The cracked corn was piled high in the squirrel feeder this morning and Mabel paused during her play to watch the squirrels fill their cheeks with the feed. We have a slew of squirrels that skitter around the yard and up and down the trees that we enjoy watching. It is especially entertaining when they try to eat out of the squirrel-proof feeder which has perches that collapse under their weight.
Ryan enjoyed a brisk morning ski on fresh snow! The couple inches of hard-packed snow on the lake have been great for skate skiing, but there haven’t been many opportunities for traditional skiing this winter with the lack of fresh snow. It was a welcome sight yesterday when the flakes stared coming down. It was below zero this morning, but the wind whipped snow on the lake was beautiful, especially with a couple of sun dogs to top it all off.
Hello from the new owners of Half Moon Trail! Our first week started out with frozen septic lines, and leaky water heaters, followed by two days of a flu bug for our little family. Despite the exciting start, we are happy to be settling in and are enjoying our daily Resorting 101 classes with Professor Dave Ahrendt. We are hopeful for a passing grade and our graduation into Resorting 202…
Here are a few highlights of our week:
Mabel enjoyed her first chore of taking out the trash with daddy in the golf cart.
Liz got a taste of small town living when she had to go inside the country store to pay for her gas. She enjoyed a nice chat with the locals.
Ryan is excited that his new office view includes bird feeders and frosty mornings.
A couple weeks ago Boot Lake had a heavy sun shower with one of the brightest rainbows we have seen. One of our guests happened to catch it at its peak intensity. Notice the end of the rainbow is just above the lake. Thanks for the photo, Kathryn!
The gardens are approaching their summer peak. Once again, Mary and her gardeners have done a great job integrating color, texture, and shape into a dynamic design. Every year the gardens change a bit as Mary continues to experiment and learn. This photo essay will give you a taste of the 2014 gardens.
During our cool June we have had unprecedented numbers of hummingbirds at our feeders. Perhaps they were more dependent on the feeders because of the late spring and slow flower development. At any rate, this photo shows seven birds and there were times we counted 12 or more darting in and out, waiting a turn at the sugar water.
Yesterday our ice went out. A strong easterly wind of 20 to 30 MPH pounded the ice into our shore, grinding the pack into tiny cubes that melted quickly. The lake ice gave up the ghost without much effort this year, perhaps due to the heavy snow loads on the new ice last December. Heavy snow falls early last winter created a lot of deep slush which then eventually froze into a rather “punky” ice. This thick blanket of snow so effectively insulated the ice that, in spite of the record cold temps, we saw signs that the deer were pawing down to the slush for a drink throughout the winter. The end of April is typically when the ice goes out, so it looks like we are on track for a “normal” spring, whatever that might be?!
We are looking for a silver lining in our late spring snow yesterday. That bright spot might come in the form of nitrogen. We have heard that a late spring snow-fall was referred to a poor man’s fertilizer. A quick internet search turned up plenty of evidence that this is in fact the case. So, right now our gardens and lawn are getting a bit of a head start to the growing season.
Park Rapids is home to a winter flock of trumpeter swans. These birds are huge, standing 4 foot tall with wing spans of 8 feet. The river flowing out of Fish Hook Lake is usually ice free, and these birds seem quite content to hang out all winter. A few people bring shelled corn, which I assume helps augment their limited food supply this time of year. I stopped by last week to see how many where still here. The first stop was a nice day and all the swans evidently were out feeding in the now open fields and other recently opened rivers. I stopped again a few days later; the weather had turned cold again, with more snow, and this time there were a couple dozen swans in the river. Here are a couple quick shots of our winter flock of swans.