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  • Charles Ludwig Fuess (Center)

  • The "First Family" in Cuero, Texas

  • Circa 1970 ...

  • More circa 1970 ...

  • The Brothers ...

  • Fine lookin' group of Fuess men ..

  • Bernie Fuess Wake

  • Trillium - Rare Michigan Forest Flower

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Our cottage in the North Woods finally got its winter coat on. This winter 2020-2021 has, until now (late January), been quite mild with almost no snow to speak of. Unlike previous years when the lakes were 90+ percent frozen over there is very little ice to support the ice fishermen. Here's a little history of the house.

The house was built by Charles Larson Sr., Natasha's grandfather, in 1914. The foundation is made from stones collected in the Rock area and is a trademark of Charles Larson Sr.'s construction. It has, with one exception, been continuously owned by a member of the Larson family. Unfortunately, many of the interior walls and doors had been altered by the non-Larsons so only a few of the original lath and plaster walls remain intact. After extensive restoration the interior has been restored to the original layout and is kept in original condition to the extent possible. This and Natasha's Swedish cooking made Vårt Älskade Hem a favorite bed and breakfast destination for visitors to Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

During the late 1800's and early 1900's one did not go to a lumber yard to purchase construction supplies. All of the wood used in the construction of the home had to be cut from the surrounding forest and hand milled. Except for the modern materials used in the restoration, all of the timbers in the house are original (thus a 2x4 was actually 2" by 4"!). During this period the second floor was devoted to boarding Charles' logging crew and Bertha (Natasha's grandmother) made the meals and pies on her cast iron wood stove. She also made numerous apple pies daily using apples from their apple orchard out back to sell in the Larson Store in downtown Rock. While the apple orchard along with the barn and shop was demolished in a tornado, we still have 25+ producing apple trees scattered among the pines at the forest edge. Of course, eventually the UP grew up and so did the Larsons. With logging on the decline and the need for schools arising, Charles built two churches and a school in Rock (among many, many other buildings and homes). Natasha's father, Charles Larson Jr., and his many brothers attended the Rock School and the Larson house became the boarding house for Rock's school teachers. (Elsewhere on this web site you will find Charles Jr."s description of what it was like to grow up in this house.)

While the restoration is essentially complete, we still undertake yearly projects to replace some of the older elements (windows, doors, etc.) with newer always taking care not to introduce modern technology when we can find "like original" components. I did, however, build a complete wood shop onto the back of the garage to facilitate the manufacture of decorative pieces (Swedish door lintels, moldings, etc) used  throughout the house.

Here's a little joint project my wife Natasha and I did. The scene is a European castle rendered in cross stitch which took Natasha a year and 6 days to complete (working daily I might add!). I designed and made the custom frame out of a piece of Amish Walnut.

Although I have always been too shy to do so in public, I've always enjoyed playing the piano. My grandmother, a violinist from the Boston Conservatory, started to teach me piano when I was 8 years old. But after a few years when I started to play Boogie Woogie and stuff she left in disgust never to return for another lesson. In early 2011 I noticed that my hands were getting ever worse with arthritis so I thought it was about time I preserved a few of my favorite pieces. The Riffs and Variations on a Theme are my creations, Moonlight Sonata is Beethoven's of course and the Preludes are Chopin's. The Well Tempered Clavier, Vol I No 1 is Bach and is also known as his Ave Maria but is so different from Schubert's variation that you really can't sing to it. And finally Photo Jaunie is one of the most beautiful creations by the Canadian Composer André Gagnon (I'm sorry André that I cannot do it justice but perhaps people who gear it will look you up and buy your albums!). I hope you enjoy hearing these as much as I have enjoyed playing them.

01 - David's Riff Variation 1

02 - First Variation On A Theme

03 - Moonlight Sonata  
 04 - Photo Jaunie  
 05 - Prelude Op 28 No 4  
 06 - Prelude Op 28 No 20  
 07 - Second Variation On A Theme  
 08 - Well Tempered Clavier, Vol I No 1  
09 - David's Riff Variation 2  

 

A recent wood working magazine had an article on constructing a 17th century scroll box. So I got to thinking about how a modern artist might render it using today's technology. Here's the result

Paying tribute to my Celtic roots I decided to add a Tree of Life top.

The scroll sides are cut in Walnut while the top and bottom are Tiger Maple.