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And the River won.... as it always does eventually......

 Flooded out (but not down......)..Mitch Kezar talked me into this shot and it ended up being at 7 PM, exactly about the time the river crested, we hope.  It should be said he was just as wet as I was. 

Flooded out (but not down......)..Mitch Kezar talked me into this shot and it ended up being at 7 PM, exactly about the time the river crested, we hope.  It should be said he was just as wet as I was. 

Dear all,

Holy crap!  That was a week!  It seems never a dull moment around here. I’m not sure if it was the fact that a week ago I un-invited rain to the Summer Solstice Celebration (I should definitely have shown more respect) or because of Phil Mueller’s lovely photos of water that were displayed on our walls that invoked even more water, or because of the climate changing.  Whatever it was  too much for our old building and we had to let it go back to the river.

For those of you following along, I’ll try to tell the story.  This is the long version.

A few years ago the city proposed buying my building and helping me to relocate downtown.  Being open to that in theory, we started looking at available buildings and exploring what that would mean exactly.  With the city planning to move forward on a flood wall this summer, we considered several buildings and verified that building a kitchen, especially in an old building is very, very expensive.  When Muchos Amigos across the street closed, we took a look to see if that would be a suitable site.  In the last couple months we have moved forward with a purchase agreement on 248 River Street and last Tuesday night, the city approved a purchase agreement to buy our present building.  We signed it on Friday. Whew!  

On Thursday it rained in Glenco and the flood prediction went to 20.6 feet.  The highest we’ve seen since we owned the building is 20.3 and that was under early Spring, melting conditions rather than June, saturated ground conditions.  We started taking equipment out of the lowest part of our building, the store room on Friday while Erik Brandt entertained a crowd.  On Saturday we closed down to coffee service and prepared the pumps and 50 volunteers place a  bazillion sand bags all around the building.   The difficulty is that there is no room behind our building for the city to place a clay wall.  We’re simply too close to the river and so they have no choice but to put the wall in front of us to protect the town.  

We relocated our Summer Solstice event to my house on high ground, since the food was already prepared and our rock star staff was willing to take it on. About 40 people showed up to celebrate midsummer and we had a cheery and positive outlook.  And then the prediction went to 21 feet.

We rented more trash pumps and organized volunteers to take shifts throughout the day and night to keep them gassed up.  The city told us they would open the clay wall to let us get more things out of the building and that they would have to shut off gas, electric and water at 6 PM.  At about 4 in the afternoon we put out a call for help to move things out of the building and by 5:25 everything we wanted out was on trailers, in trucks and moved to high ground.  Unbelievable!!!

On Sunday night Brad and I both got a good night sleep and in the morning we were able to think more clearly.  Bob VanLith, the fire chief,  alerted us to the dangers of the saturated ground and I realized that with the ground oozing water and looking at several more grueling 24 hour days of pumping and the ever present danger of the river going even higher, we were fighting an uphill and possibly dangerous battle.  There are several big trees on the riverbank that could give way and the eroding action of the swirling river could cause a foundation that has withstood almost a century of assaults by fast flowing water to collapse.  Not to mention the tricky business of monitoring the water height in the basement, not too high, not too low,  so as not to come over the floor but also not create too little water in the basement so the pressure on the outside of the walls would cause them to collapse.  And then there are the trials of working in the dark with the roar of pumps and generators in slippery, muddy, wet conditions.

After emptying the kitchen to the highest part of the building and making a plan for the orderly removal of the pumps, at 3 PM we turned them off and with the last crowd of volunteers, watched the water flow into the building from the patio and up through the floor from the basement.   It was an amazing sight.

Yesterday afternoon I met with my team of leaders and they helped shape our plan over the next few months.  Our first concern being to find jobs for our displaced workers and dealing with storing and housing the contents of the building including a lot of perishables.  

It was a sad day and I’m sure it hasn’t hit me fully yet.  I am moved by the outpouring of love and caring that has been exhibited by everyone.  It is clear to me that if I ever had a thought of locking the doors and walking away, and yes, it crossed my mind once or twice,  it is simply not possible.  The encouragement and willingness of people to lend their shoulder to the wheel is heartening.  It is clear to me, that we are most certainly not islands and to withstand what life throws at us we are dependent on others to support us and call up our courage to go on. 

I plan to tie up some loose ends and go up north to enjoy the quiet and company of my family for a couple days.  Then we’ll move ahead with the purchase of the new building and begin work.  Over a year ago, Brad and I had planned a 3 week trip to France in late July of this year.  The timing looked dicey but as it turns out, it couldn’t be more perfect.  I look forward to taking a break and being inspired and energized to come back and build an even better Three Crows and reopen in the Fall.  

Today my heart is overflowing with gratitude for all the people that make my life rich beyond measure.  I know you appreciate having a place to call your third home, you’ve made that infinitely clear to me over the years. My unskilled attempt at creating  a place for community with your kindness and patience has turned into a thriving business over the last almost 10 years and  my vision for a place for real food, great music and peace in the world, remains the same.

I will continue to write to you on a weekly basis.  I hope you come along, we have many more adventures ahead of us.

Love to you all,

Gina 

 

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Three Crows vs the Crow River

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Three Crows vs the Crow River

Dear all,

What a difference a few days of rain make. The Crow River is now predicted to crest at 20.6'--about 4 inches higher than Three Crows has had to withstand so far.

Since we will be on the wrong side of the city's flood defense wall, we're preparing to protect the cafe with sandbagging and round-the-clock pumping.

Sand and bags to fill will be available starting at 9 am tomorrow. Volunteers are welcome. If you know how to run a trash pump, we're looking for volunteers to take a shift manning the water pumps.

