Wednesday, January 14, 2009

January Doings

Although January is not our busiest winter month for guests, there still seem to be a few around. Our phone is ringing and people just want to get away for several days. We are happy to have them come to visit us.

As you know, Bruce and I like to spend some time talking with guests, usually in the evening. It is not just a one way street of us telling stories about Gunflint. This last week, I was talking with a couple of gals who were up. Next thing I knew they had some recipes to e-mail for some vegetarian entrees. Bruce got to talking to another couple about our planned trip to Greece this fall. The wife was an archeologist who had worked in Greece and knew it well. She was going to send me some names of books to read about the country. We truly have a very interesting group of guests.
Anyone who has been around the lodge may have noticed that the managers try to eat lunch together at the big table in the main room. Here is a picture of us today.

We eat at 11:30 each day. The cooks prepare us something. We are not fuss and don’t object to leftover or trying new recipes. A bigger decision is what side of the table to sit on. If you decide to look out the window, then the face of the person opposite you is in the dark. Sitting with your back to the window doesn’t let you observe the activities on the lake.

You might think that not much is going on out there but that would be a mistake. Just the other day we had quite a bit of activity. The morning started by observing a group of crows about 500 feet out. They were feeding on the remains of a deer the wolves had killed the night before. Even with binoculars, we could see that most of the deer was gone. Some guests saw 4 or 5 wolves hanging out by the point just west (left) of us. The crows were still there at lunch.

In the late morning and throughout lunch, the dog teams were out giving groups of guests short rides on the lake. In addition to giving the guests a taste of a dog sled ride, it was a training trip for new dogs.

The next thing to show up was two snowmobiles with one of them towing a large ice house. It promptly got stuck in slush just in front of the lodge. We watched them push it out, get another tow rope, and attach a tow rope to each snowmobile. With two guys driving the snowmobiles and two guys pushing the ice house, they managed to get out of the slush. Then they stopped and the two pushers got on as passengers on each snowmobile. Would the machines be able to tow the ice house with two riders? They did but it was probably just down to the next slush pocket. Tomorrow ice fishing for trout opens up on Gunflint. Those guys earned a nice catch.

Things are just as entertaining during the summer as guests recreate at the beach or canoeists paddle past. I must admit that today at 20 some degrees below zero with a wind, there was not too much activity on the lake.

The wolves must be pretty close into the lodge. What makes me say that is the number of deer that are bedding down by our house. Just like the cabins, our house is earth-sheltered up to the bottom of the windows. It helps keep us nice and toasty warm all winter. Imagine my surprise the other day when I walked into my office and saw a deer bedded down right in the iris patch. After lunch the deer was still there and another was right next to the window. Here is a picture of that.

If you look between the legs of the closer deer, you can see the other one bedded down. Today when I came back from lunch at the lodge, there were three deer bedded down. One was just above the house and two were right outside the garage door.

If you happened to be on the Trail on Saturday nights during the winter, be sure to stop by if for no other reason than to listen to Mark Darling play his keyboard from 5:30 to 7:30. Here he is.

There is something about live music that just livens up the place. It is fun listening to him but you can still carry on a conversation.

The menu is completed for the Chocolate Lovers Weekend. I now have seven different kinds of chocolate that will be used for various recipes over the weekend. We are testing and tasting them now. An extra surcharge should be added to guest bills for the weight loss program Bruce and I need after tasting all this chocolate. Guests from other resorts are welcome to join us Friday and Saturday in Justine’s on the 23th and 24th for the chocolate feast. (Just be sure to make a reservation at 388-2294) Each night we will have a medley of 3 chocolate appetizers, chocolate in a salad, 2 entrees with chocolate to pick from, pasta with chocolate, and two chocolate desserts to pick from. Needless to say, all the regular menu items will also be available. Right now the most surprising item has been the chocolate and almond covered bacon. It’s really good!

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