Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Phone Rang Early One Morning

Life has been a little more hectic than usual around here. On Thursday night I was awakened at 1:00 a.m. or so by Sheryl. Cabin #26/27 was on fire. I looked out my bedroom window and could see the glow from the flames. Even though the fire department responded immediately and did a great job, the building is totally gone as the picture above shows. The most important thing is that no one was hurt.
As I watched the fire burn, my thoughts turned to where the cabin fit in our lives. We built it in 1978-79. Robert tells me he was in kindergarten. It was our first earth-sheltered unit. Bruce says he learned what not to do in the next unit. J. T. McMillion was working for us. He hauled by hand all the cement blocks down from the road to the building site for Bruce to build the foundation with. J. T. is now a senior pilot with Southwest Airlines. I think he got his pilot’s license after hauling all those blocks.
That winter we were really behind in building. Our neighbors, Fred and Lois Mauck, came down to help us. They used to own a recording studio in Davenport, Iowa. At any rate, Fred did paneling and Lois did sealing of the paneling. Bruce and I also worked down there every day. I did some paneling upstairs and help Lois seal the high ceilings in the stair wells. After work, I would make dinner for all of us. I got to the “J’s” addressing Christmas cards that year but never got any further. There was no time. Fred and Lois are both gone now but they were a godsend that year.
Many wonderful guests have used the cabin since then. When Walter Mondale stayed with us after he received the Democratic Nomination for President, he and his family were in #27. We had to run a telephone line to the cabin, after all, he was the Vice President of the United States! His staff also needed the phone line for this fancy new machine they had rented for the campaign. It came in an aluminum case with foam all around it. The machine was a facsimile machine – the first one we had ever seen!
The cabin will live on in our memory even as it is replaced this winter. That’s right – we are into full building mode. As I type Bruce is talking with our contractor. The insurance adjuster has come and gone. On Monday the contractor will come to start cleaning the mess up and putting in the septic system. I am sure that Bruce will have building plans by then. All the managers have their assignments for the new project. The replacement will be two cabins. At the moment after studying Dave Schudy’s statistics on our occupancy, it looks like one one-bedroom and one three-bedroom unit. The applications for building permits are sitting on Bruce’s desk. I will keep you current with what is happening.
Of course, life still going on at the resort. On Saturday we had our wine dinner. It was a sellout with 50 people and went very well. There is a picture of getting the wines set up. This weekend is wild game. Then we have two weekends of work weekend. Those are always fun. During one of them a group of eight women come up to split wood. After working, they retire to their cabin for some adult refreshments. But what a huge stack of wood they leave behind.
I’ll try to write more frequently but time is very short right now.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Back to the Present

The sun is actually shining today. I had given up on it. This past week we have had overcast, rain and snow. All of it comes with green leaves still on the poplar trees. In fact with all the wind, there are still very few leaves flying around. Maybe the sun will get the leaves to change color. The ash trees have changed and fallen. The tamarack are just getting to their lovely yellow/gold color. I quickly stepped out my office door to snap a picture of those green leaves on the poplar trees. That’s the top picture.

Next is your weekly update on the oven. In addition to the physical work on the oven, I have been busy too. Bruce says to just take my regular recipes and modify them but I don’t feel good about it. So I bought two cookbooks and have two more coming. Then there are all the “tools” that you need – ash rake, peel and mop. Got the first one and the other two are coming. Pretty soon I am going to have to produce bread.

Last picture is of the dining room set for a wedding we had this month. It is just to show you that we can dress ourselves up when needed. It really was a lovely wedding. One server spent several hours setting up the dining room tables. Among other things, she polished every glass with a special rag we have.

This weekend is MEA in Minnesota which means there is no school Thursday or Friday. We are full. Next weekend is our fall wine weekend. The menu for Saturday night has a Spanish theme and we are featuring all Spanish wines. On Friday night the appetizers will all be tapas. We still have four spaces open if you can sneak away for the weekend.

As we approach November many of the staff are taking off for other parts of the country and new jobs. Hopefully we will get some of them back next year. I already know Rick and Jean are coming back. Between the beautiful flowers Rick waters and Jean’s smiling face at the front desk, they are always welcome.

Sheryl keeps promising me stories from their canoe trip.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

One Day 1850 Million Years Ago

Without much enthusiasm I stepped outside to take the above picture showing you what greeted us this morning. Even knowing it will all be gone soon, I am still not ready for snow. Bruce and I had figured that this weekend would be the peak of fall color. Now it is the promise of what is to come. Sitting here listening to the wind howl, it sounds like a night for a fire in the fireplace.

This picture is an update on the wood-fired oven.
Bruce has actually added more and Lance and Jason have added more insulation to the top. We are going to the Cities this weekend and I am looking for cookbooks.
My final picture is for those who wonder where Bruce spends his days. Well, here he is at his upstairs office. He spends most of the day here hatching up ideas and deals. Right now he is finalizing the summer brochure for next year. A new winter and honeymoon brochures are already out.
Otherwise it is a pretty normal fall around here. Bruce and I have been out partridge hunting three times and have seven birds in the freezer. It will be some great dinners. Our staff has dwindled down so there is lots of work for everyone to do. This is especially true because we are running pretty close to full. You know we are short staffed if I am answering the phone and trying to take reservations. That computer still confuses me sometimes.
Just recently I went on a hike with about 60 residents led by a geologist from the Minnesota Geological Survey. Mark Jirsa is studying what happened in here when a meteorite landed in Sudbury, Ontario, (500 miles away). This all happened 1850 million years ago. As soon as it landed the meteorite vaporized. The fireball arrived in 13 seconds. Then came a shock wave that reached here in a couple of minutes. The shock wave was so forceful that it broke apart pieces of the seafloor. These were later cemented together. Mark showed examples of where this rock (called breccia) is now exposed.
Another result of the impact was the spraying of ejecta from Sudbury to here. One of the best examples of this ejecta is what we now call “Gunflint” rock. Our fireplace in the main lodge is made of it. It took 5-10 minutes for this ejecta to reach Gunflint. In about 40 minutes there was an air blast with wind speeds up to 1400 mph. The final event was a huge tsunami which mixed everything together.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a geologist but the above gives you a general picture of what happened on earth one day millions of years ago. We are now working with the Forest Service to build a trail to areas where this fractured rock is visible. There will also be pictures and interpretive information. You will all have to make the hike on your next visit up.
Sheryl and Bonnie have returned from a very successful and fun canoe trip. I understand that an account of the trip will be ready soon.