Monday, April 25, 2011


       When you live on a lake in northern Minnesota in the watch everyday for that magic day....ICE OUT!  It happened today on Medicine Lake in Tenstrike MN.  This is our 24th year to witness ice out on the lake...and it's always an adventure.  I have recorded the dates of ice out every year since we moved here in 1987.  Those dates get transferred each year to the new calendar, just like all the family birthdates!  It's history!  The guests who come up in June always want to know...when was ice out?  Once the ice is gone, the lake has the opportunity to warm up with the spring sunshine and those water temperatures are important for spawning times for the different species of fish in the lake.

It's evening, but you can see the small chunks of ice near the shore.

The wind brought the ice to the resort shoreline this year.  It was a slow melt so there was no damage to the shoreline.

Remnants of the small dock by the beach...lots of debris comes to shore with the ice out.  This is the first time ever that the ice went out on April 25th!  Some dates on the calendar have 3 or 4 or 5 years of ice out posted on the same date!

       This time of year is the fastest changing season.  We go from 6+months of winter to rain and splotches of green grass....the ducks return along with the geese and loons.  The ground begins to thaw, everything is soggy underfoot when you live so close to the lake. 

Every piece of equipment is overhauled and ready for the busy resort season....have to get this tire fixed so we can put our miles on the golf carts!  They've only been a part of the resort for a few years, but they are a wonderful mode of transportation in the spring, hauling bedding and cabin supplies to all the cabins.

This is a common sight in the spring...hauling all the old mattresses out of each cabin and wait for the delivery of the new ones!  We always find a home for the "gently used" mattresses...missions, homeless shelters, even friends who need an extra bed!  Let us know if you need a full or queen sized mattress...they're still in great shape!

       The resort sees major changes in just a month!  By mid-May, the raking will be done, all 13 cabins will be cleaned and ready for guests, the water will get turned on, docks are put in, the pool is filled and the first batch of cookies are baked for the arrival of the first guests of the 2011 season.

       Have we piqued your interest??  Come see the finished product...a lush, green resort yard with lots of fresh-planted flowers, new patio furniture, groomed sand on the beach, docks in the water with boats tethered to them and empty cabins with a warm plate of cookies waiting for the guests to arrive!  We love our job as resort owners and we look forward to a great summer with lots of great fishing and fun carpetball games, along with the heated pool and a fresh stock of ice cream for the famous shakes!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Merry Easter....and....Our Walk is Done!!

      Oh my...we try not to think of April 2010!  We had 70s and 80s most of the month.  Steve had some docks in the water, I had most of the cabins cleaned and the resort grounds looked like early June.  Not so in April 2011!  Yesterday, we woke up at 5:45a.m. to get ready to walk from Bemidji to Blackduck with a group from church to raise funds for our building project at our Blackduck Free Church.  This is what we woke up to....

      We had worked outside the day before with no snow and the grass turning green...then we get up in the morning to 8"+ of new snow!  Now, if it was November this would be a welcome sight!  Steve could gather wood for the fireplace and I would be settled in my sewing room working on a project.  But no....we were up early for our 25 mile walk!!  So...we bundled up, layered for the weather and reluctantly put our boots on instead of our walking shoes.  We loaded up the water, gatorade, energy bars and extra socks(along with our walking shoes) and headed to church by 7a.m.  We almost didn't make it because the plows were not out and we had a hard time driving on the snow & slush-covered roads.

      We walked into church and joined our group of 35 people who planned to make the walk...

      You can see from these photos that alot of the walkers were prepared with their winter gear...not an easy way to walk a long distance with all those layers of clothing on!  So much for trying to wear our new, bright green t-shirts to show who we were and why we were walking...the shirts just weren't made to fit over our snowsuits!

