Little Gray Boathouse Richie moved into Nov. 1, 1987.
Barbi bought green boathouse Spring 1988. $5,000.
Richie’s dad visits after cancer surgery. Plays with Barbi’s son Jonah and friend Matt.
Friendship on the upper Mississippi drips with duckweed.
Our friend Jay ties pivot rope, helping to move Barbi’s house beside Richie’s.
Barbi’s house next to Richie’s, Summer 1988.
Jonah and Matt on the foundation of Jonah’s new room. Floatation barrels (55-gallon, plastic) are situated beneath the horizontal “barrel racks.”
Richie’s mom visits her river-rat son.
Jonah’s room (on right) is finished. Barbi works on keeping her sleeping loft watertight.
Jonah and Matt leap from Richie’s boathouse.
Winter 1988-1989. Propane tank fuels cooking range and a Coast Guard-style toilet that burns human waste. Fuel oil barrel for Junger’s house heater on left. Suet near top of picture.
Ice maze for skating, Winter 1988-1989.
Our friend Paul chainsaws the house out of ice, while water rises atop frozen river, a day or two after Easter 1989.
First day of school 1990. The only kid in class who swims beneath his house.
Halloween 1990. Stab wounds are only an illusion at boathouses.
Boots the Boathouse Cat liked to rub noses as he came down the ladder from the sleeping loft.
Friends celebrate a new plank, July 4, 1991. Jonah’s feet indicate he’s treading water.
Mickey, Phil and Richie pop floatation barrels beneath the Little Gray Boathouse. Barbi documents with photos, as usual.
Mickey steadies the barrel popper. Phil gets ready to jump in and pull it down.
Phil pushes out house to make room to pop more barrels. Later, he and I end up deep beneath the boathouse, laughing hysterically in six-inches of breathing space, while wolf spiders lurk on barrel racks.
Bob Heins working on his Masters project, photographing residents on Latsch Island, 1991.
Barbi’s the poster girl for Bob’s show at the Winona Art Center. Here, she stands on her old flower dock…
Jonah and Phil swim Barbi’s new flower dock in place, Summer 1991.
New flower dock finished. “Itasca” and “Orleans” were Mother’s Day gifts from Jonah and Richie to Barbi.
Side-by-side, Summer 1991.
Paul Kohner and March Walker visit, pose with Jonah and Barbi at top of steps to Barbi’s boathouse.
Jonah gets ready to jump while March and Paul wait.
Jonah and March jump together, Summer 1991. One can always grab the rope in the water, so he doesn’t float too far toward the historic High Wagon Bridge in the background.
Old college and backpacking friend visits, prepares to jump.
Jonah, Vince and Richie after landing safely.
Two sweethearts paddle up from their love nest on Lower Latsch Island, also known as Wolf Spider Island.
Richie’s mom visits again and encounters…
A snapping turtle…
And a great blue heron outside the boathouse. (Photo copyright by Allen Blake Sheldon, author of Amphibians and Reptiles of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, Kolath and Stensas 2022).

Boathouse Life Gallery



Coming of age in hostile worlds


Short Stories from the Pacific Northwest


Short Stories from the upper Mississippi


Spirit Birds, the dawn of nature


Citizen Science, Advocacy, Articles


Commentaries, Book Reviews


A Field Season on the upper Mississippi River


Memoir from a floating home