Saturday, March 26, 2016

Snow Again

Last week’s snow has almost melted.  I was able to walk the Tucker Lake road for about 1 mile without getting mud all over.  All that changed last night.  We got abou2 inches of snow and it is still coming down.  Tomorrow we have a chance of rain/snow and then sunshine.  It is just that time of year when the weather changes every day.  All we really want is sunshine and melting temperatures.  Once Easter week is over, there are very few guests so we don’t have to worry about snow conditions.

The purple finches are still around.  The snow must have covered up all their feed.  That leaves my feeders as their source.  We are going through sunflower seeds like there ie no tomorrow.  They are also squawking at each other constantly.  Luckily it is cold enough that the windows are closed so I don’t hear them all the time.

Tomorrow is Easter and we are having a small buffet at the lodge.  I am going down in the morning to make deviled eggs.  We (I) must have them for the buffet.  The only question is whether I can make them in a large quantity any more.  It will come back to me.  After all the years we had deviled eggs on smorgasbords, it is amazing that the recipe isn’t on the tip of my tongue.

I just came back from managers’ lunch at the lodge.  The Tucker Lake side road was covered with a wet, slippery snow.  I at one point it upped my speed just a bit and felt the back tires slide over.  By the time I got to the main Gunflint Trail, it was wet and free of all ice and snow.  Coming back the Tucker Lake Road was starting to melt as the temperature was up above the freezing point.  This all just the temperature changes that makes driving so much fun at this time of year.  Luckily it only last for a short time in the spring.

Bruce is out in the workshop with a “project.”  He got some containers that fit onto a rack on the wall.  Into them he is emptying all his cans of different types of nails and screws.  The idea is that once he has the time, he will have all his tools, nails, screws etc. organized for projects. 

One of the first projects is new (pretty) trellises for my garden.  We need them for the green beans this summer.    We eat beans for about 6 weeks when they are at the peak of freshness. 

In fact I am starting to plan the garden out.  The first thing to get in is spinach.  It will grow up quickly and I may even get a second crop in.  With new snow on the ground, it all sounds pretty good.  Hopefully this is our last snowfall and it will melt quickly.



Friday, March 18, 2016

Spring Activities


Bruce, April (front desk) and I spent a long last weekend in Minneapolis at the gift show.  Hopefully we bought enough enticing things to tempt you to make a purchase or two.  It was two days of looking and two days of buying.  I don’t even want to try to total how much we spent.  It adds up quickly.

The trip had fun highlights too.  On Saturday night we went out to dinner with Grant and Mae who graciously brought along their parents.  We all laughed at the chef who cooked on a hot plate right in front of all 8 of us.  When the oil got hot and sprang into flames, the kids could feel the heat from the flames.  It was so much better than having to sit still while waiting for dinner to come.

Another highlight for Bruce and I was Penzey’s Spice store on Grand Avenue in St. Paul.  I had made a list but it was really long because we had not been there for a long time.  Then I left the list at home.  So we had to walk through everything.  It all fit into a little basket but the price wasn’t little.  We will use every grain of the spices.

There was one place that was recommended to us and we didn’t get there.  In St. Paul on University & Hennepin is Surdyks.  It is a wine and cheese store.  I am told that they specialize in the stinkiest cheese there is.  I looked them up on the internet and they are on my list for the next trip.

We got home on Monday to snow banks that had shrunk to nothing while we were gone.  The side road from the Gunflint Trail into our house was down to gravel and dry.  It was really nice and we both felt that spring was coming.  Little did we know that by Thursday morning we would have 13 inches of new snow.  I had an early appointment in town but could not go because the mile out to the main trail was not plowed until the middle of the morning.  Bruce could not get out either so he cleaned the snow up in our yard.  The banks there are up to five feet now.  It would be really pretty if this was November.

Of course, the birds are really starting to come with all the snow.  All day I seem to have a great number of purple finches attacking the bird feeders.  When I am done with this, it will be time to go fill all the feeders.

Also we appear to have one pregnant pine martin.  I have not seen her but that is Bruce’s opinion.  Between birds and pine martins we seem to be feeding the whole neighborhood.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Longer Days and Sloppy Snow

March blew in yesterday.  The morning gave us a thunderstorm and rain.  By afternoon the main Trail was free of snow and ice.  Driving home during the afternoon and evening was nasty because of the fog.  Both Bruce and I did it at different times.  It wasn’t fun for either of us.

