Issue 18

Issue 18 | 03.07.2019 | Holland, MI

A green hillside backed by mountain shadows.
Hokkaido, Japan. Photo by Joshua Nowicki of St. Joseph, Michigan.

Seed packets lie atop a wooden table.
Holland Weekly Feature Article: Herrick’s Seed Library and Gardening Workshops Give Hollanders Green Thumbs

Rectangles of yellow light can be seen on the Lake Michigan horizon.
Holland Weekly Art: From St. Joe to Japan: Interview with Photographer Joshua Nowicki

Holland Weekly Local Tips: Adopt a Pupperz

A shot of what looks like minced egg salad.
Holland Weekly Recipe: Party Like It’s Portland Dip

Madam puppy dog astrologer, Sylvia. Photo by Michael Tuccini.
Holland Weekly Horoscope: Sylvia Reads The Stars

Behind a red rope lies an old fashioned card catalog.
Herrick District Library Seed Library. Photo by Herrick District Library.

Start a Garden with Free Seeds from Herrick District Library

By Kathleen Schenck, with press release by Herrick District Library
March 7, 2019

Whether you have a windowsill, a balcony, a backyard or acres of land, it’s time to think about seeds.

Herrick District Library is here to help. For the second year in a row, the public library will offer a seed library: If you think about it, smart, savvy librarians curate an amazing collection of books and other media for the library. They surely are just as caring about seeds, which frees Hollanders from hours spent online ordering (and paying for!) sub-par seeds.

The library also offers how-to gardening workshops, also free (see information at end of press release).

Just think: homegrown juicy sweet tomatoes can be yours to share or devour as you see fit!

Here is the library’s press release, dated March 1, 2019.

A pair of hands searches through a drawer in the card catalog housing seed packets.
Card catalog of seeds! Photo by HDL.

Seed library sprouts success, returns to HDL

Spring is coming, believe it or not.

After its tremendously successful inaugural season, the Herrick District Library Seed Library is ready to help Holland’s gardens grow again.

This year, alongside all the tomatoes, peppers and flowers, the Seed Library will focus on a “core collection” of seeds paired with programs throughout the season to help ensure success.

The curated collection of core seeds will be released as it comes time to plant each variety.

Brandywine tomatoes and Amish snap peas will be released for the Seed Library’s 2019 kick off March 13. Tomato seeds should be started indoors, but snap peas can be planted directly outside after threat of frost has passed.

The Herrick District Library Book Bike will make an appearance in the Saturday, March 16, St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Holland where staff members will pass out pea seeds to the crowd.

On April 24, Dragontongue bush bean and Arikara sunflower seeds will be released. Filling out the planting season, cornfield pumpkin seeds will be released on May 30, so gardens around Holland will have HDL Seed Library core collection veggies growing all season long.

This year, the North Branch, 155 Riley St., will also have seeds available. Core collection seeds along with a few other rotating selections from the seed library will be available at the branch.

In its first year, the HDL Seed Library reached a broad spectrum of gardeners – from master gardeners to newbies who had never grown their own food before. The library gave out 6,000 packets of seeds. That’s more than 35,000 individual seeds.

This year, more than 80 different types of seeds donated by Holland gardeners will join the collection. The donations are mostly pollinator/bee-friendly seeds, Seed Library organizer Jen Boyers said.

“We’re starting to get into that loop of people growing, saving and bringing back seeds,” Boyers said.

To help them along that path, several programs will be spread throughout the season.

“We want to make sure everyone feels empowered to use the seed library – even beginners,” Library Assistant Hannah Gingrich said.

“Introduction to Seed Starting: Tomatoes” will kick it all off 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 12. All materials will be provided, and participants will learn how to start heirloom tomato seeds indoors with Savannah Weaver of Windmill Island Gardens. Everyone will take home soon-to-be seedlings to plant in their gardens.

