Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Even though birding and bed and breakfasts go hand in hand, this migration is about my blog. I will now be posting through my website www.the-bohemian.com. Heavens, the site is like owning a virtual B&B, meaning I am cleaning house from the front door to the back. I find the discovery exciting. There isn't an element of work to be done here that I don't enjoy, but I do find there is not enough time to do it all, so any help is appreciated, in real life I find relief, when busy, with the college students now back in town. In this new virtual 'job' of keeping the website in best form, just like the gardens and the house, I have Corey Ganser through Mind Touch to offer me the best support, virtual staff! Which kinda makes up for me losing my dear Olivia to her first year of college. Olivia Augustin had been with me for four years, with nary a compliant battling my mishaps. Here she is in Mexico with her acute interest in bathrooms, thanks to her fine work at The Bohemian! I will miss her!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ratatouille, Brazilian Beans and the Blues

Today marks the beginning of an event my household anticipates every year. RiverBlast. A wonderful weekend that highlights the attributes, and challenges, of our beloved Minnesota River. Run by the Coalition for a Clean River the festival is continually blessed with great weather and gets better and better every year. We are headed down with friends and family this afternoon. A perfect launch to my friend's new column 'Simply Food' for the New Ulm Journal. Wendy and her husband Claud are notorious entertainers, reigning from here and abroad, and since I've invited a few friends over to start the weekend, her Ratatouille seems like the perfect component. And of course since I made it the other day, it is readily available. Ditto those beans, we experimented with them yesterday (you can make them up to three days ahead!). I for one am not starting what is usually a quiet weekend around The Bohemian with a lot of work. But that certainly doesn't mean I don't wish to entertain friends. I'm not sure who decided the art of hospitality can't be fun, and easy. Shhh, maybe we shouldn't spill the beans? Recipe for Brazilian Black Ones: 3 med beets scrubbed and trimmed. 1 pound bag of dried black beans. salt and pepper. 2 garlic cloves. 2 tbls olive oil. 1 small onion chopped. 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped. cooked brown rice. lime wedges and shredded cheddar. Put beets and beans in stock pot with enough water to cover bringing to a boil and simmering for an hour. Remove beets and when cool enough peel and dice. Continuing cooking the beans about an hour more, till tender. Drain. Chop garlic and sprinkle with salt. Heat oil in skillet on med with garlic onion and cilantro. Saute for 2-4 minutes till the onion is soft, but don't burn that garlic cause it gets bitter. Stir mixture in the beans, cook over med heat for 5 minutes season with salt and pepper. Top with cheddar, lime and chopped beets alongside rice. The ratatouille will go with bread. I tried it over scrambled eggs this morning for guests, per Miss Wendy's suggestion. Now that is one way to 'stir it up' in the am!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Don't Cook Like I Do.

For years I have said I am going to have a cooking show and call it 'Don't Cook Like I Do'. After several attempts of burning down the kitchen and a variety of interesting saves, I pretended tonight was episode one. My Mother gives me these saucy little magazines called everyday food ('great food fast from Martha Stewart'). I actually read them occasionally along with another one she brings over called Cookie which is about children. Both rags are sufficiently filled with enough hints and things I should have to make me feel entirely inadequate. So with the page torn out for Mediterranean Chicken Packets from an inspiring Tennessee reader named Joanna Douglas, I added the ingredients to my never ending grocery list. We are sleep deprived here. Darling Savannah, now banned from chocolate, was up until, well, we lost track at 4:30 am. I simply did not notice I had not picked up olives, or artichoke hearts (being Abby's favorite they were on the list twice) until I began cooking tonight's meal. It was then that I saw it was parchment paper that was called for not phyllo dough, which I had remembered to take out of the freezer. Now one thing that happens around here is Charlie likes to grill, and it is slick when he does a bunch of everything cause then I use that the rest of the week. So I put the torn chicken on several phyllo sheets I had brushed with olive oil, added garden tomatoes and feta cheese, the one ingredient originally called for beside the chicken. And, feeling particularly inspired by my own self, simply because I no longer cared, I threw some asparagus on top and sprinkled it with salt, pepper, and a wee bit more olive oil. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. These pockets even fit the Heart of New Ulm nutrition address at the ladies night out last week.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Making Al Franken Smile

Bumped into Minnesota's State Senator last night at a very well attended Women's Night Out Expo sponsored by Frandson Bank highlighting the Heart of New Ulm agenda. Just as I'm thinking, we've turned another corner, I did, and felt like I had, literally, run into an old friend. You know that feeling when you see a familiar face. "Hey, Hi!" oh, like that was Al Franken, oh, and he's chuckling. But really, Ramona and I had a great table sharing what the New Ulm Bed and Breakfasts have to offer, yes, *even* for locals. We are always driving our efforts to turn that corner. So, costume therapy works again, we were in our jammies cause we go the extra mile!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bobbi's Most Curious Minnesota

Well, I finally made an escape from The Bohemian Bed and Breakfast, besides to the farmers market or sausage shop and I had my copy of Minnesota Curiosities in hand! Abby began her 2 week immersion into German Culture at Concordia Language Villages and Charlie and I relinqueshed the baby to siblings and cousins for a couple day's jaunt to the North Woods. There were loons and rides on Lake Beltrami and wonderful sculptures in Bemidji but the quest was seeing all the 'quirky characters, roadside oddities and other offbeat stuff' touted by Russ Ringsak and Denise Remick in their delightfully written book. Nobody can sass it better than those two so I am just going to list what fun can be had on the road from New Ulm to Bemidji and back, more in order of the book, rather than our travels. World's Largest Ball of Twine, Darwin. Glockenspiel and Hermann the German, New Ulm (starting point counts!). W.W. Mayo House, Le Sueur. Paul Bunyan AND Fabulous Bob the voodoo priest, Akeley. Don't forget a stop at the silo for ice cream, I don't know how this was missed! Treasure City, Royalton. Which by far was my least favorite, and feeling it missed the boat even if boasting a pirate and oodles of seashells is odd in Minnesota. The eelpout festival is in Feb but at least I've driven through Walker and heard some tales causing me to become quite certain that the eelpout is exactly what a lakemaid is on any day but the summer soltise, which explains why she is so elusive.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lore of the Lakemaid

