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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.

Time to pat yourself on the back, Duluth

Duluthians, while not ones to brag, might quietly pat themselves on the back and take a minute to celebrate the leadership role the city played in building the foundation for the UN Minamata Convention, ratified today.

Audiofile Engineering moves to Two Harbors

The music technology company Audiofile Engineering, has been acquired by Krekeltronics, a Two Harbors-based product development firm.

The full news release is at audiofile.engineering, for those who are into such things.

Bust Buy

Clearly the focus on getting every possible keyword into the headline resulted in a typo by the crack Fox 21 reporter, but let’s consider this a happy accident. Bust Buy would be a great name for a discount brassiere shop.

Superior Street and its cosmopolitan features

This postcard was mailed 110 years ago today — Aug. 12, 1907. It shows Superior Street in Downtown Duluth looking east from about Sixth Avenue West.

Community school needs commercial fridge and freezer

Spirit of the Lake Community School, an amazing little nonprofit Waldorf-based school in Duluth, needs a commercial refrigerator and freezer for its new kindergarten location. The budget is limited, so pre-owned units are ideal. We seek a combo unit, or a single-door fridge (ideally) and a small chest freezer.

Any leads would be greatly appreciated, and can be emailed to thomdonaldson (at) gmail(dot)com. Thanks.

Eclipse viewing in Duluth

Any events happening in Duluth for the eclipse later this month? We have extended family who will be in town that day and are looking for a good viewing spot/party/whatever.

Duluth Trivia, Continued

More from that odd board game:

1. One of the westerly townsites which later became part of Duluth had an Ojibwe name which meant “the rock from which the people sprang.” Name that townsite (and if you know whether this is accurate, let me know).

2. What nationality were the founders of the Hunter’s Park area of Duluth?

Huge antique collection unearthed before building sale

Scott Davis, left, and antique dealer Andrea Blesener stand outside the historic E.F. Burg Hotel Supply store at 20 W. First Street. Davis has placed the 1896 building up for sale and Blesener is selling the huge antique collection stored inside.

A local woman is scrambling to organize and price a horde of antiques, including a massive mid-20th-century electronics collection, stored in a former downtown Duluth trophy shop before owners sell the historic property.

Antique dealer Andrea Blesener will hold the second in a series of estate sales at the E.F. Burg Hotel Supply building, 20 W. First St., beginning at 10 a.m. Aug. 4-6. The sale will include a variety of old and unusual items collected and stored by former building owner Hugh Morris, who saved everything from his two generations of ancestors.

Where in Duluth?

I still miss this place. It was the cheapest place in Duluth to look at the lake. The replacement building isn’t the same — it’s louder and colder and you can’t see the lake from anywhere except your car.

Where in Duluth was this joint with a cool view of the lake?

Duluth Trivia Cards

I scored a box of Duluth Trivia cards at Savers.

Some of the questions include:

The first vessel to pass through the Duluth Ship Canal was named:

  • The Fero
  • The Ishpeming
  • The Handy

Ezra’s Bike Fund

So our friend Ezra had his bike stolen last week. I created a Go Fund Me page to help him replace it. He saved for a long time to buy that bike and it’s not possible for him to replace it on his own. Help out if you can. Thanks.

Einstürzende alt bauten!

Photo from the Facebooks by James Gittemeier.

Goodbye old building. Say hi for me to House of Donuts when you get to old-building heaven.

Pattison State Park workout area

Does anyone have any info about the workout area at Pattison State Park near the swings? I remember that it used to have a sign posted that showed how to use all the equipment but that sign is now gone. Anyone know any background about it or have a photo of the sign when it was still posted?

Human Fabric of Duluth

Trudy Vrieze has started a fascinating project documenting what it means to live in Duluth, who we are and why we are here. The Human Fabric of Duluth is a street-photography and storytelling project.