Friday, 28 December 2007

??????????????? ??-??????????

??? ? ????? ?????? ???? ??????? ? ?????? ? ???????? ???????? ? ???????? ???????? ?? ??, ??? ????????? ?????? ????????? "??????" ??????????? ????????.

??? ????????????? ?? ???????? ??????. ??????? ??????????? ??? ???? ?? ???, ?????? ??????? ??????????. ?????????? ?????. ? ??? ????? ?????????? ???????. ?????? ????, ????? -?? ????? ?????????- ???????? ???????????, ?????? ????? ? ?.?., ???? ???????? ? ??????, ?????? -? ??????? ? "?????????? ?????? ??????. ?????, ?????." -"?? ?... ?? ???..."-"?? ???, ?? ?????? ? ???? ??????, ???? ?? ???? ????? ???????". ?? ???? ???????? ????????. ??? ??-???????: "??? ?? ?????? ?????? ????????, ??? ? ???? ?????? ?????". ?????-????? ??? ?? ????? ???? ? ? ?????? ?????????.

????????, ?????? ??? ??? ?????? ????? ????????? ???????????? ????????. ???? ??????? ?? ??????????, ?? ????? ?????? ??????? ????????????? ??????? ??????. ?????? ??? ?????? ????????? ???????? ??????, ????? ????? ????????? ??????? ??? ????? ??????? ???? ??????????. ??? ???? ???????? ????-???????. ?? ???? ???????, ?????? ? ???? ?? ???? ?????? ??????. ? ?????? ??? ????? ???????????.

????????? ????? ????????????? ?? ???????? ???????-??????. ?????? ????????? ???. ????? ? ?? ?? ???? ??????, ??? ?? ?????. ??? ???? ????? ?? ????????. ?? ???? ????????? ?????????????, ?? ?????????? ???????????.

?? ?????? ??? ???????, ??? ??? ????? ???. ??, ?? ???? ? ?????? ???????????? ???????????? ?????. ??????, ?????? ?????????, ? ?? ????, ??????. ? ?????????? ????? ???. ????? ?????? ???? ?????????????? ???????????? ???????. ????????, ?? ?????? ???? ? ?????? -?? ???? ???????, ? ??? ?????? ?????? ? ??????, ?? ????? ?? ??? -?????? ???. ???? ????????? ? ????, ?? ?? ?????. ????? ? ????????? ?????????? ?????.

? ???????? ??????, ??? ??? ? ????????? ???? ?????. ??????????, ?? ??? ? "???????" (????? ???????? ????? ?????? ?????????????????- ??? ???? "??????" ?? ????????- ? ???????? ???????), ?? ??? ? ???????... ??? ????? ?????? ??? ???? ???????, ?????? ??????, ?????? ?. ?? ???. ??????? ???????. ?????? ??????????? ??????????? ????????? ?? ??????? ????????? ????? ??????????????? ?????????? ?? ????? ?????? ? ??????? ???-?? ????????. ?? ??? ??????? ???????????, ?????? ??????? -? ???????? ????? ???????? ??? ??????, ?????? ??? ???? ?? ??? ???????.

? ???? ???? ????? ????????, ??????? ??? ???, ??? ?? ?????, ????????.
? ???????????? ?????????? ?????, ??? ??? ??????????????? ??? ?? ????????, ? ??? ?????? ????????????? ??? ????, ???? ??????? ?????? ?? ?????, ??? ?? ????????? ????????? ? ????? ?????? ????? ??????? ????. ? ?? ?????? ? ???????? ? ???????, ??????? ?? ??????? ??????, ? ? ???, ??????? ??????? ?? ????, ? "???????????????? ?????" (?? ??? ?? ?????? ??? ? ???? ?????)

??? ???. ??????? ?????? ???, ??? ????????. ? ???? ??? ? ??????? ???????... ?, ????????, ????????? ???????, ??? ?????? ?????? ?????????? ?????. ???????? ???? ?? ???????, ? ?? -???????. ? ??? ???? ?? ??????? ?? ?????? ?? ??????????. ??? ????????? ?? ?????? ????? ?? ????. ?? ?? ????, ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??? ?? ?? ?? ???? ?????????????. ???? ?? ????? -?????? ?? ?? ???? ????? ???????????? ... . "??? ??? -??? ????????" ??-??????????.

????? ???? ????? ?? ????? ?????? ? ??????? ??? ????? ??? ???????? ???????????. ?????? ???? ???? ??????????? ??????? ? ?????????. ? ???-?? ??? ??? ????????? ?????. ? ? ?????????? ??????? ????? ? ???...

????? ? ???????? ????????, ??? ???? ?????? ? ??????? ? ???????? ???????, ???, ??? ?????, ???? ?? ???? ?????????? ?? ?????? ??? ???? ?? ??????? ????? ????? ??????-?????? ???????????. ? ????? ?????? ???-?? ?? ?????? ?? ?????? ? ???? ??????????, ??????, ? ???? ????????? ????? ???????????. ????? ?? ?????? ? ?????????, ??? ??? ???-?? ???? ????. ???????????, ?? ?????? ???? ? ???????. ? ??, ? ????????, ?????????? ?? ????, ? ??? ? ??? ?????, ??? ??? ????? ?? ??????? ???????? ?? ??? ????.
?? ?? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ??? ??????? ? ? ?????????? ?????? ?? ?????? ????????. ?.?. ???? ???? ??????, ???????? ?????? ?? ???? ?... ?????? ??? ???? ?????? ?? ????.

??? ???????????? ????????? ???. ???-?? ?? ???????? ????? ??? ?????, ? ? ??? ??????? ?????? ????? ????? -??? ? ??? ??????, ? ???????????? ?????, ? ????? ?? ??? ????? ? ?????? ?????. ?? ???????, ????? ???? ???, ? ?????? ?? ????? ??????????????? ????? ? ???????. ? ???? ?? -????????- ?????? ???? ? ????? ?????. ?? ? ??, ?? ??? ???? ?? ?????. ?? ????????? ??????? ??? ?????? "???????????" ?? ??? ?????? ???? ?? ?????? ????, ??? ? ?????, ? ???? ??????????. ????? ???? ? ????????? "??????? ??? ?????".

??? ??? ????????????? ? ?????? -???? ??????.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Beam Weir

On Boxing Day isn't it more or less complusory to go for a walk? Well it is my family - a chance to let the kids blow off some steam and a chance for who ever is cooking the dinner to get on with it in peace and quiet. So when we all arrived at my mum and dad's this afternoon we were imediately shipped out the door again. We met my sister and her family at the Puffing Billy pub, just outside Torrington and from there walked down the Tarka Trail to Beam Weir.

There were lots of other like-minded people out and about, some with dogs, others with children and new bicycles. It's not a very long walk, but it is pretty, once you get past the old, rusty, graffiti-riden railway carriage behind the pub. The weir was seemed quite wild to me and full of muddy brown water. It is a popular spot with local wildlife, otters and kingfishers have been spotted on many occasions, but, not surprisingly, we saw nothing today. Still, the chance to stretch our legs in the sunshine was very pleasant.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Coddon Hill

Well, its Christmas Eve and time to get the kids out of the house for some fresh air and exercise before tomorrow's excitement. Of course all they wanted to do was go to Pizza Hut, they seem to think it's a tradition because we've been for the last two years. So the condition was - walk first, Pizza Hut afterwards.

I decided on Coddon Hill because its one of those places I've heard talked about lots but never actually been to. It's just outside the village of Bishops Tawton and the guide book I looked at said park in the village and follow the path to the top of the hill. Well, that's a 4 mile circular route and although I was all in favour of exercise that might just have finished us all off so we decided to drive up the hill a bit and see if there was anywhere to park. 10 minutes later we'd driven all the way round the hill through Bableigh and were back in Bishops Tawton! "Oh lets just go and park on the road up the hill a bit," I said. And what did we find on our second route round? A lovely car park. It's slightly hidden off the road a bit, but keep your eyes peeled for a dirt track to your left and you'll find it too.

It was quite wind up there. We followed the path out of the car park and up the hill and soon found ourselves right where we wanted to be, by the monument. This is a monument to Caroline Thorpe, wife of ex-MP Jeremy Thorpe, who died in 1970 aged 32. Around the monument is a stone compass with the names of the villages you can see from the 360 degree vantage point. You can see north to Exmoor and South East to Dartmoor and today we could just make out the shadow of Lundy Island to the West. We didn't have good visability at all today, hence the rather odd photo of a sheep with Barnstaple in the background. I think we'll come back on a clear day and I'll post some better photos.

After being blown about by the wind a bit we followed a sheltered path back to another hidden car park, then walked along the road til we got back to the car. We'd sucessfully blown the cobwebs away and worked off a few calories before piling them (and more) back on over the next few days.

Buon Natale!

Tantissimi auguri e buon Natale a tutti voi!

Sunday, 23 December 2007

The Season for Getting Ready

'Tis the season--can you feel it in the air? Everyone is getting ready.....for winter (even when it has already arrived!), for the holidays, for the new guests to arrive, for the latest big snowfall predicted....It's been a busy time here on Gunflint Lake since we last met. The days are filled to the brim, and beyond it seems. It is good.

So where are we at on the list of Get Readys? Well, the cabins are mostly set for the winter season that started two days ago. I say mostly, because Greg is finishing some details in Spruce, as he winds up the remodeling of the bathroom. It looks grand! As soon as I have the go-ahead, I will take some photos of it. Once again, he's done a magnificent job. I'm always delighted to see his vision grow and become reality. From the start, he will describe to me what he intends to do, but since I can't see the same pictures in my head that he sees in his, it is still a surprise for me. He gathers inspiration and ideas from many sources, and sometimes I believe it starts as simply as the color of a piece of tile he has encountered. There remain a few more cabin bathrooms that will need his touch in the coming years, so stay tuned.

