Friday, November 29, 2013

Hokenson Fishery - A Step Back in Time

Early on in our vacation this past summer, Glen and I were at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
We were looking for something to do in the morning before our boat ride to the Islands in the afternoon, we decided to check out Little Sand Bay. In the process, we stumbled across the beautifully restored and maintained Hokenson Brothers Fishery, which is part of the National Parks System.

Leo, Roy and Eskel Hokenson operated a family-owned commercial fishing business at Little Sand Bay for more than 30 years. The three brothers, sons of Swedish immigrants, grew up in Bayfield. As young men they started out as dairy farmers on the family homestead, but found the cold climate and poor soil didn't yield enough to support three families. In 1927, the brothers began their fishery, entering an industry that had thrived in the Apostle Islands area since railroads linked this remote region to the markets in Chicago and New York. They used skill, strength and courage to profitably harvest fish from the largest expanse of freshwater in the world.

Glen and I were fortunate enough to have a personal tour of the fishery buildings, given to us by one of the volunteer Park Rangers. It was so wonderful to step in history and see the various equipment used at a fishery in the 1930's.

The house was built in 1940 for Roy and his wife. Having one of the brothers on site provided peace of  mind during stormy nights. It is now used as employee housing.

The Twine Shed
The Twine Shed was an absolutely lovely place to photograph in, the light coming in through the side windows gave the place such a wonderful feel.

In this barn-like building, named for the twine used in the fishing nets, nets were prepared, repaired and stored. The bulky pound nets are arranged along the wall.

Pound Net Boat
Flat-bottomed so fishermen stand and haul in lines without capsizing, a pound boat would be maneuvered around the pot to raise the net and scoop out the fish.

The Twine Shed was more than just a storehouse for equipment. Machinery, spare parts, and lubricants share the south end of the building.

Rings, anchors and other tools could be made or fixed at the forge, sometimes by using the scrap metal stored under the bench.

A workshop and storehouse, smitty and junkyard, machine and carpenter shop, the Twine Shed embodies the assortment of skills commercial fishermen had to practice to get their catch from the lake to the market.

 The Dock and Herring Shed

The dock was the first structure built at the fishery site. It's "L" shape afforded boats some protection from storms.

In the Herring Shed, wives, children, and hired hands awaited their arrival - each with a separate job in the assembly line process.

The fish were untangled from the net, rinsed in the wooden tank, gutted and beheaded, rinsed again in the other tank, drip-dried on the rack, salted, and stacked in a barrel.

As you stand on the dock and look out over the lake, the scene is the same as it was when the fishery was operating, but the story has changed. Commercial fishing was a vibrant industry when the Hokenson brothers began their business in 1927. By the time they retired in the mid-1960's, the Lake Superior fishery had drastically changed. Sea Lamprey, a parasitic fish, invaded Lake Superior in the 1940's. By the 1950's it had nearly decimated the lake trout and reduced the number of whitefish. Another exotic fish, smelt, may have reduced the herring population. 

Today's few remaining commercial fishermen have had to realize that the profits of the business are limited not just by skill and stamina, but by the need to conserve and share the resource.

**information source The National Park Service

I hope you have enjoyed tagging along on our tour of a historic fishery.

Joining Helen at a Flash of Inspiration for her tribute to Vintage Week with a Vintage Photo Walk.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Foodie's Heaven

I have been wanting to go to the new Downtown Market Hall in Grand Rapids since it opened Labor Day weekend. I have been waiting patiently though for Mallory to come home for Thanksgiving break so that we could go together.

The Market Hall is filled with wonderful vendors, many of them promoting local ingredients. There is a fishmonger, a baker, a butcher and the most heavenly cheesemonger. Our family LOVES cheese.

Mallory has turned into quite the "hipster foodie" now that she has an apartment and can cook for herself. Most college age kids are probably not making Zucchini Quiche or Potato Soup for supper, and  let's just say her favorite pastime is wandering the cooking and bakeware aisles of Target.

She and I have always enjoyed going to the Farmer's Market together in the summer. So it is only natural that this Market Hall is the Winter alternative.

Old World Olive Press
Is overflowing with flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars. One of my favorite olive oils is the Tuscan Herb.