The Seed Library will officially open the next day. Wednesday, March 13, the North Branch and Advanced Master Gardener Shannon Campau will get the garden ready for the season. Anyone who wants to help can come to the North Branch, 155 Riley St., between 3 and 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 13.

Several other programs aim to help kids and adults, beginners and experts learn more about planting seeds and saving them for future seasons.

Heirloom tomato seeds received during last year’s launch program were taken to Windmill Island Gardens where a group learned to germinate, grow and save them. They had such success, they donated dozens of seeds back to the presenter and dozens to the HDL Seed Library.

There are hundreds of seed libraries across the country and the globe. The HDL seed library – housed in a converted card catalog – is one of the most successful of its kind in the state, Collections and Digital Resources Librarian Kelli Perkins said. Library patrons will again be able to check out five seed packets a day, but the checkout process and availability improved.

The HDL Seed Library’s motto is “Select, Learn, Grown, Return.”

Patrons can visit for tips and directions, visit the library and check out gardening books or attend any number of programs coming up later in the spring and summer. Those who want to volunteer to help sort donated seeds for the HDL seed library can email Boyers at

Herrick District Library is located at 300 S. River Ave. Herrick North Branch is located at 155 Riley St. For details, visit or call 616-355-3100.

Seed packets lie atop a wooden table.
Seed packets. Photo by HDL.

Free Gardening Events:

WHAT Introduction to Seed Starting: Tomatoes

WHEN 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 12

WHERE Herrick District Library District Library, 300 S. River Ave.

INFO All materials provided; start an heirloom tomato seed with Savannah Weaver of Windmill Island Gardens



WHAT North Branch Garden Cleaning Party

WHEN 3-6 p.m. Thursday, March 21

WHERE North Branch Garden, 155 Riley St.

INFO Drop-in program to get garden ready for season; participants get priority selection of garden plots; bring work gloves and pruners if possible



WHAT North Branch Book Club

WHEN 10 a.m. Saturday, March 23

WHERE Simpatico

INFO Book group will be discussing Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver



WHAT Seed Starting Class for all ages

WHEN 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 9

WHERE Holland Township Fire Station No. 1, 131 Riley St.

INFO Advanced Master Gardener Shannon Campau will explain the basics of gardening with a hands-on class that will benefit beginners and experts alike.



WHAT How Does Your Garden Grow? HDL Seed Series for Kids (5 years and older)

WHEN 4:30 p.m. Thursdays March 28 (peas); May 2 (lettuce); May 30 (beans)

WHERE Holland Township Fire Station No. 1, 131 Riley St.

INFO Advanced Master Gardener Shannon Campau will teach kids where plants and food come from. A story, STEAM challenge and seed planting will also be included.



WHAT Special Sunflower Storytime

WHEN 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 15

WHERE Herrick North Branch, 155 Riley Street

INFO Families will help plant a sunflower house, learn how plants grow and sow their own heirloom sunflower seed.


Ice formations hang from the catwalk of St. Joe pier.
St. Joe on ice. Photo by Joshua Nowicki.

From St. Joe to Japan: An Interview with Local Photographer Joshua Nowicki

By Kathleen Schenck and Joshua Nowicki
(Interview conducted via email)
March 7, 2019

When I have the lakeshore to myself during a storm or in the cold of winter, I feel as if it is a special opportunity to witness moments that no one else will experience except through my photographs.” – Joshua Nowicki

HW: Your photos are stunning. How did you get started in photography? Was there an exhibit that caught your eye, or photos in a magazine? How did you become interested in being behind the lens?

Nowicki: My start in photography was by chance. I started my professional career working in museums. One of the museums I was employed at is the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, MI. My job included, among other things, graphic design and maintenance of their website. They had a very limited number of photos available for me to use, and as a result I started taking photos (on auto) with the Center’s camera. I never learned how to properly use the camera, but started to develop and eye for composition.

