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Good Hunting?

 
I met a father, son and labradoodle named “Bo” on the logging road where I deer hunt. They were grouse hunting and I was laying groundwork for deer season. They lived in the Twin Cities, and as hunters will do, we immediately started yakking about the prospects for harvest this year. The dad asked me if deer hunting in the area was any good. My first response was “no” and it wasn’t to keep them from showing up at my deer stand two weeks later.
 
Initially, my answer was based on what I estimated to be their definition of good deer hunting.

North Woods Memorial

The crying ended and the celebration began. Church was rough.
 
This was the opposite.
 
The banquet hall beside the lake spoke to 100 years of weddings, graduations, and Hook & Bullet fundraisers. It was a spacious log structure built to take a licking. Ancient moose antlers adorned the doorsill above the entryway. Framed textile images of boreal landscapes charmed the walls.

Resupply of Optimism

I’m fortunate to know some people coming up from behind who wear their hearts on their sleeves. There’s the team at Ely Outfitting Company where I drive shuttles in summer. My job is to transport paddlers and their outdoor gear to and from wilderness entry points in the Boundary Waters. The work also doubles as a great way to collect ideas for stories. But with these co-workers, their energy and optimism are the story.

Garden Grunt

 
There’s a certain pleasure in being grunt labor for a garden. For one, it doesn’t involve much thinking. My wife, DyAnne, is the gardener in our family and she works out the math behind the plants. Occasionally, I’ll throw in a suggestion about fertilizer. I’d like to think I’m somewhat versed in piling it higher and deeper.
 
For another, I get to mess with power tools and play in the dirt. We got a new tiller that required assembly. I’m an instruction-follower, but I don’t know why.

Fiction Comes from Somewhere

 
Quality art is meant to be experienced in perpetuity. The good stuff unfailingly renders deeper elements that might have previously gone unnoticed, do well to experience again or offer significance to the context of our current circumstances. Such is the case with the television series Northern Exposure.
 
My wife, DyAnne, and I just finished our annual Northern Exposure party. It’s a weekend-long affair that began as a single-day event with family when the series was in its heyday.

Act Your Age: The Rivalry Runs Deep

 
So, I’m in a bar. Billy’s to be exact. It’s a family kind of place, warm, welcoming, spacious and in the country. It’s also the finish line for the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon that ended last week. Billy’s features outstanding food and servers almost as fun as a young man I met.
 
The final dog team had arrived and Billy’s was packed with mushers, handlers, race officials, volunteers, and fans like my wife and me.

Careful with Your Carcass

Holiday trimmings aren’t just décor at our house. In keeping with the holiday spirit, we occasionally share food trimmings from the bones of animals who gave themselves to us with our neighbor ravens. Now that the holidays have wrapped up, we’d like to think the ravens had a bountiful season from our yard. 

Lupin's Humor

 

We have an Alaskan husky in our family. Her name is Lupin. She’s got that northern look kind of like a miniature wolf. Knockout appearance aside, I’ve never met a being so full of life coupled with an irritating sense of humor. The dog puts me in the aisles sometimes… Sometimes.

I make no pretenses, I’m not a musher. But my wife, DyAnne, and I are big mushing and sled dog fans. We have a kick sled for Lupin made of old hockey sticks, cross-country skis and duct tape. Ironically, the sled is for her, but I seem to be the one who gets the exercise.

SpongeBob's Backpack

 
October snow is nothing unusual in Northern Minnesota. But it typically melts a few times before sticking around for the next five or so months. This year, the weather is messing with our mental clocks. Our first October snow blew in wet, heavy and deep. Then the temperatures dropped and froze it solid. Now into November, snowbanks are jagged with ice chunks. This snow won’t be leaving anytime soon.
 
For fun and stories last summer, I drove wilderness shuttles for the Ely Outfitting Company.
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