Herald JournalHerald Journal, April 28, 2003

Garden gift shop opens at old German bank building in HL

By Lynda Jensen

Part of the old German American State Bank building received a new lease on life with the opening of Inspired By Nature, a garden-themed gift shop, April 19.

The shop, located next to the Howard Lake Drug Store, is crammed with artwork, pottery, silk flowers, toiletries, and a surprising range of gifts to tickle the imagination ­ with a twist of cowboy thrown in, since the shop manager is also a well known local Old Western re-enactor.

Tammy Amland of Howard Lake operates the shop, with the financial backing of her sister, Barb Lockway of Somerset, Wisc.

Amland travels the country with her husband, Jeff Amland, playing parts in outlaw shoot-outs and Old West re-enactments.

As a result, the original bank vault is filled with all kinds of interesting Old West items, including framed pencil sketches of outlaws, books on the Jessie James gang, as well as an original Spanish saddle tree, and a hand made rawhide riata rope, among many other things.

Two favorites of the Amlands are Derk Hansen, a gifted photographer and artist, and author John (Jack) Koblas, who is an old West historian.

This joins other gifts, such as lotions, soap, bath oil, gift baskets, home fragrances, bird houses, silk flower arrangements, live plants, interior decorations, and even plenty of old fashioned lamps, since Lockway has an affinity for them, Tammy said.

"The shop is small, but we have a lot of stuff," she said.

The shop even offers something called butterfly feeders, which are garden stakes with a glass cup shaped like a flower at the top. The glass comes from Czechoslovakia, she said.

The shop is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m to 6 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. It is closed Mondays.

The phone number is (320) 543-3211.

Old West cowboy camps and grandma's recipes, too

If all the gifts packed into Inspired By Nature weren't enough, there are also two services that the Amlands offer.

One service is an old West cowboy camp, called "Cowboy Honor," which is something available for special events and private parties.

The cowboy camp consists of historically accurate demonstrations on cowboy skills such as how to use the lariat, Winchester and Colt guns, etc.

Since Jeff Amland has been known to play Jessie or Frank James at different times, for example last summer he played Frank James in Kearney, Mo. where the James farm exists, his demonstrations are fairly accurate.

The Amlands are also prominent in the Western re-enactment circuit, and spend a fair amount of time on the road, traveling for this purpose.

Those interested in this may e-mail Jeff Amland at cowboyhonor@lakes.com.

Grandma Bergemann

Another service being offered at the gift shop are free copies of recipes from Jeff Amland's grandma, Sadie Bergemann.

One recipe will be featured each week for patrons to take home as a gift, taken from a cigar box of hundreds left behind by Grandma Bergemann; which is something that Jeff wished to do for the public.

The recipes are written in Bergemann's handwriting, kept by her over a period of about 50 years.

"My grandmother was a school teacher in a one-room country school house near Fergus Falls, Minnesota in the 1920s," Jeff said.

She married Lawrence Bergemann in 1929, farmed in North Dakota during the drought years of the "dirty '30s," he said.

In 1937, they moved to Minnesota.

"My family hopes you will enjoy this adventure in home cooking, which dates back to the 1920s," he said.

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