Columnists

Fri
16
Nov

Visitor at Camp Cholesterol

Every deer season we hear Gordon Lightfoot’s haunting song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Our old FM radio played it on Saturday, a reminder of the sinking of the ore carrier SS Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior on November 10, 1975.
We didn’t have a sinking feeling when my relative Greg and I hit the gravel road on the way to the shack Friday morning. Seeing a doe and a fawn run off into the woods could be a good sign. Or the only sign.
Greg had traveled 1,700 miles from San Diego for his first deer hunting experience at age 31. He was eager to get in the woods when we got to the shack.
But first we had to unload the truck, carrying in groceries, water and guns, followed by driving the wheeler off the trailer.
With a fire started in the wood stove, I outfitted the California boy with some wool pants and a nice blaze orange jacket I picked up from Tom Today.

Thu
15
Nov

Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum - Shack time

Two deer have been harvested at Camp Cholesterol, both out of the same stand.
Our deer slayer from last year, Megan, returned to take a basket rack eight on the second day of the season. She had been waging war with a squirrel who kept trying to join her in the stand.
Luckily the battle was at a lull when the buck walked in behind her. With no snow on the ground we had to do some searching.
If you’ve been in that situation, doubt can creep in really fast. Did I hit it? Which way did it go? Could I have missed? This is the time where prayer returns to the deer stand.
When I spotted the deer lying near the edge of a swamp, I called for Megan. I think she ran through the woods.
“I was praying up in the stand,” she said with an excited look on her face.
“You’re prayers have been answered,” I responded.

Sat
10
Nov

From the miscellaneous drawer - Lucky?

Armistice Day is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect in 1918 at eleven o’clock in the morning—the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day.”
The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954. As a Federal holiday, it will be observed this year on Monday instead.
At the outset of World War I, Harry S. Truman served in the U.S. Army as an artillery battery commander in France. He served later as President.
Starting in May, 1917 when the U.S. entered the war, over 4.7 million men and women served in the regular U.S. forces, national guard units, and draft units with about 2.8 million serving overseas. There were 53,402 killed in action, 63,114 deaths from disease and other causes, and about 205,000 wounded, according to sources.

Wed
07
Nov

Home on the Range - A mighty oak has fallen

One of my clearest and most consistent memories of Grandpa Kuehl would be him coming home from work. In from the cold, pulling heavy boots off, gloves and coat hung to dry near the stove in the porch, thermos and lunch pail on the steps.
Up to the kitchen to take his place at the head of the dining room table. Gram would feed him and then off to his chair in the living room to read the Duluth paper, or if it was Saturday, the Ely Echo. Larry King blaring on the TV…
Grandpa was a picture of a hard worker. He didn’t know how to not work! As a kid, driving out to see him at his latest logging site was a frequent outing. I’d bet there are photos of each of the grandkids climbing a woodpile Grandpa had cut … maybe even a few of the Great Grandkids too!

Sat
03
Nov

From the miscellaneous drawer - Rushing to get things done

On the weekends I make up an imaginary set of “to do” lists for the days. Sometimes I write it all down, but sometimes it is short enough that I think I can handle it without a paper reminder.
And so it was last Saturday. A friend was coming over for lunch, so I planned my morning: Start the laundry, stop at the office for the mail, stop to see my friend Betty, pick up a couple things at the grocery store, buy some wine, set the table, straighten up the cascade of newspapers in the living room and get the cooking started.
My garage is also my laundry room, so I dressed, grabbed the laundry basket - briefly self-checking that I had emptied all the Kleenex out of the pockets of the grey jacket to be washed. Yes, I remembered doing that...
Got the machine load started after again questioning why the elderly aren’t considered when opening a child-proof soap container that requires the strength of a teenager or more.

