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Lucie Amundsen Posts

Fruit of Newbie Fields

When you start a pick-your-own raspberry farm, people say, “You must eat a lot of berries.” The answer is no and yes.

No, because to me our beautiful fruit tastes faintly of stress and anxiety. Farming is a like skydiving: You leap out of a plane wearing a parachute made of all your spring labors and investments — and it will deploy only if conditions are perfect.

Otherwise, you’ll face a financial splat. That’s the very real danger we faced when my husband Jason and I decided to diversify our chicken farm in Wrenshall by starting Farm LoLa, the pick-you-own berry wing of Locally Laid Egg Company.

And this year the stakes feel higher. We’ve invested in an expanded irrigation system; set posts and wire trellis, hired a larger crew and pruned and weeded (and weeded some more). In a lot of ways, the work has paid off.

Though only our second season, we have eight times the berries of last year. Over three acres that equates to some 15,000 lbs. as estimated by our expert, Dr. Thaddeus McCamant. He believes it has something to do with our sandy soil, organic amendments (like “Liquid Squid”) and fruit-friendly climate provided by Lake Superior.

This all leads to what my mother-in-law would call “a good problem to have.” We are now tasked with getting as many of these berries off the field before they go to waste or attract pests or are demolished by a weather event. All of which is real and could happen at any moment. The other day, a big storm was rolling in over the field and I said angrily, “You’d better not hail on this crop!” And it struck me that I’ve become a woman who yells at clouds.

Taking it Outside

LucieA-SEI’ve overbooked myself lately.

A common problem and in this case, it’s completely my fault — taking on more foolishness than hours in the day. So, like most of us, I cut corners by eliminating “extra” stuff, like exercise and staring into middle space.

My near daily walk in Chester Bowl or less frequent craning-of-neck views of the bluffs at Tischer Creek has been put on hiatus. (Even though I live near one park and drive past the other daily.)  I’ll ’fess up to only one, maybe two visits to Canal Park and Park Point beach this winter. I mean, I’ll be back, you know, just after the due date passes, that class ends, oh – and, that other thing.

I’m embarrassed to say that recently I’ve seen more Duluth landscape on Perfect Duluth Day and Destination Duluth these days than actually experienced.

And I’m worse for it.

I need to take a Sharpie and write, “I’m happier when I play outside” backward, then slap it on my forehead so I can read it in the mirror in the morning. Plan accordingly.

Moving North

LucieA-SEI left a good life in the City.

My husband and I had established careers and moved our young family out of our Minneapolis duplex and into our forever house in a first-ring suburb. An Atomic rambler with thick plaster walls, on a corner lot in an award-winning school district, it was lovely. Add in large, southern-exposed windows, a fireplace and a finished basement large enough to raise Shetland ponies, well, it was the “Beige Rambler of my Dreams.” Jason and I planned to watch our children grow up in their award-winning school district, as we grew old in the safety of one-floor living.

And though my husband had truly wanted this house and all its middle-class trappings, our suburban lifestyle had Jason on the verge of a boredom aneurysm.

That’s when a Duluth headhunter found him; a vulnerable adult constricted by a place where lawn maintenance was competitive sport. Given we lived on the boulevard (a term invoked with a disturbing reverence) there was pressure to perform to Olympic levels with chemical sprays, lawn services and street-long coordinated Christmas light displays. In contrast, curb appeal in the Northland is scarcely an intramural.

Closed without a peep

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Somehow, I missed this. 

Woods by College of St. Scholastica

Woods by CSS with xylophone bridge

Woods by CSS with xylophone bridge

Does anyone know of a map to these woods — the one with the chimney from an old cabin, an empty grotto and a super-sized Jesus statue?

Does the place even have a name? My tickling of the Google has not been fruitful.

We have a Historic Preservation Corps?

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Northern Bedrock Conservation Corps is run like a New Deal program teaching young people skills in the field of historic preservation (apparently there will be lots of jobs as tradespeople retire). Who knew? They’re readying for their next excursion fixing a historic building in the BWCA. I want to run away and go.

Duluth Library Fine Coupon

fine foregiveness

Poking around the Duluth Public Library website and found this new Fine Forgiveness program. It’s a coupon worth up to 5 bucks off accrued fines. Get your library card out of hock!

What’s in your beard?

If you heard MPR Arthounds where I said Minneapolis poet Brian Beatty (doing a reading tonight and free workshop tomorrow) will fit into Duluth’s Lumbersexual landscape, you might enjoy this YouTube gem, What’s in Your Beard? It features Mr. Beatty himself.

Duluth Appreciation Week = cheap to do

Before the summer tourist season officially begins, a number of the Duluth Attractions partner up to create discounts for US — the locals.

Coupon sheet available for download at duluthweek.com.

Duluth Humans of New York

Somehow I missed that Duluth was mentioned on the popular Facebook Page, Humans of New York. Presently 3.2 million are fans of the page, which inspired a bestselling book of the same name. What can we learn about Duluthians in this post? We’re hardworkers who care about the women in our lives.

Glensheen’s Spooktacular Tips

You probably know that Glensheen is hosting a display of 1,000 Jack O’ Lanterns starting tonight. It’s a gorgeous presentation and it’s one of those few events that is actually fun for adults, as well as children. No trick or treatin’, no costumes – it’s more a visual celebration of autumn.

But, PDD’rs here’s a little inside baseball for you.

– Try to walk if you can; parking in the Glensheen lot is a bear. There’s construction going on that’s taking up part of an already smallish lot.

SATURDAY ONLY: There’s a shuttle from UMD’s Lot W running about every 20 minutes.

Hey! Where ya taking that there dredger?

I’ve never seen a tug this far up the shore – photo was taken from the pier at Glensheen. Anyone know where they were taking this dredger?

 

Review of Sasquatch Scramble 5K

Through events too complicated to explain here, I needed to run a 5K by the end of the month to get a break on my health insurance. The only one that fit into my schedule involved being chased by Big Foot through an obstacle course.

Stormy and beautiful by the lake

Whipping water and big waves this early morning at Glensheen Mansion on Lake Superior.

Stormy and beautiful on Lake Superior.

Got that firm yet gentle touch?

Locally Laid Egg Company (Lola) is looking for a shift supervisor for Thursday night egg washing. Contact Jason @ locallylaid.com for details.