Wednesday, 7 March 2007

A bit of Robert Frost

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep"......I love that line of poetry. It's true, too, in that our woods have been dark since I last wrote, but now they are moving back in to the sunshine. The rays are beaming in to the kitchen windows much earlier, and I can feel the warmth in it. With the equinox just two weeks away, we really are coming in to the light.

The month of February will be mostly remembered as cold cold cold. We didn't get much fresh snow in that time, but fortunately didn't lose any either. All winter long, we were able to maintain about a foot or so in the woods, and the ski trail base has been between four and eight inches. The big snowstorm that was predicted for the very end of February unkindly skipped us, dropping only about an inch of new snow. What a disappointment to watch the weather reports and the radar, to see the snow going all over the place, except here. I really was losing faith in the forecasting process. At one point, our forecast said that there was a blinding blizzard happening in Grand Marais at that moment. Greg called the law enforcement center to verify conditions, only to be told that while it was cloudy, nothing else was happening. What has been happening to this winter?

When the big storm for last weekend was predicted, I said that I wasn't counting on it until I was actually counting the inches. My skepticism seemed justified when Thursday rolled around, and nothing happened. It was time for our Winter Tracks Festival on the Gunflint Trail, so we just kept going about our business to get ready for it. In our case, we were setting up a wall tent by the bread oven, so that we could prepare and bake pizzas on Friday afternoon. Greg even put a little woodstove in it, and that afternoon, we enjoyed the company of some friends while having some homebrew in the tent. It was very warm and cozy, even with a strong east wind blowing outside.

When we woke up on Friday, it was looking better. We had a couple of new inches, and that lifted all of our spirits. During the pizza party, big fluffy flakes kept falling, and they would land on the fresh-out-of-the-oven pizzas. No matter--those slices tasted every bit as good in winter as they do in the summer at our weekly pizza bakes. By the time we were finished, several inches had come down, and I was beginning to count. It snowed on into the evening, and then settled down. The sun came out on Saturday and our snow total was around ten inches. It was hard to get a decent spot to measure, thanks to the wind. Our estimate is close.

So now it is very much a winter wonderland outside, and we even added about three inches yesterday. The skiing is fabulous, and the snowshoeing is good, too. People probably can no longer drive on the lake, with all that new snow, but the fishermen are still able to be out there on their snowmobiles. The last report we had on the ice was about three feet thick. Not bad, considering that the lake didn't even freeze until Christmas night. Winter will be with us for a while yet, and that is fine by me.

The miles to go before I sleep has to do with a mishap I had over the weekend. The Winter Tracks Festival had a schedule loaded with many varied activities. On Saturday night, we all went to the dinner and dance at the Gunflint Lodge Conference Center. The music was lively and fun, so we got into the spirit of it all, and had a great time dancing. I learned, however, that I truly am middle-aged when I took one jump too many. I landed on my feet, but managed to rupture my achilles tendon in my left foot. Since then, I have been mostly house-bound, with a big old black plastic cast on my foot. Tomorrow, Greg is taking me to Duluth to have the tendon re-attached. I think that I have lived a charmed life up to this point, as I've only gone to the hospital to have my babies. So I consider myself to be pretty lucky. I probably won't give up dancing, but I will try not to be so wild and crazy about it!