Hook and Bullet Club - The key to the outdoors…

Evan and I had a plan on Saturday to go to the shack and wrap things up.
Muzzleloader season had ended the weekend before and despite seeing 30 deer over two days, Camp Cholesterol ended the season without venison.
We drove back to the shack to pick up a wheeler and take down a deer stand.
At the shack we ran into a snafu right away. Evan put the key in the door lock and it snapped off. Now this wouldn’t have been as big of a problem if the key to the wheeler wasn’t inside the shack.
Digging around in the truck I found my Leatherman, a multi-tool that can really save the day. On Saturday it did for us as well. Evan was able to get the door to open and we retrieved the wheeler key.
That’s when our key problems continued. The wheeler key didn’t break off but it wouldn’t go in either. We weighed our options which included pulling/pushing the wheeler up to the truck and that didn’t sound like fun.


The story of the Old Koschak Farm

by Val Beale
Photos by Jim Beaty
The Old Koschak Farm, on Hwy. 88 at the east end of Shagawa Lake is a DNR Wildlife Management Area that has lovely trails and varied terrain. There is a mixture of tree cover, areas of grassland and a couple of ponds that were once used for fish rearing. My husband and I have spent many happy hours walking the dog and watching the seasons change. As we walked we wondered who the Koschaks were, and what sort of farm it was. Over the past couple of months we, with the help of Ely Winton Historical Society and local contacts, have been able to find answers to some of the questions.


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.


Subscribe to RSS - Columnists