Arts, But More Crafts…

I have dabbled in many art genres, and I will outwardly admit I am not an artistic genius in any of the areas in which I have dabbled.
Our mom always supported us in learning how to sew or pick up any type of crafting or needlecraft. After she passed away, we divvied up what we found in her sewing room. It brought tears to my eyes that she had many different crafts that were still in the original unopened packaging she bought from Leeward’s, Frank’s Nursery and Crafts, Ben Franklin, Frank’s Variety Store, Woolworth’s, Gibson’s and Pamida.
Part of the sadness I felt for Mom was she had so many interests, but as she would always say, “There is just never enough time to do that things we would like to do.”
I have stitched projects in crewel, cross-stitching, embroidery, needlepoint, and candle wicking. Some of these I learned in Home Economics class with Miss Shar Sivertsen. We practiced the different types of stitching on scrap pieces of fabric.


Window into Yesterday - These Old Houses

Compared to some other Minnesota towns Ely is, at 133 years old, not so very old. It does have a number of buildings that are 100 years old or more—downtown business buildings, churches, schools, and houses. Some of been remodeled so much they no longer look as they did originally, but here are four that have been kept much the same: the Jacob Pete house, the Skala house, the Gust Maki house, and the Samuel Knox house (in Winton). We call them by the names of the original owners.


Hook and Bullet Club

Even with temperatures in the 50s for the 2021 Minnesota firearms deer opener, there weren’t a lot of shots fired last weekend. The DNR had predicted it would be tough hunting in the Ely area and it looks like they were right.
At Camp Cholesterol we were down to four hunters in the field. Sitting was easy but dressing to get there was a bit tricky. We found what worked best was to carry in a layer or two so if you did get cold you could put them on instead of getting to your deer stand soaked in sweat.
Our group didn’t fire a shot but there were deer that came through and weren’t too concerned we were there. A doe and a fawn came in to feed by Megan and Evan watched a button buck munching in a clear cut. My nephew Justin and I didn’t see much from our stands, but that’s the luck of the draw.


Hook and Bullet Club

Another year has passed and it’s back to the shack for the Camp Cholesterol folks. Looks like there will be five of us hunting this year when the deer season opens Saturday morning.
Evan and I were out last weekend working on trails and we got a lot done. Megan and I had been out the weekend before checking the deer stands.
Jacob is scheduled to arrive Friday night from Fargo. Also showing up then will be my nephew Justin, fresh out of Germany, where he was stationed while in the Army.
We expect the mayor to stop out for a visit with his new puppy. I used to discourage having dogs in the shack during deer season, but I’ve mellowed on that one.
I guess I’ve mellowed on a lot of things over the years. I was talking to a couple of dads over the past two weeks and they both said the same thing, “Doesn’t matter if I get a deer, I just want my kids to do well.”


The trout whisperer

She’s pointing, see there, the sky is filling with those tiny white birds. We all look out the kitchen window to see the first snowflakes of the fall, falling. Made me take stock. I was wondering if I have enough firewood put up, but I think that almost all year anyway, when he says, “Well, if it’s gonna snow, better set a date for the griddle war.
It’s a competition in the neighborhood, one guy a retired firefighter, another one’s wife, she was a schoolteacher, myself, and the man of those whose brain child this was in the first place are the contestants.
The prize, a travelling rusty cast iron tea pot, it’s never been used that I can recall, and it would need a good scouring of some sort before one could use it with its crust of rust about the lid’s rim.
Heaps of rutabagas, carrots, beef chunked, spices galore and I arrive with one parsnip in my shirt pocket, I’m not gonna use it, but I’ll make them think I’m gonna.


Hook and Bullet Club

Can it really be two weeks until deer season? Where did the fall go?
It seems like just yesterday we were in line for nearly three hours to get into the Hay Days swap meet.
Evan, Nella and I had driven down Thursday night and got up early to get in line. We were one mile away at 6:20 a.m. and there we sat. Both lanes of the country highway were filled with trucks and trailers, buses and campers, all with something to sell.
We had a 20 year-old snowmobile to sell along with a host of other items from clothing to snow tires.
Glenn Anderson and Mike Rhein from the Babbitt Snowmobile and ATV Club were there volunteering, getting swappers into spots for the weekend.
Our spot was a good one, close but not too close to the porta potties and near a gate so people saw us first when they came in.


From the miscellaneous drawer

Aspen and Birch are shedding their golden leaves as winter snow hesitates to start.
I’m not ready for winter. There are still boxes to unload and toss the unneeded memos.
My Kawai piano is now tuned, as is my guitar by tuner Tom Wolf. Sitting down to try the ivory keys was complicated by missing some familiar sheet music,
But even more complications were made by my blind eye. Maybe my musical visitors, members of the Belarussian ballet has dissipated.
The music room was the scene of many an evening of talented delight. The creative band group were sensitive to the sounds being emitted,
But were wary of the two KGB officers in suits who wandered around the house keeping eagle eyes on members of the troupe.
The principal dance star did not defect in Ely, but he was successful in South America. Hope he’s still free.


Trout Whisperer - Is, me

He is assisted in his ambling, with a cane. He does not prefer the term, walking staff, hiking stick, or otherwise, he thinks, the cane, with its palm gripped handle, has a certain prestige.
He is a distinguished fellow. Now some men, allow themselves the titular title, he earned it. He was a distinguished war veteran, collegiate athlete, exemplary in business, so much so, in fact, he served in two different U.S. presidents’ administrations, of two different political parties.
He didn’t flunk basic sandbox. He knew how kids got along, what to fight for, and who to arm himself with, or ally arms. And he knows, he knew, strong capable women, and men, in many walks of the American way of life.


From the miscellaneous drawer

If you’re older than 60, it’s too early to forfeit the living game.
Since you’re the team leader, you’ll need to review the past performances and set goals.
It’s a new season for all of us.
Indulge in a cheerleader team of words. Come on, you can do this. See, that wasn’t so hard.
And objectives are important to the game. You don’t need to win every game. Minor scores count too.
After all, you did get out of bed this morning. Perhaps you dressed yourself, got breakfast, and checked your email.
Important triumphs even though small. Do you get these? Your team is way ahead! You’ve got stories to tell, friendships to revive.
You’re a winner!
On another note: The early days’ beginnings predict my reactions.
Golden sunlight sifting through pine trees means an easy day. When the light changes from gold to green/gray, storms are ahead.


In Heaven There is No Beer???

Last Thursday I spent a few hours at the home of Bernie and Kathy Barich on beautiful Bear Island Lake. This wasn’t exactly a social visit even though I felt like I was with old friends as the laughs came easy and often.

I initiated our meeting after I found a bunch of polka music on albums, cassette tapes and CDs that were left in the house I purchased in Ely. I ran across a CD from the Ely polka band, “The Barich Brothers.” This homegrown band played during our wedding reception in 1981 in the lower level of the Ely Community Center. I instantly knew the subject of my next column.

Growing up in a Slovenian family, polka music was regularly played at home. The Ely radio station (WELY) hosted (and still hosts) a Saturday morning polka show. At the Mavetz house, WELY was always on the transistor radio that sat on the kitchen counter right next to the jar of orange Tang.


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