Brainerd International Raceway: Images of Sports

By John Fitzgerald

This collection of vintage photos documents the history of Brainerd International Raceway. From its inception as Donnybrook Speedway to its success today, the racetrack has evolved along with Lake Country itself. Author John Fitzgerald, a veteran journalist, grew up near Brainerd and has been a fan of the raceway since its Donnybrook days. His pictorial history captures famous drivers, fast cars, enthusiastic patrons, and the evolution of a successful raceway.

Arcadia Publishing, 2014. Paperback, 95 pp., $21.99.





A pebble

Birthed from the earth
Like a ripe strawberry
Swirled in veins of red
Pink and cream

Sits on my tongue
Rolling in the dip
Wet and round
In the velvet space
Worn from years
Of hiding in the damp shadow

I suck on it
Like a piece of
Buttermint candy
That was always filled
In the blue porcelain bowl
On Grandma’s table

It melts
As I tumble it along my tongue
Like a dainty ballerina dancer
Twirling on the tip of her toes
The ribbons of her shoes
Threading their way down my throat

She tips and turns
Arms outstretched
Stroking the inside of my cheeks
Leaving a soft kiss of yesterday

Once again melting like ice-cream
Vanilla and cool
In the center of my tongue
Tasting like the undersides
Of leaves
Just after a summer storm

This pebble is piece of home


Did you enjoy the Mandarin Orange Wild Rice Salad in the May/June 2015 issue (p. 10)? Then you’ll enjoy learning more about the culinary adventures of Mary Aalgaard and The Biker Chef on her website.

The Biker Chef and I enjoy good food, naturally, and since he's in the business, he's always looking for great restaurants, new recipes and techniques, and a dining adventure. Of course, I'll take a home-cooked meal from him any day over a restaurant. You can't beat the added ingredients of special care and love. However, we do find ourselves on the road quite often while touring on the motorcycle, or visiting the theatre where I do reviews. So, we combine our interests and scope out the dining scene as well.

For example, we read about Spoon and Stable in a couple of publications, and the Biker Chef saw a segment on them on WCCO, and texted, "We have to check this place out." Most of the time, we listen to recommendations. The bartender at Brit's Pub suggested we go to Sanctuary Restaurant which is near the Guthrie Theater. That was a unique experience. Chef Patrick came out and greeted us, talked shop with the Biker Chef, and sent us out an appetizer he wanted us to try. If you want to know the best places to eat in a town, ask the locals. We discovered the Deadwood Social Club that way, and went back twice! We also attend events like the Minnesota Monthly Food and Wine Show, or ride by a place that looks good, locally owned, and boasts something like, "Best burgers or homemade soup." You can't beat homemade soup!

You can follow our culinary adventures on my website Play off the Page, under the category Dine off the Page. 

Guten Apettit!



By Denise Sundquist

         It’s 7:30 a.m. Friday morning. I'm standing on my porch with a kitchen knife in my hand. I watch as my neighbor, Nicole, pulls out of her driveway heading to work. I casually walk to the end of my driveway and pretend to look for something in my mailbox. I dart across the street and into the woods to find myself at the edge of Nicole's backyard and her rhubarb patch basking in the sun.

         I quickly start cutting the tender, glossy stems, being careful not to take too much from one area. No one must know. I need six cups to make a dessert. How many stems would that be? If I sneak just a few more, I could make a batch of slush as well. But I mustn't be greedy. I sprint back to the woods and trim off the canopy of green leaves, covering up as much evidence as possible.

         I scurry back to my kitchen with an armload of the best rhubarb I have ever tasted. I know I could grow my own. I know I can buy it in the store. But it would never taste as good as Nicole's.

         I am the Rhubarb Thief.

Rhubarb Slush

This summer go-to drink is refreshing and fruity. To make it family friendly, simply leave out the alcohol. Enjoy!

  • 8 c. chopped rhubarb
  • 2 qt. water
  • 2–3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. lemon juice

Combine ingredients and simmer thirty minutes. Strain through cheesecloth into an ice cream bucket.

Add a 3 ounce package raspberry gelatin to mixture. Stir until dissolved and add 2 cups vodka or rum (optional). Freeze.

Remove from freezer 20 minutes before serving. Serve 2/3 cups slush with 1/3 cup 7-up.


Get Answers from expert Master Gardeners at University of Minnesota Extension
Online Diagnostic Tools:
   - What's wrong with my plant?
   - What insect is this?
   - Is this plant a weed?

Easy-to-Read Information:
   - Trees and shrubs
   - Annuals and perennials
   - Fruits and vegetables

Link to Garden Resources:
   - Yard and garden newsletter
   - Soil test lab
   - Plant disease clinic
   - Sustainable landscape design
   - Master Gardener program
   - Plant and seed sources
UMN Landscape Arboretum yard and garden line: 952.443.1426 or Crow Wing County: 218.824.1068. (Check with your county for local listings.)
Ask an expert via email: www.extension.org/horticulture, click "Ask an Expert" tab.