Tuesday, September 21, 2010

After Fall Comes Winter

We have just finished a perfect fall weekend. The maple trees are at their peak. Red and orange leaves are visible around every corner. The yellows of the poplar, birch, ash and tamarack are slowly coming. They will probably not peak for about ten days. I will enjoy every day of this colorful season. In fact I have trouble deciding if the color looks best on bright sunny days or dark overcast days.

Across the lake behind Cross River Lodge (formerly Borderland) a large stand of maples is making an appearance. Bruce and I assume that it is a bunch of trees growing up from the blowdown in 1999. They are now big enough for us to see.

Last weekend the partridge hunting season opened. Bruce and I have been very successful as we wander on the back roads looking for birds. Yesterday I even got two birds with one shot. The second bird was perfectly lined up with the first and I never even saw it. On Sunday we had our first partridge dinner with wild rice and acorn squash. Unfortunately, we either got a really tough old bird or my timing was off. The meat was tough! I was so disappointed. Maybe I have forgotten how to cook.

In the annual cycle of seasons, the coming of fall months mean that winter is not far away. I like winter but around the resort there are lots of projects that have to be finished before snow hits the ground.

My garden, pitiful as it was, got a last hit. The basil was cut and taken to the kitchen to be made into pesto and frozen for winter. The parsley was also cut and put in my dehydrator for the winter supply of dried parsley flakes in our house.

Up at the stable Mandy and Justin are washing all the saddle blankets. With a chance of frost, they leave the water running a bit so it won’t freeze overnight. Mandy also received a load of hay to carry us through next summer until a new crop is ready.

Jason and Lance have been busy winterizing everything. This week’s project was to pull all the pumps from the fire protection water system. They will be stored in a heated garage all winter. Then all the hoses are drained. I also noticed that the plow is now sitting in front of the workshop ready to be put on the truck as soon as needed.

Ronnie and Rick are working on the plants. All small trees and shrubs get wrapped in chicken wire or burlap. It doesn’t look very pretty but it saves the trees from deer until we get taller trees. Ronnie has also finished the plant order for next spring. Some of the neighbors will add to that order.

Firewood is the project of the dock staff. They have almost everything cut and split that we have on hand. Now it is time for the new loads of firewood to appear. It comes in 8’ lengths. Jason and Don cut it up and the dock staff splits it. The final step is to store it down behind the lodge and around each cabin.

Ski trails are getting their fall mowing. When you have to make two or three passes over every trail, it takes a bit of time. Jason has gone over the trails first to take out the windfalls that always occur.

Through all this the kitchen just keeps putting out more meals. The Red Paddle Bistro and Justine’s have been busier than ever. During slow times we are cleaning everywhere in the kitchen. Freezer supplies are going down to the lower levels of winter.

Up at the outfitters the last parties are coming in. All the food is being stored in mouse-proof containers. Sleeping bags are hung open for the winter. Air mattresses that are usually rolled up spend the winter lying flat. Soon all the equipment will be covered with plywood. The cross country ski equipment and snowshoes will hang against the plywood and be stacked on shelves..

As I write today a northwest wind is howling outside. My thoughts turn to Bonnie and Sheryl who are on their annual fall trip. This year the trip started at Beaverhouse Lake on the north side of the Quetico. They took with them a new fancy GPS that sends us a signal showing where they are. Our e-mail said they spent a couple of days on Quetico Lake. Yesterday they were on Snow Lake. Hopefully the wind will continue to be at their back.

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