Tue
30
Oct

Native son: The Witch of Wall Street

When I first heard about Hetty Green I thought she was a myth. Years went by before her name came up again which intrigued me enough to do some research.
Her family members were Quakers. Her real name was Henrietta Howland Robinson. In 1867 at the age of 33 she married Edward Henry Green and went by the name of Hetty Green. She made her husband renounce all rights to her money before the wedding.
She was born In New Medford, Massachusetts on November 21, 1834. By the time she was fifteen she knew more about finance then many professional brokers. She became the first woman to make a fortune on Wall Street. She managed her own funds and invested in stocks, bonds, railroads, mines and real estate. She owned dozens of buildings in New York, Chicago, St Louis and Boston.

Fri
19
Oct

Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum - Company

Open a sandwich bag in the woods and you’re bound to have company. We had two Canadian jays join us in second.
My buddy Jim Ronn named them Larry and Bob and they were more than happy to share our sandwiches.
Jim’s daughter Kaitlyn had joined us for a day of working on deer stands and wanted to see if the jays would pick a piece of bread out of her hand.
She put a cloth glove on to be assured we met all safety standards and plopped down on a log.
Larry and Bob decided this was better than hunting for the pieces of bread we had been throwing in their direction.
Kaitlyn held out her hand and in came the camp robbers. I’ve heard them called gray jays, Canada jays and whiskey jack but camp robber seems to be the most appropriate.
The first jay stopped just short of Kaitlyn’s hand and checked out the situation, hopping ever closer. Kaitlyn held her ground and looked out of the corner of her eye.

Sun
14
Oct

Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum

Time in the woods during the fall is food for the soul. No matter if you’re swinging a brush saw in the rain or righting a deer stand that tumbled in a summer windstorm.
Having a day off to sight in rifles turned into a change of plans with rain again falling in the Ely area.
Deciding not to give in, I fired up the brush saw to re-open some of our trails by the shack. Since I didn’t have Megan’s golden retrievers Millie and Maverick with me, this seemed like a good plan. At least there would be no three-legged dogs when I was done.
The tag elders grow like weeds and in my mind that’s what they are. You cut them and they grow back. Rinse and repeat.
By the time I had run through two tanks of gas, hit 15 rocks and was soaked to the bone, it was time to call it a day. But it was a day away from work, spent out in the woods.
On Saturday I headed to my buddy Rob Wilmunen’s shack to help him return an elevated stand to its original location.

Sun
07
Oct

From the miscellaneous drawer - Baskets ready?

Over the past weekend, there were visits from family and friends. It’s the end of the summer season, leaves have turned to bright colors and the snowbirds, both avian and human are on their way to winter grounds.
Some will be back for Thanksgiving or Christmas visits and here’s a suggestion to make those and all visits even more memorable at your house: Keep a small basket by the front door.
As visitors arrive, explain the necessity to deposit therein all electronic devices, especially ubiquitous flat screen phones. Homeowners’ phones should go in too.
Why?
Here’s something to think about: You’re with family or friends that you don’t see often and the conversation is interesting. You’re conversing, exchanging information. Then one supposed listener takes out a phone and starts tapping it, fiddling with it, stops paying attention, perhaps even walking away from the group.
How does the person speaking or part of the group sense the situation?

Sat
29
Sep

Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum -ATV rides

Next week is October and fall is fast upon us. We’ve spent the past few weekends on ATV rides in the great outdoors.
This past weekend Mary and I took part in the ATV Minnesota annual Ride and Rally in Willow River, MN. This is just down the road from Moose Lake, not far from Sturgeon Lake.
The event was held in a renovated barn, giving it a country-type feel. We took part in the VIP Ride on Friday and even brought an elected official with us, Ely school board member Rochelle Sjoberg.
She and her husband John toughed it out, riding two up on a regular ATV while Mary and I were in our side by side on a chilly morning.
The day warmed up, we had a cookout type lunch in the woods and we put another 48 miles on by the end of the day.
Saturday was the main day of the rally so we put some miles on. We were joined by Ron and Kristin Potter along with Neil and Terri Olson from Ely, plus Crane Lakers Bruce Beste, Traci Bak and Tom Baumchen.

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