Friday, June 28, 2013

Who Makes Up Your Family?

Sheryl sent me this picture of Bruce with Robert and Zach. They took off Tuesday with Zach’s Boy Scout troop for a seven-day canoe trip. It only takes one look at the picture to know that they are all related. Unfortunately they have had rain two of the three days they have been out. It is supposed to rain today too. Bruce always tells guests that the weather they get on vacation depends on the life they have led during the past year. I wonder what that says about him.

Meanwhile the lodge carries on as usual. This past week and next week Tom and Jan Daniel’s family has had a reunion for 19 of them. The purpose is to celebrate Tom and Jan’s 60th wedding anniversary. Every five years the entire clan assembles here to celebrate. They first came up here in 1969 for Tom’s family reunion. It was the first summer Bruce and I had been married. Tom and Jan alone or with various of their children and grandchildren have visited us 24 times over the years. We even ran into them once in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. (I had to look that up to spell it correctly.)

I have taken up a new hobby. Since we moved the number of boxes devoted to old family pictures in our home has multiplied It is like a message from on high that maybe I ought to try to organize the genealogy of the family. I went and bought a program called Family Tree Maker complete with instructions. Bruce feels that I am crazy but we will see what happens.

The Kerfoot family tree will be easy. Someone years before me actually gathered it all up in a book of which we have a copy. Even the Spunner family (Justine’s) has a fair amount of information easily obtainable. Both my maternal and paternal families are woefully lacking in information. I am only the second general born in this country on my mother’s side and the first on my father’s side. Nothing like a good mystery to keep me busy.

The real problem is that I am not interested in filling in blanks on a family tree chart. I want to know the stories of these people’s lives. For example Bruce’s grandfather George Kerfoot was a president of Hamline University in the St. Paul. He was a minister and they were social very correct. They had four boys and one daughter. During the Depression Justine and Bill were desperately poor. The house Grandpa and Grandma Kerfoot lived in need to be reroofed so Bill and Justine came down to do the job. It might have been the first time that Grandma Kerfoot met her new daughter-in-law.

At any rate during those years, there was no way that Justine could have been described as social correct. She came down in her bib overalls and climbed up to help with the roofing project. Then to add insult to injury Justine took a break by having a cigarette on the roof. Grandma Kerfoot reacted the only way her generation could. She took to her bed.

Over the years Grandma Kerfoot came to appreciate her unorthodox daughter-in-law. When she lay dying, Grandma asked to speak with Justine. None of the four adult boys but only Justine was asked to always look after daughter Margaret. The promise given was never forgotten.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Waters

As the picture shows, Bruce got out fishing for a day. He and Guide Jon Schei went up to Northern Light Lake. They each caught two walleyes over 25” long. The one Bruce is holding was the largest at 32”. I think he is pretty happy with it. Both he and Jon were fishing with 4 lb. test line which makes things a little more interesting. They had broken lines from northern strikes (no leaders) but did not have any walleyes break off from trying to muscle them in. Needless to say, their big walleyes are still swimming around in the lake. Even so Bruce brought home enough smaller walleyes for several nice meals. The smaller walleyes eat a lot better than the bigger ones do.

I am watching my garden coming up nicely. It should! Bruce built me some brand new beds and filled them with manure from the stables. I have already brought over chives and parsley to the lodge. Next week I will have broccoli to bring over. I get the broccoli in plants and will have fresh until September. The parsley also comes in plants and will supply us well into September then I will cut every leaf off and dry it for dried flakes all winter.

Every year I have one failure. My most consistent failure is basil and this year was no exception. On the coldest night we made a tent over the basil with a sleeping bag and a plastic sheet. I must have missed one night because eventually I was down to two scrawny plants. After babying them for about 10 days, some critter came and ate them. So I broke down and bought a dozen plants in town. I don’t think they will freeze but who knows what the animals will do.

Since today is officially summer, I was thinking about my favorite things that happen during the summer around the lodge. High on my list is the front patio overlooking the lake. We had a porch for many years but Lee was the one who got us to build a real patio. Every day that is halfway decent, will find that meals on patio are always popular. On Tuesdays we make pizza in the wood-fired oven. The managers are out there with everyone else eating pizza and letting the sun warm our backs. The evenings on the porch are just heaven. Food always tastes better when you can watch the lake while eating.

Another favorite activity is just to take a boat ride. I do it much less that you would expect but it is still wonderful. Last Friday we took a ride down the lake to the Canadian side to look for remains from the old town of LeBlaine. We didn’t find much but the ride down and back was worth it.

Last fall when we were in Venice, we ate our breakfasts (tea and a roll) along the Grand Canal. Just to watch the variety of traffic on the canal was great entertainment. It was everything from picking up garbage to tourist gondolas to water taxis. There is always something interesting to see.

