The fire news has reached the point where we are now being visited by politicians. Governor Pawlenty came during the fire on a quick trip. Other than to shake his hand, I know nothing about his visit. Because it was during the fire, everything was a blur.
Last Friday Congressman Jim Oberstar came up to see and listen. Oberstar has been our congressman for 17 terms and before that he was the chief aide for Congressman John Blaknik of our district. After all these years, Oberstar’s visits tend to be a little ho-hum but he really produces results. About 75 people came to the open meeting including representatives from Century Tel. By Tuesday, Congressman Oberstar had met with people in Washington and things were starting to move, quickly. I won’t go into the details here. You can find them on the www.boreal,org website. It just goes to show you what the Chairman of the Transportation Committee (read FEMA oversite) can do.
On Tuesday, our freshman senator, Amy Klobuchar, visited the area and met with another group of about 75. I have never heard her speak before but was favorably impressed. Senator Klobuchar is familiar with the Gunflint Trail from visits before she was a senator. Just as with Congressman Oberstar, I felt we had a smart legislator who was going to get us the best deal possible.
It is times like this that make people realize how important your congressional delegation is. The issue is not so much whether they are Democrats or Republicans but more whether they will listen to you and try to help. No matter who is elected, I’m not going to agree with them all the time. It is when you come from a rural area and are in a tough spot that you need these people to stand with you. It looks like ours are doing just that.
Once these visits were over, I have finally had time to get back to my garden. Tuesday afternoon I threw more things in the ground that you can believe. First it was weeding time. Those weeds kept on growing even during the fire. Then the rototiller, bless its little heart, dug up the ground. Fourteen flats later I had parsley, fennel, basil, broccoli, jalapeno peppers and green peppers in the ground.
I have also started to get seeds in the ground. These are a little late but that’s life. Most of my seeds are the same old thing but I have one new lettuce that I am anxious to see. I usually grow about three kinds of lettuce to add to our salads. This year I am trying one that is white on the inside with a red fringe on the edges. Bruce is not impressed but I think it could be nice. So in about 4 weeks, look closely at any salad you eat in the lodge.
Tomorrow, Bruce, Ronnie Smith and I are going to plant about 20 birch trees along the path from the lodge to the creek on the west side. Bruce digs the holes with the backhoe. Ronnie and I will plant the trees. In a few years they should look really nice. It is all in getting a good hole dug, putting in some decent soil, and watering regularly this first year.
The patio on the front of the lodge is also coming along nicely. We hired a professional to do it which takes it off our shoulders. The 35’ by 80’ patio will be covered by sheets of a greenish, gray rock that came from New York. It looks beautiful. June 16th is our drop dead day for finishing. Lee booked a wedding for that date on the patio. Afterwards we will be using it for general seating in the bistro. Summer at Gunflint is going to be about eating outside by the lake. Bruce and I will be the first ones in line.
Finally, the remodeling of Cabins #22, #23, and #24 is coming along nicely. Bruce is ready to start on his third (and last) fireplace. Then he has ceramic tile to put down. Nace Hagerman and his crew are finishing the interiors. The new furniture is waiting up in the pole barn. I think you will enjoy the upgrades to these units.
So that is the update from Gunflint today. I hope things are going as well in your part of the country as they are here.