Beyond the Trees
Long weekends present the perfect opportunity to embark on an adventure. Having a few extra days available, we contemplate what our adventure will entail and set our sights on Minneapolis, MN for a change of scenery. With the car packed and the kids in tow (French Bulldog's Poppy & Sophie), we head out on the long and open road. On various trips to Minneapolis, we've repeatedly visited two restaurants, 112 Eatery for late dinner and Barbette for breakfast. Both are consistently great.
The difference about this trip however, may just be the discovery and acquisition of my favourite piece of furniture yet... a handcrafted, custom made table that can be re-purposed and used as a stool. The "Woodsman" responsible for the creation of this table can be found plotting his next pursuit in a magical little place located a bit off the grid and just beyond the trees where roaming hills, lake and sky collide. In the winter months, he's likely to be found on the back of a mountain somewhere
On every trip we seek out a local farmer's market, a bakery or two, and spend time wandering. We almost always find something to add to our closets, an item for the home, and some gadget or accessory for the kitchen. This trip was no different. At the annual Uptown Art Fair we were introduced to a himalayan salt slab that accompanied us home. The taste of veggies grilled on the slab was unlike anything I'd ever had. We picked up a few other items on the trip but the most incredible thing I secured was a custom made, handcrafted side table that doubles as a stool.
I have been searching aimlessly for the perfect table for my living room and found it in a magical little place near Lake of the Prairies in MB.
We left Minneapolis and after a long drive, arrived at Lake of the Prairies in the early morning hours on Monday. We woke up to the smell of fresh oven-baked bread. After a few cups of coffee and slices of bread, we went outside to see a handmade table that was crafted over the weekend.
I was keen to have it and so it was agreed that I could take it home with me. Immediately, I inquired about a second table. It must have been my lucky day because as soon as I said it, the talented individual responsible for creating the first table set off to work on it. I had the sincere pleasure of observing the transition from a block of wood into a functional piece of art.
I insisted on leaving there that day with one of the tables, complete with instructions on how to oil and finish it myself.
We spent some time checking out the wood pile, taking stock of the various pieces of wood and their respective potential. Before me lay a giant tree stump that I envision as the base of a piece in the centre of a living room.
Handcrafted, locally procured wood is as authentic as it gets.
Amongst the splendour were raw, live edge boards and trunks that had been scraped bare of their bark. One of the raw edge pieces was being transformed into a fireplace mantle.
The craftsman responsible for the creation of my table is undeniably talented. He drags his hands across the surface with intention, sanding the edges until they are soft as leather. It is no wonder that people stop to solicit him for his opinion and procure a unique piece for themselves. While we stood outside the woodshed watching my masterpiece transformed, several people stopped by out of curiosity to see what was he was up to.
Although this talent may be considered more of a "beer hobby" at present, anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing one of these creations is likely to seek out a work for themselves.
While we were there on that final day of our trip, we also enjoyed some mojitos and set out for a privately guided ATV tour across the roaming prairies and amongst the trees.
- 6 oz white rum (I prefer gin)
- 12 mint sprigs (broken apart) + a few for garnish
- 6 TBSP fresh squeezed lime juice
- 4 TBSP raw sugar
- Soda water or Sparkling Mineral Water
- Lime slices
In the bottom of a drink shaker, muddle lime juice, half of the mint sprigs, sugar. Add ice, alcohol and remaining mint sprigs. Shake well and pour over ice, top with soda/sparkling water and garnish with lime wedge and mint sprig.
The land is extensive and virtually untouched (save for the exception of roaming cattle and honey bees). We were taken to a remote spot in the trees that likely served as a slaughter ground for cattle several years ago.
The fencing and no trespassing signs were no barrier to our adventures that day.
On the tour, we maneuveur along behind the ATV ahead, creating our own path and avoiding overhead tree branches and stinging nettle. Relishing in the excitement of the table that my brother made for me and taking in all that is that this day, I think to myself, "dad would have loved to hang out here with you." And in that moment as I watch my brother, I acknowledge that he's been there all along.