It seems like we've been getting ready for winter for a long time now. In reality, we've been ready on several fronts for a long time---the wood is stacked, the kindling is split, the propane tanks are full. We've got the heat covered. I have a tiny bit of winterizing yet to do at one cabin, but that will go fast. And we can now say that the trails are ready, too. Greg has been too involved in his project to assist yet, but thanks to the hard work of Gunflint Pines and Gunflint Lodge, the ski trails have been packed, groomed, and tracked. With the new snow in the air, it will only get better.

Ready for Christmas? Well, considering that it is December 23rd, I'd say that we are about on schedule. This is the day that we go out to cut trees, with dear friends who are staying with us. It has become a most excellent tradition, and sometimes we mix in a bit of sledding with the search. We have even sledded down the big hill, holding our trees aloft. Once home, we all get busy with the task of decorating, so that by the time the big day arrives, the trims are in place and all is festive. We still have cookies to bake, but if those get done too soon, they all get eaten--as was the case with the first batch.

Now, the snowstorm that is predicted....The times each winter that I recapture that feeling of excitement and anticipation of a childhood Christmas are most strongly represented in the weather. Specifically, when the weather forecast is for a blizzard (or such) to arrive in the night, I go to bed with eager anticipation of morning. I love to get up and go right to the window to see if it really did materialize. Today was a bit of a disappointment, but the situation is improving. We got a bit of snow overnight, but not enough to send the Plow Guy out. It was snowing by the time full daylight arrived, and continues to do so. All of our guests are here, so I say it can snow for the next four days, steady. I doubt I'll be that lucky, but I'll settle for several inches. For some reason, I don't think that I can negotiate this one. Here again, I'll keep you posted on the outcome.

Addie had a conversation with Robert yesterday. He arrived safely in Eagle, Alaska, to spend the holidays with friends. I had sent out two Christmas boxes to him a week or so ago. One I mailed to his home in Fairbanks, and the other to the post office in Eagle. After he got in to town, he and his friend Amanda harnessed up her dogs and dog-sledded to the post office to retrieve it. How's that for holiday package delivery?! He was eager to open it, not for the presents, but rather for the cookies inside. That's where most of the first batch went to.

The next few days will be just as busy as the last few. After all of the Christmas celebrations, we will be starting on our activities for New Year's. The menu this year will feature foods of the Eastern Mediterranean, and I just got two orders of exotic spices in the mail. We'll be smelling and tasting some unusual foodstuffs. The kids have been practicing some music for New Year's Eve, so we'll be sounding good. There will be lots of hugs going around. And of course, the beauty of the Northwoods at Christmas is always a feast for the eyes.

Merry Christmas to everyone--I hope that all of your wishes come true.

????????, ????????? ? ?????? ???????

???????? -??? ???? ???????, ???? ???? ???????? ?? ?????? ??? ??? ??????? ???????, ??????? ???? ?? ?????? ??????. ??? ? ???? ??? ??? ????, ??????, ??????.

????????? ? ??????????, ??? ??????? ?????? ????, ????? ????? ?????? ?????? ?? ????? ????????? ?????? ?? ??????? ?????, ? "?????????", ? ? ?? ????????? ? ???????? ??????. ???, ???????? ??, ?????? ???????? ?????? ???????????? ??? ???? ? ??????? ????????, ????? ? ??? ?????? ???. ?? ???????? ????? 10 ???? ??????-??, ?? ... ?????????.

??? ????????? ????????? ??????? ?? ????????? ?????????? ????? ??? ??? ???? ? ????????? ?????? ? ???????. ?????? ????? ????? ??????? ??, ??? ???????? ???-?? ???????. ?.?. ??? ? ???????. ???????????? ????? ??????? ?? 18:00, ?? ????? ????????? ?? ??????? ????? ??????, ??? ??? ?????? ??????.

? ??? ? ??????? ??????????? ???? ??????????? ?? ??????, ???? ?? ???????? ?? ???????, ?? ?????? ???? ????-?? ?????, ???-?? ??????, ???-?? ???????? ?? ?????????. ??-??????, ? ?? ????, ???? ?????. ??? ????????? ??? ???????? ? ?????????? ??? ?????? ????? ????? -???????? ???????. ????? ???? ? ???????, ?? ?????????? ??? ?????? ? ????? ??? ? ?? ???????????? ??????.

??????? ? ?????????? ??????? ? ??????? -???? ?????????? ???? ? ??????. 70 ???? ????, 20 ????????? -???????? ????, ???????, ?? ???? ?? ?????? ??????? ?????? ????? 7 ??????. ????? ????????? ? ?????????????, ?? ????, ??? ??? ?????????, ? ?????? ?? ????? ? ??????? ?? ?????. ????? ???????? -?? ?????? ??? ? ???? ????????. ????? ???? ???? ?????????? ??? ? ??????, ? ???? ? ??? ???, ?? ????? ?? ???????. ??? ??? ????? ????? ????? ?????? ?????. ???? ?? ??? FIAT ??? ???? ?? ??????????? -?????? ????. ?? ????? ??????? ? ????????? ????.

? ?????, ???? ??? ?????????? ? ????, ??? ??? ???? ... ?? ??, ?? ????????? ??????. ??????? ???????, ?????? ????? ????, ????? ? ?? ??????.

????. ?????????.

Friday, 21 December 2007

??????????? ???????

?????????? ???????? ????? ???.
Istituto Europeo di Oncologia di Milano (Ieo) ????????? ????????, Salmonella typhimurium, ???????, ???? ?? ????????? ??????, ????????? ??? ???????, ??????? ??????? ??????? ????????? ?????? ????????????? ????. ???????????? ???? ???????? ??? ???????????? ??? ??????? ???????, ?? ???????? ???? ? ???. ??? ??????? ?? ????? ???? ?????? ???? ??? ?????? ??? ????????? ????????????? ??????? ??????? ?????????. ?????? ??? ???????? ??????.

????????? ??, ??? ???? ?????????? ??? ?????? ???????? ???????. ??????? ????? ??? ?????? ???????????. ??????? ? ???????? ??????? ?????? ????????? ??? ????? 5-10.

?????? ??????? ?????????????? ?????????????. British Medical Journal ????????? ?????? ????? ?????????? ????????????. ????? ??? ???? ?????? ?????????? ??????? ?? ?????????, ? ??????? ?? ???????? ? ????? ??????????? ?? ??????????????? ? ?? ???????? ?? ??? ????????? ?? ?????? ?? ?????????. ??? ? ???? ????? ?????? ?????????? ?? ??????.
??? ??? ????????? ??????? ????????, ??? ??????? ?????? ?? ???? ?????????????, ??????? ???????? ? ???????? ???????? ????????? ? ?????????, ? ??????? .????? ??????????. ??? ??????? ?? ?????????? ?? ????????? ??? ?????????? ?? ???? ????????? ?????? ?????, ??? ???????? ??????? ????? ??????? ?? ?????????? ????????????.

?????? ???????????. ??, ??? ???????? ? ???????, ???????????? ?? ???? ??????? ? ????????? ???????.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

?? ???? ?????? ????? ????

????? ???????? ??. ?????? ?? ????? ???????, ? ? ???? ??????????? ??? ????? ?????. ?????????? ?????? ?????? ? ???????. ? ??? ???? ?????? ?????????, ????? ?????? ??????? ????. ?? ????? 5 ????????, ? ??? 8. ? ????? ????? ?????.

?? ???, ????????, ???? ???-?? ????????????? ???? ? ????? ????? ? ????, ? ?????? ?? "Striscia". ? ??? ?????? ??? ??????? ????????? (??. ??? ???? ?????? ?????? ? ?????? ). ? ??? ??? ??? ????? ????? ????.

????????? ??????? ???????? ????????????? ? ??????. ???????? ??-?? ????, ??? ???? ????, ??? ???????? ??????, ??? ?????????? ?????? ???? ??????? ?????? ???????????? ?????? ? ??? ????? ?? ?????, ??? ??? ????? ????, ? ?? ???????????? ???????, ?? ? ????? ???? ?????, ??? ?????? ?? ?????? ? ?????????? ???????? ??????. ???? ????????? -??? ? ????? ?????????. ???? ?? ????, ?? ??? ???? ????, ? ???? ?? ?? ???, ?? ?????? ???? ????? ?????????? ??????. ?????, ? ????????, ???? ??????? ??????, ?? ???? ???? ???????? ?? ????? -??? ?????? ????? ???????????. ?????? ? ????? ???????, ????? ? ???? ????????, ??? ???? ?????????? ?????, ??? ???? "????? ? ?????" ? ?????, ??? ??? ??? ????, ? ?.?. ?? ????? ???? ????????, ????? ???????... ???? ??????, ???????, ???????, ?? ?????? ?? ?????????????. ??? ?? ?? ????, ??? ??????????? ??????????? ?????? ?????????????.

