The Ultimate Investment

A Tale From Quarantine

Its a 7 am mid week, mid quarantine morning. Steam rises from my coffee as I sit at my kitchen table looking out the window. I can see the sun peeking through the trees. It has been ten or so days under doctors orders to quarantine. My wife and I are starting to feel some physical relief from the tight-chest, sore throat, and slew of other symptoms we have experienced in the past days. With that relief comes with a poking motivation to do something. I briefly scan some of the news articles full of bad economic news, market crashes, and the pandemic gripping our country. It has been easy to sulk in the bad news, but this morning with adversity rearing its ugly head, there has never been a better time to make an investment.

Surprise Stock Holder Meeting

With any good investment, you need to have sound advice.  This particular morning, I have just the source. In fact, I have three (my kids). The whites of little eyes appear in my kitchen as the kids wake up. One by one they filter in.  Unbeknownst to them, they have been promoted to investment consultants and will be contributing advice as to how our investment will go. Shortly behind them appears my Chief Financial Officer (my wife). Over cereal and eggs, we commence our morning meeting. The dress code at this particular meeting is very lax; lots of footy pajamas and flannel pants. Ideas flow like the trickle of melting snow down the driveway. Everyone has their two cents on what type of investment we should make. After heated discussion, and with everything currently going on in our country, the decision is made that this morning in quarantine is a good time to invest. img_1667

Tools of the Investment

The kids don their winter gear and I assemble the necessary tools to make the investment. I don’t reach for a computer, or cell phone. I do not call my financial advisor or turn to my 401k portfolio. I collect some red solo cups and grab my rifle. Not just any rifle either. From deep in the gun cabinet I pull out my very first rifle; a rusty single shot .22 bolt action rifle with iron sights. This particular gun is the first rifle I learned to shoot on and have carried many miles through the woods. The investment I prepare to make with my kids is not a financial one but an investment of time.

I lined up red solo cups with a safe backstop and with the family all accounted for, one at a time, (with Dad’s help of course) little fingers load .22 shorts into the chamber, slide the bolt forward, and plink away at the red targets. Chunks of snow fly, smiles widen, and excited little voices squeak sounds of pure excitement.  We occasionally stop to talk strategy, and tips on safe firearm practices, and that although there is a time and place for squirrel hunting, now is not the time. We conclude our quarantine range session and the kids go about their merry way playing outside leaving me to clean the old rifle and reflect.


Paying Dividends

With the pandemic at hand and the crashing of the economy it is easy to be swept into frustration and negativity. One thing that no recession can take from you is your time. Investing your time into others, be that may family, or friends, or strangers will always pay dividends eventually. We all make investments into our financial life hoping to one day see the fruits of our labor and enjoy them in retirement. The general consensus is that if you save now eventually your investment will grow and become something great one day. So why not invest equally in your relationships that will hopefully pay dividends later on. For me, the time I invest with my kids now, and the lessons and skills I can teach them now will hopefully benefit me in the long run. The plinking lesson with  my kids will foster memories and hopefully develop them into ethical little hunters, and more importantly, hunting partners of mine when I am old(er) and grey(er). A small investment of time now may just be cure for the quarantine blues and fortify happiness in the long run.


Minneapolis Fur Ban: The “local” Push


A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing

The Minneapolis City Council will consider an ordinance banning all manufacturing and sales of fur related items in the city. The ordinance, which was authored by Council Member Alondra Cano and co-authored by Council Member Cam Gordon, would prohibit the sale and manufacture of animal fur products inside the city limits.

A closer look at the push for the ban will bring you to a group called Fur Free Minneapolis ( Fur Free Minneapolis is an organization whose main goal is to stop the production and sale of fur products. A visit to will introduce you to the group. A click on the “Coalition Partners” link will bring you to a long list of organizations supporting Fur Free Minneapolis such as the national group PETA and more locally groups such as Howling For Wolves; a Minnesota-based organization fighting any type of hunting or trapping of wolves in Minnesota.

In addition to the list of partners on the groups page, you can find this:

Call Script
A script from Fur Free Minneapolis describing word-for-word what to say to your representative

This script, provided by Fur Free Minneapolis, will guide you with a heavy hand and tell you word-for-word what to say to your representative. It lists the numbers and ward to each representative in Minneapolis.

