Thursday, May 28, 2015

Summer is Almost Here

Yesterday was one of my favorite days of the year.  Our shipment of flowers and vegetables arrived.  The picture above shows the inside of the van before being unloaded.  Ronnie and Chris will be busy planting for the next week to get them all in.  I will take the vegetables over to the Tucker Lake house.  Many of them such as the parsley and basil with appear on the lodge meal plates throughout the summer.  We are approaching a full moon now so let’s hope it does not freeze.  Basil is especially sensitive to cold.  I have frozen basil many times but this year should be good.

The hummingbirds are back.  With three feeders out, they are around the house all the time.  I can see them eating at almost any time I look outside.  American goldfinches are also adding lots of color to the bushes and trees around the house.  Right now the birds have full changed over to their summer colors of bright yellow with black highlights.  There is one red-breasted grosbeak and lots of purple finches and bluebirds to add more colors.  It is fun to watch them all flying around.

Memorial Day was really busy at the lodge.  We were full Saturday and Sunday nights.  Then on Sunday we had our first barbeque of the season.  It was a lovely night with no rain.  Last summer we seemed to have all our rains on Sunday nights.  About 4:00 pm everyone one would be crowded around the radar maps trying to decide if we were going to get rain or not.  If the rains come in the middle of a meal being served outside, things get to be a real mess.

There have been a few animals appearing on the roads.  Between Tucker Lake and the lodge, a mama bear with two yearling cubs has been hanging around.  They are cute but not a threesome you want visiting your house.  Bruce saw a wolf on the Tucker Lake Road a few days ago.  He also saw a moose.  I am ready to see anything.  Lately the most I have seen is partridge on the road.  We should start to see some coveys of new born birds soon.

Bonnie and Dave gave us a large Lake Trout fillet yesterday.  We immediately had it for dinner.  Bruce grilled it and we feasted.  There is nothing better than fresh fish.

The leaves are out on all our trees.    The line green is gone and we have the dark green of mature leaves.  There are also a lot of them blooming like the pin cherry trees.  The white flowers look great.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Chik-Wauk Museum Opens for the Season

This coming weekend is Memorial Day.  On Saturday the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center opens for the season.  They will be open from now until MEA Weekend in October.  Bruce and I went up with our neighbor Fred Smith to install this year’s temporary exhibit.  It is called “The Paper Trail.”  There is an essay about how we all communicated with each other before computers.  We also have some examples of the many journals that people kept about their times on the Gunflint Trail.  Copies of these journals are available to read at the museum.  Take some time while you are on the Trail to read one of the journals and learn about how life really was on the Trail before electricity, indoor plumbing, snow plowing and other modern conveniences were available.

While we were at the museum we looked out the window.  In the bay there is the Ritz Carleton of artificial loon nests.  One of our neighbors gave it to us.  There are high growing grasses that surround the nest to protect it from eagles swooping down to steal a baby for lunch.  On each side there is a slide that loons can easily use to get on and off the net.  Right now there is the crown jewel sitting on the nest.  We didn’t know when she started sitting but on the average loons sit on their eggs for 17 days.  Both the male and the female take turns sitting.  If you go to the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center, you can visit our camera and see the activity on the nest.

Today I am starting my visit to all the resorts in Cook County.  I will be dropping off rack cards for the stables and the canopy tours to let people staying elsewhere know that we are open.  Many people staying at places other than Gunflint will visit us to go horseback riding or zipping.  It is great fun for everyone.

Of course, there is a reason why I am starting to drop off rack cards today.  The World’s Best Doughnuts shop opens for the season.  I would not want to miss a nice warm fresh doughnut.  There are not a lot of places up here to get a really great doughnut.  When you are going through Grand Marais, be sure to stop for this tasty treat.

Bruce and I spent last weekend in the Cities.  I needed a grandchild fix.  There were some times when it rained alot.  Then we found out the kids favorite indoor activity.  Grant always seems to move over to his Legos.  I have no idea how many he has but there are lots and lots.  He can build most anything with them.  It is fun to watch his assembly methods.

Mae, on the other hand, was into jigsaw puzzles.  Her eyes just see how they all go together.  At age 5 she is now up to 500 piece puzzles.  You watch her and suddenly she picks up what appears to be a random piece and announces, “I know where this goes.”  She does!  Neither Bruce nor I can do as well.  We are going to have to practice!


