Hardly a Farm in Sight

We had a marvelous trip to the North Shore of Lake Superior, where we met two faithful blog-readers, Chicken Mama and Mama Pea. Not only are they DELIGHTFUL women, but their spouses are great, and we enjoyed meeting all four of them.

As a blogger I should have snapped many photos, but the camera went AWOL half-way through the trip, and I didn’t have the energy to track it down. And then some of the photos I did shoot didn’t actually get taken. I seem to be a Digital Dummy.

So here are a few. Basically my view of Melissa was the top of her head as she scrounged for agates and other interesting rocks. The first photo doesn’t show that she is basically soaked along the lake side of her body—too busy watching the rocks to watch the waves.


We didn’t find anything but small pebble-sized agates, but on the way home we stopped at a rock shop in Beaver Bay, where the guy was selling fist-sized agates (for $400!) that locals find. Melissa and I looked at each other, and the thought passed between us: Let’s sell the farm and move up here and become ‘locals’ that find fist-sized agates!

Okay, perhaps not.

Chicken Mama’s little cabin was lovely, and the wood stove was toy-sized, but it could sure kick out the heat. Mama Pea kept us in treats—homemade coffee cake, homemade ginger snaps, and bags of fresh popcorn for the ride home. Yes, it’s true: we were spoiled.

One evening we drove 90 minutes to reach Chicken Mama’s incredible home in the middle of the Superior National Forest. As I remarked to Melissa as we drove and drove and drove on a narrow, winding gravel road, “there’d better be a damned good view at the end of this trip.” I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to live this far from civilization.

I figured it out when we arrived. Boy, was there ever a ‘good view.’ We could see Canada and river valleys and tree-lined bluffs, and the nearest neighbor was not 10 blocks away, but 10 miles. We had a wonderful dinner, lots of dog time, and some wine.

Then on the drive home in the dark, we kept hoping we’d see a moose along this narrow, winding gravel road. Nada.

But when we eventually hit blacktop, a young bull moose showed up in front of us, loping along, his hooves clicking on the blacktop. We didn’t pass him because he’d weave now and then, and we didn’t want to hit him. So we’d stop, turn off our lights (we were obviously alone in the wilderness), and wait for him to go into the ditch. Then we’d turn on the lights, start up, and he’d come lumbering out of the ditch to mosey along in front of us. He’d look back at us every once and awhile, not all that concerned. After nearly three miles he decided to stop using our car as a flashlight and moved off into the woods.

The one odd thing? Molly the hunting dog loves the woods, has no fear of guns, and will play in ponds and streams. But Lake Superior? It was Talking Water. It was Shouting-Booming-Spraying Water and she wanted nothing to do with it. She was so scared there was no reasoning with her, so at this beach I finally gave up and found her a nice spot in the trees, where she was content to sit in the shade and avoid the scary lake.



We brought home 47,000 pounds of rocks, a tired puppy dog (who got plenty of running-around-in-the-woods time), and sense of renewal.

Shouting-Booming-Spraying Water does that for me, and I highly recommend it.

7 thoughts on “

  1. I laughed out loud at the comment concerning the “47,000 pounds” of rock that returned to southeastern MN from the North Shore!

    And that second picture of Melissa rock-hunting . . . doesn’t she know that most people face the WATER when they visit Lake Superior? 😉

    And, yes, Mama Pea does INDEED know how to spoil good people with her homemade goodies! (Note to Mom: I did NOT get enough gingersnaps that one day I visited! Hint, HINT!)

    We sure did enjoy your visit. I’m not sure we’ll be able to convince you to endure the “hardships” of cabin life NOR the roads during the mid-winter up here, but how ’bout “same time next year”?

    Chicken Mama

  2. So glad to know that you went home with a sense of renewal as your visit was short considering the distance you traveled and the two of you (three including fuzzy Molly dog) didn’t spend a lot of time sitting still while you were here.

    Roy and I, too, really enjoyed your visit.

    P.S. It really is lovely up here in the winter!

  3. Great photos! I always make sure to get a weekend “up North” trip in when I make it back home to MN, but can’t imagine being able to live there. Mama Pea and Chicken Mama are very fortunate to call such a beautiful, unspoiled area “home”. I, too, found the picture of Melissa facing the rocks amusing… but, hey, some of us are water-watchers, some of us rock-watchers, lol!

  4. I’m so jealous you got to meet Mama Pea and Chicken Mama! I totally understand Melissa. I have a re-occuring dream where I am finding softball sized agates, but it is always in Lake City (my home town.)The largest I’ve found there was golf ball sized, or maybe a little bigger.

  5. Chicken Mama—same time next year would be lovely!

    Mama Pea—I’ve been to the North Shore in the winter—took a winter photography class. We had to strap cleats onto our boots so we wouldn’t slip on the icy rocks and slide into Lake Superior!

    Erin–Rock-watcher. Excellent title.

    Annie—Oh, oh, dreaming in agates is serious. You should have SEEN the ones at the Beaver Bay Rock Shop. Literally fist-sized. Drool-worthy.

  6. Jenny…. This is Lake Superior, which is between Minnesota and Canada, and is one of five “Great Lakes.” It’s as close as those of us living in the middle of the US can come to having an ocean!

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