Thursday, May 7, 2015

Continue Reading on my Website!

Please hop on over to my website where you can find all of these posts as well as any new posts going forward. It's still Musings from the North Woods - you'll just find it at my home on the web

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Milwaukee and the Garage

We took a mini road trip last weekend to visit Steve's family in Milwaukee. We went with his sister and brother-in-law to the downtown Milwaukee's River Walk.

This is brother-in-law Ken on the left, Steve in the middle, and his sister, Laura on the right.

There are a lot of bars and restaurants along the route. We stopped at Mader's. It's a 106 year old German establishment. We had a phenomenal time trying a few beverages, a reuben inspired appetizer and pretzel bread with butter. This was treat night for sure.

I love seeing random public art along the sidewalks.


And even just some fun window displays.

This dog was really cute. He was hanging out watching us have a bite and beverage at another stop.

Of course, on our way through Wisconsin we stopped to say hi to Mom and Dad and then to our usual cheese factories. We stocked up on a variety of cheeses from the Nasonville Dairy and then some gorgonzola from the North Hendren Dairy Coop in Willard.

We're back home now and have hired Wade to stain the garage. I chose a dark brown stain because I wanted the studio to be offset with its happy yellow color. It's looking fantastic and I'll show you the finished photos in my next post.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Ice Out and Canoe Pontoon Floats

The ice is officially off the lakes. Our bay went out on Friday, April 17. So what did we do on Saturday? We got the boat ready and went fishing. By "fishing" I mean we found a sunny rock, pulled over, drank some wine and took naps.

Another new, exciting thing is that we decided to buy some pontoon floats for our canoe. We can never take Tansy out in the canoe because she likes to lean over and drink water. She also loves lures and tries to catch them when we toss them into the water.

Steve was so excited he wanted to give them a try. (Remember when the ice went out? I elected to stay on shore until the thing was tested.)

Steve says all is good. We'll give it a try with all three of us soon. I'm pretty sure I won't be able to get photos for you because I'll be too busy being nervous about tipping - at least at first.

These pontoon floats are made just an hour away in Mountain Iron, Minnesota. Here is a link to the website where you can purchase these.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Getting Ready for Winterfest

Ahhhh, February is here. I'm feeling better now. It's supposed to be above zero today.

I took my camera with me into town. On the way into town I stopped at the Fat Chicken Feed Store to pick up my mail. We don't have mail delivery in Winton, so we all have a P.O. Box in the Fat Chicken.

I pulled over once I got to Ely to show you how they prepare the snow blocks for the Winter Festival snow sculptures. They fill these big, wooden boxes with snow and then let them sit for a few days to compact. The carvers will begin carving on Friday this next week.

On my way to the grocery store I saw a "dog truck". This is how dog mushers haul their dogs. This is actually a rather small truck. The racers or sled dog trip outfitters have double-decker trucks.

The Ely Art Walk will begin next week as well as the Winter festival. About 100 artists put new artwork in the windows of downtown Ely stores for a two week outdoor show. I have four pieces going in. Here's one of them.

My fabric arrived!!! I'm making new curtains for the Scamp to spiff it up for our two-week vacation at the end of April. I also picked out paint color for the cupboard doors. I'm going to paint them the second color from the top.

I had to make a path to the Scamp, though. Poor thing. It's all dirty, too because Steve took it deer hunting in November. It will get a nice bath once the snow melts in June or so (ha!).

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Steve Caught a Trout

We're still sitting in the deep freeze. As I write this it's -23 Fahrenheit and will warm up to -5 today. Opening of trout fishing season was last weekend, and Steve went out fishing on Friday and Saturday. Look at this lake trout!

We ate half of it the first night and half the second. I gave you a fantastic recipe for how to cook a lake trout. Here it is again in case you missed it. The hardest part is catching the fish.

Look at our boat! You can see a tiny bit of it peeking out from the snowbank at the bottom center of the photo. That tan building is the old Border Lakes Outfitting building. It's owned by the bank now and they intend to tear it down. We're hoping to get one of the old Tamarak burl posts out of it first to put in our new gazebo.

See how deep the snowbanks are? The two deer are in the road. They have to climb the bank to get to the bird seed.

We see this a lot.