Fur Free Minneapolis describes itself as a “grassroots coalition of volunteers” and makes it seem as though only a few local Minnesotans got together to form a group.  In reality, Fur Free Minneapolis is an extension of its well funded anti-hunting, anti-fur, and anti-sportsman “coalition partners” including the well known group PETA. These same groups have aided in passing legislation in California and currently are pushing for similar legislation in New York City.

The point of this article is not to argue to one way or the other on sale and use of animal based products, but to reveal this for what it is; an attack on hunting and trapping rights of Minnesotans by a broader group of “Coalition Partners”. It is a step towards becoming as “progressive” and “civilized” as those in states such as California. More importantly, It is a loss of rights for businesses and sportsman alike. A loss of rights hidden by the disguise of “animal cruelty”.

I personally love animals. I pet every friendly dog I can. My family has had pet cats, dogs, and even raised a healthy flock of free ranged chickens for eggs. I have distinct memories as a child of bottle feeding orphaned kittens. I was brought up with a clear respect for animals.  I will be the first person in line with torch and pitchfork in the fight against animal cruelty but in my mind, there is a clear distinction between hunting and trapping and animal cruelty and the message put forth by  Fur Free Minneapolis

Furthermore, I believe this is not just a Minneapolis problem, but a problem for broader Minnesota. Minneapolis is a stepping stone on the ultimate goal of these groups which is to ban the sale and manufacture of any and all fur and animal related products in Minnesota. Some may think that conclusion is a stretch, but if you look at California, the statewide fur ban started as an ordinance in cities similar in size to Minneapolis.

I am concerned for the rights of my generation and those that follow. I am concerned these restrictions are the tip of the iceberg and that we will continue to lose our hunting and trapping rights. I am concerened that the history and heritage of Minnesotans, and more so, Americans in general are at risk. I am concerned my children will not have the rights that I do as a sportsman today, and I hope you are too.



Minneapolis Fur Ban and Discrimination


Ignoring Equality

The Minneapolis City Council will consider an ordinance banning all fur sales in the city. The ordinance, which was authored by Council Member Alondra Cano and co-authored by Council Member Cam Gordon, would prohibit the sale and manufacture of animal fur products.

There is an exception in the ban for Native American tribes that use fur for cultural reasons.

The exception on the ban from a distance looks like a good thing and for the Indigenous people that have manufactured and utilized fur products for centuries, it is their right to continue to do so and I fully support that.

There are different opinions on animal products and fur itself and the point of this article is not to argue for or against that. The point of this article is that as Americans, we hold the right to hold our own beliefs. In fact, many people have fought and died in the name of America itself to protect and preserve that freedom. Many have also fought and died and continue to this day to fight for equality and to end discrimination.

What shocks me, is that in 2020, I would be prohibited to participate in an activity (manufacturing or selling fur goods) solely based on my heritage. I would be prohibited to participate in the manufacturing and sale of fur solely based on the fact of my skin color and my ancestry  do not align with the views of the City Council members proposing this ban. Allowing one group to manufacture and sell an item based on their ethnicity and banning another is a blatant violation of the constitution and a slap in the face to anyone who has fought to end discrimination based on ethnicity in this county.

I am concerned that the passing of this ordinance will repeal progress our country has made towards erasing discrimination and for my children’s sake, I hope I am not alone.


Birds Eye View


An Osprey near Big Sandy Lake had chosen a great fishing location, but a poor spot to nest. Osprey primarily eat fish and often times nest near food sources. This particular nest was on a high voltage power line and had to be removed by a Lake Country Power crew. The nest was removed for the safety of the Osprey and to prevent possible power outages and damage to lines.



A Picture Worth A Thousand Words

santa wavePhoto Courtesy of Stacy Smith

At A Glance

On the surface of this photo taken by Stacy Smith of McGregor, you see a snapshot in the life of a young local kid giving Santa the best wave she can. No doubt, a friendly wave to the jolly big guy will solidify her spot atop the nice list and squash any chances of receiving a lump of coal in her stocking. Santa and Mrs. Clause merrily make their way through the streets of McGregor riding in a fire truck (the sleigh must have been in the shop getting prepped for Christmas Eve). If there ever was a perfect scene for a snow globe, this would be it. At a glance, this snapshot could make even the “grinchiest” of hearts grow.