Eventually, I moved to St. Joseph, MI, to work for the Krasl Art Center. I continued to take a few photos for various projects at work but still did not bother to learn the camera. At the same time, I started taking photos of the lakeshore with my wife’s point-and-shoot camera, and posting them on Facebook to try to encourage friends and family to visit. Much to my surprise, an increasing number of people started to like and comment on my photos.

After about a year of posting photos on social media, my parents purchased a DSLR for me as a gift. I initially tried to reject the gift, viewing it as unnecessary because taking photos was just something that I did for fun. Within a few months of using the new camera, a photo of mine was requested for the cover of a regional magazine. After a few more regional publications requested photos, I decided to change careers and focus on photography. In retrospect, it seems ridiculous for me to have done this because I still only used the auto setting on the camera. I spent the next several years taking photos as much as I could and learning to use the camera.

The greatest learning opportunity came when Ben Pancoast Photography asked me if I would like to assist with weddings. Ben is a great teacher, and the quality of my nature and landscape photos rapidly increased through this experience.

Currently, I am the photographer for Holt Bosse, a marketing company in St. Joseph, and the variety of photos that I take (food, manufacturing, product, event, and more) gives me the opportunity to continually learn and refine technique.

Increasing recognition is a motivation, but a driving inspiration was my father’s photos. I have always enjoyed the family photos that my father took while camping and on vacations. I at times find myself trying to duplicate the feel of some of his photos. In addition, I feel compelled to try to document the amazing landscape and dramatic weather in Southwest Michigan. When I have the lakeshore to myself during a storm or in the cold of winter, I feel as if it is a special opportunity to witness moments that no one else will experience except through my photographs.

HW: You seem to be attracted to water in all three of its phases. Can you talk about the difficulties and rewards of capturing each one? 

Nowicki: I spent most of my free time as a child around water. In all seasons, we were outside— camping and hiking near lakes and rivers along with fishing, canoeing and kayaking. The scenes I enjoyed growing up are now the ones that I try to capture in photos. In my mind, I have a list of things to look for as the seasons change.

In the winter, I look forward to the first ice-up of the piers and lighthouses in St. Joseph. The way the ice transforms these structures is amazing…from massive icicles to delicate ribbons of ice. Winter storms create waves that coat the lakeshore in ice and encase the grasses, bushes and trees in layers of ice. As the ice shelf starts to accumulate along the shoreline, “ice-balls” and “ice-pancakes” start to appear. As the ice shelf grows, “ice-volcanos” are occasionally created.

Snowflakes are also one of the beauties that winter brings and I love taking macro photos of individual flakes.

A macro shot of a snowflake, with light illuminating the individual crystals on all six petals.
Photo by Joshua Nowicki.

Snowflakes provide an interesting challenge due to their size. Focusing on something only millimeters wide is hard, and with the macro lens I use, the depth of field is tiny. I know I look ridiculous sitting in the snow with a camera pointed centimeters away from the scarf I use to capture the snowflakes.

The hardest part of photographing the ice in the winter is the cold. I have never found a pair of gloves that both allow me to stay warm and operate the controls of the camera.

In the early spring, the ice shelf starts to break up and small icebergs float just off shore and onshore. Fascinating patterns of sand in the melting ice and snow can be found. Moreover, spring and fall are the best times to see the mirage of Chicago over Lake Michigan from Southwest Michigan.

The sunsets and sailboats are always a pleasure to capture in summer.

In addition to those items mentioned earlier, fall brings wind storms that create crashing waves that explode against the piers and lighthouses.

A wave crashes into a lighthouse, spraying water above it and Lake Michigan.
Braving the wind in St. Joe. Photo by Joshua Nowicki.

There are several challenges in taking photos during windstorms. First, blowing sand is hard on equipment and hard on the photographer. At times it feels like being sandblasted, and when I get home I find everything I took with me is covered with and/or filled with sand. Second, I tend to get very wet either from rain or snow or the spray from waves. Third, finding vantage points that are both safe and interesting can be difficult. The payoff, however, is photos that show the awesome power of the Great Lakes.

