Thanks for sending the piece you wrote describing your recent return to the Minnesota River country of our youth. It recalled many pleasant memories of shared places and experience. I have often reflected on our "Huck Finn" float trip together on the Minnesota River when we were both just 14 years old. It was a true Faulkneresque coming of age adventure complete with real dangers, sobering realities, tests of "manhood", and the bonding of a lifelong friendship. I think there could be potential for a novel for you in this story.
Our Lake Superior "cottage" project is finally underway. We will likely be ready to pour concrete on Friday. As major portions of the heating, plumbing, and electrical systems have been laid out under the slab, this is a huge leap forward. Once we can begin framing, progress should accelerate. Janet and I were in Duluth yesterday selecting stone for the fireplace and flagstone for the entry and landscape. I am enjoying my role as "artistic director" sitting in an adirondack chair watching gifted young professionals implement their craft. Now that there is real activity on the site, we are gratified that our resident family of Bald eagles has not abandoned us. They fledged three chicks this season, all of which are now flying, while the adults continue to attend to their appetites and education.
The berry season ended early this year--short supply and huge demand. Janet was on the field early this morning to glean what she could for ourselves before the day warmed up and the boys arrived to machine harvest the last of it for wine fruit. If Jon had not been able to irrigate this season, there may not have been a harvest. (This is a year you would think would make climate-change believers of everyone!) Despite a short crop, Jonathan has had a great first season on his farm. He did well enough on the berries, is selling lots of wine, and the honey crop yet to be brought in will be the best in years. Perhaps more important, he has caught up on renewal pruning, mulching, and facility improvements. I haven't seen the farm looking this good going forward for a long time.
We are all healthy and "vaccinated up," except for little Oscar who is only seven. I am concerned for him as we are on the cusp of his return to school this fall. Hopefully vaccination for his age group will be approved soon. Despite current events and the condition of our world, life continues to be good for us. There is much I am thankful for--and that would include your friendship.