Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall Projects

Last night we got our first good hard frost. I don’t know how low the temperature got but everything was drooping a bit. Luckily I have closed up all the beds in the garden except for the carrots. Today I will empty all the flower boxes when the sun comes out a bit more. If I can get just one project done at a time, pretty soon we are buttoned up for the winter.

Another project has been to use up all my zucchinis. We are eating them as fast a possible but it still seems like an endless supply. I have made enough zucchini relish to last the next ten years. Bruce wanted me to make zucchini bread so I did. It turned out well and we have both been enjoying it. When he commented on how I should make it more often, my reply was that the two loaves (standard size) the recipe made contained three cups of sugar. We will wait a bit before making them again.

The other thing we have just finished using is green beans. After trying several different varieties of beans, the Blue Lake seem to be our favorite. Of course, once they start to come, you are eating beans every other day. I talked with a neighbor who is a great gardener to ask if she knew how to successfully freeze green beans. She says the frozen ones in the store taste better than what she can do. So the Kerfoot family will make pigs of themselves when the fresh beans are in season and buy the rest of the year.

Partridge season opened last Saturday. We have six in the freezer and one meal in our stomachs. We have also been driving over lots of roads we only see while hunting. A couple of them are really growing in. They look like no one but us has been through. You wonder how long it will be before those roads are lost.

The fall color is really starting to arrive. The next ten days to two weeks will probably be the best time for color. Every time I get in the car it seems that a new spot has colored leaves. Driving down the Tucker Lake Road has shown me different spots for beautiful color. The ash trees have just about completely turned. Poplar, birch and maple are starting to show up. The tamarack have not yet started to turn yellow at all but they are always last.

Bruce has got a new building project for this fall. Up on top of the hill and across the road, we are putting up a new staff housing building. It will have 16 double occupancy rooms. Each room will have its own kitchen and bathroom. The entire building will be winterized. In addition to providing more housing, this will let us tear down a couple worn out buildings.

Plans have not yet been completed for services for Dennis Todd. It appears at this time that there will be a spring/early summer memorial service up here. I will let you know through this column when something definite is set up.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Remembering Dennis

For those of you who knew Dennis Todd, I am sorry to report his death in a boating accident on Trafalgar Bay Thursday afternoon (September 12). The boat made an unexpected 90 degree turn. Both Dennis and his passenger were thrown from the boat. She had a PFD on and was able to swim to shore. He did not have one on and could not make the long swim in cold water.

So here I sit remembering Dennis from the over 25 years that he worked for us. He was a very generous man. Anyone who was unable to get out to fish could count on Dennis stopping by with a few walleye for dinner. The afternoon of the accident Dennis sent home with Bruce three dinners worth of walleyes. They are in my freeze right now.

For the past several years Dennis brought up enough Missouri Walleye (catfish) for the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center to have a fish fry as a fund raiser. Generally speaking there was not a piece of fried fish left. In fact the volunteers who served and cooked the meal made sure that they got their share of fish too. Dennis never appeared at that event and just took it for granted that you did what you could to help out. Supplying fish was what he could do and the museum was grateful for it.

Some of you may remember the years that we raised pigs at the stable. Dennis would bring them up from Missouri in his boat. In the fall he would help butcher them and he taught Bruce how to make bacon. There were some might fine meals from those pigs. Also many of the kids who stayed with us got to see a live pig for the first time.

Trafalgar Bay was probably one of Dennis’s favorite places to fish. He certainly found lots of walleyes for his guests to catch. Bruce and I went up there several times with him. The first time we went up Dennis took a small walleye off my line and banged it on the side of the boat. All of a sudden a huge eagle appeared to receive the tossed fish.

I soon learned that this was George a semi-trained eagle. Who knows how Dennis got started feeding this eagle but the bird knew who Dennis was by the time we saw him first. Apparently George knew the sound of Dennis’s motor and only came when he heard that motor. It is quite an experience to see an eagle catching a walleye right next to your boat.

Many of you have enjoyed the smoked ribs, salmon, prime rib and chicken done on our large smoker. What you don’t know is that Dennis arranged to have the smoker built for us in Missouri. He also made sure that we never ran out of hickory wood to use for smoking these meats. Again it was just something that Dennis did because he saw a need that he could help with.

Next summer is going to be an eye opener for us. There will be holes in our lives that Dennis filled and we have forgotten about. Many of you will also be remembering your great fishing days with Dennis. Think about him when you eat your next walleye dinner.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

It is Fall!

Fall is here but before I talk about the glories of fall (my favorite season), you need to hear about a group of four women from Milwaukee who returned last week from a canoe trip with us. Everyone at the lodge loved them when they came in for meals. At the end of their canoe trip, they sat on the patio enjoying a cold libation. Coming in the discussion was about whose hair was the worst. By dinner time they had showered and looked pretty good again. Missy waited on them at all meals and had a great time. We all enjoyed having such a cheerful group in the dining room.

Now back to glorious fall. If I had written this four days ago, it could have been about blue skies and calm winds. These last two days it has to be about wind, rain and overcast skies. But it is still fall! The leaves are changing.

My garden is yielding more than we can eat. It is also dying out quickly. Potatoes have been put into a five-gallon pail. Broccoli is finished. Blue Lake green beans will give us a couple more meals. Zucchini are still prolific and getting huge. The last of the lettuce went down to the lodge yesterday for an emergency fill before the food truck arrived. It looked like the parsley was done but it has come back stronger than ever. I will dry that for use all winter. Basil is also doing well. Now it is a race to get every bit of growth but not let a frost bite those tender basil leaves. Thursday we are supposed to get a frost so I will harvest basil tomorrow and make pesto. Tomatoes are not doing well. Maybe I will be able to figure out a way to get one. I also have 2 spaghetti squash and one pumpkin. The fifty sticks I planted for raspberries and the tiny bits of strawberries are ready to give me a big harvest next summer. That is the garden for this year.

Earlier this week the power company was up. They are stringing line for broadband and reached my house. This is still a long way from getting broadband but I am keeping my fingers crossed. Once the fiber optic line is at my house, it can be hooked up even in the winter as long as the line is buried to the connecting spot coming into the county. That is still the sticking point. Eventually it will all come together.

Most of our students have gone back to school. There were a couple of weeks when staffing was a challenge. About 5 or 6 people have joined us and that makes all the difference in the world. It seems quiet now but there are some big weekends coming up before November.

The first weekend in October the entire resort will be taken over by a group called BOW (Becoming an Outdoor Woman). It is close to 100 women here to learn about outdoor skills. We will have a good time with them.

Another busy weekend is the last one in October when Carole Valentini from Valentini’s Restaurant will be a guest chef. She will treat our guests to an evening of Italian delights. Bruce and I changed our vacation plans to make sure that we were here for her meals.