Sunday, October 23, 2011

Last Projects and a Long Trip

This is going to be one of my quick blogs. The Vikings and Packers are playing soon. The odds are really against the Vikings but I still like to watch the game. While it is on, I am making applesauce. I have some Haraldson apples which will be good. Then I have two pair of pants to hem. Not my favorite job but that’s life.

The lodge is still running pretty full. Our meal business has slacked off because there are not a lot of people on the Trail. As much as I would like to be busier, we are all tired and ready to slow down a bit. Most of the guests are spending their time hiking and relaxing. It is cold and rainy today so the lake doesn’t look very appealing. The last week has been warm and lovely but we still don’t have a lot of people out on the lake. The horses leave tomorrow.

My rabbits are still turning color. They now have white feet, white ears and a white back. The stomach must turn white last. Bruce keeps telling me that we are going to have rabbit stew but I won’t cook it so that ends the talk.

Yesterday Bruce was out on the final harvest in the garden. He cut the last of the chives and parsley and took it down to the kitchen. The next job was to dig up the last of the carrots. I never expect as many as we get. It took me 45 minutes to just wash them all. Tonight I will oven roast them for dinner with a baked potato and grilled lamb chops.

On a cool damp day like today, our fireplace will be cranked up. It seems to add much more to the room than just heat. My job is to keep the wood box full. Bruce splits most of the wood by hand throughout the winter. He enjoys doing it. Then daughter Shawn brings up a nice load of hardwood for Father’s Day. We do pretty well with all of it.

One of my fall projects is placing the spring flower orders for us and many of the neighbors. Ronnie Smith, our gardener, does our order and I gather from the others. As I am typing this, it dawned on me that I forgot to order some new strawberry plants for our garden. Not getting those would be a tragedy. Not to mention that I would be in big trouble with Bruce.

You are not going to hear from me for several weeks. We leave tomorrow for the Minnesota Resort Association fall conference. Bruce is giving a talk on packaging. Then it is down to visit Lee and his family in the Twin Cities. Robert, Miranda, and Zach come next in Missouri. Then it is off to see some friends’ resort near Ponca, Arkansas. Then we visit another friend in Missouri. The next hop takes us out to Hendersonville, North Carolina, where my sister and brother-in-law live. Finally our last stop is the outfitters convention in Sandusky, Ohio. We will be home about November 11.

Needless to say, we will be glad to be home. My butt is going to be sore from sitting in the car.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


It’s raining! About midnight last night we started to get some rain. It kind of drizzled and dribbled throughout the night. Then this morning we have received some heavy showers. Hopefully more will come during the day. One day like this will not be enough but it is a start. All the lake levels are low and we really need this rain.

The work on the Pagami Lake fire continues on. As of this morning the Forest Service says the fire is 87% contained. In some areas they are even beginning mop-up operations. Part of this is to haul back out all the unneeded equipment. At the end of big fires there is usually a huge pile of wet hose to be dried. It is all part of the process.

I worked at Chik-Wauk Museum yesterday. Around noon we had a very excited couple come in. They had just seen a huge bull moose by the Seagull Creek area. You can’t imagine how excited they were. The woman said she was still shaking. When I got home, Bruce told me he had heard that there was a bull moose courting a cow moose in that area. Of course, I saw nothing when I drove home. It all goes back to being in the right place at the right time.

Bruce and I drove home from the lodge the other night and saw a rabbit in the driveway. We often see rabbits around the house. This one, however, had white feet and white ears. It is just another sign that winter is coming. I think that the next part to change color on a rabbit is its belly. We will see.

The other night we went to dinner at Hungry Jack Lodge. It was for the 75th anniversary of the Gunflint Trail Association. About 70 people attended including owners, employees and past owners. During the evening we exchanged stories and memories of Trail years. Everyone also brought a poster with some information about their business. Lisa Wagner was there to video many of the stories to save for the 100th anniversary.

The GTA is the second oldest tourism organization in the State of Minnesota. We have had our differences but have also found that we can accomplish much more by working together than by fighting. In recent years we have worked to get ambulance service, a fire department, Fire Wise protection around homes, trees replanted, advertising to bring guests in. The list is endless. Most of it could never have been done by working alone. I wish Congress would learn that lesson.

I can still hear the rain outside. It is a really gray day but just what we need. This rain will take down the last of the leaves. The only fall color left is the needles on the tamarack trees. They will be gone soon. Then we will wait for the first snowfall.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Fall Days

My thanks go to Mark and Jeanne Scharf for today’s wolf picture. They checked into #27 early last week about 3:00 p.m. As they were about to walk down to dinner, Jeanne saw the wolf thru the window in the front door. Out came the cameras and the rest is history. I have since heard that a wolf has been hanging around the public landing on Gunflint. It could be the same one.

Two days after the Scharf’s arrived, more incoming guests saw a wolf as they were driving up the Trail. Up until the last few years, we never saw wolves. I am assuming that these and other sightings are the result of a larger wolf population.

The Pagami Lake fire is winding down. The Type I Incident Management Team has just been replaced by a Type II Team. This is a very typical event as containment of a fire increases. As of today the fire is 71% contained. We have not smelled any smoke for a couple of weeks now.

The Forest Service has completely lifted the ban on camp fires, but we still need rain. Those of you familiar with the beaver pond on the Round Lake Road will be surprised to learn that it is totally dry. Several days of a nice gentle rain would be wonderful.

This past week the ladies from Always An Adventure were with us for four nights. This group has been with us for about 14 years. They are here to get out and explore the area no matter what the weather. It was raining the day their boat trip to Bridal Falls was scheduled. Even so 20 people went on the trip. One day they canoed into Ham Lake. Another day a group of them went into Stairway Portage. There were also individual hikes they organized on their own. It is fun for us to host a group that wants to get out and enjoy the woods.

Speaking of enjoying the woods, Bruce and I did a little of that yesterday. It was a beautiful fall day so we decided to go partridge hunting in the afternoon. We spent 4 hours driving back roads until my insides were like jelly. We stopped at one of the neighbors to see the construction of their new house. During the drive we got three partridge. While it is nice to get the birds and we would have liked more, just being out and about is what we enjoy doing. It was certainly better than watching the Vikings lose their fourth game of the year.

Lunch was very busy today. Adrian, Don and I kept running for about 3 hours. Since the weather was cooperating, most people wanted to sit on the porch. We would have all enjoyed sitting on the porch too. It is the perfect place to be on these fall days. Winter is coming and the porch will soon be covered with snow.