There’s been a lot of talk about dogs, flower crowns and the weather around here lately. And, I guess this post will be no different.

Dale and I, along with the help of my oldest childhood friend, pulled off our first-ever “harvest” or “farm-to-table” dinner, although both of those phrases don’t really do the experience justice.

Can you imagine a better gourd as a swan? I was driving by Kalscheur’s (a local pumpkin patch) and just had to stop. Sometimes you just have to “whip a shitty” to get the perfect thing you didn’t even know existed.

Can you imagine a better gourd as a swan? I was driving by Kalscheur’s (a local pumpkin patch) and just had to stop. Sometimes you just have to “whip a shitty” to get the perfect thing you didn’t even know existed.

Let’s start at the beginning (“a very good place to start…when you read you begin with A-B-C…” You know the rest all you fellow Sound of Music lovahs). Brett, said friend, is an unbelievable chef. And when I say it, I mean it. A couple of months ago, I was among the lucky few invited to his 40th birthday party. I would say it was a special one, but that would weird him out. Dale and I took the kids and were greeted, as we always are, by his family. Lots of hugs and squeezes and catching up. Brett put on the entire spread and to say it was phenomenol would be the understatement of the year. I am no foodie. For real, I just like a lot of food; I’m not real picky in the quality department. But, as Dale and I were sitting there, savoring our second helping of the best damn potato salad ever, I got a(nother) hair-brained idea. What if we hired Brett to cater a dinner at the farm? And, what if said-dinner was a big old THANK YOU to the most talented and generous photographers (and their spouses) that helped me pull off (my other crazy idea of) Halos for Heroes? Could it work? What are the chances we could actually pull something like that off? (In case you haven’t guessed, I have a LOT of ideas, but many of them never come to fruition. I am more of a big picture ENFP, not necessarily a detail person. Ask my cousin Jen, pictured below, who would have loved nothing more than a ruler to measure in between the place settings. *Insert my eye roll. But, damn, she helped me make that table almost perfect.)


So, we set out to actually do it…thank God for Dale, my “idea closer”. The stars aligned, all but one, and we found a date that 5/6 photographers and their spouses could attend. And although Brynn was sorely missed, I will say her husband, Troy, stepped up and attended solo. Everything really came together and the sun even shone for a few minutes at sunset. And while we learned a few things for future events, I would say all-in-all is was a complete success. We will be considering this as a future venture; stay tuned.

I am not sure I have actually ever seen a candle burn all the way down to the candle stick in front of me before.
— quote of the night.

Like I mentioned, I am not a foodie, so I wish I had more pictures and information about the delicious food we devoured (note taken for next time). I can tell you there was a signature drink; amazing. Hors d'oeuvres; amazing. First, second and third course; all amazing. And a late-night dessert; equally amazing. A little beer and a lot of good wine too. But, most importantly to me was the opportunity to step back, take a big deep breath and watch a group of creative talents smile and laugh and share their lives with us, if only for a few hours on a September evening. A very cold September evening. The frost on the table this morning reminded us of how quickly Mother Nature can change her mind.


These photographers are also wives, moms, business women, entrepreneurs, friends, daughters, sisters and human beings; not in that particular order. And they’re all killin’ it. They took the time and energy away from all of their other responsibilities to “help a sister out” on a project near and dear to her heart. A dinner on a picnic table in my back yard, even with the most gourmet, delicious food I have ever eaten, hardly seems like the right amount of gratitude. Maybe someday I’ll find a way to pay it forward. In the meantime, I am listing their respective businesses and bios below in the hopes that one, or many, of you that read this can use their talents in your personal or professional lives.

As for our chef, Brett, I am not sure I can quantify in words how incredible your creations were. The fact alone that you incorporated apples, pears and lavender from our farm in to the dishes served was above and beyond any expectation I had. But, you also took people, me included, out of our comfort zones and in to a new and more delicious world. I can’t wait to see what you do next.


The morning after was rough…I’m not gonna lie. It was a late night. And, I think, any time you entertain, so much physical and emotional energy gets put in to how people are feeling and reacting to the experience, little time is paid attention to appreciate the experience. I have no complaints, just an honest reflection. And, if the opportunity arises for this experience again, we are all in.

Enjoy some photos below of set up to completion of the table scape. In the future, I’ll do more photos in action, but honestly, it was beautiful to enjoy the company and ignore the screen for a few hours.



Katie Gardner Photography

Katie is an on location photographer specializing in natural light and lifestyle photography. Sessions are either held at an outdoor location or indoors at a client's home. I proudly offer a unique and memorable photography experience filled with laughter, silly jokes and many times the best hugs ever (from your family of course). Together we will craft not only amazing memories, but gorgeous, timeless images as well. Learn more.

Tumbling sparrow photography

Kortnee believes a photo is more than just a snap shot of a moment in time. A photo tells a story, it surrounds you with the things you remember most, the mood, the light, the trail you paved. It remembers the perfection of the time when you cannot. It remembers details – little flakey toes, toothless smiles, a passionate kiss. She hopes to give you to is the gift of a story. Learn more.

Kaley rae photography

Kaley is a natural light, lifestyle, wedding + portrait photographer in the Madison, Milwaukee areas, and beyond. She specializes in weddings + couples, but has a thing for lifestyle portraiture, boudoir, and high school seniors too. Recent weddings and engagements have taken her from the Midwest to the beaches of Mexico + South Carolina, and the mountains of Colorado + Iceland, but good ol’ Wisconsin has her heart. Learn more.

Feathered arrow photography

Brynn is a newborn and family lifestyle photographer using natural light to tell your story. She is based in Madison, Wisconsin. She also happens to be my favorite next door neighbor. Learn more.