The True Holiday Spirit

To find the true holiday spirit of this photo, you must dive under the thick layers of cuteness and holiday joy and see the picture worth a thousand words. To see that hidden picture you have to look past the belly (that shakes like a bowl full of jelly), under the hat, and through the beard. Under all of that Kris Kringle Holiday Jingle might just lie a first responder selflessly giving his (or her… Mrs. Clause) time back to the community he or she serves.  That big red truck with the flashing lights got to the parade by someone donating a moment of their life. Someone spent their own time during this holiday season to wash that truck, fuel it up, and stock it full of treats to throw some lucky kid along the street. Some one decorating a truck, or trailer, or atv out there just might be a local Police Officer, Firefighter, or Paramedic donating more of his or her time for our benefit. This photo encompasses the benefits and joy we receive from the hard work that all of our first responders and community volunteers do. This picture is one replicated many times over, in many areas across our state.

This effort put forth by these folks is on top of all the work that already goes on behind the scenes to keep our communities safe. So while you celebrate with your family, take time to appreciate that we are all able to sleep well knowing that help is just a phone call away.

Its good to remember:

Twas’ the night before Christmas,

And all through the house,

not a creature was stirring,

not even a mouse,

but if there’s a fire,

or a medical call,

you cant bet someone’s coming,

to handle it all.


Thank you to all the Folks that keep us safe!


Merry Christmas!

Santa Is Coming To Town

… and he rode in a fire truck!

santa wave

Photo Courtesy of Stacy Smith

The small fleet of various floats, trucks and emergency vehicles made it’s way through McGregor Saturday, December 7th capping off a fun filled day of cookies, hot chocolate, and live Christmas Carols!


The floats lined up and made their way down Maddy street and were greeted by wide eyed local kids hoping to snag a piece of candy being tossed from the various vehicles.


The Nathan Fredrickson Logging Truck shifted into full cheer mode and won best in show for the floats!79160212_10221273495328367_2875422064267755520_o



Santa was running the boom and doing a great job keeping all the logs stacked up nice!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the parade and we cant wait for the parade to come to town next year!


Made in McGregor: Goff’s Bay Catering, Salsa & Sauces

Image may contain: drink

The Spoon That Spurred the Man

In my families quest to shop local and find new businesses, we stopped in at the McGregor Sip & Shop early in November. Booths were spread out full of local businesses and artists alike. The first table we stopped at was Goff’s Bay Catering, Salsa and Sauces. I dipped a sample spoon into the corny salsa and moved on to the next table not putting much attention into it. As I walked, the flavors revealed themselves and I knew I had to go back for another visit.  On my return visit, I sampled some of the other salsa’s they had to offer and was impressed again on how good they were. In our small business shopping spree we brought home a jar of the “Corny Salsa” and a bottle of the Johnson Honey they offer. This is a rich honey that has been sweetening up my wife’s tea ever since the show.

A Fresh Take

At our house, we enjoy salsa, and as I write this article, I am baptizing tortilla chips, one by one, in a bowl of “Corny Salsa” from Goffs Bay Catering, Salsa & Sauces. The best way I can describe my salsa eating session today is simply fresh.  When I say simply fresh, I mean that if you told me that the elegant mix of corn, tomatoes, and spices were all just pulled straight from the garden 10 minutes prior to me eating them, I wouldn’t question it one bit.  As a man with questionable self control when it comes to good salsa, I am on the verge of consuming most of the container in one sitting.


Local Ties

Peg and Andy (Froggy) Johnson live on Big Sandy Lake just north of McGregor MN. Peg was born and raised in Duluth, MN. Prior to landing in the McGregor area, Peg lived in South Dakota, Alaska, and most recently Texas. She found herself moving to McGregor to work as the Chef at the Minnesota National golf course with plans to only live here part time before meeting her now husband Andy. Peg has been in the service/restaurant management industry for over 30 years and holds a degree in human services. As Peg puts it, food is her passion and has always had a “hand” in it! Peg found herself working a lot of weekends and holidays all while making and selling hot sauce and salsa as a cottage food producer. She decided it was time to work on her own business and went full time aquiring her catering license in 2018. Peg and Andy are members of the Aitkin Farmers Market, Sustainable Farmers Association, and soon joining the Free Range Owners Coop.  Peg also started the McGregor Area Sip & Shop! This is a gathering of many different local businesses and artists and has been a great success for small business and the community alike. Peg says they do their best to purchase fresh local produce for catering and their products. One bite of their corny salsa has me believing that!

