Scoopin' the News

Though geographically we cover a large area, this neighborhood of ours on the Gunflint Trail is really a small one that feels as close and comfortable as the kind I grew up in. We keep track of each other, and we watch out for each other. As the list of local bloggers grows, we also find that it is harder to not report twice on what is happening around us. But I've come to realize that even if our news is a little old, or it has already been written up by someone else, that's okay. My voice is different from the next person's, so my readers can get a few perspectives on what's new, what's happening, and what we are chattering about.

It's hard somethimes, though, to actually get a scoop---you know, like they do in the newspapers. I already blogged about this on the Gunflint Trail blog, so in a way I scooped myself (!!), but I am going to post it here, too.

This is the moose I saw on the Trail today, on my way home from town:

Mike Schelmeske of Grand Marais carved this guy, with an owl on the antlers. It is the first of our snow sculptures for this weekend's Winter Tracks Festival. Mike did a fantastic job! My photo doesn't do it justice. Hop on over to here for a larger view (though it is the same picture.)

Being a fiber worker, it is hard for me to imagine working in a material like snow. I can make a snowman as good as anyone else, provided the snow is nice and sticky. Mike showed me the saw he used on parts of this moose. It must be like working with wood, though much easier to cut. He told me that he once worked on a block when it was 35 below zero, and the snow squeaked like styrofoam when he cut into it. I get the shivers thinking of that sound. Yarn and fabric are so easy for me to manipulate. I like to say that I can make them do what I want them to do. I don't think it would be that easy with snow. I actually have a memory of attempting to carve something. It was when I was in grade school, and our neighborhood had a summer recreation program that included arts and crafts. We were supposed to carve a figure our of a bar of Ivory soap. Easy enough, right? You can guess what I ended up with: a pile of soap slivers!

What's even more amazing to me is that the block he started with looked like this:

Last week, Greg and Bob (from Gunflint Pines) used plywood forms to hold the snow. They used the loader to fill them, and in between bucketfuls, they had to jump on the snow to pack it down. Greg reported that it is a much harder task than he realized to jump in that stuff. But it helps to compress the snow, for a nice solid block. That Mike could see a moose in that cube is so cool.

I'm going to stick with my yarn and fabric. And I'm going to make sure that I get out this weekend and early next week to see all of the sculptures that will be springing up in the neighborhood. But as I said over on the Gunflint Trail blog, I'll have to hurry. That sun is already foretelling a hint of spring, and that makes these sculptures very temporary....But what a wonderful opportunity to see some art on the Trail.