Volume One Contributors

writers, photographers, artists

Katie Venit

author

Content By This Contributor:

Winter Layers

peeling back the accumulation of winter reveals the earth – and ourselves

Katie Venit

In 1996, I was 16 and living in Bethesda, Maryland (January mean temperature: 37 degrees). One ordinary brown January afternoon, my siblings and I went to see 12 Monkeys. While we sat in the dark theater ....

What Is Frost? Explaining Icy Winter Patterns

Katie Venit

Brrrr … it’s getting chilly out there! It’s fun to walk out in the mornings and see that lovely coating of white frost. But what is frost, anyway? There are different kinds of frost ...

We Are Grasshoppers

frittering away autumn days as the Wisconsin winter closes in

Katie Venit, design by Serena Wagner

This morning, the kitchen thermostat reads 59 degrees. It’s still dark outside, so I can’t confirm the forecasted snow and wind. Either way ...

Why Does Poison Ivy Itch?

Katie Venit

You’re in the woods, building a fort or exploring, and having a great time. A few hours later, you get ...

Waste Not, Want Not?

a deep dive into the wonderful, wacky world of organic waste disposal

Katie Venit, photos by Andrea Paulseth

My husband paused halfway between the trashcan and kitchen sink, clutching an apple core. “Tell me again what I do with this?” “Compost.” I pointed to the green compost bin, courtesy of our new trash haulers, Earthbound Environmental Solutions. He paused. “Why is that better ...."

Why Does Birch Tree Bark Peel Off?

Katie Venit

Birch bark can be so tempting to peeeel off. But wait! Is that a good idea? Why is the bark coming off, anyway? Is the birch sick? Let’s look at the layers of a tree. Bark is made of two layers, outer and inner bark. Outer bark is dead, but the inner bark ...

Finding Your Tribe

opportunities abound in the close-knit local writing community

Katie Venit, photos by Michael Lundebrek

On a Saturday night in February, I slogged through slush to a celebratory reading, the capstone of the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild’s Weekend Writers Retreat at the Oxbow Hotel. Despite the weather ...

How Do Scientists Count Birds?

WHY IS THAT? Answering your kids' toughest questions

Katie Venit

Get some binoculars and try counting the birds outside your home sometime. It might seem easy at first. You might see a couple of cardinals, maybe a crow. But then those birds fly away, and you see another cardinal. Is that the same cardinal as before, or is it a new one?

‘Nanowrimo’ Encourages Writers to Put Words on the Page

Katie Venit

In November, more than 400,000 people will do the writerly equivalent of running a marathon: writing a novel in 30 days as part of National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo). In the Chippewa Valley, NaNoWriMo ...

What happens to my recycling?

You put your jars and cans and paper on the curb ... then what happens?

Katie Venit

Trash haulers must accept items that counties decide should be recycled. In Eau Claire County, that’s clean glass jars, aluminum, steel, paper, cardboard, and all plastics except those labeled No. 6 (which is very hard to recycle).

How Can I Recycle That?

one woman’s mission: recycling items – old boots, a broken microwave, plastic bags – that would otherwise end up in a landfill

Katie Venit, photos by Joel Pearish

During this year’s spring cleaning, I hauled out all the things that I haven’t disposed of because I felt guilty about tossing them in the garbage: a microwave that caught on fire, old winter boots, a mountain ...

Why Is That? How Do They Predict Tornadoes?

Katie Venit

Spring is often a time of confused weather: warm one day, chilly the next. This kind of unsettled weather can sometimes develop into strong storms, like thunderstorms or tornadoes. Although tornadoes are not as common ...

Why Are Some Squirrels White?

Katie Venit

The next time you’re looking out your window, pay attention to the squirrels in your yard. It may be hard to see grey squirrels against tree trunks or shadows on the ground. However, the white squirrels ...

How Does Salt Melt All That Ice?

Katie Venit

Brrr, it’s cold outside! Those trucks are out salting the roads again, making them safe to drive on. But how does salt melt ice?