The good part of the day was that we still had two feet of snow in the woods.  Some colder weather is coming and our guests will be out skiing again.  And of course, we are all remembering Marches in the past.  Those were the years when the snow was really going and it was almost gone except we got a storm that dumped two feet of new snow on us.  No matter happens, we will enjoy the fact that within several weeks real spring will be here.

Besides snow or rain or whatever, March is also bringing us longer days.  The extra hours of daylight are a true blessing.  I don’t even mind have a hour’s less sleep as we spring forward into daylight’s savings time.  Our longer days will just keep moving onward until the 21st of June when we start going the other way.

Bruce and I and April (from the front desk) leave tomorrow for the annual gift shop buying show.  April has done all the hard work.  She has inventoried, read catalogs and made her lists.  The gift shop at the lodge without the clothing doesn’t seem very big.  The three of us, however, will spend a day and a half just looking at the various show rooms.  Then we will spend an equal amount of time buying from various venders.  If you have ever been on a business trip for Bruce, we will spend every minute working.

The best part of the trip will be Saturday night.   That is the night we go out to dinner with Lee, Eva, Grant and Mae.  I love to see my children and their spouses but, like all grandmothers, it is the grandchildren who are always to stars of the show.  It is so hard to realize how much they know and grow.

I thought about this just the other night.  Like many of you I am getting the family organized through Ancestry and their Family Tree Maker.  Pictures are very meaningful.  I just saw two pictures that really hit home.  Each picture had one of my grandmothers holding me the day I was baptized.  It’s hard to see me in that little baby.  And have I lived up to all the hopes that those two women had for me?

It is getting a little colder outside.  My thermometer reads 30 degrees.  The rain yesterday and the colder weather today have pretty well cleaned the snow off the roofs.  The Tucker Lake Road from the Gunflint Trail to our house is just a mess off slush and soft snow.  Somebody hit the snow bank very hard.  Bruce asked if I did it.  Luckily I had not come close to the bank.  It is a matter of knowing when to drive very very slowly in the sloppy snow.


Saturday, March 05, 2016

The Season of Change Starts

March is here and it seems that all the weather has changed.  The sun is in a different position regarding my living room window.  It can be -22 when I get up at 6:00 a.m.  By late morning the temperature is now in the teens.  The snow on the roof is melting steadily.  Snow on the ground is melting until about 4:00.  Then it gets that granular quality as it starts to freeze again.  Soon it will be covered by an inch of new snow.

It’s hard to believe that all of this can happen in just a day but it does.  The change will occur for several days in a row.  Then we will have just melting.  The snow shrinks.  The ice starts to turn gray.  Now it is time for serious melting.  The warm weather of late March feels like summer temperatures.  When these same temperatures hit us in May, it feels like winter is back.  It is why these months are unpredictable and always changing.

Meanwhile my thoughts are turning to planting the garden.  Can I grow just 3 cabbages?  That is really all we can eat.  And which kind of tomatoes should I try this year.  My goal is to just get a reasonable bunch of delicious, home-grown tomatoes with that vine-ripened flavor.  Green beans seem to be solved.  Blue Lake have worked really well that last two years.  Oh but let’s not forget about beets.  Also Yukon Gold potatoes do really well here too (baked ones are for dinner tonight).  Yellow onions were great.  We ate every one.  There is plenty of time to day dream about the garden.  I usually don’t plant until June 1st so everything is protected from a late frost.

Back to what is outside my window today –pine martins are here almost every day.  I think there are about 3-4 living around our house.  Even with their distinctive markings I still can’t really decide how many are around.  One thing is for sure -- they love sunflower seeds.  They also love any bones or scraps from the dining room table.

Two days ago there was an otter hanging around.  Between our house and the lake is a small valley and then a little ridge.  You can’t see the lake but it is just on the other side of the ridge.  I was upstairs and spotted the otter on the little ridge.  They really are beautiful and graceful animals.

There has also been a few rabbit tracks in the snow.  Those we can do without.  Two years ago we started some green beans in the house.  I planted them in the garden and we left for two days for our granddaughter’s high school graduation.  When we came home, a rabbit had eaten every leaf off the plants.

Birds have also started to come home.  Right now the purple finches are all over.  Soon we will have lots of colorful birds.  The spring is when there seems to be a great variety of birds just flying all over.  There will be new ones to spot every week.

So we are in the season of change.  I’m ready for it.