      We all gathered in the church hall and shared lots of ideas on where to walk, how to walk and thoughts of rescheduling the walk until a better day...but you can see the date is on the t-shirt and we all  were pumped to do it!  So, it was decided we would get permission and walk inside the Blackduck School.  We  loaded up our gear and our plump, snowsuit-clad bodies and drove to school.  We "re-dressed" ourselves to walk inside and, thank goodness, could take our boots off and put our comfy walking shoes on.  The walk got underway at 8a.m., as originally scheduled, and Steve and I started our walk, quickly falling into step with a person walking our pace.  We were able to keep that pace and we each walked with our "partner" to the end of our walk.  I walked with Verna and we were so thankful for each other...we both said we were able to walk as far as we did because we kept the same pace and chatted the entire time.  Steve walked with Cheri and they even stopped to stretch after several laps and kept going, walking side by side.  The walk ended up being such a great time in the school because we were always in close contact with everyone else, passing in the hallways and gyms and hollering words of encouragement to each other.  It was such a wonderful day, touched by God, that brought 35 people together for a common cause.  All the walkers had received pledges and donations for their walks and we were ready to make those people who had donated proud of our efforts!

      And...what a successful day we had!  Everyone of us surprised ourselves by the distances we were able to complete.  Verna and I walked over 5 hours, stopping one time and sitting down for a few minutes to rest, pausing for a drink of water, grabbing a banana or granola bar.  She went a few more laps than me...I just reached a point where my legs and feet told me I was done!  Steve and Cheri walked almost 6 1/2 hours, stopping once to change socks and get drinks, but continuing the laps over and over.

      When we got home, Steve and I agreed that our minds and hearts could have kept us going for the finish of the 25 miles, but our feet and legs warned us over and over that we needed to quit.  We both knew that we needed these legs to get our spring work done...we couldn't abuse them!  We totally surprised ourselves by the distances we were able to walk.  I went almost 15 miles and Steve walked 22 miles!  That is by far the most either of us has ever walked....or probably ever will again!  All evening we moved through the house like the old wind-up toys that teeter down a slanted board...we gave each other a foot rub that felt heavenly and called the day a fun successful time! 

      I think that my 3-4 mile walks this week will feel like an easy time after such an accomplishment! 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring Brings.....

      Spring in northern Minnesota means different things than in different parts of the country!  For us, living here for the past 23 years, we know spring is here with the hooting of the owls in the woods, the eagles flying low over the cabins, the return of the ducks and geese to the lake's edge and....
      Last weekend we went to the new Sanford Center in Bemidji with Jen & Marc & kids to walk through and see all the new ideas & products at the show...tractors, landscaping ideas, pianos, frybread tacos, hot tubs, new building ideas, freebies from several booths, Stittsworth brats....and just seeing alot of friends in the area who also come out for this once a year event.

The new Sanford Center with the tractor display in the parking lot!

Nathan lived his dream of sitting on the big green tractor.

Calvin was most excited to get his picture taken by the BSU Beaver! 
He's such a hockey fan and saw most of the games this winter.

The little girl of the bunch tried out the hot tub...don't we need one of these??!!

Calvin won a hat at a booth...and wore it the rest of the day!  Goofy kid!

Even Paul & Babe were at the show...

      Spring also means all that snow & ice melt and provide lots of new lakes and ponds where they aren't supposed to the golf course!
Blackduck Golf Course lives up to it's name...The Duck...with water everywhere, especially after an all day rainstorm.

     And....the work continues at the resort as the weather warms up. Steve has been grading the driveway almost everyday, moving the muddy frost boils and spreading out the mud so that everything dries up faster and makes for a smooth lane.

      We went to a spring buying show yesterday...ordering new ice cream flavors and foods for the lodge.  While we were gone, our carpenter laid the new laminate flooring in cabin's look nice and I'll take pictures when it's done.

      Here's the beginning of the remodel for cabin #6....the new cupboards are in!

So much more storage space!  Countertop is ordered and laminate flooring will be laid
in this kitchen too! 

