Raspberry Ridge

Raspberry Ridge
Spring 2010

Come Share in My Dream

My adventure started in earnest during 2002 when I began building my handcrafted log lodge. I have always dreamed of having a bed and breakfast to pamper new and old friends in the process.

The hard work is underway. Please follow my progress and plan a stay to experience what I lovingly call "Raspberry Ridge Bed and Breakfast".

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Never give up... Keep Trying! Keep Trying!

Sleigh riding at Camp Determination
My grandsons Ethan and Edison came to stay with Mamaw for 10 days last winter.  I said to my oldest daughter Dawn when their visit was confirmed, “Great!  Let’s teach the boys determination!!”  We definitely want them to be as stubborn and bull headed as we are.   Oh yes we do.  We definitely do.

You see I was disturbed by their level of follow through when the going gets tough so to speak.  At first, it was an unwillingness to ride a bike if it was physically demanding or there could be a fall of any kind.  Then, it seemed to be snowballing into reports of  ”The boys don’t like to be out in the cold.  They’d rather be snuggled up inside and warm with a cup of hot chocolate.”  and well, you get the idea…

So, hut two three four, to Mamaw's they came.  The boys arrived under the pretense of celebrating a late Christmas due to distance.  When at last we were all together again, little two year old Edison defiantly announced “Santa is fake!   …..  Santa is FAKE!!”  I had already been warned by my daughter Stephany that she felt it important that the boys not become confused about Jesus by believing in Santa.   My grandson “Older than five Ethan” knowingly looked on with approval at his little brothers’ assertion.  Jim and I later tried to present the snowshoes that Santa had left the boys but it was futile.  The bit about Santa being limited to the frigid, winter land of northern Minnesota would have made some inroads with little Edison but not older than five Ethan.   He took two steps back and lifted an eyebrow of disapproval that his grandparents would reach such lows as lie to him and his little brother.  My daughter Dawn and I looked exasperated at each other knowing it just wasn’t worth sliding further onto this thin ice we found ourselves on.

We had our first instruction the next day with the very un-controversial activity called sleigh riding down the icy, snow covered driveway.  We first versed them in wearing layers for comfort.  They learned the importance of  stuffing their gloves inside coat sleeve elastic, the importance of the northern ‘gator’ for their neck protection, and not just stocking hats but knit hats with tabs down to their collarbones to cover tender ears and cheeks.  Next, came “the hill”.    We focused on form and technique, placement of the rope and it’s use, the wisdom of ‘ditching’ if they slide out of control toward a tree, etc… etc…

They were frustrated at times, Ethan kept forgetting the placement of the rope both up and down hill.  Edison lost patience at all the effort it  took to maneuver uphill.  Once, he almost stormed away sure I had betrayed him by accelerating his fall to the ground in front of the sleigh. Ethan cut through the Dutch language barrier I was experiencing with Edison’s excited scorn,  “He thinks you did it on PURPOSE?!.”   That too became a lesson in “Never give up.”  I coaxed Edison back to the peak of that hill and with determination he once again committed to have fun on the sled.

But then, it all came together when we just wouldn’t accept a failure to have sleigh riding fun.   They were naturals.  Why they flew down the hill.  Older than five Ethan proudly announced his desire to go up and then down the hill again and  little Edison belly laughed all the way down sitting face first into the wind in front of his big brother for added weight and speed. We were pleased that they had completed their first day of Camp Determination.  I smiled to myself  knowing it was on to snowshoes tomorrow…

Kids and Dogs in motion

Friday, January 21, 2011

Surviving and Thriving in a Minnesota cold snap

As I'm writing, the temperature is flashing in the bottom right of my computer screen -18 F. The forecasters called for -35 but in these early morning hours, I think we're escaping that fate. This is cold, even for Minnesotans.

Loggers stay home and give their machines over to the frigid temperatures so they can survive to start another day, travelers don't travel to avoid the perilous dangers of extreme cold, parents make sure their children bundle up and wait for the bus inside their own mini Minnesota 'bus shelters', and dogs do their business in a mad dash before the cold penetrates their paws to the point they can't get back inside without help. Yes, it's darn, double darn cold this Minnesota January 2011.

