Some things that happened in 2019

Grouse by window

Started mapping trees

Alan Bergo Jan 2020
back to 2018 ..........

We all live by narrative, every day and every minute of our lives. Narrative is the human way of working through a chaotic and unforgiving world bent on reducing our bodies to malodorous catabolic molecules.
- E.O. Wilson, Intro to The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2001 ..........
"I find the notion that the universe is absurd to be a great comfort. Absurdity is head and shoulders above malevolence." - John Straley ..........
Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do. --Wendell Berry


17 November 2019
Time on my hands while the bacon is smoking. I use the weber kettle indirect method, so it needs tending every 15-20 minutes; a nice task, but I have time to think. We got our meat from the farmer and the freezers are full with that and the summer's vegetables. More dried or canned things around. The winters wood has been in the shed for a couple months and should get us through.

Karen remains in remission and is driving on her own again, at least to Duluth. She is being good about exercises, walks, and taking care of herself. I'll invite her to add to this.

We just finished Fall quarter University for Seniors. I taught a four week mushrom class that went very well; enough interest so they asked me to repeat this winter. Tai Chi is going very much better for me...third try to learn the many moves of this version. Feels good and keeps the body in shape. The trips into town are a bother, but now that we have the EV and solar collector I can rationalize them better.

Mushrooming has been very good this year, perhaps with all the rain. Lots dried or frozen. The Nameko finally came through and is very good, but indeed 'slimey mushroom' good in soups, pizza, and stir fries. Also celebrating a new group in Duluth, the Lake Superior Mycological Society loosely connected with Lake Superior College. Planning a joint meeting in January with a great presentation by the Forager Chef, Alan Bergo. The year went well as President of the Paul Bunyan Mushroom Club with adequate coaching from Michael. We have most of next years activities planned!

Time to check the bacon and to do other tasks.....


13 March 2019
Finished the last of the red cabbage we had so much of last year. Just a few carrots left and the onions and garlic are starting to sprout. I can see why in the Anishanabi calendar April was the 'hunger moon' because the food runs out. Lucky us now with better storage. About to make the big start of garden sets next week.

Raining. On serveral feet of snow. Flood alerts are out. Last night the snowpack on the roof came down sounding like an avalanche; had to dig out the paths to the doors. Living out in the woods is good as long as one stays capable. A glaze of ice over the packed snow makes creepers on boots necessary. We expect an extended mud season this year, but the worst of the cold is over...I hope; no guarantees.


5 March 2019
Sitting in the bright sun at my desk. The snow is almost at eye level outside (sitting) from what's slid off the front roof. Birds are active..chickadees and nuthatches with a variety of woodpeckers; we've had pine grossbeaks every day lately, but they're fickle and will be gone soon, moving on. Still only occasional red polls and pine siskins, but the goldfinch are back most days and starting to get brighter. Not long before we'll hear the "Hey, Sweetie!" from the chickadees.

Good to have time at home. It's been busy and more to come. Winter Quarter is just over at U for Seniors; good classes. I plan to do a short class there on fungi for Fall quarter. Not much happening with mushrooms right now; still lots of dried and frozen left. I plabn to take a turn at being an officer with Paul Bunyan Mushroom Club; we'll see how well that works. I've also decided to try to get down for the mycoflora meetings a couple times a month. Easier to rationalize the trips with the EV charged from our collector.

Karen is in the middle of practicing for the next DSSOC musical event in April. Choir at St. Paul's goes on for a couple of months yet, too.

Winter has slowed us down but living in the woods is good.


25 February 2019
Talked to a person from Alabama this morning; always kind of fun to brag about double-digits below zero temps. But I'm getting a bit weary of it, anyway. We've had bonzo snow and I've gotten out snowshoeing but not skiing. Sophie and Dan--who were up skiing near Ely--stopped by on their way home to the city and may be back to ski this area. For a couple of extroverts we have an introvert house with no guest room; our only 'room' is the bathroom and otherwise we can talk to each other from anywhere. On house matters, our twenty year old composting toilet is starting to make funny noises and Sun-Mar doesn't have parts for that old a machine; so looking at Natures Head as a smaller footprint, separating, and more economical model. Forgive me if this offends anyone, but CTs are such a common sense solution that I'm sold on them.

We accomplished the commisioning of our solar collector and are now pumping electrons out for our use and the rest of the network. The level 2 charger is quicker and more convenient. Should do away with electric bills, too.

Leek sets are pokeing up and greens are starting to grow faster in the greehouse. Maybe Spring is coming.


1 February 2019
Just coming out of -35 F nights. -30 is about where centigrage and Farenheit briefly equate; thin compense for the weather. We mostly stayed indoors and minded the masonry heater, doing morning fires to compensate. Regardless of tolerating sub 60 F briefly, we survived quite well and made good use of the fires to cook meals and warm us.

Our provisions are doing well: frozen, dried, growing in the greenhouse (requiring some extra heat now). Our store of wood will last till Spring. Bea (our furry Pyrenees) even likes the weather. Our EV Chevy Bolt is surviving but beyond design specs at -20 F, so using the RAV4 on these days. Our solar electric collector is up and ready but for the inspection by the powers that be; soon to be powering the EV and our house.


back to 2018