Saturday, March 29, 2014

Weeks 28 & 29: Cross-country skiing, crafts, and bats

We're leaving Clam Lake tomorrow, Sunday. It's been an amazing stay. I'm not sure we mentioned that we are right in the middle of Chequamegon National Forest, 1.5 million acres of forest in the North Woods of Wisconsin.

We've also really enjoyed listening to WOJB, an NPR station on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Native Reserve near Hayward, Wisconsin. The station, besides having all the regular NPR features, often has Native Music Hour as well as Dead Dog Cafe, a Native Comedy show out of Canada. WOJB sponsors many shows at the Park Theater, a music venue where we saw two concerts. The one we saw last week was a young, wonderful indie Milwaukee band, Field Report. We love how WOJB interviews the bands that are playing at the Park Theater that night. We had the chance to hear part of the interview with Field Report and hear them play live in the studio. I was totally blown away by Field Report. Their lyrics are dense ("Got your ghost ghouling all over Milwaukee") and their musicianship was amazing. Definitely the kind of art that inspired me to go home and create, pushed me to push myself harder.Here's one of their songs:

We also went back to the Rookery Restaurant in Cable to hear another lecture hosted by the Cable Natural History Museum on the decimation of Bats in America due to a disease called White-Nosed Syndrome. I've always been fascinated by bats; they were frequent visitors to my backyard evenings in Marfa, Texas. It's amazing how much work bats do for our agriculture in terms of pest control and what an important mammal they are. I'd have to write several blogs to cover everything Brian from the DNR said about bats that night, but I felt worried for them and re-inspired to build a bat box, if I ever live anywhere with bats again. They need our help. And we need them.

I also went to two craft workshops at the Cable Natural History Museum--one on rag-rugging and one a buckskin-pouch stitching workshop. It was great to use my hands after being in my head with so much writing. Here are my works. The rug is still a work in progress and I'm looking forward to putting it in the bathroom wherever we land when we end the trip in a few weeks.

One weekend, I doubled up on craft workshops, going to a card making workshop at the little log cabin library in Cable. It was taught by an award-winning card maker. She was awesome. We used punch shapes, stamps, and paint to make Easter cards of our own designs. The workshop removed all the mystery of fancy card making for me, so expect to find more masterful Valentine's cards in your mailboxes next year from me.

Finally, we went out cross-country skiing again. This time, on a gloriously sunny day, taking the well-groomed loop trails off the American Birkebeiner trails and going out on the Hayward Hospital Trails a couple days after a fresh snow and after they'd been nicely groomed. The Hospital Trails were great because they were so flat, so . . . no falling and easier for just being in the woods. I could get used to this.

We also had some time for socializing. We went to the Empty Bowl fundraiser in Cable, where soup was served to raise money for the Food Shelf. There were over 200 people at this event and we met several really kind people. I then had Emily Stone from the Cable Natural History Museum over for a lovely visit and lunch. An amazing nature writer, educator, and naturalist, Emily writes a weekly blog and column that is well-worth reading:'s a blogger and writer to admire! I count Emily as a new friend, and I felt sad when I dropped off her old skis at her work and said my goodbyes. . .

Larry bonding with Little Guy and Darby, two of our charges in Clam Lake
I also had the chance to visit with Diana Randolph, an artist and writer, who has Once In a Blue Moon Studio. She really nails the quality of light in the North Woods in her exquisite paintings. Diana is a lovely person and I regretted I hadn't connected sooner with her on this trip.

Tomorrow, we head for a quick over night to Chicago before heading to Missouri for a few days. We're going to be moving quickly back to the West Coast, needing to get home sooner than we originally planned--because, well, as amazing as this trip has been, we miss home.

1 comment:

  1. Dawn and Larry it was so wonderful to connect with you during your stay! Once I was the transient making friends across the country, and it's kind of a nice reversal to be the local meeting cool people passing through! Thanks for lunch and the discussion about writing and publishing. Hopefully someday we can trade books :-). Best of luck and safe travels! -- Your Friend, Emily