Archive: General

Berry picking on the North Shore

by Olwe

Last week was pretty much it for blueberry picking at the top of the Gunflint Trail . . . and this year was not as good as last. As you may know, way up on the Gunflint are many acres of wilds recovering from forest fire — prime country for blueberries.

Here’s a peculiar ‘shroom we found at one of our patches:

Notice the “Eye of Sauron” at the top. Somebody said this might be a lobster mushroom. I believe lobster mushrooms are edible. But if in fact Sauron the Deceiver has occupied this poor fungus, it might not be a lobster mushroom after all.

We also have been loading up on domestic raspberries from various garden sources. They’re doing quite well. In addition, the thimbleberries are coming in. They’re my all-time favorite, but they are not a prolific berry producer. A big, bushy plant may only produce a hand-full. I’ve even seen a few cloudberries, but they’re somewhat rare this far south.

Report from the garden

Last week I quickly mentioned the unknown demise of the lettuce crop; grasshoppers, slugs???? This is the continuation of the story. I transplanted the next crop of lettuce the following day (we try to
have plants in line for succession planting through the season). 5 years back Mark had gotten us 2 young garden kittens, Spring and Diesel to guard the sweet produce that the rodents always demolished.
We had tried a trap line but couldn’t keep up with emptying them or finding them when they were drug off and still had devastated crops. I didn’t want cats with birds around but we mitigated that by not letting them out for the day till later in morning and they were worth their keep when finally we got full crops of  beets, carrots and melons. Cats also like to be in the garden and “help” when we’re working and they also love fresh worked soil to play in. The day after the transplanting, I found freshly turned out lettuce and soil and loudly grumbled to Mark about the sanity of keeping cats while I replanted the lettuce, only lost one plant. Upon marching out of the garden, continuing to gripe to Mark, I spied sweet Spring with a furry object sticking out of her mouth as she crouched on a path. How could I scold her for one deed when she obviously was also doing her job. Upon closer exam (by Mark) the furry object turned out to be a rabbit foot (feet actually) and we believe the original culprit has been excised. So the beasts are at work protecting the crops and the rabbit hole was found.

Enjoy your greens,
Melinda & Mark

Going for a Sunday ride.

South Brule Road

Last Sunday afternoon I rode from my house on Co Rd 60 to a friends cabin on Poplar Lake north of my house about 25 miles. The plan was for a late afternoon swim followed by a barbecue with several other friends, a great opportunity to fit in a gravel road ride while my wife went to check on the blueberry crop.  As with many destinations in this county there is the fast direct route and an indirect longer route which is many times a gravel road  ride. I rode south on county gravel and paved roads till the south end of the Pine Mountain Road and the start of the interesting and quiet part of my ride. Quiet only for few other humans, I saw only one car on the forest road portion of my ride, as the fauna in the form of dear flies were out in force demanding my attention. The wet summer has created perfect insect breeding conditions. Many insect problems on a bicycle can be dealt with just keeping moving but the dear flies are another story as they can fly very fast, have painful bites and can take full advantage of slow moving cyclists when climbing hills. Enough of the bugs though, the day was sunny and mild with pretty clouds and there is great scenery along the route. There are some big pines on the Pine Mountain Road and views across the river on the South Brule Road. I continued north on the Lima Grade till just south of Poplar Lake seeing a grouse, small hawk and great water lillies on Bow Lake. I made it to my friends house in time for a cooling swim, a few handfuls of fresh blue berries thanks to my wife, and hanging out on the dock before the barbecue. A great day of riding on just a small taste of the countless miles of gravel road routes we are lucky to have out our back door.

View over Brule River valley.

                                                                                                  Which road would you take?

Lola’s Biking

Met up with Nora Richards who peddles the bike and the bakery wares from Lola’s Sweet Like Bakery here in Grand Marais. Nora is usually peddling about on Friday’s and Saturday’s. She starts fairly early in the morning and goes until she sells out of baked goods. As we understand, all of her goods are fresh-baked the morning of the sales.

South-side Chicago native Nora Richards works the mean streets of Grand Marais where only the strong survive.

When asked about her rig, she says the hills are torturous and a bit scary since the heavy trailer tends to overpower the Specialized comfort bike. Nora tells us that she is currently a massage therapy student and was previously at St. Mary in Winona studying theater. She and her partner, Elliot Doherty-Noyce are here for the summer. They are also musicians and will be performing this weekend at the Arts Festival.

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