Stopped by Itasca State Park earlier this winter to see the headwaters of the Mississippi in winter. No doubt, many of you have walked across this river on these rocks.
A fish house on Boot Lake is a rare sight. Our lake just does not see much winter fishing pressure. There have been a few more houses than normal this year, including this bright red one, but we typically only see one or two at a time plus an occasional portable. And we have “dark houses” too. A dark house is, just as the name implies, dark. Blocking out all the light helps a spear fisherman see his decoy (a wooden or live minnow) and also the northern pike that come to investigate. I would guess most of the ice angling on Boot Lake is for pike also. We have usually pulled our house off by now. The heavy snow cover pushes water up through any opening, flooding the lake with water which in turn, saturates the snow around the house and freezes it in. We have had to chip our house out (or use the chain saw) once or twice and it is a job we vow to never do again!
Do you remember the cold snap Minnesota experienced in late January (as in -36)? During that cold week our family took a sauna at least 3 of those evenings, which is our normal pattern during the winter months. Here is a post I wrote after one of those nights.
Our sauna routine is a fairly common occurrence during the winter. Friday night three of the kids and I took a particularly hot one. After we cook, we like to cool down outside and last night was awesome… very cold, a bright full moon, and dead calm; as we settled into our towel draped chairs, the 9 below temperature accentuated the steam pouring off our bodies. Our small talk faded into silence, as we all just sat and appreciated the night. By the time we were fully cooled off our hair was frosty and our suits frozen.
As an addendum to this post, during the following night’s cool down, we clearly heard a pack of wolves howling across the lake. Now, hearing coyotes is common, but these wolves were a rare treat.
This is the time of year Mary makes quilts for the cabins. Typically, she will cut out and sew four quilts each winter. (She is very grateful that others do pitch in and help from time to time, but, by and large, she does most of the heavy lifting in this area.) The first couple quilts were simply old spreads sandwiched between new “woodsy” décor sheets and then tied, rather than quilted. Now, after sewing all the squares together, she will use a company out of Blackduck, MN called Anderson Fabrics to apply the batting and backing; these layers are then machine quilted. This also happens to be the best place she has found to purchase her fabric. Here is their FaceBook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Anderson-Factory-Outlet-and-Quilt-Shop/160246990672246 and Webpage http://www.andersonfabrics.com/. The binding still needs to be added by hand stitching. Fortunately, she has help for this from Betty (as in “Tom and Betty”, the couple from AZ who have spent many summers here, helping us run the resort). This will be a busy quilting season, as she hopes to finish eight quilts. We will then be up to 58 quilts, with only cabin 11 left!