Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Back Again

I am sure that you think I have dropped off the face of the earth. Well, I’m back.

At this time of year Bruce and I are very busy with foreign students coming into the U. S. to work for 4 months on a J-1Visa program. We got started in this business three years ago as a kind of retirement hobby job. The first year we brought in about 25 students from Jamaica. This year we have 250 students from all over the world. While many are working in various resorts in Minnesota, we also have students on ranches in the west and with moving van companies all over the country. Bruce or I meet all the students coming into Minnesota and bring them to their job.

It’s a lot of driving. Last week Bruce met students in Minneapolis on Monday. He overnights and then drops them off on his way home. He drove 800 miles in the two days. On Friday I drove down, picked up students that night, and dropped them off on Saturday. My trip was 780 miles long.

Then on Sunday I drove down to Minneapolis for a Monday morning meeting. This one was a little different. It was a planning meeting with Split Rock Studios who are working with us to build a Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center on Saganaga Lake. They are designing the entire project. Hopefully we will then have enough money for them to build and install the entire project. It will make for a super museum.

The museum will cover the natural history of the area and the cultural history of the area. About 1/3 of the exhibits will explain the boreal forest surrounding us. The other 2/3’s will deal with the various population groups who have lived here: prehistoric peoples, Native Americans, voyageurs, miners, loggers, resorters and local residents. It is turning into a very exciting project and much bigger than we expected. If you would like to learn more about this, go the website for the Gunflint Trail Historical Society.

Yesterday Bruce and I spent quite a bit of time driving around the burned spots on the upper Trail. We have out-of-town guests who wanted to see it. Of course, there are lots of burned over areas just down to bare rock. But there are still lots of green, unburned sections. It is hard to figure out why one place burned and another did not. In many places we saw trees that were burned on one side and green on the other. How does this happen? I suspect we are all going to think about this for some time to come.

At the lodge, spring projects are getting finished. Last Saturday, the patio had its first event. It rained Friday night and Sunday night but Saturday was a beautiful evening for an outside wedding reception. I think people are really going to enjoy outdoor eating on the patio.

Ronnie Smith and her helper, Carl, have got most of the gardens in great shape. Now it is just a matter of waiting for the plants to get a little bigger and to burst out into blossom. The evening rains have helped this process along.

Our garden is just about done and we are all starting to enjoy the fruits of our labors. Asparagus, fennel, chives, parsley, basil, and rhubarb have been really good. They all go down to the lodge once a week. Yesterday we ate our first broccoli. Bruce normally isn’t a big broccoli fan but he loves this because it is so tender. We will eat broccoli from now into September. My lettuce is also about ready to start harvesting. This is one of Eva’s favorite products of the garden. By next week it will start to go into the lodge salads. Strawberries are turning red. We don’t have enough of those for the lodge so Bruce, Lee, Eva and I will eat them and make jam.

Yesterday during our drive we stopped at one of Bruce’s wild strawberry stops. We’ll be going back again to pick there. The berries are red and big. Big wild strawberries in this area are about the size of the tip of your little finger. All the picking is done on your knees. The jam from them is wonderful. Of course, you have to be on my A-list to get a jar of it.

Lee and Eva have gone to visit her family for a couple of days. We have Dog Tucker and Cat Diva staying with us. Our visiting friends have Dog Molly with them. Between the three animals getting used to each other, it is a three-ring circus. Diva learned this morning to push the screen door open and get outside. Tucker (5 times her size) would never push a door open with his nose. Molly is busy guarding her food or licking Tucker’s bowl for anything left in it. If you pet one animal, the other two are right there for attention.

Tonight we are going to a potluck at one of the neighbors. Bob and Sharon Baker are leaving with a motor home for three months in Alaska. We are all saying goodbye with a little bit of jealousy. They are one or two reservations but otherwise plan to just roam around. It really sounds like a great trip.

Hopefully, I will get back to writing a little sooner next time. Enjoy these nice summer days.

1 comment:

Christine Jillson, Lincoln NE said...

I really love reading your messages. It feels like I'm already there. My family and I will be there in a couple of weeks and are looking forward to seeing the garden and all the wonderful areas you've described here. Thanks again for the updates!