Good morning all:

Weekly Wisdom, from deep in the North Woods:

“Dirk, as a city slicker kinda guy, eh, tell me, if I like to hold my wineglass down along my pant leg what is the correct grip?” — our local everyman we’ll name Claire apparently contemplating the proper social graces in these here parts

Mr. W. C. Fields once confided that Mae West believed that too much of a good thing could be wonderful. When it comes to good coffee I wholeheartedly concur. Now another quick sip as we get started.

First, I need to shut the blinds to stop a blindingly spectacular sunrise from washing out my screen. Sorry sun.

Exploring – A couple of years ago I purchased a stuck-in-the-barn little All Terrain Vehicle. My thinking being that at some point it would be handy (to sell Marcia) and fun (to sell myself) at our (then) new cabin; this week all that wily planning came to fruition. We had a blast!

If you’ve never gone trail riding—GO. Do it. OK, so you end up with a stiff back, unusable thumb, spasms in your thigh muscles, twigs whacking you as you head deeper into the bush, and finally, Marcia walking about in the shape of a capital letter ‘A’ for two days. It is as Mae gushed; too much of a good thing could be wonderful.

On one day we passed three small lakes and then Donn and Marlene guided us to an old copper mine. We felt like explorers of yore discovering never seen places and things. So, never mind that the mine operated till sometime in the eighties—we believed we really saw the never seen.

Then two days later six of us went to a small nearby lake; all in all a 25.4 mile round trip. It wasn’t so much the lake as it was the process of getting there. A complete terrain change from where we are.

From the forest area we’re used to we climbed and got into glacial boulder strewn areas—some larger than a house. Went through low areas and creeks where the ATVs tires were completely underwater. Saw traces of animals only seen away from places where people live—including the largest Moose tracks I’ve ever seen. And, unlike a Disney ride where the wait almost becomes the ride and the whole experience is over in minutes. This trek lasted for about five hours. Each hill, each turn, each vista, brought more opportunity to pause to drink it all in. Yea, yea Mae, I know, I know; “too much of a good thing could be wonderful.”

Happenin’ Thessalon – About thirty miles away is a widening in the Trans Canada highway listed on maps as Thessalon. This village of about a thousand or so souls is our Northern Woods portal to civilization. And, every so often, it surprises us. Times like last night. Last night was an evening where four of us were blown away.

It began with a patio dinner at a new little place that recently opened under the name of Tina’s on Main. Decades of travel have had me eat in places all over – none better than the food and the experience at Tina’s. Donn and Marlene had Thai. Marcia and I stuck with Tapas. The ladies finished with a Crème Brule and I sneaked a small spoonful here and there between sips on my after dinner coffee.

Then the real treat began……..

Sean Ashly – Thessalon has a newly emerging arts scene. Somehow they are managing to lay a trap for an array of traveling artists coming from places like Winnipeg and Thunder Bay on their way to Quebec and Toronto. Maybe it’s the free night in a Bread and Breakfast, I don’t know. What I do know is that last night we were treated to a concert that can only be described as WOW!

Sean Ashly toured with and led Sarah McLachlan’s band and was the featured guitarist for 12 years. For two hours Sean kept the twenty-five or so audience at the intimate Auld Kirk setting whooping and cheering. Music that spanned Blues, Country, Folk, Motown, and early day surfing, and rock performed spectacularly. Besides his own music the sounds of the likes of George Jones, Tom Petty, and The Band filled the room.

For years I have loved the sounds of the Fender White Falcon guitar, but had never seen one being played live—Sean accommodated. He played a 1952 National steel half guitar (bought used in Sudbury a decade or so ago for $80.00) and made it come to life. In fact, he played a total of six guitars throughout his two sets.

How lucky were we. WOW, what an evening.

Animal Planet – Now that the early leaves are beginning to turn, we’re seeing the preparations for migration continue. The Loons are busy training their young for the long trek to the Atlantic Ocean—a make or break event for this new generation of loons. After a weeks long feeding frenzy at the feeders, we think that the male Ruby Throated Hummingbirds have left – the females should leave within the next two weeks.

Most other wildlife sightings have been spoors and tracks. I did have a large deer cross in front of me. Then last night driving home from Thessalon we had to brake for a confused Fox.

Now, the last weekend of August, here are some birthday greetings; Sandy, George, Adrianne, and Vaioleti (today). Here is all the hope that a new year brings you.

Tomorrow evening we’ll take part in the “Irregulars Dinner”, a motley collection of the lake’s cottagers. Yup, the season is quickly drawing to a close. Yesterday I worked on the boat’s trailer – its winter resting place; see, we too have begun the preparations. Make it a great week everyone.



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