I have a show in Duluth March 23 called "Treasures of the Earth". This time I reserved a 9x8 foot space. I've been trying to figure out how to configure the space since I normally just reserve one 8 foot table. I found some grid paper to map out a few layouts. Maybe in February it will warm up enough that I can actually set up a few tables and play with the arrangement. I'm just looking for above zero. Really.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Visit to Texas and the Ropas

My mom and dad spend the winters in Texas and I thought this would be a good year for a visit. We've had such cold weather that a trip way south was just the ticket. They live in Donna, TX, which is almost as far south as you can go right next to the Mexican border.

This is the entrance to their house. Dad is getting the golf cart ready to take me to see the leaf ants. I love these cute snowmen on the porch. In the background you can see our ropa haul getting dried on the line.

This is the view looking down the street from their porch. Some people live in "park model" trailers which are stationary, while others bring down their motor homes or pull behind RVs.

Mom and Dad have some other cute lawn ornaments. The donkey is carrying a bowling ball covered with red glass beads.

Dad has been planting papaya trees. Here he's picking some almost ripe papayas.

Then he lets them ripen on the porch railing.

Leaf ants. They run in a row carrying green leaves into a hole.

Now, back to the ropa. For those of you who don't know, there are big buildings near the Mexican border that process textiles. Sometimes these are called "rag barns" but the words on the building are "Ropa Usada" which means used clothing. They let the public in to paw through the piles before the piles are sorted and processed into rags or other things. It's like treasure hunting. You can find almost anything in the piles. I found the top to a wet suit, an Austrian wool coat, a wedding dress, hand made quilts, you name it. You just have to dig a while to find it. This is one pile in one of the ropas.

You actually climb the pile. Some people sit in one spot at the top of the pile and dig until they make it to the bottom. Once in a while I had a moment of claustrophobia thinking the pile might collapse onto me, but it didn't. We spent a lot of hours pawing around and came back with some pretty good stuff. They normally charge by the pound, anywhere from 25 cents to 50 cents or so per pound. That Austrian wool coat I found cost 69 cents.

When we got home we immediately took a shower and washed all of the clothes we wore as well as the stuff we hauled out of the pile.

I lugged home an extra suitcase full of ropa finds.

Every night my dad plays pool. We drove the golf cart over to the pool hall. I played with him the first night, but my shoulder is still recovering from all of that dry-walling last summer and the motion of playing tweaked it a little again.

Here's Dad (in the middle) with his pool hall buddies.

A trip to the trailer park wouldn't be complete without a home beauty treatment. I poured a little wine and Mom highlighted my hair. It turned out nice; it's subtle but gives me a bit of a look like I was in the sun for a minute or two.

It was a nice visit. The best part for me was sitting on the porch, listening to the birds, feeling a nice breeze, and actually seeing my bare feet for a couple of days (I haven't seen them since October).

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Sitting in the Deep Freeze

Really. We've been waking up to -35 every morning and the high temperature yesterday was -13. As I write this at 11:00 a.m. on New Year's Day, it is -20. The dog is going batty. Everyone is going batty. Steve just went out for a walk; he says it's not too bad in the woods. We'll just let him think that.

This is Steve when he got back from his walk at 12:30 in the afternoon.

I know a lot of you are sitting at -2 or maybe 10. These days when we get up to those temperatures we take off our hats, coats, and gloves and spend the whole day outside (we leave on our boots). Everyone goes outside! We fill the bird feeders, throw Frisbee for the dog, ski around the bay of our lake, shovel a little snow, bring in some more wood, go ice fishing. Have you ever tried to ice fish when it's -20? Not worth it.

Last night we had a big treat! Crab legs for dinner! That's Steve cooking the legs in boiling water.

I learned a trick from my friend, Sherri, when I visited her in Alaska. You lay out newspapers on the table so that you can just toss the shells in the center.

I saved the shells and am making seafood broth right now. We were invited over to some friends for Christmas dinner and I got to take home the turkey bones! I made two batches of broth and have it tucked away in the freezer.

I've been preparing to enter a juried show this summer, so once again I've been trying to get good photos of some of my pieces. I borrowed Dafne's macro lens (we have the same camera body) and the new photos turned out really nice! Here are two pieces you haven't seen yet that I'll include in the photos for the judges.

A lot of times it takes years to get into some of these shows, so we'll see what happens. I'm working at getting into the Park Point show in Duluth this June.

This afternoon I plan to finish a piece I started earlier in the week. I'm getting a few pieces finished and ready for the Ely Art Walk in February. I keep the heat in the studio at 48 and when I'm working, I turn it up to 58. Once I start working and I have the torch going and all of the lights on, it warms up to 62 or so. Cozy.