Hopping Along

Today has been a very busy day. Lots of cabin folks arrived, neighbors stopped in, the gas man brought a delivery of gasoline, and we attempted to find stuff to put out for the first ever Trash and Treasures Gunflint Trail Rummage Sale. Tomorrow, many of the businesses, as well as cabin and home owners who feel so inclined, will host rummage sales. We all know that each other has a stash of treasures....it will be a great day to be out and about, trolling for goodies.

One of my most important jobs today, however, was not related to the sale. Instead, it was about the beer. Two years ago, Greg's trellis for his hops was knocked down by a falling birch tree. He has been growing hops behind the workshop for several years, and they produce a beautiful wall of vines and leaves, and eventually flowers, which can be used to flavor the homebrew that he likes to make. We didn't have time to resurrect them last year, so the vines just grew willy-nilly all over the place, and as a result, we didn't have much of a harvest. When he told me this year that he mostly enjoys just seeing them growing, I was determined to get them back in to operation.

Paul and James helped me. I got new strings tied on, and then the guys hoisted the poles and I put in the bolts. I then strung the twine to the posts in the ground, and guided the new vines over to the lines. A couple of them are already six feet tall! This warm weather has definitely been making an impression on them. As long as we get some rain, the harvest should be good enough for a batch or two of beer. As a back-up plan, we have a spigot nearby, so that I can give the hops a swig or two....they deserve that, right?

Many years ago, when our boys were much younger, Greg worked with them one fall to make a moose calling device. They went out by our powerline to test it out. Back then, Greg was growing hops under the line, as it was a great spot for full sun. The trellis system was a bit different---one twelve or so foot pole for each hop vine, again with a long piece of twine for the vine to grab. They tested out the moose call, but no one answered, so they came in for dinner. It wasn't until the next morning, when Greg was driving by, that he saw the result. Evidently a bull moose had indeed heard the call, and had come looking for what he thought was going to be a lovely lady. All he found was a big old trellis, and he got his antlers tangled in the line, to boot. Such disappointment. Greg could see that the top of the trellis had been snapped off, and that very determined (and angry?) tracks trailed down the hill, as the lonely moose ran off. At least now we know how to make a decent moose call if we ever go moose hunting again!