Friday, August 22, 2008

Fire Restrictions

It has been a dry August in our neck of the woods---and the USFS has closed the Border Route Trail and the Kekakabic Trails. Campfires are banned in a large portion of the BWCA.
Use of gas or propane cookstoves are allowed at any time. Bring them!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What About Bingshick?

Ken Bradbury shared his photos with us--he just visited Seahorse, Warclub, Bingshick, Brant Lakes.

Lots of recovering forest in this route----and during this busy week in August, they were completely alone exploring these berry-laden lakes. They found little evidence of human visitors anywhere.

Ken said the berries were so plentiful that you could lean out of your tent and grab a handful---and they went on and on over the hillsides around Bingshick.

Sounded like a great trip.

Monday, August 11, 2008

We're from Washburn...Couldn't be Prouder!

The last couple of weeks have been (Minneapolis) Washburn Highschool repeated reunions...Last week the Spriggs sisters---Mary (with Bill Butler) , Martha, Margaret and their families and their neighborhood families took over the place --- This week, Katey and Ann and Scott brought their families and their fathers. Even Chris Pensinger showed up (he was a little surprised to see so many people from our Class of '82!)
Every morning at 6am I walk down memory lane with these wise women--and we untangle the snags in our lives, just like we did when we were 16 and walking around Lake Harriet. Who imagined that the 30 years would pass so quickly?

The Bailey/Leck families get along splendidly---you might recognize Ann, Managing Editor of the Washburn Grist. Now she runs the Energy Star program for the EPA. I'm sort of proud of her for that one.

Scott (behind his daughter Zoe) married to Katey (voted Daisy Mae at the Sadie Hawkins dance) was a star on the debate team, if I remember correctly. Also on the staff of the Grist... now he is a lawyer of course, and crafts fishing rods from a pop cans.
This year Stu Leck (Katey's dad) turned 75, and he's legally blind. I am very sorry about this, but I am grateful to have him to grill , because I've never been able to ask those questions---and he's still so darned spunky (he does the blind buddy-downhill skiing thing). Questions like-- How come you rarely ever touch the cane to the ground? and Why did you just pop your head inside the motor shop like you were checking it out...are you faking it--or smelling that dark shed? And how much does it cost if you decide you want a seeing eye dog? I wonder if he realizes that he's my model of how to handle a disability with optomism and style?
Sometimes I think we're the same as when we were 16. When Mary (Homecoming Queen, 1982) brought in the polyester pants for all of us, she was joking of course, but I still wore my flesh colored pair, and I had to laugh continuiously because these people are ridiculously funny---and my daughter puzzled at the hilarity---and I realize that we're NOT 16. We've done the unthinkable; we've turned into our mothers.

Here at Tuscarora there is a chill in the air in the evenings and the mornings---although the days still get hot, we've slipped toward fall. The pages of my summer have fluttered past like the pages of my life. The blueberries are ending, some leaves are changing and I want to hold on to it all. It's been a great summer.....

All around, I've been lucky in life, I want to reread the chapters with these people (with the exception of 8th grade...I didn't really like 8th grade much)...yet---I'm still anticipating the fall, the pages and the people ahead. Who could ask for more than that?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Morning Coffee in Style

Bill Tipping and Jim Hanneman are here to prove that you needn't sacrifice fashion for high tech synthetic clothing. These days, you can have it all.

Perhaps you too can find your fashion niche at Tuscarora??

Jim noted that his peach pants are a ladies size 14---a perfect fit--almost as if they were custom tailored for him!

Blueberry Epidemic

The blueberry plants---they've taken over!
Picking advice: don't be tempted to stop and pick where you first see blueberries. Hold off until you just CAN'T BELIEVE the abundance--and how easy it is to pick handfuls.

Or just wait until you hear Daniel holler "Jackpot!!!"

Even Denali can't get enough.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Summer Staff---Can't live without them!

Here we are, on the busiest weekend of the summer...and they take it in stride. These competent young people take pride in the place, in their work, in each other. It's obviously important to them that Tuscarora and all the people involved are well cared for. When I think about that part, it chokes me up a little.

We all know that the crew cook is the number one morale guy on staff, and Justin makes it look easy. This morning he picked fresh rasberries for a pie at lunch. Could it get any better than that? He has also cultivated our worm recycling system, and made the perfect breeding place for the little guys as they gobble up our garbage. You can hear Justin laugh throughout the grounds—and that is a happy sound. He leaves gentle little notes places—like ‘can I be composted?’ on the garbage can, AND, he almost won the Tuscarora triathlon!

Jennifer flips canoes around with the best of them. She quietly handles any task. Ask Jennifer about the turtle that leaped out in front of her car wheels. She couldn't possibly avoid him. Amazing. It's Jennifer who prompted my sunrise memory on Duncan lake in July--one of the better ones. She is adventuresome and strong, and we like her.
Lindsay found her home in the northwoods this summer--her enthusiasm for all outdoor activities is contagious. She takes on the major responsibility for the food room, and this is no small task. She's got charisma--when she stays late to finish packing, somebody always comes in to hang out with her.

Sarah is as loyal and committed as they come. She is the one at the other end of the walkie talkie any time of the day, ready to go to the Trading Post. Coming from me who sets all of my stuff down, that is a huge accomplishment right there. She's a great cook besides. And I hear that she cleans griddles like an outfitter.

Paul came with
Cassandra. In fact, now they’re engaged. We’re glad about that because Paul may have never found his way to the northwoods of MN without her. Ask Paul about global warming—and the self importance many of us place on our personal impact. He’s quiet, he’s wise, and he can fix his own computer hardware. Who does this?

We're lucky to have Stefan back for a 4th year. He is a man of many talents (birding, physics, music, German...)... He can make a sweat lodge from an old 3p tent, and this year he also catches fish. He manages the outfitting yard with competence and energy. I’m still looking for the “owners eye” awards he facilitates---it’s my second year unable to find them.

Britta joined us in July--and she keeps getting thrown right into new tasks--and handles it all with amazing optomism. She also has a secret Brazilain way for baking black beans when she is filling in as crew cook.

If there is a good guys club, you can count Brian in. Solid, cheerful, quiet, competent. You can tell he’s played sports all his life, because he is a team player and covers his position. Always. Plus he can drive a stick shift. Brian can catch fish on any lake, and I don't believe he's been to town once yet.

You may never recognize Andy again—he has a beard and long hair that he has never had. And he says that once he goes into the real world he'll have to be clean cut again. Unless he colors his hair, adds major padding, takes a job as Santa. He's a great guy, who can take everything that he can dish out! With his sense of humor, he keeps the outfitting yard lively, and so far he has found all of the owner's eye awards, darn it!
We fondly refer to Camille as “the vegan.” She was pegged before she came. She can run very fast and very very far, and maintains a light cheerful attitude around here. We think she has the right to eat marshmallows and jello, and still call herself a vegan. She gets to eat in any category she wants!
Cass is leaving this week, and we all feel pretty sad about that. She holds it all together here---taking care of all of us, plus the guests and especially the children. Any children. I'm thinking if she had lived in an ancient community she might have been a healer.

Then there are the former staff members---those who circle around and come back and pitch in just at the right time. Carrie and Steve---and Mary---what would we have done without them today?
These are some of the best people that I know. At the end of the day, we're grateful for each of them.