????? ???????? ????? ???? ??????? ???? ??????? ??????????? ? ???????? ( Firm petition -YOUR help is needed today! ), ??????? ?? ???? ????????? ????? 3000 ???????? ? ???????? ? ????????????? ??????? ??, ?? ??????? ??????? ?? ???????????. ????????????? ?? ?????? ?????? ?????? ?????. ?????? ???? ??????? ??? ????, ?????? ?????. ???? ??????? ??? ?? ??????? ?????????. ?? ? ???? ???????. ?????????. ? ?????, ?????????? ????? ???? ?? ??????????. ?? ? "Striscia" ???? ???????? ?? ???? ????. ?????????? ????? ???? ?????-????? ??? ?? ?????????? ? ???? ? ?????????????. ??? ??? ? ????????????? ?????, ??? ? ???? ?? ???? ? ? ???? ?? ?????. ???????, ???????, ????????? ????????? -??????. ??? ?? ??? ?????? ?? ?????? - ?????????, ??-?? ????, ??? ????? ??????? ?????????? ????????????? ? ??? ?????? ?????? ?? ??? ? ????????.

? ??????? ???, ????? ????, ?????? ?? ???? ? ????? ???. ??? ?? ?????? ????????. ????, ??? ?? ????? ???? ? ??? ???????????. ??? ????? ????????? ??????? ??? ????? ??????. ???? ????? ?????? ???? ??? ( Geshe Jampa Gyatso passed away this morning ). ??? ?????, ?? ??? ??????????? ?????? ????? ?????? ?????? ?????, ? ?? ????? ????? ???? ????? ????? ???????? ??????. ????? ?????? ?????? ?????????? ???? ????? ????, ??? ? ???? ????? ??????, ??? ??? ????? ?????????, ??? ?? ??????? ???? "? ????? ????" ????? ??????? ? ??? ????? ???? ????? ?????.

??? ???-???? ??? ??? ?????, ???????????, ??? ????? ???? ?? ???? ?????, ? ???? ????? ????? ????? ???????????? ??? ???????? ? ????? ?????? ?????. ????????, ??? ?????? ???? ????? ???????, ????? ????, ????? ??????? ??????????? ? ?????. ? ?????? ??? ?? ??????. "?????? -??? ??????". ?????. ??????? ???, ??????? ?????. ?? ???. ????????, ?????? ???????, ????????, ??? ??? ?? ???????? ??????, ? ??????? ?? ?????? ??? ???? ??????, ??? ???? ?????, ????? ????? ?????? ??????, ??? ????????? ?????.

???-???? ???? ?????, ??? ? ??? ?????? ??? ? ??? ?? ?????. ??????? ???? -? ????????? ???? ????????, ? ?? ???????? ?????? ??????????????. ????? ?? ??? ???? "????? ????". ?????? ?????? ??????? ? ???????.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

???????????? ?????????

????? ???????? ?? ??? ??????: ????????? ? ??????? ????? ????????? ????? ??? ??????. ????????, ??? ??? ???????? ? ?????. ?????? ?? ????? ???? ????. ?????? ? ?????? ????????????. ???????? ????? ? ??? ????? ? ????? ???? ??? ??? ???? ???????? ???? ??????? ? ????? ?? ?????????????? ??????????? ????????????. ? ?? ????, ??? ?? ????????? ????????, ? ????? ???????, ? ?????? ???????, ??? ??????? ?????? ?????????? ???????? ????????? ? ?????? ????? ???????? ??? ???????. ??? ?? ?????? ??? ????? ??? ??????? ??????. ?? ?? ????? ????? ??????? ????? "? ?????? ????????? ?????? ??????????". ?? ?????, ????????, ??? ? ????????????.

???-?? ??? ?? ??????? ? ????? ?????? ?? ???????? ?????????? ?????? ???????? ???????. ????? ?? ????? ???? ??????? ???? -??? ?? ???? ?????- ??????, ? ????? ??? ???????? ????????.

??? ??????? ????? ??????? ?????? -??????????? ?? ???????. ?????? ??????????? ????? ?? ??? ? ???????, ???????? ?????. ????? ??????? ?? "??????" ??? ???????? ????? ?? ???????????? ??????? ? ?? ???????? ??? ???????? ??? ?????????????. ?????? ?? ???? ? ?? ?? ????? ???????????? ?????? ?????????? ??? ??????? ??????????? ?????? ???????? ????. ???????????, ??? ?????? ? ?????? ?? ???????? ??????? ?? ????? ????? ? ??????? ??? ? ??????? ?????????? ?????????. ?? ?????? ????? ?? ????????? ???????? ???????? ?? ?????? ?????.

??? ???, ??????????? ? ??????????? ??????????. ????? ????????? ?? ?????? ? ?????????? ??? ? ?????????, ???? ????????, ??????????? ????? ? ?????? ???????. ??? ???? ??? ???? ?????????? ??????. ??????????? ????????????? ??? ??????????? ?????? ??????????? ???????. ?? ??????? ?????? ????????? ??, ?????? ??? ?? ?? ???????? ???? ????? ??? ??????? ?? ????? ??????????. ????? ????????? ???, ??? ????? ?? ?? ??????????? ?????? ? ?????? ?? ?????? ????????? ??????? ?? ??????????? ???????, ????????. ??? ????? ????????? ??????????? ??? ????? ?? ?????????? ??????? ????? ???? ?? ??? ??????????? ????? ???????? ( ?? ????????? ????????? ??? ??????????? ????????? ?????????? ??????). ?? ??? ? ???, ???????????, ?????, ? ????????????? ?? ???????? ????? ????.

??? ???, ? ??????????????? ??????????, ????????!

Friday, 14 December 2007

Ice At Last

The good news? We have ice! Last night, the temps were predicted to drop below zero, but the wind was roaring outside of our window. Earlier in the evening, I had been out hanging some Christmas lights, and listening to the clatter. Little chunks of broken ice were rattling against each other, and bumping up on the shore. No way did it sound like the lake would calm enough to freeze.

But sometime in the wee hours, the wind did die down, so that when we got up, there it was....A nice covering of ice. It squeaked in just under the wire of my "first two weeks in December" time frame, given that today is the 14th. I opened the window to listen to the complete silence that I so enjoy when we first freeze. It's good.

The temp was about nine below, warmer than the predicted lows of minus twenties. It will likely be colder in the mornings now. I have noticed a bit of a lake effect for us here on the south shore, when we still have open water. It does seem to keep us a few degrees warmer. That will even out now.

I made sure to refill the bird feeder last evening, as I knew the chickadees and nuthatches would be fast and furious for food in the early morning cold. I also knew that I would not want to be as fast as they are, in getting out there to fill it up. It's much too cozy by the fire in the early light, to even consider going outside at nine below!

Yesterday we collected a couple of inches of fresh snow, although a lot less was predicted. That is my favorite time for the weather forecasters to be wrong---rather like the Monopoly card that says "Bank error in your favor!" The trails are beautiful, and I've been hearing some good early skiing reports. Perhaps this weekend, I'll steal a moment to test it out myself. It will be a busy weekend, as Paul's band plays at the Gunflint Tavern on Saturday night. Naturally we'll be down there to hear them in their Grand Marais debut. If you are in the neighborhood, be sure to stop on by! The music starts at 8 p.m.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

All Steamed Up

One of the hardest things to predict in recent years is when the lake might freeze. In the late 80's and much of the 90's, it would usually go by about the middle of December. When asked, we would tell folks either the first or second week of the month was a good bet. This year, it looked like we were on track for that, with snow on the ground, and some decent cold blasts that took us below zero. But as I mentioned the other day, the wind is the last variable to make a difference. It's still making waves, so we are still waiting for ice. And that's what's got us all steamed up....Not that we are mad about this, but rather that the moving waters keep on kicking up clouds of steam, as the lake releases its warmth. On our way to church last Sunday, the skies were clear and the trees full of crystals as we passed by Loon Lake. But looking over the ridge (the north side of the South Rim) we could see huge clouds of steam rising. Last night, the wind was blowing so hard, it sounded more like a fall storm out there than the usual ultra-quiet of winter. We'll keep on waiting....

A bit of fresh snow is falling, and most of the trees still have snow on their branches, so we are frosted up for the upcoming holidays. The ski trails have been packed--including the South Rim! It's early for that to have happened. Once we get a decent amount of fresh snow, it will be time to track the trails. Yahoo for early snow.

Greg is working beyond sundown these days (which of course is easy to do, given that the sunset is about 4:10 in the afternoon) as he puts the bathroom at Spruce cabin back together. The shower is tiled, and soon the floor will be. The boards are painted and ready to go back up on the walls, and the fixtures are ready to be set into place. We found a neat little sink when we were in Bozeman last spring, so we ordered it up for the cabin. I'm sure that store will become a regular stop on our western treks, as Greg searches out new ideas for future remodeling projects. He wishes that there were more hours in the day, as the ideas and opportunities abound when you maintain so many buildings.

Holiday preparations continue here at the lodge. Addie and I did get some cookies made. Most of those have been packed up and are Alaska-bound. Robert appreciates it when we send goodies his way. Once again, he will spend Christmas in the town of Eagle. He must fly in from Fairbanks, and that is weather-dependent. He has several days off from school, so a delay isn't as crucial. He is fortunate to have many good friends there who will make the holiday just as wonderful as if he were back home.

Lately, with Greg so busy, the rest of us have been taking turns going up to feed the donkeys, Moses and Jethro. Those boys have grown some nice wooly coats for the winter. Is that an indication of how the weather is to be? Over the weekend, they displayed their resourcefulness: When Greg went up there one morning, they were not at the gate, nor in the barn. He looked around, and they were standing at the far edge of the pasture, in the spot where the first rays of sunshine would hit when the sun came up. Of course, when they saw Greg open the hay shed gate, they came running over for breakfast. Greg put hay in their usual places, and they started to eat. Then he put some where the sun was spotting the ground. When Moses noticed that, he ran right over, before Jethro could steal the hot spot. Such antics we get to observe in these guys--and their intelligence, too.

