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Home for the Summer: Filing

From Jan Kent

When we began spending summers up here at our cabin over 25 years ago, one of the first things I did was to start up a filing system (I can already sense some smirking out there).

I got a metal milk crate, spray painted it black, stuck it on top of a low stool, and put hanging files over the side edges. I popped the plastic category tabs on the top of each folder and was ready to go. There was more than smirking going on at that point. There was guffawing, chortling and remarks like, "Once a librarian, always a librarian."

I put the small number of pamphlets and papers that we had already accumulated into their appropriate files. I collected things when we stopped at ranger stations or tourist information centers. I filed them.

Before I knew it, smirkers were flicking through the files, looking for information on lakes, on fishing and on hiking trails. The filing system grew and new categories were started up. Everyone used the files and the era of smirking ended.

The files still exist and still get additions.

The ever-popular fishing file has Minnesota Fishing Regulations, fishing guides, fish identification guides which feature interesting fish sketches, maps of fishing lakes and more. Similar things are in the boating file. And the hiking file — more of the same kind of information.

The animal file has descriptions and photos of critters we love like hummingbirds, black bears, loons and dragonflies. There is also information on critters we don't, like forest tent caterpillars, and gypsy moths. The plant file has information on plants in general, and those that grow on our land. A favorite article is entitled "Lichen Lore."

There's a state park file (no explanation needed) and one on trips. And our map file is amazing. We have state maps, county maps and Superior National Forest maps. We have maps that guide us through Duluth, of course, although I still have a longstanding record of getting lost trying to get to the airport. There are also Beaver Bay and Silver Bay and Grand Marais and Ely and Two Harbors maps. One map will get us to the Trestle Inn (and, presumably, back again).

Moving away from the practical, we have an art file. There's an article on the glass art of Mike Tonder and a brochure from Oulu Glass in Wisconsin. We can look up information on Cooter Pottery and many art galleries in the area. There's the listing of the various courses offered at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais.

The history files tells us the story of the 100 years the Finland Coop has been in business, the demise of one of the rock arches out in Lake Superior at Tettegouche State Park, the history of many of the towns for which we have maps and the various Lunde cabins in the area.

We can't forget the ubiquitous miscellaneous file, though. There are plans for a do-it-yourself hummingbird feeder. There's a brochure on Minnesota facts and figures that lists the highest point and lowest point, famous Minnesotans, the state fish (walleye) and the state tree (Norway Pine).

My favorite is a June 2000 article about North Shore women knitting little sweaters for fairy penguins in Australia. The penguins were caught up in an oil spill that killed many of them. Some of the survivors had the oil cleaned off and needed temporary protection until their natural protective oils took over. Some were too fragile to be cleaned immediately, and the sweaters kept them warm and prevented them from ingesting oil while they waited for their warm, soapy baths. Sweaters were made of wool so that they would wear out naturally and not need to be removed. A photo of a fuzzy toy penguin in a green ribbed sweater accompanied the article.

Who could resist filing the story of a little penguin wearing a sweater?