Singing Flower Studio is located on the westernmost part of Lake Superior in the summers. We settle here from late May until early October, because it is so beautiful. It is also cold. We are about 60 miles from Duluth, Minnesota, the western port of the Great Lakes. Ships enter at the St. Lawrence Seaway to the east and navigate their way to Duluth carrying loads of fuel oil, and other imports, and carry loads of grain and lumber away. Our Canadian neighbors share our lake, and share our stewardship.
As a child, I lived near Lake Ontario, the eastern lake of the five Great Lakes. At girl scout camp we tipped our canoes over in a small bay and tried to avoid the dead fish that filled the beaches during that sad time in Lake Ontario’s history. So, in some ways, Lake Superior seems like my childhood home.
Our old-fashioned roses are just starting to bloom here. They have a wonderful fragrance and create fresh sweet rosewater this time of year. Our Finnish predecessors planted them before we moved here. This area had no major road from Minnesota until the 1940s, so settlers in 1920 came by train from Chicago or by boat from Duluth. The cold weather felt familiar to the Finnish settlers who farmed and fished here. It was a Finnish-American family who planted these fragrant roses in front of this house.
Like so many fragrant roses, they only bloom for about ten days every year. I pick the roses early in the cool morning and put them into my primitive distiller right away. By reversing the lid of my glass baking dish, I make a primitive still with ice in the reservoir created on top of the lid. The rose water that results has a touch of essential oils and smells wonderful.
I tried this with lilacs one time, but the fragrance was fugitive and only lasted a few days. Too bad for those of us who love the fragrance of lilacs.
In the little towns of Port Wing and Cornucopia I find open air markets to sell our products. It is one of the pleasures of summer here for me and offers new customers a chance to discover Singing Flower products. If you travel this direction, we have an art
tour the third week of August in Herbster. Or you can enjoy the Plein Air painters exhibition in Port Wing during the first weekend.
Summer is fleeting here. Perhaps it is a bit too hot where you live. If that is the case, consider an escape to the north. Or be outside in the cooler evenings. Don’t let summer get past you without enjoying the elegance of the season.