Regarding the cafe's schedule:

Tonight our cafe will be open as usual for Friday night date night, with music by Erik Brandt & the Hillbilly Quartet.

We'll be open tomorrow 7am to around 11am. The regular menu will not be offered, but coffee, pastries and quiche are available.

Saturday's Summer Solstice Event has been moved to higher ground, and has become a pig roast and keg party. The cost will no longer be $39, although donations are accepted. Space is still available. Call Three Crows at 763-972-3399 for reservations.

The cafe will be closed Sunday and Monday. We'll keep you updated as schedules change, and let you know when we will reopen for business.

Gina

 

 

 

 

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Rain, rain, go away

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Rain, rain, go away

Dear all,

As of tonight the prediction for the river is down from this morning ’s prediction of less than 16 feet.  The heavy rain went to the south.................

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Water, Wine, and Fire!

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Water, Wine, and Fire!

Dear all,

The River is going down, the skies are clear, it’s June and all is well with the world.  That was a lot of rain and as much as I do love a good thunderstorm….

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Opera Night, almost but not quite sold out

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Opera Night, almost but not quite sold out

Dear all,

This is it.  This is June in Minnesota the most beautiful place on earth.  High of 75, not a cloud in the sky, green everywhere.  The kind of green you feel good standing on with bare feet, that you feel the urge to bathe your body in so as to soak up enough to last through next winter.  It’s all so alive, awake, joyful!  That muggy wave of heat we had last week is best ignored… this is the bomb.    

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Up north report.....

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Up north report.....

Dear all,

 

We’re driving back to the cities today after a brief but sweet weekend up north.  The leaves were budding when we got there, but eighty degree weather coaxed them out to 80% in no time.  The trillium are blooming, the peepers are really loud, the loons are singing, the mosquitos are ferocious and the ticks, yes there are ticks.

In other words, it’s blissful inside and as always, good to get away................

 

 

 

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April showers bring May flowers......

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April showers bring May flowers......

Despite the weather, summer is coming.  Even though temperatures have been cold, the violets are blooming, the leaves are coming out.   The plants and birds find encouragement in the slightest increases of light, warmth and rain calling for more life!  It can not be helped............

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Homemade jelly makes things sweet......

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Homemade jelly makes things sweet......

Dear all,

One of my favorite things is the light green haze that precedes the green leaves every Spring.  There is something fairylike about the delicate shades of coloring on the tops of the trees. This phenomenon is best enjoyed at a distance, and since I live surrounded my trees, I need to take a drive to open spaces to best appreciate it.  Like so many of the seasonal changes, it’s fleeting …and if I miss it,  it will be a whole year until it comes around again.......

 

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Magic.......

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Magic.......

Dear all,

The river is going down, the crocus are up, I slept with the window open last night, the sun was out yesterday and all is well with the world. Exhale. 

This weekend was prom in Delano and several of our staff being of prom age, attended.  I wish I had photos of them all to share.  Watch Facebook and you might be able to catch them.   

On the same night, Emily Lynch (many of you remember her from her time here at Three Crows) was married and her wedding was the inaugural event in the Delano Commons.  She and Phil made a handsome pair against the backdrop of the new space.  We wish them well! .................

 

 

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Ignoring the snow and focussing on May Day!

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Ignoring the snow and focussing on May Day!

Dear all,

It’s snowing outside my window right now…..and Buzzy our cat is as unhappy about being stuck inside as I am. Yes the river is going up.  So far the predictions are not indicating flood conditions, but they only take into account the next 24 hours of weather forecast when making i their predictions so we’re starting to pray the rain finds its’ way around our watershed like it did last year. 

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Earth Day Presents!

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Earth Day Presents!

Dear all,

In the last week we've seen the first thunderstorm, first green buds, crocus blooming, sweater weather…….

Today is Earth Day. I was curious about the beginning of Earth Day so, what else?, I looked it up on the Google.  Like the origin of many celebrations, the beginning is a bit of a story.  Here’s the short version.  If you want more, you know where to find it....

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Music, music, music

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Music, music, music

The snow is gone and nothing much has started to grow. It’s like a Friday night or Christmas Eve, only fat buds and anticipation of things to come.  On Sunday we ventured out to tackle the yard.  With (most) of the snow gone now, we had a chance of clearing the fall and winter debris.....

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Stirrings from underground

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Stirrings from underground

Dear all,

April is a funny month.  Everything is thawing out, the snow is disappearing, the sun is warm no matter what the temperature outside.  The view out the dirty, smudged windows is brown and filthy and yet….. you can feel the stirring.....

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Three Crows and April Fool's Day!

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Three Crows and April Fool's Day!

Dear all,

Happy April Fool’s Day!  I was curious about the origins of this non-holiday and found many stories about where it might have come from but as with most folkways, there seem to be sources in every culture,...

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Three Crows and Eggs!

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Three Crows and Eggs!

Dear all,

Weather: no comment except to say, thank goodness for the sun moving higher and higher in the sky. At least now, when we have temperatures in the single digits, the sun still causes...

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Three Crows and Wine Club Tonight

Three Crows and Wine Club Tonight

Dear all,

My new favorite activity is watching the snow melt, hopping over puddles and opening my bedroom window at night to let in some fresh air.  One true thing is...

Three Crows and a New Website!

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Three Crows and a New Website!

Dear all,

What a wondrous age we live in.  Yesterday, our immediate family collectively travelled 5700.45 miles.  I drove back and forth to Three Crows and to the grocery store...

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Three Crows and a New Menu!

Three Crows and a New Menu!

Dear all,

Well, we’re starting to think we need to buy flood insurance….. not that anyone is forecasting a flood this Spring.  But let’s face it, we all sleep better...