The summer soltise has come and gone. Alas no Lakemaids arrived at The Bohemian this nicht. But where ever the anglers gathered, stories of past sightings were shared. Long ago the fresh water maids found their way inland from the oceans, and up the Mississippi to discover the cool pure waters of the North Country. Rewarding those anglers who have kept their waters clean, the Lakemaids offer ice cold beer, brewed in New Ulm, Mn by the August Schell Brewing Company. No sightings, but we still have a few cold ones here. Next year, I think I'm gonna wear a dirndl with scales.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

German Ancestry, Beer & Baseball

Patrick Reusse shares great wit and wisdom on why 'New Ulm remains Minnesota's Baseball Capitol'. His words are below. I don't begin to understand baseball but I understand hometown pride and talent. Mr. Reusse captures it all and how we locals feel about both! When your baby's big brother is CA's toughest surfer dude/wrestling coach Pete Zangl, a MN state wrestling champ, shared with only 2 other New Ulm title holders, one being Jamie's Dad Rich, who you went to high school with, along with classmate Terry Steinbach, it just doesn't get any better . Doc Hamann's 'kid' is staying a night this summer too. Some days, my job, and hearing others tout New Ulm just doesn't get any more fun! So, batter up!

German ancestry. Beer. Baseball
There’s no town in Minnesota where those qualities come together more dramatically than in New Ulm.
The German heritage is not quite as dominant as was the case a few decades back, although the 2000 census did not confirm this: New Ulm remains the most-German locale in the country among cities with a population of over 5,000.
The number was 66 percent in 2000. The population now is roughly 13,500, and the upcoming census could reveal a few more percentage points of diversity.
What’s puzzling is that way back in 1935 the town’s new ballpark was named in honor of a Swede – Fred Johnson, a long-time parks and recreation director in New Ulm. Johnson Park was the first baseball field in Minnesota to have lights.

Last weekend, Jamie Hoffman became the fourth native of New Ulm to play in the major leagues. The 24-year-old was called up by the Los Angeles Dodgers after a run of injuries in their outfield. Hoffman had a couple of at-bats on Friday and Saturday, then hit a three-run home run in the first at-bat of his first start. The audience at Dodger Stadium included his father, Rich, the Brown County Sheriff and a man in the midst of the drama surrounding the disappearance of Colleen Hauser with her son Daniel, a cancer patient.
The Hausers finally returned to Minnesota on Monday, and Sheriff Hoffman told reporters from L.A. that charges against the mother were dropped.
We had Todd Hoffman, Rich’s brother and Jamie’s uncle, on “Reusse and Company’’ early in the 6 o’clock hour to talk about this amazing few days in the lives of the Hoffman family.
That’s a large group by the way, with Rich and Todd growing up with seven siblings on the Hoffman’s family farm. I had talked to a couple of New Ulm oldtimers on Sunday night to track down someone to talk about the Hoffmans – Rich and Jamie.
The recommendation was to get ahold of “Clubby.’’ The interview was arranged. I had to ask Todd the source of his nickname. This proved once again that a radio host shouldn’t ask a question like that for the benefit of the audience unless he already knows the answer.
Todd responded, “It was because I was born with a club foot.’’ He added that there was hope his brothers might show understanding, but instead they gave him a nickname that he’s carried through life in New Ulm.

The interview also revealed that one of Todd’s first acts when his nephew was summoned to the Dodgers was to go down to the local Comcast office and order the baseball package.

There are three televisions (eat your heart out, Sooch) in Todd’s three-stall garage, in order to monitor conflicting sports events. “It was a zoo in there over the weekend,’’ Todd said.

And when Jamie hit the home run? “Every one went nuts,’’ Todd said.

The most-successful of the New Ulm big-leaguers was catcher Terry Steinbach, of course. He played 13 seasons in the American League for the Oakland A’s (10) and then the Twins. He played for the Gophers before being drafted by Oakland in 1983.
Brian Raabe also was another New Ulm and Gophers player who played s total of 17 games (13 for the Twins) in the big leagues.

The first major leaguer for New Ulm was Elmer (Doc) Hamann, a righthanded pitcher who appeared in his only game on Sept. 22, 1922. He faced seven batters, allowed three hits, walked three, hit one with a pitch and six of those runners scored. This gives Doc the distinction of facing more batters without getting an out than any big-league pitcher with an ERA of infinity.

There are baseball records suggesting that Fred Bruckbauer, another pitcher with an infinite ERA, can be credited to New Ulm. Bruckbauer, also a Gophers standout, pitched his one big-league game for the Twins on April 25, 1961, He faced four batters, allowed three hits, walked one and three of those runners scored.

Fact is, Bruckbauer merely was born in the New Ulm Hospital. He went home to Sleepy Eye in a baby blanket a few days later and grew up there.

Sleepy Eye is also the hometown of Daniel Hauser, the young man who occupied so much of the time of Brown County Sheriff Department’s time before mother Colleen brought him home on Monday.

One more note: Another pitcher, Dana Kiecker, spent his time with the Boston Red Sox before referred to as a Sleepy Eye native. Actually, he was born in the Sleepy Eye hospital, but comes from a farm outside Fairfax. And Dana actually had an ERA – 4.68 – in the 50 games in which he appeared for the Red Sox in 1990 and 1991