HW: Can you think of a time when something unexpected happened while trying to get a particular shot? Can you walk us through that time?

Nowicki: Capturing the mirage of Chicago at night was a surprise to me. I had set up to take a time-lapse of Chicago from Southwest Michigan hoping to capture the city lights becoming visible. What I noticed on another camera I was taking photos with was that the lights looked unusual. It was not until I had gone home and reviewed the photos from the time-lapse that I could see the mirage occur and watch it change over time. It was quite a pleasant surprise.

Rectangles of yellow light can be seen on the Lake Michigan horizon.
Chicago mirage. Photo by Joshua Nowicki.

This and other photos of Chicago lead to an even larger surprise. I started to be contacted by people who believe that the earth is flat, and who were trying to convince me that my photos were evidence. Somehow, my photos have become a key part of the debate between people arguing about the shape of the earth. For the record, I believe the earth is spherical.

HW: I read you hold a master’s degree. With an MA in Anthropology, the stereotypical assumption would be that you would be drawn to human subjects or human made things. Instead, much of your subject matter is non-human. Do you find the lake, prairie grass, or the moon in some way human? Can photography capture the anthropomorphism of, for example, a freighter entering a harbor at night?

Nowicki: The focus of my studies in Anthropology was religion. I have always been interested in how people see the world around them in terms of spiritual belief. I think that this has informed the way that I look for moments to photograph.

Moreover, I think anthropology taught me to be observant both of nature and of the other people out taking photos. Some of the unique photos I capture are the result of seeing what other photographers are doing and trying to do something different. If I notice that most people take photos from a particular vantage point, I look for a different one. If other photographers are standing, I lay on the ground, and so on.

Further, the photos I post on Facebook are only a tiny number of the photos I take. For Holt Bosse and other organizations, people are often the subject.

HW: What kind of gear do you have not only for taking photos (such as lenses used) but for protecting the photographer during the Michigan winter?

Nowicki: I usually use a Canon 6D or 5D IV.  The lenses I use most often are Canon16-35mm, 50mm, 300mm & 500mm.

Conditions in the winter can be quite hard on equipment, but my main concern is myself. As a result, when I am out I frequently wear a full winter wetsuit with booties and gloves, boots with crampons, and I carry ice axes. I wear the wetsuit for two reasons: sometimes I like to get into the water to take photos and also in case I inadvertently end up in the water, it provides some protection. I am glad to say that I have never fallen in. I even on occasion go out for a swim in the winter with the wetsuit on.

HW: Do you travel with your gear and stop when you see something, or do you plan a morning of, for example, photographing the St. Joe pier or wild horses out West? 

Nowicki: I walk along the lakeshore in St. Joseph on my way to and from work most days and always carry a camera with me. Overall, I am rarely without a camera. For work, I occasionally travel, and when I have a chance I take some photos for myself.

HW: I enjoyed your photos from Japan. Has there been a location that has influenced or changed your methods or your inspiration?

Nowicki: Hokkaido, Japan is my home away from home. I spend time there every year and enjoy exploring the beautiful island with my camera. Hokkaido’s vast areas of wilderness and wealth of wildlife are not what most think about when it comes to Japan. It is an amazingly beautiful place. There are areas where you can drive for miles and not see another person. In terms of seasons and weather, it is very similar to Michigan with snowfall being similar to that of the northern Upper Peninsula.

A green hillside backed by mountain shadows.
Hokkaido, Japan. Photo by Joshua Nowicki.

After returning from Japan, I feel like I have a renewed appreciation for Michigan. I am often guilty of seeing things around me as mundane, and when I travel I notice that what is amazing to me is often mundane to the people who live there. Recognizing this inspires me to appreciate and reexamine the things I have taken for granted around me.

HW: Your work has appeared locally and nationally. What do you hope to accomplish personally, artistically, or professionally with your photography?

