Thursday, April 23, 2009

We Are Closer To Open Water

Bruce and I had a great trip to Missouri last weekend. Nick and Sandy Halteman, Miranda’s parents, belong to a fly fishing club there. The club was having a one day show and we put up a little booth to advertize the outfitters. As this picture shows, Grandson Zach was our biggest helper there.

The show was held in a church. In exchange for the space, the church’s youth group sold us breakfast and lunch as a fund raiser. Lunch was prepared by a local man who smoked some pork for sandwiches. It was wonderful.

The only bad part about the entire trip was coming home. In Missouri (and probably where most of you live) the trees and shrubs were blooming. The grass was green. We got home Monday to several inches of new snow. What a downer!

Luckily on Tuesday the wind blew and yesterday it was in the 50’s. So, almost all the snow is gone. I was even able to get out into the garden and start cleaning my vegetable beds. The chives and rhubarb are starting to come up. There are leaves on the strawberry plants. Most important, the ground in the beds is not frozen. Of course, after two hours of crawling around weeding, every muscle in my body complained. It is the Advil time of year.

There are lots of other signs of spring. This week I have seen many returning birds: juncos, grackles, starlings, bald eagles, and seagulls. The North Brule River is starting to run, which indicates when our ice will go out on Gunflint. Don Brazell, the long time Gunflint Trail postman, said that when the North Brule ran freely (we are not quite there yet), the small lakes go out in a week and the large lakes go out in two weeks. With that in mind, open water is just around the corner. Bruce and I drove over to where the Cross River enters Gunflint. There is a noticeable channel of open water reaching a couple hundred feet into the lake.

As I sit in my office today, the wind is really blowing hard. The skies are clear. The temperature at 10:15 a.m. is 50 degrees. Another important factor in spring thaw is that it did not freeze last night. All these things combine to melt the snow and ice. Several days of these conditions would really speed the spring thaw along. Even a little rain would help. We will see what happens by next week.

Meanwhile spring chores are moving along at the lodge. April seems to be a month when we are overwhelmed with projects. Here is a picture of the guys moving out an old hot tub from Cabin #7 in preparation to putting in the new one.

Jason had to remove the window to take the old unit out. The new one is shaped differently and will come in through the doors. In a week or so, all six new tubs will be completely installed.

Carpets in cabins have been steam cleaned along with every other portion of the cabins. We had some new housekeeping staff start working. Bonnie told them to take everything off the walls before washing them. The girls even took the electrical switch box plates off! Even Bonnie doesn’t go quite that far.

The kitchen has been cleaned to within an inch of its life. Every piece of equipment has been taken apart and cleaned. The hood over the stove was scrubbed. Floors in the coolers, entry way and dry storage have been painted. Yesterday our first food order of the new season arrived. The Bistro will open on Friday evening, April 24th. Justine’s will be opening in May.

So now all that we are doing is waiting for you to come up and visit.

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