Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Spring Projects

Spring is starting to look mighty fine around Gunflint. The ice on the lake is white in the morning but quickly turns black as the sun warms it. There is open water along the shore for a couple feet. Over where the Cross River comes into Gunflint, there is open water to the first cabin at Moosehorn. These bits of open water don’t seem like much but they are vital. As the wind comes and goes, it shifts the ice against the shore rocks and breaks it up. Except for a few bays, the ice does not melt off big lakes. It is driven against the shore where the rocks break it up and the sun quickly melts it. Bruce and I are holding to our projected May 3rd or 4th ice out date.

Around our house, Bruce and I moved the picnic table out by the kitchen windows. We even had an iced tea break there before the weather changed. The next three days were rainy and drippy. I can’t really complain because we need the water. We also put out the chairs on the north porch overlooking the lake. This is the preferred spot for a break on a hot afternoon. It is shaded and any cool breeze from the lake is caught.

Now is the time when I can open the doors and windows and let some fresh air in. Off the kitchen is a small screened porch. The door to the porch is open all summer long. It is the first thing I open every morning. Warm afternoons let me open it now. Lee and Eva’s cat, Diva, stayed with us last week for a bit. She loved sitting in the porch.

My garden is also showing the affects of warmer weather. I counted 15 rhubarb clumps that are starting to pop out. The chives are about 2 inches tall. The strawberries have leaves coming out all over. Of course, the grasses are also coming out. This afternoon I am going to start on spring weeding in the chives and strawberries before the grasses overtake them. By evening I will be glad that the hot tub is working.

Another afternoon project is removing burlap that has projected small maples and lilacs from the deer. We have not seen any deer in yard for over a week so it is time to get rid of the burlap.

I will also be dividing a spider plant that one of the neighbors gave me. One part goes back in Fran’s pot and three parts go in pots for the cabins. In our kitchen there is a 12-foot, south facing wall of windows. Bruce and I hauled in some cement blocks to put along the windows with 2 x 6’s on top. This sunny spot is where I am gathering the plants for cabins after I transplant them into new pots.

Of course, my pots are a real hodgepodge. There are two six-gallon crocks with peace lilies. Bonnie picked up 3 large pots when visiting her mother. They also have peace lilies in them. Spider plants are going into an old lard can and two enamel pieces. That still leaves me with an oval tin pan, a large metal ice bucket, a minnow bucket and several other pots to fill.

Another spring job is to get out the brush king to cut brush between the house and the lake. Each year we have cut some in hopes of getting a lake view but still leaving plenty of cover. This spring I intend to attack the raspberries that have grown up everywhere. Bruce also has a few more balsam trees that he wants to take out. Generally he does that when I am not around. I hate to cut trees.

There are still few standing dead trees left over from the 1999 Blowdown. We have slowly been cutting them down each year to use as firewood. There is a huge pine tree and a big birch that I can see while lying in bed. My goal is to get them down this spring. Then there are two more birch between the house and the lake. Bruce cuts and I haul to the wood stack.

Pretty soon we will have to get the rototiller into the garden. We brought a Mantis last spring and just love it. It is small enough that I can handle it but still really churns the dirt up. Previously I would turn all the gardens over with a shovel. This is much better.

While writing this, I stopped to water my orchid. It has 5 blossoms on it and more to open. Right next to it the Christmas poinsettias are still showing lots of red leaves. Out my office window, the iris have come up about two inches. Itis time for their spring snack of bone meal. That’s got to go on the next town list. I also opened the door. It's a still day with no wind. I can hear the birds in the trees.

This should be the end of my list but there is still a lot more work to do outside. It is probably the same way around your house when spring comes.

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