Sometimes, things just fall into place. It doesn't happen often, so I remind myself to reflect and be grateful when they do.
Like the cover of this month's magazine. It was a chilly, extremely windy day, and our veteran photographer, Gary Krambeck, took off toward Sherrard to get some shots of the Werner family and their backyard chickens.
Jacob Werner, 11, was holding Zebra the hen, Gary says, and the longer the group held still for the shot, the more Zebra wanted to be put down. But that's not what you see in the photo. For just a second, the wind slowed down a bit, Zebra held still, and Gary got the perfect shot.
Even though it was chilly, the rest of the shots turned out great, too. The kids were happy, the chickens were clucking about, and everyone had a great time. (Read more about the family on page 8.)
We've all had moments just like this — a project finished just in time, car keys found at the last second you had before you had to leave, or, like in the photo (and on page 22), a dish that came together simply and quickly that was tasty to eat and colorful to photograph.
It's a great feeling — one of gratitude and appreciation. And when it happens, I try to reflect on it and carry it with me.
Sometimes, it isn't so much an event that happens that makes you feel that way, but people. On page 18, you'll find a story on Dorothy Beach, also known as Dot, and her business, Dot's Pots. She and her husband, Dan Lawrence, are two of the sweetest people I've ever had the pleasure of talking to.
Dot's bubbly personality could brighten any day, and Dan's laughter is contagious. It has been a while since I popped into their Moline shop, but I called over recently to set up a photo to publish with the story. I got to check a to-do off my list that afternoon, but it was the giggling with them that stuck with me for the rest of the day.
As we begin a new month, I hope that things fall into place for you, and that you run into people as kind as the ones we've written about between these pages.
— Laura Anderson Shaw