Monday, September 24, 2012

Unexpected Gifts

As our vacation approaches, we are having an unexpected number of guests arriving. The widow and daughter of Bruce’s first cousin, Jim Kerfoot, were with us this weekend. They brought a most unusual box for us.

Bruce’s Kerfoot grandmother’s maiden name was Share. At some point in time Jim Kerfoot received a box of Share family things. There were fans, a thread from wedding dresses, pictures, etc. The most interesting articles were some toys from Henry Share who died when he was 3 years old. The toys included a small (6 inches) hatchet and some marbles. From a family tree we found out that Henry died in 1812. It was very moving to hold in our hands toys from a member of the family who had died 200 years ago. Certainly none of us ever expected to do this. It makes you stop and think about family roots. Now I would like to spend some time researching the family tree to find out more about Henry.

I have just received a gift from one of the families who has had a summer home on Gunflint for many years. In the 1930’s Katie Burns went to Carleton College (Northfield, Minnesota) as a freshman. She met another freshman named Ruth Merry. The next summer Katie vacationed at Gunflint Lodge with the Merry family. Father Ray Merry bought land on Gunflint and built a summer home. Katie managed to visit every summer until she also bought land on Gunflint Lake. Over the years Katie became a doctor and served in the Navy during World War II. She got married and raised two daughters. She never, however, lost touch with the Merry family or Gunflint Lake. Immediately after the war she built a cabin on Gunflint. This was to be her summer home for the rest of her life.

As part of my museum interviews, I spent hours talking and taping Katie. After all, except for a war years she had been on the lake since the 1930’s. In her living room was hung an interesting framed picture. It’s about 4’x4’ and shows two beavers building a dam with a background of beaver houses and a shoreline. It was done on linen with crayons. Katie told me that Ruth Merry did the picture in college and gave it to her. In the lower right corner it says “R.M. to C. B.”

From the first I loved the picture. Katie added to her will that the picture was to be given to me. It is something that I will always treasure.

We are in the peak of fall color. Last week was filled with days of sunshine and rain showers. It was a good thing because we needed the rain. Today is beautiful sunshine and a few puffy white clouds. Driving to town the yellows just jumped out at me. We also are getting a greater number of reds than in the past.

A week from today Bruce and I leave on vacation. We will be home on November 2nd. I am going to try to write one or two blogs during the trip. Keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fall is Here!

Fall is truly here. This is my favorite time of year. Just this last week the leaves really seem to be changing. The reds have appeared and the ash leaves are turning bright yellow. The wind has not been too strong so leaves are lingering on the trees. When we get our first big rain storm, the leaves will be flying all over. Of course, I look forward to that first cold rainy day. That night we will have the first fire of the season in our fireplace at the house. I can already hear the crackling and smell the burning wood. Who can ask for anything more?

At this time of year we also have a few friends join us in the house. My mouse trap has been very busy. Every time we open the garage door or the door to the garage they come running in. So far we have trapped about 10 mice. Once we get them out, then we don’t see very many during the winter. It is just that right now is the trapping season.

Fishing has been doing very well. Kevin Walsh was up with some guests and really got lots of trout on Saganaga. He said he has never caught as many as the other day. Jon Schei and Lance Huskey have a new secret minnow lake. These minnows have been attracting fishing lots better than the others according to Jon. At any rate, the fish are coming in regularly. With this nice weather, it is a pleasure to be out fishing.

On Saturday the partridge season started. Bruce and I went out Sunday afternoon for several hours. We came home with four birds. One of the joys of hunting is driving around to spots we never go to at other times of the year. I ooh and ah about how much the new trees have grown. We bump along on rocky roads and look for those elusive birds. Wednesday night we will have our first partridge dinner with acorn squash and wild rice. Even at nine o’clock in the morning, that sounds good.

Another fall project is to mow the ski trails for the upcoming winter season. Rick has been making good progress on this chore. About a foot of snow on top of his work and the skis can come out. There are not a lot of trees down on the trails so that makes it easier. The first wind storm will bring some down and the trails will have to be checked again.

Bruce and I are also planning for vacation. On October 1st we fly to Venice, Italy. After spending 3 nights there, we start a 24 day cruise across the north Mediterranean. Many of the cities we have seen but there are also some new ones. Not having to pack your suitcase every day will be great. The service on a cruise ship sounds pretty good too. At the end we will spend three nights in Barcelona before flying home. I think that everyone here is ready to get rid of us.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Back to My Old Self

I know that you will all be shocked to see this but I am back to blog writing. Most of this comes with the fact that I feel good and am my own self again. Also the people down at Mayo said they don’t want to see me anymore which is a relief.

Summer has flown by and there have been lots of interesting parts to it. For me the reports of wildlife sightings are always unbelievable. It doesn’t seem like there were so many sightings years ago but here are now. My friend Marcia from the Mile O’ Pines Road had a small group of 4 pileated woodpeckers fly across her yard and land on the nearby tree. I love the way they glide up and down as they fly by.

Marcia also told me about seeing a mother loon and on water with 3 babies. I have never heard about one with that many. The mother just stretched out her wing so the babies could walk up onto her back. Again I never thought about how they got up there.

Cats have been sighted on this side of Gunflint. At the end of the Mile O’ Pine Road there was a lynx hanging around for a time. Then one of our sky guides at the canopy tour saw one cross the outfitters parking lot one morning ten days ago. It was so fast that he didn’t know if it was a lynx or an immature mountain lion. Don saw the paw print and said it was huge. I can attest to the fact that there are lots of rabbits around for them to eat. The rabbits ate all my broccoli this summer.

Fishing has been very good this year. One big help is that the guides have been able to get into North Lake this summer. The past couple years the water has been too low so all the fish have had two more years to grow. Lake trout from North Lake have been spectacular! Walleyes have been good too.

The canopy/zip line tour has been very successful. We open it on July 4th and people just keep on coming. Some of guests even ride it twice. Neighbors along the road are bringing their guests to join them on a ride. People from the North Shore and even Ely are calling for reservations. The nice part is that the zip line is located on the south end of our property so that you really don’t see it when you drive in or are down by the waterfront.

Of course, we got our share of the hot weather in July and August. It has cooled off now to warm fall temperatures. This is without a doubt my favorite time of year. The colors are starting to come out. The birch trees are turning down.

It really hasn’t been cool enough for a fire in the fireplace yet but you can be sure that I will have one the first night it cools down enough. There is nothing better than combining the rain coming down, the wind in the trees and a crackling fire.

I’ll report in again next week.