Friday, June 28, 2013

Journey to the Boundary Waters near Ely, MN

After over 8 hours driving northwest from our home, we arrived in Ely, Minnesota, for another week long family reunion at Fenske Lake cabins after 5 years.  Bordering the Boundary Waters, it's a beautiful spot to relax canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and even spending a bit of time in their sauna at the end of a long day.  If a few of us had a good day fishing, we would dine on fresh Northern and Bass.  No wonder so many folks we've met over the years in Minnesota and Wisconsin look forward to journeying "up north".   The only thing disturbing our blissful visit were the voracious gnats, leaving lumps far worse and longer lasting than the mosquitoes we remember from years ago living in the Twin Cities.

Some of the highlights of my trip included searches for gardening inspiration.  The hardy plants growing in the zone 3 climate were2-3 weeks behind ours in zone 5a with the lilacs and iris just bursting into bloom.

I couldn't pass the "Greenhouse Open 10-6" sign too many more times without following what appeared to be Wiley Coyote pointing the way up that winding road.  Along the way we passed a boulder with pictographs (mimicking the Native American pictographs the in-laws were paddling off to see on the cliffs above Hegman Lake.)   In the distance were several small greenhouses and a sign advertising YARD ART.   Lots of birdhouses, both rustic and colorful were offered for sale along with some bat houses.  Old telephone poles had been carved to resemble totem poles.   Numerous pine stools, including a "foot stool" with legs standing on wooden feet, we're availbe for sale. Rock cairns of various sizes had been constructed-the smaller ones by the wife and impressively large ones by the husband who has access to a front loader.  No glue or metallic rods to hold the stones in place, but careful selection and balancing of the stones resulted in cairns stable enough to survive windy days.

Approaching greenhouses
Rock cairns
Rock Cairn
Rock cairns made by carefully balancing stones
(no glue or rods supporting structures)

Totem pole carved from old telephone pole
Another totem 

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