The snow is falling a bit harder now. How wonderful it would be to sit here and knit all day, watching those flakes fall from the sky! I did get that chance, last March when I was laid-up with my achilles injury. It's good to be able-bodied again. I'll just keep an eye on those snowflakes as I go about my tasks today, and that will be good, too.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Postcards on the Trail

In the early mornings at this time of year, we are treated to beautiful colors in the sky. Today it reflected in the water as well. For a brief time, the sky was this shade of pink, and then a bit of orange. It's a good thing that Greg noticed it and told me to look out the window--just a few minutes later, it was gone.

In case you hadn't noticed, this is my new favorite way to take a photo: I hold my camera out the window of our room upstairs, to take a shot that overlooks the lake. From that vantage point, I can get a good overview of the landscape. Being a shorter person, I just can't do it justice from the ground!

Yesterday when I drove towards the trail, I realized that Hollywood films have nothing on us when it comes to flocking trees and creating a wintery scene. The conifer trees were mostly laden with the fresh snow, while the deciduous trees had little coats of frost, thanks to the moisture that is still being released from our (mostly) open lake. It is difficult to take a picture that adequately reflects all of this. Suffice it to say that it was as pretty as a postcard.

The lake is starting to freeze up around the bays and edges. I don't see as much steam rising from it, so it must be nearing the point of cooldown necessary to freeze over. The other important factor that must fall in to place is the wind. Tomorrow night, the lows in our area are predicted to be 21 to 26 degrees below zero. But the wind is supposed to be out of the west at ten to fifteen miles per hour. It's not likely that the lake will freeze if both of those conditions happen. Last year, it seemed to be taking a long time for the lake to freeze. We were all anxious, and it happened that one evening we were having friends over for dinner, and I suggested that afterwards, we go down and see how the lake was doing. It was quite cold, and it seemed that the wind had died down. We bundled up, and headed out into the stillness. When we got to the landing, we could actually hear the ice forming. First there was a trickling sound of water, and then suddenly it stopped. It was almost like a switch had been flipped off. And there in front of us was ice where moments before it was water. We started to pitch small snow chunks on to the new ice, and watched them trail until they reached the edge a little further out, where they fell into the lake. It was such a rare moment. When we headed in, we were happy that finally the lake had frozen over. But in the morning, it was not to be, as the wind had come up, and pushed around all the new ice, broken it up, and re-opened the lake. It was several more days before it really settled down enough to freeze completely and firmly.

With all of the white surrounding us, we've been able to spot critters more easily. Several neighbors have reported seeing moose on the trail again. We got our chance last Saturday, as we headed to Grand Marais early in the morning. Along a straightaway, two bull moose were conversing up ahead. It had been a while since I've seen bulls with racks, and these two looked great. They scrambled to take there meeting off-road, and one nearly slipped as he headed in to the woods. I was happy that he didn't actually fall, because I have seen that, and it looks painful. I've been watching tracks, hoping to see some wolf, but so far it has been just the fox. Those little fellows and gals are a frequent sight on the trail.

More snow is falling today, and it is great to know that so much of the state has been blessed with early December snow. That means we all can dust off the skis and snowshoes sooner to get out there and find our "ski legs" again. The muscles will be sore for a bit, but then we'll be gliding along.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Now This is More Like It

Remember a few days ago, when I posted a picture of the sauna and the canoes by it? I was looking for things colored red. Now, just a smidgen of red is still visible. (I�m trying to post a picture, but the program won�t let me right now. I�ll try again later.) Between the snow we got last Wednesday, and the new storm over the weekend, we have better than sixteen inches on the ground. That's the way it should be this time of year. We were remembering how just a few years ago, we still had bare ground in early December, and mild temperatures on top of it. Greg and Robert got a notion to take a boat out for a ride, which they did. I strongly discouraged that, given the temperature of the water. But sometimes I don't get my way. At any rate, I would much rather have the conditions today, as it really feels and looks like winter.

The mist is rising again on the lake, so perhaps we will have ice soon. I noticed as I drove to town on Saturday that most of the other lakes had frozen. Loon was mostly covered, and it often goes right around the same time as Gunflint. I heard that Seagull also froze sometime in the last few days. All signs so far are falling into place for a real winter.

We used the snow wisely yesterday by going out to bank it around the foundations of the cabins and lodge. It is a lot of work to shovel it all around like that, but it goes a long way towards insulating the crawl spaces. Greg spent most of the day plowing out roads and driveways with his new plow truck. It's working well, and he figures that he is the only plow operator that listened to an opera while he was working. Nice to have a modern convenience like a CD player. His old truck is a 1979 Ford---they hadn't even invented the CD technology when that truck was built.

In the Really Good News department, the ski trails are getting packed this week, and we are hopeful that they can be groomed and tracked by the weekend. This, too, is early compared to recent years. Addie and I are anxious to get out there. I totally missed last year, with my heel injury, so I am especially looking forward to hitting the trails again.

Also on the docket this week: printing up the Christmas cards. I'll take over the kitchen with my makeshift "printing press", and then will be busy printing, signing, and posting them. Maybe I can convince Addie to bake some cookies while I am working....Yum!

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Which comes first--the snow or the plow?

For more years than I can remember, we have taken a few days in late fall to travel to Duluth with the kids. Usually we have gone in mid-November, to do a little shopping and see the Christmas parade. Due to other obligations, we put off this trip until this week. Our main task this time around was to get a new plow for Greg's truck. He's been using the same one for about eighteen years. It has served him well, as has the truck to which it is attached. But the time has come to replace it, and as of today, he has a shiny new Boss plow, and the old one is a back-up.

So what happens while we are gone? It snows!! How's that for ironic? Now I know how to get it to start snowing....but I don't think that Greg needs a new plow each year. We heard from Sharlene this afternoon that we had six fresh inches and that it was still snowing. We head back home tomorrow, so then we will be able to report just how much new snow has fallen on Gunflint Lake. It's exciting!! The first significant snowfall of the year always is so much fun, and I'm sorry that we are missing it. One thing I know for sure----I'm following Greg (we brought two vehicles to Duluth in order to get the plow put on over in Superior), because he has the plow.

Monday, 26 November 2007

A Good Time for Everyone

One of the advantages of self-employment is that I can steal a few extra minutes before I get up in the morning, without adding a ton of stress to my life. So it was this morning, as I listened to Greg, already up, grinding his coffee. I recalled early mornings as a child, smelling the coffee my parents were preparing, and hearing the radio they had playing. A guy named Hunter Como would sing, "It's wake up time", and then do a little trill on his guitar. It's wonderful that memories from so long ago can stay with a person. The second thing I did is something that I always do in this season: check out the window to see if it is snowing. Indeed, we are receiving some wayward flakes, softly floating their way down. When this is the case, at this time of the year, I feel a sense of relief.

The Thanksgiving weekend was a bustling and enjoyable time. We had several folks in who either cooked up their own feast, or went down to the wonderful bounty that was being offered at our neighboring lodge. We ourselves relished in one of the very best dinners I think that I have ever had. Greg's sister Geri and her friend Donn had raised the turkey that we ate, and had butchered it just a couple days prior. Addie took one bite, turned to Greg, and said, "Oh, Papa! We should raise turkeys!" I don't know that we're ready to take that on, but the difference in flavor does make it tempting. We all did our best to bring an item that was, at least in part, "locally produced". My contribution was an ice cream lemon meringue pie, in which I made my own ice cream from milk obtained at the local dairy. It is raw milk, which we have been drinking for about a year now. We had homegrown vegetables, herbs, and even a chicken from Geri, too, in case the twelve-pound turkey wasn't quite large enough. It truly was a feast for royalty. I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, too.

The wax disapppeared from the pots on Friday faster than I could melt more for refills. We made several pairs of beautiful beeswax candles, and the kids had a ball making the colored paraffin candles. Somehow, there was room in the kitchen for everyone. This year, we melted the bulk of the wax outside, and that really helped with the moisture management. Wax needs to be melted in a water bath, and in the past, it has almost felt like a sauna in the kitchen at the end of the day. Now everyone has new candles, in all shapes and sizes to burn at home, and think about the day they made them on the Gunflint.

Saturday was baking day, and I fired up the bread oven early. I had noticed last month when firing the oven that there was a lot of steam coming out of the firebricks. It seems that with all the rain of September and October, some of it had gotten under the hearth. I could even hear it sizzling. In that previous baking session, the pizza crusts had steamed rather than baked. Oh dear! During this session of firing, I saw lots more steam coming out of the chimney, and I could see where it was evaporating off of the outer walls. Maybe we've finally baked it out of there? I hope so. I baked four loaves of ciabatta, and some guests baked two loaves of rosemary ciabatta. I tell you, after several weeks of not baking, the taste of that familiar bread is so good. It reminds me of how much I love it. Then again, I know that I can't bake like that year-round, or I would weigh about three-hundred pounds! Once the bread was done, we baked off pizza for a busy group of pizza-makers in Tamarack, who came up with a colorful batch. The scent of those was enough to drive me back into my own kitchen to whip out a few crusts, then enlist Paul and Addie to put on some toppings and help bake them. Even though I can bake the same recipes in my kitchen oven all winter, we are in agreement that they just don't taste the same as those that come from the wood-fired oven.