Nowicki: I am always pleasantly surprised when photos or videos of mine make national or international press. The photos that usually make the news are often the ones that I take during extreme weather. When the weather is challenging I sometimes find myself rushing photos; a goal of mine is to slow down and think more critically about what I am capturing. I find that I kick myself for not more carefully composing an image. For instance, the photos of the “sand hoodoos” I took a few years ago that went viral I almost did not post because I thought I could have done a better job.

Discipline and patience are something I continually strive to improve at. It is necessary at times to wait for long periods to capture just the right movement. As I improve at patience, the more likely it is that I will be able to create unique images.

A goal of mine is also to travel more. I am frequently referred to as “that guy who takes the photos of the lighthouse” and although it is quite accurate, I would like to be known for more.

Joshua Nowicki has a gift for seeing the world through a different lens and bringing that fresh perspective to passersby, drawing them in and holding them spellbound. His photos have appeared in publications and news programs around the world. See his photos at


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A tan and black brindled male pit bull prances toward the camera.
Bruno the perfect pittie. Photo by Allegan County Animal Shelter.

Holland Weekly Dog of the Week

By Allegan County Animal Shelter operated by the Wishbone Pet Rescue Alliance
March 7, 2019

Holland Weekly will feature a local shelter dog each week who is available for adoption. For more information, and updates on whether or not the dog is still available, please contact the shelter.

From the Allegan County Animal Shelter:

Meet Bruno

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy …. I am really glad you are checking out my profile as I am one heck of a neat little guy!!

“Bruno” is my name, by the way. Yeah, my name may seem a little “tough,” but I am a sweet, happy young boy who has plenty of energy for an active family that will let me play, jump, run and be a doggy.

When I was asked if I wanted to go for a car ride, I wagged my tail, so I am sure I could be a good car ride buddy, too. I am proud to say I do pretty darn well on a leash, but sometimes I want to pull just a teensy bit so I can smell the next smell.

I know you will love to pet my easy-to-care-for short brindle coat since I am soooo soft and silky. (Am I bragging a bit?) I am not too big and not too small – I am just right. Even though I am a medium size dog, that doesn’t stop me from trying to squeeze my cute little love bug body on your lap and lick your face and show you how much I would LOVE being your new bestest friend! Did I mention I have plenty of kisses to give?

I would love a home where my human siblings are 8 years old or older. This way they will be able to play with me lots more and throw my toys for me since I love attention. Yup, I love my toys and guess what … I will go get them and bring them back to you as well. I know “down” and “sit” so I can patiently wait for you to throw my toys to me again and again. I find this super fun. I am treat-motivated as well so that helps me stay focused. I do tend to like to eat out of my bowl by myself though if that’s okay. If I am going to have any doggy siblings, I would need to meet them first to see if they are willing to play with me. I am sure they would like me (I mean who wouldn’t) but I’d like a chance to meet them to make sure we can play well together. I find cats interesting, but I can leave them alone if you remind me that they don’t want to play.

I am looking forward to a fun, loving home to call my own. I am a good boy with good manners so please come check me out and see if I could be a great addition to your family. Please contact the Allegan County Animal Shelter operated by the Wishbone Pet Rescue Alliance at 269-686-5112 or come visit me during the shelter hours. I CANNOT WAIT TO MEET YOU!!

Signed a Sweet Boy,

Allegan County Animal Shelter
2293 33rd Street
Allegan, MI 49010

A shot of what looks like minced egg salad.
Party Like It’s Portland Dip. Photo by Holland Weekly.

Party Like It’s Portland Dip

By Kathleen Schenck
First published February 28, 2019

If you’ve been to Portland and were lucky enough to be invited to a house party, chances are this dip was on the table. The original hails from the Eugene area, but Michigan is far from Oregon, and you can save some cash by making it at home.

I will not waste too much time arguing how delicious this is given that it’s made from tofu. Haters gonna hate. But it is absolutely scrumptious, and addictive.

