Good morning all:

Weekly Wisdom from deep in the Northwoods

“Look wise, say nothing, and grunt. Speech is only to conceal thought.”— our Northwoods everyman we’ll call Claire

Yes, yes, most of all of the verbal parsing, sparring, and the multitude of remonstrations offered by Representative—underpants on twitter—Weiner (D-NY) has crept into the Northwoods. Especially since here too more and more folks are forsaking having to work for their evening’s entertainment for the ease of the television remote, and with it the ubiquitous CNN. I believe that most likely this was on Claire’s mind this week. But, since it’s early, coffee is on my mind.

Luckily the power has stayed on as a storm (thunder, lightning, heavy rain, and hail) is blowing through this morning hour – important, as the coffee was just beginning its perk. I’ve now poured my first cup so all is OK.

Ann Vriend – Monday evening four of us went to the Thessalon Auld Kirk arts venue and caught some – very – serious talent. Ann Vriend is one of a myriad of young Canadian’s crisscrossing this country working like crazy to build a following, get noticed, or somehow get a ‘jump up’.

A pianist with a wonderful bluesy folk style and a warm-your-heart stage presence she gave her all. And, as I’ve written before, I am constantly amazed that all of this talent is found in a small little berg of a few hundred people. The little town of Thessalon is luckily positioned on the Trans Canada route at just about the right point to spend an evening and sing/play a little in a great little venue.

What made Vriend especially appealing was her reference to her Dutch heritage. Her ‘Oma’ immigrating to Edmonton Canada shortly after WWII; against her better judgment she left her homeland, sailed for ten days, travelled a continent, and did so with five kids in tow, only to then settle into a converted barn (and remember that Edmonton is located in what weather folk note as the “sub arctic”). This required a “can do” attitude, never look back, show little emotion, and persevere. Ann Vriend took this backdrop and wrote a most beautifully poignant song about her mom and her Oma – click on the hyperlink connected to her name and find a song titled “A Dollar and a Suitcase”, it’ll make sense.

On another note – from the performers at a previous event at Auld Kirk I learned about the inordinate road blocks our nation places on Canadian (and any overseas) performers wanting to tour the USA. Required is a complete FBI background check, followed by a second complete Homeland Security check, coupled with a fully documented and planned/organized 1-year tour itinerary. And, if all is not completed in a short timeframe, sorry, please go back to square one. Why is it we seem to consistently be fighting the wrong ‘enemies’?

In fact, any border crossing experience has become severe enough and is so fraught with a harsh imposing attitude by many of the border-crossing personnel, that decent local folk here in Canada have stopped crossing over altogether, even for just a simple afternoon shopping trip into nearby Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. This is not only sad, but goes against everything we tell the world we’re about.

Moose ahead – This is the year of the moose. For most of the time that I’ve been coming to these parts it’s just been a mythical creature people talk about. This year that has changed. Even Jason, here for only four days in early May caught sight of a mom and her calf.

Earlier this week I did a five mile hike along the main highway (2-lane) running through these parts. Every ten minutes or so a car would pass, for the rest it was quiet. About halfway to my destination point a car slowed and a native American lady poked her head out of the window; “moose around the bend” was all she said before the driver accelerated. Now, how cool is that!

How many places in the world can you be where a stranger on a highway stops to give a moose warning? Don’t you just love it? I never did see that moose just saw its tracks. For those who know the area, it crossed from Tunnel Lake side and across the highway between the drives for cabins 11 and 9.

Attack of the Zombies – Should Marcia and I fail to return home, I want to leave this message. You might find the two of us locked in a cabin filled with slow moving, never dying, zombie mosquitoes. Rest assured that until our last drop of blood was completely drained we continued to fight the good fight.

Friday morning they were waiting for us, by the hundreds, on both screen doors. It was a über soprano chorus of whinegngngzz, whinegngngzz, whinegngngzz, first in one ear then the other.

Assuming we’re alive, our behavior might be a bit ‘different’ from what you remember. We’ll look normal; however, several times a minute you’ll watch us slam the side of our face, chest, neck, arm, or leg. Or, we’ll leap up and clap our hands together for no apparent reason. Or else, we’ll just sit absolutely still and stare fixedly at one spot with only our eyes franticly darting about. Lastly, if driving up to check on us, especially at night, make certain we’re not standing huddled on the double yellow line when cresting a nearby hill.

We waited for help to come for as long as we could. Peering out every window looking for help carrying pitchforks, torches, and bug spray. Nothing.


Down the drive came a brave soul and he was carrying a torch—it was Donn. The torch with its magic killer fog was quickly lit and just like many a fable we circled the cabin three times.

We’ve never had a spring such as this one. Another shot of Hot Shot bug spray my dear?

Animal Planet – Marcia now has a pet Hummingbird. Twice over now the little guy (it’s a male) has enjoyed her efforts to water the garden. Actually, he’s been enjoying Marcia’s watering can by hovering under the spray. Each time this has been followed by him finding a small adjacent bit of a puddle and there doing his bathing thing.

We have been delighted by the many Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterflies. These large yellow and black butterflies we’ve seen congregating in bunches of twenty or more.

Earlier in the week I managed a great kayak run across the top of our lake and through the connector into our adjoining lake. I found out later from people who were fishing in that lake that I missed seeing a moose and her tiny calf swimming across the inlet by mere minutes. Its all in the timing isn’t it?

I also discovered a Beaver nest almost immediately across the cove from our cabin. They did pick the most scenic place possible.

And, last night, our resident Loons were very loud with their plaintive calls—maybe they were giving warning of the overnight storms.

Closing – This coming week will the final full week at the cabin before heading home for a bit. Marcia is already hard at work preparing for her speech to our local Postal supervisor. It appears that after dutifully filling out and submitting our official, yellow, postal “30-day hold” card our mail was never stopped. An angry Marcia is not a pleasant person to be confronted by—poor supervisor.


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