It’s Rondy Time!!

It’s that time of year again; the days are getting shorter, the temps are dropping and so are the leaves. The fall colors are beginning to show their stuff as chlorophyll production shuts down. Cooler temps during the day encourage long sleeves. A fire in the wood stove takes the chill out of the morning downstairs. In the gardens the tomato plants have been cranking out those beautiful red, juicy, flavorful gems that we will be longing for in February, the last round of big, plump ruby-red raspberries are upon us, as are the last of the peppers, and anything else the deer haven’t eaten.

At times the kitchen smells of wonderful things: tomatoes being readied for canning for salsa, chili, or spaghetti sauce, of apples being turned into that homemade sauce that beats anything from a store, of one more batch of raspberry, plum, chokecherry, or grape jelly, of those cool weather “comfort” foods we all love this time of year.

Outside the grass has slowed down(ours never really dried up this summer, even without watering; we have heavy soil), the summer perennials have sung their song, providing color for the yard and table, the mums and asters are just beginning to start their show. And the smell of fresh-cut grass has a different aroma to it than it did in July- the smell of fall, of football, of drier air, of the fun that is yet to come before the snow arrives.

The woods and waters are different too. There is an aroma of death and decay that strangely enough gets you excited, energized, especially if you like to pursue wild game with the hopes of providing the table with tasty meals. Your senses are heightened, you seem to notice little things that were passed over a month ago. Little things noticed that could now, during the hunting season mean the difference between going home with food for the table or just having a good day in the woods. Yes, even a day without game to bring home is still a good day. Especially in the fall.

On the waters things have been changing as well. Just two weeks ago we finished up our wild rice season, having a great year(for us), wishing we had more time to pull in some more, to watch the woodies and mallards jump up right before us, so full of rice some had difficulty gaining altitude. And marveling at the vast numbers of Soras(shorebird) that waited until the bow of the canoe was upon them before popping up and flying just as far as they needed to get out of our way.

Even though they were competing for the same rice, it was fun to watch the flowing, undulating, squeaking flocks of red-winged blackbirds in flocks of several hundred that at times appeared to be a single organism with their perfectly synchronized twisting and turning flight resembling a giant, air-borne leech as they roam about the rice looking for the best feast. All day long. A wild rice bed in the late summer is a super market for many species; luckily there’s enough to go around.

It’s that time of year again, when the Black Powder Beagles put on their annual Black Powder Shoot. This year’s event is October 13th and 14th. Again south of Avon, MN. Here we get out and do a little camping, shooting, eating, and generally have good clean fun. Did I mention the public is invited? Our event is held for fun, but as per our BPB mission, it’s an educational event as well. Many people are not all that familiar with black powder, so we demonstrate how to load and shoot. If someone who’s never shot one before wants to give it a try we’ll take them through it step by step. We have traditional guns as well as modern inlines on hand. We also have a variety of archery equipment to try, again showing people how-to. And there’s more. For more info see our Black Powder Shoot page where you’ll see photos from the past as well as this year’s poster. This year’s schedule of events will be on the site soon, check back…

Get out and enjoy what’s been given us,


Back to the BWCA

After a three year hiatus, my wife and I were able to get back to the BWCA. Three years, whatever the reason is just too long. We explored some new territory this year, heading north out of Sawbill Lake up into Cherokee Lake country. It’s about 8 miles to Cherokee, and the route takes you through small lakes and creeks, with only a few portages, the longest 180 rods(320 to the mile).

A nice end to a portage in the BWCA. North Temperance Lake.

The portages were fun, not difficult, and have good character, sometimes overlooking beaver ponds or valleys, often lined with bunchberries which appear to be at their peak of blooming. Along the waterways we spotted good-sized clumps of blue flag iris in full bloom as well as pitcher plant blooms. Wildlife included gulls, geese, countless loons, two moose, beaver, eagles, drumming grouse, a snapping turtle that tried to lay eggs under our fire grate, wolf and moose prints, and a number of songbirds(by song) including ovenbirds, white-throated sparrow, robins, least flycatchers and winter wrens.

Our weather went from warm and sunny to rain, to horizontal rain, to high winds and fog that made the lake look as though we were in the middle of whiteout conditions during a blizzard, to temps in the mid forties. Hot drinks and snacks were quite welcome on those days.


The bunchberries were in full bloom.

We spent some time exploring and found a neat little trout lake up a steep log choked portage that doesn’t get much use. Although I caught no fish I need to go back to that one! Nearby is some of the highest and steepest terrain I’ve seen in the BWCA. One little lake appeared to be at the bottom of a granite quarry. Needless to say the portages in that area were quite rocky, and with the humidity being high and the portages being shaded the rocks never dried out, making for some slippery conditions. In those instances you really tend to watch your feet while you are hefting a pack and canoe. It was here along a 100 rod portage about half way through a 13 mile day trip that the portage yoke thwart on the canoe broke, landing the canoe on my head, throwing me for a loop and causing me to struggle to maintain my balance on the rocks, straining a muscle in my back in the process. After a few choice phrases I reached into my pack to put on a long-sleeved shirt because the mosquitoes were taking advantage of the situation and the DEET I had applied on the last portage had since been rinsed off by my sweat and my wife had the DEET in her pack 50 rods ahead. Low and behold in my pack was the duct tape which I thought was 7 miles away at camp. AHA! We were able to double carry the canoe(not easy when you can’t avoid stepping on uneven wet rocks) to the end of the portage where there was a breeze and the DEET. I found a short piece of curved beaver wood that fit the curve of the yoke and made Red Green proud with my liberal use of duct tape. We were able to finish the day and the trip with the splinted yoke. The trip ended in typical fashion: we started the trip into a head wind, so why not finish the trip the same way. Making good time coming out we also made good time on the drive home and made it to my niece’s graduation party by 7:30. It was a long and full day. And a fun trip!


Here we go!

Welcome to the Black Powder Beagles webpage. Here you can find out who we are, what we do, our philosophy, learn how to become a member, and maybe find a way back to your roots; see how traditional values and methods are still relevant today. You can also join our discussions and share ideas. Finally be sure to browse our BPB Images link to see our photography. The website is a work in progress so check back to see recent updates and check out upcoming events and seasons.

Aim small,