Good morning all:

Weekly Wisdom from deep in the North Woods

“Here’s one difference between the sexes: Women screw power. Men who have power screw.”Rosie DiManno – Toronto Star

Even in the North Woods, when you think that you’re away from it all and barely on the grid, news events do manage to filter through. Even such despicable news as alluded to in the Weekly Wisdom, one case featuring an ‘oily’ Frenchman and the other a former Sperminator managed to infiltrate. I wonder what the atmosphere was at morning coffee around Ah-nold and Maria’s breakfast table or during D.S.K., the Great Seducer’s, room service at his luxury hotel—mine tastes just fine thank you; even more so when a glorious morning such as this one slaps me across the face.

The “Duck” heads south – Monday morning Marcia and I made up our minds. We had to make a run to the bank, 30 miles distant in Bruce Mines. We agreed we would make it in “The Duck.” At least we’d try, since we’d never attempted such a journey in the little thing—2-cylinders and 24 horse power.

You’d have thought we were heading out on a cross country tour. The oil was checked, tires were inspected and the spare brought up to the correct pressure. Eventually we were ready to embark on our journey. The last bit was critical since the window of opportunity to visit with the dear folk at the bank is fairly narrow. The bank does not open its doors till 9:30, closes for lunch, and by 4:00 is locked tighter than a drum. And, depositing USA currency is best managed in person.

Twelve miles or so into the journey, as the driver, I became aware of the first hint of a loss of power. Pretty soon we could only keep up ‘hiccupping’ along in first gear—on level ground. I was hoping we’d manage to limp along long enough to reach a drive, side road, or widening in the shoulder. We made it to a widening in the shoulder.

Always carry a Leatherman or such like tool; it was the last item I stuck in my pocket. Head under the hood I discovered the problem. A small bolt had worked its way loose out of the carburetor causing a complete imbalance between the fuel and air mixture. As luck would have it, it had dropped and gotten caught between the engine and a hose. Soon I managed to retrieve it and was able to get it back into position with the trusty Leatherman tool.

Working away, it was Marcia who entertained a couple from nearby Chubb Lake who had pulled over to assist. They were merrily sharing “hard luck” stories; they from having owned an old Austin Healey. We basically stood around shaking our heads knowingly—we’d all had similar experiences.

The rest of the trip went spectacularly well. It was totally exhilarating driving at 55 mph, wind noise screaming in our ears, while waving at a bridge repair crew standing, shoulder to shoulder, giving us a thumbs up. And, oh yes, and that loosening bolt is now secure with a small dab of LocTite—I do learn my lessons.

Banking done Canadian style – is a trip. It’s like being part of some secret society. Deposit a check in US currency and there is a hold on the deposit. But, and this was whispered to us, they’d let that hold slide for amounts up to $2,500 – just because we are now members of the society. This caused me to give the clerk our newly learned secret handshake.

There is another issue, the ATM machine. These only accept Canadian currency. This becomes a problem for us, since normally we’re passing the Bank (the only one in about a 100 mile radius) before opening or after closing. “No problem” the clerk again whispered, “just slide the envelope under the door” as she slyly pointed at the specific door we were supposed to slide an envelope under. Hey, don’t laugh; we all banked this way—ninety-five years ago.

Magic VHS player – Please understand that somehow our vast collection (nearly 20 or 30) of VHS tapes ended up at the cabin. Many of these are of the old Disney movie variety, perfect for the grandkids. Also understand that our VHS player had died.

This week Dia insisted we take their brand new-looking Phillips all in one screen and player unit. The test tape played perfectly after we had set the little unit up. That evening it was my idea to preview Ring of Bright Water the story of an Otter (probably with the name of Herbie). Anyway, I forgot to note that the previous user had not rewound it. Now, not only did the player not recognize a tape was inserted; it refused to give it back.

Even with its honorable Dutch heritage that Phillips player ate the tape and no matter what buttons I pushed the tape remained firmly stuck way down its gullet and in the guts of the machine.

Marcia was already beginning the “chuck it all” talk, as I came from our pump/tool room carrying my 63 pound tool bag. Soon parts and components were lying about as the little machine kept getting stripped further and further. Again, Marcia started yammering something about; “chuck it all.” This prompted a serious conversation which lasted about twenty minutes; a talk we now refer to as the “perseverance” discussion.

Eventually ‘Herbie’ the Otter was ejected. The re-assembly process was initiated. And, to all of our amazement (yes, mine too) a new tape when inserted began playing perfectly. Young Phillips the magic VHS player had learned his lesson.

Animal Planet – Only a couple of hours after Marcia expressed outrage discovering that her favorite little shoreline Birch tree had disappeared thanks to a Beaver, he cruised on by. As calm and unconcerned as you can envision, Mr. Beaver glided on past our dock. What made it worse, he never even acknowledged Marcia who was still fuming on the deck.

This is black fly season. Unlike last year when I had about 150 bites, this year it’s only been three—so far. Marcia has been wearing netting for her gardening work, so maybe the little beasties have moved on to other quarters out of a bit of frustration. One can only hope.

Closing – Now its time to get ready to make a dump run. On the other hand, maybe I can get in a bit of kayaking prior to heading out. Make it a great week everyone.


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