nightcleaner said:Hi Marcus, and all...
My cabin is built of natural aspen logs in a hundred year deep woods at the end of half a mile of twin ruts through swamps and drumlin fields. It is seven miles from pavement and another eight miles on secondary roads to town. It is accessible in winter by snowshoe but I don't do that much anymore since I broke my leg three years ago. It has been standing there for twenty-six years.
The cottage, on the other hand, was built this year from squared aspen timbers by my friend Mark, who twitched the logs out of the woods with his team of horses, milled them into timbers, planks, and boards on his property north of Grand Marais last summer, and brought them down the Northshore road on his two ton truck in the fall. Mark is a very resourceful fellow who loves to talk about theoretical physics. He homeschools his two daughters and is a master horseman. I will see them again at solstice in a couple weeks.
The cottage is twelve by sixteen with a sleeping loft and stands on concrete posts sunk four feet into gravel. It has a porch and a sheet steel roof with wide eaves. Makes me wish I played the banjo, or at least a harmonica. It is tucked under maple and birch trees and has a fine view of a cedar swamp. Fifty feet back from The Hill Road, a designated natural and scenic byway, only twelve miles to town in beautiful Clover Valley, a region of abandoned dairy farms now being resettled by a new wave of urban refugees.
some notes for others who may be enjoying the echos of Great Lakes geology and poetry: Lake Superior looks like a long-snout coyote-type animal and Duluth is right at the tip of the nose.
Grand Marais means BIG SWAMP (correct me French scholars if this is a blooper) and it is right up near the Canadian border not quite as far as where the ears would be, more like at the level of the eyes. So the NORTH SHORE road is this long almost straight approx 150 mile stretch along the ridge of the nose down to the tip, where Duluth is.
The logs have to be twitched with a cable. Some people drag them with a crank winch device called a "come-along" but Mark has horses. then he has to mill them and then he trucks the lumber approx 150 miles down the n. shore of L. Superior to a place near Clover Valley near Duluth (a place which the dairy cows have all left) and builds a COTTAGE for Peg's poet-caretaker-landsitter. You know how people get a house-sitter when they go away on trips. If you have some land, with animals and vegetables, then you get a land-sitter. Or maybe his job is to inhabit the land which otherwise would not be thoroughly inhabited. What ever it is, we see that it involves a lot of active attention (unlike a house, where you mostly just sit)
the whole thing is pretty interesting. Drumlin refers to the big oval mounds of debris left by a glacier that was there a long time ago.
I could be quite wrong about the geography, but thought some guesses would be helpful to people like myself who know Minnesota only by hearsay (again, I could even have the State wrong----it could be Wisconsin). the vagueness actually helps create a sense of wilderness (and at the same time a sense of a generic woodsy off the beaten), so we do not ask the writer for more than hints of location.