All posts in Northern Tales

Dirt, Seeds, Hoping For Growth

All one really needs is some tilled dirt.  Today I found three relativity small patches in the yard that I could tame into a garden.  Grass and weeds had to be dug out and I gave the soil a turn with a garden claw.  All very rewarding work in spite of my complaining back.

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The Island

Wild horses couldn’t tear me away.  This thought lingered in my heart as I drove away from my childhood home once again.  A summer visit of great significance, things were different this vacation.  I witnessed the knitting of the north to my eldest two’s souls; and realized with their connection made, I was even more bound to this land, in as much as is possible while on this temporal earth.

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Young Hunters and Pirates

Be sure to click this link for 
more info on the story behind the stories of my childhood.
(The Creek)

Watching my children create an entire pirate kingdom on our patio brought to mind a favorite imaginary world I had shared with my younger brother.

(Mopsy and two spring babies.)

I can remember pretending to be hunters.  We would get the perfect stick and stalk the goats through the brush (my parents had a goat farm and we had endless games involving the live stock).  One afternoon though we expanded the game, thanks to my brother getting his hands on a pellet rifle.  Now don’t worry about the goats, we where smart enough to know shooting them was a quick way into my folks bad books.  We decided, instead, to travel down river and seek out an ever worthy prey…squirrels and chipmunks.

The faithful orange Coleman canoe was loaded up, life jackets clipped on and we pushed off.  The river was actually a creek that ran through the bottom of our small farm property.  It was a very healthy water way, leading to many lakes and even a small set of rapids.  Smooth flowing water, riddled with weeds just below the surface.  It twists and turns, sleepily,  around beds of floating weeds.  Walled in by endless trees and bedrock, it is a true northern shield water way. 

(The Munro Dock)

I was guide.  We sought out signs and sounds that meant our game was near by.  I would let my brother off on land to do the hunting.  As faithful guide I waited till I hear a shot and then let out a good ‘yahoo’ for his efforts.  Never did he come back with proof of kill.  Considering how many times we repeated this process I highly doubt he even came close to tagging a tree rodent of any kind.

It kept us incredibly busy and happy… till Mom honked the horn three times…. that was our get back home call.  We where usually ready for the honk as our imaginative and wide wandering games often left us with healthy appetites.

My kids hunted down and buried treasure, fought the authorities and forced mates to walk the plank till supper; and they too ate well.

(My younger brother and I.)


Where I Come From

(My Dad’s most faithful fishing buddy, TANK the minpin.)

We all have a story to tell.  I am working so hard at learning to REALLY listen to others and their story.  I am also learning to share mine when asked.  My kids are dragging it out of me bit by bit.  Often at bed time they ask me to tell them about ‘where I come from’.

Bless their little hearts, they know I enjoy sharing crazy stories once I get into it.  I try to not brush the requests off so much, as they get great joy out of what to them seems like another world… that other world being my upbringing.  They are prairie born city kids and I was a northern bush born farm kid.  We eventually had a phone and most modern utilities; but for the first few years of my life we had no plumbing, no electricity, no phone, wood heat and a goat/rabbit/chicken/little bit of everything else farm, by a lake, with limited road access and lotsa bedrock and bush to play on.

I think I will start sharing a few of the stories I remember on here too.

(THE dog and THE Dad that took me hunting.)

Chicken hunting brought Dad and me together.  Wild chickens, spruce hens and the like, are not very clever and oh so taste-y.  Dad, Mel (the English lab) and I would camo up and hit the trails on a weekend.  Tags and shot guns in hand we would travel sandy roads through the bush till we found the prey.  We shared the shooting and often the boys (my brothers) where along too.  Mel would point and retrieve and we all enjoyed it a great deal.  The snacks where good and the conversation better.

The night we where heading home and he took my hand while I poured my heart out about how hard high school was for me I will never forget.  We had just finished a day of hunting.  It had been very joyful but my heart was heavy at the idea of school the next day.  I got very quiet going home, so he asked me about it, and with tears I poured out my heart.  I don’t know what negative pressures I would have given into during those three nasty years, if it wasn’t for the reliable support I got from my folks.  With patience he offered encouragement, support and a willingly present listening ear.

Dad always had time for us.  If we where willing to strap on the grubs (rough clothing) and go fishing, hunting or just lumbering through the bush with him he was very very available.

I tell my kids this story to encourage them to find something, anything, like bird hunting was for me, as a way to make the time to talk with their Dad and to BE with their Dad often.  It takes two to make it work.  Dad was available and I was not shy about taking him up on it.