Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Gnomes and Fairies at Tuscarora, by our friend Lily

OK, well last year I realized that there was a fairy house here at Tuscarora. The fairy house is down by the dock by the Lodge. It is a cut down log with lots of holes—with a rectangle that’s the door and there are four windows. I can’t see them (the fairies) but they can hear me when I talk to them, and they told my dad that they made a gift for me.

Then the fairies gave me a cool tube--kind of looks like a bracelet---like a little piece of bark with a picture on it. I gave them cookies and I decorated their house with clay. But then the gnomes almost spotted them, so they had to take off my decorations, but they said it was so beautiful (and it was). Then we decided to build a trap (me my dad, and Aiden). We used sticks and string. I think one of the fairies played dead under the trap and they (the gnomes) went to check on her. And then the gnomes got caught but fairies are so tiny that she could fly right out of the holes. The gnomes lifted up the cage and they got away but they said that they would leave the fairies alone for a year until this month next year—in July. Then I guess I’ll have to help the fairies again. Well I was planning for you guys to hang onto the cage, then we can tell the kids who want to help them that we already have a cage for them, so someone else can probably do the cage.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Summer Days

The weather is perfect, the sunny days are busy, the quiet nights are cool, everybody is happy to be in the woods!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Some are staff, summer funny.

This time of year, the staff are in their rhythm (they run the place). They take care of us and each other---they are the soul of Tuscarora. We have grown to love each one of them---let me introduce them to you.

Anna is the one who quietly comes in after work hours at a hectic moment and fillis in. She senses when we need her, she steps up, she maintains the institutional memory for cleanliness...she's in her 4th summer here, and it is hard to imagine summer at Tuscarora without her calm presence and hand in everything.

Cass loves our children. How fortunate are we to find someone to be a part time nanny/ other time everything person who can be "me" on the job and at home? My kids can't get enough of her---she's been a staple of their childhood these past 3 years.

Kate is the one who remembers birthdays, who notices when someone is working too hard, who gets genuinely excited about creating a dessert that is well received. Her caring spirit is contageous and certainly felt by all of us---including Andy and me.

Jake is the self nominated DOA (director of outdoor activities). He's a great planner of the fun stuff---berry picking, horseshoes, hikes, kayaking instruction....every day he thinks of something. We love his enthusiasm for the silly things.

Trevor is one of our crew cooks. He's absolutely found one of his callings in this life---he's a great cook and he's so cheerful about being in the kitchen and grinding the pepper for a fresh vinegarette. We look forward to meals-- his sunny disposition and sense of humor are perfect garnishes.

Meet Chadd (in the back---teaching a family of visitors how to fish). When I asked Chadd at the beginning of the summer how it was going he said---"this job suits me." It does. He's a good guy.
Amy goes to St. Olaf college and she comes from Grand Marais. Need I say more? Amy is quietly is in tune with the moods of the staff . She gently finds ways to urge us to contine to improve our ecological practices here---compost, paper recycling systems, cloth napkins, etc. We love her cheerful enthusiasm for the geeky things that we do around here---heads up 7 up, treasure hunts, etc.

It's Noah's 5th year on the Gunflint Trail---towing on Saganaga. At Tuscarora we have been proud to have him for 3 of those years. as a senior staff member, he knows all there is to know about outfitting....and soccer.

Debe from Ohio is always looking for warmer weather. She can bench press an 18.5 aluminum canoe on top of a suburban without even having to use the "girl" way (I have to bounce and duck under, and lift with my legs like those weightlifters on TV). Andy trusts Debe to pack the food packs (no small thing)--- arguably the key person packing for a canoe trip. She's very precise.

Stefan makes it shine. We're lucky to have him and his teal cap---I predict that he'll be well known someday and our photos will be worth money. Stefan is a man of many talents---he does everything here, his soft skills with staff and guests are very polished, he teaches our kids guitar and piano, and he knows every bird you'll ever hear. After spending the year as naturalist at Wolf Ridge, he can't help himself and he leaves rock specimans out for the staff to learn---teachable moments at every turn.

Jamie worked just until the beginning of July--but made a big impact on us with her goodnatured willingness---always up for any job, always finding something to laugh about or someone to laugh with.

Michael is so covertly witty sometimes, when I'm not paying close attention, I forget that he has it in him. Then I hear him go stomping down the steps at 50 miles an hour (hoping to imitate Andy, and scare any slackers into attention). His sense of humor is good for morale. Don't ask Michael about his totalled car, or about the dwindling moose population.


They're here and they're as plentiful as the rain and sunshine of June promised! Daniel is our starharvester; he puts in at least an hour every day, and he eats very few while he's picking.
I love to listen to the spontaneous chatter, and think about our winter morning granola with frozen blueberries on top. Shelby and Denali prefer to eat them on the spot. Daniel likes to share them with the staff---blueberry malts, even blueberry pie!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Granite River

We paddled the Granite River on July 11th, and it was beautiful! We were worried about the effects of the Ham Lake fire, and now we're delighted. It feels like a blueberry farmer went in to burn off the undergrowth to cultivate the area for blueberries. The plants are happily invading any areas of black soil.
The camper entry quota has been reduced, so that only one group per day is allowed into Magnetic Lake....we didn't see any other campers; we had all of the unburned blueberriy patches to ourselves. I HIGHLY recommend it for travel---if you can get one of the few permits left. You can see by the photos that the burned trees are spotty. Only Larch Lake shoreline burned completely---but the island was not touched.

Note: The temporary cell tower was taken down so that there is no longer cell service on the Gunflint Trail. All of the land lies are working better than ever.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


At 7:07pm the Tuscarora staffers had a little party in the crew cabin. We played Heads-up-Seven Up (think elementary school) and drank 7Up. We think it was quite a bit warmer than 77 degrees in there, and had to follow up with a swim.

I hear that there were a lot of folks getting married in Las Vegas on this lucky day!

Minnesota Bound

Bill Sherck (Man about the Woods) and Nick Claussen (photographer extraordinaire) joined a group of local educators tripping into Tuscarora, Gillis, Peter-- studying the plants and wildlife of the woods.

We had a blast, we planned future trips exploring the landscape, and we experienced ALL kinds of weather. If you are in the range of KARE 11 TV, watch for us on MN Bound in late July or early August.