The lake is still open, but many of the smaller lakes have frozen over. We saw steam rising off of Gunflint one day, a good sign that things are cooling off. The moon was full and bright throughout the nights, so it was easy to be out and about for walks. Once again we have moonshadows. The path that the moon follows in the cold months is similar to the one that the sun follows in summer--higher in the sky, sometimes directly overhead. It's a great time of the year to take walks at night, as you can see so well. Just be sure to bundle up.

We are closed again for a few weeks, with plans to re-open about the 20th of December. Greg is working hard on the bathroom at Spruce cabin, so that it is done by then. The rest of us will be busy with more seasonal cleaning, and of course, the other kind of seasonal preparations: those for the big holidays yet to come. The days will fly by, as they always do.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Reindeer Roadshow

For the last two years this has been held in Barnstaple. Last year my husband took the kids but I couldn't make it, so this year I was determined to go along. This year's Reindeer Roadshow was held in Bideford. The roadshow bit was Lantern FM, the local radio station, with a stage at the bottom of the High Street. The bit I was interested in was the Reindeer bit. They were lovely and surprisingly small (its no wonder Santa needs eight of them to pull his sleigh!)

We arrived in Bideford just as Santa was coming along the Quay and we followed the procession til we met my sister and her son. Then we wandered up the High Street for a look around, went into a shop and completely missed the turning on of the Christmas lights, much to daughter number two's disappointment (especially as she wasn't there for the Barnstaple one last week.) However, finding the reindeer on the Quay more than made up for it. We stood and watched them for ages, and she managed to touch on of their antlers, which are covered in fur. Then she cheered up even more when I lent her my camera and took a photo of the baby reindeers (well actually a baby reindeers bottom, but she wasn't bothered about that!)

There were lots of street entertainers around too and we managed to get one of them to make us some balloon animals, then it was off for a cup of tea before coming home.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Looking for Color

Although I am not colorblind, I find that during this time of the year, I have to go actively searching for color outside. For whatever reason, my mind always registers the color grey when thinking about November and April. So often during this month, the sky is grey, the water is grey, and the trees have taken on that very dark drab green that they wear all winter. Of course, there is black, and there is white when we have snow, and we even get to see blue when the sun is out. So it isn't really all grey, but it definitely is not as colorful as what we just went through with the leaves changing, or as it is in summer when the flowers and foliage are in the peak of their times.

So I went looking for red. I could only find one thing natural, and that was these little berries on the ends of this bush. They grow right down on the edge of the beach, near Cedar Point cabin. I happened to photograph them the other day, when the waves had been lapping the twigs. Most of the bush was encased in ice, but these berries were high enough to escape it.

The snowfall from last night made it easy to spot the red canoe, with just a thin blanket on top of it. Soon I hope to see that the canoe is fairly buried in white.

And finally, though it isn't true red, the roof of the sauna also sported a dusting of white. The temp was 22 degrees this morning, and we hear that it is predicted to go down. That is fine, as long as a good dose of snow is soon to follow. The insulative properties of the flakes goes along way towards preventing frozen septic pipes come January and February.

If you've never had the opportunity, you should take a peek at the work of Andy Goldsworthy. He is a British artist, living in Scotland, and has published several books of his artwork. We first discovered his books at the library, and they are a treasure of photographs of sculptures done out in nature. He finds colors in the full spectrum, and arranges them into beautiful works, and photographs them. Here is a link to some of his images: We always find inspiration in looking at his books.

Today is pie-making day. That is my assignment for the Thanksgiving holiday. I'll also be getting things ready for our annual tradition of dipping candles on Friday. The kids were really little when we first started this......Addie still enjoys dipping candles with me, and we have several guests and friends who will join us. It's a good way to start the busy holiday season.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Christmas Lights

I don't normally go in for this sort of thing, but as I had nothing much else to do today, and as there was someone reasonably famous coming to do it, I thought I'd make the effort and go and watch the Christmas lights being turned on. The someone reasonably famous was Joss Stone, a devongirlie herself, and a someone who is involved with local charity Amigos International. (She made a visit with them to Uganda, my daughters teacher went too and helped to make a video and educational pack that is going out to school across the county.)

Anyway, me and my littlest one trekked down to Barnstaple's newly re-vamped Square, along with hundreds of other people, and were only able to squeeze our way to about half way to the stage area, hence the blurry photo. Joss came on and sang 'Son of A Preacher Man', turned on the lights then left again. There were some pretty spectacular fireworks (look and learn Chivenor) and then it was all over.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Quiet Times in the Woods

It was nice yesterday to wake up to a fresh dusting of snow on the rooftops, and once again covering the Canadian hills across from us. The previous days had been warmer, into the low forties, and had melted the little snow we'd had. As I drove to town, I also saw that the warm-up had re-opened the two lakes previously skimmed with ice. No longer were Little Iron and Swamper capped and smooth. It seemed strange to see the wind lapping small waves on them. It won't be long, however, until they have ice that will stay for the winter.

The snow, though it is less than a half-inch, helped put me in the mood for the day's task: More work on our annual Winter Tracks Festival. This is the fourth year of the festival, and we are busy planning for all of the activities and events that celebrate the fun of snow and cold. Last year's festival was a great mix of skiing, snowshoeing, ice-fishing, snowmobiling, and other traditional winter sports. We added to that lots of great snow sculptures, winter pizza at the bread oven, and some ice fishing and snowmobile opportunities. At the last minute, we had a wonderful snowstorm that brought us just what we needed---several inches of fresh, fluffy snow. Unfortunately, it also made travel poor for some folks, so they were not able to make it all the way up here. Still, it was a great weekend, and one that I would highly recommend. I am busy working on the brochure and the website changes. It should be updated within the next couple of weeks. When it is, I'll put a link here so you can check it out.

And here we are, less than a week away from Thanksgiving. The time flies for all of us, doesn't it? We will be celebrating here, with dinner at Sharlene's. Jim will be back from Alaska, and other family members will be joining us. On Friday we will again be dipping candles. That is our "Day after Thanksgiving" tradition, and it is always a wonderful time with friends joining in. The smell of beeswax will linger in the air, and I've come to associate that with this holiday.

The animals have been very quiet, at least in my realm. We saw a moose on the way to church last Sunday, but that's it for large animals. We've not seen any deer. The most of the activity remains around the bird feeder. Some pine grosbeaks have shown up, and their lovely rosy feathers add a nice touch to the other colors that I see among the birds. A goldfinch also came by recently. He hadn't yet lost his bright yellow summer colors, so I had to look twice to see what it was. Most of the time, we only see the goldfinches in their winter drab. In the summer, they find new places to be, so I miss out on the yellow stage. For years, I didn't really watch the birds much. I'm still amazed at all that I was missing, for it is an active and entertaining sight.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

The Weather Then and the Weather Now

It's not often that I can remember the weather on a particular day several years ago. Some specific event needs to be tied to the day in order for this to happen. For example, many folks in these parts can remember the 32 inch snowfall on Halloween 1991. Hands down, the easiest to recall is the big windstorm on the Fourth of July 1999.

But on this day, back in 1988, I can remember that it was snowing. We already had some snow on the ground. It wasn't falling hard, but it was enough to cover the road, and the plow wasn't out yet, early on that Sunday morning. I had been up a large portion of the night, while Greg and little Robert slept upstairs. When I woke Greg up about 5:30, I said, "Greg, it's time to go now." And he said, "Time to go hunting?" I smiled and said, "No, it's time to go to the hospital."
I was in labor with Paul, who has turned 19 today---just about two hours ago, if we want to get technical about it, as Paul's little sister insists.

We got Robert up and into his carseat, and set off for the hospital in Grand Marais. Sometimes people will ask me if we were ever worried about getting to the hospital in time. I tell them that for the first one, we could have gone all the way to Chicago, so I knew that we would have time. I recall that the snowy road really helped me when I was having contractions, almost like a cushion against them. Nearer to town, the road had been plowed and was bumpier, and much less comfortable.

Gramma Sharlene met us in town to watch Robert. We labored through the morning, and Paul arrived shortly after noon. Interestingly, I had made the comment to Greg previously that if the baby were to come on that Sunday, he would be able to watch the Chicago Bears football game from the hospital. Sure enough, he got to watch the second half.

Paul mustn't have been paying too close attention to the game. The Bears Fan gene didn't get to him. Instead, to this day, he remains a loyal fan of the Green Bay Packers.

Today, the skies are overcast, and the wind is blowing from the south. That means that it is warm. When I went to check for the mail, I didn't even need a jacket. It is 48 degrees outside. What a difference. The weather is supposed to change tomorrow, and I hope that means that it cools off and snow comes our way. We won't be skiing for Thanksgiving, but it would be nice to have a little snow on the ground.

Paul is enjoying a day off, where he doesn't have to do any work if he chooses not to. Considering that during the seasons when we are open, and he can be asked to work up to sixteen-hour days, I'd say he deserves a bit of time off. Happy Birthday, Paul!

Monday, 12 November 2007

Tractors and Tires

Yesterday, the temperature went up to the low forties, so the lovely snow that we had last week all melted away. It was pretty while it lasted, and a good view of what is to come. And since Greg still had to finish some mowing on ski trails, it was helpful to have bare ground again.

When he went out a week ago to do his part of the trail system, he was only able to get halfway through. Then a tire blew out on the tractor, and that was it for that day. He hitchhiked back to his truck, and ordered a new tire. We picked it up in Duluth last week, and today he and Paul went to the trail to change it. I joined them to assist with transportation, and to take a few photos. It was a sunny day, and with our blaze orange, it was a colorful autumn scene.
When the tire first blew, Greg was several feet back from where he stopped. He wanted to position the tractor so that he would be able to make use of a nearby pine tree when it was time to change the tire. He was able to drive forward just a bit. The tractor was on a slight incline, so he knew that he would need a chain and come-along to stabalize it. With Paul on the come-along, and Greg on the jack, they were able to get it to this point.

