Thursday, April 10, 2014

The First Signs of Spring

The first sign of Spring for most people is when the daffodils and crocuses poke up through the snow along south facing walls. Lin and I get excited about Spring when our aluminum canoes are first seen after being buried by snow for nearly five months.

A less welcome sign of Spring showed up last Monday. Two feet of snow on the roof of the summer staff apartment decided to part ways with the north facing roof. The snow fell off the roof and piled up against the back wall of the building. The "long" building was covered nearly to the top of the window openings with melting snow. After two days of digging we managed to clear the snow off the wall. The trench is needed to keep the melting snow from seeping into the building.

Last year we didn't have "ice off" on Poplar Lake until May 18th. Lin and I are already starting to get phone calls from people asking if the ice will be gone earlier this year. The warm up that started this week should really be encouraging for paddlers and guests planning to visit us this May. Over the last four days we have seen our snow depth dropping by over a foot. This picture of Lin was taken last year in late April and can be compared to today's snow depth in this same area of less than twenty inches. Call me an optimist but the likelyhood of a more normal opening date is improving hourly.


Friday, March 14, 2014

English Springer, Minnows and a Lone Wolf

Last month we went to Wisconsin and brought home a rescued English Springer Spaniel named Chance. We have quickly adjusted to having a dog once again in our lives and Chance is happy to be free of pens and crates. He is quickly working on learning his obedience commands and should be ready to welcome visitors to our lodge this summer. However, we suspect that we may have a problem with keeping him out of Poplar Lake once the ice comes off.

Lat week we had a visit from another type of canine. We had a bucket of frozen minnows outside the shop that one of our guest gave us. When Chance and I when out to play fetch with a tennis ball the minnows and the bucket were gone! Lots of wolf tracks and a wild Chance. We followed the tracks out to the Gunflint Trail and saw here the wolf had decided to visit our neighbor.

Based on Facebook postings, there is a wolf that is actively looking for food at homes all along Poplar Lake. This photo has him eating from a bird feeder -- the date and time on the camera are not correct. Once our snow starts to melt the "wildlife" will retreat back into the wilderness. This winter's deep snow has everyone looking for easier places to walk like: plowed roads, snowmobile tracks and shoveled walkways. Meanwhile, everyone up here is advised to keep their pets close.  

Friday, February 28, 2014

Snow Removal Blues

We had over 14 inches of snow over the last weekend. This was after being hit by eight inches of snow earlier in the preceeding week. Clearing the snow from our driveway from the second enterance off the Gunlflint Trail down to the lakeside apartment is no easy job. I try to blow everything before the snow depth exceeds four to five inches. With my small 5.5 Hp. snowblower it takes a little under two hours to clear the driveway. If the snow depth is over five inches it can take twice as long to clear the driveway. 

When the temperature is around zero and the wind is gusting to 30 mph spending time outdoors following a showblower is not a winter sport that has anything over say ice fishing,cross country skiing or making snow angels.  Over a one week period I cleared the driveway 6 times. If you add in the time spent getting dressed to work outside I have lately spend way too much time blowing snow! It has been a long winter and I was really starting to feel sorry for myself.

Just when I was getting down on Winter and having to face another 6 weeks of "snow season" our neighbor came around and told me about his snow removal problem. He has a big diesel pickup with an expensive V plow. With all of this year's snow his driveways are down to a single lane lined by snowpiles from earlier plow passes. The cast off snow is higher than his V plow and he can no longer use the plow to clear the driveway. He had start clearing his driveway with a snowblower. His expensive truck and snowplow will be useless until the snow melts!

Meanwhile, our driveway looks great. The snow from the snowblower is cast over a large area and I don't have deep piles of snow along the driveway. This keeps wind blown snow from building up along the edges which makes it easier to clear the driveway the next time it snows. Best of all, I have been getting lots of exersise.  

Driveway between our home and our garage.

Forget the exersise, we're ready for Spring!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Living With A Polar Vortex Winter



There are two ways to get through Winter up here in the Northland. You can stay inside and look for feathers or ferns in the frost patterns that cover your windows each morning or you can go outside and enjoy Winter.

We froze all of the waterlines and pumps in our water treatment room last month and have spend way too much time getting the system running again. Now it is time to get out and enjoy some time in the sun. Someone should warn the Lake Trout over in Moss Lake that I will be there soon! 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Holiday Guest and Holiday Plans

We're in the middle of the Holiday Season and things have not managed to slow down much here at the Lodge. Our cabins are closed and the canoes are all put away for the winter but before we can get something done two more "jobs" seem to crop up for our "to do" list. A few of the little jobs that still require attention include: order outfitting food, update our Health Department License, clear the driveway so we can get a propane delivery, recharge the pressure tank for the lake water system, and update our website. However, one of our more important tasks is to relax and take advantage of the slow time to spend time together.

Thanksgiving Guest
 Lin and I were alone for Thanksgiving. Well, we actually had a fox invite herself to our Thanksgiving dinner. She showed up about an hour before the turkey was done and stayed for handouts after we finished eating. She visited us for about a week seeking handouts from us and a family that was staying the Lakeside Apartment.

We had planned to do our family road trip last week but the unusually cold weather and a nearly empty propane tank has forced a change of plans. Our local weather have had nighttime temperatures in the negative teens and we have been lucky to get daytime temps above zero. We still get out several evenings a week to visit our neighbors but the Lakeside Apartment may become our refuge if the propane delivery doesn't happen soon.   

Mid- January is a busy time for outfitters here on the Gunflint Trail. The BWCAW entry permits become available on a first-come-first served basis beginning at 9 am on January 29, 2014. We'll be busy helping people making trip plans and reserving entry permits. We certainly plan on enjoying our quiet time over the next four weeks.

Happy holidays to you and your family. We hope you get a chance to enjoy them as much as we do.