“A Season for Every Activity under Heaven”

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven….
A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…. 
[Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 4]

Two friends of mine died last week. One was a high school classmate. Nicki had a very bubbly personality – she was always happy and a fun person to be around, until the last few years. Unfortunately she suffered a long, steady decline from early onset Alzheimer ’s disease. My other friend had been our next door neighbor in Chicago for 13 years. Elaine was also a kind, happy person – always a joy to be around. She was older and her health had been deteriorating over the past few years. She was almost 90 when she died. Both friends have now completed their time of suffering.

As it says in the Bible, life provides ”a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” For me, last week was a time to mourn the deaths of my friends. Now it’s time to move ahead to some happier times. The village of Cambridge is here to help with that by hosting a “Frosty Frolic.”

Cambridge is a nice little town. Some of the businesses decided we needed a special celebration to help us enjoy winter more, so they came up with the idea for a “Frosty Frolic” for this weekend. My brother, Dan Korth, is participating in the celebration by hosting an open house in The Carpentry Shop as well as in his home. He’s inviting people to stop in to look at a fancy bar he’s building in his own family room. The bar is an ornate 1890’s era supper club style bar. I always enjoy looking at his projects. He’s come a long way from his first carpentry project.

Dan's first house

When Dan was a little boy, he knew exactly what he wanted to do when he got big – build things. He built his first house when he was seven. I helped him. That’s the two of us in the picture, hard at work.

Dan got quite a bit fancier in his buildings over the years. He built lots of houses in and around Cambridge. He also became intrigued by the challenges of remodeling commercial buildings. One of his more unusual projects was gutting the old Chevrolet garage on Main Street – that had originally been built as a wagon factory – and rebuilding it as retail space, a collection of eight Victorian-style shops. The building currently is the Rowe Pottery store. Another interesting project was across the street. He remodeled the old feed mill into a rustic restaurant.

Remodeled Farmhouse

One of his best projects was remodeling the farmhouse we grew up in, what is now Whispering Winds Retreat Haven. His starting point was a modest 1500 square foot two-story house with three bedrooms and one bathroom. He doubled its size, turning it into a 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom house with a fancy front porch. (His son – carpentry runs in the family – later added another bedroom and 2 more bathrooms.) The remodeled farmhouse has been quite versatile. The house has served as a bed and breakfast, an adult family home, and now as Whispering Winds Retreat Haven.

Dan has always said that he loves what he does for a living. He can’t imagine retiring. He’s having too much fun. He no longer builds houses. He just does the really fun stuff now – building custom cabinets and furniture.

Dan Korth in The Carpentry Shop

The Carpentry Shop, located right next to his house, is where he does all his work. He has a showroom filled with a variety of furniture and cabinets:

  • mission style chairs
  • end tables
  • book cases
  • a fireplace mantle
  • a wine cabinet
  • kitchen cabinets
  • a kitchen island on casters
  • an umbrella stand
  • and whatever else he feels like building.

Customers can buy furniture off the floor, or they can brainstorm ideas with Dan and have him build a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture or cabinetry that’s perfect for their needs.

The Carpentry Shop Helpers with Dan

If you can’t make it to Cambridge this Saturday, you may want to go to the FaceBook page for “The Carpentry Shop” and look at some pictures of his shop, his furniture, and his helpers.

(Note: It takes three shop dogs – Piper, Holly, and Sadie – to replace me as his helper.)

If you can make it to Cambridge, the town will do everything it can to be sure you have a great “frosty frolic” while you’re here. It may help you remember that “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”

Here are some of the special things you can do in (or near) Cambridge on Saturday afternoon this week:

  • Jump into Lake Ripley through a big hole cut into the ice as part of the “Dip for Dozer” fundraising event.
  • Watch the big ice chunks from the hole be transformed into beautiful ice sculptures with the help of a chain saw under the guidance of Jim Murray.
  • Enjoy a free wine and chocolate tasting at Katy’s Corner on Main Street in Cambridge.
  • Shop the sales in the specialty shops for which Cambridge is so well known.
  • Tour the studios and workshops of local artists and craftsmen, including a potter (Mark Skudlarek), a recycle artist (Simone Mausser), and, of course, a furniture and cabinet maker (Dan Korth).

More details about all of the special activities happening at Cambridge’s Frosty Frolic can be found at  http://www.visitcambridgewi.com/events.htm#Frosty%20Frolic.

Whispering Winds still has rooms available for the weekend. If you can stay two nights, you can have the second night free. Call 608-212-6197 for details.

It’s time to enjoy the season of winter – before it’s gone!

2 thoughts on ““A Season for Every Activity under Heaven”

    • Thanks, Sandra. It’s fun to drive around Cambridge and see all the homes and commercial buildings he’s built or remodeled. Be sure to go to his house sometime to see the new bar he’s built in his family room. Our mom would not be happy to see that possibly his lifetime masterpiece is a bar, but in my opinion, this bar is one of the most creative and beautiful things he’s ever built.

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