And if you look closely, you can see that the new tire is in place. I'm not sure that I was of much help, but I did contribute to the colors of the day. Greg was then ready to finish the mowing job, though not without a few more pitfalls. On the Powerline trail, a leftover piece of electrical cable got snagged and wound itself around the mower. Not as easy to remove as it is for me when a piece of fishing line gets wrapped around the vacuum cleaner, but the same idea. A few odds and ends broke or came loose as he mowed along, but fortunately, he had the right equipment and parts to fix them. Lots of trees to saw out of the way also. A busy time on the trails, and certainly a reinforcement of the fact that Greg is glad that he is not a farmer.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Snow and Chickadees

While I don't know if it is here to stay, it sure looks good on the ground! The snow fell in big flakes, floating down from the sky, just like a storybook. The ground is cooling down, so that helps the snow hang around for a while. It's been a stretch since I can recall snow in early November, with the mixed up seasons we've had the last few years. Though some of us aren't quite ready, I am happy to see this.

It does mean that I need to be more diligent in keeping the bird feeder filled. Mostly we have been seeing our usual chickadee friends, and the rose-breasted nuthatches. I've also seen the white-breasted nuthatch almost daily. He comes swooping in so fast, I have to look twice to see if it really is him. Then he flies off right away, to go stash his seed somewhere.....I saw him stuff one into the big cedar tree by the workshop recently. I didn't realize that birds hid seeds away like that.

Yesterday, Greg rescued a chickadee that had hit the window. He fetched the little one and brought her in to the lodge where it was warm. He held her for a while, and then the bird started to flutter her wings, as though she was ready to take off. So Greg went out to the porch to release her, but the bird just sat in his hand. They came back inside, and then repeated this procedure a second time. This time, once outside, the bird quietly sat on Greg's hand and closed her eyes for a little nap. So he came back in and put the bird into a large empty flower pot, and give her a little hot Andouille sausage for a snack. Evidently, this was just the thing to wake the bird enough, as she started fluttering for freedom from the pot. Greg picked her up, once again stepped out on to the porch, and for another few moments, the bird still sat in his hand. Then she must have decided that she liked the menu outside better than the one posted inside, as she quickly took off.

Now that we have a bit of snow on the ground, we'll be able to see animal tracks more easily. One of the fellows who so diligently plows the roads up this way told me that he has seen many wolf tracks in the gravel pit by the Cross River. One day, he noticed tracks from a young moose, and then he saw tracks from a wolf. He didn't follow them to the ending, but he said that he expected that the moose probably didn't make it out of that one. I sure hope that we get to see wolves this year in the numbers that we did a couple of winters ago.

Monday, 5 November 2007

A Bit of Snow

This morning, we woke to a brush of snow on the Canadian side of Gunflint Lake, but only wetness over here. I think it is because the wind is blowing strong from the northwest. As it comes across the warm waters (!!!) of the lake, it melts the snow to water before it hits the ground. So here we are, warmer by the lake. I wanted to share this picture with you, as it is our first look at how the north shore appears with snow as a backdrop to the burned trees that are left. I am interested to see the change as we progress further in to the snowy season, and to see the contrasts that surely will appear.

It was a good weekend to finish up outside chores. I'm not sure where they come from, but a stray pile of firewood here and there shows up, and once again we find ourselves stacking it. I think that Greg loves chopping the wood, and so he goes around when we aren't looking, leaving piles behind. It is such a feeling of accomplishment when those stacks are done.

I also tried a bit of deer hunting on Saturday, which for me was more of a walk in the woods on a pretty morning. Greg took me out with him, and we went up to his stand for a while, and then did some more walking. The morning was warm, at about 31 degrees. The most memorable moment came when a chickadee landed on Greg's rifle, and sat there observing him for about a half a minute. Greg watched him when he left, and it then flew over to me, about forty yards away. The little bird hovered just a foot in front of my face for a moment or two, and then flew on. I think that next time, I will take a small baggie of sunflower seeds with, and see if I can entice one to land on my mitten.

The squirrels are still real active in the woods, stashing away food for the coming winter. I enjoyed watching one scurry around as I quietly sat out there. I like the industrious nature that they have all year, but can especially appreciate it in the fall. Some of the tasks that we must do are of that same nature---gather and store, gather and store. I wonder if they get to rest some in the snowy months ahead?

On our way to church yesterday morning, we noticed a thin skim of ice on Little Iron Lake. Soon it will be a thick coat, and winter will be well on its way. Ready or not, here it comes. I think that we are close to ready.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Bonfire Night at RMB Chivenor

We've not been here for a couple of years and when we got here last night I remembered why - far too commercialised!

RMB Chivenor is three miles outside Barnstaple as you head towards Braunton. A couple of years ago, for the anniversary of Guy Fawkes' failed attempted at blowing up parliament, the Marines decided to team up with the Roundtable and hold a combined fireworks celebration. Then they just carried on doing it. In my opinion it was much nicer when they did it at Barnstaple Rugby Club. You walked in, watched the fireworks, which were done to music, then came home again.

At Chivenor, you drive onto the airfield through a shambolically organised ticket 'gate', then walk to what can only be described as a money trap. There's the stall selling the obligatory glow-in-the-dark toys which inevitably fall to bits after two minutes, numerous fairground rides, a whole row of fast food vans and, most strangely, a Santa sleigh playing Christmas songs!

So after negotiating with the children that they were only allowed on one ride, and letting them nag their Dad into buying them a multicoloured light sabre each, we stood to wait for the fireworks. It was a pretty average display that lasted only about 15 mins - no music. Shortly after this the bonfire, a large ship, was lit. We stood and watched it for a while then came home. Bring back the good old days when bonfires were proper shaped and you were allowed to toast marshmallows next to them!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

A Hike to Bridal Falls

Ever since it started raining in early September, we have been talking about Bridal Falls. With all of the water that has fallen, we knew that the falls had to be running like we'd not seen before. The challenge was getting there.....and this proved itself true in a couple of ways.

We finally found a day when all four of us were home, the lake was somewhat calm, and it wasn't raining. This was about a week ago, so it was cold outside, but we just bundled up a little more, and headed out. If we didn't take this opportunity, we probably wouldn't get another. The ride down was a bit bumpy, thanks to the waves, but we all stayed dry. That is a good thing when one is on a boat ride in late October.

Greg pulled the boat up in the usual place, just to the west of the creek. It's probably south, if I were to get technical with a compass, but it is easier for me to orient by saying west. We all got out, and found that without hip waders, we weren't going anywhere. The creek was easily overflowing whatever "banks" it might have had at one time, and had spread throughout all of the surrounding woods. The trail was no where in sight. We decided that we would need to get back in the boat, and try mooring more to the west of the usual trailhead---towards where the large hill that makes up so much of the south shore of Gunflint Lake might offer some higher and drier ground.

We found a new place to tie up the boat, and proceeded to disembark right through the dense shore brush, and pick our way through the woods. We headed generally in the direction of the falls, and for the most part were able to initially keep our feet dry. Soon that changed. We got into a large area that had been burned in the spring, and it, too, had standing water. Downed trees, blackened with char, sometimes allowed for crossing, if they were sturdy enough. Since Greg and I both had rubber boots on, we were faring a little better than the kids. But I found it imperative to first brush aside the bright yellow leaves of the thimbleberry bushes that were everywhere. Since we still had not had a killing freeze, the bushes were all standing tall. They hid the ground enough for me to know that I couldn't chance blindly planting my next step, as my left foot is still a bit unsteady following last winter's dancing escapade. It boils down to the fact that it was a very slow hike.

We eventually found our way to the original trail...or something close to it. Here is a photo of Addie, as she walks along side of the trail. The creek was still overflowing, and finding all sorts of pathways in its journey down to the lake.
As we drew near to the falls, we could hear it, which isn't all that unusual. This time, however, the volume was much louder. We went as quickly as we could, even though there was clearly no chance of the water slowing down. A spectacular view awaited us....

Bridal Falls, rushing over the edge, in five different places. I couldn't get it all in one photo.
It was fascinating to just sit and watch all of the water course over the edge, and then continue on down the stream. Paul and Addie bushwhacked up to the top, so that they could see the view of it from another direction. Greg went up to join them, but I knew that it was best if I stayed down below. My achilles tendon has improved impressively over the summer, but I didn't want to push my luck, since we still needed to hike back out.
When it was time to leave and start that hike back out, I wished that we had marked our trail with flagging ribbon. Once again, it was an interesting challenge to decide where to go next.

When I ended up on a log like this, I knew that I needed a picture of it. My kids know how much I do not care to be in this position....but sometimes I have to. Slow and steady, I can usually make it ...and in this case, I could even snap a photo. (Look Ma, no hands.)Finally we were back to the boat, and we started our bumpy ride back to the lodge. The wind had not died down, so a side trip to the east end of the lake was postponed. We won't make it down there this year, but that's fine. The water will still be high in the spring when the ice goes out. That will be a great time to visit the east end, and to see what is left of that beach!

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Halloween Fun

Just like back in 1991, it is snowing today. I should say that it is just snow squalls, so we aren't in for the 32 inches that we got back then. And so far, it is more like styrofoam pellets than real flakes. That's okay, as it is still a little early for us to have snow on the ground. We got most of the firewood stacked yesterday, so I can feel a little happier about seeing snow in the air.

