|North Shore Rocky Shoreline|
I just returned from a little R & R from the North Shores of Minnesota. It’s always good to get away. But even with a little rest and recreation, lessons of life can be learned and applied to agriculture. So here are the lessons I learned:
1. It’s okay to be yourself – find your niche and be the best you can be.
One of my favorite things I like about Canal Park in Duluth is the number of activities there is to do within a short walking distance. On July 4th, we walked to Bayfront Park and watched some of the free music entertainment. The one act I was looking forward to was Nicolas David. If you are a fan of “The Voice”, Nicolas David participated two seasons ago. He was one of the finalists and had quite a following. I believe people liked him because he was a unique singer and he stayed true to himself. And I liked him because of that and he was also from Minnesota. His song renditions were very original.
The lesson learned here is “it’s okay to be yourself.” Just be the best you can be. David is very comfortable in his skin and his style of music. Here is a snippet of his performance of “She’s Gone”, a Hall and Oates song and one he performed on The Voice”.
2. Listen to your customers.
I have a couple of examples of this lesson. The first one was in a McDonalds parking lot. Until this day, I have never seen a drive-through for truckers. It’s thinking outside the box and listening to your customers. Very smart!
|McDonalds Drive Through for Truckers – Order here!|
And pick up your order here:
|Beautiful Views – so Peaceful and Tranquil|
|Horse and Carriage Rides Outside our Hotel|
|The Viking Nautical Theme is Prevalent Everywhere|
|Love the Water and Rocky Shores!|
3. Traditions are important – it’s where we reconnect and gives us a sense of belonging.
Here are our traditions when we visit the North Shore and Duluth area:
|Betty’s Pies is an Icon on the North Shore
Located just North of Two Harbors – it’s a must Stop!
Lots and lots of Pies!
|Probably one of the most Famous Restaurants
Grandma’s Marathon is Named after the Restaurant
They have the best Chicken Wild Rice Soup!
|The Aerial Lift Bridge
Nothing says Duluth like this Bridge
The Bridge between Lake Superior and the Harbor
Ships go in and out all day and night!
This is another traditions – watching the ships go in and out of the harbor. I have a video clip of one of the largest ships – it measures about 1000′. This ship was loaded with coal and making its way to either Ohio or Pennsylvania. In addition to coal, grain is also shipped through the Great Lakes.
One of our days we chose to visit the Iron Range. I have never seen an Iron Ore Mine. So we set out to visit Hibbing, MN, where the Hull Rust mine is located. The view of the mine was breathtaking. I chose not to take any pictures of the mines because I knew the pictures would not do it justice.
After visiting the mine, we made our way to Chisolm, MN. Chisolm is the home to Discovery Center. The Discovery Center is a museum complex whose main objective is to tell the Iron Range story. This is my next lesson:
4. We take too many things for granted. Take a moment to pause about what is around us and be thankful.
Yes, we do take things for granted. I always knew about the Iron Range mines, studied them in school and actually had relatives work in them. But I really have never thought much about them.
At the Discovery Center, we took an antique electric trolley tour, which toured us around one of the mines. On this trip, our conductor told us a story about a couple of Japanese tourists he had on one of his tours. The Japanese tourists told him their history books taught them that it was because of the iron ore (which was converted to steel) in Minnesota that caused them to lose the war (World War II). I guess our history books never taught us that. But it really puts into perspective how important Minnesota’s iron ore mines are. They are still active today, using new technology to get more ore out of the mines.
The iron ore shovel used in the Hull Rust mine is electric. A semi-truck type vehicle, which contains the power generator, follows the shovel wherever it travels. It gives the shovel continual electric power. Here is a picture of the trucks used to haul the ore. It gives you a perspective of how big they really are:
5. There are things that happen that just make you wonder and scratch your head. Just enjoy the wonderment!
While we were at the Discovery Center, we went into the CCC History Center. The CCC is a program that President Roosevelt initiated as part of The New Deal that gave young men jobs during the Depression. (The CCC program gave these men a place to stay, food, medical care, and a paying job. Many of these jobs were to establish our National Park System and other conservation projects.)
In the CCC History Center was a display that had a 3-ring binder, which listed all the men that were part of the CCC program. These were men from all over the state of Minnesota. I would guess there were hundreds and hundreds of names, all split up in different “companies,” depending on what project they were working on. I glanced down at the binder and looked at the list of men’s names along with their respective hometowns. I noticed a couple men that were from my hometown in southern Minnesota. Then, lo and behold, was a name I recognized. It was the name of my Grandmother’s brother – my Great Uncle! Unbelievable!
How weird and strange for me to be at the Discovery Center that day, to walk in the CCC History building, to notice the binder and glance down and see my great uncles name on the opened page in the binder.
Here is the display with the binder:
|3-Ring Binder which was opened to the page
where my Great Uncles name was listed!
There are things you just can’t explain.
We as farmers can still learn, even if we are not on the farm. We need to appreciate every farmer’s uniqueness and celebrate it. Farmers need to listen to their customers, traditions are good because they bring us together, and take a pause and think about the things we take for granted and give thanks. And, last but not least, there are just some things that happen that cannot be explained. . .