Yield: Makes 4 cups

Prep: 30 min. plus fridge time, if desired


1  14 oz. pkg. firm tofu

2 ribs of celery

4 Tbsp. parsley leaves

1/3 medium sweet onion

1/4 red bell pepper

2/3 cup mayonnaise of choice (vegan options are fine to use here)

2 tsp. mustard

2 tsp. nutritional yeast

1 tsp. turmeric

Pinch cayenne pepper

Salt to taste (see note in Instructions)


Drain the tofu and press while getting other ingredients ready. Use a food processor for veggies. Don’t obliterate them because you still want some crunch. Mix the mayo, mustard and spices in bowl. Crumble tofu in. Stir, then take about 2/3 of that mixture and food process it till smooth. Add that back in along with veggies. Chill in fridge for a couple hours. Salt to taste once it comes out of fridge. (Note: Not before. I made that mistake and it was way too salty. And I like salt.) I eat this with melba crackers cuz I love melba crackers. But can be eaten as a dip for carrots, spread on toast like egg salad, you get the idea. It’s yummy. I’m not messing around. There are displaced Oregonians who pine for this stuff in exotic locales like Madison, Wisonsin and Topeka, KS.

Have a recipe to share? Email us at and help your neighbor cook something different tonight!

Madam puppy dog astrologer, Sylvia. Photo by Michael Tuccini.
Madam Sylvia. Photo by Michael Tuccini.

Sylvia Reads The Stars

Week of March 7, 2019

Pisces Feb 18 – Mar 20

Pisces, if you were a decade, which would you be? Dress the part this week. I think this will not only brighten your day but others, too. Because nothing says In like a lion like bobby socks.

Aries Mar 20 – Apr 20

Aries, time to shake, rattle and roll. How? Grab a microphone, or your interpretation of one, this week. I foresee your audience being hungrier than usual for your charisma and charm.

Taurus Apr 20 – May 21

Taurus, you are a bald eagle flying over Sleeping Bear Bay with a fish so big in your talons it looks like you have to drop it or you’ll both plunge into the icy waters. Instead, you soar.

Gemini May 21 – Jun 21

Gem, gem, Gemini! If you were to create your own ice-cream flavor, what would it be? Start doodling what it would look like, down to the drips on your spoon. I see focused, structured creativity as your best friend this week.

Cancer Jun 21 – Jul 23

Crab-o-licious, won’t you love more and judge less? Repeat as necessary. I do believe this mantra will help you more than anyone this week.

Leo Jul 23 – Aug 23

March comes in like a Leo, Leo! What about this weather matches amazing you? Is it the powerful wind? The lovely snow? Or the promise of light and warmth that is surely on its way?

Virgo Aug 23 – Sep 23

Virgo, you have felt like someone put you on the back burner. You deserve to be the main dish this week. And if that doesn’t become obvious to those around you, make it so with a little help from The Killers.

Libra Sep 23 – Oct 23

Libra, it would seem impossible for a dog to know the exact moment its owner starts to make her way home. But studies have shown otherwise. The stars say you will blow someone’s mind similarly this week doing something that is at first unbelievable, but ultimately achievable.

Scorpio Oct 23 – Nov 22

Scorpio, no one and nothing can stop you from dancing. Carry on.

Sagittarius Nov 22 – Dec 23

Sadge, you deserve a badge for your ability to emote a genuine philia love of your fellow human. I predict this week someone will acknowledge your good will.

Capricorn Dec 23 – Jan 20

Cap’n Cap, do you sing while doing the dishes? Hum while taking a run? Tease out the little things you do every day that make you downright adorable. This is a good week to sparkle.

Aquarius Jan 20 – Feb 18

Aquarius, your birthday has passed. How is your personal new year going? If you haven’t been able to find a reason to stand a little taller, I predict this week you will.


Have Holland Weekly delivered to your inbox each Thursday when a new issue comes out. Email us at and write “Subscribe” in the subject line.

Thank you for your interest in Holland Weekly.