Another SHT Story

As a rule, not every single experience can be the best experience ever. This was one of those times.

As you’ve probably read in our earlier posts… Lisa and I have been trying to spend some time once a month or so, on the Superior Hiking Trail. This is another SHT story….

This month was no exception. We had a little more learning to do, however.

We had checked the SHT website for trail conditions. It was going to be snowy and cold, as we should learn to expect, really. We certainly weren’t disappointed with how snowy and cold it was!

This is a very short post, but I needed to share it with you. Lisa and I are all about the bricolage experience, which basically means, to us, taking what we already have and making it work. When we were preparing for this outing, I dug a couple pairs of very old snowshoes out of the garage. One pair was completely unusable due to the deterioration that comes with 20 years of improper storage. The other pair we could make work. We ended up having to buy a pair to make the trip (insert sad face). Along with the snowshoes, we brought along a couple of pair of ski poles that have been in the basement for just as long.

Mission Creek

When we got to the trail, we realized that we were in for quite a day. The snow was about a foot deep with a 2-inch wind-blown crust on top. Just enough to make foot travel difficult. We punched through the crust and caught the edges of the snowshoes with nearly every step! Seven miles would prove to take all day!

Although the scenery is always beautiful on the SHT, we were getting somewhat frustrated after the first 4 hours when we weren’t even half-way to our finish line. Another 4 hours later, we were exhausted and, quite honestly, a bit crabby. I had parked the car in a location that made me worry all day about finding it towed away when we got back, the loud crunch of the crusty snow underfoot made conversation almost impossible, and the difficult terrain was wearing on our middle-aged legs! It was a departure from the usual singing and joking that we usually engage in.  

So, we took with us some old gear, some old experience from my mountain climbing days, and some old legs to get the job done. It was a very difficult day. But, we did it together. We saw some cool wildlife and took some cool photos. We also learned that, with perseverance (for an entire day!), we could do this and still walk away with a smile on our faces!

Cool trees
Woodpecker condo

As a rule, not every single experience can be the best experience ever. This was one of those times. But there are many more to come. What we learned on the trail that day, we will continue to use to make the most out of every adventure.

Oh!… And the car didn’t get towed. I was worried for nothing. (-:

We were, appropriately, not impressed

Thanks for reading my little tale…. Remember to subscribe for more silliness to come…. And, as always, we’d love to hear from you!  Grab whatcha got and let’s go!

Efficiency vs. Passion

Having an experience, even if it is not entirely how you envisioned it, to me, is better than waiting for some day.

For us, gathering up the bits and pieces also means gathering up the literal bits and pieces. We are Makers. It is in our DNA. Something in us is fulfilled when we make things. If we waited until we had the money or all the “perfect” materials many, many things would never  have gotten done/made. In this article, Efficiency vs. Passion, we’ll discuss this conundrum.

I have strong thoughts on not going in debt, but that is for another blog.

Efficiency vs. Passion conundrum

Sometimes I am torn between being efficient and fulfilling a passion.

For example, if you look at a quilt as a covering for a bed and a means to keep you warm, then making a quilt seems quite crazy.  To make a quilt you have to acquire fabric, then you cut that perfectly good fabric up into little strips, squares, shapes, and then you sew those little pieces back together to make a big piece of fabric to put on your bed.

A practical or efficient view would be to just buy a quilt and be done with it.

This is where the passion kicks in for Makers. Very often when we see some sort of scrap, a little voice in our heads asks, what can I make out of that? How could I repurpose that? How can I make this beautiful/functional again?

There is also a little voice in the head of a DIYer or Maker that asks, Can I make something like that and put my personal touch on it? Deane is especially good at this, in my opinion.

One day I came home from work and see a 13 inch diameter chunk of aluminum tube on the dining room floor. I asked Deane, “What are you going to make out of that?” He says, “I don’t know yet.” Suddenly the Maker ideas start flowing. Some options were – make a porthole window out of it, make a mirror frame, make some sort of container out of it….. Then things moved more towards a sculpture project. Finally it was decided that we should make a lamp out of it, so he did.

Efficiency vs. Passion conundrum
Lamp art

This is bricolage magic. Taking a literal piece of scrap and turning it into a beautiful, functional piece of art. Nobody else has a lamp quite like this, and Deane has the satisfaction of looking at it and knowing that he made it.

Now, would it have been more efficient and possibly more cost effective to just buy a lamp? Perhaps, but a Maker doesn’t see it that way.

Deane really likes lighting. This translates into > we have pretty cool lighting, translates into > we’re pretty happy about that.

We also ended up owning a big piece of burl that we got from an old woodworking guy in Wisconsin. Deane turned it into a lamp.

Another time we had been talking about having better lighting in the kitchen. We weren’t sure what we were going to do. I like those industrial “wire basket” looking fixtures. I like the Edison bulb look too. I didn’t like the price tags very much. We were in our local lumber store, buying things for a different project when we spotted these chicken brooder lamps! Viola! They just jumped in the cart, and the icing on the cake was that they were something like $7 a piece! A little rewiring and add a mounting bracket…. Score! We got lucky and found this at a big box store. Local thrift stores are full of great ideas too!


Kitchen lamp

Sometimes we have to make things to break a fear, to get over the idea that something is intimidating. For me, that was making yeast bread. I can tell you, I have made a few bricks in my day, then I wouldn’t try again for a few years. I don’t like being wasteful, but I don’t really enjoy eating brick bread either. Then, one day, Deane mentioned how much he enjoys seedy-grainy bread. An inspiration and challenge presented itself. I have a friend who is a great bread maker and she had been making all sorts of versions of Dakota bread and said it was “easy.”

Dakota Bread

I looked up a bunch of Dakota bread recipes and decided on one. I was very happy with the end result and I finally got over my intimidation of yeast breads. I can’t say that I have branched out to other sorts of yeast bread yet, but I am no longer afraid to try.

Yummy Bread!

Makers make. All the stars and planets do not have to be in alignment to take action. Doing something is better than being on the sidelines. Making something out of nothing floats my boat. Having an experience, even if it is not entirely how you envisioned it, to me, is better than waiting for some day.

Grab whatcha got and let’s go!