Priscilla & Harvey Harvala

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Priscilla Harvala. Her husband, Harvey, wrote this:

Priscilla passed away in peace at 5:15 p.m. last evening, October 6, 2014. Joining me at her side were three of our five children and her sister, Connie. Priscilla finally has no more pain from the pancreatic cancer and will rest comfortably in her heavenly home with the gift of everlasting life. She is at home in the refuge of the Lord. Priscilla was an incredible woman and will be missed by her family, her many friends and me.

Priscilla worked with Harvey last May to write their profile below:

As part of their retirement plan, Priscilla and Harvey Harvala moved in July 2009 from 50 wooded acres in Esko, where they had lived for 34 years raising their five children, to 300 acres near Snellman, Minnesota and the Smokey Hills State Forest. This is the homestead property where Harvey was born and raised along with his seven siblings. (Snellman is in Becker County, east of Detroit Lakes and west of Park Rapids.)

After buying the property from family members, they constructed their retirement home with features like handicap accessibility and a ground source (vertical wells) geo-thermal heating and cooling system. The tongue and groove wood for the floors, vaulted ceilings boards, and trim were all cut from the oaks on the property that had been damaged by porcupines.

Priscilla retired from a career as a buyer at Potlatch Corporation in Cloquet and Harvey continues his consulting engineering career from his home office. All of their property is managed under the 2c Forest Management Plan, which has proven to be very helpful in reducing property taxes. They are interested in considering property management under a LLC.

The property is located in a transitional zone between the coniferous and deciduous forests and, as a result, has a wide variety of tree species. Priscilla said, “Living in a rural area requires hard work at times and lots of equipment to maintain the property, but is also keeps us physically active. We have always enjoyed the freedom of country living and sharing space with all the wild animals of the forest.”

Making maple syrup is a family tradition that was stated by Harvey’s parents which he and Priscilla continue. They recruit family and friends of all ages to share in the work of tapping approximately 400 trees. Even grandchildren get involved in collecting sap and stacking wood. Three outside wood stoves are used to boil the sap in stainless steel pans. After the finishing is done outside, Priscilla does the bottling in the kitchen in bottles bearing their own label, “Old Saps’ Maple Syrup!” The final product is distributed among the helpers.

When people ask Priscilla and Harvey how they know when the maple syrup season starts and ends, they always answer with this old saying: “The sap starts running when the crows begin cawing in the spring, and the sap run ends when the frogs start singing!” It is amazing how accurate this tale has proven to be!