Friday’s Weekend Column
The Good Life

by James Glaser
June 3, 2005

Once the calendar gets to June, life in northern Minnesota gets real fine. I was grazing out in the greenhouse today, tasting Rocket Arugula, Tango Lettuce, Tatsol, Swiss Chard, Mustard Mizuna, Endive, and Oakleaf, Lolla Rossa, and Ruby Lettuce. I also was eating Baby Spinach. That was before lunch, which I had to pass up because I was so full with the greens.

Anything right out of the garden tastes so much better than store bought and I think there is a psychological factor from growing them yourself.

I drove down to Grand Rapids the other day and thought how nice it was living here in America. There were no roadblocks, I saw neither police with automatic weapons, nor any with flak jackets and helmets on. I saw no burned out vehicles along the road. There were no bomb craters to go around, and I never even had to think about hidden roadside bombs exploding under my truck.

Now that might seem like a no-brainer and that we never have to worry about things like that, but in much of the world people do have to, and we should thank God for the peace we have here at home.

I always like writing for Friday, because I don't have to think about all the terrible things going on in the world and I have a chance to tell people what life up here is like. Everyday I go for a walk. I can either go east or west, either way is pleasant. Right now I am walking about a mile and a half twice a day and want to be up to four miles by summer's end.

On today's walk I saw two otters swimming in the ditch next to the road. I think with all the rain we have had, they can now swim up to the road from the lake. They have a webbed foot, so they can really move through the water fast, but they are curious too, and wanted to have a look at me as much as I wanted a look at them.

I saw several flocks of geese flying in their V-shaped formations and there are way more here this year than ever before. I have seen a pair of swans on the lake. I don't know what kind they are, but they sure look elegant out on the water.

I got a little off track there as I was writing about my walks. I notice that on the way out I am always a little sore, but on the way back I am all warmed up and walking pain free and that is sure enjoyable. Walking is a nice time to think about life and also a great time to pray. Jesus said in the Bible that we don't even have to tell God what we want, because he already knows what we are thinking before we can get the words out. What is so nice about walking my road is you can totally get lost in thought and not have to worry about getting run over. I have probably walked twenty or more miles on my road this week and I can only remember three vehicles going by. Weekends there is more traffic, but during the week almost no one is on this road and the ones that do travel on it, drive real slow.

I was weeding my flower garden next to the road this week and several people stopped to talk, watch, and ask questions about the flowers. I was hoping to do a Huck Finn deal with then. You know where I would tell them how much fun weeding could be and they would say, "Let me, let me do it," but that never happened and I had to do it alone. I am making progress and a couple of the gardens look real nice now. I have two more to do and I have a start on one already, so they will look good soon and then I will just have to keep the hoe handy to keep them in shape.

I haven't written about Lydia lately. Lydia is my cat, who was abused and dropped off at the animal shelter in Bemidji. She had been there over a year and was totally freaked when she got to my house. Well it has been six months and she still isn't friendly, but now she will stop and look at me and meow at me. She is always very alert, at least she is when she is out and about. She has some great hiding places in the house where she must feel safe, but in the last couple of weeks I have found her sound asleep, lying in the sun by the sliding glass door. So she must feel more comfortable here in the house now.

Sometimes it is hard to start working because the only example I have here now is a very lazy cat. Charmaine would always have some project going and her enthusiasm would get me started on whatever I was working on. Now it is up to me and self motivation has never been a strong suit for me.

So, life in the Northland is good. I have plenty to keep me busy and this time of year, northern Minnesota is as beautiful as anyplace on the globe. There is almost no crime up here, neighbors are always willing to help if you need them, and people are happy. The woods are always a never ending source of entertainment, with the changing plant life, the bounty of wild fruit, and the constant excitement of wild animals living this life with you.

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