Thursday, July 09, 2009

How Can It Be July Already?

After three weeks of messing around, I am now online again. I can’t believe how necessary internet connections have become to my life. Meanwhile, the resort keeps me busy and perhaps too busy.

One of the joys of summer meals is the barbeque. We all attempt it with varying degrees of success. Don Kufahl and Jason Hartung have perfected the barbeque. At least we think so. Don does the smoking of chicken and ribs. He has those ribs with meat ready to fall off the bone but still nice and moist. Jason works with the entire kitchen staff on the side dishes. One of the sides is a blueberry barbeque sauce that everyone loves. You know we use blueberries in everything we can. Jason also does a watermelon/fruit carving each week. Here is a picture of the fruit from one of this summer’s dinners. One day we had a watermelon critter who was fishing. Jason put a live minnow in a wine glass. At the end of the meal the minnow was released into the lake and the glass was washed three times.

It is lupine time on the Gunflint Trail. This is a picture of our side road which should be called Lupine Lane right now.

I am hoping you will get an idea of how profusely these plants are blooming. Every bit of purple in the picture is a lupine. It is just wonderful to see.

Another flower has just finished blooming. These are our iris plants. While we have a few here along the lakeshore, Bruce has discovered a small lake that is just lined along every shore with these blue blossoms. We call the lake “Gary Lake” after a friend but it should also get a new name during this time of year – Iris Lake. Right now the plants are just past their bloom but they were great to see. Bruce visits the lake on a regular basis when he goes minnow trapping so I get up-to-date reports on the best time to see the iris.

As part of the work for the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center, Bruce was given the responsibility of collecting birch bark that will cover the cabinets in the Native American exhibit. So, one day we took off to collect the necessary birch bark. Bruce had already scouted out the spot with lots of mature trees and well out of sight from the road. Birch bark must be gathered at this time of year due to the sap. He was taught how to gather it many years ago by Charlie Cook. Here is a picture of the process.

A small axe is used to cut vertically through the first layer of birch bark. Then a horizontal cut is made at the top and bottom of your piece. Next use the edge of the axe to pry one corner of the bark loose. If you have timed the project correctly (as Bruce did), the birch bark practically pops off the tree. Another important part is that this does not kill the tree. Only if you take all layers of birch bark off will the tree be killed. This is, of course, exactly the same process that Native Americans used to gather birch bark for their canoes. Most of the pieces we got were big enough to be used to make a birch bark canoe. When the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center opens next summer, you will be able to see this birch bark.

Summertime seems to be flying along. What happened to June?

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