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Okay. The Keewanaw Peninsular in winter is bloody amaaaazing.

The snow on the trees is like every Christmas card you've ever seen, squared. Robert Frost would slit his wrists. Bev Doolittle could hide a whole army of piebald elephants in it. It's incredible stuff. Birch trees everywhere, looking pale and papery, fir trees covered in great blobs and globules of snow. We drove by Lake Superior, where the water was grey and the sky was grey and the waves rolled against black rocks, with white snow and immense fringes of icicles. The ice that piles up on the rocks is the palest blue-green, the exact color of--well, to eschew romanticism in favor of accuracy, it's the exact color of Daquiri Ice sherbet from Baskin Robbins. Since it provides the only color in a completely monochromatic landscape (with maybe a hint of deep earth red at places along the shore) it's a gorgeous effect, as well as giving one a vague craving for ice cream.

We stopped at Lake Bailey, which is frozen solid now and covered in snow, and Tom and I shuffled a few hundred yards through the snow to check out a broken line of coyote tracks. The view of forest and hillside covered in snow was incredible. The silence was incredible. My mother's attempts to photograph things through the window of the moving car...well, perhaps not so incredible, but we give her points for effort, anyway.

Also, I have eaten a pastie. Most of us probably know pasties as the things used to cover stripper nipples, but in this case, it appears to be a local dish, rather like a dry pot-pie in a thin crust. A kind of Yooper calzone. The crust may be more or less leathery, and the interior contains meat, onion, potato, rutabaga, and so forth. (What this may say about the size and consistency of Yooper stripper nipples--Christ, try saying that five times fast--is open to debate.)

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I own five acres a few acres miles outside Houghton--

and your travelogue is making me seriously homesick.

The pasty is indeed of Cornish origin, but the UP Finnish iron and copper miners took them to heart so that they have become, in a weird retroactive sort of way, a traditional Finnish dish.

I forgo rutabagas, however, and make them with beef, onion, potato, and carrot. I do tend to overwork my pie-crust doughs so that rather than flaky, they turn out somewhat tough--delicious but rugged.

It turns out that for a pasty, this is a good thing. They were meant to travel in miners' lunch boxes; indeed, there are contests held wherein pasties are dropped down a vertical mine shaft for distances up to 100 feet. It was deemed good if they survived the fall. Flaky crusts simply cannot do that.

For noshing, the pasties were reheated over the flame of the miner's headlamp.

I wish my grandmother or mother were still around. They could tell you about the Great Snow in the winter of '38 when they skied out of the second-storey window, and my grandmother plowed right into a bear crossing the road.

Speaking of pictures..

We want pictures!!!

Is that a second storey where the first storey is on ground level, or where the first storey is the one above the one at ground level?

I recall hearing that pasties were kept warm by virtue of being stuffed down the miner's shirt. Perhaps there is something to this nipple thing after all...

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