Sunday, June 28, 2015

Getting Ready for Summer Visits

As Fourth of July approaches, our dock takes on a more summer appearance.  The buoys marking out the swimming area are now up.  Of course the swimming beach has to share with the flocks our newly hatched mallard ducks.  We must have about 5 different flocks.  The only way to tell them apart is by their size.  Since there are still fully grown male mallards around, there must be more flocks waiting to be hatched.  By the end of August we will have about 50-75 ducks around.  They are so used to eating corn that you can feed them from your hand.

My garden is also getting bigger.  Although still small, tender lettuce is ready for harvesting.  Parsley is fully grown and ready for plates in the dining room.  Chives are full of purple flowers.  They also look great on our dining room plates.  We have 2 tomatoes that are about 2 inches in diameter.  There seems to be a good blend between rain and sunshine for a garden this summer.  Keep your fingers crossed that it continues.

From around the Bearskin Road on up the Gunflint Trail, it should all be called Lupine Lane.  The lupines are out in full bloom and just marvelous to see.  But don’t forget all the other wild flowers that line the road.  We have yellow hawkweed, red hawkweed, white Shasta daisies and yellow buttercups.  It really makes for a lovely roadside as you drive up the Gunflint Trail.

The past few days the patio tables have been full for lunches and dinners.  Today we will entertain the North Shore Healthcare Foundation for their annual fund raiser.  With 50-60 extra people coming for the BBQ, it would be nice to have a gorgeous sunshine day.  Right now it is raining out so keep your fingers crossed for a little sunshine later in the day.  At about 3:00 Don will consult the weather forecasts and radar maps to decide if the BBQ will be inside or outside.  Getting caught serving outside when rain starts to come down can be a difficult adjustment.

Friday Lee and Eva arrive with Grant and Mae.  Things will be a little more lively in the house for the week they are here.  Then like all grandparents we will spend the next week catching up on our sleep and getting into our usual routine.  Our friends Ron and Pat Malina will visit with their son James and his family for a few days next.  The month ends when Robert, Miranda and Zach and Nick and Sandy spend a week with us.

During the months of July and August we will be overwhelmed with old guests at the lodge and with families of all sizes.  It is always fun to see everyone.  Of course, during those two months we go through more cookies than at any other time of the year.  One day alone last year we went through almost 300 cookies.  I remember watching a teenage boy stack four cookies and then carefully bite down all four of them at once.  All the joys of summer!   

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day

Happy Father’s Day to everyone!  Right after a fresh scone breakfast, Bruce went off to work.  Sunday’s are always busy days for him.  During the summer they end with the BBQ for dinner.  It is one of our busiest meals of the week.  Both he and Don are kept running starting about 5:30.

After the BBQ ends, we feed the staff at it.  Now that almost everyone is here, it is really a long line of employees to feed.  This year we seem to have a good staff which is nice.  They are all digging in and keeping busy as the guests come and go.

My garden is coming along well.  We have had two meals of spinach.  The strawberries are starting to form into individual berries.  I haven’t seen any red one yet but they will be coming soon.  Yesterday we got a really nice rain for several hours.  That will get everything growing quicker.  Wild strawberries still have some time to go before we can start picking.

The road work on the Gunflint Trail is coming long very nicely.  About half of the 4 miles has the first coat of pavement down.  That really cuts the dust down.  By the end of next week most of the pavement should be down.  There’s still a lot of odds and ends to finish but the end will be in sight.

Daughter Shawn and son-in-law Bob came up last weekend.  They worked like dogs on the pond.  It is really starting to look good.  We still don’t have it filled with water because our well will go dry if we run it for hours.  The rain yesterday helped get a little more water in.  The pump circulating a small water fall is wonderful.  There is no motor sound.  All you hear is the trickling water.  We still have a bunch flowers to plant on the edge of the pond but the worst is done.

Speaking of trickling water, last night just before we returned to the lodge some water started to drip and then flow through my office ceiling.  Bruce rushed upstairs only to discover that the toilet tank in our bathroom had cracked.  He turned the water off and we started mopping up the mess.  You can’t imagine how much water can spread everywhere.  We knew that it could have been much worse.  In ten minutes we were going to leave and be at the lodge for3 hours.  Then we would have really had a mess!

I hope all you dads get to spend time doing your favorite things today.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

NOW summer is here.

With the coming of June it seems that summer has finally hit.  Of course, there are some unpleasant parts of early summer.  My three beautiful tall tomato plants succumbed to the last frost in early June.  My basil is also not very happy right now with the cooler weather.  The first ten days of June are the worst of the bug season and this year is no exception.  Mosquitoes, black flies, and no-seeums are around and sampling bites from us.  By the middle of the month, the worst of the bugs will be gone.

We do have, thank goodness, plenty of rain so the fire danger is low.  The rain has also helped cover the fruit shrubs with flowers.  All around my house there are lots of wild strawberries blooming.  My domestic strawberries also look like they will have a bumper crop.  It is a little early to tell about the blueberries and raspberries but I am keeping my fingers crossed.

As with most of Minnesota, June has brought road construction to the Gunflint Trail.  This year from the north end of Highway 92 for four miles until it connects with last year’s road work is under construction.  It slows things down a little but it is no big deal.  Just go slowly and watch the flagmen.

Animals are moving around.  Last week I was driving home on the Tucker Lake Road after dinner.  What should appear in front of me but a bull moose.  It was a large animal whose rack was still covered with velvet.  I would guess that this one was a good strong teenager.  He certainly could run away from my car.

My long-time friend Bev is staying with us for some time.  She was in a car accident and needs me to keep track of her.  We both share the same doctor.  Dr. Stover told Bev I was to take Bev’s blood pressure every day and then I could take mine too.  We laughed about the fact that 50 years ago who would have thought that the highlight of the morning would be to take our blood pressures.  Getting old is not exactly what we expected back in the St. Olaf days.

This weekend Bruce hopes to finish his pond.  Daughter Shawn and her husband Bob are coming up to put the waterproof tarp in.  Then the new circulating pump will be put in.  Flowers have been saved to put around the edges.  Shawn will supervise the two men and I will be the overall supervisor.  Mine is more title without actual authority but my authority goes back to the old saying that if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

Lee and Eva will be up with Grant and Mae this summer.  A couple weeks ago the kids came up with a list of activities.  They want to feed the birds and go fishing.  Then they have to learn to fillet the fish.  Grant gets to go horseback riding for the first time this summer since he is 7.  Grandma gets to take him.  Mae then gets to cook with me.  Bruce gets to take the kids by boat to Little Rock Falls.  Of course, all they really want is for Grandpa to take them down the rapids by boat.  They want to go camping and make campfires.  On rainy days we will play cards and eat M&M’s.  Sounds like a fun visit.