Wednesday, June 07, 2006

the folky farm experience

At Mr. Kubas’ behest, he, Jennifer Dens, and I departed this evening for exotic Pine River and the famed Folkeringa home, alternately described as the Folkeringa Plantation and, best of all, the Folky Farm. Gracia had entertained us all with stories of their new, barn-based lifestyle, replete with four-wheelers and dead mice. Example: during the recent hot spell, when things got too warm in Folky Villa, the most obvious solution was to cut a new window out of the wall.

[The exotic scenery of a "Native" of Pequot Lakes]

The main house in particular was singled out for unappealing description by Ms. Folkeringa. She had provided such a sordid description that we figured we could pick out the house without much help. It would be the one made of mud brick with a thatched roof and a stench cloud visible at 5 miles rising above it.

[***Editor's Note: Not the actual Folky Farm]

After crossing paths with this house on County Road 1, we soon learned the REAL Folky Farm was located on County Road 2. The Kuehn Van (infamously dubbed "The Mustachemobile") was flying down the highway at 40 MPH in genuine anticipation. After unintentionally passing the Folky Farm once, twice, then three times, we discovered even more Pine River "mansions" and the "Manleyest" mailbox in all of America.

We debated as to whether the numerous chickens would run merely around the yard or within the house itself. We knew that the Folkeringas were good people, but we still worried that after six months of Pine River living, their home life had degraded into one long sit on the front porch swing, needlepoint and whittling for Gracia and Jacob, respectively, while Mr. Folkeringa strums a banjo and sucks a piece of wheat and Mrs. Folkeringa sews a quilt for Gracia’s promise chest.

Once we arrived, however, all our hopes for transport back to a simpler, nobler, agrarian past were lost when the house turned out to be actually rather nice.

While waiting for Jacob to return from "work," we were delighted to observe the interior of the Folky Farm. One never knows what you might discover! ...likewise, it may be very difficult to interpret the foreign language from Pine River.

Kubas used his super-strength to help Gracia move some furniture and we bathed in the soft gold and maroon of Jacob’s Gopher den. While we were used as guinea pigs to test out food for Gracia’s grad party, the house as a whole was disappointingly pleasant.

Even when the tour continued into the farm proper, the Folkeringa plantation as a whole stayed unfortunately nice. Later joined by Jacob, we toured the three barns: the Kitchen Tune-Up barn (filled with nails, boards, and some very silly jugs), the vehicle barn (home to Jake’s comically large ATV, the “Big Bear 400”), and the most interesting structure—the white barn.

Ah, the white barn, (we don't actually have a picture of it) home to Jake’s favorite dentist/fake seizure chair, two Frisbees, and three, count ‘em three, Razor scooters, which seems to me a rather silly amount for a family with two children and no pavement on their property. Kubas and I found some space on the street and soon took solace in the pure freedom of the open road.

The most enticing feature of the white barn, however, was the adjoining (two-seater!) outhouse. Kubas had long heard of this mystical structure from Jacob, and the two engaged in some manly conversation while astride their respective thrones. The two quickly improvised when reading material proved scarce.

When we tired of Frisbee and the Folkeringa hound, we set off in Jake’s bandy-mobile for glittering Pine River. I wanted to just have a quiet night on the town (or as quiet as possible, given the inevitable wackiness and excitement of any time spent in Pine River), but Kubas and Jacob were determined to raise Purgatory and paint the town gray.

Dairy Queen, as the bustling hub of this swirling, pulsating metropolis, seemed the perfect place to start our whirlwind tour. We ordered our thousand calorie snacks and familiarized ourselves with some of the more personable elements of Pine River. Jacob pressed the flesh while Kubas began his quest to learn more about his new town. Question one: What does one call a person from Pine River? Our friendly server claimed the proper title was “River Rats,” but we remained skeptical.

[Editor's Note: This was the nicest guy in the world! He deserves a raise!]

Just across the way was the noble Freedom Park, 1000 square feet of genuine pure American free (but not "free") soil. The soil was practically still wet with the blood, sweat, and tears of the men who fought to keep it liberated. We had some fun with the memorial and Gracia learned to obey the rules of the park…the hard way.

As we contemplated our veterans’ ultimate sacrifice and ate our ice cream, we realized that we were not alone. Two cars were full of mysterious persons, shrouded in mystery and blue smoke. We had inadvertently stumbled upon the other side of Pine River, the seamy underbelly, the stinky underarm, the festering athlete’s foot of the city. Two cars of rowdy teens, so addled by a combination of hormones and paint thinner that Kubas had to ask them what they called themselves a few times to get a straight answer.

Kubas: What do you call a person from Pine River?
Jack Uppercut/Rock Strongo/Rowdy Teen 1: Bad-ass mutha-fucka.

Jake drove by them two more times as the rest of us gave muffled protests and prayed for safe delivery from switchblades and Molotov Cocktails. The worst we got was a woozy middle finger.

Our tour expanded out, over the majestic dam, through the idyllic campground, and down the historic (and hilariously short) main street. Our worries about the sordid state of affairs for youth in Pine River these days were alleviated by the well-meaning crowd outside the youth center. We got big stares each of the first three time Jake cruised by, then a round of applause the last time. Good kids.

We closed out our magical evening at the local elementary/middle/high/graduate school. From here on out, we mostly just found things to climb so Jennifer could take pictures of us atop them. On the rather nice basketball courts, Kubas let out his inner monster and performed a truly amazing feat of agility, a feat made possible, no doubt, by his al quaeda training camp experience. I hope the video turns out, Jen…

In the end, Pine River was not what we expected. There were no flower print dresses, no barn raisings—hell, we didn’t see one chicken. But we did find something else, something more than a mere bucolic paradise. We found a town filled with promise and potential, brimming with community spirit and pride, full to bursting with youth (both misguided and well intentioned) and energy. With the Folkeringa family at its head, this hot young town is on the move, leading the charge into the new millennium. So everybody, get on board! This train is leaving the station! This train is bound for glory!

Special Thanks:
[Writers: (mostly) Max, (some) Kubas]
[Editor: Kubas]
[A HUGE thanks to Jennifer Dens for all her hard work helping us with the pictures!!! She was the best guest-contributor we could have had!]
[Tip of the Hat to the entire Folkeringa family! What hospitality! What cuisine! What a dog! What a lifestyle!]
[Special high fives go out to Jake and Gracia for allowing us to invade thier private property]
[The entire Pine River city deserves a warm "Thank You!" from the entire Mustache Nation.]
[I'm giving myself an A+ for the genius mind to upload each and every picture by means of HTML mode.]

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At 10:24 PM, June 07, 2006, Blogger 3_the_hard_way said...

Another Manly success. Now only if Alan Hewitt would be a contributor, then this place would truly be the Manliest.

At 10:47 PM, June 07, 2006, Blogger la rana said...


At 11:55 PM, June 07, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

good post.

At 9:14 AM, June 08, 2006, Blogger Kid C said...

So how does the Pine River trip compare to the Barrows trip?

At 10:09 AM, June 08, 2006, Blogger the dain train said...

bravo, i should go to pine river sometime

At 9:42 PM, June 08, 2006, Blogger keuber said...

i bet alan hewitt is in daytona right now...basking in the glorious sun... have a "PhD"

At 9:46 PM, June 08, 2006, Blogger m_kummet said...

if you guy's didn't visit the Sunset Cinema i reccomend it ("just past the A-pine")
aka: in the middle of the field just past the tractors

At 5:04 PM, June 09, 2006, Blogger Samwalkertron said...

I don't think you know what the word "infamous" means.


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