These are the days when ski lift operators at Lutsen Ski Resort up the road will look incredulously at down hill and cross country skiers as they keep coming back for more. My husband Jim, worked at Lutsen Ski Resort making snow for a couple of years when we first arrived in northern Minnesota.

I had time to do quite a bit of sewing back then so I invested in some Polartec® Windbloc® for Jim's shell pants and pullover insulating layer. I also purchased water repellent material for mittens that came up to his elbows. Patterns in tow, I drove home to a very happy husband. The clothes he had been wearing just weren't keeping him warm.

The sewing machine was put to good use that winter. My husband could now comfortably work in night time temperatures of -20 and -30 F while the snow machine pelleted him with freezing water. His gear kept the water out, the warmth in, and my husband the envy of the ski hill. 

He came home with duplicate orders from his fellow snow makers for more gear like what Jim had please. A true testament to the materials and design of the outerwear. I never was a speedy seamstress so I had to pass on the revenue opportunity but every time we get frigid January temperatures, I remember that winter.

Jim couldn't have stayed warm without a well know Minnesota 'secret'.   What is this secret you ask?  Layers.  We have elevated the art of layering clothes to an exact science. It has literally transformed my winter outdoor experiences from misery to awe and wonder at the breathtaking beauty of a Minnesota winter wonderland. 

  1. The wicking layer.  Generally a thin, synthetic material that wicks perspiration away from the skin and helps to protect from the dangers of hypothermia.
  2. The insulating layer.  There is really only one material for our family - fleece.  The day fleece was invented was the day our wool went to the back of the closet.
  3. The shell.  This is the windproof but not totally waterproof layer.  The shell stops most of the wind from penetrating your defenses and yet perspiration and moisture from your body is allowed to escape. In Jim's extreme snowmaking gear, an insulating layer of fleece pants was followed by pants of the Polartec® Windbloc®.
  4. Gloves, neck gators, and fleece lined wool cap.  Gotta have mits that go up to your elbows for extreme cold.  Fleece neck gators (tubes) protect your neck and lower face while a fleece lined cap that ties under the chin can be worn under the hood of your shell layer.
  5. Footwear.  Mukluks.  Will Steger's wife sent him to the North Pole with mukluks for a very good reason.    They wick away moisture, while keeping wind and cold out.  We can walk in and out from cold to heat in comfort and our feet stay comfortable.  For Jim's extreme snow making gear, he used rubberized, insulated winter boots.
We had so much fun sharing the well known Minnesota 'secret' with our young grandsons last winter.  They went from misery to awe and wonder at the breathtaking beauty of a Minnesota winter wonderland.  Ethan and Edison are now surviving and thriving in a Minnesota cold snap.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Progress and What a Happy Event!

We are currently in the middle of nesting in our 95% complete bedroom on the first floor.  There is very little to say about such a spectacular event really.  The fact that we're sleeping in a roomy, organized living space free of construction materials, the grinding and sanding dust,  and war zone like feel of living in a bombed out shelter.  Well.. you get the idea.

 All that is but a memory now as I collect my storage organizers and get ready to bring my wardrobe back from storage.  I've been living with a couple of outfits that I can go into public with.  The few clothes I've kept have been dedicated work clothes.

Jim is being a good sport about the nesting.  He came home tonight from work at Tettegouche State Park and found his junk drawer was no more, his night stand organized and socks, shirts and shorts folded neatly in his drawers.  It drives him crazy...

I am getting geared up for my next big push to finish grinding and sanding our future kitchen.  Jim is finishing up the chinking, trim work and electrical in the bedroom closet in between wood runs to stoke the home fires.  This La NiƱa winter in northern Minnesota has been more 'dramatic' than most we hardy types are used to.

I'll save the war stories of science experiments conducted on the logs for another post.  Let's just say, it was a learning experience and working with dead fall logs where no living tree was harmed is different than using newly felled trees used by most log home builders.  

It was a long, drawn out process but now I know the secrets to replicate the good results I finally achieved with the logs.  New green products ended up being the gold standard that WORKED when the  toxic or questionable chemicals I tried were useless.  But more about all that later...

Life is grand this week!  I'm getting ready for a long winter's nap in our warm, clean, newly finished bedroom.  Sweet dreams from Raspberry Ridge Bed and Breakfast.  Lights out.