Sunday, June 24, 2018

Wooden Boat Show

This weekend was the Wooden Boat Show and Summer Solstice Festival at North House Folk School. I hadn't been in a few years and needed to see what was new. It was a nice day to be by the lake as it was mostly sunny and cool. The activities are too many to list, but check out the link f you so desire.

The first thing I did was to check out the music which was being performed by Tom and Caleb. Tom is one of the fiddle players in the band I play in and I didn't even know Caleb played as I know him from other pursuits. They played perfect background tunes.
Our dance caller, Barb (on the right), is here with her twin sister appreciating the music.
There were exhibitors who are also teachers at the school. Everything from wooden toys, spoon carving, various other types of wood carving, weaving, felting, basket making, gunsmithing, metal forging, and wood turning.

 Then there are the boats. Kayaks, canoes, sailboats, rafts, runabouts, and some that may be undefinable, but they all float. Some for sale and others just for display.

Mark Hansen, founder of the school, has been working on an "Old Man's Pleasure Boat". I have stopped by his house a couple of times in the past few weeks to see the progress. It isn't done yet and he still needs to get the masts and sails on it, but he does have a little outboard motor in the meantime. It is two matched canoes and the rigging style used by the Polynesians to lash it all together. It is like Kon-Tiki meets the Boundary Waters. He is just going to use square sails attached to a couple of black spruce masts he has at home in the driveway.
Here are some of the other boats.

There were some lectures going on as well as a silent auction so there were not always a lot of people outside.

Of Course, when you get a bunch of older seafaring men and women around you get tales of bravery, adventure, and downright stupidity as told by those who may or may not have been involved. Nothing like sitting around a fire to bring out those stories.
The Solstice Pageant was in the evening and too late in the day for my level of energy. I will no doubt hear stories about how it went from those who were there and probably some who were not. That's small town living for you. For those of you on the north side of the equator the days will start to ever-so-slowly shorten now as those in the southern hemisphere can welcome back the light. Funny how it happens every year about this time.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Of guitars and moose

Today I went to visit my friend Dave who lives up the Gunflint Trail, a 63 mile dead end road that goes into the edges of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Quetico Provincial Park. Dave and his wife, Nancy, own Hungry Jack Outfitters on Hungry Jack Lake. Nancy is a fabulous artist and she and Dave have owned the outfitting business for about 28 years. I have known them even longer than that. Dave also has some talents other than his business savvy. One of my personal favorite things is that he is a fine luthier. There's that word again. He builds custom stringed instruments, mostly guitars, as well as doing repairs and alterations on them.

Today I got to watch him install a pickup in an acoustic guitar. It was a  little scary watching him use a drill on an acoustic instrument as it would make me very nervous. It was to enlarge one hole and add two tiny ones.
This is Dave gluing the transducers to the bottom of the bridgeplate.

Here is a pic looking into a mirror inside the guitar after the three transducers (pickups) have been glued into place.
A short while later he plugged the guitar into an old amplifier and listened to the results. It sounded the same, only louder, which was the goal. Now it can be used with a P.A. system or an amplifier when needed.

It was time for Dave to get back to his other business and time for me to head back down the trail, so I took a couple more pics of his shop with some parts in the works and some nice chunks of wood for his craft.

About ten miles into my thirty mile return trip I had a pleasant surprise in the road ahead of me. A cow and calf and not of the bovine persuasion. It was a mama moose and her several week old offspring! They forgot to use their traffic signals, but we managed to let them ease back into the forest where they might be a little safer. Although bears and wolves might keep them on their toes, er...hooves.

They were moving and so was I so I apologize for the quality of the photos. And don't let the perspective throw you. Mama's ears are about 7 feet above the road. Click to embiggen.

Today is one of those days that makes me appreciate where I live. About 250 miles south of us in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul they have something they call an "Excessive Heat Warning." High temperatures and high humidity give them a heat index of 98 to 103 degrees which sounds pretty awful. At Dave's house this afternoon and on the farm it was about 70 or 72 degrees. When I went to town along the lake it was 55. Almost warm enough for a long sleeved shirt. Much better.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Return to the Ivory Tower

Last weekend I went out of town to St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota for my 45th college reunion to go hang out with people I have known since we were eighteen or nineteen years old. Not all of us are even alive anymore! There were some nice meals and presentations, but just hanging out with old friends was the best part. There were still some old haunts that we were able to visit as most of us seem to be ambulatory still.

There are some new buildings, all done with the same limestone facade of most of the other buildings with only a couple of exceptions. The exceptions being some of the original ones when the college was young (the school was founded in 1874). They have been well maintained and are still in use today. I even had a few classes in Old Main. As always, click on the pic to embiggen.
The old Steensland Library still stands, too.
The limestone walls of the other buildings can be imposing, but modern bike racks take the edge off of serious.
That picture is by what turns out to be the chapel. I always thought it was the math building because of the big "plus" symbol on top. I wasn't much into math.

The trees have gotten bigger, but the green spaces have been gussied up a bit with landscaping, memorial bell towers, and possibly functional sculpture.

Now that they sell beer and wine on campus (a very recent update) we didn't have to leave as much, but we went to into town a few times anyway.

The bullet holes in a few buildings left from the days of the Jesse James /Cole Younger raid (1876) are still visible. One of the stores in that building sells vinegar now.
There was a small gathering of local entrepreneurs selling their wares in Bridge Square.
The Cannon River flows through town and on for about thirty or forty miles before emptying into the Mississippi.

Mostly I hung out with these two Bozos, Jim and Greg.
We walked through the Arboretum (or "the arb") at Carleton College on the other side of town. There are some nice trails that go along some of the feeder streams as well as the Cannon.

Then it got close to leaving time again. We had stayed in one of the dorms and here we are heading to one last breakfast in the snazzy new eating facility.
Then we had to say goodbye to some more old friends (old is starting to be the operative word here) before heading back home. Good-bye Donna and Kathy!
At least I see Jim and Greg in between these things. Next time it will be the fiftieth for those of us who are still on this side of the dirt. I really hope that will be all of us, but realistically it won't be.

Until we meet again, old friends!