      Only 1 month before our first guests arrive!  Yikes...13 cabins to spring clean, new mattresses to be delivered, new furniture to be bought, curtains to be made, cabins to be stained, leaves to be raked....does anyone need a temporary job for the next 3 weeks??  We provide great meals and a variety of jobs all day long!  To apply, just give us a call!  We guarantee good stretching while making beds and washing windows, lively conversation while cleaning and/or raking, and a sense of pride when the jobs are done!
How many places think it's spring when the temps are still in the 30s??? 
Just us crazy Minnesotans!  35 degrees...we can put the winter coats away and open the windows!
Come on can be tough...and crazy too!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cabin #7 Updates...and Cabin #6 too!

         Cabin #7 is nearing the end of construction!  The log siding is being put up, bathroom floors are we need to get the kitchen flooring and carpeting for the bedrooms and stairs and whatever we're doing in the living room...haven't quite decided on that yet.  Here's some new photos...
The lodgemaster admiring the new cabin...siding started...

Downstairs bathroom...walk-in shower.

Upstairs bathroom with tub/shower unit.

     Cabin #6 was a puzzle...we talked about adding an upstairs, but the cabin is very sound...doesn't need to be rebuilt like #7 had to be.  So...we're adding a new kitchen, bathroom and floor coverings.  New hickory cupboards just like cabin countertops, sink, appliances...

Cabin #6 kitchen, gutted and ready for new cupboards.

New cupboards in boxes in living room...ready to be installed.

     The problem with spring in Minnesota is...spring just won't come!  The piles of snow just stare at us and the lake is still frozen.  We've had swans and geese stopping by, looking for open water...we need alot warmer temps to see any sign of spring! 

Northern MN spring...sidewalks are showing!!  Yeah!  You can't tell, but that circular drive is quicksand
and sloppy mud!  All resort owners have to own rubber boots...very fashionable-looking!

Another sign of can see the bricks on the patio!

I guess it's the little things that get us excited for spring...if grass is showing, we don't even see those dirty piles of snow!!
Happy Spring!   I hope!!

Monday, April 4, 2011


     When I was planning to write this post, I wanted to find the picture of Steve and I during our last race we entered...the "Race for Versace" back in 1986 in Peoria IL.  It's a great picture of us crossing the finish line...picture that in your mind...especially if you know me now!  It's almost funny, isn't it?
     Well, that was a 5K race those many years we have signed up for a walk to be held on Saturday, April 16th, in Bemidji MN.  Our church, Blackduck Evangelical Free Church, is raising funds to add on to our present classrooms, new kitchen(to replace the kitchen built decades ago) and a youth area.  Our pastor will walk that day from Bemidji to Blackduck, ending his walk at our church...(thus, WALK TO BEFREE) and he is collecting pledges for his walk.  As the chatter continued about his walk, lots of other people wanted to walk and I signed up!!!  Yep, we're going to support our pastor and walk that day too.

     We have this letter composed on the church letterhead and a pledge sheet to send out to friends & family, but I'm just letting all my readers know about it too.  We're a small church and we've raised over $160,000 in the last 3 years with various fundraisers.  I happen to be on the committee that is in charge of raising those funds.  We just had a dinner yesterday and raised well over $2000 in about an hour.  The dinner was "Spuds & Splits"...baked potatoes with all the fixins and then ice cream sundaes(splits).  This was the second time we had this dinner and the comments are always great.  It's just different from other fundraising dinners and was very well-attended.  A giant thanks to our church people and to the community of Blackduck for coming and supporting our efforts!

     So...Steve and I are asking you, our friends and readers, to pledge any amount for our walk.  We're just asking for a one-time donation in support of our effort to walk the 25 miles...will we make it??  We're going to give it our best!  We're training together and I've walked farther than I've ever walked before...only 5 miles at a time, but it's a start! 

     Thank you to all our friends/family/readers for considering a donation.  You can make your check to "BEFChurch Building Fund" and send it to us or our church.  You can comment on this blog and I will reply with the mailing address.  We will both put our best foot forward and we will let you all know the results after our walk...if when we finish the walk!