Sweetie-Licious Bake Shoppe
The owner focuses on simply fresh, completely homemade, seasonal ingredients to make her pies, and often goes back to old cookbooks to improve upon the recipes. 

Lunchtime was upon us, so we decided to try the taco place.

We both opted for the Shrimp Quesadillas.

Very yummy!

I couldn't resist getting a photo of these colorful glass bottles in their beverage case.

Where we were sitting for lunch had great side window light, so I took advantage of it to get some new photos of my girl.

Of course turn about is only fair.

After lunch it was time to make our purchases before heading to the mall for some "cute winter clothes" shopping.

We didn't need a lot, but the maple smoked salmon from Fish Lads was calling our name.

City Produce
These vegetables were begging to be photographed on our way out.

Then a Chai Latte from Simpatico for the wintery drive to the mall.

We will be back during the month long Christmas break, and now that we know what is here, we will plan some menus accordingly.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Taking the Backroads - Battling the Elements

I had a very specific purpose for this week's backroads adventure. It was to pick up this sweet girl…

The rendezvous point was Gaylord, which is about 4 hours south for them and 4 hours north for me. I was extremely happy with this rendezvous point because it would finally give me the opportunity to do some photographing along Alba Highway.

We discovered this road a few years ago on the suggestion of a friend as an alternate route to the Upper Peninsula. I immediately fell in love with it, so many wonderful rural things to photograph. We are usually on a tight schedule when we travel along this road, so I have never had the opportunity to stop and take pictures. Friday was FINALLY the day. I left early enough to give myself a couple hours cushion of shooting time.

It was raining when I left home, and there was strong potential that I was going to run into snow as I got closer to my destination. I was not wrong.

There were times when the wind was whirling the snow around so much that I thought my adventure would be a bust.

Alba Highway

Even as I turned onto Alba Road the snow was still blowing around pretty good, but I was determined to have my adventure. I turned down a side street to park a minute and make a plan when I found this treasure.

I love the front facade on this building, and of course the decay.

Farther along the road the snow slowly started to cease. I found some lovely barns and fields.

This barn was on a gravel side road that dead ended, sort of, into a seasonal road that will not be getting plowed per the sign.

I spotted these old cars next to an abandoned house.

The blue color on this second one drew me in like a moth to a lightbulb.

The Derelict House

Glen and I had quite the discussion one time on our way home from the U.P.  We were in Gaylord for lunch and I said I wanted to take the Alba Road home because I wanted to get some photos of the derelict house. He was certain that derelict only referred to a person and not a thing, so I preceded to look up the definition on my phone while we sat there.

Derelict: adjective - in a very poor condition as a result of disuse and neglect.

I love it when I can have these small victories and am right beyond a shadow of a doubt. So anyway, here is the derelict house...

Thankfully somebody painted the front of the house since last time I was here, there was some inappropriate graffiti on the front before.

I found the "Security cameras in use" sign quite hilarious.

The Fence

The second thing that I have always wanted to photograph along this road is this fence…

I absolutely love these old fence posts, and in all my travels so far I have never seen ones like them.

The fence was my last stop on Alba Road. I set off for Gaylord. I arrived about 30 minutes ahead of them, so not one to let good photography time go to waste, I looked for something interesting to shoot. I spied this from a couple of streets over…

 So I set off to investigate.

St. Mary's Catholic Church

From the historical marker:

The Neo-Gothic St. Mary's Catholic Church has been a Gaylord landmark since it was dedicated on September 15, 1900. When the Diocese of Gaylord was established in 1972, the church became the cathedral. The diocese built a new cathedral in 1976 and closed St. Mary's. In 1985 a local group, fearing the building would be razed purchased it for use as a performing arts center, which they named Mount Carmel Centre.

I am so glad that they didn't raze the building, what beauty it holds.

After I was done here I had just enough time to get to the restaurant to meet them. It was so wonderful to see them, not having seen them since September. To catch up and hear how the drive was down from the Upper Peninsula. After lunch we headed south separately for a time on dry roads and under blue skies. Eventually he turned east and us west, all of us journeying towards our homes.

Joining Helen for Weekend Walks.