Thursday, June 26, 2014

The End of June

It is that in between stage.  We are not quite as busy as we would like and we don’t have quite as much staff as we need.  As a result I am remembering more things about operating the computer than I want to know.  More staff is due to come soon which will be nice.

Last week must have been turtle moving week on the Gunflint.  I saw three turtles wandering on the dirt roads.  I assume that they are either laying eggs or have just finished laying eggs.  Now we will all just watch for little ones to appear.

Our road construction is coming along very well.  The flag men tell us that they will be done by Fourth of July.  Even the gravel part is smoother than our pavement was.  Of course all this gravel is really doing a number on my car.  It is filthy but I am not washing it because one trip will put me right back where I am now.  I had to wash my license plate with water so it could be seen.

We are getting close to the annual canoe races.  They are held on the third Wednesday of July.  If the weather is good, there will be a 300 people here.  The first race, the long distance, starts at 6:00 p.m.  In addition to seeing all your friends and neighbors, this is a good place for dinner and goodies.  The homemade goodies go quickly so don’t be late.

We have had two days of sunshine and does it feel good.  My garden is popping out of the ground.  In a week or so, there should be a little baby lettuce ready to eat.  The rhubarb is ready for a second cutting.  Basil, chives and parsley are also ready to be harvested again.  The potato plants are almost three feet high.  My big hope is that the strawberries will be ripe when Mae and Grant are here.  They will really enjoy picking and eating them.

Fishing has been particularly good lately.  The guides have been having good luck with every kind of fish.  Last night in the dining room we cooked up enough walleye appetizers for a big party of 11.  There was not one piece of fish left.  When you eat fish that was swimming in the lake three hours ago, you realize how important it is to get fresh fish.  A friend of mine said that when she goes to buy fish, she just asks for the freshest fish they have.

The partridge chicks are still tiny but we are seeing them on the side road regularly.  Last night Bruce had a covey of 4 on his side of the road.  They are really cute as momma guards while they scamper across.  Sunshine is really good for them too.  If we get too much rain while the chicks are small, they can get sick and die.  It is not a good thing.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Normal Blog

By this last Tuesday we reached a milestone in the year cycle of my garden.  Everything was planted.  There were no seeds or plants waiting to go in.  Everything had been weeded at least once.  Now all I have to do is water and wait for plants to grow.

The past few days have been quite rainy so I didn’t even need to water the gardens..  On Thursday the wind and rain blew hard and steadily.  Friday was fairly nice and sunny.  Then on Saturday the rain started in again.  Today it has been dark and rainy all day.  I think tomorrow it will clear up and we will have some good weather.  Meanwhile the rain has caused everything in my garden to pop up. My onion sets grew 4 inches. All we need now is some sunshine to help them grow.

Fishing had been really good.  The guides have caught several large walleyes.  After taking a picture these big fish are returned to the water so they can breed another year.  The guides hold them in the water and massage them until the fish is ready to swim off.  Really and honestly those 2-3 pound walleyes are much better for eating.

Bass have been going up onto the beds.  Then they really are little hungrier and are fun to catch.  Lake trout are still in relatively shallow water and biting well.  We have even seen a few northern come it.  Northerns eat very well but most people don’t like them because of the y-bones that run down the fillets.  The guides fillet the fish and then cut the fillets into long strips.  The middle strip has all the y-bones and is thrown away.  The other two strips are cut into bit size pieces.  They fry up nicely and it is like eating popcorn – once you start, you can’t stop until they are all gone.

April has been overwhelmed lately with boxes of gifts coming in for the trading post in the lodge.  Counting, pricing, and arranging everything is a huge job.  Of course, Shannon is there to help with the work.  Shannon and Marilyn also take up a lot of the telephone answering.  Dave is there to help with everything but it keeps all four of them busy.  There is not a lot of slack time at the front desk.

Our new summer staff is coming in steadily.  Each and every one of them is welcomed with open arms.  We have been operating with not quite as many workers as is comfortable.  When the new ones come, it always takes time to train them but it sure is good to get a little more help.

All the summer activities – horseback rides, canopy tours, fishing, canoe trips, etc. are in full swing right now.  But most of all we have an influx of kids who have dreamed about endless hot chocolate all winter long.  Cookies are also high on the list.  I saw a boy once with four coolies stacked together.  He was just taking a bit down all four of them at one time.

BREAKING NEWS:  On the way to the lodge tonight we saw our first momma partridge with what looks like a brand new brood of chicks.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

We Are Asking For Your Vote

Bruce just got word that Matt Brinkman from WCCO in Minneapolis is conducting a contest to find the best zip line in Minnesota.  There are several names on the list including ours at the Towering Pines Canopy Tour, Gunflint Trail.  So we are asking you to follow the link below and vote for us.  Don’t get us confused with Kerfoot Canopy Tour, Henderson.  That one is run by our son, Lee Kerfoot.  So here is the link:
To give you another hint to vote for us, the picture on the link was taken at our canopy tour.
Thanks for your vote.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Summer is Here

We have spent the last two weekends at graduations.  Brian’s son, Sam, drew us to California.  This fall Sam is on his way to the University of San Francisco where he is entered into a 4-year nursing program.  It was great to see him with a plan in mind for the future.

Last weekend Shawn’s daughter, Emma, took her place in the graduation march.  We get her for the summer as a server in the dining room.  After that Emma is off to St. Thomas University where she plans to major in business.  Like her cousin, it is great to see her moving forward.

During all this time, the seasons continued to move forward here at Gunflint.  Spring was gone.  The leaves are out and it seems like summer.  The leaves on the trees look really great.  I think we are finished with evening freezes.  That means it is time to start planting.

We planted a few things before the graduations.  They survived cool weather.  The green bean leaves were munched to nothing by what we assume was a rabbit.  They are growing more leaves but it put them back.  After I am finished with the blog, I will be going out to plant more flowers and vegetables.  There is a nice breeze so hopefully the bugs will not be too bad.

We had an interesting happening over on the Round Lake Road.  Just as you make the sharp left turn before the public landing, there is a small creek that comes in from the right and goes through a culvert to the Cross River.  It is so small that I think most people never see it.  That all changed the other day.  Somewhere above the creek there must be a beaver dam creating a pond.  With all the heavy spring melt and rains, the dam gave way over night.  Suddenly there was a flash flood taking out the road and rushing into the Cross River.  This brown mess of mud and dirt ran into Gunflint Lake.  It also ran into the water system of Cross River Lodge.  Their faucets were giving out brown water.  It all clears up in a day or so but at the time it is not nice to deal with.  Also the county had to come up to rebuild the road and put a new culvert in.  Even beaver engineers make occasional errors in judgment.

Speaking of rebuilding roads, about 6 miles of the Gunflint Trail is being rebuilt by our side road.  I think that section of the road has been rebuilt once in the 46 years that I have lived here.  You can be sure that it really needed some help.  The spring frost heaves slowed us all down.  I will not miss them at all.  It is surprising to see all the new culverts that are going in.  I suppose that will take care of the spring bumps and dips.

This is all you are getting.  My garden is calling me.