Saturday, April 11, 2009

With Easter coming tomorrow, the Gunflint Trail is entering a special fifth season that only people who live in areas with dirt roads have – the Mud Season. The ground is not thawed but the snow is melting. That means that water turns every road into a muddy mess. Here is what our driveway looks like.

We track in more dirt at this time of year than during the entire rest of the year.

Of course, this is also the time of year when we are really tearing everything apart to deep clean. The kitchen is closed (until 4/25) and there is no food coming out. That means the managers cook for themselves. The other day was my turn and we had goulash.

As is usual, I made twice as much as we needed so we ate this again the next day. The lunches we normally get are great but it is good to have something different. Also we don’t eat quite a much as when the cooks plate it for us.

Speaking of deep cleaning, even the front desk people get involved in this. Annie was washing up a storm the other day.

When the phone rings, she just dries her hands and answers as if she had nothing better to do. By the end of the day, your clothes are filthy dirty and, hopefully, you have taken a few reservations.

Jason, our head of maintenance, has his hands full this spring. We are replacing 6 hot tubs. He is trying to get them all in during April. It is a huge project but will bring us totally up to the new rules. Surprisingly, all the old tubs are quickly being snapped up by neighbors for use in their own homes.

With all the restaurants closed on the Trail, our Wednesday night dinner group has had to resort to going to individual homes. The other night was my turn. There were 8 of us and the meal is really easy because it is potluck. Everyone has their own specialties that they like to bring. Fran brought a great corn dish, Sue baked potatoes, and Melissa made sure we had a chocolate cake for dessert. I threw a turkey in the oven. After dinner we played Hand and Foot which is a variation of canasta that works for a large group. The women beat the men. Their excuse was that they wanted us to go home happy. No one in our group really takes any game seriously so it is a night filled with laughs.

In case you think that all this talk of spring means my gardening days are coming soon, here is a picture of the garden now.

I think it will be some time before I get into it. The ice on the lake is perfectly solid too. Yesterday we saw a truck out there driving. There is still snow on the lake. The lake conditions are just perfect for skate skiing. As I am writing this, I can hear snowmobiles on the lake. It is about 45 outside today. This morning it was 19 so we didn’t even start melting until late morning.

Wednesday Bruce and I are taking off for a short trip to Missouri. On the way we will stop in Northfield to visit St. Olaf College where Grandson Tanner has been accepted. I am particularly pleased because it’s where I went to school.

Bruce used to tease me about going to a “cow college.” My response was that he was an Ivy League snob (Cornell) who got in through the school’s desire for geographic distribution. Put a nickel in any couple who has been married as long as we have and all these repetitive stories come out. Our kids know them all and just groan.

After the St. Olaf visit, we will spend the weekend with Robert, Miranda, and Zach. You know who’s the most important of those three to see. Then on Monday we will be attending a food show in Duluth. Who knows what tasty new ideas we will get for the dining room.