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It's going to take more than this week's rain to repair the damage that drought has caused to some trees and shrubs across the Northland. Check for signs of stress -- reduced growth, premature fruit shriveling and leaves that are yellow, wilting and dropping. Those trees and shrubs may never recover, local experts say. "You see it clearly on birch and maple and other shallow-rooted species," said Wayne Seidel, a University of Minnesota Extension Service educator in Lake County. "Shallow systems are more susceptible to drought conditions.
Jane Juten will remember this summer as the year she got her sons into vegetable gardening. Beside the fun of harvesting and eating vegetables, she also got them hoeing, planting, weeding and watering. There were bugs to battle -- cutworms, potato beetles and so many grasshoppers that it seemed like an invasion. Critters got into the fenced-off garden and ate seedlings.
Like many people who build their own homes, Bill and Ernestine Ziebarth's landscaping started with a pile of dirt, rocks and plenty of challenges. When they chose the hill in Duluth's lower Piedmont Heights for its spectacular view of the city and the harbor, they decided an ordinary yard wouldn't do. "The wow factor, that's what we were after," Bill said. And wow they got. The Ziebarths have transformed their expansive sloping front yard at 2623 W. 16th St. into a visual feast with meandering paths through plantings of ornamental trees, shrubs and perennials.
Four Northland chefs will battle Sunday for the title of "Cast Iron Chef." There's Duke Kuscienko, kitchen manager of Amazing Grace Bakery and Cafe. He has the most experience, with 33 years. The youngest challenger, Matt Thomas, has been cooking professionally for only a year, but he cooks with a 10-inch cast-iron skillet every working day at the Zen House in Hermantown. Rick Houle, better known as "Chef Houlio,"is no stranger to cast-iron cookery.
These dishes are traditional shabbat fare and will be part of the kosher-style buffet at "Jewish Heritage in Duluth and on the Iron Range." Family recipes have been updated with healthier or easier ingredients. For example, canola oil is suggested instead of rendered chicken fat, and bouillon cubes instead of homemade stock for soup. Potato Kugel, a savory baked pudding, is usually served as a hot side dish at Shabbat dinners. Families tend to have their favorite kugel recipes.
An effort to save the Iron Range's last synagogue is bringing Jewish cuisine to the Depot in Duluth on Aug. 18. A Twin Cities-based group formed to save the B'nai Abraham Synagogue in Virginia is teaming up with the St. Louis County Historical Society to serve up a traditional Shabbat dinner to the public. The event is intended to raise awareness about the project, not money, said Marjorie Ostrov, president of the Friends of B'nai Abraham Synagogue. Shabbat is the weekly day of rest for Jews. It begins at sundown Friday and ends at sundown Saturday.
Cut flowers, greenery and seedpods soak up water in buckets in Suzanne Kunze's basement workroom. Hosta leaves and cedar boughs are submerged in water.
Summer salads are an important part of the menu at Grandma's Restaurants and the man behind those salads is corporate executive chef Steve Zacher. His creations are inspired by the flavors of the ingredients. "I'm looking for many different flavors, not necessarily one flavor to dominate," Zacher said. "It's like composing a symphony of flavors." But don't go beyond five or seven flavors pulled from as many ingredients, he said. "Like a painting, you can have too many flavors, make it too complex." Zacher strives to use seasonal ingredients and fresh ingredients.
Big touring companies have been performing "Cats" since the powerhouse musical conquered Broadway in the early 1980s, swept the Tony Awards and cat-a-pulted its composer Andrew Lloyd Webber into megahit musicals. But a community theater doing "Cats"? The demanding musical requires talented actors who can sing and dance well, too. "It's a real triple threat show," said Christine Seitz, executive director of the Duluth Playhouse, which opens a three-week run of "Cats" tonight at the Depot.
The cozy two-story farmhouse on West Arrowhead Road is the only home that Roger Johnson has ever known. One of the 84 Jackson Project homes built in Hermantown during the Great Depression, the home and its accompanying 10 acres gave his parents a new start in the late 1930s. His mother kept a large vegetable garden to help feed their family of five, and they had a cow, pigs and chickens. The compact homes with their distinctive brick veneers dot Arrowhead, Stebner and Lavaque roads.