What was the biggest animal to live in Wisconsin?

Katie Venit

One day when you’re rambling on outcrops on Mt. Washington, you may find some clues to Wisconsin’s rich Paleolithic history. Mt. Washington is a great place to find fossils of brachiopod and trilobites, animals that lived millions of years ago.

Sandpipers in the Gallery

art appreciation can require changing your perspective – literally and figuratively

Katie Venit, photos by Andrea Paulseth

‘I like to look at a piece far away, I like to look at it close up, and the last thing I look at after a piece has grabbed me is the title,” said Amy, as we pendulate in front of a painting like two sandpipers in the ...

Rain Gardens Keep Green Water Away

Katie Venit

Rain gardens, such as the one on Lake Menomin, are one way to decrease how much phosphorus and nitrogen gets into the lakes.

What Makes Curds Squeak?

exploring the science behind Wisconsin’s favorite snack

Katie Venit, photos by Andrea Paulseth

There’s nothing like picking up a fresh, warm bag of cheese curds at the farmers market and getting that first squeaky bite. That squeak comes from a special way that long protein molecules in fresh cheese curds rub against your teeth ...

Shifting the Culture

new shop combines love of cycles, coffee, community

Katie Venit, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Soon a quiet block in downtown Eau Claire will be enlivened by people on bicycles who are passionate about riding and coffee. By early October, SHIFT Cyclery & Coffee Bar will open in downtown Eau Claire ...

Squeaky Cheese Curds: The Science Behind Wisconsin's Favorite Snack

Katie Venit, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Spring means fresh cheese curds at the farmers market. There’s nothing like picking up a fresh, warm bag and getting that first squeaky bite. That squeak comes from a special way that long protein molecules in fresh cheese curds rub against your teeth.

How to Win the Eastside Hill Thrift Sale

a step-by-step, yard-by-yard guide to treasure hunting

Katie Venit, photos by Andrea Paulseth

2. Wear comfortable shoes, for you do not live in the Eastside Hill, and you will get lost and spend hours searching for your car in the hot sun. You will be reminded of Sir Henry Morton Stanley searching the Congo for Dr. Livingstone except you are carrying someone else’s Crock-Pot ...

Crocuses in Snow

in Wisconsin, the arrival of spring can be a slow process

Katie Venit

Sometime around Easter, the cherry trees lining both sides of my mother’s street in Maryland create a gauzy cathedral, easing her from winter into summer. When I was little, I would waltz ...

FEATURE: Sisters on Separate Trails

as her twin sister – a first-time skier – tackles the American Birkebeiner, writer Katie Venit ponders the very different paths their lives have taken

Katie Venit

Breathless from half-jogging, half-skating from the parking lot, I squeezed between two people ringing cowbells to peer over a rope line. Skiers rounded a bend a few hundred yards away, leaving thick woods behind as the trail straightened into the finish gates ...

Getting out of the Burrow

why we should fight the urge to withdraw during the Chippewa Valley’s cold season

Katie Venit, photos by Timothy Mather

I become more introverted in the winter. Something about the cold makes me want to badger up in a burrow until the sun comes back. Which was fine for Wisconsin’s early miners and, you know ...

Feature: Wisconsin's Big Idea

More than a century ago, Wisconsin’s education leaders decided the boundaries of the university should reach the boundaries of the state – and beyond. Today, the Wisconsin Idea is still making Badger State life better.

Katie Venit

At the beginning of the last century, the Wisconsin Idea was brought up alongside its older brother, progressivism. This philosophy calls for government to exist for the benefit of its citizens. While that may seem ...

The Magic Network

social connections forged in a small city are priceless

Katie Venit

Once upon a time I lived in a place far, far away, filled with so many people that one could walk the streets in total anonymity, never bumping into a friend at the grocery store, never seeing a particular stranger ...

Raising Children Like Dough

restaurant offers a lesson on welcoming little patrons

Katie Venit

Dining out as a family has been challenging ever since my oldest began walking and almost Hansel and Greteled himself into a pizza oven at Foster Cheese Haus. We’ve gone to a few places ...

