of writer’s block, grief, hardship, or boredom. Registration is required. Check out the October library newsletter for more information.

There are also some books I’d recommend you to take a look at when you’re next visiting the library. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg is an older book that was recommended to me recently. You might also want to try How to Write Great Dialogue in Fiction by Irving Weinman. Other books on writing in the 808 call number section in our non-fiction stacks would be a great place to browse as well.

You might soon discover that it’s your turn to let your creativity shine through pen and paper, or word processor!



Get Your Art On!

Cirlcle of Friends

“Circle of Friends” by Karen Crain

According to the calendar, summer starts June 21. I’ve come to define summer as the first Saturday I can do two of my favorite downtown activities: shop at the Phoenix Park farmer’s market and stroll through downtown to view the Eau Claire Sculpture Tour.

Although my artistic skills are limited to drawing barely recognizable stick figures, I have always appreciated art. All kinds of art from floral photographs to stirring abstracts. Luckily for me, Eau Claire has a bunch of public galleries to see new work by regional artists as well as a few traveling exhibits. The Janet Carson Gallery at the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center and the Foster Gallery at the UWEC campus are probably the two most well-known local galleries.   Did you know the Local Store, Tangled Up in Hue and yes, even the library also display work by regional artists?

City in White

“City in White” by Mark Horton

Many local businesses also display a permanent collection of 2D and 3D art in their buildings. One of the first public outdoor sculptures was installed at the library in 1971. The library now has over a dozen drawings, paintings and sculptures, including two Eau Claire Sculpture Tour sculptures funded by generous donations raised in the community.

Recently, the library received a donation of a new painting. Originally part of a private collection, “City in White” by Mark Horton is a serene oil painting of a bustling urban cityscape. The painting now hangs in a second floor seating area near the DVD collection. Be sure to check it out on your next visit to the library!

What about you…what are your favorite public art spaces in Eau Claire? Do you have any favorite sculptures, or want to know more about one of our local sculptures? Let us know in the comments section below.


Get On Your Bike, Mate!

bicyclingMay is just about my favorite month of the year. The cold of a Wisconsin winter can seem like a distant memory and summer’s heat and humidity…at least on a daily basis…is still a few weeks away. Also, it just so happens that May is National Bike Month, which celebrates one of my favorite activities. Last summer, I joined a team of library staff and friends in the National Bike Challenge, which is a great (and free) way to log your miles and challenge yourself. I managed a bit over 600 miles, more than half of that on a three-wheel recumbent bike. I hope to better that number this summer.

I bike to work as often as I can, but when I’m not working and the weather cooperates, I’ll be out on one of the many bike trails the Chippewa Valley is becoming known for. The section of the Chippewa River State Trail between Caryville and Dunnville is especially scenic and, from there, taking the Red Cedar State Trail to Menomonie as it follows the Red Cedar River, is a treat for the senses. If getting off improved trails and getting a little dirty when you ride is more your thing, check out a recent article from VolumeOne magazine on “7 Great Mountain Bike Trails.” Want to get a little further out of town? Biking Wisconsin : 50 Great Road and Trail Rides by Steven Johnson is a book in the library’s collection which I highly recommend. Or just head north, to CAMBA, the Chequamagon Area Mountain Bike Association trails near Hayward and Cable, Wisconsin.

It’s May…the ice and snow are finally gone…now get on your bike, mate!