Yesterday was one of those beautiful fall days that you want to last for several more hours. Paul, Addie and I worked hard on the stacks, while Greg was out mowing ski trails with a tractor. The bugs even made a short appearance, in the form of black flies and a couple of mosquitoes. We finished up chores at a neighbor's cabin, we put away lawn chairs, and we stowed some canoes and such. Greg and I finished out the day as dusk was falling by going on a date to the dump. Such excitement around here.

Actually, the real excitement is today, for it is Halloween, even in the woods. Addie has been very busy designing and sewing her costume, and I pitched in a bit to help. I recalled several years of last minute sewing on October 30, so that costumes would be ready for school parties the next day. Those nights were so stressed, I am happy not to go back to that. One year, all three kids wore variations on the same theme: Rodents Of Unusual Size, or ROUS 's from the movie Princess Bride. With fake fur, I was able to fashion three different colored rat costumes. We would go trick or treating to a handful of neighbors' cabins, and the kids would come home with a bag of candy so full, you would have thought we hit three suburban neighborhoods.

We start the Halloween celebrating a bit early, by hosting a lasagna dinner/Halloween gathering on the last weekend of October. That is when the Minnesota Rovers are up to do their annual trail maintenance on the Border Route Trail. Here are a couple photos of who came this year.

Not everyone dresses up, but we all have a good time.

Happy Halloween to everyone--be safe out there, and don't eat too much candy.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Greg's views on the current status of the Lake

To learn more about the level of the lake in comparison to other years, we turn to our guest blogger, Greg.

Gunflint Lake is not quite at an all-time high level. In the last 10 years, I have seen it higher twice: In the spring following the great winter of '95-'96, it was two inches higher. And the spring of '01 (after a winter of ample snowfall and torrential March downpours) topped it by a whopping six inches.

Likely, there were other higher springtime levels, but these would have been before I was paying close attention, or before I was born. And note that those two times already mentioned were both in the spring. That is when the lake is supposed to be high. But this is fall, and as far as I know, these levels are unprecedented.

In the fall of 1978, the lake came up quite a lot, and roads washed out all over Northeastern Minnesota. Back then, I wasn't in to marking the water levels on fixed objects, like certain rocks or our concrete boat ramp. But I am now, and I can say with the conviction of a scientist that Gunflint Lake is real full. In fact, it has risen 55.75 inches since December 2006, which was the lowest I've seen it.

To put that into perspective, if Gramma Peggy were alive today and standing on one of the rocks we take our measurements from, the water would be over her head. By contrast, last December, the bottoms of the feet of her bunny suit would've stayed dry.

Typically, Gunflint Lake will rise 24 to 30 inches between fall-low and spring-high. If that happens by next spring, it will create some real problems. Waves are already lapping at some cabins' footings during high winds. Beaches are underwater, so it is a struggle to find places to put boats. Come next spring, on a very rough day when the waves reach 12 to 18 inches from crest to trough, there will be serious erosion of the duff layer along the shore. Some trees will topple. The lake will be full of flotsam, redistributing debris according to the whims of the wind direction. And it will be a sight to see; a once-in-a-generation event, or perhaps even a lifetime.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Halloween at Arlington Court

We became members of the National Trust back in July but haven't actually been anywhere to use our membership - til now; partly because of the lousy summer we had and partly because there really is only one National Trust place to visit in North Devon. So today we christened our card and went to Arlington Court for their Halloween Fun Day.

There was a bat trail around the grounds. We found a few bat cards full of information but the novelty soon wore off. They were more interested in the craft room where they sat for ages making bat masks. We then went off for a quick run around the grounds, managed to walk quietly around the inside of the house, and then came home again.

Tonight there is a Halloween Walk where the staff dress up and act out a scary story. Walkers follow them around the grounds through various scary tunnels and across dark muddy fields where witches and ghouls wait to jump out at you. We've done this twice in previous years so tonight we'll stay wrapped up in the warm. I can recommend giving it a go though - if your children are brave and you have a good sense of humour!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Fall days in Morris

Finally, a few nice--even warm--days have arrived this fall. But instead of taking advantage of it and working on the woodpile, we are in western Minnesota visiting the University of
Minnesota at Morris. Paul is considering this college, and so we packed the car and headed west for a different reason than most of our trips.

The prairie is always wonderful to see. What a contrast to our northern forest. Minnesota has so many different "faces" to it. Personally, I wouldn't mind spending a few years in an area like this. After the campus tour today, I was ready to sign up. Greg asked me what I would study, and I said "Art." He said that he would study writing and art. But we've both been to college already, so we'll encourage Paul to go, instead. We brought Addie along, as she isn't too many years away from this decision herself.

The tour of the campus was informative and enjoyable. We followed our tour guide, Ali, from one building to the next, learning about many of the educational opportunities that Morris offers, and getting a glimpse into the life of a student on campus today. Paul is pretty quiet about sharing his opinions, but here are a few of the things that I liked:
---The small campus is laid out well, is easy to navigate, and is beautifully landscaped.
---The people are very friendly--from the admissions folks, to Ali, to the English professor who
met with us, and the polite student who sat across from us in the cafeteria. I got a great
feeling that everyone cares.
---The focus on the student was good to see and hear. We've long believed that all students do
not learn alike. I get the strong sense that the faculty and staff at Morris understand
that and are willing to support a student in finding what works best for him or her.

If Paul is accepted and decides to go to Morris, we'll be happy with his decision. This seems like a good match for him. It's about an eight hour drive away, so he won't be able to come home on weekends for us to put him to work. He's probably happy about that.

It's been awhile since I mentioned Robert and what he is doing. He is in Fairbanks, Alaska, and currently is enrolled in a diesel mechanics program. I'm so happy to say that he is enjoying it. This is probably the first time in his life tht he actually likes school. I remember when he started kindergarten so many years ago. For the first two weeks, he would board the bus happily in the morning, and then tell about his day when he came home. But then one day, he told us that he was done, and he wasn't going again. He'd experienced school, and now it was time to move on to something else. You can just imagine how displeased he was to learn that he indeed was going back the next day, and for several days (and years) to come.

At that time, I had no idea that he, Paul and Addie would all come home to learn, after completing fifth grade. Robert used to enjoy telling his former classmates that he had dropped out. The homeschool years were not always an easy path, but like child-raising itself, it has been most rewarding. One of the side benefits for me has been all of the time we've spent together as a family. When Robert left home last year, I felt like he was ready to go. I can see that now in Paul. Like his brother, he's ready to experience life out of the woods. We knew this day would come, we just hoped that it wouldn't arrive so quickly.

Torrington 1646

I dragged the children out of bed this morning. It was cold and grey and the middle of their half term but they were fine with that: even the teenager, given the option of staying behind, decided she'd come out for a visit with the rest of the family. We travelled 11 miles through the country lanes to Torrington, a small market town perched on top of some very steep hills, and there we visited the Torrington 1646 exhibition.

Centred around the the Civil War battle that took place there that year it is essentially an interactive experience that takes you through what it would be like to live during those times. The experience lasts two hours and the staff, all dressed in costumes and acting in role, take you through the exhibits on a guided tour. This was a bit worrying at first as I am generally used to allowing my children to wander at will but they were very good and the staff are obviously experienced in keeping young children entertained.

Our tour started in the costume room where a gentleman and his son were dressed in armour and then myself and a young girl from another family were dressed as mistresses of the day, much to the amusement of my middle daughter who thought it particularly funny that I had to wear a bumrole to make my backside look bigger (like it needed any help!). Then we were taken through the streets of Torrington at night while the battle took place. We visited the Barber surgeon who spared no gorey detail while telling us about his work. There is a Physic garden, but it was too cold to be shown around that so the lady brought her plants indoors to us. And finally we were taken into the garden for a weapons display. Several hapless volunteers were taken through their paces as pikemen, then we learn all about muskets.

The cafe was our next port of call for a hot chocolate to warm us all up. It was a very interesting and very entertaining visit, particularly useful if you are learning about the Civil War at school as my second daughter is. Family entrance is �21 for 2 adults and up to 3 children. My children learnt a lot and have decided they definately don't wish they were alive 35o years ago, far too many things involved urine!

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Bright colors, blue water

Surprisingly, there is still a fair amount of fall color to be seen in our world. The leaves have mostly fallen from the trees, although a few tamaracks are still sporting bright gold needles. The underbrush is where I am seeing the most vivid hues. We still have not had a hard freeze. We've come close, with frost at the end of September that painted the rooftops and windshields white. Since then, the temperatures have been mostly mild, with temps in the forties, and even the high fifties on the rainiest days.

We were able to finally take a boat ride recently, and so I snapped a few pictures on the Canadian side of the lake.
We brought our mugs of tea along, and enjoyed them while exploring on the railroad grade.
Addie, with her young, sharp eyes, spotted this little bird's nest on the ground. I like how it is nestled in the foliage, near a burned stick. The symbolism of new life next to the destruction is wonderful.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

How much has the lake come up?

That's a good question. Since it began raining in early September, we have received over 25 inches. Gunflint Lake has benefitted greatly from this, not only from the rain actually falling into it, but also from the run-off. I asked Greg for some observations on the lake level, and here is what he shared with me.

Offhand, it probably came up 36 inches. Last November, it was a foot lower than it was this year before it started raining.(That would be around September 6th.) Without actually measuring it, he estimates that it is 47 and 3/4 inches higher than it was last year in December. That's a lot of water!

I prefer to see landmarks that help me understand what has happened. To that end, here are some photos to share.

