Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Getting Ready for Christmas

Sheryl took this picture after lunch the other day.  It is one of the Christmas trees we have lining the front patio.  Look carefully and you will see that the lake has no ice on it.  We are wondering if the lake will freeze before the first of the year.

Today is our day for snow.  It is coming down fast and thick.  The tracks from Bruce’s truck as he went to the lodge are all covered over.  I think I will be driving very slowly down for lunch at the lodge.

Well, I made it home from lunch.  Bruce was right behind me.  He spent an hour or so plowing the driveway.  I guess the snow was really heavy but it looks nice now.  I shoveled a little around the edges and filled the bird feeders.  We have four good sized feeders and they are emptied by the birds in 2 or 3 days.

When I came back from the lodge the other day, a very unusual sight greet me in the distance.  There was a pack of 3 lynx going across the road.  I never did get a really good look at them but I could tell from the way they moved that it was lynx.  Seeing a group like that is such a thrill.

The other night we had our annual Christmas party.  With only 30 employees at this time of year, it is a small low key event but we all seem to enjoy it.  We supply the prime rib, shrimp and cheesy potatoes.  Actually our main food company, Upper Lakes Foods,  gives us the meat and shrimp for which we are truly grateful.  After dinner we all play a gift exchange game.

My Christmas presents are either in the mail or ordered to be sent.  It is a great point to be at this time.  Now I can to start to enjoy this season.  We are going to our friend Bev’s for dinner after Christmas services at church on Christmas Eve.  I’m bringing a frozen cranberry salad.    We’ll drop it off at her house before going to church.

Christmas Day will just be Bruce and I at our house.  No one on the staff is working.  We pack up and deliver meals for all the cabins so they can cook their own meals.  We also plan it so that no cabin leaves and then has another party check in on Christmas Day.  This means we won’t have any cabins to clean that day.

The week between Christmas and New Years is one of the busiest for the entire year.  Unless the temperatures really drop, the lake ice will probably not be safe but there are lots of ski trails that will be open and ready to go.  Also the deer are starting to come in.  They all remember to eat out of your hands.

One more week before the big day.  Get your projects done and then just relax and be thankful for all we have.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Christmas Is Coming

Bruce and I have just returned from a couple weeks on vacation.  We spent a week on a cruise in the islands of the south.  Most of the time was very relaxing – sleeping, reading, cribbage, eating, etc.  After a very busy summer, it was good to just do nothing.

Then we spent a week going down to Robert and Miranda’s in Missouri for Thanksgiving.  Zach was there too and he seemed to have grown several inches more.  I expect that he will be taller than his father eventually.  He wears a size 13 shoe at 15 years of age.   It was a very pleasant visit.   Miranda is wonderful about finding places to visit around Kansas City.  This year we attended the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit at Union Station.  Robert is in charge of finding bar-b-que places for meals and supplies for Bruce’s smoker at home.  After watching the weather forecasts, we left a day early and avoided a lot of snow coming home.

Here is what came two days after we got home.  It is wet, heavy and about 5 inches deep.  This picture was from the front porch at the Tucker Lake house.  The lumps in the lawn are the new rock garden that we will plant next spring. Today is two days later and much of this has melted.  The hazy is morning fog coming in after the snow.  We are having a very mild winter so far.  It is probably the El Nino effect.

I am slowly getting into the Christmas list.  Things are ordered.  Christmas cards are waiting to be written.  The most important thing is cookies.  I always make a plate of cookies for each staff person for the annual party.  Today I brought over a bunch of the necessary ingredients so the project can start tomorrow.  I always try to bake when college and professional football games are on.  You know that anything important will be repeated several times.  So by this time tomorrow my kitchen will smell good but be a mess.

This weekend is a first Christmas decorating weekend at the lodge.  The maintenance has already started to put up the outside lights.  With the warmer weather, this project is much easier than when the wind is screaming in across the lake.  Most of the guests will spend their time decorating inside the main lodge.  Over the years we have accumulated many decorations to give holiday cheer to the main rooms.  By lunch everything will start to sparkle.

I filled my empty bird feeders right after getting home.  It always takes a couple of days for the birds to realize we are home.  Chickadees, nuthatches, blue jays and gray jays have already found us.  Grosbeaks take a little longer but they will soon start to eat their way through the sunflower seeds.  It is amazing how much life they add to the outside of the house.

The final job right now is to finish buying and shipping presents and the get a tree for the house.  With just the two of us for Christmas, we don’t decorate as much as years ago.  It will be just enough to give the house a holiday feel.