PAGES FROM TIME
Soon after the original cabin was built in 1958, Cal Mork started a tradition a visitors’journal, aptly named the “Guest Log. Highlighting family and friends’ antics, it paints a vivid picture of time well-spent at the cabin. Take a leaf from Cal’s blog and start your own guest journal.
She cabin otters Janelle. When I was a baby, my mom bathed me in the kitchen sink, savs (.jinny. “I have a picture of my daughter, Anna, taking a bath in the same sink that is still present in the renovated cabin.
Among other mementos from the old days arc Cals deer trophy, a model boat on top of the hutch, and the Dutch hex sign above the front door. After being married for 66 years, Cal passed away at the age of 101 in 2008. Unfortunately, he was unable to see his remodeled gem.
But his ingenuity is evident throughout. (Cal even repurposed a tuna can. which he painted red, to house the connection of the kitchen light to the ceiling. The light fixture still hangs complete with tuna can.)
Cal’s woodworking skills were definitely passed dowrn to his grandsons. Jett crafted the blue hutch in the living room as well as bedroom furniture, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and a corncr booth for the original dining table. A whimsical bathroom mirror, along wirh exterior and screen doors are also his handiwork. The decor is a bit ol an eclectic mix of items that have been in the cabin for a long time, as well as new additions. It’s nothing fancy, as it still is a cabin. Jeff says with affection.
The old cabin was a garhering spor, beckoning people ro enjoy rhe quiet life and hospitality of the Morks. At the end of the driveway, a sign shaped like an old-fashioned coffee pot read Var sa god” as a nod to Cal and Esthers Norwegian heritage. The phrase lias different meanings to Scandinavians, but at this cabin it meant Please enjoy welcome.” And many people did come and enjoy this cabin. A journal, started in 1958 by Cal, chronicles the adventures ol family and guests over the next fifty-four years. “It holds hundreds of fascinating entries and lake stories. ’ says Matt Balmer. “Most entries were by folks telling of their stay and thanking my grandparents. from the beginning, good times abounded: swimming, making fudge on rainy days, picking blueberries, and other familiar rites of summer. Rides on Cal’s homemade pontoon boat the first on the lake were always an adventure. The Morks also hosted large family reunions. “I’m not sure how they fit, but they did. Sarah says. “I remember people sleeping all over the floor.
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The third generation Matt. Jeff, and their cousins Cinny and Mary spent countlcss hours waterskiing. knccboarding, and making items out of wood to tow behind the boat. T wo old mini-bikes were commissioned for fun for when the kids were not in the water.
Now. their children spend countless hours engaged in the same water activities minus the woodworking. JefTeven purchased a mini-bike. Sometimes the family ventures into the nearby town of Crosslake for treats at The Chocolate Ox. an old-fashioned candy store in the town square. On Saturday nights, people flock to the town square for the live music. “We often hit that and grab a pizza from Rafferty’s Pizza, another of our favorite stops, says Jeff. Crosslakc is a small vacation town, where you know most of the people in the winter and very few in the summer! But it’s a growing community as more people retire to their lakehomes.
The Balmers cabin continues the family heritage Var si god!
The patio gives the owners room to expand and entertain In the summer, which is the busy time at the cabin.
The owner’s wish list for her new retreat Included a cottage feel, lots of windows, nnd nice finish materials.
Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “He that can have patience can have what he will. Boy, did cabin owner Gayle Litchv have paticncc! Alter twenty-five years, she finally realized her dream of owning a cabin by the lake.
“I’ve had this dream lor as long as I can remember, Gayle soys. “I probably was influenced in large part by my parents’ lake home, which they built in 1976. But Gayles dream cabin wasn’t going to come ready-made. “I’ve always had an interest in someday building a custom home. I really liked the idea of being able to figure out the spaces you want, the materials to use, and then finally decorating, all wrhile trying to stay within a certain budget.