What is it that draws us all to the water?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It Truly is June

Bruce and I are still getting used to living in the Tucker Lake house. Our long (five mile) commute is not easy. I am used to getting stuff like food from the lodge kitchen. When I forget to pick up something, the drive back is a pain in the neck. So now I have lists in my pockets.

We had our first “Porch Pot Luck” last night. Tom and Melissa built a wonderful screened in porch as part of this house. About three times a summer, they would invite a group of friends and neighbors over for a potluck. We jokingly say that in the final contract for the house there was some very fine printing stipulating that we had to continue the potlucks FOREVER. So last night was a first one. We had an Italian theme with about 25 people. It went well but I was nervous which is stupid because I know everyone who came.

Last week I was driving down the Gunflint side road after lunch. Just ahead of me I saw a lynx. The animal is just not something we see every day. I was excited. Then yesterday Bruce saw a wolf on the Tucker Lake side road. Again for all the years we have driven around here, it is still fun to see some of these elusive animals.

The aquatic plants are growing up. As a result the moose have appeared in the ponds along the Gunflint Trail. As I drive along, suddenly there will be a bunch of cars parked on the side of the road. Everyone is out looking and taking pictures. You just know that there is a moose (or several) in a pond

Fishing has been very good both on Gunflint and Saganaga. Jon Schei went to Northern Light Lake and caught a 22 lb and a 16 lb northern plus a 30 inch walleye. The father and son guests told me that they had seen this kind of fishing on TV shows but never thought they would get to do it. Adam and Dennis have both be having good lucky too. It is just amazing how the fishing has been so good. Adam even got two 14” crappies on Saganaga.

I must tell you that Bruce and I went fishing on Tucker Lake one day for about 40 minutes in the middle of a sunny afternoon with dead calm. As you might expect, it was more fishing than catching. Bruce also said he couldn’t remember exactly where he used to fish on the lake. We are going to have to get out more. Lee’s Grant and Mae will be coming up this summer and expect Grandpa to help them catch some fish. Luckily Grandma has no obligation for fish catching.

Lee and Eva are ready to have the grand opening of the canopy tour/zip line this Friday. We are too busy to get down there ourselves. So my plan is to convince all of you to go down and cheer them on for us. This weekend they have some bookings but you know how new businesses start slowly. They need some people to show up for encouragement. Plus I can guarantee that the trip down the various zips will be great fun.

Monday, June 03, 2013

How Did June Get Here So Fast?

The picture today is another bird picture from Sheryl. She took it at Gunflint and it is a Baltimore Oriole. Neither Bruce nor I have ever seen one here. In case you are wondering about Sheryl’s bird pictures, she got a new camera and has been really enjoying it. I have a bunch of wonderful pictures from her.

Ronnie Smith is popping flowers in the ground as we speak. Just give us two weeks and there will be a burst of color all over Gunflint. Things slowed down a bit last night as we had clear skies and a FROST. This is really late. Usually we are finished with frosts here by the first of June. At our Tucker Lake home, Bruce and I covered the basil with a sleeping bag and a piece of plastic. I am going to go out and take it all off after the blog is finished.

It may be clear skies today, but over the weekend we had some nasty weather. The wind blew and the heavens opened with rain. It was good to get the rain but some nice gentle showers would have been nicer than pouring down rains. Also the wind took our power out for about 4 hours. At least it was during daylight so the repair crew could see what they were doing. It is now really rare for us to lose the power for such a long period of time.

Fishing has been good. Jon Schei was out with a fishing party last week on Gunflint. They brought in a nice 31” walleye along with other fish. Don’t ask me where it was caught or what the lure was. That information is all stamped TOP SECRET. We have also had some of our staff out fishing with good luck. Bonnie was commenting on how great it is to have staff exploring the area. Our guests have been doing their bit fishing. Last night we had a couple bring in a nice stringer of bass. She caught the biggest one and he caught the most. The fish looked to be about 3 pound smallmouth bass. It will be a nice dinner when they get home.

Bruce spent two days down in the Twin Cities helping Lee build a deck. Lee and Eva are opening a new canopy tour/zipline between Belle Plaine and Henderson. The area is adjacent to the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway (or some name like that). They had an administrative building put up but needed a deck around it. Lee gave Bruce a couple of his staff to help with the building project. Bruce brought down the tools. In two days time the 75-year old man worked the two twenty-some year-old boys to the ground. Lee enjoyed pointing that out to the two younger men several times.

The canopy tour will be opening on June 14th. If you have ridden ours here at Gunflint, Lee and Eva’s is the same but different. They have a website up called On the site they have more detailed information about location and times of operation. Last weekend I visited the location and it is going to be amazing. At several points the zip goes across a 125-foot deep valley. Be sure to look at Bruce’s deck too.