Author: Audrey Kletscher Helbling

About Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Audrey Kletscher Helbling, a native of Vesta in southwestern Minnesota, has been blogging at Minnesota Prairie Roots since 2009. She brings a passion for sharing the stories of rural Minnesota to her work, capturing the essence of small town life in her words and images. Audrey appreciates Sunday afternoon drives, garage sales and thrift stores, hanging laundry on the clothesline, gravel roads and anything that reconnects her to the land. She's lived in Faribault for more than 30 years where she continues to professionally pursue her passions for writing and for photography. An enthusiastic writer of poetry, her award-winning poems have been published in places from anthologies to billboards. Follow Audrey's blog at

The Art of a Downtown

I challenge you, the next time you are strolling Main Street, Anywhere, to look for art. Not just the obvious, as in art created as art. But art that weaves itself into the streetscape, into the fabric that defines a downtown. Notice the colors, the textures, the fonts, the shapes—all those details that we often […]

The Changing Prairie View

I feel about monstrosity power lines as I do about wind turbines. I don’t appreciate their visual impact upon the land. These towering giants, in my opinion, mar the landscape, distract and detract, cause me to feel small, unsettled and insignificant in their presence. Perhaps it’s just the southwestern Minnesota prairie rooted girl in me […]

Rural Revelations in Country Cemeteries

As a young girl, I remember fearing cemeteries, that place where my paternal grandpa was laid to rest atop a rare prairie hill when I was just nine. But my view of cemeteries has evolved over the years so that today I see these earthly resting spots as places of faith, art, history and personal […]

Photo Bar Hopping in Rural Minnesota

The small town liquor store or bar rates as more than simply a place to grab a cold one or wolf down bar food. Oftentimes, these rural establishments serve as community gathering spots. Locals belly up to trade stories, talk crops, solve the world’s problems. There’s a certain comfort in that, in the familiarity of […]

All About Emmaville, in Minnesota’s Northwoods

I’ve never visited Emmaville, Minnesota, population two. And up until last week, I’d never even heard of this unincorporated settlement, a remnant of an early 1900s logging town located 12 miles north of Park Rapids along Hubbard County Road 4 deep in Paul Bunyan country. But thanks to the folksy writing of Mike Spry, co-owner […]

Seeking solace on a drive through rural Rice County

Blue sky stretches before my husband and me as we traverse back gravel roads northwest of Faribault Sunday afternoon. I yearn for this escape, for this reconnection to the land, this attempt to rejuvenate my spirit. Just being in the country calms my soul, brightens my outlook, causes me to pause and appreciate this peaceful rural […]

Perpetuating the ghostly tale of Annie Mary Twente

Even if I tried, I doubt I could make up the true ending to my recent query in to the ghostly story of Annie Mary Twente. First some background. Annie Mary, *according to her official Brown County, Minnesota, death certificate, died on October 25, 1886, of “lung fever.” But legend says otherwise. As one story […]

On the cusp of harvest in southwestern Minnesota

Rain drizzles, sometimes splatters, across the windshield of our van as my husband and I aim toward the southwestern Minnesota prairie, driving toward Lamberton for a day of making horseradish with my extended family. It is a time-honored tradition, started by my father, dead 10 years now. For me, this 120-mile trip from our Faribault […]