Friday, July 12, 2013

Canoe Races

Berry season is here. Right in our driveway is a good little patch of wild strawberries. Bruce is a great picker of berries. Our strawberries are so small (no bigger than the tip of your little finger) that he tries to pick one whipped margarine cup (about 1 cup) each time he goes out. It takes 5-6 cups for one batch of wild strawberry jam. All the picking is done on hands and knees. Because we have had regular doses of rain this summer, the berries are really good. Even so it is a lot of work to get enough for a batch of jam. Those who get gifts of this jam are definitely on the A list.

Just looking out at the dock area will tell you that school is out. Every day we see more kids in the small kayaks. For their first experience the dock boys put PFD’s (life jackets) on everyone. Then the kids are helped into one of the kayaks. A few short instructions are given. You don’t need too much. Unlike adults, kids will keep trying different strokes until they make it work. Once they learn to go forward, it is like releasing them to the world. They can go everywhere! I never tire of watching them on the water just as they never tire of being on the water.

One of our summer favorites is eating on the patio overlooking the lake. There is something about eating beside the water. It doesn’t make any difference which meal it is. Guests just love to sit outside. Sometimes they just want to sit. Hold the food! Hold the drinks! Just leave me alone to soak in the fresh air. By sunset the bugs have also discovered how nice the patio is but we are past the worst of the bug season this year. Now it is just absorbing the outside before winter comes again.

This coming Wednesday is the night for the annual Gunflint Trail Canoe Races. For over 25 years neighbors have been getting together to raise money to support the local volunteer fire department. The first sign is canoe races is when volunteers start selling raffle tickets at Trail Center. These will be sold until the raffles actually start. There will be 300-400 people at Gunflint Lodge to participate in everything starting at 4:30. One of the neighbors gets out his accordion to liven up things. Two huge raffles give out general gifts and then a Winonah canoe is the grand prize for one raffle. There is a silent auction. Various canoe races for all ages run through the night. Local women sell sloppy Joes, calico beans, hot dogs, homemade cookies and treats for all. My favorite is the minnow races. Each child is given a minnow to “race” down lanes made by PVC pipe. Of course, every child wins these races.

So if you are in the area on July 17th, stop in for a night of fun. It is like a giant neighborhood picnic.

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