Pumpkin Recipes

Katie Venit, Kinzy Janssen

The poor pumpkin has long been gutted, carved, and relegated to the front steps. And when it does appear in recipes, often it’s fake or from a can. But we at Volume One think more of this autumn staple, and asked some creative culinary ...

Pumpkin Recipes

tasty things you can do with that gourd

Tracy Chipman, Katie Venit

The poor pumpkin has long been gutted, carved, and relegated to the front steps. And when it does appear in recipes, often it’s fake or from a can.

Castle Rock Organic Farms

farm operation outside Osseo keeps it organic

Katie Venit, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Ever wanted to watch as milk becomes that delectable Wisconsin treat, the cheese curd? You can, every Tues. at Castle Rock Organic Farms in Osseo. The dairy plant’s storefront features a giant window, complete with step stools for the little ones...

Travel Story: Life on Mars

a volcano-traversing trip to Maui

Katie Venit, illustrated by Garrett Brunker

Eventually the path brought us below the clouds, and the landscape turned into a verdant rainforest and savanna-like grassland. Our first night’s cabin sat at the base of a cliff dotted with trees, and we fell asleep after watching the moon.

New Locally Made Magazine About Kubb

Katie Venit

The godfather of Eau Claire’s kubb frenzy, Eric Anderson, has created a new magazine called Kubbnation to celebrate all things kubb.

Creating Buddhas

Mabel Tainter presents cavalcade of Tibetan culture

Katie Venit

The Mabel Tainter Theater will transform into an oasis of Tibetan culture on Sept. 11.

Growing Solo

Bon Iver drummer Sean Carey releases solo album on Jagjaguwar

Katie Venit

He fused jazz’s improv with the traditional structure of chorus and verse, and mixed that with the rhythmic pulse of classical percussion minimalism. ... Rather than seeming disjointed, each song sounds like a mad experiment gone awfully right.

FEATURE: Kubbtown, USA

how kubb, a Nordic lawn game, swept Eau Claire and made us a national hotspot

Katie Venit, photos by V1 Staff

“I have big plans for Eau Claire,” said Eric Anderson, coordinator of the U.S. National Kubb Championship in Boyd Park on July 17.

Rumblings | A Community Garden in Menomonie

needs council approval before fundraising

Katie Venit

Menomonites are working to add an organic community garden to the growing number of such projects in the Chippewa Valley.

The News in Food

conferences join forces to grow local food knowledge

Katie Venit

I’m surely not the only Foodie geeking out about the line-up for the Midwest Value Added Agriculture Conference and Wisconsin Local Food Summit.

A Wisconsin Writer in Tokyo

local scores gig translating video games

Katie Venit

Originally hailing from a farm between Fall Creek and Eau Claire, former V1 contributor Ben Freund has gone the opposite direction and is now living in the Tokyo megatropolis.

Hot Plots

a community garden association sprouts up

Katie Venit

“Being a part of this effort is being part of a greater effort of greening our city. In my opinion there’s nothing bigger than that.” – City council member Andrew Werthmann

Eating Your Yard

a local Food Not Lawns chapter sprouts in Eau Claire

Katie Venit, photos by Andrea Paulseth

“If you till up your ground and plant something there, you’d be surprised how much you like it. And you won’t need to mow.”

The NFL Bashes and Swings

interactive party band “kicks off” Packers season

Katie Venit

Chippewa Valleyans will have a pre-game outlet for their competitive angst at the NFL Grill Out Bash in the parking lot of Milwaukee Burger Company.

Touring the Fresh Art

Katie Venit

During the 12th Annual Fresh Art Fall Tour held October 2-4, sixteen galleries and studios of Pepin and Pierce counties will throw open their doors.

Revealing the Secret

Asian eatery Secret Garden focuses on Korean fare

Katie Venit, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Diners sipping wine under pergolas surrounded by lighted trees and soft Korean music can be excused if they forget they’re sitting feet away from Hastings Avenue.