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Case of the Elusive Lettuce

Yesterday we had rain most of the day.  It was good to see it coming down as things were getting a little dry.  Unfortunately we woke up this morning to snow.  I know we need moisture but this is not the way to get it.  Rain is how water is supposed to come down in May.  One of the wonderful side effects of rain is that the leaves pop out.  Right now most of the poplar and birch have wonderful lime green leaves under the snow.  By tomorrow all the snow will be gone.  Hopefully it is the end of it until this fall.  We will be looking at the green fuzz of new leaves.

Bruce is picking up on an outdoor project that did not get finished last year.  During the summer he started building me a pond.  It started leaking and then never got done.  So as the picture shows, he is back at it.  The problem is that he needs to get a new liner to keep the water in.  I understand that there is even going to be an island with a troll on.  I will keep you up to date on how the construction project goes.

Do you ever have a series of days where one thing goes out of whack and you just can’t get is back on course for a bit?  We just did.  I am calling it “The Case of the Elusive Lettuce.”  On Saturday Sheryl asked if one of us could go to town and pick up a few things she needed.  Bruce’s computer was down and I was lazy so we both decided to run in.  We got what was needed and then came home.

Saturday night the cooks informed Bruce that we were out of lettuce and did not have enough to get through Sunday.  So off Bruce and I went on Sunday to get the lettuce.  We ate lunch in town which was a nice Mother’s Day surprise.  Unfortunately neither of the grocery stories was open.  We did pick up some lettuce at the coop.  It was very nice looking lettuce and cost a small fortune.

On Monday I am asked to pick up some lettuce in Grand Marais that will be delivered to the Best Western at 2:00.  So in I go for my third trip in as many days.  The Best Western has already gotten their groceries and there is nothing for us.  I call the food company and after a little messing around, I get sent to the Blue Water.  The girl there knows nothing about it.

So I call the food company again.  They get in touch with the driver and call me back.  The lettuce was definitely dropped off at the Blue Water.  But it is not there so I call the food company again.  This time further information comes to say that the food was dropped off outside the Blue Water to someone from the lodge.

I called the lodge and asked to talk to one of the cooks.  Thinking to do us a favor he had asked one of the guys who was going to town to pick up the lettuce.  The elusive lettuce was in the cooler at Gunflint.  It shows how the best intentions can just not work without equally communications.     


Sunday, May 03, 2015

Out with the Ice and In with the Docks

More critters keep on returning during the spring days.  This bear came to Sheryl’s back door the other night.  I really don’t have anything against bears but they get into everything.  All winter long Sheryl can keep her birds seed outside but a bear will get into it the first night it comes around.

We also have been able to bring over the docks and get them set up.  Here is a picture of the dock coming across the lake.  It takes about a morning to get both docks hooked up.  That first evening there were three people casting off the end of the dock.  The only fishing season open now is northern.  However there is something fun about just casting a lure.

All the vegetable gardens at our home are ready to be planted.  Of course, there is not much that can go in yet.  Raspberries, strawberries, chives and rhubarb are coming up nicely.  Yesterday Bruce planted his potatoes.  Today I planted the first batch of spinach.  It felt good.  I also put some bone meal on the irises.  Now we just have to be patient and wait for the ground and air temperatures to warm up.

Tuesday Don, Marilyn, Bruce and I will spend time at the Upper Lakes food Show.  Upper Lakes is our main food supplier.  I am sure that you have seen their blue trucks delivering at the lodge.  Every spring all the suppliers gather to show the new foods for the season.  So off we go to eat our way thru every kind of food you can imagine.  After a while nothing tastes good.  All the neighbors will also be there so it is a good time to catch up on the gossip.

Bruce and I will come home after the show.  We are having meatloaf for dinner tonight (Sunday) and Tuesday night the cold meatloaf sandwiches will taste good when we get home.  It is better than stopping at a restaurant for a meal.  In fact if we are really lucky, the temperatures will be warm enough that we can eat on the porch.  Just thinking about that sounds good.

The main summer season is fast approaching.  The horses are here and Mandy is now running the stables and I don’t get to see her in the dining room.  The trainers come next week for the new sky guides.  In fact new staff is popping up everywhere.  I can’t remember anyone’s name.  Eventually they will all straighten out in my mind.

Lee and Eva are coming up with the kids for 10 days in July.  I am already looking forward to it especially since they sent me a list of all the things the kids want to do with us.  So many things we do every summer when they come up.  One of my friends says that you have to implant the woods and water in the hearts.  That is just the way I feel.