This photo of our boat landing was taken on October 18th.

This was taken just four days later.

I took this one today. These are the two trees on our beach (or what remains of it) that had fallen down after the blowdown storm in 1999. With the high water and waves, these two trees are once again under stress. We are hoping that the water doesn't take away all of the soil/sand that surrounds the roots.

This one is a bit dark, but it is of the lake today, when the wind came from the northwest. Greg is just to the right of this pool. He is out at Cedar Point, looking west. Where the waves seem to be crashing is a line of rocks that normally delineates the top of the beach. Water has spilled over that. This is true in many places. We are seeing standing water, islands of trees, rocks on the shoreline completely submerged. We had more rain today, though not as much. The next few days are supposed to be sunny, so that should give the shoreline a reprieve.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Wolf on the Trail

A month ago, Greg and I went to a wedding in Spooner, Wisconsin. It had been a good stretch of weather, so we decided to go just for the day. We knew that it meant that we would be driving home in the dark, but we felt it would go just fine.

The day stayed beautiful, the wedding was lovely, and by about seven p.m., we were ready to drive back. This timing put us on the trail around eleven. That is generally a very quiet time, with little or no traffic joining us.

As we approached the mid point of the trail, near Swamper Lake, we saw an animal up ahead on the side of the road. I slowed down, in case it decided to come into the road in front of the car. As we got closer, we could see that it was a wolf.

Greg told me to slow way down, and he got out the camera. The wolf cast occasional glances our way, especially after I rolled the window down and it could hear us whispering. As I leaned closer to the steering wheel, Greg attempted to take some photos. Instead of leaving the road with all of this happening so near, the wolf just continued trotting on. Greg took several photos while I slowly drove. We were impressed to hear the click-click-click of the wolf�s toenails on the pavement.

You might think that this story ends with the wolf leaving the road and disappearing into the woods. That was the ending I expected. Instead, I noticed in my rearview mirror the lights of an approaching vehicle. I told Greg that I was going to have to speed up, because a car was coming. I added, �Maybe the wolf will be their friend now.� Sure enough, as I accelerated, I could see in my mirror that the next car was decelerating, and then stopping for their chance to see this marvelous animal.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Seasonal Chores

So much of fall is really about winter--specifically, getting ready for winter. For those who have a garden, fall harvest is the time to put up the produce for the long winter season. I confess that I did not have much of a garden this year, since spring planting time was so disrupted. I did manage to get a few beans and some chard in the ground by late June, so we have enjoyed some homegrown goodies. Thank heavens for the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to which we belong. Three wonderful women near Grand Marais farm all summer and fill a cooler each week with the fruits and veggies of their labor. Already I am looking forward to next summer, for the CSA coolers and for the opportunity to again test out my own green thumb. Moses and Jethro are consistently doing their part to provide dirt for more raised garden beds.

I�ve probably mentioned it here before, but one of the most important fall chores is to process the firewood. You may have noticed our huge stack of logs in the backyard across from the gravel pit. Having a woodpile like that is like having money in the bank. It will keep us warm in the months to come, once we have it bucked up into stove-length pieces, split, and stacked to dry. Ever since the kids were little, they have been required to help in some way during firewood season. As they get older, they have been able to help even more. Paul and Addie are both proficient at running the splitter, and they are excellent stackers. There is a bit of an art to making a good wood stack, so that it is neat, spaced for good air circulation, and most importantly, so that it won�t fall down. To do this, one must build �corners� at the end of the stacks. We log-cabin the wood on each end of the stack, so that it is a little more stable. I used to dislike making corners, but have since come to enjoy the challenge. I�ve also learned that if I split the wood properly, I have good corner pieces to work with. Even the most rote and mundane chores can have their interesting moments.

Another way we are preparing for winter is by having some new furnaces installed. Birch cabin is getting two small heaters, one in each bedroom. The big old gas furnace finally is being replaced. This should help make even the coldest nights cozier. In Diamond Willow cabin, the furnace in the master bedroom will be given the old heave-ho in favor of a new and efficient one. It is good to know that we can head into the next season a little better prepared to handle it.

Speaking of the next season, we are all hopeful that it will be a snowy one. It feels like we are overdue for a really good winter. Greg has a new truck and is ordering a snowplow for it soon. He is excited as he loves to go plowing. Already we have had flurries, the first time having been in mid-September. We saw some snow again last week, so that sends us scurrying out to work a little harder on the woodpile. It is much easier to get that job finished before the snow flies. So why am I not out there today? You guessed it---it�s raining again.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

So Many Good Things, and Adventures on the High Seas

It was quite a summer...and now the calendar tells me that it is autumn. The usual lament---Where did the time go?--- applies here. I�ve had some time in recent days to catch my breath, and to begin to think about all of the things I want to share. I apologize for going on a hiatus for so many days. It�s been a busy stretch, both in real life and in my head! I�m back and ready to write.

The events of May definitely shaped the days of the summertime, in ways I anticipated, but also in unexpected gifts and experiences. So many good things have come our way, and the gratitude we feel is immense. Large things, such as generosity beyond our dreams, down to small things like skeins of yarn gifted to me---it�s been overwhelming, breath-taking, and healing. The thoughts are coming to me in bits and pieces, but my plan is to write some of the shorter anecdotes here, and on the Planet Heston�s page, I will post the larger stories. Thanks for bearing with me as I get my act together and do this.

From spring drought to fall rain, forest fire to near flooding, it has been a season or two of extremes. Recently, we heard that the Gunflint Trail received 22 inches of rain in five weeks from early September into October. Boy are we wet!

The old adage, be careful what you wish for, really hasn�t applied here. Despite the challenges the water has brought, nearly everyone I�ve encountered is cheerful about it. We�ve seen what happens when we don�t get the necessary rain. I was in the lake more in September than all summer long. It certainly was not because I am a fan of cold water. All that rain falling into the lake brings the water up to some extent. But then over the next few days, it continues to rise, as the little creeks wash down the hills. At one point, Greg said the lake level had risen by 24 inches. Currently, the water laps at the very top of our cement ramp at the landing. That is normally a sight reserved for spring, right after ice out.

Plenty of adventure comes along with the rain. Just about the time that we think our boats and docks are pulled up high enough, we lose another few inches of beach, and the boats are escaping. Early one morning, Greg informed us that we had to rescue a loose boat of our own, as well as a neighbor�s that was found by fishermen the previous night. I got dropped off in our wandering boat, armed with a bucket to bail it. Greg and Paul went to gather equipment, and to wrestle with a sailboat that was on our beach. Addie was on shore to help them. I emptied the boat of as much water as I could, and then paddled it in to shore. My! What a fine morning to feel like a pirate---hopping aboard wayward vessels. Once things were secure on our beach, we headed down the lake to look for our friends� boat.

Our first stop was the dock and boat lift. The decking was askew, thanks to high water and winds. The boat lift was in some very deep water, and wasn�t to be budged with out getting in to the lake. The slowly-rising water had easily floated the boat right off the ramp. When the fishermen found it, they tied it securely to some trees just to the east of the dock. It was rocking gently, not in immediate danger, so we decided to go home and eat breakfast before trying to move it.

When we got back to Heston�s, Greg drove the boat right up on to our dock. It was sitting so low in the water, it was like a ramp.

There�s something about coming back home in the middle of a many other chores call out, that it is hard to get back to what we were doing. That�s how it was that day. By afternoon, we still hadn�t gotten back down the lake. The waters remained calm, but we knew it was due to change, with northwest winds predicted. Sure enough, by late afternoon, the winds did roll in, and we knew that we had to move that boat. Greg grabbed his chest waders, and I wore my usual �going in the lake in spring/fall� outfit of fleece long johns, rubber duck boots and sweatshirt. What a crazy sight.

This time, we drove to the property, and after walking through the woods on the shoreline, we came to the boat. This is a large boat, not like our small fishing boats. We couldn�t just push it off and walk it back home--not against the waves. Greg went scouting to the east to find an appropriate and safe landing for it. When he returned, he said that we could take it to another neighbors� boat lift. They had already taken their boat out of the water.

Greg got in to the boat as I untied it and then began to push it off the shore. He hollered to me to jump in--no easy task with a big boat like that. Soon enough I managed and we cast off with only two paddles and the wind pushing us down the lake. We hoped that we could paddle it to where it needed to be. By this time, I was really feeling like a pirate, onboard in stormy seas, adrift with plunder! Then, whoops---we hit a small bar. Greg jumped overboard, and I pushed on the bottom with my paddle to help free us. He got back in, and just a short ways more, we reached the dock. Our friend Larry was waiting.
We cast him a rope, and he helped to guide us on to the lift. It took some fiddling, but we eventually got the boat situated and up on the lift. Greg found the proper button to get the bilge pump running. Another boat was rescued and safe.

Larry invited us in for a beer, but we took a rain check, since by then we were a pretty soggy pair. We slogged back to the truck to head home. Along the way, we stopped to check on two more boats belonging to friends. Sure enough, these two boats also needed more attention. One was not to be budged--too much water on board and no easy place to pull it higher. The other one was a bit more manageable. With the aid of a come-along, we pulled it to high ground. It wasn�t going anywhere.

We got home about seven-thirty, just in time to cook a quick dinner, get changed, and then head down the trail. Paul�s band was playing music at Windigo. �Come hell or high water,� we weren�t going to miss that!
P.S. Many thanks to my friends Orv and Alice, and Cindy P. for giving me that gentle nudge to get writing again. Without you, I may have been stalled for even longer!