What They Offer


Goff’s Bay Catering, Salsa and Sauces offer catering for small gatherings all the way up to large business meals. They also offer a variety of Salsa’s and Sauces.


The current product list is as follows:

Hot Sauce, Salsa Picante ( 2019 Salsa Fest people’s choice award!) Sissy Salsa, Corny Salsa, Jalapeno Jelly, Chili Fix’ins, BBQ Sauce and Johnson Honey. Peg will be adding 3-4 new sauces to the list!

Where to Find Them

With the ink fresh on the retail application, the salsa and sauces will hopefully be available in local stores in 2020! You can text or email peg directly to purchase any of the products. A fresh jar of local salsa makes a great Christmas present! You can also check out their Facebook page!

Phone: 218-392-0919



A Simple Gesture of Kindness

winter storm warning

It’s cold out there

Let’s face it, winter is here around the McGregor area. Winter Storm Warnings are in full effect If you are in denial, take a step out your front door and shake hands with Jack Frost. Thanksgiving is here and Christmas soon to follow and before I consume an unhealthy amount of turkey I have something to get off my mind. It is always a good time of year especially around thanksgiving to take stock of your blessings. Family, friends, and good health are all great examples of things to be thankful for. I certainly am appreciative for those people and blessings that we have in my family’s little world. Among all the things I am thankful for in my life stands a recent and powerful gesture that I believe is worth sharing.

Busy, Busy, Busy

It was a recent crisp November night, about dinner time and I was working on a project in my shop before dinner. The scene at our household was a common one this time of year; leaky noses, low fevers, and coughs. This particular variety of cold or flu or whatever type of ailment we had contracted was bad. The kids were drained of their usual bounce-off-the-wall energy and weren’t sleeping well and consequently, neither were mom and dad.

Due to a prior commitment, I had a woodworking project to complete and instead of joining the kids on the couch wrapped in blankets, I was making sawdust as the chatter of the scroll saw I was using filled the air. A familiar figure moseyed into my shop and I paused my cutting. My hearty-northland neighbor came over for a quick chat. We shot the breeze for a few minutes and I must have mentioned about the leaky nose convention taking place inside my house. We concluded our conversation and the chatter of the scroll saw continued. Ten minutes went by and soon appeared another hearty-northlander in my shop. The second visitor of the night was my first visitors’ wife bearing gifts of fresh hot soup; a simple gesture of kindness.  We talked for short minute, I thanked her for the soup, and she ventured back home.

Soup That Could Move Mountains

The physical soup itself was great. Tender meat and veggies with a little kick, just how I like it. With every spoonful consumed, I could feel the chill I had acquired in the shop subside. After wolfing down a good portion of the container, an odd feeling tugged at me. The only way I can describe that feeling is one of debt. I don’t believe that a favor done for you requires a return favor, and I’m sure that any gift of soup I could concoct would tasted like old tires, but I felt a need to do something to benefit someone else because of the benefit of soup we had enjoyed. I couldn’t quite figure out how to rid that feeling until now. My way of doing that is by sharing this small snapshot of my life and the lesson I learned from it.

What I Learned

The taste of the soup for me was just a bonus; icing on the cake. The true power of this soup was not in the spices nor the meat. It was not the temperature or the consistency. The power of this soup was in it’s gesture. My casual conversation with my hearty-northlander neighbor sparked a conversation with his wife, which set in motion a series of events that compelled me to share this message.

A simple recognition of need and a gesture of kindness is something I believe we all can benefit from. There are many different avenues of kindness we all can take in our life, but for me, the simple actions wield the greatest results. Hold the door, shovel your neighbors walk, or use any other talents you may hold to better the lives of someone else. You don’t have to take on all the worlds problems and give until you have nothing left, but a simple gesture of kindness just may affect someones life more than you know.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!